Possibly the most historical event of his career happened as a result of his acting as spiritual director for a young nun living in Ohio and Indiana. In 1963, as Monsignor Leibold, he issued an imprimatur to a diary of private revelations written by Sr. Mildred Ephrem Neuzil while she was serving at a convent (Kneipp Springs) in Rome City, IN. It was here that she claimed she was visited multiple times by the Virgin Mary who declared herself to be "Our Lady of America" and gave her important messages to be given to America's Bishops..This is a devotion I was not even aware existed. And it gets weirder: Sister Mildred ended up giving charge of the devotion upon her death in 2000 to her dear friend Sr. Joseph Therese (Patricia Ann Fuller) who ended up canonically no longer a nun. She claims two men were involved in fraud with donations and they claimed she was no longer a nun and so she sued them for defamation. It made its way to the U.S. District Court and in 2015 she lost, with Vatican saying she was not part of any current legit congregation.
After issuing his imprimatur to the messages written down by Sr. Neuzil, later on, as Archbishop of Cincinnati, he went on to commission a statue, plaques, and even a medal to take these apparitions to the second level of Church confirmation.
I’m watching The Irishman on Netflix in small doses. I think part of the interest in the mafia in general is the generational part: seeing how the different characters are interrelated, who mentored and promoted who, who killed who, how power evolved, etc... As well as to wonder about the “ultimate meritocracy” of the political men who end up on top.
It’s also fascinating to see how the gay mafia took over the Catholic Church including the American branch. It’s almost like there should not just be the official sacramental lineage of bishops going back, but also the lineage of how gay prelates took over: who appointed who. Like the mob.
It’s interesting to look at the parallels between Bernardin and McCarrick. Both lost their fathers as infants. Both had to take over family duties in their earliest years during the Great Depression. Both likely suffered from same sex attraction; in Bernardin’s case maybe simply accidental he had tons of gay friends. Both excelled at mediation: politicians friendly to “both sides”. Both had late vocations by the standards of the time (i.e. when most chose that route in your early teens): McCarrick decided to enter the seminary at age 20 while traveling in Europe for a year. Bernardin had entered a public university as a pre-med student and shocked his sister when he announced he was going to seminary. Both spent a vanishingly small amount of time as parish priests.