By ROD DREHER
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò meets Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2013 (CNS screenshot)
Last night I was texting with a Catholic friend, and told him about how the late Father Benedict Groeschel lied to cover himself. Groeschel, trained in psychology, had a lot to do with recycling sexually predatory priests back into the community, via his treatment center. Because he was known to be theologically conservative, and was an EWTN star, he was untouchable among conservatives. I wrote last year, when the McCarrick scandal broke:
I am personally aware of a case in which a conservative superstar priest, the late Father Benedict Groeschel, manipulated the conservative Catholic public’s suspicion of the news media to hide from legitimate questions about his own role in covering up abuse. I wrote about it here. In brief, Groeschel, a psychologist, ran a factory that recycled sexually abusive priests. In 2002, or perhaps early 2003, Brooks Egerton, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, tried to contact Groeschel to ask him about some of these cases, Groeschel refused to speak to him. Egerton called me at National Review, asking me why Groeschel wouldn’t return his calls, and asking if I knew any way to reach him. Eventually, Egerton published a story … which Groeschel promptly denounced as filled with lies and distortions. He said, in particular:
Mr. Egerton’s article is a prime example of the hostility, distortion and planned attack on the Catholic Church in the United States by certain segments of the media.
Groeschel’s words were disgraceful. Again, Egerton tried multiple times to get Groeschel on the phone to explain his side of the story. Groeschel refused to talk to him, and then when the story came out, denounced it as a “planned attack on the Catholic Church.” It was a lie, but a lot of people wanted to believe that lie. That’s how aiders and abetters of the scandal, like Benedict Groeschel, got away with it.
One of the lasting effects of the church abuse scandal, at least for me, is to learn how eagerly and easily cardinals, bishops, and influential priests will lie for the sake of preserving a false front, and hiding their own guilt. For example, Cardinal Ted McCarrick was named by the Vatican to lead its response to the initial wave of scandal. Here he is from a 2002 interview with theUSA Today editorial board:
If after all we’ve gone through, someone would still violate the kind of relationship we need with children, with young people, that person should be out of the ministry immediately. So looking forward, I think there is no difference of opinion among the cardinals. Or among the bishops. Everyone I’ve spoken to feels anyone who would do this now — after we’ve passed through all this — is either sick, therefore should not be a priest, or defiant, and therefore should not be in the ministry.
Cardinal McCarrick is now Mr. McCarrick. He was defrocked for sex abuse last year. McCarrick was filthy, and there is evidence that high-level people in Rome knew he was filthy before he was made cardinal archbishop of Washington.
Last year there was intense controversy over Vatican diplomat Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s allegations that Rome had long known of McCarrick’s behavior — and that Benedict XVI had placed McCarrick on restriction, which the arrogant cardinal ignored with impunity. Viganò said that he personally told Pope Francis about McCarrick, but that made no difference. Francis brought McCarrick, a key ally, out of the cold, and put him to work as an envoy.
Well, newly released correspondence shows that the Vatican had, in fact, put McCarrick on restriction — and McCarrick’s successor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, knew about this. Excerpts from the Crux report:
In one letter, McCarrick suggests the Vatican wanted to “avoid publicity” and thus kept the restrictions confidential.
The correspondence also shows that despite the restrictions, McCarrick gradually resumed traveling and playing prominent diplomatic roles under both Popes Benedict XVI and, to a greater extent, Francis, including talks with China that may have helped shape a controversial 2018 deal between Rome and Beijing over the appointment of bishops.
McCarrick’s activities were not carried on in secret, as he regularly wrote to Pope Francis between 2013 and 2017 to brief him on his trips and activities.
In the correspondence, McCarrick denies any sexual misconduct.
“I have never had sexual relations with anyone,” he wrote, but he does admit to “an unfortunate lack of judgment” in sharing his bed with seminarians in their twenties and thirties.
From an examination of the correspondence, which involves emails and private letters from McCarrick over the period 2008-2017, it appears that senior Church officials, including the Vatican’s Secretary of State under Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Congregation for Bishops, and the pope’s ambassador in the U.S., were aware of the informal restrictions, and whatever their response may have been as McCarrick resumed his activities, it did not prevent him from doing so.
