Faith and Reason - Digesting Archbishop McCarrick’s move to Victoria

Written by Fr. Andrew Rockers

Q. Should Archbishop Theodore McCarrick be living in Victoria?

A. Many Catholics throughout the Diocese and throughout the country were shocked, discouraged and even angered when they heard the news that the disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick would be living at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria. I myself was among them. But then, by God’s grace and Bishop Jerry Vincke’s example, I began to have a different perspective on the whole matter. Basically, I realized I don’t know the answer to the above question, and I don’t think anyone else really does either.

God’s ways are quite mysterious, beyond our ability to comprehend. Anyone who has read the Book of Job knows to be very hesitant about claiming to know the mind of God. Or put another way, we read in Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” It’s all too easy to view this situation regarding Archbishop McCarrick from a human perspective. I think Bishop Vincke is challenging us to view it from a divine perspective, through the eyes of faith.

We want justice. All people of good will want the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to face justice for what they’ve done. Many people are calling for Archbishop McCarrick to be thrown in jail, and while that is very understandable, at this moment in time, it’s also very unrealistic. He has not been charged or convicted of any civil crimes, at least not yet, and therefore the Church has no ability to have him thrown in jail, now or ever. Many people are also calling for him to be laicized or removed from the priesthood, something I myself support strongly. But, there’s only one person in the world with the authority to do that, and it’s not Bishop Vincke, nor anyone else in the United States. Even if these just things were to happen, we need to remember that they would not perfectly satisfy justice for the sins of Archbishop McCarrick; all human justice is necessarily imperfect. True justice for these terrible crimes can only be brought about by God himself.

There are two ways this could happen: the eternal punishment of hell or the redemptive power of Christ. No disciple of Jesus can desire the former, we must all desire and pray for the latter. The justice that we must truly desire can only come from mercy, from Archbishop McCarrick repenting of his sins and placing them at the foot of the cross, so that they can be cleansed in the Blood of the Lamb; this is the mystery of our redemption. And this is compatible with him still being held accountable in this life and having to make reparation in Purgatory.

In 1887, there was a convicted murderer by the name of Henri Pranzini condemned to death. He was unrepentant up until the very moment of his execution, when he turned to the priest present and devoutly kissed a crucifix three times. St. Therese of Lisieux had been praying fervently for his repentance and salvation, and she took this as a sign that her prayer had been answered. Bishop Vincke is asking us as a Diocese to take up a similar mission as that of St. Therese: to pray fervently that Archbishop McCarrick will receive all the graces necessary for his salvation. Our bishop saying yes to letting the archbishop live in Victoria is not preventing justice from being carried out. As I said above, he doesn’t have the authority necessary for that. He could have said no, but they would have just found somewhere else for Archbishop McCarrick to live. And some people, especially in Victoria, are probably going to continue to wish our bishop had, and I sympathize with that. But instead, he accepted this challenge for our diocese, taking it to prayer and believing it to be of God.

In God’s providence, we are now being called upon to pray and sacrifice in an intentional and intense way for the conversion and repentance of Archbishop McCarrick. The Prayer after Communion for the Mass of St. Therese beautifully articulates this call from God: “May the Sacrament we have received, O Lord, kindle in us the force of that love with which Saint Therese dedicated herself to you and longed to obtain your mercy for all. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

A final word does need to be said about the fact that St. Fidelis Friary is right next to an elementary school. This looks terrible; but, I want to suggest that it looks far worse than it actually is. The reason the archbishop was able to do what he did was because of his influence and authority, but that’s all over. He is now a weak and frail 88-year-old man, with no influence or power in Victoria to use as leverage. There are also no young and vulnerable Capuchins at St. Fidelis Friary; it is primarily a retirement home, not a house of formation. The archbishop has been explicitly confined to the Friary itself. He is not allowed to leave for any reason, short of a medical emergency 

I realize this doesn't address all of the concerns, disagreements and potential problems with this arrangement, but in God's Providence it is what it is, at least for now. With faith and fervent prayer, let's make the best of it. And please pray for Bishop Vincke as well.

Statement on Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s Residence

SALINA, Kan. – Today the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. announced that Archbishop Theodore McCarrick will be residing at the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kan., to live a life of prayer and penance. Archbishop McCarrick is excluded from any public appearances and ministry. The Diocese of Salina is not incurring any costs during this arrangement. 

(Click here for The Archdiocese of Washington, DC's press release.)

Out of consideration for the peace of the community at St. Fidelis Friary, respect for the privacy of this arrangement is requested. Thank you. 

