“Uncle Ted” and Me…

…and several matters of considerably more importance.

Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick is seen at a church in Washington Nov. 1, 2017. Pope Francis' sixth anniversary as pope is March 13. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

The dossier of correspondence between Theodore McCarrick and various officials of the Holy See, including Pope Francis, recently released by Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo, sheds light down the dark alleys of McCarrick’s career, highlighting his relentless self-promotion, even in retirement; his sycophancy with many superiors; his interference in Vatican diplomacy; and his brazen defiance of the orders of Pope Benedict XVI that he cease and desist from public activity. These are matters of considerable gravity, far more so than the cameo appearance I make in the letters.

In order to set the historical record straight, however, and to draw some salient lessons for this Catholic moment from my personal experience of McCarrick’s mendacity, I offer the following.

On my possible nomination by President Trump as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

My friends at the Crux website report the following in a staff-written article dated May 28:

In a January 27, 2017, letter to [Pope] Francis, McCarrick mentions rumors that the Trump administration might be considering naming George Weigel, a noted Catholic commentator and biographer of St. Pope John Paul II, to the ambassador’s role.

“There were rumors here in Washington that the new U.S. government had submitted a request for an agrement for a new U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See,” McCarrick wrote, using the formal French term in international diplomacy for an understanding between two parties.

“One of the names that was mentioned was that of George Weigel,” McCarrick wrote. “A prominent Catholic voice in the United States and one of the biographers of St. John Paul II. He is very much a leader of the ultra-conservative wing of the Catholic Church in the United States and has been publicly critical of Your Holiness in the past,” he wrote.

“Many of us American bishops would have great concerns about his being named to such a position in which he would have an official voice, in opposition to your teaching,” McCarrick told the pope.

“I would be happy to discuss this with you and also with the high officials of the Curia,” he wrote.

It seems likely that McCarrick picked up this driblet of fake news from an article in the English edition of La Stampa’s “Vatican Insider,” at the tail end of which British journalist Christopher Lamb suggested that, under about-to-be-inaugurated President Donald Trump, I was a “wild card” candidate for the U.S. ambassadorship to the Holy See (along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill O’Reilly, no less). Having had cordial exchanges with Mr. Lamb prior to this, I sent him this e-mail on January 13, 2017:

Dear Christopher: I could have saved you some trouble with this [article] if you’d called or e-mailed. Not only am I not a “wild card” possibility for the U.S. ambassadorship to the Holy See, I’m not even in the pack. I’m not interested in the job and wouldn’t accept it if offered, as there are better ways for me to serve the country. Moreover, the very idea of such an offer is rather beyond the realm of the plausible, given my public opposition to Mr. Trump’s nomination and the position I took publicly during the election.

Feel free to get in touch in the future. It’s always good to speak with you. GW

A few hours later, Mr. Lamb replied:

Dear George: You are right – I should have contacted you, but I thought you were an obvious possible candidate given your standing as one of the most prominent Catholic commentators in the U.S….also, I’m not sure previous criticism of the president-elect precludes being considered….anyway, let’s keep in touch. Best – Chris

Mr. Lamb’s sense of Mr. Trump’s magnanimity towards critics surely erred on the side of charity here. It was simply not in the cards for the new president to offer anything, save perhaps a tweet-smack, to someone who had begun his post- election column in these terms: “The good news is, she lost. The bad news is, he won.” But was Theodore McCarrick so out of touch with Washington reality that he imagined me a plausible candidate for the Holy See embassy? That seems unlikely – although perhaps not impossible, given the narrow band of (left-wing) “information” and conversation within which McCarrick typically operated. Still, it seems far more likely that he saw in this squib of a story an opportunity to trash me with Pope Francis (with whom I had already met twice in private audience, at the Holy Father’s invitation), and to sow further seeds of disinformation about the state of Catholicism in the United States.

There is more, though. McCarrick’s January 2017 letter not only took fake news seriously, for whatever purpose. McCarrick also lied about my being “publicly critical” of Pope Francis, and about my alleged intention to use an official U.S government post to criticize the Pope’s governance and teaching.

