The Scandal of the Scandalized at Pope Francis’s “Inaction” on McCarrick. The Evangelical Perspective of Pope Francis and Divine Mercy

i  

As a flood of scandal pours through the internet and email on Pope Francis’ knowledge of McCarrick’s guilt in sexual corruption, my mind immediately goes to the texts and scenes of Jesus Christ who is charged by Scribes and Pharisees of continuously associating with sinners, being an intimate friend of St. Mary Magdalene, a prostitute, (St. Martha and Lazarus), having a notorious encounter with the Samaritan woman [having no husband and living serially [?] with five men, who converts a whole Samaritan town (Sichar), another notorious encounter with an usurious money lender (Zacchaeus), the slumming with Matthew where “he was at table in the house, that, behold, many publicans and sinners came to the table with Jesus and his disciples. And the Pharisees seeing it, said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with publicans and sinners?’ But Jesus heard it, and said, ‘it is not the healthy who need a physician, but they who are sick. But go, and learn what this means” ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call sinners, not the just” (Ma t t. 8-10.

It seems that the real adversaries of Jesus Christ were the Scribes and Pharisees who were the experts in the law and moral code.  Impurities, like those of the prostitute caught in adultery, or the Samaritan woman, were not where he fought the fight for living supernatural life.

Could it be, then that the  whole Church is caught up in an ideology of sexual morality instead – which is where we examine self for  serious sin –  instead of the headier supernatural reality of service and love of the other which does not reach our consciousness as an area of sin? To be more specific, the gospel of the Beati tudes is the burden of today’s gospel to very large numbers of people.

Luke 6:17-26

He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

20 Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
    for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
        because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

24 “But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
    for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
    for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
    for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

Consider the inequality of wealth and of poverty in the global society  of today:

Billionaires

Worldwide 2,2082

China 8193

United States 5854

India 1315

Germany 1146

Russia 967

Hong Kong 678

United Kingdom 549

Brazil 4310

Italy 4211

Canada 39

  • * * * * * * * * * *

Consider the outcry on  the sins of Theodore McCarrick and not a peep on third trimester or post natal abortion or the sins against nations by the Clintons while in power.

 

Viganò Vindicated

This morning, on the day after the news that the Vatican has reduced former Cardinal and Archbishop Theodore McCarrick to the lay state(McCarrick, 88, has been staying in a small friary in western Kansas; I mistakenly wrote that he was in Oklahoma in my last email; thank you to those who brought this mistake to my attention), I received the following email letter, in both English and Italian, from Italian journalist Marco Tosatti, an Italian colleague of mine. He has been covering Vatican affairs with distinction for 40 years.

The letter is entitled: “Astonishing. Sodom. Martel Writes that the Pope Knew about McCarrick.”

Tosatti then gives the passages from a new book, Sodom: In the Closet of the Vatican, by French author Frederic Martel which seem to confirm one of the central statements made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò in his August 2018 Testimony: that Viganò told Pope Francis in 2013, at the very outset of Francis’ papacy, that McCarrick had a decades-long reputation for “corrupting generations of seminarians” by his homosexual molestations, but that Francis, evidently not considering the information important or disqualifying of McCarrick, continued to listen to McCarrick’s advice on Church appointments, and to employ him, though retired, as a sort of informal Vatican ambassador to countries like China, Armenia, Iran and Cuba, lifting restrictions on his travel that Pope Benedict had imposed.

Tosatti calls this evidence confirming Viganò’s account “astonishing” because the confirmation comes from a professedly “pro-Francis” source. Tosatti terms it a type of wound against Pope Francis from “friendly fire.”

And it does appear — though tracing out all the motivations of this matter is a difficult and delicate task, not yet complete — that the source, the new book Sodom: In the Closet of the Vatican, officially to be published on February 21 but already being widely cited from advance copies, was in fact written, at least in part, to support Pope Francis and his declared policy of “greater openness” and “greater mercy” toward many, especially those who identify as homosexuals, who are said to have been “marginalized” in the past by the Church.

