Gulag Dispatch #6: What Does ‘Justice for Father Mark’ Mean?

On March 19, Bishop Barry Knestout wrote to the parishioners of Rocky Mount and Martinsville. The bishop indicted your unworthy servant for the crime of “working against the unity of the Church,” “pushing the faithful to animosity against the Apostolic See and the bishop,” and “injuring the good name of the Holy Father.”

The bishop accused me of “inflammatory and contemptuous comments” about the pope and the hierarchy of the Church. No matter what my intent, the bishop wrote, I have acted in an inappropriate and unbecoming manner for any pastor or priest.

Mr. Mike Lewis called Bishop Knestout’s letter “very transparent.”

On the other hand, my canon lawyer, Michael Podhajsky, promptly wrote to the bishop, pointing out some shortcomings in his letter’s ‘transparency.’

Michael pointed out:

  1. The very blog posts which the bishop’s letter cites as divisive were clearly written with love for the Church and desire to build up the Body of Christ.
  2. The bishop asserted that I had led Catholics away from unity of faith, without actually consulting any Catholics about whether that had, in fact, happened.
  3. The bishop wrote that I refused to meet with him, when I had in fact met with him twice. I had asked for specific information about his problems with my blog, and he had never offered any such information–until the publication of this letter to the parishioners.
  4. Bishop cited headlines and quotes from the blog, without providing any context, or engaging the arguments laid out in the posts.

Michael made some other points, too. But for now, I would like to focus on this paragraph of His Excellency’s letter to the parishioners:

Lest one believe that the wrongs in the Church have not been addressed in our diocese, I note that I have met personally with victims of clergy sexual abuse, held listening sessions throughout our diocese, celebrated Masses of Atonement, addressed this topic in a pastoral letter, published the names of clergy against whom there were substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors, increased our staffing in the Office of Safe Environment and the hired a full-time Victims Assistance Coordinator, and, most recently, established an Independent Reconciliation Program.

mccarrickA lot to consider. But let’s focus on: the pastoral letter. In that pastoral letter, Bishop Knestout wrote:

I support and promise my full co-operation with any independent, lay-managed, authoritative investigation into the scandal of Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick.

He wrote that sentence in September 2018. At that time, a number of American bishops had proposed that lay men and women, outside the ecclesiastical hierarchy, ought to investigate the McCarrick scandal.

The hierarchy, however, never put such an investigation into motion. Instead, the Vatican promised “to study all relevant documentation” and “make known the conclusions.” This promise, made in October 2018, gave rise to the ever-elusive dreamchild: the McCarrick Report.

I spelled out my concept of a McCarrick Report, as best I could, back on May 1. Longtime readers here know: my desire to understand the facts about McCarrick’s career has motivated the blogging that has gotten me into trouble.

One of our heroes, Nathan Doe, a victim of McCarrick’s, encouraged us last month to wait patiently for the Vatican’s report. Well over a year ago, Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo, one-time priest secretary for McCarrick, published documents pertaining to the McCarrick cover-up. Speaking with a journalist this past Thursday evening, Msgr. Figueiredo also urged patience:

Monsignor notes “a priest does not have the obligation to remain silent.” “Priests are legally obliged to speak out about abuse.”

Monsignor says, of the Vatican’s McCarrick Report: “It will come out. It’s at a good stage at the moment. I think it’s going to show exactly what happened.”

For now, however: I do not want to brag, but I think it’s fair to say this. The closest thing the world has to a ‘McCarrick Report,’ available to the general public, is the collection of links available on my post of May 1.

Should a bishop persecute a priest for sharing this kind of research with the public? Justice for Father Mark means: No. Persecuting a priest for seeking the truth does not serve the best interest of the holy Catholic Church that we all love.

Two questions remain.

  1. Will the Vatican ever actually produce a comprehensive report which discloses fully the McCarrick cover-up?
  2. Will everyone involved in the McCarrick cover-up acknowledge their role, face honestly the extent to which they have betrayed the public trust, and resign from positions of leadership in the Church?

We shall see. God’s will be done. Happy Independence Day, dear reader.

19 thoughts on “Gulag Dispatch #6: What Does ‘Justice for Father Mark’ Mean?

  1. Fr. Mark, you keep digging the hole deeper and deeper. To what end? Where do you think you will end up in all this? I pray for you and I pray for our church. I am not saying there is wrong doing here on your part. I am a cradle Catholic and know about obedience. And I did not take the vow that you have taken. Please rethink your methods of resolving this.

  2. Having just watched “The Keepers”, I am shocked that the Catholic Church is still seeking to hide facts about the clergy😭 I am a cradle Catholic who has had to explain/defend the action/inaction of the Church and it’s hierarchy in handling the sex abuse scandals! What is gained by not being transparent? Father Mark is working for transparency and some level of justice for the victims! Paying millions of dollars isn’t justice! Open your ears, eyes and conscious to justice for the victims if not for Father Mark🙏🙏🙏

  3. Fr. White, please take inspiration from St. Louis Marie De Montfort who wrote about “true apostles” of latter times:

    “They will be true apostles of the latter times to whom the Lord of Hosts will give eloquence and strength to work wonders and carry off glorious spoils from his enemies. They will sleep without gold or silver and, more important still, without concern in the midst of other priests, ecclesiastics and clerics. Yet they will have the silver wings of the dove enabling them to go wherever the Holy Spirit calls them, filled as they are with the resolve to seek the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Wherever they preach, they will leave behind them nothing but the gold of love, which is the fulfillment of the whole law.”

    Lastly, we know they will be true disciples of Jesus Christ, imitating his poverty, his humility, his contempt of the world and his love. They will point out the narrow way to God in pure truth according to the holy Gospel, and not according to the maxims of the world. Their hearts will not be troubled, nor will they show favour to anyone; they will not spare or heed or fear any man, however powerful he may be. They will have the two-edged sword of the word of God in their mouths and the blood-stained standard of the Cross on their shoulders. They will carry the crucifix in their right hand and the rosary in their left, and the holy names of Jesus and Mary on their heart. The simplicity and self-sacrifice of Jesus will be reflected in their whole behaviour” (True Devotion to Mary, Written in the year 1712).

  4. The heirarchy continues to protect themselvles at all costs and the rest of us are abandoned on those craggy hilltops encircled by ravenous wolves. Is this the Church of Jesus Christ? And where are those Good Shepherds whose voices the sheep should know? This horrendous treatment of good clergy and Catholics seeking Truth is scandalous on every front. May God have Mercy on us all.

  5. Is the Vatican going to release the McCarrick Report the same time they release the White Report?

  6. Elizabeth & Laura, we are just lucky we have the likes of Fr. Mark who will not cease from letting everyone knows the truth and is passionate about it. Unlike others who will just allow themselves to be swept along with lies and hypocrisy! That is definitely pitiful!

  7. “Should a bishop persecute a priest for sharing this kind of research with the public? Justice for Father Mark means: No. Persecuting a priest for seeking the truth does not serve the best interest of the holy Catholic Church that we all love.”

    This is a false assertion once again. It is a fallacy. When you know you are making a false assertion over and over again it constitutes lying. Lying is a grave sin. Twisting the truth does not make it turn into reality over time no matter how hard one tries to spin a web of deceit.

    You are not being persecuted. You were reprimanded for your foul language and infantile behavior that is unbecoming to anyone holding a religious title. Anyone, whether religious or nonreligious, would be fired for speaking in such a manner about their employers. You spoke crassly and falsely about your superiors and promoted gross caricatures of the Church and Her chosen leaders repeatedly. Our Bishop showed great lenience and patience by allowing you to stay in your position when this started.

    Facts speak for themselves. Fortunately, investigators and leaders have eyes to see and ears to hear. They see every comment you write here and on Facebook as well as the comments of your supporters.

    In “Introduction to the Devout Life,” St. Francis de Sales speaks of the horrible sin of detraction in Chapter XXIX: “Detraction is a kind of murder, for we have three lives: the spiritual, which consists of the grace of God; the corporal which consists in its animating principle the soul; and the social, which consists in reputation; sin takes away the first from us, death the second, and detraction the third. But the detractor, by a single stroke of his tongue, ordinarily commits three murders: he kills his own soul and that of him who listens to him by a spiritual murder, and he takes away the social life of him who he defames; for, as St. Bernard says, he that defames another and he that listens to the defamation, both have the devil on them, but one has him on his tongue, and the other in his ear. David speaking of detractors said: ‘They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent.’ Now a serpent’s tongue is forked and has two points, as Aristotle says: and such is the tongue of the detractor, which with one stroke stings and poisons the ear of the listener and the reputation of him that is spoken against …Detraction made in a witty manner is the most cruel of all … so the detraction, which of itself would pass lightly in at one ear and out again at the other, as they say, sticks fast in the brain of listeners, when it is wrapped in some clever and amusing jest. ‘They have,’ says David, ‘the venom of asps under their lips.'”

    It is clear who “loves” the one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church and Her chosen leaders.

    Reporting to your new assignment, seeking serious spiritual and mental direction, as well as shutting down this blog and sitting down like a mature adult to discuss the inappropriate, sinful content without the public sham show and continued fabrications may help you. It is never too late to ditch the pride, repent, make amends and come home.

    I continue to pray for you.

  8. Cynthia L. Fore, the Catholic Church’s teaching about detraction, calumny, gossip, and other related sins, do not exhaust everything that the Catholic Church teaches about sin. For example, it is also a sin to refuse to act so as to safeguard the common good of the Church. This is why acts of “omission” can be grounds for “mortal-sin.” This is especially true when “omission” serves to protect wicked prelates who prey on God’s “little ones.” To this point, Jesus Christ says:

    “Whoever would make himself a stumbling block to one of these little ones, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” (Mathew 18:1) This passage illustrates that Jesus Christ evidently views acts of predatory behavior as particularly heinous on the spectrum of “grave matter.”

    The Universal Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, affirms that Catholics are sometimes morally obligated to rebuke their ecclesial superiors if the Common Good of the Church is at stake. St. Thomas writes:

    “It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Gal. 2:11, ‘Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.” (Summa Theologica, Bk. II, Part II, Question 33, Article 4, Reply to Objection 2)
    https://www.newadvent.org/summa/3033.htm#article4

    Cynthia, you are apparently motivated by a non-catholic understanding of what it means to “love the one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church.” It is really a perverted affection (and not “love”) to turn a blind eye to the predatory behavior of wayward men and their compromised allies within the ranks of the Church.

  9. Father, perhaps Bishop Knestout has something himself to hide, as he was a roommate of Fr. McCarrick at one time…..

    You have my complete support!

    Liz D’Aquino

  10. Socrates, once again, there is zero logic in your assertions and false judgments. Stop trying to apply Aquinas to support your fallacy arguments. Trying to claim the following is “love” of the Catholic Church or in line with Catholic teaching is perverse, incorrect and demented … “I ask you, dear reader: How does an American bishop–who ostensibly pretends to care about his faithful people back home–how does he not get off the airplane at Fiumicino and immediately do this: Kneel at the Apostles’ tombs. Walk into the pope’s parlor. Kiss the Ring of the Fisherman. Then ask, “Where is the g.d. McCarrick Report, Your Holiness?! WTF? You are fricking killing us. What in the actual f?” (Or something to that effect.) But these feminized cowards in miters will do no such thing. Instead they will tweet things like, “Oh, mother, bring me my aqua vitae! I just got to meet the Successor of Peter! And he has such twinkly eyes! And amazing jowls. So cute! I just love him!”

    Fortunately, we have honest Catholics and real theologians who are logical, intelligent and versed in Catholic truths instead of propaganda and fallacies examining the truth in this situation.

  11. Dear Cynthia, if you would be so kind, please help myself and others clearly see my bad thinking. Simply asserting that there is “zero logic” and that I am spreading “propaganda” is not in itself a suitable logical refutation. I think you are trying to suggest that my logic is “invalid.” This would mean that there is a lack of coherence between the premises put forth and the inference that was drawn from the premises. Please show how the conclusion I put forth is in no way implicated in the premises provided.

    The conclusion I put forth is that “loving” the Church and her leaders sometimes means resisting and even rebuking those who undermine the common good of the Church without hindrance.

    The “premises” I appealed to in support of this conclusion are direct quotations from Jesus Christ, St. Thomas, and St. Paul. Are you claiming that I have misconstrued what these sources are teaching? If so, what–exactly– is being misconstrued in relation to their statements? Please be specific. Are I am adding something that is not already implicit in their statements? If so, what? Please be specific.

    In traditional logic, we are supposed to address the premises and inferences raised by our opponents. It does society no good to “cancel” the public voice of others based on little more than emotional aversion.

  12. Regarding your quote from Fr. White: few of the readers of this blog would disagree that Fr. White always carries out his intentions free of intemperance or imprudence. If I remember correctly, Fr. White himself apologized for his choice of words such as the blog post you cited. Given that Fr. White is not free of limitations, I and many other Catholics do not see this as a good excuse to dismiss the real, socio-historical causes that prompted the blog to go up in the first place.

    ***I recognize that in Fr. White’s most colorful posts (such as the one you cited), he employs a literary device analogous to what one may find in the writings of Flannery O’Connor. Flannery O’Connor exaggerated the obscene, grotesque tendencies of men in order to communicate accurate truths about the human condition. Flannery O’Connor [who received daily Communion at Mass] is certainly not for everyone. Fr. White seems to have scaled back the “O’Connor” in him lately. He has seemingly realized that, pastorally speaking, it may not be the most prudent way to rouse other human beings from lethargy.

    In my case, I understood immediately what Fr. White was talking about when he referred to bishops who shield wicked men as “feminized cowards in miters” who “will do nothing.” I also understood his intention in placing fictional obscenities in the minds of fictional men. As a psychologically healthy, adult male on the verge of getting married, I can attest that I have to push back dark thoughts exactly like the ones that Fr. White projected onto a fictional mind! Especially when I hear of seminarians STILL BEING SILENCED TO THIS DAY by Rome; and hear of police raids on cocaine-fuelled homosexual orgies taking place in the apartments of high ranking Vatican officials; and of bishops literally living in mansions while hosting gay Italian prostitutes in their rectories (Tobin of Newark); and of the pope literally bowing down to a freaking Pagan Idol; and of the zealous advocacy among bishops for organizations like Black Lives Matter that champion abortion, Marxism, and gender fluidity; and of thousands of Chinese Catholics being abandoned and sold out to preserve a diplomatic “agreement” struck by–wait for it–the Exalted Faggot McCarrick himself! The same scoundrel who recently declared: “I am not as bad as they paint me.”

  13. Most adults do not need a numbered question and answer session to follow a simple conversation. The fallacy arguments and lack of Catholic logic are clear every single time you post. You make up your own version of truth and then respond to your own thoughts, not the comments or factual statements of others.

    Of course I do not disagree with scripture or Aquinas. I disagree with your flawed application and fallacies. Disagreeing with you is not disagreeing with truth. You are not God. You are not a Doctor. You are not Aquinas.

    You are still trying to argue that another’s sin is a perfectly good excuse to propagate your own sin. You are incorrectly trying to argue an individual from personal responsibility for their own sin as long as it stems from the grave sins of others. That is heresy. It is a lie.

    You are also falsely accusing others of defending crimes because they refuse to accept your illogical, incorrect analyses, and hateful, infantile rants.

