US Bishop calls for meaningful investigation and action from Francis

US Bishop after US Bishop have made statements about The Present Crisis in the wake of The Viganò Testimony.  Some are timid.  Some are in line with what a bishop ought to be.

The Bishop of Charleston, SC, Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, wrote a letter to the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Pierre and he made the letter public. My emphases and comments.

Dear Archbishop Pierre,
August 31, 2018
Our Church is in crisis and as the leader of the Catholic faithful in the State of South Carolina, I write with urgency to express my sentiments and echo those of the people in my care. We feel betrayed, angry and misled.  [Not “they”, “we”.]
Something must be done now. I have several recommendations that support the statement from Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is imperative that the Holy See take a leadership role in investigating the rise of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, despite the reported knowledge of his prior sexual misconduct and monetary settlements during his earlier diocesan assignments. It is absolutely necessary for all of us to know how and why this happened. Action must occur immediately and publicly.  [Not just what he did, but rather, how and why he was promoted (hence, protected.   We know why, but there are Deniers, such as certain inflated writers at Fishwrap and blinkered self-promoters in the Tweetosphere.  Did I mention Jesuits?]
I, too, strongly support an investigation by the Holy See along with a national lay commission with its own authority to seek the truth about the statements made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano. These recent reports have triggered many different versions of what has actually happened and it is necessary that the Holy Father respond to the allegations made by the Archbishop. Please encourage the Holy Father to address these allegations directly. This is in everyone’s best interest; lack of knowledge and uncertainty contribute to the confusion so much a part of our people’s lives today. Our Church is called to be a beacon of light in the darkness. I ask that you be an ambassador of truth and assist in the securing of actionable change.


Good letter.

Is it cynical to opine that it seems some bishops are content to be in their dioceses, and aren’t climbers looking for promotion to a “better” see?  They speak out knowing that in certain spheres they’re names will be added to the s-list.

Others, however, remain malleable.  By going along just enough, perhaps they will weather the storm and move up.  If they can only find the right tone, words that say something, but not much, they’re names will remain on the “team players” list.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Matthewp says:

    Hi Fr Z! Long time lurker, first time poster here. I was wondering if you could speculate on what you think is actually going to happen. I personally think that Pope Francis will be dead for 5 years before he ever resigns, but I could be wrong. Do you think any heads will roll at all? Thanks!

    [I honestly don’t know. There are extremely powerful forces interested in this mess, financial, homosexual, globalist, etc. The Roman style has ever been “cunctando regitur mundus… the world is ruled by delaying”. They can play the delay game for a long time. However, basic market forces can work wonders. Francis is less and less popular. The number of people going to his audiences and events is declining. The longer he is perceived as unwilling to come clean, the less people will be inclined to listen to him. I don’t think they will turn on him, as libs will when they see he isn’t moving fast enough. They will simply turn their faces away and do something else. Catholics loves their Popes. They want to love their pastors. When the disappoint come in legions, they will shut down. However, in this internet age and with alternate media, the effort will continue and the record of these days will be created. This is not going away, at least for those who continue to pay attention.]

  2. FrAnt says:

    Bishop Guglielmone is a good man. He was Dean of Seminarians when I was in Seminary. I am sure it is difficult to find a seminarian who will speak highly of the man in the position of disciplining seminarians. Many priests in my diocese were very happy to hear that he was chosen Bishop of Charleston, SC. There are a number of guys from my time in seminary who visit him when he is in Charleston. He has a motorhome and travels the state visiting his priests and people. He is a good shepherd with a love for them and the Church at large. We could use more like him.

  3. Charles E Flynn says:

    Interesting new database that rates bishops’ views on a variety of issues:

  4. Thomas says:

    I have the Vatican feed on Facebook. They’ve come with two environmental care stories today. One was about how a diocese can “go green” and the other about the need for water. The Pope has declared that “water is a human right.” Perhaps they are trying to change the narrative and get the Pope back to his main business, which is according to Cardinal Cupich, talking about the environment and migrants.

  5. JabbaPapa says:

    Amazing !!

    Any actual “neo-Jansenists” would surely be those pushing the line of some “reasonable hope that all men are saved“, as it would indeed suppose a denial of man’s participation, via the exercise of his free will, in his salvation.

  6. Lurker 59 says:

    I am increasingly a supporter of a “with a national lay commission with its own authority to seek the truth about the statements made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano,” as the good bishop puts it.

    This national lay commission should be made up of Attorney Generals and their staff, as that is the only way that such a commission can have “its own authority”.

    I mean really, there is only two ways that the problem can be dealt with and rooted out in a just manner — through either the judicial organs of the Church or the judicial organs of the State. Everything else is just endless committees and meaningless recommendations.

    As an individual of the laity, I am waiting for the Church to start the process that leads to defrockings (not resignations) but am not seeing those wheels starting to turn. As a member of a State, I also have recourse to the State to help in this situation. So, yes let us have “a national lay commission with its own authority “.

  7. tominrichmond says:

    I may be mistaken, but thusfar, of the statements issued by various US bishops, only two have specifically mentioned the problem, which after all is the gist of things, of rampant clerical homosexuality. It seems like we’re on a treadmill, and the usual “isn’t is awful, gosh who could think such things happen, sure glad I didn’t know anything about anything” statements that have worked before are being trotted out again. Can’t blame this bunch, deflection has always worked in the past. The housecleaning that is actually needed will not happen as long as we (and Rome) accept these self-serving, ass-covering statements from the bishops. But as has been pointed out somewhere else, who’s watching the shepherd? And when the Pope is the one covering up the mess, not much mere laity can do. Except stop funding the machine.

  8. Benedict Joseph says:

    I’ve heard that Bishop Guglielmone is solid, faithful, a very good man and bishop from someone who knows him in the Low Country. I read this statement and sensed its authenticity and sincerity.

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    I’m more in favor of the state doing an investigation rather than a lay committee. I keep thinking of that saying you used, Fr. Z., a camel is a horse made by a committee. Committees do little. There are too many ways it can go wrong, and laypeople, totally unaccustomed to the variances of church maneuvers and mechanisms, are going to be subject to being swayed. It’s heady stuff to be involved in such actions within the church, so no, I wouldn’t trust it generally. The US legal system can get things done. What the PA Grand Jury did is exactly what we need state to state. That got it done and no nonsense. If today AG Jeff Sessions announces a federal RICO investigation, I will jump up and click my heels.
    Catholics have very few methods of influencing the church and outcomes.
    The same old, is going to get us the same old.
    Withhold money.
    Don’t attend. I know, but these are extreme days. We are fighting to make them NOTICE.
    Write emails, political activism (write AG’s, etc.), your bishop, whoever.
    Ask your state Attorney General to investigate, express concerns for boys, sex trafficking that may be going on, and where is your money going.

  10. Thomistica says:

    Something far more sweeping than a mere “investigation” is needed at this point. That may have a bandaid effect, but structural reform of a radical kind is necessary.

    See discussion in combox to the following.

    “Yes! It is indeed unreasonable, if there is not a clear mechanism for deposing a wayward Pope. (Again, innocent until proven guilty; the available information unde[rde]termines judgment about the current Pope–at this point, though there are many reasons for concern.)

    A commission of sound canon lawyers needs to work with civil lawyers to craft new laws, both canon law and their relationship to civil law–including (or particularly) Vatican City civil law, as it pertains to a Pope and his inner circle. There need to be well defined procedures for facilitating penalties within civil law, including those of Vatican City.

    **We certainly don’t need media speculation about whether, e.g., Wuerl can be whisked to the City to evade prosecution!**

    The mere announcement of the forming of such a commission could do tremendous good to control damage in this environment. It will show that the institutional Church is handling the matter. Which it is not, at this moment, because it does not have the resources to do so. Incalculable damage has now been done.

    I would also argue too for a full scale revision of canon law to make it more transparent. It is so much the purview of experts, a real specialty. We need that specialty, of course, but it seems that every time someone needs to interpret law (at least on many issues), a layperson will easily be bewildered. Constitutional law is similarly murky in many respects and full of ambiguity and imprecisions, but at least a layperson can get a sense of what’s going on.”

  11. AA Cunningham says:

    I’m more in favor of the state doing an investigation rather than a lay committee.
    Kathleen10 says:
    1 September 2018 at 10:07 AM

    The state is persecuting Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado. The state is forcing the Catholic Church out of the adoption business in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Attorney General characterizes the abuse allegations in the Grand Jury report as being pedophilia not homosexual ephebophilia. The state legalized homosexual “marriage”. The state legalized infanticide. The state is attempting to force the acceptance of homosexual behavior and sex mutilation surgery upon the public. Voluntarily leaving this to the state without any orthodox Catholic laity involved to defend the Bride of Christ would be akin to playing Russian roulette with six rounds in the cylinder instead of only one.

