FaceBook 48x48   Twitter 48x48   Feed 48x48

Announcing

Catholic Action -

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

SHELTERING PREDATORS? (SSPX Silences Church Militant’s Dog Whistle)

Written by 
Rate this item
(44 votes)

In an apparent case of weaponizing the clerical sex abuse scandal, Church Militant posted an article yesterday suggesting that the "renegade" Society of Saint Pius X is well on its way to becoming a safe haven for clerical sexual predators fleeing the long arm of the Novus Ordo.  

As the following response makes abundantly clear, the SSPX does not need us to defend them against this scurrilous charge -- a charge which, by the way, plays nicely into the hands of Christophobic outfits such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) which has long been on a witch hunt against all traditionalists, including the SSPX.

If the largest fraternity of traditionalist priests in the world can be successfully smeared by CM as a hotbed of sexual predators, well obviously the SPLC’s job is done here. 

By the way, as Editor of The Remnant I regret to say that the author of the Church Militant hit piece, James Baresel, has occasionally appeared in these pages as a guest columnist. It goes without saying that unless and until Mr. Baresel publicly apologizes for this broad-brush calumny leveled against the SSPX, his byline will never again appear in The Remnant. MJM 

_____________

Press Release Concerning Church Militant Article Regarding the SSPX

Released by the SSPX US District Headquarters on July 24, 2019

On July 23, 2019, Church Militant published an article entitled "Is the SSPX Sheltering a Sexual Predator?" by James Baresel. This misleading and slanderous report deserves clarification. Both charity and justice should be hallmarks of any Catholic.

History

The main accusation centers around Fr. James McLucas, a diocesan priest who occasionally helps the Society of Saint Pius X. While not a member of the SSPX, Fr. McLucas was named in the August 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report. Even though the information in the report was inaccurate, it has not stopped secular and Catholic outfits from labeling him a "sexual predator." (For more on the broader question, please see: https://catholicherald.co.uk/magazine/the-trouble-with-lists-of-credibly-accused-priests/) As no civil or canonical proceedings have ever found Fr. McLucas guilty, nor has he ever been charged with any crime, these accusations are profoundly defamatory.

Fr. McLucas’ lawyer issued the following statement in 2018 when the recent accusations were first made:

While Father McLucas was not charged with any crime, the shocking and horrible accusations in the report - without published evidence, without trial, and without due process of law - will nevertheless blacken his reputation and destroy him in his profession.

Context

Less than two weeks ago, Church Militant, quoting Pope Francis, used similar terms to defend Father Perrone against the Archdiocese of Detroit:

The right to defense: the principle of natural and canon law of presumption of innocence must also be safeguarded until the guilt of the accused is proven. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent the lists of the accused being published, even by the dioceses, before the preliminary investigation and the definitive condemnation. (https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/msgr-bugarins-ignorance-damaged-fr-perrones-reputation)

The Role of Church Militant

In both situations, Church Militant assumes the place of a judge that only civil or religious authorities are entitled to.

Furthermore, Church Militant displays a double standard. Fr. Perrone and Fr. McLucas are both accused. Church Militant defends the one and attacks the other. They play the advocate for Fr. Perrone and the prosecutor for Fr. McLucas. The same principles they enunciate and hold sacred to defend Fr. Perrone, they trample on when it comes to Fr. McLucas.

SSPX Response?

Speaking of Church Militant’s methodology, we must draw attention to this sentence: "SSPX priest Nicholas Stamos informed me by phone on July 18 that McLucas is still participating in the organization's work."

Fr. Nicholas Stamos wishes to make clear: he has never heard of, nor spoken to, the author of this article. He had one call from earlier in the summer, who apparently falsely said he was an old friend of Fr. McLucas, and that he wished to get in contact. Fr. Stamos directed him to a priory that Fr. McLucas sometimes visits. Neither Fr. Stamos nor anyone at the latter priory ever heard from Church Militant. Is this Catholic journalism?

Protection of All

The Society of Saint Pius X is committed to protecting all minors and vulnerable adults and to cooperate fully with civil and ecclesiastical authorities. In addition, we committed to both helping victims as well as those that are accused. We do not unduly assume the role of judge and leave any investigation to the proper authorities.

From our internal policy on these matters:

Our commitment includes the protection of children (i.e. minors), and vulnerable adults from harm, and the protection of workers from false allegations...We provide individual care and counsel both for the abuse victim and his/her family...The accused is to be treated with dignity and respect. Clergy will seek opportunity to provide individual care and counsel both for the accused and his/her family until the investigation is completed.

Why the SSPX Exists

We stress that the Society of St. Pius X was founded by Archbishop Lefebvre to form and help Catholic priests. As our Statutes state, the central charism of the SSPX is the Catholic priesthood:

[The Society’s activities] include all the works necessary for the formation of priests and whatever pertains thereto, whether the candidates be destined to be members of the Society or not…
 

 The second purpose of the Society is to assist priests in their sanctification by providing them with opportunities for retreats and recollections. The Society’s houses could be headquarters for priestly associations, for third orders, for periodicals and magazines dedicated to the sanctification of priests…

The Society will willingly come to the assistance of aged, infirm, and even unfaithful priests.

Faithful to her mission, rather than condemning and casting the first stone, the Society comes to the help of priests to restore their priesthood and sanctify themselves.

Conclusion

To Church Militant: we ask you retract this scandalous article. It is easy to contact us. If you are more concerned with the truth than clicks, you can still make reparation. We simply ask that you apply the same principles to your article about Fr. McLucas that you do to your articles about Fr. Perrone. In the meantime, for your readers--whatever they think of the SSPX--we hope this clarification shows which side maintains journalistic integrity, and more importantly, Catholic charity and justice.

US District Headquarters - July 24, 2019

[Comment Guidelines - Click to view]
Last modified on Thursday, July 25, 2019
Michael J. Matt | Editor

Michael J. Matt has been an editor of The Remnant since 1990. Since 1994, he has been the newspaper's editor. A graduate of Christendom College, Michael Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Church and the modern world. He is the host of The Remnant Underground and Remnant TV's The Remnant Forum. He's been U.S. Coordinator for Notre Dame de Chrétienté in Paris--the organization responsible for the Pentecost Pilgrimage to Chartres, France--since 2000.  Mr. Matt has led the U.S. contingent on the Pilgrimage to Chartres for the last 24 years. He is a lecturer for the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. He is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and regularly delivers addresses and conferences to Catholic groups about the Mass, home-schooling, and the culture question. Together with his wife, Carol Lynn and their seven children, Mr. Matt currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.