Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin
On the eve of the Vatican meeting on child protection in the Church, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller and Cardinal Raymond Burke sent an open letter to the bishops attending the meeting to end their silence on moral corruption in the Church and return to upholding the divine and natural law.
The two cardinals, who also signed the 2016 dubia seeking clarification from Pope Francis on his moral teaching, argued that the abuse crisis is only part of a wider and much deeper problem that owes itself to a society openly calling into question an absolute moral law, and Church leaders who have “gone away from the truth of the Gospel.”
“A decisive act now is urgent and necessary,” the cardinals wrote, and called for an end to the “plague of the homosexual agenda” in the Church, organized networks of protection, and a “climate of complicity and a conspiracy of silence.”
In a Feb. 25 interview with the Register, Cardinal Brandmüller, who is president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, spoke of his disappointment with the meeting, especially that it ignored many of the concerns raised in their letter. Nevertheless, he said, “we live in hope and trust in divine Providence.”
Your Eminence, what is your reaction to the meeting? Some complained that the root causes weren’t properly discussed, the concerns in your letter such as the crisis of faith and doctrinal laxity.
We are very disappointed.
Do you think the homosexual issue was deliberately avoided?
Absolutely, and this is a silence which cries out to be broken, because therein lies the real problem.
Do you think the summit addressed any of your concerns, a crisis of faith and doctrinal problems?
We’ve said all that needs to be said. It all depends on what will be done now, but the silence about homosexuality is a real problem. We have written our letter as observers from the outside; neither Cardinal Burke nor myself are involved.
Why do you think the crisis of faith, upholding moral doctrine, reforming the appointment of bishops and mechanisms that allowed McCarrick to happen were not discussed?
Discussing the problem of homosexuality would have become dangerous for them, because it’s evident there is a network of homosexuals within the Vatican. That’s the problem, there’s no question.
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, a member of the preparatory committee for the meeting, said such networks of protection were only a hypothesis that needed to be proven.
How can you prove them? Only through personal experience.
How can this issue be overcome, this battle be won?
They are part of the machine, so how can you exclude them? It’s a terrible problem.
How much of the problem is due to a collapse in moral doctrine in the Church do you think?
The lack of moral doctrine: That’s the root, and it’s an old problem. In the late 1960s early 1970s, the teaching of morals at the [Pontifical] Gregorian University [in Rome] was heretical.
I don’t know why, but that was the time of [dissenting] lecturers: [Jesuit Father Josef] Fuchs, [Father Bernard] Häring, and [Father Charles] Curran. They were offering their teaching, the boys listened to these lectures, and then began practicing [homosexuality]. The North American College at that time was a center of homosexuality.
And yet this isn’t new, as St. Peter Damian’s witness reminds us?
They didn’t realize the summit began on his feast day.
How can this conspiracy of silence be broken?
That’s your work as journalists.
But what can be done when exposing these scandals rarely results in concrete consequences or punitive measures, or any sanction or accountability?
Continue. That’s the only possibility. I can only say continue. Be strong, decisive, and clear.
What did you think of the silent protest just before the summit, calling for a break in the wall of silence among Church leaders on moral doctrine?
Everyone is authorized to express his opinion, and this was a good protest. We live in hope and trust in divine Providence