Well, If the STFU Fits (An Open Letter to a Closed-Minded Hypocrite)

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An open letter to Cardinal Wuerl:


I have read your recent “open letter” with great interest – and no small amount of anger, disbelief and utter disgust.

“This morning, the Archdiocese of Washington filed a lawsuit to challenge the mandate, recently issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, that fundamentally redefines the nation’s long-standing definition of religious ministry and requires our religious organizations to provide their employees with coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs. Just as our faith compels us to uphold the liberty and dignity of others, so too, we must defend our own.”

I always find it astonishing to hear anyone on behalf of the Catholic Church attempting to take the moral high ground on anything – considering the Church’s decades-long behavior with regard to pedophile priests, and the treatment of those whose lives were ruined as a result.

To put it bluntly, sir:  You and your colleagues have absolutely no credibility on any issue that requires even a modicum of morals, ethics, or acting in good conscience. The Church had ample opportunity to oust its pedophiles, turn them over to the proper authorities, and offer solace and compassion to those children who suffered at the hands of their molesters.

Instead, the Church chose to not only cover up for its criminal element, it enabled its known pedophiles by simply transferring them to different parishes where more children could, and did, fall prey to these predators, without warning to new parishes that Holy Mother the Church was placing a child molester in their midst.

In view of the aforesaid, refusing to provide insurance that covers contraception on the basis of it being a violation of your religious beliefs is not only laughable, it is downright insulting.

Where were your religious beliefs when children were being abused, in the worst possible way, by the very people they’d been taught to revere and trust as representatives of Christ on earth? Where was your collective conscience when known pedophiles were relocated and assigned positions that gave them even greater access to innocent children, rather than being excommunicated and handed over for criminal prosecution?

“This lawsuit in no way challenges either women’s established legal right to obtain and use contraception or the right of employers to provide coverage for it if they so choose. This lawsuit is about religious freedom.”

This lawsuit has nothing to do with religious freedom. What it does have to do with is a faith of convenience, i.e. when it is convenient for the Church to follow its conscience, it does so. When it becomes an inconvenience – like having to admit to the wrongdoing of the members of its own clergy, and actually do something about it – the Church’s conscience becomes non-existent.

We have seen that the Catholic Church, along with other “Christian” churches, has a distinct penchant for declaring itself a religious organization when it comes to paying taxes – but has no qualms about expressing political opinions from the pulpit, admonishing its members to withdraw their support from pro-choice or pro-same-sex marriage politicians, even going so far as publicly humiliating prominent Catholics by refusing them communion on the basis of their representation of the political views of the very people who elected them to office.

And we have also seen that such “religious organizations” are the first to raise their upturned palms when it comes to federal funds that support their schools and universities.

“For two millennia, Roman Catholic entities have been engaged in charitable works – serving not just Catholics, but non-Catholics as well, with the understanding that these works are an essential part of Christian love and the practice of the Christian faith… Considering the dedicated efforts put into these good works, it is understandable to feel somewhat disheartened to see our government attempt to force the Church out of the public square. To be clear, that is the message that the HHS mandate conveys: our beliefs are not welcome. Those who have the temerity to hold onto their convictions will be fined.”

Again, sir, I must reiterate the bleeding obvious:  The Catholic Church had decades to stand up in the public square and declare its commitment to ridding itself of the pedophiles operating within its midst. Instead, the Church chose to protect the guilty, to enable its molesters, and to use its vast financial resources to fight the lawsuits brought by those who had the temerity to hold onto their conviction that, as children, they should not have been used and abused by sexual predators who operated with the Church’s full knowledge, and its blessing.

If you have gotten this far in my missive, you are undoubtedly shaking your head and wondering why I would raise what you consider to be a topic that is part of an unfortunate past, and one that should be dispensed with and forgotten.

But it will never be forgotten – not by the children who have lived with shame and guilt their whole lives, not by the parents of such children who refused to believe the outrageous “lies” that were later proven to be the truth, not by anyone who has witnessed (as I have in my years as a court reporter) the tactics used by lawyers retained by the Church to discredit and humiliate those strong enough to stand up to the “religious organization” that robbed them of their childhood innocence.

And before you hide (as is your wont) behind the “we had no idea” excuse, I would remind you that lawyers do not act unilaterally, but take instructions from their clients. Ergo, no lawyer would accuse a witness of having seduced an innocent priest as a twelve-year-old boy, or soliciting sexual favors from a priest as a thirteen-year-old girl, without the explicit direction of Holy Mother the Church. You gave your blessing to such tactics, and hoped to God your machinations swayed a judge or jury to see things your way.

“The First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom, however, was not meant to protect merely the right to worship, but also the right to contribute the fruits of our faith to the common good … So above all we find cheer in the worthiness of our cause and in the love of our Creator, who imbued us with the very dignity and freedom that this lawsuit seeks to protect.”

You had a worthy cause, sir – one might say it was the worthiest of causes – and you chose to turn that worthy cause into a further assault on the victims who had already been assaulted. You had the chance to stand up for what was right; you chose to stand up for what was expedient, lest the contributions to the Sunday collection plate be placed in jeopardy.

And now you have the gall to hold your Church out as a victim, all the while knowing that the true victims of your Church’s policies have been emotionally devastated – with your fucking self-serving blessing.

“The Church did not choose this fight. It is HHS that has departed from longstanding practice and precedent to change the law; our response merely aims to preserve our existing rights.”

Don’t be so God-damned ignorant, as feigned as it may be. The rights you wish to preserve have nothing to do with religious freedom, and everything to do with the political persuasion you hope to exert. You don’t like the law as it stands?  Fine.  Then cough up your tax dollars and take a place at the political table.  Otherwise, STFU.

“To further advance our support for religious liberty, I invite you to a special event to publicly witness to our faith and our freedom in the nation’s capital. On June 24, 2012, the Archdiocese of Washington will host a “Celebration of Freedom.”

Are the victims of your pedophile priests also invited? Will their voices be heard as part of your “Celebration of Freedom”? I doubt it.

“In the coming weeks and months, may God remind us that the freedom of religion is only meaningful when we exercise it. And may God look with favor on our prayers for the success of this endeavor we have undertaken in His name.”

In the coming weeks and months, may God remind us that freedom of religion does not include the sexual violation of children, the holding back of information that would put the perpetrators of such crimes behind bars, nor the protection and enabling of such predators excused as the right of those who purport to be “religious” entities.

It is a question oft asked of true followers of Christ: What would Jesus do?

I’m confident in believing that He wouldn’t have said, “Fuck the kids, literally, and then count on your Holier-Than-Thou church to cover your pedophile ass.”

Again I repeat, sir:   You and your Church have no credibility. Your claims of persecution as a religious group hold no sway. Your arguments about religious freedom are as empty as your souls. Your holding yourselves out as the protectors of the faith is, and always will be, a cruelly laughable example of hypocrisy at its finest.

“Faithfully in Christ, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.”

Christ has nothing to do with it – but I’ve no doubt you already know that. God handed you an opportunity to stand by your faith and stand for the innocents violated by your own. Your response was to stand with the pedophiles, and accuse the innocents of lies, deceit and, ultimately, sexual seduction.

You have no shame, sir – and your current outcry of being persecuted for your faith is a clear demonstration of your lack thereof. Your so-called religious beliefs are a matter of political convenience – nothing more.

Faithfully in Christ and His actual teachings, as opposed to your hypocritical rhetoric,
Nance Greggs