August 14, 2018 (Steven O’Reilly) – Catholics around the U.S. and the world are disgusted and fed up with the homosexual and pedophile scandals that have plagued the Church for decades now. That is an understatement. But, as bad as things truly have been, yet even more scandal has been heaped upon the existing one. Accusations and rumors about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick were apparently well known among his brother bishops (see here and here), yet nothing was done to stop this fiend. Unfortunately, similar abuses have afflicted other seminaries here in the U.S. (e.g., here and here); and it is evident the problem is not limited to the U.S., as the recent scandal in Honduras makes clear (see here). Nor can we forget that police raided a homosexual orgy within the walls of the Vatican just over a year ago (see here). Sadly, there is every reason to believe the lid on this whole can of worms has only just begun to be opened.
Various suggestions have been floated around, such as creation of a lay panel to investigate the problem. I understand the thinking behind it, but – personally – I do not believe lay led groups will ultimately solve the problem. Frankly, I don’t trust the U.S. bishops to appoint lay panels which would aggressively investigate the bishops’ own misdeeds, errors and or crimes. Certainly not as aggressively as need be. The bishops would likely end up creating a panel headed by nominal Catholics of the John Kerry and Joe Biden variety, who are aligned with the bishops’ own political sensibilities and who have received cover from them over the years. Furthermore, a single lay panel will not be sufficient to solve the problem, in my opinion. The problem is simply way too big for that.
The solution needs to come, in part, from Rome. Jeffrey Mirus at CatholicCulture suggested several years ago it was “time for a new inquisition” (see Vatican Reform: Time for a New Inquisition). I agree with his suggestion in principle – I just see nothing wrong with bringing back something more akin to the old inquisition! I believe the pope needs to appoint a “grand inquisitor” for each country with a large Catholic population. The “grand inquisitor,” operating independently of and superior to the authority of the country’s episcopate, would in turn establish local or regional inquisitions as necessary to investigate every diocese, chancery, seminary, and Catholic university to uproot the resident homosexual subculture. These inquisitions would be manned by laymen (e.g., accountants, former law enforcement and prosecutors, etc) and clerics. The inquisitions should ultimately report up to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and its prefect in Rome.
The suggestion has its weak points, its greatest being it relies on Pope Francis to appoint effective grand inquisitors. There have been reports of a dossier that had been produced during the reign of Pope Benedict XVI which detailed information about a network of homosexual prelates operating in the Vatican (see here), some of whom, according to reporting on the dossier, were subjected to blackmail. It was even suggested in the same news report that Benedict XVI decided to resign after receipt of the dossier. It is believed Benedict XVI handed over the dossier to Francis after the latter’s election. However, if this is so, there is no evidence Pope Francis has done anything about this information. In addition, supporters of Pope Francis in the College of Cardinals and the wider episcopate are among those most compromised by scandals (e.g., Cardinal Maradiaga, Cardinal Daneels, Cardinal Coccopalmerio, ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick). What agendas did these prelates and their potential blackmailers have in mind for the Church, its doctrines, liturgy, sacraments, etc? One cannot help but suspect the ill and nefarious motives on the part of many of these actors over the years in light of recent revelations. The whole lot needs to be tossed out, and replaced with bishops committed to the orthodox Catholic faith.
However, there is cause for grave doubt that Francis would act as aggressively as necessary, as it is very likely that among the episcopal dominoes that would eventually fall are the very advocates of many of the doctrinal errors besetting the life of the Church. Even so, no solution will ultimately work without Rome’s support. That said, demands from the laity for inquisitions to produce visible and tangible results would put a degree of pressure on Rome to appoint qualified and effective “grand inquisitors.” While protesting outside the next USCCB meeting or outside of one’s local chancery might be worthwhile endeavors which might serve a good purpose, it might be more effective if Catholics from around the world – holding signs and “pitchforks” – also began protesting and praying on a daily basis in St. Peter’s square in Rome, demanding a true and cleansing reform of the clergy of all ranks – especially at the top.
Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He lives near Atlanta with his family. He has written apologetic articles and is working on a historical-adventure trilogy, set during the time of the Arian crisis. He asks for your prayers for his intentions. He can be contacted at StevenOReilly@AOL.com (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA).