Who Won the Disputation of Paris?

[the third of my promised posts about the problems in St. Louis]

Peter Schwarz Disputation between Jewish and Christian theologians
Disputation between Jewish and Christian Theologians, by Peter Schwarz

The late Yves Congar wrote a book about Sacred Tradition. When I get a moment, I will summarize the book for you, in full. For now, these ideas:

By sending His Son into the world, Almighty God revealed the truth about Himself. The Scriptures bear witness to this truth, but the written pages are not the Truth itself. We don’t “believe in the Bible,” as if the Bible were God. We believe in the triune God, to Whom the Bible bears witness.

The New Testament contains information about the Truth Himself, namely Jesus Christ. But the New Testament does not contain all the information available. For example, the New Testament does not contain a “Table of Contents” to the New Testament.

At some point, Christians made a judgment about which gospels, letters, and other accounts belonged in the Bible. They made that judgment based on solid criteria. Namely, the Sacred Tradition they had received.

The early Christians had received… what? Christianity. The divine mystery. Communion with Christ through the means He gave us. The life of the Church.

The thing itself has many names and facets. It is: Christian Tradition, with a capital T.

The Scriptures bear witness to it, as do the Fathers of the Church. That is, the holy bishops and theologians of the first Christian centuries. Of course, the Fathers do not bear witness to the divine mystery in the same way that that Scripture does; the Fathers did, at times, make mistakes.

Michelangelo’s Moses

Popes and Ecumenical Councils of bishops have borne witness to particular aspects of Sacred Tradition at various times in Church history. Never contradicting the New Testament, always living out of it.

Now: Imagine that the Messiah had not yet come. Imagine if the greatest teacher of God’s mystery yet to walk the earth was Moses.

We Christians would say: that’s a pure hypothetical. Our brothers and sisters known as Jews would say: That’s why we have our Talmud.

The written Torah–the first five books of the Bible–bears witness to the revelation Almighty God gave to Moses. But those books do not contain everything that God gave the world through Moses.

Moses taught. Moses cultivated a kind of rabbinical school. Moses bequeathed supernatural insight about Torah, about God’s law, God’s wisdom–insight that did not get written down at first. Later on, they wrote it down. Those writings are the Talmud.

Hopefully we can see a certain parallel here, with all due respect to the profound difference of faith, and due respect to both sides of the matter. That is, we can see a certain parallel between 1. our venerated Sacred Tradition–to which not just the New Testament, but also the Church Fathers, holy theologians, popes, and Councils bear witness–and 2. the Torah, to which (our Jewish brethren say) both the written Torah and the Talmud bear witness.
[Please anyone more knowledgeable about this: correct me as needed, charitably, with a comment.]

We Christians say that the Old Testament, taken as a whole, prophesies Jesus Christ’s coming. We say that the Old Testament only fully makes sense by the light of Christ. And that we need to read the Old Testament to understand Christ fully.

Orthodox Jews say: God’s Torah has come to us, through Moses’ teaching, which we find in the written Torah, and in the Talmud. If you want to understand the “Old Testament,” don’t read the New Testament, which is all wrong. Read the Talmud.

A serious divergence in point-of-view. When King St. Louis IX grasped the depths of this divergence, it disturbed him. And it disturbed many of his contemporary, pious 13th-century Christians of France.

closeup of King Louis statue
The Apotheosis of St. Louis

Louis and Co. thought: We Catholics perceive how the Old Testament prophesies Christ and renders Him more understandable. What’s with this Talmud getting in the way of that? Is this why Jews won’t recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ? Because the Talmud ‘gets in the way?’

The Talmud does, in fact, get in the way. It connects the Jewish reader with Moses and his written Torah, bypassing Jesus of Nazareth altogether.

A 13th-century apostate from Judaism had urged Pope Gregory IX to have all copies of the Talmud in Christendom confiscated and destroyed. This would finally open the door to the long-awaited wholesale conversion of the Jews.

Now, the pope might have said to himself, Hold on a minute! and begun asking questions like: What does this man have against his former associates? Why would I let him drag me into his enmity towards the rabbis who tried to teach him?

But instead of pondering such things, Pope Gregory naively accepted this man Nicolas Donin’s ideas. The pope agreed to the absurd concept of a “trial” of the Talmud.

This led to an enormously interesting debate. Two debates, in fact. First, Donin debated the chief rabbis of Paris in front of a secular jury, including the Queen Mother of France and other courtiers of King Louis. After the rabbis bested Donin in that debate, the Christian side decided that a jury of churchmen should actually pass judgment.

