FRONT ROYAL, VA — If there is one common theme in the religious, cultural, and political collapse which we see all around us, it is cowardice.
Some people simply don’t want to know. And they don’t want us to know either.
When Catholic bishops met in Dallas in June 2002, they confronted the greatest scandal in the history of the American Church: not only had a small percentage of clerics sexually abused children — most of them adolescent males — but a majority of the bishops sitting there had actually for years covered up for the abusers.
When one honest bishop made a motion requiring the bishops’ conference to study the causes of the scandals, his motion didn’t even get a second.
And the bishops haven’t investigated the causes, even to this day.
When zealous Mohammedans began beheading and incinerating Christians in the chaos that was post–war Iraq, American Christians who had supported the war fell silent. The valiant Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf actually took to the floor of the House of Representatives last summer to condemn members of both parties for turning their eyes the other way.
Frank Wolf didn’t get a second, either.
The Christian patriarchs of the Middle East told the truth: George W. Bush’s war had caused such chaos in the region that, according to Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako of Kirkuk, Bush’s war had made it possible for Moslems to achieve what they had not been able to accomplish since the time of Mohammed: wipe out Christianity in its most ancient enclaves in Iraq.
…George W. Bush’s war ... made it possible for Moslems to achieve what they had not been able to accomplish since the time of Mohammed: wipe out Christianity in its most ancient enclaves in Iraq.
Yet the famously “Christian Bush” has never ventured forth from his self-imposed hibernation to apologize for his pivotal contribution to this historic religious, cultural, and political catastrophe.
He had been warned: Saint Pope John Paul II had sent Cardinal Pio Laghi to warn him sternly that his proposed invasion would cause the chaos and suffering that we know today has indeed come to pass. Bush responded with what in diplomatic terms can only be called the back of his hand.
Instead of listening to the Pope, Team Bush listened to Richer Perle, Ahmed Chalabi, Curveball, and a gaggle of provocateurs, all of whom urged him on — for their own private reasons, mostly money — because, as today’s new multimillionaire Tony Blair assured him, “history will vindicate us.”
Well, we know how that went.
George W. Bush is still in seclusion. But Roger Cardinal Mahony, the former Archbishop of Los Angeles, is not. Mahony spent a cool billion dollars of the faithful’s money to keep himself off the witness stand in public court until the statute of limitations on his role in the abuse scandals had expired. He was finally reprimanded by his successor, to no avail: after his public disgrace, he boasted on his blog that he was welcomed in Rome to the conclave that elected Pope Francis.
Apparently, former presidents don’t have to obey anybody either. And the same goes for former vice presidents. A snarling Dick Cheney, the poster boy for the war profiteers, routinely shows up on Fox TV, defending torture, attacking Obama, and generally embarrassing Republicans who consider him a ball and chain impeding the party’s chances for presidential success in 2016.
The famously “Christian Bush” has never ventured forth from his self-imposed hibernation to apologize for his pivotal contribution to this historic religious, cultural, and political catastrophe.
They wish he’d go join W in the Memory Hole.
Many Catholic bishops seem to feel that same way about the scandals. They have long insisted that “the scandals are behind us,” but lawsuits and settlements continue to mount, with no end in sight.
Bishop Conlon of Joliet, an honest man, admits that their credibility is “shredded.”
And so is the credibility of the GOP Establishment.
Ever since 2008, Republican presidential candidates (except Ron Paul, of course) have desperately avoided even mentioning George W. Bush. But it has always been conservatives, not liberals, who study the past, honor its traditions, and seek to preserve its morals, its institutions, and its truths.
Why hide from it now?
Today, countless “conservative” journals, blogs, and politicians are afraid of the past. For them, everything is Obama’s fault, and no mention is permitted of Bush-Cheney’s massive invasion of individual liberties and privacy, their embrace of “Big Government Conservatism,” or their other disasters that led directly to the handing the presidency over to Barack Obama on a silver platter.
...no mention is permitted of Bush-Cheney’s massive invasion of individual liberties and privacy, their embrace of “Big Government Conservatism,” or their other disasters that led directly to the handing the presidency over to Barack Obama on a silver platter.
The cowardice seems to be contagious. Today, true conservatives shudder as the historic Republican Congress and Senate shrink from their responsibilities. Yes, the pols insist — properly — that Obama is ignoring his constitutional duties while flouting the law. But they refuse to exercise the powers conferred upon them by the Constitution to address those crimes and misdemeanors.
And the Church? She has always been the standard-bearer for truth and morality in a Protestant America. But today its credibility is “shredded,” severely weakening its ability to defend itself against the virulent anti-Catholicism that prevails throughout the secular culture.
The results can only be called bizarre: Catholic bishops quietly line up with other NGO’s to receive billions of taxpayer dollars in government welfare contracts, while Nancy Pelosi coos that congressional Democrats will do everything they can to keep Speaker John Boehner in power.
To paraphrase George H. W. Bush, “this will not stand.”
Indeed, it cannot.
It’s time for truth.
From Under the Rubble archives
From Under the Rubble is copyright © 2015
by Christopher Manion.
All rights reserved.
Christopher Manion served as a staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. He has taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, the Catholic University of America, and Christendom College.
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