Revenge & Racism: “Evil at work here” – Sacked Bishop Martin Holley, USA

From Catholic News Agency…

There is evil at work here. This is a spiritual battle. I am not part of the Lavendar Mafia – Bishop Holley…

Memphis, Tenn., Oct 25, 2018 / 02:53 pm (CNA).- One day after he was removed as head of the Diocese of Memphis, Bishop Martin Holley told CNA that he wants to be transparent about the reasons for his removal.

He says the decision was not about mismanagement, or past allegations of sexual misconduct. Instead, he believes that he was removed at the behest of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, former Archbishop of Washington, who influenced or collaborated with apostolic nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre to excise him from episcopal ministry.

Bishop Holley says he has nothing to hide.

The bishop was removed by Pope Francis from the diocese Oct. 24, after a June Vatican investigation into Holley’s leadership in the diocese. That investigation was prompted by criticism of Holley’s 2017 decision to reassign up to two-thirds of the 60 active priests in the diocese, and his appointment of a Canadian priest, Fr. Clement Machado, as vicar general, moderator of the curia, and chancellor of the Diocese of Memphis.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told reporters Wednesday that the decision to remove Holley was “about management of the diocese.”
Burke added that concerns about Holley were “not abuse-related.” Holley also told CNA that a decades-old allegation of sexual misconduct mentioned in some reports is not the reason for his removal.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Holley told CNA that in 2012, Wuerl was under consideration to be transferred from Washington to a high-level Vatican position, as Vatican Secretary of State. Holley was then an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Washington.
Holley says he was asked by Pope Benedict XVI to provide input on the prospect of appointing Wuerl, and that he offered testimony expressing concern about Wuerl’s fitness for the job.

Wuerl was not appointed to the position, and Holley said that his removal from the Diocese of Memphis is the cardinal’s “revenge” for impeding the appointment. Holley said Wuerl has had “disdain” for him since that time.

“I stood in his way for something he wanted,” Holley said.

Wuerl was appointed by Pope Francis in 2013 as a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, before Holley became Bishop of Memphis. The congregation is the office charged with overseeing the ministry of bishops around the world. Wuerl and Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago are the sole American members of the congregation.

According to Pastor bonus, the document governing the workings of the Vatican Curia, “the Congregation applies itself to matters relating to the correct exercise of the pastoral function of the bishops, by offering them every kind of assistance. For it is part of its duty to initiate general apostolic visitations where needed, in agreement with the dicasteries concerned and, in the same manner, to evaluate their results and to propose to the Supreme Pontiff the appropriate actions to be taken.”

In response to questions about Holley’s report and Wuerl’s involvement in the apostolic visitation, Wuerl’s spokesman, Ed McFadden, told CNA only that “it would appear that an Apostolic Visitation that took place in the Diocese of Memphis, and the results of that process, may have had some connection to Bishop Holley’s dismissal.”

An official in the Archdiocese of Washington told CNA Holley was not utilized as a close advisor to Wuerl or a member of the cardinal’s inner circle during his time under Wuerl’s leadership, and that his ministry involved overseeing administration in the deaneries of the archdiocese, and performing confirmations. A source close to the case, however, said that Holley had invited Wuerl to speak in the Diocese of Memphis three times during his two years there.

Apostolic Visitation

Holley told CNA that the June apostolic visitation to his diocese was unnecessary, and its purpose was unclear. He said he was told the visitation was “merely to assist me in the administration of the diocese. I didn’t need any assistance.” The bishop said that after he was installed as bishop in Memphis, he became aware of the “lack of previous governance that was here.”

“I was putting in order things that were so messed up here,” he said, noting that the diocesan tribunal was dysfunctional, and that other administrative and personnel issues had gone unaddressed by his predecessor.

Holley, who is African-American, said he met resistance because of the “racism of a few priests,” who were motivated to complain about him. One of them, he said, was a long-time associate of Wuerl.

Acknowledging that his predecessor, Bishop Terry Steib, is also African-American, Holley said that “prejudice and racism” began to manifest itself in the diocese when he began to make necessary changes.

Local media reported that several diocesan priests raised concern about Holley after his controversial transfer of priests, and after the diocese announced in January the closure of the Jubilee Catholic Schools Network, a network of schools in economically challenged neighborhoods, established in 1999 by Steib.

At the time the school closure was announced, diocesan communications director Vince Higgins told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that “This decision would have had to been made no matter… who was the bishop…The numbers were just coming to bear.”

The schools are scheduled to close after completion of this school year. A diocesan press release said that “the challenge over the years has been funding the costs of operating the schools…Funding for the schools has been provided primarily through a trust funded by very generous donors plus annual fundraising. The trust is nearly depleted and the Catholic Diocese can only fund the schools through the 2018-19 school year.”
Holley was also criticized for his appointment of Machado.
Machado was until 2016 a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, a society of priests headquartered in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was incardinated, or officially transferred, to the Diocese of Memphis soon after Holley was installed as diocesan bishop.

