Monday, June 25, 2012

"Persons With An Inclination To Abuse"

Bishop Cordileone is in that group of Bishops who can be defined as carrying the cross of  'persons with an inclination to abuse'.

Oakland California's Bishop Salvatore Cordileone has upped the stakes in the Catholic identity movement.  He is demanding the Board of Directors of the gay and lesbian pastoral outreach group CALGM take an 'oath of personal integrity' to Catholic teaching--his version anyway.  This is hubris beyond belief given the USCCB has once again refused to have their own integrity to the Dallas Charter policed by anyone other than their own individual conscience. No 'oath of personal integrity' for them,  Cardinal Archbishops like Timmy Dolan can continue to bribe predator priests to leave the priesthood while simultaneously inventing any dubious strategy under the sun to avoid paying victims.  On the other hand CALGM has to start referring to their intended pastoral group as "persons with a homosexual inclination" rather than as gay and lesbian. Oh, and take a loyalty oath to their fuhrer with a crozier.  Does it get anymore insulting or absurd?

The following is an excerpt from the NCR coverage:

Gay ministry group refuses to sign oath

 By Brian Roewe - NCR - 6/25/2012
Following a more than yearlong investigation into the group's "adherence to the fullness of Catholic teaching," the future of a national association of ministries to gay and lesbian Catholics is uncertain because its board members refused to sign an "oath of personal integrity" to Catholic teaching given to them by the local bishop.

Declining the oath could result in Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., declaring the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry, or CALGM, as "not authentically Catholic," a letter to its members from the association president warns.

"In good faith, we have done most everything required of us to maintain a legitimate space within the boundaries of the institutional Church," president Sheila Nelson wrote to members April 5. "Yet, this has not seemed to be adequate or satisfactory to the office of the bishop. We have repeatedly, abundantly and humbly submitted that our work is pastoral in nature and not political or primarily doctrinal."

The Oakland bishop declined NCR's request for comment. Mike Brown, the diocese's director of communications, issued a statement saying, "If the Bishop decides to make a public statement about the CALGM organization, he will then decide the best time and communication method to do so."

Cordileone's list of concerns with the association have included the omission of specific church documents on its website and publications; its use of the terms gay and lesbian; members' statements deemed critical of the church; and the backgrounds, affiliations and public statements of both conference speakers and board members.

In an April 12 letter to the association's board, Cordileone stated he would "take public action to clarify the status of CALGM with regard to authentic Catholic ministry" should they refuse to take an oath that requested that each member "strive to clearly present Catholic doctrine on homosexuality in its fullness" and "profess personally to hold and believe, and practice all that the holy Catholic church teaches, believes and proclaims to be true, whether from the natural moral law or by way revelation from God through Scripture and tradition.".......

But wait, it gets better, here's some of the contents of the 'personal oath of integrity'.

......The board declined the request for resignations in a Feb. 10 letter, and offered to submit and sign an oath written by the board. In his response letter March 5, Cordileone supplied his oath, which began by having each board member affirm the church's commitment to the pastoral concerns and support of gay Catholics and their families, and included a series of "I affirm and believe" statements regarding the definitions of marriage, purgatory and hell; the belief that Communion is available only under a state of grace; and church positions on chastity and cloning, among others.

Cordileone indicated that the purpose of the oath was not for the board to begin teaching church doctrine immediately in its outreach, which he acknowledged would be counteractive to their ministry, but rather to give assurance to the pastoral effectiveness of their ministry by way of each board member affirming the truths he outlined. 

If readers take in the whole article it becomes apparent that Bishop Cordileone keeps moving the goal posts in this 'dialogue' with CALGM, until it is not about the mission of CALGM and whether it conforms to Church teaching, but ends with the demand the Board sign away their individual consciences in obedience to his.  More classic abuse dynamics.  Not surprising then that Sheila Nelson, the Board President of CALGM finally responded this way:

Nelson, in a March 29 letter, informed the Oakland bishop the board would not take his oath: "In the course of our conversations with you over the last year, we have endeavored to engage and respond to each of the concerns that you have raised about our pastoral ministry."

She continued: "Sadly, there always seems to be something that you say 'confirms [your] doubts' about us and our work. ... We have tried to gain your trust ... We have tried to assure you that we are faithful disciples in parishes and dioceses doing the pastoral work of the Church ..."

"We hope you can understand, then, our confusion at the 'Oath of Personal Integrity in Belief and Practice Regarding the Teachings of the Catholic Church.' Suddenly, the terms of our long conversation have migrated from the work of the Association to the personal lives of the Board members," she said.


First off a personal note.  I have been off line for a week or so due to a move to a different residence much closer to work.  This should give me an extra hour a day to ponder wise things, or as my daughter said: "Waste".  Unfortunately I had a bit of a hiccup getting internet service, (I'm just so thrilled with Verizon), but now I am up and running and spouting all the wise things I've been pondering about.

This blast from Bishop Cordileone is not wise, it is a blatant power grab, engaged in just because he can.   I am thrilled to see that the Board of CALGM will not come crawling on their knees to kiss his a.. ergh...ring.  If they did it would be tantamount to them agreeing their personal salvation is dependent on kicking those 'persons with a homosexual inclination' to the curb.   

I have to admit, I did not know, that as a Catholic I must now believe the official Catholic definition of gays and lesbians is 'persons with a homosexual inclination' and that I must no longer refer to 'persons with a homosexual inclination' as gay or lesbian.  My own 'personal inclination' is to burst out laughing at the stupidity of this mindset, but I can't help but remember it's this mindset that is in charge of our Catholic church and they seem to be 'persons with an inclination to abuse'.  Which is why from now on I am strongly tempted to refer to Roman Catholic Bishops by that definition: "persons with an inclination to abuse'.  It seems somehow, more truthful than calling these men shepherds.


  1. Wonderful to have you back, Colleen. You are as insightful and brilliant as always. (I don't even discuss my blogging with my daughters anymore.)

    (Not Anonymous) Betty Clermont

    1. It's good to be back, but stop with the compliments. It just goes to my head and I lose more hair.

  2. I think I would go with 'persons with an inclination to cleric and abuse'. Just to differentiate fro the abuser of the more ordinary type.

    Sure, change the labels and thereby try to change the political or pastoral discussion. That is all the bishop is trying to do. The labels themselves don't mean much. but the bishop still gets to drive more people away from the institutional church.

    Glad to see you back, too.


    Speaking purely for myself, I don't have "a homosexual inclination". I'm gay. There's a big difference. For one thing, the word "gay" does not include the word "sex". The word "homosexual" gives sex undue prominence - & it implies, or it all too readily can, that one looks on other men only as sex-objects. I don't. I look on them as human beings. Believe it or not, but some of us have strong moral convictions. The authorities need to stop reducing us to one aspect of our nature, which is what they are doing. And that is a great irony, since that is what gay people are accused of doing. Unless the bishop is gay, he is simply not competent to say what it is like to be gay.

    The people I'm sorry for are gay Catholics, especially those "coming out". It can be agonising, and it's not something to wish on one's worst enemy. To take away that support, that so many people need, would be too cruel for words.

    FWIW, ISTM that two are being applied - one to people in the CALGM, one to Catholics on the side of the Church. To bring people's personal lives is not wise, given the rather un-Catholic & (more importantly) un-Christian behaviour or attitudes of some Catholics. Unless the same standards are applied to (say) Newt Gingrich as to those in the CALGM, this whole business will look like partisan unkindness.

    The way in which gay people & abortionists are "gone after", while adulterers & divorce[e]s are not, is incomprehensible. Such selectiveness is impossible to justify from the CCC. Being gay is not even a sin, according to the CCC - but adultery & divorce most definitely are.

    1. "The way in which gay people & abortionists are "gone after", while adulterers & divorce[e]s are not, is incomprehensible. Such selectiveness is impossible to justify from the CCC. Being gay is not even a sin, according to the CCC - but adultery & divorce most definitely are."

      Oh, don't worry Rat. Given that they have the "inclination to abuse" they'll get to and be going after all those other inclined to sin heterosexuals.

      Your attitude, Rat, seems to be as long as they're picking on you that they should also pick on the others too. Right? Is that what religion is for? To just go after those who are suspected sinners?


    2. I think you are dead on Rat. The subtle emphasis about choosing homosexual sexual activity is part of Sal's 'product identity' pitch. On the NCR article I did make the point about an 'inclination to adultery' and specifically mentioned Deal and Newt.

    3. Butterfly, this is precisely how the rightwing conservative mindset sees religion. Only those who are 'worthy' may receive the Eucharist which means their job is to 'out' the sinners. The USCCB and the Vatican is happily obliging this mindset. I don't believe it's Rat's mindset.

    4. Colleen, thanks :) - it very definitely is not my mindset. My point is that as the CC regards adultery & so forth as sins (& as the Bible has quite a lot to say, and not just a handful of verses, aganst adultery), the bishops should be consistent, and go adulterers, etc., too. The bishops are not consistent - & that is the problem. They reserve their energies for denouncing, not something that is repeatedly condemned in the Bible, and is regarded in the CCC as a sin, but for denouncing something that *may be* condemned in the Bible. *Being* gay is not even a sin, according to the CCC - but that does not stop the bishops going after gay people, or priests trying to defend their doing so.

      In no way whatever do I have any sympathy for the sort of evasion the OP thought I was advocating. I've condemned that sort of evasion many times, as when I've objected to the attempts of the Vatican to salvage its honour by accusing others. If I can see it is ugly for the Vatican to try that trick, why would I try it myself ? I apologise to the OP - & anyone else - for not making clearer what I meant.

  4. I live in this a**hole's diocese and know many good people associated with CALGM.

    It seems to me that CALGM needs to pack up and move to a diocese run by a sane, Christian bishop. The Godfather ain't either.

