AN OPEN LETTER
TO THE CARDINALS OF THE HOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
AND OTHER CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL
IN COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE
Recently many educated Catholic observers, including bishops and priests, have decried the confusion in doctrinal statements about faith or morals made from the Apostolic See at Rome and by the putative Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis. Some devout, faithful and thoughtful Catholics have even suggested that he be set aside as a heretic, a dangerous purveyor of error, as recently mentioned in a number of reports.
While it is not necessary to look outside Universi Dominici Gregis in order to construe or to interpret its plain meaning, the first source to which one would look is the immediately prior constitution which Universi Dominici Gregis abrogated or replaced. Pope John Paul II replaced entirely what Pope Paul VI had legislated in the immediately previous Constitution on conclaves, Romano Pontfici Eligendo, but in so doing, Pope John Paul II used Romano Pontfici Eligendo as the format or pattern for His new constitution on conclaves. Making obvious changes, nonetheless, Pope John Paul II utilized the content and structure of his predecessor’s constitution to organize and outline Universi Dominici Gregis. Therefore, while it is not legally necessary to look outside Universi Dominici Gregis, the primary reference to an extraneous source of construction would entail an examination of Romano Pontfici Eligendo, and that exercise (bolsterd by the use of the key word “scienter” in the Promulgation Clause) would reinforce the broad principle of invalidity.
Of course, this is not the only feature of the Constitution or aspect of the matter which tends to establish the breadth of invalidity. Faithful must hope and pray that only those cardinals whose status as a valid member of the College remains intact will ascertain the identity of each other and move with the utmost charity and discretion in order to effectuate The Divine Will in these matters. The valid cardinals, then, must act according to that clear, manifest, obvious and unambiguous mind and intention of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, so evident in Universi Dominici Gregis, a law which finally established binding and self-actuating conditions of validity on the College for any papal conclave, a reality now made so apparent by the bad fruit of doctrinal confusion and plain error.
Donald Wuerl — the cardinal-archbishop of Washington, D.C. — must go.
The kingpin of the American hierarchy — a man who over the decades has carefully and meticulously cultivated an image of reformer — has now been exposed as a fraud, just as guilty as scores of other bishops in the U.S. who hid and shuffled around homosexual predator priests and concelaed them from law enforcement officials.
The long-awaited bombshell Pennsylvania Grand Jury report is out, released in dramatic fashion — live streamed by the attorney general’s office — and Donald Wuerl has now been revealed as one of the major players in the decades-long cover-up of child sex abuse during his time as bishop of Pittsburgh.
The senior American prelate’s name appears more than 160 times in the report.
Despite his carefully manufactured facade over the years as being a leader of the “zero tolerance” policy, what is now clear is that he was complicit in shuffling priests around in what he himself termed a “Circle of Secrecy.”
In one of the more than half million pages of internal Church documents the grand jury reviewed, Wuerl himself had noted in those documents that the Church’s child sex abuse cover-up was a “circle of secrecy.”
Wuerl was publicly condemned by PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro as one of the Pennsylvania bishops who had covered up abuse and was then promoted.
In the case of one notorious homosexual predator priest, in 1996, Wuerl gave his approval for the priest to transfer to California without adequately informing them of the priest’s long history of sexual assault against minors.
The diocese of San Diego, where the priest went, contacted Wuerl and said the insurance carrier wanted the following question answered: That Father has “not had any problems involving sexual abuse, any history of sexual involvement with minors or others, or any inappropriate sexual behavior.”
The grand jury charges that Wuerl did not provide the full truth to San Diego regarding the priest.
Wuerl did not suspend his faculties. And the priest continued to enjoy the support of Wuerl and the diocese. The priest Ernest Paone had been abusing children for 41 years, and yet was never removed from active ministry.
Likewise, as the reports of the initial homosexual priest sex abuse problem was exploding across the nation’s headlines from Boston, the grand jury report charges that Wuerl communicated nothing of the criminal homosexul assaults of Paone to the district attorney’s office.
The report goes on to add, “In spite of Wuerl’s statements to the Vatican, the clear and present threat that Paone posed to children was hidden and kept secret (by Wuerl) from parishioners in three states. Wuerl’s statements had been meaningless without any action.”
The grand jury also noted regarding Wuerl that it was only the “external force” of the media reports “that generated the action (by Wuerl) which should have occurred decades earlier” — referring to the removal of Fr. Paone’s faculties.
In another case directly implicating Wuerl, Fr. George Zirwas, a Pittsburgh priest found murdered in his apartment in Havana, Cuba in 2001 by a male prostitute, had been accused of sex abuse as early as 1987.
When Wuerl was first installed in 1988, he received complaints that Zirwas had fondled a 16-year-old boy’s genitals.
In the same month, Wuerl received a second complaint from a male complaining Zirwas had groped him when he was 17.
Wuerl sent Zirwas away for treatment, and then placed him back in active ministry, where he was shuffled from parish to parish for another decade.
In spite of receiving yet another complaint about Zirwas in 1991, with a male victim claiming Zirwas had groped him, Wuerl left him to continue in active ministry.
Even more disturbing, Zirwas was connected to a priest pederast ring that involved drugs, alcohol and sadomasochistic acts involving whips and chains used on two teen altar boys, this taking place partly under Wuerl’s tenure.
This is what the grand jury report says about that:
During the course of this investigation, the Grand Jury uncovered a ring of predatory priests operating within the Diocese who shared intelligence or information regarding victims as well as exchanging the victims amongst themselves. This ring also manufactured child pornography on Diocesan property, including parishes and rectories. This group included: Zirwas, Francis Pucci, Robert Wolk, and Richard Zula. This group of priests used whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims.
The boys specially chosen for the priests’ abuse were given gifts of gold crosses, which allowed the priests to identify which ones had been groomed for abuse.
According to the grand jury report, the diocese under Wuerl knew about the priests’ sordid activities but volunteered none of this information to the police or prosecutor during the investigation.
In fact, Wuerl even agreed to give Zirwas a higher payout in exchange for Zirwas’ silenceabout other homosexual predatory priests in Pittsburgh.
The grand jury report notes that in 1996, Zirwas demanded that his monthly pay be increased in exchange for his statement disavowing all knowledge of other predator priests’ illegal sexual conduct. Zirwas signed the statement, and Wuerl gave him a bonus payout — in addition to the monthly stipend Zirwas was already receiving from the diocese.
In an interview with CBS News earlier today, before the release of the grand jury report, Donald Wuerl was asked point blank if he should resign.
Nikki Battiste: “Some people have called for your resignation. Do you have any plans to resign?”
Cdl. Wuerl: “It goes back over 70 years, so I think we have to be realistic and say, this claim goes back over decades and decades.”
Yesterday, in anticipation of the reports released today, Wuerl has the gall to issue this statement: “I was bishop during that period of time, I think that’s why I’m involved at all. I was bishop there for 18 years. There’s no charge at all that I was involved in anything.”
That statement is either delusional or a flat-out lie.
There are charges, specific charges contained directly in the grand jury report that he wasinvolved in any number of sordid issues.
What now remains to be seen is if other American bishops will now call on the Vatican to strip Wuerl from the College of Cardinals, as Pope Francis did with Cdl. McCarrick.
The Pope himself has issued a zero tolerance policy with regard to bishops who covered up sexual abuse of minors by homosexual clergy, and Donald Wuerl is now the poster boy for this whole seedy, demonic affair.
Donald Wuerl must go. The U.S. bishops have no choice on the matter but to begin calling for his immediate resignation, followed by removal from the College of Cardinals.
The moment of truth has arrived for U.S. bishops.
Either they are serious about cleaning all this up — as their flood of statements the past few days claim they are — or they are hypocrites afraid to damage their careers by calling for the downfall of the most powerful cardinal in the American Church.
Stay tuned to Church for continuing coverage, and to see which choice the American bishops make.
Wed Aug 1, 2018 – 12:20 pm EST
Cardinal McCarrick and the gay mafia: corruption of clergy now rivals the age of the Borgias
August 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The scandal of Cardinal McCarrick’s record of sexual abuse of seminarians and of minor children is sending waves of horror through the Church, as Catholics increasingly meditate on its disturbing implications. It is now clear that McCarrick’s reputation as a sexual predator was widely known in the Catholic hierarchy for decades, and nothing was done to stop the man or impede his career as he climbed the ladder of ecclesiastical power.
Despite attempts by a small number of priests and Catholic journalists to bring the truth to light about McCarrick’s filthy habit of sexual predation, and even to warn the Holy See, the prelate managed to climb the ladder of promotion, finally receiving the archbishopric of Washington D.C. and even a cardinal’s hat. It seems that no crime was sufficient to threaten McCarrick’s career, until he was safely in retirement.
The insidious influence of the Church’s gay mafia are now so extensive that bishops, cardinals, and even the pope seem to cow in fear before this infestation of effeminate perverts who have co-opted and hijacked the Church’s institutions. The “abominating desolation” of their filth is now openly on display throughout the Church, from the halls of the Holy See, to the chanceries of dioceses, to the innumerable “gay-friendly” parishes that pander to the spiritual self-destruction of their hapless clientele.
Church afflicted with moral corruption rivaling the era of the Borgias
A cursory review of this horror gives us confirmation that we are living in an age of corruption comparable with the decadence of the Borgias and the Renaissance papacy, whose blatant public displays of vice led to the Protestant Reformation, the most calamitous schism in the Church’s history.
An Italian archbishop who commissioned a blasphemous and homoerotic painting of Christ himself for his diocesan cathedral has been placed in charge of the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Life and the Grand Chancellor of the St. John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, leading former Council member Christine de Marcellus Vollmer to note that the appointment is more evidence of the power of the Vatican’s “gay lobby.”
