So ever since I read Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò testimony on Saturday night my mind has been abuzz concerning implications. Spent way too much time reading reactions and commentary regarding this. Pouring through social media to find the latest updates.
Yesterday I realized hitting refresh on my browser to make sure I was getting the latest and greatest wasn’t doing any good for me. Strange how reality doesn’t bend to my F5 button.
So this post will start with a short bottom line and then become more indulgent since you really need another opinion by a guy with a blog.
One thing I thought about was what if what the testimony implies is totally accurate in regards to Pope Francis? What if this is true and he still doesn’t resign? Just exactly how would that effect my daily life?
My conclusion is that it doesn’t affect the basics.
☑ Still need to grow in holiness.
☑ Still need to pray for the Pope and the Church.
☑ Still need to pray for my family and those in Purgatory.
☑ Sill need to evangelize.
☑ Still need to reach out and help the poor.
I did recognize areas where I could focus more attention. That I should be praying specifically for those who have been abused by clergy. For those rightly scandalized by the news. I started incorporating these into my daily Divine Mercy. I probably will add the The Chaplet of Adoration and Reparation. Katrina Fernadez has an article up on this chaplet The Chaplet of Adoration and Reparation is a Timely Salve for Our Souls.
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
– St. Teresa of Avila
So that was my bottomline.
Still I can’t help but think of implications. You can probably skip these indulgent ponderings.
I know God does bring good out of evil and I trust that will happen even if on my human-viewed timeline I am at a loss. Still that is the thing about trust. Sometimes I feel we are like people shoveling coal into a massive furnace. “Hey God, here is some more evil for you to make good out of.”
I was rather disappointed in Pope Francis’ reply on the flight back from Ireland. It was like a challenge to reporters “Come at me bro”, judge for yourself. He said he would not say one thing about Archbishop Viganò’s testimony. Maybe in the back of my mind I was hoping for two words, “I resign”. Really though I wanted an explanation and either a defense regarding why the charges were wrong or some humility in admitting some aspect of them were accurate.
When I was homeported in Japan we were told that if Japanese asked us about nuclear weapons aboard the carrier we were to reply “I can neither confirm or deny” … their existence. This is what I thought of reading the Holy Father’s reply. I just don’t see how this reply is for the good of the Church. Still I know I can be shortsighted. One problem I see with his challenge to reporters is that there was no offer of cooperation. There are documents that Archbishop Viganò referred to that could be made available to the press to help verify or deny his claims. To actually investigate the Archbishop’s claims you need open access to people working in the Vatican along with the materials.
Archbishop Viganò’s did himself no favors in the scattershot approach in his testimony. There were some things that were very specific in time and place and related conversations. Other aspects that were much more extrapolations and more opinion driven. He made it easy for others to dismiss specifics by easily dismissing the speculations.
His strongest case, it seems to me, was in regard to Cardinal Wuerl. There certainly seems to be enough evidence that Pope Benedict XVI did place some restrictions on McCarrick and that Cardinal Wuerl was aware of at least that. The Cardinal’s denial does not ring true to me and the barrage of “no comment” from the Archdiocese is not the commitment to transparency he has talked about.
As for the case against Pope Francis that he knew McCarrick abused seminarians, that Pope Benedict had placed restrictions on him,and that he lifted the restrictions knowing this. That despite this knowledge he allowed him a role in choosing bishops/Cardinals. There is much less evidence to support this fully. I am somewhat inclined to Archbishop Viganò’s testimony regarding this concerning conversations they had. Still I am weary of my opinion as falling to close to confirmation bias. I have neither been a “Francis” hater or lover. Have had plenty of caveats concerning him, but also looked for and appreciated the good. Mostly I had quibbles with his clarity and just how off-the-cuff his off-the-cuff statements were. Still I know that having an exceptional theologian for philosopher as Pope has been the rare event in the life of the Church. I try hard to not see things through a left/right divide (not always successfully).
Ross Douthat in his NYT editorial asks What Did Pope Francis Know?. I found this to be a very good column. Douthat has been critical of Pope Francis in the past, but usually in a thoughtful manner. This column was no exception as he looks at the charges made against the Pope and takes a much more charitable approach to it than I have seen from many others. He neither is asking for the Pope to resign or to just left him off the hook as far as culpability goes. Things are often much more complicated when it comes to motivations than we usually want. We prefer sticking that square peg in the perfectly square hole.
There have been many calls for a thorough investigation into the events surrounding McCarrick’s career “Uncle Ted’s Excellent Adventures”. The narcissist who abused his position, sexually abused seminarians, and sexually abused at least one teenager. His propensities apparently were an open secret that they would not open. That apparently people joked about this. It seems everybody around him was saying the Seinfeld line “Not that there is anything wrong with that.” That there were enablers galore, though I am not talking about any of his victims in any way. I am amazed at how his using his position to have sex with seminarians is seen as something mutual and not an abuse of power. There is so much packed into that very attitude that helped lead us to this stage.
An actual forensic investigation into McCarrick’s enablers would require access to various dioceses and the Vatican. To people working there along with applicable documents. Only the Holy Father has authority in such a massive endeavor for good reasons. There has to be something similar to a visitation with the authority to match. Yet so far all we have had is denials and wagon-circling from the Cardinal’s seemingly involved. The caveat is that we should not see a rush to see this setup and that to do it right will take time. Call me skeptical. A real investigation will lead to a seeming 24/7 news cycle regarding the Church. I don’t relish that, but please turn on the bright lights and let the roaches scurry.
So while I have plenty of trepidations in the years ahead, still we can’t allow the status quo to continue. The salvation of souls is in jeopardy and we have let PR take the lead instead of allowing the necessary cleansing.
As for me I will be trying to stay with the checklist above and trying to stay away from the F5 button.
Attribution: [Casa Rosada](http://www.casarosada.gov.ar/)