B16 in America

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Well, it must be said that Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States was an unqualified success. The editorials of the papers have been glowing and I could not believe the coverage that CNN had. They kept repeated over and over again the segments about the Pope meeting with survivors of sexual abuse by priests. These people shared how meaningful and healing the experience was for them. Certainly there were those who were not satisfied. There are unresolved issues with regards to the lack of oversight by some of the bishops. But that wasn’t really the main point for the survivors. They needed and got a simple and humble apology as well as the presence of the entire Church at their side in the the person of the Successor of Peter. It was quite moving.

This morning’s Toronto Star reprinted an edited version of an editorial from the Los Angeles Times which mentioned that it was not only what the Pope said that made a difference, it was also what he didn’t say. When speaking of the sexual abuse he made an important distinction between pedophiles and gays and lesbians. When he spoke to the academic community, he challenged them to be true to their identity but he didn’t point fingers. In fact I think, from the look on his face, B16 was probably thrilled to see how vibrant and dynamic the Church in the United States seems to be.

Our neighbours to the south sometimes confuse us in Canada. We don’t always “get” their choice of leaders [that’s understating it, eh!] and we are sometimes left confused by the whole individual liberty vs. common good debate as it surfaces with gun-control, capital punishment, universal health care and other such issues. But we must admit we are blessed to have the U.S. “americans” as our neighbours. This is equally true of the Catholic Church. It’s a little bit, ok, a lot, more politicized than the Catholic Church in Canada, but my oh my, it is an exciting community!

I pray and hope that this has been a time of healing and hope for our brothers and sisters down south.

Good job, B16!

43 comments

  1. ” When speaking of the sexual abuse he made an important distinction between pedophiles and gays and lesbians.”

    Actually that is a distinction I would like to see the press not only begin to make but to better understand.

    What passes as rites of passage in homosexual circles with older homosexuals preying on young men often insecure in their sexualty or questioning it is well enough accepted and ignored. Augustine Burrows (of “Running with Scissors” fame) is a prime example of this – he was involved with an older from 14ish on… One of the truck drivers I employed years ago when I had a towing company was an amicable old queer that I later came to find, preyed on the periphery of cyberspace gay-inclined teenagers. Parents actually allowed their 15 and 16 year old boys to be involved with them – they knew the score.

    What does this have to do with the price of rice in china?

    welll…

    What no wants to talk about is that 80%+ of the alleged victims were males over the age of 14 but under 18… These (>1% of priests) men were going after teenage boys… It is the same behavior that occurs in the context of chatrooms and gay.com (a public traded company; ticker symbol LGBT) where male minors would have no difficulty seeking contact and then being contacted…

    That is in no way an effort to say what some did wasn’t deplorable… Just to point out that the double standard is obvious to anyone who wants to see it: practicing and promoting homosexuals regularly and routinely seek out younger sex partners and are not villified for it… and had these homosexuals not been priests, men who by the very nature of their collar stand in contradistinction to the wisdom of the world, it would be accepted that they were doing a favor for “young confused homosexuals seeking support and comfort!” That is right, when homosexual priests prey on teenage, late-adolescent boys they get called “pedophiles” when plain old “out, loud, and proud” homosexuals prey on teenage, late-adolescent boys , they are “providing a necessary service” and all is overlooked!

    People don’t want to talk about these correlations and understand them or see the patterns.

    I can’t be told the outrage is about the acts alleged or comitted – homosexual adults preying on adolescents is frequent enough… and understood in some circles as a right of passage for young men who – feeling alienated from their peers – turn to older “out” men.

    (All of the Sexual left loves Kinsey – In 1970 the Kinsey Institute interviewed 565 white gays in San Francisco: 25% of them admitted to having had sex with boys aged 16 or younger while they themselves were at least 21! cf: http://www.familyresearchinst.org/FRI_EduPamphlet2.html)

    That is just as insidious in my book… but the “morally enlightened” are willing to throw those teens under the bus (they were “already gay”, and “needed gay companionship”!) and pass it off as something that is acceptable enough because the adolescents in question “were gay” and (I dunno, because sex is a right?) needed those relationships… In cases where practicing and promoting older men “provide first experiences” for younger men they are are seen as doing a service, not taking advantage…

    But no one dare suggest that these inappropriate contacts and abuses in 80%+ of the alleged cases were committed by men in the priesthood who – all evidence suggests – were same-sex attracted, and that could be at the heart of the difficulty with most of these contacts.

