Does the new Statement of the Holy See about McCarrick address the root problem? #sodoclericalism

A statement about McCarrick from the Holy See. HERE  My emphases.

Comunicato della Santa Sede, 06.10.2018

Traduzione in lingua inglese

After the publication of the accusations regarding the conduct of Archbishop Theodore Edgar McCarrick, the Holy Father Pope Francis, aware of and concerned by the confusion that these accusations are causing in the conscience of the faithful, has established that the following be communicated:

In September 2017, the Archdiocese of New York notified the Holy See that a man had accused former Cardinal McCarrick of having abused him in the 1970s. The Holy Father ordered a thorough preliminary investigation into this, which was carried out by the Archdiocese of New York, at the conclusion of which the relative documentation was forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In the meantime, because grave indications emerged during the course of the investigation, the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Archbishop McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, prohibiting him by order from exercising public ministry, and obliging him to lead a life of prayer and penance.

The Holy See will, in due course, make known the conclusions of the matter regarding Archbishop McCarrick. Moreover, with reference to other accusations brought against Archbishop McCarrick, the Holy Father has decided that information gathered during the preliminary investigation be combined with a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the Archives of the Dicasteries and Offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick, in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.

The Holy See is conscious that, from the examination of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues. However, as Pope Francis has said: “We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead” (Philadelphia, 27 September 2015). Both abuse and its cover-up can no longer be tolerated and a different treatment for Bishops who have committed or covered up abuse, in fact represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable.

The Holy Father Pope Francis renews his pressing invitation to unite forces to fight against the grave scourge of abuse within and beyond the Church, and to prevent such crimes from being committed in the future to the harm of the most innocent and most vulnerable in society. As previously made known, the Holy Father has convened a meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences from around the world for next February, while the words of his recent Letter to the People of God still resonate: “The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God. This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within” (20 August 2018).

[01548-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]

So, they are going to look at the documentation!  That’s a step forward.


“…fight against the grave scourge of abuse within and beyond the Church, and to prevent such crimes from being committed in the future to the harm of the most innocent and most vulnerable in society…”

But… McCarrick did a hell of a lot more than abuse children.

This is little about dealing with the root cause:

homosexualists in the Church and homosexual subculture in the priesthood

In a word:



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Clerical Sexual Abuse, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    As Cardinal Muller said in his Raymond Arroyo interview. The problem is aggressive homosexuality.

    The Catholic priesthood, as a celibate group of men, is particularly susceptible to homosexual infiltration. It is particularly susceptible because a homosexual young Catholic man might see the priesthood as a “safe option” for a respectable career in a conservative family where no one would ever question why he isnt’ interested in women…he may even entirely intend to stay chaste and follow the vocation. However, the priesthood represents an occasion of sin because his confessors, brother priests, etc, may be similarly homosexually-inclined and lapses in chastity can be easily hidden. Homosexual priests can get away with inchastity to a degree that heterosexual men cannot. Two homosexual priests can “keep the secret” and have all the mutual incentives to do so. A straight priest who is sleeping with a woman will simply get caught, sooner or later. Someone will get pregnant, the woman will speak up, there will be a mess of some sort. But homosexual preists can just keep getting away with their sin ad infinitum. And if you hit a critical threshold of homosexual priests in key positions they can wreak complete havoc on vocations, theology teaching appointments, etc. Its a statistical fact that a homosexual man is more likely to hire another homosexual over a straight man or a woman. None of the above-named susceptibilities have even addressed the fact that there are disturbed predatorial homosexuals at work in this network of gay priests. These men are of course the true bad apples and they have aided and abetted eachother and worked to get eachother promoted to key positions. This is how we arrive at the McCarrick problem.

  2. Arcgap says:

    “No longer acceptable” and evaluated in the “historical context” can only mean that according to these people it WAS ok to molest children and hide it institutionally 40 years ago (when did that end?) They also completely ignore the rape of adults, does this mean that form of clericalism is still acceptable? Direct answers to simple questions would help.
    This continued claim of unknowing innocence is an offensive lie. There were many settlements made with McCarrick’s victims going back at least 18 years. Church lawyers made silence of the victims part of the settlements. These lawyers, their superiors and everyone in the Church who knew of McCarrick’s behavior is a direct accessory.

  3. crjs1 says:

    A positive step in the right direction, but only a first step.

  4. Bthompson says:

    @Arcgap, I suspect another component is that older Church records might speak disapprovingly of the Archbishop’s apparent sodomitic predations. Disapproval of these sins might sound harsh or bigoted to modern leftists within and without the Church.

