Gay Mafia Bishops — The Net is closing.
GAY MAFIA BISHOPS — once upon a time in the not too distant past I wouldn't have believed such a thing was possible. It sounds like a headline made up by a fantasist.
He also spent nearly $1 million on private jets and over $660,000 on airfare and hotels during his tenure as bishop. He often stayed in luxury accommodations on both work trips and personal vacations, and gave large cash gifts to high-ranking Church leaders, using diocesan funds.
"details from subsequent episcopal scandals have shed further light on the wider culture in which McCarrick thrived for so long. Most intriguing here is the case of Bishop Michael Bransfield, who retired from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, in late 2018. He too stands accused of sexually harassing and assaulting seminarians and young priests under his authority. Investigators also uncovered hundreds of cash “gifts” made from his personal account before being routinely reimbursed from diocesan funds, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars (Boorstein et al., 2019). Personal payments of four- or five-figure sums were regularly made to other bishops, especially those in influential positions in America and Rome – a practice which, as it transpires, is perfectly common. As one veteran Vaticanista puts it: “the impression one gets from bishops’ public statements is that very few of them thought anything was strange about the money going around. It’s just what high churchmen do, at least in the US” (Altieri, 2019). Other journalists have pointed out that McCarrick, too, was known for his largesse, and indeed he and Bransfield worked closely together on the Board of a major US-based Church fundraising charity, the Papal Foundation (O’Brien, 2018; Flynn, 2019). Several bishops and cardinals who received Bransfield’s checks have since made clear that these gifts came with no strings or conditions attached, and thus were in no sense “bribes”. Maybe so. But as generations of social scientists are all too aware, cultures in which reciprocal gift-giving is an embedded practice invariably tend to produce complex (and networked) relationships of trust, indebtedness, solidarity, obligation, and counter-obligation, even if the actors are not themselves fully conscious of them.[emphasis mine] That said, one presumes that McCarrick himself, having earned a PhD in Sociology from the Catholic University of America in 1963, might not be wholly unacquainted with the classic theories of Malinowski and Mauss."
The Bullivant/ Sadewo paper makes several important recommendations for network informed investigation which, they suggest, has the potential to yield interesting results:
1. The Ordinary—Subordinate tie
2. Co-consecrators at episcopal ordinations
3. Shared college and/ or university backgrounds
4. Shared service on committees/ boards of directors5. Extending Ordinary-subordinate (or other types of) ties backwards through time. To what extent are “kingmakers” among the previous generations of bishops still significant over current episcopal politics? Is it useful to think in terms of episcopal “family trees”, or even dynasties? Does the influence of different bishops or dioceses wax and wane over time (perhaps with changes in the pope or nuncio)?
6. If episcopal networks currently do exhibit tendencies towards certain “network pathologies”, how might these same methods aid in reforming them? Would a policy of appointing “qualified outsiders” (i.e., suitable bishops not already tied into regional clusters) to major dioceses help in mitigating conflicts of interest, especially in helping to “clean up” scandal hit dioceses? (Based on Ordinary-subordinate dataset, the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory to Washington as Wuerl’s successor looks to be a promising example of precisely this).
7. Moving beyond national episcopal politics, what might be gained from applying SNA methods to studying the Roman curia (itself a major object of scrutiny under the current pontificate). Which are really the powerful dicasteries? Which bishops, from which countries, sit on which especially influential Congregations (especially. the Congregation for Bishops)?
8. What light could SNA shed on certain historically important moments of episcopal politicking (cf. Wilde 2007; Pentin 2015; and O’Connell 2019 respectively)?
I was about to say that, in a better world, Bishop Bransfield would be publicly stripped of his episcopal dignity and sent to live out his days in penance on a rock. That’s not quite accurate, though. We could have that in this world, if we had better leaders. In a better world, Bishop Bransfield would have traded his episcopal finery for an orange jumpsuit years ago.