Yet this very “supportive” book, in the passages in question, seems to confirm a devastating part of Viganò’s 2018 Testimony.

The point: the new book, written over 5 years by a self-described French homosexual activist who tells us he was invited to stay a week every month in a Vatican residence inside Vatican City and so was able to speak with dozens of high-ranking Vatican officials, a man writing ostensibly to bring about greater acceptance of homosexuality in the Catholic Church and in the Vatican (see in this regard the review and analysis by Italian Catholic Prof. Roberto de Mattei below), confirms, citing high-ranking Church officials very close to Francis, that Archbishop Viganò did not lie, but told the truth, when he said he informed Francis about McCarrick’s reputation in 2013.

So, what am I saying? The majority in the Church have exchanged the holiness (faith) of self-gift in ordinary life (work and family) proclaimed by Jesus Christ for an ideology of morality. I copy Pope Francis for his own critique of what is happening:

The call to holiness, not mere morality in “Gaudete et Exultate”  – “16. This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures. Here is an example: a woman goes shopping, she meets a neighbour and they begin to speak, and the gossip starts. But she says in her heart: “No, I will not speak badly of anyone”. This is a step forward in holiness. Later, at home, one of her children wants to talk to her about his hopes and dreams, and even though she is tired, she sits down and listens with patience and love. That is another sacrifice that brings holiness. Later she experiences some anxiety, but recalling the love of the Virgin Mary, she takes her rosary and prays with faith. Yet another path of holiness. Later still, she goes out onto the street, encounters a poor person and stops to say a kind word to him. One more step.”

CHAPTER TWO

TWO SUBTLE ENEMIES OF HOLINESS

35. Here I would like to mention two false forms of holiness that can lead us astray: gnosticism and pelagianism. They are two heresies from early Christian times, yet they continue to plague us. In our times too, many Christians, perhaps without realizing it, can be seduced by these deceptive ideas, which reflect an anthropocentric immanentism disguised as Catholic truth.[33] Let us take a look at these two forms of doctrinal or disciplinary security that give rise “toa narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyses and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others”.[34]

CONTEMPORARY GNOSTICISM

36. Gnosticism presumes “a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings”.[35]

An intellect without God and without flesh

37. Thanks be to God, throughout the history of the Church it has always been clear that a person’s perfection is measured not by the information or knowledge they possess, but by the depth of their charity. “Gnostics” do not understand this, because they judge others based on their ability to understand the complexity of certain doctrines. They think of the intellect as separate from the flesh, and thus become incapable of touching Christ’s suffering flesh in others, locked up as they are in an encyclopaedia of abstractions. In the end, by disembodying the mystery, they prefer “a God without Christ, a Christ without the Church, a Church without her people”.[36]

38. Certainly this is a superficial conceit: there is much movement on the surface, but the mind is neither deeply moved nor affected. Still, gnosticism exercises a deceptive attraction for some people, since the gnostic approach is strict and allegedly pure, and can appear to possess a certain harmony or order that encompasses everything.

39. Here we have to be careful. I am not referring to a rationalism inimical to Christian faith. It can be present within the Church, both among the laity in parishes and teachers of philosophy and theology in centres of formation. Gnostics think that their explanations can make the entirety of the faith and the Gospel perfectly comprehensible. They absolutize their own theories and force others to submit to their way of thinking. A healthy and humble use of reason in order to reflect on the theological and moral teaching of the Gospel is one thing. It is another to reduce Jesus’ teaching to a cold and harsh logic that seeks to dominate everything.[37]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * *

Let’s go another step. I just continued on in reading St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans where he is speaking of the duties  of Christians. He is talking about the sanctity of ordinary life of a Christian which is The Way of the God-man, a divinized life. Paul is talking about Life, not  simply snapshots of moral action that we identify as the paradigm of Christian Life and which are a narrowing, a reduction, a clericalism.

Romans 12: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[b]says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[c]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s