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By Fr. Edwin Palka
Who remembers Alfred E. Neuman and the catchphrase, "What? Me Worry?" which is associated with this fictional character? I haven't thought about him in years until recently seeing what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Francis of Rome were doing last week.
What has come out of the Baltimore meeting could easily have been printed in the pages of Mad Magazine, which was so popular among us smart-alecky boys oh, so many years ago.
The bishops who could not muster any genuine anger at one of their own kind pressuring his seminarians into sleeping with him, who, for the most part, either stayed mum or blatantly lied about being "shocked" and having "no idea" that he was a long-time serial pervert and sorry excuse for a man, let alone for a Catholic bishop, were absolutely relieved to hear that Rome sent word that they were not to deal with any issues regarding holding themselves accountable for anything.
The supposed reason given for this "mandate of silence" was to allow Francis to hold a February 2019 meeting of the heads of every bishops' conference throughout the world where they will supposedly come up with some universal form of justice for wayward, immoral, scandalous and/or incompetent bishops — yeah, right.
Then, once the relief set in that the can was being kicked down the road and that the one in charge of determining how discipline would be meted out would not be a conservative, moral, Catholic member of their own conference but rather the one who knew of McCarrick's exploits and "redeemed" him anyway, they quickly voted down even asking for information about the supposed "investigation" going on in Rome about who knew what and when about McCarrick in the first place — Spy vs, Spy Investigation Services at your service, ma'am.
The vote was 85-187 to not even ask, pretty please with sugar on top, will you maybe let us see that you are doing something — anything — about Uncle Ted and his enablers? Here is the actual wording of this proposal. Warning, it contains very harsh, bold and manly language as the bishops demanded action:
Regarding the ongoing investigation of the Holy See into the case of Archbishop McCarrick, be it resolved that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops encourage the Holy See to release soon all of the documentation that can be released consistent with canon and civil law regarding the allegations of misconduct of Archbishop McCarrick.
What is that, you ask? Where is the demand to see documentation? Where is the manly boldness in that proposal? Well for the bishops, who are used to writing the most wishy-washy letters possible when it comes to denouncing homosexual sin, this language was evidently just too darn strong so they overwhelmingly rejected it. It was almost as if (sniffle, whimper, whine) whoever wrote this proposal in the first place thought McCarrick did something wrong and that the Holy See might not actually be doing anything but giving lip service to investigating such a fine, upstanding former cardinal-archbishop in order to placate the haters.
You know who the haters are: all 85 of the (gasp!) heterosexual bishops who voted, to the embarrassment of the rest, to request that they might actually see if any real work was being done. Jeez, Louise, it's not like the proposal said something like:
You have refused to answer Archbishop Viganò's charge that you knew that McCarrick was a homosexual predator and yet you raised him from his relatively obscure 'penitential' retirement status to a gloriously powerful position as bishop king-maker. We don't trust you to tell us the truth about an ongoing investigation into his prolific and horrific and public deviant sex life but we are open to the possibility that we are wrong. Prove to us that you are actually investigating. Show us why it is taking so long and why you have been so secretive.
This is not a request without consequences if it is not fulfilled. If you continue stonewalling and name calling instead of being forthcoming, we, as the United States Conference of Masculine Catholic Bishops (USCMCB), doing what you keep insisting we do and taking unto ourselves magisterial power beyond anything of historical precedence, and looking out for your, our and our people's salvation, will instruct all Americans to cancel all vacations and pilgrimages to Rome. Furthermore, no financial contributions or donations will be sent to Rome from the USCMCB, or from any religious organization or order within our territory, or from the American faithful until proper, public and verifiable actions are taken.
All in favor, say "aye."
Now that's a resolution worth discussing, arguing about, tweaking and voting on. Now, getting back to Alfred E. Neuman, on a (probably) completely unrelated note, (though Google search results always seem to eerily know what I am even just thinking about along with what I am researching, talking about and writing about) while taking a break from writing this article, I typed into the search box of my computer "a completely fabricated and fictitious politically correct term for men who show a deficit of masculinity" and got a page pointing to "t***icularly challenged social justice howler monkeys."
That sounds like the headline of an article about the USCCB conference straight out of Mad Magazine! Of course, that means that nobody but immature boys will find any humor in this article at all. As for the rest of you, just sigh, shake your head and hope for something better next week. But don't hold your breath!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka