Previously published October 27, 2018 by American Thinker. Reprinted with permission.
The Catholic bishop of Memphis, Tennessee, Martin Holley, was unceremoniously kicked out this week by the Vatican. The Memphis diocese is apparently an absolute disaster, as the arrogant liberal bishop closed schools and churches and moved priests around willy-nilly. The parishioners are in open revolt, withholding donations, and I suspect the diocese is effectively bankrupt.
Interestingly, the situation is so desperate, the Vatican sent in Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville to temporarily run things. Kurtz is one of the few American bishops still willing to defend traditional Church teaching. He has been an effective leader everywhere he has served, raising vocations and cleaning up liberal messes, like the enormous one his predecessor made in my hometown. On Pope Francis’ enemies list, Kurtz is likely just below Cardinal Raymond Burke and Archbishop Charles Chaput. But the situation is so bad in Memphis, they really had no choice.
As Rod Dreher points out, Bishop Holley was already outed over a decade ago as predator priest, yet continued to thrive in the cesspool of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s longtime D.C. operation. And Holley’s predecessor was no better, another spendthrift obsessed with gay outreach instead of Church teaching.
But Memphis may be the first small sign of things to come, as the faithful are effectively using their power of purse to begin putting an end to all this nonsense.
Now it’s very important to keep in mind that what’s happening in the Catholic Church is really no different than what is going on at every Christian denomination. In other words, the widespread matriculation of homosexual men into the ministry and the concomitant controversies that follow.
The world Anglican community has been in a slow-motion schism over this issue for years, as have the Methodists. Other Mainline Protestant movements that were already long divided, such as the Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Baptists, are being further split apart by the homosexual issue.
What is different is that the Catholic Church is so much bigger and institutionally substantial than all the other religious groups combined. A fact not lost on greedy plaintiff’s lawyers, a two-edge sword for sure.
Pope Benedict understood the deep problem of corruption and homosexuality in the hierarchy and his efforts to bring better men into leadership were fought every step of the way by the so-called “lavender mafia”, and even by the Obama administration, for all kinds of reasons.
But with Pope Francis, we have a true creature of the lavender mafia, as Archbishop Carlo Vigano’s revelations have proven beyond doubt. Francis thought he could simply empower these men to ride roughshod over the laity or the many good priests who might speak out about the corruption in the church. That the high-living homosexual prelates who populate church leadership could continue their wicked ways; as with the Colombian pipeline of homosexual seminarians to this country — a lavender bishop’s trafficking operation that violate a host of federal laws, if the FBI would ever bother to investigate.
But this is an age of powerful independent media and the word is getting out. Cardinals McCarrick and Donald Wuerl are now removed. (The Pope’s recent surrender to Red China was apparently a McCarrick deal long in the works)
McCarrick protégés like Holley and Michael Bransfield have been forced out, or like Blase Cupich in Chicago and Joseph Tobin in Newark, are in big trouble.
The fight between the faithful and Francis with his bad bishops will go on for years and he will try to appoint more of the same kind as replacements.
But unlike even a few months ago, I am beginning to think Francis cannot survive this epic scandal on his own timetable. New investigations into his own conduct in Argentina will make him a pariah. Church revenues in lavender dioceses are drying up. (I am sure the closely guarded financial numbers in Chicago are already a calamity) Sadly, this will leave the whole Church a battered wreck in a few years, much like the Memphis Diocese has already become. But there is no other way to clean house.
Whatever fate Francis and his bad bishops face in this life though, it won’t amount to anything compared to what one good priest has had to endure now for 25 years. I speak of Fr. Gordon MacRae, who was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit by a left-wing kook of a judge. Worse than the judge however, was the Keene, NH detective, James McLaughlin, who was all too eager to smear him with false witnesses. Add to that, lots of psychobabble recovered memories and greedy plaintiff’s lawyers, ending in one of the great frame-ups in the history of American justice.
Since Fr. MacRae refused to knuckle under to the New Hampshire kangaroo court, he will likely die in prison. Yet he keeps his faith and dignity alive in a wonderful testimony on the power of true faith in the Gospel.
Apparently, everybody in New Hampshire knows about this disgrace, but no one in either party will do anything about it. If you live there, you might ask Governor Sununu or his opponent Molly Kelly, why no pardon for this innocent man? This case also looks like a textbook example of what the U.S. DoJ’s Civil Rights Division is supposed to investigate. If you know the new guy there, you might also mention it. I also have a few legal ideas of my own.
But the best thing anyone can do is pray for this brave man. And pray for the many decent priests that still serve; the wolves are many and the good shepherds few.
Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, KY.