Posts

The Abuse Summit: It’s Only the Beginning

Robert Royal: People are happy that McCarrick has finally been defrocked, but now we need to deal with other abusers and enablers. 

February is not high tourist season in Rome. Skies are gray and temperatures low. St. Peter’s Square is relatively empty. But journalists filled the nearby Press Office earlier this week – more, according to one veteran, than since the death of St. John Paul II –because of the summit on the sex abuse crisis, which begins this evening with meetings between abuse survivors and participants, and continues Thursday through Saturday with formal sessions, parts of which will be streamed on the Vatican website. A video of the opening press briefing with remarks by Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop Scicluna, and other key figures is available by clicking here.

To be frank, it’s hard to say why so many journalists are here since no one, including Church spokesmen, expects that anything very dramatic will happen over the next few days – at least not in the formal sessions. What happens outside and around them, however, may be a different matter.

When the summit was announced last September, partly because of papal missteps in handling abuse cases in Chile, it seemed that the Church was going to take some large steps forward. There have been many smaller steps for years in many places around the world, everything from easier reporting mechanisms to better human formation in seminaries to the unprecedented laicization last weekend of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Expectations ran high, not least because the Holy Father asked the American bishops, during their annual November meeting, not to vote on ways to hold bishops accountable – whether they are abusers themselves, like McCarrick, or covered up abuse by people under their authority. They were told to wait until a uniform approach could be developed in February when many of the presidents of bishops’ conferences and heads of religious orders would gather together in Rome.

But Vatican spokesmen have more recently been encouraging people to lower expectations; and the focus this week is quite different: “The Protection of Minors in the Church.” That, of course, is a worthy goal. In many parts of the Catholic world, rules are in place, but there hasn’t been serious follow through. If the next few days bring proven practices to new places, that will be all to the good.

But it’s also much less than we were hoping for. And in America, we’ve already come a long way towards responding to the part of the abuse crisis that involves priests. We have been expecting – and had been told – that the next phase would be figuring out how to hold bishops accountable. That’s been a continuing problem, not only in America, but in Chile, Honduras, Australia, Europe, the pope’s own Argentina, and the Vatican itself.

People are happy that McCarrick has been expelled from the priesthood, for example, but they want to know how it was possible for a man widely rumored to be an abuser to have moved up in the hierarchy and eventually become cardinal-archbishop of the capital of the most powerful nation on earth. Three popes and dozens of Vatican officials are now part of the story. Pope Francis has promised an investigation into the files. It’s almost a year later and we’ve heard nothing of that, not even whether there’s an active inquiry underway.


Pope Francis by Will Oliver/EPA-EFE

Meanwhile, a new book, which will be officially released Thursday, the first day of the summit here in Rome, claims that 80 percent of the upper echelons of the Vatican are gay. Some remain celibate, others act out in various ways, but they form what, in local parlance, is called “the Parish,” a network of people who either cover for one another or, given their own inclinations, look the other way.

Or at least that’s what Frederic Martel, the author, says. Martel is a gay activist in France and his motives in publishing this book at this particular moment are suspect – as are some of his wilder claims. But he seems to have conducted thousands of interviews with various figures from high-placed Cardinals to Swiss Guards, and quotes some by name.

The excerpts that have appeared so far raise as many questions as they answer. But the whole matter of the gay presence in the Church and its role as an enabler – which the summit organizers are avoiding, indeed are denying is a factor – will not go away.

Martel says (and there’s no reason to doubt it since there have been no denials forthcoming) that his access to the Vatican was facilitated by Msgr. Battista Ricca, who is Director of the Papal Residence (i.e., Casa Santa Marta) and an official with the Vatican Bank. Ricca was widely known to have had a boyfriend or two when he was a Vatican diplomat in Uruguay. And he was caught in an elevator with a boy prostitute.

It was in response to a reporter’s question about his past on the plane returning from World Youth Day in 2013 that Pope Francis famously remarked, ““If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

But it’s partly the pope’s judgment in such matters that has raised further questions. Not only the bishop he wrongly defended in Chile, but even recent appointments like that of Gustavo Zanchetta – a bishop accused of abusing seminarians in Argentina and a friend of the pope’s – to a specially created post at one of the Vatican financial institutions. He had to be removed while investigations are going on.

