Was going to write a post about this. Decided a quick video would be faster on a Friday afternoon. Please feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments.
Have a good weekend, everyone!
Transcript [May contain errors or typos]:
[00:00:10] Hi everyone, Steve Skojec here. And it’s Friday afternoon as I record this it’s 4:30 Eastern Time. I’ve been looking at some stories today and reading a bunch of submissions that have been sitting in our file for a while that we need to work on. And I realize it’s getting late and I’m probably not going to have time to write anything today about the story concerning the mass resignation of the Chilean bishops. Now if you’re not familiar with this story the reason that I’m telling you about it here is because I can put a video together much faster than I can write something up and so that’s what I thought I’d do. And I apologize. I’m trying not to shake my desk too much but it’s really easy to do. So, there are several stories that came out the one I’m looking at the one I have in front of my eyes right now is from the Associated Press headline is “Chile’s bishops resign en mass over sex abuse cover up.” Just give you a brief synopsis I’ll read a little bit of this in the biggest shakeup yet in the Catholic church’s long running sex abuse scandal. Every active Chilean bishop offered to resign Friday over what Pope Francis said was their grave negligence in investigating abuse and protecting children. The bishops announced at the end of an emergency Vatican summit that all 31 active bishops in Rome had signed a document offering to resign. Francis is going to accept the resignations reject them or delay a decision. And the bishops remain in place until he acts.
[00:01:37] But the symbolic significance of an entire National Bishops Conference resigning on mass because they covered up for pedophiles marked a historic moment in the decades long saga. “We want to ask forgiveness for the pain we caused victims the Pope the people of God and our country for the grave errors and omissions that we committed.” The bishops said in a statement. They thanked the victims for their perseverance and courage for having continued to denounce crimes and coverup by the church. Despite the incomprehension and attacks from the same church community etc etc. marked the first known time that an entire Bishops Conference had offered to step down over a scandal and laid bare the devastation the abuse crisis has caused. The Catholic Church in Chile and beyond. There’s more to the story. This gives you a general idea of the story and what we’re dealing with here so some thoughts. I don’t think the Chilean bishops are worse. I don’t think there’s any evidence we’ve seen that they’re any worse than any other bishops anywhere in the world in terms of perpetrating or covering up pedophilia. Ephebophilia any form of abuse of minors or the vulnerable in their spiritual care. Just like I haven’t seen any evidence what I have seen are accusations against three distinct figures. We have father carried Carey Demma who has already been disciplined by the Vatican has been put into a life of prayer and penance he for abuse. He made it outside the statute of limitations for civil charges. The judge that looked into those charges said that the evidence was not lacking but that she lacked the juridical authority to put the guy away because they had happened so long ago.
[00:03:33] So he escaped civil consequences for his crimes. But the church forced him into a life of prayer and penance. I don’t know, I don’t recall if they laicised him. They should have. I don’t know that they did. So there was that was one and he’s the guy around which all of this seems to center the second figure is Bishop Juan Barros who Pope Francis appointed as the bishop of the Diocese of Osorno in Chile in 2015 Barros is as a younger guy I think he’s in his 50s maybe early 60s. He came into his position under an absolute pall. I mean stigmatized because he was a protege of Karadima. And everybody in Chile — Well everybody who had heard about the accusations — said he was complicit in one way or another. Now the accusations about Baros that I’ve seen say not so much that he perpetrated any acts himself. If there is something that says that I haven’t seen it but that he had knowledge of the actions that were taken by Karadima and that even in some cases he may have personally witnessed the abuse taking place, like, stood in the room and watched what was going on, which is creepy as anything but it’s not the first time I’ve heard those kinds of allegations against a clergyman. As there have been other situations where I’ve heard the guy stood in and watched Well you know so and so it was raped or whatever it’s I don’t want to get into the psychology of that. But there’s this idea of there being complicity by consent even if he had nothing to do with actually laying hands on anyone.
