Get up to speed at the end of this post.
If you don’t want to watch the entire thing, here are the highlights:
Context: (For more on Created and Called for Community at Messiah University click here).
It is titled “Letter to You.” There are also rumors that a song off the album will drop tomorrow.
Here is Jay Lustig at NJArts.net:
Though there has been no official announcement, it appears that the next Bruce Springsteen album will be titled Letter to You. The page shown above is from the Amazon UK website. Though it may be taken down by the time you read this, the web address is amazon.co.uk/dp/B08HGB71RT.
A similar page was also posted today on the site of the Wheeling, W.V. record store, Nail City Records, though it has now been taken down.
There have been heavy rumors of a new Springsteen album, on its way, over the last few weeks.
Amazon UK does not list a release date through Nail City had released the date as Oct. 23. One has to wonder if the timing of the release was chosen because of the proximity of Oct. 23 to Election Day, Nov. 3.
(Update: NJArts.net has learned other details about the album, including a track listing:
“One Minute You’re Here”
“Letter to You”
“Janey Needs a Shooter”
“Last Man Standing”
“The Power of Prayer”
“House of a Thousand Guitars”
“If I Was the Priest”
“Song for Orphans”
“I’ll See You in My Dreams”
Read the rest here.
Tomorrow Springsteen will give the convocation speech at Boston College. Check out BC’s Born to Run reading guide. It does a very nice job of connecting Springsteen and his music to the Jesuit tradition. Here is a taste:
Springsteen focuses on the influence of the Catholic Church in his early life – geographical, cultural, familial, personal. While Springsteen acknowledges that his connection to the Church changed as he grew older, he also emphasizes the importance of his personal relationship with God. Again, with his critical reflection, Springsteen is able to articulate his faith and his belief, and how those inform his most loving response to the world: “This was the world where I found the beginnings of my song. In Catholicism, there existed the poetry, danger and darkness that reflected my imagination and my inner self. I found a land of great and harsh beauty, of fantastic stories, of unimaginable punishment and infinite reward…as a young adult I tried to make sense of it. I tried to meet its challenge for the very reasons that there are souls to lose and a kingdom of love to be gained. I laid what I’d absorbed across the hardscrabble lives of my family, friends and neighbors. I turned it into something I could grapple with, understand, something I could even find faith in. As funny as it sounds, I have a “personal relationship with Jesus… I believe deeply in his love…” (p.17).
What does spirituality mean to you? How have you matured in your
relationship with God on your journey? In what ways do you hope to do
so over the next four years at Boston College? Who are the conversation
partners you will seek out during your time at Boston College to help you
consider your relationship with God, your relationship with others and
the world around you, and your relationship with yourself?
Father Junipero Serra, a Franciscan priest who established some of the earliest Spanish missions in California, has been under attack of late. On June 19, 2020, activists pulled-down a Serra statue in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The following day, activists took down a Serra monument at Father Serra Park in Los Angeles. On July 4, 2020, protesters toppled a Serra statue in Sacramento. Other Serra statues have been removed as well.
As Elizabeth Bruenig writes at The New York Times, “protesters have attacked statues of the saint because they believed he ‘eagerly participated in the conquest of North America, including the torture, enslavement and murder of some of the Native Americans he intended to convert.'”
Serra is a Catholic saint. Pope Francis canonized him in September 2015.
While there is a strong argument for the removal of monuments to Confederate generals and politicians located in public spaces, other cases are more complex. (See, for example, my recent piece on the George Whitefield statue at the University of Pennsylvania). As Bruenig shows, the Serra monuments fall into the latter category. Here is a taste of her piece:
Eva Walters, a founder and executive director of the City of the Angels Kateri Circle, an organization of Native American Catholics, expressed similarly complicated feelings. She was unhappy with Father Serra’s canonization, and does not doubt that what went on in his missions was atrocious. “We know our people, our ancestors, went through that,” she told me. “We know the horrors that happened. We know that.”
And yet Ms. Walters, who comes from the Quechan people of Southern California, was angered by the attacks on Father Serra’s statues. “We were very unhappy about the statues being desecrated, even though we weren’t happy about him being canonized,” she said. “It was not the American Indian Catholics who did that.”
