September 28, 2018, Friday
Today is the 34th day since the publication of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s Testimony. (The full text is here; it was made public on the evening of August 25.)
Yesterday Vigano issued a new statement (link), dated September 29 (tomorrow), the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel.
Some readers have written saying they are confused by that dating. It is confusing; Vigano dated his letter tomorrow, but it appeared before it was dated, published yesterday on several websites.
Vigano’s main point is that Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, now the head of the Congregation for Bishops in Rome, can confirm (Vigano claims) that Pope Benedict issued sanctions in about 2009 or 2010 against then-Cardinal McCarrick.
Vigano asks Ouellet to come forward and confirm the truth of this assertion, which was a central element in Vigano’s Testimony.
Meanwhile, everyone is still waiting for an official response from the Vatican. The response was promised on September 10, 18 days ago (link). So it is evidently taking some time to get the response together. And there are all sorts of speculations on the internet about what it will contain, some saying the response will attack Vigano’s integrity, without addressing his charges, others saying no attack will be made on Vigano, but that his charges will be addressed, others saying the response will take some intermediary position between these two extremes. But up until now, no response.
So what is now happening seems to be a sort of “pause” in the “crisis.”
How did this crisis reach this pitch of intensity?
The crisis was sparked by three events this summer:
(1) the release on June 20 of the news that McCarrick had been “credibly accused” of molesting a minor during Christmastime in 1971, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, 47 years ago, when McCarrick, now 88, was about 41, and the alleged victim, now 62, was 16 and 17 (link, link and link); the charges were evidently made in late 2017 (“several months ago,” the archdiocese said); it has not been fully explained why the charges were made after 46 or 47 years, or how the charges were evaluated, or why the judgment was made public on June 20 by the New York archdiocese; after the judgment was made public, McCarrick at first said he had no recollection of the event, then resigned as a cardinal, then the Pope, dramatically, removed him from the College of Cardinal;
(2) the release on August 14 of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clerical sexual abuse in Pennsylvania (link);
(3) the release on the night of August 25 of Vigano’s testimony, in which he alleged that he had told Pope Francis about McCarrick’s serial sexual molestation of seminarians on June 23, 2013, but that Francis had not done anything to sanction McCarrick for five years, until this summer.
This summary necessarily condenses the history of this past summer.
A fuller account would detail how the single June 20 charge that led to McCarrick’s downfall was accompanied during late June and all of July by other reports, including that he had molested seminarians over many years. And the August 14 grand jury report was given massive coverage on the main television channels and media outlets in the US. So the abuse scandal was covered day after day, week after week, creating an ever-greater sense of outrage.
Thus, when Vigano released his Testimony, tracing the lack of oversight all the way to the very top of the hierarchy, many Catholics were fully prepared to say, “Ok, to put an end to these scandals, let’s hope the process will be reversed, and from the top down, there will be a cleansing, so that children will be protected, and the scandals ended, and the honor of the Church restored.”
So this has been a more than three-month period in which the psychological pressure on American Catholics — and especially on the clergy and hierarchy — has been ratcheted up almost daily.
And now there has been a moment of pause.
But nothing has been resolved.
And there is a sense that a whole series of inter-connected issues must be addressed:
(1) the issue of clerical abuse, first of all;
(2) the issue of the coverup of such abuse, even more scandalous than the abuse itself;
(3) the larger issue of Pope Francis and his government of the Church — first regarding action on the sexual abuse crisis, and its coverup, but also regarding his action, or lack of action, on many other matters — for, especially since Vigano’s August 25 Testimony, the issue of Francis and his government of the Church has taken center stage;
(4) the still larger issue of the general apostasy from the faith in our generation, first, perhaps (since Dr. Alfred Kinsey (link) in the 1940s, the invention of The Pill in the 1950s and the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s) on matters of sexual morality, but then also on central dogmatic teachings of the faith itself, from the divinity of Christ, to His Real Presence in the Eucharist, to the existence of the soul, or of such destinations for the soul as heaven, or hell, to the very existence of God, and even to the judgment that any action or thought at all is “good” or “evil,” as the “dictatorship of relativism” warned about by Benedict has spread its influence and strengthened its authority, and our culture increasingly accepts the teaching that no action can be judged right, or wrong.