    Start to look at the studies for when men who are same-sex attracted first have sexual encounters and how common it is for them to be with men older than themselves. See if a pattern is discernable… and then wonder, “what confusions may have been exploited by these preadators to confirm these adolescents in a certain identity?”

    When 2-3% (I actually think that is rather generous of an estimate!) of priests who are homosexual exploit young men in this fashion it gets called pedophilia and all priests are now suspect, and all the Church is considered worthy of denigration… When older homosexuals routinely prey on younger men it is accepted as a rite of passage.

  2. Might I add to that Friar Rick, in keeping with church teaching. Regardless of who you are sex outside the context of marriage is wrong.

    I think if the church professed this truth more often, then we would see less of what “asimmplesinner” pointed out. I could go on but I really think my opening comments should be enough.

  3. Michael,

    This is a Catholic Blog. I don’t think I should have to explain church teaching. But for your own edifcation please read…

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html

    or you might want to order this booklet

    http://www.catholic.com/chastity/pure_love.asp

    I don’t blame you for not knowing this stuff. It was never taught in school or preached from the pulpit. I had to learn it as an adult.

  4. Mobius, I remembered teaching in one of the Catholic universities back home having some students who are non believers from other countries. One of them is very honest to say that he does not have any idea about God for he is not a believer.

    The morality of sex that it is wrong outside marriage becomes very shocking to this particular young college student. He could not understand why?

  5. Dear Mobius,

    I know that this is a Catholic blog with all due respect.
    But you also probably know what happened inside the Catholic Church. The latest news is that there have been abuses even in a small island country called Malta. All fresh …

    Wasn’t the *stuff* as you call it taught in the seminaries to all those future priests?

    Maybe one should send your links to the Vatican so that they can forward them to all the seminaries in the world …. Will be going to Rome next week and I’m planning to put a letter addressed to the Pope with your links, the day we will be visiting the Vatican.

  6. Michael,

    What a coincidence you’ve got similar what’s in my mind. Please pursue your plan. Your suggestion to Mobius is wonderful one of the “instrumentalities” to help save the Church. It’s better to do something than to do nothing and at the same time being compassionate to the “blunders” as a part of the human nature of the Church.Thanks

  7. In fact, Rachettile … I’ve got lots of things to say to B16 who, when a cardinal, ignored all the SOS messages sent by a French friend who was a nun in a religious community in France and who had been abused for years. Whenever a priest or a bishop were approached on this matter her parents were advised not to go a step further and forget everything. They sent messages to the then Pope and cardinals … nothing doing … the then Pope had even given his blessing to the founder of the community in question … why? … because he was attracting lots of vocations … by deceiving them.

    Methinks this is a lot more important than having sex outside marriage especially between consenting adults. Nothing more natural …. if Mobius will excuse me …

    What they did to our dear friend (and to others in the community) is the worst thing that can happen to any young person in, love with Christ. She’s left the community since … but has taken her about 4 years to reintegrate into society and she is still not too well, psychologically speaking.

  8. “Methinks this is a lot more important than having sex outside marriage especially between consenting adults. Nothing more natural …. if Mobius will excuse me …”

    SO based on your judgement, if there are more important things, we should just rescind having a treaching at all?

    Maybe that would even help your friend you allege was abused?

    Have you looked at any data recently on the levels of STDs we are dealing with in America?

  9. Dear Asimplesinner,

    To be quite honest with you I haven’t … but I think the Pope praised your American society … ??

    As far as STDs are concerned … consenting adults should also take all the necessary precautions … you will always have adults taking risks …. they are the ones who need more educational pressure put on them … never said there should be NO teaching …

  10. Michael,
    Catholics carry Jesus Christ’s teaching and his saving graces to all the inhabitants of the world. The commandments of God are binding not just on Catholics, but on all of God’s children (whether Muslim, Jew, Protestant, Hindu or raging Hawkins atheist).

