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The Cost Of Real Church Leadership

This is big stuff: [1]

The lead pastor and the entire board of elders resigned on Wednesday night from Willow Creek Community Church, one of the nation’s most influential evangelical congregations, saying that they had made a mistake by failing to believe the women who accused the Rev. Bill Hybels, the church’s founding pastor, of sexual harassment.

“To all the women who have come forward,” said Missy Rasmussen, one of nine elders, speaking to the hushed congregants, “we are sorry that we added to your pain.”

“We have no reason to not believe any of you. We are sorry that our initial statements were so insensitive, defensive and reflexively protective of Bill,” she said, while some in the church’s cavernous auditorium, in South Barrington, Ill., wept openly. “We exhort Bill to acknowledge his sin and publicly apologize.”

It was a shocking blow for a church that has cast itself as a model of effective leadership for churches worldwide, and it comes at a particularly fraught moment for Willow Creek’s international network of supporters. The Willow Creek Association’s annual Global Leadership Summit, watched by nearly 700 churches and half a million people worldwide, is set to open on Thursday morning in the same auditorium where the resignations were announced. Until this year, Mr. Hybels had hosted the event.

This makes sense to me, the move. When senior leadership has lost the trust of the faithful, it has to go. I commend the sense of stewardship the Willow Creek leadership team has.

I had been told by several sources on Tuesday that Bishop James Conley of the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln was going to fire his chancery leadership team, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.

Today, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory put out a statement saying how sorry he is about McCarrick, yadda yadda. [2] I don’t mean to be sarcastic about it, but we have heard bishops say how sorry they are for sexual abuse and misconduct over and over for 16 years, and yet, here we are. Archbishop Gregory said in his statement:


I am hurt because my respect and fraternal esteem for Theodore McCarrick were clearly misplaced. I never personally worked with him in any pastoral context, having only encountered him as a fellow member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, but his public devotion to the Church’s social justice agenda was highly regarded. I never knew or suspected the hidden side of a man whose admired public persona concealed that of a violator of foundational Christian morality and of young people who trusted him. Like any individual who discovers far too late that a friend has a history of moral misconduct, I now stand dumbfounded that I was so unaware and naïve. I know that many other bishops feel the same.

First of all, who cares how much Archbishop Gregory is hurt? Seriously, bishops as victims?

And, Archbishop Gregory may be telling the complete truth here, but I find it hard to believe that a bishop who was so high up in the leadership of the American bishops — he was head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops — never once heard a rumor about McCarrick, or was given reason to suspect that something dirty might be going on with him. The problem is that bishops have for so long asked for the benefit of the doubt in these cases that many may feel that they do not deserve it.

Gregory continues:

People are angry, as well they should be, that our Church is once again viewed as a haven for criminal deviant behavior. I know our priests are hurt that they are again being judged with a jaundiced eye, as perhaps too dangerous to be trusted with the Church’s children. Our people are disappointed with bishops in general who seemingly cannot or will not act decisively to heal this festering wound. They are perplexed and sickened that the Holy See may well have dismissed multiple warning signs that should have halted Theodore McCarrick and others earlier in their careers. They are disheartened that situations both here in the United States and in other countries continue to dominate social media and call into question everything the Church has done to safeguard children and adults from manipulation and violation.

This is true, but whose fault is it now? It is the fault of the bishops. Back in 2002, a Catholic bishop tried to convince me to stop writing articles critical of the Church amid the scandal. I told him that I felt that I had to do this because I was a faithful Catholic and a new father, and because I did not trust the Catholic bishops to clean up the mess. He replied, “If you don’t trust the bishops, then why are you still a Catholic?”

I told him that I was a Catholic because I believed that the faith was true, and that the truth claims of the Church did not depend on my accepting the integrity or the competence of individual bishops.

Four years later, I was no longer a Catholic. That bishop remains in office. I left because I no longer believed that everything the Catholic Church taught was true. I have to admit, though, that I didn’t know how I was going to raise kids in a church where we didn’t trust the leadership. It remains the case that the truth claims of the Catholic Church (and the Orthodox Church, etc.) are not obviated when the leadership loses its moral credibility. But after a while, you can get to the point where you lose the ability to care.

I love this statement by my Catholic friend Patty Heaton:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js [5]

Exactly. They failed. They were given chance after chance after chance. A couple of nights ago, Cardinal DiNardo appeared on EWTN to talk about the McCarrick mess. Watch this truly pathetic statement by a church bureaucrat who comes across as out of touch with the moral and spiritual magnitude of the bishops’ failures. He wants to “move forward”:

I’d take Archbishop Gregory, and all of these newly angry bishops, more seriously if he named names. Which bishops knew but said nothing? Why is he not calling directly on Cardinal Joseph Tobin (who knew of the settlements with McCarrick) to explain why he kept that a secret? Why is he not calling on retired Archbishop John Myers, who lolls in his 7,500-square foot retirement mansion [6], by name to explain why he did not tell the faithful of the McCarrick victim settlement he approved as Newark ordinary? Why is he not calling out retired Metuchen bishop Paul Bootkoski, who also approved a McCarrick settlement?

Why is Gregory not demanding that McCarrick’s successor in DC, Cardinal Wuerl, answer these questions? And Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who served under McCarrick in DC? And Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who was warned about McCarrick in writing by Father Boniface Ramsey

Name names. Without that, it’s just PR. Cardinal DiNardo says that bishops need “repentance,” and surely that is the case. But repentance isn’t pulling a long face on TV. Repentance isn’t bouncing out of the archdiocese you and your predecessors left in ruins, and finding a cushy perch ministering to rich conservative Catholics in California wine country. [7]Repentance is retiring to a monastery to pray and work. Repentance is moving to an inner-city mission and scrubbing pots in the soup kitchen. Repentance is taking what Alan Jacobs calls “the Profumo Option,” [8] after John Profumo, the leading British politician brought low by an early 1960s sex scandal. Writes Jacobs:

Profumo — a very well-connected man with many friends and supporters who would gladly have eased him back into some significant political or business role — simply left public life and never fully returned. He began to work as a volunteer for Toynbee Hall [9] [a charity serving the poor] in the East End of London, doing menial work at first and gradually, over the course of decades, becoming a primary fundraiser. He never sought office again. For the rest of his life he worked out of the public eye to serve the poor.

Will a Profumo arise from our current situation? Will even one, single, solitary Christian leader who has been caught doing or enabling or covering for nasty things decide that the proper response is to perform extensive penance? And by performing extensive penance I don’t mean just taking a few months off to plan a comeback tour. I mean, rather, embracing humble service as medicine for the soul.

Will there be even one?

What do you think?

I’ll give Archbishop Gregory this: he grasps that the bishops’ credibility may be totally shot:

When we first established a national lay review board in 2002, conference leadership faced pushback because some felt that we were improperly ceding control of the ministry of bishops. Given the situation we face today, oversight by laity may well provide the only credible assurance that real and decisive actions are being taken. Our trustworthiness as bishops has been so seriously compromised that acting alone—even with the best of intentions and the highest principles, policies and plans—may not move the hearts of the faithful to believe.

Having been burned so many times by believing you, why should they now? Why should Catholic parents sending their sons off to seminary believe that this time, it’ll be different? No more archbishops forcing their sons to spoon with their ordinary in the episcopal bed. No more bishops — even the “good conservative” ones [10]— taking pervy pastors out of parishes, misleading the congregation as to why, then returning them with no explanation?

When I was a little boy, my father taught me the value of a good reputation — including one for honesty. “If you lose your good name,” he said, “you might never get it back.”

The Willow Creek leadership team concluded that it had lost its good name, and could no longer lead effectively. What does having lost their good name — that is, moral credibility — do to the US Catholic bishops? How can they recover? Can they recover? I’m asking seriously.

UPDATE: Phil Lawler, sticking in the knife [11] on Cardinals Blase Cupich and Donald Wuerl, who suggest that corporate “best practices” can solve the credibility problems of the Catholic bishops. Lawler:

We’ve been down this road before, too. Once again I refer you to an old commentary by Diogenes [12], in this case from 2006, when a group of corporate leaders met with American prelates to educate them regarding “the best tools of modern management—detailed budgeting, comprehensive financial disclosure, human resource policies that reward high performers…” So you see our bishops already were acquainted with those “best practices.” Which makes their current plight all the more mysterious—unless you have read Diogenes’ analysis. [12]

I hope I won’t be giving it all away if I merely report the names of the bishops who attended that session:

Those attending that session included then-Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick; Wilton Gregory, then-president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; conference vice president (now president) William Skylstad; and Bishops Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., and William Friend of Shreveport, La.

Notice anything there?

Indeed. Meanwhile, this news in from Ireland, [13] about Pope John Paul II’s Secretary of State:

Former president Mary McAleese says she refused to discuss an attempt by the Vatican in 2003 to secure an agreement with Ireland that it would not access church documents.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms McAleese has revealed what she described as “one of the most devastating moments in my presidency”.

It occurred during a State visit to Italy when she had a private meeting with then Vatican secretary of state Angelo Sodano.

“He indicated that he would like, and the Vatican would like, an agreement with Ireland, a concordat with Ireland. I asked him why and it was very clear it was because he wanted to protect Vatican and diocesan archives. I have to say that I immediately said the conversation had to stop,” Ms McAleese said.

Cardinal Sodano was the great protector of degenerate cult leader Father Marcial Maciel and his Legion of Christ, as well as Austrian Cardinal Hermann Groer [14], a pervert who molested schoolboys and monks.

UPDATE.2: Bishop Robert Barron pens a good piece about this. [15] Excerpt:

So what should be done? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has no juridical or canonical authority to discipline bishops. And even if it tried to launch an investigation, it has, at the moment, very little credibility. Only the Pope has juridical and disciplinary powers in regard to bishops. Hence, I would suggest (as a lowly back-bencher auxiliary) that the bishops of the United States—all of us—petition the Holy Father to form a team, made up mostly of faithful lay Catholics skilled in forensic investigation, and to empower them to have access to all of the relevant documentation and financial records. Their task should be to determine how Archbishop McCarrick managed, despite his widespread reputation for iniquity, to rise through the ranks of the hierarchy and to continue, in his retirement years, to function as a roving ambassador for the Church and to have a disproportionate influence on the appointment of bishops. They should ask the ecclesial version of Sen. Howard Baker’s famous questions: “What did the responsible parties know and when did they know it?” Only after these matters are settled will we know what the next steps ought to be.

Very good point. Reading this from Bishop Barron, who is probably the best evangelist American Catholicism has, made me think about how difficult his brother bishops have made his mission.

84 Comments (Open | Close)

84 Comments To "The Cost Of Real Church Leadership"

#1 Comment By Devin On August 9, 2018 @ 10:36 pm

The bishopsfeel obligated to speak because they will be criticized for remaining silent. Their statements are “fine” but inconsequential. What matters is what they do in November and if a proper, credible investigation is started.

They are not going to start making accusations of guilt by association towards other prelates (nor should they).

As for me personally, I don’t believe that not acting on vague rumors and hearsay is grounds for removal. Even knowledge of settlements are not necessarily actionable as they are often made without an admission of guilt.Though I am interested to hear if anything of substance was presented to the nuncio prior to McCarrick’s Washington appointment.

#2 Comment By Vsevolod On August 9, 2018 @ 11:00 pm

“I told him that I was a Catholic because I believed that the faith was true, and that the truth claims of the Church did not depend on my accepting the integrity or the competence of individual bishops.” — Thank you, Mr. Dreher, you just answered one of my questions. May I also ask, why you still write your critical articles, now that you found true faith in Orthodoxy? Will it do any good if RCC is not the authentic true Church? (Genuinely curios, can’t find the right tone to phrase it.) Thanks!

[NFR: Because I am a journalist, not a religious apologist. Because this is one of the biggest and most important stories in American religion right now. I suppose it’s also the case that I believe the future of the West depends on the health of the Roman Catholic Church. I could be wrong about that, but I know it doesn’t depend on the Orthodox Church, which is tiny here. Does the future of Russia depend on the tiny Catholic Church there? This is what I mean about Orthodoxy here. — RD]

#3 Comment By James On August 9, 2018 @ 11:09 pm

Archbishop Etienne has a good plan laid out.


#4 Comment By Eric Blair On August 10, 2018 @ 12:22 am

But it’s so bad, how do you know you can trust Barron?

