Rorate Caeli

Op-Ed: "So, Uncle Ted has been defrocked: Will the Big Tent Abuse Summit Turn Out to be a Circus?"

Will the Big Tent Summit turn out to be a Circus?

Father Richard G. Cipolla

Georges Seurat, The Circus (1891), Musée d'Orsay

So Uncle Ted has been defrocked.  One wonders how many times he wore the clerical frock as a symbol of his priesthood.  Pray for him.   The question that must be asked about this declaration /move:  is McCarrick to be the sacrificial lamb of the upcoming meeting in Rome called by the Pope to discuss the crisis in sexual abuse by clergy, including bishops, which meeting will be led by mostly bishops?  Will burning McCarrick at an imaginary stake be enough to slake the thirst of the liberal press? Will it be enough to placate the minority of bishops who take the sexual abuse seriously? Will it be enough to stifle discussion about the factual data that the majority of this abuse was with young boys and young men?  Will it be enough for those  who have suffered at the hands of these men for so many years, not in that terrible physical way, but in being suppressed and kept down because of refusing to deny that one of the greatest problems in the Catholic Church since the end of the Second Vatican Council has been not only the terrible predatory behavior of priests and bishops with respect to boys and seminarians and prostitutes, but also the silent complicity of those in the hierarchy who have deliberately turned a blind eye to the egregious destruction of Catholic faith, worship and morality of the past fifty years.

That these people have no shame and are tone-deaf to reality is recently proven by the naming of Cardinal Kevin Farrell as the Camerlengo of the Papal Household, a most important position indeed.  That this man, who lived with McCarrick while the latter was Archbishop of Washington, D.C. and Farrell was an Auxiliary Bishop, and who claims that he did not know anything about the then Cardinal’s history on the Jersey Shore and beyond, would be named by the Pope to this sensitive and central office shows either the total insensitivity of this Pontiff to reality, or a terrible blindness, possibly deliberate,  to the cause of the deep corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, beginning with its center in Rome.  The sexual corruption of the Curial clergy is a major cause of the parlous situation of the Church today.  But this does not get at the heart of the matter.  The heart of the matter is the deliberate attack on the doctrinal and liturgical Tradition (the two go hand in hand) of the Catholic Church.  There is no end to the silly statements of the German bishops who want to out-Zwingli Zwingli but without his moral fiber.  The fact is that without the church tax in Germany these poseurs would be figuring out how to pay for their next meal.  One wishes that the Lutherans in Germany would chastise the Catholic bishops for their deep misunderstanding of the Christian faith and their deep silliness in their statements about the faith. But classical Protestantism is moribund, and how could it not be, for it is the source of the grey secularism that has destroyed the Christian heart of Europe.

The irony of ironies is that Pope Francis just approved the canonization of John Henry Newman. We should take care that Pope Francis does not read any of Newman’s important writings, especially those on the Development of Doctrine.  Newman would not be a support of the footnotes in Amoris Laetitianor of the Pope’s attempt to change the Church’s clear teaching on the authority of the State to inflict capital punishment.  But one must keep the Pope above all from reading Newman’s Biglietto Speech that he gave upon the receiving of his Cardinal’s biretta in Rome.  For it is there, in clear terms, that Newman predicts the terrible debacle of the post-Vatican II Church.  I have quoted this before and will continue to do so, because its prescience is clear and relates directly to what has happened in the Catholic Church this past half century.

And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religionNever did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often…. Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy…

The deep worm that eats away at the Tradition of the Church and that has brought us to this situation is the destruction of the Liturgy, the way one worships God.  The quagmire in which we find ourselves is the product of the imposition on the Church of a liturgy that is deeply anti-Traditional and therefore Faith dissolving.  This has nothing to do with being conservative, nothing to do with where one stands on secular issues. It has everything to do with understanding what it means to be in the realm, the being, the essence of Catholic Tradition, a Tradition that has little to do with traditionalism and everything to do with what has been handed down for two thousand years from the Apostles.  Most bishops, who are positivists, cannot admit this apostasy, for if they did they would dissolve like the Wicked Witch of the West.   They are mostly a combination of positivism and super-Ultra-Montanism. They live in the absurd world of Alice in Wonderland and in the world of the Church as the Big Tent, which from the outside can look like a circus.

For at least half a century, astronomers have been sending out into outer space the number pi, for the assumption is that any civilization would recognize this deeply fundamental number/relation, the mutual recognition of shared objective reality. Much of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church today does not care about deep objectivity in any sense, and instead wallows in an odiferous swamp of subjectivity, anti-Traditional worship of God, and morality that has its basis in their adulation of a secularism that allows them to do their own thing while still using the cover of their priesthood, and  that allows them to deny the very essence of the Christian faith in the person of Jesus Christ—all the while claiming that they are organs of Catholic orthodoxy.

Enough already! Basta!  There seems to be not enough Traditional (which has nothing to do with being conservative in a political sense) Catholics right now who will challenge the ridiculous, illogical and un-Traditional  state of those entrusted by God with leading the Church. Is it an exaggeration to compare our situation to that of Athanasius in his battle against the lie of Arianism?  Perhaps.  But who will rise to be the champion, or more likely, the champions, against the shallow and secular distortion of Christianity that is the plague that afflicts us all today?