Thursday, August 2, 2018

McCarrick and the Deafening Silence

Former Cardinal McCarrick forced his attentions on seminarians for years. Though complaints were made as long as two decades ago, they were turned away until recently when it was admitted that the evidence was credible. I explain this because if I hadn't mentioned it to my husband he'd never have heard about it. He doesn't seek out Catholic news and the newspaper and TV news we frequent hadn't mentioned it.

First I was horrified and furious that the complaints were shoved under the carpet even after we'd been assured the sex scandals were a thing of the past, that victims were being heard, that new policies were in place to prevent reoccurrence — even as one of the biggest movers and shakers (McCarrick) was an offender whose sins were apparently an open secret among his fellow bishops. And that is the most horrifying of all. Some of the bishops who'd received information are those who I respect and trust the most. And their silence has been deafening. Those whited sepulchers.

I've had nothing to say on the topic that others haven't but these are pieces that say particularly well what is in my heart.

If an excerpt catches your eye, be sure to go read the whole piece (links are in the subheads). There's no way I can really capture them with these snippets.

DarwinCatholic: A Moral Crisis
A good summing up, well reasoned, calm and to the point.
Any leader in the church, lay or clerical, who thinks that it is in any way advantageous to the church to keep quiet and allow a bishop to cover up a life of grave sin is a leader that we do not need.

We are all sinners, some may say. Who are we to judge? How can we say that we won't tolerate a sinner as a bishop?

All bishops are sinners. All of us are sinners. But if someone is to be a leader in the church, he should be prepared to admit his sins, repent of them, and resolve not to commit them again.

Elizabeth Scalia: How to Restore a Church in Scandal? Begin With a Collective Confession.
Scalia has already been pointing out that it is now the laity's work to insist on our bishops doing the right thing and holding leadership to a real accounting. She continues with thoughts on just how that works.
Making an address to the Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in June of 1972, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said something most relevant to our times:
Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.

There is a great deal of work to be done, and as I have written elsewhere, the laity must necessarily be part of that work. As we discern how to proceed, we can immediately do two things:
  • Pray for our priests, by name when we can, every day and at every Mass.
  • Do penance for the sins of our Church, and be willing to suffer a bit for the sake of its restoration to spiritual health.

Ross Douthat: The Truth About Cardinal McCarrick
One of the best things that the bishops of the American Catholic Church did during the great wave of sex abuse revelations 16 years ago — and yes, there’s a low bar for “best” — was to establish a National Review Board, staffed by prominent layman, with the authority to commission an independent report on what exactly had happened in the church.

The result was a careful analysis by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice that detailed the patterns of priestly sex abuse in American Catholicism between 1950 and 2002 ...

Now, unfortunately, it needs to happen again. But what needs to be commissioned this time, by Pope Francis himself if the American bishops can’t or won’t, isn’t a synthetic overview of a systemic problem. Rather, the church needs an inquest, a special prosecutor — you can even call it an inquisition if you want — into the very specific question of who knew what and when about the crimes of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and why exactly they were silent.

Get Religion: Why didn't journalists investigate McCarrick earlier? Because they thought conservatives were out to get him
It turns out that bishops aren't the only ones keeping silent. Journalists saw plenty of smoke, but ignored the fire.
Certain reporters could not lay aside their biases against church conservatives to investigate whether there was a fire behind all the smoke.

Journalism rule #1: Never, never assume that someone is crying wolf.

Journalism rule #2: Never assume the folks – whose viewpoints you disagree with – have nothing of value to say.

I agree a lot of bishops are to blame for not bringing this mess to light a lot earlier. But so are the journalists who heard about this years ago and chose to do nothing.

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