Recent revelations have made it all too clear that, as the intrepid religious columnist Rod Dreher has long argued, an adult male homosexual mafia exists within the Roman Catholic clergy preying on adolescent boys and young men [Cardinal Burke: ‘Very Grave Problem of Homosexual Culture in the Church,’ by Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart, August 17 2018; Uncle Ted’s Family Tradition, by Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, August 17, 2018]. The implications of this scandal, both for the Church and for American society at large, are profound. At the least, however, it raises again a question I asked in 2012: Is The Refugee Racket Helping Pay For The Catholic Church’s Child Abuse Settlements? There are signs that church officials hope this will continue to be true, both financially and in terms of public relations.
Dreher pointed readers to disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s appearance with Tim Russert on Meet The Press in 2004:
Russert: Do you believe there’s a special place in hell for men who represent Christ on earth, and abuse their flock?
McCarrick: There is certainly a special terrible judgment on someone who would abuse the trust that a priest must have, that a priest does have.
Dreher’s savage comment:
I remember watching that in 2004, as a Catholic, knowing the truth about that dirty old man, and knowing that the Vatican, and others in the US hierarchy, knew the truth about him. And yet, they let him go on national TV to mislead Catholics and others. Why?
[Cardinal McCarrick & His Protectors, July 16, 2018]
Whatever the answer, that McCarrick was a key leader in the church’s response to the 2002 crisis suggests that corruption in the church today is even deeper than in 2002.
PR maneuvers occasioned by McCarrick’s removal from office on June 20 began immediately. The preamble of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People—the “Dallas Charter”—was amended in June to state that “since 2002, the Church in the United States has experienced a crisis without precedent in our times.”
Only since 2002? Again, McCarrick’s abuse started almost 50 years ago and has been known to some church officials for decades [American Cardinal Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor Is Removed From Ministry, by Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman, The New York Times, June 20, 2018; He Preyed on Men Who Wanted to Be Priests. Then He Became a Cardinal, by Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman, July 16, 2018].
The Dallas Charter established “Essential Norms for Diocesan/ Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons” According to Catholic legal experts, the United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops [USCCB] authors purposely used the terms “priests or deacons,” instead of “clerics,” thereby excluding the bishops and cardinals from the charter’s norms and policies [McCarrick, The Bishops, and Unanswered Questions, By J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency, July 23, 2018].
But the Main stream Media has seemed much more concerned about the children affected by “Trump’s family separation policy.” And that is where this latest sex scandal meets The National Question, at least as far as the bishops go. The (illegal) children at the border are a good prop for the church PR machine. They help the media keep the public focused on Trump, not McCarrick and other wayward princes of the church.
Thus Rocco Palmo, a respected and nonpartisan Catholic reporter, wrote about one cardinal’s hastily arranged, high-profile border tour of the border. The trip was, apparently, so important he canceled his planned trip to Rome.
Less than three weeks since Cardinal Joe Tobin of Newark called for a delegation of US bishops to head to the Mexican border in a show of solidarity with immigrant [sic, actually illegal aliens] families being separated there, the plans have come together with stunning speed: late Friday, the conference announced that an unspecified group would make the visit on Monday, July 2nd, with the ground zero of the 2,000-plus displacements of parents from their children, South Texas' Rio Grande Valley, as the site.
The journey reportedly eyed at first for sometime in the fall by conference staff, but markedly sped up as key players cited the urgency of the moment.
[Bench On A Mission—In Latest Push For Immigrant Families, USCCB Chiefs Run For The Border, WhispersInTheLoggia, July 1, 2018.]
Likely, the “urgency of the moment” was fear that growing news coverage would finally and thoroughly illumine the Catholic hierarchy’s crimes.
This Joseph William Tobin is cardinal of the Archdiocese of Newark, where Cardinal McCarrick was archbishop before he became cardinal in Washington, D.C. Tobin is, or was, sometimes mentioned as a possible first American pope.
Back in 2016, Palmo wrote of McCarrick’s key role in Tobin’s elevation to cardinal:
[M]ultiple signs point to Newark’s fourth archbishop [McCarrick] as the lead architect behind the choice of his second successor [Tobin]. Having maintained an enduring devotion for and among the Jersey church since his transfer to the capital in 2000, McCarrick—who [Pope] Francis is said to revere as “a hero” of his [remember, this was before the recent revelations]—made a direct appeal over recent weeks for Tobin to be named to Newark, according to two sources familiar with the cardinal’s [McCarrick]’s thinking.
[To Heal Newark, Pope Brings "Big Red"—In Historic Move, Cardinal Tobin Headed for Jersey Post , November 05, 2016].
