The United States Council of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual conference is held every November in Baltimore and is on no one’s radar.

But not this year.

The Silence Stops Now Coalition that was established by and is committed to ending the culture of clerical silence that has enabled the church’s sexual predation for decades was there in force wanting answers.

They were promptly left wanting.

The bishop’s conference is one of those rubber stamping events that no one other than the establishment Catholic media (yes, there is such an animal that is underwritten by the bishops, no less) that operates primarily as a press release enterprise that serves as fillers in diocesan newspapers that practically no one reads, let alone individually subscribes to.

The only “news” to emerge from the conference was when Pope Francis told the bishops not to make any by not voting on any measures related to yet another round of sexual abuse, this time involving the one time leading U.S. Catholic prelate, Theodore McCarrick.

Falling in line, the USCCB voted 137 to 83 not to petition Rome for its documentation on McCarrick, nor take any further action.

The bishop of Harrisburg, Ronald Gainer, did not attend the conference, as he was recuperating from knee replacement surgery. When questioned via email, through the Harrisburg’s recently minted director of public relations for the diocese Rachel Bryson, on where Bishop Gainer’s sentiments lie, no reply was received.

What was emphasized diocesan wide in a letter dated Nov. 8, was how the diocese will be funding a Survivors’ Compensation Program that the bishop assured parishioners, “…the resources for this fund will not be coming from money you are so generously donating to your local parish and to the diocese.”

The compensation and policies aren’t the problem — it’s the policymakers.

Considering that at least 83 bishops were unwilling to play ball with the Vatican shows some are finally growing a backbone.

The conference’s venue also seems a bit misplaced.

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Marriott?

Prior to the ecumenically driven Second Vatican Council more than a half-century ago, no one in the episcopate or otherwise would have ever contemplated holding a church conference at some five-star hotel.

Penitent, solemn and ascetic bishops would have prayerfully gathered in a monastery.

Pope Francis once told the bishops that they should get the “smell of the sheep.” “At the Marriott,” as writer George Neumayr tells it, “the bishops are more likely to encounter the aroma of filet mignon.”

The bishops have known that this moment would eventually arrive and tragically undermine the Church’s historic moral authority.

The inadequate formation of many clergy and the pitiful lack of solid catechesis among the baptized, has resulted in many drifting away to Protestant pastures. Others have departed to the Eastern Orthodox, still others to sedevacantist groups, and the rest has surrendered to the “none generation.”

Satan desires to eliminate Christian belief and worship worldwide and works daily to meet those ends. For those who remain in the trenches, both faithful and clergy alike, this is quite disturbing. Things are indeed dire, but Easter glory comes after Good Friday’s sorrow. We know who wins at the end, but getting to the end could be a prolonged journey filled with many discouraging setbacks, hardships and scandals.

Jesus Christ does not abandon His sheep, even if there is only a remnant.

The Church is caught up in the homosexual web of the modernist heresy — different fruit of the same poisonous tree. The clergy has a homosexual problem, and many bishops dismiss it, perhaps because they, too, are gay.

Will the bishops who are growing that spine finally call out and exorcise this evil? The stage awaits and has never been bigger. Boldness, truth and transparency on the part of the episcopate is sorely needed because their silence only condones such evil to metastasize and flourish.

You cannot purify the Church by remaining silent.

The leadership of the Church has failed spectacularly in more ways than one, but mostly in morality. The Church should be the one worldly body adept in taking on evil, instead of cooperating and enabling it.

The Church will never lose its mandate.

But it’s evident the USCCB has.

(Maresca, a local freelance writer, composes “Talking Points” for each Sunday edition.)

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