The devil has used the episcopal cover-up of scandals involving sodomite priests in many ways.
First, the anti-Catholic media have a field day with these scandals, most of which would never have become a matter of public knowledge if the bishops had taken seriously the complaints brought to them by lay Catholics and by The Wanderer and Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc, no less have engaged in the protection of priest-sodomites. As I noted in "Blaming the Messenger" a few months ago, the secular media did not invent the stories of priest-sodomites. The bishops are indeed to blame for handing these scandals to them on a veritable silver platter. However, the anti-Catholic media have enjoyed reporting on the scandals, relishing each new revelation with special delight, although doing so by refusing to report the real problem facing the Church: the recruitment, promotion and protection of sodomites in the priesthood.
Second, the faith of many ordinary Catholics has been shaken by the scandals. Some of the faithful who were victimized first by sodomite priests and then later by bishops and their chancery apparatchiks have let the human elements of the Church weaken or eradicate their faith. Other good souls have had their faith shaken as a result of the scandals. Obviously, a believing Catholic knows that the Church is divinely founded and maintained, understanding that she will last until the end of time. Sadly, though, a lot of good people let the devil and his minions weaken their belief in the indefectibility of the Church, tempting them to confuse the sins of bishops and priests with the Divine nature of the Church's origin and daily life. Again, the bishops bear the lion's share of responsibility for this. It is sad, however, to have to note how the adversary uses human weakness to try to discourage souls from the practice of the faith.
Third, many dissenting Catholics, most of whom really do not believe that Our Lord entrusted an unchanging Deposit of Faith in His Mystical Bride, the Church, are using the scandals to their utmost advantage. An organization called Voice of the Faithful, which has some relationship to the nefarious Call to Action, has arisen to challenge some of the doctrines and discipline of the Church, including the inadmissability of women to the priesthood and the discipline of priestly celibacy. Some members of the Voice of the Faith want to challenge the very nature of the "power structure" in the Church, giving the laity more of a say in matters of recruitment of men to the priesthood and in the appointment of priests to their parochial assignments, as well as to serve as overseers of the finances of dioceses. The last thing in the world the Church needs is "democratization," although one sees an interesting intersection of interests between Voice of the Faithful and dissident priests and nuns within the Church. There is nothing that delights the devil more than providing opportunities for dissenting Catholics to spread their errors (not that they lack such opportunities in our own parishes and educational institutions, you understand).
Fourth, the bishops have responded to the crisis by appointing members of the laity to advise them on how they should handle the scandals involving sodomite priests. One member of the original panel was none other than Leon Panetta, the former Congressman from California who headed William Jefferson Clinton's Office of Management and the Budget before becoming White House Chief of Staff. Panetta is a Catholic in good standing in the Diocese of Monterey even though he supports abortion-on-demand as a constitutional right. Don't tell me that the devil isn't taking a good deal of pleasure from having a man who supports one of the four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance serve as an adviser to Catholic bishops, thus further lending credibility to the mistaken belief that one can support baby-killing and remain a Catholic in good standing. (It is interesting to note that Bishop Ryan told a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter that he would permit a Traditional Latin Mass in his diocese "over his dead body" while Leon Panetta is welcomed as an honored parishioner at the Basilica of Saint Charles Borromeo in Carmel, California. Supporting abortion is no big deal. Supporting the Traditional Mass, evidently, must be the real sin.)
There have been a lot of ways that the devil has used these thoroughly avoidable scandals to dishearten the faithful and to delight those outside of the fold of Holy Mother Church, possibly to the extent of causing some potential converts to change their minds about converting to the true Faith. The old lies of the Alberto and Jack Chick comic books have been revived in Baptist and nondenominational evangelical and fundamentalist Protestant circles. The uninformed Catholic, who stopped practicing the faith years ago following the disinformation he got in religious education programs, has been reinforced in his decision to live as he likes outside of the Church. The professional politicians who should be feeling the sting of the Church for their support of one abject evil after another know that they are safer than they ever have been (not that they have ever really been threatened by the statists and positivists and relativists who run our chancery offices) as the Church's credibility has been lessened in human terms in the midst of the world. Oh, yes, there have been so many ways that the devil has used the malfeasance of the bishops for his own advantage.