    That’s why it’s absurd to speak of sex between “consenting adults” as ok. No human being is independent-we’re all forever fixed in the pecking order of creation. Therefore, sexual relations outside of marriage is what God says it is–fornication–and that is a mortal sin, full stop. Fornication willfully frustrates God’s plan for marriage and family, and in doing so, damages the dignity of the human person, and extinguishes the life of supernatural grace between the souls involved. Most importantly, it offends God and damages the body of Christ. (Whom you should love above all things?)

    Let the devil continue to offer his pathetic, cheeseball version of human sexuality, that’s fine. But we also have the right to put forth our vision: sacramental marriage as the only legitimate context for sexuality is our Catholic belief and this is what Jesus Christ asks us to proclaim to all of you.

    As I read your commentaries Michael and Rachettile, I am reminded of that refrain by CK Chesterton- “A liberal is someone who doesn’t take his own side in an argument…”

    From what I gather, you each have a bone to pick with the Catholic Church. Perhaps you each believe that the Holy Father is somehow responsible for all the sexual deviants in the clergy molesting teen boys with impunity for so many years. Wrong. The fact is that the sex abuse scandal was an entirely liberal phenomenon. The perpetrators obviously had progressive views on sexuality which were inimical to Catholic faith. Now look at the bishops and cardinals whom they worked under. Mahoney, Law, Murphy, Weakland, Moreno, Pilarczyk, Bernardin. All of them were progressive “Spirit of Vatican II” dissenters at worst, or milquetoast national conference careerists at best. No scandals broke out among those bishops who kept Christ as the center of their lives. If you really are disgusted (as I am) that so many children were damaged as a result of this liberal sexual licentiousness, then perhaps, deep down there is a faithful, conservative and orthodox Catholic ready to burst out of the parched dead soil of the liberal field of dreams. Don’t hate us, join us.

  11. “To be quite honest with you I haven’t … but I think the Pope praised your American society … ?? “

    A total non-sequitar, Michael… And you know that if you value being honest rather than clever. To praise the good in someone or something isn’t to give a ringining endorsement to the whole of an entire nation.

    When you ask for reasoning why sex outside of marriage may be wrong… Well, start to look at the STD rates… This isn’t an argument about what people in theory can do, it is an argument in support of why Catholics teach what they do.

    When it came to the idea of changing the teaching I have to admit – you did not say as much… But I was at a loss to understand the correlation between your first suggestion – that pre-marital or extra-marital sex is not problematic to Catholics, and your wishing to discuss issues of sex scandal.

    So what do you feel that the Catholic Church should teach and what informs your feelings on the matter?

  12. rachettile,
    I’m not expecting Catholic teaching to be understood by non Catholics. I’m not sure why you would. Thats why its Catholic teaching – what point are you trying to make. I’m confused.

    Michael,
    Not every priest or religious is a child abuser. As I’m sure our moderator would agree. Do you understand the concept of man’s fallen nature? Your broad strokes theory is faulty. If there is one bad cop well all of them must be bad.
    As to whether these values were taught in the seminaries, why are you asking me? I work on Bay street, never been a seminarian, but….. no I won’t speculate; and you should not speculate on the what the Pope did or didn’t do.
    Also Michael you are questioning the churchs actions on this issue but I get the feeling you don’t even accept the teaching on pre-marital sex. So who is the hypocrite you or the Vatican? I would think it far more productive to live a good life, one of faith an example to others Pray for justice and the sinners. So Jesus said,”Why worry about the splinter in my eye, when you have a log in your eye.”
    Michael, keep reading up on the faith.

  13. Many thanks for your comments.

    I don’ t think so I am that liberal. I do have compassions for those can’t live up the expectations by giving them chance. Is n’t it that conversion is a dynamic process? We all need it/I need it otherwise we don’t need anymore that power from the Lord as our source of strength. I think the Lord sees the heart of individual person how much effort he/she makes to be worthy in God’s sights.

    For me the primary of the process is more important than the product. Otherwise, we would not be able to understand or exercise compassion for those people we are ministering to if I am that rigid in my moral perception.

