Since 2002, the Church in the United States has experienced a crisis without precedent in our times. [True!] The sexual abuse of children and young people by some deacons, priests, and bishops, and the ways in which these crimes and sins were addressed, have caused enormous pain, anger, and confusion. [Truer!] As bishops, we have acknowledged our mistakes and our roles in that suffering, and we apologize and take responsibility again for too often failing victims and the Catholic people in the past. [Sardonic laughter] From the depths of our hearts, we bishops express great sorrow and profound regret for what the Catholic people have endured. [What can I say? For how many was this a blatant lie! McCarrick was a major participant and "leading voice" at the 2002 Dallas meeting. ]Shall we go on? Do you have a barf bag handy?
We have listened to the profound pain and suffering of those victimized by sexual abuse and will continue to respond to their cries. We have agonized over the sinfulness, the criminality, and the breach of trust perpetrated by some members of the clergy. We have determined as best we can the extent of the problem of this abuse of minors by clergy in our country, as well as commissioned a study of the causes and context of this problem.Consider that this document was revised in 2011. By then, McCarrick's abuse was a matter of public record. Richard Sipe wrote an open letter to Pope Benedict in 2008. Read the excerpt below, but note the dates that Matt Abbott publicized the information about McCarrick, 2005 and 2006 only a few years after the Dallas meeting:
So in 2011 all this information about McCarrick was public, and yet the bishops had the gall to update their document professing their "agony" over sexual misconduct knowing full well that McCarrick (and other of their brother bishops) were commonly abusing "young people." Are seminarians not "young people?" After all the bishops own meeting and synods on "young people" include those aged 16-29.
'Uncle Ted' allegedly used different pretexts
to attract seminarians and priestsWhile I was Adjunct Professor at a Pontifical Seminary, St. Mary’s Baltimore (1972-1984) a number of seminarians came to me with concerns about the behavior of Theodore E. McCarrick, then bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey. It has been widely known for several decades that Bishop/Archbishop now Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick took seminarians and young priests to a shore home in New Jersey, sites in New York, and other places and slept with some of them. He established a coterie of young seminarians and priests that he encouraged to call him “Uncle Ted.” I have his correspondence where he referred to these men as being “cousins” with each other.
Catholic journalist Matt C. Abbott already featured the statements of two priests (2005) and one ex-priest (2006) about McCarrick. All three were "in the know" and aware of the Cardinal McCarrick’s activities in the same mode as I had heard at the seminary. None of these reporters, as far as Abbott knew, had sexual contact with the cardinal in the infamous sleepovers, but one had first hand reports from a seminarian/priest who did share a bed and received cards and letters from McCarrick. The modus operendi is similar to the documents and letters I have received from a priest who describes in detail McCarrick’s sexual advances and personal activity. At least one prominent journalist at the Boston Globewas aware of McCarrick from his investigation of another priest, but until now legal documentation has not been available. And even at this point the complete story cannot be published because priest reporters are afraid of reprisals.
But let's go on. More from the Preamble:
We, who have been given the responsibility of shepherding God’s people, will, with his help and in full collaboration with all the faithful, continue to work to restore the bonds of trust that unite us. Words alone cannot accomplish this goal. It will begin with the actions we take in our General Assembly and at home in our dioceses and eparchies.So -- of what have their "actions" consisted? Not purging their own ranks of deviants and sexual abusers. Not at all. It's been VIRTUS -- subjecting lay volunteers to a program that assures them that homosexual abuse is a myth -- not to mention requiring background checks and fingerprinting in many dioceses. But what about the bishops? Are they required to attend VIRTUS training or get fingerprinted and be subjected to background checks?
But here's one of my favorite lines from the preamble:
We have received fraternal guidance and support from the Holy See that has sustained us in this time of trial.Well, I'm not sure what the "fraternal guidance" was in 2002 and 2011, but here's what it was in 2016 under Pope Benedict:
According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds.
|Abuse victim, Peter Saunders kicked off Vatican|
commission for refusing to be silent!
I don’t see movement, I don’t see action over an issue that they should be absolutely furious about.And here's my last quote from the Preamble which takes up about a quarter of the document:
Let there now be no doubt or confusion on anyone’s part: For us, your bishops, our obligation to protect children and young people and to prevent sexual abuse flows from the mission and example given to us by Jesus Christ himself, in whose name we serve.Nice sentiment, eh? Absolutely true, the obligation part. As to following the example of Jesus -- my response? More sardonic laughter. Many of our bishops, sad to say, don't appear to care much about the example of Jesus. They are too busy with Caesar's work and worshiping the almighty dollar. Do you really think the bishops want to eliminate the cancer from the body of Christ? Not hardly! Too many of them are tumors on the Body of Christ. Every one of McCarrick's buddies who knew about his abuse should be removed from office. Start with Cardinals Wuerl and Tobin and Bishop Checchio. They all knew and remained silent and allowed McCarrick to continue on his merry gay way, a threat to "children and young people."
Read the Charter. It's time for the bishops to take it seriously and purge their own ranks of the abusers and those who covered up abuse. Their continued "service" threatens both the physical and spiritual bodies of the faithful.
More on the Charter to come!