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who claims that his obscene cathedral painting is an “evangelizing tool,” is using his perch to subvert the Church’s doctrines on life and sexuality. Following his appointment many authentic pro-lifers have been expelled from the Council and have been replaced in some cases with advocates of abortion and contraception. Paglia even sided publicly with the judge who ordered the withdrawal of life support from Alfie Evans, and did not join Pope Francis in his attempts to save the child from his induced death at the hands of Britain’s National Health Service.
Meanwhile, a former close associate of McCarrick, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, claims he knew nothing about McCarrick’s abusive behavior, even while he worked with him for six years in the Archdiocese of Washington chancery office and shared an apartment with him. Farrell is currently in charge of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, and has endorsed the homosexualist work Building a Bridge by Fr. James Martin, a priest who openly seeks to legitimize same-sex unions and to eliminate the Church’s clear condemnation of homosexual perversion in the Catechism.
Martin himself has been rewarded for his public LGBT activism by his appointment as a “communications consultant” to the Holy See, and is scheduled to give a talk at the Vatican-sanctioned “World Meeting of Families” in August.
A priest who became notorious in the Vatican diplomatic corps for his drunken homosexual trysts has been made prelate of the corrupt Vatican Bank, and is comically charged with reforming the institution. When Pope Francis was confronted with the accusations against Msgr. Battista Ricca in 2013 he claimed that they were unproven, but implied that the accusations were of little importance, adding that “many times we seem to seek out the sins of somebody’s youth and publish them. We’re not talking about crimes, which are something else. The abuse of minors, for instance, is a crime. But one can sin and then convert, and the Lord both forgives and forgets. We don’t have the right to refuse to forget … it’s dangerous.”
In May of 2017 the Vatican police raided an apartment next to St. Peter’s Basilica in which a cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy was being hosted by a high-ranking Vatican priest: Msgr. Luigi Capozzi, secretary to Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. The Holy See has given no indication of any punitive measures taken against the participants. Cardinal Coccopalmerio has openly spoken to the press about the “positive elements” he sees in homosexual unions, which he says he tries to emphasize.
The hushed-up bust of Capozzi and his companions was then followed by two high-profile public trials of Vatican officials for child porn possession. Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella, a Vatican diplomat who was caught with dozens of images and videos of child pornography on his cell phone, and who also distributed such materials to others, was given only five years in a Vatican detention cell and fined 5,000 euros. Msgr. Pietro Amenta, who attempted to molest an 18 year old man in a public place and had pornographic images of minors on his cell phone, received only a suspended sentence.
The influence of a powerful “homosexual mafia” in the Vatican was reportedly named as the principal source of the general malaise and corruption in the Holy See in a secret report given to Pope Benedict shortly before his resignation, and may have been a major cause of his decision to resign the office. It appears that the problem has only worsened since 2013.
Click here to learn about St. Peter Damian’s struggle against an epidemic of sodomy and corruption among the clergy of the eleventh century, a story with great relevance for the Catholic Church today.
Bishops resign as multiple gay child molestation rings discovered in Latin American dioceses
In Chile, Pope Francis has recently removed five bishops following years of complaints of their connections to a priest who led a sex-abuse ring, reportedly with their knowledge and even complicity. The pope took the measures after years of defending one of the bishops, Juan Barros, in which he publicly derided those who denounced the bishops’ corruption as engaging in “slander.”
Finally, when the pope was revealed to have falsely claimed that no victims had given him testimony, the public outrage in Chile was so deafening and disruptive to his pontificate that he was forced to act, issuing a muted apology for his errors and ordering a Vatican investigation of the Chilean church. Francis has now begun to speak of enforcing the Church’s long-defunct policy of excluding homosexuals from seminaries.
After a team of investigators were sent by the Vatican to Chile to interview victims, Bishop Alejandro Goić Karmelić of the Diocese of Rancagua has suspended twelve priests who were allegedly members of a sex-abusing “confraternity” that called itself “the family,” and used female family titles to refer to their hierarchy, such as “grandmother,” “aunts,” and “daughters.” Goić admitted that he had been warned about the group a year earlier but hadn’t acted. Pope Francis has since accepted his resignation.
In the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, an auxiliary bishop was recently forced to resign after accusations of his own sexual abuse of seminarians, and now a group of students in the seminary have signed a public statement denouncing a pervasive “network” of homosexuals there, writing that they are “scandalized and really depressed” by the situation. Their act of bravery has been rewarded by a contemptuous dismissal from the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, who accuses them of “gossip.” The cardinal, who has been credibly accused of siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars from the University of Tegucigalpa, is a member of the pope’s “C9” group assigned with the task of reforming the Church.
The only seminary remaining in Ireland, where the Catholic faith is now in free fall and only a few dozen seminarians remain, has also been blasted for the predominance of homosexuals there, which has created such discontent that some bishops have decided to send their students to the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.
The problem of a homosexual mafia in the seminaries of the Church has been public knowledge for decades, but has been systematically ignored or downplayed by the ecclesiastical establishment. The scandal was thoroughly exposed in 2002 by journalist Michael Rose in his work Goodbye, Good Men, a work that was ruthlessly attacked by mainstream Catholic media. Regnery published a Kindle version of the book in 2015.
