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A Lone David vs. A Multitude of Goliaths – An Analysis of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

August 30th, 2018, Promulgated by SamanthaGillenson

one-against-many

UPDATE: Archbishop Viganò has provided another interview through Dr. Aldo Maria Valli reacting to the release of his testimony, which can be read in English through LifeSiteNews HERE.

“To be, or not to be? That is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them?”

William Shakespeare – Hamlet’s Soliloquy

“The question then is whether ’tis nobler in the mind
To be well-liked but ineffectual, or moral but maligned?”

Lyrics inspired by Hamlet’s Soliloquy – copyright Starkid Productions, from the musical “Twisted”

 

This author is well aware of how well-circulated the letter released by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has become, so today’s article will not be dealing with the content of said letter. Rather, we will be examining the motives behind releasing such a letter to the public, and what stands to be gained from it (if anything at all).

What does it mean to do the right thing? To the well instructed Catholic, the answer seems obvious: speak the truth boldly and clearly, no matter what the consequence. But in many situations, we find that those who should speak do not for a myriad of reasons. We can never be fully sure of their motives, but it does make things rather tumultuous for the everyday lay Catholic in the trenches.

However, there are some that do shout out the truth with a clear and firm voice, despite where the consequences may take them. One of those voices is that of Archbishop Viganò, and he has had much to suffer both before and since coming out publicly against a vast swath of those he claims are complicit or directly involved with the clerical sex abuse crisis ravaging the Church today.

As could be expected in the aftermath of such an inflammatory and blunt document, many priests, bishops, and cardinals alike are speaking out against Viganò, claiming that his words are false and his claims baseless, even going to far as to accuse him of being complicit in cover up himself! (Some notably have even gone on to say that their only comment is “no comment,” incredibly.) But if we are to be intellectually honest with ourselves, we have to ask one question: what would a man stand to gain by lying about something so perverse and dire? The answer of course, is absolutely nothing. Viganò stood to lose everything by going public with his story, his reputation and name run through the mud, and his credibility questioned and ridiculed. This was a literal no-win situation for him, and yet he did it anyway. So, logically we must ask the next burning question: why?

An Italian journalist and prolific author by the name of Dr. Aldo Maria Valli was contacted by Archbishop Viganò and heard firsthand the reasoning behind his going public with these accusations. The original article about his encounters with Archbishop Viganò was first written in Italian, but an accurate English translation has been provided by OnePeterFive, which this author will be referencing for comments from both Aldo Maria Valli and Archbishop Viganò. The translated document can be found HERE. (This author also begs your indulgence with the long quotations from the article to follow, as they are integral to the Archbishop’s story.)

Dr. Valli hosted Viganò in his own home multiple times to hear his testimony, for the Archbishop was afraid of prying ears overhearing the sensitive subject matter and needed the Doctor’s help in telling his testimony.

Dr. Valli invited the Archbishop over for dinner to talk things over with his family present (and the Archbishop’s consent), and he was struck by the man’s calm but troubled demeanor:

“…Viganò immediately begins to talk. He is worried for the Church, afraid that at its highest levels there are persons who do not work to carry the Gospel of Jesus to the men and women of our time, but rather intend to create confusion and yield to the logic of the world. Then he begins to talk about his long experience in the Secretariate of State, as head of the Vatican City Governatorate, and as nuncio both in Nigeria and in the United States. He drops many names and speaks of many situations. Even I, who have been a Vatican journalist for more than twenty years, find it hard to follow him at times. But I do not interrupt him because I understand he needs to talk. My impression is that he is a man who is alone and sad because of what he sees happening all around him, but not bitter. In his words there is never one ugly word directed toward any of the many people he speaks about. The facts speak for themselves. At times he smiles and looks at me, as if to say, “What should I do? Is there a way out?”

… He is a man with a profound sense of duty. At least so it seems to me. After just a few minutes, there is a harmony established between us.

My wife, who is a catechist at our parish, and my daughters remain literally speechless as they listen to certain stories. I always say, only half-joking, that good Catholics should not know how things function in the highest levels of the hierarchy, and this evening’s conversation confirms that. However, I do not for a moment regret having invited the archbishop to my house. I believe that the sorrowful testimony of this man, of this elderly servant of the Church, is telling us something of importance – something which, even in the midst of pain and confusion, can help our life of faith.

The archbishop says, “I am 78 years old, and I am at the end of my life. The judgment of men does not interest me. The one judgment that counts is that of the good God. He will ask me what I have done for the Church of Christ, and I want to be able to respond to him that I defended her and served her even to the end.”

  • Aldo Maria Valli on Archbishop Viganò’s testimony.

Archbishop Viganò later took his leave, stating that he would contact Dr. Valli again should they need to speak once more, which occurred one month later. Dr. Valli once again offered the use of his home for privacy, which the Archbishop accepted. So once more, the Valli played host to him for dinner and testimony:

“…But once again, after saying the meal blessing, the archbishop is an overflowing river. So many stories, so many situations, so many names. But this time he focuses more on his years in America. He speaks of the McCarrick case, the ex-cardinal known to be guilty of the most serious abuses, and he makes it clear that everybody knew, in the USA and in the Vatican, for a long time, for years. But they covered it up.

I ask, “Truly everybody?”

With a nod of the head the archbishop responds yes: truly everybody.

I want to ask other questions, but it is not easy to insert myself into the uninterrupted flow of dates, memos, meetings, names.

The heart of the matter is that Pope Francis also knew, according to Viganò. And yet he allowed McCarrick to circulate undisturbed, making a joke of the bans imposed on him by Benedict XVI. Francis knew at least since March 2013, when Viganò himself, responding to a question asked by the Pope during a face-to-face meeting, told him that in the Vatican, there is a large dossier on McCarrick, and he needs to read it.

With respect to our previous encounter, there is the new development of the findings that have emerged from the grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania, and Viganò confirms that the image created by the findings is correct. The sexual abuses constitute a phenomenon more extensive than anyone could imagine, and it is not correct to speak of pedophilia, because the overwhelming majority of cases deal with homosexual priests who go hunting for teenage young men. It is more correct, says the archbishop, to speak about ephebophilia, if anything. But the main point is that the web of complicity, silence, cover-up, and reciprocal favors extends so far that there are no words to describe it, and it involves everyone at the highest levels, both in America and in Rome.

We sit there, once again, stunned. Because of my work, we had a sense that there was some of this, but for Catholics like us, born and raised in the womb of Mother Church, it is truly difficult to swallow such a mouthful.

My question is thus the most naïve of all: “Why?”

The response of the archbishop freezes my blood: “Because the cracks of which Paul VI spoke, from which he said the smoke of Satan would infiltrate the house of God, have become chasms. The devil is working overtime. And to not admit that, or to turn our face away from it, would be our greatest sin.”

  • Aldo Maria Valli on Archbishop Viganò’s testimony.

Dr. Valli and the Archbishop then set a day and time to meet to hand over the memoir which the Archbishop has written. Dr. Valli never discloses the location due to keeping the confidence of the Archbishop, but the following takes place:

“…The archbishop shows up with sunglasses on and a baseball cap. He asks that my first reading of the document be done in his presence, right in front of him, so that, he says, “if something does not convince you, we can discuss it immediately.”

I read the whole thing. There are eleven pages. He is amazed at how quickly I read it, and he looks at me: “Well?”

I say: “It is strong. Detailed. Well-written. A dramatic picture.”

He asks: “Will you publish it?”

“Monsignor, do you realize this is a bomb? What should we do?”

“I entrust it to you. Think about it.”

“Monsignor, do you know what they will say? That you want revenge. That you are full of resentment for having been dismissed from the Governatorate and other things. That you are the crow who leaked the Vatileaks papers. They will say that you are unstable, as well as a conservative of the worst kind.”

“I know, I know. But that doesn’t matter to me. The one thing that matters to me is to bring the truth to the surface, so that a purification can begin. At the point that we have reached, there is no other way.”

I am not anguished. Deep down inside me, I have already made the decision to publish it, because I feel that I can trust this man. But I ask myself, “What effect will this have on the simplest souls? On good Catholics? Is there not the risk of doing more evil than good?”

I realize that I have asked the question aloud, and the archbishop responds: “Think it over. Make a calm evaluation.” We shake hands. He takes off his dark glasses, and we look each other straight in the eye.

The fact that he does not force me, that he does not appear anxious to see me publish everything, makes me trust him even more. Is this a maneuver? Is he manipulating me?