To the first: While I had questioned aspects of Pope Francis’s activity between his election in 2013 and early 2017, those questions were always raised in the respectful terms I believe appropriate for anyone with a sense of churchmanship. Moreover, I had never criticized the Pope personally and had in fact written a new foreword to the 2014 paperback edition of my Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church, in which I praised Francis’s apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. Had I been such a publicly prominent papal critic, I doubt that my private audiences in 2013 and 2014 would have occurred. And if the Pope invited back a known public critic for a third private audience in late 2017 – an audience that was conducted in entirely cordial terms – one can only wonder why.

To the second: I have been privileged to know every U.S. ambassador to the Holy See since the post was established by President Reagan and the Congress in 1984, and I have worked with several of them on various matters. In each of these interactions, and in conversations I had in early 2017 with two serious candidates for the Holy See ambassadorship, I stressed the imperative of the U.S. embassy (whose relationship to the Holy See is of a diplomatic, state-to-[micro]state character) rigorously refraining from any involvement in internal Church affairs – which would most certainly include an absolute proscription on public criticism of the Pope by the ambassador. Having insisted on this for over thirty years, is it likely that I would have taken a different path under different circumstances? If the suggestion that I would was not a lie, then it was certainly a calumny.

The Catholic Spectrum

As to my being, by McCarrick’s account, “very much a leader of the ultra-conservative wing of the Catholic Church in the United States,” this has caused considerable angst among self-identified “traditional Catholics,” one of whom was pleased to describe me in a May 28 tweet as “a rather potted plant neocon kind of guy.” This and similar comments say rather more about soi-disant “traditional Catholics” than about me, however, as McCarrick’s caricature clarifies more about McCarrick than about the target of his deprecation. I defy any serious person to browse through my twenty-five books, or the thousands of my articles and columns, and find credible evidence of “ultra-conservatism.” Such charges only come from real ideologues. And therein lies another lesson from the McCarrick affair: in this instance, his mendacious and quite relentless campaign to define anyone to his starboard as a conservative nut.

For more than twenty years, McCarrick continually regaled audiences with his recollections of John Paul II’s entrance into Newark cathedral in October 1995, often telling his seminarians and priests that he wanted them to be just like the Pope on that occasion, “walking right down the center, touching both sides.” A review of the video indicates that John Paul II did do some handshaking of those who reached out to him; he also did a lot of blessing. (The two members of that congregation who really worked the crowd on their way out of the cathedral that evening were President and Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton, who shook far more hands than John Paul had done at his entrance – and the Clintons did their shtick while the Pope was immersed in prayer in the cathedral’s Blessed Sacrament Chapel.) This tall tale and its putative “lesson” were classic McCarrick, though, and two comments on them are in order.

First, McCarrick’s implicit suggestion that John Paul II was some kind of fifty-yard-line pontiff who straddled the key issues of Church and society during his pontificate doesn’t bear a moment’s serious scrutiny. The Pope who boldly challenged tyranny at the United Nations in 1979 and who played a pivotal role in the collapse of European communism was not a fifty-yard-line guy. (Unlike, I might note, those Vatican diplomats, often among McCarrick’s Roman interlocutors, who thought that the Cold War would end at some mythical “center” where a gradually liberalizing Warsaw Pact would meet an increasingly social-democratic West.) The Pope who wrote Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae was not a straddler. Nor was the Pope who commissioned the Catechism of the Catholic Church. To present him as such was, and is, a lie.

It was a lie, moreover, in service to another McCarrick falsehood: that he defined the sought-for “common ground” in U.S. Catholicism, mediating between those of his liberal friends who were in more of a rush than he was, and those awful conservatives (not to mention “ultra-conservatives”) whom he loathed, but with whom he pretended to be friendly. This game led McCarrick deeper and deeper into the slough of ecclesiastical despond during the latter years of John Paul II’s pontificate and the entirety of Benedict XVI’s, as he saw the liberal dominance of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops dismantled by a generation of bishops who took their lead from John Paul, Benedict, and their authoritative interpretation of Vatican II.

Like his mucking about in Vatican diplomacy, though, McCarrick’s fretting about the bishops’ conference continued long past his (forced) retirement. At the November 2010 meeting that eventually elected then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan as conference president over the liberal-establishment candidate, conference vice-president Bishop Gerald Kicanas, McCarrick buttonholed Dolan and, in his inimitable and gratingly avuncular way, demanded that “Timmy” not allow himself to be used by a “right-wing plot” to deny “Gerry” the conference presidency. So much for McCarrick’s vaunted moderation. (Which is further contradicted by a story the late Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster, told me in late 2005. Over tea in the cardinal’s residence, Murphy-O’Connor asked me, “How’s Ted doing?” When I asked why he asked, the English cardinal replied, “Well, on the way out of the Sistina [i.e., right after the election of Benedict XVI], he said to me, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to explain this at home.’”)