Even “conservative” bishops co-opted by the gay mafia
The reign of the sodomites in the Church is so powerful that even some of the most conservatively minded bishops in the U.S. are afraid to do anything to impede LGBT activism in their dioceses, no matter how egregious it might be.
I had the sad duty of reporting recently on the complicity of “conservative” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco in the scandalous behavior of one of his own deacons. Cordileone, a prelate who made a reputation for himself a few years ago for ostensibly fighting against the influence of homosexuals in the archdiocesan school system, continues to supply clerical faculties to an openly “gay” activist deacon, Brian Bromberger, despite being very aware for over a year that Bromberger makes his living publicly writing dirty articles for an anti-Catholic homosexual newspaper. In fact, Cordileone has apparently given Bromberger permission to continue writing for the publication, despite repeatedly being informed of the salacious content of the articles. Bromberger also continues to give talks on homosexuality at parishes.
Even worse, Cordileone allows San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer parish to continue its decades-long project of legitimizing and celebrating homosexual behavior among its members, despite the parish’s open LGBT advocacy on its webpage and numerous complaints made to him by laity. Cordileone long ago made peace with the homosexualist teacher’s union of the archdiocese, and appears to have all but totally dropped his public opposition to the gay agenda.
In Los Angeles, Archbishop José Gómez, a conservative former member of Opus Dei, appears to be even more in thrall to the gay mafia, maintaining blatant LGBT activists in major diocesan posts. Every year the prelate continues the tradition of organizing a “Religious Education Congress” that openly promotes homosexuality and transgenderism. At this year’s congress, LGBT ideologues had their way with the participants, instructing them on gender ideology’s “genderbread person,” denouncing the Church’s condemnation of sodomy as “unfair,” encouraging allowing homosexual couples to attend proms, and declaringthat there are no moral absolutes. Two years ago, at the Religious Education Congress closing mass, a self-parody of modernist liturgical abuse, Gómez received the gifts from a male homosexual couple with their adopted child.
In effect, both Gómez and Cordileone appear to have been tamed, cowed, and neutralized by the Church’s “homosexual network,” which is able to operate with virtual impunity in their dioceses.
Similar atrocities are documented with regularity in other archdioceses led by more liberal bishops, such as Cardinal Timothy Dolan in New York, Cardinal Blase Cupich in Chicago, and Patrick McGrath in San José. Cupich in particular has repeatedly endorsed giving Holy Communion to homosexual couples, a position also taken by McGrath.
The heretical LGBT advocacy group for Catholics, “New Ways Ministry” reports that well over 200 parishes in the United States meet its “gay-friendly” standards. Such parishes openly celebrate and legitimize homosexual unions, promote gay porn, participate in obscene LGBT parades, host gay dance parties to fundraise for LGBT causes with Lady Gaga, and have meetings in gay drag bars.
I am sure that more conservative bishops such as Gómez and Cordileone, and perhaps even Timothy Dolan, don’t prefer such policies – they’re just too afraid to stand up to the homosexual power structure, and would rather permit such abuses and even cooperate with them rather than take on the difficulty of opposing them. Their complicity is a symptom of the seemingly unlimited power of the gay lobby in the Church today.
As ex-gay and former homosexual porn star Joseph Sciambra put it in a recent Facebook post: “I don’t mean to be crude, but some of these Bishops can’t even keep their priests out of the ‘Pride’ parades, therefore how are they going to keep them out of a guy’s pants? If they are openly disobedient in their public activities, why would they be obedient in terms of their private life? Bishops that continuously tolerate such behavior are usually complicit, sympathetic, or deeply involved.”
Sexual morality now understood as an “ideal”: the catastrophic moral laxism of the clergy
The triumph of homosexual corruption over so many dioceses and ministries in the Catholic Church are due to one fundamental cause: the generalized acceptance of a moral laxism that minimizes the seriousness of sexual sin and sees continence as a mere “ideal” that is beyond the capacity of ordinary Catholics.
Cardinal McCarrick himself became the spokesman for this doctrine as early as 2006, when he defended the creation of civil unions for homosexuals, claiming that heterosexual marriage was an “ideal” that not all could live up to. “I think basically the ideal would be that everybody was—was able to enter a union with a man and a woman and bring children into the world and have the wonderful relationship of man and wife that is so mutually supportive and is really so much part of our society and what keeps our society together. That’s the ideal,” said McCarrick.
“If you can’t meet that ideal, if there are people who for one reason or another just cannot do that or feel they cannot do that, then in order to protect their right to take care of each other, in order to take care of their right to have visitation in a hospital or something like that, I think that you could allow, not the ideal, but you could allow for that for a civil union,” he added.
The language of sexual morality as an “ideal” would ultimately find its way into Pope Francis’ now-infamous apostolic exhortation, Amoris laetitia, in which he repeatedly treats the moral requirements pertaining to marriage as an “ideal,” which can’t always be realized due to human frailty, particularly when people are living in invalid second “marriages” in which they are tempted to be sexually active.