In other words, King St. Louis IX may have invented the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings. But he blithely subjected the Jews’ treasured compendium of teaching to unconstitutional ‘double jeopardy.’

Head of a Pharisee by Leonardo da Vinci
da Vinci “Head of a Pharisee”

The preeminent judge of the second ‘trial,’ the sitting Archbishop of Sens (who at that time outranked the Bishop of Paris) refused to condemn the Talmud. So two years elapsed, between the time of the disputation and the June 1242 public burning of every Talmud in France. Archbishop Cornut of Sens, the powerful dissenter to such violence, had, in the meantime, died.

The point I want to make here is this. No one should condemn a canonized saint for specious, ‘politically correct’ reasons. King Louis IX of France did not hate Jews like Hitler hated Jews. St. Louis was not an anti-Semite, since that term connotes ethnic, racist hatred.

But we can and must clearly condemn King St. Louis IX for the irrational fervor of his piety. The rabbis had made clear and convincing arguments. They had decisively won the Disputation of Paris. But King Louis closed his ears. He failed to recognize the disputation’s clear winner.
Summary of the arguments:

Charge: The Talmud desecrates the names of Jesus and Mary.

Answer: The cited passages do not refer to the Yeshua crucified under Pontius Pilate, nor to the Miryam who gave birth to him. Yeshua and Miryam were common names in Israel for many centuries. Like the name Louis appeared frequently in the annals of France.

Charge: The Talmud denigrates Christians.

Answer: When the Talmud refers to goyim, it means: godless pagans, like the ancient Canaanites. It does not mean Christians.

Jews respect the kindred monotheism of Christians. Just like Christians have respected the kindred monotheism of Jews for centuries.

Charge: The Talmud anthropomorphizes God blasphemously.

Answer: The Talmud does not anthropomorphize God any more than the Old Testament does.

Charge: Jews incorrectly claim that the Talmud contains divine revelation. Such false pretense offends God, Who has in fact revealed Himself truly through the two Testaments.

Christ Himself explicitly condemned the Talmud with this criticism of the Pharisees: “Why do you transgress God’s commandment and make it void for the sake of your traditions, teaching the doctrines and precepts of men?” (Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:8)

Answer: St. Jerome (one of the Fathers of the Church) read the Talmud many centuries ago. He raised no objections to it.

We Jews, studying our Talmud, have co-existed peacefully with you Christians for centuries. The Church has always held that we Jews have a right to practice our religion. What changed?

Further: We distinguish between two categories of writing in the Talmud. The sections we call halakhah contain binding affirmations. The speculative, imaginative sections we call aggadah, and the reader may accept or reject those parts, as the reader sees fit.

Further: How will you succeed in expunging the Talmud from the face of the earth? You have confiscated every copy in France. But copies exist in other countries of Christendom, as yet not confiscated. And even if you confiscated those, more copies remain in Babylonia, Media, Greece, Arabia, and Ethiopia. You will never rid the world of this book, so why try?

We Catholics respect the role of the Church’s magisterium–the living apostolic teaching authority–because we recognize that the books of Scripture do not address every theological or moral problem.

The rabbis in Paris defended the Talmud on the same grounds. The written Torah does not itself resolve every problem, so God established the rabbinate. And the rabbis gave us the Talmud.

Pope Gregory’s successor, Innocent IV, ultimately conceded that the rabbis had won the Paris argument, at least with respect to the final, most-decisive charges.

But, to our shame as Catholics: the French, at King Louis’ order, had already burned every copy of the Talmud in France by then.

We had betrayed our principles. Force cannot compel belief in the Christian mystery. Acts of violence do not foster the spread of the Gospel.

Of course a Christian does not read the Talmud as divine revelation. We respect the wisdom it contains. And we acknowledge that we have no right to burn copies of it.

We owe the one true God, and our Jewish brethren, contrition and penance for what St. Louis ordered in June 1242, after he obtusely misjudged the results of the Disputation of Paris.

Rain or Shine Tomorrow

Here’s the letter we sent, with 134 signatures:

We have not yet received any response.

We will pray and sing on the sidewalk. We hope someone comes out to greet us and discuss our concerns with us.

Remember to take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

See you tomorrow!

Crazy and Crazy, when it Comes to the Blessed Sacrament

Friday, we will travel to Washington to try to talk with the pope’s ambassador in the USA. That same day, we keep the 464th anniversary of the holy death of St. Ignatius Loyola, his feast day. [Spanish]

ignatiuswritingSt. Ignatius encouraged frequent Holy Communion. He wrote:

One of the most admirable effects of Holy Communion is to preserve the soul from sin, and to help those who fall through weakness to rise again. It is much more profitable, then, to approach this divine sacrament with love, respect, and confidence, than to remain away.

We will read in Sunday’s gospel that the Lord Jesus felt pity for us in our hunger. He knows that we human beings have appetites that don’t quit. He formed us from dust, and we tend toward dust. We starve to death without regular feeding.

So the Lord gives us food. If anyone starves in this fertile world, it is not because Almighty God has failed to provide. Rather, the malice, selfishness, or stupidity of man is to blame.

So we thank God for feeding us. At the same time, we listen to His solemn warnings about lowering our horizons to belly level. As a sequel to His feeding of the 5,000, the Lord gave a strict speech. He spoke about our having no life in us if we do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood.

A lot of people think Catholics are weird, if not crazy, for believing in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.

MonstranceLet’s grant this much: Our worship of the Blessed Sacrament constitutes an act of pure faith. We do not claim that our senses can perceive the Real Presence. We believe Christ abides with us in the Blessed Sacrament.

So our faith in the Real Presence might look crazy to an un-believer. But we also insist: There is only one thing crazier than believing in the Body and Blood of Christ.

Not believing in it.

How did it all begin? Who instituted the Holy Eucharist? Some calm, rational person—some great philosopher, or man of science, or soft-spoken sage? Some paragon of respectability? The whole business—getting together on Sunday morning, reading the gospel, praying together to the Father—did a committee of sober, civic-minded officials come up with this routine?

No. The Holy Mass was invented by Jesus Christ. And we well know: a lot of people thought that He was insane.

We don’t believe that just any old Nazarene carpenter worked miracles in the hills around the Sea of Galilee. We believe that God, when He became man, did this. He revealed the truth about Himself by working miracles. Like feeding 5,000 hungry people with five loaves and two fish.

It would be irrational to think that anyone other than Jesus Christ could feed us with His own Body and Blood. And manage to do it, worldwide, for two millennia and counting. But when you consider that He is the Son of God, you recognize: He can and will do everything He said He intended to do.

We feed on Christ by believing in Him. Maybe it is crazy to believe that Christ is God. But it is much crazier not to believe that He is. And considering that the man Who said, “This is my Body,” and “This is my Blood,” is God—why would we doubt His words?

Lucas Cranach Feeding Five LoavesWe don’t claim to understand the Real Presence. We don’t claim to control it. We don’t claim to have produced it. We are every bit as mystified by this whole thing as anyone else.

It is just that we are hungry. We need food for body and for soul. And we believe in the words of Christ.

Since the bishop unjustly suspended my ministry as a priest, I can only say Mass by myself. I miss celebrating regular parish Masses. A lot.

It’s a hard, lonely road, celebrating Holy Mass by yourself, day in and day out, for months. Just like it’s a hard, lonely road for many parishioners, with the virus still threatening our health, keeping people at home on Sundays.

But the same analysis applies, when it comes to what’s crazy. Maybe it seems crazy for me to keep celebrating the ceremony, by myself, all these long, hard weeks. But I would be crazier not to do it.

The Holy Mass is how He feeds us, with Himself. He offered His Body and Blood on the cross for us, and conquered death. At the altar, we have communion in His risen, living flesh, our pledge of eternal life.

Let’s do everything we can to remain crazy enough to live for heaven. Communion with the Blessed Sacrament gives us the way there.

John Doe 14 on the Jersey Shore

Bruce Springsteen played a beach bar called The Stone Pony in the 70’s and 80’s, in the New Jersey town of Asbury Park. The Jersey Shore shimmers with the beauty of The Boss’ poetry.

Bruce SpringsteenWhich makes it even more excruciatingly painful to contemplate the sufferings of Mr. John Doe 14. Victimized by Theodore McCarrick, a couple of towns down Ocean Avenue from the Asbury Park Convention Hall (where Springsteen saw the Doors, when he was nineteen).

John Doe 14 calls himself by that name because McCarrick first abused him at age 14. I could have known John Doe in school, if I lived up in those parts. John Doe was born three years before your unworthy servant.

In high school, Doe had an apparently ruthless sex-abuser for his Catholic-school principal. This man waylaid ninth-grader John Doe into McCarrick’s Sea Girt, NJ, beach-house sex ring.

