We conservative Catholics had made such a big deal about the loss of authority within the Church, and had developed within ourselves a chronic reluctance to confront facts that called the integrity of the system into question.

Father Richard John Neuhaus, for example, once upbraided me angrily on the phone for publishing a story about Bishop James Timlin’s handling of the Society of St. John situation.

“The bishop told you there was no story there!” he growled.

I pointed out to Father Neuhaus that I had quoted the bishop saying that in the story. Neuhaus was aghast that I had published the story at all, given the bishop’s words.

“Father Neuhaus, why should I believe Bishop Timlin?” I said.

“Because he is a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church!” Neuhaus shouted.

Really, he shouted ….

Rod Dreher, Cardinal McCarrick: Everybody Knew. What “everybody knew” was the Cardinal’s homosexuality and exploitation of seminarians, not of children, but the massive lying and coverups is what eventually cost Dreher his Catholic, but not Christian, faith.

When I was working on these stories, I learned that most gay priests who are sexually active do not molest children or adolescents. The problem is that they — as well as straight priests who are sexually active — have secrets, and learn to keep their mouths shut as part of an informal system of self-preservation … A source — a devout young Catholic man — had been telling me that he left seminary because he couldn’t stand the constant pressure from priests there to have sex with them. One of the seminary leaders told him that if he’s not gay, fine, but to go get a girlfriend. To me, it was clear that the priest-professor was trying to lead the kid into his own web of corruption, one way or the other.

Dreher has lots more stomach-churning details. I’ve only quoted the parts that seem key to me on why this problem has been intractable: “everybody” has dirt to spill on “everybody” else if they break ranks.

Some of it, I admit, reads like an 80-foot blackboard, but so be it.

Orthodox lay Catholics are not overly inclined to have blind faith in our clergy leaders when it comes to LGBT issues. The Scandal was the first straw, but we haven’t yet reached the last. Actions speak louder than words, even when the words are a recitation of the Catechism’s teachings on the matter. And so far the actions all point to a continuing cover-up the scope of which may be more devastating than we can readily imagine.

Erin Manning, Why We Don’t Trust Them.

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