Theodore McCarrick signed the 1967 Land O’ Lakes statement, which sought to divorce Catholic universities from the authority of the local bishop and the Church’s magisterium (an act that, unrepudiated, should have been a definitive black ball against his becoming a bishop). Theodore McCarrick was a left-liberal Democrat in his politics and, while no theologian, a Walter Kasper-like liberal Catholic in his ecclesiology. Did he ever defend, much less attempt to explicate, Humanae Vitae? As for the defining abortion issue, McCarrick was never regarded as a serious pro-life leader by serious pro-life leaders, and his advocacy of behalf of the unborn was typically wrapped in a seamless garment of other issues (not least when he presided over the burial of Senator Edward M. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery).

Theodore McCarrick fooled a lot of people over the course of his career. And the greatest of his false-flag operations was to successfully sell the notion that he was another fifty-yard-line guy, when in fact his feet were firmly planted on the ten-yard-line, just outside the goal line marking the field’s left end zone. That he was allowed to get away with this for so long is, I imagine, a source of regret to the more honest of his friends and colleagues on the Catholic Left, as it ought to be to the bishops who didn’t forcefully challenge the charade while it went on, year after tiresome year.

But however nonsensical it is, the notion that Theodore McCarrick was some sort of moderating centrist whose analysis of the condition of the Church in the United States was both correct and important has now leapt the Atlantic. And it is doing grave damage in Rome, and beyond.

The false narrative of the moment

It was beginning to be evident at the Synod of 2015; it was becoming uncomfortably unmistakable at the Synod of 2018; and it was deployed in a sinister way at the abuse summit this past February: the notion that opposition to Pope Francis is the result of a cabal of hard-right, wealthy Americans who hate the Pope because of his criticisms of markets, capitalism, and restrictive immigration policies. This is utter nonsense, and those who have been hawking such shoddy goods do little justice to the putative intelligence of those they have been trying to persuade. But that this fairy tale is believed as dogma by many of the most influential personalities in the present pontificate is certain (recall Fr. Anthony Spadaro’s bizarre disquisition on American Catholicism in La Civiltà Cattolica). That these men have assiduously worked to convince leading churchmen around the world of it is certain, as I know from personal experience at the Synod in October 2018. And that they will try to deploy this fake story to shape the terms of the next conclave is equally certain.

Where any notion of “collegiality,” “synodality,” or simple honesty is to be found in this is unclear. But the new ultramontanists of the Catholic Left, who describe the range of Francis’s infallibility (or at least indefectibility) in terms that would make the hard ultramontanists at Vatican I blush, have found a supportive, parallel narrative in the notion of an “ultraconservative” American conspiracy to resist and undermine this Pope. Some will dismiss this by noting, correctly, that there has always been anti-Americanism in Rome. But this is different.

It is different because of its virulence and its tenacity. It is different because of its strategic purpose. And who introduced this new, more toxic anti-American storyline into the Vatican conversation – or, at the very least, softened up the ground for it, virtually from the moment Pope Francis was elected? Theodore McCarrick: now convicted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of sacrilege and child sexual abuse, and laicized for his ecclesiastical crimes.

One might think that this fact would cause at least a moment of reconsideration among defenders of the pontificate who have been trafficking in untruths about the Church in the United States, who have been sliming their perceived enemies for some five years now, and who have continued to do so in the wake of Msgr. Figueiredo’s revelations. But the calumnies and lies seem likely to continue. That, unfortunately, is how those who know they’re losing an argument usually behave – especially ideologues and those fearful of losing their grip on power.


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About George Weigel 238 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Fragility of Order: Catholic Reflections on Turbulent Times (Ignatius Press, 2018). His new book The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform was published by Basic Books on September 17.

49 Comments

  1. I’m sure Mr. Weigel would have (correctly) objected to the label “ultraconservative,” a term the Left uses for any and all sensible critics. But the rest of his interesting article simply reflects McCarrick’s political stupidity, as well as his ward-heeling political wiles, which he learned as an understudy of Ivan Illich, as he recounts with relish in this interview:

    https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/interviews/a-discussion-with-cardinal-theodore-mccarrick-archbishop-emeritus-of-washington-d-c

  2. This is a sad and hilarious piece. It is fun to see George Weigel cutting it up a bit – usually so serious, he displays a lively and cutting wit here. But why would he not, given the material? While I would never use the term, “a rather potted plant neocon kind of guy,” which he quotes a conservative Catholic as calling him in print, the idea of George Weigel as “very much a leader of the ultra-conservative wing of the Catholic Church in the United States” made me laugh out loud. What a sad and political lot these “princes of the church” are turning out to be. Please, men, emulate St. Thomas Becket. Stand up for the Church, whatever worldly reasons you were chosen. Be bishops. That’s a far better calling than just another political hack.

    • No doubt they view Beckett as an extreme right wing medieavilist. We’re going to need a different example.

    • One teeny-tiny correction… Dr. Weigel describes the “potted plant” commentator as a “traditional” Catholic: particularly for Roman Catholic traditionalists, the words are not synonymous.

      There is substantial evidence to suggest that “traditionalists” began using the term to explicitly differentiate themselves from “conservatives” (pro-capitalism, pro-nationalism, pro-military, and anti-tax (even when the money collected is used only to incarnate Christian and Catholic values), and more concerned with things temporal than celestial).

  3. They used Ted when he was useful and now consign him to the memory hole. He is inconvenient to them since he exemplifies the scheming homosexual prelate who preyed on youths and children. They don’t want us hoi poloi to draw the correct inferences.

  4. Whether or not “Uncle Ted’s” heart was in it or not, whether he was merely a good ecclesiastical meteorologist (in the JP2 era), it cannot be gainsaid that when he arrived in Newark in 1986, he inherited a local church that was in objective schism, thanks to Peter Leo Gerety. In short order, he got rid of eleven years of general absolution, reclaimed the archdiocesan university (Seton Hall) for the Church, saved the school system, and attracted dozens of vocations to the priesthood. Nor was he anything but a JP2 bishop as the founding prelate of Metuchen before that.
    As I say, it is not possible to know his motivation, but that was his track record in Newark and in Metuchen. To be sure, he was never considered a “liberal” in those days. I agree that his involvement with Land o’ Lakes more than suggested a leftward tilt.
    Perhaps the real question is: Will the real Ted McCarrick please stand up?

    • Dear Fr. Peter, you mention that the local church had been in objective schism, but wasn’t their seminary contaminated by all this? How in the world could it not be? What did he do to clean up that mess? In fact, the reason he could take seminarians to bed was precisely because that seminary was already completely rotten.

    • I did not know about McCarrick’s activities in Newark. At least we can be grateful for them. He had that much grace; I hope he is actually repenting now, and praying for forgiveness and grace.

    • As a long-time member of the Diocese of Metuchen, including most of McCarrick’s time as bishop, I recall an episode that was troubling at the time and looms larger in light of the former cardinal’s recent disgrace. I was in a parish where liturgical aberrations were the norm, some of them quite serious: the use of unauthorized Eucharistic prayers, the substitution of non-scriptural texts in place of prescribed readings, a fire-eating feminist nun giving homilies and overall a fir amount of free improvisation. Not unusual for those days, especially since I had moved to Metuchen from the archdiocese of Chicago, but more than enough to cause legitimate concern. The pastor was recalcitrant in the face of concerns expressed to him by myself and others, and one parishioner finally sent a detailed, itemized letter to then-bishop McCarrick describing the numerous irregularities, citing some of JP II’s recent pronouncements on liturgical norms and the need to adhere to official norms, etc. Bishop McCarrick did not reply. Instead, he simply sent a copy of the letter back to the pastor – without informing the writer – and left it to the pastor to resolve the complaints. Needless to say, he was more than wrathful, and said that if we did not like the parish’s liturgical style we could leave. The same woman then steeled herself for one more appeal to Bishop McCarrick, who again did not reply,nor did anyone else on his behalf. A single incident, I know, but hard to see him as a “JP II” bishop in his handling of it.

