CAN BISHOPS REGAIN TRUST?

November 13, 2018 at 5:00 am

American Catholic bishops are meeting  for the first time since the church was rocked with its worst sex abuse scandal in 16 years. What happened and why? Can the bishops regain the trust of the faithful? We have the latest.

Aired on November 12, 2018.

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>> THESE ARE DARK DAYS FOR THE
AMERICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
16 YEARS AFTER A SEX ABUSE
SCANDAL ROCKED THE BOSTON ARCH
DIOCESE AND THE COUNTRY, THE
AMERICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IS ONCE
AGAIN IN CRISIS, THIS TIME NOT
SO MUCH BECAUSE OF REPREHENSIBLE
ACTS COMMITTED BY PRIESTS IN THE
RECTORY, BUT RATHER BECAUSE OF
THE ACTIONS OF POWERFUL BISHOPS
ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHO HAVE
ENABLED SECTXUAL MISCONDUCT ANDN
SOME CASES COMMITTED IT
THEMSELVES.
ACCORDING TO THE BOSTON GLOBE
AND PHILADELPHIA ENQUIRER, MORE
THAN 130 BISHOPS HAVE BEEN
ACCUSED OF HAVING ADEQUATELY TO
RESPOND TO SEXUAL MISCONDUCT IN
THEIR DIOCESE AND AT LEAST 15
BISHOPS ARE ACCUSE THE OF OF
COMMITTING SUCH ACTS.
THE ARCHBISHOP OP OF
WASHINGTON, D.C. WHO RESIGNED
FROM CARDINALS IN JULY, FOLLOWED
AN INVESTIGATION CONCLUDED HE
CREDIBLY ABUSED AN ALTAR BOY AT
SAINT PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL IN THE
EARLY '70s.
HOW DID IT ALL COME TO THIS?
HOW FAR YOU UP DOES THE
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THESE CRIMES
GO AND WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE
CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THIS COUNTRY
AND AROUND THE WORLD?
JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT ALL
THAT IS DAVID GIBSON, LONG-TIME
VATICAN CORRESPONDENT AND THE
DIRECTOR OF THE PICKFORD HAM
CENTER ON RELIGION AND CULTURE.
DAVID, THANKS SO MUCH FOR
JOINING US TODAY.
>> GREAT TO BE HERE, THANKS.
>> DAVID, HOW DID IT COME TO
THIS?
>> REALLY THIS IS SOMETHING YOU
COULD HAVE FORESEEN BACK IN
2002, YOU KNOW, FOLLOWING THE
WHOLE BOSTON GLOBE SPOTLIGHT
INVESTIGATION AND THE BISHOPS
WENT DOWN TO THEIR MEETING IN
DALLAS IN 2002 TO ADDRESS THIS
SCANDAL.
AND I WAS THERE, WE WERE ALL
THERE COVERING IT.
AND THEY, THEY ADDRESSED IT
QUITE EFFECTIVELY IN TERMS OF
THE PRIESTS, THE LOW-HANGING
FRUIT, THE STOPPING -- YOU KNOW,
THEY FORMULATED POLICIES, A
CHARTER, TO -- OF ZERO TOLERANCE
TO GET ANY PRIEST WHO ABUSED ANY
MINOR OUT OF THE PRIESTHOOD.
WHEN WE WERE DOWN THERE, WE
SAID, WHAT ABOUT YOU BISHOPS?
WHAT IF YOU'RE ACCUSED, WHAT IF
YOU OVERSEE AND COVER UP AND
MOVE THE PREDATOR AROUND WHICH
IS THE REAL SCANDAL?
THEY EXEMPTED THEMSELVES.
THIS IS A TICKING TIME BOMB.
>> HOW DID THEY GET AWAY WITH
EXCEPTING THEMSELVES?
WAS ANYBODY PAYING ATTENTION,
WAS THE VATICAN PAYING
ATTENTION?
>> I WAS DOWN THERE.
I TALKED TO A BISHOP I KNOW
WELL.
I SAID, LOOK, YOU'RE EXEMPTING
YOURSELVES FROM THESE
OVERSIGHT -- THIS
ACCOUNTABILITY.
IT'S ACCOUNTABILITY.
AND HE SAID TO ME, I DON'T KNOW
HOW YOU FIRE A BISHOP.
EACH BISHOP IS UNDER THEMSELVES
ANSWERABLE ONLY TO THE POPE.
THE POPE BACK THEN, JOHN PAUL
II, NOW A SAINT, AND HIS
SUCCESSOR BENNEDICT XVI, WERE
NOT INTO FIRING BISHOPS.
