A Kiss for Graf and a Kick for Phillips: Judas in Chicago?

One of the three reasons the devil is so strong today, says Fr. Hardon, is Judases in the Church. This isn’t mere hyperbole, either. He punctuated the point with this:

the Devil, remember, he succeeded with one apostle, Judas. Judas was possessed by the Devil. Do you hear me? And he allowed himself to be possessed by the Devil to betray Christ. There are Judases in the Catholic Church today.

Fr. Hardon on Why the Devil is so strong today

There’s a problem with detecting Judases, though. We are bound by charity to impute the best motives to someone else. Why? Because none of us, short of God’s omniscience, can see what motivates another. In fact, we often times don’t even understand what motivates ourselves. We won’t, therefore, ever have certainty of someone else’s motives until the final judgement, that day when all will be revealed.

The Trouble with Naming Judases

The Apostles themselves are a good example. At the last supper, when Judas left, they thought he went out to feed the poor. I could go on and on about how charity is often a ruse of crooks and criminals. They hide behind a cloud of concern. Judas was no exception. When Magdalene poured nard on Our Lord, Judas complained that this could have been sold and the money fed the poor. So it is today — nothing new under the sun and all.

That duty to impute best motives doesn’t mean you cannot call a bad act bad, however. In fact, once enough evidence is found, you are free to call a spade a spade. Ever read Our Lord’s words to the Pharisees? blind guides, whited sepulchers, etc. Or what He did to the money changers? We aren’t to be saccharin sweet in the face of evil. Charity still requires us to call a spade a spade once we see it.

In the case of Judas, once the act had been done, the Apostles called a spade a spade. Judas is known as the one filled with the love of money who betrayed Our Lord. Judas is the arch-typical betrayer. And the infamy is merited. Indeed, the Gospels report that the devil entered Judas. They may have given him the benefit of the doubt at the last supper, but they didn’t have a problem naming the truth once it was revealed. So it is with us, who follow the Apostles.

Nevertheless, our enemies will quickly pounce on anyone who calls a spade a spade today. That is, so long as the person they defend is one of theirs. It is basic Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky-type stuff. The kind that old posts are made of, in fact. That’s why it’s trouble — your assertions will not be weighed on merit, but on some collateral idea of fairness.

In the past, I’ve mentioned a bishop that insisted that the Blessed Sacrament was nothing more than a “symbol of community.” That’s merely one kind of betrayal. I see others as well.

Cupich and the Canons Regular

The other day, Landon DePasquale reported on a series of events that occurred in Chicago when Cardinal Cupich decided to restore Fr. Graf to active ministry. Landon was most kind and reported on these events from the viewpoint of what God is asking Fr. Phillips to endure. As one reader commented, “it is a beautiful reflection.” I agree. When Landon and I discussed it, I told him that the approach he took would quell the shoring and engagement of the article, though. I hate it, but it is a reality of the online Catholic audience that sizzles sell and share. His reflection deserves your attention – the sizzle is sublime.

I’m writing about the other end… The furtherance of a pattern I’ve reported with Archbishop now Cardinal Cupich. He takes certain actions near in or Holy Week nearly every year. Recently, it has all been directed at the community at St. John Cantius.

In a nutshell:

  • He locked a latin Mass parish out of their Church without notice on Good Friday. Cupich explained that the padlock on their church door was an invitation to come pray with him.
  • He waited until the day of ordination at the cathedral, again without notice, to refuse to ordain a traditional Deacon from St. John Cantius. He later ordained him at St. John Cantius.
  • On Passion Sunday last year, he ignored that Fr. Phillips was innocent of (what I believe were not even credible on the face) allegations of “inappropriate conduct with adult men.” (rumors said the allegation included a charge that Phillip’s was wearing a clown suit). In defying the cries of faithful to restore Phillips to active ministry, Cupich said “I determine who is fit for ministry.”
  • On Passion Sunday this year, again without notice, a Canon Regular Priest (Fr. Phillips’s order) was blindsided. He was filling in for a priest placed on administrative leave pending investigation of allegations. He shows up to say Mass. TV News and reporters were at the parish already. Right before Mass, a letter was shoved into his hands and he was told to read that letter from the pulpit during Mass. Little did he know that the letter reinstated Fr. Graf to active ministry.

Engineered to Injure

Nobody will convince me that the events whereby Fr. Graf was reinstated were not orchestrated without care and attention to how this series of events would insult the Canons Regular. In fact, it appears that they were specifically orchestrated that way. God bless that priest. I’m sure someone, if not Cupich himself, had hoped that the events would have caused the Canon Regular to protest the act as unjust in lieu of Cupich’s precedent to deny reinstatement of innocent priests. Had this priest done that, the trap would have been sprung.

Even without the trap, this was injurious. One can impute that it was known to be injurious because it was done in darkness to the person it would injure. The letter had to be prepared. The news contacted. Fr. Graf was told. Everyone was prepared for this live reinstatement during Mass except for the priest who was to be the messenger of the reinstatement!

As St. John observes in his Gospel, “everyone who does wrong hates the light, and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed.” So it is.

Even though Cupich was so very careful to meticulously investigate the allegations against Frs. Phillips and Graf, as I previously reported, there were other obvious issues that he chose to ignore. After all, if I knew of those problems across the country, just from seeing posts on Facebook, I’d think the local bishop would be even more aware of the obvious. One of those problems resulted in a public news story of nationwide fame. Two priests of the Archdiocese, one of whom worked in the tribunal, were arrested in Miami for public indecency. A police officer observed these two priests committing sex acts in a car parked on the street. The infamy of the Casa Jesu as a putative source of homosexual connections was ignored as well. Until they became national news, that is.

Hiding Behind Kindness

Judas kissed Our Lord. Behind him was a crowd of armed men ready to take Our Lord with force. Just like finding a padlock on your parish church doors on Good Friday, and then being told that it was merely an “invitation to pray together.”

It is the same with the showy reinstatement of Fr. Graf. It was the worst of PR optics. In my opinion, it was organized to be publicized as a grand show of fairness… a priest exonerated and put back to good name by his kind and diligently fair bishop, Cardinal Cupich. (a script that even the Hallmark channel might turn down as too formulaic) Thus, the news story at 7 would reveal a pageantry of Cupich’s diligence and kindness to his priests. The show strikes me like Judas’s protest of Magdalene, though. Without any comment on the case of Fr. Graf, one has to recognize that Cupich failed to treat Fr. Phillips the same.

The Apostles would eventually discover that Judas had been taking money from the common collection they had. So much for his concern of Magdalene’s gift of nard and the poor. It seems Judas was only concerned for the take he might have gotten from selling that pot of nard. Not the poor.

Even the Apostles fell for such shows and PR optics. They thought Judas went out to feed the poor, after all.

And the scene in the Garden. Even Our Lord had to comment on the fake optics… “…with a kiss, Judas?” Judas had it all play out, though.

Repentance is Easy, Just do it to Our Lord

I never want to miss an opportunity to point out that Judas only had to say “I’m sorry” to Our Lord. How do I know this? St. Peter did it and look what Our Lord did for it: made him the first Pope.

Judas hung himself. St. Peter, for all we know, may have been tempted to do that. He certainly hid from Jesus after the cock crowed. And it was not until the breakfast with Jesus after the resurrection before Peter could stay with Our Lord again. Confession made Peter free from guilt and able to be with Our Lord without shame. Judas failed to ask.

This article, A Kiss for Graf and a Kick for Phillips: Judas in Chicago? is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.

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