[00:05:18] One of the accounts that I read this year when the pope went to Chile and the whole Baros thing blew up again said something about Karadima and Barros having their own relationship, like a homosexual relationship. Not verified. Don’t know, but it did come up in some of those discussions so putting it out there. Barros is the guy who started this whole thing off because the pope appointed him as Bishop of Osorno and the people went nuts. I mean they had protests that were a borderline riot at his installation mass. They did not want him there. They were angry at the pope for sending him there. And the crazy thing is so Pope Francis became the center of this big media scandal because when he went to Chile this year and the abuse victims came forward again and said why aren’t you doing anything about Barros he cues them of calumny for making accusations that they couldn’t prove. Now let’s just start with one thing on that topic. Talk to an attorney who’s ever prosecuted any kind of sexual abuse or sexual assault case. I mean they’ll tell you that from an evidentiary standpoint it’s one of the hardest types of crimes to prosecute because unless you know you get a rape kit in 24 hours unless there’s some physical trauma. I mean and I want to go into graphic details but there’s no way to prove that somebody abused you if there’s nothing on camera if you don’t have a witness. How do you prove it. And this one abuse victim. His name is Cruz. Juan Cruz? I can’t remember, but his last name is Cruz.
[00:07:05] I mean he basically made that point he’s like how can I prove what was being done to me in secret? You know there’s no way I could prove it. This is why I’m coming forward in my testimony because it’s all I’ve got. So it was very callous for Francis to make those accusations and then he kind of doubled down like he apologize later for giving offense. But then he kept saying but there’s still no proof and nobody’s ever brought me proof and I don’t believe about Barros thing was in 2015 when all those big protests were happening over Barros. And when the people were practically riding outside his installation mass Francis on the record called the people of Osorno dumb. He said that they are suffering because they are dumb because they believe these charges without any evidence and that they’re being led by politicians who use the frame the phrase the left left wing I think which never means to a Peronist what you think it means. But that’s another story. So he accused them of being dumb for saying that this guy was a known abuser. I read that in the New York Times. Did you hear about it. I mean if you’ve been reading one Peter five since 2015 you heard about it here because I reported on it I’m like who does that but at the time in 2015 Francis was a media darling. He could do no wrong. And most of the people in the Church who’ve read pilled now hadn’t read pilled yet. So nobody was about to call him out on that and I remember sitting there writing this article in October of 2015.
[00:08:40] And the reason I wrote it by the way was because Francis had just come to the United States in September of 2015. He went to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and he gave this impassioned speech about zero tolerance for clerical sex abuse. But Barroso was a problem and not only that Cardinal Danneels from Belgium. I mean the guy was on tape telling a victim like trying to intimidate a victim so that he wouldn’t report that his own uncle who was a bishop in Belgium had abused him. He was caught on tape doing that. He’s done a bunch of other stuff. I mean he’s a heretic out and out pro gay everything pro abortion. I mean he was said to have persuaded the King of Belgium to pass pro abortion legislation I mean all kinds of reports have come out about denials but de Neale’s was a kingmaker Danneels was a central part of the conspiracy of the St. Gallen mafia to get Briguglio elected. So who did you see on the Loja on that night on March 13th 2013 when the newly minted Pope Francis the first came out and scared the world with his creepy presence? Cardinal Danneels standing right up there next to him. A guy whose career was in the tank, a guy who was approaching 80 if he wasn’t 80 already by the time of the election. I mean a couple these guys just barely snaked into the conclave. A guy who was never going to see his career rehabilitated and there he was one of a handful of people standing up there with the pope because he helped make it happen. And then when the synods happened in 2014 and in 2015 who personally invited Cardinal Danneels? This guy who couldn’t care less about the integrity of the church’s teaching on family and sexuality. He was invited by the pope to those synods to participate.
[00:10:50] So when I hear zero tolerance about clerical sex abuse I say zero is a very small number and I’m looking at two cases right here. Of course over time there have been more. Right? So we have Father Inzoli who Francis played footsie with until he either went out and abuse somebody else or he went up hanging around kids when he wasn’t supposed to. I can’t remember how the story went. Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote a great article about this phenomenon of priests with Cardinal friends and priests without the ones who were accused and they have Cardinal friends. They get out scot free. But the ones who don’t get railroaded you know and we’ve seen the sort of political maneuvering of a conservative bishop who gets accused of negligence like Bishop Finn in Kansas City gets railroaded even if the evidence is really really shoddy that he even was complicit in what went on. I mean you could argue that there was some neglect there but it was understandable based on my reading of everything and we covered that back then it was like Come on. The guy was getting conflicting information there’s all stuff right. But he was a conservative. He allowed a lot of orthodoxy to flourish in his diocese. The next thing you know he’s run out of town on the rail denials up on the loggia. Barros sent to Chile, and the people who protest are being called stupid because they said he’s a problem.
