The McCarrick Mess

The bishops of the United States—all of us—should petition the Holy Father to form a team, made up mostly of faithful lay Catholics, and to empower them to have access to all of the relevant documentation and financial records.

(CNS photo/Ma x Rossi, Reuters)

When I was going through school, the devil was presented to us as a myth, a literary device, a symbolic manner of signaling the presence of evil in the world. I will admit to internalizing this view and largely losing my sense of the devil as a real spiritual person.

What shook my agnosticism in regard to the evil one was the clerical sex abuse scandal of the nineties and the early aughts. I say this because that awful crisis just seemed too thought-through, too well-coordinated, to be simply the result of chance or wicked human choice. The devil is characterized as “the enemy of the human race” and particularly the enemy of the Church. I challenge anyone to come up with a more devastatingly effective strategy for attacking the mystical body of Christ than the abuse of children and young people by priests.

This sin had countless direct victims of course, but it also crippled the Church financially, undercut vocations, caused people to lose confidence in Christianity, dramatically compromised attempts at evangelization, etc., etc. It was a diabolical masterpiece.

Sometime in the early aughts, I was attending a conference and found myself wandering more or less alone in the area where groups and organizations had their booths. I came over to one of the tables and the woman there said, “You’re Fr. Barron, aren’t you?” I replied affirmatively, and she continued, “You’re doing good work for the Church, but this means that the devil wants to stop you. And you know, he’s a lot smarter than you are and a lot more powerful.” I think I just mumbled something to her at that moment, but she was right, and I knew it.

All of this has come back to me in the wake of the Archbishop McCarrick catastrophe. St. Paul warned us that we battle, not against flesh and blood, but against “powers and principalities.” Consequently, the principal work of the Church at this devastating moment ought to be prayer, the conscious and insistent invoking of Christ and the saints.

Now I can hear people saying, “So Bishop Barron is blaming it all on the devil.” Not at all. The devil works through temptation, suggestion, and insinuation—and he accomplishes nothing without our cooperation. If you want to see the principle illustrated, Google Luca Signorelli’s image of the Antichrist in the Orvieto Cathedral. You’ll see what I mean. Archbishop McCarrick did wicked things and so did those, it appears, who enabled him. And we have to come to terms with these sins.

Before I broach the subject of how to do this, permit me to say a few words about unhelpful strategies being bandied about.

A first one is indiscriminate scapegoating. The great philosopher René Girard taught us that when communities enter into crisis, people typically commence desperately to cast about for someone or some group to blame. In the catharsis of this indiscriminate accusation, they find a kind of release, an ersatz peace. “All the bishops should resign!” “The priesthood is a cesspool of immorality!” “The seminaries are all corrupt!” As I say, these assertions might be emotionally satisfying at some level, but they are deeply unjust and conduce toward greater and not less dysfunction.The second negative strategy is the riding of ideological hobby horses. So lots of commentators—left, center, and right—have chimed in to say that the real cause of the McCarrick disaster is, take your pick, the ignoring of Humanae vitae, priestly celibacy, rampant homosexuality in the Church, the mistreatment of homosexuals, the sexual revolution, etc. Mind you, I’m not saying for a moment that these aren’t important considerations and that some of the suggestions might not have real merit.

But I am saying that launching into a consideration of these matters that we have been debating for decades and that will certainly not admit of an easy adjudication amounts right now to a distraction.

So what should be done? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has no juridical or canonical authority to discipline bishops. And even if it tried to launch an investigation, it has, at the moment, very little credibility. Only the Pope has juridical and disciplinary powers in regard to bishops. Hence, I would suggest (as a lowly back-bencher auxiliary) that the bishops of the United States—all of us—petition the Holy Father to form a team, made up mostly of faithful lay Catholics skilled in forensic investigation, and to empower them to have access to all of the relevant documentation and financial records.

Their task should be to determine how Archbishop McCarrick managed, despite his widespread reputation for iniquity, to rise through the ranks of the hierarchy and to continue, in his retirement years, to function as a roving ambassador for the Church and to have a disproportionate influence on the appointment of bishops. They should ask the ecclesial version of Sen. Howard Baker’s famous questions: “What did the responsible parties know and when did they know it?” Only after these matters are settled will we know what the next steps ought to be.

