Shepherds, or Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing?
“The shepherds have rebelled against me; the prophets prophesied in the name of Baal, following useless idols… You heavens, stand aghast at this, says the Lord ─ since my people have committed a double crime: they have abandoned me, the source of living waters; They have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that hold no water.” (Jer. 2:8,12-13)
If Theodore McCarrick’s sudden fall from grace over a sordid history of sexual abuse demonstrates anything, it is that the Catholic hierarchy can no longer continue to operate under an opaque cloak of secrecy and deception. As the Church confronts this latest ‘Watergate moment,’ I wonder, do its leaders really comprehend the problem? The latest disturbing revelations by a former Vatican Nuncio, Archbishop Vigano, suggest otherwise. Following the classic Western movie “they went that-a-way” theme, it seems that in our shepherd’s zealous hunt for child molesters, they have willfully blinded themselves to an equally disturbing problem, a rampant homosexual subculture operating within certain clerical ranks.
Compounding this problem is a society which no longer draws any meaningful distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ vice. A priest sleeping with a woman violates his vow of celibacy, but in a natural context. The priest molesting a seminarian not only violates his vows to God but does so in an unnatural manner, a far more serious sin, in that it also violates the Natural Law. McCarrick represents a class of predators who regularly prey on inexperienced seminarians, priests, and various naïve young men. This approach has long been the modus operandus of the gay homosexual culture in general ─ recruiting young men into a gay lifestyle while their emotions and ideas are still impressionable and unformed. “Woe to him that gives drink to his friend, that he may behold his nakedness.” (Hab. 2:15)
Unfortunately, cover for such pernicious activity has been neatly afforded within the Church itself by groups such as Dignity whose deceptive motto is, “True to ourselves, true to the Spirit.” (Is that just possibly the Spirit of lust?) And how is it that Catholic institutions like Georgetown University now sanction student ‘Gay Pride’ and ‘drag festival’ events? Meanwhile the Paulist Fathers on New York City’s west side sponsor ‘Out at St. Paul’s,’ a ‘homo/trans’ ministry whose main goal seems less about helping same-sex oriented people pursue lives of Christian virtue, and more about celebrating ‘diverse’ pagan lifestyles. Really? St. Paul would blush for shame.
Today, the rainbow flag is used as a disarming foil against any serious investigation by bishops, media, or the Vatican into an entrenched gay subculture permeating much of our clergy. And while countless young men are being shamelessly exploited there are other incidental victims in this cover-up as well: those thousands of faithful and virtuous priests and religious who are then derided and must live under watchful suspicion due to ‘guilt by association.’ Meanwhile, a world desperately hungering for Truth is instead being de-evangelized by pious hypocrites and do-nothings who continue to blacken the name of religion. Theodore McCarrick and his silent Ecclesial protectors have handed to our enemies the very bombs they now freely lob back upon the Church’s true defenders. The maxim, “silence implies consent” surely falls upon those in the episcopal ranks of Church governance who, cowering before the ‘lavender lobby’ and its political pressure tactics, have permitted homoerotic sexual exploitation to extend its corrupt tentacles into the very heart of the Body of Christ.
Scandal is a preferred weapon of Satan in his relentless attacks on the human race. Known as the ‘accuser,’ the demon likes to draw us into some deplorable vice so that he can then pull back and expose his victims at some opportune moment. And the higher up in the ranks his target is, the more damage the ensuing scandal will accomplish. The sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s was made to order for such purposes, and it lies at the root of much of the scandal we are witnessing today. But was that seismic shift in Western sexual morality something that “just happened” in the ordinary course of social development, or were there forces operating behind the scenes to set it in motion? If so, then we must consider the possibility that there are those within the Church itself whose purpose is to do as much harm as possible to the body of Christ. I am speaking of premeditated, willful agents provocateur at the highest Church levels, whose aim is to injure and destroy the Church. But is there any real evidence for such saboteurs?
As far back as 1859 Pope Pius IX had a secret document published called the Alta Vendita, which detailed long range plans by a secretive revolutionary political order called the Carbonari to infiltrate and subvert the Church. This quasi-Masonic order advises, “Lay your snares like Simon Bar-Jona (St. Peter); lay them in the sacristies, in the seminaries, and the monasteries rather than at the bottom of the sea: and if you do not hurry, we promise you a catch more miraculous than his.” Eighty years later the communists doubled down on this sage advice.
A former agent of the American Communist Party, Manning Johnson, testified in 1953 before the House Un-American Activities Committee that, “the communists discovered that a destruction of religion could proceed much faster through the infiltration of the Church by communists operating within the Church itself… The policy of infiltrating seminaries was successful beyond even our communist expectations.” He was not alone. Mrs. Bella Dodd began working for the American Communist Party in 1932, becoming a full fledged party member in 1943, eventually serving at the party’s highest policy level.
Later, after being purged from the Party in 1949 she became acquainted with a Roman Catholic monsignor in Washington D.C. who brought Bella Dodd back into the Catholic faith of her childhood. That priest’s name was Fulton J. Sheen. Dodd was highly educated as both a teacher and practicing lawyer (Hunter College, Columbia University, and a PhD from New York University). She revealed how Stalin had ordered the infiltration of Catholic seminaries by radicals and communists back in 1936. Dodd testified that through her many connections she had personally placed hundreds of such men in seminaries as moles. She also revealed to Alice von Hildebrand that, “as an active party member she had dealt with at least four cardinals in the Vatican who were working for us,” this during the conservative papacy of Pius XII, meaning that even then the Roman Curia was heavily infiltrated by leftist sympathizers!
It should therefore be no surprise that by the 1960s a well entrenched ‘opposition force’ would occupy high episcopal positions in both Europe and America. It also explains how Church reforms so quickly spun out of control after the Second Vatican Council ended in 1965, not to mention the well organized opposition to Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Further evidence of communist infiltration within the Church surfaced in that same decade when a French Nurse, Marie Carre, discovered the secret diary of a man who had unexpectedly died in an automobile accident. His stunning disclosure of intrigue and deception was published as AA-1025, AA being an acronym for ‘Anti-Apostle.’ This self professed atheist had infiltrated a Church seminary in 1938, was ordained, and later participated in the Second Vatican Council. The AA designation #1025 meant that 1,024 agents had infiltrated Catholic seminaries before him. The diary boasts, “some have risen to the rank of archbishop and cardinal; many could have been heads of curial departments and religious congregations.”
Theodore McCarrick was born in 1930 and ordained a priest in 1958, the very generation of clergy being specifically targeted by atheist moles in the Church. Is it really surprising then that most of the sexual abuse we hear about today dates from the 1960s through the 90s? Secrecy is a constant hallmark of conspiracy ─ and what we have now seen over the past 20 years, since the first scandals broke, is a new conspiracy of silence on the part of far too many bishops and curial officials. This can only weaken the Church’s salvific mission, and perhaps this is by intent.
Still, a bit of perspective may be in order. The pithy British convert and apologist, Gilbert Chesterton, once quipped that capitalism was a terrible social/economic system. The only thing worse, he added, is all the rest. Chesterton’s humorous epigram might well apply to the Church today. The Ecclesial structure seems to be an utter mess, still, the only thing worse is all the rest. Communism, secularism, consumerism, materialism all rob people of any sense of spiritual purpose and blur the distinctions between right and wrong. These all tend to lead either to that self-centered ‘tyranny of relativism’ as Pope Benedict XVI warned, or to cheerless collectivist states like Cuba where the gulag becomes the answer to every social problem. Religion in general, and Christianity specifically, may have its manifest problems but it is still the only place where one can enjoy true freedom without becoming enslaved, either to our own unruly passions or to some oppressively autocratic state. It opens up that middle ground whereby in ruling ourselves wisely, we do not need to be constantly managed from above. The best social control, after all, is self control.
We must also recognize that we are under spiritual attack and that a most insidious weapon in that attack has been the modern revolt against traditional sexual morality. But if a substantial contingent of our shepherds succumb or turn a blind eye to such vice (particularly homosexual behavior) the whole world will suffer greatly for their sins. Catholic journalist Philip Lawler stated it clearly. “Our bishops have frequently spoken about the need to reestablish trust. But they still haven’t given us reason to trust them.” Suppression of the truth often precipitates ugly counter-reactions and even witch hunts which, too often, harm the innocent as well. Those bishops who fail to steer their ships on a firm course will themselves be dragged along by the prevailing social currents. But it is the faithful who are left at risk for, lacking moral, courageous leaders, the people are left at the mercy of wolves.
Before the current crisis is resolved, I would venture that we will be treated to more lurid tales in the press and social media. Our Lord’s warning about the consequences of leading the little ones astray should be a flashing red light to those silent clerics, rectors, and various Church officials who have let this mess fester for 20 additional years. The fate of once Catholic Ireland comes tragically to mind, a people now greatly reduced to moral turpitude, largely due to the effects of covering up clerical abuses (since scandal always exacts its toll). Scandal is truly a lethal weapon in the hands of the enemy.
But all is not lost. Our Lord promised, “Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed.” (Mk. 4:22) Perhaps this is just a painful, though necessary, part of lancing the wound. As a gardener I know firsthand that one cannot be afraid to prune the vine if one expects a good harvest. The Church is the vine of Christ and bishops are his appointed vine dressers whose responsibility it is to prune it so that it will bear good fruit. Dead wood must be removed to provide space for new, healthy growth to occur. It is now up to that majority of truly faithful Catholic priests, bishops, religious, and laity to come together and demand a thorough cleansing of the Temple. Our noise should be so resounding that it can be clearly heard in the Vatican from the remotest corners of the Catholic world. We must have accountability at all costs. Transparency is no longer optional but essential.
But above all pray for your priests and pastors. The Mass and Rosary are the most powerful weapons at our disposal, so make good use of them daily. Perhaps every parish in America could restore the former tradition of reciting together that powerful prayer to St. Michael the Archangel at the conclusion of every Mass. Pope Leo XIII, who had prophetically foreseen what we are experiencing in Christ’s Church pleaded, “Let us beseech Michael, the prince of the heavenly angels, who drove out the infernal foe.” (Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, 20 April, 1884) It might be wise to again heed his call.
Francis J. Pierson +a.m.d.g.