Cardinal Will Let Vatican Ignore Vigano Testimony?

I am going to hope that there’s a whole lot of commentary and quoting out of context going on at Patheos, because this wasn’t so good.

“A very bad example” and “a very serious offense”, not to mention a “not positive” answer to the abuse crisis and “an unfair attack”. Not mincing his words, Cardinal Marc Ouellet has condemned the “rebellion” against Pope Francis of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and his ultraconservative co-conspirators. A “serious” issue, according to the cardinal, that must be resolved in a “spiritual” way, not a “political” one.

What the what?!?  You know what I think is an unfair attack?  Covering up harassment, molestation and rape.  My gosh!  We’re at the breaking point because we worry more about hurting peoples’ feelings than protecting the victims of these heinous crimes!  While I’m completely on board with resolving this issue by spiritual means, why in heaven’s name are we considered “ultraconservative co-conspirators” if we simply want a FULL investigation and a release from Pontifical Secrets when it comes to harassment, molestation and rape?!?!?!  Hope this was just standard Patheos babbling.  This isn’t a rebellion against Pope Francis, it’s a crusade for the truth in an effort to keep this from happening again! 

The Canadian prelate, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in the Vatican, was speaking on the sidelines of the Plenary Assembly of the European Bishops in Poznań, Poland.

Oh, that must have gone over well with the solid bishops of Poland!

“We are facing a crisis in the life of the Church”, Ouellet acknowledged, referring to the sexual abuse scandal that has exploded in the Catholic Church around the world, from Germany to Australia, and just this weekend extended to the Netherlands, where 20 of the 39 bishops active from 1945 to 2010 have been accused of the cover-up of as many as 20,000 sex crimes against children committed by priests and religious.

YES, WE ARE FACING A CRISIS! Yet somehow you frame our ire over this as “political”?!?  Give me a break!  Again, Cardinal, if these are indeed your thoughts and not the Patheos spin, we moms and dads are completely aware that any of these victims could have been our children.  Clearly this doesn’t compute for SOME of our spiritual fathers. IT. IS. HEARTBREAKING. You seem to see these cases as sad little third-hand stories, but we see them as reality.  We see them as somebody’s children, and this doesn’t change no matter how old the victims are.  Thousands of victims have been robbed of their innocence and faith, and thousands of parents have been devastated by the evil done to their children.  We see our children’s faces when we hear these stories.

According to Ouellet, the sex abuse crisis is one being felt “at the level of leadership, of the bishops”. But beyond prescribing possible solutions to the problem, the cardinal went so far as to issue a clear warning to those prelates (and priests and faithful) who think that everything will be fixed by blaming, investigating or even sacking Pope Francis.

Again, it isn’t clear if this is Patheos or Cardinal Ouellet.  Whoever it is, we’re not that naive, but an investigation would be a darn good start. You’d think the innocent would be on board with investigating the cover-ups which have been confirmed time and again to have taken place.  Honestly, at this point, I’m suspect of any prelate trying to stop an investigation.  It smacks of trying to suppress the truth. The solution can’t ever be to suppress the truth and hide those that caused this problem.

“To express solidarity with the Holy Father… is a conditio sine qua non of solidarity between ourselves as bishops to bring forward the mission of the Church”, the cardinal stressed in this regard.

Wait just a second.  You are applying “solidarity with the Holy Father” in a ridiculous manner.  This whole debacle on the Vigano testimony doesn’t have to do with a teaching on Faith and Morals.  In fact, it has little to do with morals at all.  It has to everything do with an accusation that MANY prelates covered up MANY evil deeds.  Have you forgotten that?  I’m reasonably sure that “conditio sine qua non” (indispensable condition, for those who like English) doesn’t apply to tolerating a cover-up which everyone admits happened but for which nobody wants to take the blame.

“We need the participation of more women in the formation of priests”

As for what can be done to fight against the scourge of sex abuse in the Church, the Canadian cardinal spoke clearly, affirming that “we need the participation of more women in the formation of priests: for teaching, [for] the discernment of candidates, for the balance of effectiveness”.

What we need is a release from Pontifical Secrets, as the women on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors have said, but that has been ignored. While he throws a bone to the women demanding more say in the hierarchy of the Church, women who are already on commissions haven’t been listened to, so why would we EVER think that putting women in a position of forming priests would do a darn thing? Can you say, “lip service?!”

“Certainly with the recent news there is a growing awareness of the gravity of this problem of abuse in the Church,” Ouellet continued, adding that “something more needs to be done” regarding the prevention of aggressions against young people. Measures such as, for example, the creation of common “criteria” for judging negligent bishops who engage in cover-ups and the coordination of the various Roman dicasteries so that, at long last, the dispositions of Pope Francis in his motu propio As a loving mother can be put into action.”

Um, how about we just go back to St. Basil or St. Peter Damien’s ideas on the topic?  Let’s go over those again:

St. Basil:
Any cleric or monk who seduces young men or boys, or who is apprehended in kissing or in any shameful situation, shall be publicly flogged and shall lose his clerical tonsure. Thus shorn, he shall be disgraced by spitting in his face, bound in iron chains, wasted by six months of close confinement, and for three days each week put on barley bread given him toward evening. Following this period, he shall spend a further six months living in a small segregated courtyard in custody of a spiritual elder, kept busy with manual labor and prayer, subjected to vigils and prayers, forced to walk at all times in the company of two spiritual brothers, never again allowed to associate with young men.

St. Peter Damien:

Listen, you do-nothing superiors of clerics and priests. Listen, and even though you feel sure of yourselves, tremble at the thought that you are partners in the guilt of others; those, I mean, who wink at the sins of their subjects that need correction and who by ill-considered silence allow them license to sin. Listen, I say, and be shrewd enough to understand that all of you alike are deserving of death, that is, not only those who do such things, but also they who approve those who practice them.

Quite frankly, as a loving mother, it’s good for our children to know that there are consequences for their actions. 

“ Another key part of the reform of the Church regarding the protection of minors, added Ouellet, must be to let the “anger”, “dissatisfaction” and “frustration” of the faithful come to the surface “in complete freedom”, since that “is the way for these problems to be treated”.

“I believe that pastors must not only listen but also invite the people who have suffered to manifest themselves, because if these wounds are not expressed, they will destroy peoples’ lives”, affirmed the cardinal. “There is a work of reparation [and] reconciliation that must be carried out”, he concluded.

So, let me get this totally straight.  First, prelates and the faithful shouldn’t want an investigation on the Vigano testimony because an investigation won’t be fixed by investigating?  (Not sure when anyone said that an investigation is a be all end all measure.)  Next, we need women involved. (Most pandering suggestion ever, since women – from the women on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to the almost 50,000 women who wrote to the Holy Father asking pertinent questions – have already stated their solutions and have been ignored.) Finally, we need to let the “anger”, “dissatisfaction” and “frustration” of the faithful come to the surface “in complete freedom”, since that “is the way for these problems to be treated”. (At the same time, you tell them they’re practically schismatics for wanting an investigation of the Vigano testimony.)

Again, I’m hoping that the weird citing of quotes means this is Cardinal Ouellet out of context.  If this is accurate quoting, however, I wish I had been able to participate in the formation of your priesthood.  Probably would have hit you upside the head a time or two!  If this is a Patheos spin, I sincerely hope Cardinal Ouellet will call them on it. 

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Tripling-down on Accusing Greatly!

After Pope Francis tripled-down on his “Great Accuser” homilies, I finally got around to reading them for myself, and yep, they were as sad as reported.  I never want to take reporting at face value without going to the source.  I hate to say it, but after reading them, I get the feeling that Pope Francis thinks we are naïve, or maybe he’s just naïve himself.  Either way, he picked the wrong bible verses to latch onto.  Personally, I think it always a bad PR move to put yourself in the role of Jesus, Job, etc.

It also seems to me that Pope Francis also did what he was preaching to everyone else not to do.  In our Church, an accusation doesn’t get any bigger than accusing someone of acting like satan. Not one, not two, but three “shoot the messenger” homilies have been lauded by a whole lot of people who have been quite legitimately outed for the clericalism of their compadres who want to normalize same-sex attraction.

So no, Holy Father, I don’t think this is a Job situation at all, or at least you have GREATLY miscast the characters.  I think it’s more like a Paul and Timothy situation. I just can’t believe God nor Job would want the evil deeds of others hidden.  Do you?  Let’s look at Job.  :

Job 1:6-20

One day, when the heavenly powers stood waiting upon the Lord’s presence, and among them, man’s Enemy, the Lord asked him, where he had been? Roaming about the earth, said he, to and fro about the earth.  Why then, the Lord said, thou hast seen a servant of mine called Job. Here is a true man, an honest man, none like him on earth; ever he fears his God, and keeps far from wrong-doing. Job fears his God, the Enemy answered, and loses nothing by it. Sheltered his life by thy protection, sheltered his home, his property; thy blessing on all he undertakes; worldly goods that still go on increasing; he loses nothing. One little touch of thy hand, assailing all that wealth of his! Then see how he will turn and blaspheme thee. Be it so, the Lord answered; with all his possessions do what thou wilt, so thou leave himself unharmed. 