In the meantime, and above all, we should ask the heavenly powers to fight with us and for us. I might suggest especially calling upon the one who crushes the head of the serpent.


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About Bishop Robert Barron 142 Articles
Bishop Robert Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. He is the creator of the award winning documentary series, "Catholicism" and "Catholicism:The New Evangelization." Learn more at www.WordonFire.org.

59 Comments

    • Upon further reflection of this article and the use of words, Bishop Barron shows extreme callousness or naivete to label this issue as a “mess”.

      A mess is when your two year old spills their milk on the floor. A mess is NOT when Cardinals and Bishops have been caught sexually abusing others, particularly homosexual relations, coverups of said abuse, and scandal. The fruits of their work has led to the loss of many vocations, damage to the faith of tens of thousands if not millions, and suicide for those abused. To call this a “mess” trivializes all of the suffering that has been caused and is being caused.

      Shame on you for the description of what is going on. It is this attitude that perfectly describes why the laity want you to have nothing to do with the investigation or solution.

      Be a shepherd that would lay down your life for your sheep and not a shill.

    • The bishop writes a short article basically stating that the U.S. bishops need to send a petition to the pope for something. That’s an example of “courage”? And what “power” is he allegedly speaking “truth” to in a written article? It shows the depth to which the Church has sunk in our day if an article like this is an example of a bishop’s “courage.”

      • Aug. 10th: What Bishop Barron is saying is that the USCCB has no juridical power to do much of anything – but if together they send a petition to the Pope asking that an investigative group be formed, then if the Pope agrees, this can go much farther and much deeper than anything the Bishops could do on their own. I believe it would be better if Bishop Barron himself, and a couple of other good Bishops and laity, would go in person to speak with Pope Francis – a letter or a petition just won’t do it at this stage of the game.

  1. This so called team made up of “mostly lay catholics” is not good enough. It should exclusively be lay catholics and any vowed member should have ZERO say in it’s ability to do what it needs to do or what the outcome should be. This just shows again their lack of understanding.

  2. Yes, lay run and controlled, led by Gov. Keating and others from the 2004 Investigation.

    Scope is WAY TOO NARROW. McCarrick is only the tip of the iceberg.

    It must include:

    A – a diocese-by-diocese National financial audit;

    B – in conjunction with a parallel investigation of all living and recently deceased Bishops, and their actions to assess negligence or culpability by bishops in all cases of abuse already identified in the 2004 Report on Sex Abuse; and all cases thereafter.

    Start with major dioceses including LA, NY, Chicago ang go from there.

    Bishops guilty of negligence or worse all resign. Those bishops suspected of worse given either canonical trials or handed over to law enforcement.

    B – all Bishops’ response to reports of sex abuse, any and all unchastity, pornography and adultery

  3. “The second negative strategy is the riding of ideological hobby horses. So lots of commentators—left, center, and right—have chimed in to say that the real cause of the McCarrick disaster is, take your pick, the ignoring of Humanae vitae, priestly celibacy, rampant homosexuality in the Church, the mistreatment of homosexuals, the sexual revolution, etc. Mind you, I’m not saying for a moment that these aren’t important considerations and that some of the suggestions might not have real merit.
    But I am saying that launching into a consideration of these matters that we have been debating for decades and that will certainly not admit of an easy adjudication amounts right now to a distraction.”

    From the stories I have heard from seminarians, there are indeed seminaries that need to be cleaned up and purged of members of the homosexualist cabal running them. If this is the case, then this is a real problem that needs to be addressed, aside from whether it is a factor in the McCarrick case or not. The laity are upset about the McCarrick case, but it is just one more instance of a wider problem in the Latin Church, and reducing the problem to just McCarrick is to fail to understand the reasons for their anger.

    • Aug. 10th: It has been reported for decades that there is a large active homosexual network in the Vatican – very powerful and influential. This must not be ignored!

  4. Also – since the abuse problem is an attack on the priesthood at its source, investigation of abuse and unchastity in all seminaries, with same reviews of seminary directors and staff.

