A Rebuttal to Carlo Viganò on the Nienstedt Case

The Strange Case of Archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt:
Part III —A Rebuttal to Carlo Viganò on the Nienstedt Case

by Randy Engel, Sept. 13

[This is a lengthy article, filled with a multitude of references. Only the introduction is provided below. Randy’s investigation tears apart Viganò’s claim that he didn’t order the end of the Neinstedt investigation, and opens many questions as to why he acted the way he did.

It appears to this writer that Viganò has, through his McCarrick letter, unleashed a lion whose first course for dinner may be Viganò himself. While Viganò is under scrutiny, the Wuerl axis is building reinforcements, namely, it has been reported that Archbishop Hebda is the likely successor of Cdl Wuerl in DC. Hebda is the successor of Nienstedt in Minneapolis – St. Paul. Is this just a coincidence? -Cyprian]

Introduction

On August 26, 2018, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Papal Nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016, issued a “Statement by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò regarding the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis,” on his (non)role in the notorious Nienstedt Case – a case which I have documented in Part I and Part II of this series, and which first appeared in The Catholic Inquisitor (July and August 2018).

For the record, Parts I and II of this series were researched in the early spring of 2018 and sent for publication in June of 2018, that is, before the Viganò controversy exploded in the Catholic press in late August. The timing for my Nienstedt exposé appears to have been fortuitous for me but not for Viganò.

I say this because Part II concludes with a segment on Mr. Tim Busch, founder of the Opus Dei-friendly Napa Institute which gave the disgraced Archbishop Nienstedt succor and a job after his forced resignation from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on June 15, 2015.

On September 5, 2018, the Napa Institute issued a statement titled, “Letter from Tim Busch Regarding Archbishop Viganò Testimony,” in which Busch states that he has known Viganò for eight years, but that, contrary to “erroneous media speculation,” he played no role in the drafting of Viganò’s original testimony. Busch’s statement continues:

I was in touch with Archbishop Viganò several weeks ago to inquire about his involvement in the 2014 Saint Paul -Minneapolis investigation [the code phrase for the Nienstedt scandal] referenced in the shorter statement he (Viganò) released on August 27 [26], 2018, a couple days after his 11-page testimony. Our discussion did not involve the contents of the 11-page testimony that he released on August 25, 2018.

A brief deciphering of Busch’s explanation is that in mid-summer of 2018, after “The Strange Case of Archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt,” appeared in The Catholic Inquisitor, Busch had dis-invitedNienstedt off the Napa Institute campus and sent out a Napa Institute media release to that effect.

Was his call to Viganò made before or after Busch had canceled Nienstedt’s job at the Napa Institute? We don’t know from Busch’s statement.

What we do know is that Viganò was sufficiently upset by TheCatholic Inquisitor’sseries on Nienstedt to issue his own version of his (non)role in the Nienstedt affair one day after he published his lengthy testimony on the McCarrick scandal.

This third installment of my series on the Nienstedt scandal specifically addresses and challenges the former nuncio’s two-page August 26th statement on the extent and nature of his involvement in the Nienstedt Case.

Please note that I have not yet completed my research on the content of Vigano’s 11-page Testimony of August 25th which ends with a call for Pope Francis’ resignation and the circumstances which brought about the publication of Viganò’s testimony. I will be tackling that subject in Part IV of this series. And please, do not attempt to use my articles on the Nienstedt case to in any way defend the words and deeds of the current occupant of the Chair of Peter for which there is no defense.

Now, let’s turn our attention to Vigano’s commentary on the Nienstedt affair.

[continue reading at the link]

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15 comments on “A Rebuttal to Carlo Viganò on the Nienstedt Case

  1. Cyprian, I spent a bit of serious time today corresponding with a truly knowledgeable source on whether to post this same article. We agreed it was not worth the potential difficulties insofar as Louie and Randy are part of a new venture in which former Trads who recently turned into BLEEPS! are also participating.
    /
    A couple months back, I wrote to a good friend of Louie’s also involved in the project and tried to ask him to intervene, warning him of where the venture could easily go off the rails as well as do little more than end up becoming, like Voris’ CM enterprise, marginally useful at times but, frankly, seen to be not much more than an exercise in vanity and score-settling.
    /
    Thus, I would only suggest that anyone reading the Engel piece, above, take it with several large helpings of salt, at least for the present. Trad internet journalism is a minefield and only getting worse, despite the tantalizing developments within the USCCCP and with Don Bergolione.
    /
    I trust the learned, meticulous judgement of men like Dr. de Mattei and Cd. Burke concerning the integrity of Abp. Vigano more than I do Louie or, in this case, Mrs. Engel ( both are, I’m sure absolutely sincere and both are very intelligent, I hasten to add), neither of whom, it seems safe to assume, have discussed this hit piece with the Archbishop in advance of publication – a rather decent basic consideration it would seem owed to a man risking his life to expose corruption.
    /
    Anyway, that’s my take on the matter. Everyone else will simply think and do as he sees fit, anyway. But it is a great concern that the old saying about being a Trad means joining a circular firing squad continues to be proven daily.

    • I’m that “truly knowledgeable source.”

      I would not post it because of its length and the time to read, understand and judge its content, but if someone did, then as I have said on previous occasions: “Don’t shoot the messenger because of the message.”

      I counsel those who read the third part of that series by Randy Engel also to read the comments in the comboxes for the earlier two parts – especially the second. Because of them Louie has closed his combox.

  2. Noted, GPM. Yes, Louie has gone bleep; I’m not sure about Randy. I post Randy because she has done so much good for the Church, especially in fighting classroom sex-ed.

    The bottom line is, somebody is lying about the Nienstedt coverup. The investigation by the law firm ended abruptly. The fact that another law firm was secretly brought in indicated that the archdiocese knew there was unfinished business. The fact that Nienstedt’s attorney agreed to the original lead investigator and was about to submit Nienstedt to questioning by the investigator means that either the archdiocese or someone higher pulled the plug. If it was the MN bishops, why did they subsequently go hire another attorney? Also, why did Viganò get involved, and is it just coincidence that the investigation was quashed immediately after?

    Some might ask, what’s the point of getting to the bottom of Viganò and Nienstedt? I answer, what the point of uncovering all the coverups if we let this one stay under the rug?

    Some might say Randy’s hurting the cause by undermining Viganò. I answer that Viganò was, up until a month ago, an insider who had no qualms delivering loving praise to Uncle Ted. It appears he’s had a change of heart. But he has to understand how his behavior over the years undermines his story, unless he’s willing to fess up about all these things he was involved in. This should be no surprise. Anyone who rises to a high position in the Conciliar Church necessarily has to offer some incense to Shiva (figuratively) along the way. Otherwise, the mob won’t let you advance. For him, it meant being quiet while knowing that Ted was buggering seminarians, and publicly praising him despite his knowledge.

    So, I’ve got no sympathy for Viganò, but I do hope he can come clean so his expose doesn’t get buried.

  3. I guess the next question is, should we put the lid on Randy’s article until we can prove that she’s being honest? Is there evidence that she’s lying, or that she’s being lied to? What’s Randy’s motive, if not to expose the Nienstedt coverup?

    Again, somebody is lying. Nienstedt got a pass. He’s out free, and his successor might become the next Cardinal of DC.

    Obladi Oblada life goes on, brahhh!

  4. The question is not one of either side lying but rather of making possibly fallible judgments and choosing how to express matters. Either the archbishop or Mrs. Engel could have decided for any number of reasons to emphasize or conflate claims for perfectly sensible reasons, about which readers could not possibly know. Which is why it seems it would have been more professional on the part of Louie V and Mrs. Engel to have taken the trouble to address the issues with Abp. Vigano directly before publishing the article. The name of the archbishop’s media contact is known and I think LifeSiteNews obtained new information from Abp. Vigano recently, since his testimony last month.

  5. [Is the National un-Catholic Reporter an Opie Dopie funded front? A recent article uncovering Tim Busch and the Napa Institute’s right-wing connections does not include Opus Dei, which Randy Engel says is a key participant in the Nienstedt coverup.]

    Tim Busch, Napa Institute tout ‘Authentic Reform’ at upcoming event

    But critics decry the conference’s conservative ideology and elitism

    Sep 15, 2018 by Heidi Schlumpf

    In 2002, in the wake of the Boston-centered clergy sex abuse scandal, lay Catholics gathered in a church basement to pray and try to change the church through what would become the reform group Voice of the Faithful.

    Now another group of reformers is emerging. But it’s quite different from Voice of the Faithful, which tried to avoid ideological issues to focus on supporting victims, fighting clerical culture and promoting lay leadership.

    The Napa Institute, known for its blend of conservative theology and libertarian economics, hosts annual conferences that attract wealthy Catholics to California’s wine country. The organization’s focus on apologetics, sexual ethics and the need to counter secularization is shared by its ecclesiastical adviser, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, a darling of the Catholic right.

    This summer, the institute — and its controversial co-founder, millionaire Timothy Busch — have become vocal critics of church leaders, including Pope Francis, on issues of sex abuse and cover-up. And this fall, on Oct. 2, Napa will host a one-day conference in Washington, D.C., touted as exploring “Authentic Reform” in response to clergy sex abuse.

    Busch — an attorney who specializes in “high net-worth” estate planning and the CEO of a company that manages hotels and resorts in California — became part of the story about Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, when Busch said Viganò shared his plans to write his now-famous “testimony.” That document accused Vatican officials of covering up former Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s alleged sexual harassment of seminarians.

    The letter was released by several conservative Catholic news outlets, including the National Catholic Register, which is owned by EWTN. Busch serves on EWTN’s board.

    Busch told The New York Times that Viganò had “done us a great service” by releasing his dossier and noted that Viganò had assured him that retired Pope Benedict XVI had confirmed Viganò’s account.

    But in a later communication to Napa supporters, Busch insisted that he “did not preview a copy of or in any way participate in drafting Archbishop Vigano’s testimony, nor was I consulted in any capacity about his testimony.”

    The Napa Institute did not respond to NCR’s requests for interviews.

    The week before the release of the Viganò letter, the Napa Institute severed ties with Archbishop John Nienstedt, who had been a close adviser to Busch. Nienstedt resigned as archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis in 2015 for failure to deal with sexual abuse and because of allegations that he himself was guilty of sexual misconduct.

    Busch is also active in other conservative Catholic organizations, including Legatus, an organization for Catholic CEOs and their spouses, and the Acton Institute, a free-market Christian think tank.

    Busch and his wife, Steph — together with Jesuit Fr. Robert Spitzer — co-founded both the Magis Center for Reason and Faith, which Spitzer runs, and the Napa Institute.

    * * *

  6. Re. Acton Institute in re. Napa Institute in re. Randy Engel vs. (sod-“friendly”) Robert Sirico in re. Culture Wars Mag. in re. God-alone-knows-whom-else, etc….
    /
    www.culturewars.com/2007/Sirico.htm

    • [He must not be an Opie Dopie fundee (“funded” not “Fundy”; i.e., not a member of a Fundamentalist sect), because the purportedly Opie-Dopie funded National un-Catholic Reporter published a “no holds barred” interview with him]

      Fr. Robert Sirico on gay marriages he once performed

      Oct 18, 2010 by Michael Sean Winters

      While the Catholic hierarchy, from Maine to Minnesota to California, seeks to prevent same-sex marriages from gaining legal recognition, one conservative Catholic commentator, Fr. Robert Sirico, has special expertise on the subject, although in recent years he has said nothing about that expertise. In Washington state and Colorado in the 1970s, Sirico performed some of the first same-sex marriage ceremonies in history.

      Sirico is most known as a regular commentator on EWTN’s “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo. There, Sirico frequently excoriates those whose understanding of their faith differs from his own. Sirico also is the head of the Michigan-based Acton Institute, an organization that is dedicated to laissez-faire economics. His commitment to libertarian ideas in economic matters may lack any precedent in Catholic social teaching, but they echo a libertarian commitment from earlier in his career.

      In a 1972 interview with the Seattle Times, while he was serving as pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), reprinted below, Sirico announced his intention to perform same-sex marriages. The MCC is a non-denominational church organized by and for gays and lesbians. Sirico had earlier been ordained as a Pentecostal minister, according to the newspaper, and in 1971 he explained his faith-healing ministry to the Seattle Times.

      In 1975, Sirico performed what was reported to be the first “gay marriage” ceremony in the history of Colorado, held at the First Unitarian Church in Denver on April 21, according to an article in the Denver Post, reprinted below. Eventually, Sirico returned to the Catholic Church and was ordained for the Paulists, then affiliated with the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, and finally transferred to the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he is currently serving.

      Last week, I called Fr. Sirico and asked for an interview. He requested that I submit my questions to him by e-mail, which I did. We agreed that I would re-print his replies without editing, which I do here.

      My questions were:

      “1) Now that same sex marriage has become controversial again, how do you reflect on your own participation in such ceremonies in the 1970s in Colorado and Washington state? Do you have special insights on the subject that might be helpful to the Church as it navigates this complicated issue?

      2) Were you ordained for the MCC? One news account said that you had been ordained for a Pentecostal church, but it did not indicate whether you had also been ordained for the MCC?

      3) When you re-joined the Catholic Church, and entered seminary, did you receive a dispensation to be ordained in the Catholic Church? It is my understanding that ordination in a non-Catholic Church is an impediment to orders.

      4) I watch you on EWTN and you seem quite willing to render criticisms of people like Sr. Carol Keehan for deviating from your sense of what a Catholic should do and believe. You said that the inclusion of female altar servers in the masses with Pope Benedict XVI in the UK evidenced “an agenda.” Do you think your own circuitous route to the priesthood might suggest more sympathy with those who disagree with your understanding of orthodoxy?”

      Fr. Sirico replied:

      “I formally left the Roman Catholic Church when I was 13 years old, in the middle of the 1960s. About decade later, when I was still outside the Church, I underwent a process of conversion, initially political, which then led to a religious conversion. I have spoken about this numerous times in various settings. The concomitant development of my thoughts and spiritual life led to the abandonment of the left-wing ideas I held in that period and to my formal return to the Church. From that time some 35 years ago to the present I have faithfully believed in and practiced that faith.

      An agreement with a professional journalist to whom I have been giving a series of interviews about the details of this journey prevents me from cooperating in any kind of profile of my life with you. I can, however, respond to a number of your questions for the article you are writing which do not compromise this agreement. I trust you understand my obligation to honor my previous commitment.

      1. When I entered religious formation and at every stage of both my vocational and professional journey, I have always been transparent, giving the relevant details of my background to my superiors and close colleagues. I placed my confidence in my superiors for any dispensations or other requirements of Canon Law at each step of the way.

      2. I believe that my activities in the 1970s, though representing a very different political and theological stance to the ones I hold today, nonetheless help me to understand the complex issues that go into the debate “gay marriage.” These insights have also been helpful in my pastoral work with persons who have same sex attractions and have given me a greater sensitivity into the struggle to live a chaste life.

      I worked on the editorial committee of the Manhattan Declaration and its section on marriage reasonably expresses my view of the matter today and as well as outlining what I see as a needed and balanced concern that emerges from my own past my experience of having advocated positions opposed to those of the Church when I was outside her fold:

      In particular I see the current “impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner relationships [a]s a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture.” In this regard I believe the ‘gay marriage’ question arises today because as a culture we no longer fully understand what marriage itself is in its biblical and theological meaning. To abandon the Church’s view of marriage will erode the marriage culture itself, with wide and deleterious repercussions. It would, as the Manhattan Declaration states, “ lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about procreation and the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life.”

      At the same time, we must confront the reality that there are those who are, to a greater or lesser degree, inclined towards homosexual relationships. The same Church that authoritatively and truthfully teaches that such activity is immoral also authoritatively demands charity on the part of the faithful towards those so disposed. Persons who experience same-sex attractions deserve respect as human beings who possess an inherent, profound, and equal dignity as do all human beings. I have a personal awareness of the grace necessary to live a life worthy of one’s own dignity, a dignity so generously restored by Baptism and reinforced by the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

      As I have pondered these matters, I have come to one simple conclusion, and that is that I love the truth more than my freedom; indeed, that I love the truth more than myself, because it is only in the embrace of that Truth, Who is also the Way and the Life, that my own life will ever have any meaning or peace. I fully understand that for some people it is a difficult thing to say ‘yes’ to something that appears and even deeply feels, like a denial of one’s own self. Yet, that is precisely what Jesus asks of us. To say yes to the Cross is to say yes to the Risen One. As one prelate of the Second Vatican Council (Cardinal Journet) said, under different but for him no less arduous circumstances, “When one tears something dear away from us, and when this is demanded of us in the name of obedience – for a future which is yet hidden from us – one must say yes, one must be content in saying yes, one must be content even to feel suffering…But it is with happiness one suffers, for he has something to give to God.”

      This entire discussion will be elevated to a higher level when we can all engage the question by first understanding that our disagreements, profound as they sometimes are, can never give us license to vilify each other. At the same time, our compassion can neither give us license to lower the standard our morality to that of our inclinations or lifestyles.”

      * * *

  7. The Remnant in re. Acton in re. openly sod Sirico in re. …. (Oh, good grief! I give up.)
    /
    Who is Fr. Robert Sirico? Catholic Libertarians and Sexual Liberation

    Written by Jesse Russell, Ph.D. | Remnant Columnist

    “Just as the unity of human society cannot be founded on an opposition of classes, so also the right ordering of economic life cannot be left to a free competition of forces. For from this source, as from a poisoned spring, have originated and spread all the errors of individualist economic teaching.” Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno (1931)

    Although largely unnoticed in the Catholic press, there has been an odd shakeup at First Things magazine. Once the grand old dame of Catholic neoconservativism, First Things has, over the past two years, dared to question one of the sacrosanct tenets of Catholic neoconservativism: free market economics.

    In June of 2016, First Things published an article by David Bentley Hart titled, “Mammon Ascendant: Why Global Capitalism is Inimical to Christianity.” In his piece, Hart, an Orthodox (with a capital “o”) theologian at the University of Notre Dame, argues that the Reagan era coalition between fiscal and social conservatives has “largely collapsed” and big business is now allied with the political left.

    Hart’s analysis of the alignment of much of the corporate world with the radical left is no shocker. Gay couples have become de rigueur for television programs and advertisements for everything from Coca Cola to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. However, Hart’s primary point is free market economics goes hand in hand with moral degeneracy.

    As Professor Hart puts it:

    “a late capitalist culture, being intrinsically a consumerist economy, of necessity promotes a voluntarist understanding of individual freedom and a purely negative understanding of social and political liberty. The entire system depends not merely on supplying needs and satisfying natural longings, but on the ceaseless invention of ever newer desires, ever more choices.”

    An unrestrained capitalist system is predicated upon a fundamentally materialistic metaphysics, and a materialist metaphysics produces a hedonist ethics.