Bruce was rocking in his early prime in those years. He had released The River, then Nebraska, and he was cranking out all his Born-in-the-USA hits. Just up the beach.

John Doe filed suit last week in New Jersey. Against all the Catholic institutions that failed him: the school, parishes, and dioceses implicated in the sex-ring. His lawsuit brilliantly seeks to accomplish by external compulsion something that has not happened by way of in-house purification. Namely: genuine accountability for these institutions. If they were secular corporations, they would all have to enter some kind of moral receivership.

The simple fact is this: John Doe got dragged into an organized, far-reaching sexual-exploitation operation, headed by the chief executive of the diocese. Doe names five priests and religious in the lawsuit. But other priests were involved. Doe just never knew their names.

Theodore McCarrick belonged in jail, when the pope’s ambassador came to the new diocese of Metuchen, NJ, to hand McCarrick the crozier. John Doe entered the ninth grade the following year. McCarrick had already committed too many criminal sexual acts against minors for him even to remember them all. He belonged behind bars. Instead, he ran a sexual exploitation operation, victimizing minors, out of the diocesan beach house.

john paul ii theodore mccarrick newark 1995
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Newark NJ, 1995

When John Doe was nineteen or twenty, Pope John Paul II made McCarrick the new Archbishop of Newark. John Doe saw the man who had abused him like a sex slave during ninth and tenth grades–he saw him adulated as the new pope of the Garden State.

Shortly thereafter, McCarrick abused Mr. John Bellocchio, about whom we wrote a few months ago.

…On the morning of September 11, 2001, Springsteen went out to the Jersey beach, to look north and watch the smoke rise from lower Manhattan. Songs began to come into his head.

He could write a song about this. About John Doe 14 and the scores of abused brethren he has–high school boys, seminarians, young priests.

The song needs some heavy guitar riffs, to cover us while we punch holes in the wall. Then it needs to resolve into tragic sadness, while we think of the terns bobbing in the seawash on the beach at sunset. And we weep over the colossal desecration that our holy Church has suffered, but still not faced.

In February 2019, the Vatican hosted a meeting on sex abuse of minors. A German Cardinal gave a speech at that meeting, touching on ‘transparency.’

The Holy See had just defrocked McCarrick then. As I noted at the time, the utter secrecy of the case rendered the outcome open to grave doubts about its judicial integrity.

Cardinal Marx spoke on that subject. He said:

Proper legal proceedings serve to establish the truth, and form the basis for imposing a punishment which is appropriate for the relevant offence. People in the Church have also to see how this judge comes to the sentence and what is the sentence; nearly all are secret, we cannot see this.  I think that in our situation it is not good. In addition, they establish trust in the organisation and its leadership. Lingering doubts about the proper conduct of court proceedings only harm the reputation and the functioning of an institution. This principle also applies to the Church.

(I myself had earlier urged the same thing, specifically for the McCarrick case.)

If the Holy Father had taken this advice, Mr. Doe and Mr. Bellocchio might not have had to file their lawsuits. The institutions they have sued might have acknowledged the full truth, back in 2019.

But the pope did not take Cardinal Marx’s advice. To this day, one wonders why.

Guest Post by Ann White: McCarrick the “Cool Kid”

Think about the cool kids in high school. Think especially about the cool boys. Confident that whatever they did was okay, cool boys attracted girls–and they attracted other boys, who wanted to hang out with cool kids and be cool, too.

Dr. Ann White

Theodore McCarrick was a cool Catholic cleric.

He has many talents: charisma, great intelligence, natural leadership ability. He ran the show without appearing to need anyone’s approval. Like a cool high school kid, he exuded confidence that what he did was a good thing to do.

Theodore McCarrick did good things for the church. At least he thought they were good things, he said they were good things–and all the clergymen around him thought that such a very cool person could only do very good things.

Other Catholic clerics were not as cool. They needed the approval of others. Did they decide to become priests because a priest gets automatic approval and attention in his parish?

From the beginning, McCarrick carried himself differently. He wasn’t needy like they were. At least he didn’t appear to be. He just took control—politicking, organizing, giving speeches, seeking and getting the attention of bishops, cardinals, and popes with his wit and easy manner.

Was McCarrick ever nervous? He never seemed to be. Cool people speak and move and act with great ease.

