The liberal pundits are getting their word processors in gear to defend Fr. Walter Cuenin in the face of his dismissal, and Brian McGrory is first out of the gate.
Let’s see if I have this right. The Catholic Church is facing a severe shortage of priests. Sunday Mass is so empty it’s starting to look like a meeting of the Cambridge Republican Club. The contribution basket has been coming up nearly empty.
So what does Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley do? Here’s exactly what he does: He fires the popular pastor at one of the most successful parishes in the entire state, a rare church constantly filled with communicants, bustling with weddings, brimming with christenings, welcoming to people of all types.
How does one measure the effectiveness and success of a priest? By the number of butts filling the pews? By the amount of money he brings in? The Church doesn’t adapt her message in order to appeal to the widest range of people, like McDonald’s changing its slogan or burger recipe to bring in more customers. The Church presents the truth of the Gospel, always and at all times and should never sacrifice that truth for the sake of a populist priest’s appeal.
But that’s not all. Rather than be up front with parishioners, rather than explain that the Rev. Walter Cuenin is being relieved of his Newton post because his views on hot-button topics such as homosexuality and women differ markedly with those of Catholic leaders, rather than just admit that Cuenin was never a favorite among higher-ups because he was so critical of the church during the sex scandal, O’Malley chose a markedly different path. He chose to smear Cuenin for driving a parish-funded, parish-approved lease car.
Ah see, because Brian McGrory is either a mind reader or he has an inside line to the chancery or ... he just knows this must be why they did it. And so the archdiocese “smears” Cuenin. What does it mean to “smear” someone? To damage the reputation of someone through false accusations.
So, Brian, tell me in what way these are false accusations? After all Cuenin himself says that he took the money, that he took the car, and that while he claims he thought it was okay, it was in violation of archdiocesan rules. Not once has Cuenin denied what he is accused of. In fact, he quickly resigned, refused to talk to the press, and hasn’t said a word in his defense apart from his statements at Mass last Sunday.
That’s right: After silently shuffling pedophiles from one town to another to prey on fresh batches of children, the archdiocese is finally cracking down on wayward priests—for driving Hondas.
That’s right: the archdiocese losts its moral authority in the Scandal, so now it’s not allowed to enforce any rule, especially when it affects a popular heterodox priest.
McGrory is so mad that the rest of his column is a series of sputtering unconnected rants flailing about in every direction. He even casts aspersions on Fr. Richard Bradford, a married priest who left the Episcopal Church “in a dispute,” leaving the implication laying there.
Wow, these guys have lost touch with reality. This should get really interesting over the next few days.