Tim Carney was confirmed in the Catholic Church as an adult. Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was his bishop. He tears into McCarrick, but also some of the canned responses to the scandal.
Many Catholics in recent weeks have received homilies, or letters in the church bulletin, with the important reminder to keep the faith. To keep our eyes on the center of our faith, which is Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen son of God and the savior of the world.
But when you’ve heard this plea — stay focused on the Cross in these tough times — a few times, it starts to sound defensive and diversionary.
It starts to sound like: Look away from this ugly scandal of the men who were supposed to care for your soul.
Of course, it is Jesus, not some cardinal, who redeems us. It’s God and not our pastor who forgives us. But follow this argument too obsessively, and you start to sound a bit un-Catholic. The Catholic Church has always maintained, in the face of opposition from within and without Christianity, that a hierarchy of priests, bishops, and popes is part of the essential and scriptural heritage of the church dating back to the Twelve Apostles. We’ve always argued that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light, the one good shepherd, but we also argue that fallen men need the apostles’ successors to act as day-to-day shepherds, to help keep us on that narrow path.
The church was right about this. We faithful need good shepherds. But we got McCarrick.