By Michael James White
This article proposes what no Catholic prelate, pundit or op-ed commentary has yet voiced. We've been beseeched by repeated calls for prayer — Rosaries, novenas, reparations, etc. "Official" apologies have been penned; many sincere and heartfelt, others smacking of a perfunctory and prudent politic. Starkly absent has been any specific plan of action or a humble admission by Catholic Church leaders of their ongoing inability to solve their internal problems.
The Millstone Mandate proposed in this article will enable and enforce meaningful change in the Catholic Church. It will establish levels of accountability and authority that restore balance — and therefore, holiness — to an organizational structure now harvesting the consequences of its own severe and evident dysfunctions.
Prayer is essential, but by itself provides no solution. Prayer is a catalyst, not a function. It requires human action. Prayer without action is like a sail without a rudder. Action by the laity — so desperately needed by the Church today — remains notably absent. So it's time for the laity to get off their Catholic couch. Their house is burning.
Some may appeal to patience. Perhaps the same prelates who got us into this shameful, tragic and miserable circumstance will now have solutions? The Church's powerful leaders are indisputably the problem, not the solution. Prayer and common sense are never contradictory. So pray for a new outpouring of common sense — in the laity.
Under the collective leadership of our cardinals and bishops, the Catholic Church has been shorn of dignity, holiness, compassion and trust. Their present leadership is so riven with dysfunctions that their outrages of administrative ineptitude, fiscal mismanagement and moral equivocation can no longer be endured.
The harvest of their collective weakness is now tragically obvious to all. The echoes of their incompetence, sins and betrayals have elicited disgust and revulsion around the entire planet — rightfully so. They are carriers of a spreading, fatal plague purposed to kill the Catholic Church. The defensive "gates" of the Church have not prevailed against it.
Darkness thrives in deception, subterfuge, obfuscation and lies. The Vatican Bank, official cover-ups, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Honduras, Chile; McCarrick's mysterious ascendance as a favored papal confidant, Cdl. Marx's endorsement of a "Church blessing" for same-sex couples, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France, Mexico — by silence and lack of censure, our Church leaders have enabled, abetted and accommodated darkness.
These unspeakably shameful consequences confirm leadership that has no further claim or justification for our continued charity, patience, obedience or trust. To mindlessly endorse their continued leadership under such unspeakable and deeply disturbing circumstances is to sacrifice righteous justice to a misplaced charity and undeserved confidence. Their victims number in the thousands. Further patience only extends their agonies.
Retreating into the pious dissimilitude that these betrayers of the Church were "chosen by God" to operate as our shepherds under His authority contradicts prayerful discernment. Behold their "fruits!" Their harvest confirms exactly the opposite: They were appointed by their fellow devils (not by God or us) to oppose God, disdain His commandments and destroy the Catholic Church. And they've done an admirably effective job. Satan in a chasuble.
These aren't the temporary lapses of individuals. This is a globally encultured resident evil careening through the highest power corridors of the Church. These powerful men answer to nobody. Their arrogance, perversion and lack of compassion are self-evident. They stonewall, they deny, they deflect inquiries from their fellow churchmen, the press and the laity with impunity, they discredit and accuse any who dare challenge or confront them. They imperiously parade as the "chosen" apostles of the Catholic Church established by Christ. And yet, they themselves no longer heed Christ's authority, fear His justice or obey His commands? Who is really endangering the Church?
The time for desultory discussions in ecclesial committees, synods and symposiums is long past — nobody wants them; nobody is asking for them and nobody has the patience left to endure them. It's too late for such predictably reflexive bureaucratic vortexes. Gathering bureaucrats into conference rooms offers no cure. It's how they breed.
Harsh words — they're hard to write! But before being dismissed as a firebrand demagogue, consider that I'm trained as a lawyer, have engaged a long career as a real estate investment banker, fathered four boys and been faithful to 38 years of a blessed marriage. Such experience dampens incendiary inclinations very effectively. So I begin with two statements, because as they say, "the rest ain't pretty!"
First, I love the Church. I'm an adult convert and absolutely and unequivocally profess Catholicism as the one, true and holy Faith of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I will never leave the Catholic Church or the sacraments — for any reason. I profess and worship the bread of Heaven; the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ truly present in the Eucharist. I didn't become Catholic because of the Church's leaders. I will remain Catholic in spite of them.
Secondly, I confirm and acclaim the vast majority of Catholic priests and bishops as good and holy men of God. Their anger, disappointment, sadness and shock is — in all probability, much greater than anyone reading this. I feel their pain and their shame, immensely. We share and shed our tears as one body. No blame is found in them at all — none.
But when this "most priests are good" palliative is proposed as an optimistic counterpoint to present circumstances, I feel nothing but sadness for those parroting such obtuse and irrelevant suppositions. They are clueless as to why this avowal misses the point entirely. If the Church was a democracy, the good of the majority might be of substantive consideration and resolving merit.
But that's not the case. The Church isn't a democracy; it's a hierarchy.
By reason of that structure, the majority of good priests and bishops are not the controlling power in the Church. If they were, we wouldn't be in this situation, right? Think it through. When good priests and bishops are placed under vows of "obedience" they are rendered helpless to oppose, challenge or denounce their superiors by reason of that vow. The Millstone Mandate recognizes the need for a rebalancing of power within a Church hierarchy that has become dangerously top-heavy and commensurately dysfunctional. It will restore the collective voices of the righteous clergy to counterbalance and ensure that the voice of Christ is heard by their superiors — and obeyed.
I add my voice to that of Michael Voris' heart-felt admonishment to the "good" bishops and cardinals of the Catholic Church:
The only friends you have, even though we are mad as Hell that you let this happen, are faithful Catholics. In fact, we suspect that we actually have more respect for your offices than you do. Owing to your neglect over the decades, there now exists only a smattering of faithful Catholics who understand and love the Faith and get the current crisis. We are the only allies in the Church you have left, and the sooner you realize that, the less devastated you will feel. (ChurchMilitant.com: "Mad as Hell," Michael Voris, S.T.B., Sept 21, 2018)
The Millstone Mandate is not a reformation. Instead, it proposes a return of the Church to holiness. It does not repudiate the Church's authority structure but restores a safeguard of balance that will limit abuses of hierarchical power. The Millstone Mandate is 100 percent Catholic. No spirit of Luther will ever be found here.
Our forgiveness of "the fallen" will come — it must, or we are no better than they. However, merely voicing their apologies doesn't ameliorate their grievous and odious sins. Their personal individual reparations, repentance and penance are required before any such forgiveness is appropriately extended to them — by Christ, and by us.
No less than them, the Millstone Mandate will render the entire Church equally humble in circumstance, bereft of excess, pure of heart and insignificant by worldly measures. This restoration will impose a profound and visceral humility upon all Catholics. We're united in a covenant faith: What is dealt out in God's justice to them will be equally inflicted upon you and me. Such is the nature of a covenant faith — we share and share alike. We are one people and one faith that stand before God's mercy — and also, His justice.
The Millstone Mandate identifies a three-fold counter-strategy [Transparency — Balance — Enforcement] to expose darkness and banish a diseased and desiccating spirit of deception, subterfuge, obfuscation and dishonesty from within the Catholic Church.
The Church must necessarily and immediately rebalance the hierarchal structures that enable superiors to abuse their power by silencing or intimidating subordinates without any consequent accountability. The majority of priests and bishops must be restored to a balancing power and voice within the authority structures of the Church.
