USCCB President’s Statement on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as 46th President of the United States of America

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Statement on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as 46th President of the United States of America from Most Reverend José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

My prayers are with our new President and his family today.

I am praying that God grant him wisdom and courage to lead this great nation and that God help him to meet the tests of these times, to heal the wounds caused by this pandemic, to ease our intense political and cultural divisions, and to bring people together with renewed dedication to America’s founding purposes, to be one nation under God committed to liberty and equality for all.

Catholic bishops are not partisan players in our nation’s politics. We are pastors responsible for the souls of millions of Americans and we are advocates for the needs of all our neighbors. In every community across the country, Catholic parishes, schools, hospitals, and ministries form an essential culture of compassion and care, serving women, children, and the elderly, the poor and sick, the imprisoned, the migrant, and the marginalized, no matter what their race or religion.

When we speak on issues in American public life, we try to guide consciences, and we offer principles.  These principles are rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the social teachings of his Church. Jesus Christ revealed God’s plan of love for creation and revealed the truth about the human person, who is created in God’s image, endowed with God-given dignity, rights and responsibilities, and called to a transcendent destiny.

Based on these truths, which are reflected in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, the bishops and Catholic faithful carry out Christ’s commandment to love God and love our neighbors by working for an America that protects human dignity, expands equality and opportunities for every person, and is open-hearted towards the suffering and weak.

For many years now, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has tried to help Catholics and others of good will in their reflections on political issues through a publication we call Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The most recent edition addresses a wide range of concerns. Among them: abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, immigration, racism, poverty, care for the environment, criminal justice reform, economic development, and international peace.

On these and other issues, our duty to love and our moral principles lead us to prudential judgments and positions that do not align neatly with the political categories of left or right or the platforms of our two major political parties. We work with every President and every Congress. On some issues we find ourselves more on the side of Democrats, while on others we find ourselves standing with Republicans. Our priorities are never partisan. We are Catholics first, seeking only to follow Jesus Christ faithfully and to advance his vision for human fraternity and community.

I look forward to working with President Biden and his administration, and the new Congress. As with every administration, there will be areas where we agree and work closely together and areas where we will have principled disagreement and strong opposition.

Working with President Biden will be unique, however, as he is our first president in 60 years to profess the Catholic faith. In a time of growing and aggressive secularism in American culture, when religious believers face many challenges, it will be refreshing to engage with a President who clearly understands, in a deep and personal way, the importance of religious faith and institutions. Mr. Biden’s piety and personal story, his moving witness to how his faith has brought him solace in times of darkness and tragedy, his longstanding commitment to the Gospel’s priority for the poor — all of this I find hopeful and inspiring.

At the same time, as pastors, the nation’s bishops are given the duty of proclaiming the Gospel in all its truth and power, in season and out of season, even when that teaching is inconvenient or when the Gospel’s truths run contrary to the directions of the wider society and culture. So, I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.

Our commitments on issues of human sexuality and the family, as with our commitments in every other area — such as abolishing the death penalty or seeking a health care system and economy that truly serves the human person — are guided by Christ’s great commandment to love and to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable.

For the nation’s bishops, the continued injustice of abortion remains the “preeminent priority.” Preeminent does not mean “only.” We have deep concerns about many threats to human life and dignity in our society. But as Pope Francis teaches, we cannot stay silent when nearly a million unborn lives are being cast aside in our country year after year through abortion.

Abortion is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family. It is not only a private matter, it raises troubling and fundamental questions of fraternity, solidarity, and inclusion in the human community. It is also a matter of social justice. We cannot ignore the reality that abortion rates are much higher among the poor and minorities, and that the procedure is regularly used to eliminate children who would be born with disabilities.

Rather than impose further expansions of abortion and contraception, as he has promised, I am hopeful that the new President and his administration will work with the Church and others of good will. My hope is that we can begin a dialogue to address the complicated cultural and economic factors that are driving abortion and discouraging families. My hope, too, is that we can work together to finally put in place a coherent family policy in this country, one that acknowledges the crucial importance of strong marriages and parenting to the well-being of children and the stability of communities. If the President, with full respect for the Church’s religious freedom, were to engage in this conversation, it would go a long way toward restoring the civil balance and healing our country’s needs.

President Biden’s call for national healing and unity is welcome on all levels. It is urgently needed as we confront the trauma in our country caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the social isolation that has only worsened the intense and long-simmering divisions among our fellow citizens.

As believers, we understand that healing is a gift that we can only receive from the hand of God. We know, too, that real reconciliation requires patient listening to those who disagree with us and a willingness to forgive and move beyond desires for reprisal. Christian love calls us to love our enemies and bless those who oppose us, and to treat others with the same compassion that we want for ourselves.

We are all under the watchful eye of God, who alone knows and can judge the intentions of our hearts. I pray that God will give our new President, and all of us, the grace to seek the common good with all sincerity.

I entrust all our hopes and anxieties in this new moment to the tender heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ and the patroness of this exceptional nation. May she guide us in the ways of peace and obtain for us wisdom and the grace of a true patriotism and love of country.

Survivor calls on Trudeau to release St. Anne’s residential-school abuse documents

Edmund Metatawabin, a survivor of St. Anne’s residential school in Fort Albany, Ont., is seen outside Osgoode Hall in Toronto on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.

By Maan Alhmidi

Residential school survivor Evelyn Korkmaz is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to release thousands of documents that detail the sexual and physical abuse of thousands of Indigenous children at St. Anne’s residential school in the last century.

Korkmaz said the federal government has not turned over 12,300 reports from Ontario Provincial Police investigations of violations at St. Anne’s in Fort Albany, Ont. despite an Ontario Superior Court order.

Following the court order in 2014, Ottawa released heavily redacted copies of materials generated by the OPP between 1992 and 1996.

“They’re useless if they’re redacted,” Korkmaz said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “This is part of Canada’s Indigenous history. We can learn from this.”

St. Anne’s Indian Residential School was run by the Catholic orders of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Grey Sisters of the Cross from 1902 until 1976 and was funded by the federal government starting in 1906.

It was one of Canada’s most notorious residential schools. Indigenous children from Fort Albany First Nation in northern Ontario were sexually abused, punished by shocks delivered in electric chairs and forced to eat their own vomit, according to Edmund Metatawabin, a survivor and former chief of the First Nation.

Metatawabin was forced to attend the school between 1956 and 1963. He became a chief of his nation in 1988 and used his position to sponsor a panel for survivors to share their stories, putting together a report that triggered the police investigation in autumn 1992.

“The residential school issue is a very sensitive case for us. It was an embarrassing thing for us to face.” he said in an interview.

“It’s hard to say you were abused as a child. You want to keep that private.”

Metatawabin said more than 900 survivors of St. Anne’s decided to talk about their painful memories and testified to the police in the 1990s, resulting in a trove of information and criminal convictions of six former employees at the school.

In 2006, lawyers for former students and for the churches that ran residential schools, the Assembly of First Nations, other Indigenous organizations and the government approved the Indian Residential School Settlement, which included independent assessment processes to set compensation for claims of sexual or serious physical abuse.

However, many survivors of St. Anne’s have taken the federal government to court, seeking to reopen compensation cases that were settled before the partial release of the police documents in 2014.

A group of 60 survivors launched a case in 2013, claiming that the federal government failed to turn over those documents and breached the settlement agreement.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell, who has spent years supervising implementation of the settlement agreement, ruled earlier this year the case should be heard by a judge in British Columbia.

Perell had recused himself over his previous criticism of one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

In November, the Ontario Court of Appeal found Perell wrong to order the legal fight to be heard in B.C., saying the case pressed by survivors of St. Anne’s should remain in Ontario. The next hearing is to take place virtually on Dec. 31.

But Justice Brenda Brown of British Columbia Supreme Court issued a court order in May that permits the federal government to destroy the police documents in the new year.

The federal Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Department said in a statement Tuesday the government will retain the police reports until the courts determine the matters before them.

Metatawabin said the documents reveal wrongdoing by the government and the churches. “Instead of making amends, (the government) tried to hide these documents from survivors and from the public.”

The documents have significant value for the Fort Albany First Nation people because they contain elders’ testimonies on their history, Metatawabin said.

“These are sacred words from the elders,” he said. “It’s an insult to the memory of those elders that told their story, that the government took their words from them, and now they want to erase history.”

Korkmaz said these documents are important evidence of the violations committed at St. Anne’s.

“The government for some strange reason is protecting the pedophiles that were at our school,” she said. “A normal citizen of any country, who is caught sexually abusing a child goes to jail. … Why are the priests, the bishops, the cardinals being protected? Why are they allowed to do it?”

Complete Article HERE!

Three men accuse prominent Michigan priest, Polish seminary leader of sexual abuse

Rev. Miroslaw Krol

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The call came one warm night in June 2019. A young Polish priest referred to as “John Doe 1” in a federal lawsuit filed Monday knew it was his boss, Rev. Miroslaw Krol, and he knew that Krol was drunk. But he didn’t know the night would end with him driving an intoxicated Krol and another visiting priest to a motel to meet a male sex worker, and then, according to the suit, withdrawing cash from an ATM so Krol could pay him.

Krol is the chancellor and CEO of Orchard Lake Schools, an Oakland County campus that includes a private prep school, St. Mary’s; a seminary, and a Polish cultural center. A leading figure in the Detroit area’s Polish Catholic community, both Krol and the OLS leadership are named as defendants in a suit in which three men — including two priests — say Rev. Krol recruited them to Orchard Lake with the intent of sexually abusing them.

On Stateside, host April Baer talks to reporter Kate Wells about this story.

But when Krol’s abuse was repeatedly reported to Orchard Lake’s board of trustees — which includes the Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of the Detroit Archdiocese — these men say they were either forced to resign or were abruptly fired. Krol is currently on leave, according to a statement from Steve Gross, Chairman of the Board of Regents:

“In our judgment, these former employees of the Orchard Lake Schools who are asserting these claims while simultaneously seeking to remain anonymous have mischaracterized the circumstances surrounding their terminations. It is important to note all individuals named in the lawsuit are adults. These former employees bringing this employment action did not work with any minors, nor did their roles involve the

High School on our campus. We are confident that the facts, in this case, will prevail, that the legal process will determine their claims lack merit, and that we acted appropriately at all times.
As an institution, we have been and will continue to be fully committed to following the highest
standards for our students, faculty, and staff.”

“Father Krol denies all allegations of misconduct, and looks forward to being vindicated,” said attorney Roy Henley, who represents Krol, in an emailed statement Monday. “He has no other comment at this time, and accordingly respectfully declines your offer of an on-air interview.”

The public relations office for the Detroit Archdiocese did not respond to requests for comments or interviews.

Who is Rev. Miroslaw Krol?

Krol, a native of Poland, “brings significant money into the OLS organization and has deep ties to the Vatican by virtue of his friendship with Polish Cardinal [Stanislaw] Dziwisz, a former Secretary to Pope John Paul II,” according to the federal suit.

Krol initially studied at the SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary at Orchard Lake. Located in West Bloomfield Township, it bills itself as “the only seminary in the United States dedicated to preparing foreign-born seminarians, primarily from Poland, to serve the Catholic Church in our country.”

Krol went on to complete his training in New Jersey, where he studied under and was ordained by the now-notorious former American Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, who sexually abused minors and seminarians for decades.

“It is in this environment that Defendant Krol completed his religious training and spent much of his early years as a priest in Newark — where McCarrick was Archbishop. Indeed, Krol was ordained by McCarrick and, upon information and belief, witnessed in him many of the grooming tactics that Fr. Krol would later employ at OLS.”

In 2006, Kroll returned to Orchard Lake as dean and vice rector of the seminary. According to the complaint, rumors started that he was “engag[ing] in sexual activity with seminarians.”

“At least one young seminarian recruited from Poland during this time period is reported to have confided in both a local priest and in a Bishop in New Jersey that the sexual activity involving Krol at these parties was not always consensual. Upon information and belief, the Bishop told the seminarian that if he wanted to become a priest, he should not say anything further about the topic.”

Meanwhile, Krol was traveling to Poland to recruit young men, including those who allegedly “had failed out of seminary in Poland or who had issues with alcohol and sexual matters.” The suit accuses Krol of falsifying their academic transcripts to get them into Orchard Lake, where they were “alone and eager to revive their dreams of becoming a priest. They were vulnerable and largely dependent on Krol.”

In 2017, when Krol was being considered as a candidate for chancellor of Orchard Lake, “two priests who had worked with Krol at OLS in the past raised concerns with the OLS Board of Regents regarding Krol’s behavior…[and] rumored sexual misconduct when he had served as a Dean and Vice Rector,” the claim alleges.

“Despite these warnings about Krol, the OLS Board of Regents appointed him as Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer in 2017.”

 

John Doe 1: A young Polish priest

John Doe 1 first met Krol when he was a young seminary student in Poland, where Krol often came to recruit students to Michigan. Years later, the suit alleges Krol aggressively recruited Doe 1 to leave his role as a priest in a New Jersey parish to come work as vice chancellor of Orchard Lake, promising to pay for and arrange his green card.

But the green card never materialized. Instead, Krol began controlling every aspect of his life, according to the complaint: berating him, demanding he “be available at all times,” forcing him to cancel plans or return early from vacations. He also began inviting Doe 1 to his apartment for late-night meetings, where Krol “drank to excess.” One evening, the suit alleges, Krol pushed his hands down Doe 1’s pants and touched his penis. The next day Krol told him how much “fun” he’d had, and went on to make frequent references to the size of Doe 1’s penis.

“After he left, Krol spread false rumors that John Doe 1 was forced to leave OLS because he was gay. These statements were untrue and continue to harm John Doe 1 to this day.”