    We have to be realistic that because of our human frailties, it’s then we need Christ the more in our life as an individual member of the Church and as a faith community weither being in a position of authority or as member. thanks.

  14. To address the original comments of Friar Rick, I was not surprised that Benedict XVI didn’t lower the boom on those priests, bishops or cardinals who are responsible for the sexual abuses in the Church. Obviously, the media would just make them martyrs, as it does with anyone who attacks the Church. There are still enough progressives in the hierarchy to create another Luther-been there, done that. The Church has eternity in its favour, and she will let the dissidents and perverts fade away into oblivion and death. From his writings, it’s clear Benedict XVI believes Satan is a living entity fixed on dragging as many souls into hell as he can. Better to pray for the souls of those clergy who abandoned their vows and exercised their option for evil.

  15. Rachettile,
    I too have compassion for those who fall repeatedly in sin knowing what God’s commandments are. My goodness, for many years I carried the same little list of sins in my wallet which I unfolded in the dark of the confessional during my weekly confession. The cycle was humiliating for me-sin, confess, get absolution, penance, sin, confess, absolution, penance…. But humiliation creates a humble soul and a funny thing happened on this humiliating road-first the warmth, then the sparks, then the jutting flame of grace kindled my soul. Through grace alone I was able to free myself from the slavery of particular and persistant sins. I know absolutely that that freedom from our worst sins is right there for any Catholic who sincerely tries to love God in their heart.

    I pray, Rachettile, that you don’t ever believe there exists a special class of people who “can’t live up the expectations” of the Lord. Grace can help everyone, as long as we keep the faith and try to love God more than the world. When we fall into we should reject the devil’s suggestion that God’s commandments are just “ideals for the super saints.” We can live in accord with God’s commandments! Not perfectly, all the time, but that’s exactly what the sacrament of penance is there for.

  16. Please stop burying your heads in the sand …. just a waste of time and energy … I will go straight to the point here because enough is really enough … ….There are hundreds of Catholic priests all over the world who have mistresses (male and femaile) … have you read any books about the Vatican about alleged parties being held after unearthly hours? … etc .. etc … and believe you me the list can be very long … so … if you want Catholics to follow the teachings of the Church … then those whose job it is to teach us have to do the right thing … the whole thing goes beyond the pedophile stories … tip of the iceberg ….

    It’s a bit like the doctor who is a chain smoker but tells all his patients that smoking is very bad for one’s health. I tell all my students that they should read, read and read and I do my best that they see me reading a book or a paper on my way to university and when they see me in the metro we have a chat about the book I’m reading.

    I am a Roman Catholic … I love Jesus and Mary …but I find it difficult to bear the sermon of a priest/bishop who fails to help people when those people have problems. All the priests to whom I’ve mentioned this (at least in France) agree with me.

    Once again I’m thinking about my friend and the real (not alleged) problems she had to endure. Yes B16 can be held responsible because he knew what was happening in that particular community when he was a cardinal. You seem to ignore that the *Vaticanese* Government is aware of everything, that they, too probably have their secret agents and receive emails and faxes from their ambassadors. Of course one single man cannot be held responsible for all the ills but yes he can be held responsible for certain facts if/when the proof that he knew about them is there … and please don’t use the word *alleged* in my friend’s case which is a true case. There have been court cases, articles in the papers and interviews on the radio and TV and thank God she’s out.

    Have a lovely Sunday.

  17. Mobius, thanks to point out that to me. It is because the 98% of the students are Catholic, thus, the Catholic teaching is delivered in a course “Contmeporary morality’ it happens that there are few students I happen to know not a believer but free to express honestly their views. It’s all
    academic freedom” and ect. thus, we allow them to come out to the open giving them an assurance of acceptance to express themselves. It’s part of the whole process of growth and learning….

    Had I not give them the secure atmospher to come out, I would never know that I have students who are like that…. and how would I guide and deal them in class which at the same time I try to give witness to the Gospel, the way I talk to them and inter act with them . The Catholic teaching is an option to them. which they never heared before. Better to let them know about it and it’s their personal choice after all at the end. thanks again.

  18. Michael,

    I really don’t think anyone here is “burying their head in the sand,” as you have stated.