McCarrick also writes that he discussed the restrictions with Wuerl in 2008, saying Wuerl’s “help and understanding is, as always, a great help and fraternal support to me.” In a 2008 letter to the papal ambassador in the U.S., McCarrick said he had shared a Vatican letter outlining the restrictions with Wuerl.
Wuerl, who resigned as McCarrick’s successor as the Archbishop of Washington last October amid criticism in a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report of his handling of abuse cases as the Bishop of Pittsburgh, initially denied knowing of abuse charges against McCarrick until they became public in 2018, though in January he admitted to a “lapse in memory” with regard to one allegation that reached him in 2004.
Read the whole thing. Wuerl is still denying.
Here’s the source of that reporting: a website written by McCarrick’s former personal secretary, Msgr Antonio Figueiredo. Crux says it had an expert examine the original correspondence, and determined them to be authentic. The monsignor writes:
In the subsequent sections, I present facts from correspondence that I hold relevant to questions still surrounding McCarrick. These facts show clearly that high-ranking prelates likely had knowledge of McCarrick’s actions and of restrictions imposed upon him during the pontificate of Benedict XVI. They also clearly show that these restrictions were not enforced even before the pontificate of Francis. It is not my place to judge to what extent the fault lies with the failure to impose canonical penalties, instead of mere restrictions, at the start, or with other Church leaders who later failed to expose McCarrick’s behavior and the impropriety of his continued public activity, and indeed may have encouraged it. My intention throughout this report is to present facts – not judgments or condemnation of anyone – for the protection of minors and vulnerable persons, the salvation of souls, and the good of the Church Universal. As a priest ordained by then Archbishop McCarrick and one who served him closely, I reflect often upon how much damage to the physical, psychological and spiritual lives of so many might have been avoided had the restrictions been made public and enforced as soon as they were imposed.
Neither Benedict nor Francis come off looking good here. There is written evidence from McCarrick himself that he was put on informal restriction. When he flouted the restrictions, nothing happened to him.
Figueiredo seems to have been motivated by personal repentance. He was arrested in a drunk-driving accident last year, and indicates that he became addicted to alcohol. He has now embraced a life of sobriety. Whatever the monsignor’s motivations, the documents are judged to be authentic. He goes on:
It is clear that for far too long, a culture has existed in the Church that allowed those like McCarrick to continue their public activity after serious and even settled allegations had come to the attention of Church leaders. Moreover, it is all too evident that Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops – in their cover up – until quite recently have enjoyed the propitious benefit of a more “forgiving” and “lenient” standard of evaluation as compared to those applied to lower ranking clerics and religious. A double standard and non-independent accountability harm the credibility of Church leadership and impede efforts to reestablish fundamental trust in the Catholic clergy.
Speaking of re-establishing fundamental trust, the Vatican press office initially released a transcript of Francis’s May 21 interview, omitting the part where he said he’s not sure if he was told about McCarrick. The version the press office put out featured a flat denial by the Pope. Only when reporters questioned the press office did it release a corrected version, in which Francis said he wasn’t sure if Viganò told him about McCarrick, and just forgot about it.
Responding to the original, full Spanish language transcript of the interview, Archbishop Viganò pulled no punches:
In comments to LifeSite following the release of the interview, Archbishop Viganò said: “What the Pope said about not knowing anything is a lie. […] He pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick, and he pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place.”
In the May 28 interview, Alazraki presses Pope Francis further on whether or not he knew about former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s misdeeds.
“I didn’t know anything about McCarrick, obviously, nothing, nothing,” he says. “I’ve said that several times, that I didn’t know, I had no idea.”
It’s unclear as to what Pope Francis is referring to when he says that he denied knowledge of McCarrick’s immoral activities on several occasions as his refusal to comment one way or another has been a particularly notable element of the scandal.
Pope Francis continues: “When [Archbishop Viganò] says that he spoke to me that day [on June 23, 2013], that he came … I don’t remember if he told me about this, whether it’s true or not, no idea! But you know that I didn’t know anything about McCarrick; otherwise I wouldn’t have kept quiet, right?”
Archbishop Viganò observed of this remark: “He tries to be clever, claiming that he doesn’t remember what I told him, when he was the one who asked me about McCarrick.”
Who has more credibility in this matter: Viganò or Francis? At this point, how is this even a serious question?!
All credibility of the RCC disappears when the Pope is proven to be a liar.
From being infallible to being a liar.
Francis has never being home to Argentina because his name is dirt there.
He was a collaborator with the corrupt regime in Argentina.
He also played some role in the disappearance of two of his fellow Jesuits.
What do you do when the pope is a liar and accessory before and after the fact to two killings?
We are right back to the Borgias.
22 replies on ““POPE FRANCIS IS A LIAR””
Maybe the Borgia’s ride again hi. The basic question is why. This nasty streak seems to have plagued the church for centuries
I don’t know if the pope is a fibber, Bp Pat, but when KOB turned out to be a two-faced lying rat, he was sent into exile in England… for the rest of his life.
KOB had a good heart and nobody asked Gilhooley, Robson and co to sleep with him. RIP
You mean Gilhooley, Robson and the hundreds of others….
The Borgias ran the curia, now the curia runs the church. it is immaterial who the pope is , he is just a figurehead.
He is the Supreme Pontiff and that is a fact not a figure head.
Yes mistakes has and will continue to be made however 1.2 billion people cannot be all wrong.
How many are in the Oratory Society as my parish likely have more at week day Hoy Mass everyday.
Lets all Celebrate the Assumption of Our Lady as she will never desert the Holy Mother Church
It is a Holyday of Obligation so celebrate.
“If a million people follow you ask yourself: “Where have I gone wrong”?
10.22 1.2 billion people did not vote for him. They have no say in the process. Most are totally oblivious to what goes on in Rome. It would be very difficult to survive in such a culture without being infected by it. My faith is still the same. The underground water table of faith still remains but I feel we are very badly served by the people at the top who are a law unto themselves.
Paul D: You say 1.2billion people cannot be all wrong.
Have you any understanding of the concepts of emotional and psychological conditioning, and the influences involved in people being subscribed,incorporated, or inveigled into “membership” of various religious sects and organisations? The underlying principles were recognised as far back as the book of Proverbs, 22.6 of the Old Testament: “Train up the child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
The Jesuits said similarly “Give me the child until he is seven etc etc.”
With reference to religion, the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer can be quoted as saying: “There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is generally adopted.”
This is the “Herd Instinct”.
Modern psychologists refer to such conditioning as the process of influencing by “Confident Repeated Affirmative Presentation.” (Otherwise known as CRAP.)
Just a thought: Maybe Bella believes in this approach?
MMM, you are wasting your wisdom on Paul D. He is a perfect example of CRAP.
He sounds like the sort of man I heard describe KOB’s resignation as “a selfless act of self-sacrifice.”
… I later saw him doing the rounds at the gents.
Wasting your time MMM talking to ones like this Paul, or Belladonna.
They’re too thick and knee jerked programmed into what you call the “Herd” reflex to respond any other way .
But keep sending your thoughts. I enjoy and learn something from them.
Mad Mad Mad at 12:41pm
How dare you mention my name you degenerate auld atheist, time for the dementia home for you. it’s long overdue.
10:43 pm Bella sounding as christlike as ever!
Our Lord asked us to spread the Gospel, so obviously parents will teach the true faith to children. If this is classed as brainwashing, then so can anything. Parents hopefully teach morality, is that brainwashing? Parents may also advocate complacency and apathy, is that brainwashing too? Our Pope needs many prayers, he is on dangerous ground. God have mercy on him.
The obvious question that comes to my mind is why has it taken so long for Tony Figueiredo & his neocat controllers to come out with evidence he has had access to for years. Passing the blame to the Pope when he and the Neos were protecting loads of predators including Mr Mac for years. Tupos if Pontius Pilate! The only positive to come out of this is that the Neos true colours are seen-they are not obedient to Peter & they are distancing themselves from all those weak prelates who’s power they have usurped. Immaculate heart of Mary & Sacred Heart of Jesus the victory will be yours.
This might be a headache for Francis:
One way or another he will never return to Rome. In jail or out he will remain in Australia… for the rest of his life.
Pat. I’ve noticed that you have had few comments posted over the last few days. Are you not publishing or are people not interested when it’s not all gossip?
You’re right that Francis/Frank is a liar. Therefore, he should impeached.