#5 Comment By Eliana On August 10, 2018 @ 1:33 am

Bishop DiNardo looks so completely uncomfortable in that interview, shifting his eyes constantly to the side, swallowing hard several times, then looking straight at the floor and keeping his eyes locked there as he answers the question about what he would say to victims.

He seems to me like a man who has probably been accustomed to getting by for quite some time by spouting trite phrases in mellifluous tones.

And he’d like to do that in this interview, too, and half-heartedly tries it but realizes that kite is not gonna fly here.

Which leaves him unfortunately looking like a comic doing a parody of an inept con man trying desperately to pull off some kind of scam.

Oh my.

#6 Comment By Todd Flowerday On August 10, 2018 @ 2:50 am

Given the readiness of many in this commentariat to defend Lincoln and attack its critics, I find it curious that so many here want bishops to turn on each other in ways conservative Catholics were just unwilling to do last week.

The truth is that bishops know one another in real life, unlike those who pine for some reincarnation of Eden in central North America.

For now, I’m content to give this time. I think a mixed investigative team of non-Catholic experts and Catholic laity would be ideal. No problem if the bishops want to see the final report first, but I think we should all read the same report a day or two later.

#7 Comment By charles cosimano On August 10, 2018 @ 2:58 am

“Very good point. Reading this from Bishop Barron, who is probably the best evangelist American Catholicism has,”

If he’s the best they’ve got they don’t have much. It is not the job of an evangelist to bore people to death.

A commission of Catholics to investigate the Bishops. That will have all the credibility of a police internal investigation–like none whatsoever. Be interesting how they would phrase the whitewash on the charnel house though.

#8 Comment By Fran Macadam On August 10, 2018 @ 7:17 am

Why not just toss these creeps out onto the street and leave them to their own devices? That’s what corporate America and the secular business world do even to the innocent they fire, let alone the guilty. And it’s what happens to protestant leaders when they’re turfed – cut off completely, without any further support at all.

Why is this cocooned world of sinecures so different?

#9 Comment By ginger On August 10, 2018 @ 7:18 am

“[NFR: I just saw that Sipe died today. — RD]”

Well, I don’t expect the Church to rush Sipe to canonization anytime too soon, but this is a man whose life-long crusade to warn the Church and its people about the dangers of clerical sexual secrecy and corruption makes me want to shout “Santo Subito!” today. Thank you, Richard Sipe.

May he rest in peace.

#10 Comment By Uncle Billy On August 10, 2018 @ 7:22 am

The Bishops are in a difficult place, much of it due to their own actions or lack of action. They now have little moral authority. The laity simply ignores them.

The road back will be long and hard. The whole top down model of the Church, where the laity has no voice and is expected to pay, pray and obey is no longer valid in the West, especially the Anglosphere. The hierarchy will need to include the laity in their decision making, or they will be ignored.

Many conservatives will say that the laity having a voice is not “Catholic” and only the clergy should lead. Those days are gone. The medieval model of the clergy as the aristocracy and the laity as serfs has gone off the road and into a ditch. It is now time for some dramatic change.

#11 Comment By ginger On August 10, 2018 @ 7:46 am

[NFR: Benedict Groeschel recycled clerical sex abusers through his psychological treatment center. He was more a part of the problem than the solution. — RD]

Tell me about it. Don’t get me started on Groeschel and his ilk!

[NFR: I am convinced that he is the one who outed me to McCarrick back in 2002. After McCarrick’s representative called my editor and tried to get me taken off my investigation of him, I phoned the priest who first tipped me off about the group of laity who had flown to Rome on their own dime to warn the Vatican about McCarrick. I told him that McCarrick knew that I was looking into it. How did he find out? I asked. I was certain that the two members of that mission I had phoned had not called him to tip him off. The priest said, “Wow, I don’t know. The only person I told that I had talked to you was my spiritual advisor, Benedict Groeschel.” That priest really did believe that Groeschel, being conservative, was trustworthy on sexual abuse. — RD]

#12 Comment By Philly guy On August 10, 2018 @ 8:09 am

Calling on some in the hierarchy to “Name names” and “who knew what”.Under what legal obligation are they compelled to reveal this information?What kind of real authority does an ecclesiastical court have?Can they be forced to testify against their will and to incriminate themselves? Are allegations and rumors a legal basis for discrimination or prejudice against advancement?Can the priests and bishops sue the Church for making decisions based on rumors?Is this why their responses so “mealy mouthed” and legalistic ?

