Set aside ideology. The US bishops are guilty of a collective failure

Set aside ideology. The US bishops are guilty of a collective failure

by Christopher Altieri – posted 

Rumours about McCarrick were widespread. Why did nobody act?

Since the allegations against Theodore McCarrick began to emerge over a month ago, one senior US churchman after another has disowned knowledge of his behaviour – some more credibly than others. They should have known. They should have made it their business to know.

The question we need to be asking, after McCarrick’s resignation today, is: why didn’t they know?

Bishops must have heard rumours: after all, two New Jersey dioceses had reached settlements over McCarrick’s actions, and as more than one writer has noted, stories about the then-cardinal had a wide circulation. The bishops needed to look into those rumours. They didn’t. In this, too, they failed: a truly execrable miscarriage of the duty to care.

This failure of the bishops is at once personal, touching each bishop singly, and corporate, touching them all together: they failed as one body – as a college. Some of them knew and did nothing. But those who simply let themselves be fooled are also guilty. And this applies to many cases besides McCarrick’s.

Catholics on every side of every issue in the Church are perfectly aware of the bishops’ corporate responsibility for the abuse crisis, and rightly appalled by their haste to plead ignorance and pretend responsibility only lies with the “few” who did the evil.

If some of the bishops have been lions in other fights, they are goats in this one.

Nevertheless, many of us are too quick to blame the prelates on the other side of the ideological divide. That temptation will prove fatal to any reform effort. Catholics must resist it. Bishops who have been our allies and standard-bearers – sometimes even our heroes – in other situations may turn out to fail us in this one.

Said differently: we can use this crisis as a proxy in our ideological battles, or we can fight this fight together, ruthlessly and without stint, until we have won. We cannot do both. If we choose the first path, we shall make ourselves the evildoers’ accomplices. The second path is the only one that offers hope. But it will also require us to smash our own idols.

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7 comments on “Set aside ideology. The US bishops are guilty of a collective failure

  1. “Why did nobody act?”

    The code of canon law needs to be updated so that there is a specific set of procedures for identifying and removing bishops engaged in criminal and gravely immoral activity. There would have to be a process for appeal, in the event a bishop were falsely accused of misconduct. Some sort of scenario is needed where two fellow bishops could call for the resignation of another based on credible allegations of immoral or criminal conduct. But it has to be worked out jurisprudentially and clearly set down in canon law.

    It is unfortunate the way the discussion of this scandal is being conducted at The American Conservative by an anti-Catholic activist, completely oblivious to the changes in Catholic and clerical culture after Vatican II and the gay rights movement in the 1970’s, as if there are not enough books on that topic in existence. Those changes need to be addressed by the bishops. It is clear that there is a political alliance between predatory homosexuals pretending to be priests (or bishops) and heretical progressive modernists pushing situation ethics on issues like abortion and the definition of marriage on a scale not seen since the Protestant Reformation or the Arian heresy crisis. Hence, the heresy of modernism has to be addressed. You can’t have the Pope saying “who am I to judge?” one day and then pretending like he’s shocked that a cardinal has acted on that principle on another.

    This is not the end of the world. The sky isn’t falling. But it is time to deal with heretical modernism and the perverts behind it.

  2. What is the main point of the guy who wrote this article?
    Am I the only one who finds it incomprehensible?

  3. One of Tom’s magisterial duties here on AQ is maintaining a keen sense of the need by all members to overcome the initial onset of temptations to wrath when confronted with google-eyed, melon-headed Libtard writers. 😎

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