Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published his “Between the Lines” of the McCarrick report last week. He included this sentence about persecuted whistleblowers, with a hotlink embedded. The link takes you to the interview Michael Voris did with me. I appreciate the compliment, Excellency.
The Vatican McCarrick report contains some information about the year 2006. That’s when then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick got rushed into retirement.
We knew something weird had happened. We just did not know why.
Healthy Cardinal Archbishops customarily serve well beyond their 75th birthdays. In the spring of 2006, the sitting Cardinal Archbishop of Washington remained stunningly energetic. Only a few months earlier, McCarrick had publicly declared that the pope wanted him to continue to serve as Archbishop for at least two more years.
In other words, McCarrick’s removal from office in May ’06 embarrassed him enormously. Also, as the subsequent years unfolded, a certain person almost never turned up at diocesan liturgies: the Archbishop emeritus.
The question was: Why?
We know the answer now: Because McCarrick belonged in jail. But no one in the Vatican had the guts to deal with that fact. They tried instead to keep the miscreant out of public view. (More on this foolhardy conspiracy in a subsequent post.)
Bishop Michael Fisher and Bishop Barry Knestout have these things in common:
Both were appointed to career-track jobs in the Washington archdiocesan office by Theodore McCarrick. Both held those positions when the unsettling 2006 Archbishop shuffle occurred. Both moved up into positions of even greater responsibility during the subsequent couple of years–when the Vatican was orchestrating its campaign to keep the McCarrick situation hidden from the public.
What did these two men know about McCarrick at that time? Did they know things that the rest of us did not? Did they know the real explanation for the sudden changing of the guard and the attempted sequestration of the Archbishop emeritus?
If the Vicar for Administration (Knestout) and the Vicar for Clergy (Fisher) did not know the reason for the strange situation, why didn’t they ask their new boss, Donald Wuerl? He had known for two years that McCarrick had sexually harassed at least one seminarian.
From 2006 on, the McCarrick situation in Washington clearly demanded an explanation. Did Knestout and Fisher not want one?
Have you have whiled away some of these long, dark evenings with the latest season of Netflix’s The Crown? Have you found yourself reminiscing about the 80’s? And struggling with the cruel platitudes of Thatcherism?
The fifth episode of The Crown, season 4, ends with a ska song. We Americans called the band “The English Beat.” In England, they called them simply “The Beat.” The song: “Stand Down Margaret.”
As Thatcher protest songs went, that was a mild one. Very mild.
“Black Boys on Mopeds” lives in sub-basement #10 of my little mind. Tears come to my eyes just listening to it, remembering old friends and the car rides when we sang it together. The song refers repeatedly to the gospels.
O’Connor’s song, however: Mild. Compared to the mother of all Thatcher protest songs, “Tramp the Dirt Down.”
Elvis Costello prays that he will live long enough to stomp on the Prime Minister’s grave (after she dies of natural causes; there’s no incitement to violence in the song.)
[WARNING: Bad word in the video’s intro.]
I have known every word of every song on Costello’s Spike since he released the cassette in 1989.
I saw a newspaper picture from a political campaign. A woman was kissing a child who was obviously in pain. She spills with compassion, as that young child’s face in her hands she grips. Can you imagine all that greed and avarice coming down on that child’s lips?
Here’s my point: They hated it, these protest musicians. They hated what they saw as the degradation of their nation.
The musicians lapsed into self-righteous unkindness. They did not sympathize with the complexities of a politician’s life. They made enemies for themselves, even among good people.
What they did not do, however, was try to compel anyone to do anything. Costello put it like this:
“We’re allowed to express ourselves. We’re not asking anything of anybody.”
We Catholics have more than enough reason for pitiful discontent with the incumbent regime. The Attorney General of New York State has lodged a lawsuit to put the diocese of Buffalo into moral receivership for the next five years.
A.G. Jones’ lawsuit demonstrates how the diocese has failed to comply with the rules adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002. Buffalo now joins the diocese of Springfield, MA in this category: Proven by independent investigators to lack the competence necessary to abide by the Dallas Charter.
Here’s a priest in Buffalo, reacting to the news of the lawsuit:
“misusing Charitable Assets”. Yet they bang on our doors for more💰. I am ashamed to be affiliated with @BuffaloDiocese. “We are squandering the goodwill of lay Catholics, squandering our Faith” I’ve said to every Bishop of Buffalo from Mansell on. The depth escaped me. pic.twitter.com/lAYPBmxkXU
…A different whistleblower priest in Buffalo was suspended from ministry a year ago, for trying to expose the very corruption that the AG documents in her lawsuit against the diocese.
He remains suspended.
…Will the Attorney General here in Virginia lodge a similar lawsuit against our diocese? Time will tell. We can imagine that Mr. Herring has enough evidence in hand.
