May 1, 2002
volume 13, no. 83

Reading Between the Lines

A Translation of the Cardinals' Communiqué by James Bendell of Roman Catholic Faithful: A study in Orwellian Newspeak - Text of Cardinals' Communiqué

by James Bendell , Roman Catholic Faithful
    Abuse by priests 'an appaling sin in the eyes of God'

The text of the statement released after the extraordinary two-day meeting held at the Vatican:

    On April 23-24, 2002, an extraordinary meeting was held in the Vatican between the Cardinals of the United States and the leadership of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops and the heads of several offices of the Holy See on the subject of the sexual abuse of minors.

    The meeting was called with three goals in mind:

  • on the part of the American Bishops, to inform the Holy See about the difficulties which they have faced in recent months,
  • on the part of the Roman Dicasteries, to hear directly from the American Cardinals and the chief officials of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops a general evaluation of the situation,
  • and together to develop ways to move forward in addressing these issues.

TRANSLATION: Instead of acknowledging the fact that they have caused the crisis, the cardinals label themselves as victims by stating that they have faced difficulties. So that is the purpose of the meeting – to deal with the fact that they have faced difficulties.

(Note that none of the 3 goals includes protecting children.)

    As is known, the Holy Father received the working group in his private library late in the morning of Tuesday, April 23, and gave a programmatic address. Today, at the end of the morning session, His Holiness invited the American Cardinals and Bishops to lunch, to continue their discussion of some of the themes raised at the meeting.

TRANSLATION: “Themes”? “Lunch”? Is this a Chamber of Commerce meeting? Just as pro-abortionists avoid using the term “abortion” and instead use euphemisms such as “termination of pregnancy”, so the bishops avoid honest terms such as sodomite and homosexual. In fact, throughout this entire document the word homosexual is never used. Because that is the root of the crisis it is clear that the Cardinals have no intention of honestly protecting children.

    The participants first of all wish to express their unanimous gratitude to the Holy Father for his clear indications of direction and commitment for the future. In communion with the Pope they reaffirm certain basic principles:

TRANSLATION: Thanks for getting us out of the U.S. and allowing us to pretend that we are doing something about the crisis.

    1) The sexual abuse of minors is rightly considered a crime by society and is an appalling sin in the eyes of God, above all when it is perpetrated by priests and religious whose vocation is to help persons to lead holy lives before God and men.
TRANSLATION: After 35 years the Cardinals finally acknowledge that the purpose of the Catholic Faith is to help persons lead holy lives. Up until now we have been led to believe that the purpose of the Church is to empower the poor, increase the minimum wage and promote disarmament.
    2) There is a need to convey to the victims and their families a profound sense of solidarity and to provide appropriate assistance in recovering faith and receiving pastoral care.
TRANSLATION: We’ll let our attorneys torment them and do the dirty work for us.
    3) Even if the cases of true pedophilia on the part of priests and religious are few, all the participants recognized the gravity of the problem. In the meeting, the quantitative terms of the problem were discussed, since the statistics are not very clear in this regard. Attention was drawn to the fact that almost all the cases involved adolescents and therefore were not cases of true pedophilia.
TRANSLATION: Those boys who have been sodomized by these perverts can take great comfort that the perpetrator was not suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder.
    4) Together with the fact that a link between celibacy and pedophilia cannot be scientifically maintained, the meeting reaffirmed the value of priestly celibacy as a gift of God to the Church.

    5) Given the doctrinal issues underlying the deplorable behavior in question, certain lines of response have been proposed:

    a) the Pastors of the Church need clearly to promote the correct moral teaching of the Church and publicly to reprimand individuals who spread dissent and groups which advance ambiguous approaches to pastoral care;

TRANSLATION: We never do this and have no intention of doing this. It’s much easier to say that we’ll do it.

    6) a new and serious Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and other institutes of formation must be made without delay, with particular emphasis on the need for fidelity to the Church’s teaching, especially in the area of morality, and the need for a deeper study of the criteria of suitability of candidates to the priesthood.

TRANSLATION: The last Vatican investigation of American seminaries concluded that they were in great shape. We assume that the next one will be similarly cooperative and come to the same conclusion.

    7) it would be fitting for the Bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to ask the faithful to join them in observing a national day of prayer and penance, in reparation for the offenses perpetrated and in prayer to God for the conversion of sinners and the reconciliation of victims.

TRANSLATION: This paragraph sounds really “Catholic” and will hopefully make us look like real bishops.

    8) All the participants have seen this time as a call to a greater fidelity to the mystery of the Church. Consequently they see the present time as a moment of grace.

TRANSLATION: We are amazed at how gullible Catholics can be. So, with a straight face, we label the widespread sodomization of altar boys as a “moment of grace.”

    While recognizing that practical criteria of conduct are indispensable and urgently needed, we cannot underestimate, in the words of the Holy Father, “the power of Christian conversion, that radical decision to turn away from sin and back to God, which reaches the depths of a person’s soul and can work extraordinary change.” At the same time, as His Holiness also stated, “People need to know that there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young. They must know that Bishops and priests are totally committed to the fullness of Catholic truth on matters of sexual morality, a truth as essential to the renewal of the priesthood and the episcopate as it is to the renewal of marriage and family life.”

        Again in the Holy Father’s words, neither should we forget the immense spiritual, human and social good that the vast majority of priests and religious in the United States have done and are still doing.

TRANSLATION: In reality the modernist clergy have destroyed the faith of millions through defective catechesis, have destroyed the innocence of children with perverse sex ed programs, and have generally been responsible for the collapse of the Church in the United States. Again, we have faith in the gullibility of Catholics.
    The Catholic Church in your country has always promoted human and Christian values with great vigor and generosity, in a way that has helped to consolidate all that is noble in the American people. A great work of art may be blemished, but its beauty remains; and this is a truth which any intellectually honest critic will recognize. To the Catholic communities in the United States, to their Pastors and members, to the men and women religious, to teachers in Catholic universities and schools, to American missionaries in all parts of the world, go the wholehearted thanks of the entire Catholic Church and the personal thanks of the Bishop of Rome.”

    For this reason, the Cardinals and Bishops present at the meeting today sent a message to all the priests of the United States, their co-workers in the pastoral ministry.

    As part of the preparation for the June meeting of the American Bishops, the United States participants in the Rome meeting presented to the Prefects of the Roman Congregations the following proposals:

    1) We propose to send the respective Congregations of the Holy See a set of national standards which the Holy See will properly review (recognitio), in which essential elements for policies dealing with the sexual abuse of minors in Dioceses and Religious Institutes in the United States are set forth.

TRANSLATION: National standards will take years to develop. Many of us will have retired to a villa in Italy by that time.

    2) We will propose that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recommend a special process for the dismissal from the clerical state of a priest who has become notorious and is guilty of the serial, predatory, sexual abuse of minors.
Again, by referring this to a committee, as yet unborn, we pass the buck on to a nameless committee and buy ourselves time.
    3) While recognizing that the Code of Canon law already contains a judicial process for the dismissal of priests guilty of sexually abusing minors, we will also propose a special process for cases which are not notorious but where the Diocesan Bishop considers the priest a threat for the protection of children and young people, in order to avoid grave scandal in the future and to safeguard the common good of the Church.

TRANSLATION: The word ‘notorious’ refers to the fact that when the child molesters are exposed in the media, it is no longer possible for us to re-assign them or the faithful will stop putting checks in the collection plate. Still, we need to have a mechanism whereby priests who have not been outed can still be reassigned by us.

    4) We will propose an Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and religious houses of formation, giving special attention to their admission requirements and the need for them to teach Catholic moral doctrine in its integrity.

TRANSLATION: Since Bishop Quinn did the last whitewash, maybe we can call him out of retirement to do this one.

    5) We will propose that the Bishops of the United States make every effort to implement the challenge of the Holy Father that the present crisis “must lead to a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate, and a holier Church” by calling for deeper holiness in the Church in the United States, including ourselves as Bishops, the clergy, the religious and the faithful.

TRANSLATION: Blah blah blah blah blah.

    6) We propose that the Bishops of the United States set aside a day for prayer and penance throughout the Church in the United States, in order to implore reconciliation and the renewal of ecclesial life.

TRANSLATION: After all, there a plenty of days open since we have demoted several of the Holy Days of Obligation to the ‘optional’ list.

May 1, 2002
volume 13, no. 83