Sunday, September 2, 2018

More Surreal by the Minute

From John Allen at Crux:
If there’s one thing anyone who’s covered the Vatican for a long time ought to have learned by now, it’s never to say a particular story just can’t get anymore surreal, because trust me - it always can. On Tuesday, veteran Vatican journalist Edward Pentin, who broke the story about Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s bombshell letter accusing Pope Francis of covering up abuse charges against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and calling on the pope to resign, added a new twist to the evolving narrative. According to Pentin, “Viganò has gone into hiding and fears for his life following the publication of his testimony.”

Assuming that’s accurate, it’s either the result of stress and an overactive imagination, or Viganò has some genuine reason to fear that he might be in danger. Either way, it’s another odd development in what began life as an already remarkable storyline. Aside from that, there have been two other chapters to the story which have come into focus over the last 48 hours. First, several American bishops (and one from Kazakhstan) have commented on the Viganò accusations, and in some cases the tone has been incredibly blunt. (Read more.)

From PJB:
This summer, the sex scandal that has bedeviled the Catholic Church went critical. First came the stunning revelation that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington and friend to presidents, had for decades been a predator-priest who preyed on seminarians and abused altar boys, and whose depravity was widely known and covered up. Then came the report of a Pennsylvania grand jury that investigated six dioceses and found that some 300 priests had abused 1,000 children over the last 70 years. The bishop of Pittsburgh, Donald Wuerl, now Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, defrocked some of these corrupt priests, but reassigned others to new parishes where new outrages were committed. This weekend brought the most stunning accusation. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Vatican envoy to the United States under Pope Benedict XVI, charged that Pope Francis had been told of McCarrick's abuses, done nothing to sanction him, and that, as "zero tolerance" of sexual abuse is Francis' own policy, the pope should resign.

In his 11-page letter of accusations, Vigano further charged that there is a powerful "homosexual current" among the Vatican prelates closest to the pope. What did the pope know and when did he know it? Not unlike Watergate, the issue here is whether Pope Francis knew what was going on in the Vatican and in his Church, and why he was not more resolute in rooting out the moral squalor. Orthodox, conservative and traditionalist Catholics are the most visible and vocal demanding an accounting. Progressive and liberal Catholics, to whom Pope Francis and Cardinal McCarrick were seen as allies on issues of sexual morality, have been thrown on the defensive. (Read more.)

And from Lila Rose at First Things:
I became Catholic because I believe Christ built this Church to last, saying to Peter, “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:17-18). True to His promise, His teachings and sacraments have guided and nourished us for more than two thousand years.

We are seeing His providential care for the Church in the voices now coming forward to expose corruption. I thank God for people like Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. I thank God for the holy priests and bishops that I know who are striving to follow Christ and be good shepherds. St. Paul wrote, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds more” (Romans 5:20). We all know how the story of our Church and salvation history ends—with justice perfected, with mercy for those who ask, and with every knee bowing and tongue confessing that Christ is Lord.

While we call for reform in our Church, we must take our personal discipleship by Christ seriously. We must study the Church’s teachings on human sexuality, so we can understand and explain to others why the Church teaches what she teaches. We should strive to lead lives of personal virtue, particularly when it comes to sexual morality (this means no contraception, no pornography, no fornication, and no divorce). We need to ask for the courage to discuss sexual morality with family, friends, and our fellow parishioners, and refuse to condone sexual immorality when we encounter it. We should all commit to daily prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments—for the healing of our Church, for those committing sexual immorality, and for those who are victims of sexual sin, especially those most vulnerable. Now is the time to be saints—nothing less.  A world in need of Christ’s love and salvation awaits us. (Read more.)

From The National Catholic Register:
That’s a rather horrible irony, isn’t it? The very men most authoritatively charged with the evangelization of all the nations are full-steam ahead bringing about the devangelization of the nations. In doing so, these priests, bishops, and cardinals at the very heart of the Catholic Church are acting as willing agents of repaganization, undoing 2,000 years of Church History.

To be even more pointed, these priests, bishops, and cardinals are the chief agents of devangelization, de-Christianization, repaganization. There is nothing, nothing, that undermines the moral and theological authority of the magisterium more quickly and thoroughly than the devilish marriage of scandal and hypocrisy. It destroys the ability to evangelize. (Read more.)

From The Catholic Herald:
Viganò writes: “Pope Benedict had imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis: the Cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, he was forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.” These came into place, Viganò says, in 2009 or 2010. Do the facts support the claim? Mostly – but there are complications. Several glimpses have been recorded of sanctions on McCarrick:
  • The Catholic News Agency reports two eyewitness (but anonymous) accounts of McCarrick being told he had to leave the seminary on Pope Benedict’s instructions.
  • On Monday, the Archdiocese of Washington confirmed that, in 2011, it had cancelled a meeting between McCarrick and young men discerning their vocation. The request came from Viganò, who was then the nuncio (Vatican representative) to the US.
  • In July, the Washington Post quoted someone who “worked with McCarrick”. The source is paraphrased as saying “they suspect Church leaders in Rome had McCarrick had chastised McCarrick in some way, telling him to pull back from public life.”
  • On Monday, another witness said Viganò was correct. Mgr Jean-François Lantheaume, who used to work at the nunciature in Washington DC, was asked whether it was true that Vatican officials had told McCarrick he was sanctioned. Mgr Lantheaume replied: “Viganò said the truth. That’s all.”
One complication is that not all sources have corroborated Viganò’s story. According to America magazine, some “Vatican officials … who asked not to be named said they knew nothing about sanctions or restrictions on Archbishop McCarrick.” That doesn’t discredit Viganò’s account – he always claimed that the sanctions were only communicated through a few channels – but it makes it harder to confirm.

Another complication is the numerous accounts of McCarrick turning up in public: preaching at St Patrick’s Cathedral, performing an ordination, appearing at celebratory events – in other words, not acting like a man under Vatican restrictions. Viganò’s explanation is that McCarrick “didn’t obey” the sanctions. Indeed, the Washington Post’s source said McCarrick ignored Vatican strictures: “He did whatever he damn well wanted.” (Read more.)

In the meantime we need to support our good and faithful priests with our prayers. From The National Catholic Register:
How good is the beautiful trust of a child as a leader teaches him or her to not be afraid, to be a better and stronger person and to use the gifts that God has given them? There is nothing more precious to God than the innocent and childlike trust of His little ones. To them, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs. Good fathers, good priests, good teachers everywhere know this truth.

Next to the tragedy of those who have been hurt by neglect in the Church is the tragedy of the good fathers everywhere who have to grapple with the evil in the world as they just try to be the good fathers that we all need so desperately. I have seen good fathers all over the world who fast on bread and water weekly for the couples whom they prepare for marriage, fathers who cry with a couple whose child is stillborn, fathers who take a homeless man out to dinner, fathers who hear confessions for hours without a break, fathers who journey to six different rural parishes at the age of 92 because there is no one else, fathers who have to come in and clean up the mess that a bad pastor made of a parish, fathers who work to heal a hurting community. Pray for these fathers! (Read more.)

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