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Let’s Starve the Church?

“Because the story of Theodore McCarrick isn’t just a story about sexual abuse. It’s about institutions and power.”
—Jonathan Last, The American Standard, 15 Sept. 2018.

There is a fine article in The American Standard by Jonathan Last giving a long view on the current crisis in the Church.  He gives a good summary of what has gone on before and, most importantly, puts it all in a context of who has power in the Church and what that signifies.

“The institutional damage is done not by the abusers but by the structures that cover for them, excuse them, and advance them. Viewed in that way, the damage done to the Catholic church by Cardinal Wuerl—and every other bishop who knew about McCarrick and stayed silent—is several orders of magnitude greater than that done by McCarrick himself.”
loc. cit.

As Last points out, the Pope has absolute authority as a moral judge; he can ignore immorality or he can deal with it.

The Catholic church is unlike any other earthly institution. It is strictly hierarchical, with its ultimate power derived from the son of God. The head of the church—the successor of Peter—is elected to a lifetime appointment by his peers, and his authority over them is total. He can allow them to carry on sexual affairs in broad daylight, as Francis did with Father Krzysztof Charamsa, a priest who worked for years in the Vatican curia while living openly with his gay lover. Or he can drive them from the church, as Francis did with Father Charamsa after the priest made his situation public in the Italian media in 2015. He can make either of these choices—or any choice in between—for any reason he likes. Or none at all. Such is the supreme power of the vicar of Christ.”
loc. cit.

Last goes on to talk about how a cabal of four “progressive” cardinals acted to get Bergoglio elected Pope, and the consequences of this.  He then projects four possible scenarios for the future:

  1. Francis could resign;
  2. Catholics could resign themselves to the moral mess to which some of the hierarchy has led us;
  3. A low probability option is schism;
  4. Finally, Catholics could resist the changes the liberal hierarchy is trying to install (a la the liberal resistance to Trump?)

And how would this resistance be carried out?   One weapon Last suggests is to

“..starve bishops such as Wuerl, Cupich, and Tobin of funds. Not a dime for any church in any diocese headed by a bishop who refuses to root out abusers and their enablers.”
loc. cit.

And resistance plus organization might work …in another 40 years or so.   Is that too long?  I’m not sure.

So, what do  you think, dear reader?  (Go here to read the full article.  It’s well worth the 20 minutes.)

 

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Bob Kurland, Ph.D.

Retired, cranky, old physicist. Convert to Catholicism in 1995. Trying to show that there is no contradiction between what science tells us about the world and our Catholic faith. Intermittent blogs and adult education classes to achieve this end (see http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/ and http://home.ptd.net/~rkurland). Extraordinary Minister of Communion, volunteer to federal prison and hospital; lector, EOMC. Sometime player of bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet, bass, tenor bowed psaltery for parish instrumental group and local folk group.

9 Comments

  1. Bob- Here is what can be done NOW- Strip them of office, miter, power and wealth via lawsuits, civil and criminal, and for canon law fraud, across the US, and a nationwide federal RICO lawsuit, the one for “corrupt organizations.” If this means thousands of priests and bishops are found guilty and sentenced, so be it, Amen.And give FULL immunity to underlings, nun chancellors, other coconspirators, and even lower ranking aux bishop homopredators abd sdorapists for full disclosure of the evil- promising them no prison time. Insure that no bishop or cardinal has a personal chef in prison.And to the extent possible, have the faithful’s billion$s, stolen from them, paid back out of the personal wealth, land and mineral holdings, real estate, and personal portfolios of the hireling/wolves. Guy McClung, Texas

  2. If people wish to starve the church, then I would suggest an escrow account to send donations. That way, there is a carrot to go along with the stick. Trying to freeze a diocese of funds would cause the bishops and cardinals to seek alternate funds from other sources, which may not be friendly to the doctrine and mission of the Catholic Church. If there is a large sum of money ready for them should they do what they should have done to begin with, it lessens the chance of unintended consequences. It doesn’t eliminate it, but it lessens it.

  3. “would cause the bishops and cardinals to seek alternate funds from other sources, which may not be friendly to the doctrine and mission of the Catholic Church.”

    This is the reason why so many heterodox Bishops, Cardinals and PF want the illegals, so the can continue funneling / skimming the local, state and Federal socal services / gravy train. They keep the money and don’t see a need for the “Faithful”.

  4. What scares me is that accusations are being treated the same as actual abuse.

    For heaven’s sake, some of the guys who were accused were dead when they supposedly assaulted people.

    I’m all for punishing the guilty, but I dislike accusation-as-proof-of-guilt.

    Totally behind not giving cash to folks I think will spend it poorly, though. The “for building repairs” envelope is your friend. (Against cannon law to spend money on anything but what it’s given for. I give food to the social stuff– and money for repairs, specific thigns.)

  5. What scares me is that accusations are being treated the same as actual abuse.
    –Foxfier

    I noticed that too. Even the author of the law review article Ham Sandwich Nation fell for that one in his blog.

  6. If parishes and dioceses are starved for funds, then we’ll see bishops selling off diocesan assets to raise funds. This is how many dioceses settled the previous round of abuse scandal lawsuits. In the diocese in which I reside, sold off assets included below market rate housing. (The new owners hiked the rents, natch, and many struggling people were forced out of their long-time homes.) After those assets are depleted, combining parishes then selling off shuttered church buildings would be the next step. Do the people advocating “Starve the Church” really want to go there?

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