Search This Blog

Friday, March 22, 2019

Slander Scandal: The Hierarchy and the 8th Commandment

Editor's note: This is the lead article from the current issue of The Truth, Les Femmes' quarterly newsletter. If you'd like to check out back issues go to

Most Catholics know the story of St. Jean Vianney giving a gossip the penance of emptying a feather pillow in the wind and then gathering all the feathers up again. When she exclaimed it was impossible, the saint observed it was also impossible to undo the damage caused by her gossip.

In his epistle, St. James compares the tongue to the rudder of a mighty ship that sets the course according to the seaman’s directions. He also calls it “a spark…that sets a huge forest ablaze.” There is no doubt that in this age of social media, violations against the 8th Commandment are legion. Truth and justice are surely the casualties as calumny, slander, and detraction take center stage. What is equally sure and frequently demonstrated is that often those committing the violations wear Roman collars and crimson beanies.

Recently, the faithful saw a graphic illustration when three of four Kentucky bishops (Covington’s Roger Foys, pro-gay John Stowe of Lexington, and Louisville’s Joseph Kurtz) rushed to judgement condemning a group of boys from Covington Catholic High School who were attending the March for Life. A brief video clip of Nick Sandmann “smirking” as Indian activist, Nathan Phillips, beat a tom-tom inches from his face was enough for the bishops to join the mainstream media calling for the boys’ execution. Expel them, destroy their college hopes, tar and feather them. They should have remembered the gossip’s feathers!

Within a day the truth began to emerge showing the boys first being abused by a group of black Hebrew Israelites spouting racist taunts and then by the Indian provocateur. Phillips first targeted a young girl in a pink pro-Trump hat. In an interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight, her mom described how she reacted in horror. Apparently that wasn’t the photo op Phillips wanted, so he went for the boys!

Despite the changing scenario, the bishops were slow to withdraw their calumny and doubled down for several days. Even when the other boys were allowed to return to school, Sandmann was banned until his lawyers intervened. It took Bishop Foys of Covington almost a week to apologize to the students. He excused his behavior claiming he was “bullied” into a premature statement. What a pathetic excuse from a powerful adult who, in fact, “bullied” a bunch of teenagers! The fact is, the bishop’s apology only came after Sandmann’s lawyer hand delivered a letter to the diocese demanding protection of evidence, i.e., don’t destroy any documents! Within twelve hours, the apology was issued. When one considers the snail’s pace of bishops in responding to the sex abuse of minors, it’s breathtaking how fast some were to psychologically abuse and slander these kids! 

Sad to say, the bishops have had plenty of practice at calumny and slander. How many priests bringing the homosexual/pornography crisis to their spiritual fathers were thrown under the bus to enable the coverups? Father James Haley from my own diocese of Arlington is among them, but is hardly an isolated case. the persecution continues with priests in dioceses run by men like Blase Cupich who suspended the founder of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius and publicly declared him “guilty” of engaging in unspecified “inappropriate conduct” with adult men without a trial!   

Father’s canon lawyer sent Cupich a letter last April outlining the cardinal’s failure to follow canon law and uphold Fr. Phillips rights. He wrote, prior to the completion of any investigation, whether diocesan or by the religious order, you proceeded to inform the media of your decisions as set forth in your March 12th decree. This… blatantly constitutes a violation of Fr. Phillips’ privacy and all rights relative to the preservation of his good name; a clear manifestation, in the minds of many Christifideles, of either an animus against Fr. Phillips, or a high level of suspicion and a low level of skepticism was present during the decision making phase, or, perhaps, a mixture of both; which reprovingly gives way to a reversed burden of proof, i.e. Fr. Phillips must prove his innocence rather than the reprobate accusers having to prove his culpability. To be clear, this is not simply an opinion, or a defense tactic of the undersigned patrocinium, but rather an easily verifiable current of valuation widely shared amongst the faithful, in particular by those who personally know Fr. Phillips, together with all those who are familiar with and participate in the good works of the Canons Regular SJC in Chicago, and elsewhere.” 

   Sadly, this attitude of “guilty until proven innocent” seems typical of many bishops. As in the case of Mark Sandmann and his fellow classmates, bishops often reach precipitous judgments. They imitate the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland: “sentence first -- verdict afterward!”

