Cri de Coeur: calls for punishing action against bishops complicit in L’Affaire McCarrick

Today I read at Crisis a smart piece by Eric Sammons which argued that, because of the unaddressed, indeed covered up scandal of McCarrick … and others, just wait!… Catholics should address the problem of feckless bishops by withholding money:   “So perhaps it’s time to dry up those donations. If bishops begin losing money, perhaps they will hear the cries of the laity to clean up their act. ”

Today I read at Regina Magazine a blistering piece from Beverly Stevens in which she calls for all the money to dry up: “[T]he vast majority of Catholics are smart enough to simply divert their donations to the authentic Church, once they get the lowdown on what you and your minions are up to. Tomorrow, I will outline our ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval’ list of seminaries, charities and apostolates that teach the authentic Faith and which can be trusted with our money.”

I haven’t seen her list yet.  I hope my TMSM is on the list.   And, btw, I enjoyed her use of the Cosmo trope.

Today I read, and heard, at Church Militant the new “Vortex” offering from Michael Voris.  He, too, is fuming mad.  His recommendation?  “Time’s up for the bishops in the United States as a collective body. They need to be cut off from your financial support.”

Are you sensing a theme?

Yesterday I made the same point HERE after suggesting that talking about hanging bishops on do it yourself gallows isn’t a very good approach to the problems we face.  I was obtusely mocked for that at Canon212.

I wonder now if that same site will mock Michael Voris and Beverly Stevens for making the same suggestion.  Or are they interested more in style than in substance[UPDATE: Their response made my rhetorical question clear: probably neither.  It isn’t clear that they read very carefully, given their response to this post.  They seem to have missed the point that I agree with those who are calling for action. Too long, perhaps?]

Michael Voris’ “Vortex” piece deserves a little more examination.   He makes his dramatic case for withholding financial support from bishops.  For example, he says:

Sell off your [bishops] assets, your land, your buildings. Some of these dioceses have enormous sums of money in various holdings. [many don’t] Stop asking the laity to keep supporting your garbage with their money. Use your own money for once, and stop debasing the Faith even further with your money campaigns dressed up in religious or spiritual sounding sappy names — stop it, it’s disgusting.

No Catholic who believes the Faith should hand you guys one more dime — not one more penny. We have to support our parishes, but that’s it. You spend those special collections and extra income on sending dissidents to Rome for further study so they can come back with a degree in hand and spread error even further.

Now, just hang on a second.  Let’s deal with the campaign and the seminarian issue.

Where I am, in Madison, The Extraordinary Ordinary, Bp. Morlino, started out with 6 seminarians when he arrived, after the reign of a super-lib.  After a decade of hard work, there are some 30 seminarians.  They are great guys, prayerful, devout, smart, dedicated.  Two of the three men just ordained said TLMs as their First Mass.   The Diocese of Madison was, when Morlino came, not financially ready to support more than 6 seminarians, and at $50K per man, 30 seminarians adds up!  So, rather than raise money to build a cathedral, which had burned due to arson, The EO started a, yes, campaign to raise, yes, money to create a foundation that would generate funds to pay for the formation of priests.  It had a sappy name, too: Priests For The Future.  No, wait: that’s descriptive, not sappy.  The campaign was a success.  As far as “sending dissidents to Rome” is concerned, the Diocese has what I think might the largest contingent at the North American College with some 8 men.  First, this shows the bishop’s desire that a) our guys can be Roman, b) they can support each other while being abroad and c) the money is being tended well.  There are some okay seminaries in the states, but Rome has advantages, one being that it is less costly to send men there than most US seminaries.   Moreover, our priests getting advance degrees are not wasting their time.  One of our guys came back, overhauled the Tribunal and made it one of the most faithful anywhere, and now has been called to Rome to work in the CDF’s canonical section, which means that he is handling cases of sexual abuse.  There couldn’t be a better priest in that section.  There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to what is done with money and whom one sends to Rome.

Here is another thing that Voris wants to happen:

Most of the bishops in the United States need to resign their posts immediately. If any board of directors of any company in America would have engaged in the systematic practice and cover-up of sexual harassment of adults under their authority, they wouldn’t have just been fired, they’d be behind bars, which many of these “leaders” deserve.  [..]  Resign. Resign, now.

