Sunday Report

What Begins in Bad Theology Ends in Police Raids

December 2, 2018, 12:01 am

Prosecutors busting into chanceries is the new normal under Pope Francis.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, whose Galveston-Houston chancery was raided this week by prosecutors in search of abuse-related files, always struck me as a pretty haunted and compromised figure. DiNardo came out of Pittsburgh and the corrupt milieu of Cardinal John Wright, who was an accused pederast and a mentor to such slimy prelates as Donald Wuerl. Google DiNardo and Cardinal Wright and a creepy picture comes up of a young DiNardo sitting next to Wright in a white tuxedo. Wright liked to dress his seminarians up in such attire, just as Wuerl would later delight in having his young priests wear waiters’ uniforms and serve appetizers at parties held at his Pittsburgh mansion.

Many of the tributaries from the Church’s river of filth flowed out of Wright’s Pittsburgh. Wuerl, for one, who served as Wright’s secretary for many years, learned his nasty and self-indulgent clericalist habits at Wright’s knee. In the New York Review of Books, Garry Wills once recalled Wright’s life soaked in opulence, entitlement, and delusion:

In the early Sixties, I spent a day with John Wright, then the bishop of Pittsburgh, who loved to sweep around town in his chauffeured limousine, greeting people with his ring thrust forward for the kissing. At one point he directed his limousine to a Church-run home for deserted pregnant women, an admirable institution. Before we went inside, he had the chauffeur open the car trunk, which was entirely filled with large boxes containing Barbie-like dolls. (They may have been Barbies, in fact; I could not have told, since I was not then familiar with the product.) He told me a Catholic businessman had given him the dolls to hand out as presents, so he had the chauffeur load his arms with these toy-adult figures to bestow on the expecting mothers. His satisfaction in playing Lord Bounteous made it impossible for him to recognize the ludicrous inappropriateness of the gifts. They were infantilizing tokens, delivered by one who was himself infantilized. 

Back in his mansion, the bishop took me to a large locked room that contained his favorite treasures — books, manuscripts, relics, memorials, paintings, and statues, all of them celebrating Saint Joan of Arc. He boasted that he had every movie made about his heroine, beginning with silent treatments. He had projection equipment to show them all, and said that he had not only been an expert adviser for the 1948 film Joan of Arc, but got to know its star, Ingrid Bergman. Some Catholics censured Ms. Bergman after she publicly deserted her husband a year after Joan of Arc’s release; but her contribution to his self-importance made Wright forgive her. I left the mansion certain that I had been in the presence of a large fat baby who would never grow up. Later, as a cardinal appointed to the Curia in Rome, he would prove that he could be more pompous than any Italian prelate.

But that “large fat baby” was very dangerous. “Wright’s pederastic predilections were an ‘open secret,’” writes author Randy Engel (whose book, The Rite of Sodomy, details a specific accusation of abuse leveled at Wright by Bill Burnett). Wright was one of the godfathers of a high-living, dilettantish Gay Mafia within the Church, which not even in-the-know writers from the liberal Catholic media dispute these days. 

Former Newsweek religion editor Kenneth Woodward, for example, hints at something I have long asserted: that the creepy relationship between Wuerl and Wright is critically important background which explains not only Wuerl’s rise to the top of the Church but also Wuerl’s willingness to serve as the protector of pederasts. This is a long block quote from Woodward, writing recently in Commonweal, but it is worth reading carefully both for its text and subtext:

During the nearly four decades I spent writing about religion for Newsweek, I heard numerous tales of “lavender lobbies” in certain seminaries and chanceries, told mostly by straight men who had abandoned their priestly vocations after encountering them. At one time or another, the whispering centered on networks in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Chicago, or Pittsburgh, among other dioceses. One of the few priests to complain in public was the late Andrew Greeley, who spoke of gay circles operating in the administration of Chicago’s Joseph Bernardin, a cherished friend of his. As far back as 1968, I heard similar rumors about priests serving in the Roman Curia, mostly from Italians, who are generally more relaxed about homosexuality than Americans and unsurprised when those leading double lives are outed. What concerns me, though, is not simply personal hypocrisy, but whether there are gay networks that protect members who are sexually active.

Here it is worth revisiting the career of Cardinal John J. Wright (1909–1979) who, like McCarrick, was the subject of numerous stories about his own sexuality. Again, these came mostly from former seminarians and priests of the Pittsburgh diocese, which had a reputation during Wright’s decade there as a haven for actively gay clerics. That was especially true of the Pittsburgh Oratory, which Wright founded in 1961 as a religious center ministering to Catholic students attending the city’s secular universities. 