At home I speak with Serena and the girls. Their advice is always very important for me. What should I do?

These are days of questions. I re-read the memoir. It is detailed, but of course it is Viganò’s version of events. I think readers will understand it. I will propose the archbishop’s version, after which, if anyone has contrary arguments, he will propose other versions.

My wife reminds me: “But if you publish it, they will think that, by the very fact of publishing it, you are on his side. Are you okay with that?”

Yes, I am. Will they judge me to be biased? Patience. After all, I am biased. When I am a reporter, I report the news, and that’s enough. I try to be as aseptic as possible. But in my blog, I am already clearly taking a position, and the readers know well what I think with regard to a certain turn that the Church has taken in recent years. If afterwards somebody will present me with documents that prove that Viganò is lying, or that his version of the facts is incomplete or incorrect, I will be more than happy to publish these as well.

I call the archbishop on the phone. I tell him my decision. We agree on the day and the hour of publication. He says that on the same day at the same hour the others will publish it as well. He has decided on Sunday, August 26 because the pope, returning from Dublin, will have a chance to reply to it by answering questions from journalists on the plane.

He alerts me that the daily newspaper La Verità has now been added to the list of those who will publish it. He tells me he has already purchased an airplane ticket. He will leave the country. He cannot tell me where he is going. I am not to look for him. His old cell phone number will no longer work. We say goodbye for the last time.

And so it happened. Not that the doubts inside me are over. Did I do good? Did I do evil? I continue to ask myself this. But I am serene. And I re-read the words that Archbishop Viganò wrote at the conclusion of his memoir: “Let’s all pray for the Church and for the Pope, remembering how many times he has asked us to pray for him. Let’s all renew our faith in the Church our Mother: I believe in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church! Christ will never abandon his Church! He has generated her in His Blood and he continuously reanimates her with His Spirit! Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us! Mary Virgin Queen, Mother of the King of glory, pray for us!”

–Aldo Maria Valli

True to his word, Archbishop Viganò has since left the country, and to date, no one is sure of his exact location. This author only knows that because of his testimony, he is fearful for his life, and fled his home for that purpose.

This author must ask you dear readers, does this seem like a man spinning a lie for personal gain? I will allow you to draw your own conclusions.

It truly takes a mountain of courage for a lone David to speak out against the multitude of Goliaths, and to do so at great risk to oneself and one’s reputation. This author will leave you with the lyrics presented at the beginning of this article for you to reflect upon:

 

“The question then is whether ’tis nobler in the mind
To be well-liked but ineffectual, or moral but maligned?”

 

That, my dear readers, is the question that we must all ask ourselves in the midst of this crisis – and determine our paths according to how we answer it.

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37 Responses to “A Lone David vs. A Multitude of Goliaths – An Analysis of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò”

  1. avatar JLo says:

    What is deeply concerning is the depth of coverup by every churchman, because even if the stats that 50% of the priesthood and 80% of the bishops are homosexual is wildly inflated, it is becoming increasingly clear that every single one of both groups KNOW of such filth in their ranks. So this so-called cabal grew and grew and grew because all of them kept quiet!! All of them took the safe path of head down and ignore it, rather than the honest, courageous path of SPEAKING UP AND LOUDLY!

    So. No matter the outcome now, very very few among the ordained protected the flock and the Church, but chose their own welfare instead. Do I have this right?

  2. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    JLo, listen to this homily by Father Richard Altier Church of St. Raphael, Crystal MN. Preached 8/19/18

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/spm-straph-parish-wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/20084333/208.mp3

  3. avatar BigE says:

    So homosexuals are “filth”?

  4. avatar Ginger says:

    Fr. Altier uses “yuck” to express a strong distaste. I’m sure he is referring to the feeling he might have if someone (in this particular discussion of his, a male in a locker room) is viewing him with lust.
    I suppose yuck and filth could be used interchangeably as they equally imply something obscene or offensive.

    Fr. Altier does not say that homosexuals are filth. He says clearly that a person with same sex attraction that places themselves in temptation and acts upon it is being yuck…obscene.

    While a mature Christian understands that they are not called to play it safe, we are also not called to act foolishly.

  5. avatar SamanthaGillenson says:

    BigE, there are two classifications of those with homosexual attraction: those that have the attraction, but heroically and RIGHTLY live a life of chastity in accordance with the will of God, regardless of their personal vocation in life. Sadly, these individuals are few and far between.

    The second classification are those with homosexual attraction that actively EMBRACE it, contrary to the will of God, and commit horrible sinful acts in the process that cry out to heaven for a vengeance. There are also those who actively spurn the will of God in active homosexuality that even infiltrate the priesthood on purpose, and live a life that causes physical and spiritual harm to others. They kill their victims in both body and soul in this way.

    ACTIVE HOMOSEXUALS are NEVER to be admitted to the seminary or to be ordained, and sadly, that is exactly what has happened in great numbers over the years, and what has caused this great crisis in the church.

    Like Ginger said before me in the comments, while a mature Christian understands that they are not called to play it safe, we are also not called to act foolishly.

  6. avatar JLo says:

    Thank you, Dominick. Nice words spoken in that homily. Words. We need concerted effort to out and demand all such disordered men leave the priesthood. We need investigation of behavior and the money they used in pursuit of their disordered lust. Only the gospels are living words; everyone else needs to SEE action accompanying their spoken words. We out in the pews will not be satisfied with platitudes this time. One priest’s homily does nothing to assuage my demand for a cleansing, and only those in that club of the ordained know all the characters, and it is incumbent upon them to go public with names and a plan. They don’t even have to advise those in that cabal… THEY know who they are and they would already be packing their bags, except they’ve become quite used to being the ones in charge while the others tiptoed around them and left them to wallow in the muck of their choosing. Action, Dominick. I’m sick of the words.

    BigE:
    CCC Para. 2357. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law.”

  7. avatar Mary-Kathleen says:

    “What concerns many of us is not a lack of commitment in the protection of children and the vulnerable, it is the total inability to admit that we have a lot of priests and seminarians who apparently think it is perfectly acceptable to lead sexually active lifestyles and that most of these lifestyles are homosexual.”

    The above quote (from the article linked below) is expresses my opinion of many of the letters from bishops in the past several weeks, including that of Bishop Matano which was read to us last Sunday.

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/seminarians-require-our-protection-too

    “How can we protect seminarians? Since seminarians are men, the best way to protect them is to keep homosexual predators out of seminaries and out of positions of authority over those seminaries and the seminarians.”

  8. avatar Ginger says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Jh9EvqF8VY
    ..happening in Syracuse
    A fall retreat for gay priests coming to Racine is causing controversy among Catholics.

  9. avatar Ginger says:

    ..and a retreat for lesbian sisters later in the fall.

  10. avatar raymondfrice says:

    “All of them took the safe path of head down and ignore it, rather than the honest, courageous path of SPEAKING UP AND LOUDLY!”

    This is why the bishops promoted and ordained them!! The bishops wanted compliant and mindlessly obedient priests. Living together as they do, most of the seminarians know who is who and what they are doing. However the rectors of seminaries have not listened at least up until now!!

  11. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    “Is that massive, massive enough of a crisis for you, Cardinal Wuerl? Could you imagine it being any more massive?” Benjamin Wiker

    http://m.ncregister.com/blog/benjamin-wiker/from-a-moral-historical-perspective-this-crisis-is-worse-than-you-realize#.W4vGVaQpCaO

  12. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    If I understand the article posted by Diane September 1 at 9:36 pm, historically those who decry clericalism are part of a movement to destroy the Church.

    So the thinking goes something like this: Since Pope Francis did not discuss homosexuality and sexual immorality as root causes of the sexual abuse crisis but instead blamed clericalism, he is part of a movement to destroy the Church.

    Diane, help me out here. What am I missing?

  13. avatar BigE says:

    @Samantha
    Blaming the Church sex abuse problem on homosexuals is a bit of a witch hunt IMO and ignores the greater problems (coverups, lack of transparency, a power structure that allows/fosters such abuse)
    Correlation does not equal causation.
    An overwhelmingly large percentage of studies show that homosexual men are no more likely than their hetero sexual counterparts to sexually abuse.
    Which makes a lot of sense given that the rates of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church are pretty consistent with the rates other faith groups and is dwarfed by the sex abuse problems in our US public schools.

  14. avatar JLo says:

    So if your thinking about this is correct, BigE, if there were no homosexuals ordained, there would STILL be a sex abuse scandal in the Church? Now tell me, that makes sense to you?!!! Seminary days are times to seek truth by truth seekers, and deviants should be kept out of the seminaries and out of the priesthood. Witch hunt, my foot.

  15. avatar JLo says:

    I don’t know what Diane will answer, Dominick, but the pope grasped at that ridiculous answer like it was a safety net, thus aligning himself with those seeking to change the Church into their view of heaven on earth instead of the Lord’s view of it. He chose that over truth and humility and honesty.And BTW, this pope is clericalism personified, IMO.

  16. avatar Diane Harris says:

    ummm, moi? I don’t think I said anything about clericalism. All I did was post a link to the LifeSite news story that Pope Francis’ silence is worse than (some of?) the immoral sins being revealed. Said another way, failure to speak up for Christ and the Faith is worse than many moral weaknesses. Or, perhaps another way, silence must truly grieve the Holy Spirit. More later on a different subject; i.e. clericalism.

  17. avatar BigE says:

    @JLo
    Yes. Definitely. The type of sexual abuse might’ve been different (more male on female). But it would’ve still been a problem. Why would it not?
    The organization with the absolute highest rate of child sex abuse? Our US public school system – by a wide margin. And it’s not because most teachers are gay.
    Numerous studies also show the rate of sexual abuse of children in Protestant churches (which obviously have both female and married pastors) matches that of the Catholic Church.
    Or what about the current Hollywood scandal. Is that a gay issue too?
    So how exactly then do you then pin Catholic Sexual abuse strictly on homosexuality?
    I would expect if a large proportion of our Catholic priests are gay, that most of our sex abuse cases would be male on male.
    But eliminating gay priests would probably only change the type of sexual abuse (to male on female), but not the rate of sexual abuse, or all the problems around its coverup.

  18. avatar SamanthaGillenson says:

    @BigE

    I was never discounting the rates of abuse amongst those other groups. I am merely making the point that the Catholic Church has an unusually high rate of homosexual abuse, well above the average.

    This was clearly shown in the secular John Jay reports, which compiled data on sex abuse in the Catholic Church over the years. You can find a summary here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Jay_Report#Profile_of_the_alleged_abuses

    The PA Grand Jury report also reported the same statistical findings, that the majority of sex abuse cases in the Catholic Church were homosexual in nature against pubescent boys. I wrote an article breaking down those statistics, which you can read if you wish here:

    http://www.cleansingfire.org/2018/08/a-word-on-the-crisis-the-bishops-response/

  19. avatar JLo says:

    “Probably”, BigE? You actually propose your last paragraph supposition should be taken seriously? That the healthy males in the priesthood would probably rack up huge numbers of abuse, that great numbers of them are brutes? I’m done speaking with you.

  20. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Apparently I need to repeat my last post and reference in length the part of Diane’s posted article for clarification.

    Originally I tried to summarize very briefly the argument made in the article from Lifesite News posted by Diane regarding Pope Francis’ scandal being more grave than what Viganò exposed. I went on to ask whether I was understanding correctly the theory that those who oppose clericalism are attempting to destroy the Church. See below the excerpt in question. Is the Pope trying to destroy the Church by opposing clericalism? What am I missing here?

    “The McCarrick scandal is therefore not the last act in a crisis that goes way, way back. Yet, in the “Letter of the Pope to the People of God, and throughout his trip in Ireland, Pope Francis has not once denounced this moral disorder. The Pope retains that the main problem in sexual abuse by the clergy is not homosexuality but clericalism. Referring to these abuses, the progressive historian Alberto Melloni, writes that “Francis finally deals with the crime on the ecclesiastical level: and he entrusts it to that theological subject – the people of God. To the people Francis says without mincing words, that it is “clericalism” which has incubated these atrocities, not an excess or lack of morality” (La Repubblica , August 21, 2018).

    «Le cléricalisme, voilà l’ennemi!». “Behold the enemy – clericalism,” The famous phrase pronounced on May 4th 1876 in the French Chamber of Deputies by Léon Gambetta (1838-1882), leading exponent of The Grand Orient of France, could easily have been made Pope Francis. This phrase, however, was considered the watchword by the Masonic secularism of the 19th century, and by applying it, the governments of the French Third Republic, carried out in the following years, an “anti-clerical” political program which had its stages in the secularization of the school, the expulsion of religious orders from the national territory, divorce and the abolition of the concordat between France and the Holy See. The clericalism Pope Francis speaks of is apparently different, but deep down he identifies it with that traditional conception of the Church which over the centuries was fought against by the Gallicans, the Liberals, the Freemasons and the Modernists.

    To reform the Church and purify Her of clericalism, the Italian sociologist Marco Marzano suggests the following to Pope Francis: “For example, a start might be to remove parish priests completely from the running of the parishes, depriving them of those monocratic and absolute governing functions (financial and pastoral) of which they benefit today. It might be possible to introduce an important element of democracy, making bishops electable [by popular vote]. It might be possible, by replacing them with open and transparent structures, to close the seminaries, institutions of the counter-reform in which clericalism as a “spirit of caste” is still exalted and cultivated today. It might above all, be possible to cancel the norm upon which clericalism is today mostly based (and which is also the basis for the overwhelming majority of sexual crimes by the clergy) and that is, – obligatory celibacy. It is precisely the chastity presumed in the clergy, with all the consequences of the purity, the sacredness and superhuman [aspects] that go along with it, which establish the main basis of clericalism”. (Il Fatto Quotidiano, August 25th 2018).

    Those who wish to demolish clericalism, want to destroy the Church. And if instead clericalism is meant as an abuse of power that the clergy exercise when they abandon the spirit of the Gospel, then there is no worse clericalism than that of those who forsake stigmatizing extremely grave sins like sodomy and forget that the Christian life must necessarily attain Heaven or Hell. In the years following Vatican II a great part of the clergy abandoned the idea of the Social Reign of Christ and accepted the postulate of secularization as an irreversible phenomenon. But when Christianity is subordinate to secularism, the Kingdom of Christ is transformed into a worldly kingdom and reduced to structures of power. The militant spirit is replaced by the spirit of the world, And the spirit of the world imposes silence on the drama the Church is living through right now.

  21. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Nearly a decade ago, I read two books at nearly the same time, and found that each enriched the other. At that time I was posting reviews of “Spiritual Reading” on a site which is still up (although some eccentricities of layout have tainted it since, and its spam filters are out of date). For those further interested in the subject of Clericalism, I would recommend “Clericalism: Death of the Priesthood” by Fr. George Wilson SJ (yes I also have second and third thoughts before picking up an SJ book). The other book was “Nothing to Hide” by Russell Shaw, which deals with the abuse of secrecy in the Church. The main value I got from each was compelling deeper thinking about the interrelationship of both problems, more than I had ever done before.

    I’m not going to paste those reviews here, as the reviews are fairly extensive. They can be found housed in these archive spaces:
    http://wecatholics.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=372 and

    http://wecatholics.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=368&sid=07e6315c0ccbc53231b4c9f75bb22002

    The latter is revised since this post first appeared.

    I have not used those archive spaces in a few years, but at least I have an archive so I don’t get half way through a book and think: “Oh, I read this before!” 😉

    From that archived understanding I can see how clericalism gets blamed, and how secrecy gets blamed, but ineffective methods of organizational management are not equivalent to sin; it is deep personal sinfulness which appears to be covered up by accusations of managerial lapses. Clericalism leads to “We’re priests; we don’t sin” and Secrecy leads to “But if we did, you’d never know it.” See how both work together? and deepen the burden each lays on the Church? Both clericalism and secrecy are the substitutes for acknowledging sin. And thus sin layers upon sin, and the laity only has a sense “something is wrong here”.

    I will say that in the U.S. a decade after those books were published (which depended on prior decades of data) the most common method in the Church for laity to resist clericalism and secrecy, once the disappointing ineffectiveness of appeals is understood, is simply to empty the pew. And, that is what has happened. And now that the sexual abuse secrets come out, it does not make the Church an uplifting place to which to return. Moreover, seriously weakened catechesis means that those who leave the pew really don’t know what they are leaving, or even sometimes how to get back.

    What is the answer? Prayer, of course. And priests more and more becoming true shepherds of souls, not because it is an effective management tool, but because they love God’s people, love being priests, and understand and live what true faithfulness means. (And it doesn’t mean by having a wife, someone else to cheat on!)

    Finally, and I hope to write more about this, we as laity still have a bit of a warped perspective. We are hurt, we are angry, and the muffled cry of “I’m not ever donating to a Church again” do very little to aid the laity who should have a role in this situation (refer to Bp. Sheen’s call for lay involvement so many years ago.)

    What are we doing here? I think of Uncle Mordecai’s words to Queen Esther: “Perhaps you were born for just such a time as this.” Sad and troubling as this situation is, I have no doubt that God is working in the situation and it is fascinating how He has brought judgement first upon His Church. Of course He does not orchestrate the sin, but He knows it has happened and will happen, and apparently is not trying to hide it. If the exposure doesn’t happen now, it will soon happen at the particular and final judgments. So the Lord is attacking both elements at once: Clericalism and Secrecy, and turning them into what may be a last chance to purify the Church, AND those beloved sons who have cheated on Him. But one must think the exposure is not only for righteous punishment, but for a different purpose: saving souls. The question we must ask, I believe, is not how we get through this, or how the Church recovers, but how do we cooperate with God right now, in this time and place, to help save souls.

  22. avatar JLo says:

    Thank you, Diane, for last night’s post. For me, it is the best thing I have read these two weeks of reading everything everywhere! Clear and pointed and I believe dead on, even to the empty pew reasons and why they won’t be filled again without real catechesis… our brethren don’t even know Who they leave when they abandon Jesus because of Judas; they don’t realize they cannot get the Eucharist anyplace else and thus may very well finally starve themselves of the Bread of Life. We need plain talk out here, and we were blessed to get it in your post last night.

    I have a for instance about how lack of catechesis has made us weaker in some ways that some may consider small stuff: I don’t know what led to our priests and bishops letting all that stuff come into the Mass, for instance, and not gently telling the people that, no, we do not hold hands during Mass, and no, we do not elevate our arms during Mass, and no, we do not reach across aisles and kiss and wave during Mass. The Mass rubrics call for none of that. Small stuff, some say, but look around…. at every Mass all manner of this stuff is going on, separating us from a common bond during Mass as people vie for THEIR idea of what is proper posture. When it all slipped in under the door, such stuff should have and could have been swept right back out. Why didn’t our deacons, priests, and bishops correct it immediately? My guesses are all very unflattering to them, and no need to answer my own question anyway. All I know is that such stuff that separates us also detracts from where our hearts and minds should be at Mass and chipped away and chipped away, because little stuff has a way of growing.

    Forgive me talking about little stuff when we are facing calamity, but we so need to be one during the greatest prayer of all, whenever and wherever it is prayed; but because they didn’t take care of business from the start, we are separated into factions and weakened even during Holy Mass.

  23. avatar BigE says:

    @Samantha,

    Wouldn’t you expect the Catholic Church to have an above average rate of homosexual abuse simply due the fact its population of priests is comprised of an above average number (percent) of homosexuals (versus the general population)? That makes total sense to me.

    Add in the fact that all of these sick priests generally had more access to boys (boy altar servers and young seminarians) versus girls and it even makes more sense.

    That however, doesn’t make the problem a homosexual problem. It makes it a sex abuse problem with a population of priests that has an above average number of homosexuals in it.

  24. avatar BigE says:

    @JLO,
    Studies show that both hetero and homo sexual men abuse at the same rate.
    So if you had a population heavy with homosexuals, I would expect most of the abuse to be against males.
    If you had a population heavy with heterosexuals, I would expect most of the abuse to be against females.
    Which then means if you took our Catholic Priest population that is heavy with homosexuals and replaced it with one that is heavy with heterosexuals – I would expect the rate of abuse to remain the same – but now would expect to see more male on female abuse vs male on male abuse.
    What exactly do you find so insulting about that logic?

  25. avatar militia says:

    Well I don’t get the course this argument is taking.

    With a population of holy men I would expect no abuse. Period. But starting with any male, heterosexual population, the natural attraction of men to women (and vice versa) is not disordered; it is normal, and hence the striving for avoiding near occasions of sin, custody of the eyes, modesty, and all the solid Catholic teaching for mutual care and protection of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    However, with a homosexual population, and the disordered attraction of men for men, which is not part of God’s creation (Male and female He created them…. told them to go forth and multiply), then living in a seminary or even a rectory, with principally male company most of the time, exposes them continually to near opportunities of sin, at least in thought and temptation. It is a different story re homosexuals than heterosexuals; not the same at all. So “disordered” should not be dropped from use; the disorder is obvious.

