January 2019 Print

News from Tradition: Church and World

Annual Meeting of the Bishops of the United States

Following what some have called the “Summer of Shame” in which it became clear that many of the nation’s bishops and cardinals had covered up sexual abuse, the bishops of the United States (USCCB) held their annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland this past November. At the top of the agenda, two proposals were voted upon which would have created a “code of conduct” for bishops when investigating claims of sexual abuse as well as the creation of an investigative board made up of competent lay people to investigate the bishops themselves.

It was at the opening session of the meeting that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, made a surprising and startling announcement. Rome had, through the Congregation for Bishops, ordered the USCCB not to bring the two proposals up for a vote. This order was particularly strange in that Pope Francis has been insisting on the various bishops’ conferences taking on a more prominent role in deciding issues, even dogmatic ones (so called “synodality”). Though the majority of bishops acquiesced with barely a murmur, a number did show consternation at the order from Rome expressing concern as to how Catholics in this country would react to this seeming “stonewalling” of reform. It must be said that the two proposals would, even if passed, have been little more than grandstanding on the part of the bishops: Sacred Scripture, Church dogma and Canon Law are all that are necessary to clearly show bishops how to respond to claims of sexual abuse committed by any cleric and also what not to do.

Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop of Tyler Texas, called upon his fellow bishops to be clear concerning the Church’s teaching on homosexual activity. He said, in part: It’s part of our deposit of faith that we believe homosexual activity is immoral… The people, those that we label ‘homosexual,’ are children of God, and they need our great care, but to me that real care comes from acknowledging the sin, and the reality that all of us are sinners called from sin to virtue… How did this happen [the entire McCarrick affair] if we really believe that what was going on was wrong?… There seem to be questions about that, [McCarrick being promoted to the Archdiocese of Newark, then Washington, then to the College of Cardinals] And I think we have to face that directly—Do we believe the doctrine of the Church, or not?…There’s a priest that travels around now basically saying that he doesn’t believe the doctrine of the Church, and he seems to be very well promoted in various places. Brothers, I think part of the fraternal correction, or the fraternal support, we offer each other is to say, ‘Can that be presented in our diocese? That same-sex ‘marriage’ is just fine, and the Church will one day grow to understand that. That’s not what we teach, and I think we really have to ask those serious questions. Although Bishop Strickland did not mention the priest by name, it is clear he was referencing Jesuit Fr. James Martin, who not only has been giving conferences throughout the United States but was also invited by the Vatican to give a conference at the World Meeting of Families in 2018.

During the time the USCCB was meeting, approximately 3,000 Catholics from across the United States held a rally opposite the hotel where the bishops were holding their discussions. The “Silence Stops Now” was a call for the bishops of the United States to “come clean” about the homosexual network within the Church. Michael Voris (of Church Militant) claimed that the USCCB had made an attempt in the weeks leading up to the meeting to change the venue so as not to be near the rally—this attempt failed as no other hotel was available. The bishops did, however, hire additional security and alert the Baltimore police of the rally fearing a disruption—this also according to Voris. One of the few, and possibly the only bishop who came over to meet with the rally participants, was Bishop Joseph Strickland. It should be noted that the rally was an entirely peaceful event.

The USCCB membership was also presented with a proposal to request the full Vatican documentation regarding the McCarrick affair from the Vatican. This proposal was clearly put forward as a result of the revelations made in Archbishop Viganò in his testimonies released in the late summer of 2018. The text of the proposal read: Recognizing the ongoing investigation of the Holy See into the case of Archbishop McCarrick, be it resolved that the bishops of the  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops encourage the Holy See to release all the documentation that can be released consistent with canon and civil law regarding the misconduct of Archbishop McCarrick. The proposal was defeated in a vote of 137 to 83. Sadly, the results of the vote indicate that the majority of United States bishops prefer to keep the entire issue under wraps or, even more likely, feared retribution from Pope Francis’ Vatican. Bishop Michael Fors Olson of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas said the entire proposal would serve to make the USCCB “appear like we are doing something when we are not.”

Another puzzling aspect of this year’s USCCB meeting was the presence of Cardinals Wuerl and Mahoney, both of whom covered up abuse allegations and/or moved known abusers from parish to parish. One observer noted that both cardinals were moving about freely amongst the bishops and “holding court.” Wuerl’s resignation as Archbishop of Washington was finally accepted by Pope Francis in late summer of 2018. Mahoney was forbidden by the current Archbishop of Los Angeles from exercising public ministry due to his role in handling abusive clerics.

