Saturday, August 11, 2018

The McCarrick Mess

A diabolical masterpiece, with plenty of cooperation from weak and evil clergy. From Bishop Robert Barron at Word on Fire:
When I was going through school, the devil was presented to us as a myth, a literary device, a symbolic manner of signaling the presence of evil in the world. I will admit to internalizing this view and largely losing my sense of the devil as a real spiritual person. What shook my agnosticism in regard to the evil one was the clerical sex abuse scandal of the nineties and the early aughts. I say this because that awful crisis just seemed too thought-through, too well-coordinated, to be simply the result of chance or wicked human choice. The devil is characterized as “the enemy of the human race” and particularly the enemy of the Church. I challenge anyone to come up with a more devastatingly effective strategy for attacking the mystical body of Christ than the abuse of children and young people by priests. This sin had countless direct victims of course, but it also crippled the Church financially, undercut vocations, caused people to lose confidence in Christianity, dramatically compromised attempts at evangelization, etc., etc. It was a diabolical masterpiece. [Bold italics are mine. EMV)
Sometime in the early aughts, I was attending a conference and found myself wandering more or less alone in the area where groups and organizations had their booths. I came over to one of the tables and the woman there said, “You’re Fr. Barron, aren’t you?” I replied affirmatively, and she continued, “You’re doing good work for the Church, but this means that the devil wants to stop you. And you know, he’s a lot smarter than you are and a lot more powerful.” I think I just mumbled something to her at that moment, but she was right, and I knew it. All of this has come back to me in the wake of the Archbishop McCarrick catastrophe. St. Paul warned us that we battle, not against flesh and blood, but against “powers and principalities.” Consequently, the principal work of the Church at this devastating moment ought to be prayer, the conscious and insistent invoking of Christ and the saints. (Read more.)

Vocations ruined, souls lost, the faithful scandalized. From The Washington Examiner:
McCarrick appears to have spent much of his time as a priest and bishop seducing, exploiting, harassing, or molesting young men whom he had baptized or who were on the path to the priesthood. Church leaders, including his successor in the archdiocese of Newark, heard of McCarrick’s predations, which included bringing seminarians to debauched parties at a beach house he frequented in his earlier assignment in New Jersey's Metuchen diocese. The two New Jersey dioceses in 2005 and 2007 paid out settlements to compensate his victims in New Jersey, but kept the settlements secret as their telegenic former archbishop had climbed the ladder and had become a face of the Catholic Church in the U.S.

And then, the church let him retire to a seminary, where more young priests were to be formed. When a Catholic goes to confession, he can validly receive absolution only if he or she has a “firm purpose of amendment” — that is, a sincere intention and determination to reform. With what we know about McCarrick today — and what it seems many in the hierarchy knew — it’s hard to believe the American church had such a resolve during the last go around with sex scandals.

“The moral corruption is so deep and pervasive,” my friend and fellow Catholic Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote, “it becomes almost invisible by its omnipresence. It just flashes its icy look and smile on different faces” around the church. This is the smile of “the evil spirits that prowl about the world….” McCarrick has a winning smile and a soft , friendly, grandfatherly voice. That made him a favorite face for the American bishops, who sought better treatment from a media antagonistic toward religion in general, which smelled blood when the scandals erupted in the early 2000s. Maybe that same winsome smile made young men let down their guard around “Uncle Teddy.” The smile, and his power as a bishop, allowed McCarrick to prowl about the seminaries, seeking the ruin of those whom God was calling to serve him and the church. He surely ruined many souls, and he undeniably harmed countless more. By failing to address this moral damage, the Catholic Church has failed its flock since the McCarrick news went public. (Read more.)

From Fr. Regis Scanlon:
Today, with this new sad information about the homosexual predation on youth by bishops, it is clear that certain members of the John Jay Study were incorrect when they reinterpreted the final report to say that the problem of homosexuality among the clergy was primarily and fundamentally a problem of pedophilia among clergy. This also led to a misdirection of the solution to the problem.  Schools and parishes began to advise that children should not be left alone with clergy without some adult chaperone. This focus on protecting pre-pubescent children enabled the problem of homosexuality among bishops to escape the notice of the Catholic Church almost entirely.

The presence of homosexual activity among bishops and seminarians was so widespread and connected especially in seminaries, that it impossible to believe that it was not known to many, if not most, of the bishops in the United States —- especially to high ranking prelates who deal with the daily affairs of the Church like problems in seminaries. Consequently, many are saying that the bishops who knew about this “homosexual predation” upon seminarians– and did nothing to stop it– should resign. (Read more.)

From The National Review:
There is an undeniable psychological tension between my religious belief that I cannot have hope for salvation outside the visible, institutional Church and my honest conviction that of all the institutions and societies that intersect with my life, the Church is by far the most corrupt, the most morally lax, the most disillusioning, and the most dangerous for my children. In that tension, personal prayer will dry up like dew at noon.
Where do I find hope? I find it in the faces of other young Catholics. The families at my parish who make real sacrifices for the Faith. I find it in the young writers such as Sohrab Ahmari , B. D. McClay, and Matthew Schmitz who still convert and fall in love as I did. They could start Triumph, anew. Even if sometimes my personal piety dries into dust and nothingness, the bell rings at Mass, my knee drops to the floor, and if nothing else, this gesture testifies objectively to the reality that Christ is present in the Eucharist, that Christ is Lord. Hopefully for now, that’s all I need to know. (Read more.)

From The Catholic Women's Forum:
The Catholic Women’s Forum shares the shock and outrage felt by many at the recent allegations of sexual abuse by Archbishop (formerly Cardinal) McCarrick, and at the appalling failure of Church authorities to address reports of McCarrick’s sexual misconduct and abuse of seminarians. CWF believes that the path forward requires action by the US Bishops, in collaboration with the laity, to ensure not only the bishops’ accountability but also a profound spiritual reform, leading to integrity, healing, and hope in Jesus Christ. Catholics who are following the McCarrick scandal and the Church’s response will find below an up-to-date list of statements from US bishops and Church leaders. (Read more.)

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