Scanning FB and other online sources - including Cardinal O'Malley's recent comments, I see I am not alone in my outrage, my disgust, my being scandalized by the McCarrick scandal and the collusion of the priestly caste and other Catholics over the years.
It's a major problem that just can't be put in a box under your bed, much less something to use to shame the victims and the faithful - even those Catholics who left the Church because of the cover-ups and sexual abuse of minors. One may indeed console oneself with a personal examination of conscience for their part in the cover-up, but this time around, there needs to be a major cleanup and exposure of the corruption in the Church. Pious prayers concerning 'the filth' does nothing to correct the enablers.
One can say we are all to blame, or we can perpetually repeat the very guilt-inducing cliche, 'we get the bishops we deserve' - but that no longer works, nor should it work. When Christ lamented, with pity and compassion, "They are like sheep without a shepherd.' He was not scolding them for being ignorant or misled, much less for being scandalized - he was moved to pity, to mercy. He taught and spoke with authority, and he wasn't blaming the sheep for the hypocrisy and corruption of the shepherds. He wasn't waving them away, despite the fact his own disciples would plead with him to send them away, or sometimes they themselves would tell them to keep quiet. Jesus knew what spirit they were, and did not turn any away.
When Jesus scolded them to examine their own consciences, he wasn't challenging the sheep to blame themselves for the scandals they endured, but rather directing the shepherds to go and learn the meaning of justice and mercy. Blaming the victim is never the way to act or respond to this evil - Pope Francis learned that the hard way in the Chilean abuse case. Dismissing souls with pious platitudes does nothing to remedy the situation.
That said, Ross Douthat has one of the best articles on the problem so far. I'm not that familiar with him, although if I remember correctly some Catholic pundits don't like him, and I think people like Fr. Z have criticized him before as well. Right now, in the history of the Church, not being liked by clergy and hierarchy may be a sign that one is doing something good - even saintly. (I'll have to do a series on saints who were condemned by bishops and priests.)
Priest and prophet forage in a land they know not.
I said in my alarm;
'no man can be trusted'
all have gone astray,
there is not a good man left -
there is no one who does good,
no, not even one.
Anyway, the NYT has a paywall, so I will quickly post a couple of pull-quotes to give some sense of Douthat's opinion piece, which demonstrates that 'I'm not alone' in my disgust and insistence this case takes precedence and requires definitive corrective measure - to the point of complete exposure. Hopefully laity will not be shamed into silence again.
[W]hat needs to be commissioned this time, by Pope Francis himself if the American bishops can’t or won’t, isn’t a synthetic overview of a systemic problem. Rather, the church needs an inquest, a special prosecutor — you can even call it an inquisition if you want — into the very specific question of who knew what and when about the crimes of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and why exactly they were silent.
In 2013, when Pope Benedict XVI resigned, McCarrick was too old to vote in the conclave but was active in the politicking. When Pope Francis was elected, he became an eminence grise, whose lobbying helped elevate several of the new pope’s choices for high office in the American church — including the new cardinal archbishop of Newark, Joseph Tobin, and the head of the Vatican dicastery for family life, Kevin Farrell, both of whom considered McCarrick a mentor.
In other words, two decades after McCarrick should have been removed from his offices, defrocked and handed over to the civil authorities, he was instead wielding remarkable influence in the church … right up until the moment when a lifetime’s worth of crimes were finally dragged into the light.
I think this long and sickening narrative should clarify why the McCarrick case, though “only” about one abuser, merits an expansive and public accounting of the facts. Over the course of multiple decades, across a period in which not just crimes but cover-ups devastated the moral credibility of the church’s hierarchy, many important figures in Rome and the United States must have known that a man who embodied the official response to the scandal was as guilty as any of the priests whose conduct he pretended to deplore.
Someone, or indeed many someones, needs to be held accountable for this disaster. And that accountability requires more than self-exculpating statements from the cardinals involved. - Douthat, NYT