  5. I believe using the word “mess” to describe this situation is probably the understatement of the century.

    Somehow, the same bishops who protected McCarrick (and themselves) with the Dallas Charter are now going to be the same ones who write to the pope for help? Would this group also include the growing list of cardinals who claim they knew nothing about this even though there is growing, daily evidence they received reports, letters, and calls and did nothing? Would this group include Archbishop Gomez to clean up the homosexual mess in the bishops when he allows those who promote homosexual relations in the Church and transgender ideology such as James Martin to speak at the L.A. Rec to thousands? Would these be the same bishops who are so quick to cry for the immigrants and the few thousand at most being torn from their families while they remain silent on the thousands of infants being torn from the womb and from life per day?

    What if instead of writing another letter that will go nowhere and mean nothing, the bishops start with public confession, public penance, and public resignation for all of those complicit in these sins and decades of coverups.

    The time for letters and lawyer drafted responses from the Bishops and Cardinals is at an end. Either they will be gone or the Church in the United States will be gone (even more than it is already). It will truly be the remnant we have been hearing in the readings over the past few weeks.

  6. The problem isn’t the narrow “McCarrick mess.”

    It is the “The Bishops’ Mess,” and in particular, the Bishops who were negligent and culpable in the cases investigated by the Abuse Crisis Board (like Mahony in LA), all of whom escaped justice despite gross negligence or worse.

    All of these bishops need to be investigated NOW. These malicious men, like Mahony and McCarrick, are electing Popes.

  7. Respectfully, Bishop Barron, without a vocal and passionate rebuke and insistence that we get to the bottom of the sexual abuse scandals that continue to rock the Church, nothing will change. It’ll be swept under the rug, and that feeble change to the Catechism designed to distract is doing its job.

    I’m thoroughly disgusted, and as a survivor of sexual abuse, I expect much more from the Church leadership than platitudes and calls for calm. The devil’s in the Church, and we need to throw him out. There’s a reason Jesus turned tables…if only to show us that at times it’s entirely necessary and appropriate.

  8. Church Militant referenced the other day a poll they did, obviously unscientific, but with 6,000 respondents it does appear that we need take note of it. An odd piece of information rose to the top. I took some comfort in it because it is something I’ve perceived for years – 94% are of the opinion that at least some of the episcopate have lost “supernatural faith.”
    https://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/vortex-somethings-happening
    Anyone who has inhabited the theological academy or religious life for any length of time in the past fifty-yeas is surprised that only “at least some” are referenced. It is far more than some. They have abandoned the Judeo/Christian revelation.
    With the abandonment of the faith by men whose lives are committed to it there descends upon them a lethal cynicism. The crisis of sexual abuse and misbehavior is only symptomatic of a lethal faith crisis in the clergy class. That is the issue that requires addressing.
    Not infrequently the most ominous difficulties are best addressed from not head-on, but from a different angle. Though it flies in the face of the episcopal reality, the bishops would do well to start their November convocation with a reflection such as one provided today by Steve Skojec at 1P5 his, because this is what the problem is all about.
    https://onepeterfive.com/losing-labels-catholic/
    The absence of a viable identity is at the core of the sexual immorality in society and in the priesthood. Make no mistake, these are just two compartments of a tragic social cesspool.
    The collapse of earnest, authentic catechesis following Vatican II was actually a reflection of the encroachment of Modernism and its accompanying decomposition of the faith among clergy and religious. You can’t hand on belief and the practice of virtue which it generates and supports if you don’t have it.
    As for Pope Francis being a part of the solution, I would say without equivocation that he exactly who should not be involved and who should be the first to submit a resignation – and many resignations there should be. The current pontiff by his chess game with Bishop Barros – pushing that senseless and utterly ludicrous move in the face of a cacophony of objection and protest to the nuclear level – exhibits a degree of deafness and complicity with the ecclesiastical disorder which has engendered, nurtures and maintains the state of chaos we presently endure. Then there is his unflagging support for Cardinal Maradiaga and the elevation to the cardinalate of Bishop Ticona despite credible accusations and fiscal malfeasance. The litany of theological absurdities he has contributed cannot be listed due to time restraints.
    He has to go.
    Despite Bishop Barron’s many gifts – they are substantial – I fear he still has a few pair of rose colored glasses to abandon. Live dangerously, good Bishop. You have what it takes to shake this crew up. Do it.

    • There is a book that goes along well with what you said. It is titled “The Soul of the Apostolate” by Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O. He says that even active clergy need an Interior Life. He says that the Interior Life is what powers our religious works. The active religious need the reservoir of the Interior Life to avoid running on empty.