Letter from a reader concerning Letter #62
The Letter discussed a HuffPost article by Maria Antonietta Calabro on the trips to China of two cardinals, in 2011 and 2013, noting that each trip was followed by a threat or accusation against a reigning pontiff
Good reporting with a twist from Calabro. But Bergoglio’s promotion of heterodox prelates as well as his avoiding the 5 Dubia Cardinals and the questions of Viganò, are scandalous. Borgia Popes could only cause local scandals. Modern media with immediate and worldwide scope allow Bergoglian scandals to reach every corner of the world nearly instantly. The collapse of vocations and the Universal Church during the 5 years after Vatican ll are only paralleled by similar devastation to the Church during Bergoglio’s 5 years of his catastrophic pontificate.
1) There now seems a possibility of schism. This would have high costs. My aim has been to seek, by every means, to argue to Francis and his advisers that truth-tellers in an ecclesial culture which has covered up the truth are needed, and in this way, before the schism occurs, to give Francis the chance to become the Pope the Church longs for… The alternative would only with difficulty not have staggering costs, terribly damaging to the Church, I think, in material and in spiritual terms… So love of the Church urges this course…
2) You write “5 Dubia Cardinals,” but most people have always said 4… however, there actually were five who signed the Dubia when they were mailed to the Pope, and the 5th cardinal then asked that his name not be made public, but he confirmed to me personally that he had signed (he said he did not agree with the text being made public). So, in truth, there were and are 5 Dubia cardinals, 4 publicly known, one still secret.
Note: Below, an article that I think deserves a wider audience.—RM
Read and Weep
The following article was published three days ago by Father John Zuhlsdorf. Father Zuhlsdorf was my fellow student in Father Reginald Foster’s Latin classes at the Gregorianum in the 1980s. I thought his article worth republishing here.
Read and weep: Soviet style “psych” tactics used against priests by bishops. (link)
Posted on 25 September 2018
by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
What I am about to post, read carefully.
Over the last few months I have been contacted by diocesan priests (and a religious) who were being sent by their bishops (superior) to be “evaluated” at one of these psych clinics for clergy. The most (in)famous of these in these USA is St. Luke’s in Maryland.
The pattern is alarmingly similar.
The priest has some sort of dust up in the parish (or wherever).
For example, a woman gets angry because he preached about contraception, someone claims that he as “boundary issues”, somebody on the staff says that he is “cold” or “remote”.
They complain to the bishop.
The bishop tells the priest – pressures the priest – to go for “evaluation”.
With great trepidation the priest obeys (an important point).
He goes for a week or two of evaluation, at the end of which he is told that there isn’t much wrong with him.
He goes home, thinking that all is well.
Shortly thereafter, he is called in to the bishop’s office, where he is told that the clinic sent the bishop a very different assessment.
The priest is diagnosed – and it is always about the same – narcissism and borderline bi-polar.
The bishop then really puts the screws to the man to go back that clinic for “treatment”.
He is told for three months or so.
But when he gets there, and they confiscate his mobile phone and even his shaving kit, and start pumping him full of drugs and monitoring/controlling email, he is told that he’ll be there for six months.
The horror show begins.
A common characteristic of the priests: they are conservative or traditionalists.
I have a friend who was forced into one of these places and, when we could talk on the phone, he told me that I wouldn’t believe the number of conservative men there and what they were reading.
And the fact that they are conservative is important, because conservatives tend to obey.
This is one of the reasons why bishops in past have slammed down hard on conservatives but they let libs do any damn thing they want.
Even if they are slightly inclined to be conservative themselves, they are moral cowards.
They know that libs will fight them like hell and they don’t want the fight.
But they can do anything they want to conservatives because they know that they tend to obey.
There are some clergy who really do need help.
However, bishops are using this process as a way of stomping out conservative or traditionalists in their dioceses.
And I have a suspicion that this is coordinated.
Why? In the last year, there was a period of a couple months in which several priests contacted me to tell me that they were going into the psych slammer at the order of their bishops.
Before that, I hadn’t had any such call or contact. It suddenly started, as if some bishops had, among themselves, decided that this was a good way to get rid of troublemakers.
It is almost as if, a one of their meetings, over evening cocktails, one of them grumbled about having this really traditional priest who was spreading his ideas about Latin and Communion rails. One of his pals, pouring another, piped up saying, “I’ll tell ya what works. Send him to St. Lukes for ‘evaluation’. They’ll send back something that can be used against him, one way or another. It’s expensive, but it works.” “Hey, thanks Bill! That’s a good idea…”
Rare and rare and rare as hen’s teeth are bishops who openly back their conservative priests.
Mind you… sending a guy for “treatment” is a really expensive endeavor.
A month in one of these slammers costs a diocese many 10ks of bucks (of YOUR money).