    Any abuse is evil, pure and simple. A priest, in the Latin Rite, must remain celibate, period! Those who don’t commit scandal which you have so passionately described; and that is the point…scandal affects the faith of one and all.

    The “do as I say, not as I do” phenomena is unfortunate and hypocritical. You and I must always go back to the Scriptures and the Catechism.

    There is also another way and that is through Tradition, with a capital “T”. Why? Because, when what is true becomes so confusing, distorted and disoriented as it has been in the Church and society for most of the last half of the 20th century, one must look to antiquity to find the truth. Those things which are unchanged in 2,000 years of the Catholic Church where Christ IS and SUBSISTS!

  19. Dear Vox Cantor,

    I beg to disagree … there are priests in the Latin Rite (eg the Eastern Latin Rite) who are married … and let’s not forget the Anglican priests who became Catholic and were allowed to join Rome with their wives.

    Two weights two measures.

  20. Michael, thank you for your very insightful ideas or words filled with wisdom. Thanks for the reminder. I agree with you that the grace of God is always available for those who seek it with all humility and powerlessness thus, we seek the highest “power” that is Him alone through His grace to give us the genuine freedom.

  21. To correct Michael… the Easter Rites of the Catholic Church are not part of the Latin Rite. And yes, they do have married clergy. The Latin Rite also has married clergy: deacons!

  22. So what do the Eastern Catholics have to do with your point Michael?

    I am an Eastern Catholic – our priests are either married by ordination, or celibate for life, they do not remarry.

    What is your point?

  23. My point is that some priests are married. See my Anglican example. In the Orthodox Church the bishops are not married but most of them have mistresses. A well-known fact. Does this give a nice image of the Church? I wonder.

    The way things go … we will no longer have any priests. In our parish church in the north west suburb of Paris our priest looks after three parishes so there are days when we no longer have mass celebrated. We were told that there will no longer be requiem masses.

    Now if Rome allowed married priests to reintegrate, things would improve tremendously. I have read about married priests who are ready to come back and serve the Church. Rome is as stubborn as can be.

  24. Michael, these married priest arguments are superficial. The data points in an entirely different direction.

    Fact 1) Catholics share a shortage in vocations with all the Christian denominations in the West including Protestants who allow their ministers to marry. (and note that we are talking about”ministers” here, not priests… the protestants and anglicans do not have a validly ordained priesthood).

    2) Sex scandals exist in the denominations that allow their ministers to marry, and clergy marriages are notoriously difficult. One need only look at Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart to see the facciousness of marriage innoculating a man against temptation. In fact of all the denominations, Catholic priests are less likely than other Christian groups to abuse children. In 1990, in a study by the Park Ridge Center for the Study of Health, Faith and Ethics in Chicago, it was learned that 10 percent of ministers said they had had an affair with a parishioner and about 25% admitted some sexual contact with a parishioner. Compare that to the high estimate of 1.5% of Catholic priests merely accused of impropriety (of which a sizable proportion are later dismissed as fraudulent insurance grabs). Need further proof? Of the top four abusing groups (which make up 68% of all child abuse cases) Family friends and acquaintances make up 28%, relatives as uncles and cousins make up 18% stepfathers, 12% and male siblings make up 10%. Notice that ALL of the men in these groups are allowed to marry. And yet, in a survey for the Wall Street Journal-NBC News, it was found that 64 percent of the public thought that Catholic priests frequently abused children.This is outrageously unfair, but not surprising given the media fixation on this issue. Don’t be a victim of the drive-by media, Michael,

    3) Celibate priests can serve God for very little. It’s not fair to expect a man’s wife and children to suffer poverty and a life constantly on the move simply because he has a priestly vocation. But if a priest were to marry, He would have to look after his wife and family, so must the Church. When you listen to the agitators for married priests, they never mention that parishioners would actually have to tithe 10% of their salaries to support priest’s wives and children. Not the .05% of their salaries, most people currently give.

    4) As for Paris, whenever I’ve gone visiting churches there, I’m amazed at how French civilization has wholesale abandoned it’s Christian roots. The churches there are empty or filled with a a smattering of elderly. If there are not enough priests to serve the 8% of the population that attends weekly Mass it’s because there is so little faith left in the country and marriage will not change that significantly.

