Francis and the retreating US Bishops

As the US bishops meet in a retreat at Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary, with reflections by Rainiero Cantalamessa and the aegis of – I guess it was unavoidable – Card. Cupich, Francis sent them a letter.  HERE

There is a piece about it at the National Catholic Register.

There is a not so enthusiastic piece by Amy Welborn at Catholic World Report.  She points out a rather serious lacuna in it.

There is a gushy editorial piece by Andrea “Turncoat” Tornielli, now of the Dicastery for Communication.  HERE  Read this in tandem with Welborn.

Note contrasts: “credibility” and “truth”.

Also, Card. DiNardo, President of the USCCB sent a note to Francis as the retreat began.  HERE

Meanwhile, word is out that the investigation into L’affaire McCarrick is being… attenuated.  HERE

The Present Crisis Continues.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Prayerful says:

    I would have been astonished if the McCarrick investigation was full and frank. If there will not be at least the appearance of thoroughness, it would be another instance of how tone-deaf Francis is in relation to sexual predation, to put it very, very mildly. Obviously a full and frank McCarrick investigation would show indispensable the pervert was to Francis. Archbishop Viganò in his letters would look too mild.

  2. SanSan says:

    I have just finished watching 3 youtube talks with James Gaines, McCarricks victim. Dr. Taylor Marshall and EWTN did the interviews. Horrifying! St. Galen Mafia, etc. My goodness, what do we need to wake up people. Our Church has been hijacked and we must save her. Stop giving money. Demand accountability. Stay close to priests and Bishops who aren’t afraid to take on this scourge. Just sickening.

  3. Amerikaner says:

    McCarrick should be laicized.

  4. Charivari Rob says:

    Welborn makes an interesting point about worrying about credibility being part of the same mindset that gave us denial/coverup problems in the first place.
    However, I think she misses that much of that has to do with perception of credibility. We have too much demonstrated (lack of) credibility.
    Personally, I am hoping “…YOU have a credibility problem…” is some sort of translation fail. It comes too close to the Pope saying that the US Bishops have a credibility problem but he doesn’t.
    Otherwise, it’s been a depressing couple of days looking at the state of secular reporting on religion-related news. I’ve seen two or three really badly written articles (about the retreat, letter, McCarrick, Weurl, and Francis) that fall well short of even the mediocre standards of topical literacy that characterizes recent secular religion reporting. I find myself saying more and more often how much I miss Michael Paulson.

  5. Lurker 59 says:

    When corruption has caused the loss of credibility, institutional credibility can NEVER be regained without a very public application of justice. People trust each other and trust institutions because of the bounds of justice and it is these bonds that lead to friendship. Justice –> Trust –> Friendship.

    A person, an institution, cannot be my friend if he does not interact with me in a just manner. If you are interacting with me in injustice this creates mistrust which leads to enmity. Injustice –> Mistrust –> Enmity.

    There is much to say, but the likelihood of the correct course of action that restores trust being taken, that is speaking the truth and moving to get these abusers defrocked and their enablers out of the episcopate, grows small. I pray that the bishops ignore much of what they are being presented. Instead, may they listen to what the Church has always taught on how to deal with this type of situation.

  6. JustaSinner says:

    In regards to La Cosa Nostrum and the Vatican, who learned what from whom?

  7. iamlucky13 says:

    I don’t really read Mr. Tornielli’s piece as “gushy.” It doesn’t actually identify anything specific to gush about. I think it tried to be gushy, but failed.

    Rather, it is fluffy. It says very little, and least of all, does it fulfill its thesis by explaining how: “[He] goes to the root of the problem by indicating a way forward.”

    Switching to Ms. Welborn’s piece, while I concur in general with her points, I have a sense there is something additional in the text. I thought she was going to get to it when she said communion isn’t the point, truth is, but she stopped there. Here’s a couple excerpts from the letter:

    The hurt caused by these sins and crimes has also deeply affected the communion of bishops, and generated not the sort of healthy and necessary disagreements and tensions found in any living body, but rather division and dispersion (cf. Mt 26:31).
    Let us try to break the vicious circle of recrimination, undercutting and discrediting, by avoiding gossip and slander in the pursuit of a path of prayerful and contrite acceptance of our limitations and sins,

    Similar themes are repeated multiple times in the letter.

    Let me first acknowledge two good elements of this:
    1) I think it is a very fitting reminder for the circumstance of the bishops gathering together for a retreat at a difficult time. In a way, it is similar to Father Z’s references to “good clericalism.”

    2) There is a real, and demonstrated danger of approaching the abuse scandal divisively. It is very easy for the Church to mirror the spirit of modern American us-vs-them politics by responding to the abuse and coverups as more a matter of discrediting opponents than caring for victims, protecting the innocent, and dealing with the guilty.

    That said, it is the dealing with the guilty part I’m concerned about. This can not be lost in the call for unity among the bishops. It certainly can not be vengeful or recriminating, and it must not be based on gossip and slander, but it still must be effective and just. For that to happen, we must be diligent about learning who committed direct harm, and who facilited it, contributing indirectly to the harm.

    Convincing knowledge that we are addressing the guilty is what then allows us to provide – if I may be permitted to use the word of the day yet another time – credible assurance that the innocent are being protected, and that the victims are also being given the credibility they have a right to.

    So certainly, the Pope is right to reinforce the need for unity among the bishops and the Church as a whole, but it can not be at the cost of addressing the abuses of those like McCarrick and the complicity that enabled him.

  8. excalibur says:

    Stunner: Vatican said to have deemed McCarrick sex acts with 16-year-old altar boy as ‘consensual.

  9. Hidden One says:

    Quare tristis es, anima mea?
    et quare conturbas me?
    Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi,
    salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.

