Monday, July 23, 2018

And the Agony Continues

I'm not a big fan of Rod Dreher but his latest articles of on the Cardinal McCarrick sexual abuse allegations make for compelling reading and back up my previous post. In yet another iteration of the stories we have seen in the past, it appears that McCarrick's activities were known for a long time, reported to the Vatican, and yet nothing appropriate was done about it.
"Those ambitious clerics who climb the hierarchy the back-door way depend on the complicity-by-silence of the straight arrows. Pope John Paul II, who moved Uncle Ted[Ed: McCarrick] to Washington and who made Uncle Ted the US Catholic bishops’ point man in dealing with the abuse crisis, is known to have been so viscerally disgusted by the idea of sexually corrupt priests that he refused to see what was right in front of his eyes (Cardinal Schoenborn has spoken publicly of this, and others in a position to know have said the same thing privately.) Refusing to acknowledge the truth in cases like this and act to restore justice and is a moral failure. It’s a moral failure when it’s done by religious superiors, as in the cases Barbara Nicolosi discusses in her former order of nuns, and it’s a moral failure when it’s done by a Pope who is also a saint."
Cardinal Schönborn told me that he sat directly opposite John Paul and pleaded with him to make a statement about Cardinal Groër, the Fatimaniac molester that John Paul had appointed, against the advice of the bishops of Austria, to the see of Vienna. John Paul told Schönborn that he would like to make statement, but that “they” wouldn’t let him. “They?” John Paul wouldn’t explain, but it was clear then and Schönborn has since publicly made it clearer that Cardinal Sodano, the Secretary of State of the Vatican, and his underlings were protecting molesters like Groër, Gino, and Maciel.
The Schoenborn statement was remarkable. In 2010, the Catholic Herald wrote:
The Vatican Information Service has just released an unusually detailed communique relating to a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn and Cardinal Angelo Sodano in which the Austrian cardinal was made to explain public criticism he had levelled against Sodano.
After Cardinal Sodano made a surprise speech at Easter criticising the media’s reports about abuse as “idle gossip”, Cardinal Schönborn publicly accused the former Secretary of State of having deliberately obstructed an investigation into accusations of child abuse against Cardinal Hans Hermann Gröer of Vienna. In today’s meeting, Pope Benedict seems to have done several things: he has reminded Cardinal Schönborn that the disciplining of members of the hierarchy is the responsibility of the Pope, he has clarified Sodano’s controversial comments about “idle gossip” and has brought the two men together. Interesting.
Got that? Cardinal Schoenborn told the truth about Cardinal Sodano, whose public statement was intended to throw people off the trail — and he was upbraided by Benedict XVI, essentially for airing the Church’s dirty laundry in public [Ed]. Benedict appears to have been more interested in protecting the Church’s outside image, and maintaining the formal hierarchical order, than in telling the truth about a matter of sexual corruption that devastated the Austrian church.
Comments were made in my previous post that the inability of the Church to deal with these issues was due to the presence of a large number of homosexual clergy who were attempting to stop any investigation, but it's clear that this is not the case as the ability to purge these corrupt elements from the Church rests with the celibate heterosexual clergy who have failed in their task.

Clearly not all of the clergy are responsible for this. As Dreher recounts, others have spoken up and been either ignored or censured, so to tar all the priests with moral corruption is unjust. But what's really important to see here is that there is no faction that is pure, either conservative or liberal; it's the wrong way of analysing the problem. The homosexuality issue also obscures the fact that the moral failures occurring in the hierarchy affect other domains as well. It isn't just sexual abuse the coverups include financial irregularities, nepotism, performance. issues etc.

Reading through Dreher's comments section I was struck by just how many people still believed in the Catholic Church while being appalled by the hierarchy.  This is important because I feel the Church is the only organ out there capable of resisting Modernism but its clear that the hierarchy aren't up to the task at hand. Any renewal of the Church, and therefore West, is going to be a "bottom-up" affair.  Probably with much opposition from the hierarchy.

On a further note, Bishop Juan Jose Pineda Fasquelle resigned as a result of allegations of sexual and financial abuse.


Bruce Charlton said...

@SP "Any renewal of the Church, and therefore West, is going to be a "bottom-up" affair. Probably with much opposition from the hierarchy. "

Without going into any detailed plan - how might this realistically happen?

(As a sympathetic outsider...) My only idea is to reflect that there have been situations, including among the extremely devout, even Saintly) monks, ascetics and hermits of the very early church, where it was acceptable Not to participate in the Mass for considerable lengths of time... a decade or sometimes more among Desert Fathers.

As a temporary measure, deeply regretted, this may allow a window of opportunity during which the devout laity may be able to be relatively autonomous from a corrupt priesthood (actually corrupt bishops, specifcially, since bishops make priests); and reinvigorate the Catholic Church.

There have been periods of tension between the spiritual leadership of bishops/ priests and abbots/ monks (ie. non-ordained orders) - during which the monks have carried the flame.

Ireland during the Dark Ages is a well known example... indeed the leadership of bishops was only finally established by the Synod of Whitby.

(Nowadays, in the West, nearly all monks are priests - but that need not be the case - indeed priest-monks (heiromonks, including the Orthodox bishops) are the exception among monks in Orthodoxy.)

Unfourtunately the current religious orders in the RCC seem to be among the most corrupt - however, new lay orders would probably be easier to 'launch' and sustain in the face of hostile corrupt bishops, than would be a reform of the bishops/ priesthood.

The Social Pathologist said...


Without going into any detailed plan - how might this realistically happen?

Firstly, the sexual abuse controversy has undercut the authority of the priesthood to a degree that I don't think that the hierarchy fully comprehends. They're not seen as ministers of God's word anymore but as hypocrites.

Secondly, Francis is attempting to decentralise the Church, bypassing a lot of the rot in the Curia. I think he's trying to implement the idea of collegiality so as to allow new initiatives to arise from the periphery. I think that the laity can also have much more influence by this approach.

Thirdly, I do think that among the more sensible bishops there is a recognition that we're in deep crisis and that something new has to be done.

Fourthly, the Church also exists within the prevailing culture. The left is openly hostile to it while some elements of the Right are supportive of it, though not in its current form. I think that what may happen is that the Dissident Right may be able to influence by "cultural osmosis" the intellectual climate in which the Church forms its ideas and hence shift it toward a more reality based footing.

Demographi said...

Christianity as National Suicide Pact

The Social Pathologist said...


I've seen the article and broadly agree with it. It's interesting that population of Italy is not lining up with the priests on this issue. Perhaps a Christian populist Right is trying to correct the errors of the Church hierarchy.

Hoyos said...

Had an odd thought especially with the McCarrick story, which as a psychologist I wonder what your take might be.

Why didn't any of the adult priests fight back? I mean, I'm not making any great claim to manliness, but I've been in fights, although not outside of the mat since college, and I've been in financial difficulties, although not perhaps the total reliance of a priest, but I'm pretty sure if my boss tried to sodomize me, I'd hit him until it stopped.

I think most psychologically normal men would do the same and wouldn't even think about it, it'd just be instinct, like swerving away from an oncoming car. Again, not talking about teenagers and boys, a whole different dynamic could be at play, but seminarians are typically grown men aren't they? I intuitively think that's maybe the problem, is that they were thinking "too much" or something. Where does your head have to be at where you talk yourself into it?

The Social Pathologist said...


Why didn't any of the adult priests fight back?

I think you can't really narrow it down to one reason.

Firstly, I think many of the senior homosexuals are quite adept at spotting other men with homosexual proclivities, so they tend to target those who are more likely to be sympathetic to the lifestyle.

Secondly, many of the priests who enter the Seminary have high ideals and I imagine should they fail in these ideals they're going to be very embarrassed should they fail them. I wouldn't be at all surprised if those who "dabbled a bit" in homosexuality are horrified at what they have done. This, of course, opens them to the opportunity for blackmail and enforced silence.

Thirdly, the Christian bias towards forgiveness instead of justice combined with the modern Christian conception of passivity in the face of evil produces in its victims and effective acceptance of being wronged, while at the same time a bias against pursuing justice. Effectively, they take the abuse and forgive the sinner. Hoping for conversion.

Fourthly, I think many of the hierarchy know just how hard sexual continence is and are understanding of failures and so are not quick to judge.

Fifthly, I think that the ideals of modern Kumbayah Christianity biases selection in favour of low T seminarians. (That's not to say that all seminarians are low T, it's just that the mean is.) A fighting Church will having fighting priests, a soy boy religion........well.

So I think you can't just narrow it down to one factor.

Overall, what's clear to me that the Church hierarchy, for whatever reason, thought justice to the victims was of secondary importance to whatever other imperative they had.

Unfortunately, this does tend to be a theme in modern Christian/Catholic thinking and is an example of the empozzment of the Church. Take Capital Punishment for example: Lots of blathering of the welfare of the criminal but zero thought to the justice owed to the victim, capital punishment becomes all about the sanctity of the criminal instead of the victim. A lot of "this type of thinking" infects the Church and I think it goes a long way to explaining the abuse crisis.

BTW, good comments at Z Man's.