UPDATE 2 Oct:
I received an email from the operations director of this new group. His corrections to the CRUX piece are worth noting:
Dear Fr Z,
My name is Jacob Imam and I’m the operations director of Better Church Governance. I’m thankful for your attention to your cause. If you’d like a more accurate acccount, could I recommend Dan Hitchen’s article in the Catholic Herald?
The Crux article proved inaccurate in a number of fronts.
First, we are not at all well-endowed. We are in debt! We are Catholics in love with Jesus and His Church willing to risk a lot for the visible purity of the Church.
Second, we are not against homosexuals and will not note cardinals who are. Where the ellipsis is in the quotation is me clarifying that they have to be sexually activate (which, of course, goes for those heterosexually involved as well).
Third, our attempt is to be above reproach. That means that we do not favor or negatively target any one prince. We hope to find an immaculate record for every single cardinal!
Fourth, we do not intend to change a conclave. I stated that we will not publish the report if a conclave is already called so as not to risk that appearance. The goal of Better Church Governance is to help the hierarchy help itself. By dispassionately scrutinizing the records of spiritual leaders, we hope to vindicate those unjustly accused on one hand and, on the other, draw attention to those who have credible accusations made against them. It is then the job of the hierarchy to do what it wills with the information.
Fifth, I converted from Islam a decade ago(!)
There are a number of other critiques but I won’t take more of your time.
We are compelled by love and by hate: love of Christ and of His children; hate of sin and abuse.
Originally Published on: Oct 1, 2018
If bishops – God’s chosen successors of the Apostles – won’t clean up the Church, then someone else will. It’s necessary that this be so, if this is not the end of the world, because the Church is indefectible.
Of course the Lord didn’t promise that the Church would be a great shape when he returns.
So, a group of the faithful is taking matters into their own hands.
ROME – As U.S. bishops work to formulate an official response to clerical sexual abuse and cover-up, a new watchdog group backed by wealthy Catholics is seeking to take matters into their own hands.
A new organization, which held an RSVP-only event on Sunday evening, plans to spend more than $1 million in the next year investigating every member of the College of Cardinals “to name those credibly accused in scandal, abuse, or cover-ups.”
“The Better Church Governance Group” held its launch on the campus of the Catholic University of America (CUA) with the stated intention of producing its “Red Hat Report” by April 2020.
In an audio recording obtained by Crux of the event’s launch, Better Church Governance’s Operations Director, Jacob Imam, said the organization was not meant as an attack on Pope Francis, though he asked the crowd of nearly forty attendees: “What if we would have had someone else in 2013 who would have been more proactive in protecting the innocent and the young?”
“Had we had the Red Hat Report, we may not have had Pope Francis,” stated one of the slide presentations accompanying his remarks.
Imam, who is currently a Marshall Scholar of the University of Oxford and converted to Catholicism from Islam three years ago, alleged that following the 2013 conclave that elected Francis, many major news outlets based their knowledge of the newly elected pope on what they could find on Wikipedia.
“Many of us who were raised in a liberal democratic society don’t always know how a hierarchy can be reformed,” Imam told attendees. “But there are many tips and tricks that history gives us, and we at Better Church Governance started to systematize some of these strategies. We are here to help create transparency in the Church and we’re here to help support integrity.”
Imam said that report revealed that local individuals were aware of ongoing abuse and cover-up, hence the Red Project Report will seek to, whenever possible, carry out its research where each cardinal is based.
He went on to describe the two-fold purpose of their report: to provide information to every cardinal in hopes of better informing them about their fellow papal-electors, as well as to make the information available publicly so that lay Catholics can have access to it.
“Cardinals need to be held accountable publicly, so there has to be some sort of culture of shame,” he said. “They know if they vote for this person…the people that they shepherd, and their pastors, will know about it.”
“This is difficult. There is a dark side to this decision. We recognize that,” he added. “We are willing to take this on with prayer and fasting…because we can’t allow people to continue to allow our kids, the innocent, the young, seminarians to be devoured the ways that they are.”
Imam also said that 10 former FBI agents are involved in the investigation, with two individuals being the agency’s former lead investigators on ecclesiastic matters.
There is a lot more.
You should read it for yourself.
These are complicated times.