One of the kind editors of my book told me that I need to acknowledge this: some of my blog posts have understandably offended the bishop. The kind editor is right. I have done some “Thatcher-Protest-Song”-type posts that failed in kindness and sympathy, and I am sorry about that. In the end, Elvis Costello did not rejoice when Margaret Thatcher actually did die, twenty-four years after his song about it.
But communities need to have room for protest songs, even edgy ones. Especially when reasons for discontentment with the regime keep piling up daily. Margaret Thatcher and Elvis Costello co-existed for decades. England survived.
Before the virus engulfed Italy a fortnight ago, the Archdiocese of Washington, Inc. expected the imminent release of the Vatican’s “McCarrick Report.”
Let me explain.
Aesop, the ancient Greek fable teller, spun a yarn about something dubbed “The McCarrick Report.” He told the tale way back before anyone on earth ever heard of coronavirus.
Amazing as it is, many journalists who butter their bread with ecclesiastical money still actually believe the fable.
In the story, the Vatican has a “huge document” that will someday “cast light” on: How a serial destroyer of young lives succeeded in deceiving an entire generation of trusting Catholic people. While popes, Cardinals, and bishops all swallowed it down their gullets without saying anything.
Aesop concludes the fable with this: The McCarrick report will show Pope Francis’ true “commitment” to “transparency and accountability.” The report will also contain the chemical formula for the cure of COVID-19. And the exact geographic co-ordinates where the Ark of the Covenant lies buried in Ethiopia.
A Vatican Cardinal will appear at a press conference with Jim Morrison, James Dean, and Jimmy Hoffa to release the report to the public. Then the opening soccer match of the 2020 Olympic Games will proceed in St. Peter’s Square, followed by all the canceled NCAA basketball games.
On Her pilgrimage, the Church has also experienced the discrepancy existing between the message She proclaims and the human weakness of those to whom the Gospel has been entrusted. Only by taking the way of penance and renewal, the narrow way of the cross, can the People of God extend Christ’s reign. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 853)
This makes me conclude: Only Stockholm-Syndrome sufferers can continue to indulge in fantasies about a “McCarrick Report” coming from Rome. The Vatican does not have the capacity for self-reflection which could produce a credible McCarrick Report. At least not right now.
But hope is by no means lost. The mafia of obtuse narcissists steers the Barque of Peter towards the iceberg, but sex-abuse survivors nonetheless try to save the Church.
What has happened over the last couple months is this:
2.Theodore McCarrick abused Mr. John Bellocchio of New Jersey in 1995. This past November and December, Mr. Bellocchio filed two lawsuits, using his own name, and publicly announcing his intentions. In New Jersey, he sued the Archdiocese of Newark.
Mr. Bellocchio’s eloquence deserves the widest possible audience. His words in these press conferences inspire me like a great sermon. Does our Church have a future? With people like John Bellocchio leading Her–yes.
Also, as you can see in the second video above, Ms. Siobhan O’Connor came to support Bellocchio, along with Mr. Michael Whelan of Buffalo. O’Connor had some eloquent things to say, too, which you can hear by clicking this link.
In his lawsuit filed in federal court in New York, Bellocchio highlights this fact: The Holy See signed the United Nations Charter for the Rights of Children in 1989. The U.N. has repeatedly cited the Vatican for serious violations of the treaty, over the course of the past couple decades. Mr. Paul Moses published an article outlining this in Commonweal magazine last summer.
Non-Catholic-media journalists also seem to care about the integrity of the Church more than our bishops do. Thank God someone does.
We learned right after Christmas that the Washington Post had uncovered information about large sums of money that McCarrick had given to other churchmen over the years, out of a fund intended to help the poor. This included a $200,000 gift to Pope Benedict XVI, shortly after Benedict became pope.
Let’s remember the situation then:
Cardinal Ratzinger knew about McCarrick’s predations, but Pope John Paul II refused to believe the accusers.
Spring, 2005. McCarrick sat as Archbishop of Washington. John Paul II dies. Ratzinger becomes pope. McCarrick sends the new pope $200,000.
Looks a lot like a hush-money bribe, doesn’t it, dear reader?
Another agent of renewal for Holy Church is Mr. James Falusczak. He spoke out last month to try to deal with the web of cronyism and half-truths that rules in the ecclesiastical province of New York.
On December 10, Falusczak spoke in Brooklyn about the dishonesty of Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and former Brooklyn priest, now Albany Bishop and Buffalo administrator, Edward Scharfenberger. Click THIS LINK to listen to some excellent preaching of the Gospel.
Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio stands accused of sexual abuse, but he nonetheless remains firmly in office. He had to cancel a scheduled visit to a Catholic school, because parents objected. Parents objected to the sitting bishop visiting a Catholic school. The National Catholic Reporter yesterday published an editorial pointing out the cronyism of Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio.
Faluszczak spoke in Buffalo on Dec. 13 about Scharfenberger’s dishonesty regarding the Vatican investigation of Buffalo. Click THIS LINK to listen some more more excellent preaching.
They’re preaching healing. Yet, how do we heal when we don’t have a full accounting, when we don’t have a full report?