McCarrick achieved fame, inside and outside the Catholic Church. He became a bishop, then cardinal archbishop. He conferred with popes. He went on diplomatic missions. All the uncool Catholic bishops and priests loved seeing him in newspapers and on TV. They thought he made the church seem cool. Even better, he made them feel cool because they were associated with him.

McCarrick sofaSo maybe we can imagine McCarrick, early in his career as a bishop, sitting with three other priests on the porch of his Sea Girt, New Jersey, beach house. He’s suggesting something about the five bedrooms of that house. What he means is: a priest (including himself) in each bed, and a good-looking, vulnerable boy in each bed, too.

One of his companions gets led into it. “Hey, I could do that.”

Yes, he could do that. He had the inclination, but—before now–he had never actually done it. But now, Mr. Cool Cleric is even organizing the party. Why not?

Another of the McCarrick companions on the porch thinks to himself, “Wait. I don’t know. This stuff he’s talking about–it’s wrong.” McCarrick stares at him for a long silent minute. “Well, okay. You’re so cool. I guess you get a pass on this.”

“A pass on this.” This companion couldn’t bear for the cool kid, McCarrick, to dislike him. So he and all the other Catholic clergymen give McCarrick a pass. And gave themselves one, too, if they wanted it.

The third oceanfront companion then speaks up. “Sure. Nobody will ever find out about this anyway.”

The perennial dynamic of peer pressure. From the “cool” kid. But with life-shattering consequences for the victims.

Eventually the world did find out. But only because victim survivors had the courage to speak out, after years of hidden pain. And whistle-blowers, lawyers, and journalists scoured broom closets to find the hidden skeletons. To this day, state attorneys general wonder if there are still more closets, more evidence of the considered-to-be-cool belief that “Nobody will ever find out about this.”

Criticize McCarrick. He deserves it. But remember who else deserves criticism. All the cowardly, Mr.-Cool wannabes who sucked up to McCarrick as though they were high school rejects sucking up to the cool kid in the group.

They carried on the myth that McCarrick deserved respect. Catholic boys and young men did respect him. Their parents respected him, too, never dreaming that he would use their sons as sex toys.

It took a long time before the uncool clergy got it together to remove McCarrick from the priesthood. They finally had to mete out a token punishment for the cool kid, because they couldn’t completely escape the pressure of an outside world that didn’t quite see the coolness in sex abuse.

But look at what those uncool Catholic clergymen have never admitted about themselves. They haven’t admitted that, with respect to McCarrick the sex abuser, they didn’t behave like adult men able to make sound judgments about a peer.

No, decade after decade, they behaved like high school kids who worshiped the cool kid in their midst. The clergy around McCarrick wanted more than anything else in the world to hang out with cool kid, be like him, and get him to like them.

Report on WUSA9 in Washington, D.C.


After WUSA aired the story, the Diocese of Richmond made a comment. Mr. Leshan dutifully included the diocese’s statement in the on-line, written version of the report:

“As of this writing, this is not just about Fr. Mark’s blog,” Deborah Cox, a spokeswoman for the Richmond Diocese, said. “Fr. Mark continues to refuse to accept the assignment and the new job he has been given.”

I asked Ms. Cox to correct this statement, because it mis-characterizes the situation. As of this writing, to the best of my knowledge, she has not done so.

I very much want to work as a priest. I appealed my removal as pastor in Rocky Mount-Martinsville to the Holy See. Last month, the Congregation for the Clergy dismissed my appeal on a questionable technicality.

In the meantime, Bishop Knestout suspended my priestly faculties–that is, my authorization to minister as one of his priests. I cannot minister in any assignment without that authorization.

Bishop Knestout wrote to me last month to inform me that I cannot have my priestly faculties back while I still have a blog. Bishop Knestout himself made it all about this blog.

I pointed out to him then that his stipulation violates both canon law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to no avail.

If the bishop had not imposed his stipulation, I would have proceeded to my new assignment last month, as instructed by the Congregation for the Clergy. I would continue to fight to return to Rocky Mount-Martinsville, to be sure. But I would do so while working as diocesan prison chaplain, as assigned.

I cannot do this, however, because Bishop Knestout has not lifted my suspension.

I just want to be clear about this, because, at least to me, it’s the difference between being an obedient priest and a disobedient one. Refusing to submit to silencing does not violate priestly obedience. But refusing a legitimate assignment does.

Ms. Cox did me wrong in the way she characterized the situation. She owes me, and the readers of Mr. Leshan’s story, a correction.

