As pundits, economists and politicians all try to size up what the post-Wuhan world will look like in terms of getting back to business as usual, there are some pretty influential people who don't want the world to get back to normal — as we detailed in yesterday's Vortex. But how about the Church? How will a post-Wuhan Church look?
Well, if current steps being taken are any indication, things may not be so good, depending on how you measure "good." There's no doubt that the economic impact is already being felt.
When Church Militant broke the news late last week that Detroit's Abp. Allen Vigneron had made what was called "the difficult decision to temporarily layoff or reduce hours or salaries for some of our curia coworkers," we were already working on a story that Cdl. Blase Cupich of Chicago had already dropped the axe on a number of his workforce as well.
As an aside, neither prelate had the guts to issue the statement themselves, each hiding behind someone else to break the bad news. Vigneron had his Vicar General Jeff Day issue the document dropping the axe and Cupich hid behind the skirt of his chief financial person, each man letting someone else play bad cop.
Expect more of this in the coming days. Like the rest of the economy, you can't close up shop and expect to keep the balance sheets, well, balanced.
Cupich issued orders, though, that while parishes should lay people off, he still expected the pastors to keep forking over the weekly tax assessment. Talk about a miracle: "I know you have no collection, but I'm still expecting payment."
One thing that did not appear to happen in either Detroit or Chicago, or other dioceses as they become known, is that none of the bigwigs themselves got laid off, or had to take reductions in their massively inflated salaries. How do we know? Because there is no mention of it anywhere. The pro-social justice, professional Catholic, six-figure brass that runs the dioceses seems to have a blind spot when it comes to themselves tightening their belts.
Social justice, and taking up collections and extorting money from parishes all in the name of fighting poverty is just fine until they have to sacrifice or lose their jobs. Then they suddenly become capitalists and view themselves as indispensable to the running of the Church, although there isn't a single Church in the entire country open to run.
It's not a good thing that the Wuhan virus has gripped the world. But it is good when hypocrites and losers of every stripe are exposed for who they are.
If this isn't over in very short order, bishops are going to have to make hard decisions to simply close down parishes that were already marginally attended, because we all know there's no way some of these Church of Nice Catholics are coming back. Heck, even the Christmas-Easter crowd won't be trolliping in the doors this Easter because the doors will be closed. Some of these tepid types are soon going to get used to staying in bed on Sundays and hanging around the house in their sweats — maybe catching Mass here or there on a livestream — which some bishops have actually shut down.
Here's the thing: Both Detroit and Chicago are sitting on hundreds of millions in assets — not cash flow — assets. It comes in land holdings and other real estate, income from investments and so forth. Yet notice, the very first thing they do is axe the little guys.
There is more than enough in terms of assets for the archdioceses of America to weather this storm. There isn't a bank in the country that wouldn't gladly fork over a couple hundred million while taking some prime property as collateral. But the bishops don't want to do that. They're scared — and rightfully so.
The Church is more and more cash-poor and is living off the fumes of the donations from Catholics a half-century or more back. Raiding those funds would create a downward spiral that many bishops would be unable to pull out of, and they know it. That they are so cash-poor is evidenced by their non-stop appeals — annual appeals, special campaigns, etc.
Here in Detroit, for example, there is a $190-million ask going on, right along with the annual Catholic Service Appeal, right along with the increasing tax on the parishes. That's why the bishops collectively last year jacked up the tax on their own dioceses to fund the bloated bureaucracy of the Useless Conference of Catholic Bishops in D.C. All they want is money — more and more money — because they know it's drying up. And now, the Wuhan is exposing that as well.
It's exposing the financially dire straits that exist so much so that just two weeks into a shutdown, dioceses sitting on hundreds of millions in assets are either unwilling to part with them or unable to take a loan against them because they know they won't have the cash to pay back the loans. So the social justice crowd that never stops pounding its chest about immigration and fairness and equality just furloughs people left and right.
The truth is, they do have the money — in assets — they just don't want to part with it, because well, you know, another massive lawsuit against their homopredator cover-ups could drop on their desk any day, and then where would they be?
Wuhan may not change how the Church does business in the future — although it seems far-fetched that it won't — but it is revealing the total hypocrisy of prelates all over the nation, that when it comes to the suffering and distress of their own workers, they'll take the money every time.
Church Militant has been saying for years, the Church is a paper tiger in the United States, bolstered more by appearance than anything else. The moral authority is shot to Hell. The supernatural faith is all but gone in the episcopate. Catechesis? It's non-existent. Evangelization is a joke because of pandering to Protestants and political correctness.
The only thing these men have left, like in a game of monopoly, is a fistful of undeveloped properties and little income. They are holding on to whatever cash they can, terrified of landing on Park Place or Boardwalk with hotels built on them. In financial and spiritual terminology it's called "the day of reckoning," and in both arenas, it's coming. Sooner or later, your token lands on the expensive property and it's game over.
Every crisis that happens — from the bankruptcies to McCarrick, to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, to bishops being removed, to states extending their statutes of limitations, to the federal and state investigations, to the corrupt gay mafia being exposed, to good priests being sidelined, to a whistleblower archbishop in hiding for fear of his life, to the Pachamama madness at the Amazon Synod, and now the Wuhan virus — every single thing keeps showing just how weak these men are.
We can't say what things will look like in a few months or a year from now, but it's a darn good bet, they won't look like what they did a few months or a year ago. A crisis — as bad as they are — almost always has the effect of separating the men from emasculated men. Wuhan is certainly doing that in the Church.