  12. defenderofTruth says:

    I’d be happy with an indictment of Weurl, and then his arrest by the FBI (or whatever). Chances are, he’d squeal on thr whole lot, so there’s that.

  13. HvonBlumenthal says:

    It seems a long time ago, but it is only a few weeks since Cardinal Wuerl proposed that the United States bishops investigate themselves.

    This idea was laughed out of court, but it hasn’t stopped naif bishops now proposing that the Holy See should investigate itself. We have moved up a level in the hierarchy, but not in commonsense.

  14. Justalurkingfool says:

    From my usual state of pessimism. I doubt anything will make any headway, at least that is truly good, unless the laity run things while working with the extremely few decent clerics that may still exist and the laity have the final, binding upon all the Catholic Church, say and authority.

    Nothing else will work, barring direct divine intervention.

    The corruption is too powerful, too thorough and too ruthless.

    Ultimately, I believe that civil authority will be involved, one way or the other. The corrupt are scum and will do anything evil that is available to them. We are not talking weak sinners here, for the most part. We are talking to the core scum!


  15. Nigelteapot says:


    It seems you are stuck on your schtick that the government is to be placed over and above the Church. Once more: to what end?

    When the English government was used to root out protestant heretics from the Church in the 1500’s, what happened just years later when that same English government wanted Catholics out of the way of the government ascendency to assumed god-state-hood? Take the question slowly to ensure maximum intellectual honesty.

    Secondly, you outright claim you are a “member of the state.” In what sense sense are you a “member of the state?” As an agent of the state looking to usurp the Church under worldly bodies? Or do you just live vicariously though them by negative transference?

    This is a real problem, as you are outright advocating for the government to be placed over God. Considering I have messages of you outright saying that the government has a “divine right” to “promote virtue” and “abolish vice” and that the Church needs the government in a symbiotic relationship, I don’t think your views on government are healthy.

  16. clare joseph says:

    Bravo! Bravo! I am on my knees before the Mother of God, asking Her to bring mighty blessings to the Bishops who stand up and demand the truth. If enough of them do it, and keep doing it, it is bound to have an effect. Although I hear prayer and penance mentioned here and there, I’m still surprised how few people readily see intense prayer as the way of obtaining results.

  17. Nigelteapot says:


    For what do you want Cardinal Wuerl to be arrested for by the government other than you not liking him?

    If government can arrest Catholics for their involvement in the Church, what stops them from arresting you for your involvement in the Church?

  18. Shonkin says:

    My diocese (Helena, MT) is now, as it often is, without a bishop; it seems that is the fate of a small diocese. We have had some VERY good bishops (e.g., Bishops Robert Morlino and George Leo Thomas), but they always get sent, sooner or later, to bigger sees. Sometimes we go well over a year sede vacante before we get a new shepherd.
    All the parishes in the diocese prayed votive masses a couple of weeks ago for a good man to be found and made bishop. However, in view of the kinds of bishops and archbishops being appointed by the current crowd in Rome, maybe God will protect us by delaying the process of choosing a new bishop for us until there is a housecleaning at the Holy See.

  19. Dismas says:

    The Devil is 10 moves ahead of us if we rely on human wisdom. Any method of purging the wicked will already be exploited in the reverse.

    Still, I’m not against hearing the occasional sandwich bag filled with $1.50 in nickels flung upon a stone floor.

  20. BJard says:

    As you said, there are many who stay silent to be “team players” but they’re playing for the wrong coach.

  21. hwriggles4 says:

    Good letter.

    Bishop Burns from Dallas recently released a letter to Pope Francis, calling it an Extraordinary Synod
    The auxiliary bishop of Dallas cosigned it, as well as several priests in the Dallas Diocese.

    Rocco Palmo, a source I trust, has a link to this letter via his Twitter feed. It’s worth a look.

  22. Pingback: Viganò Watch: Monday First Edition – Big Pulpit

  23. Deacon Ed Peitler says:

    There is a piece I read this morning on-line (Catholic Report) purporting that the fundamental problem in the Church today is Moral Therapeutic Deism. It is even more fundamental than the problem of homosexuality which we face today (not to say that homosexuality among clergy ISN’T a problem that must be dealt with). The reason that Francis must leave the scene is not that he isn’t very Catholic in his thinking but that he is more a Moral Therapeutic Deist (just take for instance his silence on Vigano’s testimony and his public proclamation that our problem is…”water”).

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