Category Archives: Blithe Spirit

The good and the bad, emphasis on Trib and Sun-Times

The Cupich role in blindsiding the other bishops

Timing was all:

Cupich spoke from the floor [of the bishops’
conference meeting] immediately after [Cardinal, Conference
president] DiNardo’s announcement of the change Monday morning [the ukase from Rome, which left bishops gasping]. The cardinal [Cupich] suggested that the bishops continue to discuss the proposed measures and take non-binding votes on them. He offered no indication at that time that he would introduce a completely different plan.

His secret, the supposed ace he would play.

By Tuesday afternoon, the Chicago cardinal rose to question the premise of the USCCB’s proposed independent commission, asking if it was a reflection of sound ecclesiology. [Being an absolute stickler for sound theology.] Cupich suggested that the commission could be seen as a way of “outsourcing” difficult situations.

The guy is amazing. He’s heard “outsourcing” used as outcry against jobs going overseas or means of corporate cost-cutting or blame-avoidance, tosses it in here — cleverly, in his book.

Shortly thereafter, Cupich submitted to conference leaders a seemingly well-prepared and comprehensive “Supplement to the [USCCB] Essential Norms,” which outlined in detail the plan he had developed with Wuerl.

He had it all along!

More to come . . .

Have you ever seen such overt machinations by Catholic prelates?

Catholic News Agency reports:

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington collaborated extensively on a recently proposed policy for handling abuse allegations against bishops, CNA has learned.

Cupich submitted the plan Tuesday to leaders of the U.S. bishops’ conference, proffering it as an alternative to a proposal that had been devised by conference officials and staffers.

The conference’s proposed plan would have established an independent lay-led commission to investigate allegations against bishops. The Cupich-Wuerl plan would instead send allegations against bishops to be investigated by their metropolitan archbishops, along with archdiocesan review boards. Metropolitans themselves would be investigated by their senior suffragan bishops.

The two machinators want bishops vetting bishops. What about lay people?

Sources in Rome and Washington, DC told CNA that Wuerl and Cupich worked together on their alternative plan for weeks, and presented it to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops before the U.S. bishops’ conference assembly in Baltimore. Cupich and Wuerl are both members of Congregation for Bishops.

Appointed by Pope Francis to this cabinet bureau that vets new appointees as bishops whenever openings arise.

Their minority position was announced as apparent blindsiding of the majority after the body as a while was told to hold off on the proposal at hand, Cupich and Wuerl being the pope’s men on the scene. (Cupich ran for bishops’ president last election, got a major turn-down, now operates as a sort of Chuck Schumer in clerical garb.

The Cupich-Wuerl plan was submitted to the U.S. bishops even after a Vatican directive was issued Monday barring U.S. bishops from voting on any abuse-related measures. The Vatican suspended USCCB [U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops] policy-making on sexual abuse until after a February meeting involving the heads of bishops’ conferences from around the world.

Where the pope will have the upper hand.

An official at the Congregation for Bishops [in Rome] told CNA on Thursday that the substance of the plan presented by Cupich at the Baltimore meeting is known in the congregation as “Wuerl’s plan.” The official would not confirm whether the congregation had received an advance copy of the document.

The two have been at it a while:

Senior chancery officials in Washington described the plan presented Tuesday as a collaborative effort by the cardinals, telling CNA that Wuerl and Cupich first informed the Congregation for Bishops several weeks ago about their idea for the “metropolitan model” [a
kind of Russian-doll situation, little bishops, big bishops,
biggest bishops, the latter being a whole state, for instance] to handle complaints against a bishop, and suggested they had continued to discuss the plan with Congregation officials since that time.

“It was a mutual effort,” one Archdiocese of Washington official told CNA.

It was the American plan, apparently meant to keep power where it belongs.

More to come, surely, of this lesson in how Rome speaks and bishops listen. Or else.

Just a reminder of how Obama was about to waste money on . . .

. . . “renewable energy,” Trump knew better.

The Investor’s Business Daily editorial board writes that former President Obama was “determined to force the country to dump billions of taxpayer subsidies on ‘renewable’ energy, and needed a reason to justify it. Yet all along, the truth was that the U.S. could be a global energy powerhouse. Now, with President Donald Trump in the White House calling for U.S. energy dominance, everyone knows that to be the case.”

How a slim, trim fellow like Barack could be such a fathead.

The case against Pope Francis, by a Vatican theologian

Msgr. Nicola Bux issues a challenge to Francis:

The Vatican theologian says unless the Pope reaffirms Church teaching on morals, the faith and the sacraments, ‘the apostasy will deepen and the de facto schism will widen.’

In a forceful interview with Italian Vaticanist Aldo Maria Valli, Msgr. Nicola Bux has warned that the current pontificate is issuing statements that are generating “heresies, schisms, and controversies of various kinds” and that the Holy Father should issue a profession of faith to restore unity in the Church.

[Now] “theologian consultor to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints,” he said “heretical statements” [by Francis] on marriage, the moral life and reception of the sacraments are now “at the center of a vast debate which is becoming more and more passionate by the day.”

Apostasy, schism, heresy. The man is serious.

Msgr. Bux said the origin of many of these questioned teachings — highlighted in a September 2017 filial correction and at a Rome conference in April on doctrinal confusion in the Church — is the Pope’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, but they have since become “considerably worse and more complicated.”

He said this has led some senior prelates, such as Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the four cardinals to sign the dubia in 2016, to reiterate a call for a “profession of faith on the part of the Pope.”

Renouncing his syllabus of errors, one might say, using the famous or infamous term by Pope St. Pius X in 1907.

But Msgr. Bux said this would be difficult to achieve given the Pope’s vision of the Church as a federation of ecclesial communities — something Msgr. Bux described as “a bit like the Protestant communities.”

Bux was consultant to the Congregation for Defense of the Faith under Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He spoke in a long interview with Italian Vatican specialist Aldo Maria Valli, published Oct. 13, of which more here, reported by American writer Edward Pentin.

Of which some stand out on first reading:

  • The Pope cannot “impose his own opinion” on the Church, Msgr. Bux stressed, quoting Joseph Ratzinger, because on matters of faith, morals and the sacraments, the Church can “only consent to the will of Christ.” And yet he said “many points” in Amoris Laetitia are “cumbersome and contradictory” as well as contrary to the thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas, despite the exhortation asserting otherwise.
  • “More useful” than a fraternal correction, he said, would be to examine the “juridical validity” of Pope Benedict’s XVI’s resignation and “whether it is full or partial.” Jesus, he said, did not give the keys of heaven to Peter and Andrew but “said it only to Peter.” Such an “in-depth study” of the resignation, he said, could help to “overcome problems that today seem insurmountable to us.”
  • “Great change” in the Church is “palpable” under Pope Francis, Msgr. Bux said, along with a “clear intention to mark a line of discontinuity, or break, with previous pontificates.” Such a rupture, he went on to say, is a “revolution” that “generates heresies, schisms, and controversies of various kinds” and “all of them can be traced back to sin.”
  • etc. etc.

Chicago’s Bishop Barron, now of LA, had a good question in the bishops’ session

How’s the Vatican McCarrick investigation coming?

Another California bishop, Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, followed [Archbishop Salvatore of San Fran] Cordileone’s comments by asking about the status of the Vatican investigation into the accusations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and whether the bishops might “bring any respectful pressure to bear” to the Holy See on furthering the investigation.

DiNardo responded, saying that he knew that the four dioceses in which McCarrick had served had opened investigations, but he did not know of the status of a Vatican investigation on the matter.

He’s not in the loop.

Cordileone had touched some hot topics, btw.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco then gave a long intervention in which he described what he has been hearing from Catholics in his area.

“We’ve heard how important it is to listen to our people, I’ve held listening sessions in my own Archdiocese” regarding the abuse scandal, he said.

From this listening, Cordileone said he has found that Catholics tend to fall in one of two camps regarding the abuse crisis: the first camp believes that the Church is not talking about the real problem, which is the prevalence homosexuality among the clergy and its correlation with abuse, he said.

Yes? Great to hear this brought out into the open.