    As for Flannery O’Connor, no Catholic priest or any religious individual who strives for holiness is trying to mimic her to get to Heaven. A Priest is actually supposed to be mimicking Christ in case your forgot that in your extensive study of literature and Aquinas. We are called to be “little christs,” not little hateful, immature, foul-mouthed imps obsessed with evil over goodness.

    The most egregious, irrelevant propaganda and fallacy to date: “As a psychologically healthy, adult male on the verge of getting married …” Your last paragraph is evidence that this not an accurate statement. There is nothing psychologically healthy or Catholic about that rant.

    One thing is for sure, having comments like yours in support of Fr. White’s poor behavior only proves the Bishop’s concerns valid and worthy of consideration.

  14. Cynthia was kindly asked to explain why the following conclusion is wrong: “loving the Church and her leaders sometimes means resisting and even rebuking those who undermine the common good of the Church without hindrance.”

    She was asked to address the premises behind the inference and to explain (in non-generic terms) how the conclusion is not already implicit in the premises. Her response is to simply reassert her original position: “I disagree with your flawed application and fallacies.” Even though she admits that there is no “error” in the direct quotations from Jesus Christ and Aquinas, and even though she does not demonstrate how the “conclusion” is violently superimposed onto the source materials, she goes on to launch a new series of complaints that snowball from the original one: Socrates is: “illogical,” engages in “incorrect analyses,” is “hateful,” and “infantile.” Cynthia apparently feels that everyone else–except for herself–needs to hold their convictions accountable to the perennial structure of logical syllogisms!

    She goes on to assert that there “is nothing psychologically healthy or Catholic” about being absolutely disgusted and angered by the Exalted Faggot McCarrick and his many reprobate accomplices… Somehow, in Cynthia’s mind, ordinary heterosexual males who will father the next generation of Catholics are the problem! WE are the toxin that assails the humanity of the Body of Christ on earth! Never mind all the “feminized cowards in miters” who “will do nothing.” They are to be adulated and reverenced.

  15. An example of what Amurican “traditionals” consider “psychologically healthy and Catholic” sits above in all of its Protestant glory, lies and fallacies. Methinks thou dost protest too much like Michael Voris.

  16. Again, Cynthia’s response is to reassert her disagreement with my aforementioned “conclusion.” She makes no effort to demonstrate how the syllogism (upon which my “conclusion” is based) is invalid or false according to the appropriate dictates of logic. She goes on to hurl yet more ad hominem slogans:
    “Amurican traditionals.” “Protestant glory.” “Lies and fallacies.”

    Dictionary definition of “ad hominem”:
    “an argument or reaction directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.”

  17. If you would take the time to read what others say instead of making up your own version of reality, you would know I refuted your senseless claims. It is not that hard.

    Your attempts at justifying grave sin and a lack of ethics fail every single time and will continue to fail.

    The continued hypocrisy, lies and fallacies only negate any arguments you have as moot. The foul language and attacks on our leaders reveal a hypersensitive, hysterical personality that lacks maturity, insight and proper discernment. Perhaps you should begin studying the Catholic faith instead of listening to anti-Catholic propaganda from those outside of communion with the Church and her leaders. Graduate from the Church Militant, memes and trying to illogically utilize Church teachings and the word of God to justify sin and the spread of hatred against the Church and Her leaders.

    I say again:

    Trying to claim the following is “love” of the Catholic Church or in line with Catholic teaching is perverse, incorrect and demented … “I ask you, dear reader: How does an American bishop–who ostensibly pretends to care about his faithful people back home–how does he not get off the airplane at Fiumicino and immediately do this: Kneel at the Apostles’ tombs. Walk into the pope’s parlor. Kiss the Ring of the Fisherman. Then ask, “Where is the g.d. McCarrick Report, Your Holiness?! WTF? You are fricking killing us. What in the actual f?” (Or something to that effect.) But these feminized cowards in miters will do no such thing. Instead they will tweet things like, “Oh, mother, bring me my aqua vitae! I just got to meet the Successor of Peter! And he has such twinkly eyes! And amazing jowls. So cute! I just love him!”

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