Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Everybody claims the same thing.

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. - Dreher
Long 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

Yeah.  So? 

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.


  1. Lot's to ponder Terry. Thing is, with the internet as a megaphone, this phenomena will never go away, but rather will grow and live forever. Here in New York the statute of limitations to sue perpetrators is now, as of last week, suspended for one year. The window to file a law suit and prosecute is available for one year. So far most have been known perpetrators but there are new ones serfacing both in our Church and other child centered organizations. So, the media is full of this once again. A local pastor at a Parish I attended since moving is now accused. We will learn more as these cases develop in court proceedings as to who knew what and when and did nothing. The lawyers are on TV demanding "secret files" from the Dioceasan Chanceries. Current, retire and even dead Bishops are all under the microscope now. As for Burke, I cannot wrap my head around calling into doubt the election of a Pontiff through a Conclave. For me he is calling into question the whole belief the tha Holy Spirit is the one who selects the new Pope through the Cardinals. His is a serious charge that also calls into question the doctrine of papal selection. I sometimes wonder who and what will be left standing after all the in fighting ends. If it ends! Of course God will survive and those who lived Jesus's teachings most faithfully. I hope and pray to be one.

  2. Wow ... Burke. I suppose all is fair in love and war so I am going to now question Burke's fidelity since he seems to give the impression that he agrees with those who would question the validity of this last papal conclave.
    I remain unimpressed with him even more so now.

  3. This is kind of a can of worms and I'll try to add a little to what I've said. The Cardinal, to be fair, didn't actually call into question the election of the pope, he discussed the issue in the interview, touching on points others have suggested to cast doubt on Pope Francis, e.g. the St. Gallen mafia and that whole thread contained in Taylor Marshall's book. The upshot is Burke concluded there's no way to prove it. Sometimes he acts like an old lady pearl clutcher who gets his listeners all worked up. I might mention all that in a separate post. The amazing thing to me is how Burke's fans get so defensive if anyone criticizes him, yet are so willing to pick apart the Franciscan papacy, and make such audacious claims about the Holy Father. To date I've heard these people claim he's nuts, possessed, or just a fake Pope. Burke doesn't help dispel such nonsense.

  4. Terry you are kind to suspend judgement of Cardinal Burke and his intentions. I have read that he has connections to Steve Brannon and Church Militant. I have no idea what that may mean, but Bannon tried and failed to recently open his school for training the anti-Francis believers in an empty Italian Monastery. Brannon was to build a home there as well and this was to be his headquarters. So there is that. In addition the subtle tactic of implying something without stating it outright is a classic move to influence people's thinking. Burke seems a master at it. I read Rod Dreher's article after my first post to see the parts you left out. I found the entire article not only well written but very thought provoking. Upon reflection I wonder if his senenario of Fr. Benedict Groschel is actually true or he just believes it to be true. I really was impressed with the CS Lewis quote about scoundrels. Anyone who was not home schooled or never worked outside the home can related to that. All sin, bad choices and even evil progress in small incremental steps often in conjunction with the desire to please someone important to us until it is too late or too difficult to turn back. I have retrieved my copy of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis from the bookshelve. I need something to cleanse my mind of all of this conspiracy stuff and be anchored to some rational and positive thoughts.

  5. Just to clarify, Burke has severed the connection to the institution that Bannon infiltrated.

  6. Interesting Todd. Do you have more information about how Brannon "infiltrated" that group and any citations of Burke publicly repuderating them? I would be interested to read more about that.


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