    I hope this clears up some misconceptions, Michael…

  25. Dear MS,
    I understand the case for married priests … but not all priests would want to marry and I know some who are married and they and their wives are ready to serve …. but they’re unwanted …

    Yr point 4
    It all depends when you visited those churches in Paris … normally they’re well attended except for weekdays.
    If you say there’s little faith left … there is a reason … when you go for help you don’t get it.
    My wife’s uncle -over 70 – still drives to 7-8 villages every week.

  26. Gentlemen… good discussion. Let’s just watch our sweeping generalizations… .e.g the Church of France. We are on the same team right??? Trying to make our faith real in the context in which we live… not always easy, but worth the struggle, debate, questions etc. In the meantime… let’s be gentle with one another.

  27. Michael,
    The local bishop followed by your country’s National Bishop’s Conference is directly responsible for the discipline or dismissal of your friend’s abusers. These parties must first request an investigation or ask for a removal before the vatican can act.

    As long as liberals continue to occupy the key positions of power in the majority of European bishop’s conferences, liberal attitudes to sex abuse by priests will l continue and nothing will change. Get some good orthodox bishops and cardinals in positions of power and your problems will get taken care of.

    Benedict XVI’s hands are clean in this matter. We here have learned a hard lesson and today, we Catholics don’t take kindly to heretical clergy in this country. If you want justice, perhaps you need to organize at the grassroots level in your country as well.

  28. To be fair, my own country of origin, Germany has far less faithful than the elder daughter of the Church. It’s really post WWII malaise in all of europe.

  29. Michael,

    It is important to avoid such generalisations as “In the Orthodox Church the bishops are not married but most of them have mistresses.”

    I for one, do not want the “married priests” (including my cousin who no longer believes that Jesus is Divine, but thinks he is still a Catholic along with his ex Mother Superior wife) back in the active priesthood. Why? Because their dissent to Church teaching in the frist place was the problem and they would not serve well the Church of today.

    The problem is quite clear in the Invitatory Psalm of the Office of Readings…”Forty years I have endured that generation, their hearts go astray and they do not know My ways.” While God was referring here to the Israelites, it is quite obvious to me that He was/is also speaking of our generation.

    All of us need to be better Catholics! If people go back to Church and honour Our Blessed LORD properly in the Eucharist, we will have Priests!

    If every Catholic in the United States went back to Church and practiced their faith that would be over 30% of the American population–here in Canada it would be even higher. Can you imagine if every Catholic and every lapsed Catholic came home, went to confession, received the Eucharist worthily next Sunday and then put it all into practice on Monday and in the next election? Change would come and come quickly…grace will fill our hearts and spread to our neighbours.

    A married priesthood in the Latin Rite is not the answer.

    If you want to be married, then don’t become a Latin Rite priest.

  30. The notion that more married clergy prevents abuse is ludicrous. The same men who abused as celibates would still abuse as optional celibates or monks…

    Among the 0.08% of clergy that have even had so much as allegations made against them, 80% were under-age gay sex contacts… VERY SADLY, some or these contacts in states where the age of consent is 16, would not even actually be crimes. (To be clear the state doesn’t need to call something a crime for it to be horrible!)

    Screening out men with strong latent homosexual tendancies is the key – do that and we will deal with this matter far less. (Note most of the accused came through the seminary sytems either before screening or periods where screening was either a. abandoned or b. ignored.)

    Among teachers and married Protestant clergy, there have been as many – in some cases more – scandals. Lawsuits against small Protestant sects don’t make headlines (plus they have little money for the lawyers who keep 1/3d) and lawsuits against school teachers in most states have damage caps well under $200K. Many lawyers would not wish to spend years building a case that they risk losing just to go to court for a $33-66K payout. The man hours needed for such a case over years is hardly worth the effort or chance to some.

    I am sad to say that I have too much experience with some angry, prideful, hateful people who have demonstrated a willingness to engage in the basist forms of parochial infighting… Knowing some of them and their types, I am left unsatisfied with the idea that the simply an allegation unproven is grounds for dismissal of a priest. Making an allegation is the fastest way to destroy a priest, and people looking to destroy priests know that.