I asked her how she had made such peace with Father Serra’s legacy. “Being Catholic,” she said, “we tend to forgive and pray over these awful things that have happened. We don’t condemn anyone.”
Father Serra would have been among the first to admit he had sinned, having had, according to Dr. Hackel, a routine of frequent self-flagellation. And yet he is still a saint. If conservatives can find some place for the moral complexity of a man like Father Serra, then I hope they can do the same for the racial justice movement that has been associated in some cases with attacks on his image. Catholics should know better than to let imperfections harden their hearts.
Aysha Khan at Religion News Service is reporting that the progressive Christian magazine Sojourners has replaced Jim Wallis as editor in chief and “announced a new policy of editorial independence from the organization’s advocacy work.” Wallis founded Sojourners and is President of the Sojourners organization. The announcement stems from Wallis’s decision to remove (and then restore) a controversial essay published at the Sojourners website. The essay was critical of the Catholic Church.
Here is a taste of Kahn’s piece:
The decision came after weeks of turmoil over Wallis’ removal of an essay criticizing white supremacists within the Catholic Church, which led two staffers of color to resign from the magazine.
Wallis, a prominent progressive theologian and activist who has also written for RNS, will continue to serve as president of the Sojourners organization, the magazine announced Friday afternoon (Aug. 14). He had served as a leader at the magazine since its founding in 1971 as the Post-American.
Sandi Villarreal, who had been the executive editor at Sojourners, has accepted the role of editor in chief. According to the statement, she has been promised editorial independence in overseeing Sojourner’s web and print publications.
The controversial essay, written by University of California Los Angeles lecturer Eric Martin, was published in the magazine’s August print issue under the title “Harboring a Culture of Hate” and online as “The Catholic Church has a Visible White-Power Faction.”
On July 28, following backlash from Catholic leaders, Wallis removed the article from the site, saying it “made unwarranted insinuations and allegations against many Catholics.”
In three lengthy subsequent editor’s notes, he criticized Martin’s claim that U.S. bishops voted to reject language condemning swastikas, Confederate flags and nooses in their 2018 pastoral letter against racism. In fact, he wrote, the bishops’ letter does name nooses and swastikas as a “tragic indicator of rising racial and ethnic animus.”
The article has now been restored to the site with a correction about the bishop’s letter appended above it. The publication has also committed not to remove published articles from its site.
As the controversy played out online and within the organization, two associate web editors, Dhanya Addanki and Daniel José Camacho, publicly resigned from the publication.
Read the entire piece here.
Here is the official statement from Sojourners.
Here is the statement from Jim Wallis. He says that this whole controversy is related to the “natural and ongoing tension between our identity as a publication and as an advocacy organization in and supportive of broader movements.” I would like to know more about this. Martin’s essay seemed pretty convincing to me. I thought it was also fair. He acknowledged that he was not writing about all Catholics. I can also understand why some Catholics who partner with Sojourner’s advocacy efforts might be upset about the piece. In the end, Wallis should not have removed it from the website.
But as I read Khan’s piece at Religion News Service, it appears that abortion and LGBTQ issues are also part of this story. (Although not directly related to the controversy over Martin’s essay). Wallis is pro-life on abortion, but not in the same way that many conservatives are pro-life. He supports same-sex marriage. But he also works with religious groups–such as the Catholic Church–that do not share some of his views on sexual ethics, but do have common concerns about addressing the plight of the poor. I appreciate Wallis’s efforts at finding common ground here and though I don’t agree with his decision to pull Martin’s piece, I can understand why he did it.
First, the GOP platform condemns the sitting president, and now this:
Maybe Trump should take some of the money he uses flying back and forth between the White House and Mar-a-Lago to hire a proofreader.
I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree. Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.
Read the entire press release here.
I am happy to see these local conversations taking place. Here is the Tampa Bay Times:
On the fifth anniversary of an historic papal document about the environment and as the coronavirus continues to imperil the world, a panel of Catholic and evangelical clergy met online last week to discuss their Christian response to disease outbreaks and climate change.
Points were made about the poor and people of color and the disproportionate burden they bear from air pollution. Details were offered about the effects of global warming, the spread of disease and the deadly link between air pollution and the coronavirus.
The Rev. Mitchell Hescox, president and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network, said he was pleased to join his Catholic brothers and sisters in the environmental cause.
