In a world where the news cycle is 24 to 48 hours, every now and again there is a story that will stand out above the rest and endure for decades to come. Well, we had one October 28, 2018 with the 60 Minutes interview with a young woman by the name of Siobhan O’Conner, who told the story of working with Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, and one day stumbling onto a file that showed the deliberate cover up of sex abuse and other crimes among the clergy.
It immediately reminded me of the story of Daniel Ellsberg and his releasing of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg had a B.A. from Harvard in economics, went to Cambridge England for further study, enlisted in the Marine Corp and left military service as a first lieutenant. He then went on to get a Ph.D in economics from Harvard, and then became a research analyst at the Rand Corporation among other jobs including the U.S State Department. What he saw at the Rand Corporation during the Vietnam War was the deliberate cover up of what was going on behind the scenes at the highest levels of government with the deception of the dissemination of information about the war. Ellsberg had seen enough, and could no longer live with himself knowing the extent of the lies being perpetrated on the American people, and the pain it was causing in America. It was tearing the country apart and the horror was on the nightly news for years.
Enter the Washington Post defying a court order and possible imprisonment for Ellsberg and the people involved with the release of the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg’s name to this day is synonymous with the Pentagon Papers. The military knew it could not win the war as early as 1965, and told civilian government the truth about winning a land war in Asia, something Gen. Douglas MacArthur had warned about after World War II. But, due to U.S. pride, the war kept going costing tens of thousands of lives of young men and woman on both sides. The Pentagon Papers showed the war was just one big giant lie of government deceit all the way to the White House with the military industrial complex making billions along the way. Whatever America had lost in its innocence up to that point, it was now completely over when Ellsberg released the findings for the world to see how long the U.S government had deceived the people. The distrust in government was justified.
Today, there is a similarity eerily analogous to what the United States bishops and leading hierarchy have knowingly done moving priests around to new assignments for decades, aware of their mental and sexual deviance harming generations of families. Country wide, there are tens of thousands affected by clerical abuse, and substantially more people harmed factoring in extended family with the accompanying neurosis and psychosis of emotionally injured individuals for a life time. However, the Catholic Church is not the only guilty party — it is the entire USA.
The elephant in the room for several generations now has been the destruction in the church that the homosexual clergy has perpetuated on the lay faithful. It has been done in stealth, often with a wink and a nod playing the faithful for fools, all the while passing the basket to keep the ruse going. After four billion (with a B) dollars in financial settlements to defendants in public and private, church coffers are soon to run dry. America has simply had enough. Comments like: “I’m done, No mas, I’m finished, I’m not giving a dime again, they will no longer get my time, my family and I are now going to an evangelical church,” are heard more often. Is it the correct response? No, but understandable for those not comprehending the beauty of magisterial truth with fallen human nature.
A body of people left unchecked can easily resort to tyranny of those they govern. In addition, good clergy have been quiet, due to severe retribution and harsh punishment by their bishop for breaking rank. Harsh and cruel it will be for the priest to cross his boss and start telling too much truth. Canon law is a law unto itself with no civil recourse as it pertains to church governance. Today, the jig is up, and the bishops and hierarchy will fight to their last gasp to protect turf. Their lives now depend on it, so don’t expect them to roll over. Only a civil court will bring about change, and that is on the horizon.
Many of the bishops have run out of excuses and ammo at the same time. As of this writing, fourteen states and the District of Columbia have their attorney general in due diligence scouring records to find out just how big the crimes are. On October 27, 2018, the office of the Attorney General of the United States sent a seven page letter to the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) informing the bishops they were not to destroy any internal or “secret documents” as it relates to sexual predators. The carnage in Boston under Cardinal Law (2000-2002) pales in comparison to the enormity of the anger now among the faithful and the momentum this is now bringing.
Enter now Miss O’Connor of Buffalo, New York. Where Ellsberg said he was willing to suffer the consequences of prison for violating the Espionage Act of 1917 if he were to release the documents about the cover up of the war, as it was argued it would jeopardize national security, Ellsberg and the Washington Post still went public. Defying a court order. Siobhan O’Connor on 60 Minutes said she was going to have to stand before God one day, not Bishop Malone, for violating her conscience if she did not divulge the crimes where she knew her bishop was complicit. She felt she would not have an audience to stop the crimes with any other action. A bold and gutsy move where she said she had no one to rely on but God over the several month ordeal of how to proceed.
After seeing hierarchy non-compliance of transparency for the good of the church, then accompanied with the Arcbishop Vigano revelations, O’Connor stepped forward. Having few options, she felt she had no choice but to speak out. Historian Will Durant said in his book Lessons of History, “That history is altered when the right person at the right time does the right thing.”
Where previously it had been “He said, they said, and I don’t know,” O’Connor produced the smoking gun of over four hundred files (not pages) of living proof these documents exist. This is a first. Previous investigators from the Boston scandal knew they were there, but bishops would never produce them, and investigators left frustrated with no place to go for enforcement. So cavalier was Bishop Malone he kept the files not even under lock and key in a supply closet. This alone shows the arrogance of the bishops thinking they were untouchable and without reproach from anyone. Indeed times have changed.
For the first time in the history of the United States, Federal and state authorities are probing into the internal matters of the church with cause – and force. Today, it is fourteen states and counting under investigation and when this is over, it may affect all fifty states under a blanket investigation with criminal RICO laws applying due to the deliberate and widespread collusion among the bishops. Good faithful Catholic lawyers think it may happen. The Roman Catholic Church is now in the third round of a fifteen round bare knuckle fight that in the end, the state will prevail reducing the Church to a rubble of what it was once in its grandeur— and the hierarchy have themselves to blame for it.
Miss O’Connor, not naive and with malice towards none, and as sincere as the day is long was asked, “Was there any other way to deal with this?” She responded, “Not with any expedience, no, I mean, I did hope and pray that a grand jury would eventually be convened and that there would be hopefully be an independent investigation, but I felt there would be other victims between now and then, and I could not have that on my conscience if there was any way to prevent that….the reality of what I saw left me with no option.”
Sin has serious generational consequences. Priests and religious are more liable than others because they specifically have taken vows to protect the population as a witness before God and man. Not harm, but to protect. Brought to mind are the words of Jesus when He says, “But whoever causes one of these little ones to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large mill stone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matt. 18:6). This leaves little doubt on the severity of the action according to Jesus Himself.
Bishop Ratzinger in 1969 while a professor at Regensburg University in Germany on where he thought the Church is headed said, “It will be small and insignificant, it will lose all that it accumulated over the centuries, it will be a small remnant…it will be destitute.”
It is a sad day, but this purification is necessary for the Church to heal. Unless the cancer is identified and removed, the cancer will grow and the person will die. The cancer must be driven out. As dross is removed in the refining of gold, so too, these events must happen for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.
Yes, the hope of the wicked is like thistledown borne of the wind,
and like fine tempest-driven foam; Like smoke scattered by the wind, and
like the passing memory of a nomad camping for a single day.
But the just live forever, and in the Lord is the recompense, and the thought
of them is with the Most High. Wisdom 5:14-15
JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU