The rot is deeply entrenched, and has not been cut out


Following recent revelations that the General Secretary of the US Catholic bishops’ conference had been caught living an active homosexual lifestyle, commenters are emphasizing – as I did at the time – that this is a problem from the top down.  The wrong people were allowed to ascend the hierarchy;  and now, from their officially protected positions, they’re allowing the rot to continue.  The situation has been made even worse by criminal charges being brought against former Cardinal (now defrocked) Theodore McCarrick.  George Neumayr notes:

This trial is sure to serve as yet another reminder of the Catholic hierarchy’s complicity in McCarrick’s misdeeds. After all, those who knew of his misconduct remain in positions of power. “[W]e all knew,” Bishop Steven Lopez has acknowledged.

Some close associates of McCarrick have even received promotions since the scandal. Cardinal Kevin Farrell, his former roommate, holds a high position at the Vatican. Two of McCarrick’s cronies, Cardinal Blase Cupich in Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Tobin in Newark, sit on a powerful Vatican congregation that selects bishops for the United States. (According to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal nuncio to the United States, McCarrick “orchestrated” the elevations of Tobin and Cupich in the Church.)

Cardinal Donald Wuerl was made aware of an allegation of misconduct against McCarrick at least 13 years before the scandal broke. The formal complaint reportedly concerned McCarrick’s behavior at his New Jersey beach house, where McCarrick has admitted he shared beds with seminarians. Wuerl is now enjoying a comfortable retirement.

Meanwhile, Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, a top official at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), resigned due to a report by The Pillar establishing Burrill’s extensive use of Grindr, a gay hookup app.

. . .

These stories illuminate the homosexual ecclesiastical culture which had protected McCarrick for decades. But, of course, the Catholic establishment refuses to make that admission. It is outraged not by that culture, but by its exposure.

Jesuit Father James Martin, who openly contradicts the Church’s teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual acts, blasted The Pillar for daring to obtain Grindr data. All the usual defenders of the gay culture in the Church chimed in with similar condemnations, including the Washington Post. Suddenly the Post, which published the Pentagon Papers and countless other works of audacious investigative journalism, is fretting over “surveillance-ethics.”

Voices within the Church defending Burrill and tut-tutting The Pillar’s exposes used similar rationalizations to avert their gazes from McCarrick’s misconduct. That is, the post-McCarrick Church looks pretty much the same as the pre-McCarrick Church. The laxity and lack of vigilance that McCarrick exploited is exactly what permitted Burrill to rise to the top of the USCCB. Instead of apologizing to the faithful for yet another demoralizing scandal, the bishops use proxies at heterodox publications such as the National Catholic Reporter to whine about violations of “privacy” and so forth.

. . .

Had The Pillar not exposed Monsignor Burrill, he would undoubtedly have risen higher in the Church. The USCCB has yet to condemn his conduct. He hasn’t even been suspended as a priest by his local bishop, Bishop William Callahan. Just as the bishops played dumb about McCarrick’s misconduct — some bishops insisted his sleeping with seminarians wasn’t sexual, as even the Vatican report on the scandal noted — so Callahan is pretending that Burrill’s extensive Grindr usage doesn’t establish impropriety.

The Church establishment maintains the big lie that a gay priestly culture played no significant role in the abuse scandal, even though most of its victims have been teenage boys. The protégés of McCarrick, such as Cupich and Tobin, refuse to address that issue. Instead, they give their blessing to Fr. James Martin to push LGBTQ causes in the Church.

The bishops act as if the McCarrick scandal is behind them. But it isn’t. Its fundamental causes remain largely unaddressed, as the Burrill scandal proves. The bishops deflect attention from their own derelictions of duty by complaining about intrusive media. But that is simply a function of their own passivity.

Because the bishops won’t reform the Church, members of the laity have taken up that task. To the extent that the Church is changing, that is due more to pressure from outside sources — lawyers, prosecutors, journalists — than any internal accountability.

Churchmen have washed their hands of McCarrick. But his stain is not so easily erased. As his upcoming criminal trial unfolds, the faithful will have every right to ask: If the Church is past McCarrick, why are his “nephews” still running it?

There’s more at the link.

Rod Dreher received a message from a friend who is a priest, concerning the resignation of Mgr. Burrill.  It reads in part:

Rod, this is HUGE. In articles he is described as being “responsible for sex abuse cases“ and being a sort of administrator. But he was the equivalent of the CEO of the United States’ bishops’ official organization. In some respects he had more power than many bishops.

Furthermore, priest employees of the USCCB are supposedly subject to very intense vetting. I know of this both first and secondhand. Mostly what the Conference is looking for is what has been termed “French-cuffed moderates.” These are priests who have learned to be smooth, work the system, never say anything that will create controversy, etc. But they also supposedly look into a priest’s background to make sure that he is “suitable” and won’t turn into a source of scandal. Obviously that sort of vetting failed in this instance.

Or perhaps “failure“ is not the correct term. Given that this priest had been engaged in this sort of behavior for so long and so comprehensively (even whilst traveling on USCCB business, for God’s sake!) there’s no way that some of his confreres and even some bishops didn’t know about this. This guy was groomed and prepared and protected to get to his position. Make no mistake. If the church is fortunate, he or someone who know will spill the beans, and other shoes will drop. God send that that will happen!

Bold, underlined text above is my emphasis.  Dreher responds:

This is staggering news. It really is. Almost twenty years after the scandal broke nationwide out of Boston, and after years of Catholic bishops assuring the faithful that the scandal was behind them, a gay pick-up artist was in place as the top non-episcopal USCCB official, and even coordinating efforts to respond to the scandal.

What are Catholics supposed to think? Back in 2002, I got into an argument with a bishop about my writing on the scandal, which he wanted me to stop doing. I finally told him that as a Catholic, one of the reasons I did this writing and reporting was because I did not trust the bishops to clean up the mess. He said to me, “If you don’t trust the bishops, why are you still a Catholic?” Fortunately, I knew that my Catholicism did not require me to believe that particular bishops are moral or competent; I only had to believe that they were validly ordained. But that bishop’s response was truer than I realized at the time. Once I came to believe that the entire clerical institution was honeycombed with sexually active gay men who had no intention of obeying their vows, and by bishops and church officials (straight or gay) who had no intention of stopping them, I began to question the entire Catholic model.

One day I realized that if one of my sons, small children at the time, told me that he felt a calling to the Catholic priesthood, I would throw myself in front of him to prevent him from entering into that pit of vipers. That was a shock. I knew then that my faith was in trouble. And so it proved to be.

. . .

How blind do you have to be to think that the fix isn’t in? Do you remember who was put in charge of the USCCB’s initial 2002 response to the Catholic sex abuse scandal? Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

. . .

And so, in the Year of Our Lord 2021, nineteen years after Boston, and three years after the Church moved against Theodore McCarrick, it fell to faithful Catholic journalists to reveal that the top administrative official at the USCCB, the man in charge of leading the US bishops’ response to sex abuse, is in fact a sexually compulsive closet case.

Shocking, but at this point, not surprising. How are people supposed to trust this organization? I don’t know.

. . .

Popes, patriarchs, bishops, priests, pastors — Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, whatever — shouldn’t make it harder for the faithful to hold on, is all I’m saying. And the Catholic Church should once and for all look hard at the problem of sexually active gay men in the priesthood. The media won’t do it (except for tough, faithfully Catholic journalists like J.D. Flynn and Ed Condon at The Pillar) — but until and unless it is done, nothing will change.

Again, more at the link.

I think that yet again, the media have proved to be emissaries of the Holy Spirit in revealing the corruption that infests the Church.  At the time of the earlier crisis over clergy child sexual abuse, I wrote:

As for the media, I believed (and still do) that there was more than enough justification for a ‘witch-hunt’ on their part. Because the scandal had been covered up for so long, and because it had been made worse by the bad decisions of many bishops, it was inevitable that its exposure would cause a sensation. Furthermore, the bishops had signally failed in their duty to protect the faithful, instead choosing to protect their own position and authority, and the institution they served. I was taught at seminary that the Church exists to serve Christ by, in and through serving the People of God. If it fails in the latter endeavor, it automatically fails in the former as well. The media attention being paid to the scandal was simply driving home that truth with renewed force, as far as I was concerned.

I also had to ask whether God wasn’t deliberately using the news media to accomplish something He’d been trying to get His bishops to do for years – decades! – without success. Since they’d so signally failed in their responsibilities, it seemed to me that the Lord appeared to be using the news media instead – conspicuously less than holy though it might be in many ways – to clean up His Church. Needless to say, my hypothesis wasn’t greeted with unbridled enthusiasm by ecclesiastical authorities.

I don’t suppose any Bishop paid any attention to what I said then, and I doubt they’re paying any attention to it now.  I was one of those “rebels” who would not kowtow to their authority and let them get away with it.  I no longer have anything to say that would interest them, unless I were to surrender completely, and recant my views and my position, and acknowledge that they and the Catholic Church were right all along.

It saddens me more than I have words to say that, almost two decades after my own crisis of conscience and its result, very little has changed.  The Catholic faithful are still being misled by an entrenched “lavender Mafia” that has no intention of giving up its positions of power, or of being faithful to the moral teachings of Christ, or of being shepherds of the flock instead of wolves preying upon it.

Unless and until the bishops of the Catholic Church, jointly and severally, act to root out this corruption in their midst, and among their clergy, the Church will continue to be hamstrung in her mission.  It cannot be otherwise.

As for those bishops who are guilty of active involvement in, or passive tolerance of, such moral depravity . . . they are, indeed, demonstrating that they are successors to the Apostles – but not to all of them.  They’re successors to one Apostle in particular.

His name was Judas.



  1. "Mgr. Grindr" raises a question about one of his predecessors, the now-Bishop Malloy of Rockford.

    +Malloy reportedly has a dozen priests in 'jail,' not assigned to any parish and not allowed to leave the Diocese for another one. Compare to +Callahan, who has at least ONE notable priest in 'jail' –but his name is not Burrill.

    Regardless–this is my church, not Burrill's, Malloy's, Weakland's, or McCarrick's. I'm not easy to displace.

  2. "…bishops of the Catholic Church, jointly and severally, act to root out this corruption in their midst…"


    Okay, here we go again…

    What – precisely – would you have them do?

    Don't just say "act". That's meaningless. What exact "actions" should be taken?

    Also, as an aside because I really don't think I will get a reasonable response, I have asked this question several times on your comment thread and have yet to receive **any** answer.

    The question? What, exactly, do the words "credible accusation" mean?

  3. The Catholic Church is a strict hierarchy. There is no possible "fix" from the bottom up. The top levels are exclusively reserved for the lavender mafia. Why do you think the Pope Emeritus resigned? He said so himself!

    The only way the laity can influence the church is to leave it. At least stop donating time, money and goods to the monster. That is what it takes to get the attention of the powerful – threaten their comfort.

    We'll know the laity are serious when they start picketing the cathedrals on Sundays.

  4. Well written excellent analysis.

    And I believe more high levels Catholic will be revealed using the same data methods.

  5. @Roy: What should they do? That's very simple – apply and enforce the moral and ethical standards established in the Bible and taught by the Church. That's all they need to do. If a priest or bishop can't adhere to those standards, he should be removed from office and laicized, so that his weakness can't affect those to whom he ministers.

    That's the whole of it, the sum total of what's required. There's no great mystery or difficulty about it.

    Furthermore, the bishops collectively must act to hold each other, individually, to that standard. You can't have one diocese where discipline and moral standards are lax, and another where they're high. There has to be a universal Biblical moral norm that applies everywhere. If the Bishop in charge is not himself of a moral character, he needs to be replaced with a successor who is.

    As for existing clergy who were allowed to enter that state during the years of moral laxity: they must go. It's as simple as that. Clean house, top to bottom, and then make sure it stays clean in future.

  6. The "do as I say, not as I do" bullsh*t is done. Whenbaccurate reportings are available, lies fail, even if the Father of Lies is telling them.
    One resukt of a previous failure of the Church is the Latin Amrrican address of worship of the Saints directly, as the priests there/then demanded payment for prayers.
    This may cause / require another schism, when the faithful re-learn that the "church which Christ led" exists whenbthe, and has nothing to with the State religion of Imperial Rome, nor with the Eccleastical structure that calls itself "Catholic" (ie: universal)
    Both in the Church and in the Nations of the world, the conflict between we, the participants, workers, and supporyers, and those who intend to rule us.
    Their system is too fragile, and too many of us still remember being the citizens who consented to be governed, and members of a church which came into existence when we met, for them to remake our world in their image.
    We are reliving the Avignon Papacy. It will not be safe, pkeasant, nor will we all survive the coming storm, but remember what our ancestors built, and build again, better.
    John in Indy

  7. The problem is the same as with the leftists/Marxists.

    They will not stop. They will never, ever say they are wrong. And they will never give up the power they have gained voluntarily.

    They can only be removed. And at the end of the debate, we all know that there is only one way they are going to get removed. As Kennedy I think it was, said When peaceful change becomes impossible, violent change becomes inevitable.

    They own the church/govt. They say what the rules are and what they are not. They control who enforces the rules within the organization. No matter how you vote, they control who counts the votes. That can't be dealt with peacefully. It can only be burned down and then replaced, with non of the old people allowed to be a part of it ever again.

    If those of us who understand this, and keep letting being civilized tell us we can't actually fight and stop us from taking care of it (including myself, I've just talked a lot too.)" Then we deserve to lose. Lose a Church. Lose a Country. Lose Western Civilization.

