There has been much commentary about Pope Francis’s self-imposed “silence” regarding Archbishop Carlo Viganò’s allegation that Francis had lifted Pope Benedict’s sanctions against sexual predator Theodore McCarrick, and then made the ex-cardinal a trusted—and very influential—advisor. It might be, however, that Francis did, in fact, give a resounding—and contemptuous—reply to the allegation, just three days after its publication on August 25. While perhaps merely a preplanned and ill-timed coincidence, the fact is that on August 28, the pope announced his naming of unabashedly pro-gay Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who heads the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, as a delegate to the synod on youth now taking place in Rome. Newark is ex-Cardinal McCarrick’s former diocese. Archbishop Viganò testified that McCarrick had helped orchestrate Tobin’s appointment there.
Only four months after taking charge of the Newark archdiocese in January 2017, Tobin allowed a gay pilgrimage, including Mass, to take place in the cathedral. While he could be on hand only to deliver the initial welcome, he nevertheless permitted the pilgrims, some of whom were “married” to same-sex “spouses,” to receive Holy Communion unconditionally. Rather than encourage the openly gay and lesbian pilgrims to live chastely, Tobin thought it appropriate, on this occasion, simply to “call them who they were.” In other words, God made them that way. This is particularly significant relative to the youth synod, for it suggests that Tobin would have “affirmed” youth in the L, G, B, T, or other false identity that they might claim for themselves. As it turns out, however, the cardinal has since requested, and been granted, a release from his obligation to attend the synod, for he has his hands full trying to control the fallout from the McCarrick scandal.
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