As such, the Millstone Mandate proposes that every bishop and cardinal be subjected to a vote of confidence by the clergy serving under them. Every bishop will be subject to a vote of confidence at 40-month intervals by secret ballot (black ball vote) of the priests under his authority who will gather and one-by-one drop a white or black marble into a sealed, opaque box behind a draped enclosure assuring personal confidentiality. At the end of the vote, the marbles will be counted in the presence of all gathered. All confidence votes of both bishops and cardinals shall be structured in this manner.
If the bishop does not get a two-thirds vote of confidence, he shall resign his bishopric within 30 days. His successor shall be appointed by the bishops of that country within the next 30 days. However, only those bishops whose dioceses are ranked in the top 33 percent of vocations ordained over the prior three years may vote in that appointment. Their qualification will be based upon the ratio of new priestly ordinations per 1000 registered Catholics in each diocese, not the numerical count of ordinations in each diocese.
If the Pope does not approve of the new appointment within 15 days, the Pope must appoint a new bishop, but that appointment will be subject to obtaining a two-thirds vote of confidence by both the bishops who made the first appointment and the priests of the diocese who will serve under the Pope's new bishop. If the priests and the bishops split on the Pope's nomination, the bishops shall prevail upon receiving a simple majority endorsement of their vote from the priests in that diocese. If that majority is not achieved, the Pope shall nominate a new bishop and the process shall repeat until a new successor is elected.
Every cardinal will be subject to a two-thirds vote of confidence using this same process, except the vote shall be cast by all bishops of the country where the cardinal presides and shall be held in that country every 40 months at which interval all cardinals with jurisdictions in that same country will be subjected to a vote, individually. Upon the resignation of a cardinal by reason of a failed vote, the bishops ranking in the top 33 percent of vocations in the country shall nominate a new successor for consideration by the Pope. If approved by the Pope, the new cardinal shall be installed. If not approved, the Pope shall nominate a successor subject to a two-thirds approval vote of the vocation-qualified bishops of that country. The process will continue until a cardinal is elected.
Vatican and Curia appointments by the Pope shall be subject to a 2/3 Vote of Confidence by the College of Cardinals – including appointments to the Vatican Bank and the Offices of the Vatican every 40 months following each such appointment.
Note that the Pope remains undisputed as the ultimate arbiter of faith and morals in the Church. However, his role and directives in the administrative affairs of the Church do not obtain a similar deference — and the Pope will be subject to being affirmed within the hierarchical structure of the Church. As such, Humanae Vitae could not be challenged under the Millstone Mandate because it is a moral teaching that does not contradict Scripture and Tradition.
Conversely, summarily re-instating a fallen/censured cardinal to an administrative or ecclesial position of responsibility or appointment of a cardinal or bishop to oversee operations of the Vatican Bank will be subject to transparency, oversight and potential challenge and rejection within the organizational structures of the Church.
How much do you love the Church? Enough to do something bold that requires great courage? The laity will stand at the forefront of this battle — and they alone can demand what is rightfully theirs. It's easy to pray. But it's much harder to act — and even more so, to act courageously.
A contingent of Spirit-filled Catholic priests and bishops is rising up to exhort the laity to this purpose. Their voices are notably united. These are the good guys, folks! Listen to what they're saying:
What is called for is the Lincoln option: fighting for the Church that we believe in so powerfully; seeing this blight, naming it clearly, unambiguously, but then fighting to set things right. It's not the moment for cutting and running. It's the moment for getting into the fight. … You fight by your very presence at Mass. You fight by keeping people's feet to the fire. You fight by organizing your fellow Catholics. Fight any way you can. But you fight because you believe in the Church, you love the Church, and you realize that despite this terrible blight, it’s worth fighting for. (Bishop Robert Barron, Word on Fire, "Why remain Catholic? (with so much scandal)?" Aug. 30, 2018)
I would also like to say to God's faithful that this is a critical hour for you. I have learned from Church history that reform almost never comes from the top; it comes from religious life and from the grass roots, from among God's people. Please stay faithful to the Lord and his Body, the Church. However, please also feel freer than ever to confront Church leadership and insist upon reform. There is at times an unhealthy deference to authority that leaves those in authority unaware of the impact of their action, or lack thereof. So this is a crucial moment for God's people. As a member of his clergy, I want to say that we need you now more than ever, and to remind you that you will be essential to reform buy insisting on it and refusing to accept a return to business as usual. (Monsignor Charles Pope, "In the Midst of Clerical Misdeeds, a Crucial Moment for the Laity," National Catholic Register, Sept 2, 2018, P. 9.)
The more that like-minded Catholics heed this call to get serious about restoring the Church we love, the faster we will bring about needed results. We need to sprint, so there's not a lot of time for endless committees, forum groups and other reflexive mechanisms of delay. If you love the Church, listen to your heart. But run — don't walk.
The many discussions of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church have carefully obfuscated a starkly evident reality. The media won't mention it because "calling it out" is politically incorrect. The media neither observes nor respects any moral position on this topic. To admit an obvious connection between their sexual ambivalence and the Catholic Church’s scandal would necessarily sink their ship of fools.
Yet while the Church acknowledges acts of sexual abuse, even the Pope's recent letter also goes to great lengths to avoid connecting those many acts with one, a single word: homosexuality.
It lies at the bedrock of the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal according to every statistical fact. As early as 2004, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice report into clerical sex abuse in the United States found that 81 percent of the offenses were perpetrated against males by priests and bishops. Subsequent reports to the USCCB in 2005 through 2010 have confirmed a consistent ratios of 81 percent, 80 percent, 82 percent, 84 percent, 84 percent and 83 percent respectively. These stats are inarguably consistent. Father Thomas Weinandy, in an interview with the National Catholic Register on Aug. 23, 2018, courageously voiced this truth:
[It] seems to me the heart of the problem is actively homosexual priests and bishops. ... [If the Church is] really going to be rectified, this issue has to be brought up. I hope the bishops realize just how angry and upset the faithful are. … The Bishops can't continue to talk to the laity as if they're unintelligent children who can be manipulated.
Bill Donohue, a Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights reached a similarly knowledgeable and informed conclusion as early as June 6, 2011:
There is too much evidence to plausibly conclude that there is no relationship between the over-representation of active homosexuals in the priesthood, and their over-representation in the sexual abuse scandal.
The media and the culture have no standing to dictate their fragile norms to the Catholic Church. It's our Church, not theirs! The scriptures say homosexuality is an "abomination" in God's sight (Lev. 18:22 and 20:13). That settles it. Notwithstanding the de jour vagaries of secular opinion, the superficial "opinions of men" and their spurious rationales necessarily pale into the irrelevant and immaterial against the biblical confirmation of God's eternal judgment.
If you think that is a "homophobic" statement, then consider something carefully. Look at what the homosexuals have done to the Church. Every stat confirms a conclusion that cannot — and should not — be factually obfuscated: it's entirely the fault of homosexuals in the clergy (unless you don't consider 81 percent to be statistically determinative). And what a horrific harvest they have bequeathed to us! No wonder the media won't connect those dots. The media can condemn the Church — but "political correctness" prevents them from also condemning who is at fault. How very awkward for them.
The word "phobia" means fear. Fear is not always a bad thing. It protects us from obvious dangers — it chastens us to be mindful of potential situations or actions that will result in pain, bodily harm or even death. If you don't fear what the homosexual agenda in the Church has directly harvested, you're not dealing in factual realities at all.
God hasn't changed His mind about sin. So neither can those who love and acknowledge Him in faith and personal obedience to His laws and precepts. It's just not an option for Catholics to disobey God or to include in a communion of faith those who freely chose a lifestyle of sin over obedience and repentance before God.
The remedy is clear and unequivocal: remove homosexuality from the ranks of the priests, bishops and cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church — now. Ordination is a privilege, not a right. And sinful behavior claims no right, standing or purpose in God's holy Church. That precept applies equally to heterosexual sin and homosexual sin. It's an equal opportunity application. The Church is not anti-gay, it is anti-sin. So this fundamental example of holiness is rightfully demanded from our shepherds. They are called to chastity by their vows. If they break their vows — with either men or women — they remain neither shepherds or examples to the rest of us.
What are the options of the laity? The laity have as potent a weapon as can ever be imagined — because it directly targets the primary strategic vulnerability of those who disdain God and have abused their power over the Church.
The key weapon — and if truth be told, the only weapon of the laity — is the wallet. Consider, the entire hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is entirely and uniquely dependent upon the wallets of each of us.
Given the extent to which we have all given the Church leaders an option to ignore the voice of the laity (because we keep enabling them with our dollars), it becomes self-evident that this enabling must be immediate — and unflinchingly — removed. Only by bringing them to their financial knees will they become humble enough to acknowledge and take our demands for real change seriously. It's a strategy of huge magnitude and fearsome attribute — and they'll resent it. That little wallet in your pocket has the potential force to extract immediate and lasting change when ignited in pews across the country and the world. That's exactly where we're going with this.
This financial scourging will cease only when the leaders of the Church have fully accomplished the goals identified here. Merely beginning to move in that direction isn't sufficient. What we're about to impose on them will help them realize that a sprint is better than their typical glacial cadence. Are you ready to express your unwillingness to further sponsor their abysmal stewardship of our funds? Then let's do this.
Fact: since 1950 to this past August 2018, the U.S. Catholic Church alone has squandered $3,994,797,060 of your dollars on sex-abuse related settlements and legal costs. This conclusion was based upon a three-month, exhaustive investigation of data by the National Catholic Register. Read that link: it's mind-numbing.
Almost $4 billion spent on settlements and legal fees? This does not include settlements involving confidentiality or non-disclosure restrictions. None of that $4 billion went to the poor. None of it went to support seminarians. None of it went toward evangelization, instruction or media outreaches proclaiming the Catholic faith to millions.
It paid reparations for the dark crimes of homosexuals running rampant and unbridled in the Church. And for over 60 years this has continued unabated under their authority and leadership. Call them for what they are: incompetent, corrupt and unworthy stewards. What do they care? Was it their money? Did that tithe of sacrifice come from the sweat of their brows? Well, now it will. This is a response to God's justice — not our revenge.
Here's what we're all going to do to end their abominations once and for all. Close your wallets, now!
Here's where the rubber meets the road, folks. This is a pledge that every single one of us can take individually. The power and providence of God confirmed in unity through the Holy Spirit will enable the Catholic laity to unite with one purpose, one goal and one inspiration: restore our Church to holiness as a moral beacon for the entire world! In this unity of purpose and action the laity will accomplish three essential goals in the Millstone Mandate:
This will work. The Millstone Mandate will return the Church to holiness, transparency and accountability quickly. Nothing else is sufficient. Souls are jumping into the floodwaters of confusion because of their understandable inability to trust or consider a Church that has elevated and honored shepherds of such demonic inclinations across an unprecedented global horizon.
In this hour, can you think of anything more important, more urgent or more practical than what has been proposed here? Pray, gain courage. engage discernment; and then, let your conscience guide you to what action is right, holy and restorative. Like Calvary, it will be gruesomely painful for all of us. But like Calvary, it will bring about the glorious resurrection of Christ's mystical body into a new, shining and glorious reality upon the earth.
Let's do this! Starting Jan. 1, 2019, under the inspiration of Blessed Mary, the Mother of God, as patron of the Legions of St. Michael the Archangel with whom we pledge our undivided unity, we will begin restoring the Catholic Church. The River Jordan will "miraculously" run dry. God's people will then cross into a new "promised land" of restored holiness, inspired leadership and moral integrity within the Catholic Church. Prepare to march!
First published at Catholic Stand.