[00:12:13] Inzoli — Father Mercedes as they call him — he got off for a while. Francis has had to crack down because the media started getting wind of this stuff. The Barros situation comes back up yet again. Right? And now in Chile in 2018 people aren’t so hot on Francis anymore. He’s been making enemies he’s been making waves. And this was his Kryptonite. Because he calls the abuse victims calumniators and that didn’t sit well with people because this time people were actually paying attention. After two, three solid years of independent media like us pounding on the fact that this guy is a monster a phony and I’m talking about the pope not Barros, I don’t know anything about Barros but I think that there’s a problem clearly. So the third person in this triumvirate in Chile — Man, 13 minutes and I’m still going. If you’re still watching thanks — (you know they say that kids these days only watch about 45 seconds of a video. I guess that’s why my audience skews a little older).
[00:13:21] Third person in the Chilean triumvirate is Cardinal Erra…I always mispronounced his name. Errazuriz. Let me double check it. Let’s go to the… Errazuriz. E-R-R-A-Z-U-R-I-Z. Errazuriz. Cardinal Javier E. We’ll call him E. Who’s on the pope’s council of nine advising cardinals. He was also accused of covering up for Karadima. So you’ve got this trifecta here of people that Francis isn’t really dealing with now. Karadima was dealt with but his case was if I’m not mistaken and I and I’m pretty sure I looked into this in the past was already under review and investigation under Pope Benedict.
[00:14:14] So by the time he was punished he was either at the end of Pope Benedict’s reign or just after the wheels were in motion. But these other two guys not only is Baros sentence really by Francis but then the other cardinal covers up the situation. Hey let’s put you on the council of nine cardinals I want to advise me now. I’ve talked about this recently. But in this council of nine we have Cardinal. We have Cardinal Marx who admitted last year negligence in abuse cases in Munich. We have Cardinal Maradiaga who you know from Honduras has this bishop who is like his right hand man who’s been accused of all kinds of creepy stuff and nothing has been done about it. And Maradiaga has got his own financial scandals but he’s got cancer and I don’t know. Nobody’s doing anything about him. And then you’ve got, well, Cardinal Pell and Cardinal Pell I think is the outlier here because Cardinal Pell I’ve always suspected that the charges are trumped up and I could be wrong and I say this all the time I have this disclaimer because I’ve watched clergy that we thought were good turn out to legitimately be guilty. But Cardinal Pell was brought in to audit the Vatican finances and he found a billion dollars where it wasn’t supposed to be. And then the next thing you know he’s getting hauled back to Australia to face 40 year old sex abuse charges. If that doesn’t seem a little suspicious to you I think you need to readjust the tinfoil hat because that’s just too much of a coincidence. Could be that he’s guilty.
[00:15:58] I’m not going to say that he’s not people I know in Australia say flat out whether you like him and whether you don’t. These are these are not legitimate charges. They’re unjust. I hope so. I hope he’s exonerated because of the bunch he seems to be the only one who’s not complicit in some way in tearing down the faith from the inside. But so that’s that. So how do we wrap this up. What I see is it’s people who are close to Francis, people that he knows about people that he picks who are the problem who are the ones who seem to be complicit who are the ones who get off scot free. While others who are not ideological ideologically compatible are the ones who get punished. And so now we have this mish this meeting of bishops in Rome and there’s 34 bishops from Chile in the entire conference resigns because one guy has been accused. One guy who’s in office and one guy who’s retired and working for the Pope directly have been accuse of being tied up in this one scandal around this one priest 31 active bishops had to resign for that. Why is Baros just not getting the boot. Why is Cardinal ie not getting chucked off the C9 I don’t understand this big giant PR stunt that by the way is not going to play very well if Francis decides oh I’m not going to accept all your resignations. No. And what is he going to do just accept some of them. Who. Who’s complicit. What has come out. Does this feel as wrong to you as it does to me.
