5 March 2019

What went wrong when and why?

We hear no plans for any sort of investigation into the devilish disaster which, in the form of the clerical sex abuse of the vulnerable, has overtaken the Latin Church.

Rhetoric, yes; gallons of it. But no attempt to find out how we got here. No apparent interest in what went so wrong as to precipitate such a crisis.

It's as if the First Sea Lord ... er ... yes; we may have not nearly as many ships in our Navy as when our policy was to keep it at twice the size of its nearest rival, but we do still have lots of admirals and some beautifully Nelsonian titles ... it's as if the FSL had to admit that his ships were just mysteriously sinking all over the world like stones dropping down to the bottom of a village pond. And as if he refused to take any sort of interest in the reasons for this calamitous situation. Were the ships engineered efficiently? Who cares. Did systems synergy operate efficiently? Couldn't care less. Were Sea Trials comprehensively performed and adequately monitored? Time for a gin.

My recollection is that when my Father was a serving officer, if you so much as grazed your paintwork against a jetty, you were at risk of facing a court of enquiry.

Yet this is the problem in the Catholic Church. The idea of painstakingly trying to sort out the aetiology of the crisis is dismissed; or rather, is not even allowed to be mentioned. Top Brass is putting its trust in rhetoric.

Management's attitude is epitomised by a plausible narrative relating to the English Catholic Church. A girl made a complaint about Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor. The CDF was prepared to do its canonical duty and opened a case. But somebody told PF about it all, and he telephoned Mueller. His Eminence was actually in the course of offering the Most Holy Eucharist. But PF demanded that he be summoned to the telephone in the Sacristy to receive a peremptory instruction to take that case no further. Not long after, Mueller's tenure of his prefecture was not renewed.

Murphy O'Connor, of course, was a prominent S Gallen plotter who hurried to Rome as soon as Ratzinger's resignation happened to take a leading role in the plotting which preceded the Conclave.

If this narrative is true, it exemplifies exactly the sort of clericalism which needs to be rooted out at the very highest level in the Church.

If it is not true, it should by enquiry be shown to be false.

26 comments:

A Daughter of Mary said...

Dear Father, I notice you mentioned "gin" in two posts recently. Is this a remedy you use personally for getting through the trials? Are you advocating it as a good old fashioned way to 'cheer up?'

Whatever you are doing, keep it up. You post interesting things, sometimes amusing things, but always with knowledge to share and insights to offer. Thanks

Adam 12 said...

An obvious solution would be for dioceses and institutions to have a lay board commissioned to monitor such matters. Not doing this would almost seem to make the hierarchy prone to be viewed as a sort of mafia with a code of silence. Not good in a world where everyone in the clergy is viewed with the tinge of suspicion.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I made a request for a penal action in accordance with Canon 1417 to Pope Benedict XVI about Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor's failure to do anything to prevent referrals for abortion at the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth. Having taken advice from a Canon lawyer and making sure the complaint was in the correct format (proofed against easy shredding on the advice of someone in the CDF) I delivered it to the Vatican in 2007. I never had any acknowledgement but merely heard over the grapevine that some cleric in the UK thought it was 'scurrilous'. So much for the legal system in the Vatican! I wonder though whether it was that that the CDF was investigating rather than a complaint about sexual abuse. After all our request was supported by documentary evidence rather than verbal evidence of something that had happened a long time ago.

vetusta ecclesia said...


The CMOC story has done the rounds. The most shocking part of it is the mentality of a Pope who would interrupt a Mass to do politics.

SilverDog said...

..."Are you advocating it as a good old fashioned way to 'cheer up?"... Ah, yes gin, and mine is with vermouth, shaken not stirred.

Shrove Tuesday it is and one final libation until after the greatest day in history.

Cheers, Father Hunwicke

dk pintar said...

You speak the truth so clearly. This is something we need from the Pope on down the levels of "leadership"

E sapelion said...

If the helmsman misunderstands an order and your ship runs aground, as captain you take the blame. Even when you are asleep in your cabin, you have full responsibility, though not of course sole responsibility. Catholic Canon Law operates on the same principle.

Orlando B said...

The Catholic Church.

Why on earth did you come into the Catholic Church? All you have written recently is write to destroy ,criticise and spread scurrilous stories of the Pope and Hierarchy.
As you have been married all your adult life and have a wife and family, I do not see how you can write about the problems of celibate priests, you have always had sexual intercourse available and you have the great comfort of family life.
When you write on the scriptures and the Fathers you are excellent
You really should go back to the Anglican Church. You show no loyalty to the Church and its Bishops

Caseybogs@gmail.com said...

I’m retired now but I worked at a nuclear power plant in the United States. As in any industry, the severity of something that went wrong was on a spectrum from low to high. Events that ranked “high” had a root cause analysis done so that the problem would not be repeated, an extent of condition determined and others in the industry could learn from the mistakes made.
Shame on Pope Francis, Cardinal Cupich, et. al.

Daniel Muller said...

Thank you for your loyalty to the Church, Father. We need you.

Aqua said...

A fantastic analogy, (Jesus spoke mainly in “parables”)

Don’t talk about all the ships sinking, crashing, foundering .... but did everyone have life preservers? The Navy is sunk. New ships are going down. Captains and Sea Lords keep sinking their ships ....... So ....... Let’s make sure we have state of the art life preservers. The main point is keeping our sailors alive, floating in the sea since we know they will all go overboard anyway.

You nailed it, with this analogy/parable

Michael Ortiz said...

Be Kent unmannerly when Lear is mad. There. And I think FH hasn’t been at all nasty. Loyalty isn’t agreeing, no matter what.

Paul Jaminet said...

Orlando B - He doesn't show loyalty to Satan either, and God bless him for it! Don't tell me that pedophilia, sexual abuse, lying, financial corruption, and other sins we've seen so often are "problems of celibate priests." Whether celibacy is right or wrong, dealing with sin in a virtuous way is supposed to be a specialty of the Catholic Church, having been favored with instructions on how to do it from the Lord Almighty. The fact that the Church and its Bishops refuse to follow Christ's instructions (Matthew 18:15-17) is, and I use this word advisedly, damning.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Orlando. QUI TACET CONSENTIRE VIDETUR

In the Lil' Licit Liturgy we recently heard the Gospel in which Jesus teaches about motes and beams. Maybe it is you who are part of the problem and not Father?

ABS supposes the good father came into the Catholic Church because it has the fullness of truth but you ask him to leave it.

Why do you desire he abandon the truth?

The Church you presumably love and are loyal to has always had protestants asking its clergy how they can teach about such things as contraception and adultery and shacking up when its clergy is celibate.

If we could only teach about that which we have experienced, most would be unable to condemn bestiality and cannibalism , but, one must concede that the habit of voting in national elections blinds us to how that is an evil.

Father is a man of courage and conviction. We require more men like him.

E sapelion said...

Nicolas Bellord may not have succeeded with his attempt to indict Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, but probably not coincidentally the Cardinal did issue instructions to the hospital, causing some resignations from the hospital board. The new code "bars doctors from offering any service which conflicts with Catholic teaching" including "sex-change operations, providing contraception, abortion referrals and IVF treatment" That strikes me as a greater success.

IanW said...

Dear Orlando B,

If criticism of a Pope were un-Catholic, then the behaviour of St Paul, St. Catherine of Siena and others whose lives are an example to us were un-Catholic too. Indeed, Pope Francis himself advised the Italian Bishops that "it is not a sin to criticise the Pope".

When we consider that Popes have historically not been free of doctrinal and moral fault, then I than God for the example of such saints and the advice of the present Holy Father.

Michael Sullivan said...

If one is not allowed to be Catholic while recognizing the truth about the current situation, then we should all leave the Church. The situation is very bad and has been bad for a very long time. It did not get this way all by itself or by accident, but as a result of certain people pushing a certain agenda and getting their way for all too long. And we're supposed to - what? Pray, pay, and obey? Shut up and look the other way?

"You show no loyalty to the Church and its Bishops"

I entered the Church, twenty years ago, but I did not convert to the bishops. I converted to the Catholic faith, only to find to my dismay that the bishops seemed to have little interest in the faith and the tradition of the Church that preserved it. I will be loyal to any bishop who is loyal to the faith, rather than to political causes, ease, or power. Those who are not can go to jail for their crimes.

Gizmo in Paradise said...

To “Orlando B”: My goodness, what a silly post. In the parlance of today’s youth, “ultramontanist much?”

Arthur L. Gallagher said...

Orlando, I think that you are the one who needs a stiff Gin.

The very idea that a pope would interrupt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is perfectly scandalous- you might even say that it was a second Crucifixion of our Blessed Lord, by a wrathful tyrant suspiciously lacking in benignity.

The thing is, Cher Orlando, that there is but One True Church, and father has had the good sense to come aboard. Your nasty suggestion that he should now debark because he is willing to tell the truth about sodomite, heterodox, pro-abortion clergy, is illogical and mean spirited, to say the least.

Now I need a gin. Perhaps some of Msgr. Gilbey's, pink a la Royal Navy, perhaps?

Nicolas Bellord said...

E Sapelion: I do not know where you get your information from but the story is somewhat different:

The members of the Board of the Hospital including the Chairman who were allowing practices contrary to Catholic doctrine such as abortion etc were found by the Charity Commission (a very secular body) to have misled everyone on what was happening. They resigned and the Board was then left with those members who supported Catholic teaching including Jacob Rees-Mogg. To their utter astonishment and everyone else's Cormac required them to resign. Instead he put in his own men who promptly eviscerated the Code of Ethics. Cormac gave this new Code which had nothing about abortion etc in it his blessing. The CDF eventually managed to get Cardinal Nichols to put back a prohibition on referrals for abortion.

Nicolas Bellord said...

E Sapelion: I have tracked down where you got your information from: wikipedia which reads:

"The hospital came to media attention in late 2007 when two board members resigned in protest after a new code of ethics, issued by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, was accepted by the board. The new code "bars doctors from offering any service which conflicts with Catholic teaching" including "sex-change operations, providing contraception, abortion referrals and IVF treatment.".[8] Later in 2008, the Cardinal ordered the resignation of the remaining board members and installed Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank as chairman. It was reported that Jacob Rees-Mogg resigned but Aida Hersham did not. [9]"

The problem with that account is that the code mentioned, was written after an enquiry at the behest of the then Cardinal Ratzinger at the CDF. The Charity Commission ruled that certain members of the Board had misled them and others and this caused their resignation. The Board was then left with those members who supported Catholic doctrine and Cormac then demanded they resign. Cormac appointed Lord Guthrie as Chairman and Sir Mark Allen in charge of the ethics committee; that led to the code being eviscerated with Cormac's blessing. I suggest you have a look at the wikipedia entry on Sir Mark Allen to judge his suitability to be in charge of an ethics committee.

Bernard Brandt said...

Considering all of the maritime references in this most recent offering, Fr. H., I am reminded of one of the letters of Lord Chesterfield to his son, in which he remarked that it seemed that everything in the then British Empire was out to sea, save for the Navy.

One hopes that, even though our Church is a ship, and our Church on Earth is a Church Militant, that the same does not hold for Sancta Mater Ecclesia. Cheers!

E sapelion said...

Nicolas Bellord: Thanks, I see what you mean about Sir Mark Allen - "Legatus est vir bonus peregre missus ad mentiendum rei publicae causa", and that's not the covert part of the FO.
Searching the hospital website for 'ethics' reveals nothing informative.

Orlando B said...

I am a Lancashire Catholic whose family kept the faith throughout Penal Times.
The one thing my father taught me was "Always stay with the Pope, it is what kept us true to the faith through the Persecutions." I am now 76 and have been a Religious for 59 years and a priest for 52 years.
Obedience has been the key to my life as to Christ "I came not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me". Every secular priest takes a promise of Obedience to his superiors.
Fr Hunwicke seems to believe,erroneously, that his Anglican Orders were valid as those of so many "Bishops" and "Priests" he quotes. Anglican Orders are "null and absolutely void." He is now a Catholic priest with the duties that involves.
The Catholic Church is a Hierarchy not democratic republic. Deference, especially for a Priest who has made a promise of Obedience is due to the Holy Father. I may not agree with all he says but he is the Pope and Vicar of Christ on Earth.

Victor said...

I don't give a rat's a** what Fr Hunwicke believes to have been before he entered the Catholic Church. I know that he is now a Catholic Priest. Nothing else matters!
The Pope is always the Pope, but a Bad Pope is a Bad Pope. Let's call a spade a spade! And if it was ok for St Paul and St Catherine to criticize the Pope, it is ok for Fr Hunwicke (and even Fr Orlando) too...

Mark said...

"Loyalty to the church" most certainly includes opposition to and exposure of the predations of PF, Uncle Ted, Cupich, etc. etc.

Some people would kiss Satan's ass if PF told them to.

Fr. Hunwicke is not one of them, thanks be to God.