So, a favorite of McCarrick was sent to New Jersey's top post at McCarrick’s behest. What did Tobin know about “Uncle Ted?”
First, there is Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who was a protégé of Cardinal McCarrick’s. Farrell shared an apartment with McCarrick for six years, years in which settlements were being paid out in New Jersey for McCarrick’s misdeeds. In a brief interview, Cardinal Farrell said, “I was shocked, overwhelmed; I never heard any of this before in the six years I was there with him. . . . I worked in the chancery in Washington and never, no indication, none whatsoever.” He didn’t mention his living arrangements. But nothing in Cardinal Farrell’s deportment suggests shock, disgust, or embarrassed bewilderment. His expression is one of a man getting through an unpleasant and official line on his actions.
Farrell was also once a senior figure in the Legionaries of Christ, led by sexual abuser, bigamist, and pederast Marcial Maciel. Farrell left, he’s said, over differences in philosophy. What a life! To have been twice put in the best place to know what, at that level, “everyone knows,” and yet to have known nothing. Why should such a clueless man be elevated to the office of cardinal and given a curial position?
[Catholic Bishops Beg For A Clear Policy Against Evil, July 26, 2018.]
Of course, we don’t assign guilt by association, but it is likely, close as they apparently are to McCarrick, that Tobin and Farrell knew about his issues well before June 20. No wonder Tobin was so anxious to get on with the publicity-rich border tour. And no wonder Farrell helplessly foundered in his interview about McCarrick with the Catholic News Service.
Tobin and Farrell, by the way, both wrote glowing blurbs for the recent book by Rev. James Martin, the Jesuit priest who thinks the Church must “build bridges” to the “LGBT community” [Top Vatican And US Church Officials Back New Gay-Friendly Book, by David Gibson, Religion News Service, April 7, 2017].
So much for public relations. What about money?
When I wrote about this subject in 2012, USCCB had paid more than $2.1 billion related to abuse settlements since 2004 alone. We had hoped the worst had passed, but USCCB was still looking at annual, scandal-related outlays exceeding $100 million annually.
No telling what the cost of this latest affair will be.
And how will the Church help pay for it? Taxpayers.
In fiscal 2017, USCCB and its affiliates, Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, pulled in more than $920 million in federal grants and contracts from myriad agencies and departments, according to USASpending.gov. The latest IRS 990 form posted online for Catholic Charities is missing the salary pages, so we can’t report the latest on its executive compensation. But for 2016, CRS reported that its president pulled down $306,839 in salary and other compensation. The package for its last president was $468,999, and other executives are well into the six figures.
In addition to these three Catholic agencies, the U.S. government directly pays Catholic institutions such as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Timika, Indonesia, and the private school Our Lady Of Gulf Catholic Church in Port Lavaca, Texas. Add these in and the annual take soars to more than $2.3 billion annually.
Granted, some of this money, science grants to Catholic University, arguably should not be counted on the Church’s tab, but in any event Catholic institutions hand out taxpayer dollars in more than 50 countries. And doubtless, in many of these countries, emigration to the U.S. is presented as a way out of present circumstances.
Typical among the social services that the U.S. government pays the Catholic Church to provide: those “related to the secure residential housing for up to forty (40) undocumented alien women and primarily male children material witnesses.” And if that doesn’t work, then it “provides substitute living arrangements and culturally responsive services to achieve a balance between maintaining ethnic identity and adaptation to a new socio-cultural environment for refugee (and other eligible) children whose circumstances require foster care when family care is unavailable.”
After all, as Cardinal McCarrick himself said in 2009, “our immigration laws ultimately must be judged by how they impact the basic dignity and God-given human rights of the human person” [Cardinal McCarrick Brings Immigration Reform Message To Senate, October 11, 2009].
Some of this money is outsourced social services which the American taxpayer would pay one way or the other. But not all. Who thinks that the secret payoffs, toleration of criminal behavior and massive settlements would have gone on for so many years without this huge and obscure stream of federal cash?
If the Church has proven so untrustworthy, why does Congress trust it with billions of taxpayer dollars and seek its advice on issues such as immigration?
Last word: immigration enthusiasm can be good PR and profitable:
“The USCCB, along with a national network of Catholic partners, has resettled nearly one-third of all refugees to the U.S. since 1980.”
As usual, nowhere in this appeal to parishioners do they mention that they are PAID BY THE HEAD FOR EACH REFUGEE THEY PLACE!
US Catholic Bishops launch campaign to pressure Trump to admit large number of refugees, by Ann Corcoran, Refugee Resettlement Watch, August 19, 2018.