“For us in our ministry, we like to say that creation care is a matter of life, because everything that we do, that we put into God’s creation that isn’t supposed to be there, comes back and impacts you in life,” he said.
The hourlong session, convened by Bishop Gregory Parkes of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, included a presentation by Dr. Sandra Gompf, associate professor of infectious disease at the University of South Florida College of Medicine. The ecumenical gathering coincided with the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home.” In it, Francis called for dialogue among religions “for the sake of protecting nature, defending the poor and building networks of respect and fraternity.”
Parkes said he believed those gathered on May13 were meeting in the spirit of the pope’s call.
“In these things, we are united in the challenges, and, therefore, we must work together for a common solution,” Parkes said.
Read the rest here.
John Gehring, the Catholic Program Director for Faith in Public Life, thinks so.
Here is a taste of his piece at the New York Daily News:
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and other prominent Catholic bishops should ask themselves whether their moral clarity is compromised after a recorded phone call between President Trump and members of the hierarchy surfaced earlier this week.
During the call, which took place on Saturday and was first reported by the Catholic news outlet Crux, Trump declares that he is “best [president] in the history of the Catholic Church,” and describes himself as the most committed anti-abortion president in history. While the call covered a range of issues, including support for Catholic schools, the president’s efforts to end abortion and his reelection prospects became a focal point.
“I hope that everyone gets out and votes and does what they have to do,” the president implored some 600 Catholic educators and a number of leading bishops who dialed in to the call, including Dolan, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Los Angeles Archbishop José Gómez, who is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Trump warned that if he is defeated in November, “You’re going to have a very different Catholic Church.”
None of the Catholic leaders challenged the president’s cruelty toward immigrants, denial of climate change, cuts to food assistance or his pattern of racist demagoguery. This was a missed opportunity to speak truth to power.
Catholic teaching can’t be reduced to a single issue. Pope Francis is unequivocal that the “lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute” are as “equally sacred,” in his words, as the unborn in the womb.
At times, the call exuded the bonhomie of an old boys club. The president praised Cardinal Dolan as a “great friend,” adding that he always respects what the cardinal “asks for.” Dolan responded that “the feelings are mutual sir,” joking that the two speak so frequently that his elderly mother complains “I call you more than I call her.”
And the court evangelicals garnered a reference in Gehring’s piece:
To be clear, Catholic bishops have at times issued strong statements challenging the Trump administration’s actions impacting immigrants and have objected to how the administration’s tax policies favor the wealthy. Compared to the circle of evangelical flatterers Trump surrounds himself with to convey religious support, Catholic leaders are far more critical of the president than white evangelicals. But if bishops in particular want to avoid becoming the Catholic version of what the religious historian John Fea calls “court evangelicals,” they can start by recognizing the dangers that come with cozying up to a president who consistently makes a mockery of Christian values.
Read the entire piece here.
Data from the 2018 midterm election analyzed by Ronald Brownstein of CNN shows that Trump’s favorability among white working-class voters who are not evangelicals — think white Catholics in Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pa. — has already fallen.
Catholic women will be a critical part of this demographic. Democrats, the analysis found, “ran particularly well this year among white working-class women who are not evangelicals, a group that also displayed substantial disenchantment in the exit poll with Trump’s performance,” Brownstein wrote. “Those women could be a key constituency for Democrats in 2020 in pivotal Rust Belt states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where relatively fewer blue-collar whites are also evangelical Christians.”
Right now a fired-up base of progressives is setting the tone in the Democratic primary, making Biden, with his baggage of Anita Hill’s treatment during Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court hearings, a cozy relationship with the banking industry and his record of opposing busing to desegregate schools, a very tough sell.
But don’t sell him short. If Biden can emerge from the necessary challenges on his left to articulate a compelling vision for an inclusive America, one that honors the dignity of work and affirms the vital immigrant character of our nation, Catholic voters could punch his ticket back to the White House as the first Catholic president since JFK.
Read the entire piece here. I think Gehrig is right.
I also think Biden is going to have to make some kind of an appeal to American evangelicals. He will not win many of them, but he doesn’t have to win many to take the White House. Biden is pro-choice, but he has often talked about his personal opposition to abortion. This might be enough for some 2016 evangelical Trump voters to peel away and vote for him. In 2016, there were many moderate evangelicals who were looking for a reason–any reason–to vote for Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, Clinton never gave them one. I wrote about this here, two days before the election.
I also wrote about this in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump:
Though Clinton would never have come close to winning the evangelical vote, her tone-deafness on matters of deep importance to evangelicals may have been the final nail in the coffin of her campaign. In 2015, when a conservative pro-life group published videos showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing the purchase of the body parts and the fetal tissue of aborted fetuses, Clinton said, “I have seen the pictures [from the videos] and obviously find them disturbing.” Such a response could have helped her reach evangelicals on the campaign trail, but by 2016 she showed little ambivalence about abortion, or any understanding that it might pose legitimate concerns or raise larger ethical questions. During the third presidential debate, she defended a traditional pro-choice position and seemed to dodge Fox News host Chris Wallace’s question about her support for later-term abortions. There seemed to be no room in her campaign for those evangelicals who didn’t want to support Trump but needed to see that she could at least compromise on abortion.
Let’s hope Biden learns from the Clinton campaign.
The records of Pope Pius XII will be open to scholars next March. If you want to know why this is important check out David Kertzer‘s piece at The Atlantic: “The Secrets That Might Be Hiding in the Vatican’s Archives.” Here is a taste:
On Monday, 80 years after Pius XII’s election to the papacy, Pope Francis announced that the archives of the controversial wartime pontiff would be opened to scholars next March. The decision follows more than half a century of pressure. Pius XII—a hero of Catholic conservatives, who eagerly await his canonization as a saint, while denounced by his detractors for failing to condemn the Nazis’ genocidal campaign against Europe’s Jews—might well be the most controversial pope in Church history.
Less noticed in initial accounts of the announcement is the fact that Francis’s opening of the Pius XII archives makes available not only the 17 million pages of documents in the central Vatican archives, but many other materials in other Church archives. Not least of these are the archives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition) and the central archives of the Jesuit order. They, too, are likely to have much that is new to tell us.
Read the rest here.
Over at The Conversation, Mathew Schmalz of the College of Holy Cross explains why the disgraced Catholic bishop Theodore McCarrick will continue to be a priest despite his recent defrocking. Here is a taste:
“Defrocking,” as the name suggests, means the removal of the vestments, or clothing, symbolic of being a priest. This process is more formally referred to as “dismissal from the clerical state,” or “laicization.”
In 2014, the Vatican reported that 848 priests had been “defrocked” in the preceding decade for the rape and molestation of children. McCarrick is the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church to be punished in this way in modern times.
Many people might think that in being defrocked McCarrick would no longer remain a priest. That is not so. Catholics don’t understand the priesthood as simply a job that someone can be fired from.
Read the rest here.
Rev. John Stowe is bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. Covington Catholic School, the school at the center of last weekend’s incident at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., is not in the Lexington Diocese, but Stowe’s recent op-ed in the Lexington Herald-Leader is revealing nonetheless.
Here is a taste:
A perennial complaint from participants in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., is that the secular news media largely ignore this massive protest of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. In light of the viral news story of last weekend, of a group of Catholic high school students from Kentucky in a confrontation with a Native American elder after this year’s march, that claim no longer holds.
As the leader of the Catholic Church in the 50 counties of Central and Eastern Kentucky, I join the Diocese of Covington and other Catholic leaders in apologizing in the wake of this incident.
I am ashamed that the actions of Kentucky Catholic high school students have become a contradiction of the very reverence for human life that the march is supposed to manifest. As such, I believe that U.S. Catholics must take a look at how our support of the fundamental right to life has become separated from the even more basic truth of the dignity of each human person.
Without engaging the discussion about the context of the viral video or placing the blame entirely on these adolescents, it astonishes me that any students participating in a pro-life activity on behalf of their school and their Catholic faith could be wearing apparel sporting the slogans of a president who denigrates the lives of immigrants, refugees and people from countries that he describes with indecent words and haphazardly endangers with life-threatening policies.
We cannot uncritically ally ourselves with someone with whom we share the policy goal of ending abortion.
Read the entire piece here. My conservative evangelical brothers and sisters can learn valuable lessons from our Catholic brothers and sisters, especially as it relates to what it means to be “pro-life.”