But they must figure that it is worth it, if they can intimidate priests into towing the line.
Think of the quip of Voltaire on hearing that the Brits after the Battle of Minorca shot Admiral Byng on the deck of his own ship “to motivate the others”.
As he put it in Candide, “Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres … In this country, it is good idea to kill an admiral once in a while to encourage the others.”
That’s what bishops are doing to priests. Slam down hard with this “treatment” on a priest and the rest of the presbyterate will get the message. In the long run, though it is expensive, it’s ideologically worth it.
Today I read at Dreher’s page a bit of a letter from a priest about this very topic. Dreher posted about The Kalchik Shakeup in Chicago.
Kalchik was pastor at a parish where people burned an infamous “gay” banner against the wishes of Card. Blase “Rabbit Hole” Cupich.
Kalchik was told that he had to get out of the parish, with minutes notice, or he would be arrested and that he was supposed to go for “evaluation”. Kalchik chose, instead, to go into hiding. I’m told that a prominent Catholic website will have an interview with Kalchik soon.
Here’s what I read at Dreher’s. Read and weep.
A parish priest e-mails:
There is nothing that the laity can do to protect priests. Bishops have total authority over us. We can certainly walk away. We can leave. But Kalchick is a great example of what happens when a priest stands up to his bishop’s agenda. He’s probably done as a priest.
He can submit to St. Luke’s and get the evaluation, but St. Luke’s has an alliance with the bishops as well. It’s the bishops who pay the bill. When a priest goes there the priest must sign a release for everything he discusses to be turned over to the bishop and the diocese. So how is he supposed to deal with any real psychological issues he might have knowing that the data is going to be sent back to the bishop and put into files or even potentially released or used against him? Point being, the priest isn’t free. It’s a coercive environment. It’s rigged against priests and the information can be used by bishops to continue to manipulate those priests for years to come, all under the guise of “I just want Fr. X to be healthy.” What they are really after is reconditioning priests to act within a particular safe metric to avoid bad publicity or cause problems. Sounds a bit Orwellian doesn’t it?
Another side of this is that bishops have to hold liability insurance on their priests and if the priests have some kind of HR problem or Occupational Problem in their parish, the insurance companies are demanding bishops send them to places like St. Luke’s for a kind of “reconditioning therapy” that they don’t actually need. The priests are not actually in any kind of need of psychological assistance, but for the Diocese to continue to have the covered with liability insurance the insurance company puts pressure on the bishop for them to demonstrate that they have taken measures to lessen liability. A St. Luke’s program of 6 months of incarceration and therapy with 5 years of outpatient programming is just such a program. All of this goes into the priest’s file and is held against him the rest of his career to be trotted out any time he gets out of line.
Notice, none of this has to do with the abuse of children. Perhaps some with moral failure or bad decisions. Maybe decisions that would cause a layperson to lose their job. But in the priesthood, you get the shame of six months of incarceration in a lock-down facility and forced psychological treatment that even these facilities know you do not need. But they participate in the sham because it’s big revenue and they are cashing in on the bishop’s need to cover their liability. This is happening in large numbers throughout the country to priests.
This whole business bothers me enormously, to the point that a couple weeks ago I had an unsettling dream about creating a haven for priests, like a prepper redoubt, in Montana or some such place. They would be funneled to the redoubt, set up like a Camaldolese community, through a kind of underground railroad. I digress.
My point is that this is a real problem. Be on the watch for it.
This is what Communists did in the former Soviet union. If a person dissented, he must be mentally ill. Kill or send most to the camps, but diagnose some with “sluggish schizophrenia” and “treat them”… pour encourager les autres. Word gets around what’s in store for dissenters.
I find it interesting that Fr. Kalchik fought back. Especially in this time.
As for a priest friend of mine who was in one of these places? After a few months of “treatment” I barely recognized his conversation, his focus was shot, and his words were slurred.
Wanna fight back?
Send your diocesan donations to the TMSM. Money and bad press are about the only things some of these people understand.
Maybe it is time to cut off all funds and channel them only to trustworthy traditional causes.
[End, Father Zuhlsdorf’s piece]
Have you ever wished to visit St. Peter’s Basilica in the early morning, when the doves are beginning to glide across a nearly empty St. Peter’s square? Have you ever wished to visit Assisi, and pray at the tomb of St. Francis in the crypt of his 13th-century basilica, or at the tomb of St. Clare in her basilica, built of alternating pink and white stones?
Join Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages and you will be able to experience this and more..