    Therefore, we should not be surprised that in the same country in which corporations argue for “free trade” and “open borders,” Netflix cartoons should promote child drag queens.

    Despite its salient points, Hart’s excellent essay prompted a blizzard of responses from those Catholics who still hold to the liberal capitalist credo. In The Public Discourse, a project of Professor Robert George, one of the last two remaining figures of the infamous “Four Horsemen” who led the Catholic neoconservatives to the heights of prestige and power during the reign of John Paul II and the presidency of George W. Bush, Samuel Gregg penned, “Global Capitalism versus Christianity? A Response to David Bentley Hart.”

    Gregg’s argument, which is available for the reader’s perusal, is largely a reissuing of the neoconservative response to both traditionalist and left wing Catholic critiques of capitalism, which, in effect, for the past thirty something years, since Michael Novak’s Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, has amounted to a lecture that traditionalist and leftists simply don’t understand how capitalism works—as a side note, Catholic libertarian Tom Woods has used this argument to attack The Remnant’s own Christopher Ferrara.

    Gregg is ensconced at the Acton Institute, a Catholic libertarian think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is financed by the Protestant DeVos family of Amway fame and is headed by Fr. Robert Sirico, who, with the death of Michael Novak last year, is now the most vocal Catholic exponent of free market economics.

    A brief examination of Fr. Robert Sirico reveals both serious theological flaws in his work as well as some very curious personal anecdotes from Fr. Sirico’s life that show that the poisoned spring of libertarianism has eroded much of conservative American Catholicism.

    Fr. Sirico’s major work is Defending the Free Market: The Moral Cause for a Free Economy (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2012). Released at the beginning of Barrack Hussein Obama’s second term, Defending the Free Market is a mishmash of (as we will see) selective autobiographical musings melded with the deceptive bicameral assuring Catholics that capitalism as defined by neocons and libertarians was the most Catholic of economic philosophy and further instructing non-Catholics that Catholicism was not an outmoded intellectual dinosaur blocking the progress of global capitalism.

    In Defending the Free Market, Fr. Sirico presents the old neoconservative old argument for capitalism as the most effective means of generating wealth for many (but not all and perhaps not necessarily most) members of a society:

    “Rightly understood, capitalism is simply the name for the economic component of the natural order of liberty. It means expansive ownership of property, fair and equal rules for all, economic security through prosperity, strict adherence to the boundaries of ownership, opportunity for charity, wise resource use, creativity, growth, development, prosperity, abundance.”

    Indeed, this statement is very similar to the argument that John Paul II provided in Centesimus Annus (after being coached, according to George Weigel, by neoconservative Italian politician Rocco Buttiglione) that it “would appear that, on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs.”

    Few would question that free market economics has made many people very wealthy. However, the Church has always taught that the market must be restrained by law and morality in order to serve the common good and protect the rights of the workers. Even John Paul II, notes that the free market must be “circumscribed within a strong juridical framework.”

    However, it is precisely this strong juridical framework that Fr. Sirico seeks to undermine. In Defending the Free Market, Fr. Sirico argues against caps on credit card interest rates, which make debtors lifelong slaves of banks; attacks tariffs, which protect American industries and jobs; and even promotes libertarian degenerate Ayn Rand’s (whose writings inspired Anton La Vey to found the Church of Satan) “idea of man” as being “noble.”

    Elsewhere, Fr. Sirico speaks even more strongly in favor of Rand.

    Like many libertarians, Fr. Sirico’s argument is predicated upon the benevolent acts of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” of the market, which will cause free market economics necessarily to produce positive social benefits without the regulation of Church and state.

    Finally, like Michael Novak’s lifelong promotion of “small businesses,” Fr. Sirico hides his attempted Catholic support for global capitalism and predator lending under the guise of promoting “localism” and small scale economic relationships.

    However, Fr. Sirico’s un-Catholic economic theories are not the only strange thing about Robert Sirico.

    Before he was Fr. Sirico of the Acton Institute, Robert Sirico was a charismatic Pentecostal pastor living in the Seattle of the 1970s. While such a conversion from Protestant preacher to Catholic priest should be a cause for rejoicing for Catholics, Robert Sirico was not the run of the mill conservative Pentecostal with a penchant for theatrics.

    As the Seattle Times reported in May of 1972, Robert Sirico was living as an openly gay man performing what some consider the first public religious “gay marriages” in the United States.

    In fact, Pastor Sirico was so enmeshed with the gay community that he became director of the Los Angeles Gay Community Center, which held a horrific “slave auction” on April 10, 1976, which was subsequently raided by the LAPD.

    In response Reverend Sirico protested that the sadomasochistic event was a “harmless fund-raising event.”

    It must be noted here that when this information was published by the National Catholic Reporter in 2010, Catholic League president Bill Donahue defended Fr. Sirico.

