By now there is likely not a man unaware of the news about the sins and cover-ups committed by the clergy and, perhaps more startlingly, the episcopate.  And, we’ve learned that this scandal not only reaches the top of the hierarchy of the Church, but the root might even be up there.

And let’s not just call this news “sad” or “scandalizing.”  It’s more than that.  It is a violation of trust so significant as to have cost a divinely instituted office its trustworthiness (good job, guys).  I’m not sure it has sunk into some mitered heads how much of a shift just occurred.  We men are done.  The institutional strength of the American Bishops is gone, and only those that have their eyes open will see the new reality that they need to face as men, which, it seems, will be the biggest challenge.

This all seems so far away, but just recently someone reminded me of how a priest who passed by my little town at one time had tried to blow the whistle on the predator McCarrick (after suffering his own abuse at his hands, later to repeat McCarrick’s sins with other victims) and got silenced.  We may be a global Church, but by sharing communion and connecting dots we’re usually just a few steps away from the Pope himself, and perverts.

The man in the pews typically asks the most basic and obvious question: how did this happen?  There have been many great answers.  Here are some…

First, Dr. Greggory Bottaro, a Catholic psychologist, has pointed out (along with many others) that the whole thing links clearly to the Sexual-Revolution Kool-Aid that many bishops and clergy consumed, especially in their rejection of Human Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s prophetic affirmation of truth in the face of the pressure of modern “experts” to match the natural law with the “advances” of progressive society:

Yes, we need to call it evil, because it is, but in our epoch of church history evil has taken a particular form.  Humanae Vitae represented the major split in the priesthood between those who understood the battle of our times and those who didn’t. This divide was severe and long-lasting.

Second, a broader problem wad expounded by a post on One Peter Five about the elephant in the room – apostasy, the abandonment of Catholic doctrine.  It is apparent that we want Jesus without hell and grace without sacrifice.  Catholicism is a total package, and those that split off internally, especially regarding the faultline of Humanae Vitae, are also the ones that have been pushing Catholicism toward an unimposing and nice NGO dedicated to being the best you can be, social activist, or some other crap like that:

The ring of criminal Nancy Boys is the same ring that has been sedulously working for decades to undermine the integrity of the doctrinal, moral, sacramental, liturgical Church. These men – McCarrick, McElroy, Wuerl, O’Malley, Mahony, Cupich, Tobin, Farrell, Lynch, Weakland, Paglia, Maradiaga, their lovable mouthpiece James Martin, Thomas Rosica, and far too many others, including ones who have passed on to their eternal fate, such as Lyons, Boland, Brom – are the same ones who have destabilized and adulterated catechesis, theology, liturgy, and most obviously the Church’s commitment to the unchanging moral law, as we saw in the Amoris Laetitia debacle and all that surrounded and succeeded it. We must connect the dots… These are not just men of bad moral character; they are apostates, and they are trying to remake the Church in the image of their own apostasy…

Third, Fr. Jay Scott Newman wrote an excellent piece in First Things about the need to end the “imperial” attitude of Bishops which trains them to think as a ruler of Laputa from Gulliver’s Travels.  “Superficial flattery and fawning over the person of the bishop can deprive him—unless he has an uncommonly strong and healthy personality—of the evangelical simplicity and candor he needs to fulfill his duties.”  Newman says this is opposed to the fatherly role of a bishop and thinks we need to rethink the very way we approach bishops:

“In Christ Jesus I became your father through the Gospel,” wrote Saint Paul to the Corinthians, and from antiquity bishops and priests alike were called “Father.” The bishops of all the ecumenical councils are known as the Council Fathers, the early bishop-theologians are called the Fathers of the Church, and to this day the Bishop of Rome has Father as his formal and everyday title. It is time to restore the practice of calling all bishops Father, while letting all the other titles slip into history along with ostrich feathers and buskins.

Fourth, Taylor Marshall has made a good case that the sheer size of today’s dioceses in the US makes it impossible for a bishop to be fatherly because he’s managing the unmanageable:

What we have created over the last 150 years (since the loss of the Papal States, really) is an insanely high disciple/bishop ratio with regard to bishops. Bishops belong to the magisterium in union with the Pope. Magister is Latin for teacher. The bishop is the primary teacher. So we are discussing a student/teacher ratio here, as well. As the disciple/bishop ratio increases, what do we see? Lay people know their faith less (akin to lower scores), and they drop out at higher numbers (leave the church).

Marshall also made a great video detailing how all of this is likely linked to the embezzlement and financial scandals of the Vatican Bank, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, and the ninnies that make up much of the Curia.

Men Follow Men

So, again, what does the red-blooded male think?  Well, I can say that I was fooled – I thought the Church was being run by men.  It’s not.  The males who have violated our trust have acted largely at best as a managerial class of bureaucrats, and at worst they are scoundrels and cowards.  Yes, him without sin can cast the first stone, but what we’re judging here is the exercise of fatherhood, which is the maturity of manliness and shows itself in provision and protection.  Managers and bureaucrats are not paternal.  In fact, acting as such, because it distances leadership from actual individuals and responsibility (i.e. from the care of children), is opposed to the fatherly spirit and manly virtues in general.  Some bishops sent links out to statements from the USCCB.  I deleted one such email immediately because I don’t want to hear a damn word from the USCCB.  That ship sailed (and sank).  Men in this moment do not want documents, media statements, or committees.  Bishop Morlino has written the only response that I’ve seen that appears to be written by a man, by a father that is.  That’s what men are looking for – men acting like fathers.

Fathers will no longer stand for the soft and wimpy Church.  We’re going to be heard in voice, step, and wallet.  I recommend all men stop going to goofy modernist parishes and drive as long needed to find Catholicism in all its splendor.  Don’t send another dime to failing institutions and bureaucracies.  Swamps can be drained, but that’s hard.  It’s easier to dry them up by diverting the water.  That’s what we’re going to do.  (Here’s a good article about discerning and speaking with your giving.  Remember, giving is not optional, but its time to be more intentional.)

Fatherliness is a lost sense in the Church because too many operate in a triangle of influence that is antithetical to fatherliness.  That triangle is academia, liability (the lawyers), and the media.  The academic attitude keeps “experts” around long after they empty the churches and corrupt the seminaries; the lawyers protect the purse and the perverts; and the media teaches bishops to speak like, well, they’re talking to the press and not to their flocks.  Each of those things may be needed, but they inform a father toward action.  They don’t dictate them.  The average Joe layman is not in that triangle. He loathes it.

Priests in the trenches need not worry – we know what fighting looks like, and if you fight the good fight we’re alongside you and you us.  We are brothers.  We know you as fathers and for good reason.  Do not mistake our new zeal for anti-clericalism, that would be silly and reveal insecurity.  Be sure of who you are and don’t be scared of those that trust you.  But, these males that are failing to live up to the honor of fatherhood need to spend more time with lay fathers. Doing so will help forge them in the attitude and habit of mind necessary to be fatherly – discerning what is needed to protect and provide for your family and defending them from harm.  Such mentoring does not seem to be widespread in the ecclesial world.  Fathers keep their children’s welfare in mind, so are unlikely to move a rapist from the living room to the kitchen.  That’s the action of institutional protection, not fatherliness.  Fathers also don’t feed their children sugar and Ramen noodles and expect them to be strong.

It’s time for our all-male priesthood and episcopate to become an all-man institution.  It’s time to grow up and do what needs to be done.  A fatherly bishop knows he answers to God and he has a family to provide for and protect.  He’s not a company man, but a man.  So, get out of the dead triangle and spend some time with men.  Men will follow men.

  • Buz Snyder

    So sad that we lost Morlino. He truly was one of the brave ones…we need more like him. we’re due in DC for a new archbishop. I pray every day for a good one.

  • “It’s time for our all-male priesthood and episcopate to become an all-man institution.”

    As a very theologically conservative Catholic, let me suggest that part of this is that we should return to allowing married priests.

    I know that I’ll be nearly alone in that suggestion, but I think the times mandate it. We had married priests originally (at least Peter was married) and we only went away from it as the priesthood was falling into crisis as it was becoming hereditary and vested in wealthy families, creating a class of priests who occupied that role the way that dukes occupied duchies. That was making a hereditary priestly class that was wealthy and corrupt.

    That danger is now long past. While it will be pointed out that “married men abuse too”, the facts are quite obvious that at some point after World War Two a homosexual subgroup formed in the Church and made its way into the seminaries. The seminaries have been very much cleaned up to date, but the problem still exists in that there are those who have risen high up who were part of this. And I know that I’m going to hear that “not all homosexuals are abusers”. I’m not saying they are. But what I am saying is that a class of men who have a culture in which homosexual conduct is licensed are not going to be the men who argue for healthy marriages and are not even going to be the guys guys we see out fishing, hunting, or enjoying a beer at the ball game.

    Want those guys (and you should)? Well, you have to accept that a lot of very religious men who would consider vocations also want to have a wife and children. If we want those guys, the guys you saw at the sporting goods store looking at fly rods, or up to their waste in the swamp looking for ducks on a Saturday morning, well. . . you’re going to have to consider married men 9 times out of 10.

    “But”, I know some will say, “I knew a priest who. . . “. Sure you did. So did I. But I think we have to accept that something really changed after World War Two, and I think it was economic. Lots of tough male priests came out of farms in Nebraska or out of slums in Derry, but they’re not coming any more as the economics of that era in which being a Priest didn’t make you some sort of underclass in your own society didn’t exist. Economics were thinner for everyone. After World War Two that changed, and being a priest for some became a comfortable closet, with all the attendant problems that brought along with it.

  • “Fourth, Taylor Marshall has made a good case that the sheer size of today’s dioceses in the US makes it impossible for a bishop to be fatherly because he’s managing the unmanageable:”

    This same point was made, fwiw, by the young Priests on the Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast. They actually suggested that a return to the Medieval standard in which there were a lot more Bishops might be in order. At that time, transportation mandated that.

    I think there may be something to that. In my Diocese we’ve been more or less spared these scandals, save for one example that surfaced awhile back, and an ongoing one involving a former Bishop (which would run counter to this suggestion), but our Diocese is geographically enormous. I could easily see their being two four Bishops where now there is one.