Let’s think about this for a moment.

What would be the result of the mass resignation of bishops in these USA?

First, those bishops will have to be replaced.   How will they be replaced?   They will replaced at the suggestions of the “kingmakers”.  Hint: McCarrick was a kingmaker.  Today, Card. Cupich – who I suspect won’t resign – is a “kingmaker”.  The kingmakers will make suggestions through the Nuncio to the Congregation for Bishops, which in turn will make suggestions to Pope Francis.  Some kingmakers go directly to the Pope, which is what happened in the case of McCarrick, thus resulting in several, at least three, really important appointments in these USA as well as their subsequent additional elevation in ecclesial dignity.  So, after these resignations, Pope Francis will replace those bishops with new bishops according to the vision he prefers.

Scenario: In the well-balanced Diocese of Black Duck, hard-working, faithful, tradition-supporting, doctrine-preaching, socially outspoken Bishop Nobel knew about the dealings of “uncle Ted”.  After all, everybody knew for years.  Say that, because he now feels badly that he didn’t do anything about a Cardinal – Cardinals, by the way, as the proverb goes, are “weak friends but powerful enemies” – tenders his resignation.   They get a new bishop to replace him. The Holy Father moves our old friend Bp. Fatty McButterpants from nearby Libville over to Black Duck, and the merciful accompaniment begins.

I am not saying that Voris is wrong, but be careful what you wish for.

Next, as far as “sell off assets” is concerned, it seems to me that one day Holy Church will experience an upturn.  To my mind, selling off, for example, churches, which are on coveted property, may result in us not having any church in places where populations return.  For example, in Chicago, St. John Cantius and Queen of Angels were dead.  Bernardin wanted to monetize the properties.  The faithful held on.  Near St. John’s the infamous Cabrini Green was shut down and the whole area got a face-lift as people started moving back.  There are churches there.  It would have been impossible to build those places today, given where they are.   Building the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin is one thing, and building in Near North Chicago, or in Manhattan, etc. is another.   How about selling off the other properties, like buildings or land being leased out, etc?  Okay, those properties generate income that can help to keep parishes open when their congregations don’t pay the bills.

I am not saying that Michael is entirely wrong on this point. The axe could go to some chancery offices, especially in certain dioceses, and his point about the USCCB was dead on.  I am saying, however, be careful what you wish for. 

Everything that I read and hear from outraged laypeople these days has a strong ring of truth and justice.   That’s from laypeople.   From my perspective as a priest, given what has been done to me over the decades… let’s just say that I work really hard to manage my urge to rampage.  We all have serious concerns and we all want something to happen that makes a real difference.

But everything that we come up with has implications and consequences.  There is a saying that more tears are shed over answered prayers than over the unanswered.

Lastly, say that all these things come to pass.  Keeping in mind that Devil is really good at strategery, and will not be at rest.   Whole swaths of bishops are forced through financial and other pressure to resign and dioceses and parish – yes, parishes will be hit – are, therefore, choked down into the dust.  Churches are sold off, schools closed, the number of seminarians plummets.   Pension plans of elderly priests are gutted.  Large numbers of priests leave active ministry for various reasons, many because they shouldn’t have been ordained in the first place, and some because they finally burn out, exhausted and demoralized from the additional work, stress and isolation.  No one is sent to Rome to study, so the dioceses become more “parochial”, which in more rural dioceses will have a huge impact on Catholic culture because it will affect the culture of the dioceses priests. Pope Francis listens to his advisers and replaces the bishops who resigned.  The faithful priests who are left will more than likely be marginalized.  Seminaries will probably start to shut down, because there won’t be candidates and dioceses won’t have the money to keep them open, because their income is gone.

Some may say,

“But Father! But Father!  Wait a second!  Isn’t that what we had to deal with back in the missionary days?  Think of Fr. Baraga!  Think of Fr. Mazzuchelli!  Think of Fr. Marquette!  Think of Fr. Junipero Serra! These were great men and they built the Church in really inhospitable places!  Think of the North American Martyrs.  Think of the early Church of the Apostolic era and the time of martyrs.  Didn’t Tertullian say that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church?  Okay, so he was a heretic and a schismatic.  But he was right!   If they, why not us?  Furthermore, YOU HATE …. ummm… you hate…  &^*@^!…  YOU HATE THE COUNCIL OF JERUSALEM!”

It may be that the harsh scenario I sketched is exactly what we need. 

This is God’s Church.   He didn’t promise to Peter that the Church would withstand the attacks of Hell in these USA.

We should beg from God what is truly for our spiritual good.   Be advised that, if He grants it, we will have a lot of tears to shed in this… what is it called again? …. this “vale of tears”.  Yes, I knew I had heard that somewhere before.

This coming Sunday in the Ordinary Form, this Collect will ring in people’s ears that which in the TLM we heard, similarly, on the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost:

Protector in te sperantium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum, multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, ut, te rectore, te duce, sic bonis transeuntibus nunc utamur, ut iam possimus inhaerere mansuris.

This is military imagery.  Rector and dux can be “guide” and “ruler”, but given the feel within the oration and given the content of the traditional readings for 3rd after Pentecost, namely 1 Peter 5 about the Enemy Lion, stronger stuff is needed. Rector is  “commander of the army”. Dux is a “general”.  Literally,

O God, protector of those believing in You, without whom nothing is efficacious, nothing holy, multiply Your mercy upon us, so that, You being our commander, our general, we may so use things that pass away as to be able to cleave to those that endure.

The Devil is roaming and roaring. In writing about this Collect in the past, I’ve said that we pray for sin-Teflon and demon-Kevlar.

I suspect that the Enemy will savagely attack those who are making open announcements and calls to action.

This is WAR.

At the same time, the Enemy might even help to bring about what is being called for.   The Enemy always gets it wrong, but not before devastation causes great loss of souls.

Souls will be lost if what some call for comes to pass.   Souls will be gained.   But when you are in the grinder, grinding it out, it’s pretty awful.  I hope we all have the nerve and stomach for it and the will to pray from our knees and hearts for great graces.

If we really clean house – really work to clean the demonic out of the house – then we had better be super committed to what will result.  Otherwise, as Our Lord warned with this menacing, warning parable:

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it empty (Greek scholázonta), swept, and put in order. Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation.” Matthew 12:43-45 RSV


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "But Father! But Father!", Cri de Coeur, SESSIUNCULA, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Daddio says:

    I hate the idea of making the Bishop “sell off his own assets”. Those assets were bought with the donations of the faithful. What right has a bishop to cast off my grandparents’ contributions in order to make a financial settlement with his victims (direct victims or indirect by negligence)? Lock them up, lose the key. But the money isn’t theirs.

    And, the money isn’t mine either. Tithe 10, save 10, spend 80. All I have is from the Lord. I am obliged to support the Church (not only the religious order or lay apostolate or soup kitchen or crisis pregnancy center of my choosing). So some of my tithe goes to a bad bishop maybe.
    I am not culpable for my bishop’s mistakes. Let the Lord sort him out. Something about a millstone…

    I’m preaching to myself here, but we still need to honor our Fathers. If we are going to have ANY credibility when we demand to be heard, it will be better if we’ve been consistent and faithful with our attendance and tithe throughout the crisis. They aren’t going to listen to the ones holding them hostage. They might take the meeting, but they won’t really take our concerns seriously. We are angry now, but we are still just the sheep. Is that clericalism? I don’t know. My $0.02

  2. Daddio says:

    Further thoughts. I guess the Catechism leaves plenty of room for interpretation:

    CCC 2043 The fifth precept (“You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church”) means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.

    Church is capitalized there. “The Church” to 99% of us, typical Latin Rite local parish folks, means our Ordinary, the bishop of our home diocese, no?

    Not throwing stones at anyone who takes a different approach.

  3. MrsMacD says:

    Our Lady came down from heaven and she told us what to do, she said, pray the rosary. She told us to do penance.

  4. JPK says:

    My Diocese has been scandal-free these last 30 years. Withholding money just to “send a message” punishes the wrong people. Besides, the general collection helps fund a large Catholic hospital that focuses on the poor and uninsured. It also subsidizes the diocese’s retirement community made up of retired priests and sisters. The late Bishop Darcy spent his final months there living in a simple apartment with other retired priests he managed over the years.

    However, I am as angry and appalled as anyone with this new scandal. I’m getting the vibe that the USCCB is unaware of just how angry many Catholics are.

  5. pbnelson says:

    I think boycotting bishops is futile. It’s armchair activism. And the malefactors won’t care one bit, they’ll just close more parishes, sell more land, and continue to milk the diocese to maintain a certain lifestyle.

    In my opinion, what accounts for Pope Francis’ intervention in Chile was negative publicity from the mainstream press. Evil thrives in darkness. What we need is to call out the malefactors, loudly and publicly. Protest on the internet. Protest in writing. And protest in person!

    Imagine 100 people marching around the cathedral from dusk to dawn, for 30 days straight, praying the rosary and carrying signs that name names – nothing libelous, just the facts. Add some quotes from the catechism and the patristic fathers. Request some resignations. Imagine a simultaneous protest at the seminary.

    You can bet the local media would be all over it. Especially if someone managed to get himself arrested, and even more so if excessive force was used. Especially if a few Priests joined in, and even more so if they were punished by the Bishop for it. The negative publicity would be withering. Change would come.

    Of course, we’d have to organize, drive into the capital, spend time, take abuse. Possibly face legal ramifications. Possibly face ecclesiastical ramifications (i.e. excommunication). That’s hard work, uncomfortable work.

    It’s so much easier to bloviate on a blog and stop writing checks. Protest never felt better!, or more profitable!, right?!

    Let’s leave the grubby sign-waving and marching to the Soros gang, you know the ones: A Call to Action, Catholics for a Free Choice, Dignity USA, the Rainbow Sash Movement, Women-Church, FutureChurch…

  6. benedetta says:

    We should concentrate our efforts of support where hope is found, wherever we find good fruit. Bishop Morlino’s work is one such sign of hope. Here is another from the Byzantine lung:

  7. Imrahil says:

    Only that while the Pope is supposed to keep bishops in check via orders, laypeople are not supposed to keep bishops in check via cut-off on donations.

    Where do I know that from?

    Well, from canon 1263. I’m not going into the actual detail of the canon, which is legal technics, but it operates from the basic principle that the bishop can tax all those pious institutes where laypeople give their donations to (though, unless for grave reasons or “deviating particular law and custom” i. e. if the place is in Germany or Austria, he cannot tax people). That means that choosing which receiver to prefer is all well and fine, but if it comes to the needs of the diocese (or, I guess, also to the correction of a really striking disparity), a proportion of it will go to the bishop, and at the decision of the bishop, and, subject to certain upper boundaries (the law says “in a moderate way”), in a height defined by the bishop.

    (He needs to hear his Economical and Presbyteral Council before, but that belongs to the part of legal technics. Also, from my reading at least Papal institutions are exempt, which makes a rather big difference in the legal technics, but does not change the implied principle.)

    Which means, to bring me back to my first sentence, that laymen correcting bishops via donation pressure is not an element of the Constitution of the Church.

    [“Pray, pay and obey”? A German Church Kirchensteuer approach.]

  8. richiedel says:

    Fr. Z. says: “At the same time, the Enemy might even help to bring about what is being called for. The Enemy always gets it wrong.”

    King Theoden says: “Oft evil will shall evil mar.”

    Gandalf says: “My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play in it, for good or evil, before this is over.”

  9. ChrisP says:

    The Church doesn’t need to sell off properties and plan to achieve purification. It needs to sell off people – the very professional lay Catholics who wean at the teat of Church employment schemes. Yes, I am suggesting firing a bunch of un-needed, “useful idiots” whom carry out the Bishops plans. And they can be fired due to easily demonstrable lack of skills, breach of contract etc. If faithful laity put enough pressure to have the PAID unfaithful laity removed, then the Bishops find it harder to have their plans actuated.

    If a Parish with a faithful, excellent priest finds out that priest is getting grief for no good reason from the Chancery, then sue the lay workers there. Drag their sorry carcass through the courts. We are bound to follow our clergy, esp. our Bishops; we are not bound to follow the edicts or whim of a malicious, prima donna church lay employee.

    But as Fr Z said, choose your targets carefully and wait till they come out from behind the bushes.