In addition to dealing with the public outcry concerning the “Summer of Shame,” the United States bishops are also dealing with the very real possibility of heavy fines, removal of tax exempt status and even prison time for their malfeasance in dealing with and/or covering up sexual abuse in their diocese. Aside from the numerous States’ Attorney Generals who have convened Grand Juries to investigate the Catholic dioceses within their states (similar to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury), U.S. Attorney William McSwain sent a seven-page letter to Cardinal DiNArdo on October 9th of 2018. In this letter, McSwain asked Cardinal DiNardo to communicate to all the bishops that they are ordered not to alter or destroy any documents pertaining to sexual abuse in chancery files—including those in the “secret archives” all bishops are required to maintain. He wrote: I request that these documents be preserved in their current form and condition, and not be destroyed, discarded, disposed of, deleted, or altered in any way.

This move by the Justice Department is seen as the first step in opening a full-scale RICO1 investigation. RICO would be invoked since many abusive priests were knowingly sent across State lines by their bishops, thus violating the statute. With the letter from the U.S. Attorney, bishops all across the country have been “lawyering up” in preparation for lengthy litigation—a move that will cost millions of dollars on top of the billions paid out to victims since 2002.

A Tale of Two Congregations of Nuns

In what has become standard operating procedure when faced with legitimate questions or concerns, Pope Francis used his homily at his daily Mass to attack his critics circumspectly. He told A Tale of Two Congregations of Nuns:


In 1639, a small group of Ursuline sisters led by Mother Mary of the Incarnation (now a canonized saint) arrived in New France and established their monastery in Quebec. The monastery grew over the centuries as more young women came to join the order to continue the work begun by this original brave band of religious women. Since that time, at least up until the late 1960s, the Ursuline sisters (originally founded by St. Angela Merici), worked tirelessly to educate children, care for orphans and perform other works of charity.

Sadly, this past October, the last of the Ursuline sisters left this convent to move to an assisted care facility. It seems that there are no longer any vocations coming to this once thriving order. The oldest of the group of 50 sisters who moved was 102 years old. The average age of the group was 88. The monastery will now be used as a museum and a cultural center (the Marie-de-l’Incarnation Center).

The tragic end to this once vibrant religious community has been repeated time and time again over the past 30 years to countless other communities of nuns. The thing all these communities had in common was the giving up of a religious habit along with a genuine common life. By embracing the secular world, they destroyed their religious congregations.

The other congregations of sisters to be mentioned are the Petites Sœurs de Marie, Mère du Rédempteur (the Little Sisters of Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer). The sisters were founded in 1949 by Mother Marie de la Croix and had convents in a number of French dioceses. Their apostolate includes the care of the elderly, and assist in parishes. The spirituality of the Little Sisters includes the love of Eucharistic Adoration and devotion to Our Lady. Following the Second Vatican Council, the sisters adopted the Novus Ordo Missae as they believed was required of them. In 2012, the sisters voted to return to the Traditional Mass and Breviary (as was permitted by Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum).

In 2016 and 2018 the sisters received a “canonical visitation” from Rome after the Bishop of Laval did not like the order’s return to Tradition. Following these visitations, the sisters were told that they must implement the “new theology of consecrated life” (i.e., reject Tradition). The majority of the sisters (34 out of 39) refused to accept this requirement and, given no other choice, have asked to be released from their vows. In a statement, the 34 sisters said: We are 34 out of 39 sisters who have requested the release from the Order’s Congregation. We do not make this sacrifice lightly: we wish to remain in communion with the Church, but we can show neither clearer nor more painfully that it is impossible for us, for reasons of conscience, to obey what we have been forced to do.

This was a young, growing religious order that was destroyed by the Rome of Pope Francis just as was done to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate all out of hatred for Tradition.

Two religious communities: one dying out as a result of leaving behind traditional religious life, the other young and growing being destroyed for being faithful to Tradition.


Travel Restrictions Placed on Burke and Schneider

GloriaTV is reporting that: The Vatican has asked Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider not to leave Astana archdiocese for more than 30 days a year, Schneider told katholisch.de.

The nuncio in Washington D.C. told the American bishops not to invite people like Cardinal Raymond Burke for talks, and when Burke’s presence cannot be avoided, they should not take part in such events, Marco Tossati reported on November 6.

Both Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider have been prominent fixtures on the lecture circuit of conservative and traditionally minded groups. In these talks, Burke has been openly critical of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia—it should be recalled that he was one of the four cardinals who presented the so called Dubia to Pope Francis regarding the document. Burke also has been promising for almost two years the issuance of a “formal correction” to Amoris Laetitia. Bishop Schneider has also been outspoken in his criticism of the errors coming forth from Pope Francis and a strong supporter of the Traditional Mass.

These unofficial restrictions come as no surprise. Although Pope Francis continually speaks of mercy and dialogue, he has been documented (https://onepeterfive.com/dictator-pope-must-read-book-available-now/) as being extremely dictatorial and vindictive.