Reaction to the McCarrick story in the West Coast remains muted so far

Former-Cardinal McCarrick in January. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) Former-Cardinal McCarrick in January. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) 

While the ongoing revelations about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick have certainly been followed by local press and Catholics in Southern California, it is not a story that seems to be generating a lot of energy or attention.

“I don’t think the news has had a huge impact,” says Thomas Rausch, S.J., the T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “He’s not the first hierarch who’s been seriously remiss on these issues.”

Advertisement

Others in different dioceses expressed a similar feeling that after 16 years of such stories, California Catholics are long past the point of being surprised and also perhaps so deeply fatigued as to have trouble processing yet another appalling story of abuse. A certain detachment has become, for some, a necessary coping mechanism.

Meanwhile, other issues are pressing. “There’s a great deal of anguish in pastoral centers and among people who have worked hard to execute real reform [of the church],” says Kevin Eckery, communications director for the Diocese of San Diego. “But I get far more emails and phone calls about things like immigration, issues that are more politically controversial.”

“I get far more emails and phone calls about things like immigration, issues that are more politically controversial.”

“We have so many Hispanics and friends who are suffering,” says Father Rausch. “That’s a very big problem for the church in Los Angeles right now.”

The vastness of the nation may also be having an effect. As prominent as the former cardinal once was, he was an East Coast prelate. And this news reads to some here as a distant concern.

“It hasn’t had the same resonance,” Mr. Eckery agrees, “I think because it is an East Coast story right now.“

But he wonders if the implications of the McCarrick news for California and the rest of the country are still to come. “It hasn’t bubbled up yet, but I’m not convinced it won’t. It brings up a new round of issues having to do not with priestly accountability but episcopal accountability. And that’s a place where we have some work to do.

“When you think about what’s gone on in Chile—the fairly quick action to ask for resignations from bishops who’ve had problems lately—it’s clear this is something the Vatican has thought about,” Mr. Eckery says, “that Pope Francis has thought about.

“But it raises the question: How do we go from the good work that a lot of people did to create safe environments and make that part of our DNA and take it up a level, [to] make sure we have accountability in our leaders that is fair and transparent, appropriate and effective?

“That’s a challenge,” Mr. Eckery says.

[Explore America's in-depth coverage of Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church.]

Elaine Boyle
1 week 6 days ago

What needs to be taught is that all these abusing pederasts are anti-Catholic and anti-Jesus, and therefore by their fruits you shall know them. The last 50 years of Catholicism led by these frauds calls into question where we now are as a religion. We need to erase all of these frauds’ changes to the faith, which has also led to statiscal diminishment. Sorry to say but PF1 is part of this milieu.

A Fielder
1 week 5 days ago

Elaine, most of the last 50 years have been led by Saint JP2, and Pope Benedict. Are those the frauds to whom you refer? I see that Francis is trying to clean up their mess, especially in places like Chile. If we want to identify the source of the church’s statistical diminishment, I would investigate the people who want to put the brakes on Vatican II, and stigmatize the church into an irrelevant relic.

J Brookbank
1 week 5 days ago

My hope, as I think about Eileen's comment below, is this: that there is a long dark night of the soul for all of you Bishops and Cardinals who looked the way as other clerics abused their power and privilege by abusing, harassing and manipulating children and subordinates but then took the pulpit and confessional and diocesan newspapers and classrooms to carry on about homosexuality so vociferously that we now have Catholics who are unable to think critically about the difference between men who are sexually attracted other men and men who perpetrate sex crimes. You have much to answer for , far beyond the mess you have made of the lives of the victims of your fellows.

Lisa Weber
1 week 4 days ago

Perhaps the story of the woman who anointed Jesus means that women are to choose the bishops. The bishops would be a very different group if women had the choosing.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Often, we have a tendency to privilege emotional moments over the more intellectual ones in our spiritual life.
James Martin, S.J.August 20, 2018
Photo by Jonathan Simcoe on Unsplash
Most people just don’t know that their pondering about life, about what really matters, is called theology.
Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the world Monday condemning the "crime" of priestly sexual abuse and its cover-up and demanding accountability.
Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie, Pa., speaks during a meeting in late January at the headquarters of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
“I think we need complete transparency if we’re going to get the trust of the people back,” said Erie Bishop Lawrence T. Persico.