The Salina Diocese adheres to Safe Environment procedures; anyone harmed by Church personnel should immediately report the matter to the Salina Diocesan Office of Safety and Security Hotline at (785) 825-0865 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., so that the diocese can offer assistance with healing and reconciliation. 

Why I said “Yes”

Bishop Vincke

The Church needs to be open, honest and transparent. 

On September 13, 2018, I received a phone call from His Eminence, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. After brief pleasantries, he got right to the point. He asked for my permission for Archbishop Theodore McCarrick to reside at the St. Fidelis Capuchin Friary in Victoria, Kansas, to live a life of prayer and penance. Archbishop McCarrick is 88 years old. Cardinal Wuerl already received permission for this arrangement from Father Christopher Popravek, the provincial of the Capuchin Friary in Denver. I said, “yes.” 

I realize this decision will be offensive and hurtful to many people. Archbishop McCarrick is, in many ways, at the forefront of the recent firestorm in the Church. Many of us are confused and angry by what Archbishop McCarrick is alleged to have done several decades ago. The Holy See stated on July 28 that Pope Francis “accepted his resignation from the cardinalate and has ordered his suspension from the exercise of any public ministry, together with the obligation to remain in a house yet to be indicated to him, for a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.” Please know that I agreed to this arrangement with the understanding that Archbishop McCarrick is excluded from any public appearances and ministry. Our diocese is not incurring any cost in this arrangement. 

I believe in justice. Recently, the administrative committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated their support of a full investigation into the allegations surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. The committee has recommended that the investigation be done by lay experts in relevant fields, including law enforcement and social services. Currently, a timeline for that investigation is unknown. 

I also believe in mercy. In saying “yes,” I had to reconcile my own feelings of disappointment, anger and even resentment toward Archbishop McCarrick. I had to turn to Christ for guidance. Jesus is rich in mercy. He did not come to give us permission to sin, he came to forgive our sins. We know that Christ has compassion and mercy for all who repent of their sins. The cross is a place of love and mercy. It is not a place of retribution. If our actions do not have mercy, then how can it be of the Church? 

Jesus reminds us to “be merciful, just as our Father is merciful.” Many years ago, I received a relic of Saint Maria Goretti, who was canonized in 1950. When Maria was almost 12 years old, she was attacked by a 19-year-old man named Allesandro Serenilli. After she rebuffed his sexual advances, Allessandro stabbed her 14 times. On her deathbed, Maria’s last words were, “I forgive Alessandro Serenelli … and I want him with me in heaven forever.” She forgave her assailant. Yet, there was also justice. Allesandro spent a number of years in prison. During this time, he had a deep conversion and spent the rest of his life in a monastery. I have the relic of Saint Maria Goretti beside the tabernacle in my chapel with a prayer that I say often. The 

opening line is “Dear Saint Maria Goretti, your heart was so full of mercy that you gladly forgave your assassin and prayed that he might be saved.” I think Saint Maria Goretti is a saint today because she forgave Allesandro. 

Sometimes, it can take a long time to forgive. 

At this time, I would like to take the opportunity to say how deeply sorry I am to all the victims of abuse. My heart aches for you and your families. I am unable to comprehend the extent of your suffering. Sadly, many times the victims did not receive an adequate response from the Church regarding the abuse they endured and the life-long pain and suffering that accompanies such evil. As a Church, we are extremely sorry and ask for forgiveness. Because of the courage and perseverance of the victims who came forward, they have become the source of much needed change in our Church and our culture. I pray that this may bring about greater purification and healing for our world. 

This is a difficult time for the Church. This purification of the Church by God is painful, but much needed. We need the eyes of faith as we suffer through this. “Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey (Lumen Fidei #57).” Jesus is with us as light in the midst of darkness. 

We trust that God will bring good out of this situation. Please join me in praying for Archbishop McCarrick as he now leads a life of prayer and penance. Most of all, let us pray for all victims of abuse so they may experience the healing presence of Jesus and the tenderness and compassion of our Blessed Mother. 

Letter from Bishop Vincke

Bishop Vincke

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ to all of you. 

I’ve been in Salina for a few weeks now and I can tell you without hesitation that I enjoy it here. Thanks to all of you for your warm hospitality. I really appreciate your kindness and support. I’ve traveled to many of our parishes thus far and it has been a source of great joy for me. It’s been wonderful to meet so many of you. I still have quite a few parishes to visit, as well as many of our schools. We are blessed to have a great chancery staff to support the needs of the diocese, too.  

I would like to address a topic that I refer to as “A Time of Healing.”  