#13 Comment By Arthur Sido On August 10, 2018 @ 8:12 am

At what point do people come to realize that the institution is unredeemable? The top down corruption in Rome isn’t a new thing or restricted to the 20th century, Rodrigo Borgia was pope back in the 15th century fathering illegitimate children left and right. Even if all of the American bishops resigned it wouldn’t change anything and we know that is not going to happen. It amazes me that anyone shows up for Mass but then again the power of institutional inertia and tradition is immense.

#14 Comment By Hope On August 10, 2018 @ 8:24 am

Cardinal DiNardo. I can’t even. I tried to watch this and about 2 minutes in, I had to stop it. These guys just don’t get it. Their credibility is GONE. More pablum and vagarities about transparency are falling on deaf ears, at least my deaf ears. And gathering with their ‘brother Knights’ is just another party with a bunch of guys bowing to them and never challenging them on anything. I’m sure the Knights do some good work, but my family is deeply entrenched in KofC…it’s a lot of socializing and fawning. Ugh.
And BTW, R.I.P. Richard Sipe.

#15 Comment By Frank D On August 10, 2018 @ 9:02 am

“I don’t mean to be sarcastic about it, but we have heard bishops say how sorry they are for sexual abuse and misconduct over and over for 1600 years, and yet, here we are. ”

Slight correction there…

#16 Comment By Frank D On August 10, 2018 @ 9:20 am

If this guy is the best the RCC can do to deal with this latest round of revelations it is in deep trouble.

#17 Comment By Lllurker On August 10, 2018 @ 9:20 am

“You all must remember something. Willow Creek is not the only game in town. There are lots of other megachurches people can go to so it is in the interest of the people running WC to do what it can to keep its market share. They have to respond.”

“The Catholic Church? Not so much. Make some statements, throw a few priests and a Bishop to the mob and then go on as usual.”

No truer words. Charles you’re on a roll.

The evidence indicates that the Catholic Church as a whole must be completely crushed before she will find the motivation to fix anything. In other words as long as those in power still have anything to lose they won’t be giving it up on their own. Which probably means that tens of millions more will have to abandon Catholicism, and leave the Church financially unsustainable, before any genuine housecleaning can take place.

#18 Comment By Carlo Cristofori On August 10, 2018 @ 11:00 am

I am afraid the bishops are not going to do much of anything. Unlike the seismic eruption at the turn of the century, this does not primarily involve sexual abuse of young men under the age of legal consent.

Thee is not the same type of pressure from the secular media. The bishops are going to have to root out the homosexual networks – something they don’t want to do and more importantly something the secular world does not want them to do – there would be a constant barrage of accusations of homophobia.

It would take a great deal of bravery –something the bishops as a group have never been known for – just ask St. John Fisher.

[NFR: I’ve used this metaphor in a different case, but I think it might well apply here: bishops are going to have to root out the homosexual clerical networks for the same reason that an animal caught in a trap has to chew off its leg to escape death. The problem with the bishops is that they fear that they are going to have to amputate a lot more than a limb to survive … and they fear that they might just bleed out. — RD]

#19 Comment By JohnT On August 10, 2018 @ 11:10 am

“And gathering with their ‘brother Knights’ is just another party with a bunch of guys bowing to them and never challenging them on anything. I’m sure the Knights do some good work, but my family is deeply entrenched in KofC…it’s a lot of socializing and fawning. Ugh.”

I picked up on the “brother knights” comment too. You are spot on. The church people hide behind the bureaucracy they have created. The fawning is enablement. Once I had a project which involved the KoC. It was like you didn’t exist when they got with their brother knights, and when a priest got involved all the phony deference would start. If “Father” didn’t like an idea it was killed immediately. For example if someone on the KoC wanted to read the BenOp, and all his brother knights bought the book, and “father” got wind of it and said not a good idea. They’d stop and likely the brother knight who started it would be diminished in the community. This is the enablement that causes the problems. I’d love for a KoC to challenge me on this aspect of their culture.