Amoris laetitia’s approach to sexual morality in marriage as an “ideal” is now being publicly used by Cardinal Walter Kasper to openly claim that homosexual unions are “analogous” to marriage, and contain “elements” of Christian marriage, while not conforming to the “ideal” of marriage itself. Kasper’s theology regarding adulterous second marriages is seen as the chief inspiration behind the doctrines contained in Amoris laetitia.
The devastating effect of the clergy’s moral and disciplinary laxism, which has been widespread since the 1960s, can be seen in every aspect of the Church’s life. Priests have almost totally abandoned clerical garb in public, and often treat the Mass like a childish hootenanny rather than the solemn sacrifice that it is. Life and family issues are ignored in favor of socialist political causes under the guise of “social justice.” The ambiance in most parishes in Europe and the Anglophone countries is one of spiritual mediocrity and convenience, reflecting the carnal mentality of both clergy and laity.
Church’s traditional condemnation of sodomy minimized and forgotten
As a consequence of this catastrophic decline in piety, the clergy has forgotten and ignored the Church’s traditional doctrines and discipline regarding what was once called by Pope St. Pius V, “that horrendous crime,” and by St. Peter Damian, “the worst of sins.”
The Catholic Church has condemned homosexual behavior since the first century of its inception, when the inspired authors of the New Testament repeatedly warned readers that “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21, also 1 Cor. 6:9, Rom. 1:26-27). The early Church Fathers repeated this condemnation in the strongest possible terms. St. Augustine writes that “those shameful acts against nature, such as were committed in Sodom, ought everywhere and always to be detested and punished,” and others call such behavior a “disease,” “madness,” and “filthy.”
Regional councils soon began to establish punishments for Catholics guilty of sodomy, and in the Middle Ages the Catholic Church began to publish manuals containing penalties specifically for clergy who engaged in homosexual acts, and particularly those who prey on children. When the Church faced a crisis of sodomy in the eleventh century clergy, St. Peter Damian (a future Doctor of the Church) cried out against it to the Pope in his famous Book of Gomorrah, and invoked the Church’s tradition of canonical penalties to defend his position.
With regard to child molesters, Damian cited a canonical sanction found in many manuals attributed to St. Basil, but in fact was originated by St. Fructuosus of Braga, a seventh century abbot. It required that any cleric found in any compromising situation with a minor was to be punished severely, publicly humiliated, and sent off to permanent imprisonment in a monastery:
A cleric or monk who persecutes adolescents or children, or who is caught in a kiss or other occasion of indecency, should be publicly beaten and lose his tonsure, and having been disgracefully shaved, his face is to be smeared with spittle, and he is to be bound in iron chains, worn down with six months of imprisonment, and three days every week to fast on barley bread until sundown. After this, spending his time separated in his room for another six months in the custody of a spiritual senior, he should be intent upon the work of his hands and on prayer, subject to vigils and prayers, and he should always walk under the guard of two spiritual brothers, never again soliciting sexual intercourse from youth by perverse speech or counsel.
Pope St. Leo IX responded to Damian’s Book of Gomorrah by decreeing that all those who had engaged in anal sodomy must be removed from the priesthood, and that those who had engaged in lesser degrees of sodomy with high frequency or with many accomplices, should also be removed. Those who had engaged in lesser degrees with fewer or no accomplices and infrequently, could return to their clerical grade of order only after carrying out long penances.
Leo IX then attended two regional councils where strong penalties were prescribed for sodomy. Eventually, the Third Lateran Council made the penalty more severe, decreeing that all clerics guilty of sodomy were to be “expelled from the clergy or confined in monasteries to do penance,” while laymen were to be excommunicated. No exceptions were given to this penalty.
Pope St. Pius V, responding to the terrible corruption among the clergy in the wake of the Renaissance papacy, decided to go further than the Third Lateran Council. Denouncing “that horrendous crime” of sodomy among the clergy, and concerned about rampant impunity, he decreed that all clerics guilty of sodomy, of whatever rank, were to be removed from the clergy, stripped of all of their titles, and turned over to the secular authorities for the same punishment given to laymen – which, at that time, was often the death penalty, or castration.
“Lest the contagion of such a disgrace, from the hope of impunity – which is the greatest incentive to sin – strengthen in boldness, we have decided that the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime are to be more gravely punished, so that the avenger of the civil laws, the secular sword, might certainly deter those who do not fear the death of the soul,” wrote Pius V.
I have provided a complete translation of this decree, Horrendum Illud Scelus, which can be found in PDF form here in both Latin and English.
The Church has since acted against the influence of homosexuals in the priesthood, most notably Popes John XXIII and Pope Benedict, both of whom decreed that those with homosexual tendencies could not be admitted to seminaries. Pope Francis has renewed the prohibition, but it has now become little more than a dead letter.
The recognition of the crisis in Chile, which seems to have led to a new willingness of Pope Francis to punish those guilty of sodomy or at least of sexual abuse, was provoked not by conscientious and dutiful leadership on the part of the clergy, but by the public outrage of the faithful, who protested vigorously during the pope’s recent visit to that country. There is little reason to believe that the Holy See will continue to act without a continuation of that pressure. The reform of the Church, as was the case in the Arian crisis of the 4th century, will come largely from the pressure of the laity.
