Special Report: Devil in Rome premieres Monday, Aug. 22 at 8 PM ET
A brief programming note for you before we get into today's material.
Given the speed at which all this news is coming out, Church Militant is rearranging our usual times for programming to so we can bring you the most up to date news available.
Beginning today, The Download will now be live at 1:00 p.m. ET each weekday instead of the usual 10:30 a.m. and will then be posted to the site around 3:30 p.m. for delayed viewing.
This provides more time for the most current news of the day to be included, making The Download as up-to-date as possible.
Headlines with Christine Niles, of course, will lead off the show, immediately followed by our panel discussion on The Download.
This turmoil over the homosexual predator clergy cover-up, stretching all the way to Pope Francis, is now being talked about in terms of a civil war in the Church.
Last week, Australian Abp. Mark Coleridge referenced it on his Twitter page, saying he is discouraged by all this tone: "I thought I was beyond being shocked but talk of 'civil war' in the Church I find truly shocking, especially in the US where such typology is fraught with fratricidal violence."
Interesting that Coleridge, a leading homoheretic bishop, would describe himself as being "shocked" because he himself made multiple shocking statements at the 2015 Synod on the Family in Rome, actually hair-splitting over different types of adultery, saying the Catechism needed to be reworded on homosexuality and that the use of contraception was pretty much a personal choice. Here he is at the 2015 Synod complaining about judgmental language.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge: "But at the same time, not every case is the same. And that's where a pastoral approach needs to take account of the differences in situations. For instance, just to say that every second marriage or second union, whatever you want to call it, is adulterous, is perhaps too sweeping."
Coleridge's comments followed a New York Times op-ed penned by First Things Magazine editor Matthew Schmitz titled "Catholic Civil War," where Schmitz openly discusses the full-on split which is finally coming into focus in the Church.
The flashpoint for all this is the explosive testimony of Pope Francis' former Ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, where he calls for Pope Francis and others to resign since they knew about and covered up the depravities of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Viganò accuses the Pope of reversing sanctions imposed by Benedict and even elevating McCarrick to the status of trusted advisor.
So battle lines are being drawn now over the testimony itself and whether it is credible enough to warrant a full-blown investigation.
Various prelates and their allies are choosing up sides, with some trying to discount it and discredit Viganò while others are going on the record vouching for him and voicing their full-throated support for such an investigation.
In response to all this, Church Militant conducted its own online poll last week and asked two questions related to all this. Here are our admittedly unscientific, yet decidedly lopsided, findings in the first 24 hours:
First Question: Do you believe the charges in Viganò's testimony are credible?
Six thousand people answered with 99 percent saying yes and just one percent saying no.
Question two: Do you favor a Church-wide investigation based on Viganò's allegations?
Again 6,000 responded; a whopping 98 percent answering yes, only two percent saying no.
The findings are echoed by Springfield Illinois Bp. Thomas Paprocki who told NBC Chicago a week ago that the allegations can't be just dismissed — not even by the Vatican.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki: "Even at the level of the Pope, if there are issues of sexual abuse, he can't say, and others defending him can't say, 'He's got more important things to do.'"
Paprocki insists that, given Viganò's deep knowledge and experience, his charges need a full airing.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki: "I don't know why he'd be saying these things unless he believed they were true. He was in a position, certainly, to know a lot of the things he was talking about."
All of this, recall, revolves around earth-shattering revelations from this past June that former Prince of the Church, Cdl. Theodore McCarrick, had been a serial rapist of seminarians for decades and in at least one case — even minors — and multiple Church leaders knew all about it.
Bishop Steve Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, a community for former Anglican clergy and laypeople within the Catholic Church had this revealing recent comment about who knew what.
Bishop Steve Lopes: "I'll tell you what response I think is not good enough. It's the parade of cardinals and bishops who have rushed to the television cameras, clutching their pectoral crosses saying, 'I knew nothing.' I don't believe it, and I am one of them. I don't believe it. Because, as one of the youngest bishops in the conference, you do get an interesting perspective, like for the fact that I was a seminarian when Archbishop McCarrick was named archbishop of Newark, and he would visit the seminary often — and we all knew."
So what is now developing very quickly are two distinct camps around Viganò's statement.
Those who want to bury it and Viganò along with it. And those calling for a full investigation of the explosive charges. Those publicly announcing their support in favor of a full-blown investigation include:
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, speaking as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, officially asking the Pope to begin the investigation.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, former chief canonist for the Church.
Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone.
Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois — as stated earlier.
Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison Wisconsin who issued a blistering statement on all this evil.
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, who was among the first to respond.
Phoenix, Arizona Bishop Thomas Olmsted who said Viganò is trustworthy.
And Tulsa Oklahoma Bishop David Konderla.
And more bishops and archbishops are adding their voices to the call for a full investigation.
Additionally, as battle lines in the Church's civil war are drawn much more clearly and various groups are choosing up sides, many faithful Catholic media outlets and non-media apostolates are also on board calling for full transparency and accountability.
Obviously, Church Militant is in this group, along with the Lepanto Institute, Regina Magazine, LifeSiteNews and so forth.