The second camp believes that the real problem is an all-male hierarchy, “because women would never have allowed this to happen,” and therefore women must be invited in to all levels of the clergy.

This too:

Cordileone, who clarified that he was merely reporting what he found among his people, said that both conclusions are overly simplistic, but neither are without some merit.

Very good line here:

“We do sometimes act as a good old boys club,” he said, with problems of “cronyism, favoritism, and cover-up.” He urged the bishops to find solutions to these “legitimate concerns” of Catholics in the second camp.

When considering the first camp, Cordileone cautioned against the “overly simplistic” conclusion that homosexuality causes sexual abuse. That “obviously cannot be true” he said, as some priests with homosexual tendencies faithfully serve the Church, while some heterosexually priests serve the Church poorly.

Still, the concern “has some validity,” he said, pointing to a recently-published study by Father D. Paul Sullins, a Catholic priest and retired Catholic University of America sociology professor. Sullins’ analysis found a rising trend in abuse, and argued that the evidence strongly suggests links between sexual abuse of minors and two factors: a disproportionate number of homosexual clergy, and the manifestation of a “homosexual subculture” in seminaries.

“The worst thing we could do is discredit this study so we can ignore or deny this reality,” Cordileone said. “We have to lean into it…to ignore it would be fleeing from the truth.”

He’s really good, isn’t he?

The archbishop recommended further studies into the correlation between homosexuality and sexual abuse, one that avoids “quick and easy answers” and would attempt to find the root causes of this correlation.

What did the other bishops think of this?

Cordileone’s was the first intervention met with applause from many bishops.

Gentlemen, you may have started your engines. Keep them running.

Cardinal DiNardo: Vatican directive came from Congregation for Bishops

Never say never, say beleaguered bishops.

DiNardo said the bishops have not lessened their resolve for action, and that they are not pleased by the Holy See’s decision. He indicated that they will continue to push for action on the sex abuse crisis: “we’re disappointed, because we’re moving along on this.”
Speaking to how Catholics can trust their leaders, he asked that they retain faith in the bishops’ commitment to reform, watching their efforts. He acknowledged that people have a right to scepticism, but also to hope.

Which springs eternal, they say. You know. They.

The cardinal said he had proposed an apostolic visitation to deal with the problem, but that Rome had disagreed with that approach. [Italics mine]

Rome? Why the circumlocution? As if Francis was sitting there watching a “dicastery” do things? It’s b.s., that’s what it is. Orwell stopped spinning long ago, it’s so obvious.

While acknowledging their disappointment in the decision from Rome, the bishops also spoke of the importance of their own obedience. DiNardo said they were responsible to be attentive to the Holy Father and his congregations, and Bishop Coyne said bishops are by nature collegial, “so when the Holy See asks us to work in collegiality, that’s what we do.”

You can stay on that path, Bishop. But as matters stand, where will it take you and us? Besides, if fraternal correction means anything at all, it’s not the only path.

Pope Francis coughs, Cardinal Cupich gets a cold: One of a series

The pope kiboshed the meeting of bishops trying to do something about the clergy sex abuse crisis, gutting the agenda as the bishops were about to vote and leaving them wondering what the hell is going on.

Not all, however:

“It is clear that the Holy See is taking seriously the abuse crisis in the church, seeing it as a watershed moment not just for the church in this country but around the world in putting so much emphasis on the February meeting,” said Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago and a close ally of Pope Francis.

Joined at the hip, actually. (Francis had told the bishops they should hold off until February at the Vatican, where he has a record of controlling agendas and censoring final documents.)

More from Chicago’s archbishop:

Immediately after the announcement, Cardinal Cupich stood up to suggest that the bishops follow the order but schedule a meeting in March to vote on overhauls, moving as soon as possible after the Vatican meeting.

“We need to act soon, without delay,” Cardinal Cupich said.

Soon, without delay. Said with a straight face, immediately after action was delayed from above.

The head bishop tried to explain:

Cardinal [Daniel] DiNardo [of Houston] said the letter from the Vatican noted “some points in one or two of the documents where the canon law needed further precisions.” The letter was sent by the Congregation for Bishops, which oversees all the bishops globally and which includes two American members: Cardinals Cupich and Wuerl, who remains a cardinal despite stepping down as Washington archbishop.