Wright was an intellectually gifted churchman whose reputation as a liberal in the Spellman era rested chiefly on his interest in literature and the arts and his voluminous essays on those subjects and others published in liberal Catholic magazines, including this one. In 1969, at the age of sixty, Pope Paul VI chose Wright to head the Congregation for Priests in Rome and elevated him to cardinal. It was there, in the frenzied initial years of the post-council era, that I first heard stories of his leading a double life rather openly with a younger lover. What interests me now is not the private details of this double life, but whether it influenced how he ran the congregation overseeing the selection, training, and formation of the clergy. Donald Wuerl, who recently resigned as archbishop of Washington D.C., would surely know the truth about Wright. Wuerl’s first assignment after ordination at the age of thirty-one was as secretary to then Bishop Wright of Pittsburgh in 1966. The younger priest was said to be closer to the cardinal than the hair on his head. He became Wright’s omnipresent full-time personal assistant when the latter moved to Rome, even sitting in for him during the papal conclave that elected John Paul II.

In his own lifetime, Wright never paid any price for his scandals or suffered any consequences for foisting homosexual priests on the Church. But the costs of that corruption are coming due for his protégés and former seminarians. Wuerl’s career has more or less ended in disgrace, though he hangs on under a corrupt pope as an “apostolic administrator” and a member of Vatican congregations. And now the bill has come due for DiNardo in the form of a police raid this week on his chancery. Prosecutors are said to have seized his computer and personnel files.

What began as a theological turn away from orthodoxy and rigor in the 1960s — one which double-living prelates like Wright quietly blessed, all while posturing as “center-right,” the same stance, by the way, the Wuerls fake up — is ending in police raids, bankruptcies, and weekly scandals. 

I ran into DiNardo in Baltimore at the October gathering of U.S. bishops. He was sitting on a couch in the hotel lounge alone, talking on his cell phone breezily about his Thanksgiving plans, as if he had just completed an annoying corporate gig at the Marriott. No sooner had I asked him a well-informed question about that scandalously unproductive bishops’ gathering than he was accusing me of not “loving the beauty of the Church.” 

It was a rather odd line of attack for a cardinal in the thick of one of the grossest scandals in the history of the Church. Had he learned, I wondered, such pompous clericalist stalling and misdirection from Cardinal Wright? I noticed that the slightly slouchy seminarian in Wright’s white tuxedo hadn’t changed his body language much over the years. He remains in word and posture dyspeptic and defensive, whose rank-pulling may still work on gullible Catholics but clearly no longer impresses police.At his chancery, where prosecutors are carting off abuse files he won’t give them, the “beauty” of Catholicism is hard to see.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo (YouTube Screenshot)

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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  1. hellenback7 says:

    By “practising Catholics” on further investigation it seems that 50% is a fairly large overestimate, if we mean practising in the sense that it’s very important to attend Mass on Sunday and/or abstain from contraception, green we’re getting getting down to a very low percenage of “believers”; a true remnant (not to necessarily imply strict literal adherence to “remnant” theology.
    S to Trump’s comment re “Churches and families know best” may have been true at one time (for the majority), but The Church’s are pretty shorthanded (and atm scandal ridden) and many families are hopelessly codependent. Proposing truisms is not governing.

  2. hellenback7 says:

    Happy you have found a vehicle for your personal profession of Faith.
    But, apart from the Creed, that is exactly what it is unless/until someone with the legitimate spiritual authority professes these “articles of faith” to be believed by Catholics.
    Also, it appears sometimes that members of this site forget that all of North America has only 7% of the world’s Catholics and only half of those consider themselves “practising” Catholics (ie follow Church teaching or receive the Sacraments).

  3. Sheepdog says:

    Recently, I have asked my followers on Twitter to pray for Pope Benedict XVI. (Holy Father). I now write this in support of the Catholic Faith and of the United States Constitution. I ask you to prayerfully read this and to share this writing. As we awaiting the Christmas Season during this joy of Advent, I ask you to take a few minutes to read this so that we can help others who may very well otherwise not have something tangible to be thankful for. The Holy Spirit gives peace to all, but we can be instruments of God by helping him give that peace. I now write this in three parts: FORWARD; I BELIEVE; and TENENTS OF RESOLUTION.


