The problem with American Catholicism? The power-hungry laity
What is behind the “US priest scandal”?
In the past few days, the US press has exposed a scandal that, if it did not involve Catholic priests, would be on the front pages of every newspaper in the world. Clearly, however, priests being the victims, nobody cares. Even the associations fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, strangely, remain silent.
Yet the operation carried out by the “Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal” is extremely serious and must be condemned immediately, both in the Catholic Church and in the States involved. This group of self-styled Catholics used millions of dollars to buy personal data and trace the private lives of US clerics. In America, it is well known, all you need is a full wallet and you get what you want.
Money, of course, is not lacking for Mark Bauman, John Martin and Tim Reichert. They are the administrators of this organisation that has spent as much as $4 million to track the private lives of Catholic priests and seminarians and then sell the information to seminary rectors or US bishops.
Many American priests and seminarians have written to us in recent hours following our article. The shock is great and the acts committed are very serious.
The American Church is full of bishops who have good training and are good pastors. Unfortunately, however, there are also those who have exchanged “sound tradition” for the “moralism of the repressed”. This problem is also felt in Italy. This is why Silere non possum has always found criticism both on the right and on the left, so to speak. Whoever is ‘modernist’ must necessarily deny all that there has been and must preach a non-existent Church that never can be. Those who call themselves ‘traditionalists’, on the contrary, must reject anything new and must base their moral convictions on inconsistent interpretations of Scripture.
Contrary to what one would have us believe, the problem of homophobia in the Church is the laity and not the priests. It is those lay people who, ambitious for office or other promotion, point the finger at everyone and lecture even clerics. We talked about this in this article in which we highlight the schizophrenic behaviour of completely questionable blogs that allow themselves to say whether their parish priest celebrated correctly or not. Otherwise, they are all set to take away our financial support.
In this panorama, Pope Francis is a true innovator. He wants all that is modern and denies all that has been. On gays, however, there is no question: ‘We are all brothers, of course, but each in his own house’. So, on these issues, the Pope sides with the so-called ‘traditionalists’. Although, fortunately, very few people identify with these categories and have now begun to open their eyes. If many people have a revulsion towards certain subjects, it is precisely because of their moralising attitude full of fake devotion.
It emerges, in these hours, that many American bishops, rather than being attentive and caring pastors especially to their own presbyteries, have chosen the line of Francis. None of these ‘faithful pastors’ have questioned the lawfulness of these actions. There are even dioceses that have paid this organisation. Payments that, in the diocese’s balance sheets, appear as ‘donations’. Now, rather than us receiving donations from the laity, we give them to them.
These lay people, who present themselves as the sole holders of doctrine, also find fertile ground in the United States where we see an increasing willingness on the part of Ordinaries to hire people to take the place of priests. What is evident is that these dioceses are very fond of money. Even with regard to the child abuse scandal, the big bane has come from Boston. Rather than trying priests and, if guilty, sending them home, we started emptying the coffers of parishes and dioceses. “With money you can do anything. Someone found the golden cow and thought it best to empty it”, reports a US bishop who has spoken out against this system.
Today, in the general climate of witch hunts, it is even considered to pay lay people to buy the personal data of their priests. In Europe, such a thing would have led to not a few years in prison. In the United States, however? What are the prosecutors’ offices waiting for?
‘The committed laity’
As we reported in this article, in July 2021, the blog The Pillar published an article, signed by JD Flynn, which accused the Reverend Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill of frequenting LGBTQ+ venues. The priest was the general secretary of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Clearly, the documents JD Flynn had in his possession were the fruit of this espionage activity.
The response of the US bishops’ conference was to ask Burrill to resign.
The information in the article is clearly a very serious violation of the priest’s human rights, and the American Bishops’ Conference should have initiated a lawsuit against this layman, not demanded the priest’s resignation.
We have already written it, one only has to look at the photos of these people to realise the feelings that may have motivated their actions. But who is JD Flynn? He is not only the editor of this pseudo-blog, but also a teacher at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University.
Substantially, this man, who was part of the Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal, goes to the seminary facilities every day and teaches our seminarians. In addition to teaching, he also has access to all the personal data of these students. We find ourselves, therefore, once again faced with lay people whom we pay handsomely and who work to our destruction. A strategic choice that certainly hides a masochistic drift in the Catholic Church.
Is it possible that such a person, who has collaborated in an activity that seriously infringes the rights of priests, continues to teach in the seminary of the Archdiocese of San Francisco? Moreover, he also teaches canon law. A subject he evidently does not know enough about if he has spent himself on these criminal activities.
It is clear what end these people pursue. It is not a question, as the president of this group Jayd Henricks wrote in a ridiculous article, of ‘loving the Church and helping the Church to be holy, with every tool she can be given’. The aim is to ‘disqualify’ all ordained priests and come forward as ‘clean’ people. We are witnessing, in essence, the same dynamics as the Pharisees. Nothing new on the horizon.
The Church has a duty to condemn these acts and must denounce them. These people must be dismissed and the authorities must be asked to confiscate all these personal documents immediately. The American Bishops’ Conference has not yet taken a stand against these serious crimes, we urge all U.S. priests to denounce bishops as well. No one, not even the Pope, has the right to know the personal data of Catholic priests. We understand that this is something that the Pope did not understand at Santa Marta. Numerous bishops and cardinals have been summoned by Francis, and the Pope has shown them the balance and movement list of personal bank accounts at the IOR. Bank secrecy, evidently, Juan Domingo Perón did not explain to young Jorge Mario.
Silere non possum