His Holiness, Pope Francis PP.
00120 Via del Pellegrino
Citta del Vaticano
Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, Prefect
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio
00120 Città del Vaticano
Here is your little daily dose of SATIRE to help you with the daily ORWELLIAN SPEAK of Father Thomas Rosican, S.J. and the other friends of Francis the Merciful.
| PMarcantonio Colonna revealed to be Fr Thomas Rosica
Posted: 14 Aug 2018 04:28 AM PDT
When The Dictator Pope first came out, it was said to be authored by Marcantonio Colonna: it was not until several months later that someone realised that Mr Colonna had an alibi, as he had been dead for 400 years. Accordingly, it was then “revealed” that the author was Henry Sire, then Knight of the Order of Malta. Mr Sire suffered for this, being de-knighted.However, that’s not the end of the story, as it turns out that the true author of The Dictator Pope was Fr Thomas Rosica, the be-nighted Satan Lite media mogul and alleged Catholic priest.
“Yes, Francis is a dictator and that is a GOOD THING.”
Apologies to readers for two consecutive posts on our hero, Rosie, but he is a gift to spiritually nourishing bloggers.
Catholics tend to look down on Sola Scriptura teaching, because after all there are numerous ways to interpret certain Biblical passages, and until now it was best to interpret them in the light of tradition – that is, in the same way as the early Church did. But now we have Solus Franciscus, the view that all Catholic teaching should be torn up, and we should listen only to Pope Francis. Once you accept that, Amoris Laetitia will be your Bible, rather than, er, the Bible.
The Great Dictator, now available badly drawn on a lollipope.
Francis’s record as a dictator is not in doubt – he may have invaded the Sovereign Order of Malta, he may have made all dissidents into unpersons, he may have promoted nonentities and heretics into positions of power, his speeches reek of fanaticism, but… but… oh yes, at least he makes the trains run on time in the Vatican.
Some of Fr Rosica’s words are a little difficult to understand. What’s all this about the Pope being free from “disordered attachments”? Does this mean the boot for his adviser, Fr James Martin SJ, as disordered an attachment as you would ever expect to see? And what is Jesuit intellectualism? Is that something to do with never making clear-cut statements, but always speaking ambiguously, so that several heretical interpretations are possible? We need to be told.
Henry Sire, now believed to be a sockpuppet of Fr Rosica.
Still, the main message is clear. Previous Popes were such boring fuddy-duddies, always repeating over and over again the messages of their predecessors, of the doctors of the Church, of the apostles, of Jesus… But now the Fourth Person of the Trinity has arrived. His Coming is predicted in the Bible, “And Lo! A Fat Argentinian Dictator will come to dwell among you. And he will tell you what I should have said, but got wrong.”
Somewhere in the Book of Revelation, I fancy.
|Fr Rosica interviews Cardinal Wuerl
Posted: 11 Aug 2018 07:55 AM PDT
We have watched it, so you don’t have to.Shifty-looking man (possibly Bill Clinton, possibly Cardinal Wuerl): Thank you, Fr Rosica, it’s good to be back here, and I really appreciate the great work you do, Your Salt and Light empire is surely the saltiest and lightest media empire the world has ever seen, and you’re looking great yourself too! That “Dolan” diet of yours has really given you a great figure!
Also, your work, day in, day out, insulting Catholics, is very valuable, and much appreciated by the USCCB.
“Is it all right if I explain to you how wonderful I am?”
Fat man (possibly Oliver Hardy, possible Fr Rosica): We love you too, Cardinal, and we think the American bishops are doing a fine job! You haven’t had a cardinal dragged off to prison for at least three days now! That shows that you’re giving a great message of hope to all of us. Tell us more about the ground-breaking initiatives you are proposing.
Wuerl: Why, you do ask some tough questions, Rosie! Yes, we are planning a brilliant new scheme whereby we get the bishops to be judged by an external and impartial group of, er, other bishops. Or perhaps by themselves. What can possibly go wrong?
All is going well in the USCCB.
Rosica: That’s FANTASTIC, Cardinal. Only an Einstein of the bishop world could have thought of that. May I kiss your boots? We all adore Pope Francis, but you will make a worthy successor when the time comes!
Wuerl (blushing): I am not worthy! Well, actually I am, but perhaps we could cut that bit from the interview. I’m hoping that when the white smoke appears and they say “It’s Whirly!” everyone will be simply relieved that it’s not Cupich.
Rosica: Well, that’s all in the future, about the time that dear old Jimmy Martin becomes a bishop. Now, I know I’ve been probing really hard today – as the bishop said to the actor…
Wuerl: I deny it! I was never there. [embarrassed silence] Oh, sorry, that was a joke, wasn’t it?
Rosica: Yes, but let me ask another difficult question, which the everyday layman-in-the-pew has a right to know the answer to. What is it that makes you so extremely wonderful?
Wuerl:You’ve got me! A question I simply can’t answer. There are too many reasons to name…
Rosica: Well, let’s stop there. I next have to interview Cardinal Farrell, Cardinal Tobin, and Cardinal Cupich about the prospects for the World Series. Nighty-night, babe!
Well done, Donald, you’ve taken a weight off everyone’s mind.
On the ecumenical terrain as well, Pope Francis is breaking new ground.
No pope before him would have put a Protestant at the head of “L’Osservatore Romano.” And he did it, appointing as the director of the Argentine edition of the Holy See’s official newspaper the Presbyterian Marcelo Figueroa, his longtime friend.
No pope had ever been able to arrange a meeting with the Orthodox patriarch of Moscow. And he succeeded, with an appointment at the airport of Havana.
In the dialogue with non-Catholic Christians, Jorge Mario Bergoglio doesn’t overlook anyone at all. He shows a friendly face to even the toughest interlocutors, like those Evangelical and Pentecostalist movements that are on the rampage among the Catholics of his Latin America, drawing them onto their side by the millions.
His friend Figueroa, of Calvinist stock, has in the latest issue of “La Civiltà Cattolica” put his byline to a frontal attack against the so-called “theology of prosperity,” professed by a Pentecostalist movement born in the United States and marauding around the south of the continent, according to which it is wrong to be poor and the true faith makes one rich, healthy, and happy.
But one of the leaders of this theology, Texan pastor Kenneth Copeland, has been the pope’s honored guest at the Vatican. And to other Evangelical leaders Francis once said, conversing off the cuff: “God is with us wherever we go. Not because I am Catholic, nor because I am Lutheran, nor because I am Orthodox,” because if this were the case we would be, he added, “in a theological madhouse.”
In the Vatican bulletin that transcribe his conversations, at this point there is written in parentheses: “laughter.” And more “laughter,” along with “applause,” appears after this other quip of his: “Let the theologians do their work. But we expect them to come to an agreement.”
Francis has said this dozens of times. The monumental divergences of faith that divide the Christian world must be set aside. His is an ecumenism of action, for the sake of peace among peoples.
As for the unity of faith, instead, for him just being baptized is plenty, and about the rest, “let’s send all the theologians to have their discussions on a desert island.” Bergoglio repeats this quip often and attributes it to ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras, he of the memorable embrace with Paul VI in Jerusalem in 1964. It does not appear that the patriarch ever said that, but it has now become a stable part of the narrative of the current pope.
Even this ecumenism of action, however, has its sore spots, with dramatic repercussions outside and inside of the Catholic Church.
For Catholics, for example, communion at Mass is something entirely different from how Protestants see it. But Francis, in responding three years ago to a Lutheran woman who asked him if she could receive communion together with her Catholic husband, at first said yes, then no, then I don’t know, then do whatever you want.
The result is that in Germany, where interconfessional marriages are numerous, the majority of bishops allow communion to be given to both spouses. With seven German bishops, including one cardinal, who have however appealed to the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, which has called a halt to everything with the demand that an agreement be reached first on such a sensitive matter, not only in the entire Catholic Church but also among the other Christian confessions. Which is like saying never, since the Orthodox are unswervingly opposed to any sort of “intercommunion,” which they judge an abomination.
Ukraine is another of these explosive topics. There the Orthodox have for centuries been subject to the patriarchate of Moscow. But now they want to strike out on their own, with their Greek Catholic countrymen backing them up and with the support of the patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew.
In Moscow, naturally, they don’t want to give in, and in the meantime Russian president Vladimir Putin has annexed the Crimea and has attacked Ukraine militarily. And Francis? He has entirely taken Moscow’s side, publicly rebuking the Greek Catholics and ordering them “not to meddle.” The ecumenism of Francis also works like this.
(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)
This commentary was published in “L’Espresso” no. 32 of 2018 on newsstands August 12, on the opinion page entitled “Settimo Cielo” entrusted to Sandro Magister.
That you are unpersuaded about what is written by an obviously knowledgeable person under the pen name, “N. de Plume”, is acknowledged. I am more than persuaded that the letter is precisely accurate in describing both the application of Universi Dominici Gregis and the resulting legal situation. It seems that you wish to rely upon a miraculous intervention and that this idea is inspired by private Marian revelation. You should be wary of presumption on a miracle, even one you believe is indicated by the revelation of Our Lady (presumption can be an act of pride) and you should consider what Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches about the possibility of God “withholding grace” (Summa Theologica, Prima Secundae, Question 79, Article 3). Whether and how the good cardinals may establish an Interregnum government for The Holy See, and may or may not relate to the secular authorities of any particular national government, is entirely within the competence of such cardinals. Whether God will intervene as you believe Our Lady has indicated does not relieve the Cardinals from doing the right thing (unless and until such Divine intervention clearly preempts them). Neither can the good cardinals presume on a miracle.