Some quick comments:
The American Catholic Historical Association is trying something new this year. During its annual meeting at the AHA in Chicago some sessions will be devoted to a critical examination of the four words in its name: “American,” “Catholic,” “Historical,” and “Association.” Here is a taste of Peter Cajka‘s post at Religion in American History blog:
Over drinks at the 2018 American Catholic Historical Association, a cabal of American religious historians imagined an alternative conference model. Kathleen Holscher, current president of the ACHA, brought the group together through texts and facebook messages. Several ideas were floated (libations were being consumed), and many quickly discarded as outlandish. Then one of the revolutionaries, John Seitz of Fordham University, proposed a novel approach: what about taking each letter of the ACHA and offering a critical take on that specific word? The words of our organization’s acronym could provide a launching pad for a range of fresh interpretive spins on nationhood, Catholicism the discipline of history, and the actual organization. The panels have been self-consciously created as “Critical” investigations of each term: American. Catholic. Historical. Association.
The plan is a reality. The conference will feature four panels, each one dedicated to a “critical term”:
Critical Terms: American (8:30-10:30, Friday)
Critical Terms: Catholic (10:30-12:00, Friday)
Critical Terms: Historical (8:30-10:30, Saturday)
Critical Terms: Association (10:30-12:00, Saturday)
The location and the participants are listed below.
Read the rest here.
Silk concludes: “The bottom line, as moving parts of the American religious system continue their recent trends, is clear: Republicans beware.”
Read the entire piece here.
There is a battle raging for control of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s recent claim that Pope Francis covered-up Theodore McCarrick’s sexual indiscretions is the latest battle in a political holy war between conservative Catholics (supporters of Benedict XVI) and progressive Catholics (supporters of Pope Francis). John Gehrig‘s recent piece at Religion & Politics lays it all out. Here is a taste:
While the daily developments and details of Viganò’s claims should be thoroughly investigated no matter where they lead, there is no way to understand this saga without recognizing how the former ambassador’s claims are part of a coordinated effort to undermine the Francis papacy. The Viganò letter is as much about power politics in the church as it is about rooting out a culture of abuse and cover-up. A small but vocal group of conservative Catholic pundits, priests, and archbishops, including the former archbishop of St. Louis Cardinal Raymond Burke, have led what can be described without hyperbole as a resistance movement against their own Holy Father since his election five years ago. Pope Francis, the insurgents insist, is dangerously steering the church away from traditional orthodoxy on homosexuality, divorce, and family life because of his more inclusive tone toward LGBT people and efforts to find pastoral ways to approach divorced and remarried Catholics. These conservative critics, many of whom essentially labeled progressive Catholics heretics for not showing enough deference to Pope Benedict XVI, are not discreet in their efforts to rebuke Francis. Last year, in a letter to the pope from the former head of the doctrine office at the U.S. bishops’ conference in Washington, Fr. Thomas Weinandy accused the pope of “demeaning” the importance of doctrine, appointing bishops who “scandalize” the faithful, and creating “chronic confusion” in his teachings. “To teach with such an intentional lack of clarity, inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth,” the priest wrote in remarkably patronizing language more befitting a teacher correcting a student than a priest addressing the successor of Peter.
Viganò’s testimony therefore should not be read in isolation or as an aberration, but as the latest chapter in an ongoing campaign to weaken the credibility of Pope Francis. Political, cultural, and theological rifts among Catholics are nothing new in the church’s 2,000-year history, but Viganò’s call for the pope’s resignation has set off the ecclesial version of a street fight. “The current divisions among Catholics in the United States has no parallel in my lifetime,” Stephen Schneck, the former director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at Catholic University of America, said in an interview. Bishops who usually take pains to show unity in public have issued dueling statements on Viganò’s letter that reflect this discord. Cardinal Tobin, who was appointed by Francis, sees Viganò’s accusations being used by the pope’s opponents to gain leverage. “I do think it’s about limiting the days of this pope, and short of that, neutering his voice or casting ambiguity around him,” the cardinal told The New York Times. Some conservatives in the hierarchy have cheered Viganò. Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, issued a statement just hours after the letter was made public and ordered priests in his diocese to read his statement during Mass. “As your shepherd, I find them credible,” the bishop wrote in response to Viganò’s allegations.