  8. Okay, you set a biblical standard. That's fair. It is my impression – an impression that is NOT wholly formed by a lying, feckless press – that that is what most of the leadership is trying to do. But then you say: "…the bishops collectively must *ACT* to hold each other, individually, to that standard."

    Again, I repeat… Just saying they should "act" is meaningless. Exactly what "actions" should be taken? Should every priest be given a lie detector test? Should their every movement be tracked by giving them an ankle bracelet? Should all of their private correspondence be made public? Should they be tortured on the rack until they confess? Broken at the wheel maybe? (The church hasn't been able to burn people at the stake for hundreds of years, so that's out of the question.) Or does any 45 or 50 year old "credible accusation" mean an elderly, long serving priest gets cast into the outer darkness without trial or rebuttal? – Because that's what your argument sounds like to me.

    And again, for the umpteenth time – the unanswered question? What, exactly, do the words "credible accusation" mean?

  9. @Roy: I can't speak for every diocese, or every region, or every country. However, if I were a Bishop, this is what I would do.

    1. I'd call my priests and deacons together and inform them that they had one week to inform me, privately, of any and all lapse(s) in moral character since they were ordained. Minor lapses would be forgiven, provided that sincere efforts had been made (and could be proved to have been made) to change, and improvement was visible. Major lapses – including serious sin, even if previously confessed – might lead to an end of active ministry.

    2. In the case of termination, those who fessed up voluntarily would retain the right to a pension and a certain amount of care (perhaps including medical insurance, etc.) Those who did not fess up, and were found out later, would lose all such benefits and be left with nothing. In other words, play along and we'll do our best to keep you afloat. Refuse, and you can sink or swim on your own.

    3. Candidates for the priesthood would have to agree to a very intrusive background check, up to and including polygraph and other tools. They would also have to agree to intensive monitoring of their spiritual and personal formation during their studies. Resistance would lead to their removal from the program, on the grounds that the Church dare not run the risk of ordaining any more of the wrong people. In particular, an active sexual life (hetero, homo or anything in between) would be an automatic, mandatory disqualifier for a celibate vocation.

    3. Every Bishop in every diocese should be subject to the same intrusive background check, right now, no matter how well they'd been investigated before. The same should apply to Vicars General, Chancellors, and any senior administrative appointments in every diocese, and in the bishops' conference. Fail the check, and you would be required to resign your office. In addition, all such individuals should be required to follow the procedure outlined in 1 and 2 above, with the same consequences. No exceptions.

    4. Lay people should be appointed to councils with serious, significant authority to investigate potential or suspected abuses, and issue binding recommendations for action as and where necessary. No fudging it by saying that the final decision is always the Bishop's: if a lay council says that X is necessary, X should happen. In the event that a Bishop disagrees with the council, its recommendations should be appealable to a national committee at Bishops' Conference level, but they should not be allowed to be overridden at diocesan level.

    That's my first-pass approach. There would doubtless be more as I put my mind to it.

  10. First, fire the Pope. As he's been elected by the very people who have caused the problem.

    Then fire ALL the cardinals. Retirement, execution, actual setting on fire pour encourager les autres, don't care. GONE.

    Then have the bishops figure out what's what.

    The whole top, innocents and not-so-innocents, and all their flunkies need to be gone.

  11. "I say we take off and nuke the entire church hierarchy from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

  12. Bottom line: As long as the Roman Catholic church restricts the priesthood to unmarried males, the problem will never be fixed.

  13. I hesitate to point it out, but I seem to recall Martin Luther being onto the whole scam back around Halloween 1517.

  14. If the Catholic Church allowed marriage it would help a lot.

    The Protestants seem to be ok with allowing marriage in the clergy.

    And some Catholic Sects allow marriage of priests. And if a Protestant priest converts to Protestant he is allowed to stay married.

  15. All while the Bishops are messing – Boy Scout leaders and some volunteer leaders are quietly abusing young scouts. No body to say anything, the abuse was known.

  16. I see Ray-SoCal has posted a link to a different account of what I was going to post

    I have to say that the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy seems to be distinctly unholy in many many ways. I'd love to point and laugh except that, while different, my own Anglican authorities seem to be no better. I'm not sure what the fix is because it seems to me that all churches are susceptible to Pournelle's Iron Rule and thus to corruption from the original purpose

  17. God will not be mocked. God is righteous and just. Pity these fools who pretend to follow God but act like the devil, no matter which church they go to. They, like us all, will answer for their sins.