So here we’ve got satan telling God that Job only follows Him because he hasn’t faced any hardship.  Yeah, that has everything to do with Archbishop Vigano.  Sorry.  If Archbishop Vigano didn’t rock the boat, he’s probably be leading a pretty cushy life right now. So the character assassination is way off base here. Talk about hardship, he’s in hiding.

Now let’s look at 1 Timothy.  This one sounds a bit more familiar and applicable to the situation. Maybe it should be adopted by anyone who feels the least bit bad that THOUSANDS of people have been molested and raped at the hands of priests.  The “worrying about my image” homilies really need to cease. My comments interjected:

 

1 Timothy 1:3-20

There were some who needed to be warned against teaching strange doctrines (Sounds quite familiar these days!), against occupying their minds with legends and interminable pedigrees (Some are definitely legends in their own mind, like the ones who end in SJ), which breed controversy, instead of building up God’s house, as the faith does. (Breeding controversy is exactly what the likes of Cardinals Wuerl, Tobin, and Cupich, Bishop McElroy, and Frs. Martin, Rosica, and Reese do.) The end at which our warning aims is charity, based on purity of heart, on a good conscience and a sincere faith. (What?  Paul and Timothy aren’t the “Great Accusers” but there warning is aimed in charity, purity of heart, good conscience, and sincere faith?  Somebody else tell me they see the likeness to Vigano, not Cupich!) There are some who have missed this mark, branching off into vain speculations; who now claim to be expounding the law, without understanding the meaning of their own words, or the subject on which they pronounce so positively. (Do we not see that at EVERY turn with Cupich, Tobin, Kasper, Martin, Reese, Rosica, and a multitude of others???)  The law? It is an excellent thing, where it is applied legitimately; (Yes, the Pontifical Secrets have their place but, as Archbishop Vigano points out, they were never meant to cover up for abusing priests, bishops, and cardinals!!!) but it must be remembered that the law is not meant for those who live innocent lives. It is meant for the lawless and the refractory; (Hmmm. Lawless and stubborn.  That would appear to those charged in Archbishop Vigano’s testimony.) for the godless and the sinner, the unholy and the profane; for those who lay violent hands on father or mother, for murderers, for those who commit fornication or sin against nature, the slave-dealer, the liar, the perjurer. All this and much else is the very opposite of the sound doctrine (and which faction has been trying to promote same-sex attraction as normal and healthy?) contained in the gospel I have been entrusted with, that tells us of the blessed God and his glory. How I thank our Lord Christ Jesus, the source of all my strength, for shewing confidence in me by appointing me his minister, me, a blasphemer till then, a persecutor, a man of violence, author of outrage, and yet he had mercy on me, because I was acting in the ignorance of unbelief. The grace of the Lord came upon me in a full tide of faith and love, the love that is in Christ Jesus. How true is that saying, and what a welcome it deserves, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I was the worst of all, and yet I was pardoned, so that in me first of all Christ Jesus might give the extreme example of his patience; I was to be the pattern of all those who will ever believe in him, to win eternal life. Honour and glory through endless ages to the king of all the ages, the immortal, the invisible, who alone is God, Amen. This charge, then, I give into thy hands, my son Timothy, remembering how prophecy singled thee out, long ago. Serve, as it bade thee, in this honourable warfare, (And this is one of the reasons the charge of “civil war” doesn’t faze me. This is indeed a spiritual war for souls.) with faith and a good conscience to aid thee. Some, through refusing this duty, have made shipwreck of the faith; (Oh, yes, some definitely have done so.) among them, Hymenaeus and Alexander,(and Cupich, McElroy, Farrell, Wuerl, Kasper, etc., etc., etc.) whom I have made over to Satan, till they are cured of their blasphemy. (No accusing there!)

So, you can see between the two verses, there are valid accusations by St. Paul (I mean he even named names) and a supposition by satan.  Why Pope Francis even tries to go there is beyond me.  It’s like somebody whipped out a concordance and just looked up “accusations” then said, “Hey! There’s a verse that says satan is an accuser. Let’s go with that against Archbishop Vigano!”, but they never bothered to actually read the rest of the verse. To make matters worse, they then repeated it and will likely continue to do so.  I’m not sure that betting the laity will take anything on face-value is the way to go these days anymore.  Google makes it so easy to fact check these days, and people have messaged me saying “I was researching this scandal and came across you!”  People are fact checking, as depressing as it is.

That said, there is exposing truth and there is promoting lies.  These are obviously quite different. God is the author of Truth, and satan is the author of lies.  To say that putting forth truth comes from the devil sounds like something an abuser would say, don’t you think?  Fr. Rutler said it best in his interview with Raymond Arroyo:

https://youtu.be/ard3AOk9Bn0?t=646

Well, I’m a parish priest I am in no position to fault or correct the Pope who is the Vicar of Christ. I can only express what moral theologians would call admiration, that is astonishment, at attributing to the Pope, uh, repudiating to the Pope, imputing to the devil, an exposure of the truth. Now, I, the devil is the Prince of Lies the last thing he wants to do is to expose the truth so if the truth is being exposed. that is not the devil’s work. That is the Holy Spirit.

This is how most of us feel, especially the victims of abuse. We are utterly amazed that those exposing truth are being compared to satan, especially when the accusations have been corroborated time and again. Satan is the author of lies and tries to suppress the truth. His accusations are false and misleading.

Maybe the Vatican sound-bite creators might want to do some pondering on this verse:

Romans 1:18

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness

And for heaven’s sake, can somebody in the PR department at the Vatican, at the very least, let the Holy Father know that the “I’m silent like Christ.” isn’t going over well here?

Fr. Martin – Don’t Be That Guy!

Only from the mind of Fr. James Martin, LGBTSJ, can we get this shocker.  I had another post all tee’d up but this one deserved a response.

I understand the desire among some church leaders to call for the church to fast and pray in response to the sex abuse crisis. It’s a recognition that we are all the Body of Christ, the People of God, united as one, in Christ’s name. And we are all called to prayer. However, in this case, to imply that the laity, in any way, should perform any kinds of penances, including fasting, is simply wrong. The laity should not have to do one minute of penance for the crimes, sins and failings of the hierarchy and the clergy. And yes, we are all one, but it’s important, especially in this case, not victimize people all over again. To use the model of the sacrament of reconciliation, it is the sinner, the one seeking forgiveness, who repents, not the one, or ones, sinned against.

MartinTweets

Put your eyes back in your head. Yep, he actually said that. It was so fantastical that I screenshot that puppy for you. Oh, Fr. Martin, where in the heck is the Catholicism in this three tweet rant? Sorry, Blessed Mother. All of those times you urged us to prayer, fasting, and penance to hold back God’s wrath and drive the evil out of the world, well, you were wrong. Oh, and your spot at the foot of the Cross was useless, since you were free from sin. Not your problem. And Apostles, you wasted your time, too. Please, please, tell me that even some of the Fr. Martin groupies cocked their head at this one!!!

Sorry, Father Martin.  “Not my problem, responsibility or duty” is a total train wreck of understanding the Body of Christ.  You don’t have to do the crime to do the time.  Kind of like Christ didn’t have to die for our sins, nor was it the personal fault of the children of Fatima that Russia was spreading her errors.

Don’t believe me?

Col 1:24  24 Even as I write, I am glad of my sufferings on your behalf, as, in this mortal frame of mine, I help to pay off the debt which the afflictions of Christ still leave to be paid, for the sake of his body, the Church.

Luke 13: 1-5 1 At this very time there were some present that told him the story of those Galileans, whose blood Pilate had shed in the midst of their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said in answer, Do you suppose, because this befell them, that these men were worse sinners than all else in Galilee? 3 I tell you it is not so; you will all perish as they did, if you do not repent. 4 What of those eighteen men on whom the tower fell in Siloe, and killed them; do you suppose that there was a heavier account against them, than against any others who then dwelt at Jerusalem? 5 I tell you it was not so; you will all perish as they did, if you do not repent.

Our Lady of Fatima:

Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the suffering He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?

Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially whenever you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to Hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.

Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.

Look, my daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console Me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to Me.