      • The point is that he pretended to be a JP II bishop, while knowing that such a thing would not be reported to Rome. McCarrick and many of our bishops played this game of seeming to be on Rome’s side when they were not

    • This agrees with what I found out about the OLD McCarrick. I found articles where he sounded very, very “conservative” He was probably just lying to make JP II think well of him so he could advance. McCarrick appears to have been very good at fooling people, and at pretending to be in the middle, when he was not. Prior to this latest outrage, he appears to have not been much of a concern to orthodox people in the church during his formative years. But we should learn from this – people who might seem OK and even orthodox may well be biding their time, sucking up to the leadership of the church, and then they will turn once they get where they are going

    • Fr. Stravinskas – please look at the Legionaries of Christ and their leader as an example of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Yes, McCarrick knew how to put on a good front as others have to hide their sins.

      • Yes, indeed. The Legion.
        Hmmmm….where are now the priests who made up Maciel’s inner circle? You know, the priests who covered for him, bought the dope, paid the whores. Were any of them ever called to task for their complicity in his crimes?
        At present, who is supporting Maciel’s “wife” and children? Anyone at the Legionaries of Christ care to answer?

    • The real McCarrick is the one anyone with two eyes can see: a viciously manipulative pedophile homosexual rapist and lifelong sodomite whose cynical apostasy and psychotic lust for power elevated pro-abortion politicians like Ted Kennedy to Communion and public respectability, wrote and promoted a Potemkin Village Dallas Charter to Shield episcopal sodomites, and enabled the election of a Peronist Red Pope of heretical theology, situation ethics morality, and globalist left-wing politics that canonizes global warming, open borders immigration, income redistribution, and LGBT normalization. The Stravinsky gaslighting of the character of this despicable criminal and pervert is nauseating.

    • The real question is…will the real criminal, liar, deceiver, pervert Ted McCarrick get the hell out of the Friary of St Fidelis in Victoria, KS. He is still there, dear faithful pewsitters, living on the dime of the Catholics of Washington, DC.
      It continues through a wink and nod of the Archbishop of Salina, KS and, of course, the corrupt priest named Wuerl.
      Thanks bishops…another kick in the groin.

  5. Weigel is where mainstream American Republicans who happen to be Catholic as well turn when they have a hard time reconciling their political affiliations with happenings in the Catholic Church. You see, the Church will never be on board with the Pentagon’s war plans, the State Department’s geopolitical objectives, or totally unregulated private corporate capital gains. At the same time, the Church will never permit abortion, contraception, euthanasia, homosexual marriage, pornography, or criminalization of homeschooling.

    Right now, we have an apparent pope who is on board with the objectives of the worldwide communist revolution. No one ever saw that coming except traditionalist Catholics who know the La Salette prophecies, and who know Vatican II will be anathematized in the future.

  6. McCarrick is a total fraud as a Christian.

    What is striking is to see how powerful McCarrick remains, because Mr. Wiegel, an opponent, still speaks using the terms that McCarrick has set – political terms.

    Here are two words that mean absolutely NOTHING which are deployed (and as is so often done alloyed with other words) in this article:

    1. Tradition;
    2. Conservative;

    Being well past 60, and remembering a Church that said the so-called EF, the contemporary Church in the US and in Europe is is utterly impoverished of Catholic tradition and culture.

    The Church has been and is being steared by evil, unrepentant, atheist fraudulent fiends like McCarrick (and Mahony and all of the other criminal men who elected their hand-picked agent Jorge Bergoglio) and ballasted by luke warm politically calibrated (“50 yard line”) Bishops and Cardinals, who are distinguished by nothing other than their complete lack of any apostolic zeal.

    There are a few good men who are Bishops and Cardinals. For the most part, we are stuck with a sinking ship way off course and it seems not under the command of The Lord Jesus, but of the fictional character “Jesus” re-written by the post-Christian Cardinal Walter Kasper.

  7. And since “politics” is the new norm for “the Church of Vatican 2,” which it is, as made self-evident by Paul VI’s promotion of The Vatican Secretary of State as the senior-most position in the Vatican Curia, and his demotion and subordination of the Congregation of the Faith, we now have this situation:

    The atheist is pedophile and anti-Christian McCarrick, a man who came from poverty yet who mysteriously as a Bishop was “independently wealthy,” and somehow had millions to buy a beach house in Sea Girt NJ, has completed his 2-3 decade project of the accord for the Chinese Communist Party, putting those murderers in charge of choosing Bishops for the Catholic Church. All on behalf of Pope Francis and Parolin et al.

    If that’s not defrauding Jesus Christ, then nothing is.

  8. Just think, George, you will hereafter be forever remembered as having been on McCarrick’s “enemy list.” Consider yourself honored.

  9. May 30, 2019: As is usual Weigel continue to ‘self-glorify’ – what is the purpose of this essay except to let people know how he is in the Pope’s radar??? He writes so much about himself … he should heed the suggestion of Pope Francis and stop being so self-referential. He has written great articles in the past but as he ages he seems to be reaching for some special kind of continued relevance in the Catholic and political circles he depends on. Thanks for your past work George but it would be good, at this point, to leave yourself out of the picture unless someone else places you in there.

    • “Thanks for your past work George but it would be good, at this point, to leave yourself out of the picture unless someone else places you in there.”

      You do understand, Florence, that Weigel wrote this in response to remarks made about him by McCarrick? To Rome? Etc.? So, yes, he was placed directly in the center of the picture.

  10. Fr. Stravinskas:

    Here is the real McCarrick:

    A – unrepentant pedophile criminal;
    B – unrepentant homosexual predator;
    C – sociopath;
    D – arch-liar;
    E – either an embezzler of Church donations; or
    F – an “independently wealthy” paid agent of “unidentified benefactor” persons, organizations, political parties and/or governments.
    G – committed destroyer of Catholic memory and identity.

    When a man who clothes himself in the Church refuses to repent of mortal sins, he is declaring who his lord is, so to the above I add…

    H – slave of his lord and King Lucifer.

    • And you know all these accusations to be true BECAUSE. . .?

      I would hate to appear before you as my Judge on the Last Day. Truth be told, I would hate to be you on the Last Day.

      • Fr. Stravinskas:

        For instance, we all know he is unrepentant because we know that he has denied sexually molesting the boy James Grein, and at least one other teenage Altar boy in NY (which are published testimony charging him); and in like manner, he has denied abusing seminarians (also publicized charges coinciding with associated cash settlements); the first for which he has been publicly judged guilty by The Church and publicly stripped of his ordination; and the latter for which he is now publicly known to have been sanctioned by the previous pontiff, which sanctions he brazenly disobeyed.

        And yet…despite the call for his public repentance by men such as Fr. Gerald Murray, this world famous former Cardinal, a man of the public stage, who was publicly crowned with numerous honorary University degrees, and was the public face of the USCCB on Meet The Press etc etc etc, for 20 years or more, has not publicized his repentance for wounding his victims and publicly scourging the Church.

        That’s how we know, isn’t it?

      • Fr. Stravinskas:

        Having answered you on the 2 matters of unrepentance, and waiting for your reply to those, I address E and F.

        It costs a ton of money to buy a beach house in Sea Girt, as I and others are well aware, since so many visit family and friends in the summer at the NJ shore.

        Perhaps I am mistaken, but I was under the impression that priests and bishops are vowed to poverty, and are not paid high salaries that support multi-million dollar beach houses.

        So either McCarrick (a) was paid by the Church to be a wealthy man; (b) was getting money from “unidentified benefactors” (my F, which makes him like any other man a paid agent of such benefactors; or (c) he was stealing Church funds (my E). I assume it was b and/or c. But big cash comes from somewhere, and since it presumably doesn’t come as pay from the Church, then something must be very wrong here.

        Perhaps I have not thought this all the way through, and other people may have other alternatives that explain his being “independently wealthy?”

        Have you heard any other witnesses explanations?

        Your friend in Christ

        PS – I will also address other points in turn…but am interested in your thoughts on A, B, E and F.

      • Fr. Stravinskas:

        As to C, McCarrick being an arch-liar, three instances do well for evidence:

        1. He was publicly exposed by First Things and Fr. Neuhaus for lying about Cardinal Ratzinger’s memo on Canon 915, and his refusal to share the memo addressing concerns of US Bishops, which Ratzinger entrusted to him to share;

        2. The evidence publicly shared this week by Msgr. Figueiredo shows McCarrick denied “ever having sexual relation with any man, woman or child.” Despite his having been judged as guilty of sexual abuse of minors by the Church; and

        3. Mr. Weigel’s accusations in this very essay that McCarrick lied about him to Pope Francis.

        We could go on, but those are big lies.

        What are your thoughts about the above lies?

        A “little lie” that he lived by is that “he was a moderate” (I take it that he meant “luke-warm” about, inter alia, the 6th Commandment) and that people who disagreed with him (Neuhaus and Wiegel) were extremists.