While priests transferring into a diocese often undergo an experimental period for five years, Machado’s incardination was finalized on Dec. 20, 2016, two months after Holley was installed as diocesan bishop.

“Machado is not and was not the problem,” Holley told CNA. “If I’ve known him for this long, why would I not incardinate him?”
Machado, who claims to have had visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a child, has gained an international reputation as an exorcist and as a speaker. In 2016, however, the Diocese of Corpus Christi issued a warning, indicating that Machado was “conducting exorcisms without the permission of the local ordinary.”

“Fr. Machado has not been given permission by the Most Reverend Wm. Michael Mulvey, Bishop of Corpus Christi, to administer the Rite of Exorcism or to serve as an exorcist,” the statement read. The diocese said it was investigating complaints raised against the priest.

Holley told CNA that he has had a long relationship with Machado, and brought him to the diocese because he needed his assistance. He did not have sufficient personnel to address the administrative needs of the diocese, and he believed Machado could help.

Machado resigned from his positions in the Diocese of Memphis on June 29, shortly after the apostolic visitation to the diocese concluded. In a letter to priests announcing Machado’s resignation, the bishop asked priests to pray “that he may successfully complete his degree in the upcoming academic year, as it will greatly benefit his service to the diocese,” Holley wrote.

But criticism of Machado in the diocese, he said, was motivated by resentment toward the administrative decisions Holley made. He said the priest was tasked with carrying out his controversial decisions, and that made him a subject of criticism.

Allegations of misconduct

After Holley’s resignation was announced, reports emerged that the bishop had been previously accused of sexual misconduct.
In 2009 a former seminarian published a blog post alleging that in 1986, Holley, who was then a deacon, “used all the creepy predator tricks to get me to give in to him sexually,” at Washington, DC’s Theological College. CNA attempted to contact the former seminarian but was unable to reach him.
A senior Church official told CNA that the complaint was forwarded to the apostolic nuncio this summer, and that it might have impacted the Vatican’s decision to remove the bishop.

Holley told CNA that the apostolic nuncio has not raised the issue with him at any time. He told CNA that while he could not comment directly on the allegation, he is concerned the matter is being raised in order to cast aspersions on his character, linking him to bishops recently accused of predatory sexual behavior.

“I am not a part of the lavender [mafia],” he said. “I would never belong to that evil,” he added, referring to allegations of predatory sexual behavior raised against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and other senior Church figures.

He added that he was not particularly close to McCarrick, under whom he served for less than two years as auxiliary bishop. Sources told CNA that it is widely believed in the Archdiocese of Washington that McCarrick opposed Holley’s 2004 appointment as an auxiliary in that diocese, preferring a local candidate.

“I couldn’t help that I was his auxiliary,” he said.

The bishop added while he might have heard that McCarrick had a beach house, he had no knowledge of the prelate’s alleged predatory behavior, much of which is reported to have taken place there.

“I didn’t know anything about McCarrick,” he said. “The poor victims, my gosh.”

Most important, Holley said, in 2009 or 2010 he informed Wuerl, McCarrick, and Bishop Barry Knestout, then another Washington auxiliary bishop, about the seminarian’s allegation. He said he was “completely transparent” with Wuerl about the allegation, and that Wuerl thanked him for reporting it. McCarrick, he said, told him “not to worry about it.”

The matter was not raised again, he said.

Wuerl’s spokesman told CNA that “Cardinal Wuerl has no recollection of any conversation with Bishop Holley regarding any allegation from any period of time.”

Knestout’s spokesperson in the Diocese of Richmond told CNA that “Bishop Knestout has no knowledge of such a conversation with Bishop Holley nor did he receive any allegation on this matter.”

McCarrick could not be reached.

Questions remain unanswered about the canonical process by which Holley was removed. While Pope Francis established in 2016 norms by which a bishop can be removed through a Vatican process, it is not clear whether that process was used in Holley’s case, or whether the Congregation for Bishops, on which Wuerl sits, was involved.

Holley told CNA that he had not spoken with Pope Francis before he was relieved of his responsibility.

He said he is not sure what next he will do. He is now 63, the ordinary retirement age for bishops is 75.

“There is evil at work here,” he said.  “This is a spiritual battle.”   Source – Catholic News Agency

Comment: 

Pope Francis, it seems,  is not slow to dismiss a bishop for spurious reasons, if we are to take the above report at face value.  And we have examples here in Scotland of priests currently suspended for no good reason – while the real culprits, dissenters and abusers, are left in post to spread their poison.  The Pope routinely refuses to accept resignations from bishops who have reached the retirement age of 75 yet he has dismissed a bishop of 63 at, it seems, the behest of the disgraced Cardinal Wuerl. What advice would you offer to Bishop Holley – what could, or should, he do in the face of this injustice?  