    The notion that all Orthodox bishops have mistresses is plain ludicrous. It can’t be backed up – if you think it can, I invite you to try with real evidence.

    When the number of married men who are deacons in the Latin Church, maybe, just maybe, we can begin to consider married priesthood as a norm in the Roman Rite… Until then, we should stop and ask ourselves what is the real reason why we don’t have more vocations. I believe it is because we don’t have enough Catholic families that encourage it, we don’t ask men to become priests, we screen out the good candidates in some places, and far too many Catholics in the west have embraced anti-fertility/sterility as a norm, reducing the children that may or might have been priests. Catholic families that opted to have cable and a bigger home than they needed rather than a child are not going to be a seedbed of priestly vocations.

  31. Good post SS…

    And let’s not forget stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and two SUVs per family.

    Not having these consumer items to lord over friends and neighbors has become the new “grave circumstance” to avoid fertility in many alleged catholic families.

  32. Michael,

    The situation is Europe cannot be summed up by blaming a celibite priesthood. The whole society has been emasculated. No one wants to believe in anything to strongly. The church is an historical institution and the people have rebeled against it. In the old country of my familial origins the priests I have met would make our good Friar Rick, look like a raving right winger, we may have our disagreements but I believe he accepts the infalibilty of the magesterium.

    I could go on Michael but there’s so much to say. Your arguments are based on vague generalizations and over simplifications. I would ask for the sake of the growing reply count that you refrain from this so we may stay focused on the main issues.

  33. Some of the comments end up in a “need moderating” section of the site. I don’t know why. But, I try to get to them asap. However, if there’s offensive material, I may edit or remove it.
    Speaking of which, let’s watch the linking the issues of gay people and child sexual abuse.
    Remember also to be respectful to one another.

  34. Fr. Rick,

    With all due respect, there are several other posts above making the link. The Pope himself pointed that out. I don’t do this out of malicious hatred but as a fact. As already stated most of the abuse occured with teen aged boys. That is not pedophelia. I know and work closely with several gays. I don’t have a problems with them. As the saying goes “hate the sin, love the sinner”.

    I still don’t know what it was that was offensive in my deleted post. I mentioned how attitudes have changed to homosexuality. My main point was about an example of an abusive hetrosexual relationship.

  35. I didn’t delete any of your comments. Like I said, some comments go for “moderation”, which I review as soon as I see them. No offense is meant.

    Whether the abuse is of young children or teenagers, it is abuse. Being gay or lesbian does not make one an abuser. People who have inappropriate relationships with minors, of any age, have some serious emotional problems. Viewing it as a “moral lapse” is how we got into this mess in the first place. People were sent away for retreat or penance. Obviously that didnt’ work. What many really needed was therapy. Not that therapy is magic. Sometimes we have to say to our brothers (and sisters) who are prone to these problems that they can’t be in roles of ministry in the church.

    But folks, let’s not think that these are new problems, or relegated to one type of population. These are human problems that we need to address. In the past things were hidden. Now we encourage people to come to terms with their sexuality, understand their issues, their needs to intimacy and challenge them to live a healthy chaste, celibate lifestyle. And you know what… in most cases… it works!

  36. Fr. Rick,

    I found my comments. I could have swore that there were there one minute and then gone the next. I just checked and it appears that they have resurfaced. My apologies.

    I agree with you that sometimes the best solution is for a complete removal from the individuals role, be they straight or gay.

    I guess where I differ in my view with you is that I see fornication as a problem and the abuse of minors as branch in that tree. As is premarital, extra-martial, and homsexual relations.

    Being married I know what it was like waiting and wanting to give in. Even within marriage there are times when the couple must be chaste. Its not like its we have a carte blanche to sex whenever we want it.

    The other thing I want to mention is sexuality is only one aspect of a person. A person seriously limits themselves when they only identify themselves through their sexuality. There is too much emphais on this now a days. I know what you mean when you say that in the past it was hidden. But to be honest I wish in some cases it still was. All day today on the news there was some story about a young performer’s “racy” photo spread. I don’t know how old she was but she looked 16. Even if she’s in her 20’s this isn’t healthy.