There are so many souls whom the Justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I have come to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.

https://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/FIRSTSAT.HTM

We could go on to quite a few more apparitions but I’ll leave you with one last biggie:

Jesus to Saint Faustina:

You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.

It is about souls, isn’t it, Father Martin?  Last time I checked, that would be a yes.

Disorder comes into this world through sin, whether our personal sin or not, and penance and reparation are the ways we can help restore order.  I realize you absolutely hate the word “disorder”, but it is a reality of sin entering the world.  I find it odd that you talk about the Sacrament of Confession in your tweet, since you try so hard to hide the fact that some sins are indeed sins.  Yes, confession by a sinner is good for the entire world, but clearly, the world ain’t getting into line to have their confessions heard. Might be because you’ve misguided them in the area of personal conscience, but what do I know.

Sorry, I want disorder gone from the world as much as possible for my children and future generations of the Mad Mom family tree.  If you think I’m going to wait for, say, Rembert Weakland to atone for his sins and do penance and reparation before I start doing some penance and sacrifice for the disorder in the world, you’d be crazy.  He’s still a little bitter that his lover turned on him for money and the Church didn’t let him get away with sin.  Seriously, I’m still a bit stunned that you would, even for a moment, suggest that the only people who should beg for God’s mercy over this scandal would be those who did it or covered it up.   Sorry, I’ve got kids living in this world.  I can’t wait for the likes of Weakland, McCarrick, Wuerl, Cupich, Farrell, or McElroy to get their heads on straight.  They’re still trying to figure out who to throw under the bus in their places.

Father, you might have missed this gem by your fellow Jesuit, Fr. John Hardon (may he rest in peace).  Well, you might have seen it, but clearly, if you did, you chose to ignore some downright solid theology on sin, penance, reparation, etc.  He was a Doctor of Theology after all and, of course, the Society of Jesus was none too fond of him, so he might be one to pay attention to, but that’s just me.

http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Lent/Lent_002.htm

Notice, all along I have been using the first person plural, “we”, because penance and reparation are owed to God not only because I have individually sinned, but because we human beings have sinned and are sinning, in our day, on a scale never before conceived in the annals of history.

We know better than Cain after he killed his brother, Abel. We are our brother’s keepers. We are mysteriously co-responsible for what other people do wrong. There is a profound sense in which all of us are somehow to do penance and make reparation, not only for our sinful misdeeds, but for the sins of our country and, indeed, for the sins of the whole human race.

We return to our question: Why penance and reparation? Because, in Christ’s words, “Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish”.

So, yeah, Fr. Martin.  The idea that the entire Body of Christ, we who are all sinners in some manner (might be a foreign concept to you), should perform penances, including fasting, is totally and utterly correct, and the hierarchy of the Church would be totally right in asking us to do so.  The laity should most certainly do far more than a minute of penance for the crimes, sins, and failings of the hierarchy and the clergy, too.  And they shouldn’t just do it for the wayward clergy, but for the entire Body of Christ, from the abuser to their victims, with the endless hope for God’s mercy on our world and in our Church.

Just one final thought, Fr. Martin.  I find it super creepy that you are trying to dissuade people from doing acts of penance, reparation, fasting, etc., or from our pastors asking us to do so.  There’s only one person I can think of off the top of my head who tried to dissuade someone else from fasting.  Don’t be him, Fr. Martin. #ResignNow

Pontifical Secrets

I’ve been trying to read through all the bishops’ and cardinals’ statements that have come out since Archbishop Vigano’s testimony.  I have to admit, I don’t usually draw attention to my bishop because, well, I don’t want him to be a target for the dissenting machine.  I’ve always found him to be a masterful strategist balanced with a truly pastoral heart, even for those who annoy the heck out of me, as he should, right? He’s definitely got a knack for teaching and encouraging his flock to aim for Heaven.

Anyways, one thing that stood out in his statement but I didn’t quite understand before I had some discussions with smart people and did a little more research was this:

They need access to all the relevant documents, most of which are protected as “Papal Secrets.” They need to interview priests who worked in the Roman Curia and U.S. diocesan offices, who also would be released from the “Papal Secret” and allowed to testify.

We need to find out the truth. Only the truth will set us free. And only the pope can authorize the steps that need to be taken to find the truth.

At first, I thought “papal secret” was some sort of colorful phrase.  Did you know a “Pontifical Secret” is actually a thing?! With Canon Law and penalties attached to it?! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifical_secret#cite_ref-3  I also found the history surrounding Humane Vitae helpful in understanding why they are not necessarily a bad thing.  https://www.nytimes.com/1974/03/15/archives/vatican-tightens-secrecy-rules-after-leaks-of-popes-papers.html Some days, I’m not sure why we wonder how Dan Brown made millions?  This sounds like the stuff novels are made of, and it kind of lends credence to the rumors that Vatican investigators have been dispatched to search for Archbishop Vigano to bring charges. You should read the link above for details, but here’s a quick summary of what’s covered under “Pontifical Secrets”  (Bold is me.)

“The instruction Secreta continere lists ten classes of matters covered by the pontifical secret:

  1. Preparation of papal documents, if pontifical secrecy is expressly demanded

  2. Information obtained officially by the Secretariat of State in connection with questions requiring pontifical secrecy

  3. Notifications sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about teachings and publications and the Congregation’s examination of them.

  4. Extrajudicial denunciations of crimes against the faith and morals or against the sacrament of Penance, while safeguarding the right of the person denounced to be informed of the denunciation, if his defence against it makes this necessary. The name of the person making the denunciation may be made known to him only if it is judged necessary to have a face-to-face confrontation between denouncer and denounced.

  5. Reports by papal legates on matters covered by pontifical secrecy.

  6. Information obtained officially with regard to the naming of cardinals

  7. Information obtained officially with regard to the naming of bishops and papal legates and the relative inquiries.

  8. Information obtained officially with regard to the naming of the chief officers of the Roman Curia.

  9. All matters concerning cipher systems and enciphered messages. (No intrigue there.)

  10. Any matter that the Pope, a Cardinal in charge of a department of the Roman Curia, or a papal legate considers to be of such importance that it requires the protection of papal secrecy.[3]”

In short, they have a practical purpose to keep the Church from being scandalized or confused, but on this issue of abuse and cover-ups, that ship has sailed. This isn’t the 1300s anymore. The victims now have a serious voice called the internet. The scandal is now found in keeping silence, and Bishop Barber seems to realize that. That’s not to suggest that everyone on the planet gets to see everything, but probably something more like a Catholic grand jury is warranted.

Just before this cover-up wave hit, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors asked for the “Pontifical Secrets” penalties to be loosed in regards to the abuse scandal, and in certain respects on contacting authorities, it was. That said, where it really counted, peoples’ lips are still sealed. The Vatican was fine in dioceses contacting the local authorities when abuse allegations are made outside the confessional, but when it comes to their own files, they seem, to understate it dramatically, a tad bit hesitant.  What happens when people contact Rome about, say, a certain cardinal, but Rome does zip OR looses sanctions already in place against said cardinal? It would seem, as far as present circumstances go, that Rome tries to point back to the local diocese, country, etc., and say, “Sorry, it was them!”

I would like to point out that it seems when there was a problem in Australia with a certain “conservative” cardinal, the American liberal publications were all pointing out that the Pontifical Secrets should be lifted per the suggestion of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Also, just two weeks before the McCarrick scandal hit, the National catholic Reporter posted this.Yet, now that their buddies have been implicated, they’ve fallen strangely silent. One of the last things they want now is for Pontifical Secrets to be revealed. It would likely implicate way too many of their hopes and dreams in this scandal. Double-standard?  Oh, yeah!

I highly doubt that Archbishop Vigano is going to escape sanctions over this without more bishops and cardinals calling for the remedy to canonical penalties against revealing Pontifical Secrets. Either way, though, I think he very consciously made the decision to give his testimony knowing full well that some want his head on a platter. He also did it knowing full well that the cat was out of the bag. It was a little too late to protect the Church from scandal. As Bishop Lopes and hundreds of others have said, EVERYONE knew but nobody did anything about it because the “powers that be” didn’t want anything done. There were even reprisals against anyone attempting to stop it.

Bishop Barber is the first leader I’ve seen, since all hell broke loose, calling for the “Pontifical Secrets” to be lifted on the cover-up scandal now rocking the Church, but every bishop and cardinal should follow his lead. Those who have the information need to see that this doesn’t mean they are facing the threat of excommunication should they reveal the truth. They take that threat very seriously, as good Catholics should, and nobody wants an all-out schism in the Church. By calling for an end to Pontifical Secrets in the cover-up scandal, Bishop Barber is strategically and lovingly trying to avoid this very real and possible outcome. Should they be lifted, I’m quite sure a whole lot more facts would come out keeping us from the same mistakes repeatedly, schism would be avoided, and truth will heal the Church’s ails. Let’s let the chips fall where they may.  If a bishop, cardinal, or even pope is afraid of the truth coming out at this point late into the scandal, they really need to ask themselves why? (Ahem, Cardinals Cupich and Tobin!)

