USCCB Meeting Highlights Are Pretty Dim

By Christopher Manion, The Wanderer, June 22, 2019

America’s bishops meet twice a year, and this June’s meeting was supposed to be a doozy. In the past twelve months, two explosive scandals have rocked the U.S. hierarchy. On June 20, 2018, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan revealed the charges of abuse and coverup against retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, one of the most powerful American prelates of the past century.

Then came the allegations of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Hiding in fear of his life, the former Vatican Nuncio to the United States detailed the extent to which the McCarrick Machine’s Sodomite Syndicate had penetrated the American Church.

By last fall, the public outrage had reached a decibel level that had not been heard since 2002, when the abuse-and-coverup scandals first erupted nationwide. Finally, last November, after years of circling the wagons, U.S. bishops were determined to “Do Something!” As that meeting began, our shepherds’ efforts to address the explosive scandals were shut down by Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich on the orders of the Vatican.

Three months later, Pope Francis met with bishops from around the world. Now our American shepherds could finally face the music at their next meeting — the one held last week.

And what happened? They did nothing. Zero. The moment of truth came when Bishop Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City insisted that the laity be involved in any investigations of allegations of bishops. “Lay involvement should be mandatory to make darn sure that we bishops do not harm the Church in the way bishops have harmed the Church, especially what we have become aware of this past year. And now that we have experienced this horrible year of bad bishops, the laity too are rightly demanding that something must change.”

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, a stalwart advocate of transparence and accountability, then uttered the forbidden word. “I would encourage that we pursue their strong recommendations and support efforts to bring to light the McCarrick scandal issues as fully as possible. And as Bishop McKnight said, we need that mandatory aspect of the laity involved as much as possible.”

USCCB in Session

The zombies would have none of it. Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin and Cardinal Cupich, alleged allies of those “bad bishops,” quickly moved to “make darn sure” that the McCarrick issue was off the table. Bishop Strickland’s suggestion was ruled out of order, and so was any mention of transparency and accountability for past cover-ups by prelates. Cardinals Mahony and Wuerl and all the others were off the hook.

The Shameful Sham Continues

The pathetic USCCB bureaucracy slogged on. Its Twitter account bragged as “Cardinal J.W. Tobin presents Action Item 7 ‘Acknowledging Our Episcopal Commitments,’ which implements a bishop code of conduct, including the affirmation that the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is expanded to include BISHOPS as well as priests and deacons.” [Caps in original.]

Of course, that move makes sure that Cardinal Tobin, McCarrick’s successor in Newark, will never be investigated as part of the McCarrick Sodomite Syndicate. Nor will Cardinal Cupich. All is forgiven. The slate has been wiped clean by this “historic” meeting.

Do our bishops really think the laity will believe that they’re being honest? Or do they really care? Yes, their credibility was “shredded,” Joliet Bishop R. Daniel Conlon admitted seven years ago.

“But hey, so what? That’s old news,” as Bill Clinton’s lawyers used to say.

What Bishops Really Care About

As the proceedings droned on, one bishop used his Twitter account to tell us what he holds to be really important. Lexington Bishop John Stowe is a member of the conference’s Cupich-Tobin “gay-friendly” faction. You might remember his attack on the students from Covington Catholic High School, published in the Lexington Herald-Leader: “I join the Diocese of Covington and other Catholic leaders in apologizing in the wake of this incident,” he wrote. “I am ashamed that the actions of Kentucky Catholic high school students have become a contradiction of the very reverence for human life that the march is supposed to manifest…it astonishes me that any students participating in a pro-life activity on behalf of their school and their Catholic faith could be wearing apparel sporting the slogans of a president who denigrates the lives of immigrants, refugees, and people from countries that he describes with indecent words and haphazardly endangers with life-threatening policies. We cannot uncritically ally ourselves with someone with whom we share the policy goal of ending abortion.”

Wait a minute. He “joins”? Well, when the truth about the incident at the March for Life was revealed, Kentucky Bishops Joseph Kurtz and Roger Foys quickly apologized for slandering the boys. But Bishop Stowe wrote his hit piece after they apologized. He knew the facts, yet, to date, he has not apologized (his office has not responded to our request for an update. Should we receive one, we will report it here).
So what priorities were on Bishop Stowe’s mind at the meeting, now that McCarrick was buried for good?

“Today I meet with Bishop David Talley and the rest of the Subcommittee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development,” he wrote. Of course, the notorious CCHD is the brainchild of Saul Alinsky, the “community organizer” who worked with the Archdiocese of Chicago for years. In fact, that’s where the young Barack Obama received his first grant — from the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago! Like Catholic Relief Services, CCHD often allies with pro-abortion groups to achieve its political goals.

But we digress. Bishop Stowe continues: “The bishops who started this initiative are still ahead of their time….”

Ahead of their time? Better said, they’re stuck in the sixties. For Bishop Stowe, it’s accountability and transparency and the scandals that are passé. What counts is the future, and that means the bishops’ political agenda.

But wait — he’s not finished: “As the Church engages issues in the public square, we must embrace the vision of Pope Francis, rejecting the use of fear against migrants and other vulnerable people — as well as refusing to be manipulated into tacitly or explicitly embracing those who do.”

Translated, “Don’t be manipulated by the most pro-life president in recent history. Help defeat him so your bishops can restore the billions of taxpayer funding that Obama gave us for our secular NGOs.”

This meeting was a disgrace and a farce. In fact, one might say the same of the entire bureaucratic fossil of the USCCB. Perhaps our beloved shepherds should ask this question: “If we had no bishops’ conference today, and we decided to start one from scratch, would we replicate today’s USCCB? Or could we do better?”

Or do we need one at all? During a recent visit to the Netherlands, Robert Cardinal Sarah reminded his audience that “Jesus never created bishops’ conferences or local Churches,” LifeSiteNews reported.

As the brain-dead conference continues to evade its responsibilities and peddles its shabby excuses and pirouettes its vapid programs and procedures and protocols in prideful processions, it’s time to put it out of its misery.

Stop trying to resuscitate the cadaver. Close down the USCCB.

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