    Eff him! (and I'm having a good day)

    1. That's my thought too Jim, CALGM needs to put some dust on their sandals and find another place to lay their heads.

  5. Welcome back, Colleen! BTW, it's obvious that Cordileone is no shepherd, but a wolf dressed as a shepherd.

  6. By referring to gays and Lesbians as "persons with a homosexual inclination" the Bishop is attempting to dis-empower them/us. We have a right to define ourselves and that definition, for me, is not one of a "person with inclinations". I'm a man who is physically attracted to and emotionally bonded to another man and my very being, my personal integrity, must include that aspect of my personhood or I am incomplete.

    I'm inclined to to see a movie this weekend; I'm inclined to agree with Obama's policy on this or that, I'm not inclined to be homosexual; my gay identity is much more integrated than an "inclination".

    Are straights to be referred to as "persons with a heterosexual inclination"?

    The subtle or not so subtle implication is that someone with an "inclination" can change or reverse that inclination; this serves to further the increasingly rigid Church orthodoxy while simultaneously undermining the truth of the lived reality of gay, Lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

    Let's not forget, however, that this is not "new" language. The Ratz, in October 1968, penned a Pastoral Letter in which he stated, "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder."

    This was the pastoral letter that came as a slap in the face to many of us and was what eventually led to my belief that this "New" Catholic Church is not a conduit of grace for me, or for many other LGBT persons. Given the Bishop's stance toward CALGM, Dignity, New Ways Ministry, and others, it seems to me that the "New" Catholic Church does not wish to be or care to be a conduit of grace for LGBT persons. The term "Gay Catholic" is quickly becoming an oxymoron.

    Perhaps the 'inclination to be a bishop" must be seen as an objective disorder with a more or less strong tendency toward intrinsic moral evil.

    1. This is well written Frank. I'm inclined to agree with you that to be a gay Catholic is an oxymoron. I'm also inclined to agree that the inclination to be a bishop is rapidly gaining the status of an objective disorder. That is perhaps why Cardinal Oullete is having problems getting good pastoral priests to agree to join the current disordered bunch.

      I find Oullete's truthful observation just so hopeful for some reason. The good guys are saying no. The next pope really has to think about that because it's a very powerful form of dissent. I'm sure dear old Sal Cordileone is just the kind of bishop who makes it real easy to say "No, I don't think the job is for me."

    2. Perhaps it is an oxymoron, perhaps it is not, but it is very clear that 'Catholic with same sex attraction' is definitely not an oxymoron.

      As such, shouldn't we all be championing this inclusive language?

  7. His name is Salvatore Cordileone? And he wants oaths of loyalty?
    By the way, didn't someone once command his friends to swear no oaths? Clearly not a player like Salvatore.

    1. I had a really hard time not going there and mentioning something about page 29 in the first God Father. I can vividly remember some girls jaws dropping as we read all about Sal at the wedding. Ooops I just went there.

  8. Congratulations Colleen, that you were lucky enough to be offline for an entire week !! :-)

  9. I dare say what Doctor Kinsey and his wife could come up with if they were able to put 400 odd (emphasis on the word odd) American Catholic bishops in an institution for a month of observations and interviews on matters sexual - I dare say they might come up with "Cordileone Disorder" as a descriptive for the whole lot of weenies in honor of the biggest nutter of the bunch. And while we are on the subject of matters sexual, why did they design Oakland Cathedral to look like a giant (IMO) steel vagina? Was it some sort of private joke by the architects on the people in charge, to poke blatant fun at the ignorance of those in the hierarchy "inclined to Cordileone Disorder"?

    1. As in ?

    2. I forget that my Google ID is almost perfectly generic...

  10. At the end of your article, you say:

    "It seems somehow, more truthful than calling these men shepherds."

    Although tradition loves this metaphor, it should be remembered that the shepherd protects the sheep so that, someday, he can slit their throats and eat them. This is a shepherd.

    As far as I can tell, these men can quite accurately be seen as shepherds.

    1. Taking that particular long view, you are quite correct.

  11. It appears that we are going through another round of Catholic McCarthyism much like what took place in the Catholic Church under Pius X. This underscores one of the major flaws within the archaic leadership system within the Catholic Church; that dogmatic development and pastoral approach is bound to be inconsistantly applied according to a particular bishops or popes personal preference or interpretation. It is an utterly capricious process which leaves the faithful of one generation canibalized by the next and then back again. One never really knows if in following their bishop at one moment, they will be found heretical in the next under another bishop.

    One example of this would be the case of Yves Congar O.P. who was suppressed for almost 20 years under Pius XII but was rehabilitated by John XXIII who simply walked into the office of the Holy Inquisition one day, took out Yves' dosier and wrote in big fat letter on the cover - "Not A Heretic!" A good call to be sure but I can't help but wonder - How and why would the Holy Spirit guide the church in such a fickle and capricious manor which leaves so much devestation in it's wake?

    1. Because we have thoroughly substituted ritual for real spiritual discernment. It's part of the reason I am so adamant about dumping the ritual hierarchical clericalist priesthood.

  12. From Chris Morley
    It does seem very odd that this Bishop completely ignores the primacy of informed conscience.
    What a control freak.

    1. Chris, I don't find this any odder than the USCCB insisting we sacrifice our individual consciences for their institutional conscience and call it 'religious freedom'. (An oxymoron pops up everywhere I look tonight.)