Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bishop Rhoades Sets The Record Straight

In an attempt to justify his public defiance of his bishop, the Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Robert Sungenis has publicly charged His Excellency with four offenses. These serious charges appeared in his recent article, The Old Covenant, Revoked or Not Revoked (OCRNR) and in a recent issue of Culture Wars magazine. The charges are as follows:

1) Sungenis claims that Bishop Rhoades holds to a false doctrine (which Sungenis also characterizes as a “heresy”). This false doctrine is commonly referred to as the “Dual Covenant” or “Dual Salvific Covenant” which posits that the Jewish people possess their own, independent, salvific covenant with God, apart from Jesus Christ. (pp. 11-12)

2) Sungenis claims that Bishop Rhoades is “attempting to propagate” this error to “unsuspecting Catholics”. (p. 11)

3) Sungenis claims that Bishop Rhoades possesses greater “allegiances” to Jewish interests than to the Catholic faith. (p. 12)

4) Sungenis claims that Bishop Rhoades is attempting to stop Sungenis from exposing and refuting this doctrinal error. (p. 12)

This essay will demonstrate not only that all of these charges are erroneous and slanderous, but that Sungenis' "evidence" amounted to no more than guilt by association and jumping to a rash, unwarranted conclusion. It will also demonstrate the real reason why Sungenis turned on Bishop Rhoades.

Since Robert Sungenis has, in the past, so entirely misrepresented events concerning me and many others who have confronted him regarding his treatment of Jewish issues, I decided to contact His Excellency, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, in order to give him an opportunity to respond to these serious charges. And as Sungenis and his followers have a history of attempting to overwhelm their “opponents” by the sheer volume and frequency of their “responses”, I made clear to His Excellency that I have no intention of pursuing a continuing dialogue about this matter. I am pleased to report that His Excellency decided to answer my inquiry.

Below is the text of what I wrote to His Excellency, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, bishop of the diocese of Harrisburg, PA:

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades
Diocese of Harrisurg
4800 Union Deposit Road
Harrisburg, PA 17111

Your Excellency,

Although I am hesitant to do so for various reasons, I would like to bring to your attention a certain unfortunate matter. I’ll try to do so as briefly as possible as I’m sure you have a great deal to which you must attend.

I understand that there are elements of the situation involving Robert Sungenis of Catholic Apologetics International (now Bellarmine Theological Forum) and the diocese of Harrisburg that are of course private. However, Mr. Sungenis has now made public accusations about you based on selectively quoted private correspondence with you and other “evidence” that amounts to no more than innuendo and guilt by association. As such, I would like to pose four brief questions in a general way in order to give you an opportunity to clarify matters for the sake of all who may be confused or troubled by his accusations. Please rest assured that I do not intend to pursue a continuing series of questions and answers with you about this issue.

If this seems worthwhile to you, my questions are as follows:

1) Do you believe that the Jewish people have their own independent salvific covenant with God, apart from Jesus Christ, so that there are two independent saving covenants in effect today, one for Jews and one for Gentiles?

2) Do you believe that anyone reaches heaven without the mediation of Jesus Christ?

3) Do you understand anything on page 131 of the U.S. Catechism for Adults to mean that the Jewish people (or any group) have their own, independent saving path to God, outside of Jesus Christ?

4) Do you believe that the Church is called to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples, including the Jewish people?

I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your time and consideration.

In Christ,

Michael Forrest

I also provided His Excellency with a copy of Sungenis’ article, The Old Covenant, Revoked or Not Revoked along with web address where it is presently located.

Below, one will find His Excellency’s response. The reader may click on each section to enlarge it, for easier viewing:

(Bishop Rhoades' letter may also be viewed in pdf format here: Letter)

Sungenis’ bishop has thus entirely refuted Sungenis’ “slanderous and erroneous” charges.

I must candidly admit that even after personally witnessing the multiple occasions on which Sungenis has seriously misrepresented his interactions with me and so many others in order to exonerate or excuse himself, I still harbored at least some doubt that he would dare to engage in such deplorable behavior against a successor to the Apostles. My doubt proved to be unfounded.

It seems that in Sungenis’ mind, this is another debate to “win” and he is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. Sungenis admits that from early on, “I fancied myself…a David, courageously defying the towering Catholic Goliath.” (Surprised by Truth, page 108) Sadly, it appears this perception of himself was never truly abandoned. His mindset still appears to be fundamentally Protestant, and has become even more so recently, by his own standards (Article). While the Protestant has “Scripture alone” as his rule, Sungenis has added magisterial texts and the writings of the Fathers of the Church (and most unfortunately, the writings of some very unsavory characters). Yet, ultimately, it is still Sungenis alone who determines the meaning of each text. And woe to you should you disagree with him…or if he even thinks you disagree with him, as Bishop Rhoades recently discovered.

Beating Himself Up?

It is worth reflecting on the extreme oddity of what has transpired. Who publicly exposed the fact that Bishop Rhoades had indicated he would publicly denounce Sungenis, if Sungenis refused to cease and desist from commenting on Jews and Judaism? Who exposed the fact that Bishop Rhoades had indicated he would enforce Canon 300, which prohibits organizations from appropriating the name “Catholic” without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority? Who exposed the fact that Bishop Rhoades had chastised Sungenis as evidencing a “lack of adherence to authoritative Church teaching on Judaism”?

Was it Bishop Rhoades?

No, it was Sungenis himself. All of these facts were divulged in articles written by Sungenis (“Catholic Apologetics International and its Teachings on the Jews”, henceforth CAITJ and “The Old Covenant, Revoked or Not Revoked”, henceforth OCRNR) and Sungenis’ new ally on Jewish issues, Thomas Herron (“Fear of the Jews in Harrisburg”, Culture Wars, Oct. 2007). And Sungenis has indicated that he personally approved Herron’s article.

How strange then to witness what has ensued. It is almost as if Sungenis was so clamoring for a fight that he grabbed the bishop’s hand and struck himself with it in order to justify his own aggression against His Excellency.

Forcing the Bishop’s Hand, Again?

So what, precisely, precipitated this deplorable turn of events? The answer is evident in Sungenis’ own articles if one can place oneself in the bishop’s position. In Sungenis’ article of July 31st, 2007 (CAI and Its Teaching on the Jews) he wrote:

Our bishop and his advisors are allowing us to express our views if they are stated in an inoffensive manner” (CAITJ, p. 2)

More recently, Sungenis has divulged the bishop’s directive more fully, stating that Bishop Rhoades

would “allow [me] to continue publishing and speaking on those matters of Catholic doctrine which pertain to the Jewish covenant and the role of Israel in salvation history, provided that you take an approach quite different in tone and content from the one pursued in the past.” (OCRNR, p. 11)

Continuing on in CAITJ (July 31st 2007), Sungenis then listed seven “theological positions” about Jews. A few things deserve mention in regard to these “seven points.”

It is evident that Sungenis believed his seven points were written in conformity with his bishop’s orders. In describing his July 31st article several months later in OCRNR, he wrote:

I subsequently wrote a new article whose ‘tone’ was proper…” (p. 11)

Notice that Sungenis failed to state that his bishop insisted that his writings needed to be “quite different” in both tone and content. It is equally evident that Sungenis never considered the propriety of engaging a lengthy, new criticism of Jews at the end of his supposed "apology" for attacking them - a criticism, by the way, that ran twice as long as this supposed "apology" (Article). Additionally, Sungenis never considered the possibility that after just having been called in by his bishop because of his offensive writing against Jews, it would be proper and prudent to submit these seven theological points to at least obtain his bishop’s reaction before publishing them. Unfortunately, Sungenis’ presumptuousness led to an entirely predictable reaction from Bishop Rhoades:

I was then told by the bishop that my opinions showed a lack of ‘charity and respect for the Jewish people and for Judaism itself.’ He then took back his previous offer to allow me to change the ‘tone’ of my articles and forthwith ordered me to stop writing about the Jews and Judaism altogether. (OCRNR, p.11)

We must again note that Bob chose to divulge his bishop’s intervention in the article CAITJ (July 31st). This is critical to understand, because in so doing, Sungenis had (no doubt unintentionally) likely heightened his bishop’s sensitivity to these new “theological points”. It could well appear now as though his bishop had approved the substance of those points for publication and as though he considered Bob’s tone and content to be proper. In fact, directly after his “seven points” Sungenis went on to thank Bishop Rhoades and the USCCB, thus implicitly linking them to this most current foray into Jewish issues.

Furthermore, it must be said that Sungenis’ “seven points” suffer at times from the same kind of error that I was once enlisted to edit while at CAI: a lack of distinction between Sungenis’ personal theological opinions and established facts. Additionally, a few of his points contain dubious, potentially problematic assertions (in particular, his statement in point #6 that appears to absolutely judge the moral culpability of all Jews - even those currently living - for not becoming Catholic, comes to mind as one that likely created an issue). And frankly, contrary to Sungenis’ assertion, even the tone of this section was too often unnecessarily contentious and polemical, especially as it was in the midst of an acknowledgment of error in regard to his Jewish writings.

We now know that, some time after reading CAITJ, Sungenis’ bishop concluded that Sungenis was simply incapable of handling even theological issues involving Jews responsibly and charitably. And therefore he understandably tightened the slack which he had permitted on the condition that Sungenis “take an approach quite different in tone and content from the one pursued in the past”. The fact is, this was a perfectly reasonable conclusion for the bishop to reach. If anything, Bishop Rhoades had been remarkably patient and kind with Sungenis, especially considering the fact that Sungenis had publicly smeared His Excellency a mere 5 days after receiving the “cease and desist” order (article), proceeded to post several more items attacking Jews, and left dozens of anti-Jewish items at the CAI website for a month after being given a two week timeframe in which to take them down. (see Article 1 and Article 2)

Apparently, Sungenis has never considered the possibility that his bishop may have become aware of this defiance and that this too may have played a role in his ultimate judgment that Sungenis is not capable of responsibly handling Jewish issues of any nature.

But Sungenis apparently could not (or perhaps did not want to) conceive of any legitimate reason why his bishop would do such a thing. So he jumped to the conclusion that Bishop Rhoades must hold to the dual salvific covenant error and promptly set about mentally compiling the “evidence”.

Examining Sungenis’ “Evidence”

We now have irrefutable evidence that Sungenis was completely wrong about Bishop Rhoades. But it is still worth examining exactly what “evidence” Sungenis believed he had that enabled him to feel justified in leveling such serious charges. The reader should keep in mind that the man making these charges is a long-time professional apologist and debater who claims to have earned a research doctorate in theology.

However, before going any further, it must be emphasized that Bishop Rhoades obviously never told Sungenis he believes the dual salvific covenant theory. Sungenis never cites any conversations, writings, or other words of Bishop Rhoades to back up his charges. In fact, it appears that Sungenis has never actually even spoken to the bishop. Yet, Sungenis felt perfectly free to jump to convenient conclusions and calumniate him for the second time (the first is documented here).

Now, in place of actual evidence in the form of Bishop Rhoades’ own words that he holds to the doctrinal error of which he is accused, what does Sungenis offer as “evidence”?

“Evidence” #1

First, Sungenis jumped to the worst possible conclusions based on the fact that Bishop Rhoades refused his application for an imprimatur on CASB2 (although this occurred back in December, 2006). His Excellency had referred to a section of the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults that contained a potentially problematic sentence about the Jewish people’s covenant with God (for a fuller treatment of why Sungenis was likely rejected for this imprimatur, click here).

The relevance of the USCCB’s liberal stance on the Jews was brought home to me loud and clear when the bishop of my diocese, Kevin C. Rhoades, denied an imprimatur to my book The Apocalypse of St. John and cited page 131 as one of his proofs that my book, amazingly enough, because it called for the conversion of the Jews and held them responsible for their historic disbelief in Christ, had a “lack of adherence to authoritative Church teaching on Judaism.” (OCRNR, p. 11)

The most obvious problem with Sungenis’ conclusion is that this section of the USCCA contains six sentences, not one, and the rest of those sentences focus on the special relationship the Jewish people still possess with God, the fact that we share a common heritage with the Jewish people, and an affirmation that the Church “deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of antisemitism leveled at any time or from any source against Jews.” And Sungenis’ CASB most certainly does run afoul of those sentences (see article). Additionally, the one controversial passage on which Sungenis fixated is ambiguous and not everyone interprets it in the same way that he has. This includes Bishop Rhoades and others at the USCCB (see article). It was thus inappropriate and unjustified for him to jump to the conclusion that the bishop holds the most problematic interpretation.

“Evidence” #2

Second, just as he had back in early July 2007, Sungenis once again tried to impugn Bishop Rhoades by associating him with Cardinal Keeler:

Rhoades’ allegiances are not difficult to discern. His lifelong mentor is William Cardinal Keeler who was the previous bishop of Harrisburg and who ordained Rhoades to that position in 2004. It appears that he and Keeler are on the same wavelength when it comes to reinterpreting Catholic doctrine to accommodate the Jews. Keeler was the lone representative for the USCCB who signed the Reflections on Covenant and Missions document with Jewish rabbis in 2002…

Of course, this tactic of “guilt by association” is completely inappropriate and irresponsible on its face. But his claim crumbles even further when the facts are examined:

a) Sungenis provided absolutely no evidence that Cardinal Keeler was Bishop Rhoades’ “lifelong mentor.” This invalid tactic is known as an “ipse dixit”, or more colloquially, "it is so because I say so".

b) Sungenis provided absolutely no evidence that Cardinal Keeler and Bishop Rhoades have ever even discussed something like the dual covenant theory.

c) Sungenis claimed that Cardinal Keeler ordained Bishop Rhoades. But as so often in the past, Sungenis was being deceptive by selectively presenting the facts. Indeed, Cardinal Keeler was present at Bishop Rhoades’ ordination. However, as anyone can discover with just a little effort, there were three bishops present, not one, and Cardinal Keeler wasn’t the principal consecrator (see That honor belonged to Cardinal Rigali. Additionally, Bishop Olmstead was present as a co-consecrator. Would Sungenis care to smear Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Olmstead as well? And what of the many other bishops that Cardinal Keeler has consecrated? Are they all automatically guilty of the doctrinal error with which Sungenis charges Bishop Rhoades?

d) Even if Cardinal Keeler and Bishop Rhoades were close friends—and, again, Sungenis has provided no evidence to support that assertion—this in no way proves that Bishop Rhoades and Cardinal Keeler must therefore agree on this issue. And, of course, now we know for certain that they do not agree on this issue.

“Evidence” #3

Third and finally, Sungenis tried to associate Bishop Rhoades with a comment allegedly made by the Vicar General, Fr. King:

During the meeting, the vicar general, Fr. William King, JCD, made a remark to the effect that, as Catholics, “we don’t believe in supersessionism any longer.” Although I did not make a response at that time, I knew upon leaving the building the erroneous theology he, Rhoades and the USCCB were attempting to propagate to unsuspecting Catholics. (p. 11, OCRNR)

There are four primary observations that may be made.

a) As is clear from both Sungenis’ account and Thomas Herron’s account, Bishop Rhoades himself was not even present at this meeting. Sungenis met with Fr. King and Fr. Massa. Therefore, he took the convenient liberty of attributing the import of Fr. King’s alleged statement to Bishop Rhoades. This is completely inappropriate and invalid argumentation.

b) Sungenis has a long history of being less than accurate when using quotation marks (see here). So, one may be excused for being particularly skeptical when Sungenis sees fit to discount the accuracy of this alleged quotation with the words “to the effect that.”

c) If Fr. King did indeed say exactly what Sungenis claims, we still would need to know what he means by “supersessionism”. If he understands it in the way that Sungenis appears to—namely, that there is no special place whatsoever for ethnic Israel in salvation history after the coming of Jesus Christ—then it is perfectly acceptable to say that we, as Catholics, do not believe that. [Note: click here and here for a discussion of the term "supersessionism" and Bobs' continued misuse of it.]

d) One will note that Sungenis is now claiming that at his July 27th, 2007 meeting at the Diocese of Harrisburg, he “knew upon leaving the building the erroneous theology [Fr. King], Rhoades and the USCCB were attempting to propagate to unsuspecting Catholics." (OCRNR, p. 11: January, 2008). So, according to Sungenis himself, he knew right then and there at this meeting that these men were intent upon spreading their dangerous heresy to innocent Catholics.

This point is a very serious charge, indeed. And as such, one can understand why a man like Sungenis could absolutely never allow such evil to continue unabated without immediately making every effort to expose the perpetrators for the frauds and subversives that they truly are.

Except that he did precisely that, and much more.

Refer back to his article of July 31st, 2007 (CAITJ), the “permanent” statement about the Jewish people that mysteriously disappeared just a while before Sungenis recommenced attacking Bishop Rhoades. What did Sungenis have to say about Bishop Rhoades, Fr. King and Fr. Massa just four days after this meeting in which he now claims he “knew upon leaving the building the erroneous theology [Fr. King], Rhoades and the USCCB were attempting to propagate to unsuspecting Catholics”? Did Sungenis utter a single negative word about Bishop Rhoades, Fr. King, or Fr. Massa and their doctrinal beliefs at that time? No. To the contrary, he praised these men to the high heavens, pledged filial loyalty and submission to them and assured his followers that His Excellency's teaching in regard to Jewish issues was trustworthy.

I take their wisdom and counsel with the utmost seriousness and consider their direction as if it was from God himself. I consider it an honor not only to be a member of the Catholic Church but also to be under the vigilance of such wise and caring pastors. In short, I consider it a privilege to obey them.

If in the future we write any new material on the Jews, it will always be with the required due diligence, as if the bishop were present with us. Since he acts in God’s stead, we will do our utmost to please him so as to preserve the peace and tranquility he so desires to maintain in the body of Christ.

With the deepest appreciation to my bishop, the Very Reverend Kevin Rhoades, his vicar general, the Very Reverend William King, the Reverend James Massa and the USCCB…

Neither our obedience to our bishop nor our bishop's directives [about Bob's handling of Jewish issues] should in any way be interpreted as either of us compromising on the truth, but only that the truth be communicated with....a 'human and Christian spirit'...both in its content and in its tone. (Article)

And so, how is one to explain Bob's utterly contradictory stories about what happened at his meeting at the Diocese of Harrisburg? The answer may be found, again, in the letter he wrote shortly after his meeting at the Diocese of Harrisburg to his friend Edgar Suter:

The bishop allowed me to work out a compromise with him…We both win, because I, according to him, represent the Catholic Church with the name of Catholic in the title "Catholic Apologetics International."…If I have read them wrong and their intention is to censor me wholesale, then I will demand a trial and I will bring it as far up the hierarchial [sic] ladder as possible in order to fight it. For now, there is no reason to fight it, because both parties are in a win-win situation.” (Sungenis email of August 5th, 2007, forwarded by Sungenis supporter Edgar Suter to a wide audience).

Thus are Sungenis’ true motivations exposed. And it does not comport well at all with the portrait Sungenis has painted of himself as a warrior righteously battling the pernicious errors that “Rhoades” was “attempting to propagate to unsuspecting Catholics.” The truth is that Sungenis engaged in a simple, self-serving calculation. He first portrayed himself as a meek, faithful, obedient "son of the Church" and then he praised Bishop Rhoades, the USCCB, and the bishop's representatives in the most glowing terms when they permitted him to use the name "Catholic" to market himself and his work. But as soon as Bishop Rhoades revoked that privilege because of Bob's persistent inability to restrain his anti-Jewish extremism and hostility, Bob changed tactics, went on the attack against these men, charged them with heresy, and attempted to portray himself as a victimized righteous crusader for orthodoxy.

This is obviously very strongly-worded criticism. However, I believe it is not only justified, but necessary in order to clearly convey the ugliness and dishonesty of what Sungenis has chosen to do.

Not by Tone Alone…

Sungenis has also recently attempted to engage in some revisionist history. On page 11 of OCRNR, he states:

Although I did decide to calm some of the storm by removing Jewish articles from my website so that, as the bishop requested, they could be edited for “tone,” when I subsequently wrote a new article whose “tone” was proper... (emphasis added) .


He then took back his previous offer to allow me to change the “tone” of my articles and forthwith ordered me to stop writing about the Jews and Judaism altogether (emphasis added).

But was he admonished for his tone alone? No. As we have already seen, Sungenis went on to provide the evidence in this very same article when he quoted Bishop Rhoades’ actual words:

[Bishop Rhoades] told me, (quoting his own words), that he would "allow [me] to continue publishing and speaking on those matters of Catholic doctrine which pertain to the Jewish covenant and the role of Israel in salvation history, provided that you take an approach quite different in tone and content from the one pursued in the past" (emphasis added.)

Furthermore, in Sungenis’ July 31st, 2007 letter, CAITJ, he was completely clear:

the shepherds God has placed as overseers of my life and work have asked me to reconsider the tone and content with which I write about the Jewish people for CAI. They provided me various examples in which I have crossed the line into inappropriate language and accusations, and I communicated to them my agreement with their overall assessment.

So Sungenis has known all along that the problem was not just with his tone, but with his “content” and “accusations”. The reason this is significant is that Sungenis has subsequently resisted admitting anything beyond a fault with his style. He has consistently refused to admit that he has made errors of substance or content. But it is clear that Bishop Rhoades and the USCCB have corrected him not only for his style, but for his substance in regard to Jewish issues. For his part, before he went on the offense, Sungenis acknowledged that “I communicated to them my agreement...” It is disingenuous to circle back around now and claim that Bishop Rhoades changed the terms of the discussion.

Fear of Robert Sungenis in Harrisburg?

Sungenis has made much of the fact that his letter to the bishop went unanswered. We have seen that Sungenis has a tendency to reach unwarranted conclusions. And it is clear that he has done so again in regard to the reason for Bishop Rhoades' recent “silence”. Sungenis wrote:

I subsequently wrote the bishop a letter saying that… I would be quite happy to expose the belief in Dual Covenant theology that he and the USCCB were apparently promoting. After four months, there has been no response from the chancellery. (OCRNR, pp 11-12)

In a more recent e-mail, he raised the issue again. However, he also amplified the fact that he wrote his bishop a fifteen page letter, not to seek clarification of His Excellency’s views, but to openly accuse him of holding to a false doctrine and to press his bishop for a defense of it:

When, in a 15-page letter I then sent him, I asked him to show me from Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium where he could support his anti-supersessionism, he didn’t reply. (e-mail of 20 Feb 2008)

It seems evident that Sungenis believes he has cowed and silenced Bishop Rhoades by the sheer force of his arguments and the threat of being "exposed" as a Judaizing heretic to the Vatican. No doubt, the bishop was reduced to silence, but for a very different reason. Can there be any real doubt that the extreme rashness and impudence exhibited in Sungenis' letter would merely have served to confirm in Bishop Rhoades' mind that he was correct in ordering Sungenis to completely cease and desist from commenting on anything involving the Jewish people? Is it difficult to imagine that Bishop Rhoades would have come to the conclusion that it was not possible to have a reasonable, constructive discussion with a person possessed of such an arrogant, judgmental and contentious mindset?

And yet, remarkably, Sungenis now even attempts to justify his flagrant disobedience by appealing to this slanderous charge he has leveled against Bishop Rhoades:

it was up to him to prove his case against me, since it now became a matter of faith and morals, for I am not required to obey the bishop if he is going against Catholic faith and morals. Anti-supersessionism is against Catholic faith and morals (ibid.).

Sungenis' continuing extreme double-standards are further exposed when we consider the following complaint just registered against his former vice-president, Ben Douglass:

Mr. Douglass will be the judge, jury and executioner to determine when someone has crossed the line into 'too soon, too much and too eagerly'; beyond what is merited. Mr. Douglass, a person with no ecclesiastical or canonical authority, nevertheless, decides that he will set the 'too much' bar for how the rest of the Catholic world will be allowed to judge...Amazing. (email of Feb 20, 2008)

Clearly, it is Sungenis, who has elevated himself to the position of "judge, jury and executioner" of his own bishop even though he has "no ecclesiastical or canonical authority." Amazing, indeed.

A Prayer for Better Things

Again, it appears clear from Sungenis’ rhetoric that he truly believes he has “slain Goliath” and emerged "victorious". But reports of the good bishop’s demise are premature—he has now been completely vindicated from Sungenis’ false charges. Furthermore, the severe lack of wisdom, prudence and discernment evident in Sungenis' actions has also served to confirm the wisdom of Bishop Rhoades' orders.

Clearly, Bishop Rhoades intended to help Sungenis. But he also intended to protect the Church and the Jewish people by making it clear that Sungenis’ views of the Jewish people are solely his own and not the Church’s. At least his second objective has been accomplished. And as such, one tends to doubt that Bishop Rhoades is inclined to provide Sungenis with the platform he evidently desires (a canonical trial) from which to cause further harm to the Church and others.

It is truly lamentable that Sungenis has chosen to view and approach matters with his bishop in this contentious way, because I sense in Bishop Rhoades - whose episcopal motto is “Veritatem in caritate” - a man of great patience and mercy. Instead, Sungenis has chosen to follow the counsel of "friends" like E. Michael Jones, Thomas Herron and Edgar Suter, who readily tickle his ears and encourage his worst impulses and suspicions.

At this point, all one can do is pray that Robert comes to his senses, repents of his slanderous charges, and realizes that the “Goliath” he tried to slay is in fact the very man God mercifully placed over him as his shepherd and father in the faith.

Michael Forrest

Subsequent articles further refuting Sungenis' false and slanderous accusations against Bishop Rhoades:

Lumen Gentium, Vatican II:

"Bishops who teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered by all as witnesses of divine and Catholic truth; the faithful, for their part, are obliged to submit to their bishop’s decision, made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind.” #25

“The bishops, as vicars and legates of Christ, govern the particular Churches assigned to them…by the authority and sacred power which indeed they exercise exclusively for the spiritual development of their flock…This power, which they exercise personally in the name of Christ, is proper, ordinary and immediate…In virtue of this power bishops have a sacred right and a duty for the Lord of legislating for and of passing judgment on their subjects…

The pastoral charge, that is, the permanent and daily care of their sheep, is entrusted to them fully…for they exercise the power which they possess in their own right and are called in the truest sense of the term prelates of the people whom they govern.” #27