[00:17:47] It’s just it feels like a show. And I keep saying you know pay attention to the shell game. Watch the cups they move around and intertwine. Keep your eye on the ball which cup is it under because there’s always a sleight of hand with this Vatican. There’s always smoke and mirrors there’s always a dog and pony show. This looks like a magnanimous gesture. It looks like one. But is it. I mean what is going to be the upshot of this and how does Francis come out of this smelling like roses. Because when it comes down to it frankly he’s just as complicit by not taking the abusers seriously by calling the people of Surnow stupid by calling the abusers calumniators for simply telling their story. He looks worse than than many others who are now handing in their resignations. And now some of you are arguing by the way. And I’m going to just take a minute on this. I’ve seen people saying well the Francis should resign. No I don’t think so. I mean believe me it would be lovely to have him out of there. But I don’t like it when popes resign. And I don’t think anybody should. What are we going to have two three popes at the same time? Two emeritii? I mean that’s the plural right? Emeritii? Emeritopodes? You know you have two Emeritus Popes one reigning pope. Things are getting dicey enough as it is within the Petrine ministry and I don’t want to see the arguments that break out because of that. I don’t want to see the doubt that comes as a result of something like that.
[00:19:39] I also tend to see resignation as sort of the easy way out, right? I mean “hey I did all this bad stuff and I’m just going to go.” No, I think you need to face the music for what you’ve done to the Church. And he will one way or the other, but I just don’t like the easy way. I don’t like the I’m just going to cash in my 401k and get the papal Rolex and just head on out to do whatever. That doesn’t sit well with me. So no I don’t want to see that as a precedent. I think that the papacy needs to be taken a lot more seriously. I think Francis has done a lot of damage to the credibility of the papacy and that’s a problem. Actually speaking of which there’s one more thing I want to talk about before we go. Thank you for watching, by the way. I know this isn’t something that we normally do. But I think that it’s uh, it’s fun to do a video every once in a while have a conversation with you guys.
[00:20:41] So Father Hunwicke who writes at Liturgical Notes, had a great little thing today that I really agree with. And I think that while he wasn’t talking about this specifically I think it ties in. He says the Vatican has just put out a teaching document on economic matters. (I think this happened yesterday actually but it kind of flew under the radar of everything else that was going on).
[00:21:09] “For me personally and I can speak for nobody else. This moment precisely epitomizes the problem created by Pope Francis misuse of the munus given to him by God.
[00:21:19] At any time before 2013, I would have simply received such a document with docility. In a case like this present one because it deals with matters in which I’m not personally academically competent, I would have done my best to understand it quite simply because although not ex cathedra it came to me with authority. I would have done my best to put myself into the position of being able to explain and commend it on this blog and to members of Christ faithful people to whom I might find myself speaking or who out of a misguided esteem for myself asked me about it. But that is not how things can be now. For five years PF (Pope Francis) has arguably played irresponsible games with the authority placed in his hands. He has daily pursued policies which are difficult to reconcile with a faithful following of our Most Holy Redeemer. In particular he appears to have set himself to undermine the careful teaching of his predecessors, notably the last two, on the evils of moral relativism and has publicly ignored appeals to bring clarity to these appearances. Unbelievably the successor of St. Peter is seen by both admirers and critics as one who encourages souls for whom Christ died to be comfortable in a life of habitual adultery. He has impudently…impudently justified his conduct by talking about a God of Surprises. Hagan lios: he has had the temerity to go so far as to create a mess in the Lord’s vineyard and then to invite others to follow him.
[00:23:01] It was necessary 1300 years ago to say in sad condemnation of an earlier pope that ‘He has permitted the purity of the church to be polluted’ and that ‘he has fostered heresy’. Because this has happened we know it can happen.
[00:23:20] If… May God grant it… from this very moment onwards PF’s pontificate were to be a model of humble repentance and chastened discipleship than indeed, laus Deo; but it would inevitably still take a time for it to become apparent Urbi et orbi that this sea change had taken place.
[00:23:41] Whether under this pontiff or another, it may be years before one can again receive teaching emerging from the Vatican in the old simple childlike obedient trust with open and willing ears. There will long be the nagging destabilizing anxiety that in such very extraordinary times the chill bonds of conscience and duty and of duty might require one. dokimazein ta pneumata. (I pronounced that wrong.).