  10. Pío Pío Pío says:

    I find it curious that the Spanish version (presumably the original) mentions that this won’t be just any silent retreat, but rather the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, while the English translation leaves this out entirely even though it is mentioned more than once. And yet the Pope has sent his Capuchin Papal Preacher to lead the retreat. Wouldn’t it make more sense for a Jesuit to give the Spiritual Exercises? Strange.

  11. HvonBlumenthal says:

    I particularly like this comment by Amy Well orn. With a few treaks it well describes what I feel at a Novus Ordo Mass:

    “Your experience of reading the letter might be like mine: I read it and nodded and thought, Well, not bad, that’s true, sure, it’s good for these things to be said, nice point there—and then I finished, thought about it for a minute, and realized that none of the specific problematic issues had actually been addressed.”

  12. Malta says:

    Lurker 59: I completely agree with you, but clearly accountability is not going to happen in the inner-structure of the Church, but through secular authorities, especially here in the US using RICO. Bishops would be ‘retreating’ in prison if the DOJ invoked Rackaterring laws.

  13. Malta says:

    The short answer is, yes, Federal prosecutors could invoke RICO:

    In today’s climate it’s not exactly a fantasy; even the Pope could face a racketeering charge. Of course anyone living in Vatican City would never get extradited, since there is no US-Vatican City treaty; but wayward Bishops here in the US could find themselves in Federal Criminal Court, even if they never touched a child. If I were McCarrick I would already be on my way to Ecuador, which also doesn’t have an extradition treaty with us. But there is no longer a Federal statue of limitations against child sex crimes.

  14. Clinton R. says:

    It is very difficult to place any kind of trust in Pope Francis, considering the men he has surrounded himself with during his pontificate. We have heard this time and time again the last 25 years and yet the abuse allegations keep pouring out like water from holes in a dike. The bishops lack credibility. For example, here in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Archbishop Gomez famously said Cardinal Mahony would be barred from public ministry, and yet he continues like nothing happened. He cost the Archdiocese $660 million dollars in settlements and shuffled abusive priests around. We have the inanity that comes out of the German bishops, the fecklessness of the Irish bishops and the faintheartedness of so many prelates around the world. We are so desperate for saints, in this most dire time for the Church, we need faithful men to rise up and restore the holiness and beauty of the Church that has been so severely disfigured. +JMJ+

  15. Ms. M-S says:

    What would Jesus do? Well, we know that when He found corruption in the temple He overturned the tables and drove the offenders out with a whip.
    What would St. Peter have done? We can imagine with no hesitation.
    What would our present faithful bishops and archbishops recommend doing? They’ve said. No one’s listening.
    What will Francis do? Remains to be seen. We can only pray.

  16. Dan says:

    It is more and more clear, especially with the likes of Cupich “leading” the bishops in this matter, that the Holy See has no interest in this other than making it go away and the bishops are too comfortable or cowardly to do anything about it. Change needs to spark in our homes and parishes and these non-shepards need to be held accountable.

    Pray for the bishops on retreat that they will find courage and fortitude and realize their flocks need to see a tangible response this time around.

  17. Kevin says:

    I am fearful. We have been so poorly catechized these many years that so many souls will be lost! Who is right or wrong…we don’t know, for example, how did the rainbow jesuit get such a large following? So many are being led by satan and many souls will be lost…I am very afraid.

  18. robtbrown says:

    This latest news just demonstrates what I wrote some time ago.

    McCarrick, who is assuredly guilty of so much, is to be used as a scapegoat. Retired and to a great extent out of action, he would resign his red hat and be sent away.

    There. That takes care of problem. So now they should forget about the likes of Maradiaga,Tobin et al. And to help them forget, let’s distract them by releasing some new text concerning capital punishment.

    It didn’t work.

    The drama of these third rate PR moves is little else than low grade clericalism. The Francis crowd aren’t even competent phonies.

  19. pray4truth says:

    Why oh why do I cringe and sometimes experience nausea when certain bishops are even mentioned, when they make statements, write letters, or even at the thought of them (not of their office, of them, the men)? I can hear and see my six year old niece uttering her favorite saying, “Seriously?” :-| if she were old enough to muddle through such nonsense. Fool me once, shame on you… fool me twice, shame on me… keep trying to fool me… “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…” Mathew 23. Thankfully, there are some truly faithful, great, and holy priests (i.e. Fr. Z), bishops and clergy who are “fighting the good fight”!

  20. The unity of bishops means nothing if they are not unified behind Truth. The perception from the pews (and indeed, from the world outside the Church) is that many bishops are indeed unified, in vice and sleaze and corruption.

    To preach conversion, one has to be converted oneself.

  21. hwriggles4 says:

    I am wondering if the appointments for newer bishops for US dioceses have been slowed down considerably until many answers to the latest scandals have been found. At least seven dioceses I know of are currently vacant (officially).

    I pray for my neighboring diocese, which is having some turmoil, and I have heard there has been a huge backlog of appointments for auxiliary bishops.

    I do pray that the Papal Nuncio and Rome appoint some strong replacements. My newer bishop has been at the helm of our diocese for nearly two years, and I think he is doing okay.

  22. teomatteo says:

    ‘Retreating U.S. bishops.’ Well put padre.

  23. They are, after all, on retreat.

  24. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Father, that reminds me of the revolting Arabs that TELawrence fought with.

  25. Dismas says:

    If appointments are slowed, it may have to do with Cdl. Wuerl’s recent predicament. They should speed up now, though I suspect that the “plastic straw” litmus test will be used extensively.

  26. SanSan says:

    Father Mark Goring on youtube just got the hammer for calling out Cdl. Wuerl. His superior has silenced him and he had to pull all the videos against McCarrick and Co. How sick is this? When is your head going on the chopping block Father Z? Mea Culpa!

Comments are closed.