On December 5 of last year, Dr. Taylor Marshall interviewed Mr. James Grein. They discussed Theodore McCarrick’s language studies in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in 1948. And they discussed the self-named “St. Gallen Mafia”–a group of European bishops who met sporadically in the same town of St. Gallen during the 1990’s, to discuss their disagreements with Joseph Card. Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II.
Marshall and Grein saw a connection. Between these events occurring in the same town (albeit separated by a lapse of forty-five years). The connection: Communist infiltration of the Roman Catholic Church.
Shortly after that interview, Grein went on to testify against McCarrick in a church court. As far as we, the general public, know: Pope Francis convicted and defrocked McCarrick on the basis of Grein’s testimony. The pope did so without conducting a full trial. His Holiness said in a recent interview: McCarrick’s guilt was “obvious.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Marshall went on to publish Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church From Within. Marshall reflects on his conversation with Grein, writing: “One cannot help but wonder if Sankt Gallen served as an infiltration center for recruiting young men to infiltrate the priesthood.”
I, for one, can help but wonder. Since I try to avoid falling into kooky conspiracy theories, unsupported by any evidence. Serious reviewers have rightly greeted Marshall’s book with alarm. Marshall speculates wildly and proves nothing.
Now, Marshall and Grein are two different men. Grein, we presume, did not speak about any Communist plots when he testified before the Church tribunal considering McCarrick’s crimes. More likely, Grein described acts of sexual abuse which McCarrick did, in fact, commit. As I noted in December, someone can be both a credible victim-witness to the crime of sex abuse and a kook full of conspiracy theories, at the same time. The two are not mutually incompatible.
But: The simultaneous publication last week of Marshall’s largely deranged book, and Pope Francis’ largely deranged interview: It does not reflect well on the integrity of the Vatican court that defrocked McCarrick, and our Church’s justice system in general.
As I mentioned, in his recent interview, the pope called McCarrick’s guilt “obvious.” Does His Holiness base that assertion solely on the testimony of a single witness–a single witness who has demonstrated himself publicly to be an irrational conspiracy theorist?
How could anyone’s guilt be “obvious” under such circumstances? Wouldn’t any competent judge of a criminal case insist, at least, that the accused be granted his right to due process, a full trial, and a chance to answer the charges? Before making a verdict?
Of course, a question has haunted our minds for nearly a year now; the question that brought Archbishop Viganò out of the woodwork: Does the Holy See possess other evidence of McCarrick’s crimes?
Apparently the answer is yes. The large file that Viganò mentioned to His Holiness in June of 2013. Which contains multiple denunciations of sexual abuse and two hefty cash-settlement documents.
…When the new Archbishop of Washington, Wilton Gregory, spoke with his priests last week, he declared that it’s time to “turn the page.” Pope Francis, too, spoke of the McCarrick Affair as something that ended in early February.
But, in fact, the scandal has only grown worse, as the past year has unfolded. The McCarrick Affair has exposed the painful fact: Our Church has no integral criminal-justice system.
In free and honest societies, judges mete out criminal justice in open courts, according to fixed rules. Victims of crime get to testify publicly. Malefactors get punished fairly, according to clear laws. Justice gets done openly, and peace in the community gets restored. The written acts of the case stand as a public record.
On the other hand: dishonest, corrupt, authoritarian regimes conduct unintelligible ‘trials’ behind closed doors. They mete out hidden punishments. They acknowledge no rules of order; rather they operate according to favoritism and short-term political expediency.
What kind of government does the Catholic Church have now? The McCarrick Affair has revealed: We clearly, obviously, and manifestly have the authoritarian, corrupt, and dishonest kind.