Such a conspiratorial mindset is not unjustified, for it is apparent that there is more to the story than simply another round of liberal prelates being exposed as enablers to vicious sex offenders (although that reading of the story certainly is true). The conspiracy recently reached a new level of interesting in The American Spectator’s George Neumayr’s revelation that Cardinal Wuerl has recruited Barrack Obama’s former head of Secret Service to run cover for the Washington, DC cardinal who is now deluged with scandal.
As Neumayr’s brilliant gumshoe work has revealed, the presence of Obama’s former SS chief, Mark Sullivan, in Wuerl’s entourage seems to point to a deeper collusion between the Democratic Party and the liberal wing of the Catholic Church—something The Remnant suggested last year.
While such a weird alliance is very likely, the alliance between Democrats and liberal Catholic prelates poses an unsettling question: is it possible that there are those who masquerade as conservatives both in and outside the Church who are trying to take advantage of the McCarrick-Wuerl scandal to push a political agenda?
Is this moment of political and ecclesiastical crisis in America a window of opportunity for a certain group of people who have been holed in “the resistance” during in the Trump Era, biding their time and waiting for an opportunity to rear their ugly neoconservative heads?
Yes, dear reader, there is just such a possibility.
Yet, before we explore this avenue, let us start with some preliminary principles:
1. As has long been known, Wuerl, McCarrick, Cupich, and the whole stinking lot of the Francis Church is rotten to the core and are (hopefully) about ready to face the majesty of God’s justice.
2. Those journalists who are sincerely exposing the degeneracy and rot in the Church are heroes and deserve our prayers and support.
However, just because Francis-Church is rotten, it does not mean that all of the enemies of Francis-Church are good.
Furthermore, not every journalist who is reporting on the Francis-Church scandal is doing so from noble intentions.
To uncover those who are taking advantage of the scandal in the Church, we must turn back the clock to the 2002 Boston scandals in which the wicked deeds of priests were published coast to coast on the TV and computer screens of the people of America for the first time.
The standard narrative of the 2002 Boston Spotlight Scandal is that a group of investigative sleuths at the Boston Globe tracked down the dark secrets of the Boston Archdiocese, exposing a how a fundamentally insular and reactionary institution had been protecting pedophiles.
The only way to repair the Catholic Church, this narrative suggested, would be to reform the Church’s oppressive medieval structure and to liberalize her rigid teachings. A new, hip, and liberated Church, this narrative went, would not allow for the sexual abuse of children.
This narrative is wrong on many levels, but perhaps the most critical point at which it is wrong is the idea that the Globe had discovered a hidden abuse crisis.
The truth is that the crimes in Boston had been known for decades.
Fr. Paul Shanley, one of the most notorious, frequently mentioned names in the 2002 Spotlight Scandal, flaunted his homosexuality and pederasty for decades and had even attended a meeting of the North American Man Boy Love Association, which was reported in a 1979 article in GaysWeek titled, “Men and Boys.”
While many have rightfully asked if the Boston Archdiocese knew of this 1979 meeting, an equally important question is: did anyone else in the media or in the social world of Boston know about this meeting?
Shanley was not the only priest with a record of abuse who publicly flaunted his degeneracy—to this very day, Catholic priests march in Gay Pride Parades, and gay priest scandals continue to plague the Church, but for some reason only some of these scandals are selectively aired in the media.
It is almost as if these scandals are saved in a sort of grotesque reservoir of perversity only to be released in the national media at an opportune time.
If many in the media knew about Shanley and the other most infamous Boston offender, Fr. John J. Geoghan, why did the Boston Globe pick up the story in July of 2001 and then begin the big takedown of Cardinal Law and the Boston Archdiocese when the September 11, 2001 attacks faded from the news cycle?
Examining the stories from the era, we can see that the tone of the coverage is not a crusade against child abuse, but an attack on the institution of the Catholic Church. The Globe’s commentary and the wider media narrative pitted the American media in a David versus Goliath struggle against Catholicism. As a typical example, PBS ran a special report on the Globe’s coverage titled, “Challenging the Church.” As was suggested by the PBS special as well as other media reports, Boston, Massachusetts was one of the strongest hubs of Catholicism in America, and the Globe’s spotlighting of the abuse crisis had the effect of cracking one of the last coherent ethnic Catholic communities in America.
What the efforts of busing in the 1960s and 1970s and other attempts to break up the ethnic Catholic communities in American cities had failed to do, the Globe was now accomplishing by revealing to Irish-American Catholics that the Church that had supported them for so long had become a morally toxic environment from which all Catholics should flee.
There is little doubt that the Boston Archdiocese as well as the Church in America was and still is infested with dangerous perverts, but the point here is that the media did not see its job as helping to expose and rid the Church of degenerates, but rather to attack the Catholic Church as an unreformed, pre-modern institution.
The horrific stories of abuse were simply cannon-fodder to attack the Church.
To explore this matter further and uncover why the media had saved up this cache of abuse stories, we must turn to the figure at the center of both the Spotlight Scandal as well as the current Wuerl-McCarrick crisis: Rod Dreher.
During the “long Lent” of the Spotlight scandal, which coincided with the ignition of the War on Terror, now in its seventeenth year, before he took up the cause of exposing clerical abuse, Rod Dreher made a living selling Catholics on the Iraq War in the pages of National Review.
In fact, Dreher even appeared on CNN’s Crossfire on March 5, 2003, just fifteen days before Operation Shock and Awe, to tell American Catholics that he was standing with President George W. Bush instead of Pope John Paul II, who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, stating:
“For all of the great things this pope has done compared to our president, he's still wrong on this. And this is one Catholic who supports our evangelical president.
I think the president is right on this war, the pope is wrong. And I say that with respect for the Holy Father. But we Catholics are allowed to dissent on this matter, on a matter of prudential judgment about the war. And I think the Holy Father simply doesn't see things in the right way and our president does.”
Moreover, Dreher even takes a shot at John Paul II’s administration of the abuse crisis as evidence that the Holy Father lacks the competence to assess Saddam’s alleged threat to the United States:
“The Holy Father would like a dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. That's the way he's run this church and it hasn't worked. It hasn't worked in the ways governing the church and it doesn't work in the real world.”
Let’s be clear here: Rod Dreher is not wrong for criticizing John Paul II’s soft approach to handling the abuse crisis as well the Pontiff’s seemingly weak administration of Church. Certainly, much stronger words could and should have been used to criticize the pontiff—but in a different context.
Rather, the problem here is that it appears as though we have a reporter whose job at the National Review was to sell Catholics on what was an ultimately futile war that only increased the presence of terrorists in the Middle East and violated the Catholic Church’s just war teaching. This same reporter picks up the trail of clerical abuse and uses it as a mallet to hammer John Paul II for opposing a clearly unjust war that has destroyed the country of Iraq and has affected incredible suffering on untold millions of Catholics in the Middle East.
Indeed, as Tom Piatak of Chronicles has reminded us, during the heady days of the Iraq War, Dreher even expressed his glee that a reader of National Review informed him that “there is going to be hell to pay for the Chaldean Catholics” when Iraq falls due to the Chaldeans’ alleged cooperation with Saddam.
Is it then possible that the reason why the disgusting and wicked deeds of abuser priests were kept secret and then launched into the public—on the eve of the Iraq War by neoconservatives like Rod Dreher and their allies and benefactors—was because it would destroy the moral credibility of the Church?
Or was it merely a coincidence that all of the abuse was outed in the early 21st century as America was forced into a Middle Eastern war that did not benefit American interests?
If the former question is to be answered, “yes,” then there would be a similar narrative for the storing up of and then airing of Wuerl, McCarrick, and even Pope Francis’s foul misdeeds at precisely the right moment.
Cardinals McCarrick, Dolan, Wuerl... Still laughing, Excellencies?
If so, then what is it, other than their degenerate criminal acts, which these liberal prelates did in order to draw the wrath of the neoconservatives?
Stay tuned for Part II of “A Wilderness of Mirrors: The Political Scandal behind the Clerical Scandal”: “Cardinal McCarrick’s War.”