>> THIS NEW WAVE OF SCANDAL
BEGAN BACK IN JUNE, AS WE KNOW,
WHEN THE NEW YORK DIOCESE
INTRODUCTION RELEASED THE
CONCLUSIONS OF A REPORT THAT
SAID THAT McCARRICK, SOMEBODY WE
BOTH KNEW, HAD CREDIBLY ABUSED
AN ALTAR BOY BACK IN THE EARLY
'70s.
SINCE THEN IT HAS COME TO LIGHT
THAT ALLEGEDLY HE ALSO ABUSED A
BOY WHO HAPPENED TO BE THE FIRST
BABY HE EVER BAPTIZED.
>> HORRIBLE.
>> AND THEN IT CAME TO LIGHT FOR
YEARS HE HAD BEEN HARASSING MORE
DEC
SIMENARIANS.
HOW DOES SOMEONE LIKE THAT RISE
UP IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?
>> IT'S REALLY AN IRONIC TRIBUTE
TO McCARRICK'S POLITICAL
ABILITIES TO OPERATE WITHIN THE
HIERARCHY, AND ALSO
FUNDAMENTALLY HIS ABILITY TO
RAISE MONEY UNDER THE PAPACY OF
JOHN PAUL II IN THE 1990s AND
THE EARLY 2000s.
HE FOUNDED THE PAPAL FOUNDATION,
WHICH RAISED MILLIONS, TENS OF
MILLIONS FOR THE VATICAN.
HE WAS ABLE TO BRING FUNDS OVER
TO THE VATICAN.
MONEY TALKS OR TALKED OVER
THERE.
>> REALLY?
>> YEAH.
IT WASN'T ABOUT SEX, IT WASN'T
ABOUT SOME GAY KABAL COVERING UP
FOR EACH OTHER. IT WAS REALLY
ABOUT THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY AND
HE WAS ABLE TO STAY IN --
>> AND THEY WERE WILLING TO VEER
THEIR EYES FROM --
>> HE RAISED A LOT OF MONEY FOR
POLAND, WHICH NEEDED -- THE
POLISH CHURCH AT THE TIME.
HE HAD POWERFUL FRIENDS.
THERE WERE RUMORS ABOUT
McCARRICK, BUT THERE WAS
NOTHING -- NOBODY, YOU KNOW,
THERE WERE NO SETTLEMENTS AT THE
TIME, NO VICTIMS CAME FORWARD
PUBLICLY.
SO HIS FRIENDS COULD HAVE
PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY AND SAY WE
DON'T HAVE ANYTHING FIRM.
THEY CLOSED THEIR EYES TO IT
WHICH IS WHAT HAPPENED SO OFTEN.
SO HE WAS ABLE TO WORK THE
SYSTEM, GOT APPOINTED FROM
ARCHBISHOP OP OF NEWARK, NEW
JERSEY, WHERE WE KNEW HIM, DOWN
TO CARDINAL ARCHBISHOP OP OF
WASHINGTON, D.C. --
>> MOST POWERFUL POSITIONS IN
THE COUNTRY.
FORMER AMERICAN ANUNCIO, IN
AUGUST WROTE THIS LETTER SAYING
HE PERSONALLY INFORMED POPE
FRANCIS THAT BENNEDICT XVI HAD
SIDELINED McCARRICK BECAUSE OF
HIS ACTIVITIES, THE THINGS THAT
HE HAD BEEN DOING.
AND THEN VIGANO SAID,
NEVERTHELESS, POPE FRANCIS NOT
ONLY BROUGHT HIM BACK INTO THE
FOLD, BUT MADE HIM MORE
POWERFUL, ACCEPTING HIS
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CARDINALS IN
THE UNITED STATES.
NOW, A LOT OF THE POPE'S ALLIES
HAVE PERSONALLY ATTACKED VIGANO.
SO FAR, I HAVEN'T SEEN THEM
CONTRADICT HIS CLAIMS, AND IN
FACT, INDIRECTLY, THEY HAVE
CONFIRMED THEM.
SO IF IT'S TRUE, WHY DID THE
POPE DO THIS WITH McCARRICK?
AND IF IT'S NOT TRUE, WHY
DOESN'T THE POPE COME OUT AND
PROVE HE DID NOT DO THIS?
>> IT'S DIFFICULT.
I THINK THE POPE DOESN'T WANT TO
GET DOWN INTO THE MUD WITH A GUY
LIKE McCARRICK -- A GUY LIKE
VIGANO WHO HAS A PROBLEMATIC
PAST.
HE COVERED UP FOR BISHOPS IN THE
UNITED STATES.
HE'S A CONSERVATIVE CULTURE
WARRIOR.
THE POPE HAD TO FIRE HIM
EVENTUALLY.
HE SET UP THE CONTROVERSIAL
MEETING WITH KIM DAVIS.
>> ALL THAT ASIDE, THIS YOU HEAR
OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
BUT THE CLAIMS, THE CLAIMS ARE
NOT CONTRADICTED.
>> WELL, I THINK -- IT'S A
COMPLICATED THING.
I DON'T THINK THE POSSIBLE
REHABILITATED McCARRICK IN ANY
WAY.
>> ACTUALLY, AN ARTICLE YOU
WROTE IN 2014 IS OFTEN CITED TO
SHOW THAT HE DID, RIGHT?
>> McCARRICK, BECAUSE IT'S A
COMPLICATED THING.
McCARRICK, HE WAS RETIRED AT THE
TIME AND HE WAS KIND OF A GLOBAL
DIPLOMAT FOR THE SECRETARY OF
STATE IN WASHINGTON, FOR
CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES.
SO UNDER FRANCIS WHO WAS MUCH
MORE INTERESTED IN GLOBAL
DIPLOMACY, HE WOULD CHECK IN
WITH THE VATICAN AND THE VATICAN
WOULD SAY, SURE, GO TO CHINA,
HELP NEGOTIATE A HOSTAGE RELEASE
IN IRAN, THINGS LIKE THAT.
McCARRICK HAD A GREAT
INTERNATIONAL PROFILE.
SO HE DID HAVE A RENEWED KIND OF
VISIBILITY.
BUT HOW MUCH FRANCIS KNEW ABOUT
HIM AND ACTUALLY WHAT BENNEDICT
SAID, BENNEDICT'S OWN PEOPLE --
POPE BENNEDICT'S PEOPLE SAID WE
DIDN'T ISSUE ANY SANCTION.
>> THEY SIDELINED HIM.
>> BUT THE FACT THAT A GUY LIKE
McCARRICK COULD CONTINUE TO
OPERATE UNTIL -- AND AGAIN, THIS
IS KEY -- UNTIL THE ACCUSATION
THAT McCARRICK HAD ABUSED A
MINOR CAME OUT.
AND THEN POPE FRANCIS ACTED,
STRIPPED HIM OF HIS CARDINAL'S
HAT.
IT WAS ALL THE ALLEGATIONS ABOUT
HIS ACTIVITY, ABUSE -- ABUSE OF
SEMINARIANS THAT WENT
UNADDRESSED.
>> WE'RE OUT OF TIME.
LET ME GET TO THE SECOND SHOE TO
DROP ON McCARRICK, WAS THE
REPORT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA
ATTORNEY GENERAL WHICH WAS
DEVASTATING, YOU KNOW.
THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN WERE
ABUSED BY HUNDREDS OF PRIESTS
OVER DECADES, AND NOW MORE THAN
A DOZEN STATES ARE BEGINNING TO
OPEN INVESTIGATIONS AND THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN
WASHINGTON LOOKS LIKE IT'S GOING
TO OPEN A NATIONWIDE
INVESTIGATION.
IF ALL THIS HAPPENS, WHAT WILL
BE THE EFFECT?
>> THEY COULD BE, AGAIN,
DEVASTATING.
AT THIS POINT PEOPLE BELIEVE --
THE RESERVOIR OF CREDIBILITY FOR
THE BISHOPS IS SO LOW THAT
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BELIEVE THE
WORST, WHATEVER COMES OUT.
THE PENNSYLVANIA GRAND JURY
REPORT, THIS IS LIKE A PERFECT
STORM.
WE HAD THE McCARRICK EPISODE
WHICH WE SPOKE ABOUT.
YOU HAVE THE VIGANO LETTER THAT
RAISES INTRIGUE IN THE VATICAN
WHO KNEW WHAT WAY UP THE LADDER.
AND THE GRAND JURY REPORT
DETAILING STUFFER THAT HAPPENED
DECADES AGO, BUT FOR AMERICAN
CATHOLICS IT SEEMS LIKE THIS IS
A NIGHTMARE THAT NEVER I
UNDERSTAND.
SO, THIS IS PENNSYLVANIA.
WHAT IF YOU GET AN ATTORNEY
GENERAL IN MASSACHUSETTS AND NEW
JERSEY AND MICHIGAN AND NEW
YORK --
>> 13 STATES.
>> DOING THIS KIND OF THING
COMING OUT.
>> IT'S GOING TO BE A DRIP,
DRIP, DRIP KIND OF 1KSCANDAL.
THAT'S WHY POPE FRANCIS, HE
DIDN'T CREATE THE SCANDAL BUT
HE'S THE POPE AND HE'S THE ONLY
ONE THAT CAN FINALLY ADDRESS IT.
>> ALL RIGHT, DAVID, IT'S A BIG
TOPIC, A LOT OF STUFF WE DIDN'T
GET TO TOUCH.
WE'LL HAVE YOU BACK TO CONTINUE
THE CONVERSATION.
THANKS SO MUCH.
>> THANK YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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