As Bishop Barber so rightly stated:

We need to find out the truth. Only the truth will set us free. And only the pope can authorize the steps that need to be taken to find the truth.

#ReleasePontificalSecrets #OpenTheFiles

 

 

This One Wrote Itself

Oh my gosh!  You have to read this one.  This is so, I don’t know, blonde. (I know my blonde love a good blonde joke.) It’s like a Saturday night live skit. I couldn’t make this up if I tried, AND believe it or not, it’s not a BabylonBee or Eye of the Tiber post, either.  This was passed around in all seriousness by America Magazine (in fact, I think they actually pay her) and the Fr. Martins of the world. I was reading it to my husband who immediately started laughing hysterically when I hit a few phrases (I’m going to be good and not spoil it yet.) One Mad Dad said “I’m going to bed because I know what you’re doing for the next hour or two.”  If you need a good laugh, do yourself a favor and read this.

So you are a Catholic mother bringing up daughters, and as soon as they are old enough, you have some explaining to do.

‘splaining how people can be soooo incredibly bubbleheaded, perhaps?

Because even though Jesus wasn’t sexist, the institutional church is, right? It is a given for women. When an entire sacrament is denied you solely because of your gender, that is textbook sexism.

Biology is such a pain, isn’t it?  I mean, women can’t be priests and men can’t be sisters, nuns, or mothers.  God, you’re such a sexist.  What were you thinking?  Oh, that men and women are complementary? Silly you.

I’ve separated this next part because I ran around reading it to my several amazing children and young female relatives and, after the hysterical laughing subsided, they were all like “What the…?!?!”

I say this with love, as a Catholic mother who is not leaving, as a faithful dissenter, as an imperfect follower of Jesus.

Yes, it’s rather pathetic that people are so ignorant of the English language that they don’t realize that “faithful” and “dissenter” kind of mean the polar opposite. So is she faithful to dissent? Faithfully dissenting? No matter.  Whatever her meaning, it isn’t in the Catholic lexicon.

I was recently chafing on Jesus’ behalf

(More hysterical laughter ensues at the Mad Mom home.) No, it’s not satire. She’s also no spring chicken so I’d have to conclude the use of “chafing” is meant to connect with the cool younger feminists.

at the inherent sexism lurking behind some dress code notes in a parish bulletin. The text implied that women and girls who come to Mass in skimpy clothing—and we have all seen them—are responsible for causing sinful thoughts in the minds of “others” (meaning: men). Apparently, men cannot ever grow up or be trusted to treat women like fellow human beings. I am not a fan of cleavage in church, but it occurred to me that female rape victims are the only victims of crime who are ever asked, “What were you wearing?”

Some call this common decency and some call it a sexist dress code.  Note that she didn’t actually include the text of the dress code, but last time I checked, St. Peter’s, you know, THE Catholic Church, employs a dress code.  Now, considering that God is present in every tabernacle in the world, I’m pretty sure that a dress code is not out of order here, there, or anywhere.  In fact, Christ even states it.

So, let’s table the differences between men and women  for a second and look at this:

But when the king came in to look at the company, he saw a man there who had no wedding-garment on; My friend, he said, how didst thou come to be here without a wedding-garment? And he made no reply. Whereupon the king said to his servants, Bind him hand and foot, and cast him out into the darkness, where there shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth. Many are called, but few are chosen.

Yes, yes.  This story of Christ is about the soul but, he used the example of a proper dress code to do it!  Christ most certainly didn’t say “Oh dude!  Those dress codes are so lame and sexist!”

 Why didn’t the pastor’s notes admonish men not to wear tight T-shirts, the kind that might outline a pair of broad shoulders and a righteous six-pack of abs, thereby causing impure thoughts in many an ovulating woman? That sounds ridiculous only because we unthinkingly accept the rut of sexism into which our human church has fallen.

And here’s the usual “Heaven forbid they point out the mistakes of the biggest class of offenders without pointing out everyone’s!” It’s akin to “Well, Mom, they do it too!”  It didn’t work for my children and it’s not going to work for you. Please.

I’m assuming you’re married with kids because your bio says so.  Any woman who’s been married for more than five minutes knows that men are far more visually attracted than women.  Personally, yay for that design because when we don’t look our best, t they’re still attracted.  Seriously, the design was amazing.  Maybe Valerie spent too many years quashing those female hormones more than she should with birth-control her feminist buddies are so fond of, but women’s drive comes from the brain.  We need far more than just the visual. And, really, the narcissist dude who wears the custom fitted shirts isn’t usually at Mass because their brain focuses more on them far more than Our Lord. I have NEVER looked around and seen one guy I thought was provoking me to impure thoughts. The worst I’ve seen is a guy wearing a tank top which looked sloppy and showed his “look at me” tats, but that’s it.  And, if there are such men that I haven’t noticed, they’re probably doing it because of the scantily clad babes around them.  Geez.  I’m not a clueless woman. What is the point to wearing the short shorts and boob tubes?  Please. Don’t bother playing the martyr card.  Women dress to get a reaction out of men. Deal. With. Reality.  They’re not victims of the mean ol’ pastor.  They’re just victims of stupidity.  I would think you, the devoted feminist, would channel  your inner Gloria Steinem and tell them they’re causing women to be objectified but the older feminists are trying to keep up with the newer club of feminists seem to go with the “I can look as stupid as I want because it’s my right!” take.  As a woman, it’s embarrassing.

This example of small-scale sexism in the Sunday bulletin cannot, of course, compare to the deeper pit of the sex abuse scandals in which the church currently sprawls. I am sickened to the depths of my soul by the recent grand jury report in Pennsylvania, detailing episodes of pedophilia, sexual assault and rape committed by 301 members of the Catholic clergy on over 1,000 victims, along with the by-now-familiar cover-up of criminal behavior by the church hierarchy, perhaps even more sickened than I was in the past by similar reports from Boston or from Ireland or from Los Angeles—the archdiocese I contribute to—or from Chile or from any other Catholic diocese, because it is a cumulative illness. Most infuriating, it is a preventable illness.

Oh, and predatory homosexuals. Don’t forget them.  The majority of victims are not women and pre-pubescent children.  The majority are post-pubescent boys and men, so again, please don’t make this a sexist issue.  I will agree it’s infuriating and often times preventable, but not if you don’t identify the problem.

It is high time for us to understand how this keeps happening and to stop it.

This is when Jack Nicholson shows up and says, “You can’t handle the truth!”  It’s the “faithful dissenters” stupid!  It’s certainly not the guys trying to uphold the Church’s teaching on sex.

But as long as we continue to treat clergymen as though they are somehow more angelic than us inferior lay people, as long as we expect them to be asexual super-humans, as long as we do not monitor them as we do any adults who interact with our children, we will suffer sexual predation. As long as we shy away from any honest discussions of sexuality and cloak sexuality in shame-filled secrecy, as long as we refuse to allow women to occupy positions of real authority within the church, we will bring these revolting abuses and subsequent headlines on ourselves.

Oh, now you want honesty??? Please.  For all of the righteous indignation you and America Magazine throw out there, you surely must admit that these abusers are just putting forth another version of “faithful dissent!”  I know!  Sick, right?  But pot, meet kettle. If you get to dissent from the teachings of the Church, why don’t they? You’re part of the problem, not the solution.

Nobody is angelic. Angels and humans are of separate worlds. Holy and evil are a better way to describe what’s going on, and I know you’ll find this sad because it doesn’t fit your narrative, but most of this has nothing to do with females at all.  You fail to meet the actual burden of proof in your assertions.  If men, who are natural protectors, are failing, the nurturers are not going to do any better.  In fact, they will probably collapse the whole system by further trying to neuter masculinity and the natural inclination to protect. That inclination was stripped away from the sexual predators a long time ago.

Jesus relied on women to get it right. From his own mother to the women who questioned or challenged him to the women who befriended him to the women who braved the crucifixion to the women who proclaimed the resurrection, Jesus treated women as equals and as holy. We have been there with him. That is our historical and spiritual birthright. Over the centuries, we have tended to the sick and fed the hungry and taught the children and laundered the linens and staffed the offices and offered our envelopes and witnessed our faith and kept the church’s home fires burning, but we have not been in power. We have not been empowered. And maybe that is partly on us. We allowed generations of societal norms to obscure Jesus’ example.

I don’t remember the greats – St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Hildegard, St. Joan of Arc, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Bernadette, Mary, the Mother of God – EVER saying there was “sexism in the institutional Church.”  And likely they would have been tad more blunt than the pastor who asked the women not to dress in skimpy clothes.

Jesus talked to men and women about loving God and loving your neighbor and not being afraid to follow God’s will. Jesus also taught us to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. These predators hiding in priestly vestments among us are surely our enemies. They surely persecute our children. While we mothers might like to strangle these monstrous manipulators ourselves, we are called to forgive them. Just as certainly, however, we are not called to enable them. They and the official protocols that protected them have lost our trust.

We are also called not to reject Church teachings nor Her priests simply because a small minority of them have been shown to be Judases.  You don’t leave Christ because of Judas.  I am all for taking the Judases in the bunch down and have spent a good deal of time trying to do so without promoting my own private agenda while ALWAYS trying to be faithful to the Church, not faithful to dissent.

We women are being called to shake things up, to redesign and repurpose this church of Jesus, our beloved one, holy, catholic, apostolic church.

This ain’t Pinterest, sweetie.  We are called to follow the Church’s teachings.  You seem to want to turn the Church into your own crafting shack.  Sorry. It’s not about you.

It is hard to think of the Holy Spirit in the same thought as sex offenders, but we are experiencing a radical call to get our act together.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

The male-centric church and its ordained ministers may only truly heal when women—lay and religious—apply the salve.

And No! No! No!  The Church is not “male-centric”, it’s Christ-centric.  We do have some awesome female doctors of the Church, by the way, yet you fail to even acknowledge them.  They would likely give you a nice tongue lashing, which is probably why you fail to mention them AND Mary, Most Holy. Not one of them was as full of herself as you.

 It is sometimes our tendency as women to let the professionals—the men in charge—sort out the problems, but that is obviously not working. We can choose to leave this corrupt and stinking edifice and find another house of worship, but that is not helping. We can withhold our time, talent and treasure, but that mostly hurts us.

In case you missed it, 30,000 plus women (and more everyday) just fired off a letter of charges they wanted answered.  Do I appear to you to be a helpless woman? Please.  You are hardly the be all and end all of strong Catholic women. In fact, Catholic women don’t fear men nor see them as rivals to be feared.  We’re quite comfortable with them as our complements in this life.  Where we are weak, they are strong and vice versa.  This goes for our husbands, sons, brothers, priests, etc.  Only the ridiculous and narcissistic see each other as rivals.

What are we to do? What would Jesus do? Maybe Jesus would agree with Mr. Rogers’s mother, who advised Mr. Rogers, in times of confusion and tragedy, to “look for the helpers.” We are the helpers. We women, the proven and time-honored helpers, must stand for the littlest ones, the injured ones, the vulnerable ones. Regarding church personnel and practices, we must keep the best and throw out the rest, the sexism, the clericalism, the dishonesty, the hypocrisy. We must welcome the fresh and feminine breath of the Holy Spirit. That is exactly what Jesus did.

Oh, really?  I’ve been fighting for 16 years now to fully address the issues that led to this abuse crisis, while people like you sought to advance their own personal agendas.  So, please, peddle your wares someplace else.

“So what might Jesus hashtag? Maybe, in lay terms: #timesup.”

Sorry.  Can’t fit Christ into a hashtag, but I can throw out this little tidbit.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted

 

 

Martin’s Twitter Manifesto

Fr. Martin is now using Twitter to post his latest book.  Honestly, by using 15 tweets to get his latest message of dissent across, he’s kind of violating the spirit of Tweeting, don’t you think?  If you can’t get your point across in 280 characters, move onto another platform.

Fr. Martin has apparently decided the crisis is so huge that he can move into full Saul Alinsky mode. 

Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. ~Saul Alinsky

Of course Rahm Emmanuel made this tactic a little clearer when he said:

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before. 

The radicals’ modus operandi has always been to exploit the victims of a crisis and, in fact, even cause a crisis to advance their agenda.  Good old Fr. Martin is just another in a long list of dissenters who embraces this idea, as shown in his string of tweets found here: https://twitter.com/JamesMartinSJ/status/1036280808724733952

For those who abhor Twitter and social media, here are all his tweets nicely copied and pasted for you with my comments in between. 

Dear friends: Like you, I am sick about what is happening in our church. Like you, I’ve prayed about how best to move ahead. Our church will survive. The “gates of hell” will not prevail against it, as Jesus Christ himself promised us.

We stood against you this long, Fr. Martin.  We’re quite sure of Christ’s promise.  I’m pretty sure your world is about to turn upside-down, though.

But Christ, through the Holy Spirit, urges us to act: to rebuild the church and help his holy and faithful people.  Without certain steps, people will flow out of the church, never to return, like water from the side of the Crucified One on Good Friday.

What the what?!  Fr. Martin is comparing water flowing from the side of Christ to people leaving the Church???  I know he’s fond of saying “I’m not a theologian!” but how awful is that comparison?  The water from the side of Christ was a fulfillment of prophecy and had so much good symbolism for our Church. Martin’s comparison turns that on its head.  Here’s something for you to read if you don’t believe me: https://catholicexchange.com/the-meaning-of-his-piercing

As happened when Christ spoke the Truth, some left and some will still leave.  This is never a reason to downplay or distort the truth. 

Some of you may not agree with each step,

I’d take that bet in a heartbeat! 

but I believe that each one is essential for us to rebuild the church. This list is by no means complete or exhaustive.  With a focus on the US church, and in order of immediacy, they are as follows:

I’m glad you admit it is incomplete, because it lacks any sort of spiritual dimension to fight the battle ahead.  While cardinals and bishops across the country – and indeed the world – are suggesting prayer, penance, sacrifice, spiritual reparation, prayer to St. Michael after all Masses, etc., what it the world are you suggesting?  Oh, yes, removing anything that causes us the slightest bit of inconvenience or hardship.

First, while journalists have discredited large sections of the Vigano “testimony,” and while many charges have been shown to be baseless, one answer that journalists will not be able to uncover is Pope Francis’s knowledge and actions regarding the McCarrick case.

If wishes were ponies, Fr. Martin!  You won’t even address the charges.  With a wave of your hand, you try using Jedi mind tricks.  “These are not the charges you are looking for!”  Let me clue you in.  You are not Sir Alec Guinness by any stretch of the imagination.  Your delivery causes a HUGE chunk of the Church to chuckle.  It’s such a desperate, desperate attempt.

The faithful are exceedingly confused about this one question; a short and simple answer from the Pope, or from the Vatican, on that specific issue will help us move us ahead.

Isn’t it curious that you think you get to dictate the questions we find credible and worthy of answering?  The Pope answering yes or no to a single question is never going to move us ahead.  By the way, the only response we’ve gotten in the entire disastrous crisis is, “No comment, you hateful people!”.  I’m hoping and praying that will change, but I seriously doubt it.

Second, dioceses and religious orders should open their abuse files to the public, rather than waiting until they are forced to. Otherwise, the church will face years of civic authorities uncovering our crimes and sins. Confession is not about just what you’re forced to reveal

So, let me get this right.  The dioceses and religious orders should open their files, but the Vatican should not have to, as you and your buddy, Austen, think? 

ceoquote

Your idea is just to have the Holy Father give us a yes or no and go with it?  When there are documents that could answer the charges? (Although I’m betting a whole lot of shredding has been going on in various places in the Church hierarchy, it’s only a guess.  That’s OK, Vigano probably still has a copy of all of it.)

Third, lay leaders should investigate the McCarrick case. More importantly, lay leaders should be placed in charge of all review boards in both dioceses and religious orders, if they are not already in charge. The system has shown that it cannot police itself.

Why?  It’s a simple question.  It would seem you’ve said on more than one occasion the unscrupulous live in my world, too. Weren’t the guys at the Vatican bank members of the laity? That didn’t work out too well, did it?  What is the benefit of simply having the laity investigate when we can be just as wicked?  I’d be a little worried if we were talking about putting Jesuits in charge, but I’m quite comfortable with Church investigating the Church.  Oh, and I’m definitely not comfortable with anyone who reads the National catholic Reporter going anywhere near the Church files. That’s for sure.  They’re gullible or agenda driven.  How about I just pick who gets to investigate?  I’m reasonably sure I could do a good job.

Fourth, bishops found guilty of abuse, or of covering up the crimes, must be removed from their posts as soon as possible. Perhaps just as important, when bishops resign, the Vatican must be clear about the actual reasons for their resignations.

Really?  YOU want to go there?  I’d have to think we’d be pulling out a lot more of your friends than mine, but hey, I’m willing to give it a try.  That said, why limit it to bishops?  How about priests? How about cardinals?

Fifth, demonization within the church must end. It is a stumbling block to healing and a desolation to all. Social media has played a malign role. The stereotyping of whole groups (gays, celibates, bishops, conservatives, liberals) must end. Personal vilification must stop.

You’re a uniter, not a divider, huh, Fr. Martin?  This is a classic liberal tactic.  Wreak havoc and then put yourself in there as the healer, Messiah, etc., etc., etc.  You are very, very guilty of demonization.  The “holier than though” ploy doesn’t work here, Father. You revel in ad hominems with zero back-up so save it. 

Sixth, public acts of penance from the hierarchy must take place. Letters and statements are, as we have seen, insufficient. The laity should decide what form these ritual acts should take. Symbols, as well as practical action, matter as well here.

What in THE heck are you talking about here?  Does this mean you think sack cloths and ashes will make everything OK.  I might remind you that private acts of The many bishops who have weighed in on Vigano’s claims have talked of penance and reparations on behalf of the abusers and those that covered it up, and they’re not even the guilty ones.   We want a spiritual and moral cleansing in our Church.  We’re fine with a thorough investigation here and at the Vatican.  The only people trying to thwart any of these is in your club.

Seventh, both married men and women must be included in all levels of decision-making in the church—including heading Vatican congregations, helping to select bishops, reforming the Curia, etc.

We’re now in our second decade of you trying to put the laity in charge of the Church, yet you never seem to explain why a Church that has survived 2,000 years without that has to do this.  Methinks you’re just hoping to get your cast of same-sex attracted, feminists, and dissenters into these positions.  I’m just guessing your whole attitude would change if, say, Janet Smith was put in charge. Janet! Janet!

Married men and women must also be included in all levels of leadership—including leadership in the church’s liturgical life, something of immense symbolic importance. Married priests and women deacons are a start.

Boom!  And the laundry list is complete. Please note the use of “are a start.”  Pray-tell, where would we go from there, Fr. Martin?  Could it be priestesses?  Could it be active homosexual priests?  Lesbian priestesses?  I can’t even imagine all the nightmares running around in your hopes and dreams.

Eighth, a thoroughgoing review of seminary and religious formation, especially regarding education in human sexuality, must happen—again.  There are still seminaries and religious orders where candidates are incapable of, or prevented from, discussing their own sexuality.

OK, again, I’m going to suggest Janet Smith also be put in charge of that.  Whaaaattt?!  Not what you had in mind? What could the problem be?   I’m going to quote myself for a change:

I don’t want to hear about “gay priests.”  I don’t want to hear about “straight priests.”  I don’t want to hear about any priests who spend time focusing on their “sexual identity.”  I want priests who focus on serving God and who focus on leading his people to Heaven.  Anyone doing less than that shouldn’t be a priest.  So, if your focus is on you and your sexual inclinations, please leave.

Your “identity” was already given to you by God.  It reflects your body.  Your inclinations, that’s a whole other ballgame.

Ninth, clericalism must die. The system that privileges the word and status of bishops and priests over those of lay people (and parents); that insists on an exaggerated deference for clergy and bishops, and that has functioned as a closed world, must be dismantled.

Uh, there’s no system of “privileges.”  If by privilege you mean giving up and dying to oneself in order to serve God’s people, I will never give up considering my priests privileged.  I respect them as priests of God, which is simply a better status.  Now if you mean privileged as in your cronies who attend gala after gala and are regaled upon, I’d agree. Let’s see?  Who does that again?  Does the Met Gala ring a bell to the priest all excited about being called “sexy?”

Our priests should live as humble servants of Christ, honored and loved by their flocks as a family honors and loves their father.  I realize being a humble servant isn’t in your wheelhouse, but it is to faithful priests.  This, as I’ve said before, isn’t wholesale clericalism.  It’s the clericalism of priests trying to normalize the same-sex attraction, like you, Father Martin.

Finally, despair about this situation must be resisted. Despair does not come from God. The Holy Spirit is with us, and will help us through even the most difficult of times. We must never forget Jesus’s words to his disciples: “Fear not!”

Oh, I don’t despair.  In fact, I have more hope than I had yesterday about the direction of the Church. When you’ve hit rock bottom, you can only go up.  A full and complete investigation of the Truth is what will bring beauty and glory back to the Church.  That’s what we want, and we want it now.  Any suggestion from you that we should investigate all claims of whatever will be smacked down and thrown back at you as the obfuscator you are.

On that note, I’d like to let my readers know that I got into Catholic activism in 2002 because of this ongoing abuse scandal. Before that, I spent my time happily focusing on my kids.  Sadly, the liberals in my diocese who worship Fr. James Martin, SJ, decided to co-opt the victims’ pain to promote a liberal agenda which had nothing to do with priests abusing children, and they continued to cover-up for their buddies who had done things like getting arrested in a public restroom for indecent activity and propositioning an undercover officer.  If you think their focus is the victims, think again.

I will tell you this, don’t think you’re helpless because you don’t have a doctorate in theology.  A bunch of nothing special laity affected great change in our diocese and Church, and you can too.  Despite the calls for more involvement from the laity, the Fr. Martins of the world are scared by the laity being on fire more than anything else. If you think you can’t do undercover work, write, be a thorn for the diocesan dissenter, affect change, etc., I’m here to tell you if I can do it, anyone can. No special talent needed, just a lot of prayers to the Holy Spirit and hope.  Those who have been through the worst of the worst brought all this crud to light and so can you.

Stephen Herried had a very poignant tweet.

 

Stephen Herreid

While I don’t have a problem with sophisticates and I learn tons from them, it’s going to take far more of us than that.  Activists are simply people who are active.   This needs to be all of us.

#Resign #NoMoreSilence #Investigate

Martin’s Cozy with Proximate Occasions of Sin

Let me say this, I am a mom of a multitude of kids and have spent their lives trying to ensure their safety and well-being.  I have THE biggest stake with what’s been going on in the Church for decades.  Fr. James Martin totally and utterly ignores my kids as well as yours in his quest to legitimize his pet proclivities.  It’s sickening and he needs to stop. I hope the mothers of the world will let him have it!

The witch hunt for gay priests

James Martin, S.J.

August 30, 2018

I object to the title in so many ways.  First of all, I don’t want to hear about “gay priests.”  I don’t want to hear about “straight priests.”  I don’t want to hear about any priests who spend time focusing on their “sexual identity.”  I want priests who focus on serving God and who focus on leading his people to Heaven.  Anyone doing less than that shouldn’t be a priest.  So, if your focus is on you and your sexual inclinations, please leave.

I’ve probably told this story before, but  under our old regime with one of Cardinal Mahony’s buddies, we once had a priest luncheon in our diocese to “support gay priests.”  A few faithful priests, befuddled, went just to see what it was all about.  One of them courageously stood up and asked, “Why in the world would you want to be known as a ‘gay priest?’  I just want to be known as a Catholic priest.”  Amen, Father!  Amen!  I have no idea if this priest would be attracted to men or attracted to women, because his focus was on God as it should be. 

This is the biggest problem with any priest who wants to be considered a “gay priest.”  The focus is on them.  The focus is on normalizing “gay.” The focus is on undermining Church teaching to normalize “gay.”  This is why they are so hostile to the catechism’s use of “disordered.”  Rather than helping people to deal with this particular disorder like they would any other – drug use, alcoholism, etc. – they want to simply call it something else.

I was just talking to a priest friend the other day about this.  I’m quite sure there are some priests, who if they sat around and focused on it, could conclude they were same-sex attracted.  But they don’t.  They focus on Our Lord, Our Lady, and the Holy Eucharist.  That’s their whole-hearted attraction.  They’re focus is quite vertical.  I have ZERO problem with them, because their world is about getting to Heaven and about getting others to Heaven. They are in love and attracted to God.  Who could have a problem with that?  These priests are usually infectious and help us overcome all of our disordered tendencies no matter what they are: SSA, infidelity, drug/alcohol use, etc., etc., etc.  They’re not same-sex attracted because their attraction is, again, completely vertical.  This is what I want in a priest. 

So, any priest who has slapped one of the “identity” titles on themselves has already failed their ordained mission.

The next thing I’d like to point out is purely practical.  We don’t house our priests with our sisters.  My gosh.  For this same reason, people who identify as same-sex attracted should not be in the priesthood for their own good as well as ours.  Talk about putting yourself in a near occasion of sin!  The sin with that lies not in acting on the attraction but in putting yourself in an occasion to act on it.  Again, why would I want a priest who is willing to put his hand on the hot stove??? Duh.  If they are doing it, how can they possibly tell their flock not to?  Do they tell the alcoholic to go hang out in a bar?  Do they tell the guy prone to watching porn to go play pool in a strip club?  I’m sure some these days too because they’re hardly ones to talk!  How is it that Fr. Martin is going to keep promoting the idea that this should be done???  It’s got to be one of the most uncharitable things I’ve seen.

