A long-time observer of the modern ecclesiastical scene wrote to me to share his perspective on the broader significance of the McCarrick scandal. With his permission, I here publish his thoughts, which have been slightly edited for publication.
Most commentators do not begin to understand the true nature of the problem.
The ring of criminal Nancy Boys is the same ring that has been sedulously working for decades to undermine the integrity of the doctrinal, moral, sacramental, liturgical Church. These men – McCarrick, McElroy, Wuerl, O’Malley, Mahony, Cupich, Tobin, Farrell, Lynch, Weakland, Paglia, Maradiaga, their lovable mouthpiece James Martin, Thomas Rosica, and far too many others, including ones who have passed on to their eternal fate, such as Lyons, Boland, Brom – are the same ones who have destabilized and adulterated catechesis, theology, liturgy, and most obviously the Church’s commitment to the unchanging moral law, as we saw in the Amoris Laetitia debacle and all that surrounded and succeeded it. We must connect the dots and not pretend to be shocked when we see, for example, attempts under way to “re-interpret” Humanae Vitae through a false teaching on conscience, or to do away with clerical celibacy, or to introduce female deacons.
To treat the sins of this ring of conspirators as nothing more than a recrudescence of the sex scandals of the past would be to lose sight of their real enormity. These are not just men of bad moral character; they are apostates, and they are trying to remake the Church in the image of their own apostasy. The Church has been smashed up in front of our eyes in slow motion for decades and few can even begin to admit that we are now faced with a Church in actual smithereens. The Nancy Boys have conducted their campaign of demolition with a kind of imperial sway. It is not this or that aspect of the Church that is corrupt; the rot is now everywhere. It is a rot on which the McCarrick Ring still sups, like maggots feasting on a corpse. For this reason, to hear well meaning people say Bergoglio must impanel some investigative body to set things right is Alice in Wonderland lunacy. It’s like putting Himmler in charge of Nuremberg.
We do not need bishops engaging in public penance (although it’s a good idea for their souls and long overdue); we do not need episcopal investigations; we do not need new procedures and new policies. These are all cries for exculpation. Bishops beating their breasts and then going back to doing nothing about the manifest apostasy at the very heart of the Church will not solve matters. We need the apostates identified, denounced, and removed. We need a reaffirmation of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith. To clean up this mess, we have to clean up more than the scandal of homosexuality, with all of its attendant horrors. We have to denounce and reject the apostasy that powerful and influential homosexuals and their friends have insinuated into the Church over decades.
Take one example that can stand for many others: Rembert Weakland. The man who paid half a million dollars to a former male partner in litigation, who said sexual abuse reporters were “squealing,” who shredded reports about such abuse and claimed in his autobiography that he did not know that abuse of children is a crime – this was the same man who worked against traditional sacred music (chant and polyphony), calling for modern styles and liturgical dancing; who, according to a source living in Rome at the time, induced a hesitating Paul VI to push forward the Novus Ordo Missae; who criticized the CDF’s document Dominus Jesus that reaffirmed Catholic dogma on the necessity of faith in Christ and membership in the Church for salvation; and who utterly devastated the historic cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee with a wreckovation that can be described only as satanic.
It is a package deal. This, above all, is what people need to see. The moral depravity, the doctrinal heresy, the liturgical devastation – all of it goes together. If you have the courage to follow each thread, you will find that any attack on one part of the Church, one aspect of her life, one component of her tradition, already is or will soon be bound up with an attack on the other parts, too. The real “seamless garment” is Catholicism taken in its totality. Either you have the whole or you can’t have any.
Living the devout life – the life of grace enjoined by Christ – is not a mere “option” for the Catholic faithful, even less for Catholic clergy. Living the devout life is a solemn obligation before Almighty God, before the Church, and before one’s own conscience. Those who reject or seek to travesty that life will necessarily fall into apostasy. All of us will, not just the homosexuals.
The difference with the clerical sodomites is that they become professional apostates. It is not enough for them not to believe in the sacraments; they must make others not believe in them as well. They will not stop twisting and mutilating the Church until she blesses their sin, along with many other sins. To achieve their goals, they must wreak havoc on every last aspect of the Church. This is what the faithful must stop – forget about the contemptible bureaucracy of the USCCB with its well heeled lawyers and slick marketeers. We begin to stop the havoc by calling its source by its real name. McCarrick was not just a predatory sodomite, but an apostate, and all of his “brother bishops” who knew about the double life and still got their pictures taken with him, laughing away at the latest wool pulled over the people’s eyes – you know, the ones who are putting out videos about how unfortunate this is, what a mess, and, you know, it isn’t as bad as people are making it out to be – these are all apostates, too. They’re company men with company cars, driving in a long line to their own burials at the ecumenical cemetery.
One would think the collaborationist bishops would think twice before leaving their bunkers. Yet, as recent tweets, videos, and articles have demonstrated, they are oddly reckless – proof that they underestimate the extent to which their “narratives” (such as they are) no longer persuade or even matter. The tide is turning against the privileged clerical elite and their lavish lavender lifestyles.
One has to marvel at the farcical tenacity of so much denial on so many sides, and the ridiculous lengths to which people will go in the attempt to explain away obvious problems. When did Catholics become so delusive, so resistant to reality, so willing to do anything rather than look at the wreckage staring them in the face? Why do so many of us have a problem with calling a spade a spade? The only solution is when heads roll, many heads, rolling freely. Let the filth be mucked out, and let fresh air and sunlight in.
The Catholic Church is being rocked to its foundations by a scandal of Modernist apostasy of staggering proportions. We are in “2+2 = 5” territory, and the “conservative” apologists have no real response to that, which is why they insist on treating the McCarrick business as a sex scandal. They are more concerned about a mendacious, ramshackle, unaccountable episcopate than they are about the deposit of the faith under daily assault, as it has been ever since the progressive European bishops maneuvered into control of the Second Vatican Council, strewing ambiguities and half-truths in its documents and dominating its implementation, particularly in the liturgical sphere – all of which has led us straight into the cesspool of iniquity and heresy in which we are stewing.
We have a colossal problem on our hands, yes, but it is not insurmountable. The above analysis may seem hopeless, but I am not one of those who believe that ecclesial doom is just around the corner. The papacy can be set right with a worthy pope. The episcopacy can be strengthened if that worthy pope takes action to depose and defrock bishops across the globe and replace them with men worthy of their offices. The seminaries can be reformed. The Mass of Ages can be restored. Catholic education can be revived. Catechesis can be regenerated (but not, needless to say, with the latest version of the Catechism).
You may well say: All this, any of this, would be a miracle, heaps of miracles! And I say: Yes, that’s right. Miracles do happen, and we need them now more than ever. With man, it is impossible; with God, nothing is impossible – not even the reform of the papacy, the episcopacy, and the college of cardinals.
Reform begins where it always does in the history of the Church through the ages: with faithful laity, faithful priests and deacons, faithful religious brothers and sisters, faithful bishops – men and women absolutely committed to Our Lord and to the Catholic Faith He has given us, in all of its doctrinal integrity, moral strength, and liturgical fullness.
I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem – and so should you, and every layman, religious, and cleric whom God in His Providence has put into the world at exactly this time, so that we can be part of the solution. No one needs to strut off into permanent opposition or lock down in motionless despondency. It is time to pray for divine intervention like never before, and work with all our strength and skill to make ready the coming of the Lord.
Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Thomistic theologian, liturgical scholar, and choral composer, is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and The Catholic University of America. He has taught at the International Theological Institute in Austria, the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Austria Program, and Wyoming Catholic College, which he helped establish in 2006. He writes regularly for Catholic blogs and has published seven books, the most recent being Tradition and Sanity (Angelico, 2018). For more information, visit www.peterkwasniewski.com.