Call for three cardinals to be removed from World Meeting of Families line-up

Survivors claim each has questions to answer about known clerical child abusers

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, from Drimnagh in Dublin, speaking in 2017 at the Dublin conference – hosted by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin – in preparation for this month’s World Meeting of Families.

By Patsy McGarry

A group representing clerical child sex survivors worldwide has written an open letter to Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin seeking the removal of three cardinals from World Meeting of Families (WMOF) events in Dublin later this month.

Archbishop Martin is chairing the WMOF board.

Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) represents survivors in 15 countries and aims to hold the Vatican to account over clerical abuse of minors.

It says the three cardinals – Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect at the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life which has overall responsibility for the World Meeting of Families, Cardinal Óscar Maradiaga of Honduras and a member of Pope Francis’s Council of Cardinals, and Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl should be “investigated, not honoured”.

The organisation claims they have covered up for clergy who abused minors, something denied by the three cardinals

“Any bishop who covers up for another bishop should not be trusted to safeguard Catholic families, much less preach to the world about the sacred and intrinsic dignity and meaning of family life. We are deeply troubled that three cardinals who may have protected abusive brother bishops are playing significant roles at the World Meeting of Families,” it said.

Sexually abused minors

They noted how recently former US cardinal Theodore McCarrick in the US was removed from ministry following accusations that he had sexually abused minors as well as seminarians and young priests.

Cardinal Wuerl succeeded McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington in 2006 “around the time New Jersey dioceses were settling with McCarrick’s victims.”

Last month it emerged that Cardinal Maradiaga’s close associate and auxiliary bishop in Honduras, Bishop Juan Jose Pineda, was removed because of sexually abusing seminarians.

Cardinal Farrell was consecrated Auxiliary Bishop of Washington in 2002 by then Archbishop McCarrick and served as vicar general.

“I was shocked, overwhelmed; I never heard any of this before in the six years I was there with him,” Cardinal Farrell said last month, referring to former Cardinal McCarrick and the allegations against him. He had “no indication, none whatsoever”.

From Drimnagh in Dublin, Cardinal Farrell and his brother Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Vatican’s Council for Promoting Christian Unity, began their clerical careers as members of the controversial Legionaries of Christ.

Bishop Farrell remains a member while Cardinal Farrell left them in 1981.

Serial sex abuser

Legionaries of Christ founder Fr Marcial Maciel, who died in 2008, was exposed as a serial sex abuser of boys and young men and father of six children by multiple women and was removed from ministry in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

In 2016, when asked by The Irish Times what he had known about Fr Maciel’s activities as a sexual predator, Cardinal Farrell said: “I never knew anything back then. I worked in Monterrey, and maybe I would have met Maciel once or twice, but I never suspected anything . . . I left the Legionaries because I had intellectual differences with them.”

The survivors want the pope to acknowledge and meet publicly with survivor leaders of Ireland during his visit and to announce that the next WMOF will be dedicated to the impact and prevention of sexual violence, particularly clergy sexual violence, on families.

Complete Article HERE!

The Catholic Church has obliterated its ability to inspire trust

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick listens during a news conference in Washington in this May 16, 2006, file photo.

by Elizabeth Bruenig

We live in an era of diminished trust and heightened cynicism. It is hard, now, to imagine someone expressing unqualified faith in government, the media, business — or even, for that matter, religious institutions. And the implication of this development is not simply the erosion of trust. It is the increasing difficulty of learning about the world around us, as we lose belief in those who might teach us.

Learning requires risk-taking. It forces us to face what we don’t know with the hope of advancing toward some grasp of it. The smaller the undertaking, the lower the emotional gamble — learning tomorrow’s weather forecast doesn’t entail an interior journey. But learning about the true and important things in life does require trust and dedication and vulnerability — usually under a teacher’s guidance. It is no surprise so many of us come to love the ones who teach us.

Neither is it a surprise, any longer, that some people charged with these roles of profound responsibility abuse them in the cruelest ways. The latest revelation concerns the former archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, who resigned Saturday from the College of Cardinals. Over several decades, McCarrick is alleged to have sexually abused at least one child and several adult seminarians or young priests, all of whom looked to the charismatic prelate for guidance — moral, vocational, spiritual. Into his den, he drew them.

McCarrick, who has denied the allegation involving the child, has now become the first prince of the church to resign his role since 1927 and the highest-ranking member of the Catholic hierarchy to step down amid sexual-abuse allegations. But there are others in the church who presumably knew of the charges against him decades ago and failed to act when given the chance. Two New Jersey dioceses where McCarrick served as a bishop paid settlements to young men who alleged abuse as recently as the early 2000s; it isn’t likely that $180,000 went missing from church coffers with only McCarrick’s knowing. In 2011, a priest from Brazil filed a lawsuit against McCarrick for unwanted sexual advances. The suit was withdrawn — but again, it seems unlikely the episode came and went unknown to anyone other than McCarrick.

The question of who in the church hierarchy learned of the allegations against McCarrick — and when — has thus spawned its own predictable controversy. Some Catholics have blamed the hierarchy’s lax attitude toward abuse claims on a modern, Pope Francis-inflected tolerance for gay priests and disregard for traditional church doctrine on sexual morality. Others counter that scapegoating gay priests who remain faithful and celibate is a dangerous and misplaced overreaction. The particular matter of who abetted McCarrick and how has taken on a dimension of doctrinal argument, subtly shifting into a debate about what the church ought to teach.

I am a faithful Catholic, and I worry that this discussion seems not only off-point but also ominously premature. What the church ought to teach makes sense to debate only if it is established that the church can teach at all. And it is precisely that capacity that McCarrick, along with his anonymous enablers and his legions of abusing predecessors, have all but destroyed. As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat observed, “the Catholic bishops are now somewhat protected from media scrutiny by virtue of their increasing unimportance.” The price of that protection is a conspicuous moral muteness: The light has gone under a bushel, and the salt has lost its flavor.

The church has described itself as “mater et magistra,” mother and teacher. Yet, having obliterated its ability to inspire trust, in large part through decades of abuse and abuse-enabling, the church has now been rendered unqualified, in the eyes of many, to serve in that role. As McCarrick allegedly transgressed and abused his position as a spiritual guide, so, too, can it be said that the church has forfeited, at least for now, its own teaching role.

Every effort ought to be made to restore this crucial function, which begins with rebuilding trust. And that requires accountability, which is painful. Francis has already mandated that McCarrick remain in penitent seclusion until the accusations against him can be examined at a canonical trial. This is a positive step, but the Vatican ought also to invite an independent inquiry into who aided McCarrick’s reported abuse, passively or otherwise, how and for how long.

The church should punish those found guilty and cooperate with law enforcement when needed.

The process will likely be ugly, but so much less so than what came before. It is not too much to ask not to be raped or otherwise sexually abused by shepherds of the faith in the course of following Christ. Neither is it too severe to say that if clerics cannot meet that meager demand, they can scarcely teach His people anything at all.

Complete Article HERE!