    For some reason, Bill Donahue made no mention of the fact that Robert Sirico himself was openly gay, nor did Donahue mention the slave auction incident—both things are a matter of public record and are even contained on Fr. Sirico’s Wikipedia page.

    Indeed, Donahue’s description of Fr. Sirico’s Augustinian conversion is extremely misleading:

    “[I]n the early and mid-1970s, Sirico, who had quit Catholicism at the age of 13, became a minister and performed gay marriages. Then he had a conversion: he came back to Catholicism and eventually became a priest.”

    Donahue does not mention that Fr. Sirico bounced around various religious orders and dioceses, nor does he account for how Fr. Sirico went on to garner support from the (at least officially) Protestant billionaire DeVos family.

    In effect Robert Sirico traded sexual liberation for economic liberation—both of which, as Dante so wisely understood over seven hundred years ago, go hand in hand.

    The point here is not to air the peccadillos of Fr. Sirico’s youth.

    Rather, it is to note that, even with the decline of Catholic neoconservatism, the “poisoned spring” of liberalism still flows into the Church through the Acton Institute.

    Secondly, we must pause to ask ourselves how a man so ingrained with the homosexual lifestyle could be ordained a priest and then promoted to such a high position.

    Finally, we might wonder why so many conservative Catholics have defended not only Fr. Sirico, but many other clerics with very questionable pasts.

    As Catholics faithful to tradition, we must recognize that the “errors of Russia” of which Our Lady of Fatima warned can take many forms, and it is not only among the Catholic left that the “smoke of Satan” has left its foul stench.

  8. Just kidding. I think we all may be getting at the root of the cover-up – big $od buck$ Keep digging!

  9. I’ll grant the possibility of reform on his part. Most evidence generally considers such to be rare. But the Church strictly prohibits ordination of such men. Of course, that continues to be laughed at theses days.

  10. Anyway, the Russell piece in the Remnant puts Sirico’s influence in fair perspective. He’s a menace, even if no longer enmeshed in in sod-ism.

  11. [A Rebuttal to the Rebuttal on Carlo Viganò on the Nienstedt Case]

    Davide777 – SEPTEMBER 2, 2018 – From the combox to The Strange Case of Archbishop Nienstedt – Part Two – by Randy Engel – September 2, 2018

    Why? After 8,644 words or 54,366 characters does this article falls so short on a thorough and complete analysis of the matter. The author’s deliberate ommission of Archbishop Vigano’s defence and explanation of this matter raises serious concerns about the intention to discredit the only credible Priest, so far, to come forward and shed light on the depth of the problem. However, we should expect the Archbishop to be attacked for his honesty. How about if we pray for the safety of Archbishop Vigano because the truth will soon be known.

    “Let’s shoot the messenger and this will go away.”

    You forgot to mention this:

    Viganò issues new statement, documents to clear his name of false charges:

    ROME, August 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, whose extraordinary testimony implicating Pope Francis and several senior prelates in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s alleged sexual abuse of seminarians and priests, today issued a new written statement, rejecting as “false” certain accusations that are now being used to discredit him.

    Archbishop Viganò has also released supporting documents to prove his innocence.
    The accusations date back to a 2016 New York Times report, alleging that, as U.S. Nuncio, Viganò “quashed” an independent investigation into sexual misconduct on the part of Archbishop John Nienstedt, who was found innocent by police authorities.
    The report specifically alleges that, during an April 2014 meeting at the Nunciature in Washington D.C., Viganò ordered two auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to halt the investigation into Nienstedt. The report further alleges that Viganò “ordered church officials to destroy a letter they wrote to him protesting the decision.”

    The New York Times based its report on a memorandum written by Father Dan Griffith, then-liaison to the lawyers conducting the inquiry, and delegate for the protection of minors in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Griffith wrote that the order to call off the investigation and destroy evidence amounted to “a good old fashioned cover-up to preserve power and avoid scandal,” the New York Times said.
    These allegations against the former U.S. Nuncio have now resurfaced, and are being used to discredit or call into question the credibility of his testimony implicating Pope Francis and several senior prelates in the McCarrick abuse cover-up.

    But in his two-page written statement, dated August 26, 2018 and published here below, Archbishop Viganò insists these accusations are “false,” presents his account of the events associated with the allegations, and provides convincing evidence, based on official documentation (including several letters here below), to prove his innocence.

    Vigano’s statement and the supporting documents also raise questions about why the Vatican has never publicly cleared his name.
    What really happened?

    In his written statement, Archbishop Viganò recounts that he met with Archbishop Neinstedt and two Auxiliary Bishops — Mons. Lee A. Piché and Mons. Andrew Cozzens — on April 12, 2014, at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C., to discuss the ongoing investigation into the Archbishop. Father Griffith, he notes, was not present.

    At that meeting, several affidavits were presented to him, one alleging that Nienstedt had “had an affair with a Swiss Guard during his service in the Vatican some twenty years prior.”

    Viganò explains that “these affidavits were collected by the firm, Greene Espel, who was retained by Father Griffith on behalf of the Archdiocese to investigate Archbishop Nienstedt.” He adds that the firm “belongs to the group ‘Lawyers for All Families,’ who fought against Archbishop Nienstedt over the approval of same-sex marriage in the State of Minnesota.”

    The former U.S. Nuncio then notes: “Private investigators from the Greene Espel firm had conducted an inquiry in an unbalanced and prosecutorial style, and now wanted immediately to extend their investigation to the Pontifical Swiss Guard, without first hearing Archbishop Nienstedt.”

    According to Viganò, at a certain moment in the meeting, he suggested that the bishops “tell the Greene Espel lawyers that it appeared to me appropriate that Archbishop Nienstedt be heard before taking this step – audiatur et altera pars – which they had not yet done. The bishops accepted my suggestion,” he writes.
    After the meeting, Bishop Piché phoned Father Griffith from the airport, saying the meeting was positive, and there was promise of a good resolution on the horizon.
    Despite this, the following morning, Archbishop Viganò says he received a letter at the Nunciature signed by the two Auxiliary Bishops, “falsely asserting” that he “had suggested the investigation be stopped.”

    In comments to LifeSite, Viganò said that, immediately after reading the letter, he called Bishop Pichè and said: “What is this? I never said to stop the investigation. I proposed that it would be appropriate to first interrogate the Archbishop. Please remove the letter from the computer and from the archdiocesan archives.”

    In his written statement, Viganò attests:

    “I never told anyone that Greene Espel should stop the inquiry, and I never ordered any document to be destroyed. Any statement to the contrary is false. However, I did instruct one of the auxiliary bishops, Lee A. Piché, to remove from the computer and the archdiocesan archives the letter falsely asserting that I had suggested the investigation be halted. I insisted on this not only to protect my name, but also that of the Nunciature and the Holy Father who would be unnecessarily harmed by having a false statement used against the Church.”

    In comments to LifeSite, Viganò said the letter “distorted” what he had said in the meeting, and put him and the U.S. Nunciature in a “very dangerous situation.” He said he was also “very concerned about protecting the Pope,” as they had put into the archives something that was “false and dangerous.”

    After this, Viganò said he “didn’t hear anything,” until the November USCCB general meeting in Baltimore, and he “didn’t know if anything had been done.”

    At the USCCB assembly, Viganò said the two auxiliary bishops, Pichè and Cozzens, presented him with a report, telling him they had also given it to Cardianal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, during a recent visit to Rome.
    Archbishop Viganò reviewed the report in their presence, and saw that “it still contained the false statement.” He therefore instructed Piché and Cozzens to write to Cadinal Ouellet, at the Congregation of Bishops in Rome, to have the statement corrected, and said he was going to do the same.

    LifeSite has obtained both of these letters. The letter from the two auxiliary bishops to Cardinal Ouellet may be viewed here, and Archbishop Viganò’s letter to the Cardinal may be viewed here.

    Segueing in his statement to 2016, Viganò writes: “The very day the news appeared in the New York Times, on July 21, 2016, the Holy Father asked Cardinal Parolin to phone the Nuncio in Washington, D.C. (Christophe Pierre), ordering that an investigation into my conduct be opened immediately, so that I could be reported to the tribunal in charge of judging abuse cover-up by bishops.”

    That same day, he adds, “I informed the Vatican Press Office in the persons of Father Lombardi and Mr. Greg Burke. With the authorization of the Substitute of the Secretary of State, then-Archbishop Becciu, Mr. Jeffrey Lena – an American lawyer working for the Holy See – went to the Congregation for Bishops where he found documents proving that my conduct had been absolutely correct.”

    These documents include the letter from the two auxialiary bishops to Cardinal Ouellet requesting the correction.

    Viganò further attests that, “Mr. Lena handed a written report exonerating me to the Holy Father. In spite of this, the Vatican Press Office did not deem it necessary to release a statement refuting the New York Times article,” he says.
    He also notes that, when the investigation ordered by Pope Francis was completed, “the Nunciature also responded to Cardinal Parolin with a detailed report, which restored the truth and demonstrated that my conduct had been absolutely correct.”
    “This report is found in the Vatican Secretariat of State and at the Nunciature in Washington, D.C,” he writes.

    The former U.S. Nuncio concludes, saying: “On January 28, 2017, I wrote to both Archbishop Pierre and Archbishop Hebda (who had succeeded Nienstedt), asking them to publicly correct the Griffith memorandum. In spite of repeated emails and phone calls, I never heard back from them.” A follow-up email, dated January 21, 2018, detailing Viganò’s repeated attempts to contact Hebda, may be viewed here.

