July 3 , 2008

Does Bishop DiLorenzo Pass the Smell Test?

Bishop DiLorenzoImagine this scenario: A bishop meets with his chief financial officer who tells him one of the top donors in the diocese, a man who gives over a million dollars a year, has said he is no longer going to donate. "The decision is made there's nothing you can do about it, Your Excellency," says his advisor. The bishop replies insistently, "Surely there must be something we can do. Let's get together with him for dinner get him on the phone for me. We can't give up so easily. A million dollars is at stake."

Yes, none of us can imagine a bishop letting a million dollar "baby" so to speak, get away. It's worth fighting for.

But what about a little Guatemalan baby, the child of a teenage mom, a ward of Catholic Charities? Wasn't her baby priceless, worth more than a cool million? Apparently not. Last January Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond was notified that Catholic Charities had scheduled an abortion for a sixteen-year-old in their care for the next day. He did nothing to stop it. Why? His advisors told him there was nothing he could do and he meekly complied.

Does that pass the smell test?

Not only that after the fact he covered up the scandal for months until the story was about to burst because Health and Human Services (who hired CC to care for the girl) filed a complaint with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Then Bishop DiLorenzo fessed up in a letter to the bishops. Haven't we had enough cover-ups in the U.S. Church?

If anything warns Catholics in the U.S. that the abuse scandals go on, it's this story. What is more abusive than to take a minor for an abortion without parental consent and have her fitted with an IUD several months before that. For Catholic Charities to perpetrate these evils is almost beyond comprehension. Canon law 1398 says "A person who procures a successful abortion incurs an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication." According to canon lawyer Colin Donovan,

"Conspirators who incur the excommunication can be defined as those who make access to the abortion possible. This certainly includes doctors and nurses who actually do it, husbands, family and others whose counsel and encouragement made it morally possible for the woman, and those whose direct practical support made it possible (financially, driving to the clinic etc.)."

Donovan's interpretation of canon law (from EWTN's website) indicates that all those involved in the abortion incurred the penalty of excommunication: the Catholic Charities employee who signed the consent form, the volunteer who drove the girl to the abortion mill, the superior who approved the abortion. But who was most responsible? Isn't it the one who had the power to stop it and didn't? A person can sin by commission, but he can sin by omission as well.

Bishop DiLorenzo's silence enabled the abortion. Can anyone doubt that a call to the clinic by the bishop would have stopped the abortion, illegal under Virginia law? Or a call to the police? Would the abortionist take the risk? And somebody had to physically drive the girl. Cancel her ride, for heaven's sake! (Did the volunteer driver know the appointment was for an abortion?) It's obvious that The bishop and the director of Catholic Charities were direct accomplices in this evil act by their silent consent to it. Is Richmond presently governed by a bishop who has incurred the penalty of excommunication?

The Diocese of Richmond pulls out all the stops when an execution is scheduled for a serial killer on death row. They call for prayer vigils and petition drives. Where was that kind of vigilance for this girl and her baby? Why didn't the bishop lift a finger to save a tiny life and prevent the abuse of a teenage girl? Where was the famous Child Protection Program?

Write to the Apostolic Nuncio asking for the immediate removal of Bishop DiLorenzo. He is unfit to govern a barnyard, much less a diocese. Pray for the Church in the United States. With bishops like this is it any wonder most Catholics don't believe what the Church teaches?

Mary Ann Kreitzer
"The first law of history is not to dare to utter falsehood the second, not to fear to speak the truth."
Pope Leo XIII

Address your correspondence to:

Most Rev. Pietro Sambi
Apostolic Nuncio
3339 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Fax: 202-337-4036

For further information check out these articles:

Bishop addresses loss of life

Bishop knew of abortion plan

Va. charity probed for helping teen get abortion/

Virginia law eyed in girl's abortion

Mary Ann Kreitzer

E_Letters Archive

Les Femmes searching for Shepherds to defend the flock.
Joan of Arc
Our Lady of Guadalupe

Les Femmes Inc., 1216 Mill Rd. Woodstock, VA 22664.