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?  

Jesuit Superior: Pope “not the chief of Church” – he’s the Bishop of Rome…

Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, superior general of the Jesuits, said in an interview Monday that Pope Francis consciously calls himself the Bishop of Rome, instead of using grander titles.    

“Very frequently we forget that the pope is not the chief of the Church, he’s the Bishop of Rome,” Fr. Sosa told EWTN in an interview Oct. 15.

“As the bishop of Rome, he has another service to do to the Church, that is, to try to [bring about] the communion of the whole Church.”

By convoking the youth synod, taking place in Rome Oct. 3-28, Francis is exercising his role as pope by bringing together a group “of his own peers” to make a “contribution to the communion of the whole Church,” Sosa said.

“Fr. Sosa is certainly correct to say that the pope is the Bishop of Rome, but it would be a mistake to infer from that title that the Holy Father is merely ‘first among equals,’” Chad Pecknold, Associate Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America, told CNA.

Pecknold told CNA that popes often and correctly speak of their “brother bishops,” but that the Petrine office is unique.

The pope “holds an office of supreme authority over every bishop in communion with him, and of course over the faithful too. It isn’t a charism of dominance but of paternal care – the popes traditionally use the title ‘servant of the servants of God.’”

Sosa said that because Pope Francis feels each bishop is responsible for his local church, this synod, in which Church leaders come together to discuss and decide church affairs, is an expression of dialogue and communion between all of the bishops.

Pecknold agreed that the world’s bishops are each truly invested with the authority to govern, teach, and minister to their own dioceses. But a bishop’s ministry must always be done in union with the pope, who, he said, “is the visible center of communion for the universal Church.”

“The worldwide college of bishops exists in what the Church calls ‘hierarchical communion’ with each other and with the head, the pope. When the we talk about authority of the college of bishops to teach or lead, the Church is always careful to emphasize that this is only possible in union with the pope, who is the head of the college,” Pecknold explained.

In his interview, Sosa also explained that the collaborative work of the synod is a work of discernment, something he said was very important to Pope Francis. The Jesuit superior said that although the concept of discernment is a key feature of Jesuit spirituality, the act of listening to the Spirit has been a part of the Church’s for a long time.
“Discernment is the way that this communion [of the universal Church] can be made and how the Church will find the structure to reflect a Church that is open to that synodality,” Sosa continued.

“Because the Church is supposed to be governed not by men but by the Spirit. So [the Synod of Bishops] is not a kind of parliament, where you have to have a majority or minority, but we all together try to listen to the Spirit. And that’s what discernment teaches us to do.”

In comments to journalists Oct. 16, Cardinal Louis Sako I, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, echoed this point: “The synod is not a political parliament, is a synod of fathers, teachers,” he said. “What can we give, what can we offer the young, the faithful?”

The Synod of Bishops, which was established by Pope St. Paul VI following Vatican Council II, was created to continue the collaborative effects of the council fathers.

The Code of Canon Law defines it as a work of “collaborative assistance” to the pope’s ministry, and stresses that it exists to “foster unity” among the bishops, including with the pope. It also states that the synod is itself a creation of papal authority, deriving its legitimacy not from the bishops attending but from the pope who called them to the session. Whether a synod session’s conclusions are deliberative or consultative is explicitly up to the pope, who decides how much of his own authority to delegate to it.

In this sense, Pecknold told CNA, it functions nothing like a parliament.

“Parliaments are political, legislative bodies,” he said.

“The Synod of Bishops exists to foster unity and to give the pope the benefit of their counsel. In that sense, their job isn’t to pass this resolution or block that one – it is to work together to advise the pope as best they can, and that is a work of communion and service, not confrontation.”  Source

Comment:

Pope Francis DID emphasise, right from the beginning, from his words on election delivered from the Vatican balcony, that he was Bishop of Rome… He has, it seems, sought to play down his papal role.  So,  the question has to be… does it matter?  Shouldn’t we applaud his humility in shying away from all things Petrine?  

Pope Francis Doesn’t DO Catholicism

Christopher Ferrara, Fatima Center, writes:

As the homosexual priest scandal once again erupts around the world (including the revelation that fully half of the cardinals and bishops of the Netherlands are implicated in the cover-up of sexual abuse), the ex-President of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera, was interviewed by La Fede Quotidiana concerning Pope Francis’ continuing silence in the face of Archbishop Viganò’s historic indictment of the Pope’s own role in the cover-up of homosexual corruption at the highest levels of the Church.

“It seems to me that the Pope does not intend to give a response, or perhaps thinks that others will respond, a dilatory tactic that, instead of promoting serenity and clarity contributes to general disconcert and confusion,” said Pera. “[I]t seems to be the same thing that happened with the Dubia of the cardinals,” Pera continued.

Respecting the attempts to demonize Viganò, Pera observes that he has “the sensation that the Pope trusts in that wing of the press that is always and everywhere favorable. He knew that he would be defended a priori by certain important journalists” who would be willing to shoot the messenger by way of character assassination. But, Pera rightly observes, “I am not interested in the motives that have driven Viganò but only in whether his allegations are true or not.”

Pera is also a renowned philosopher whose work focuses on the problems of cultural relativism, the post-modern denial of objective reality and “deconstructionism,” which reduces all truth claims to mere interpretations rather than statements of objective fact. Hence Pera knows whereof he speaks when he says that in his view Francis is symptomatic of the crisis of a “tragic and alarming diminution of the Christian conscience in Europe. Bergoglio substitutes for catholicity a secular humanism. From this step a schism can arise.”

Asked whether he knows the “Pope Emeritus” well, Pera replied that he does but that “I have not spoken to him in a long time.” As to whether he thinks Benedict is worried about the state of the Church under this pontificate, Pera answered simply: “I imagine so.”

Last July, Pera voiced even stronger criticism of the current occupant of the Chair of Peter. Concerning Francis’ insistence on “welcoming” unlimited numbers of Muslim immigrants into Italy, most of them military age males not helpless “refugees,” Pera told Il Mattino: “I do not understand this Pope. What he says is beyond all rational comprehension. Why does he insist on total acceptance? The Pope does it because he detests the West, aspires to destroy it and does everything to achieve this end…”
What Francis preaches, says Pera, “is not the Gospel but only politics. Francis is little or not at all interested in Christianity as a doctrine, on the theological aspect. […] His statements seem based on Scripture, in reality they are strongly secularist.” It is hard to dispute that opinion given the many indications that we have a Pope who doesn’t “do” Catholicism. As for example his recent refusal to give an Apostolic Benediction to a crowd of young people in Palermo because their number included “other Christians and religious traditions and even some agnostics.” Instead, the Vicar of Christ, refusing to mention Christ, invoked a generic “Lord God” for the intention of “blessing the seeds of disquiet in their souls” because “they want to make a better world” as “searchers for goodness and happiness” and travelers on “the road to dialogue and encounter with the other.”

A Vicar of Christ who studiously refrains from mentioning the light of Christ to those in need of it for their salvation, lest anyone in the audience be offended. What sort of Pope is this? One the likes of which the Church has never seen before, not even in the midst of the ecclesial tumult of the past 50 years.   Source

Comments invited…  

Pope Francis: is it spiritual blindness or sheer idiocy that prevents him from seeing the need to ACT… NOW?! 

Comment invited…    

29 June: Feast of SS Peter & Paul…

Comment: 

Discuss any issues arising from this important Feast – perhaps  the role of Peter – Francis – as Supreme Pontiff?  

As well as discussion on relevant key issues, though, such an important Feast must be celebrated with the usual mix of Feast day greetings, favourite prayers, hymns, jokes and stories – enjoy!

A very happy Feast of SS Peter & Paul to one and all!  

Pentecost NOT “Birth of the Church”

Editor: it is a common error, repeated often in homilies/sermons, that the Church was “born” at Pentecost.  We need only recall the Petrine verses in the Gospel, and Christ’s final command to his apostles prior to his Ascension into Heaven: “Go out into the whole world and baptize…” to recognise that this claim is false.  The apostles were strengthened at Pentecost, their faith renewed so that they had the courage to come out of hiding and obey Christ’s Ascension command to go into the whole world and spread the Faith.  The Church, however, was established by Christ Himself  during His time on earth, as amply reported in the New Testament.

Below, extracts from a short article on the subject…

Every Christian believes that Jesus Christ established and sustains a community of faith, hope and love for all believers. This community we call His Church. The Church that Christ founded is the Catholic Church which has a formal earthly structure established by Christ and which continues under His authority and protection.

