The Catholic Church should not be shocked by the McCarrick case—it


As The Times made clear in its reporting, many church leaders had received multiple notices of the cardinal’s behavior. Local dioceses had been told, the papal nuncio in Washington, D.C., had been told and, eventually, even Pope Benedict XVI had been told.

But none of these reports interrupted Cardinal McCarrick’s rise through the ranks nor his appointment as cardinal nor his eventual retirement in 2006 as a respected leader of the U.S. church.

What does the Vatican need to do in light of this being made public?


I suppose a corrective solution might begin by ensuring that every Catholic seminary in every nation seeks candidates who are orthodox, truly Caholic, and completely chaste. They also must ensure that diocesan bureaucracies including the Vatican’s have not become part of the problem.

America Magazine takes a small step. Rod Dreher outlines the possible extent of the problem here:


Ultimately, they need to investigate how these reports fell through the cracks and how they can stop such things from falling through the cracks in the future.

On some level, I can understand. Some of the notices came in the form of accusations from a priest/former priest who was himself being accused of sexual misconduct. I can see why other bishops would not be inclined to take that seriously. And I can see how they would—in general—find it difficult to believe that another bishop would be capable of doing such things. I wouldn’t want to believe it is true either.


Which as far as I’m aware they’re either doing or have done.

What needs to be certain is that this sort of stuff isn’t continuously swept under the carpet and continuously kept quiet for decades on end.

No disrespect to Mother Church, but she needs to just drain her swamp.


There would no men to fill this bill. We believe in forgiveness and the ability for one to reform their lives.
The seminaries these days are doing everything they can to exclude men with disordered desires.


Immediately put in place and make CLEARLY KNOWN BY ALL mandatory guidelines that ANY abuse by ANY clergy or Seminarians in the Catholic Church is taken seriously, documented, checked out thoroughly and followed up on legally and within the Church’s ability & means of punishment. This isn’t a “look the other way issue” it is at the heart of our Catholic Church’s Faith, survival and growth.


My guess is that it would be difficult to weed people out in seminary. Anyone can fake following the rules for a short time. It is after people get out of seminary when the problems are likely to occur. Unfortunately there has been a tendency to sweep things under the rug. Fortunately that is not to,rested as much anymore.


Rod Dreher makes the Church hierarchy look like they are the Harvey Weinstein’s of religion. But the hypocrisy alone makes it worse than Hollywood. One has to wonder the extent of it all.

When I think about the possible ramifications of just the McCarrick situation alone…I can see it being used by a powerful political figure as a justification to attempt to gut the Church. Also, the news coming out about cover ups and abuse is getting worse year over year - implicating clergymen all the way up the Church hierarchy in the institutionalization of cover ups and abuse.


I think McCarrick and those who covered it up ought to spend time fasting on bread and water. They will have to account for their actions to the Judge of Judges. While God is merciful, He is also just.


Of course, that’s far easier said than done.

In a case like this, I’m not sure it was so much a “cover up” as it was that those who were told simply did not believe the accusations. I can imagine how another bishop would be hesitant to take the word of two former priests (one of which was accused of sexual misconduct himself) and use that as the basis of a starting a public investigation. All the other information seemed to be second-hand.

I’m trying to think of what could be done differently. Obviously, lots of people have lots of opinions. The Church already does have in place a system where by people can run their complaints up the hierarchical chain. That system evidently failed to work in this case. How and why it failed in this particular case is what needs to be looked at. I imagine the bishops will look at that, though it may take time.


There is another accusation against McCarrick that hit the New York Times yesterday, this time from a man who was 11 when the abuse first started (and continued on for 20 years):

Fr. Longnecker has a pretty insightful analysis into how something like this could have remained secret for so long.

I imagine that this will be a high priority for the U.S. bishops at their annual meeting in November. Hopefully they will implement a clearer path for victims to take in these types of situations so that it doesn’t stay in the shadows.


But the Church must have priests. If there are few good candidates in the pool, how much can the seminaries really do?


They can continue to repent and try to ensure systems are in place to investigate allegations, protect parishioners, and protect the rights of the accused. Quite frankly, a priest that is under investigation, probably should not be considered for promotion. There are no easy answers or shortcuts to regaining trust once trust is broken.


How many outstanding vocations were turned away in the 70s and 80s in America for being “rigid” and “conservative” by the very Lavender Mafia that covered up for the filthy behavior of men like McCarrick?


I don’t know, but in this situation it would have made no difference. I think Fr. Longnecker (see article linked above) has it right.If you’re dependent on a system you don’t want to rock the boat. Rigid conservatives are the same.


My take away from this is that at all levels of the Church people were aware. And I don’t believe this is an isolated incident at all. In my mind Church insiders just watch these stories biting their nails in concern/curiosity about who and how much will be exposed. Perhaps I am being paranoid but all the evidence, and I mean years of it, from pretty much around the world, would indicate that I am not. Up to half the Church, something like that - that is the ace up their sleeve in their minds. Just try and live without us; we are the Church, folks. And shame on us for turning a blind eye. Why do we do this - that is the question. Is that forgiveness or casting pearls to swine. Each can have his own opinion on that - follow your conscience.


I think that there may be some truth to this, if the Michael Rose book is to be believed. Whether or not those more orthodox applicants who were turned away would have prevented such situations as priests is speculative. But at least they might have been more open about the lavender mafia within the seminaries and agitated for change. Maybe. I read one priest who would have been thought too rigid and orthodox in seminary say that the only way to reach ordination was to keep your peace and keep your mouth shut.


Right, I have read this from more than one source, two or three. Basically you need to either be homosexual or straight, but very tolerant of homosexuality, those are the two categories. Orthodoxy and conservatism are discouraged. But what surprises me is that there are priests and cardinals exposed as involved in gay activity who have conservative reputations. I have come to suspect there is a lot more ambiguity there as well, but I don’t really know. Seems logical though. It does shock me.


While I shudder to think of what other stories may come to light, I really don’t think the numbers are that high—certainly not at the present time with those presently in ministry or seminary. I’ve known a lot of people who work for the Church and a lot of priests and even a few bishops. By and large, they are good people trying to the right thing.


I agree. I feel so sorry for those who are not mixed up in this but I also don’t think there are many of them who are not fully aware of the extent of this, and the grave sin of it - they keep their mouth shut. I took the 50% number from an article I read about a gay priest coming out - Boston Globe - I can try and find it. Gay priests give numbers that high on a pretty consistent basis. I also agree there has been something of a backlash against this from orthodox Catholics (especially under Pope Benedict) and that some of this has been cleaned up. However, I feel like I was a little naive in those assumptions. My personal belief is that these efforts were slowed under Pope Francis - and this could well be a big reason why he is Pope. This is all lavender mob media stuff, right. A Polish priest wrote a book about it that was widely read. I tend to believe the whistleblowers, if only so I don’t get so shocked the next time events prove them right. It is a coping mechanism. Also I think many lay Catholics do turn a blind eye, just like those in the Church do - at some point this has to be questioned, examination of conscience.

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