How Donald Trump Could Help the Catholic Church
Sometimes Caesar must act.
Sometime tomorrow Ambassador Callista Gingrich should march into the Vatican Secretariat of State in Rome. Then demand the release of all documents related to now-disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The former Archbishop of Washington, it’s widely known, molested teen boys and sexually preyed on seminarians.
Gingrich should tell Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin that the Vatican has one week to answer. If the answer is no, or if they are reluctant to answer, she should give them one month to reconsider. Then inform them on that day, she and her staff will leave for the United States. They won’t return until the issue is settled.
How High Does the Rot Go?
Read the 11-page memo prepared by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. He’s no crank or amateur gadfly, but the former papal nuncio (ambassador) to the United States. He claims, based on personal knowledge, that it was not just Americans who gave the nod and wink to the criminal sexual assaults of “Uncle Ted” McCarrick. He charges high-ranking members of the Roman Curia knew as well. And they allowed this behavior to continue by giving McCarrick promotions and cover for his behavior.
Viganò lists many high-ranking churchmen as knowing about McCarrick’s crimes:
- Pope Benedict XVI (who tried to take action and was apparently thwarted and flouted by his own bishops).
- Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
- The aforementioned Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
- Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
- Pope Francis, who apparently revoked Benedict’s measures aimed at McCarrick, and made him a close advisor. (McCarrick had strongly supported him for pope.)
These and other Catholic prelates knew that Cardinal McCarrick was taking seminarians to his bed and molesting them. He did this for years, all the while receiving promotions, open-door access to the highest reaches of the Church. Also traveling high-wide-and-handsome on diplomatic missions for the Pope.
What Did Pope Francis Know and When Did He Know It?
Many questions have been raised by Viganò’s critics, some of them are fair. For instance, if Pope Benedict did restrict McCarrick, why was he seen all over the world? Appearing in official Vatican ceremonies and certainly not hidden away? Was there really an interdict imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict? Did Fr. Boniface Ramsey’s letter reach influential offices of the Holy See? Did Viganò really tell these tales to his bosses in Rome?
Vatican offices must produce the McCarrick Files for officials from the U.S. Departments of Justice and State.
Viganò is coming under severe criticism from certain so-called progressives. They are driving the narrative that he’s attempting a “putsch” against Pope Francis. Note the veiled accusation that Viganò is a Nazi in league with other Nazis. Some on the dissident left are practically pulling out their hair. The often-comical Michael Sean Winters says his team has 24 hours to save the Church, or something. Even sensible commentators, like Dawn Eden, are focusing their criticism and questions on Viganò instead of trying to learn what really happened. It seems that many are not interested in knowing if there was a cover-up in the Vatican to protect McCarrick.
Trump Can Demand the Documents
But no matter what the questions or criticism, they will not be answered. Not unless and until the Vatican produces the files that will tell the tale. Viganò says these files exist, in the Nunciature in Washington DC (and in various dicasteries in Vatican City — don’t hold your breath). These Vatican offices must produce the McCarrick Files for officials from the U.S. Departments of Justice and State. We must know if Vatican Cardinals knew about the sexual predator in our midst and let him proceed with his illegal, nefarious behavior.
We learned one thing in Pennsylvania. It will not be committees of laymen working with bishops who will bring these enormities into the light. No, it will be secular officials. It was an Attorney General who unveiled the crimes in Pennsylvania. It will be Attorneys General who will rip off the scab in Missouri and Illinois.
Protect Americans First
This is a legal and diplomatic crisis. We Catholics must convince President Trump of this. And that he should act. The United States must move to protect our young people who have come under assault from a Prince of the Church and who have been protected and moved around by other Princes of the Church in Rome.
Frank Keating, former FBI agent, former Governor of Oklahoma, famously left the US Bishops’ National Review Board because the Bishops were not willing to cooperate with the investigations of priest pederasty. As he was walking out the door, Keating said this was not the Church he knew. The Bishops acted more like La Cosa Nostra (the Mafia) with its code of omertà (silence).
On the plane coming from Ireland this week, Pope Francis said he would not answer any questions about the Viganò document. Talk about omertà. Perhaps losing the US diplomatic presence will loosen his tongue, and more important, the McCarrick Files located somewhere in the Vatican’s embassy in Washington, D.C.