As the “gay”-friendly Pope Bergoglio announces in his umpteenth newspaper interview that he is considering the introduction of married priests and female deacons, it is long past time to take Ferrara’s advice to “pull the plug” on the rotting corpse by ending all financial support for diocesan and international Church structures (as opposed to individual orthodox priests, orders and parishes). Not one more farthing for “Peter’s Pence”!
Whatever Happened to the Clerical Sex Scandal? (‘Pulling the Plug’ 15 Years Later)
As the recent “pedophile summit” in Rome demonstrates, the decadent Novus Ordo establishment cannot and will not reform itself. Catholics should simply allow the thing to die.
The international press corps that gathered in Rome to attend the “little synod” on the homosexual priest scandal (persistently mischaracterized as the “pedophile summit”) was full of cynicism about the event. And why not? Cynicism is the only reasonable attitude toward the American hierarchy’s professed rationale for the cardinals’ “emergency” trip to Rome. To quote Cardinal Stafford: “The American bishops indicated it would be helpful to have the wisdom of the Holy Father, so the response was, ‘Let’s have a conversation’…” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 19, 2002) Oh sure. After forty years of ordaining homosexuals in defiance of the Vatican’s never-enforced instruction that “those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination,” the American bishops suddenly yearn to sit at the feet of the Holy Father to receive his wise prescription for all the crimes committed by all the homosexual priests they illicitly ordained. Let us examine this amazingly disingenuous claim.
A Roman Luncheon
What “wisdom” did the cardinal representatives receive from the Holy Father in Rome? As Bishop Wilton Gregory (head of the USCCB) reported, he and the cardinals had “a wonderful conversation” with the Pope. A wonderful conversation about an entirely preventable epidemic of homosexual molestation by priests. After this wonderful conversation, “His Holiness invited the American Cardinals and Bishops to lunch, to continue their discussion of some of the themes raised at the meeting.” (Final Communiqué, April 24, 2002)
A wonderful conversation. Lunch with the Pope. A discussion of themes. And what theme, exactly, did the Holy Father settle upon for dealing with the homosexual infiltration of the clergy and the resulting explosion of indictable sex crimes against altar boys and countless other innocent victims? Apparently the theme adopted was the old familiar one: “Let the bishops handle it.” It’s their problem, not the Pope’s. In fact, at the disastrous press conference of March 21, Cardinal Castrillón sniffed that Pope John Paul II could hardly be expected to spend time issuing statements condemning the scandal because “The Pope is worried over peace in the world.” (New York Times, March 22, 2002) But God has made the Pope custodian of the Catholic Church, not the world. What about peace in the Church? During the “little synod” the Pope condemned the sexual abuse of children as a “crime,” but avoided even the slightest rebuke or discipline of the bishops and cardinals who allowed these crimes to occur and then attempted to hide the evidence. Instead, he invited the cardinals to lunch to discuss “themes.”
The wisdom of the Holy Father, then, was to leave the matter right where it had been before the Roman luncheon: in the laps of the same feckless hierarchs who have presided over the scandal and tried to cover it up for decades. The Pope would not even mandate the token gesture of an apostolic visitation of American seminaries. The Final Communiqué merely states that at the USCCB meeting in June “we [the cardinals] will propose an Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and religious houses of formation, giving special attention to their admission requirements and the need for them to teach Catholic moral doctrine in its integrity.” After forty years of scandal, heresy, corruption and cover-up, the cardinals now propose that the bishops vote on whether to invite Rome to investigate the moral and doctrinal integrity of American seminaries. But since when do the bishops propose to Rome an apostolic visitation, as opposed to being ordered by Rome to submit to one? Yet again we see how the conciliar notion of “collegiality” has turned the Catholic Church upside down: the bishops propose and the Pope disposes.
The Real Point of the Roman Junket
For this the cardinals were “summoned” to Rome? The same non-result could have been achieved at a “little synod” anywhere in the United States. What, really, was the point of the “emergency” trip to Rome? In a word, the point was drama—drama for the delectation of the press. If you were there, as I was, you would know this to a certainty.
For the bishops, you see, the real crisis in this matter has never been the profusion of sex crimes committed by homosexual priests, or the irreparable harm done to thousands of victims and their families, or even the multiple RICO suits alleging an interstate episcopal conspiracy to obstruct justice by covering up the evidence of the crimes and spiriting off the perpetrators to new assignments. The bishops had no problem hard-balling their way through all that stuff, litigating and approving payouts and confidentiality agreements that (so they hoped) would ensure perpetual silence. Sex-scandal management is just part of the job description for bishops of the conciliar renewal. No, it was one thing and one thing only that drove the cardinals to Rome: the recent unrelenting press coverage of the scandal. From the bishops’ perspective, the real crisis was the continuing public exposure of their revolting misdeeds.
Thus, the whole Roman junket—the wonderful conversation with the Pope, the papal luncheon, the “themes” for discussion, the “working group” with its “work sessions”, the daily press briefings at the North American College and the Vatican Press Office, the unveiling of the laughable “Final Communiqué” to a room packed with reporters—all of it was intended to sate the media beast with a moment of high drama, a fitting conclusion to the long story arc of the scandal. Perhaps if the bishops could shovel enough audio and visual drama bits into the satellite dishes, video lenses and tape-recorders gathered together in Rome like so many hungry maws, the many-headed beast would eat its fill, push away the plate and move on to the next feast of scandal.
Is this too cynical an assessment even where cynicism is warranted? Not at all. Consider that the momentous deliberations of the “little synod” produced exactly one semi-specific proposal for actually dealing with all the homosexual predators the bishops have loosed upon the Church. To quote the Final Communiqué:
In other words, these princes of the Church propose that the bishops vote on whether to recommend a process to expel child molesters from the priesthood—but only if the molestation is notorious, serial and predatory. A three-pronged test! Shades of law school and bluebook exams in criminal law! Do I detect a lawyer at work? Indeed, with all the pending RICO suits, both the Vatican and the North American hierarchy have to be careful about the wording of any statements that could constitute a binding institutional obligation or an admission of wrongdoing. It has come to this.
And what do the bishops propose to do about the seedbed of the whole scandal—the “gay subculture” they have allowed to flourish in the seminaries, chanceries and parishes? Why, absolutely nothing. The cardinals would not even float a proposal to exclude homosexuals from the seminaries and the sacred priesthood. Yet in answer to my question at the first press briefing, Bishop Gregory admitted that “it is an ongoing struggle to make sure that the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men.” Despite this devastating admission by the very head of United States bishops’ conference, the Vatican instruction will continue to be ignored. Thus, a new bumper crop of homosexual ordinands is guaranteed—and with it a new harvest of scandal for the Church.
After his return from the “little synod”, Cardinal Bernard Law gave an interview in which he protested that “We were not there to make decisions.” There were not even any decisions about what to do in the future with predators like John Geoghan and Paul Shanley, both of whom Law coddled and protected for years. As I write this column, Shanley, who molested dozens upon dozens of boys and publicly advocated “man-boy love” at a homosexual convention, has finally been arrested in San Diego for the rape of a minor—in the confessional. As the whole world knows (thanks only to the press coverage and plaintiffs’ lawyers), instead of turning Shanley over to the police, Law reassigned him and gave him favorable recommendations to the Diocese of San Bernadino and the Archdiocese of New York, knowing full well that Shanley was a monster. The Archdiocesan files Law fought so ferociously to keep secret contain many damning documents among the 800 produced so far. These include not only the letters of recommendation for Shanley, but Archdiocesan correspondence with the Vatican itself about Shanley’s history, including his advocacy of “man-boy love.” The Vatican, like Law, did nothing.
No, Law never intended to make any decisions in Rome. Neither did the other cardinals. And neither did the Vatican apparatus, which keeps traditionalist priests firmly under its thumb while doing nothing to prevent the crimes of homosexual priests on every continent—that is, until the press got into the act. But all the press scrutiny has produced so far is a dramatic production entitled “The Pope Summons the Cardinals to the Vatican”—a summons solicited by the bishops themselves, as Cardinal Stafford revealed. The Vatican was merely the stage set for this little production, and a rapidly fading, ineffectual pope the principal prop. No one from the Vatican apparatus even appeared on stage during the two press briefings, except the papal press agent, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, and Cardinal Stafford (an American), who heads the completely irrelevant Pontifical Council for the Laity. (I sat there and listened in disgust as Stafford truckled to John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, assuring him that yes, John, of course we want to see more involvement of the laity in Church governance, John.)
Cardinal Castrillón and Cardinal Ratzinger, the two prelates whose dicasteries actually have jurisdiction over the scandal, would have nothing to do with the briefings. They knew a flop production when they saw one. So did the American cardinals, who left the final briefing to the crafty McCarrick and the clueless Stafford. When members of the press asked why none of the other cardinals, especially Law, was present at the final briefing, they were told that all the other cardinals had unbreakable prior engagements—at 10:00 p.m., when the only reason they had come to Rome in the first place was to attend this very event. Even in Rome, with the whole world watching, the dissembling continued. It seems these men cannot help themselves.
For Law, there was more dramaturgy back in Boston. During a “special Mass for hope and healing” on April 28, Law had the astounding gall to preach that “These are not easy days to serve in the pastoral role that is mine. All of us are wounded healers.” (LA Times, April 30, 2002) Law is a criminally negligent obstructer of justice, who has harbored no fewer than 80 sex criminals in his Archdiocese, according to the list he himself turned over to the police. Between Geoghan and Shanley alone there are at least 500-600 victims. That Law would even attempt to make himself an object of pity—instead of resigning and begging forgiveness from all the victims of his steely determination to conceal criminal activity—is an indictment not only of Law, but the whole Novus Ordo establishment, of which Law is supposed to represent the most “conservative” element.
No one has more eloquently expressed the righteous contempt the victims have for this establishment than Arthur Austin, who as a boy was abused for years by Shanley. After the court-ordered production of the Archdiocesan files that revealed what Law knew about Shanley and when he knew it, Austin issued this anguished plea for justice:
Defending the Regime of Novelty
The “little synod” in Rome is beneath cynicism, beneath contempt. It was an exercise in cold-blooded public relations by men who preside over a corrupt institution they have no intention of really reforming. This is not just a question of homosexual predators whose crimes can no longer be concealed. It is a question of the Faith itself. These men, these “power-brokers of the Roman Catholic Church”, have demonstrated abundantly that the only thing they are willing to defend without compromise is their own stake in the decrepit regime of novelty which, for nearly forty years, they have unswervingly imposed upon Catholics in place of the faith of our fathers.
In the Diocese of Rapid City, SD we find a prime example of this fierce commitment to the decadent and dying Novus Ordo: Bishop Blase Cupich. Cupich is a living refutation of the neo-Catholic bromide that the younger priests and prelates of the Novus Ordo are going to turn things around, just you wait and see. Cupich is the youngest bishop in America, if not the world.
Cupich has grudgingly allowed a single “indult” Latin Mass on Sunday in Rapid City, at the Immaculate Conception Church on Fifth Street. But there he draws the line on all this tradition stuff. Cupich refused to permit the traditional Good Friday and Easter vigil services at Immaculate Conception. To ensure that his edict would be followed, he locked the parishioners out of their own church from Holy Thursday morning until Easter morning. The Iowa Journal reported that “the members of St. Michael's congregation will gather at 3 p.m. today for Good Friday services on the sidewalk in front of the church.” And so they did.
Cupich, caring and compassionate Novus Ordo shepherd that he is, coldly insists that the Ecclesia Dei indult is only a temporary provision aimed at “mainstreaming” diehard traditionalists into the new liturgy, whether they like it or not, and that Holy Week is as good time as any to begin the process of assimilation into the Novus Ordo: “Eventually, Catholics have to understand that the reform of the Second Vatican Council is, in fact, an improvement and is important to our spiritual life,” said Cupich. Yes, like Winston Smith in George Orwell’s fictional Oceania, Catholics of the postconciliar springtime must learn to understand that two plus two really is five.
Not long ago Cupich was seen breaking the ground for the new “Sioux Spiritual Center” in Rapid City. The news photo shows him in his flowing white Novus Ordo gown, daintily poking a ceremonial shovel into the dirt. According to the Rapid City Journal of November 9, 2000, the Sioux Spiritual center has been built to serve the Lakota Indian tribe. “When it's complete next spring, the 40-foot diameter, octagon-shaped log building—which will feature a 16-foot high ceiling and windows that face the four directions—will replace an old chapel that's too small to accommodate the many groups that use the center for weekend retreats, educational seminars and lay ministry training programs.” The Sioux Spiritual Center will host weekend retreats, “many of them inculturated programs designed specifically for Lakota Catholics.” According to Father Steve Mitten, the director of the Sioux Spiritual Center, “Our purpose is to work for the Lakota people as they develop their own church in their own style—a real Catholic Church rooted in their culture and traditions.” The Sioux Spiritual Center will offer “recovery retreats for native people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction that allow them to draw on both Christian and Lakota religious traditions for spiritual healing.”
Bishop Cupich provides a place for the Lakota tribe and “Lakota religious traditions” in his Novus Ordo diocese, but he casts into the street those who wish to adhere to Catholic religious traditions on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. As Michael Matt would say: “Folks, you couldn’t make this stuff up.” Cupich is the very model of a Novus Ordo bishop. He is the very exemplar of the crisis we must still endure.
Yes, some bishops are rather more tolerant than Cupich toward Catholics who wish to worship in accordance with Catholic tradition. But that is precisely what is so astonishing and so unprecedented about the current ecclesial crisis: the traditional Roman Rite of the Holy Catholic Church has been reduced to a mere object of toleration in the Novus Ordo, a rather dreadful thing to be sealed off in hermetic locations as if it were strain of anthrax that might infect the rest of the Church. Under no circumstances will the executors of the Novus Ordo establishment, be they in the Vatican or in the local chancery office, ever admit that what they make such a great show of permitting in a spirit of toleration is actually the birthright of all Roman Catholics, the untouchable patrimony of the Church which they have stolen, and which they now propose to return piecemeal to a few of the victims—provided the victims are sufficiently grateful to the thieves for their generosity in giving back a little of what was never theirs to take in the first place. One hears again and again about Catholics who happened across an “indult” Mass at some mausoleum chapel or other obscure outpost and were moved to tears by the realization of what has been stolen from them and their families. Yet the perpetrators of this incalculable crime, with the devastation of the Roman Rite arrayed before their unblinking eyes, will not concede that a crime has been committed.
Of course, the theft of Tradition by the Novus Ordo establishment involves much more than the Latin liturgy. From neo-modernist martinets like Mahony, to Hogarthian “conservatives” like Law, from the highest-ranking Vatican prelates to the most obscure diocesan bishop, they are all of one mind: every element of the postconciliar regime of novelty must be preserved without compromise. There must never be a return to the dreaded “preconciliar Church,” with its elitist, male-dominated Latin liturgy, its abhorrence of liberal thinking, its quaint claim to be the sole ark of salvation. To recall the infamous phrase of Cardinal Castrillón, who supervises the traditionalist reservation called Ecclesia Dei, traditionalists must be prepared to accept “the outcome of their insertion into the ecclesial reality of today.” (30 Days Magazine, No. 11-2000, p. 17) (Cardinal Castrillón was referring in particular to the priests of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. And now we read, to our horror, that the French regional superior of the Fraternity seriously defends the scandal of Assisi 2002 as completely consistent with the teaching of Pope Pius XI!—the very Pope who directed the Church to pray that Jews, Muslims and idolators be delivered from their darkness, and who called the Protestant version of the Gospel “mutilated and corrupt,” forbidding all Catholic involvement in ecumenical (much less pan-religious) congresses.)
On May 3, 2002, the New York Times published yet another poll of Catholic opinion. It seems that the Pope’s approval rating has plummeted 16 points (to 53 percent) on account of his failure to take any decisive action to remove sexual predators from the priesthood. The same poll repeats a finding that is already common knowledge: that while Catholics admire the Pope, most of them do not follow papal teachings they find disagreeable. Substantial majorities reject the Pope’s teaching on women’s ordination and clerical celibacy, while 54 percent feel the Pope is more conservative than they are on moral questions. An overwhelming 70 percent of nominal Catholics reject the papal teaching on contraception. But 65 percent of Catholics feel that their local parish priest “is in touch with the needs of modern Catholics.” Exactly. The Novus Ordo is intimately in touch with “the needs of modern Catholics.” And that is why the Novus Ordo is a decadent and dying thing. For just as the great majority of “modern Catholics” have embraced a life of self-induced sterility, so has the Novus Ordo embraced the sterile novelties of the postconciliar epoch. An infertile ecclesial establishment that cannot attract enough normal, healthy males to perpetuate itself ministers to an infertile Catholic populace that cannot provide enough priestly vocations. The postconciliar crisis in the Church is a vicious cycle of barrenness, both physical and spiritual.
Let It Die
The current scandal should finally make it clear to everyone that the time has come for serious Catholics to cease supporting the corrupt Novus Ordo establishment. Let the thing die of its own excesses, for as the “little synod” demonstrates, the men who control this establishment will never restore it to anything resembling the vibrant Church that a long line of militant, uncompromising Popes delivered into their hands at Vatican II. For heaven’s sake, the men who govern the Church today require a Vatican summit meeting to agonize over whether serial child molesters should be defrocked. From the Vatican on down, through deliberate decisions and criminal neglect, the servitors of Vatican II have laid waste to the liturgy, the perennial clarity of Catholic teaching, the Church’s militant opposition to worldly thinking, the traditional formation in seminaries, the religious orders, the missions, the trust of the faithful in their own priests—in short, the very life of the Church—and dare to call it a renewal. We must no longer subsidize the malpractice of the architects of ruin. Nor must we join the neo-Catholics in their mindless applause when one of these incompetents attempts to repoint a brick or two in the crumbling façade they have erected to obscure the Church of old.
Withdrawing all support from the Novus Ordo establishment is not the same as withdrawing all support from the official structure of the Church. There are many ways to support the few things that are still working within the official structure without battening the likes of Mahony, Law and McCarrick. First of all, if Catholics have access to an indult Latin Mass, they can earmark donations strictly for the support of the indult parish or slip generous stipends to the priest who offers the indult Mass. Catholics should also be finding ways to support, privately and quietly, the many good priests who, in spite of everything, can still be found in the Novus Ordo; the normal, healthy men who keep their vows and yearn for the manly, militant Roman Catholic priesthood that once was, not so long ago. Many of these priests—and I have met quite a few—live in fear of their bishop, who can at any moment consign them to an ecclesial gulag on suspicion of excessive orthodoxy. Unlike Father Shanley and his fellow homosexual predators, for these good priests there will be no favorable letters of recommendation or plush new assignments. Traditionalists should befriend the good priests entrapped in the Novus Ordo, helping them in every way to walk the road back to Tradition, even if the first step is as small as getting rid of altar girls or “eucharistic ministers” or reading a copy of Iota Unum.
In any case, not one farthing should be contributed to any of the grand projects of the Mahonys, the Laws, the Egans, the McCarricks. No money from the faithful should ever again find its way into the general coffers of dioceses that ordain homosexuals and otherwise perpetuate the Novus Ordo debacle. Catholics should inform their local Novus Ordo prelate that they will be happy to donate to the diocese once again, as soon as His Eminence has expelled all the homosexuals and feminist nuns from the seminary, the parishes and the chancery, granted liberal access to the traditional Mass at convenient times and places for all who request it, abolished sex education in the diocesan schools, mandated and rigorously enforced orthodox preaching and catechesis, and restored every one of the Catholic traditions—by all means provide a comprehensive list!—which His Eminence has suppressed in the name of the “renewal” of Vatican II. Likewise as to the Vatican: not a penny for Peter’s Pence until the Vatican apparatus drops its fraudulent pretense that the traditional Mass is de jure forbidden without an “indult”, ceases its insane hounding of traditionalists, and begins meting out serious discipline to the Church’s real enemies, including the summary removal of frauds like Mahony.
And in the Meantime?
Obviously, it will take a miracle or another Saint Pius X to bring about the inevitable restoration of the Church. Besides withholding our support from the rapidly collapsing Novus Ordo, what else can we do as we await the return of Tradition? We can, and must, support the existing traditionalist orders. That means supporting the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, assuming it manages to resist the increasing pressure to be “inserted” into the ruinous “ecclesial reality of today.” It also means supporting the Society of Saint Pius X by praying and petitioning for its unconditional regularization by the Pope. The current negotiations between SSPX and the Vatican are completely unnecessary. The clergy and laity of SSPX are faithful Catholics, and the Pope should simply declare this. It is not Bishop Fellay, but Cardinal Mahony who needs to achieve “full communion” with Rome. It is not the lay adherents of SSPX, but the contracepting Catholics who fill the pews of the Novus Ordo who are lacking in adherence to the Vicar of Christ.
Archbishop Lefebvre’s radical critique of the conciliar revolution has been vindicated. The Novus Ordo arose in a rebellion against Tradition, was sustained by the love of vain novelties, and is ending with the fall of consecrated souls. Lefebvre knew with an insider’s knowledge the decadence of the establishment that sought to crush his traditional Catholic seminary, while ignoring the neo-modernist and homosexual invasion of the Church. With even 30 Days magazine suggesting recently that Lefebvre and Savonarola may both someday be canonized as saintly critics of reigning ecclesial corruption, it is time for sensible people to abandon the ridiculous claim that Archbishop Lefebvre was a schismatic, while Roger Mahony is in union with Rome. Schism is a state of mind, not a mere departure from diocesan real estate. As Saint Athanasius wrote to his flock: “You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? The true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in the struggle—the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith?” Mahony keeps the premises, but Lefebvre kept the faith. And so do the traditionalist Catholics now condemned as “Lefebvrists” by the Novus Ordo establishment and its neo-Catholic flunkeys.
“Healing and Forgiveness”
When the current scandal could no longer be pried from the jaws of the slathering media jackals, the Novus Ordo’s episcopal CEOs suddenly began talking a great deal about “healing” and “forgiveness”—corporate buzzwords for a corporation in deep trouble with the public. But where is the healing for Roman Catholic traditionalists, who for forty years have rightly resisted the regime of novelty whose collapse into scandal the world now delights in mocking? And where is the forgiveness for Archbishop Lefebvre in his one act of conscientious disobedience, an act that looks more and more like the heroic stand of Saint Athanasius? In a Church beset by prelates like Mahony, Law and McCarrick, a Church infested by heresiarchs and sexual deviants who call themselves Father, a Church in which most of the people in the pews blithely ignore any teaching they do not like, there is healing and forgiveness for everyone, it seems, except those who wish to be Catholics as their fathers were Catholics. For Catholics who cling to the faith of our fathers, exactly as it was before Vatican II, there is no healing or forgiveness, but only declarations of excommunication and schism, or a tenuous toleration, or the cold, hard sidewalk outside a locked parish church on Good Friday.
The Pope is probably already too far gone to reverse the enormous disaster that threatens to become the real legacy of his pontificate. But the Pope could change the course of history and demolish the Adversary’s best-laid plans with a single papal act: a decree annulling the so-called excommunication and schism of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the bishops he consecrated, and erecting a worldwide traditionalist patriarchate, blessedly independent of the Novus Ordo establishment. By this act alone the Pope would launch all the forces necessary to begin the restoration of the Church. God, the faithful and history would bless him for it.
Let the healing and forgiveness begin.