Ending rule by the ‘McCarrick Doctrine’

By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky (bio - articles - email) | Jan 22, 2019

It cannot be denied that a large number of Catholic bishops and their vicars lied, covered up, and abused their positions and faith. The sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people were not only the result of the dereliction of duty of bishops in governing but in several cases obviously enabled by their own secret sins.

Many, like former cardinal McCarrick, have used the Church for their own grotesque purposes that not only include clerical careerism but personal enrichment, indecency, sodomy, and other forms of sexual debauchery. And the same leaders, like McCarrick, helped shape the opinions and practices of the body of bishops. The “McCarrick Doctrine” is an apt description of the policies, procedures, and protocols that governed the Church in the United States for decades.

Following the McCarrick Doctrine, bishops have habitually avoided confrontations with a debased culture by pretending that the sexual abuse of our young people has little to do with homosexual clergy and dissent from traditional Catholic moral teaching. (Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher to the papal household, not unexpectedly dodged the question during the recent bishops’ retreat in Chicago.)

Bishops have encouraged the gay agenda in many of our dioceses by overlooking the studied ambiguity of their methods. They fund “LGBTQ ministries,” turn a blind eye to “gay-friendly” parishes, and lionize and fund gay activist priests like James Martin, SJ. In all likelihood, many have been blackmailed to remain silent, lest their own sexual proclivities and lapses be revealed.

By neglect and malfeasance, the body of American bishops has effectively smeared the reputations of a handful of bishops who have been caught up in the present culture of suspicion. They now find it impossible to administer their dioceses with Catholic sensibilities using the tools of Catholic moral theology.

The bishops have often covered their unholy conspiracies with words like “collegiality” and demanded “respect and obedience” as a means to deflect any and all criticism from our priests. Passive-aggressive penalties are administered for perceived violations. Hence priests are trained to cower and behave like gossipy school girls rather than men. There is little reason to doubt that this will continue.

The McCarrick Doctrine requires bishops and priests to be practical atheists, exchanging Catholic tradition with its hope in everlasting life for the false promises of comfort and financial security in this life.

Many bishops have turned a blind eye to the abuse of the innocence of the Sacred Liturgy. But in this, they overlook the narcissism of priests engaged in abusive liturgical practices-—a narcissism that is closely related to that of personal sexual disorders.

Over many years, the body of bishops has been led by liturgical “experts” who perverted the official liturgical translations appealing to worldly sensibilities and resisting efforts at restoring translations to orthodox accuracy.

With only a few noteworthy exceptions, the bishops followed the McCarrick Doctrine in allowing pro-abortion Catholic politicians to besmirch Catholic morality and receive Communion with ecclesiastical impunity. Abortion is child abuse in the womb. The pattern of indifference is familiar.

Bishops have abandoned their young people to Catholic universities that not only distort the Faith but actively hold the Faith in contempt. Feminism and gender neutrality have become the Golden Calves of academia. The failure in the oversight of schools is a sin that cries out for God’s vengeance.

Bishops and officials at the highest levels of the Church have embraced political causes such as “climate change,” open-borders immigration policy, and multiculturalism in vain attempts to appease the liberal enemies of the Church. And they have alienated Catholics who, in good conscience, exercise their right to disagree.

The Church has become excessively bureaucratized because of the growth of her institutions. Like the growth of government, the resultant centralization smothers local initiative and zeal. The unusual and the bizarre often take center stage. A priest jumping about leading a youth rally on stage is newsworthy. A nun making a holy hour is not.

In private or public teaching, it is common to overlook or deny God’s wrath in his response to all human wickedness. There has been an implicit denial of the existence of Hell in attitude and in teaching.

We will not be saved by policies, procedures, protocols, codes of conduct, workshops, working groups, mission statements, best practices, and the rest. Our business is not to restore trust, implement a healing process, or even establish more stringent child protection policies. And we can promise responsibility, accountability, transparency, clarity, and action until we run out of photocopy paper. Bureaucratic solutions simply perpetuate the status quo of faithlessness and fuel the anger of faithful Catholics.

