The Cardinal Wept.
They all blame each other.
Yet they all do and say the same things about one another. Guess who said this?
Like the Red Guards of old, they pit one Pope against another and trash anyone who might still respect a predecessor…. well, certain predecessors.I'm sure the Red Guards analogy gives it away. Fr. Z and others make the claim liberals are doing that, but traditionalist do exactly the same thing - they pit Pio IX and X against post Vatican II everything, citing homo heresies and Masonic inspired liturgies, and all sorts of Modernist heretical teaching, even accusing the Pope himself.
Recently one Cardinal did an interview with Patrick Coffin, more or less calling into question the legitimacy of the conclave which elected Pope Francis. Guess which Cardinal was interviewed?
The podcast is supposed to be the “credible alternative” to mainstream accounts?
This stuff gets stuck in the online and collective conversation-debate and influences a selective, albeit collective memory according to individual bias. The questions become embedded and have a negative affect upon ordinary believers. Dawn Eden Goldstein calls out those who do this as promoting a 'hermeneutic of suspicion' regarding the Holy Father, and I would add, anything to do with VII and the Ordinary Form of Mass.
That said, friends on FB were sharing a recent article from Rod Dreher, "It's Not Paranoia if It's True" where he discusses an article by Ross Douthat on the subject - taking conspiracy theories seriously: "Douthat has a good piece this morning about how there are times when conspiracy theorists are actually closer to the truth than their critics."
And not only true of Epstein and his pals. As I’ve written before, when I was starting my career as a journalist I sometimes brushed up against people peddling a story about a network of predators in the Catholic hierarchy — not just pedophile priests, but a self-protecting cabal above them — that seemed like a classic case of the paranoid style, a wild overstatement of the scandal’s scope. I dismissed them then as conspiracy theorists, and indeed they had many of conspiracism’s vices — above all, a desire to believe that the scandal they were describing could be laid entirely at the door of their theological enemies, liberal or traditional.
But on many important points and important names, they were simply right. - Douthat
Dreher steps in with his own experiences, to make the case - I will only link a section, so as to keep this short. (Unlike Dreher's article!)
Indeed they were. My own experience with that world, and that story, has made me far less likely to believe official stories. Let me add some context. Some of this is going to be familiar to many readers, but bears repeating in light of the Epstein drama.
In early 2002, shortly after the Boston trial of Father Geoghan blew open the Catholic sex scandal nationwide, I received a tip from a priest that Cardinal Ted McCarrick of DC had a history of sexually abusing seminarians. The priest said a group of prominent lay Catholics who knew this about him flew to Rome at their own expense, trying to prevent McCarrick from being named as Washington archbishop, which would have made him a cardinal. They met with an unnamed Vatican official to tell them what they knew about McCarrick, but it made no difference. McCarrick got his red hat.
The priest gave me the names of two men who had been on that trip, both of them well-known in their professions. I called the first one, who said yes, he had been on that trip, but didn’t want to talk about it. The second one told me that “if that were true, I wouldn’t tell you about it for the same reason Noah’s sons covered their father in his drunkenness.” Translation: yes, it’s true, but I’m not going to talk about it to protect the Church. - DreherLong story short, back in 2002, Dreher intended to do an article discussing Ted McCarrick, but his publisher nixed it. "He told me that he had received a phone call from a very well known public conservative (I’m not going to name him here) who identified himself as a friend of Cardinal McCarrick, and said that the cardinal was aware that Rod Dreher was going to report a story that was true, but not criminal, and that would be very embarrassing to the cardinal. The caller asked my editor to kill the story."
Dreher eventually links the whistle-blower to Fr. Groeschel, who had been his informant's spiritual director. - I think I got that right? (Dreher's article is a long one.) Dreher goes on to describe an 'inner circle' of clergy and lay people - informants - who protect perpetrators from exposure and scandal.
Anyway, the guy who phoned my editor on McCarrick’s behalf is a well-known conservative, a closeted gay man, and also a Catholic. What that act showed me, and what Groeschel’s likely ratting me out showed me, was that networks of loyalty can run counter to what we expect. This was all important for my education. I would not have thought that a prominent conservative would run interference for a liberal cardinal whom he believed to be a sexual abuser of seminarians — but he did. Whether he did it because McCarrick was a friend, or because of a lavender mafia thing, or both, I dunno. I would not have thought that a prominent conservative priest would alert a liberal cardinal that a journalist was snooping around his sexual business — but I am certain that Groeschel did this, probably because his ultimate loyalty was to the institution, not to the truth, or to righteousness. - Dreher
Like I said, Dreher's article is long and detailed go here to read. He's probably not wrong in most of what he is saying, and there are good points to consider, but he's essentially adding more unverifiable trash to the fire of rumor and conjecture, adding more pages of conspiracy theories and gossip. It is part of the same hermeneutic of suspicion' promoted by everyone else - liberal or conservative. Even people who know better - academics - buy into it, and they think they are getting the truth - or pieces of it - which can be used to fit their own narrative. Articles such as these I've cited add to a sort of virtual 'conspiracy theory catalog' and never go away or get resolved.
The relationships between dominant practices of mass communication and widely accepted “conspiracy theories” require closer attention. The tendency of conspiracy adherents to selectively employ alternative information and communication resources while rejecting the “good information” readily available to the public has frequently been cited. Largely overlooked has been the basic character of an overall media environment wherein most information accessible to citizens is structured in accordance with commercial and/or state interests. Some conspiracy theories may appear plausible due to ongoing public exposure to integration propaganda pervasive within the mainstream media and a corresponding receptiveness to compatible expressions of agitation propaganda. Other conspiracy theories may gain appeal as “credible alternatives” to mainstream accounts, once longstanding media frames and narratives have been subjected to critical scrutiny. - Source
Every one is doing it - spreading doubt, and attacking one another - the good and the bad employ the exact same tactics. I think the likes of Dreher, Coffin, Fr. Z and even Cardinal Burke do a lot more harm than they realize. I've been in a position to inform - to stave off scandal - perhaps in a similar way as Dreher speculates concerning Fr. Groeschel. I've also looked the other way rather than admit or reveal a non-criminal situation. I never wanted to be part of an inner circle, I just figured those in the know, knew or would find out on their own. I was convinced, as one who has been abused, that if I said anything, I wouldn't be believed anyway. It is one of the reasons I've kept my distance from bishops and priests and religious people. Even the best of them gossip and tell tales based on 'alternative facts'.
Everyone feeds the beast.