    The Catholic Church, therefore, has always existed since then as that Beautiful fulfillment, always and with us. Since God is Love, he is with us before, during, and after. We cannot look into him without having a clear heart of Conscious and love. The Love is the one which tells us that all the commandments, all the Traditions of the Church are loving. It has been gifted to us by The Trinity. The Church doesn’t make rules, the Church is the gift which keeps the Love of God with US.
    Therefore, we must all take a reflective look today.


    I believe that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was legitimately elected Pope by a Conclave of Cardinals and has legitimately led the Church under the name of Pope Benedict XVI.
    I, Sheepdog2810, with firm faith believe and profess each and everything that is contained in the Symbol of faith, namely:

    I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God,
    born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.



    Under Natural Law (Catholic Teaching); and under Natural Science; Marriage is only between a Man and a Women. Same Sex “Marriage” is not in God’s love for us. It should be avoided. Extremist ideas who promote criminal violence against LGBTQIA sinners are to be avoided and condemned. At the same time, no licit or valid recognition can be given by any Catholic to any facet of the “LGBTQIA” movement. This movement is demonically sinful and will not lead to eternal salvation. It is not healthy for people to engage in Same Sex acts and behaviors. It is out of love and health concerns that it is not part of God’s plan. Ministering to these groups requires that one lovingly minister to help these people avoid these unnatural tendencies that scripture has revealed to be evil. We can only accompany people to God’s love and plan for us. There is no such thing as accompanying someone while “staying as you are”. We must lovingly convert these people and we need to use God’s creativeness to help us do it.


    In the Country of the United States, the Constitution guarantees a right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Democratic Party has lost this idea. They believe that they can control this by regulating free speech, Religious freedom, healthcare, and direct people to go to take welfare. Welfare does not guarantee these rights. It is supposed to be a temporary safety net. Those with long term care needs should legally and morally have options besides Government control. President Trump has said that “Churches and families know best” how to direct lives. This most certainly applies to all aspects including care. The Republicans in Name Only (RINO) have somewhat lost the ideal of LIFE, LIBERTY, and PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. This is because they have failed to come up with constructive solutions for out of Control Insurance Companies (especially Healthcare); or allowing Big Pharma to price gouge)
    The RINOS have failed to help our President.


    There are upcoming elections for Local, State, and Federal elections. We all know the election cycles and timing. It is important that candidates and the American people work together to advance policies that help our President and the American people. We need to get out and vote. We need to connect and mobilize.


    In regard to the abuse crisis in the United States, all are accorded due process and innocent until proven guilty. However, anyone who covers up abuse, abuses someone; or does not speak out against abuse should expect the full force of the criminal justice system. These people need to be removed from active ministry and barred from the sacraments until they repent of their crimes. Bishops should expect to be prosecuted should they be found to be complicit in criminal activity or if they hide criminal activity. Without the “State” favoring a religion, numerous Catholics (both lay people and religious) should always be afforded protection to practice the entire Catholic Faith without interference from the Government; and should expect refuge from any criminal wrongdoing done such as abuse.


    Lay people must peacefully object, and where necessary, are obligated to defend themselves and their families from hate crimes, violence, and discrimination for practicing the Faith. Clergy have a right to minister to the people and no one has the right to stop them. The law of God supersedes all. All our Rights ultimately come from God and what he has handed down to us. This is why Islam is a false religion because Islamic Faith does not believe in the True Triune God. As Bishop Athanasius Schneider said “Islam is a False Religion”. Islam seeks to destroy the Christian people and the Jewish people, sometimes subtly. We must object to the Christianity being sidelined, while at the same time allowing concessions to Islam in the public square.


    In the Liturgical celebrations of the Catholic Church, the Eucharistic Ministers are Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. Instituted Acolytes are not any of these. They are lay men and are still around post Vatican II. If true recourse is needed for “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion”, instituted Acolytes are by default “EMHCS”. Only in emergency situations in Mass (persecution or severe weather coming) should regular lay people be used. If no Eucharistic Minister is available to take Communion to the Sick, shut in or dying, then it is permissible for an Acolyte or even any lay person to take to them. Otherwise, while you may be receiving valid Eucharist; you may be receiving it illicitly. With the exceptions provided here, do not approach lay people giving Communion. Please encourage others to avoid it as well.

    God Bless you all, be filled with peace and joy this advent.


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