One of the chief lieutenants the devil has had in undermining the life of the Church in this country is Bernard Cardinal Law, the Archbishop of Boston. Oh, Cardinal Law believes in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He is not a satanist. Therein lies the true tragedy of his story. Cardinal Law is a believer. However, he is a man who has been influenced by the liberal ethos to such an extent that he has seen almost everything through the eyes of "nuance" rather than through the eyes of the true Faith. This has led him to undermine the Faith within the Church in many ways independently of how his mishandling of the sodomite scandals has undermined the faith of many ordinary Catholics. He has done the bidding of the devil by so nuancing the Faith as to render it defenseless when his own malfeasance came to public light.
Bishop Bernard F. Law was the Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, when Pope John Paul II appointed him to be Humberto Cardinal Medeiros's successor as Archbishop of Boston in 1984. His Mass of installation took place on the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1984. His installation, which took place five days after that of Bishop John J. O'Connor as Archbishop of New York, was said to be a signal being sent by the Holy Father that "conservatives" were now in control of the Church in the United States. Although Cardinal Law has always been rhetorically pro-life (his ringing words about Cardinal O'Connor's having been "unconditionally pro-life, made in the presence of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Al Gore and a veritable who's who of pro-aborts present at O'Connor's funeral Mass in May of 2000, brought everyone in Saint Patrick's to their feet), he was from the outset of his tenure in Boston a liberal who was concerned about pleasing various constituencies in the Church.
To wit, then Archbishop Law acceded to the demands of nuns that they be allowed to serve as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist during his installation Mass on March 25, 1984. There was no need for such "ministers" as all of the priests of the Archdiocese of Boston, scores of bishops from around the nation and the Papal Nuncio, the then Archbishop Pio Laghi, were to be concelebrants at the Mass. As bishops and priests are the ordinary ministers of the Eucharist, and as there were more than enough of those ordinary ministers present for the distribution of Holy Communion, there was no "extraordinary" need for other "ministers." However, Archbishop Law wanted to appear "sensitive" to the needs of women. As the late Father Vincent Miceli noted to me at the time, "It's over. He's a loser. He'll never recover from this. He'll give the feminists anything they want from now on." Father Miceli was right on the money, wasn't he? Cardinal Law was later to be in the vanguard of pushing for a "gender inclusive" English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the English translation of the texts of the Novus Ordo.
Cardinal Law curried favor with the powerful. He lavished great praise on the late Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neil, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1977-87, at his funeral Mass in January of 1994. As a baptized Catholic, O'Neil may have been entitled to a funeral Mass, but Cardinal Law did not have to celebrate it, no less lavish great praise upon a man who used his public career to promote abortion "rights" and to support the Communist Sandinistas of Nicaragua. No, Cardinal Law chose the path of giving public honor to a man who supported the mystical destruction of the God-Man in the persons of little unborn children in their mothers' wombs.
It was also in 1994 that Law praised the late Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy at her funeral Mass, saying that the Kennedys had always done so much in defense of innocent human life. Yes, he really said that, folks. When he was confronted with the fact that every Kennedy in public life supported abortion, Cardinal Law backtracked, saying that he had Eunice Kennedy Shriver in mind when he praised the pro-life commitment of the Kennedys. One Kennedy out of the entire clan is not exactly a family legacy. And though it is evidently the case that Cardinal Law has had private conversations with Senator Edward Moore Kennedy about abortion, Cardinal Law has not said one word publicly about Kennedy's pro-abortion stance, no less seek to excommunicate him for it. Indeed, Senator Kennedy was permitted to administer the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord at a Mass shortly after the death of his nephew, John F. Kennedy, Jr., in 1999. No scandal there, huh? Just a matter of nuance.
Cardinal Law's bent for nuance was on display at the end of 1994. Following the killing of an abortionist and his assistant by a deranged man, who later committed suicide in prison, Cardinal Law called for a "moratorium" on "protests" in front of abortuaries, including those involving the praying of the Rosary without any signs or photographs. Pro-lifers were outraged by the implication that their peaceful, prayerful presence in front of the killing centers was being equated with the actions of a deranged man and with the killing taking place inside of the abortuaries. Cardinal Law further enraged pro-lifers by a series of fruitless meetings with representatives of Planned Parenthood to seek "common ground" with them. Although, as noted earlier, Cardinal Law is pro-life, his actions have undermined the pro-life movement time and time again.
