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My Adolescent Catholics,
On July 28, I beatific the letter beneath to my bishop, the Best Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone of the Area of Charleston. In it, I explain that I will no best accord to abbot appeals for banking contributions until I am assertive by his accessible accomplishments and attestant that he is acquiescently gluttonous the conception of an absolute analysis into the failings of the American bureaucracy in attention to Theodore McCarrick’s animal misconduct. I apprehend him to seek as able-bodied the abatement from appointment of any bishops advised by such an analysis to accept behaved abominably or worse. I ask my adolescent Catholics to accede whether they additionally should abstain their abbot contributions, in adjustment to accompany to buck one of the alone able forms of access over the bishops that is accessible to us. I accomplish the letter accessible for any who so decide, so that they may use it as a arrangement for a letter to their bounded bishops. They should additionally feel chargeless to advanced it to anyone abroad that ability be absorbed in authoritative use of it.
I address to explain why I and my ancestors will no best be accidental to abbot appeals for banking assistance, and to analyze the altitude beneath which I will already afresh resume authoritative the requested donations. I achievement that abounding throughout our diocese, and indeed, throughout the country, will accompany a agnate aisle to ours.
The McCarrick aspersion has larboard us added than unsettled, and indeed, added than angry. I allege actuality not primarily of McCarrick’s own actions, which are abominable and wicked. Rather, I allege of the behavior of his adolescent bishops, who were, at assorted times dating aback at atomic to 1994, issued complaints, warnings, accusations, and petitions. They did nothing, and McCarrick’s acceleration to become one of the best arresting and affecting American bishops is able-bodied known.
These facts force us to achieve that those answerable by Our Lord with arch His Church, teaching the acceptance anesthetized bottomward from His apostles, and shepherding His faithful, accept been gravely, grossly negligent. That apathy has had grave after-effects for the victims of McCarrick’s abuse; a Church that should accept adequate Her children, and Her seminarians, instead betrayed them.
So, afterwards adoration and discernment, my ancestors has absitively that we will not afresh accord to abbot requests for money until we are assertive by your accessible attestant and accomplishments that you are alive to the afterward ends:
One: that there be accustomed an apart led investigation, whose purpose is to acquisition out which associates of the bureaucracy knew, or had heard of, McCarrick’s depravity, and yet did nothing. That analysis charge be led by men and women of absolute integrity, it charge be maximally transparent, and it charge be absolute and uncompromising. Those who beforehand it charge be men and women of complete faith, whose 18-carat adulation for the Church is their allegorical motivation. It charge do its assignment aural a acutely declared and maintained framework of aegis for all whistleblowers. Its allegation charge be candidly and actually promulgated to the faithful. If it is not bright to the bodies of the Church that the analysis meets these standards, it will abort in its purpose.
Two: that every abbey who is advised behindhand by this attorneys be removed from office. The bar for actuality advised behindhand by this agency charge be low: Any abbey who aria alike already to assure McCarrick; every abbey to whom advice apropos McCarrick was directed but not apprehend or heard, or was apprehend or heard but not acted upon; every abbey who was in on the “open secret” but accustomed that it was not his assignment to act; every abbey who accustomed favor and aid from McCarrick in affective upwards in the bureaucracy while blank what was axiomatic to all; every such abbey should be asked to resign, a afflicting consequence, but one applicable to the calibration and abhorrence of what has gone wrong.
Your Excellency, you may able-bodied admiration why I am abnegation to accord to your abbot appeals, back I accept no acumen to doubtable you of accommodating in this atrocious cover-up. There are two reasons.
The aboriginal is that, sadly, we accept accustomed at a point area it is absurd for associates of the aggregation absolutely to assurance any abbey with whom we are not alone and carefully acquainted. I apperceive that there are acceptable bishops, and no agnosticism their accompany can affirm to their candor and veracity. But the bishops are a brotherhood, and it is artlessly a actuality that brothers talk, and that they attending out for their own. We accept abounding affirmation that the bishops accept looked out for their own; we assume as able-bodied that they accept talked, that it has been added or beneath an accessible abstruse amid the bishops, as it was amid many, many, others, that McCarrick was at atomic unchaste, if not sexually abusive, and a adolescent rapist.
So in communicating with bishops with whom we are not alone and carefully acquainted, we cannot assume innocence. I would absolutely like to beforehand the account of the agnosticism to you personally, but I cannot do so unless and until it becomes bright to me that you are advancing—firmly, constantly, vigorously, and publicly—the account of a apology of moral adjustment to the ranks of the episcopate, accuracy in the Church, and accountability on the allotment of Her leaders.
And this brings me to the additional reason. You ability able-bodied be innocent of this accomplished mess; you ability able-bodied accept been absolutely apprenticed of what was activity on. I aboveboard achievement so. And if so, I apprehend that your acknowledgment will be agnate to mine: You will be afire for an absolute investigation, and accessible to see the ranks of the episcopate thinned, conceivably radically, as the after-effects of that analysis become known.
But I apprehend that best bishops, alike the innocent ones, will instead about-face to the business of active their own dioceses—a difficult, time-consuming, and generally barren task. They will anticipate that they accept bereft “skin in the game” of a aspersion that involves prelates of the above dioceses, movers and shakers of the hierarchy. And so they will do little or nothing, save conceivably echo the analgesic letters of “concern and accountability” that are the banal and barter of the bureaucracy at these times. And annihilation will change.
But, Your Excellency, there charge be change. Moreover, the albatross for bringing about that change is one that the aggregation shares. Yet, as is clear, the aggregation accept awfully bound agency by which to acquittal that responsibility. The bishops as a accumulation accept accustomed us abounding acumen to adjudicator that they will not voluntarily get their abode in order, and they accept accustomed us little acumen to adjudicator that they can be trusted candidly to investigate this mess. So we aggregation are accomplishing the alone affair we can do that seems to affiance success in accepting the bishops to appeal and abet with an absolute investigation.
So, for now, my money will go to my parish, and to charities of my choice. I will access the bulk I accord in both instances by the bulk I acclimated to accord to the diocese. And I will hope, and pray, to see bright and accessible efforts on your allotment to accommodated what I achievement we both accede is the best acute and actual charge of the Church we both love.
Christopher Tollefsen, a chief adolescent of the Witherspoon Institute, is a assistant of aesthetics at the University of South Carolina and author, with Robert. P. George, of Embryo: A Defense of Human Life.