Here are some of the important stories we’re following this week:
1. The Cardinal McCarrick scandal has gotten even worse. Yesterday the New York Times reported that a 60-year-old man came forward to describe the sexual abuse he suffered from McCarrick, beginning when he was 11 and continuing into his young adulthood. This man was the first baby baptized by a newly-ordained Father McCarrick in 1958. The man’s sister recounts:
It was explained to us how Jimmy was special to Father McCarrick, because of that very special thing that happened, that he was his first baptism.
The best way the church can begin to repent for the sins of leaders like Cardinal McCarrick and all those who turned a blind eye to his wrongdoing is for bishops to call their brother bishops and other leaders within the church to account. It would be a significant, though sadly belated, statement of pastoral commitment for the bishops together to call upon all who have misused their ecclesial office by sexually abusing someone under their authority or pastoral care to take responsibility for their failure and submit their resignation. Another story of episcopal abuse may break in the media at any time. It would be a prophetic witness to God’s grace for the church to embrace this opportunity for repentance and the hope for reconciliation now rather than passively waiting for more secrets to be revealed.
Excerpt from OSV Newsweekly:
Not since the early dark days of the revelations of widespread clergy sexual abuse in the Church have the people of God wrestled with such deep betrayal. And the revelations regarding McCarrick will shed an uncomfortable but necessary light on an enabling culture.
Even the most loyal, ardent defenders of the Church find themselves without words — speechless at how, 18 years after the crisis first reared its ugly head, the Church has made such little progress in full disclosure and transparency. The sexual abuse of seminarians and priests by a member of the Catholic hierarchy is immoral and despicable.
Since the beginning of his pontificate Francis has been aware of the “different gospel” of prosperity theology and, criticizing it, has applied the classical social doctrine of the Church. He has often spoken about it to warn about its dangers. The first time was in Brazil, July 28, 2013. Speaking to the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean he singled out ecclesial functionalism that “applies a sort of prosperity gospel to the organization of pastoral work.” This ends up being concerned with efficacy, success, quantifiable results and good statistics. The Church ends up being run like a business in a misleading way that keeps people away from the mystery of faith.
Michael Sean Winters has an analysis.
3. Jason Horowitz wrote a lengthy profile in Vogue this week about “How Pope Francis is Changing the Catholic Church.” Excerpt:
Here he is at the Vatican, surrounded by kids with red hats on their heads, many carrying balloons. He spends an hour with them. “The pope loves this,” says Laurent Mazas, a French philosopher and priest, who runs the Vatican’s outreach program to the secular world. And it’s clear that he does. “Do we have roots?” Francis asks the crowd. “Yes. Spiritual roots. The home. The family. The school,” he says. “Can a boy or girl without roots bear fruit in life?”
“No,” respond the children. Francis smiles—it’s the right answer—and the children beg him to stay a little longer.
4. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, an auxiliary bishop under Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga for the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa in Honduras.
The July 20 statement from the Vatican press office simply stated that Francis had accepted the resignation of Pineda Fasquelle, without giving a reason. However, the bishop is only 57, well below the retirement age for bishops, which is 75.
In March, the National Catholic Register reported that two seminarians had accused Pineda Fasquelle of attempting to have unwanted sexual relations with them.
Pope Francis sent Argentine Bishop Jorge Pedro Casaretto to Honduras after allegations of financial impropriety were lodged against Rodríguez Maradiaga.
The cardinal was accused of investing over $1.2 million dollars in dubious financial deals, losing much of it. He was also receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from his role as Grand Chancellor of the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa – a purely ceremonial position which traditionally doesn’t receive remuneration.