It is not surprising that Catholics are furious about the latest sex abuse crisis, which began, most recently, with accusations of abuse and harassment against the former cardinal-archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick; deepened with the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing 70 years of abuse in the Commonwealth; and intensified with the former Vatican nuncio to the United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s 11-page “testimony” accusing many high-ranking clerics, including Pope Francis, with covering up the crimes.

Catholics have a right to be angry at abusive clergy, at bishops who covered up their crimes and at the sclerotic clerical system that allowed the crimes and cover-ups to go unpunished for decades.


Oh, gag, Father Martin.  Thank you SO MUCH for giving us your permission to be angry at abusive clergymen. It also seems like you realized the “shoot the messenger” tactic was a bust.  How about you now give us permission to be angry at the circumstances that got them there?  

But the intensity of hate and level of anger directed at gay priests are unprecedented in my memory.

What I mean by “gay priests” is ordained priests with a homosexual orientation who are living their promises of celibacy (and in religious orders, their vows of chastity). That it is necessary even to define the term “gay priest” points out the widespread misinformation about what has become perhaps the most incendiary topic in the current discussion. A few commentators have even declared that the term “gay” implies that a priest must be sexually active. As I use the term, a “gay priest” simply means an ordained priest who has a homosexual orientation.

This is about occasions of sin, Father.  I’m sure you’re aware that there are proximate and remote occasions of sin, even though, as you like to put it, you are not a theologian.  This is Catholic 101.

Theologians distinguish between the proximate and the remote occasion. They are not altogether at one as to the precise value to be attributed to the terms. De Lugo defines proximate occasion (De poenit. disp. 14, n. 149) as one in which men of like calibre for the most part fall into mortal sin, or one in which experience points to the same result from the special weakness of a particular person. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11196a.htm

Certainly a same-sex attracted man willfully putting himself in a living situation with other men is a proximate occasion of sin. And, in many of our seminaries today, they’re also very willfully putting themselves in living situations with other people with same-sex attractions.  Sounds like a grand plan for a chaste life! I’d think you’d be appalled at male and female religious being housed together.  Why are you so obstinate that anyone who has an attraction to men shouldn’t be housed with them? Can you say double-standard? This is one big duh! Do you use any form of the Act of Contrition, Father?  Geez.

The long-simmering rage against gay priests and the supposed “homosexual subculture” or “Lavender Mafia” has been fanned into a fire that threatens to engulf not only faithful gay priests but also, more broadly, L.G.B.T. people.

OK, let’s talk about a homosexual subculture. Does McCarrick ring a bell?!?!  You want to call it clericalism and some want to call it a homosexual problem.  I think I have the balanced name for it.  This shall henceforth be known as “Clericalism of priests trying to normalize the same-sex attraction.” These guys cannot admit their sacred cow is not so sacred and so they try to keep it under wraps.  They’re willing to protect their agendas more than the victims.  As you admit later with the “hundreds of gay priests you know” comment, that subculture is there.  I know priests who have been run out of their seminaries because they weren’t willing to condone the sexual depravity going on around them.  I mean, before it was reformed recently, everyone knew that you couldn’t go to our local seminary if you were a faithful Catholic.  You’d never make through without being thrown or driven out. Almost all those who bought into all the teachings of the Church, especially in the area of homosexuality, had to attend seminary out-of-state. Thankfully our seminary has been fast-tracked for rehabilitation.

While the contempt directed at gay clergy is coming from just a handful of cardinals, bishops and priests, as well as a subset of Catholic commentators, it is as intense as it is dangerous. “It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord,” wrote Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wis. A Swiss bishop, Marian Eleganti, declared that the “networks” of gay priests in the church must be investigated before the “great purification” can begin. A bishop in Kazakhstan, Athanasius Schneider, listing remedies for clergy abuse, began with this: “cleanse uncompromisingly the Roman Curia and the episcopate from homosexual cliques and networks.” Cardinal Raymond Burke, the influential former archbishop of St. Louis, said, “There is a homosexual culture, not only among the clergy but even within the hierarchy, which needs to be purified at the root.”

This isn’t contempt.  It’s a reality.  It’s compassionate to the priests who consider themselves”gay” as well as to those who might be victims from abusing priests and many of those are people who simply couldn’t handle the proximate occasion of sin!  Homosexual abusers are 80% of the problem. Stop burying your head in the sand.

Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, takes this to its inevitable conclusion, telling the Associated Press that what is needed is “a complete and thoroughgoing removal of all homosexual clergymen in the church.”

I dare anyone to read the first 300-pages of the Pennsylvania grand jury report and tell me that it’s the best start we could make, but surely more needs to be done, because there are some heterosexual abusers, too.  That said, this first step would eliminate 80% of the problem as quickly as possible.

In the last few days I have seen more homophobic comments on my social media accounts than ever before. The rise in vitriol is not surprising, especially after such comments from church leaders and Catholic commentators or after headlines like these: “Pope Blames Sex Abuse on Clericalism, Leaves Out Homosexuality”; “Sex Abuse Crisis in Church is about Homosexuality Not Pedophilia”; “Homosexual Predators, not Pedophile Priests, Are Church’s Deadly Cancer. 

What’s vitriolic about any of these?  Pedophilia is an outlier in the grand scheme of numbers.  Homosexuality isn’t.  I’m wondering if you would say that a someone suffering from pedophilia should be allowed to continue on or enter into the priesthood as long as they remain celibate?  After all, a pedophile is one who’s attracted to children (pre-pubescent).  It doesn’t necessarily mean acting on it. I dare you to say that’s just peachy.  If you can’t, then you are a hypocrite.  Either way, you lose.

Archbishop Viganò’s “testimony” was also rife with this same kind of language: “These homosexual networks, which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc., act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.” (Full disclosure: both Archbishop Viganò in his “testimony” and Cardinal Burke in a recent interview have mentioned me by name.) 

And there it is. It’s all about you. They mentioned you by name because, well, you are kind of a jerk.  You put aside all reality for your pet proclivities.  You lead souls astray and you encourage people to “be themselves” (i.e., to act on their proclivities).  You try to normalize the disordered.  Etc., etc., etc. You’re nothing new.  You are just another in a long list (and the most notable today) and look where it’s gotten us?

It is important to say that the majority (but not all) of the clerical abuse crimes were cases of priests preying on male adolescents and boys. Also, the majority (but not all) of the sexual harassment cases were men harassing other men or young men. Prescinding from the complex psychological questions of how much a person’s sexuality has to do with abuse, how much differentials in power do and how much proximity does, we should state clearly: Many priests abusers had a homosexual orientation. That is undeniable.

Funny you should mention proximity.  Sorry, Father, but putting oneself in a proximate occasion of sin goes against everything the Church teaches.  You remember Christ’s words in Matthew 18:8?

And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. 9And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Strange.  I don’t remember Christ saying “But if you’re homosexual, you get a pass on this. Go right ahead and move in with that near occasion of sin!”

But the next step is where the conversation can take a dangerous turn. That many abusers were gay priests does not mean that all or even most gay priests are abusers. It is a dangerous and unjust stereotype. Simply because a certain percentage of a group acts in a certain way does not mean the entire group or even most of the group acts in the same way.

Really?  You’re going to go with “The other guy did it too!”  Doesn’t fly with my kids and it doesn’t fly with you. TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT! If you were a victim of a homosexual predator, would you take comfort in knowing that some abusers weren’t homosexual???  You are completely deaf, Father Martin.  Yeah, let’s ignore 80% of the victims because 20% were victimized by a mix of heterosexual predators and pedophiles? 

Then why does it seem like so many gay priests are abusive?

Uh, because they’ve repeatedly put themselves in a proximate occasion of sin, perhaps?!

One reason is that there are no public examples of the healthy, celibate gay priests to counteract these stereotypes. Why not? Because gay priests are not willing to be as public about their identity as straight priests are. For example, in a community suffering from a spate of L.G.B.T. violence, there can be no references in a Sunday homily to knowing what it is like to be bullied for being gay. The presider cannot say, “As a boy, I was bullied, too, for being gay.”

As I’ve said before, Fr. Martin, you first. After that – no, no, no, and no!

My friends suffering from same-sex attraction and striving to live celibate lifestyles all say about the same thing.  They say their relationships with strong, heterosexual, chaste, God-oriented men are what help them to live a chaste lifestyle.

“Why do gay priests feel that they cannot be public? For several reasons. First, the fear of coming out in this increasingly poisonous environment. (Ask yourself if you would come out when even bishops are calling for a “cleansing” of men like you.) Second, bishops and religious order superiors fear that their men (again, celibate and chaste priests) could be targeted by the media or homophobic websites. Third, an underlying shame about their sexuality. Fourth, an innate desire for privacy about a personal aspect of one’s life. Fifth, the fear that in the absence of other “out” priests one might become the “poster boy” for the group.”

Or, here’s another few reasons.  They have a conscience that won’t let them do it. Or, maybe, just maybe, some of them are not obsessed with defining their sexuality and only want to be known as Catholic priests? I mean, this is ridiculous.  Nobody is complaining about the priests with vertical thinking here.  They are complaining about priests who obsess about their sexual identity.  The good ones sit around thinking about God and his Church, and that’s how they live every day.  They care about being fathers to all of us, homosexual or heterosexual (and anything else you want to throw in there).  They believe in living a life of self-mastery in their devotion to God, not out of some martyrdom complex. They admit they have struggles in life but they don’t have to wear their sins like a badge and they simply invite people to struggle along with them.

Such reasons mean that the example of the many hardworking, healthy and celibate gay priests (and chaste members of religious orders) is almost entirely absent from both the church’s consciousness and the public eye. There are exceptions, like the Rev. Gregory Greiten of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Rev. Fred Daley of the Diocese of Syracuse, priests who have come out publicly as gay. But Fathers Greiten and Daley are two of only a handful of clergy like this. And until bishops and religious superiors support gay priests in their desires to be more public about who they are, and gay priests are willing to pay the price of honesty, the situation is unlikely to change.

You have failed to you why “I’m out and proud” is necessary to accomplish this.   Shouldn’t they simply be known as hardworking and healthy priests?  Or, how about devout priests instead of agenda driven?  Why is it that any priest who keeps his vows and helps everyone toward Heaven isn’t good enough for you, Father Martin? 

Consequently, the stereotype of the “gay priest abuser” now predominates. To use another example, imagine if the only stories aired about members of an ethnic, social or religious group were of those who had committed crimes. Further, imagine that no positive stories about their law-abiding members were made public. Eventually, the negative stereotype would dominate: “All members of this group are criminals.” (Sadly, this is not a hard scenario to imagine: Many ethnic groups face the same kinds of stereotypes.)

Because, Father Martin, “priestly abusers who are ‘gay’” cause  over 80% of the problem!!!   You’re repeatedly asking us to close our eyes to this fact.  I’m sorry it happened to anyone at all, but unlike you, I’m not gleeful to hear that abusers are one class or another.  I mean, I’m sure you breathe a sigh of relief every time a heterosexual deviant is found. Me on the other hand?  I’m just disgusted all the way around.  Why?  Because I have children who are around many in the priesthood all of the time.  Yes, I think it totally right to first remove the group that’s in a proximate occasion of sin and then try to figure out who the other 20% are.  I’m reasonably sure that many of the 80% of victims wished the Church had followed her rule, too.  How could they not? 

This fear leads to a cycle of secrecy: Fewer celibate gay priests in the public eye means more stereotyping. More stereotyping leads to more fear. More fear leads to more secrecy.

I fail to understand why a priest following and embracing the teachings of the Church fosters secrecy.  It would seem to foster authentic Catholicism.  I’m a married female and the celibate priest is always going to be an example to me.  In your line of thinking, though, if I’m attracted to men and they’re attracted to men, they’re somehow a better example of how to follow the Church teaching for me?  Please.  I don’t need to know the sexual attraction of a priest for them to be an example to me.  In fact, there’s nobody in the priesthood like me and I’m all the better for it.  Who really is the one stereotyping here?

Other malign stereotypes are also being peddled, for example, the idea that homosexuality inevitably leads to abuse. This is contradicted by almost every study, including the John Jay Report, an exhaustive study of sex abuse in the Catholic Church between 1950 and 2010. Most abuse happens in families. And no one, as far as I know, suggests that heterosexuality promotes abuse.

Red-herring.  We’re not talking about the rest of the world.  We’re talking about our priesthood. That said, not following the teachings and disciplines of the Church is where the entire world gets into trouble. That should start with the priesthood.  If we don’t expect it in our priesthood, not really sure how we’d expect more from society.

Beyond these reasons is a perhaps more important explanation: the intense homophobia that still exists in some quarters of the church. And this must be named for what it is: hate. A few days ago, a gay priest texted me this astute observation: “We are so used to gay people being mistreated in the church that we can internalize the homophobic bigotry that we are now seeing, and that Viganò expressed in his testimony, and fail to call it out. It’s deeply hateful. And if he were making similar attacks against another ethnic or religious group, there would be a far different reaction—probably even from within the church. But because gay priests have been so conditioned to play the scapegoat we are too ashamed to speak out.

Or maybe it’s totally hateful of you to put your pet proclivities ahead of the mountain of victims and future victims!!!  And, by the way, I totally and utterly resent you telling me I hate anyone.  Just like you, I have many friends, relatives, and countrymen who suffer from same-sex attraction.  No, it’s not just your little circle of friends.  You’re insinuating that if we speak the truth about the abuse scandal, about active homosexual lifestyles, etc., that we are somehow hateful.  You can call me hateful all you like, but I even love you.  Don’t agree with you, like you, or respect you, get angry with you, but I love you.  Your constant insinuation that we have to agree with every action or thought or to accept either from a person to love them is totally and utterly ridiculous.  There are alcoholics, cohabiters, active homosexuals, etc., etc., etc., in my little world of family and friends, just like almost everyone else, and to say that I hate any of them is you playing politics. Stop.

Is there a “gay subculture” in the church? I have never worked in the Vatican, so I cannot comment on that workplace. But in my 30 years as a Jesuit, I have seen that gay priests in U.S. dioceses, as well as in religious orders, work well with their straight counterparts—as well as with straight lay people: pastoral associates, parish council members, parishioners, as well as principals, administrators and teachers. In religious life, they live peaceably with their straight brothers.

Goodie for you. Yeah, you’re apparently the only person on the planet who can do that, because you are the only one who truly loves their fellow-man. (Insert super sarcastic roley eyes here.)  Pompous much? I think you’ve been in the ivory tower a little too long.  I guarantee my world is far more real than yours.

 

More to the point, I know hundreds of gay priests, and I can say with honesty that all of them strive to keep their promises of celibacy and vows of chastity, none of them conspire with other gay priests, and yet many of them are demoralized by this increasingly hate-fueled witch hunt.

Do they conspire to thwart any of the teachings and disciplines of the Church?  Hmmmmmm? Gotcha there. I’m sure that many enter not thinking about whether they are gay or straight, but did any of them enter knowing the Church’s rule on homosexuality and the priesthood and knowing their inclination???  What you’re saying is they didn’t like the rule but they did it anyway?  That alone is a poor example.  It’s definitely “the Church needs to get with my proclivities” instead of the other way around.  Like it or not, that has been the rule and you are openly defying it.

“Where does this extreme hatred of gay priests come from? It comes from fear. Fear of the “other.” Fear of the person who is different. Sometimes fear of one’s own complicated sexuality. In frightening times, it can also feel empowering to blame and scapegoat the “other.” As the philosopher René Girard consistently points out, scapegoating unites us around a common enemy and encourages us to believe, falsely, that we have solved the problem.”

“Oh, the humanity!!!” Seriously, dude.  Stop the rhetoric.  I don’t fear homosexuals.  I fear sin.  I fear putting oneself repeatedly in a close proximity to temptation. I fear satan winning souls.  I don’t fear you.  I don’t fear my homosexual friends, priests, and neighbors.  I fear FOR them in the same way I fear for anyone who puts their inclinations and attractions ahead of the Church.

This hatred currently being whipped up by a few influential church leaders and commentators will, if unchecked, lead us to a place of great darkness, characterized by an increased hatred for innocent individuals, the condemnation of an entire group of people and a distraction from the real issues underlying this crisis of sexual abuse.

The only person whipping up hatred is you.  The rest of us are whipping up the truth about the situation because we don’t fear the truth.  It’s only a problem for you.

There are many things that need to be addressed when it comes to clergy sex abuse: the improper screening of candidates; the prevalence of clerical culture that privileges the word of priests over lay people (and parents); the poor seminary and religious formation, especially in areas of sexuality; the need for regulations that punish bishops who have covered up abuse and many other factors.

What is not needed is the demonization of gay priests. What is not needed is more hate.

There’s more of your usual “bridge building.” What we need is a little more of the faithful being obedient and a little less of you trying to undermine the teachings and disciplines of the Church at most turns.