The clergy sexual abuse scandal has been on many of our hearts, especially after the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released. The first thing I want to say is how sorry I am that this has happened. My heart goes out to all victims of abuse. What happened to them has a life-long impact on their lives and those connected to them. Sadly, many times the victims did not receive an adequate response from the Church regarding the abuse they endured and the lifelong pain and suffering that accompanies such evil. As a Church, we are extremely sorry and ask for forgiveness for the sins of our clergy. I am sorry as well to all of you, the faithful. What happened leaves us frustrated, confused and even angry. It is completely understandable to have these feelings. I’m also sorry to all of our good priests who have not been involved in any wrongdoing. It’s been very hard on them, too. When one suffers, we all suffer.

We cannot let this happen again. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stated the truth must come out in these situations. To uncover the truth we must launch an audit, with the majority of help from lay people, into what has happened and why it happened. I encourage you to read Cardinal DiNardo’s comments at the USCCB website ( http://www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-136.cfm ). We must learn from the mistakes of our past. We must be more transparent. We cannot hide and be silent. 

With that said, I’ve had discussions with many people in our diocese; and more importantly, I have given this difficult issue much prayer and concluded hiring someone to do an independent audit of the diocesan files is the correct and just action to take. It is my hope this action will uncover any wrongdoings that occurred in the past, and only then can we attempt to make those individuals that were harmed whole again. 

As your new bishop, I will do all I can to make sure we do things the right way. We need to make sure that we follow the Dallas Charter. I personally took the time to go through the training to protect God’s children. Two weeks ago, I met with the Diocesan Lay Review Board, which is composed of mostly laity. This board regularly reviews all complaints of sexual abuse involving minors. I was really, really impressed with this group of individuals. The members come from a variety of backgrounds that deal with issues involving sexual abuse of children. This group is dedicated to protecting the children of our diocese.  

I realize too, that as your new bishop I will have to gain your trust. I’ve been praying about this. The only thing I can do is to give my life for you and to love you as Jesus loves you. I know I will fail at times, but I pray each morning to love the people that I encounter. Please pray for me. The Lord has chosen me to be your shepherd during this difficult time in the Church. The evil one wants me, and all of us, to live out of fear and mistrust, and to stop preaching the saving mysteries of the Gospel.  

This is indeed a dark time in the Church. But God has shed his light on the darkness so that healing can take place. This might be a long process. However, we put our trust in the Lord who will bring a greater good out of this than we can ever imagine.

Finally, if you have ever been abused, please contact our Victim Assistance Coordinator at (785) 825-0865 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ... healing starts when we bring it into the light. 

I’ve started a monthly communication (Enews) to the people of the diocese. I know that some of you don’t receive email. Perhaps you can get a copy from someone at the parish. Otherwise, please sign up at https://salinadiocese.org/bishops-office/bishop-s-enews.

With love and my prayers,­
+ Jerry Vincke

St. Nick, Hays, renovation

The Register
Hays – Bishop Jerry Vincke is going to experience a lot of “firsts” during his inaugural year as bishop of the Diocese of Salina.
After being ordained as the diocese’s 12th bishop just 10 days earlier, Bishop Vincke took part in a ceremony that doesn’t come along all that often. On Sept. 1, he celebrated a Mass at St. Nicholas of Myra Church in Hays, commemorating the remodeling of the entire worship space. Included in that celebration was the consecration of the new limestone altar.
“I was really looking forward to this celebration ever since I knew it was on my calendar,” said Bishop Vincke, who was ordained on Aug. 22 in Salina. “These ceremonies don’t happen very often in a diocese, so I was blessed to experience it already.”
Longtime parishioner Dorothy Dechant has seen such a ceremony before, but she said it’s worth experiencing time and time again.
“This service was just beautiful,” said the 89-year-old Decant, remembers the first Mass at St. Nicholas when it was built in 1985. “I remember the bishop blessing everything and everyone. I’m so grateful to God for getting to be part of another consecration Mass.”
The parish had been raising money for a building fund for several years, and Father Jarett Konrade said he thinks the final bill for the renovation will come in under its $900,000 budget. An additional $150,000 was raised in the last six months to avoid completely depleting the building fund.

 


During his homily at the consecration Mass, Bishop Vincke stressed the importance of the altar.
“The altar is a symbol of Christ,” he said. “On the altar, Jesus offers himself to the Father for our salvation at every Mass.”
The cream-colored limestone for the altar — along with a matching ambo and tabernacle stand — was gathered from a quarry near Herington and purchased from U.S. Stone Industries in Manhattan.
A new 10-foot tall crucifix, with the symbols of the four gospel writers at the tips of the cross, overlooks the sanctuary which is brightened with the addition of new white tile. The reflection of stained glass windows in the back of the church are reflected in the blue tile background for the crucifix. Large statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph flank the crucifix on either side.

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Diocese will participate in #iGiveCatholic on Nov. 27

 

Salina — The Salina Diocese will participate in #iGiveCatholic for the first time this year. Declared “the most successful Catholic crowdfunding event to date” by the National Catholic Register, the goal of the #iGiveCatholic Giving Day is to rally our Catholic community in support of the organizations that shape our souls: our parishes, schools ministries and not-for-profit organizations. Currently, parishes and not-for-profit organizations across the diocese are enrolling. Enrollment closes Oct. 31.

What is #iGiveCatholic?
It is an online giving day that coincides with #GivingTuesday, which is the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It also kicks off a traditionally charitable season. The goal of #iGiveCatholic Giving Day is to inspire the Catholic community to come together as faithful stewards and to “give Catholic” on Giving Tuesday.

When is #iGiveCatholic?
This year, it is Tuesday, Nov. 27 from Midnight to 11:59 p.m. CST.

How does it work?
#iGiveCatholic is an online platform with searchable profiles of participating parishes, schools, ministries and not-for-profit organizations affiliated with the 28 participating dioceses. All donations are processed through iGiveCatholic.org. Participating organizations and donors can track event progress via leaderboards.

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Catholic Charities assists Manhattan residents following flood

 

Salina — Disasters often strike at unexpected and inconvenient times. Yet immediate response is essential to aid those impacted.
Michelle Martin, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas, said Catholic Charities established a Disaster Relief Fund in 2017, with the intention of being prepared to assist immediately when disaster strikes. The money from the fund is used to assist those who live within the diocese; no money is sent toward national disasters. Parishes within Manhattan held a special collection for the Disaster Relief Fund Sept. 15-16 to assist families recover from the Sept. 3 flood.

The fund began in 2017 following the large-scale Aug. 10 hail storm in WaKeeney. “We were overwhelmed by the generosity of the response in the diocese,” Martin said of the Aug. 26-27, 2017 special collection. All money raised from the collection for WaKeeney and following the Manhattan flooding will assist individuals in the Salina Diocese. From the money raised, Catholic Charities was able to financially assist 34 people in WaKeeney, as well as 14 other households that experienced a disaster such as a tornado or fire since the fund’s inception. The lesson learned from WaKeeney was how vital it is to have money on-hand to assist immediately when a disaster strikes. “When a disaster happens, decisions must be made immediately so that you can respond quickly,” Martin said. “It’s important to have something already established. Because the Disaster Relief Fund already existed, I knew Catholic Charities could participate at the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) because I had some funding available to help with less than 24-hours notice to prepare and respond.”

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Speaker encourages youth to develop Eucharistic devotion

The Register

Hays — Giving multiple presentations over the course of two days is nothing new to Terry Barber, an international speaker, founder of three Catholic communication and evangelization organizations, and author of “How to Share Your Faith With Anyone.” What Barber found different about his trip to Hays in early September was making some of those presentations to audiences comprised of elementary through high school-aged students. While the primary purpose of Barber’s visit was to be the keynote speaker at Divine Mercy Radio’s eighth annual appreciation banquet on Sept. 8, he jumped at the opportunity to spend time on Friday, Sept. 7, with students from Thomas More Prep-Marian Jr./Sr. High School and Holy Family Elementary School. In his talks with the students, Barber’s message focused on ways each young person could grow in his or her relationship with Jesus Christ. He wove several stories and examples into his talks, sharing how other young people had grown in their faith and how Jesus showed his presence to people throughout their lives. One piece of advice he offered the students was to spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
“Ask your mom or dad if you can visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, even just for a few minutes,” Barber told the first and second-grade students attending his first presentation at Holy Family Elementary. “If you visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament frequently, your faith will grow. Just ask him for more faith every day.”

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Chief Financial Officer -The Diocese of Salina

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER -The Diocese of Salina (Salina, Kansas) has an immediate opening for a Chief Financial Officer position. The successful candidate will be responsible for the overall financial management of the diocese and the stewardship of the fiscal resources in support of the mission of the Church. Under the direction of the Bishop of Salina and his Vicar General, this office oversees all financial and related functions including budgeting, accounting, investments, risk management, real estate and facilities, and contracted benefits for the diocese.  The ideal candidate will be a practicing Catholic in good standing. Must possess a high degree of integrity, confidentiality, attention to detail, and excellent verbal and written communication skills.

This position requires a bachelor’s or higher degree in accounting and/or finance, CPA licensure preferred, and at least ten years related work experience. Application and a more detailed job description are available on the diocesan web site at: http://salinadiocese.org. Qualified individuals should submit a cover letter, resume, cover letter, a pastor’s letter of support, and application (CLICK HERE) to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Open until filled.

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