  9. Sorry, but your part of the problem, you are the Bishop of Hell could be empty. No punishment for evil doers…only empowers and enables evil doer’s.

    And it is a homosexual problem, so shut it. These men are pederasts and they have infiltrated every level of the Church. And coming out of Chicago and into L.A., I know that you are firmly aware of this truth.

    So just shut it. Furthermore, Pope Francis is one of the chief promoters of homosexual proponents in the Church…he isn’t going to fix anything. He is a serious problem in and of itself and he covered for abuser’s in Argentina the whole time he was there.

  10. PS: And this isn’t the McCarrik mess! I know the plan is to isolate McCarrik and others either dead or retired associated with him. This is the Lavender Mafia, which dominates the U.S. Episcopacy and many other diocese throughout the world. And they are very active. So, tell the Truth this the the Crisis of Homosexual Pederast Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Religious who are also heretics.

  11. “But I am saying that launching into a consideration of these matters that we have been debating for decades and that will certainly not admit of an easy adjudication amounts right now to a distraction.”

    I have great respect for you, Bishop Barron, but the fact is, these matters we have been “debating” for decades, In regards to sexual morality, were never up for debate.
    It is not The Faithful who are responsible for enabling the heinous abuse crisis.

  12. — ““The seminaries are all corrupt!” —

    While it is true that not all seminaries are corrupt, it is also true that a great number of them are by the testimonies from seminarians that are coming out now.

    In recent days, we saw the expose on a Lincoln seminary – one supposed to be a bastion of conservatism and orthodoxy. If this one can get that low, what else to expect from the others. I doubt that any seminary escaped the homosexual network.

  13. The Holy Father’s definition of ‘faithful lay Catholics’ might be considerably different from actual faithful lay Catholic’s definitions.

  14. I respect Bishop Barron. And appreciate this column.

    But still, where were decisive voices when Dolan said “Bravo” to gay kisses, or James Martin said “Let’s build a bridge,” or the Pope said “Who am I to judge?”

    Beyond being a personal tragedy for victims and perpetrator alike, McCarrick is a sad, visible manifestation of the Church’s retreat from unashamed moral vigilance. It seems like a fail for leadership to pretend this is all a surprise when rumors were circulated all over the place for ages.

    No, we shouldn’t scapegoat. But we should ask for removal of anyone even questionably tainted. Enough already. I am sick to death of sexually lax priests, to couch things in diplomatic language. The priesthood should have higher, not lower standards than the business world. Wuerl, Cupich, Dolan… all should resign and go apply at Target or Walmart. Life is unfair. Suffering is salvific. Let them walk the talk. As for New Ways Ministry, as long as it is allowed to prosper, the Pope has absolutely no credibility, no matter how immigrants he saves or how many feet he washes. The seamless garment has been ruined and needs to be trashed.

    I still remain appreciative of Fr Barron. Any port in a storm!

    • Aug. 10th: It’s very important to have the facts right – so many have mentioned Pope Francis’ comment: “Who am I to judge..” but they leave it there. He continued to say that he does not want to judge someone who may be engaged in something sinful but is striving hard to change, to become who he or she is called to be – if we don’t get our facts straight, then nothing will change.

  15. A deeply disappointing message from Barron,

    I expect more from you.

    But you now live in a deeply homosexual diocese. You ran a seminary in Chicago, so maybe it was clean, Maybe not. Now your archbishop holds a yearly homosexual woodstock, the REC.

    We had a homosexual crisis in 2002. Bishops covered it up, and made the laity pay 4 billion dollars for the privilege of having homosexual priests. Now you insult us by saying that talking about the rampant homosexuality is a distraction. How stupid do you think we are? It sounds to me like you want yet another cover up so that you can protect your homosexual priests. “Oh, no laity, NEVER say that we have a homosexual priest problem, calm down, pay us another 4 billion dollars and let us bishops handle this, Let us lie to you again. ”

    I don’t think you understand at all. Maybe Gomez sent you out to say this, but it was a big mistake, and now I trust you less.

    • “How stupid do you think we are? It sounds to me like you want yet another cover up so that you can protect your homosexual priests.”

      I live in the countryside here in Ireland and even our small parishes have a homosexual problem.One homosexual priest was found posting nude pictures of himself on the homosexual Grindr app and was removed from his post.

      A Facebook page was subsequently set up by local parishioners to have him reinstated because he was,”such a lovely priest.”

      Go figure.

  16. Bishop Barron manifests the typical Episcopal response to the sex abuse crisis in the hierarchy, priests, sems, etc. which is that of trying to avoid identifying its causes and therefore failing to offer appropriate responses. The USCCB coverup in the crisis was to label it as pedophila, to fail to identify the role of the failure to accept and teach the truths about sexual morality and to deny the role of severe narcissism in Bishops and priests in their use of adolescent males, the primary victims, as sexual objects.

    In fact, new programs are urgently needed to offer treatment and help to Bishops and priests for these conflicts which I have recently described.
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/how-bishops-can-begin-to-regain-laitys-trust-in-wake-of-mccarrick-sex-abuse

  17. Like many, if not most, of the Faithful, I have lost all trust in any bishop, including the Bishop of Rome. I am a sinner, yet I have tried to be faithful to the Lord and His Bride, the Church. The response to the Faithful from the bishops and Pope Francis were statements that we were museum pieces, Pharisees, and un-Christian, unless there is a fund drive going, then the bishops and the Pope are happy to take the Faithful’s money. I have decided not to contribute to any diocesan fund drive or any special collection endorsed by the USCCB.

  18. As a Girardian scholar myself, I object to dragging in René Girard’s theories as a cover for the rampant homosexuality in the clergy. Girard warns that the coveted “scapegoat” status is sought by everyone in our culture, and quite often misapplied to persons and groups that are in no way scapegoats or victims. Bishop Barron is being thoroughly disingenuous here. He knows what we all know: this is a problem of rampant homosexuality among bishops, priests, and seminarians. It will not stop until a strong pope pronounces and enforces “anathema sit.”

  19. Everyone I read avoids the issue entirely including Bishop Barron here.
    The one thing The catholic Church dose with efficiency & thoroughness is record keeping.
    The Church hierarchy knows full well who shared the bed of McCarrick & where these priests & bishops are right now, what jobs they have & and how they have benefited from trading sex for power.
    turning ” The McCarrick Mess into a crowd of abused and intimidated ghosts is pure Bull!
    Lets have the list thats, all anyone needs
    thats the one thing we will never get.
    Barron is very clever but he’s too clever by 1/2…………..

  20. I think before any bishop writes about this topic they should ask themselves:

    “How would this article or statement sound to someone who’s been raped by a clergyman?”

    With that in mind, if the article sounds glib or inadequate in the face of that brutal and heart wrenching reality, then it probably is. I think Bishop Barron’s article is a too removed and philosophical given the seriousness of the issue at hand.

    These scandals are deadly serious business. They have destroyed lives and souls. It’s time the bishops realize that and take serious, immediate and consistent action to destroy this evil and rot in the Church.

    • Bingo!

      It’s NOT a serious statement…it is bereft of credibility…and is evasive…hoping to steer away from the negligence and culpability and indeed crimes committed…including living US Cardinals and Bishops who confected the coverup of the cases in the 2004 Report…like the serpent Mahony of LA.

  21. When I was going through school, the devil was presented to us as a myth, a literary device, a symbolic manner of signaling the presence of evil in the world. I will admit to internalizing this view and largely losing my sense of the devil as a real spiritual person.

    And if there is no devil, there are no angels, either. And if angels and demons do not exist, then what are we to make of the devil, in the form of a serpent, tempting Eve? Of Christ’s temptation in the desert? Of the Annunciation? Of the demons in the possessed that Christ rebuked and commanded to come out of them? Indeed, what are we to make of the Old and New Testaments?

    A huge part of the problem today is that many of our bishops were taught in the seminary not to believe in the supernatural events recorded in the Scriptures. As Benedict XVI put it in Verbum Domini:

    Unfortunately, a sterile separation sometimes creates a barrier between exegesis and theology, and this “occurs even at the highest academic levels”. Here I would mention the most troubling consequences, which are to be avoided. …

    The lack of a hermeneutic of faith with regard to Scripture entails more than a simple absence; in its place there inevitably enters another hermeneutic, a positivistic and secularized hermeneutic ultimately based on the conviction that the Divine does not intervene in human history. According to this hermeneutic, whenever a divine element seems present, it has to be explained in some other way, reducing everything to the human element. This leads to interpretations that deny the historicity of the divine elements. …

    Such a position can only prove harmful to the life of the Church, casting doubt over fundamental mysteries of Christianity and their historicity – as, for example, the institution of the Eucharist and the resurrection of Christ. A philosophical hermeneutic is thus imposed, one which denies the possibility that the Divine can enter and be present within history. …

    All this is also bound to have a negative impact on the spiritual life and on pastoral activity; “as a consequence of the absence of the second methodological level, a profound gulf is opened up between scientific exegesis and lectio divina. This can give rise to a lack of clarity in the preparation of homilies”. It must also be said that this dichotomy can create confusion and a lack of stability in the intellectual formation of candidates for ecclesial ministries. In a word, “where exegesis is not theology, Scripture cannot be the soul of theology, and conversely, where theology is not essentially the interpretation of the Church’s Scripture, such a theology no longer has a foundation.”

    Yeah, bishops being trained to not believe in the Bible when they were young seminarians is going to manifest itself eventually. It has in everything we see going wrong today.

    • Your observation paints the portrait of Pope Francis and his favorite theologian Cardinal Kasper, who teaches that the Hospels are stocked with “legends” (Kasper, Jesus the Christ, pp 90-91, 1974 edition…reprinted for destroying generation #3 in 2011.)

      The prevailing Cardinals and Bishops of the 2023 conclave, including the Bishop of Rome, have spent their whole lives “making themselves counterfeit.”

      News flash: “You can’t teach children to ignore the evangelists every day Monday through Friday, and then pay lip service to “The New Evangelization” on Sunday.

      Obtuse…

  22. “ I challenge anyone to come up with a more devastatingly effective strategy for attacking the mystical body of Christ than the abuse of children and young people by priests.”

    How about this, your Excellency: Hell is empty (or nearly so), as in your and von Balthasar’s “reasonable” hope that all are saved. That is the devil’s best weapon, and you are his tool in weilding it. This “mess” is what we are reaping thanks to what you and your fellow travelers have sown by your promulgation of the universalist heresy.

  23. “…the mistreatment of homosexuals,…”
    What mistreatment? The only mistreatment I see of homosexuals are priests and bishops who are leading them to Hell by not encouraging them to “go and sin no more.”

    $4,000,000,000.00!

    • “Mistreatment’ consists of pointing out that homosexual behavior is among the most vile of sins. We see very little of that; instead, it’s all “Oh, we mustn’t be judggmental, we must accompany them on their journey…” A little blunt speaking instead of smarmy sweetness would probably do a world of good.

  24. Nice try Bishop Baron but no dice.
    First, its not a “mess”. You know it isn’t a “mess” but chose that word anyway. We see that as very telling. Your party is over.
    Second, Qualified lay canon law experts and professional investigators…only.
    No clergy, at all, in the room. Get it, bishop…WeDon’tTrustYou!
    And because there is no trust…our wallets are closed. Adios.

  25. Why are you calling on the “faithful” laity… “form a team, made up mostly of faithful lay Catholics, and to empower them to have access to all of the relevant documentation and financial records”. That is an admission to failure of the clergy. As with McCarrick, most criminal attacks are perpetrated by homosexual males. After more than 300 priests in 16 diocese were charged with sexual molestation, the Vatican vetting process is a “MESS”. I fear that the most holy of laity would be hard pressed to find an answer.

  26. Huge breaking news: Rod Dreher has reported that Richard Sipe has died, aged 85.

    Reknowned expert on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, the story on Sipe has a link to the letter Sipe sent to Bishop McElroy in 2016, which included a list (not attached in link) of Bishops Sipe identifies as compromised or complicit in sex abuse and/or coverups.

    Dreher hopes that perhaps Sipe has a will directingbthat the list be published after his death. The letter to McElroy itself is damning. McElroy refused Sipe’s appeals for action.

  27. And then there are the Religious, who have yet to have their day and say. Talk about coercion by those in authority, and the indifference of higher ups to take our stories seriously! Just you wait.

  28. Such a disappointing article from Bishop Barron. Of course, his is not the only lame, ineffectual response (Cardinals O’Malley and Wuerl spring to mind.) I wonder if that is the principal lesson imparted at “Bishops’ School”: deflect criticism by undermining the critic and never take a position on the morality of homosexual acts. For my part, I don’t see blaming the bishops of the Catholic Church in the USA is anything near to scapegoating. They are, in fact, to blame. And it may be that not all seminaries in the USA are corrupt, but until there are actual facts on that…Again, not scapegoating to blame the seminary formation for the on-going corruption in the Latin Rite priesthood. I disagree, though, that the prescription is any kind of “special prosecutor”-style investigation because in fact the causes are what Bishop Barron dismisses (with a sneer, I think) as “ideological hobby-horses”. Only conformity to Church teaching by all those purporting to be faithful disciples of Christ will guarantee our incorruptibility.

  29. I appreciate Bishop Barron’s willingness to go public with his proposal, which I agree with to the extent that a team of mostly qualified and faithful lay Catholics would be able to ask the “Howard Baker question” of Pope Francis, Cardinal Cupich and every other apprppriate person in the hierarchy. Beyond that focus, however, I would prayerfully suggest that this team be charged with determining what is necessary to extirpate the influence and presence of the “lavender mafia” in the Vatican, the hierarchy and those seminaries where that spiritual cancer is still existent.

    • The fly in the ointment is that Pope Francis has yet to answer the dubia. This response would be consistent with pleading the Fifth Amendment as it were.

  30. Near as I can figure it out, isn’t the New Paradigm based on pastoral laxity? Won’t any effective response to the current crisis pretty much have to derail the New Paradigm project?

    • Greg that is the absolute Sine Qua None. Reasonable expectation for that to happen during this pontificate with a Pope who has made the New Paradigm his vision for the Church is virtually zero.

  31. This problem will not be solved until Bishops are held accountable to the appropriate Law enforcement authorities and incarcerated, including those Bishops who knew and said nothing. Perhaps the Catholic Church should adopt the nation’s post 9/11 motto: “If you see something, say something.”

  32. What shook my agnosticism in regard to the evil one was the clerical sex abuse scandal of the nineties and the early aughts. I say this because that awful crisis just seemed too thought-through, too well-coordinated, to be simply the result of chance or wicked human choice. The devil is characterized as “the enemy of the human race” and particularly the enemy of the Church. I challenge anyone to come up with a more devastatingly effective strategy for attacking the mystical body of Christ than the abuse of children and young people by priests.

    Using the scandal to divert attention in the Catholic press from what appears to be a heretical modification of the Catechism regarding the death penalty seems to be orchestrated by the devil, too.

  33. It’s not a “mess,” nor a crisis nor a failure of processes nor reporting accountability. It’s sin. Widespread and institutional sin. Sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance. Had we uncovered a nest of murderers and theives we would not be wagging our fingers at “intellectual hobby horses.” Homosexuals and their enablers have murdered the innocence and faith of untold thousands. They have stolen the truth and given us a stone in its place.

  34. Isn’t it incredible that this deflect-delay-deny-minimize article by a sitting bishop does not even mention once the word “sin”? Until “Bishop” Barron and all other clerics of the Church take serious, independent, professionally qualified steps to rid their ranks of the massive homosexual infestation that exists, their pious protestations should be regarded as the lies they are and treated with the contempt they warrant.

  35. Not a “mess” — a CRIME! This is not an abstract event, this is about life, death and serious suffering. This behavior, and the cover up, is a crime! Mccarrick should go to prison, and, as well, those who covered for him, enabled him, should be punished similarly. That these pathological, sexually addicted priests, hear confessions, give communion and the last rites? Sickening to the point of being unbearable. This is a devastating story, and I reel from it on a daily basis. In my thinking, the church as it is currently structured on the swamp of moral relativism, is irrelevant, and it is sinking before our eyes. And, this weak response from Bishop Barron only supports this conclusion.

  36. All of this has helped me to understand Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees in a new light. I especially think of Matthew chapter23, and also the verse where he says that they traverse land and see to make a disciple and then make that disciple twice the son of hell that they are. Yep, sounds about right. I think you could just read Matthew 23 and replace Pharisee and scribes with corrupt clergy. Not saying all clergy are corrupt. But the ones who are, seems to fit.

  37. I keep hearing about how much respect everybody seems to have for the Bishop. Well, let me go on record : I have no respect for him whatsoever. Just another cipher reciting the party line.

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