For a long time the sins of Cardinal McCarrick were an open secret. See the book Good-bye Good Men. Yet nothing could be done about it. His position was unassailable. Why?
I think that, when a person has a position of leadership in the Church, gained over the course of many years, a large number of Catholic leaders must have worked with that person. They helped him rise to a position of leadership. They helped him in his role as a leader. They were associated with him closely for so long that they are not willing to believe that he is guilty of gravely immoral acts. If so, then they would also be guilty by cooperation.
And this is why, when an evildoer has power in politics, or religion, or the corporate world, it is so hard to remove him (or her). There are just too many other persons with power who realize that it will reflect badly on them, if he or she is found guilty in the court of public opinion (or an actual court of law). They have a strong bias against believing any accusations. They automatically tend toward distrusting the accusers. They have a vested interest in making the accusations go away.
This is why it took so long to remove Cardinal McCarrick. This is why the Honduran Bishops did not act appropriately when grave sins were disclosed at their seminary [Source]. This is why the many teachers of heresy and grave moral errors in the conservative wing of the Catholic Church are just as unassailable as McCarrick was. They openly teach heresy and grave errors on faith and morals. In some cases, their errors are severe and manifest. They are openly approving of acts of grave depravity, various forms of abortion, and patently heretical doctrine. And yet they cannot be removed or even rebuked.
The Catholic news and magazine outlets that have published their writings for so many years are not going to admit that they published the writings of heretics. The priests and bishops who associated with them are not going to admit that they have been cooperating with heretics. The people who gave them teaching positions are not going to admit that they hired persons whose work harms body and soul. The whole conservative Catholic subculture is not going to admit its own sins and weaknesses by rebuking them. And so they are able to openly teach grave errors, including heresy, while still maintaining teaching positions and the ability to publish in conservative Catholic sources. They are able to publicly commit formal schism, and yet continue to be seen as if they were orthodox and faithful teachers of Catholicism.
And a special case is found in the falsified and perverted version of the theology of the body, which is like a monster attacking the Church today. It preaches blatant sexual idolatry and idolatry of the body. It supports the grave sexual sins of the laity, and they, in turn, support this idolatrous sexualized version of Christianity. Few persons speak out against it. They are afraid of the monster. It has too much support. Very many diocese and parishes use this wicked version of theology of the body (not the version from our holy Pope-Saint). Priests are afraid to speak against it. It has many supporters among the laity.
And so Christopher West is permitted to utter pornographic blasphemy again and again, especially at The Cor Project, and no one speaks a word against him. Think about that. A very prominent Catholic teacher utters the most extreme type of sexualized blasphemy that could be imagined, on a daily or weekly basis, and out of the billion Catholics in the world only a select few say a word about it. Christopher West is worse that former Cardinal McCarrick, since West harms millions of souls with his perverted version of theology of the body, whereas McCarrick’s harm is limited to a small set of persons (who nevertheless suffered very greatly).
So the situation today really has reached a point of utter absurdity.
Now, once it was clear that McCarrick had lost his power, many bloggers and authors started piling on the condemnations — well-deserved but too late to be of any consequence. They were not being brave. They were seeking approval from their audience and seeking a larger audience.
Why don’t they speak out against the McCarricks of today? Why don’t they speak out against those conservative Catholics who have publicly committed formal schism, or publicly taught heresy, or publicly taught grave moral errors? Instead, persons who have repeatedly approved of the killing of unborn innocents, via abortifacient contraception, are permitted to teach about Humanae Vitae — the encyclical that condemns contraception and abortion as intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral! What an extreme hypocrisy.
By comparison, McCarrick is guilty of sexual abuse of children and of sexual harassment of seminarians, while these other persons are guilty of different offenses. They have not sexually abused anyone. Or have they? By promoting the use of acts of grave depravity within the Sacrament of holy Matrimony they have, in a sense, committed sexual abuse. For they encourage spouses to abuse one another. They are formally cooperating in these exceedingly wicked acts, the use of unnatural sexual acts in marriage.
McCarrick is not a murderer. But they have killed the unborn by telling Catholic spouses that they may remain sexually active while using abortifacient contraception, as long as they have a good purpose in mind (such as reducing pain, regulating the monthly cycle, or clearing up acne). They have harmed souls by teaching grave errors along with the claim that these errors are Church teaching or sound theology. In many ways, they have done more harm than McCarrick. And then the harm done by the perverse version of the theology of the body is inestimable.
Am I comparing these teachers of grave error to McCarrick? Yes. They each have (or had) unassailable positions of leadership, while they openly harmed body and soul. They each have so many persons in positions of power cooperating with them, for so long, that few are willing to oppose them. They are afraid of the backlash. And this is particularly true of conservative Catholic teachers who have approved of popular grave sins. They obtain much support from sinners in this way.
What can be done? Hell if I know.
— Ronald L. Conte Jr.