Two Questions about Romans 8:28, and two Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Brothers and sisters: we know that all things work for the good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. –Romans 8:28.

Two questions about this. The first about our knowledge, the second about God’s purpose. [Spanish]

Question 1:  We “know” that all things work for the good of those who love God.  How do we know it?

Let us freely acknowledge that Romans 8:28 is not self-evident. A lot of people out there disagree. They say they do not know that all things work for the good.

Many of our brothers and sisters in this world look around at the way things work, and they despair. They see nothing but selfishness, or the law of the jungle, or corruption, or the slow arc of inevitable death. Some people have the sense that the higher powers of the universe do not love the human race.

Seven Gifts of the Holy SpiritSo our being able to perceive the sweet hand of divine Providence–that is a spiritual gift, not a purely logical deduction. To know what Romans 8:28 says we know: We call that the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge, one of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Our interior perception that God is in charge of everything, that there is a reason behind everything.

St. Paul pointed out earlier in his letter to the Romans that God brings good out of evil: From the evil of Satan’s temptation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the whole history of human sin, God has brought about the infinitely greater good of the mission of His Son to the earth.

Jesus Christ—who suffered and died unjustly, then rose again—Jesus is the best possible thing that ever could have happened.  His goodness trumps all the evil that has ever been or ever will be; His goodness overcomes it all, and turns all evil into an opportunity for holiness.

So now we can answer our first question easily enough: We know what Romans 8:28 says we know; we know that all things work for the good of those who love God and have been called according to his purpose, because:

God became man, lived for us as a man, died for us as a man, rose again and ascended into heaven as a man. And He pours His Spirit out from heaven into our hearts to give us interior knowledge of Himself.

Now, a second question. Romans 8:28 refers to “God’s purpose.” What is God’s purpose in guiding everything as He does?

St. Paul in Prison by Rembrandt

The answer is simple and obvious on one level and impossible to fathom on another. The Lord Jesus taught us God’s purpose in everything: that we would share the divine glory forever.

Simple enough, on the one hand. On the other hand, though: we do not yet see what this glorious destiny of ours is. The prospect of seeing God and being like Him is so utterly beyond our capacities to feature that for now our destiny must remain an interior mystery of faith. So again, the Holy Spirit comes to our aid with a special gift.

The Lord pours divine wisdom into our souls so that we can savor the sweetness of heaven a little bit, even before we get there. The sweetness we savor is nothing other than the sweetness of true love. God’s purpose is to love, and to love us above all. The Holy Spirit lifts us up towards God so that we can have a little share in the divine point-of-view even now.

This wisdom even allows us to savor God’s sweetness in the midst of severe trials and tribulations. We can savor God’s sweetness even in the face of the evils God allows us to have to endure so that we might grow in holiness and conformity to Christ.

Our pilgrimage is not easy, and we have to fight hard in order to attain the victory over sin. But through it all, by virtue of the Spirit’s gifts, we know that all things are working together for our good; we can even have the wisdom to see the crosses we have to carry as special gifts, as we follow in the footsteps of Christ.


Trip to Washington

Nuncio envelope.jpg

At our meeting yesterday, we agreed to write to the the pope’s ambassador to the USA, asking for a meeting.

The signatories lamented the situation here: the breakdown of communication, the non-responsiveness of our bishop and the Metropolitan Archbishop in Baltimore, and the apparent abuse of power by Bishop Knestout.

We ask the Nuncio in Washington for the opportunity to discuss the situation with him, focusing on these questions…

1. Doesn’t the on-going McCarrick cover-up pose a real problem for the Church? Hasn’t the sex-abuse scandal left the institutional credibility of the Church in doubt? Hasn’t covering up sex-abuse by bishops wounded the Church? Shouldn’t we face this openly?

2. Will the hierarchy of the Church tolerate open discussion of these matters? Can we Catholics speak our minds about the problems we see in the Church? Or must we face severe, cruel reprisals if we do?

Exactly 100 people signed the letter, in person, at yesterday’s meeting. An additional thirty-four (so far) have signed on the Justice for Father Mark facebook group. That makes a total of 134 signatories, as our letter goes to the post office.

We decided that we will travel to Washington on July 31, whether or not the Nuncio answers our request. We will all meet at 3339 Massachusetts Avenue at 3:30pm. We invite everyone who cares about justice in the Church to join us.

Justice for Father Mark will provide vans from Martinsville and Rocky Mount. Please call or e-mail Joe Kernan to sign-up for a seat on one of the vans:

540 263-1516