Rod Dreher sents along the following note concerning the CINO politician problem and the weak response from bishops.

Is there a connection between the silence, or at least the empty words, of so many Catholic bishops on the subject of pro-abortion Catholic politicians, and the possibility of hidden personal scandal in the lives of individual bishops? That thought has crossed my mind in the past few days as I’ve watched the bishops, with very few exceptions, either keep quiet or flail half-heartedly at John Kerry. There is one influential bishop in particular whose name has come up in public in connection with the Kerry controversy, and I know that this bishop is deeply compromised in his personal life—and more importantly, I know that this fact, while hidden from the public, is fairly widespread knowledge among the media and church elite.

I would be shocked if the higher-ups in the Democratic Party didn’t know this too. So I don’t expect this bishop to offer any criticism of Kerry if asked, and in fact I would expect him to offer warm words of conciliation and “healing.” He may mean them sincerely, or he may fear what might emerge if he took on Kerry directly on the abortion issue.

I take this blackmail possibility seriously. In 1994, I was living on Capitol Hill in a group house with four others, all of whom worked in politics. When the Republicans took over the House that year, I taunted one of my housemates, who worked for a Democratic member, with chants of, “Speaker Gingrich! Speaker Gingrich!” He wasn’t fazed a bit. He told me calmly, “We know that Newt cheats on his wife. If he pushes things too far, we’ll make sure the media know it too.”

As it turned out, Newt really was cheating on his wife. I wonder how many punches were pulled by Speaker Gingrich out of fear that the Democrats would drop the bomb on him. Similarly, I wonder how many bishops will pull their punches on pro-abortion Catholic politicians out of the same fear. This happens in the real world.

I’ve discussed this very thing with my circle of friends and professional colleagues. In fact, the topic came up often when discussing why so many bishops did nothing, or actively did wrong, in relation to shuffling pervert priests around in the Scandal. Often, we’d heard, without enough evidence to publish it, that such-and-such bishop had skeletons in his closet and was being threatened, implicitly or overtly, with exposure if he did anything untoward.

Considering the dirty business of politics I wouldn’t be surprised if the Democrats have engaged in the same thing, although I’m not sure it would take all that much prodding for some of these bishops to go easy on the politicians. I think that many of these bishops are genuinely sympathetic to the policy positions of liberal Democrats or Republicans, as the case may be, except for the inconvenient abortion issue.

So, is it blackmail? Genuine sympathy? Either way, what we’ve got is a failure of Catholic leadership.

  • O’Reilly couldn’t get anyone on the record either.

    This credible rumor, what I believe is fact is known by everyone here in D.C.

    Who knows if the silence of the bishops is because of their own past history.  Maybe we shall never know.  But I think we can all agree that nearly all of us were puzzled by their shuffling around abusers and about their lack of leadership with regard to Catholic politicians.  Something holds them back, that much I know for sure.

  • It’s been done Thomas.  And nothing has happened.

    Also, according to an article linked on Amy’s blog, Kerry, not Cardinal McCarrick initiated the meeting.

    Maybe Kerry did choose his Cardinal carefully.

  • Dale:

    I attended a dinner/conference of about 40 people where Fr. Robert Levis gave a talk.  He mentioned David Carlin’s book and reflected somewhat on what Carlin wrote.

    He also mentioned that there are – maybe – 10 million Catholics at the most in this country (per Carlin).  My guess is that this number is high. 

    I believe that your theory about avoiding a ‘de jure’ schism is probably correct.  However, I suppose we are to endure a ‘de facto’ schism even when promoted by bishops and priests?

    Maybe it’s our penance.  Enduring this treachery and malfeasance can certainly be a means of sanctification for us.

  • Just because a thing can’t be published in a newspaper or magazine doesn’t mean it can’t be discussed. It’s important to understand the possible motivations for why things happen and to also understand why a particular bishop may say certain things in public.

    If Rod didn’t speak up, people may have been deluded into thinking that some bishops have different motives than they do. After all, when the Scandals first broke, people were asking why we had to dredge up all this old history. Because if you don’t clean out the wound, it festers.

    So why talk about it here? Frankly, because the more people who know about it, the more likely the darkness is going to cast out. After all, how can you pray about something you don’t know exists?

  • This leads me to ask why Kerry specifically asked to meet with Cdl. McCarrick?  I understand McCarrick was originally invited to Kerry’s house for a meeting but that it later turned out to be more convenient for Kerry to meet at the pastoral center.

    It looks like Kerry (and Democrats) are aligning themselves with Catholic bishops (Democrats voting report card?) because, as a group, they do little to nothing and can find shelter in the ‘group’. 

    Kerry also seems to understand that someone may be compromised. 

    Isn’t McCarrick heading up the committee to come up with solutions to pro-abort pols?  This too will probably be another exercise in cowardice.

