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Detroit and Chicago are both nestled in the demographic heart of the United States. Both are traditionally Catholic cities, built largely by immigrants. Those coming to make a new life brought their Catholicism, and the Church thrived.
But no more.
The Church in Chicago and Detroit has been decimated and are now hotbeds of dissent, spreading their rot throughout the country. The relationship between two prelates overseeing these two cities would absolutely gut the American Church.
How did this happen? It all goes back to former archbishop of Detroit, Cdl. John Francis Dearden, who was given the see of Detroit in 1958. Dearden was a tremendous liberal and was ambitious enough to want to push his views across the country.
Dearden helped found and became first president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (now known as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops). He then uplifted a little-known auxiliary bishop named Joseph Bernardin to become the first general secretary of the new conference, and Bernardin became his protegé.
Together, they wielded tremendous power, setting up the infamous Catholic Campaign for Human Development and influencing papal appointments. Bernardin was made archbishop of Cincinnati, and Dearden helped to appoint numerous heterodox bishops across Michigan, including Bp. Kenneth Untener of Saginaw and auxiliary bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit.
Dearden also hosted the first conference for the notorious group Call to Action (backed by the National Conference), which turned around and produced a manifesto that was little more than a liberal wish list for the Church.
Cardinal Dearden retired in 1980, but Abp. Bernardin's career had yet to reach its zenith. Bernardin would go on to serve as president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and rammed through Communion in the hand during his tenure. In 1982, Bernardin was appointed to the archbishopric of Chicago and was created cardinal in 1983. From there he continued to run the machine he and Dearden had created.
Bernardin influenced American politics itself by giving progressive Catholics a cover to vote for morally reprehensible candidates. Bernardin twisted Catholic social justice into what he called the "Consistent Life Ethic" — better known as the "seamless garment" — which was in practice a leveling of life issues like abortion onto the same moral plane as issues like poverty or immigration. Even years after his death, over half of Catholics would vote for Obama to become president in 2008.
By the time of Bernardin's death in 1996, the pair had almost singlehandedly razed in a mere 38 years what took generations to build. Those appointed by the Bernardin and Dearden machine are still in many positions of power, and their legacy is still very much felt throughout the American Church.
Watch "The Download—Axis of Evil."
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