The Most Reverend Charles Chaput, then the Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, wrote to me following a recitation of these (and other) facts that appeared in The Wanderer in early 1995. He said that while I had been truthful in what I reported, he believed that it was counterproductive to have reported the facts. Cardinal Law, he said, had done so much good that it was not right to put into question his judgment as strongly as I had. It appears as though the facts I recited were simply the tip of the iceberg concerning Cardinal Law's poor judgment, influenced as it is by a bent in the direction of nuance, as he himself indicated to me in a letter in the Fall of 1980 while he was the Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.
Cardinal Law's nuanced judgments did not stop with the call for a "moratorium" on pro-life "protests" in front of killing centers. No, he indicated in 2001 that he would not require teachers of theology to receive a mandatum from him to teach theology in Catholic colleges and universities in his archdiocese as specified in the Holy Father's 1990 document, Ex corde ecclesiae. Herein lies the real rub of Cardinal Law's failure as Archbishop of Boston: a failure to demand absolute fidelity to the Deposit of Faith in Catholic educational institutions (and in Catholic religious education programs) winds up producing future generations of pro-abortion, pro-sodomite politicians and educators and journalists, to say nothing of their like-minded brethren in the priesthood.
A similar indifference to the integrity of the Faith led Cardinal Law to an Islamic mosque in Boston shortly before Thanksgiving. He knelt down in that mosque and prayed to Allah! Yes, he prayed to a false god. He committed the sin of idolatry, a violation of the First Commandment. For that alone he should be removed as Cardinal Archbishop of Boston. Thousands of Catholics were put to death for their refusal to pray to Allah as Mohammedism attempted to push its way into Europe in the First and Second Millennia. Cardinal Law spat in their collective faces as he denigrated their fidelity to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ despite the threat of imminent death. Oh, no, the Americanist ethos is one of nuance, of liberality of spirit, of openness, of tolerance, not of a "rigid" and "inflexible" holding to the belief that a Catholic can never pray to a false god, either in private or in public at a house of "worship" of a false and violent religion.
"Hasn't Pope John Paul II kissed the Koran and appeared with various Islamic 'holy men' in public?" Yes. The fact that the Vicar of Christ has committed idolatry and given the appearance of indifference at times does not justify others doing so, although it is certainly understandable that the Pope's lead in this regard does make such scandalous behavior more common, especially when one subscribes to the un-Catholic belief that everything a Pope says or does is received directly from the hand of God and is therefore beyond question. Nevertheless, Cardinal Law bears responsibility for his own scandalous behavior at that Boston mosque. It fits very neatly into a pattern of behavior that is now coming to light in the papers and files of the Archdiocese of Boston.
We know the Church is divinely founded and maintained. She will last until the end of time. The jaws of hell will never prevail against her. Yes, each of us has wounded (and continues to wound) the Mystical Body because of our sins. However, it is one thing to sin and to be sorry, to seek out the mercy of Our Lord in the Sacrament and Penance and attempt to live a life of penance to make reparation for our sins. It is quite another to preside as a bishop over the promotion of sin in his own midst, no less give the impression of making light of the effects of sin in the lives of his priests and in how its promotion in his own educational institutions serves as a deterrent to the pursuit of sanctity in the daily lives of the faithful who have been entrusted to his pastoral care.
Cardinal Law should resign as Archbishop of Boston. No, not because the Voice of the Faithful want him to resign. Not because some of his priests want him to resign. He should resign because he has aided and abetted the enemies of Christ within the Church. He has failed to discipline pro-aborts while admonishing good pro-lifers. He has refused to require Catholic teachers to be Catholic. He has engaged in idolatry. He has not understood that sodomites do not belong in the priesthood and cannot be reassigned once their behavior has come to his attention. Cardinal Law has been a disgrace to the cause of the salvation of souls.
One's personal belief in the Faith is useless if he is unwilling to integrate it into all of his words and actions. The fact that Cardinal Law continues to have the confidence of Pope John Paul II, however, tells us that the Holy Father himself has set a tone for the Church that is hard for him to correct when much of it is reflected in the work of his cardinals and bishops.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, help us, please!
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
Note: [bold, brackets and italicized words used for emphasis]
For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives