Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Vatican Claims Gay Agenda Behind Media Hate Campaign





Huffington Post - AP - 4/06/2010

Cardinal Herranz
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is ratcheting up its counterattack against accusations that Pope Benedict XVI helped cover up the actions of pedophile priests to save the church's reputation.

Senior cardinals in Rome are decrying what they depict as an anti-Catholic `'hate" campaign that they say is related to the fact that Benedict is leading church opposition to same-sex marriage.

Vatican Radio on Tuesday quoted Italian Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, a Holy See official, as saying the church must pardon its attackers for what he called "hatred against the Catholic church."

Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, who heads a Vatican disciplinary commission, says the pope is being attacked because of his stands against abortion and same-sex marriage. Herranz is quoted as saying powerful lobbies want to impose a different agenda.
(Gee whiz guess who belongs to Opus Dei?)


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If I needed any more proof that the Vatican is operating from it's own special reality, I now have more than I can stomach. Except I knew this was the tactic they would take. None of this current media coverage is about their criminal cover up of monstrously abusive priests and senior clerics, it's all about a covert agenda to promote abortion and gay marriage by powerful entities who hate Catholicism.

Interesting isn't it, that these are exactly the two agendas that Church officials themselves started pushing down out secular throats since the election of JPII. They have been wonderful cover for the dismantling of Vatican II, the quashing of liberation theology, and the ascendancy of the conservative clerical culture. They have also served to cover the political machinations of clerics who support conservative and/or fascist political regimes and ideology.

This is pretty ballsy. This is pretty sick. This is not my Church.



Latino Opus Dei archbishop to head Los Angeles
Apr. 06, 2010 By NCR Staff

The pope April 6 named Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Texas, to take over the Los Angeles archdiocese when Cardinal Roger Mahony retires.

The appointment of the Mexican-born Gomez as coadjutor for Los Angeles puts him in line to become the highest-ranking Latino in the American Catholic hierarchy.

Gomez, 58, is the first, and currently only, full member of Opus Dei to be ordained a bishop in the United States. (That we know of, and then of course there are plenty who are sympathisers or associates of this supposed 'lay' apostalate.)

At a future consistory, the pope would likely name Gomez a cardinal, given that Los Angeles is such a large and important archdiocese whose leader has traditionally worn a red hat.

Mahony, the current head of the archdiocese, is 74. The mandatory retirement age for bishops is 75.

Mahony will introduce Gomez today at a 10 a.m. press conference West Coast time inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

“I welcome Archbishop Gomez to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with enthusiasm and personal excitement,” said Mahony. “The auxiliary bishops and I are looking forward to working closely with him over the coming months until he becomes the Archbishop early in 2011.”

Gomez was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and studied theology at the University of Navarra in Spain. On January 23, 2001, Gómez was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Denver.

Gómez was appointed Archbishop of San Antonio on December 29, 2004.

In 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States, and in 2007 he was on a CNN's list of "Notable Hispanics" in a web special celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

On July 25, 2008 he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as a consultant to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

He is also a member of the Board of Trustees at The Catholic University of America. Gomez is the Chairman on the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Before I make any comments, here is an example of the kind of thinking the LA Archdiocese can expect:

San Antonio Archbishop Jose Gomez, who had been an ardent supporter of health care reform, is now urging Catholic lawmakers to vote against the proposal, because efforts to restrict use of funds to pay for abortions have failed, 1200 WOAI news reports.

“It seems that they are not going to do it, so we have no option but to oppose the bill,” Gomez said.

Gomez led a delegation of Hispanic bishops to Washington last month to urge Latino lawmakers to support a robust health care reform bill, and to broaden the bill to guarantee that coverage for illegal immigrants was included. (He starts out looking like a real champion of social justice----a pastor looking out for his Latino flock.)

“The immigrants, legal and undocumented, we have to find a way for a safety net for them to be a part of the new reform,” Gomez said.

But two separate votes were taken in the Senate Finance Committee on language which would have specifically outlawed the use of any public or health care reform funding for abortions, and both votes were defeated, basically along party lines.

Gomez says although he supports the vast majority of the measure as it is written, he will encourage all Catholics, especially Latino Catholics in Congress, to oppose it. (And the he will ask his own constituents to slit their own throats for the sake of the possibility of abortion funding ending potential life. He is asking his currently needy flock to forgo their own present needs for the sake of a possibility for a potentiality. This is very much the whole idea of sacrificing any good in the present for the sake of heaven after death.)

“We have no choice but to oppose the bill,” he said.

“We will ask people to reflect on what it means, and we will keep asking people to continue the fight to ban funding for abortions.” (Oh yes, I'm reflecting on what this means. Just like I reflect on how Chaput can say these same kinds of liberal things and then throw them out of the equation because of abortion and homosexuality.)

The White House says the measure in the Senate Finance Committee would not ‘guarantee abortion funding, but the independent ‘fact check dot org’ says the way the bill is currently worded, funding for abortions could not be denied.


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This appointment is a clear message from the Vatican that we can rant and rave all we want about the direction of clericalism and it's attendant theology, but there will be NO change. Opus Dei will continue to call the shots. Abortion and homosexuality will still rule the roost as the only social/cultural issues which good Catholics can care about as they worship their Latin speaking priests and listen to polyphonous chant.

In the meantime the abuse crisis rolls on and Cardinal Groer, he of the 2000 alleged abuse victims, was a member in good standing of Opus Dei. Apparently he was doing God's Work. Kind of like that other 'efficacious guide for youth" the Legion of Christ's very own serial abuser Marcial Maciel.
Some of my readers have probably been reading comments from the last couple of weeks in which Opus Dei has been the topic. Some of the material may seem a little far out. I encourage readers to take the time to read this article which was first published in The Catholic Family News in 2003 entitled The Smell Of Death. It deals with the double murder and suicide which happened in the ranks of the Swiss Guard. One can't help but notice the involvement of one Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the very same Cardinal who on Easter Sunday referred to the media exposure in the sexual abuse crisis as "petty gossip".
For those who might be interested in more information I encourage you to visit the ODAN website. Two things to keep in mind about Opus Dei. In 1950 Pius XII gave permission for Opus Dei to recruit non Catholics as members without the necessity for conversion. It's amazing how many of them have been members of intelligence and governmental agencies.


Monday, April 5, 2010

The Clerical Sewer Gets Deeper And Wider

Cardinal Schonborn seems to be repeatedly alluding to something about the "Vatican" and it's policies for covering up high profile sexual abusers.

In the interview with Fr. Tom Doyle that precedes this post, there is this quote:
"And there's a lot of serious, serious corruption that needs to be taken care of so the Church can really be what it's supposed to be."

I, as well as many others, have pounded on the theme that until the authority and accountability structure in the Church is radically revised, we can have no confidence that anything will change when it comes to abuse of the laity. The following article from the London Times gives a great example of how serious the corruption in the Vatican is, and how powerless even Pope Benedict was and is, to combat it's influence. This kind of corruption can only exist inside a silent all powerful clique which is precisely why certain Cardinals are coming to the defense of that power structure.



John Paul ‘ignored abuse of 2,000 boys’
Bojan Pancevski in Vienna and John Follain in Rome - UK Times - 4/4/10

When John Paul II died five years ago the crowd that packed St Peter’s Square for his funeral clamoured “Santo subito (Saint now)!” in a spontaneous tribute to the charisma of the Polish pontiff.
As the faithful marked the anniversary of John Paul’s death on Good Friday, however, he was being drawn into the scandal over child abuse in the Catholic church that has confronted his successor, Benedict XVI, with the worst crisis of his reign.

Allegations that the late pontiff blocked an inquiry into a paedophile cardinal, promoted senior church figures despite accusations that they had molested boys and covered up innumerable cases of abuse during his 26-year papacy have cast a cloud over his path to sainthood.

The most serious claims related to Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, an Austrian friend of John Paul’s who abused an estimated 2,000 boys over decades but never faced any sanction from Rome. (This is a totally mind numbing figure and indicative of just how perverted this clerical culture of silence really is.)

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Groer’s successor, criticised the handling of that scandal and other abuse cases last week after holding a special service in St Stephen’s cathedral, Vienna, entitled “Admitting our guilt”.

Schönborn condemned the “sinful structures” within the church and the patterns of “silencing” victims and “looking away”. (I think there is a cabal with in the Vatican that silences reformers and forces them to 'look away'. I think that is the point that Schonborn is really trying to make.)

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — who became Pope Benedict — had tried to investigate the abuses as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to Schönborn. But his efforts had been blocked by “the Vatican”, an apparent reference to John Paul.(Maybe 'the Vatican' refers to much more than just JPII.)

Asked by The Sunday Times whether John Paul’s role in the cover-up of abuse should be investigated, Schönborn said: “I have known Pope Benedict personally during 37 years of amiable acquaintance and I can say with certainty that ... he made entirely clear efforts not to cover things up but to tackle and investigate them. This was not always met with approval in the Vatican.” (This is really an interesting quote because he is asked specifically about JPII, and chooses to restate Benedict's inability to effect change because of 'the Vatican'.)

The Groer affair became public in 1995 when former pupils of an elite Catholic school accused him of sexual abuse.

After an outcry, Groer was replaced and made the prior of a convent. He was never punished and issued only a vague apology in 1998 before retreating to a nunnery where he lived until his death in 2003. Some of his victims were offered “hush money” from the church.

Michael Tfirst, 54, one of Groer’s victims, claims to have reported the abuse to highranking church officials from the 1970s onwards. He says the church paid him £3,300 in 2004 under a contract that obliged him to keep quiet.

“There is no question that Ratzinger knew all the details of reports on abuse within the church, as there is no doubt that John Paul, his superior, took part in a massive and systematic cover-up,” Tfirst said.

John Paul also faced criticism last week from Poland for protecting Archbishop Juliusz Paetz, who was accused of abusing trainee priests. Letters detailing the charges were sent to John Paul’s office and to Ratzinger in 2000 but were ignored. Paetz resigned in 2002 when the allegations became public. (Nothing is ever done until the 'anti Catholic' media forces something to get done. I'm going to start referring to the media as the 'pro Jesus' media.)

Stanislaw Obirek, a Polish theologian and a former Jesuit priest, said: “I believe John Paul is the key person responsible for the cover-up of abuse cases because most of it occurred during his papacy. How can someone who is to blame for this be beatified?”

In America critics pointed out that although Benedict has borne the brunt of criticism over ignoring the scandal of Father Lawrence Murphy, accused of molesting 200 deaf boys at a special school in Wisconsin, Ratzinger had acted on the authority of John Paul. (True, but he should have acted on the authority of his personal conscience.)

Another beneficiary of John Paul’s discreet approach was Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest known as Father Maciel, who founded a conservative religious order. He was accused by former members of abuse in 1998. John Paul blessed Maciel in the Vatican in late 2004, at a time when Ratzinger was investigating him. A year after Ratzinger became pope, the Vatican ordered Maciel to lead “a reserved life of prayer and penance”, effectively removing him from power.

John Paul was also accused of ignoring controversy over John Magee, a former private secretary to three popes including the Polish pontiff, who named him Bishop of Cloyne in 1987. Late last month Magee was forced to resign after an independent report found that his diocese in Ireland had put children at risk. (Magee would do his soul and the Church a great service if he came out and spoke the truth of what he really knows. I imagine the hope in some quarters is the he takes the Marcinkus route and retires in silence through to the grave.)

In the Vatican the spiralling allegations have prompted a siege-like mentality. Father Federico Lombardi, Benedict’s spokesman, declined to comment on John Paul’s handling of abuse cases. “We’re busy with Easter celebrations, let’s focus on the homilies,” he said.

The Polish cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul’s private secretary for four decades, rejected as “unfair and misleading” any attempt to distinguish between the approaches of the two popes to abuse cases. “Benedict is strongly committed to clearing things up, like a father,” Dziwisz told La Repubblica, the Italian newspaper.

In Europe there are signs of the faithful turning their backs on the church in large numbers. In Austria alone more than 20,000 Catholics left the church in March.

In America there was a furious response by Jewish groups to a Good Friday sermon by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Benedict’s personal preacher, in which he compared the wave of attacks on the church to anti-Semitism.

Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, of the American Jewish Committee, protested: “So far I haven’t seen Saint Peter burn. The Vatican is trying to turn the persecutors into victims.”

John Paul was expected to be beatified in October but the process may be delayed. A French nun who appeared to have been miraculously cured of Parkinson’s disease through his intercession has reportedly been found to be suffering from a different illness.

Giancarlo Zizola, a leading expert on the Vatican, said the church officials who had gathered documents and questioned witnesses about John Paul’s suitability for sainthood had examined “negative” aspects of his papacy, including his handling of abuse cases.

“There’s no chance of Benedict delaying the beatification because of the abuse scandal,” Zizola said. “On the contrary, I expect he’ll accelerate it.” (Should Benedict cave into this, it will only add more accelerant to the bonfire.)

Allegations
Critics say John Paul II:

- Failed to encourage bishops to report accusations of paedophilia by priests to the police.
- Ignored accusations against senior members of the clergy, at times promoting them to higher office.
- Allowed many priests accused of paedophilia to be transferred to a new diocese without anyone being warned of their record. (Across international lines to avoid prosecution)
- Decreed that “pontifical secrecy” must apply to cases of sexual abuse in church trials.


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I wrote in a response to a comment the other day that as one went up the food chain, the perversion would get more distilled. I also wrote that I thought Cardinal Schonborg was hinting for the media to use the Groer case as a starting point to further revelations. I'm glad to see at least one 'pro Jesus' media outlet is starting to take up that challenge.

Pope Benedict is up to his ears in organized clerical sewage, and no amount of Papal pep rallies orchestrated by the conservative Vatican cabal of Cardinals is going to sweeten the stench.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Father Tom Doyle--Uncensored





This Australian interview with Fr. Tom Doyle is well worth the read. He doesn't pull many punches. It was conducted over this past weekend. It won't be seen on EWTN.



REPORTER: George Negus - Dateline Australia - SBS

GEORGE NEGUS: Tom Doyle, thanks for talking to us. It could be said, seeing that we're talking at Easter weekend, that this is not going to be a joyful, if you like, happy Easter for most Catholics throughout the world. This holy mess - or unholy mess - that the Church is in at the moment doesn't look like it's going to go away very quickly.

FATHER TOM DOYLE, DOMINICAN PRIEST: It's certainly not going to go away. It's not going to go away, and I think it's the beginning - or it's along the way - of a serious change for the institutional Church, especially for the ruling elite in the Vatican. It's definitely a moment of truth, and among other things it's a sign that the world, the society, is no longer going to show the deference to the Vatican, to the Pope, that they always expected. This is a time for accountability.

GEORGE NEGUS: How do you think that others in the Church - priests, bishops and practising Catholics themselves - react to hearing something like that from yourself? It sounds like you're saying the Catholic Church has been an accident waiting to happen on this whole issue for a while.

FATHER TOM DOYLE: I certainly agree that it's been an accident waiting to happen. How do people react? I think a significant number of Catholics react with denial and anger because what this does is it seriously rocks the source of their spiritual security. They don't like to hear it, but it's true. I mean, the Catholic Church, the men in the Catholic Church, are human beings - they're not supermen and they're not junior gods, they're people. And there's a lot of serious, serious corruption that needs to be taken care of so the Church can really be what it's supposed to be.

GEORGE NEGUS: You include the pontiff himself in that? Because his infallibility is now being questioned. In fact, you're suggesting the foundations of- if you like- the whole Catholic belief system - including the existence of a pope at all - is up for scrutiny.

FATHER TOM DOYLE: Well, what I think is up for scrutiny is the image and the way the papacy has been formed or shaped over the past few centuries. The Church is really supposed to be about Jesus Christ, not about the Pope. And the fact is that, whatever his intentions were, the Pope and the Vatican have been knowledgeable of this incredibly serious, horrendous plague that's been inflicted on the people of the Catholic Church for a long time, and they've done exactly the wrong things - they've tried to cover it up and lie about it to save their own skin, to save their own reputation and image, forgetting what is most important. And what is most important is that these children, the victims - many whom are now adults - they are the ones who need to be taken care of. They're the ones who are important.

GEORGE NEGUS: A lot of people listening to you say those sorts of things - whether they're in the Church hierarchy or the laity - would regard what you're saying as heresy. Are you a lonely voice in the wilderness on this horrible issue, or what?

FATHER TOM DOYLE: No, I'm not a lonely voice in the wilderness. There are at least from my observation in the United States, Canada, Ireland, the places I've been involved in, and certainly in Australia

GEORGE NEGUS: Right.

FATHER TOM DOYLE: There's nothing heretical about seeing corruption and calling it to be what it is and demanding that something be done to change it. And if you look at this issue, you're talking about hundreds of thousands of human beings that have been raped and pillaged and devastated by clergy, and to make it worse it's been covered up. That's not heresy, that's truth.

GEORGE NEGUS: You've actually said that the Church itself cannot and will not fix itself. I mean, if the Church can't do it, who's got the job of fixing up this dysfunctional Church, as you've described it?

FATHER TOM DOYLE: Well, I want to just make a distinction. There's the institutional Church, which is the governing structure - the bishops, the priests and so on - that's not the whole Church by a long shot. The Church is the people. Whether they're in there on Sunday or not, they're the people, and that's what will fix it - it will be the people themselves and it will happen because of pressure from outside, from the courts, the media. Generally, societal outrage will force some change. The system can't fix itself. If it could have done that, it would have done it, but it can't, because it's a monarchy and the whole concept of a monarchy in the 21st century is completely anachronistic. And so that will start, I think, the change - it will have to - because the system is changing, the Church itself is changing drastically, and many of the people at the top are afraid to admit that because that means their power structure is going to change.

GEORGE NEGUS: Are you talking about actually some sort of movement to eliminate not the Pope personally, but the whole idea of a pope and the Vatican and infallibility and these sorts of things?

FATHER TOM DOYLE: We need infallibility about as much as a duck hunter needs an accordion. But I would say that what's necessary is not so much the Pope or the Vatican itself, it's how they do business - it's how they see themselves. They see themselves as some sort of an elite that's better than everyone, above everyone, and they're engulfed in secrecy and mystery and everything else. And the Church is a community of people

GEORGE NEGUS: Yep.

FATHER TOM DOYLE: and there should be complete openness in the concept that they're serving, not running.

GEORGE NEGUS: The Pope has made an apology of sorts in the Irish situation. There are cases in the courts as we speak, people talking about inquiries internally, etc. But could you react to this statement for me, Tom? This is from the Vatican Secretary of State in Rome. "The Church still enjoys great confidence on the part of the faithful, it's just that someone is trying to undermine that, but the Church has special help from above." Now, isn't that a suggestion that God actually approves of what's been going on, including the child sex abuse?

FATHER TOM DOYLE: That's a nonsensical statement. First off, to presume that they have all this support and backing, who are they talking to - each other? These men are completely out of touch with reality and they've been out of touch - they only talk to one another. Secondly, to claim that God approves this, that's heresy. The statement itself is very offensive.

GEORGE NEGUS: But that's the Vatican! That's a statement from the Vatican. If I could interrupt you there, Tom - that's actually an official Vatican spokesman saying that the Church gets special help from above. Big call!

FATHER TOM DOYLE: I know - I realise who said it - and I think that's very presumptuous because the Church is the people, it's not just them. Maybe 'above' is helping the victims and their supporters to bring accountability - maybe that's where the help is coming from. So, it's a turkey shoot - you know, you throw it up and "Whose side is God on?" I don't think that's the point at all. The point is - what is right and what is wrong? Hiding the abuse of children is wrong, period. (Cardinal Bertone said it--Benedict's righthand man.)

GEORGE NEGUS: Can we raise the thorny subject of celibacy and how much that is an issue in this whole situation, because to non-Catholics it certainly is an issue that maybe celibacy is at the bottom of all of this, that it's the sort of behaviour that, if you like, leads to paedophilia and child sex abuse, etc.

FATHER TOM DOYLE: There's a lot of misunderstanding about celibacy and I have to say that being a celibate priest, being celibate, does not turn you into a sexually dysfunctional man - it doesn't make you a paedophile or a pervert or something of that nature. But the relationship of mandatory celibacy to this issue is much more complex and it's this, I believe, or part of it - that celibacy, the preparation for celibacy, the training and to convince a man that celibacy is acceptable, means you have to convince him that there's something secondary in importance about relationships, about marriage, about women and about family. Celibacy also has depended in the past on a very distorted notion of human sexuality - that it's something you can take and put it outside of yourself, turn it on and turn it off. And so what you had was men growing up with this incredible fear - any sexual thought, anything, was a mortal sin and you'd go to Hell - which is fairly unrealistic and it's certainly not very reflective of what a human being is.

GEORGE NEGUS: It sounds like you're saying if the Church has a close look at itself in the way you're suggesting it has to almost pull the whole institution apart and start all over again.

FATHER TOM DOYLE: Well, I think there are a lot of things that they should take a close look at - celibacy being one of them. They're deathly afraid to look at the women priests issue because they claim that Jesus Christ only ordained men. Well, that's a long short there - to presume that Christ had an ordination ceremony at the Last Supper, you know, that's a bit of a stretch.

GEORGE NEGUS: It's a new version of history, that's for sure.

FATHER TOM DOYLE: Well, definitely a new version of history.

GEORGE NEGUS: People are asking questions like, "Will we see priests and bishops end up in jail as a result of this?" "Will we see the Pope having to consider resignation?" But you've actually said, "Punishing the perpetrators is completely missing the forest standing behind the trees. The clerical culture entwined with the institution needs to be fearlessly examined and dismantled as we know it." Isn't that more-or-less what I was saying before - knocking the whole edifice down and rebuilding? You're questioning almost the very basis of Catholicism.

FATHER TOM DOYLE: It's unfortunate that it takes this type of destruction to move it towards change, but that's what has to happen, I believe. I'm not one anymore to mince words and be diplomatic and fart around with this. I mean, this is it. I've spent 25 years talking to people who've been ruined because of this stuff, and you know, the whole damn thing, they ought to sell the Vatican to the Mormons or to Disney or something and go out and start all over again.

GEORGE NEGUS: Tom Doyle, it's great to talk to you - fascinating, actually - and we'll stay in touch. Thanks again.

FATHER TOM DOYLE: Great. Thank you.

GEORGE NEGUS: Other than that, the mild-mannered Father Tom Doyle has nothing to say on an issue that's clearly not about to suddenly disappear off the Catholic Church's agenda.


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Not much for me to add. Tom pretty well covered the major ideas.

You Can't Find Correct Answers By Demanding We Ask The Wrong Questions

Andrew Sullivan sheds some light on why the existence of Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson is such an affront to many of his Catholic brethren.


On this Easter Sunday, I asked myself the question, what will it take for Roman Catholicism to undergo a meaningful Resurrection? And I asked the question, what is it that needs to be healed that sexual abuse is the behavior which triggered the current crisis? I had some ideas, and I've written some ideas, but I also knew I was looking for an expression for the core issue.

Sometimes, the core issue is revealed peripherally by strange sources. In this case one of those strange sources is Wild Bill Donohue and his fixation on homosexuality, rather than abuse of power, as the core issue in the abuse scandal. Bill has his finger on a button, but he's purposely connecting it to the wrong explanation.

Andrew Sullivan writes about the same button, but makes the right connections, because Andrew starts from the correct questions--the most important place to start if one is going to get correct answers and real healing:

"The real question is: what kind of gay man molests children and young teens? Just as: what kind of straight man molests children and young teens? What leads to this kind of behavior which is far from the norm among homosexuals and heterosexuals? And why does the Catholic Church priesthood seem such a magnet for child rapists and molesters? Why has it seemed to attract so many gay men who are psychologically disturbed or sick when it comes to their sexual orientation? (This entire paragraph asks the correct questions, based on the available data.)

I find the answer pretty straightforward.
The church teaches first of all that all gay men are "objectively disordered:" deeply sick in their deepest soul and longing for love and intimacy. A young Catholic who finds out he's gay therefore simultaneously finds out that his church regards him as sick and inherently evil, for something he doesn't experience as a choice. That's a distorting and deeply, deeply damaging psychic wound. Young Catholic gay boys, tormented by this seemingly ineradicable sinfulness, often seek religious authority as a way to cope with the despair and loneliness their sexual orientation can create. (Trust me on this; it was my life). So this self-loathing kid both abstracts himself from sexual relationships with peers, idolizes those "normal" peers he sees as he reaches post-pubescence, and is simultaneously terrified by these desires and so seeks both solace and cover for not getting married by entering the priesthood. (And in heavily Catholic blue collar communities, there is also the status attraction.)

None of this is conceivable without the shame and distortion of the closet, or the church's hideously misinformed and distorted view of homosexual orientation. And look at the age at which you are most likely to enter total sexual panic and arrest: exactly the age of the young teens these priests remain attracted to and abuse.

That's the age when the shame deepens into despair; that's when sexuality is arrested; that's where the psyche gets stunted. In some ways, I suspect, these molesters feel as if they are playing with equals - because emotionally they remain in the early teens. I'm not excusing this in any way; just trying to understand how such evil can be committed. (There are also the neurophysiological issues of brain development. Suffer an unresolvable conflict over sexuality at this age and it has a real impact on further development of the higher moral reasoning centers of the pre frontal cortex.)

Ask yourself: how many openly gay and adjusted priests have been found to have abused minors? Or ask yourself another question: if straight men were forbidden to marry women, had their sexual and emotional development truncated at the age of 13, and were forced into institutions where they were treated by teenage girls as gods, and given untrammeled private access to them, how much sexual abuse do you think would occur there? Please. This is not that hard to understand.

I think it's compounded by the shame gay bishops feel about their own sexual orientation. They, like Bill Donohue, secretly associate their homosexuality with dysfunction, disorder, chaos, evil. So when they come across a fellow priest found to have molested teenage boys or children, they associate it with homosexuality - not pederasty - associate themselves with it, and try to cover it up - partly because they want to protect the church (which is their sole refuge) and partly because they want to protect those they wrongly associate with themselves. (This protective impulse is the direct result of classic psychological projection.)

My own view is that Ratzinger fits almost perfectly into this paradigm, just as Weakland did. Which means there will be no change until this generation dies off. If Ratzinger were to face the truth on this, his world would collapse. He is not giving up on denial yet. He is a prime example of the walking wounded. Crippled, in fact, in the sole area he cannot be crippled: moral authority. (I absolutely agree with Andrew here. The closer this crisis gets to Benedict, the more personally he takes it. The fact he can't separate himself from the clerical culture issue is a huge red flag about just how wounded he and his close collaborators really are when it comes to the sexual issues inherent in the clerical and wider Catholic culture.)

I don't believe, in other words, that you can tackle this problem without seeing it as a symptom of a much deeper failure of the church to come to terms with sexuality, sexual orientation and the warping, psychologically distorting impact of compulsory celibacy in the priesthood. If women and married men were allowed to be priests, if homosexuality were regarded in Catholic theology as a healthy and rare difference rather than as a shameful disorder, this atmosphere would end, and these crimes would for the most part disappear and the cloying, closeted power-structure which enabled them to go unpunished for so long would finally crumble. And the church could grow again.

Through the truth, not around it. But it's exactly that truth that this pontiff and his enablers refuse to acknowledge. It would kill them.


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Andrew Sullivan is right on target in this analysis. I suspect he's so accurate because it really is his personal life experience as a committed gay Catholic. He knows in his soul the attraction the priesthood held for him, but he was honest enough to really look at that attraction and see it was an attraction of deficit, not a legitimate calling, not the product of a 'gift'.

As it stands now, we have a priesthood where too many are self chosen from unexamined feelings of deficit. Until this is reversed, there will be no resurrection of the Catholic priesthood. And it won't be reversed as long as the Vatican remains incapable of asking the right questions because of personal fear of the answers.

The really disheartening thing about all of this is that healthy gay priests have such a positive and pastoral charisma. It's a gift which should be celebrated, but instead, for too many gay men, that gift is twisted all out of shape long before they can begin to consciously direct it. Instead, all that charisma is primarily directed by an unresolved sexual agenda, and the spiritual becomes subservient to the sexual. This is true whether that gay sexuality is expressed or is sublimated by various forms of spiritual 'discipline'. True spiritual health calls for integration, not sublimation.

If the Vatican was really honest, they would admit this same process is operative in heterosexual priests as well. We just don't hear as much about it because the victims are female and society is more accepting of straight liaisons. That doesn't mean these straight liaisons are any healthier or less abusive. A 14 year old female victim is just as damaged as a 14 year old male victim and the damage compounded if she becomes pregnant. To think otherwise is self serving straight male propaganda. The very same kind of propaganda apologists like Wild Bill Donohue want us to unquestioningly accept.

Resurrection for the Church won't come from swallowing straight male propaganda. It will come from listening to the questions raised by men like Andrew Sullivan. Questions which seek to get to the core of the abuse, not divert us from solutions the Vatican refuses to entertain.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Canterbury VS The Vatican: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams seems to be willing to engage the Vatican on Christian ethics. Something he hasn't experienced much of lately from the Vatican.


I would imagine the following might be something of a payback, as well as a legitimate observation on the part of Rowan Williams.


Anglican leader: Irish church lost all credibility
By RAPHAEL G. SATTER, Associated Press Writer

LONDON – The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has lost all credibility because of its mishandling of abuse by priests, the leader of the Anglican church said in remarks released Saturday. A leading Catholic archbishop said he was "stunned" by the comments.
(Probably not quite as stunned as Archbishop Williams was when Benedict laid the invite to conservative Anglicans on his doorstep.)

The remarks released Saturday marked the first time Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has spoken publicly on the crisis engulfing the Catholic Church. The comments come ahead of a planned visit to England and Scotland by Pope Benedict XVI later this year.

"I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it's quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now," Williams told the BBC. "And an institution so deeply bound into the life of a society, suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility — that's not just a problem for the church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland, I think."

The interview with Williams, recorded March 26, is to be aired Monday on the BBC's "Start the Week" program as part of a general discussion of religion to mark Easter. But its publication ahead of the interview caught Catholic leaders off guard.

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said he had "rarely felt personally so discouraged" as when he heard Williams' opinions. (Perhaps Williams was thinking more along the lines of Cardinal Brady and some others. Or perhaps not.)

"I have been more than forthright in addressing the failures of the Catholic Church in Ireland. I still shudder when I think of the harm that was caused to abused children. I recognize that their church failed them," a statement, posted on the archdiocese's Web site, said. "Those working for renewal in the Catholic Church in Ireland did not need this comment on this Easter weekend and do not deserve it." (The hierarchical pity pool seems to be getting deeper and wider.)

Martin also noted that that Anglican leaders in Ireland — including the Church of Ireland's Archbishop of Dublin John Neill and Bishop Richard Clarke — had distanced themselves from Williams' statements, with Clarke describing them as careless.

Martin later said that Williams had called him to express regret for the "difficulties which may have been created" by the interview, but it wasn't clear if that constituted an apology or whether Williams still stood by his remarks. (Williams apparently has spent some time digesting the apologetics of Roman Catholic bishops to abuse survivors.)

Calls to Williams' office seeking comment on his interview and the call to Martin were not immediately returned.

The Catholic church has been on the defensive over accusations that leaders protected child abusers for decades in many countries, and Williams' criticisms are likely to strain already testy relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion — which estimate 1.1 billion and 80 million adherents respectively.

Although both the pope and the archbishop of Canterbury have stressed the importance of healing the Reformation-era rift that split the churches in the 16th century, relations hit a low point last year when the Vatican invited conservative Anglicans to join the Catholic Church.
How many will take up the offer is still unknown, although in the interview Williams said he didn't think the issue "is going to be a big deal."

"I think there'll be a few people who will take advantage of it — and they'll take advantage of it because they believe they ought to be in communion with the bishop of Rome. And I can only say fine, God bless them."

The strained relations come at an awkward time for both churches, which are under considerable internal pressure.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by sex abuse scandals in countries such as the United States, Germany and Ireland, where Cardinal Sean Brady faces calls for his resignation following allegations that he played a role in helping to cover up activities of pedophile priests.
The pope himself has come under fire, with critics accusing Benedict — who as a Vatican cardinal directed the Holy See's policy on handling abuse cases — was part of a culture of secrecy intended to protect church hierarchy.

The Anglican Church, meanwhile, still faces bruising internal debates — or even a potential split — over what rights to extend to homosexuals and women within the church. (These are two totally different kinds of internal stress surrounding the priesthood. One is about inappropriate sexual access to children, and one is about spiritual access for more of Jesus's people. Think there might be a message here?)

The pope's planned first official visit to Britain in November already has generated controversy and promises of protests after Benedict's criticism of British rules designed to protect gays and women in the workplace, which have raised fears at the Vatican that the Catholic Church could eventually be prosecuted for refusing to hire gays or transsexuals. (If the media attention keeps up Benedict's legal beagles may be worried about other legal maneuvers and suggest that Benedict stay in the legally friendly confines of the Vatican City States.)

Both Williams and Benedict are due to meet during the visit to Britain, but the archbishop seemed curt when describing how he would greet the pope at Lambeth Palace, his official residence just south of the River Thames.

Williams said the pontiff would be welcomed as "as a valued partner, and that's about it."
In the interview, Williams said Christian institutions, faced with the choice of self-protection or revealing potentially damaging secrets, have decided to keep quiet to preserve their credibility.
"We've learned that that is damaging, it's wrong, it's dishonest and it requires that very hard recognition ... which ought to be natural for the Christian church based as it is on repentance and honesty," he said.

Associated Press Writer Jennifer Quinn contributed to this report.


*****************************************


This is another one of Pope Benedict's and Cardinal Bertone's personal policy goals which is coming home to roost. I thought at the time that the invitation extended to conservative Anglicans, because of the way it was handled, was going to have repercussions. This is kind of like watching a cat fight between two academic theologians (who happen to lead competing churches.)

In the final analysis, Williams is right. One would think that a Christian church would pride itself on honesty and repentance. He could have added openness and pastoral ability, but he was being civilized.

Sad to see AB Martin jump in the pity pool. If he seriously thinks he's that far removed from the rest of his brother bishops, perhaps this will be a wake up call. Jumping in the pity pool says he still doesn't understand the level of betrayal the typical lay Catholic feels. It isn't about him personally. It's about the clerical system and the clerical culture. If bishops like Martin can't get that point, and since none of them seem to be able too, there is no hope for any meaningful reform from any of them.

Too bad Williams didn't make that point a little clearer. Bishops who truly want reform need to understand it. Don't take this all personally. It isn't about you. That takes maturity though, and maturity, like integrity, seem to be in short supply amongst our Catholic bishops.

Friday, April 2, 2010

With Friends Like This Fr. Lombardi Doesn't Need To Invent Enemies




Pope's preacher: Accusations akin to anti-Semitism

By FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press Writer


VATICAN CITY – At a solemn Good Friday service, Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher said allegations that the pontiff covered up sex abuse cases by Catholic clergymen reminded him of the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism."


Within hours, a Vatican spokesman sought to distance the pope from his preacher's remarks after both Jews and a leading abuse victims group reacted sharply, criticizing the comparison with violence that culminated in the Holocaust to the accusations made against Benedict.


The Vatican has been on the defensive in recent days, saying the church has been singled out and collectively stereotyped for the problem of pedophilia, which it says is a society-wide issue.


Good Friday is a particularly delicate day in a decades-long effort by Jews and Catholics to overcome a legacy of mistrust. Particularly harmful to the relations was the long-held Catholic belief that Jews were collectively responsible for executing Christ. A landmark achievement of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s was a declaration stating the Jews should not be blamed for the crucifixion.


As the pope listened in a hushed St. Peter's Basilica, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa likened accusations against the pontiff and the Catholic church in sex abuse scandals in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere to "collective violence" suffered by the Jews.


Benedict, 82, looked weary as he sat near the central altar at the early evening prayer service before a candlelit Way of the Cross procession near the Colosseum that commemorates Christ's suffering and death. (I bet he did.)


Cantalamessa, in his reflections for the pope on the Catholic church's most solemn day, said he was inspired by a letter from an unidentified Jewish friend who was upset by the "attacks" against Benedict.


Jews "know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms," said Cantalamessa, a Franciscan priest.


Quoting from the letter, Cantalamessa said his Jewish friend was following "with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful of the whole world."


"The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism," he said, quoting from the letter.


The Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, later contacted The Associated Press and said Cantalamessa wasn't speaking as a Vatican official. He said Cantalamessa's homily did not represent an official church position, saying such parallelism can lead to misunderstandings. (Perhaps Fr. Lombardi should have vetted Cantalamessa's sermon.)


Benedict didn't speak after the homily but chanted prayers in a tired voice. He leaned up to remove a red cloth covering a tall crucifix, which was passed to him by an aide. He took off his shoes, knelt and prayed before the cross.


Victims say Benedict — both as a former archbishop of Munich and later as a Vatican cardinal directing the Holy See's policy on handling abuse cases — was part of a culture of cover-up and confidentiality basically devised to protect church hierarchy.


Cantalamessa's likening the accusations to the Holocaust rankled U.S. Jewish leaders.


"Shame on Father Cantalamessa," said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, in a statement. "The Vatican is entitled to defend itself, but the comparison with anti-Semitic persecution is offensive and unsustainable. We are sorely disappointed."


Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, who said he recently had "cordial" talks at the Vatican with church and other Jewish leaders as part of efforts on both sides to improve Catholic-Jewish relations, sounded dismayed.


"It's an unfortunate use of language to make this comparison, since the collective violence against the Jews resulted in the death of 6 million, while the collective violence spoken of here has not led to murder and destruction, but perhaps character assault," said Greenebaum, U.S. director of interreligious relations for the American Jewish Committee.


German Jewish leader Stephan Kramer described Cantalamessa's remarks as unheard-of "insolence."


"It is repulsive, obscene and most of all offensive toward all abuse victims as well as to all the victims of the Holocaust," said Kramer, general secretary of Germany's Central Council of Jews, in an interview with the AP in Berlin. (For sure, one could actually lose track of who the real victims are, and it isn't the Pope or the Vatican.)


Painful memories of the strained relations between the two religions were raised earlier in Benedict's papacy, when he favored a revival of the pre-Vatican Council version of the Tridentine Mass, which includes a prayer for the conversion of Jews.


Cantalamessa in his sermon said there was no need to dwell on the scandals. He referred to the sexual abuse of children by clergy, saying "unfortunately, not a few elements of the clergy are stained" by the violence. Still, he said, "there is sufficient talk outside of here."


A vocal U.S.-based victims lobby, SNAP, reacted scathingly to the sermon.


"It's heartbreaking to see yet another smart, high-ranking Vatican official making such callous remarks that insult both abuse victims and Jewish people," said David Clohessy of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "It's morally wrong to equate actual physical violence and hatred against a large group of innocent people with mere public scrutiny of a small group of complicit officials." (That's true, but it really is beginning to look like the Vatican has lost it's collective moral compass.)


"The Catholic hierarchy has engaged in and still engages in widely documented, self-serving and ongoing cover-ups of devastating clergy sex crimes. That's why church records are being disclosed, predator priests are being exposed and Catholic officials feel besieged."


While Cantalamessa delivered his ringing defense of the pontiff, the church in Benedict's native Germany made the unusually frank admission that it failed to help victims of clerical abuse because it wanted to protect its reputation.


Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German bishops' conference, said clerics neglected helping victims because of a "wrongly intended desire to protect the church's reputation."


*************************************************


I feel so sorry for Fr. Lombardi. I bet he so wishes he worked someplace else. The clinician in me has a few observations to make, but I'll forgo and just let the previous post speak for me.

Loyal Roman Soldiers Upholding The Power Of The Empire

Other loyal Roman soldiers haggling over the spoils and ripping the seamless garment.


This has been an interesting couple of days for Catholicisim, In the US and at the Vatican it has had a whole lot more to do with the NY Times than it has Jesus Christ and Holy Week. After two days of castigating the Times for inaccurate reporting, basically on the testimony of one Fr. Brundage, there has been dead silence now that said Fr. Brundage has retracted his statements. The Old Grey Lady stands vindicated about the facts of their story on Fr. Murphy, if not their conclusions about Cardinal Ratzinger.

The more I've delved into the abuse crisis this week, the more it's becoming apparent that the over all strategy is to give ground on some issues, while desperately deflecting attention away from the priesthood and the authority structure itself. So we have the head of the German bishops, Archbishop Zollitsch, giving ground on the 'protect the Church from scandal' argument:
Clerics have neglected helping abuse victims by a "wrongly intended desire to protect the church's reputation," Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg said.

I'm sure we will see more clerics line up behind this admission because it fails to mention anything about the excessive power held in the hands of clerics, or the theology of the priesthood, or a poorly developed theology of sexuality. Protecting mother church is a better excuse than the reality of abusing and re abusing children to protect clerical power.

We will continue to hear all kinds of wonderful references to the Dallas Charter and zero strike policies and absolutely nothing about the fact the Dallas Charter specifically excludes bishops from it's enforcement policies. We will be told it is mandatory and binding for all dioceses, when in fact that has never been tested or ruled on by the Vatican, which is why Bishop Bruskewitz refuses to implement the Dallas Charter in his diocese and gets away with it. The issue,of course, is whether a national synod has the authority to tell a given bishop what he will be forced to do in his own diocese. Bruskewitz seems to be betting the Vatican will reserve that authority to itself. So far he's been right.

The USCCB and Cardinal Levada desperately want us to believe that the Dallas Charter is being faithfully implemented and yet we know that Cardinal George, the head of the USCCB, did not faithfully implement the Dallas Charter, nor is he playing by the rules. Here's an interesting statement from the linked article which illustrates how carefully one must read diocesan statements:

Archdiocese spokesman Jim Dwyer said that George felt at the time of the review board's advice that he could not remove McCormack without firsthand information."Now we have the protocol in place to be more aggressive in possibly removing priests earlier in the process when we see there's an issue of safety," Dwyer said. "The cardinal has said we're going to do things differently in the future, but he's not going to step down."

Why insert the word 'possibly' if one intends a first strike policy, especially if 'we see there's an issue of safety'. Why not just be more aggressive period. Could it 'possibly' have something to do with a Cardinal being forced to act on the recommendation of mere lay professionals?

Can we trust this current Vatican, even under Benedict, to really reform and follow through on cleaning up the Church--on some sort of permanent basis? Well no we can't, because Ratzinger himself bailed on his desire to investigate Austrian Cardinal Groer and Fr. Maciel and the Legion of Christ. We have absolutely no certainty that the next pope won't be as obstructionist as the last pope and that all the underling "Cardinal Ratzinger's" won't trade in their personal disgust, shame, and integrity in favor of closing ranks and obeying. For the 'good' of the Church.

Catholics can not afford to be diverted by excuses which leave an ultimately unaccountable clerical culture in charge of the whole Catholic show. All that will accomplish is to insure that abuse of the faithful continues, that Catholics will be held hostage not to the principles of love that Jesus asked of us, but to the demands of a highly compartmentalized and protected class of men.

Men, who when it comes to the exercise of secular and clerical power, do not get Good Friday. The day their professed Savior rejected all forms of power in favor of the love and forgiveness He preached. The day He hung ignominiously and powerless from a secular Roman cross. An execution accomplished with the collusion of clerical power.

It angers me no end that any bishop would dare to imply the Church hangs on that cross because of publicity they generated themselves. No, their victims hang on that cross while they sit at the foot and haggle like the Roman soldiers they are over what's left of the spoils.








Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cleaning Up The Filth? Depends On Who Is In Charge......

Fr. Donald McGuire and some official penitents before his incarceration in Federal Prison for the forcible rape of other penitents.


One of the claims being made by Vatican apologists is that the Church has changed it's way when it comes to reporting and dealing with abuse claims. I maintain that these policy changes are only as effective as the person in charge chooses them to be. There are numerous cases which have come to light in the US where the Dallas Charter was not followed--purposely.

Anyone who thinks paper policies are going to meaningfully and consistently address clerical abuse is naive, too trusting in 'goodness'. The following case, which made headlines in 2007, is illustrative of the fallacy of thinking anything is going to change in Catholicism if there isn't a radical restructuring of authority structures.


Papers: Jesuits Were Warned About Abusive Priest
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty NPR March 29, 2007

Father Donald McGuire sexually abused two teenaged boys in the 1960s. That much is public record: He was convicted in a criminal trial last year.

As recently as nine weeks ago, Jesuit leaders insisted that they had no knowledge of any other abuse by the renowned priest. But documents show that over the past 38 years, Jesuit leaders were alerted many times about McGuire's behavior — even as criminal and civil cases were under way. That raises the question: What happened to those records?

"They either destroyed documents relevant to criminal activity, or they lied," said Marc Pearlman, an attorney for several plaintiffs.

Pearlman has obtained copies of 25 documents from families of alleged victims, which he gave to NPR. They indicate that McGuire had sexual relationships with at least seven teenage boys between 1969 and 2004 (three others have since been identified). The documents include letters from family members to top Jesuit leaders, as well as letters from Jesuit leaders discussing the problem. Pearlman said because the Jesuits failed to act after the first report, a sexual predator had free access to young men for nearly 40 years.

Edward Schmidt, the provincial, or leader, of the Jesuits in Chicago, said they were not protecting McGuire.

"We were treating him as a member of the Jesuit order," he said in a phone interview. "We were proceeding as though he were a good person, you know, until we became aware of some of these issues that have now become public. Were we trying to protect him from authorities? Not in any way." (Interesting how these officials are never aware of anything until the anti Catholic media conspiracy and their greeedy lawyer accomplices, publically inform them of material these guys suddenly find they've had all along.)

First Signs of Trouble

Until very recently, Donald McGuire was one of the most prominent Jesuits of his day. In 1983, he became the spiritual director of Mother Teresa's organization and her confessor. He led Ignatian retreats, calling people to an intimate relationship with God. (This is about the same time that another Chicago priest is up to his ears in the Vatican Bank scandal--Bishop Marcinkus. Some of the money which appears to still be unaccounted for is that of one of the largest depositors in the bank----Mother Theresa's order. Maybe she was getting financial advice in confession.)
As he traveled the world, McGuire often brought a teenage boy with him as an intern, and devout Catholic families jumped at the privilege.

The first signs of trouble surfaced in 1969, in a case that would eventually result in McGuire's criminal conviction. A 14-year old freshman at Loyola Academy, a high school near Chicago, met Father McGuire when the young priest was assigned to be his counselor. McGuire soon persuaded the teenager and his father to let him board at the school. McGuire said the boy would sleep in a nearby room. But McGuire immediately moved the boy to his own room and "then the abuse turned physical," according to the victim, now 51 years old.

"There's only one bed inside the room, so sleeping quarters were to sleep in the same bed together," the man said in a phone interview.

As recently as 2005, the Jesuits said they had no knowledge of this. But documents suggest they did. The boy had told his parish priest about the abuse. The priest wrote the Jesuits running the school in November 1969, and Pearlman has a copy of that letter. The said the Jesuits told him they would take care of McGuire. They put McGuire on sabbatical, and he did not return to the school. But three years later, the then-teenager realized they had not done enough.

"I was walking down one of the lanes at Loyola University," he told NPR, "and ran smack dab into Father McGuire toting a little boy with him, in the ages of like 13 to 14 years old."

Documents show that McGuire had a pattern: He would persuade a family to let their teenage son intern with him, and quickly move the boy into his room. And then, according an alleged victim who asked that his name not be used, McGuire would give the boy a sexual education, using the sacred rite of confession.

"We underwent something called a 'general confession,' whereby you just lay out your sins," the alleged victim, a young man, told NPR. "And the priest will help you, talk you through it, maybe give you some guidelines for the future. And his guidelines were to teach me about sex."

He says the guidelines included naked showers, massage and pornography. Between 1999 and 2002, the young man says he traveled with McGuire every summer, Easter and Christmas, and lived with him at Canisius House, a residence with other Jesuit priests. He said he cannot understand how they did not catch on that a teenager was living with a priest.

"How could they not know? I was in his room almost all the time," the young man said. "The food was being brought in. His secretary would drop me off. How could you not know?"

Father Edward Schmidt, the provincial since 2003, says it's an excellent question.

"I can see why the public would wonder about that," he says. "But Donald McGuire just had his own way of doing things. He could sneak people around late at night. It does seem very difficult, but I can believe that no other Jesuit knew about it. Other Jesuits would have been outraged if they had known that. If anybody had seen that going on, known that was going on, he would have been denounced immediately." (If this wasn't so sick, so pathetic, it would be funny.)

Wisconsin Suit

In the summer of 2003, the man who was abused in the 1960s and Vic Bender, another man who was abused by the young priest around the same time, sued McGuire and the Jesuits. That suit led to a criminal case against the priest — not in Illinois, where the statute of limitations has run out, but in Wisconsin, where McGuire had taken the two teenagers, separately, on weekend trips. The district attorney there told NPR that he could not subpoena documents across state lines. He asked the Jesuits if they had records that would indicate McGuire had abused any boys since the late 1960s. He said, "I naively relied on their goodness."
The Jesuits said they had nothing.

"The statement by the Jesuits by the DA in Wisconsin — there's no other way to characterize it but a bald-faced lie," says attorney Marc Pearlman. "We now have the documents that show they had a great deal of material." (Moral of the story seems to be don't rely on people's 'goodness'. Not if you are an attorney, not if you are a Jesuit, and especially not if you are a parent or a child.)

Pearlman said that one family wrote to Jesuit leaders in October 2000, asking them to investigate concerns they had about their son being forced to sleep on the same bed with the McGuire.

"And the Jesuits wrote back to them that, initially, 'We're looking into it,'" Pearlman said. "But pretty much for the next three years, [the Jesuits] told them that how they're investigating and what they're doing is none of their business," Pearlman said.

Or, as the Jesuit handling the case wrote, "We would hope that you would trust us to act appropriately." (Oh here we are again--just trust our goodness.)

Letters go back and forth until 2003, when the first civil lawsuit was filed. Eventually, McGuire was convicted of sexual assault. He has been sentenced to seven years in prison and is out pending appeal. (At this point the Dallas Charter is supposed to be in effect--but maybe the Jesuits in Chicago never got the memo--or they lost it like everything else that pertained to this case.)

Provincial Edward Schmidt admits the Jesuits missed red flags.

"As I look back, in hindsight, there are lots of things we should have done differently," he says. "The fact of the matter is, we're dealing with someone who does his own thing. We had directives in place. We could have been stronger in managing him, but we were not. I wish we had been."

What about those documents, and Pearlman's allegations that the Jesuits lied or destroyed them? Schmidt says it's a mystery. The Jesuits recently hired a former FBI agent, Kathleen McChesney, to scour McGuire's files. The agent told NPR she has already found allegations going back to 1993. (Well golly, there still is some mystery and mysticism in Catholicism.)

As for McGuire, he remains a priest but cannot perform priestly duties. On Thursday, a Wisconsin judge will hear his motion for a new criminal trial. In a brief phone conversation, McGuire said he's "very hopeful" about the outcome.


**********************************************


McGuire's conviction in Wisconsin was upheld, and then he was further sentenced to 25 years in Federal prison from another criminal trial which ended in February of 09. There are still other charges waiting prosecution from a case in Arizona.

In the meantime The Friends of Fr. McGuire are appealing for donations to enable multiple appeals. They believe: "that this effort goes beyond the personal case of Fr. McGuire. It is clear that the consequences of these suits constitute a direct assault on the priesthood of the Catholic Church and the kind of personal relationships that are essential for priests to have with people in their ministries. Your contribution to this cause is, therefore, an action in the defense of the priesthood and its tasks."

Seems there are conspiracy theories everywhere.

This Is My Body, This Is My Blood

Lighting of candles at a seder meal.


I found the following on the blog Blue Eye Ennis. These are two poems written by two different women which point to the novelty of the idea that women are somehow incapable of uttering or representing the words "This is my Body, this is my blood." I think not.

On this Holy Thursday, I am reminded that it is quite impossible to have a Jewish Pass Over feast without women, and yet somehow our Catholic re enactment of this feast manages to do just that. Makes me wonder.

These are difficult times to be Catholic. The idea of betrayal is in the air. Scapegoating is again in play.

Tonight Pope Benedict will wash the feet of twelve male clerics in a symbolic gesture of service. The cynic in me thinks this is highly representational of the real decisions of white washing the acts of abusive clerics. And yet I remember betrayal was a major theme of this night, so it is fitting I guess that Benedict wash the feet of clerics.

I hope though, that sometime this weekend Benedict remembers that he himself is the product of his mother's body and blood. That he recognizes on a fundamental level the Church is the product of the body and blood of a woman and all the women who have followed. I hope that he can recognize the true place of women in Catholicism, just as is recognized in the seder meal, the part of humanity that lights the Light, and brought Salvation to the world.


Did The Woman Say
Frances Croake Frank

Did the woman say
When she held him for the first time
in the dark dank of a stable,
After the pain and the bleeding and the crying,
“This is my body, this is my blood?”

Did the woman say,
When she held him for the last time in the
dark rain on a hilltop,
After the pain and the bleeding and the dying,
“This is my body, this is my blood?

Well that she said it to him then,
For dry old men,
Brocaded robes belying barrenness,
Ordain that she not say it for him now.


Liturgy
Irene Zimmerman SSSF

All the way to Elizabeth
and in the months afterward
she wove him, pondering,
"this is my body, my blood!

"Beneath the watching eyes
of donkey, ox, and sheep
she rocked him crooning
"this is my body, my blood!"

In the search for her young lost boy
and the foreboding day of his leaving
she let him go , knowing
"This is my body, my blood!"

Under the blood smeared cross
she rocked his mangled bones,
re-membering him, moaning,
"This is my body, my blood!"

When darkness, stones , and tomb
bloomed to Easter morning,
She ran to him shouting,
"this is my body, my blood!"

And no one thought to tell her:
"Woman, it is not fitting
for you to say those words.
You don't resemble him."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two WaPo Articles With Very Different Messages.

Jesuit Father Henri Boulad issues a heart felt appeal for reformation.


A big thanks to frequent commenter TheraP for giving me the heads up on this article.


A call for a Catholic reformation
By Henri Boulad Egyptian Jesuit - Washington Post

Holy Father,

I dare to speak directly to you for my heart bleeds upon seeing the abyss into which our Church is falling. Hopefully, you will forgive the filial frankness, inspired by the liberty of the children of God to which St. Paul invites us and for my impassioned love for the Church. (Me too.)

I will be pleased also that you forgive the alarmist tone of this letter for I know that little time remains and that the situation remains dire. Let me first tell you a little about myself. I am an Egyptian Lebanese Jesuit of the Melkiterite. I will soon turn 78. For the last 3 years, I have been the rector of the Jesuit school in Cairo. I have also carried out the following responsibilities: superior of the Jesuits in Alexandria, regional superior of the Jesuits in Egypt, professor of theology in El Cairo, director of Caritas-Egypt, and vice president of Caritas International for the Middle East and North Africa.

I am well acquainted with the Catholic hierarchy of Egypt having participated over many years in meetings as president of superiors of the religious orders of Egypt. I have very close relations with each one of them, some of whom are my former students. I also personally know Pope Chenouda III, whom I saw frequently. As far as the Catholic hierarchy of Europe goes, I had the opportunity to meet personally with some of its members such as Cardinal Koening, Cardinal Schonborn, Cardinal Daneels, Cardinal Martini, Archbishop Kothgasser, Bishops Kapellari and Kung, other Austrian bishops and bishops of other European countries. These encounters occurred during my annual trips to give conferences throughout Europe, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, France, Belgium, etc. During these visits, I spoke and engaged with diverse audiences and the media (newspapers, radio, television, etc.) I did the same in Egypt and the Near East.

I have visited 50 countries on 4 continents and have published some 30 books in 15 languages--mainly in French, Arabic, Hungarian, and German. Of the 13 books in German, perhaps you have read Sons and Daughters of God which was published by your friend, Fr. Erich Fink of Bavaria. I say this not to brag, but rather to tell you simply that my intentions are grounded in a realistic knowledge of the universal church and its current situation in 2009.
Returning to the reason for this letter, I will try to be as brief, clear, and objective as possible.
In the first place, there are several topics [the list is not exhaustive].

Number 1
Religious practice is in a constant decline. A continually shrinking number of seniors [who will soon disappear] are those who frequent the churches in Europe and Canada. The only remaining remedy will be to close these churches or change them into museums, mosques, clubs, or municipal libraries as is now being done. The thing that surprises me is that many of these churches are being completely renovated and modernized at great expense with the hope of attracting the faithful. But this will not stop the exodus.

Number 2
Seminaries and novitiates are emptying out at the same speed, and vocations are in sharp decline. The future is very somber and one has to ask who or what will bring relief. More and more African and Asian priests are in charge of European parishes.

Number 3
Many priests abandon the priesthood. The few who remain--whose median age often is beyond that of retirement--have to be in charge of many parishes in an expedient and administrative capacity. Many of these priests, in Europe, as well as in the Third World, live in concubinage in plain sight of the faithful who normally accept them; this occurs with the knowledge of the local bishop who is not able to accept this arrangement, but who needs to keep in mind the scarcity of priests. (This is a great description of the classic "avoidance/avoidance conundrum, otherwise known as 'damned if you do, damned if you don't")

Number 4
The language of the church is obsolete, out of date, boring, repetitive, moralizing and totally out of synch with our age. The message of the Gospel should be presented in all its starkness and challenges. It is necessary to move towards a "new evangelization" to which John Paul II invited us. But this, contrary to what many think or believe, does not mean repeating the old which no longer speaks to us, but rather innovating and inventing a new language which expresses the faith in a meaningful way for the people of today.

Number 5
This is not able to be done without a profound renewal of theology and catechesis which should be completely reformulated. A German religious priest whom I met recently was telling me that the word "mystic" was not even mentioned once in "The New Catechism." I could not believe it. We have to concede that our faith is very cerebral, abstract, dogmatic, and rarely directed to the heart and body. (As I read this paragraph I was thinking, "and they wonder why Catholics are going New Age?" and then I read the following paragraph.)

Number 6
As a consequence, a great number of Christians are turning to the religions of Asia, the sects, "new-age," evangelical churches, occultism, etc. This is not unexpected. They go to other places to look for nourishment that they don't find in their own home. They have the impression that we give them stones as if it were bread. The Christian faith in another age gave a sense of life to people. It appears to be an enigma to them today, the remains of a forgotten past.

Number 7
In the moral and ethical areas, the teachings of the magisterium repeated " ad nausaeum," about marriage, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, married priests, the divorced who remarry again, etc. etc., no longer affect anyone, and only produce weariness and indifference. All of these moral and pastoral problems deserve something more than categorical declarations. They need a pastoral, sociological, psychological and human treatment that is more evangelical.

Number 8
The Catholic Church, which has been the great teacher of Europe for many centuries, seems to forget that this same Europe has arrived at its maturity. Our adult Europe does not wish to be treated as a child. The paternalistic style of a church "mater et magistra" is completely out of touch and no longer works today. Christians have learned to think for themselves and are no longer inclined to swallow just anything that someone else proposes.

Number 9
The most Catholic nations of the past, for example, France, "the first-born daughter of the church," or ultra-Catholic French Canada, have made a hundred and eighty degree turn and have fallen into atheism, anti-clericalism, agnosticism, and indifference. Other European nations are proceeding down the same path. We are able to state that the more a nation was dominated and protected by the church in the past, the stronger is their reaction against it today.

Number 10
The dialogue with other churches and religions is in a worrisome decline today. The great progress made over the last half century is on hold at this time. Facing this almost devastating situation, the church's leadership reacts in two ways:

1. They tend to minimize the seriousness of the situation and to console themselves by focusing on a resurgence of the most traditionalist factions and on growth in the Third World countries. 2. They appeal to their confidence in the Lord who has sustained the church for over 20 centuries and who is able to help them overcome this new crisis. (Do they ever go on endlessly about the 'resurgence of the most traditional factions'.)

To this I respond.

Neither relying on the past nor holding on to its crumbs will solve the problems of today and tomorrow. The apparent vitality of the churches in the Third World today is misleading. It appears very probable that these new churches eventually will pass through the same crises that the old European Christianity encountered. (It's not a probability, it's a certainty.)

Modernity is irreversible and having forgotten this is why the church today finds itself in such a crisis. Vatican II tried to reverse four centuries of stagnation, but there is an impression that the church is gradually closing the doors that it opened at that time. The church has tried to direct itself backwards towards the council of Trent and Vatican I rather than forward toward Vatican III. Let's remember a statement that John Paul II repeated many times, "There is no alternative to Vatican II."

How long will we continue playing the politics of the ostrich hiding our heads in the sand? How long will we avoid looking things in the face? How long will we continue turning our back and rejecting every criticism rather than seeing it as a chance for renewal? How long will we continue to postpone a reform that has been neglected for too long a time?

Only by looking forward and not backward will the church fulfill its mission to be the light of the world, salt of the earth, and leaven in the dough. Nevertheless, unfortunately what we find today is that the church is the caboose of our age after having been the locomotive for centuries. I repeat again what I said at the beginning of this letter. Time is running out! History doesn't wait especially in our era when it its rhythm flows ever more rapidly.

Any business when confronting a deficit or dysfunction examines itself immediately, bringing together a group of experts, trying to revitalize itself, and mobilizing all its energies to overcoming the crisis. Why doesn't the church do something different? Why doesn't it mobilize all its living forces to have a radical aggiornamento? Why?

Because of laziness? Lethargy? Pride? Lack of imagination? Lack of creativity? Culpable passivity in the hope that the Lord will take care of things and because the church has weathered other crises in the past?

In the Gospels, Christ warns us that "the children of darkness manage their affairs better than the children of light."

So then, what needs to be done? The Church of today has an urgent and compelling need for a three-pronged reform.

1. A theological and catechetical reform to rethink our faith and reformulate it in a coherent way for our contemporaries. A faith that has no significance and gives no meaning to life is nothing more than an ornament, a useless superstructure that eventually implodes upon itself. This is the current situation.

2. A pastoral reformulation that re-thinks from head to toe the structures inherited from the past.

3. A spiritual renewal to revitalize the mystical and to rethink the sacraments with the view of giving them an existential dimension, one that connects with life. (Any reformation which does not have this task as it's guiding principle will fail.)

I would have much more to say about this. Today's church is too formal, too formalistic. One has the impression that the institution suffocates its charisma, and in the end what one finds is purely external stability, a superficial honesty, a kind of facade. Don't we run the risk that Jesus will describe us as the "whitened seplechres"?

In conclusion, I suggest convoking a general synod at the level of the universal church in which all Christians would participate-Catholics and others-to examine with openness and clarity the issues raised above and their ramifications.

Such a synod would last three years and would conclude with a general assembly-let's avoid the word council-which would synthesize the results of this exploration and draw its conclusions.
I end, Holy Father, by asking your pardon for my outspoken boldness and I ask for your paternal blessing. Let me also tell you that in these days I live in your company thanks to your extraordinary book, Jesus of Nazareth, which is the focus of my spiritual reading and daily meditation.

With the utmost affection in the Lord,
Henri Boulad
Henri Boulad, S.J. ix a priest in Egypt and rector of the Jesuit school in Cairo.


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Too bad Fr. Boulad is a Jesuit. This letter probably never made it to Benedict for that very fact.

And now another call for Catholics to commiserate with our leadership and leave it in place because they are the 'good guys' suffering just like Jesus. Sr. Mary Walsh is the Spokesperson 'person' for the USCCB.



Holy Week and the suffering Church
By Sister Mary Ann Walsh Director of Media Relations, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops - Washington Post


Holy Week is time when Catholics worldwide feel the pain of dying in Christ.

It comes this year as media reports bring up heartrending, often previously published, stories with a new twist - how the Vatican handled the cases. Efforts to link stories to culpable inaction by Pope Benedict XVI cause reasonable people anguish given all that the pope has tried to do to address this crisis. (Except he never bucked his boss. He swallowed his whistle in favor of obedience and let Maciel and others ravage and ravage and ravage. He practiced the cowardice of obedience instead of the courage of conviction.)

Since 2002, the church in the United States has had a policy of zero tolerance, which means a priest or deacon who has admitted to or been found guilty of sexually abusing a minor can no longer engage in public ministry. Likewise, the church has developed screenings and processes to ensure that the children in its schools and religious formation programs today are not subject to abusive behavior, whether by a cleric or lay person. This has solved one problem by excising child abusers from parishes and dioceses. (Except in Lincoln, Nebraska which is the exception that proves the rule: Catholicism is at core a tyranny of autocratic leadership.)

Yet another problem has emerged. Society is finally seeing that sexual abuse of a child is a sin, a crime and often a sickness. Now we ask with hindsight why those in authority did not act more quickly in addressing the problem, more stringently in dealing with offenders, and more compassionately when hearing the victims. It is little comfort that many in charge acted with woefully inadequate knowledge, the same inadequate knowledge that has bedeviled psychology, law enforcement, even families for half a century or more. It is not an excuse - some things, such as not harming the weak, you should know instinctively. However, it is a fact that all of us now know more now than we did 50, 40, 30, 20, and even 10 years ago. We treat physical and mental illness today in ways different from how we did in the 1960s. The police who once for the sake of peace in the precinct took a "Get out of Dodge" approach to many crimes no longer practice such expeditious law enforcement. And while we still believe in the power of prayer, no one in the church thinks a 30-day retreat and a firm purpose of amendment can cure a sexual abuser. (Pedophilia was a crime 50, 40, 30, 20, and even 10 years ago. Aiding an abetting was a crime and is a crime. Families do not shuffle their 'Uncle Teds' to other families or reassign them at family gatherings so Uncle Ted can return to 'family' life and prey on other families.)
New knowledge means new obligations for church leaders, of course. Not knowing is no longer acceptable. Inaction will no longer be tolerated by law enforcement, fellow clerics and the Catholic community. Signs of such realization have been shown, for example, by Pope John Paul II who declared "there is no place in the priesthood or religious life for those who would harm the young" and Pope Benedict who said bluntly: "I am ashamed and will do everything possible to ensure that this doesn't happen in the future." (Unless your name is Maciel and one of your supporters is the richest man in the world. Then JPII thought you were an 'efficacious guide for youth'.

For many, the emphasis of Holy Week is on Good Friday, a day that's good not because Jesus died a terrible death that day, but because the death led to His subsequent resurrection. It holds deep meaning for Catholics now who seek meaning from the tragedy of pedophilia.

Pedophilia has had terrible effect on many and reminds us of sinful humanity than is around us and within us. It has made a long Good Friday for many, especially those victimized by this sin and crime. But as the church has learned while dealing with these wounds, as it did with the crucifixion of Jesus, the pain can lead to a church purified of sin. (No Sister, all you and Benedict are proving is that Catholics can only be assured that the Vatican attitude to this crime depends on who is at the wheel. Benedict did squat except obey JPII until Benedict got the wheel. There is nothing to prevent this happening all over again with a different hand on the wheel.)

With the current spate of news stories about inaction in the face of pedophilia, Catholics rightly feel numbness like that of Holy Saturday when the Apostles and followers of Jesus were stunned by the events around them. The message, however, is that Jesus' death led to new life. The Church is still learning through its pain. The comfort of Christ awaits, which is something victims/survivors need and deserve and something the entire Church, from Pope Benedict to the newest baptized child, can take hope in. (No, actually we can't because nothing has fundamentally changed concerning the management structure which allowed this to happen. Benedict himself is the prime example that obedience trumps conscience when it comes to the clerical caste.)

Sister Mary Ann Walsh is Director of Media Relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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In my opinion, and it's a strong one, Benedict will get zero sympathy from me because he found it far more expedient to practice the cowardice of obedience rather than follow his conscience. His example is not one worth emulating, it's one worth castigating, and it's all too symbolic of what we can expect in the future. No amount of spin can change this fact. Period.
My spiritual mentors emphasise and emphasise that it is not enough to admit mistakes, one must learn the lessons in the mistakes and then let that knowledge change your behavior. Benedict first needs to admit he made mistakes, that those mistakes were part and parcel of the clerical culture of which he was a huge component, and then take that knowledge and make meaingful changes in his behavior and by extension the culture in which he is the symbolic head. To do anything else is to miss the resurrection moment entirely.
Instead of concentrating on Christ crucified, Benedict needs to concentrate on Peter the betrayer. After all, he is in Peter's line of succession, not Jesus's.