On the opposite side are those who want to kill any investigation before it even gets started, fearful that further exposure would completely derail their heterodox agenda of bringing revolution to the Church.
And just as on the faithful Catholic side. There are on the non-faithful side — clergy and non-clergy, media and non-media groups.
Among the clergy wanting this to scandal to be covered up and forgotten is almost the entire senior leadership of the Church in America, who, perhaps given their high rank, have the most to lose or cover up; men like:
Chicago's Cardinal Blase Cupich, implicated in Viganò's testimony, was among the first to dismiss the charges against the Pope, doubling down in an NBC News interview saying the Pope had more important things to do than worry about predatory clergy raping seminarians and children and covering up for one another.
After being roundly mocked for his comments, with some even calling for his immediate resignation for placing talking environmentalism above investigating sex abuse, Cupich has since complained that his interview was dishonestly edited.
Church Militant reached out to NBC Chicago who issued an official statement in response, saying, "We believe our story to be accurate in that Cardinal Cupich was referring to the memo about sexual abuse allegations in question."
Newark, New Jersey Cardinal Joseph Tobin, implicated in Viganò's testimony as a member of the homosexual network, is another American cardinal not wanting any investigation to commence, owing largely to him being outed personally by Viganò.
Tobin appears to have an on-going serious problem with transparency — especially regarding him — coming under fire recently for telling his priests not to talk to the media.
His orders came after six of his priests went to Catholic media complaining of a rampant homosexual subculture in the seminary and archdiocese, unsurprising since it was the former archdiocese of Theodore McCarrick.
Tobin said he knew nothing about any such homosexual clerical culture, which is surprising, again, because it was previously Theodore McCarrick's archdiocese.
Yet to voice support for an investigation, keeping quiet and staying out of the range of fire for now, are Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley — close papal confidante — who is currently dealing with the headache of an investigation into predatory homosexuality inside his own archdiocese's seminary.
The New York archdiocese was the center of the storm initially when it was that archdiocesan review board which made the announcement of credible charges against McCarrick.
Dolan's chancery is crawling with homosexual and homosexualist clergy, many put in place by another American Cardinal, Edwin O'Brien, whom Viganò also exposed in his statement as being part of the homosexual network in Rome and the United State.
O'Brien groomed and promoted current known homosexual leaders in New York while he was rector of St. Joseph's Seminary in the 1980s and protected them every step of the way, including disgraced priest Fr. Peter Miqueli, who has disappeared after being outed with a gay for pay prostitute who was also O'Brien's chauffeur when O'Brien visited Maqueli in New York.
But the cone of silence and ongoing resistance to transparency doesn't stop with cardinals.
San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy has perhaps the harshest words about Viganò's testimony, saying, "In its hatred for Pope Francis and all that he has taught, Archbishop Viganò consistently subordinates the pursuit of comprehensive truth to partisanship, division and distortion."
McElroy has been at the forefront of pushing the gay agenda in the Church, writing off faithful Catholics as a cancer in the Church and holding a diocesan synod in 2016 where he said sometimes our conscience leads us to do the opposite of what the Church teaches.
San Diego Catholics are planning a protest of their bishop, who knew about McCarrick's sexual crimes since at least 2016, when renowned sex abuse expert Richard Sipe sent him a letter graphically detailing his misconduct, which McElroy chose to ignore.
In the diocese of Metuchen, another diocese where McCarrick was in charge and secret payouts were made to cover his homosexual assaults, Bp. Paul Bootkoski, who signed the checks covering up for McCarrick, is also rejecting Viganò's testimony, claiming he did nothing wrong and followed all the right protocols when making the secret settlement with seminarian victims of McCarrick's depravity.
Viganò said Bootkoski "covered up the abuses committed by McCarrick in their respective dioceses and compensated two of his victims. They cannot deny it and they must be interrogated in order to reveal every circumstance and all responsibility regarding this matter."
And of course, the on-going case of Cdl. Donald Wuerl.
The anti-investigation, anti-transparency crowd has circled the wagons around Wuerl, realizing if he falls, it will be a mighty splash.
Wuerl is deeply associated with McCarrick in many different projects and agendas, even assuming his Washington, D.C. archdiocese when the perverted cardinal stepped down in 2006.
Intrepid bulldog reporter George Neumayr, a regular Church Militant associate, tracked down the D.C. house where McCarrick is hiding out and had an on-camera confrontation with D.C. archdiocese Communication Director Ed McFadden:
George Neumayr: "Can we, can we, can we interview Theodore McCarrick? ... He's at the center of this story. We demand — we need answers from Theodore McCarrick. We want to know from Theodore McCarrick if Cdl. Wuerl knew about his misconduct. We deserve answers, the abuse victims deserve answers, Ed. The abuse victims deserve answers. Ed, you need to be honest, OK? Be honest. Don't give me corporate speak, be honest, be honest, OK? Is Teddy McCarrick in that house? ... You're lying."
Many of these high-profile American chuchmen are staunch allies of Pope Francis' theological agenda — Cupich even calling it a revolution.
Yet the resistance to transparency and full accountability doesn't end with the Pope's American cardinals and bishops.
Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, nicknamed the Vice Pope for his level of influence over Pope Francis, just recently slammed multiple calls for the Pope's resignation as a sin against the Holy Spirit — an unforgivable sin.
This is the same cardinal who protected right-hand man and longtime friend, Bp. Juan Pineda, for decades, who was forced to step down just two months ago after many seminarians accused him of sexually assaulting them — something Pope Francis has still not done anything about.
In the battle to win the PR campaign in the civil war, the anti-transparency team has multiple weapons.
In addition to their high offices, they also have various communications organs to keep spreading their disinformation and attacks against Viganò.
They were the very first to come out and provide a platform to Donald Wuerl to defend his cover-ups in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
In addition to the actual propaganda outlets we just highlighted, there are the people behind those outlets as well as other groups who are now losing whatever credibility they once possessed.
Father Martin was, of course, called out by Viganò as the poster boy for the deviant wing of the Jesuits, the priest propped up by pro-gay prelates like Cupich, Tobin, Farrell and McElroy.
Left-wing Catholic Austen Ivereigh is busy defending the Pope's non-response, writing an article today titled "A Time to Keep Silence," saying there are deeper spiritual reasons for the Pope's refusal to answer Viganò's charges, while dismissing critics' reactions as "verging on hysteria."
Ivereigh, former deputy editor of the liberal "Catholic" rag, The Tablet, the British version of the United States-based National Catholic Reporter would have to extend his claim of hysteria to various Cardinals and bishops calling for an investigation.
And then there is John Allen, former writer for the condemned National Catholic Reporter, who attempts to hold himself forth as above the fray, showed his cards when he fired the opening salvo against Viganò, saying in an article the day after Viganò's testimony was published that it should be taken with a large grain of salt.
In a recent analysis, Allen buries in the last paragraph the most significant piece of news, that Cdl. Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Bishops, has asked the Pope to launch an investigation into sex abuse cover-up in America.
Although he sent the request going on 10 days ago, as of today, the Pope has yet to respond.
Leftwing Villanova professor Massimo Faggioli is continuing his attacks on Viganò's supporters, dismissing them as alt-right, saying, "I am afraid alt-right figures are using this Viganò and not only as an opportunity to destroy the institution in order to gain control of it. Turn bishops against one another. Get the laity to mistrust the leaders and work for their demise."
Cindy Wooden, who conducted the softball interview with Cdl. Kevin Farrell, where he said he was shocked by the allegations against his former housemate McCarrick, tried to discredit Viganò by releasing a 2012 video where Viganò is seen praising McCarrick, six months after Benedict had allegedly imposed sanctions.
Father Thomas Rosica, a homosexualist cleric who threatened to sue a lowly Canadian blogger for criticizing him, is another on the list of cover-up clerics.
From his leadership of the much-hyped, no substance Salt and Light TV in Canada, he as been such a cheerleader for Pope Francis that he actually came out and said Pope Francis is not bound by either Scripture or tradition and doesn't need to be.
Rosica has, unsurprisingly, not called for any investigation into the charges of a homosexual network in Viganò's statement.
And then there is the case of Jim Towey, president of Ave Maria University in Florida, who is painting the scandal as nothing more than a rift between Pope Francis and his conservative critics, dismissing the pain and suffering of multiple victims of homosexual predation in seminaries and parishes.
In a statement last week, Towey said, "The release of the Archbishop's manifesto seemed timed to inflict the maximum damage possible to the Pope's credibility, and the choreographed chorus of support by others in league with them, was just as troubling."
Towey has an important connection to disgraced Cdl. Donald Wuerl. In a 2011 article talking about taking his job at Ave Maria, Towey wrote, "My local bishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, twisted my arm a little bit when I was discerning to take the job. That, to me, is a good sign that so much of America's Church leadership is excited about Ave Maria."
After receiving extreme blowback for his critique, Towey walked them back a bit.
Critics of Wuerl have noted that part of his machinations is to place stooges in relatively visible positions in the Church so he will have conservative-sounding voices to defend him if and when the need were ever to arise.
One of those is, of course, Bill Donohue at the Catholic League, who Wuerl engineered to be in control of the do-little organization who he could control — with a $500,000 a year paycheck.
Donohue is busy defending his friend Wuerl, dismissing the furor over the sex abuse scandals as overwrought, saying angry Catholics are being played, insisting we must all just calm down and recognize that all of this is in the past and the Church is doing marvelously now.
Like Donohue, Towey also gets paid handsomely as president of Ave Maria University, all of these institutional types pulling down hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay.
All of this being played against the backdrop of multiple discussions going on in D.C. about possible RICO violations, as well as various states' attorneys general announcing their own Pennsylvania-style investigations.
If something like that unfolds, and indications are right now the wheels are already in motion, then the Catholic civil war stalemate just might be broken by states or even the federal government stepping in demanding answers and serving warrants to gain access to the secret file of various dioceses.
Right now, faithful Catholics are of the mind to say, do whatever needs to be done to break this stranglehold the homoheresy has on the Church.
Whatever is left after the state is done, will be a stronger more pure Church, one free of civil war after all these decades.