    Who made the mistake? Was it Father Griffith? Or did he write his memorandum in good faith based on what he thought had happened? This is unknown, but Griffith’s actions are suspect, as he chose a group of lawyers to investigate Archbishop Neinstedt who were fighting against him in the Minnesota gay-marriage referendum.
    Here below we pubish Archbishop Vigano’s written statement. Emphasis not added.

    ***

    Statement by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò regarding the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis

    Accusations against my person appeared in the media – in July 2016, when I had already left my mission in Washington, D.C. – following the publication of a memorandum written by Father Dan Griffith, the then delegate for the protection of minors in the Archdiocese.

    These accusations – alleging that I ordered the two Auxiliary Bishops of Minneapolis to close the investigation into the life of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt – are false.

    Father Griffith was not present during my meeting at the Nunciature with the Archbishop and the two Auxiliaries on April 12, 2014, during which several affidavits containing accusations against Archbishop Nienstedt were handed to me.
    These affidavits were collected by the firm, Greene Espel, who was retained by Father Griffith on behalf of the Archdiocese to investigate Archbishop Nienstedt. This firm belongs to the group “Lawyers for All Families,” who fought against Archbishop Nienstedt over the approval of same-sex marriage in the State of Minnesota.

    In one of these affidavits, it was claimed that Archbishop Nienstedt had had an affair with a Swiss Guard during his service in the Vatican some twenty years prior.

    Private investigators from the Greene Espel firm had conducted an inquiry in an unbalanced and prosecutorial style, and now wanted immediately to extend their investigation to the Pontifical Swiss Guard, without first hearing Archbishop Nienstedt.

    I suggested to the bishops who came to the Nunciature on April 12, 2014, that they tell the Greene Espel lawyers that it appeared to me appropriate that Archbishop Nienstedt be heard before taking this step – audiatur et altera pars – which they had not yet done. The bishops accepted my suggestion.

    But the following day, I received a letter signed by the two auxiliaries, falsely asserting that I had suggested the investigation be stopped.

    I never told anyone that Greene Espel should stop the inquiry, and I never ordered any document to be destroyed. Any statement to the contrary is false.

    However, I did instruct one of the auxiliary bishops, Lee A. Piché, to remove from the computer and the archdiocesan archives the letter falsely asserting that I had suggested the investigation be halted. I insisted on this not only to protect my name, but also that of the Nunciature and the Holy Father who would be unnecessarily harmed by having a false statement used against the Church.

    The very day the news appeared in the New York Times, on July 21, 2016, the Holy Father asked Cardinal Parolin to phone the Nuncio in Washington, D.C. (Christophe Pierre), ordering that an investigation into my conduct be opened immediately, so that I could be reported to the tribunal in charge of judging abuse cover-up by bishops.

    I informed the Vatican Press Office in the persons of Father Lombardi and Mr. Greg Burke. With the authorization of the Substitute of the Secretary of State, then-Archbishop Becciu, Mr. Jeffrey Lena – an American lawyer working for the Holy See – went to the Congregation for Bishops where he found documents proving that my conduct had been absolutely correct.

    Mr. Lena handed a written report exonerating me to the Holy Father. In spite of this, the Vatican Press Office did not deem it necessary to release a statement refuting the New York Times article.

    The Nunciature also responded to Cardinal Parolin with a detailed report, which restored the truth and demonstrated that my conduct had been absolutely correct.
    This report is found in the Vatican Secretariat of State and at the Nunciature in Washington, DC.

    On January 28, 2017, I wrote to both Archbishop Pierre and Archbishop Hebda (who had succeeded Nienstedt), asking them to publicly correct the Griffith memorandum. In spite of repeated emails and phone calls, I never heard back from them.

    August 26, 2018

    • The commenter “Davide777″ wrote on Sep 2, when Louie posted the article, ” The author’s deliberate ommission of Archbishop Vigano’s defence and explanation of this matter raises serious concerns about the intention to discredit the only credible Priest, so far, to come forward and shed light on the depth of the problem.”

      The answer to this criticism was provided by Louie at the head of the article:

      [The following first appeared in the August 2018 edition of The Catholic Inquisitor.

      PLEASE NOTE: This article was written in late June 2018 – well before Archbishop Viganò’s testimony. I would caution readers to refrain from impugning Mrs. Engel’s stellar reputation for accuracy and fairness until she has an opportunity to respond in detail to Archbishop Viganò’s claim that he had no hand whatsoever in halting the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis’ investigation into the Nienstedt affair. Mrs. Engel is preparing a response. I will publish her remarks on this specific matter next week. – Louie]

      —————

      Randy Engel’s rebuttal to Abp. Viganò is the subject of the present post, dated Sep. 13 (link at the top). As Louie shut down comments, a subsequent reply from Davide777 is not available.

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