  10. Thorfinn says:

    My experience in the “withholding donations” gambit is that most of the money is held by the other side, which is why they often call the shots. I think it’s a losing hand in most cases.

    Instead I would counsel redoubled spiritual efforts, involvement in faithful initiatives, and polite but clear communication to one’s local bishop. But spiritual efforts are primary – we’re not solving anything without God’s help!

  11. richiedel says:

    Hi, Imrahil,

    I don’t think the bishop’s right to tax public juridic persons per Canon 1263 precludes the faithful from deciding not to directly contribute to resources accessible by the bishop. Public juridic persons are theoretical entities completely separate the faithful themselves. The faithful’s obligations to contribute financially to the needs of the Church are spelled out in Canon 222, which states that the faithful have the obligation to support the Church, “so that the Church has available to it those things which are necessary for divine worship, the works of of the apostolate, and charity.” The second part of this canon calls for a promotion of social justice “to help the poor”. Even in dioceses where the allocation to a public juridic person is practiced to maintain a shared pool of resources, the faithful may still perfectly fulfill its obligations per Canon 222 without any of its support ending up with the public juridic person taxable by the bishop, so the bishop’s right to tax these entities has no bearing on how the faithful decide to fulfill its obligations per Canon 222, and no interplay exists between the bishop’s right to tax and the faithful’s obligations, to the extent that we can determine whether the faithful’s decision not to contribute to resources accessible by the bishop says anything about the “Constitution of the Church”.

  12. Daddio says:

    I’d like to hear Ed Peters on this. And Jimmy Akin.

  13. JesusFreak84 says:

    The objection that I see the most when this is brought up on Twitter is that the USCCB will just go to their Democrat buddies in congress and see if they can get more government grants =-\ When I’ve had an income, I didn’t donate to the Diocese directly, but specifically to my parish, either by check or through the website of the religious order that runs it.

  14. Ave Maria says:

    I live in a faithful diocese with a faithful archbishop who I view as a shield for us so that we are not listening to heretics and watching good priests marginalized, etc. The young men being ordained are stellar and our seminary is a good and it is full. I feel just fine contributing as I have been doing. As for the evil in the Church, this novena to St. John Vianney has been suggested and starts today. This would be good to pray in reparation for the unworthy prelates and also to pray for their conversion and also for the protection of good and holy seminarians, priests, and bishops.

  15. MitisVis says:

    Let’s take a step back and review this idea from a real world angle. The idea of cutting off financial support has been around for years. I even started a “No doctrine, No dollar” campaign here in the NW many many years ago as did others with like minded ideas of diminishing funding to dissident or slavish programs. The current outrage wasn’t present at that time and we also hit some unexpected results. Our efforts did make an impact, however the shortfall was recovered with a quick appeal for our seminaries. We were informed of the upcoming priest shortage and who wouldn’t want to help our future priests? In other words, not one dissident program suffered but the seminary was targeted. Much like when Reagan cut the school funding years ago when the cost per student per year was almost 1/4 the cost of a small home. The school board cut the lunch and nutrition program in retaliation. Don’t think bishops who should be found out won’t do the same.

    The idea of the next bishops conference being at a camp site in Nevada and the only topic on the agenda is cleaning house does have merit. One must take into account if we do withhold across the board there is a great difference between a large diocese and a lesser diocese. Some diocese are on a shoestring while others are generally the seat of a power broker, some whom should be held to account. Those to whom reckoning is due have owned the game and the resources for a long time. Those small diocese good and not so good will bare the brunt of our withholding in most cases. If this idea of withholding gains speed it would be wise to watch how it is received and handled by each bishop keeping in mind we will also suffer in many ways we have not thought about.

    I support the idea of withholding and let the chips fly with the idea that watchful laity call out those whom retaliate, and all of us aid those programs and ministries worthy and necessary, even if in another diocese. Our purpose should be to give right order to the church, not aide in tearing her apart. But can we do that? I would like to see it happen. I just can’t shake the feeling we are past some invisible line out of our perception and something unknown is pressing in upon us.

  16. tho says:

    Someone needs to write a comprehensive expose of how a man like McCarrick rose to such a height. Surely, his behavior must have been known by those in authority, and I don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that there are many others. The disaster of Cardinal Mahoney and Archbishop Weakland come to mind, and I am only a pray, pay, and obey layman. Just think of what those on the inside know. Perhaps a Nurenburg like trial, presided over by someone that we can have full faith and trust in. Or am I being naïve?

  17. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    I would say to be selective. Give money to dioceses (big or small) led by competent and orthodox bishops, good seminaries (that aren’t impacted by the “Gatekeeper” effect described by Michael Rose), good magazines, newspapers, and Web sites, and other institutions.

    I recall columnist Thomas Sowell suggesting an effective way to get nonprofits such as universities to change is to … send them a copy of a check that you made out to another or competing institution.

  18. LeeGilbert says:

    Ave Maria, one thing I have never understood is why commenters are reluctant to mention names of the good dioceses and parishes they live in or know about. We also live in a faithful diocese with a faithful archbishop who I view as a shield for us so that we are not listening to heretics and watching good priests marginalized, etc. It is the Archdiocese of Portland In Oregon, home of Holy Rosary Parish, where the liturgy is perfect and the sermons are to die for.

  19. Benedict Joseph says:

    One would hope that at least in the American episcopate the various “cliques” or “schools of thought” are conference calling and acknowledging that they are in deep crisis.
    That they would be at that point of self-recognition is itself doubtful. They are notorious for their advanced state of self-deception, fleeing persistently from acknowledging crisis and always require having their face shoved into the fire to get them to wake up. Vast numbers of them are in protracted adolescence, are fully subscribed to a leftist-permissive-socialist agenda, and are academically challenged by the erroneous post-conciliar theorizing substituted for a formation in theology/philosophy/history.
    That given there are a few mature men who are reasonably faithful and cognizant and they need to light a fire under their confreres and declare “emergency.” And this awareness of crisis need be communicated to the worldwide hierarchy. They – worldwide – have madly spent whatever credence they have retained until now in the post-Christian world. They are on the edge of social eradication at their own hand. Their base – us – find them at least “inadequate,” and most often scandalously unfaithful, duplicitous and revolting.
    They need take some of their two hundred million and hire the best minds globally in crisis management. This isn’t going to be fixed by pious disingenuous aphorisms, admonitions to mercy and forgiveness and bold calls to obedience to ecclesiastical authority.
    They – as a body — particularly those at the very top – are their own worst enemy. How to responsibly – civilly and theologically – dismantle the denizens of the episcopacy and replace them with men faithful to “the mission statement” [the perennial Magisterium] is going to be a herculean effort. But this is a moment when ecclesia can look to secular institutions and learn how to reconstitute itself – and that always means reclaiming identity.
    Those who wish to be of another entity or resist are required to “move on.”
    The first step is acknowledging heart fully and with full cognitive awareness “we have screwed up and we own it.”
    Men of faith can do this. I am not hopeful, but with God all things are possible. Numbers don’t matter. Faith does matter.

  20. tamranthor says:

    As a mom of a young son, I will testify that I have never left my son alone in the company of any priest or deacon or bishop. Nor would I. It is painfully true that one cannot tell by looking who is decent and honest, and who is a predator in black robes.

    That make the painful reality all the more close to home. Most priests are good and holy men, beset on every side by nitpickers, high-maintenance parishioners, loser prelates and lack of resources, and the lack of trust is a burden to these men. But it only takes one, and one instance, and my son is ruined for life.

    Trust is something earned. It would seem some of these prelates didn’t bother with that step and went straight to coercion. The misuse of power is the issue, along with an abiding and deep propensity for sin. While we can fight both of those with the help of St. Michael, we can stop it completely with vigilance and care.

    This is the world we live in. As lay people, we are not given the opportunity to punish or even influence bishops in power, but we have every opportunity to deny them victims for their evil intents.

  21. AB says:

    Alas, Alas, the archbishop will close your church to save money, auction off the contents, and then sell the land under the church long before he sells his beach house.

  22. Charles E Flynn says:

    Synopsis: The Rev. John T. Zuhlsdorf argues that as bad as things are, simple-minded, poorly thought-out reactions could make things worse.

    As far as I can tell, my bishop is guilty only of making a tone-deaf Tweet, for which he was vilified to the point where he deleted his Twitter account. I saw none of his online critics mention his recent granting of permission for two groups dedicated to the Latin mass to operate parishes, including a six-year arrangement with the FSSP. I have no intention of reducing my contribution to my diocese, which spends it well:

  23. Kathleen10 says:

    We don’t want to support Francis-Church any longer. Personally we are in a state of flux, not contributing this week, giving some the next. This is awful. Sometimes we wonder if it is possible to say we don’t want money going to the diocese. You could probably drive a popemobile through the holes in that, but it’s something we wonder about.
    I suspect there are men like Jeffrey Sachs or George Soros who could financially prop the church up for a while. I find it hard to believe they aren’t already doing that, so maybe the weekly offertory won’t even be noticed if it dries up.
    Fr. Z., you are a faithful priest and I want to thank you. Things right now are tense, and we are turning a corner. I hope we do not become a Catholic circular firing squad and get so worked up we collectively get confused over who our enemies are and who are friends are. We need to focus on identifying the individuals who are the problem and apply pressure there, for whatever good it will do. At this point hey, it will do us good to do something. We’ve had years of pent up frustration and now it’s boiling over.
    I leave the church to God. It’s His, and I don’t try to run it. When I pray about it I say Lord you know the problem better than I do, please help us. I let him take care of the particulars.

  24. robtbrown says:


    1. The canon says that the bishop can tax those in his jurisdiction. Does someone have to be a member of a parish to be considered in that jurisdiction (at least for financial purposes)? I have a policy: altar girls means no contribution. In so far as a member of the parish just put his home up for sale for $2,500,000, my meager contribution is probably not missed.

    2. You seem to assume that any alternative to parochial contributions would happen in the same diocese. That has never been the case with me.

  25. bibi1003 says:

    Tho, I like your idea. But, I wonder if there is enough of the paper trail, hard drives, etc. left for an investigator to get to the truth. I imagine McCarrick’s bunch started circling their wagons early in the game. And look at what’s happening with the PA grand jury report, which should have already been released. Some PA dioceses are still trying to shut it down. I read that several clergy members who were named, but not charged in the report filed motions to hold up its release. They want the report to be heavily redacted—their names removed, to protect their reputations. If they’re named, it’s for a reason. Let’s see the whole thing.

  26. kelleyb says:

    Instead of withholding $$ which will harm parishes, we should take to arms. As MrsMacD said Our Lady gave us the best cleansing weapon to use against evil, the Holy Rosary. We should begin praying outside the Bishops homes and offices on a regular schedule. The sidewalk Rosaries ministries have been very helpful against abortion clinics in my area. I envision various groups of grandparents, parents with children, and the young people gathering weekly praying for the conversion of our Bishops.

  27. Pingback: McCarrick Watch: Friday Edition – Big Pulpit

  28. trespinos says:

    I agree with Father Z that Michael Voris’ approach involving tarring all the bishops with a broad brush and indiscriminately calling for their resignations is a bad idea. For those bishops who participated in or acquiesced in a cover up, let there be unrelenting pressure on them. By all means, let the Lavender Mafia be put on notice that their days of calling all the shots in certain chanceries and seminaries are over for good. But those bishops who had no part in the McCarrick affair and who are being vigilant against the inroads of homoheresy in their diocese do not deserve having their financial support withheld.

  29. MichaelDowd says:

    To regain it’s credibility and gain souls for Christ the Church must become materially poor, politically powerless but spiritually strong.

  30. snegopad says:

    We in Austria ( similar in Germany I think) are menaced or faced with excommunication in case of refusing to pay Kirchensteuer….which juristic model is very problematic ( and dicussed about in Rome long ago )—-but the threat is actual…so “pay, pray, obey”…

  31. Imrahil says:

    Actually, “pray, pay and obey” is a good motto, German or not… precisely for the reasons outlined above.

    Dear snegopad,
    it’s not 100% sure, but say 95%, that what you mean by “they discussed this in Rome long ago” refers to them discussing in Rome an entirely different matter. (The question they did discuss, since 2010 or so an irrelevant question, was that a certain case was clearly schism but not really so clearly actus formalis defectionis.)