  37. Mobius: I agree entirely that although it is important to really know ourselves… including our sexuality… it is one part of whole. My philosophy is… come to terms with your issues.. and then move on… the Gospel is waiting to be preached! This is true of a variety of psychological challenges. I sometimes joke with friends and tell them “Put your inner child in daycare, and get on with your life.” I don’t mean to be insensitive, but to make the point that we can’t be about navel gazing either.

    I think that is what B16 is really saying when he says he wants priests who are ready to be ministers of Christ and not caught up in their own issues.
    A true integration of the person opens one up to serve the Lord in freedom.

  38. “Viewing it as a “moral lapse” is how we got into this mess in the first place. People were sent away for retreat or penance. Obviously that didnt’ work.”

    I respectfully disagree with this assessment because the history of the scandal plainly lead to the an inverse conclusion. In the scandal’s incubation period during the 60s-80s, American society in general and certain Bishops in particular, abandoned the Christian faith for the bright promises of existential and humanistic psychology. Penance was out, and so was the rosary. Therapy was in and “with it” and didn’t the Spirit of Vatican II encourage bishops to be hip and conciliar?

    The “mess” was caused because Bishops ceased to be able to discern truth, and the 5,000 watt truth in this case was that priests having sex with pubescent or teen boys is a grave MORAL lapse not a psychological or emotional problem. If we take the disasters of the Boston and LA diocese, both bishops in charge, after it was no longer possible to shuffle offenders did NOT remedy their abusive priests moral lapse by the usual remedies proscribed by the church-monastastic isolation for penance and prayer. Instead Mahoney and Law sent the offenders to psychiatric facilities like St. Luke’s in Maryland, where, the bishops were assured, they would be “cured.” They were not, and this relatively small group of sex offenders returned and ran riot in the schools and churches and bled the US Church to the tune of a billion dollars in legal settlements.

    So where does that leave us? Is psychiatry the villain? No. In fact, as I’m sure you’ll agree, psychology today is vital tool in priestly formation and will remain an indispensible tool for effective priestly formation. The problem I see it, is one of faith-if you lose your faith a funny thing happens-you don’t know you’ve lost it and your ability to discern truth fades away. That combined loss is a real death of the soul. Priests lost enough faith to justify their sexual abuse of minors and bishops lost enough faith to blind themselves to the difference between spiritual and psychological realms. And into that dark vacuum, Evil Spirit poured it’s own light and knowledge.

  39. I always find it amusing when people blame cardinals who, having knowledge of abuse, didn’t do anything about it. How can one know what one did, when not everything that happens in the authorities are disclosed? Certain bishops and cardinals are quite loud in their stupidity, but some are not: Our Holy Father and other such authorities who did not triumphantly knock the heads off of abusive clergy deserve the benefit of the doubt, not belligerent accusation and condemnation.

    We could, after all, criticize Benedict XVI’s avoidance of the fact that over 80% of the “paedophilia” cases were, in fact, based on homosexual desires of the flesh, and not the former disorder. But, perhaps, Benedict, being the pope and all, has reasons for not mentioning that (explicitly at least). Or perhaps, he is waiting for a more opportune time to do so – like he is with so many other things we’d like to see him do. He can only act and speak in a certain way given his audience and their radically anti-Catholic bias.

    Similarly, to expect perfect action from anyone in authority simply begs the question: What is the perfect action? Yes, we’d like justice and the vindication of those who have have been degraded; but was then or is now the time for the proposed solution, yours or mind? It seems to me that no matter what, there will be no justice on this earth, until is is recreated with Heaven in Glory. It is true arrogance to, without any real evidence against a man’s good faith (i.e. the then Cardinal Ratzinger), lay the blame on him. You cannot know his motive and perspective; at least I do not, and that is why I find it rather offensive that anyone claiming to trust and hope in God would be so reckless in their judging the now Vicar of Christ and Peter.

    Let us pray for the conversion of the unrepentant, and that the healing power of the Cross might mend all injustice and iniquity.

    St. Augustine, pray for us.

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