So when Krol called him that June night, asking Doe 1 to drive him and a visiting priest from Chicago to a bar, Doe 1 refused. But Krol, who was clearly intoxicated, threatened to get behind the wheel himself. Feeling trapped, Doe 1 agreed to give them a ride.

“When they got to the bar, John Doe 1 realized that it was a gay bar,” the complaint reads. “When they left, Fr. Krol directed John Doe 1 to another stop — which John Doe 1 soon realized was a motel. At the motel, a  male sex worker, who Krol had apparently contacted through the internet, was waiting. It was apparent to John Doe 1 that the sex worker knew Fr. Krol.

“John Doe 1 remained in the car while the other priests went into the motel,” the complaint says. “At one point, the priests asked John Doe 1 to retrieve cash from an ATM, which John Doe 1 concluded was used to pay the sex worker. When they arrived back to Krol’s apartment that evening, John Doe 1 began to help Krol — who had fallen asleep in the back seat — out of the car. Krol threw his arms around John Doe 1’s neck and tried to hug him … and then started kissing him on the face and lips, trying to put his tongue in John Doe 1’s mouth. John Doe 1 pushed Krol away and told him to go home.”

Doe 1 didn’t know where to turn. He’d seen Krol use his power and influence to destroy the careers of other young priests he didn’t like, the complaint alleges, and feared he couldn’t leave Orchard Lake without angering Krol. Eventually, Doe 1 confided in his bishop in New Jersey, who is not named in the suit, but who told Doe 1 he had to leave.

“Ultimately, John Doe 1 decided to tell Krol that he had to leave for reasons related to his green card,” the suit says. “John Doe 1 left OLS in October 2019. After he left, Krol spread false rumors that John Doe 1 was forced to leave OLS because he was gay. These statements were untrue and continue to harm John Doe 1 to this day.”

John Doe 2: A classical musician from Chicago

At the same time Joan Doe 1 was trying to find a way out, his coworker was experiencing similar harassment and abuse by Krol, according to the complaint.

“John Doe 2” is not a priest. A Polish native and professional classical musician in Chicago, John Doe 2 was also recruited to Orchard Lake by Krol to take on a prominent position as director of the Polish Mission there.

Both he and Doe 1 were hired in 2018. And like Doe 1, John Doe 2 says Krol began making unwanted sexual advances soon after he started at Orchard Lake. On weekends, Doe 2 would drive back to Chicago to be with his wife and daughter. But that left four evenings a week when Krol knew he was on campus, Doe 2 says.

At first, Krol would invite Doe 2 to his apartment in the evenings, and invited him to “lay down” or “relax” in Kroll’s bed. Doe 2 says he made it clear to Krol that he wasn’t interested and left his apartment, but Krol became increasingly aggressive. Then came the text message, in Polish, warning Doe 2 that if he didn’t accept Krol’s invitation, his job would be on the line.

That night, Krol lunged at him, “leaping into his lap” and “kissing his neck and lips and trying to put his hands down John Doe 2’s pants,” the suit alleges. “Krol told John Doe 2 how much he wanted him and pled with him to have sex with him.” Doe 2 says he “pushed Krol away and left his apartment,” and tried to ignore Krol’s messages or schedule work meetings to conflict with Krol’s invitations.

Doe 2 says initially, he was in shock. Having been raised in Poland and with several members of his family serving as priests, Doe 2 had spent his life in the church community. He says he started to tell other members of the Orchard Lake community about what was happening. Some of them seemed shocked. But others told him they weren’t surprised.

“Krol told John Doe 2 how much he wanted him and pled with him to have sex with him.”

“I heard from some of them that there was gossip a long time ago going around about Father Krol, you know, being this or that,” John Doe 2 told Michigan Radio. “So I was shocked, like, ‘So there are people who heard about that already a long time ago, before I got to Orchard Lake, and didn’t do anything about it? Like, are you waiting for something really crazy to happen here on campus?’

“But some … people told me, ‘Well, oh my god, thank God! Because there was already gossip that you had a relationship with Father Kroll…. Thank God that you are straight, you are not the gay.’ Because that was what was the gossip, was that people were telling each other, ‘You know what? Maybe he’s his lover or having a relationship with him.’”

Doe 2 says eventually he just wanted to “forget” what had happened in Krol’s apartment, he says, “and move on and then focus on my job and my work. Hopefully nothing’s going to happen, because I sent the message [to Krol.] It’s kind of like, ‘Goodbye, thank you very much.’ And hopefully he will get it. And so I was hoping for that. But unfortunately, it got worse and worse and worse.”