  18. And I see the Pillar has indeed tied some of the obvious links together

    I don't know how many of the lavender mafia are going to be implicated but if (when?) the pillar starts to cross correlate the grindr location data from vatican (and other similar locations) with grindr location data elsewhere and public details of priestly travels I imagine they'll be able to fairly quickly identify a fair number of other grindr users

  19. "Bottom line: As long as the Roman Catholic church restricts the priesthood to unmarried males, the problem will never be fixed."

    I've stated this on more than one occasion. Repressed sexuality has a way of morphing into really ugly things.

    Scripture clearly states that one of the hallmarks of the apostate endtimes church will be one that forbids marriage. The Catholic church is the Laodecian (sp?) church.

  20. I am Catholic – born and raised. That early training influences many of my beliefs and habits, and even my level of comfort when visiting a church (dark wood and candles – good. White walls and LEDs – bad).

    But just as I call myself a libertarian, but not a Libertarian, I am a catholic, not a Catholic. I cannot support the church with all I know of it, and the more I learn the more I lean towards Chris Nelson's suggestion.

  21. As a recent (less than one year as of right now) convert to Catholicism, I have to say that the scandal was a major concern for me.

    I personally believe there's a Reformation coming to the Church, not of the Martin Luther variety, but of the St. Francis of Assisi variety, bringing the Church (or a Remnant thereof) back to what She should never have stopped being in the first place.

    For those who say married priests would solve the problem, the majority of Catholics wouldn't accept such a change. How do I know? My own priest is, like me, a convert from the Episcopal church (where he was a minister), he's married, he had permission from the Pope to be Ordained, and he's been told many times that he has no business being a priest. Both by his fellow priests and the laity. Seems a great many Catholics don't WANT married men as priests. I don't pretend to understand, I merely report.

    Also a minor point: Church discipline states that a married man can be Ordained (with permission), but an Ordained man cannot get married. So if a married priest or deacon is widowed he can't remarry.

    Mark D

  22. Not unless someone makes a whip of cords, and scourges the temple clean.

    And I mean drawing blood, not just play-fighting.

  23. @Aesop: Recall who did that very thing with the whip of cords, He'll do it again.

    We're already seeing churches like mine are growing like weeds (long story short, although my church is physically in the Diocese of Scranton, PA, our Bishop and Cathedral are in Houston TX. For more information look up Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter), while other local churches are closing or consolidating for lack of membership. Those members of the Church leadership who are faithful to their calling (and there ARE some), and those under them, thrive while those who are unfaithful find themselves out in the cold. God has always, ever since Sodom and Gomorrah, protected the faithful remnant while tearing down the unfaithful.

    Mark D

  24. How long has the Church been corrupt…?

    About as long as it has been established, I'd say. You put all that power (secular and religious) into an institution, it becomes an attractive nuisance. Why do homosexuals and pedophiles want to be priests…? 'Cos, that's where the kids are.

    At some point, you have to simply acknowledge that human frailty and corruptibility means that these power sinks in the community are going to attract the wrong sort of people, who will then turn those institutions into seedbeds of corruption and malfeasance. It's the same with our government–The moment you allow professional politicians and bureaucrats, you've just created both opportunity and attraction for every creepy bastard in your society to seek out those jobs.

    I've never once met anyone who professed to be "seeking public service as a career" who struck me as anyone I'd trust with much of anything. They all exude a form of slimy unctuousness and false solicitude that mask a pathologic drive for power and control which I find disgusting.

    You give all this power to people, then you wonder why they turn out to be unworthy of it? Why is anyone surprised at the human scum that works its way into these jobs?

    There's really only one answer, and that is to grow the fuck up and cease investing all this power into these institutions and the flawed people that are attracted to "service" within them. At some point, you have to recognize that most of the creatures that want jobs in these organizations are predators seeking easy prey down by the waterhole, and then quit drawing your water from there. The "Church" has always been corrupt, because the "Church" has always attracted the sick and deranged human weaklings to it in job lots; when the Reformation happened, it wasn't because Martin Luther decided that the Roman Church wasn't fashionable, anymore–It was a response to times just like these, only different.

    You want something like a Roman Catholic Church? Then you'd better figure out how to find saints to man the structure of it, because so long as flawed humans are going to be doing that, you're going to wind up with this kind of crap, over and over and over again.

    We need to recognize that this sort of hierarchical organization simply does not work when filled with human beings, and cease building them. We do not do them at all well, and we need to figure out another path, another way of getting things done–Because, this paradigm ain't working, and will not work so long as the merely human are manning things.

  25. Just stop putting money in the plate. If everyone who is outraged and scandalized stopped contributing, the laity would own the church in a year. We could buy the buildings as they came up, but the whole corrupt hierarchy would crumble.

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