Back in early March of this year Catholic theologian (and blogger) Dr. Colin Kerr announced that my blog Contra|Diction had been banned from his Society of Canadian Catholic Bloggers. I promptly left a comment on his blog posting and then issued my own short posting in response. Colin’s posting generated a good number of interesting comments, as did mine, and these comments taken as a whole provide both a range of insight as well as a share of ad hominem attack. I initially planned to publish a more detailed critique of Colin’s decision to oust my blog as well as of the confused rationale which he had expressed in his posting but I soon realized it simply would have consumed more time and energy than it was worth. It would have been quite unrealistic to expect that yet more argumentation could override his strong emotional connections to Archbishop Prendergast particularly, but also to Cardinal Collins.
Fast forward to last week when Vox Cantoris blog posted Pervert Priest and the Canadian bishops that covered him up, so-to-speak. The Vox links to a shocking post at Sylvia’s Site detailing the cover up in the 1960`s and 1970`s of infamous sexual predator Father John Sullivan by a host of Canadian Bishops. Go ahead and read the revolting details in order to appreciate the depravity and duplicity of the (Best) Bishops involved.
For most of 29 years that man – this wolf in sheep’s clothing, a child molester – was permitted to hear confessions, offer up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and continue to prey on innocent young boys.
Is it really possible that several Bishops participated in such a heinous cover-up? Yes indeed and not only several, but several very powerful Bishops, those who, at the time, were considered to be the best of Canada`s Bishops.
Bishop Alexander Carter was one of the influential Gang of Five, a group of Canadian bishops who, as I once said elsewhere, were fast friends who wielded an inordinate influence upon their fellow Canadian bishops and hence upon the face of Roman Catholicism in Canada and indeed upon the face of the nation period.
Would anyone dispute the claim that a great many good Catholics of that time period, much like Dr. Colin Kerr today, were delighted to count these men as exemplary stewards of God? Likely they would have defended them to the death, not being fully persuaded of the mystery of iniquity. Yet were these Bishops not deeply infected with an evil that led to immense suffering for many innocent persons? Imagine the scorn and abuse that might have been heaped upon the fellow Catholic who had the temerity in those days to suggest that these Bishops were complicit in protecting a priest who serial-raped young boys. Perhaps Sylvia’s site can provide us with just such an illustration?
Bishop Alexander Carter – and others – knew that Carter was a sexual predator, and, what did he/they do? Nothing! Well, no, not really nothing. In truth, the bishop (s) enabled Sullivan. It was, after all, thanks to Carter that Sullivan was permitted to continue to masquerade as a priest and continue his sacrilegious romp from one sanctuary to another, and, yes, it was thanks to the bishop(s) that parents throughout the diocese were wilfully deceived, children were wilfully placed at risk, – and Sullivan was free to rape the souls of countless other young boys. Sad to say, and I would suggest, not surprisingly, Sullivan did just that. Until 1979!
Read the full posting, see the list of Bishop`s names and do a little homework. Lo, many of these *best* Bishops were architects and supporters of the Winnipeg Statement! History has issued its verdict on that act of defiance, and now also on the cover-up surrounding Father Sullivan.
Could there be a more a cunning, scandalous, evil and depraved betrayal of the flock by the shepherds? I am at a loss for words.
Incidentally, ask yourself, what is worse: the cover up of sexual abuse or the mass spiritual destruction of souls? (Be sure you answer that question before leaving this page.) Forty or fifty years ago, Bishops were covering up the perverse sins of priests; now they find it convenient to cover up the sins of Catholics who regularly practice intrinsically evil behaviours, believing and pretending there’s really nothing to see here. “Let’s move along now folks, nothing to see here.” The common thread though is a blatant disregard for the welfare of souls, a de facto denial of sin and evil as well as judgment for personal sin. The scandal extends to pseudo-catholics—like PM Justin Trudeau—who infect all strata of society and who, like a huge colony of ants, are busy incrementally dismantling every moral safeguard of society and the common good. As long as Bishops don’t expect or require Catholics to live like Catholics our nation will continue to disintegrate into chaos. Which then is the worse evil?
Bishops who are not actively promoting and defending the fullness of Catholic truth, along with correcting the grievous and pervasive errors of the day, are tolerating much greater evils that are not apparent to the eye. As part of a strategy to cover up for these evils such Bishops downplay or even ignore the concerns that the faithful bring repeatedly to the fore.
But didn’t these Bishops who enabled Fr. Sullivan appear to be sincere, dedicated and enthusiastic servants of the Lord? You betcha. Were they bad, devious, un-Christian people? I doubt anyone would characterize them as such, even their critics. Were they well loved and respected by many, many Catholics? Of course they were. Learn then a lesson here: Those who discreetly, or otherwise, disrespect and undermine the teaching and discipline of the Church do not come dressed in red costumes with horns and tails but appear rather as angels of light and servants of righteousness. Blinded by their pride and arrogance they are not always aware of their own treachery nor do they always recognize rebellion in their selective silence and omissions.
Would we—should we—pray for the downfall [scroll to the end of linked posting] of such men, the “best” pastors of the Church? I imagine the answer depends on whether we can admit to, or rather grasp, the depth of evil at work in our midst. Souls are being lost, the Faith is undermined, the nation is reeling, all due to sin and scandal while too many Bishops veritably preside over the meltdown. Certainly we ought to call first for the conversion [scroll to the end of linked posting] of such men so that the Church and our society might be saved from the devil’s worst plans. But how strongly can we condemn the wayward prelate while at the same time respecting his office?
St. Paul urged the Corinthians to judge those in the Church who were guilty of sin, indicating their responsibility to put away from among themselves the wicked person. He indicated they must “deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” Surely if St. Paul could counsel the local parish to expel or excommunicate one of the brothers we may ask St. Joseph to intercede on our behalf, beseeching the Lord to convert the heart of a renegade or hireling Bishop, finally bringing to bear divine judgments of many kinds if necessary, or even the removal of said Bishop so that a worthy replacement might be had.
But shouldn’t we constrain ourselves in our struggle to see justice and order restored in the Church of Christ? Shouldn’t we come to grips with the fact that these Bishops—like all men—are not perfect, and that realistically any replacement is unlikely to be better and quite likely to be worse? GOD FORBID!! If we cannot envision and work with all our might towards a Church that is truly purged of known evil and made a holy instrument of God, then we may as well give up on our own personal call to holiness!
But again, does our condemnation constitute lack of reverence for these pastors of the Church? Are we being presumptuous? Would we be guilty of an offense against charity? Would we be presenting a one-sided negative account of the matter? Would we be rushing to conclusions? Look at the example set by Jesus Christ Himself. These were exceedingly strong criticisms of the religious leaders of his day! Do any of the woes pronounced therein apply to the Bishops who shielded Father Sullivan? Do any of the woes apply to Bishops who consign millions of souls to hell because they fail to warn rank and file Catholics of their sinful behaviours and sacrilegious Communions? Do any of the woes apply to Bishops who neglect their duty to discipline public sinners who scandalize the faithful and corrupt the morals of a nation?