The McCarrick Report

Just put a letter to Archbishop Gregory into the mail…

St Matthews Cathedral

Your Excellency,

In 2001, when Theodore McCarrick took possession of the Archdiocese of Washington, he did so as a criminal fleeing justice. He had sexually abused seminarians and at least one minor.

By late 2004, Donald Wuerl and Joseph Ratzinger, among others, knew beyond any reasonable doubt that the sitting Archbishop of Washington was a criminal. No written law explicitly condemned what they knew McCarrick had done to some of his seminarians. But every honest churchman would have recognized the criminal acts. As Pope John Paul II so famously put it, in 2002: “There is no place in the priesthood for those who would harm the young.”

The Apostolic See had a clear duty: put McCarrick on trial. Didn’t happen.

By this time of year in 2006, McCarrick had turned seventy-five, Ratzinger had become Pope Benedict, and the nuncio called Donald Wuerl. Everyone involved entered into a dishonest pact.

Just a few years earlier, Wuerl had participated in the common promise of the American bishops never again to cover-up clerical sexual abuse. Pope Benedict had been a party to that promise as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But in the case of Theodore McCarrick, they broke their recent promise. Pope Benedict, Pope Francis, and Donald Wuerl proceeded to cover-up the crimes of Theodore McCarrick for the ensuing twelve years. They ended the cover-up only when forced to do so, by circumstances beyond their control.

If Donald Wuerl were an honest man, he would have told Pope Benedict back in the spring of 2006: I will not accept the Archdiocese of Washington as my pastoral charge until we make good on our promise and deliver public justice against McCarrick. Had that happened, Wuerl could have entered St. Matthew’s cathedral without dishonesty. As it was, he sat on the throne in Washington with a lie under the cushion for twelve years, complicit in that lie with two popes.

Sir: Do not enter St. Matthew’s with this same lie burdening you. Insist that the pope acknowledge these known facts. Recognize that the Apostolic See has grievously wronged the faithful of Washington. From at least 2004 until 2018, Rome failed to exercise due vigilance over Theodore McCarrick. Pope Francis must openly acknowledge this, and Donald Wuerl must openly acknowledge his complicity in it. Neither of these men deserve anyone’s trust until they publicly acknowledge these known facts.

Until these admissions take place, do not enter St. Matthew’s in the company of Donald Wuerl, and do not accept the apostolic mandate from Pope Francis. I know you didn’t ask for my advice. But I advise you as a brother, anyway.

Christ always offers us a fresh start. But we have to live in the truth. The truth: McCarrick entered St. Matthew’s a dishonest criminal. Donald Wuerl entered a liar. Two popes lived in this lie for years.

Don’t walk in as another liar.

 

Yours in Christ, Father Mark White

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The River Flows

Unless we tend constantly towards Easter, towards the horizon of the Resurrection, the mentality expressed in the slogan “I want it all and I want it now!” gains the upper hand.

(from Pope Francis’ Message for Lent)

…I’m sitting and watching the Cumberland River flow by. Next to the ruins of a bridge that 17,000 Cherokee had to cross in 1838, on the Trail of Tears.

Not quite sure why His Holiness needed to pick on Queen (the band) in his Lent message. But the Holy Father makes an excellent point nonetheless.

Mt LeConte
Your unworthy servant across from Mount LeConte in the Great Smokies

Came out to Tennessee to see some mountains and run a race. A year ago they dedicated a brand-new Sacred Heart cathedral in Knoxville.

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The front portico reminds you of our cathedral in Richmond.

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The baldachin reminds you of San Clemente in Rome, or St. Lawrence Outside the Walls.

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They stenciled invocations from the Litany of the Sacred Heart into the interior frieze.

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They have a stole that Pope St. John Paul II wore.

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(I did not photograph the statue of St. JP II, because it does not look good.)

…I visited Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage…

They are in the middle of renovating the Nashville cathedral.

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…Tennessee became a state in 1796. To celebrate the Centennial, they constructed a wood-and-plaster replica of the Parthenon in Athens, among other ersatz classical buildings. After the Centennial Exhibition ended, they decided to build a more-permanent replica of the Parthenon.

That building houses one of the most-charming collections of paintings I have ever encountered, given to the city of Nashville in 1927 by insurance-executive James Cowan.

Drive South

They built an amazing new cathedral in the diocese of Raleigh, NC.

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It sits out in the suburbs, with land for more buildings someday.

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When you walk in, you can hardly believe that God found a way to get something like this built in 2016-17. It seats 2,000.

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With side aisles lined with saints.

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They put St. John Neumann (resting in Philadelphia) in place before the Eagles won the Super Bowl.

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And a memento mori St. Francis.

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Try not to mind the goofball in his driving duds…

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The statues seem a little lifeless to me. But the Stations…stunning.

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Gold bas-relief images of the Evangelists’ symbols flank the tabernacle…

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And a Michelangelo-esque dome illumines the crossing and transepts…

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May the faithful of Raleigh glorify God here for the next thousand years.