Cupich, positioned at the heart of the matter, has cause to paint a rosy picture.

Another bishop was one of the many harboring and expressing negative thoughts, a Chicagoan born and bred serving now downstate:

The Vatican “doesn’t seem to appreciate the depth of the situation that we are facing here on the streets,” said Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Ill. “People are looking for us to do something. I think this will unfortunately be seen as a delay and an inadequate response.”

Now why would he say that?

But leave it to a layman to provide a pithy frank and earnest, comment.

He is incidentally a member of the Catholic hoi polloi, also known from Vatican 2 days as “the people of God,” but in this case characterized somewhat differently by the pope’s ambassador, who reminded the bishops that lay people’s “assistance is both welcome and necessary,” and their “collaboration . . . is essential,” but “the responsibility as bishops of this Catholic Church is ours.” Pow.

The layman:

“Francis’ record on sex abuse is frankly indefensible,” said Christopher Hale, who helped lead Catholic outreach for President Obama and has been an outspoken supporter of Pope Francis. “Today just continues down this sad road of not getting it and not responding correctly.”

Francis better beware. Even liberals have his number.

US bishops table key votes on response to scandal, at Vatican’s request

Any more of this silence-is-golden stuff, and I will vomit.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will not vote this week on two highly-anticipated proposals to respond to the sex-abuse crisis, after a last-minute Vatican intervention.

As the American bishops gathered for their November meeting in Baltimore, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the USCCB president, announced a stunning change in the agenda for the three-day meeting. Because of a directive from Rome, he said, the bishops would not vote on one proposal to institute a code of conduct for bishops, and another to organize an independent investigation, under lay leadership, into the bishops’ response to the abuse scandal. Those two proposals were easily the most visible items on the USCCB agenda, and had drawn enormous media coverage for the bishops’ meeting.

So it goes. The Kremlin speaks, that decides the matter. Or as the Latin says so well, Causa finita est.

Anybody out there still wondering about Pope Francis’ position on clerical abuse? Speak now or shut up for a while.

It’s a long-distance slapping down of the Americans. Let’s see how disappointed reporters and editors react.

Bishops as altar boys. Collegiality, anyone?

Finally, if this ain’t clerical privilege, what is?

NPR trying its hand at popeology and vaticanology, coming up with (guess what?) a hopelessly liberal spin

Including this if not breathless then blithely half-informed, supposedly neutral observers’ account of Francis and his menu for protecting victims of clerical sexual abuse:

[David] Gibson [go-to comment source for this piece] agrees with Francis the only way to eliminate sex abuse is to wipe out the sense of entitlement and unaccountability enshrined in that culture so dear to Roman Catholic conservatives — clericalism.

“He needs to change this culture of the ‘old boys’ network’ of secrecy, and of self-protection,” Gibson says. “That’s really the ultimate answer here”

But, Gibson adds, that sort of change will likely be a long time coming.

Especially under Francis, who uses the old boys by preference, creating a regular boys’ town of supporters and apparatchiks.

Did Acosta touch her or didn’t he?

That is the burning question of the day.

The mainstream media for days has been claiming, “without evidence,”* that a clip of CNN’s Jim Acosta tangling with a 98-pound White House intern was somehow “doctored.” The clip was initially shared by InfoWars’ Paul Joseph Watson and then picked up by the White House. It showed a closeup of Acosta’s arm making contact with the intern’s.

If the idea was to discredit the White House’s condemnation of Acosta’s atrocious behavior at Trump’s press conference and its decision to yank his press pass, a “doctored tape” conspiracy theory would be a good way to do that.

As John Sexton Hot Air points out, the virtually indecipherable difference seen in a side by side comparison of the so-called “doctored” tape and the original video is likely “the result of frame rate adjustment that happens whenever a video is converted from one format to another.”

In other words, there’s no there there . . .

Tangled web here, if I ever saw one. Finally, however, (again) discrediting the would-be discrediters. Next? . . .

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