#20 Comment By Ain’t Ben On August 10, 2018 @ 11:52 am

The Willow Creek events have made a lot of headlines even in the general media. People, religious and otherwise, are impressed by the integrity of those who stepped down.

It’s notable that what’s alleged at Willow Creek is far less shocking the Cathokic scandals. Their founder, Bill Hybels, has a long trail of accusations that he harassed and even assaulted women, and his behavior had been excused or disbelieved for years. The coverups and excuses recently ended.

This was enough for Willow Creek’s top leadership to resign in a self-sacrificial effort to get the church back on the right path. I assume there’s an element of taking responsibility and performing pennance there, too, but I haven’t come across their individual explanations.

What makes Willow Creek so different from the Catholic Church, or other evangelical churches that have never stepped up to address their own clerical crimes and perversions? At least two factors jump out right away: First, Willow Creek is not a conservative church by evangelical standards. Second, it has long (always?) had women in leadership roles.

#21 Comment By WK On August 10, 2018 @ 12:10 pm

“I’m sure the Knights do some good work, but my family is deeply entrenched in KofC…it’s a lot of socializing and fawning. Ugh.” -Hope

The KoC do indeed do a lot of good work, from pressuring the Obama Admin. to finally acknowledge the genocide against Christians in the Middle East, to supporting Special Olympics, to funding ultrasound machines for pregnancy centers, to helping out with natural disasters here at home, I’m proud to be a Knight for those reasons.

That being said, both issues of “Columbia,” the group’s official magazine, to come out since June have no mention of the McCarrick scandal. I sent an email to the Supreme Knight a week ago asking for them to speak out and provide lay leadership in this crisis. I have not heard anything since.

I think the KoC is too defensive when it comes to the clergy, we after all promise to defend our parish priests as part of being Knights. But the KoC needs to realize that sometimes the church needs defending from the (bad) clergy, and it’s silence on this matter is deafening. I think they are revealing themselves to be too cozy with the hierarchy and the Vatican to want to do the hard thing and criticize the church’s leaders for their obvious and grievous failings on sexual abuse and the related coverups.

The very least the Knights could do would be to donate all of the money McCarrick helped them raise to groups helping abuse victims.

#22 Comment By Fr Khouri On August 10, 2018 @ 12:25 pm

Let’s be honest, many of the bishops are liars and some are complicit.

#23 Comment By Captain P On August 10, 2018 @ 12:26 pm

Reformed Christian here, so an outsider, but let me say how sick and tired I am of reading all the buck-passing and excuses from RCC leaders. “The priests can’t say anything or they might lose their jobs! The bishop can’t do anything! The conference of bishops doesn’t have the power to do anything! The pope should do it, but he isn’t doing anything, so we’ll just sit around and wait for a small number of journalists and brave whistleblowers to speak out!”

Any claim that being in communion with this particular hierarchy is necessary for our salvation is utterly unbelievable at this point.

#24 Comment By connecticut farmer On August 10, 2018 @ 12:37 pm

It seems that Bishop Barron has hit the nail on the head. The door must be opened to let fresh air into the room. And the only way is full disclosure–and let the chips fall where they may!! Otherwise, there’s no hope for the Church in America. None!

#25 Comment By JonF On August 10, 2018 @ 1:16 pm

Re: bishops are going to have to root out the homosexual clerical networks for the same reason that an animal caught in a trap has to chew off its leg to escape death.

If the Church maintains a ban on gay men in the seminaries, and especially if the celibacy discipline is also dropped, the problem will be taken care of by the passage of time as older clergy die off.

#26 Comment By Louis On August 10, 2018 @ 1:52 pm

It’s frustrating to hear it said that the American bishops have to defer to the Pope in order to deal with one of their own. No telling what Francis would do. He is willing to let national conferences decide questions of doctrine, of the Truth of the Catholic Faith, but he can’t let them discipline a wayward or incompetent bishop in their ranks? Deferring to the Vatican on this seems to me like another exercise in passing the buck, shuffling to avoid anything really getting done.

#27 Comment By pbnelson On August 10, 2018 @ 1:54 pm

Hope says:
August 10, 2018 at 8:24 am
Cardinal DiNardo. I can’t even. I tried to watch this and about 2 minutes in, I had to stop it. These guys just don’t get it. Their credibility is GONE.

This! Hope, you nailed it. Two minutes of DiNardo was more than I could bear. What a load of weasel words. At this point all I think I could stand to hear from these guys is something like,

“I’m simply furious. I can hardly control my anger. All of us in the Church have been deeply wounded by these jerks. I call for a full, independent investigation with subpoena power. Let the heavens fall, but justice be done. I want to know who knew, and when, and why they didn’t do anything about it. I want resignations. And I want jail sentences. In the Vatican prison if necessary.”

Hey, we can dream, can’t we?

#28 Comment By pbnelson On August 10, 2018 @ 2:17 pm

James says:
August 9, 2018 at 11:09 pm
Archbishop Etienne has a good plan laid out.

You’re joking, right? Etienne calls for the USCCB to convene an ad hoc committee! Of no more than seven members! To write a protocol! to be placed before the body of bishops! for review and approval! as soon as possible! to be kept secret! unless public action or response has been taken by the competent authority within 60 days! [exclamations added for humor, but otherwise honest quotes, sheesh!]

Is this a parody? He should be calling for resignations, not studies. The bishops had their time to study. Study hall is over. The test was given, and has been taken. They failed. Grade F. No do-overs.

#29 Comment By Dale Matson On August 10, 2018 @ 2:53 pm

“Course of Action Responding to Moral Failures of Judgement on the Part of Church Leaders” I read the statement but could not find the course of action to the Moral Failures of Judgement. Additionally, aren’t their moral failures of behavior to be addressed?

#30 Comment By thomas tucker On August 10, 2018 @ 3:00 pm

@JonF: as long as clericalism continues in the RCC, there will still be substantial problems, even if the older clergy die off. Just different problems.

#31 Comment By Lucy On August 10, 2018 @ 5:53 pm

Rod wrote: “Four years later, I was no longer a Catholic. … I left because I no longer believed that everything the Catholic Church taught was true. … I didn’t know how I was going to raise kids in a church where we didn’t trust the leadership.”

I knew about your concern for your kids (because you’ve written about it), but I didn’t know that your trust in everything the Church taught had been eroded. I’d be interested to learn more about what that looked like — have you written about it?

[NFR: Here and there. It wasn’t that I thought everything the Catholic Church taught was untrue. It’s that I no longer believed that my salvation depended on being in communion with Rome. I didn’t believe what the Catholic Church claimed about itself anymore. — RD]

#32 Comment By JonF On August 12, 2018 @ 7:28 am

Thomas Tucker,
There will problems in the clergy, and the laity, until the Parousia. Which is not reason to blase about these things, but if we set the bar at total sinlessness we will be very disillusioned.

#33 Comment By Sharon On August 12, 2018 @ 10:14 am

Bishop Robert Barron? I unsubscribed from his email list because it seemed unseemly for a man of the cloth to be constantly trying to sell me something. I’ll pass. But then they made this priest, a darling of conservatives, an auxiliary in one of the most liberal dioceses in the country. Why? To play conservatives for fools like they’ve been doing for decades. Is Barron a conservative as so many people seem to think? Is he orthodox? Then why is he silent about the LA REC, where “educators” had the opportunity to be informed by dissidents on how to present the Genderbread person to Catholic families. A priest who spoke at that presentation, Bryan Massingale from Fordham University, will also be featured at a News Ways Ministry retreat for gay priests, bishops and deacons to be held in Racine, WI this October. What has Barron said about this? Nothing at all. What is the bishop of Racine doing about the retreat? Nothing at all. Why are they saying and doing nothing? Either they are tremendous cowards, or even worse, they honestly see nothing wrong here. The bishops have lost all moral credibility. They all need to go.

#34 Comment By Brother Jerome On August 13, 2018 @ 12:00 am

And never do one of these men speak in the language of John the Baptist, but only in the miserable cant
of illegitimate “authorities” everywhere – lying bureaucrats and politicians in particular. They just cannot bring themselves to believe. Perhaps nothing short of imminent martyrdom could bring any of them face to face with anything serious at all. Is there one of them that would accept it? It is a terrible question to ask, but for a servant of god who has pledged his life to God’s service…