In 2005, I visited Rome with a dear friend, priest of the Diocese of Raleigh. We had the privilege of meeting Cardinal Ratzinger just a few weeks before he became Pope Benedict.

At that time, I had Washington, D.C., for my home–and the Cardinal had certainly heard of Washington. But when he asked my friend about his home diocese, His Eminence had to admit that he had never heard of Raleigh, N.C.

I think he has now.

Resolving with St. Basil

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Jan. 2: Memorial of St. Basil the Great.

Anyone ever laid eyes on St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow?

Officially, it is the Cathedral of the Most Holy Theotokos. We kept the Solemnity of the Theotokos, Mother of God, yesterday, on a holy day of obligation, binding on all able-bodied Catholics.

The St. Basil whose relics are kept in the church on Red Square is actually a later St. Basil, who lived in the 16th century, not the original St. Basil the Great. But it sure is a beautiful-looking church.

Here’s a quote from the original St. Basil, friend of St. Gregory Nazianzen:

There is still time for endurance, time for patience, time for healing, time for change. Have you slipped? Rise up. Have you sinned? Cease.

Here’s another quote, from the beginning of St. Basil’s Rule for holy living:

Since, by God’s grace, we have gathered together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—we who have set before ourselves one and the same goal, the devout life—and since you have plainly manifested your eagerness to hear something on the matters pertaining to salvation…I implore you then, by the charity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, let us at length apply our minds to the affairs of our souls, and grieve for the vanity of our past life…Why will we not place before our eyes that fearsome and manifest day of the Lord?…We say indeed that we desire the kingdom of heaven, yet we are not solicitous for the means whereby it is attained…

But, teacher! asks the disciple, Since Scripture has given us leave to propound questions, we must ask, first of all, whether the commandments of God have a certain order or sequence, as it were, so that one comes first?

St. Basil replies:

Your question is an old one, proposed long ago in the gospel…The Lord answered: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

So let’s resolve to make 2013 a year of faith and Christian love.

Holy Co-operation!

God is holy. By definition.

The apse wall of Otranto Cathedral holds the skulls of 800 martyrs
What is holy?

God.

What is God?

Holy.

He is holy.

He is infinitely, terrifyingly holy.

He is won-derfully, magni-ficently holy.

We Christians aspire to holiness. We desire the holiness of God. We want to share in His glory. We want to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy.

Are we presumptuous? After all, how can we be holy—we who subsist on the flesh of dead animals, and sometimes produce bad smells and bad words, and spend a lot of time thinking about ice cream and professional sports and a lot of other things that don’t exactly pertain to holiness? How can we hope to be holy?

Continue reading “Holy Co-operation!”

Happy to Be Alive

This time last year–quarterfinals of the Big East tournament–the Hoyas were already dead.

But today we visited sweet revenge upon the USF Bulls.

Tomorrow? …Oh, yes: Syracuse. High Noon.

…Check out this interesting sculpture from Chartres cathedral.

The Lord is forming Adam from the dust of the earth, sculpting the head of the first man.

The original Adam was made in the image of the New Adam–Christ. This sculpture reflects this.

May it also reflect the way that the New Adam shapes and moulds us. Only Christ can form me into the person I am truly meant to be.

I allow Him to form me by worshiping Him, studying Him, obeying Him, imitating Him.

May He make saints out of us all!

Natural Evil

Jeremy Hazell

The “Intelligent Design Debate” has been going on a long time:

If the movement of the universe were irrational, and the world rolled on in a random fashion, one would be justified in disbelieving what we say.

But if the world is founded on reason, wisdom, and science, and is filled with orderly beauty, then it must owe its origin and order to none other than the Word of God.

–St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, died A.D. 373.

…We are praying hard for everyone in Haiti. May all who are unaccounted-for be found safe.

Port-au-Prince Cathedral, January 14
We pray for the repose of Archbishop Serge Miot and all the dead.

Many souls certainly went to their deaths without proper preparation; may God be merciful.

We pledge ourselves to help everyone in need.

But before we panic and go reeling off into uncharted spiritual territory–losing perspective on ultimate reality because of the incessant buzzing of the television–let’s remind ourselves of the words of the expert demon to the junior tempter in Screwtape Letter #28:

I sometimes wonder if you young fiends are not kept out on temptation duty too long at a time–if you are not in some danger of becoming infected by the sentiments and values of the humans among whom you work.

They, or course, do tend to regard death as the prime evil, and survival as the greatest good. But that is because we have taught them to do so.

Do not let us be infected by our own propaganda…Whatever you do, keep your patient as safe as you possibly can…

Capuchin Crypt in Rome
The long, dull years of middle-aged prosperity are excellent campaigning weather for us.

…My dear mom regards my desire to live among skeletons as “extreme.”

If you want extreme, check out the crypt-level chapels of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Rome.

…Big Hoya game against Seton Hall this evening.

Chvotkin has the call at 7:00 on AM 980. Jeremy Hazell is a dangerous sharp-shooter. Root hard!

Telling Beads

Click here for beautiful rosary beads.

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It would seem that our Catholic friends are given to a great deal of repetition in prayer. Some of the poor creatures say, “Hail, Mary!” as often and as fast as they can.

None of us prays the Holy Rosary with the attention that it deserves.

BUT:

Isn’t it better to say the Our Father, the Sacred Name of Jesus, and the holy name of Mary many times? I mean, as opposed to not doing that?

…The Rosary is a bottomless mystery that can only be understood from within. The Holy Father’s words at St. Patrick’s Cathedral are especially applicable to the recitation of the Rosary:

Stained glass windows flood the interior [of the church] with mystic light. From the outside, those windows are dark, heavy, even dreary. But once one enters the church, they suddenly come alive; reflecting the light passing through them, they reveal all their splendor.

Many writers – here in America we can think of Nathaniel Hawthorne – have used the image of stained glass to illustrate the mystery of the Church herself.

It is only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life, that we see the Church as she truly is: flooded with grace, resplendent in beauty, adorned by the manifold gifts of the Spirit.

Yesterday was the 59th anniversary of the foundation of the Missionaries of Charity!

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Dedication of St. John Lateran

facade1Today’s feast is very important. It is so important that we even keep it on a Sunday. Last week we kept All Souls on Sunday, because it is such an important day. Usually, if a feast falls on a Sunday, we do not keep it that year. So the Dedication of St. John Lateran must be an important day. The problem is that a lot of people have no idea what this means.

Let’s go over the name of today’s feast word by word, so that we can be sure that we understand what we are celebrating.

naveFirst word: Dedication.
Generally speaking, we human beings do what we need to do IN BUILDINGS. Don’t get me wrong—it is nice to get outside, go for a walk, take a bikeride. But we are not like birds, or tigers, or wolverines. We cannot live outside. We need shelter from the elements.

As a general rule, we cannot have Holy Mass outside. Maybe occasionally, like Pope John Paul II’s funeral 2 ½ years ago in St. Peter’s Square. But, generally speaking, we need a church for Mass.

A church building is not like any other building. A church building is itself a symbol of invisible realities. Both the exterior and the interior of the church building express the reality of God, His angels, and His saints. For any prayerful Catholic, his church is a precious fixture in his interior life.

Because a church is a sacred building, set aside for divine worship, it must be solemnly dedicated after it is built. Then, every year on the anniversary of the dedication, we can thank God again for the gift of the church building, and for all the grace that He pours out in it.

Today, then, is the anniversary of the dedication of a church building. Which church? St. John Lateran. Ever heard of it?

St. John Lateran is a church in Rome.

The Pope's cathedra in the apse of the Lateran Basilica
The Pope's cathedra in the apse of the Lateran Basilica
Now, of all the churches in a particular city, there is one that is especially important, namely the cathedral. The “cathedral” is the church which has the cathedra in it. The cathedra is the bishop’s seat of office. The cathedra symbolizes the bishop’s authority to teach and govern his diocese.

Here in Washington, many people think that the cathedral of our diocese is the National Shrine. The Shrine is the grandest church in the city. But the Archbishop’s chair is not in the Shrine. The cathedra is in St. Matthew’s on Rhode Island Avenue, downtown. St. Matthew’s is the cathedral.

Washington is not the only city where people get confused about which church is the cathedral, as we shall see.

Of all the dioceses in the world, there is one that is uniquely important. All the bishops in all the cities of the world are successors of the Apostles of Christ. The Bishop of Rome is the Successor of St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles. Therefore, the Bishop of Rome is the Pope, the chief shepherd of the whole Church.

The Baldacino over the High Altar, containing the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul
The Baldacino over the High Altar, containing the heads of Sts Peter and Paul
The cathedral in Rome is the most important church building in the world. In the cathedral in Rome, the Pope sits in his cathedra and teaches and governs all the Catholic people on earth.

The National Shrine is the largest Catholic church building in the western hemisphere, but it is not the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Washington. St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is the largest church on earth, but it is not the cathedral of Rome.

“Lateran.” What does this word mean? We have to go back seventeen centuries. Christianity was legalized by the Emperor Constantine in A.D. 313. For the first time, it became possible to build churches.

The Emperor’s family owned a large piece of property that had previously belonged to a prominent Roman family, the Lateran family. The Emperor gave it to the Pope, and the Pope built his cathedral church on that piece of property.

In 324, this cathedral church of Rome was solemnly dedicated and placed under the patronage of St. John. Because it was on land that had belonged to the Lateran family, it came to be known as St. John Lateran.

aerialSo today is the day that the Pope’s cathedral was dedicated, the day the most important church building in the world was dedicated.

Now, most people think of St. Peter’s Basilica as the Pope’s church, and of course it is his church. For the past 700 years, the Pope has lived at St. Peter’s instead of St. John Lateran. The truth is that the Pope has four Basilicas in Rome: His cathedral, St. John Lateran, the basilica at the tomb of St. Peter, the basilica at the tomb of St. Paul, and a basilica dedicated to our Lady.

May God be praised for giving us such splendid churches in which to worship Him!