  5. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    This ain’t nothing, but it isn’t clear to me how much more than nothing it is. First, it is completely entre nous, nontransparent. The Vatican is going to look in its files and tell us what they find. That won’t cut it.

    Then, the search appears to be limited to Vatican offices. What about all the dioceses and archdioceses in the U.S. connected with McCarrick? And San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was president of the University of San Juan in the late ’60s? By the way, it was in that capacity that he signed the infamous Land O’ Lakes Statement, in which Catholic colleges and universities declared their independence from the teaching authority of the Church. That little act of apostasy sure didn’t hurt his career.

    And what about a canonical trial? In July, the Pope said there would be a canonical process. This seems to be something less than that. Whatever this is, it isn’t enough.

  6. Benedict Joseph says:

    It took all these weeks to cook this up? Entirely insufficient and it itself bespeaks a “…a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable.”
    Who do these people believe they are addressing? Groundling illiterate peasants? Post V2 katholics hungry for some Jesuit double-speak?
    Call off the Romper Room Synod and get to work.

  7. Man-o-words says:

    “that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues”

    “Both abuse and its cover-up can no longer be tolerated”

    These two lines make my blood boil. “Contemporary approach????” How bout the 2000 year old one? Or the one that has always been the reaching since even Jewish tradition! As if, you know, it kinda goes in and out of style to abuse people.

    “No LONGER be tolerated??” Again, it has NEVER been tolerated by the faithful, only the pack of rabid homoclergy that think it’s just sorta going out of style like bell bottoms, so on to come back (to their great hope and joy).


  8. Paltry, dingy stuff. Nonsense. This refusal of the Holy See to chart a clear course forward– transparent, honest, canonical, with hard consequences for those who have committed crimes etc– is disappointing, frustrating, and will do nothing to quiet those of us who are already gravely concerned by the ups and downs, and downs, and further downs, of the current reign.

  9. Kerry says:

    I read until “…has established that the following be communicated…” and could read no more. Barry of Sotero: “Here is a promise I have made; if you like your doctor….”
    Slippery minnows.

  10. Archlaic says:


  11. maternalView says:

    As infuriating as this statement is I have great hope. Why? Because the Soviet Union did the same thing. They thought they could open the door a little to pacify everyone but once they did there was no stopping history. The same thing here. The Pope is going to check his records? That’s not going to be enough. History is not on his side. He’s kidding himself if he thinks a few crumbs will satisfy the masses. Frankly, he’s already lost. He gave up his greatest weapon. And that was silence.

  12. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Isn’t the problem in fact not clerical homosexuality but clerical unchastity? The reason that it appears to be a homosexual problem is that by definition all bishops, priests and seminarians are men, so any sexual activity among them can only be homosexual. But were it discovered that networks of clerics were passing novice nuns from one to another and covering it up, the issue would be the same: priests must forswear sex, because all non marital sex is a sin.

  13. The Cobbler says:


    While it’s certainly true that both problems are examples of unchastity, there’s a fairly substantial difference between the two (hypothetical) problems. Without drilling down into the details there’s a certain risk of tautologically saying that the sexual/chastity problem in the priesthood is that we have a sexual/chastity problem in the priesthood.

    On the one hand, priests are normally expected to face the temptation to heterosexual relations like most men, and preventing misbehavior with e.g. nuns (or any women) is a simple matter of keeping ordinary healthy boundaries between priests and nuns (or any women) in general; this is a common human problem with easy solutions (albeit not foolproof ones — nothing’s foolproof with human free will) that still allow heterosexual priests to live the way priests would be expected to live anyway.

    On the other hand, priests typically live in community of one sort or another, as do seminarians, so if they’ve got the less typical (and morally disordered, and arguably incompatible with the theological parallels between marriage and the priesthood) inclination to sleep with men, there’s not a lot to be done (short of depriving those communities of privacy, which may not even be feasible even if it were desirable) to take away the occasion of sin and prevent them from covering it up except to keep men with that inclination out of the priesthood in the first place. (As is typically disclaimed around here, that doesn’t by itself mean that a man with those temptations is automatically a bad man, for the simple reason that they still have free will to choose to act on it or not; but it’s still a matter of not putting them in a particularly tempting position with particularly compromising consequences, whereas that position simply isn’t tempting in that same way to the typical, heterosexually inclined man.)

    That said, in my mind there’s plenty of room to debate e.g. is the root problem sexual perversion or loss of faith within the Church (seems almost like a chicken and egg problem given the way those two tend to feed into each other); I just don’t think there’s any point in avoiding the fact that, when we’ve got men having sexual relations with other grown men (as in the case of McCarrick’s seminarians), homosexuality has something to do with the problem — not even via the fact that this is an instance of the more general requirement of chastity.

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