  Which brings me to the sex abuse crisis and the bishops’ many violations of the 8th Commandment both against accusers and accused. For years, victims of abuse were treated like enemies of the Church. Bishops lied to parents urging them not to report criminal abuse to authorities promising to address the problem.. Instead they moved abusers from parish to parish, diocese to diocese, and even country to country. Some bishops even blamed young “street smart” children for “seducing” priests. Seminarians who objected to homosexuality were asked to leave and labeled trouble-makers unfit for the priesthood.

In his 2002 book, Goodbye, Good Men Michael Rose described how “gatekeepers” blackballed orthodox men. Fr. John Trigilio, the current Seminary Director of Pastoral Formation at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, MD, described his own chilling seminary experience. “The one book that helped me persevere through my twelve years of seminary was… Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. His imprisonment and constant surveillance was in many ways identical to my seminary life, in which cultural revolutionaries sought to ‘rehabilitate’ the orthodox into becoming full-fledged party members of the new dissidence. As in the former USSR, if you opposed the ‘party line,’ which in the case of the seminary was their particular brand of heterodoxy, then you were labeled as mentally unfit and kept under close scrutiny….The mind games, spying, and hidden agenda, as well as the vast bureaucracy of the KGB, were cloned in the seminaries across America. Fellow seminarians spy on one another; blackmail, intimidation, slander, threats, and even violence are employed to protect the status quo…. I actually saw vocations tortured and killed by those who were supposedly there to promote and foster [them].” Consider that this could only happen with the complicity of diocesan bishops.

Have things really changed? Some seminaries seem better, but in view of homosexual priests “coming out” to their parishes and scandals continuing to hit the news, like the two Chicago priests arrested in Miami Beach for public indecent acts and shocking stories of a “gay seminarian pipeline” bringing South American homosexual seminarians into the U.S., it’s hard to be optimistic. Is the “deep Church” homosexual subculture just keeping a low profile for a time? That homosexuality was ignored and, in fact, considered irrelevant at the recent Vatican Summit on the Sex Abuse of Minors shouts loud and clear that it’s business as usual in Rome. Transparency and openness are just words to many of these men.

While it's essential to address the plight of the victims of predator priests, there is another group of victims who are often ignored, the “credibly accused” who are considered guilty without trial, but are actually innocent. Once a priest is accused, the reality is he’s tainted and will likely never return to active ministry. I recently spoke to a friend who said he and some brother priests discussing the issue couldn’t think of a single accused priest who ever came back. Many are so traumatized by the situation that they end up with serious health problems as a result.

So what exactly does “credibly accused” mean? Well, it all depends since there is no clear cut definition and it varies from diocese to diocese. In some, it simply means it could be true because the priest was at the parish at the time in question. In a December 20th article on the America Magazine website, author James Keane outlined the various definitions of “credibly accused” and "disparities" in how the term is used. He described an interview with a Houston TV station where Cardinal DiNardo, bishop of Houston and head of the USCCB, said lawyers were still trying to decide what “credibly accused” means. The article went through the varying definitions from a "semblance of truth" to "not implausible" to "reasonable certainty of truth" based on evidence. “Not implausible?” Really?

When the Diocese of Arlington published the list of “credibly accused” priests on its website, I was appalled to see Fr. Buckner on the list. A mutual friend told me he had seen the letter exonerating Fr. Buckner. So I emailed Fr. Paul Scalia at the Office of Clergy. Here’s a slightly edited version of the exchange:

2/18/19: Dear Fr. Scalia, I hope you are well. I often pray for your father who was such a light on the Supreme Court and for the consolation of your family…. I saw the list of priests “credibly accused” of sex abuse and have a few questions. How does the diocese define “credibly accused.” There doesn’t seem to be a consistent definition …. Does Arlington have a written definition? I noticed Fr. Buckner is on the list, but my understanding is that he was exonerated of the charges and has a letter saying so. I also understand that his faculties were restored and that he attended the priests’ retreat. Is it true he was exonerated? Is it true he attended the priests’ retreat? If he was exonerated why was that fact not included on the chart? I’d appreciate a response as soon as possible. Thank you.

2/20/19: Dear Mary Ann, Thank you so much for your prayers for my father. That means a lot. As regards the determination of “credibly accused,” you can find more information here: As regards Father Buckner, out of respect for confidentiality I cannot comment any more on his situation at this time. PAX Fr. Scalia

2/20/19 Dear Father, …I’m truly baffled by your comment about confidentiality. If, in fact, Fr. Buckner was exonerated (and my source said he saw the letter) then not including that fact [on the website] is unjust and violates the 8th commandment prescript that people have a right to their good reputations. It leaves the accusation of “credibly accused” standing while the “not guilty” determination is hidden. Why? How can it be a violation of confidentiality to repeat the accusation and ignore the…“not guilty?”…Hasn’t Fr. Buckner been punished enough I wonder how much his physical problems have to do with the stress of his ordeal. In view of what recently happened to the Covington boys, it would be a good thing to see dioceses vigilant to protect the reputations of those who are falsely accused. I wonder how Fr. Buckner feels about a “confidentiality” that leaves unchallenged the implication that he is a molester. When can laity who support and love Fr. Buckner expect to see his exoneration formally announced on the Diocesan website? 

 2/21/19 Mary Ann, I cannot provide any more information than what was included in the announcement last week. Fr. Scalia

Including Fr. Buckner on the list without the fact of his exoneration is a serious miscarriage of justice, one of the cardinal virtues. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very clear: "Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury." It identifies sins of rash judgment (leaping to conclusions), detraction (revealing sins of others to those who have no need to know), and calumny (lying). These sins demand the "duty of reparation." According to CCC 2487, "This reparation, moral and sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience." Think of exactly how damaging a false accusation against a priest is! He is alter Christus! It is like crucifying Christ once again.

For a bishop to allow a refuted allegation to stand without correction is wrong! How many priests are in the same boat as Fr. Buckner? Look at all the false allegations we've seen against people in the secular world. Can anyone possibly think it doesn't happen to priests as well? 

Finally, no article on slander and the hierarchy would be complete without addressing attacks on faithful clergy and laity originating from the Holy See. Pope Francis and his circle never run out of harsh and uncharitable words for those whose "crime" is to call for clarification of Francis' statements undermining Church doctrine and creating confusion. Consider the way the four dubia cardinals were treated and the negative attacks coming out now against Cardinal Gerhard Mueller for his "manifesto" defending the faith, not to mention the responses and accusations against former U.S. nuncio Archbishop Vigano.

Leading Mueller attack dog, Cardinal Walter Kasper, accused his brother cardinal of following the path of Martin Luther for defending orthodoxy. This is almost laughable coming from an outspoken advocate of Communion for those in illicit relationships who says "gay" unions are in some ways "analogous to Christian marriage." Another modernist defender of Francis, one infamous for his slanders against orthodox Catholics, is Fr. Thomas Rosica of the Vatican press office. Rosica, recently disgraced over his almost 30 years of plagiarized books and articles, showed an idolatrous attitude toward Francis when he wrote, "Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is 'free from disordered attachments,'… Our Church has indeed entered a new phase…. With the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture." Wow!

Those who criticized this near blasphemy were told by Rosica to go to Confession, interesting advice from a fraud and liar. Canonist Ed Peters tweeted in response, "When the Vatican's own English media attaché angrily dismisses critics of his plainly papolatrous remarks as 'condemning, maligning & distorting' folks, and meanly adds that they need to 'go to confession', well, kinda tells us all we need to know." Indeed!

I could go on with other friends of Francis: Cardinals Cupich, Farrell, Tobin, Marx, Mariadaga, etc. ad nauseum. All of them advance the LGBT agenda and slander papal critics. If anything can be called the "Francis effect" it's the violent and vitriolic attacks against anyone who dares question this papacy of confusion.

What's a faithful Catholic to do in this situation? Pray, persevere, and defend the faith. Remember the Beatitude, "Blest are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven." Amen, Alleluia!


elpine flower said...

We have heard the St John Vianny homily twice.
First from a well known active sodomite cleric in our former Diocese who had placed his male partner into his parish Parochial school as a First Grade teacher with zero credentials listed on the school's staff site.
The more traditional nuns exited the school and left the Diocese in response vocally wondering how parents who also knew this could allow their children to remain enrolled.
Then from a priest who is trying to push the Cause of a S American visionary who also had a lover in the person of a vocal Cuban widow lady who told all to everyone from her home based Prayer Group.
Yes some people were scandalized, but the majority of pew people did not care.
.....The sodomite priest fixed up the church that was in disrepair and the prayer group visionary promoting priest was just ,'...comforting the widow after her husband died." All was fine.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Lots of folks live in denial. After all, Gay Fr. Randy is nice and funny and oh-so-charming. He's not only grooming kids but their parents as well.