  • Just to be clear, neither Rod nor I have said anything about who Rod was talking about, and every other remark has been the speculation of the individual who posted it.

  • It’s gossip if you’re talking about someone else’s private business that has no bearing on anyone else. It’s gossip especially if you don’t have evidence. It’s gossip if you name the person unfairly.

    It’s not that Rod doesn’t have evidence to prove it. He just doesn’t enough evidence to avoid being sued. There’s a difference between something being true and something be provable in court.

    And the personal behavior of bishops certainly has bearing on us. If their personal behavior led them to leave perverts in place to continue to abuse little boys, which many journalists know to be true without having printable evidence, that’s certainly my concern, and should concern you as well.

    The objections remind of the objections to the Ken Starr investigation. After all what does Clinton’s personal life have to do with being president? Well, know we hear that during at least one episode with Lewinsky, Clinton was not available to approve a strike on bin Laden. There are 3,000 dead people who would care about Clinton’s character.

    If we hold a president to that standard, how much should we hold our bishops to it.

  • What’s morally inappropriate? We’re discussing whether it’s possible that some bishops’ personal peccadilloes may have led them to make some compromises with regard to the truth and morality and whether that will continue to be the case on other issues. I think it’s very relevant today.

    You know, in August of 2001, if we’d had this same conversation about Shanley, Geoghan, and all the other priests who have finally and justifiably removed from ministry, I just know the same people would have been frowning upon that discussion too.

  • What I meant is that tt’s response was “nuanced” like John Kerry’s policy positions are “nuanced”. I was trying to be polite and not call him a liar or credulous.

  • Okay, I’m going to have to invoke blog owner’s privilege and say that discussion of which bishop might fit Rod’s description is now forbidden here. His point isn’t to engender gossip, but to discuss the blackmail issue. Any further comments that use a particular bishop’s name will be deleted.

    Fair warning has been given.

  • Lemme ask the following then.

    Is there *any* bishop that is not blackmailable, given: (1) that they are all complicit, to at least a degree, in The Situation, if nothing else than because of the manifest failure of fraternal correction and their responsibility for those under them; and (2) gay activists aren’t all that discriminating—the Church is just One Big Hater.

    (I don’t think this next paragraph would violate Dom’s edict, because my point assumes X’s personal innocence, but I’m erring on the side of caution.)

    For example, I have heard, that Father Harvey was promised by Bishop X that he could run the national Courage office out of X’s diocese. The bishop reneged when some gay activists threatened to out every closeted priest in the city. What bishop would NOT be vulnerable to that sort of threat?

    Unquestionably, if a bishop were personally compromised, that would increase the degree of personal humiliation. But, just from a purely secular and administrative POV, what bishop would want to run a diocese on half the clergy?

  • For what it’s worth, I think tt has hit it on the head.  Rome has consistently avoided ‘executions’ of malefactors, at least for the last 40 years, with only a few exceptions.

    After looking at the pattern, it seems clear that there are only two possible reasons for this hesitancy.  Either Rome is trying to avoid a ‘nuclear bomb’ of scandal (the possibility that someone will ID every single Cardinal, Bishop, and priest with a closet full,) which could easily lead to a further reduction in the number of people active in the Church, OR Rome is concerned that some sort of schism could result.

    Either scenario has the same final result—there would be less people in the pews, perhaps a LOT less.

  • I agree michigancatholic.  The Church exists to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and to save souls.  When it slouches toward the world and becomes involved in sexual intrigue, money intrigue, political intrigiue, concern for numbers in the pews and so forth, it becomes the world.  In the homosexual pederasty scandal, it has slunk even below the world.  (You know, when average families become afraid to have their near their priests.)  If the church is afraid of schism by proclaiming Christ’s Gospel, it is no longer a true church.  It has become beholden to the world.  Christ was not afraid to proclaim God’s word.  It is one of the saddest things in my life to have the massive, massive corruption (sexual, especially) of this church rubbed into the lives of my family.  I say give all Catholics what Christ meant them to have – a holy Church.  And then, as Christ, did, let all decide where they stand.  Jesus Christ did not slink to the world.

  • “But, just from a purely secular and administrative POV, what bishop would want to run a diocese on half the clergy? “

    What man would want to be crucified?

  • Michigan, I had exactly this discussion with a close friend.  Since we both had to agree that the Holy Spirit guides the Church (and that neither of US are guiding the Church, nor are likely to in this world) that perhaps the HS knows what’s going on better than we.

    Personally, I’m the kind of guy who’d rather take a malefactor out in the yard, call the newspapers, and shoot the perp with my H&K, allowing to the crowd of reporters that others ‘of this type’ will suffer the same fate.

    Usually, one is enough.

    But maybe that’s why I am NOT guiding the Church….