 Jesus did three things that established the framework of His Church. First, He chose humans to carry out His work. He appointed Peter to be the visible head of the Church. Jesus said to Peter, “You are Rock and on this rock I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16: 18) Jesus said “build,” as in to create a structure. Jesus built His structure on specifically chosen human beings Peter and the apostles.

Second, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles the power and authority to carry out His work. “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.”(Matthew 16:19; 18:18) “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whose sins you retain, they are retained.”(John 20:23)

Third, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles commands as to what that work should be. At the last supper, He commanded, “Do this in memory of Me.” (Luke 22:19) He commanded them to “Make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), and to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

The early Church was structured in a hierarchical manner as it is today. We see in Acts, chapter 15 how the apostles and the elders came together under the leadership of St. Peter to decide the question of what was required of Gentiles. We also see how St. Peter was regarded as the head of the Church when St. Paul, “Went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas [Peter] and remained with him fifteen days.” (Galatians 1:18) There is no Scriptural evidence of independent local churches.

The Catholic Church is the only church that can claim to have been founded by Christ personally. Every other church traces its lineage back to a mere human person such as Martin Luther or John Wesley. The Catholic Church can trace its lineage back to Jesus Christ who appointed St. Peter as the first pope. This line of popes has continued unbroken for almost 2,000 years.

God rules, instructs and sanctifies His people through His Church. Under her teaching office, the Catholic Church preserves the Word of God. She is the custodian, keeper, dispenser and interpreter of teachings of Christ. And she accomplishes this under the protection of the Holy Spirit. Source

Comment: 

It is important to note that there was never any time when the Church was known as “Christian Church” – never.  From the earliest times, the Church was called the “Catholic Church”.  The adjective “Roman” was added during the Reformation period by the Protestant Reformers to push their heresy that the Church is made up of “branches” – of which those who adhere to Rome are but one part.  Click here to read more.  There is one exception to the writer’s claim that “RC” is not used in official Church documents, and that exception is found in Humani Generis # 27 – click here.  However, Pope Pius XII is a recent pontiff, so the facts  stand, as detailed in the article How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?

What, if any,  difference does it make if priests preach that Pentecost celebrates “the birth of the Church”?    

Evil in Vatican: “Disorientation, Chaos & Scandal Marks Francis’ Pontificate”

Pope Francis

VATICAN, May 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Vatican conference has wrapped up featuring controversial pop-star Katy Perry speaking on transcendental meditation, disgraced Lettergate monsignor Dario Viganò delivering a talk on “Fake News,” and a “meditating eye” charm bangle given as a gift to select participants…

On day three of the Vatican conference, Perry joined a discussion on “Impacting Children’s Health Through Meditation Globally” with her mentor, Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation. Roth is also the mentor to Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz on Transcendental Meditation…

“For Katy Perry to speak about Transcendental Meditation from the same seat used by the Pope during major Church meetings is symbolic of the chaos, disorientation and scandal that marks this pontificate,” a source close to the Vatican told LifeSiteNews. “It would be one thing to have her presence moderated by a Church leader, but to have the podium given over to celebrity TM proponents with no Church voice to counter them is unconscionable.”

The source added: “It’s tragically emblematic of today’s culture: when the Church chooses to be absent, the world steps in to fill the vacuum.” [emphasis added]

 Read rest of the article here – and don’t miss the paragraphs headed “I Kissed a Girl”, Fighting the Nuns, Katy, Cannibalism and the Occult and Funding Planned Parenthood…

Comment:

Laughably, Lifesitenews adds:  An official in the Pontifical Council for Culture told LifeSitenews the plan was for the guests promoting transcendental meditation to be able to air their ideas which would then be “robustly challenged” — an exercise, he said, that would educate Catholic participants attending the Conference about the nature of some of the current challenges to the Faith in healthcare settings.” 

Like, er, who would know how to begin to challenge these New Age ideas when Catholics have been encouraged to involve themselves in them for years now. Adverts for Yoga classes are not uncommon on parish notice boards, and Catholic schools don’t teach the most basic doctrine, let alone the niceties of occultism. No surprise then, that the report continues… Drum roll….

Despite these aims, the ideas were not robustly challenged during or after the panel discussion.   

Now, there’s a surprise – not! 

Update:

See video and thread on Catholic Devotions…