Krol began luring Doe 2 to his apartment by pretending to have a heart attack or medical emergency, or saying they needed to talk about “future plans for the Polish Mission.”

“During the meeting, Krol had several drinks and at one point excused himself to go to the bathroom,” according to the suit. “When he returned, Krol sat next to John Doe 2, put his hand on John Doe 2’s leg, and began slowly moving it up his thigh. At the same time, Krol reached his other hand into his own pants and began to masturbate. Krol began asking John Doe 2 to have sex with him and telling John Doe 2 that he loved him. John Doe 2, as in the past, rejected Krol’s advance by moving Krol’s hand off his leg and leaving the apartment.”

It was a turning point. In January 2020, Doe 2 says he reported Krol’s sexual harassment to John Roland, a member of the OLS Board of Regents and Vice Chairman of the Polish Mission’s Board of Directors. Roland said he had to “disclose the information to the entire Board of Regents,” the complaint says, but the “other Board members chastised him — suggesting that Mr. Roland should have addressed this issue only with Krol. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Roland was removed from the OLS Board.”

Just a few weeks later, on January 15, 2020, the COO of Orchard Lake, Todd Covert, asked to talk with Doe 2 privately in his office.

“So he closed the door, and he said, ‘We need to talk about stuff. There is that person who reported to us, the board member [who] reported to us…. And I need to ask questions, and I want to talk to you about it. So are you OK [with that?]’

“I said ‘Yes, no problem.’ But I said, ‘Can I record the meeting?’ Because I was scared already, you know? And he said, ‘No, there is no reason. It’s only the two of us. So there is no reason for recording that meeting.’ And I told him, ‘You know what, I would really like to record that meeting. If not, then I can’t talk to you…. [If] there is nothing to hide, why not to record?’ So then finally he said yes.”

Doe 2 says he still has that recording, though his attorneys declined to provide it to Michigan Radio. But Doe 2 says he recounted Krol’s harassment and abuse over the previous year and half. And Covert seemed sympathetic, he says.

“He told me that he feels very bad for me, and they are going to take this very seriously. They are going to look into it, they are going to investigate, and that there is already investigation going on. And they’re going to get back to me with more staff, more details, more probably questions.”

Doe 2 says he returned home to Chicago that same day. Two days later, he opened his email to find a message from the vice Chaicman of the Board of Regents, asking Doe 2 to contact him about a “‘very urgent, very important issue.’”

“And then before I was able to respond to that email or contact him, I got another email” saying his contract with Orchard Lake and the Polish mission has been terminated. The email accused Doe 2 of “a variety of criminal and tortious conduct,” the suit alleges, including that Doe 2 had stolen or mismanaged money from the Polish mission.

Those allegations were “untrue,” the suit claims, and “had never been raised with Doe 2 previously, and was nowhere mentioned in his personnel file.” But he soon learned that Krol was publicly saying Doe 2 had been fired under a cloud of suspicion for misusing Orchard Lake funds.

In the close-knit, Midwestern Polish Catholic community, word spread fast, Doe 2 says. He started getting calls to his home in Chicago from friends who’d heard the rumors.

“He talked badly about me in Poland, too,” Doe 2 says. “So people who knew me [for] many years, they contacted me, and they said, ‘There is something not correct. You are not that guy .’

“So it was very shocking. And I was sitting alone [at home] because I couldn’t, at the time, talk openly. I couldn’t let people know what was happening, really, behind the scenes…. He hurt my name that I built for years and years. And then I thought, what about my child, you know, if she hears some story later on, and it’s untrue?”

Doe broke down, sitting in his car in his garage, so that his daughter wouldn’t hear him while she was doing virtual school inside the family’s home. “I’m doing this for all the future victims. I don’t want anything like that to happen to anyone. But mostly for my daughter. I want to look in her eyes every day, and know that I did the right thing.”

“I was the guy who was victimized, and going through the trauma, and seeking for help and telling people ‘Listen, guys, help me. This is something not right. This is crazy stuff going on on this campus from the leader. This is what is happening to me as an employee.’ And they did nothing.”

Reports and retaliation

The third and final victim mentioned in the suit is not a formal plaintiff, but was witness to similar behavior by Krol. He, too, was a young Polish priest recruited by Kroll soon after John Doe 2 left Orchard Lake. He too says Krol sexually harassed him, and that when Doe 3 rejected him, Krol “began sending him torrents of abusive text messages, and blaming [him] for mistakes that he had not made.”

In December 2019, Doe 3 told Krol he would leave Orchard Lake when his contract ended the following June. Instead, Krol fired him in March. Doe 3 says he reported Krol “to church authorities by writing to the Archdiocese of Detroit in or around March of 2020.”

Soon after, a detective from the Michigan Attorney General’s office contacted Doe 3, and interviewed him. The same detective also reached out to Doe 1, who eventually agreed to disclose Krol’s abuse as well. According to the lawsuit, no one from Orchard Lake has reached out to either of the young priests about their complaints.

Then in August, lawyers for the two plaintiffs reached out to Orchard Lake’s leadership to formally report the allegations of sexual harassment. One month later, in September, Krol went on a popular Polish radio show, and accused both Doe 2 and Doe 3 of “misappropriating funds.” Doe 1 says Krol began contacting his friends and family members and making threatening statements. “Indeed, shortly after Krol learned of John Doe 1’s cooperation with legal counsel in this matter, parishioners in John Doe 1’s diocese began receiving anonymous and disparaging letters about John Doe 1,” the suit says.

“It’s so disappointing to me, both as an attorney and as a Catholic, to see a Church institution respond this way to really serious, credible claims from multiple people that have come forward,” says Jennifer Salvatore, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “And that’s really disappointing, because the world knows now how they’re supposed to respond. The law is really clear about how they’re supposed to respond, and the church knows how they’re supposed to respond. And time and again, they are not honoring their legal obligations or their moral obligations with respect to how these issues are being addressed. And to see it happen in 2019, 2020 in a Catholic Church entity is just tragic.”

Complete Article HERE!

Time for a reckoning

— Church must confront, change old boys’ network exposed in Vatican’s McCarrick report

In 2002, then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., delivers the keynote address during the graduation of the newly re-named Cardinal McCarrick High School in South Amboy. He has since been defrocked.

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The report refers to her simply as “Mother 1.”

A Manhattan woman with a large brood of mostly boys and an Irish husband, she had become suspicious of then-New York Monsignor Theodore McCarrick, who snaked his way into her family and had her children call him “Uncle Ted.’’

Her husband thought it an honor to have a clergyman take an interest in his children. Mother 1, not so.

Her antennae went up when she learned McCarrick gave her sons alcohol when he took them on trips. He continued to visit even after moving to New Jersey, and, one day, she came home to find McCarrick sitting on the couch with a son on either side of him and a hand on the thigh of each.

By then, it was the early 1980s. She took it upon herself to mail identical anonymous letters accusing McCarrick of abuse to every cardinal in the United States and to the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, D.C.

Nothing changed.

“It’s a club of men who all knew about it and had ignored it,” Mother 1 concluded nearly 40 years later in one of three interviews she gave to an investigator working for the Vatican.

She was right.

MASTER MANIPULATOR

Having been ordained in his native New York in 1958, Theodore Edgar McCarrick rose to be an auxiliary bishop there, then crossed the river as the first bishop of the New Jersey’s Metuchen Diocese from 1981-86. He then served as archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese for 14 years before moving to the Washington, D.C., archdiocese and becoming a cardinal.

In all that time, we now know, complaints and rumors of abuse by him fell on deaf ears.

I was among the priests in the Archdiocese of Newark who thought McCarrick’s drippy piety was synthetic. One of our most respected monsignors called him “slippery.”

He was, in fact, a master manipulator who gamed the Catholic system for one goal: to get the red hat of a cardinal, which he did.

The 449-page Vatican “Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930-2017),’’ released Nov. 10 and carrying 1, 400 footnotes, chronicles his rise and demise once credible accusations of sexual abuse of minors surfaced.

Thorough and meticulous in detail, the report includes many salacious details that wouldn’t be expected from something commissioned by the Vatican. It indicts the clerical system – meaning an all-male leadership – but it doesn’t address what the future might hold.

After reading it, I differ on some of the conclusions drawn by other commentators.

SHOW US THE MONEY TRAIL

Most conspicuously absent from the report’s pages is the money trail.

While it asserts that McCarrick was a prodigious fund-raiser and a natural money man, it falls short of showing how he used the largesse of others to ascend the hierarchy, escape scrutiny and still become a cardinal.

“Overall, the record appears to show that although McCarrick’s fundraising skills were weighed heavily, they were not determinative with respect to major decisions made relating to McCarrick,” wrote U.S. lawyer Jeffrey Lena, who investigated him and authored the report.

“In addition, the examination did not reveal evidence that McCarrick’s customary gift-giving and donations impacted significant decisions made by the Holy See regarding McCarrick during any period,” Lena wrote.

But the report fails to account for why so many members of the hierarchy failed to take evidence of alleged abuse seriously and investigate and, at best, stop him in his tracks.

Later the report stated: “McCarrick began in earnest his customary gift giving to Roman Curia and Nunciature officials, a practice that continued through 2017

The Vatican should reveal these gifts, show us the money trail and hold anyone swayed by money over duty responsible. Otherwise, the Vatican continues to be one of the enablers.

THREE POPES

In my view, three popes have unfairly come under attack for giving McCarrick a pass. Francis took heat, especially from the former apostolic nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Vigano, for failing to reign in McCarrick.

But the report shows that once definite proof surfaced in June 2017 that McCarrick sexually assaulted children from the time he was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, Francis removed him from the College of Cardinals and eventually defrocked him, removing him from the clerical state and making him a layman. (It’s unknown where McCarrick, now 90, lives although it’s been reported he’s in Florida.)

The report does implicate the late Pope John Paul II for promoting McCarrick to become the archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2000 when rumors of his sexual abuse of seminarians and priests — from his time as the first bishop of Metuchen starting in 1981 — were an open secret.

I think this accusation is a stretch since John Paul’s Parkinson’s had evidently debilitated him and he relied on advice from his staff and other members of his curia, who clearly ignored numerous red flags that surfaced.

Pope Benedict XVI made McCarrick retire from the D.C. post in 2006, after he’d turned 75, and did not allow him to stay the usual several years more, which is common for most cardinals. He also imposed loose voluntary measures for McCarrick to keep a low profile and tone down his travels and media presence, which McCarrick flouted.

Even papal warnings did not deter McCarrick from the high life, according to the report.

GLOBETROTTER

Up until his mid-80s, McCarrick must have traveled the globe a hundred times.

As archbishop of Newark, he would publish scores of letters sent to the priests recounting his global stops, famous people he met and tireless work for the church. McCarrick had a knack of blowing his own horn to make himself appear more important than he really was.

The report notes that the late John Cardinal O’Connor, though, put a kibosh on that. Perhaps jealous that McCarrick was poaching his big New York donors for the Papal Foundation, which would later on contribute to McCarrick’s red hat, O’Connor called out McCarrick’s alleged sexual abuses in a 1999 letter to the Apostolic Nuncio in D.C. and said he did not want McCarrick to succeed him.

Other members of the hierarchy saw the letter without confirming it ever got to John Paul.

But, as the report says, McCarrick had been buttering up John Paul and especially his personal secretary, now-retired Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, since he was a New York priest and he pulled out all the stops to become archbishop of Washington, D.C.

‘BLIND OBEDIENCE’

The report does show failures by several now-deceased New Jersey bishops to stop McCarrick, thus allowing him to continue to abuse. Had his Metuchen successor Edward Hughes, for example, followed up on first-hand testimony from seminarians that he sexually abused them, McCarrick might have gone nowhere.

“He did not want to accept that there was sex abuse in the church, much less by a bishop,’’ an unidentified priest of Metuchen told the investigator. “And, as holy a man as he was, he was also a person who believed that nearly blind obedience to bishops was a foundational principle. So, dealing with an issue like this with regard to the archbishop of Newark would have opened a real crack in that foundation. It was not something that this man was ready to do.”

Back then, the only bishop who stood up to McCarrick was James McHugh, a Newark priest who became Bishop of Camden and is now deceased. The report states that he alerted the D.C. nuncio that McCarrick would take seminarians to a Sea Girt shore house and share a bed with them.

Soon after, the house was sold.

ACCOMPLICES?

Sadly, the report adds a footnote that McCarrick priest secretaries, almost 30 from Newark alone, had amnesia about McCarrick’s trysts. Nor is there any evidence that seminary rectors, faculty and even bishops from New Jersey and New York were even interviewed or cited in the report.

McCarrick did not get away with this all by himself. He had willing accomplices who did his bidding blindly.

The report cites a chilling conclusion from a 2019 Seton Hall University investigation, not previously released to the public:

“McCarrick created a culture of fear and intimidation that supported his personal objectives. McCarrick used his position of power as then-archbishop of Newark to sexually harass seminarians.”

‘OLD BOYS’ NETWORK’

Another shortcoming of the investigation is that only a handful of women are mentioned in the voluminous report.

Mother Mary Quentin, superior general of a Michigan order of nuns, is named for reporting to the D.C. nuncio in 1994 that she learned that McCarrick abused a priest. The report quotes that the nuncio dismissed her with a snide comment, “She wanted to make herself appear important.”

Calling out the Catholic church’s misogyny, I believe, is a needed prelude to exposing how the clerical system protected McCarrick and allowed him to become a cardinal.

This report also indicts the secretive system of selecting and promoting bishops.

What is needed is “truth telling,” Chestnut Hill Josephite Sister Catherine Nerney told me in a telephone interview.

