A reckoning for Pope Francis

Follow the money.  That's the first thing to keep in mind when looking at the recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on abusive priests.  As Bill Donohue has pointed out, the two-year investigation accusing 300 priests goes back to the 1930s, including many non-priests, and while it is lurid, it likely contains many false accusations.

Most importantly, no current priests are being charged with anything.  In a backhanded way, the report confirms that the so-called Dallas Charter, the zero tolerance policy the American bishops instituted in 2002, has basically worked.  Credible charges of sex with minors and child pornography are now being dealt with appropriately.

What the Pennsylvania A.G., Shapiro, is up to, according to Donohue and others, is just another money grab.  He wants to pass new laws to push back the statute of limitations for lawsuits against the Catholic Church, and only the Church – and not public schools or any other Democratic Party sacred cows.

My personal experience conforms with this suspicion.  Back in the late 1970s, there was a Catholic orphanage near my neighborhood that had an abusive priest and several nuns, who eventually wound up costing the archdiocese millions of dollars.  I was going to a public high school where there were all sorts of rumors about teachers and coaches having sex with students.  A few years later, these were all confirmed, and the school board quietly dismissed the offenders, with no legal fanfare.  This sort of thing continues to plague my hometown public schools, and the board is good at keeping everyone in the dark about how much it may be paying in legal settlements every year.

What's really important in this story is that it has magnified the recent ouster of one of the great villains in the American Church, Theodore McCarrick.  McCarrick was long the go-to guy for Democrat Catholics who wanted a pass on the abortion issue.  Now McCarrick is the face of the "lavender mafia," the network of high-ranking gay men throughout the worldwide Catholic Church.  (His misdeeds with seminarians were uncovered not by the legal authorities, but as part of a long-term investigation by a New York diocese.)  These men are all the more insidious because they are usually smart enough to lay off sexual victims under the age of consent.  All the while, they have built up a powerful faction that goes deep into the College of Cardinals and the Vatican bureaucracy.

Pope Benedict got a start on suppressing these men, appointing reliable bishops in America to begin fighting their influence, and bringing Raymond Burke to the Vatican to lead the main effort.  Unfortunately, Benedict resigned just as this push was really getting going, and his successor, Pope Francis, was elected with the help of the lavender faction.  That's why Cardinal Burke was sidelined into a meaningless position as soon as Francis took over.

Even Pope Francis has been admitting in private that seminaries have to screen out gay men.  He's not stupid.  He knows what a mess this is, but he made a deal with the devil to get elected pope, and now he is constrained to act against all his lavender allies.  My guess is, being 82, he bumbles along a few more years and then retires, citing the good example of his predecessor, saying the modern papacy requires younger, healthier men.

In the meantime, Bishop Morlino of Madison, at least, was emboldened to speak out against homosexuality among the clergy.  (The good bishop, by the way, is also championing another cause I think all non-tone-deaf Catholics and Protestants can agree on: the end of Marty Haugen church music.) 

For those of us remaining faithful Catholics, the fight is now on to make sure Wuerl, Cupich, and the rest of the gang are no longer in the College of Cardinals when the time comes to choose Francis's successor.

Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, Ky.

Follow the money.  That's the first thing to keep in mind when looking at the recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on abusive priests.  As Bill Donohue has pointed out, the two-year investigation accusing 300 priests goes back to the 1930s, including many non-priests, and while it is lurid, it likely contains many false accusations.

Most importantly, no current priests are being charged with anything.  In a backhanded way, the report confirms that the so-called Dallas Charter, the zero tolerance policy the American bishops instituted in 2002, has basically worked.  Credible charges of sex with minors and child pornography are now being dealt with appropriately.

What the Pennsylvania A.G., Shapiro, is up to, according to Donohue and others, is just another money grab.  He wants to pass new laws to push back the statute of limitations for lawsuits against the Catholic Church, and only the Church – and not public schools or any other Democratic Party sacred cows.

My personal experience conforms with this suspicion.  Back in the late 1970s, there was a Catholic orphanage near my neighborhood that had an abusive priest and several nuns, who eventually wound up costing the archdiocese millions of dollars.  I was going to a public high school where there were all sorts of rumors about teachers and coaches having sex with students.  A few years later, these were all confirmed, and the school board quietly dismissed the offenders, with no legal fanfare.  This sort of thing continues to plague my hometown public schools, and the board is good at keeping everyone in the dark about how much it may be paying in legal settlements every year.

What's really important in this story is that it has magnified the recent ouster of one of the great villains in the American Church, Theodore McCarrick.  McCarrick was long the go-to guy for Democrat Catholics who wanted a pass on the abortion issue.  Now McCarrick is the face of the "lavender mafia," the network of high-ranking gay men throughout the worldwide Catholic Church.  (His misdeeds with seminarians were uncovered not by the legal authorities, but as part of a long-term investigation by a New York diocese.)  These men are all the more insidious because they are usually smart enough to lay off sexual victims under the age of consent.  All the while, they have built up a powerful faction that goes deep into the College of Cardinals and the Vatican bureaucracy.

Pope Benedict got a start on suppressing these men, appointing reliable bishops in America to begin fighting their influence, and bringing Raymond Burke to the Vatican to lead the main effort.  Unfortunately, Benedict resigned just as this push was really getting going, and his successor, Pope Francis, was elected with the help of the lavender faction.  That's why Cardinal Burke was sidelined into a meaningless position as soon as Francis took over.

Even Pope Francis has been admitting in private that seminaries have to screen out gay men.  He's not stupid.  He knows what a mess this is, but he made a deal with the devil to get elected pope, and now he is constrained to act against all his lavender allies.  My guess is, being 82, he bumbles along a few more years and then retires, citing the good example of his predecessor, saying the modern papacy requires younger, healthier men.

In the meantime, Bishop Morlino of Madison, at least, was emboldened to speak out against homosexuality among the clergy.  (The good bishop, by the way, is also championing another cause I think all non-tone-deaf Catholics and Protestants can agree on: the end of Marty Haugen church music.) 

For those of us remaining faithful Catholics, the fight is now on to make sure Wuerl, Cupich, and the rest of the gang are no longer in the College of Cardinals when the time comes to choose Francis's successor.

Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, Ky.