This week, we saw two astonishing failures in ecclesiastical leadership as regards the clerical sex abuse crisis. First was the Vatican’s direct intervention in the U.S. Bishops’ fall meeting, stopping them from holding a vote on accountability measures. We heard about “shock” and “surprise” and “anger” from the bishops after the interference from Rome. But then, when the time came for the bishops to vote on a measure to ask Rome to release all pertinent files on the McCarrick case, the measure failed by nearly a two-to-one vote. 83 in favor. 137 against. 3 abstentions.
This was not a controversial resolution. Its wording was careful to the point of being anodyne:
“Be it resolved that the bishops of the USCCB encourage the Holy Father to release all the documentation that can be released consistent with canon and civil law regarding the misconduct of Archbishop McCormick.”
Still, the bishops bickered over the thing until they managed to strangle it to death.
Earlier today, someone asked me what I thought about the latest Pew Research data showing a drop in Pope Francis’s approval ratings here in the states. Not having seen anything from Pew, I took a stab in the dark. “I don’t think anyone knows why for sure, but if I had to guess I’d say it’s his handling of abuse crisis. It’s the one thing that derails even his most progressive allies.”
I said that there had been an aggregated effect. Barros. McCarrick. The Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. Vigano. What just happened in Baltimore at the bishops meeting – and the intervention from Rome to keep anything of substance from moving forward. All of these stories were percolating up out of the alternative Catholic media and into the public consciousness. They were beginning to register on the mainstream media’s radar. As canonist and Catholic journalist Ed Condon wrote earlier this week, “At a stroke, Pope Francis has made himself the face of the sexual abuse crisis in the United States and taken personal ownership of the church’s response, or nonresponse, to it.”
And America sees him that way too.
When I had a chance, I did some research. As it turns out, the latest Pew data was published over a month ago. And the headline was clear: “Confidence in Pope Francis Down Sharply in U.S.: By a two-to-one margin, American Catholics now give Francis negative marks for his handling of the sex abuse scandal.”
After years, the collective efforts of publications like 1P5, compounded by the almost unimaginable mishandling of this newly reinvigorated abuse crisis, has finally shifted the balance.
And yet, for some reason, the people running the Catholic Church are still doing the same things. Still obfuscating. Still acting like they have total impunity. They apparently think they’re going to keep getting away with it.
For the first time, though, we’re seeing evidence that they are afraid. They’re worried about how alternative Catholic media is turning the tables on their agenda.
Which is why they are trying to find a way to silence us.
During the Youth Synod last month in Rome, a discussion was had about how the Vatican might sanction Catholic outlets it trusts. This attempt — which I’ve taken to referring to as “The Index of Forbidden Blogs” — made an appearance in paragraph 146 of the final synod document. A translation of which was provided by Twitter powerhouse @Catholicsat a couple of weeks ago:
146. The Synod hopes that in the Church appropriate official bodies for digital culture and evangelization are established at appropriate levels, which, with the indispensable contribution of young people, promote ecclesial action and reflection in this environment. Among their functions, in addition to promoting the exchange and dissemination of good practices at a personal and community level, and to develop adequate tools for digital education and evangelization, could also manage certification systems of Catholic sites, to counter the spread of fake news regarding the Church, and looking for ways to persuade public authorities to promote increasingly stringent policies and tools for the protection of minors on the web.
This week, Church Militant got their hands on a proposed list of approved sites from one of the pope’s most notorious sycophants, Fr. Thomas Rosica, Vatican spokesman and head of Canada’s Salt and Light TV. Rosica, who alternates between threatening to sue bloggers he doesn’t like and committing blasphemous pope worship, put some names on paper that will have you rolling out of your seat:
Every single source on that list is in the tank for the Francis camp.
You’ll notice nothing about 1P5, LifesiteNews, Church Militant, or even Catholic News Agency, the National Catholic Register, or EWTN.
They want desperately to shut anyone up who is telling the truth about what they’re doing.
With your help, that isn’t going to work.
At the beginning of 2018, I told you I sensed the beginning of the end for Francis and friends. As we approach the final month of 2018, it seems that prediction was more prescient than I could have believed. One thunderous blow after another has rocked that kakistocracy that has seized possession of Holy Mother Church. Their corrupt bastions are tottering; we must continue to press until they fall.
This is why, now, more than ever, we need your support. We have reached a moment where the advantage is shifting to our side. We must seize the high ground and press the attack if we want our Church back.
Half way through the month of November, we are at only 40% of our monthly fundraising goal. We need your help.
I know you’ve heard these appeals before. I know you’re probably as tired of reading them as I am of writing them. But this is the nature of what we do. We are in this fight together and I would hate to see us take our foot off the gas at a moment when the people who have hijacked the Church are actually on the defensive. The irony is that right now, after what they just pulled, the USCCB is trying to raise money for its always corrupt Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Why not give it to a cause that’s serving your interests and those of the Church instead?
This is why I’m asking you to prayerfully consider a tax-deductible donation of whatever amount you can. No gift is too large, or too small. As always, donations can be sent by mail (follow the instructions here) or processed easily through our online gateway. Just click the button below:
Publisher & Executive Director
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.