    But why are we getting off on this track of comparing sins?

  26. avatar Ginger says:

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-sermon-that-cost-a-brave-priest-his-job/

    One brave priest lost his job because he spoke the Truth.

    So many in the flock are conditioned to be lukewarm, quietly complicit or even zealous about sexual perversion. Some are simply afraid of various painful repercussions.

    It isn’t enough to quietly watch this snake consume itself. It will consume itself. Have no doubt. In the meantime we are called to action wherever God leads us. This is no time to count the costs.

  27. avatar Diane Harris says:

    National Catholic Register (JD Flynn):

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/benedict-vigano-francis-and-mccarrick-where-things-stand-on-nuncios-allegat

    Concluding:
    “Archbishop Viganò has been attacked relentlessly, and his credibility has been impugned far beyond those criticisms supported by evidence. Cardinals and bishops have called his claims a distraction, and some prominent Catholics have openly called the former nuncio a liar.

    Catholics of all theological perspectives could do justice for abuse victims through an unbiased investigation of facts. Archbishop Viganò’s memo raises questions that, whatever the answers, seem to merit serious inquiries. It remains to be seen whether those opposing such an investigation, including some prominent bishops and cardinals, will relent, or at least better articulate their positions. It also remains to be seen whether Pope Francis will support such an investigation, making files available, and breaking his silence on Archbishop Viganò’s story.”

  28. avatar Ginger says:

    Today I was one click away from purchasing a ‘V is for Vigano’ hoodie but refrained. We must be humble and patient and pray. Enough is on the table. All this can’t be swept away.

  29. avatar BigE says:

    @Ginger
    Did you read the entire blog you linked?
    The priest wasn’t fired for speaking the truth; he was fired for a number of reasons and had a history of not getting along with people (both ordained and laity)

    From the writer of the blog:
    “Just now I received two e-mails. One was from a solid priest, someone I know to be very orthodox, reporting that Father Gavancho has a hard time getting along with people, even those who want to help him.”

    “I just heard from a credible, informed source in one of Father Gavancho’s former dioceses that he — Gavancho (the priest) — backing up what the former Gavancho parishioner said above: that Gavancho does give solid homilies, but that he was bad with money, and difficult to get along with — even alienating priests and laymen who supported his theological convictions.

    “Bottom line: in fairness, we have to consider that Father Gavancho bears some fault for what happened to him. It is highly unusual for a priest to bounce out of three dioceses in such a short time.”

  30. avatar militia says:

    Would a moral theologian please comment.
    Are the rules which apply to gossip still relevant when the Church herself is in danger?

  31. avatar Ginger says:

    @BigE

    The Faithful don’t need fair weather friends or coupon clippers…only the Truth.

    https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Two-Priests-Arrested-for-Sex-Acts-in-Car-on-Ocean-Drive-492411721.html

  32. avatar Ginger says:

    @Miltia

    Good esteem of another is violated by defamation whereby one secretly blackens the good name of another. Modern theologians usually distinguish defamation into detraction or calumny. Detraction is the unjust revelation of another’s genuine but hidden fault; calumny is the untruthful imputation of some fault not actually committed. Older theologians spoke of calumny, detraction, and defamation, without making any distinction between them so far as their mortality was concerned.
    From Handbook of Moral Theology – Prummer O.P. page 137

  33. avatar BigE says:

    @Ginger
    I’m not sure I understood what point you tried to make with your last statement and link.
    Did it somehow relate to the firing of Fr. Gavancho?

  34. avatar Ginger says:

    David and Goliath battle it out in the very presence of Truth. We are witnesses to all this. You, me and all those seeking.

    @BigE

    In contrast to Fr. Gavancho, those two priests wantonly sin in the midst of this storm. By all accounts, the two in the car belong to the majority and those like Fr. Gavancho are part of the minority. David and Goliath are represented at multiple levels of the Church.

    In essence, Vigano cried out ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ Matthew 3:2

    The Congregation threw out a priest.

    Two priests dismiss a call to holiness.

    The title of this blog thought amply defines the battle currently being waged.


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