    Dear richiedel,
    what you say is true, but that, again, is in my view the “legal technics” which does not prejudice the underlying principle, which I merely “distilled”, as it were, from this canon to substantiate my assertion that there is something intrinsically problematic, Church-constitution-wise, with the laymen pressuring the bishops some way by donation-withholding threats – even if they pressure right way, for a change.

    (Note: “Something intrinsically problematic” was not intended to mean “certainly sinful in any case whatsoever”.)

    And people typically do give their charitable donations (if they don’t give them to secular philanthropists, which, in good measure, I do of course not want to disparage) to institutions set up with stamp and signature within the Church’s legal forms.

  32. In the place where I am, the diocese receives the bulk of funding for its operations from the assessment of the offertory received by parishes. So, to cut off funding the diocese means to shut down every local parish, by ceasing all donations. Then you will not have the Eucharist. Or confession. Or a priest to impart the last rites to the dying.

  33. Laity rioting in the streets of Paris impeded the Reformation in France. The Catholic laity protested the shenanigans of the Reformation-promoting hierarchy and the hierarchy backed off. This is told in Hilaire Belloc’s Characters of the Reformation.

    The comments here are very interesting, along with the lessons of how it is very hard to punish the entrenched evil doers as they will just dig in deeper, and take from other sources. Yet something has to be done and it has to be the laity. The laity must save the Church.

    Maybe we women, like St. Joan of Arc and St. Catherine of Sienna, need to remind and encourage our men to do their duty to face these clerical perpetrators? And the manly example just might teach some of these sissies what a real man does. Punch ’em in the nose [virtually or symbolically], no more of this passive-aggressive scairdy girly stuff.

    Healthy fear of the laity is exactly what these perpetrators need. These venal bishops are focused on satisfying their avarice, position and image, influence – and also satisfying their disgusting sexual appetites. The rest of the hierarchy is controlled by hysterical self-preserving fear [blackmail? false accusations? guilt by association? take courage…] like the fleeing shepherds of Scripture at the sight of the wolf. [yes there ARE good priests and bishops still ] These men have been at it long enough from persecuting the outspoken Mother Angelica to creating the self-protecting Dallas Charter to running the USCCB with its false authority to amassing fortunes through subterfuge and secret accounts. Would fear of the people have an effect? Make some speak out? Or change their behavior? Or support those to change their mind who are being seduced even now?

    Can we call for the most egregious to sell off their $20 million dollar rectories? Can we call for men to step up and name names? How about revealing the tie-ins to sex and human trafficking rings? Can we start with what we DO know, with the worst. Can we start with protesting around the worst parishes? The exhausted and discouraged Joseph Sciambra has been revealing the worst rainbow-flag parishes for awhile now – these parishes, still flourishing while their bishops do nothing.

    In the corporate world, we call it “the low-hanging fruit”, where you quickly dispatch the easy stuff first. Instead of wringing our hands over what-ifs and what we don’t know, do what is obvious.

    What’s infuriating are ALL the people, laity in chanceries and rectories, horrified family members, along with all the clerics who KNOW what has been going on and stay silent. Its not just the hierarchy that is hard-hearted.

    This has been going on too long. When I was very young in the early 60s, maybe late 50s, I remember our Northern Virginia assistant pastor was murdered. He was found in the back streets of Baltimore at a location where men solicited men. Back then the diocese also suffered a Benedictine convent infected with child abusers.

    I apologize if the indignation might sound a little like blathering. Does this make any sense?

  34. DavidR says:

    The only thing required for evil to prosper is for “good” men to do nothing.
    Heard that b/4 somewhere.

  35. frjim4321 says:

    People are free to withhold contributions, but the very last to suffer will be bishops. First, the housekeepers and cooks will go, then the lay ecclesial ministers, then the custodians, then the musicians. Then, and only then, they will shuffle priests around and close more parishes.

  36. snegopad says:

    Dear Imrahil,
    What I meant with “discussion in Rome”: some people say, that the Kirchensteuer might be juristcal something like simony…..and people think, that Benedict XVI spoke in his speech at Freiburg exactly about that problem, not litterally, but intended….”Entweltlichung der Kirche”=detachment of the Church from the world—- was his theme….

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