[00:24:12] This is the measure of the catastrophe of the catastrophic damage which Jorge Bergoglio has done to his great office of maintaining the Depositum Fidei by being a remora against the assaults of novelty. In blessed John Henry Newman’s language, we feel less securely under our feet the rock of the soliditas cathedrae Petri. It may take decades at least for the good God to heal this insecurity.”
[00:24:46] I didn’t intend to read the whole thing but it’s just damn good isn’t it. I mean because that’s the thing when I’ve talked about this for a while. I’ve used the term “Kamakazi Papacy” to refer to what’s going on with Francis. You know a Kamakazi is a guy who is willing to give up his life, all the power at the disposal of that of the plane that he’s flying, he’s going to do maximum damage. He’s not just going to shoot guns, drop bombs, throw missiles. He is going to take the whole thing and himself included and just crash it into that ship, right? Well that’s what he’s doing. He’s taking all the power of the papacy that he has at his disposal and he’s just mustering it up and he’s doing whatever he wants unilaterally, autonomously, and he’s doing it in such a way that the end result is the destruction of the Petrine office itself. Of people’s ability to trust it. Of people’s ability to think that the pope knows what he’s talking about. Of people’s ability to know when the pope is speaking authoritatively and when he’s not. Whoever comes after him is going to have a huge mess on his hands. Because we have habituated ourselves now to saying we can’t trust the Pope — and when I say “we”, I mean orthodox Catholics. Traditional Catholics. Catholics who have always been the first to defend papal primacy, who’ve always been the first to defend the authority of the papacy… We’re the ones most likely to say, “I don’t think you can trust him on that.” How are we not going to apply that to whoever comes next? It’s a problem. It’s a huge problem. And where is Father Hunwicke is talking about teaching authority, I think that these actions, like that, how he’s handled all these different clerical abuse cases, it’s the same thing. It’s just this guy is… He’s sleazy. That’s what he comes across as is sleazy, and that he just makes these decisions based on crony considerations. It’s all about him.
[00:26:48] He cares about abuse cases when it makes him look good. But when it’s an inconvenience or when they affect somebody who’s useful to him — I was going to say close to him, but I don’t think anyone is — when it affects someone who’s useful to him, that’s a problem. Now, he will throw people under the bus. He will. I don’t think he’s particularly loyal to anyone when it comes right down to it. You you get enough heat focused on the papacy and Francis will shut you down because he’s not going to let anything stand between him and his power and and his agenda. He’s just not. But he has habituated himself it seems to surrounding himself with compromised… Mmorally compromised men. And you know anybody who does that it’s because they’re easier to control because they’ve got all these skeletons. And he knows where they’re hidden. You know he knows! I mean, the the guy who runs the papal household and who was his eyes and ears to the Vatican bank reform, going back to Cardinal Pell… he was a known active homosexual. This is Monsignor Battista Ricca. This is the guy about whom by the way Francis said “Who am I to judge?” Because he was being asked by a reporter on the plane, you know, what about this guy? And he’s like well you know if a priest has goodwill and loves the Lord who am I to judge? So this is… it’s all about agenda. It’s all about convenience. And it shows that a person could pursue the Petrine office specifically because there is something that they think that the power of that office will help them to attain.
[00:28:32] I don’t know what his end game is. I never have. What makes the most sense to me is that he has some kind of revenge fantasy against the Church or against God for some perceived injustice some perceived wound that he has endured. But he seems to be trying to get back at everybody who ever made a rule, everybody who ever enforced a doctrine. You know, he wants to remake this whole thing in his image. And the problem is is that it doesn’t belong to him. This is not his car. It’s the company car. And somebody’s got to drive it after him. And it is banged up. So we’re going to have to keep that in mind because a conclave will come sooner rather than later. Most of us will probably live to see it. What’s going to happen? How is the pope, the next pope, if we’re even lucky enough for the next one to be a good one — which I’m not bet any money on! — how is he going to restore the dignity of that office? It’s a question we’re going to be asking for some time to come. Thanks for watching. See you next time.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher 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 eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.