Happy August! For our entertainment, the USCCB has issued a fresh statement on the terrible, no-good, very-bad ex-Cardinal McCarrick. Below is Cardinal DiNardo’s statement in full, annotated. Let’s see how things are coming:
“The accusations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick reveal a grievous moral failure within the Church. They cause bishops anger, sadness, and shame; I know they do in me.
Wonderful. We have to start somewhere.
They compel bishops to ask, as I do, what more could have been done to protect the People of God.
What more could we have done? It’s just so hard to know!
Both the abuses themselves, and the fact that they have remained undisclosed for decades, have caused great harm to people’s lives and represent grave moral failures of judgement on the part of Church leaders.
No kidding. Glad you’re caught up on this now.
These failures raise serious questions. Why weren’t these allegations of sins against chastity and human dignity disclosed when they were first brought to Church officials? Why wasn’t this egregious situation addressed decades sooner and with justice? What must our seminaries do to protect the freedom to discern a priestly vocation without being subject to misuse of power?
Do you know what I love? I love that Catholics across the spectrum agree these are in fact the pertinent questions. I mean, here on this blog I’ve been linking to America and One Peter Five both — and that’s not something I normally do. We may be a paranoid, fragmented, snarky lot of in-fighters, but we all have these exact same questions. We also basically already know the answer, no committee meetings necessary. Score one for Christian unity, I guess.
Archbishop McCarrick will rightly face the judgement of a canonical process at the Holy See regarding the allegations against him, but there are also steps we should be taking as the Church here in the United States.
Oh good. You’ve noticed.
Having prayed about this, I have convened the USCCB Executive Committee. This meeting was the first of many among bishops that will extend into our Administrative Committee meeting in September and our General Assembly in November. All of these discussions will be oriented toward discerning the right course of action for the USCCB.
I am so inspired with confidence. I mean, you are the same exact people who have been letting this problem carry on all these years . . . but I’m sure this time it’ll be different.
This work will take some time but allow me to stress these four points immediately.
First, I encourage my brother bishops as they stand ready in our local dioceses to respond with compassion and justice to anyone who has been sexually abused or harassed by anyone in the Church. We should do whatever we can to accompany them.
Second, I would urge anyone who has experienced sexual assault or harassment by anyone in the Church to come forward. Where the incident may rise to the level of a crime, please also contact local law enforcement.
So these are the same things you’ve been saying for twenty years. What’s different now?
Third, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick’s conduct to the full extent of its authority; and where that authority finds its limits, the Conference will advocate with those who do have the authority. One way or the other, we are determined to find the truth in this matter.
So your plan is to investigate McCarrick. See, up at the top of the letter, you mentioned this whole wondering how you let this happen.* So who do you think are the people you need to investigate if you want to find that out? Hint: It’s not just McCarrick.
Finally, we bishops recognize that a spiritual conversion is needed as we seek to restore the right relationship among us and with the Lord.
Ah. A “spiritual conversion.” So there’s not actually a plan to come clean, name names, admit guilt, and clean house. Hmmn. I wonder how we got into this problem again?
Our Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality.
Our Church is suffering from decades upon decades of corruption, deception, and hypocrisy at the hands of our bishops. I teach chastity. You make it sound like you guys are just a bunch of poor lost teenagers waiting for someone to open The Catechism to the exciting pages. Chastity is small potatoes compared to what you have been up to. But if you want me to come go over this stuff for you, I could get a Saturday free sometime. Since the executive committee’s having such a hard, hard time figuring it out.
The way forward must involve learning from past sins.
I’m a little concerned about what it is you’re planning to “learn.” How to better cover your tracks next time? Because I’m not seeing anything in this statement that suggests real change.
Let us pray for God’s wisdom and strength for renewal as we follow St. Paul’s instruction: ‘Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect’ (Romans 12:2).”
Artwork by Philip Absolon, CC 3.0, via Wikimedia.
*Unless there’s some other authority responsible for governing the Church. Illuminati or something? I’m pretty sure it’s y’all.