Zmirak: U.S. Gov’t Should Cut Off Federal Funds to Catholic Charities After Sex Abuse Scandal

Pope Francis joins his hands during the Urbi et Orbi (Latin for ' to the city and to
AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

John Zmirak, senior editor at The Stream, called for the federal government to end contractual relationships with Catholic Church-affiliated nonprofits in response to revelations of senior Catholic officials’ involvement in sexual abuse and related cover-ups.

He offered his remarks in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour.

Mansour began, “We now have absolute proof that former Washington, DC Cardinal Donald Wuerl totally lied about not knowing that his predecessor, Cardinal McCarrick, was a total sexual predator.  We now know for a fact that Cardinal Wuerl lied his behind off, and it’s just appalling and disgusting. He knew exactly what was going on.”

Zmirak replied, “Even worse, Cardinal Wuerl, when he was running the diocese in Pittsburgh, paid hush money for ten years to a priest named George Zirwas who produced sadistic child pornography in the rectories of churches. Roll that around in your head.”


Zmirak continued, “Ten years of hush money keeping [Zirwas] in that little gay brothel he was running in Cuba, and then when he died, Wuerl restored him to the priesthood, and gave him a hero’s funeral, lying to everyone about how he died. He gave him a eulogy that made him sound like a saint.”

Mansour said, “Disgusting. I want this guy in jail. It’s not enough to defrock them. … Every single attorney general in every single state in this country needs to start investigations, just like the state of Pennsylvania’s attorney general did. Investigate the Church and all the cover-ups of sexual abuse within the dioceses. How are they doing on that?”

Zmirak answered, “A lot of states are doing it. What we need is a federal RICO investigation because a lot of this was shuffling priests across state lines, so it’s a federal crime and it’s a conspiracy. We also need the U.S. government to stop using Catholic nonprofits as federal contractors.”

Zmirak explained the U.S. Catholic Church’s financial dependence on federal government contracts for services targeting immigrants.

“Forty percent of the bishops’ money — 40 percent — comes from government contracts, mostly to serve immigrants,” said Zmirak.  “If you’re wondering why the bishops are obsessed with immigration, it’s because 40 percent of their income comes from immigration. Meanwhile, 40 percent of Catholics born in America leave the Church, according to Pew Research, and one Catholic out of five was born overseas, mostly in Latin America.”

Zmirak concluded, “If it were not for immigration, the Catholic Church would be bankrupt and empty, like any mainline Protestant denomination, which is increasingly how it acts.”

Mansour noted that both she and Zmirak were faithful Catholics.

She remarked, “As other faithful Catholics have said, we would rather have the Church smaller and holier and poorer than have this large decaying thing with all this corruption. That smaller, holier Church would be healthy enough to grow. Not this decaying carcass, this evil thing. Bankrupt them.”

Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 9 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.


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