“The church has not really been upfront and that needs to happen,” said Nerney, a professor of theology and founding director of the Institute of Forgiveness and Reconciliation at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.

‘CONFONT THE EVIL’

After spending time in Rwanda in 2006 to learn how the country tried to heal from the four-month 1994 civil war that took the lives of almost one million citizens, she learned, she said, that the first thing to do in an overwhelming crisis is to “confront the evil

In Rwanda, small groups came together “for the good of society,” she said, to confront the killers.

Comparing the McCarrick report to that process, Nerney said: “The church has hidden so much that it is complicit and corrupt behind its clerical status.”

In other words, clericalism puts an all-male clergy on a pedestal and uses secrecy to handle its own dirty laundry, so to speak, so it can protect its male members.

Back on Sept. 14, 2018. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin led the Archdiocese of Newark in an evening service of Prayer, Reconciliation and Hope in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Hundreds of clergy, religious and laypeople prayed for the survivors of clergy abuse, their families, the accused, and the church.

One abuse survivor preached quite candidly about what a priest did to him. Some priests pushed back, and two subsequent services decreased in attendance and then stopped.

WILL ANY GOOD COME OF IT?

So, where do we go from here?

Since the McCarrick report was released, nothing has been said about any follow-up by the Vatican or any of the local dioceses where McCarrick served as a bishop. And while the release of the report was historic, this failure is a disappointment.

The church needs to report now what it will do to prevent another McCarrick from abusing with impunity – even being promoted to the highest offices as he was — and what protocols will be put in place

First, the process for selecting priests to become bishops and promoting a bishop to become a diocesan bishop needs to become transparent.

Complete Article HERE!

Top US cleric, who slammed Irish leader Varadkar for being gay, arrested

New York’s Father George Rutler’s St. Patrick’s Day missive made for interesting reading.

A previously celebrated New York pastor, Fr George Rutler has been arrested for sexual assault, having also been filmed watching gay porn.

By

A leading United States Catholic church figure, who has slammed the Irish government’s Deputy Leader Leo Varadkar for being gay, attacked Irish clergy as weak, and dismissed decades of sex abuse scandals in Ireland’s Catholic Church as “peripheral”, is being investigated for sexual assault, after a church worker allegedly filmed him watching gay pornography.

Father George Rutler had made the comments about Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar, in March 2019, on EWTN, the global Catholic network, and slammed Ireland’s then-leader for “publicly living in perverse contempt for the sacrament of holy matrimony.”

When asked at the time about his comments by IrishCentral, Father Rutler agreed that he was speaking specifically about Vardkar’s sexual orientation and the fact that he may well marry his partner, Dr. Matthew Barrett.

Father Rutler, who is pastor of the Church of St. Michael in Manhattan and a conservative icon and author of 30 books, has stepped down while the allegations are being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney. The Archdiocese of New York has confirmed he is no longer in ministry while the charges are being investigated.

The accusation comes from Ashley Gonzalez, a 22-year-old security guard who had just been hired as an overnight security guard by Rutler.

She alleges that on Nov 4, at around 1.20 am, Rutler forcibly groped her, after she had filmed him late at night watching hardcore homosexual pornography on an office computer in the church rectory. The incident took place during Gonzalez’s second night on the job.

According to Gonzalez, she was sitting in the rectory texting her mother when Rutler came in.

She claims he sat down at the computer and watched a political program before switching over to gay pornography.

In the video, the person Gonzalez identifies as Rutler is sitting at a desk in the office decorated with religious icons while watching gay porn. Gonzalez claims she tried to leave the office after Rutler saw her filming him and that he grabbed her chest and slammed the door on her hand as she tried to escape. She filed sexual assault allegations the next day.

Father Rutler is a superstar in conservative circles. Columnist Rod Dreher of the American Conservative stated:

“People outside the Catholic world may not be aware that George Rutler is one of the most famous conservative priests in the country. He has been a staple on EWTN, the Catholic channel, for many years. He is a powerful homilist and presents himself as a flinty arch-conservative who suffers no fools gladly. “

Dreher says Rutler’s time as a priest is over if he is convicted. Rutler was once an Episcopal priest who was accepted into the Catholic Church.

Rutler is an arch critic of Ireland, both its political and religious leaders. Writing in 2019 he stated, “The Taoiseach (Prime Minister), was elected while publicly living in perverse contempt of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The chief seminary of Maynooth has the lowest numbers of students since its foundation in 1795. Its rector of fifteen years abandoned the Faith and now conducts an esoteric cult in Arizona… An Irish commentator and playwright recently called Ireland ‘The Most Anti-Catholic Country on Planet Earth.'”

The Manhattan DA’s office refused to comment on the investigation.

Complete Article HERE!