  • Johann du Toit

    Amen. The link between immoral behaviour and disregard of doctrine is something which even many Bishops (such as Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider) have noted.

  • Kevin Smith

    Have you seen this youtube interview with Weurl?

  • Kevin Smith

    What did Cardinal Wuerl actually do wrong? Why have you included him in the same sentence as McCarrick???

  • Brian Anthony

    excellent. unfortunately i cant spread word of this article to any of my brother monks… but ill try more and more to live up to what it says.

  • Excellent. Worth linking to, as a resource to our Catholic brothers deeply reviled by this episcopal controversy.

  • Akira88

    That article would be great in every single bulletin across the country and read from the pulpit during the homily which is normally some silly feel – good tale that includes the names of secular individuals who have achieved secular goals instead of spiritual like the Church Fathers.

    Great article!!!
    It is a pleasure to see and hear men stepping forward.

  • Derek McDonald

    Your points are worthy of consideration, however, I am concerned that non-followers may be less inclined to take them seriously because of your use of slang and or derogatory terms (“ninnies,” “Nancy Boys,” “wimpy”). Divisive rhetoric like this fuels emotion unnecessarily; it lacks the precision and reasoned response needed in our troubled times. Righteous anger? OK, but righteous anger does not disparage persons. Righteous anger calls persons to conversion. I can’t imagine the father calling the prodigal son a wimp in his sinful absence.

    • Al Gambone

      There is nothing wrong with calling them as you see them. Slang, when properly used, clarifies the point without having to go out of your way to explain what you are trying to say.

      Great article. Well written.

      • That’s one of the reasons I shy away from “traditionalist” Catholics, though I am one. Their constant (and quite self-righteous) name-calling against every Church leader with whom they disagree, simply detracts from their valid arguments and makes them appear to be rebellious children with no recourse to a mature outlet. I think it’s best to approach any discussion as academically as possible. “Effeminate pederast” surely is more accurate and descriptive than “Nancy boy,” and doesn’t make one sound like a frat boy railing against a hated professor.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Joshua, you are right about some extreme “traditionalists” being addicted to name calling, etc. to illustrate their points and which makes them not much different than the anti-Christian, ultra-vulgar, loud “(anti-)social” activists. At the same time, Mr. Craig here is not simply making a gratuitous display of his ability to use mainstream, non-academic terms for emphasis. There’s a specific time and place for such words when chosen wisely and timely, and they do contribute laser-like clarity, meaning and define reality in unambiguous, down-to-earth terms.

        Indeed, St. Paul uses the word (when translated literally, as he intended it): “excrement” in Philipians 3:8, and it’s included in the old King James translation: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,…” Gratuitous vulgarity? No. It is a VERY clear picture of what earthly things ARE when compared to God. Also, Jesus uses “Gehenna” to talk about Hell and in his time that was the TRASH dumpster outside the city where trash was burned. He is talking graphically about those of us who may choose damnation. He harshly shook faith out of a woman calling her a dog (Matthew 15:26-28). God chose to interfere with our blind race to Hell and sometimes He gets on our face so no excuses remain. Very tough, rough love at the service of salvation. Thanks be to God!!

      • Thomist

        I would say the name calling is more riduclous from the left. Let’s not get caught in the weeds. The bishops have dropped the ball.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Yes, Thomist, you’re right. The name calling from the left is not just more “ridiculous” as you say, but also more vulgar, vicious and defamatory. Still, that does not justify any other similar group-think, group-speak or aggressive superiority attitude. Only God is absolutely superior, not any of us. God is God and we are not. I speak from the viewpoint of someone who does greatly appreciate occasionally attending the Latin Mass to reconnect to our sacred roots, churches oriented to the East, etc. and all legitimate Church Tradition and Magisterium of 2,000 years and counting, until Jesus returns. The Bishops who dropped the ball have disconnected themselves from those two big, Mighty Rivers of Grace and raised themselves in arrogance and pride above God and the Purity of True Fatherhood. Let’s not do the same. Real fathers, our high calling, are more like St. Joseph. His attentive spiritual fatherhood shaped Jesus’ very strong personality, his utmost kindness and love, and also helped crush Satan’s head.

  • GKA-Monkutare

    Amen brother, great article! I cannot understand how we can have great parish priests and such evil bishops. Maybe power corrupts? Or maybe it’s that the corrupt seek power.

    • janeasinner

      Every Bishop, Cardinal, Pope started as a ‘parish priest’. Look in your own backyard and you will find the root there too.

      • GKA-Monkutare

        Yes, there was a priest reassigned from Boston, previously from Silicon Valley who originated from Canada who was caught jumping out from behind trees at night in one of our local parks wearing no pants. He had been in our diocese only 2 years when he was arrested, reassigned and reassigned and reassigned until he ended up with us. Accountability and longtime investment in a community make for good “Father” priests as you alluded to like a backyard its the weeds that pop up from nowhere that are the probl

      • janeasinner

        Please explain. Are you saying this is an ‘all male club’ here? Did you read the article? Do you even know what I am alluding to?