        Aldo interested in your thoughts there…

        • Just a few of what could be many responses to your “charges”. First, secular (diocesan) clergy take NO vows! Second, McCarrick’s beach house was worth probably about $150,000 — not a multi-million dollar mansion. Third, the house was not owned by him but by the Diocese of Metuchen.
          I would maintain that since you couldn’t get even easily discovered, objective facts straight, you are in no position to make subjective judgments.

          • Fr. Stravinskas:

            The median price of a house in Sea Girt is $1.9 Million.

            Suggesting that any house is Sea Girt costs $150k seems show a lack of knowledge about real estate in Sea Girt, and that you may not have a fact to back up your suggestion.

            But allowing that you might know, please pass the address, and everyone can check it’s value on the real estate market. I have been looking forward to getting that address and checking it out this summer.

            As to the diocese owning it, do you mean McCarrick bought it when he was the Bishop of Metuchen?

            And thanks for setting the record straight about vows of poverty. The lack explains why we attract McCarrick in the first place.

          • Fr. Straviskas:

            To amplify the real estate situation in Sea Girt, you can do what I did and go to a realtor like ReMax. Their LOWEST PRICE house listed in Sea Girt starts at $400,000. It is a tiny “3 BR + 1 bath” house, with the photo being a 2 BR with a bed room added in the basement. The other 5-6 properties ranging $400K to $549K are an assortment of 2 BR condos or old, modest, and very small 2-3 BR single homes.

            That doesn’t accord with your suggestion envisioning McCarrick’s $150K beach house.

            If you know the address of the beach house, please pass it on, and we can check it out.

          • BTW Fr. S, I am charging McCarrick.

            As to the 1st two counts, unrepentant pedophile and unrepentant sex predator, these are decided facts, investigated and judged guilty by 2 pontiff’s, and unrepentant since we know from interviews given by James Grein that McCarrick has not apologized to him nor asked forgiveness.

            The evidence only real mystery about McCarrick is the sources or sources of his independent wealth, which interestingly don’t seem a matter of interest to many Bishops etc etc. For instance, where did McCarrick get the reported cash he handed around in envelopes while globe-trotting for team Gramsci?

      • Fr. Stravinskas:

        As to my C, calling McCarrick a sociopath, I give you the following characteristics listed by sources such as Harvard.edu and WebMD:

        1. Charming – Yes, check;
        2. Lack of Empathy – Yes, most emphatically in evidence, for predators raping children;
        3. Difficulty with Relationships – I’ll pass on that;
        4. Manipulative – Yes, check…see #2, and among other things, the Canon 915 manipulation;
        5. Callous (cold-blooded, hard-hearted, ruthless) – Yes, check…raping little James Grein and threatening him if he tried to call his parents to help him;
        6. Lies (habitually) – Yes, check; and the ringer…
        7. Never Apologizes – Yes, check.

        So it does seem that there is public evidence that McCarrick displays at least 6 of these 7 characteristics.

        It would not be very convincing to suggest otherwise. Do you see what I mean, once you know how psychologists define sociopaths? The man does appear to be a sociopath.

      • Fr. Stravinskas:

        As to my H, McCarrick being a destroyer of Catholic memory and identity, the evidence is his craftsmanship and co-signing if the 1967 Land of Lakes manifesto, where as then President of the University of Puerto Rico, he joined other “leaders” of now post-Catholic universities, such as Fordham, in breaking away from Church teaching.

        Hence, 50 years later, as an indicator of McCarrick’s intent, the chairman of the “theology” department at Fordham is a non-Catholic, publicly declared sodomite in a “marriage” to another man.

        That indicates the total destruction of Catholic witness, memory and identity at Fordham (etc etc), as we all must confess.

      • Fr. Stravinskas:

        In summation, I employ the word used by journalist Valentina Alazraki when she addressed the February 2019 abuse summit about “choosing sides” in the sex abuse crisis:

        Men like McCarrick, who sexually molest minors, are “the enemies of The Church.”

        Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies, so I obey and pray for McCarrick, that he might repent, and do justice as urged by Fr. Murray, justice for his victims and for the Church he has publicly abused, by publicly repenting.

        So as Jesus affirmed, we do have enemies.

        McCarrick is my enemy, and he is the enemy of The Catholic Church, and he is the enemy of my children, and every parent and child in the Church.

        I do not think that your apologia for McCarrick shows a serious appreciation of the devastation caused over decades by this man.

        In your assessment, you suggest he should be commended for patching up an “objective schism” in Metuchen. And he repaid it with what…other than his personal engineering of a national and global Catholic apostasy?

        I suppose you think that McCarrick somehow “believes” that Jesus is the Son of the Living God.

        I for one do not believe that men who rape boys believe in God. That doesn’t compute.

        But I join you in praying for him. And I pray that he might publicly confess his life of disobedience, “soul murder,” sexual abuse, duplicity and defiance.

        And if he does, then we will know that he really does bend his knees to Jesus. Otherwise, it’s no stretch of the imagination to realize that he does not believe.

  11. “Potted plant neo-con”. True, and constantly self-promoting.
    But I did appreciate this article rebutting Uncle Ted. Thank you Mr. Weigel.

  12. Don’t know if this man hailed from Celtic stock, but, despite my non belief at this stage of my life, when are these paedos. going to be excommunicated? Having mostly Irish surnames is an insult to the rare, but good, members of the clergy who are also Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Cornish and of Manx origin.

  13. Very amusing while ignoring crisis issues like how our ecclesial culture, over decades, has gotten to where our clergy and our laity never give much daily thought to such things as the sin of pride and, in so doing, how the Church has joined the culture of death, which is not so amusing, since we clearly have acquired a Pope who consistently demonstrates a fundamental antagonism to immutable, divinely endowed Catholic truths, especially the inviable natural laws that protect the sacredness of life. The Church has lost practically all moral credibility in the world and the world suffers more because of it. It is not the buffoonery of surrounding prelates at the Holy See that needs to be examined. And it matters not at all that Francis will make his occasional flippant remarks about hit men regarding abortion. A moral relativist has no authority.

    Weigel can despise Trump all he wants, and ignore God’s grace in moving the soul of a former reprobate to better virtues, but Trump has done more, on a practical level for the unborn than any individual in history. Yet Weigel will not refrain from insulting Trump while he insists on continuous “benefit of the doubt” to the occupant of the Chair of Peter whose self-evident heresies include his being a process theologian, who insists that God is still learning, who embraces the world’s most notorious abortionists, inadvertently saying to the world, go ahead, have your abortion, we’re no longer so “obsessed” about it, who insists that one can “discern” that God is telling a soul to violate what God tells humanity in the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, whose ideas about mercy are merciless towards the victims of sin, and who insists that the Mother of Christ was not without sin, implicitly denying the Immaculate Conception. The honor of God, the honor of the Mother of God, the lives of the unborn are more important than protecting the image of Francis.

    • “Weigel…insists on [giving] continuous ‘benefit of the doubt’ to the occupant of the Chair of Peter…” To the occupant(?), or to the Chair?

      Legend has it that El Cid led his army to victory in a great battle, although he was already dead, but then was strapped back onto his horse and saddle in an upright position. (All to the Western tune: “back in the saddle again…!”)

      Rather than his own leaderless army, it was the enemy that finally took flight. When all is lost, sometimes image is everything. High stakes poker.

  14. Dear George,
    While not even close to as “informed” as you are, please allow me a stab at your thought, “it seems far more likely that he saw in this squib of a story an opportunity to trash me with Pope Francis.” McCarrick saw this as an opportunity to promote himself as the ardent defender of the Pope in Francis’ eyes, and that is why he did most things as you suggest throughout the article, so don’t take it personal. I laughed at Father J’s comment but you did tell us the subject matter in your title, although my late mother-in-law would have corrected you that it should have been “I.”
    God bless,
    tom

  15. Your email address will not be published. Without any explanation, please explain. Censure is becoming routine in Catholic publishing. I wonder why?

  16. Potted plants are quite useful and beneficial for clearing the air. Mr. Weigel has served the Church well in that capacity.

    Which is much more than we can sadly say for Mr. McCarrick.

  17. A problem with McCarrick, the modernist, is that he has been uncovered. Is McCarrick the tip of the iceberg? How many modernist in the clergy and the religious life are still trying to destroy the Church undercover? To what extent does the current confusion in the Church, a confusion that Pope Francis has been very effective at increasing, provides these modernists with an effective cover?

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  3. Neoconservative George Weigel Strikes Again | TrumpsMinutemen

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