And then there’s the recent naming of Irish-American Cardinal Kevin Farrell to the position of camerlengo, the official who declares the pope officially dead and then runs the Vatican, with limited powers, during the interregnum, the period between the death of one pope and the election of another.

Farrell lived for six years in the same residence with then-Cardinal McCarrick and claimed – to widespread skepticism – that he had no knowledge of, had never even heard rumors about, McCarrick’s outrages. It’s curious that the pope would pick a potentially questionable figure for such a sensitive post.

All of this suggests that what goes on in the synod hall this week is the merest beginning to what will continue to be a large and troubling process. More on all that in coming days.

COLUMN BY

Robert Royal

Robert Royal

Dr. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column with images is republished with permission. © 2019 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own. The featured image is by Pixabay.

U.S. Catholic bishops complicit in Muslim persecution of Christians

Recently I was interviewed about the persecution by Catholic bishops of Catholic priests who enunciate unpopular truths about Islam.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

“Islamic Expert: US Bishops Complicit in Muslim Persecution of Christians,” by Anita Carey, ChurchMilitant.com, May 8, 2017:

DETROIT (ChurchMiltant.com) – A prominent Islamic expert is comparing the bishops’ silence on terrorism to sex abuse cover-up. Robert Spencer, an Islamic terror expert and author of 16 books on Islam, released an editorial Sunday excoriating the U.S. bishops’ actions to punish clergy and schoolteachers who speak out against Islam, including Spencer himself.

“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops moves actively and swiftly to silence and demonize voices that tell the truth about the Muslim persecution of Christians,” Spencer noted, naming various bishops who’ve refused him, as well as other Muslim critics, a platform in their dioceses.

“You can reject every element of the Nicene Creed and everything the Church teaches, and still the U.S. Catholic Bishops will consider you a Catholic in good standing,” he continued. “But if you believe that Islam is not a religion of peace, you have no place in the U.S. Catholic Church.”

Church Militant spoke with Spencer on his thoughts regarding the reasons why the U.S. bishops are so reluctant to speak out against the evil of Islam.

CM: At what point do you think the bishops started to pander to a politically correct agenda?

RS: This is an outgrowth of the confusion that overtook the Church in the wake of Vatican II, and the popular but erroneous idea among liberal Catholics that the Church had discarded its tradition and dogmas and essentially embraced the leftist agenda. This idea took root in earnest in the 1960s, but began germinating long before that.

CM: Knowing the historical conflicts between Islam and Christianity, why would the bishops be so quick and severe toward those who are informing the laity? Why would they want the laity ignorant?

RS: This mystifies me, but my best assessment is that this is an outgrowth of the spirit of Vatican II, which called upon Muslims and Christians to set aside ancient antagonisms and find common ground. There is a general assumption among the bishops that just as Christianity has changed since the time of the Crusades, so also has Islam, and dialog will iron out any remaining differences.

In reality, this is an unfounded assumption, as Islamic teaching has not changed, and still contains an imperative to wage war against Christians and subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law. I would expect that most bishops, however, would dismiss the idea that Islamic teaching contains such an imperative as an “Orientalist” and “Islamophobic” false claim. They, however, are the ones who are ignorant.

CM: What do you think the bishops’ problem is with your talks and position on Islam?

RS: I’m told that Bp. Nicholas Samra believes that I am “spreading hate,” and since I was a member of his diocese, he himself told me that many bishops had approached him at the USCCB conference telling him that he had to “do something” about me. They apparently believe that I am harming the dialog they are conducting with Muslims, and they apparently also think that this dialog is producing results, even though Muslim persecution of Christians has increased exponentially since it began.

For my part, I reject the charge that I am spreading hate, and challenge Samra or any other bishop to quote a single hateful statement from my work. I am exposing facts that many would prefer to keep concealed; the “hate” charge is simply an attempt to make people of good will turn against my work.

CM: If the bishops do start to speak out against Islam, will it make Christian persecution worse or start an all-out war? 

RS: In Islamic law, Christians must live in subservience and submission to Islamic law. If they speak out about their plight, it will get even worse for them, and their lives could be forfeit. Thus they generally adopt an attitude of publicly praising and siding with those who persecute them, so that it won’t get even worse for them. This is the attitude that the bishops now appear to have adopted as well: Samra himself told me that I shouldn’t speak out against Muslim persecution of Christians, as doing so would only make matters worse for Middle-Eastern Christians.

While I am aware of that possibility, at the same time to dissimulate about the nature and magnitude of that persecution only misleads Christians outside the Middle East into complacency. It also just validates and reinforces violent intimidation. It is incumbent upon the bishops as messengers of the truth to tell the whole truth about what is happening to the Christians of the Middle East, and to reject a submission to Islamic intimidation that would condemn our children and our children’s children to slavery. To accept that intimidation and lie or remain silent because of it is only to encourage more such intimidation. They could speak out while working to ensure that the United States and other powers do everything they can to protect the remaining Christians in the Middle East from further persecution.

CM: What can the faithful do to influence the bishops or fight back against the liberal media?

RS: Call them to tell the truth. When they issue statements about Islam that are dishonest and misleading, challenge them. I have been severely criticized for criticizing bishops. Many Catholics seem to think that to do so is disloyal to the Church. On the contrary, I believe that not to call out bishops when they are sinful and wrong is even more disloyal to the Church. It is the kind of thinking that led to the pedophilia scandals.

RELATED ARTICLE: Video: The globalist agenda and President Trump’s immigration ban

RELATED VIDEO: Vice President Pence — ISIS Guilty Of Genocide Against Christians.

Catholic bishops call for ‘complete decarbonization’ by 2050, silent on Muslim slaughter of Christians

Complete decarbonization? You first, fellas. No more jetting to Rome to cause trouble for everyone by canonizing hard-Left Democratic Party policies. And let’s see you portly prelates start bicycling from parish to parish — no more driving for you, McManus. That wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

While the bishops call for this destruction of the global economy, they continue to ignore a genuine and growing threat from the global jihad.  Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan recently appealed to the West “not to forget the Christians in the Middle East.” And he is not the only one. “Why, we ask the western world, why not raise one’s voice over so much ferocity and injustice?” asked Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI). The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III has also said: “I do not understand why the world does not raise its voice against such acts of brutality.”

I do. It’s because the bishops in the West believe that the spurious and self-defeating “dialogue” they’re conducting requires them to be silent about Muslim persecution of Christians: “Talk about extreme, militant Islamists and the atrocities that they have perpetrated globally might undercut the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims.” — Robert McManus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, February 8, 2013

That’s why bishops such as McManus, Kevin Farrell of Dallas, Jaime Soto of Sacramento and others move actively to silence and demonize voices that tell the truth about this persecution. Meanwhile, their “dialogue” hasn’t persuaded a single jihadi to lay down his arms. Nor has it prevented a single Christian from being murdered by Muslims in pursuit of that jihad. Nor has it kept a single church from destruction at the hands of those jihadis.

The Church could have and should have been a voice for a genuinely charitable response to the jihad threat, and a robust defense of the value of Judeo-Christian civilization. Instead, it parrots Leftist talking points about climate change.

“Global bishops call for ‘complete decarbonisation’ by 2050,” AFP, October 26, 2015:

Bishops launched a global appeal Monday for a break-through at upcoming Paris climate talks, including a “complete decarbonisation” of the world’s economy and more help for poor countries battling the effects of climate change.

The bishops said any agreement “should limit global temperature increases to avoid catastrophic climatic impacts, especially on the most vulnerable communities”.

From across five continents they called “not only for ‘drastic reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide and other toxic gasses’, but also for ending the fossil fuel era”.

The goal should be “complete decarbonisation by mid-century, in order to protect frontline communities suffering from the impacts of climate change, such as those in the Pacific Islands and in coastal regions”.

The November 30-December 11 conference in Paris will be the culmination of six years of work since the ill-fated 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, which failed to lock down significant agreements.

The bishops urged those taking part to “keep in mind not only the technical but particularly the ethical and moral dimensions of climate change” as laid out in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Those responsible for climate change have responsibilities to assist the most vulnerable in adapting and managing loss and damage and to share the necessary technology and knowhow,” they said in a statement….

RELATED ARTICLES:

Syria: Islamic jihadis hit Roman Catholic church with mortar shell during Mass

Graphic video: Islamic State executes man by running him over with tank, justifies act by quoting Qur’an