A Week in Politics and Church Scandals

A Week in Politics and Church Scandals November 11, 2020

Happy Veteran’s Day!  My favorite veteran-related post (from my own archives — many other people have done more and better) is here. The deceased veteran, a young man I never got to meet in person, son of a longtime internet friend and whom every year at this time I remember the most among all the veterans I have known more personally, is memorialized here.


Blog silence over the past week or so is because I haven’t had anything helpful to add to the public discourse. But, in summary form, before getting into Church talk below, here are my responses to the great debates in the wake of the presidential election:

  • My personal opinion is that Biden is probably the legitimate winner of the popular and electoral college votes, though obviously the race was quite close.  I would be surprised if it turned out otherwise.
  • Given the obvious stakes in a close race for a powerful office, it would not be surprising for any losing candidate of such a race to request recounts and investigations into possible fraud.  I think the time and expense is a good investment in upholding the republic.  If there has been no fraud, wonderful.  It will do Biden, and the nation, well to be shown the clear and honest winner of the election.  If there has been fraud, regardless of whether it changes the outcome of the election, it is of benefit to everyone that we detect and root it out.  I see no reason why anyone would object to giving careful scrutiny to a matter of such national and international import.
  • Because I have the seen the dishonesty, bias, and hype generated by partisans on both sides of the race, I find that the bulk of my Twitter feed is now full of opinions and assertions from both left and right that I must simply disregard.  No dearies, I am not going to go fact check every single one of your hysterical memes and outrage-tweets.  Consider that developing a reputation for credibility can only help your cause, and that lying does the opposite.

And on that theme, moving on to the McCarrick report:

  • Michael Brendan Dougherty’s comments here seem to be right on point.
  • If you need a refresher, at this placeholder site you can download the Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s report on Catholic cover-ups of abuse.  Of particular connection to the McCarrick case is the involvement of McCarrick’s protégé, Cardinal Wuerl.
  • And in my reading this week I stumbled on this highly-localized blog devoted to abuse cases at two New Jersey Catholic schools; it provides some good context for understanding the higher-level actions mentioned in the McCarrick report.
  • Here, for example, is a news report on a jury award for a school coach who claims that in 2005 he was fired when the headmaster “retaliated against him because he reported the headmaster for making two students uncomfortable when he excessively hugged them and patted them on their buttocks.”
  • I would like a “What did you know and when did you know it?” report from the Catholic University of America.

I think the McCarrick report should be required reading for any man discerning a vocation to the priesthood.  Not to dissuade him; if God calls you, that’s where you go. Rather, so that he understands what he’s walking into.

Does every seminarian get groped by a superior? Not that I’ve heard.  But is every priest working under a hierarchal culture where covering-up is the norm, and where generations of ordinaries have been selected for their willingness to keep their heads down and see-no-evil?  Yes indeed.

The Lord tells us to count the cost before we follow Him. We still follow.  But, the more you understand the immensity of the sacrifice you are undertaking, the more sanely you can accept the suffering that comes from the moments when the sacrifice is felt most keenly.  Your heart will be pierced with a sword, so better to understand that’s part of the program.


I don’t have magic consolations to share in the face of the horrendous evils reported in the McCarrick report.

I certainly can’t assure anyone contemplating the Catholic faith that you won’t experience horrible things at your local Catholic parish and diocese — of this type, of some other type, perhaps of just the mundane low-level indifference that typifies so many bureaucracies.  Maybe you will luck into a fantastic Catholic experience, but maybe you won’t.

I can say that McCarrick is the reason I added the chapter on “Integrity” in the evangelization book.

I can say that my reason for being Catholic is not because I have always had a good Catholic experience.  I sometimes have wonderful Catholic experiences, and sometimes I do not.

I can say that Jesus always shows up in the Holy Eucharist, and that is the center of my faith.

I can say that my reason for being Catholic is because the Catholic faith is true.


Horrible people at a parish or a diocese or a Vatican pseudo-investigation can’t change that reality.

I have known many beautiful, wonderful, good, holy people in the Catholic Church. They are not the reason I am Catholic — though I am daily grateful for their presence and company.

The reason I am Catholic is that this is the Church Jesus Christ founded, and my goodness with the way Catholics behave, if it weren’t the Church He promised would prevail against the gates of Hell, it wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes.

When Christ became Man, He became one with a fallen human race.  He did not fall, yet He bore our fallenness.  And so, likewise, His Church continues to bear the suffering of unity with fallen man.  It is a hard thing. But it is a temporary thing.  Come Lord Jesus.


In my final, lighter bit of news-related commentary: I, too, like the devotional song “On Eagle’s Wings” — I know! — though I would not think to quote it in a political speech.  All the same, I’d rather a good Dies Irae at my funeral.  Thanks.



Arlington National Cemetery, view with autumn foliage and Lee House

Photo: Arlington National Cemetery, courtesy of Wikimedia, Public Domain. Two of my grandparents are buried here, though their graves are not shown in this photo.  If you wonder why I get all Bill of Rights on people, this is why.

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