The transformation of the Catholic Church into a Church that reflects and teaches the mores of secular society is happening faster than what some doomsayers say is the melting of the polar ice caps.
Recently, Pope Francis named 21 new cardinals, the majority of whom are liberal “company men” who are unlikely to rock the Roman progressivist establishment, unlike the heroic Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, who banned Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion in any parish in the Archdiocese there.
Many of Francis’ cardinal-appointees are liturgical liberals or radicals, like Blasé Cardinal Cupich, who has severely restricted the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass and promotes bizarre liturgical innovation.
In December 2021, Cupich said Mass in an Illinois high school where he blessed a Chinese lion-shaped puppet after the idol preformed a dance around the altar. With an almost perverted, menacing authoritarianism, Francis appointed Cupich to head the Vatican Liturgy office. This is somewhat like making Liz Cheney the head of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Pope Francis’ most egregious “red hat” choice is Robert McElroy, bishop of San Diego, who seems to have swapped the Catholic Catechism for the Catechism of climate change, racism and the “immorality” of placing limits on immigration from third world countries. McElroy loves to boast how the “sins” of climate change and racism (not real racism but the fake racism that descries everything as “racist”) are of far greater importance than the sin of abortion.
McElroy might be described as a mirror-image of Wilton Cardinal Gregory, the Archbishop of Washington, or the (affable) religious jester in the Court of President Biden and House Speaker Pelosi. Both McElroy and Gregory believe that Catholics who support abortion rights should not be denied communion. McElroy believes that denying pro-choice politicians communion is nothing less than a political tactic, or “the weaponization of the Eucharist.”
Under Pope Francis’s direction, a growing and lethal form of progressivism has now formed irreversible tidal pools in the world of Catholicism.
Consider the case of the Nativity School of Worcester, Massachusetts, a free tuition, Jesuit boys school.
In January 2021, the students at Nativity (all boys of color) presented school president Thomas McKenney with a petition calling on the school to be “inclusive” (red flag #1). McKenney, whose career in education began with teaching Catholic school in India, and who was educated at Harvard (red flag #2), agreed with the students and began flying the Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ flag under the United States flag on school property.
McKenney’s Harvard connection is a red flag in the Nativity case because, as The Harvard Crimson reported in its 2022 survey of graduation students, only 6.4% of the responders considered themselves conservative after attending the school.
As for Jesuits and Jesuit-controlled institutions, they have become synonymous with the Catechism of Radical Social Change. This became apparent in the 1960s when Jesuit priests began shifting their expression of the Catholic faith away from liturgical expression and toward a social justice view of the Church. (Almost as soon as they were founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1540, the Jesuits became known for their dislike of “the established order of things” and for their submersion in politics.)
The flying of the
McKenney ignored the request, just as Nancy Pelosi ignored the directive of Archbishop Cordileone’s communion ban. (Pelosi went to communion at Washington’s Holy Trinity Catholic Church the Sunday following Cordileone’s letter, rushing up to the altar in an orange jumpsuit to receive the Host (in hand) from a lay female Eucharistic Minister).
Bishop McManus gave Nativity plenty of time to comply with his request, but when McKenney still refused, he informed Nativity that it was being stripped of its Catholic status and identity. He forbade Mass and the sacraments from being celebrated on school premises and he removed the school’s name from Diocesan records.
In an open letter, he stated:
“Despite my insistence that the school administration remove these flags because of the confusion and the properly theological scandal that they do and can promote, they refuse to do so. This leaves me no other option but to take canonical action,” Bishop McManus wrote in an open letter to the people of his diocese.”
I have little doubt that Bishop McManus’ action was inspired by the actions of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in the Pelosi case.
In his letter to the community of Worcester, the bishop elaborated:
If a Catholic institution had signs out front offering abortion services or family planning, I doubt anyone would be surprised when the local bishop cried “foul” and said it could no longer be identified as a Catholic institution because they performed elective abortions.
No one would question his intervening. For that matter, most people would say, correctly, that the bishop is simply doing his job. Abortion may be legal but the Catholic Church teaches consistently that it is morally wrong to deliberately take an innocent human life.
McManus said that
The bishop reminded McKenney that the Church “stands unequivocally behind the phrase ‘black lives matter’ and strongly affirms that all lives matter.”
Social radical McKenney, feeling smug that the Jesuit institution was backing him, wrote:
Nativity will seek to appeal the decision of the Diocese to remove our Catholic identity through the appropriate channels provided by the Church in circumstances like this., Nativity will continue to display the flags in question to give visible witness to the school’s solidarity with our students, families, and their communities.
Of course, far too many liberals (and cafeteria Catholics) have deluded themselves into thinking that the
In the early 1990s I flew a large Rainbow flag from the window of my second-story apartment near Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square. The reasons for my doing so at that time had everything to do with basic human rights issues—the right to rent an apartment and not be fired from a job because of sexual orientation. It had nothing to do with the rights of so-called transgender children or trans male athletes to compete in women’s sports. It had nothing to do with the use of multiple pronouns and prefix labels like “cis” to describe a “natural” man or woman. It had nothing to do with the invention of new genders.
The “meaning” of the Rainbow flag changed after same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015. At that point the movement joined forces with the gender and identity politics movement. The movement became all about “queer” and transgender rights, drag queen story hours, and anything else you might want to add here in the form of a plus sign or an et cetera that stretches into infinity.
Bishop McManus has already suffered for his stand against the Nativity School. In April, when he was due to address the 173rd Commencement of the College of the Holy Cross, there were large protests—and a petition—requesting that he be disinvited.
“As a community that welcomes members of every gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, we find it inappropriate to have Bishop McManus present at this year’s graduation ceremony for the Class of 2022, and thus request that he be disinvited from attendance,” the statement read.
The bishop excused himself before any action could be taken, and did not attend.
It is unknown whether Bishop McManus realized that the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit institution, is the home of the world’s first Digital Transgender Archive, or an online clearinghouse for transgender history.
Thom Nickels is a Philadelphia-based journalist/columnist and the 2005 recipient of the