We will fail until we nullify the McCarrick Doctrine and root out its effects. How? Here is a short version of what could be a very long list:

  • Return to the vocabulary of the Catholic faith rather than the vocabulary of lawyers and insurance executives.
  • Live and govern with the certainty that all of us will one day stand before the Judgment seat of God.
  • Identify and extract the cancerous homosexual network among priests and bishops.
  • Introduce disciplinary and penitential practices and administer just punishment-—both spiritual and temporal—for representatives of his Church who have egregiously transgressed God’s law.
  • Renounce the tepid response to our Catholic politicians who support so-called “abortion rights” and the “gay” agenda. The act of excommunication is an act of charity, transparency, and doctrinal clarity.
  • Restore our Catholic schools as havens for the innocence of children where human nature, perfected by grace, flourishes.
  • Ensure high standards of orthodoxy in our schools and reject weak and ambiguous catechisms even if previously approved.
  • Refuse to be uncritically beholden to the advanced degrees of the education, psychology, and sociology professions. Leaders in these disciplines reject Christian metaphysics with notorious frequency, making them particularly susceptible to the errors of secularism.
  • Trust faith and common sense over academic credentials.
  • Ignore the USCCB if it continues down the road of secular bureaucratic solutions.

Our business is fidelity to Jesus and the Gospel. It’s hard work, but it’s not very complicated. Most good Catholics will not fight for policies, procedures, and protocols in the services of best practices. They will only fight for Jesus and his Church.

“You will know them by their fruits.” (Mt 7:16) The results of the Vatican meeting of the world’s bishops in February will reveal whether the McCarrick Doctrine will be exported, to the detriment of the Church, to other countries, or finally laid to rest.

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Trained in business and accounting, he also holds a Master of Divinity and a Master’s in moral theology. Father Pokorsky co-founded both CREDO and Adoremus, two organizations deeply engaged in authentic liturgical renewal. He writes regularly for a number of Catholic websites and magazines.
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  • Posted by: unum - Jan. 24, 2019 12:40 PM ET USA

    A wonderful, honest commentary on the state of the Church in the US, in general, and the DC area specifically. The DC virus has infected McCarrick, Wurl, and others, and has been exported to other dioceses and the Franciscan University in Ohio as well as other "Catholic" universities. Yet, in each Diocese in the U.S. Catholics are receiving expensive appeals to increase their donations to their Diocese in addition to their parishes. And, for this support they receive ... ? And Jesus wept!

  • Posted by: Carole Foryst - Jan. 23, 2019 1:52 PM ET USA

    I like these two objectives best; “Identify and extract the cancerous homosexual network among priests and bishops. Introduce disciplinary and penitential practices and administer just punishment ... for representatives of his Church who have egregiously transgressed God’s law.” The existing power structure will not reform itself, therefore a worldwide lay-clergy reform movement would have to accomplish the goals. What is the movement’s lever of power? Public disgrace of the scoundrels?

  • Posted by: Carole Foryst - Jan. 23, 2019 10:05 AM ET USA

    I like these two objectives best: "Identify and extract the cancerous homosexual network among priests and bishops. Introduce disciplinary and penitential practices and administer just punishment ... for representatives of his Church who have egregiously transgressed God's law." The existing power structure will not reform itself, therefore a worldwide lay-clergy reform movement would have to accomplish the goals. what could be the movement's lever of power? Public disgrace of the scoundrels?

  • Posted by: Carole Foryst - Jan. 22, 2019 6:09 PM ET USA

    I like these two objectives best; “Identify and extract the cancerous homosexual network among priests and bishops. Introduce disciplinary and penitential practices and administer just punishment-—both spiritual and temporal—for representatives of his Church who have egregiously transgressed God’s law.” The existing power structure will not reform itself, therefore a strong lay-clergy organization(s) would have to accomplish the goals. Absent legal authority, what is the lever of power? Public disgrace of the scoundrels?

  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - Jan. 22, 2019 4:52 PM ET USA

    Fr. Jerry, I’m not sure the adminstrative proceedings can be pinned to McCarrick but the description certainly does justice to this admin procedural decline within Church leadership. I am glad you commented on this aspect of the problem. I truly believe changing the procedures will help but if others supporting these sullied processes are not removed, sadly these will te-emerge elsewhere and or just remain. I am not confident February will provide the needed reform but Hope remains.

  • Posted by: jb5131013 - Jan. 22, 2019 1:52 PM ET USA

    Fr Jerry! I agree with every word. I am cheering! Refreshing clarity and a clear path forward.