24 responses

  1. As I said in my “blue” comment, end of the introductory piece, we see priests suspended for no real reason, and left to languish there ad infinitum, while others, the real culprits, are indulged – their dissent and bad behaviour tolerated and/or covered up. Here’s a recent example of a scandalous priest, having caused an accident in England through his shocking drunk driving, apparently suffering nothing more than being recalled to his home diocese in the USA (where he could well be promoted, given the standards, of lack of them, these days)
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6322609/Sloshed-priest-advises-Pope-banned-drink-driving-M25-crash-mother-be.html

    We need a complete clear-out of the seminaries – we’ve enough faithless idiots wearing Roman collars, and that askew, as this clown is pictured. The Catholic faithful deserve better. As do the sound priests who must be suffering hugely because of their worldly, self-centred “brother priests” who must be a real embarrassment to those genuinely trying to live a good priestly life.

    • I met Anthony Figureido donkeys’ years ago and a very good and decent young man he was then. He got himself mixed up in some awful cowboy outfit, the Neo-Catechumenal Way. It is a sinister sect within the Church, parasitically insinuating itself within dioceses the world over. All of its works and pomps are odious.

  2. Madame Editor,
    You ask what the bishop should do. He should bide his time. God is not mocked. Like so many men before him who have been cast down due to the corrupted nature of those in higher positions than themselves, he should console himself that in due course, his despoilers will receive their come-uppance – perhaps under the spotlight of public exposure, perhaps by a debilitating illness, perhaps by suicide, perhaps by a jealousy-inspired betrayal – so let them look back on where their ill-gotten gains have led them.
    Let the good bishop do all he can to obey God’s will, and even if he does not live to see satisfaction in this world, he will be able to be assured of it in the next.

  3. I believe that all on here ( except a couple of trolls now and then ) would believe this Bishop most certainly ahead of Francis and Wuerl both of whom it seems have no Problem with the main Sexual Abusers but go after this Bishop of whom ( if he had Sexually Abused someone ) the Evidence is such that the so called Abused cannot be found. Yet the ones of whom this Bishop clearly states that he is not Part of The Lavender Mafia get away with holding party’s and Holiday Jollies with impunity. To do this to this man at his age to me is Evil and it seems as if his decrying The Lavender Mafia has been his downfall. Again to me and probably to yourself Ed it shows the practical complete power that The Homosexuals seem to have within our Catholic Church. God Help Us .

    • RCA Victor,

      I’ve just read that American Conservative link at top speed, so I hope I’m misinterpreting it as it seems to put Bishop Holley in a very bad light, and places him at odds with his claim NOT to be part of the “Lavendar mafia”.

      Am I misreading it?

      • Editor,

        No, your take is the same as mine…which makes it, of course, perfectly objective, trustworthy and true….

        I guess we wait for some more shoes to drop.

      • I read the Link on the AC to the so called Catholic Rush ( thank God he’s out of our mist at least ) as of his allegations to Bishop Holley am not saying that he’s wrong but I personally wouldn’t believe the Guy if he said he used to be a Catholic. His personal downfall as far as believing him is his Putrid Hatred ( and that’s putting it mildly) of The Catholic Faith never mind of The Catholic Church. He most certainly decided to study for the Priesthood for his Jolly Homosexual outings and lavish dinners. That he says ” I was surprised at a Middle aged Homosexual inviting him to his quarters and grabbing his Privates is Lies ) not that said Man didn’t grab him but of him complaining that he did . One thing is most sure about The Homosexual and that it is them First Last and Foremost and this is where to me this Guy let’s himself down . That and the fact that he’d tell a Lie in Heaven if it was discrediting the Catholic Faith. If you read or have read him Ed ad like to know your opinion. Thanks

  4. Well, I looked at a Catholic World Report article on Bishop Holley and one of the bloggers underneath the article wrote the following:-

    “I can tell you I know Bishop Martin Holley and he is not part of the Lavender Club. He detest that Evil within the church.”

    • RCA Victor,

      In the article itself, I don’t think there is much if anything more than I originally knew, but the link to the “Smirking Chimp” report is horrendous.

      I am beginning to wonder if there are any priests, certainly any bishops and cardinals, who are not homosexually active – anywhere in the world. If so, I want to move there! I’ll even start a Catholic caravan to compete with the Hondurans!

      Seriously, these are very dark times. Very.

  5. I’m not a fan of Church Militant, but I saw this had been posted on Gloria TV and read it. Michael Voris – regardless of what you think of him or his apostolate – makes a couple of very good points: (a) Such a policing system would be virtually impossible to maintain and (b) it may spectacularly backfire, as everyone with any Catholic sense would know to stay away from ‘Vatican-approved’ websites, and stick with the ‘non-approved’ (i.e. orthodox) ones. This could be an eye-opener for those Catholics where the penny still hasn’t dropped (yes, there are many out there) if they go into ‘Vatican-approved’ websites and see ‘LGBT’ stuff and other horrors, and then go to ‘non-approved’ sites and find – the Catholic Faith. https://gloria.tv/article/Gq682xyRG3SW6SMfap9hcyrT3

  6. Westminsterfly

    That would be fine if people could still access non-approved web-sites but my hunch would be Vatican, and the Pope would put pressure on their secular friends to close down web- sites they did not agree with!

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