If I didn’t have a blog, I wouldn’t have to write this. But I do, therefore I must stand up for my faith.
This is a response to the bishops and the Vatican for THEIR response to everything going on. I’ll address faithful and unfaithful bishops later.
You all are probably well aware of the scandals of both Cardinal McCarrick and the visceral grand jury report from PA. It is a deep sadness and doubt that surrounds the Catholic Church right now, with allegations going all the way up to Pope Francis. The Catholic Church has more than a black eye, it is permanently walking with a limp, to quote Fr. Mike from Catholic Stuff you should Know. But I think that there is something more.
I alluded to this in the part one, but I wish to highlight it more.
Not outrageous as used in cartoons or movies about rich people. Outrage such has not been seen since discovery of the Nazi death camps. Not vengeful anger but righteous anger. For a great evil has been done, the sheep of the flock have not just been abandoned, they have been used as fodder to satiate the wolf, and the rest of the sheep are told nothing is wrong.
Let me explain further. Bishops in the highest positions in the US are tone deaf. We as Catholics are being told to “shut up and color” by the people we are relying on for guidance. On Facebook, on Bishop Barron’s page, someone actually said, “it really irks me to win Catholic laity criticize Bishop’s is if they could possibly know theology….. nevermind due process”. I am sorry, I might not be Scott Hahn but I’m pretty sure I am capable of learning and knowing theology!
Don’t agree with me? I quote, “The pope knows we have a bigger agenda. We have to speak about the environment, about the poor, we have to reach out to people who are marginalized in society. We cannot be distracted at this moment,” Cupich said.
We cannot be distracted by abuse by a bishop and claims of a cover up?!
As president of the Committee on Protection of Young Children and Young People, outspoken about the need for reform in the church — addressing sex abuse, shining a light on it, protecting people from becoming victims and comforting those who fell prey, Cupich says he had no knowledge of McCarrick’s behavior, which is now documented to be the source of church payoffs and complaints dating back to the 1980s, including allegations he took seminarians to a beach house for sex.
Isn’t that your JOB, Bishop Cupich?
And beyond, statements from the USCCB and other individual bishops, by reporters and presidents of colleges, urging the faithful to remain in the church and support the hierarchy.
Well guess what? That’s not how it works.
First, deacons, priests and bishops undergo an ontological change, forever marking them as ministers of the Sacraments that Jesus instituted, in direct succession of the first apostles. We reverence that change as something sacred. It does NOT, however, preclude the ministers from being human, nor not being sinners! Therefore, as sinners, we are called to practice fraternal correction. Even if you are a bishop. Because you can be wrong, and even sinful!
Second, the only hierarchy instituted by Jesus himself was his bishops and the pope as earthy head of the church. Another thing to remember is how our first pope was a sinner, too. As such, trusting a Cardinal with more reverence than a regular old bishop means honestly nothing to me. It’s like having a Duke or Baron, it doesn’t change the minister like bishop ordination.
Third, the ministers of God are called to be ministers, not rulers. Unless directly addressing a deviation from Catholic faith and morals, the role is shepherd, not king.
To that end, the outrage of the Catholic faithful should be listened to, not swept aside as a distraction. Not only that, the sheer audacity of claiming it’s a distraction belies the care they have for the faith. Because this isn’t new.
Let me explain. Welcome to 2000ish. Fair warning, this drags up skeletons.
In my parish my former pastor had an affair with a parishioner, eventually leaving the priesthood and marrying her. I was fond of that pastor and was shocked when it happened, but i was in a different country at the time and was not fully aware of all the nuance. Then another priest was outed as making allegations against the pastor, but was rebuffed by the new bishop. The priest was transferred from All Saints and then soon after removed from priestly activity, permanently. At the time, it was commented that he had gone too far or a little crazy. I didn’t read anything and moved on.
When McCarrick was removed, my wife brought it to my attention again, and I finally read the deposition.
It reads like a prophetic vision of the accusations now being made. Active unchastity and immorality in the clergy, both homosexual and heterosexual. Pornography. Covering up of sin by transfers and favoritism. Moving whistle-blowers or accusing them instead of the ones reported, and not investigating them. To me, in the light of the McCarrick revelations, this is damning. I wrote bishop Burbidge to bring this specifically to his attention.
And thus, in light of the revelations, why the credibility of the bishops who are calling for us lay faithful to be quiet and trust them is shot. The evidence was presented before, but nothing happened. Now you’re going to address the problem? Not when it was first brought up?
No, your eminence, I do not believe you. Nor do I agree that the environment or migrants are more important than the rape of children or encouraging young men to be immoral through use of your office of bishop. Contrary to your statement, the first role of the clergy is to seek the kingdom of God, then all the rest will come. That, your eminence, is your “greater agenda!” That should be your first focus!
My next post will be to faithful clergy, an exhortation from a lay faithful.