No Way Out
“Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil.” – Isaiah, 5:20
Here is the hard truth: the Catholic Church has been hiding behind the pedophilia scandal for 20 years. Read that again, let it sink in, then ask, “What has the pedophilia scandal been used to hide?” The answer: the homosexual scandal.
Many Catholic priests and bishops are homosexuals or protectors of homosexuals. This protection may stem from sympathy, fear, cowardice or indifference. It may be active or passive, that is, given through silence. But it is an assault upon our reason to maintain that those priests and bishops who are not homosexual were ignorant of what was happening all around them. They may have felt powerless, but presumed impotence is not an excuse for silence. We never know what we can do until we try.
The usual denials and excuses will continue to be made by the hierarchy as revelations of crimes and cover-ups continue to come to light. In one state after another, we can expect investigations into priestly sexual predations and episcopal complicity and cover-ups. It may be that the RICO statute will eventually be invoked and a federal case made against the Church for racketeering in systematic sexual abuse and obstruction of justice. Rome may not be immune to prosecution.
But litigation aside, there remains the fact that we have homosexual clergy in positions of power running throughout the Catholic Church, from the Vatican down to the lowliest diocese. The case of former Cardinal McCarrick affords a study on how the hierarchy operates to promote a culture of clerical sodomy. Were the matter less serious, it would be laughable for Cardinal Kevin Farrell, a former protégé of Cardinal McCarrick and now of Pope Francis, to say he knew nothing about his mentor’s sexual inclinations and activities. The same is true of McCarrick’s successor in Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl. And, need we add, the same is probably true of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II.
The only way to exonerate the popes is to claim they were blind, that they lived in a hermetically sealed cocoon, not only as pope but before their assumption of the papacy, for McCarrick’s history was well known in Rome and elsewhere. How many other McCarricks were promoted to positions of great influence? We may soon learn. But the full disclosure of the history of sexual corruption and Rome’s indifference to or cooperation with it would necessarily indict so many, including past popes (even “sainted” ones), that we can expect a mighty effort to halt any investigation that comes too close to the center of power. A cardinal or two, perhaps even a dozen, may have to be sacrificed, but the pope must be protected, or so the reasoning will go.
But even were the full truth to be known and admitted; even were the present pope to resign and his predecessors to be reviled for their complicity in corruption, the fact will remain: the Catholic clergy and its hierarchy are in the hands of a homosexual cabal. How can that change? Certainly, we can expect that sodomy will be practiced more discreetly and bishops and seminary rectors will be more circumspect about abusing seminarians. The abominations of the past will continue, but those who commit them will exercise greater care that they should not be caught.
What we see happening now is a concerted effort by the Pope and his advisors to make homosexuality morally acceptable. Father James Martin, the most outspoken critic of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, has called on “gay” priests to “come out.” Father Martin wants the Catholic catechism to cease calling same-sex attraction “intrinsically disordered.” He wants it to be called “differently ordered.” Should he succeed (and Pope Francis has already altered the words of the catechism on capital punishment, so there is now precedent), homosexuality will no longer be regarded as morally perverse. Homosexual priests then will become normal and acceptable, even courageous and admirable. Problem solved.
This may, to the uninformed, appear an outrageous scenario. To those who attended or followed events at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August, it will almost seem an accomplished fact. The Vatican organized this international gathering, crowned by a papal Mass. The Vatican, under the auspices of Cardinal Farrell, chose Father James Martin as a keynote speaker. Father Martin came, denounced “homophobic pastors,” and laid the groundwork for the Synod on Youth in October, where we can expect the Pope and his allies will push for the normalization of homosexuality.
If the Synod succeeds, even in some degree, to move the Church away from its absolute condemnation of homosexual acts, it will inevitably follow that the Pope will open the door to homosexual priests. Not that it has been closed. What will occur, however, will be a celebration of homosexual priests as a sign of a new enlightenment, a new openness, an expansion of the trademark “mercy” of the Bergoglio pontificate. The Church will go from being a holy family to being a modern family.
There is simply no way out of the present dilemma for the Catholic hierarchy except for an overthrow of the immemorial teaching on homosexuality. Then, it will be possible to condemn the abuse of power, i.e. using one’s position to obtain sexual favors, while accepting homosexual priests as normal. The condemnation will be of “clericalism,” for which Cardinal Cupich of Chicago has already laid the groundwork. The problem will not be homosexual priests, but the odd superior who forces a seminarian to cuddle with him in bed, as did “Uncle Ted” McCarrick.
It’s difficult to see any other way for the Pope and the hierarchy to confront what is happening. To expect an honest admission of guilt and sincere repentance and universal reform would be to expect a miracle. Miracles, of course, do happen, but we cannot depend on them. And given the known character of Pope Francis and many of his cardinals and bishops, attempts at self-justification, blame-shifting, attacking the attackers and obfuscation seem inevitable. But this banal and blatantly insincere political response may well be accompanied by an attempt to overthrow immemorial teaching. Be ready for it. Pray, let not your heart be troubled, and trust in God, Who alone is good.