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Getting down to brass tacks and being blunt about it, the entire process for how the Church selects bishops is way too incestuous.
It is a completely closed system — bishops canvassing a handful of priests, gathering names of an anointed few and eventually passing them on to the nuncio.
We know it's a huge stretch, but what if the bishop is corrupt? Or a further stretch — what if the priests he's canvassing are a bunch homosexuals and they recommend one of their gay buddies? We know that would never happen, but allow us a moment here to roam freely with our thoughts.
Those names go to the nuncio and he passes them over to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome. What if — hypothetically again, of course — some of the bishops on the congregation are tainted and wish to keep advancing their gay buddies, or are blocking a stalwart man who somehow got through the gamut of intense observation?
When it comes to the consecration of bishops, there are really three things you need to know, or better said, three situations.
A priest can be "promoted" to be an auxiliary bishop. At that point, he could languish there for the rest of his life, or one day he might be named a full-on bishop and placed at the head of a diocese.
The next situation is when a priest goes straight to being full-on bishop who heads up a diocese, what's called the ordinary. Usually, that's a somewhat smaller, sleepy diocese so he can get his sea legs under him. In these cases, he might be left there as a placeholder for the rest of his life, because someone has to be the bishop there, or he might have been put there as preparation for another bigger assignment down the road, when one opens up — kind of like a "farm team."
The third situation is when an existing, full-on bishop gets kicked up the ladder to be an archbishop over an archdiocese. This is where it really gets interesting. On the ecclesiastical career ladder, these are the plum assignments — the higher-profile slots — and one day, you might even be named a cardinal.
In the United States, there are almost 200 dioceses. About three dozen are archdioceses and approximately half of the U.S. Catholic population lives in those archdioceses.
There's lots of pomp and prestige in the Church normally associated with getting one of those assignments, and almost invariably, you were a bishop of a smaller diocese before the promotion. To be picked to be an archbishop means you have engaged in some serious application of lips to clerical posteriors. You are an insider who has played the game well, and the advancement comes with strings.
Your skin in the game increases. This is the case with both being named a full-on bishop for the first time to head a diocese or being promoted from bishop to archbishop.
And here's where things become very incestuous. As is being revealed in the glaring spotlight every day now, many dioceses are, frankly, corrupt as hell. There are secrets and lies and so forth that need expert covering up and the man being chosen to fill the spot, especially in an archdiocesan situation, gets the job because he agrees to protect the secrets.
This is how the game is played. Buddies protect each other in the name of "protecting the Church," of course, because we can't have scandal get out and unnerve people.
Funny, isn't it, that while these men are "protecting Holy Mother Church from scandal" that they too seem to fall under the same umbrella. We're sure that's just a coincidence.
Let's consider the incestuous relationship of archbishops in Washington, D.C., for example. Pervert ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was the man in charge there from 2000–2006. The homopredator has many secrets that need hiding and covering up.
The retirement bell finally rings for the old homopredator and, lo and behold, Donald Wuerl just somehow becomes his replacement.
The crooked hierarchy would have you believe this all happens under the guidance and governance and direct intervention of the Holy Spirit, but not so much. It happens under the machinations of a corrupt group of men who know each other's secrets and agree to keep them that way.
Isn't it funny that the man who gets named to replace McCarrick, himself had a past of being a cover-up bishop — but even more importantly — knew about McCarrick's sexual assault against seminarians and priests because he was told it directly by a priest?
That little nugget was confirmed by both the diocese of Pittsburgh, where Wuerl had been, and the archdiocese of Washington, D.C. When confronted about his lie that he knew nothing of McCarrick's evil, he outrageously claimed he "forgot." That's like Charles Manson forgetting about the Sharon Tate murder. Please — not a soul on earth believes he forgot.
But back up a bit here. He knew about McCarrick while he was in Pittsburgh. McCarrick knows he knows. So whom does McCarrick sign off on for his replacement? The man who will keep his secrets.
Why would Wuerl keep the secret? Because he had a trunkload of his own from Pittsburgh? Then, eventually, the clock runs out on Wuerl's tenure and he goes out to pasture after essentially picking his replacement, Abp. Wilton Gregory from Atlanta.
Gregory was in Chicago under Joseph Bernardin, who was instrumental in getting the whole gay bishop-making machine up and running. Does anyone seriously think Gregory has no secrets?
This is how business is done all over the Church when it comes to naming bishops and then assigning them somewhere.
For example, let's look at Albany, New York. The former bishop there was Howard Hubbard, a real doozy. Actually he was an assassin against the Faith. He obliterated it during his term, which was one of the longest in U.S. history.
Since the skeletons are now falling out of the closets of these men, Hubbard now faces multiple charges of actually doing the abusing — actually four.
One came out in August. He denies it. The next was filed in September — denied. Then one in October — again a denial. And then one in December —denied by him again. And for the record, January isn't over yet.
Hubbard was bishop of Albany for almost 40 years. In addition to being personally accused, dozens of clergy under him are also being accused — and him as well with covering up for them.
When he finally retired in 2014, Edward Scharfenberger — who attended seminary at the North American College in Rome, a kind of future bishop-training school — got plucked out of Brooklyn where he was a judicial vicar, advisor to the local bishop and so forth.
He was named Hubbard's replacement. Now the curious thing is, while Timothy Dolan of New York was the main consecrator of the new baby Bp. Scharfenberger, Howard Hubbard was a co-consecrator.
Hmm. The diocese he gets named new bishop in is the same diocese his co-consecrator is from and also happens to have a slew of lawsuits of mostly homopredation, some of them actually against the former bishop who co-consecrated him.
But there's more. Normally, there are the three bishops who create a new bishop. The main consecrator in Scharfenberger's case is Timothy Dolan. We already know that Hubbard was a co-consecrator. But hold on — his other co-consecrator was Brooklyn Bp. Nicholas DiMarzio.
Normally not a big deal that a man being made bishop has his current bishop be one of the consecrators, but in this case, future events would play out kind of funny.
The Vatican finally ordered an investigation into the lying, cheating bishop of Buffalo, Bp. Richard Malone, last October.
That investigation, which resulted in Malone finally stepping down, was led by Bishop DiMarzio.
But no sooner had DiMarzio begun his investigation of Malone than a victim stepped forward and accused DiMarzio and another priest of sexually abusing him back in the 1970s.
The irony of a bishop investigating sex abuse cases being accused of sex abuse was not missed in the secular media.
The Vatican then ordered Dolan to start an investigation into DiMarzio, which is still ongoing. It's a little rich when you pause to think about it. At the same time DiMarzio was investigating Malone, he was being investigated by Dolan. You can't make this stuff up, folks, even if you tried really hard.
Almost immediately after Malone was gone, Scharfenberger was appointed to become the clean-up guy in Buffalo, following the investigation by DiMarzio, who had been one of his consecrators. So Scharfenberger is now in the very weird position of:
Like I said, no way can you make this stuff up. When we say "incestuous," it's only because there isn't a better word to describe all this.
The discerning Catholic who follows the filth will remember that when all the news broke about McCarrick back in the Summer of Shame in 2018, Donald Wuerl rushed to the microphone of the now-disgraced plagiarist Fr. Thomas Rosica and declared not only that none of this was a massive, massive crisis, but also that whatever little dalliances there might be, the bishops should investigate themselves.
He probably didn't know exactly how prophetic what he was saying at the time would turn out to be. He meant it to continue the cover-up, but it has turned out to be almost hysterical — if it wasn't rooted in so much filth.
Bishops investigating bishops — at this rate, it's kind of like a bishop investigation game. Are you getting investigated? Are you conducting an investigation? Or both?