Read the entire piece here.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has accused Pope Francis of covering up the sexual sins of former Washington D.C. archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Thus far, Francis has dismissed the accusations. But now it appears that the Vatican is forming some kind of a response to the Vigano testimony. Gerard O’Connell of America explains:
The Council of Cardinal Advisors issued a statement on Sept. 10 expressing their “full solidarity with Pope Francis in the face of what has happened in these last weeks”—namely the attack against him by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former nuncio to the United States. They added that they were aware that the Holy See is preparing “the eventual and necessary clarifications” in response to the grave allegations Archbishop Viganò made in August.
Archbishop Viganò had accused the pope of covering up the abuses committed by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and of lifting the sanctions he believes Pope Benedict XVI imposed on the former Washington cardinal. He also accused many Vatican officials during the previous two pontificates of the same cover-up. The archbishop stunned the Catholic world by calling for Francis’ resignation.
The cardinal council members said in their statement that they were aware that “in the present discussion” the Holy See “is formulating the eventual and necessary clarifications” to these events. In this way, they confirmed the news that had circulated in the Italian media in recent days that the Vatican is preparing a response to what Archbishop Viganò stated in his letter, the contents of which has become a source of scandal and division in the church, particularly in the United States, and a direct attack on the pope and his moral authority.
Read the rest here.
New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Missouri are all investigating sex crimes covered up by the Catholic church. The investigations come in the wake of a Pennsylvania investigation that turned up over 300 abusive priests and over 1000 child victims.
Here is a taste of Julie Zauzmer’s and Michelle Boorstein’s piece at The Washington Post:
The results of such state probes could cause many U.S. Catholics to leave the church, as happened after a national probe in Ireland, where the Catholic Church was literally part of the government. Hamilton noted that Scotland’s government also ran a national probe, as did Germany, Sweden, Japan. A commission by the Australian government ran a years-long investigation that just ended this year.
“People are much less inclined to belong to institutions that are suspect,” Merz said. “There’s no doubt that a lot of people have left because of doubting the integrity of this particular institution.”
Read the entire piece here.
As we wrote about here last week, Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano recently claimed Pope Francis knew that Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was a “sexual predator” and did nothing about it. Vigano made his allegations in an 11-page “testimony.”
Yesterday, the editors of the Catholic magazine Commonweal called Vigano’s letter “a subjective account of recent church history full of unverifiable claims” with a “petty and self-righteous tone” that reads like it was written to “settle personal scores.”
So far, Pope Francis has not addressed the Vigano accusations, but the Commonweal editors think that he should:
But Francis should do more than respond to those who “seek scandal” with “silence,” as he put it in a recent homily. When he was first asked about Viganò’s charges during an in-flight press conference on his way back to the Vatican from Ireland, he replied, “I will not say a single word on this.” And he hasn’t. That is unwise. However dubious or questionable Viganò’s charges, Francis should respond to them directly, especially given that a number of the claims refer to private conversations between the two men. If Francis did not know about Benedict’s request that McCarrick should keep a low profile, he should say so. If he is afraid of implicating his two predecessors, who promoted McCarrick and allowed him to continue in public ministry, he shouldn’t be. The truth is more important. As the church once again reckons with its leaders’ failures to confront and punish abusers, the faithful deserve answers.
Read the entire editorial here.
Writing at the National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters argues that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s testimony that Pope Francis covered-up the inappropriate behavior of former-cardinal Theodore McCarrick is little more than a conspiracy theory.
Here is a taste of his piece, “Vigano letter exposes the putsch against Pope Francis“:
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s testimony proves one thing: The former Vatican ambassador to the United States is to the clergy sex abuse crisis what Oliver Stone is to the assassination of President John Kennedy, a trafficker in conspiracy theories who mixes fact, fiction and venom to produce something explosive but also suspicious. When you finish reading this testimony, as at the end of Stone’s 1991 movie “JFK,” you can only conclude that the product tells us more about the author than it does about the subject.
Vigano is certainly correct that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, longtime Secretary of State to Pope John Paul II, was a patron of disgraced former-cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Stone recognized the assassination happened in Dallas. But why does Vigno fail to mention the key role played by Cardinal Stanislaus Dsiwisz in protecting McCarrick?
Read the entire piece here.