+Rene Henry Gracida
Let us hear no more from priests, prelates, and Catholic writers dissenting from the truth – from reason, from Scripture, from the constant and clear teaching of the Church in the matter of the creation of mankind male and female, the one-flesh union willed by God from the beginning, the raising of boys to be men and girls to be women, made for one another, the goodness and the reality of sex and its natural expressions in human culture, the created nature of marriage which is as obvious to the old pagan as to the Christian, the inadmissibility of severing the pleasure of the sexual act from its biological aim and its bodily meaning, the indissolubility of marriage, and the warnings by the last several popes, of loneliness and confusion and unhappiness that result from the evil of all kinds of mockery of marriage, including consensual and habitual fornication.
Let us hear no more about softening the sense that acts that violate the structure of the sexes themselves are perverse. Let us have no more ungrateful denigration of genuine masculinity and femininity. Let us see no more of the craven submission to all of the foul lies of mass entertainment and mass education, so that a Catholic school is but a year or two behind the times – the New York Times.
Let us hear no more about pronouns from you priests, prelates, and Catholic writers who perpetrated outrages upon the souls and bodies of young priests and seminarians, and you who covered for them, for reasons best known and kept to yourselves, but for no reason sufficient to excuse you, and to prevent you from doing the honorable thing. If you have a position of authority, and you did nothing, you should resign. You may be replaced. You are not indispensable. Enough already.
Several years ago, the bishop of the Canadian diocese where we live in the summer was caught in a routine check at an airport. He had pornographic images of children in his possession. The Canadian media would not be more specific than that. He had to resign in disgrace, and he did a little bit of time, not much, in prison. He is now, according to word I have from an orthodox priest, living with another man. No surprise to anyone. He had made a habit of flying to peculiar destinations across the world, destinations that had no connection whatever to the ethnic or cultural character of his largely rural diocese. In those places flesh is cheap.
If it is true that he has settled down now to a comfortable elderly life of sin, it is an example not of repentance but of contumacy and defiance. Where is the shame? This diocese was not rife with homosexual priests preying upon adolescent boys, but it had a few, and the parishes, hardly flush with money, have been reduced to penury by the costs of the settlements. He knew that at the time and he knows it still. An elderly lady in our village bequeathed $165,000 to her beloved neighborhood church to keep it open, and the parishioners sweat blood to do work on the building themselves rather than hiring a contractor. All of that money was rifled.
Every single parish was picked clean, and now the diocese has no seminarians, and still there is no shame from the chancery.
I do not pretend that the faithful in the pews are without sin. In part, we have gotten even worse leadership from our shepherds than we deserved, but we did not deserve much. Everyone has been scorched and smudged and smutted up by the sexual devolution. Everyone has made a habit of winking and turning away. No one is blameless. “The Church is a harlot in the stews because I helped put her there” – that is what every Christian ought to say, because it is no more than the truth.
Yet some Christians, some Roman Catholics, have been fighting a thankless fight not only to repent of their wrong but to heal what they have hurt, and rebuild what they have knocked down.
Now it is that we need our shepherds to lead us in that fight, not to check us at every pass, to weigh our spirits down with the smog of their bureaucratic verbiage, and to smile at those in the know and give them the tacit sign that nothing will change. I lead no battle against the episcopacy, which was most to blame for the scandals of the last fifteen years and which administered to itself no punishment at all, but instead laid a flattering unction to their collective episcopal souls.
I want to believe in the bishops. I certainly accept the authority of the office. But if you do not want to fight the fight that is before us, you need to get out of the way and let a man who is willing to do it be the general. No more blandness and tea. Every single prelate, priest, or Catholic author who knew about the spiritual incest and the creepy perversions of the now disgraced former bishop of the nation’s capital and who did nothing should, for just this once, own up to the failure and leave.
Please, leave. Retire, pray, read, think, do anything at all that the Lord may smile upon, but do not any longer for one moment burden the Church with your dead weight. You are an embarrassment to both believer and infidel. Leave.
Let us give a chance, meanwhile, to the true young men, priests of God who are young enough to be under no illusions about what has happened in the generations before theirs. How could they possibly fare worse than have their never-maturing elders?
*Image: Dancing with Demons by David Rijckaert III, c. 1660 [Musée Roger-Quilliot, Clermont-Fereand, France]
Aug 10, 2018, 12:58 AM (1 day ago)
|Why can’t Christians be more like Muslims?
Posted: 09 Aug 2018 04:32 AM PDT
Christian leaders have united in a joint effort to make Christianity a protected religion like Islam, marathon-running, cycling, and homosexuality. Pray outsider an abortion-clinic, and you will be screamed at by Rupa Huq and possibly arrested by the police; wear a crucifix at work, and you may be sacked (even if you’re a priest).
A new look for the annual pilgrimage to Chartres.
On the other hand, if you wish to dress your wife like a letter box (© Boris Johnson), insist that your meat is produced from animals killed as painfully as possible, and jump out at people shouting “Allahu Akbar”, then woe betide anyone who criticises you; if you wish to dress indecently and parade through the streets, making lewd suggestions at passers-by, then the police will probably join in (or if you wish to pretend you are a member of the opposite sex, then nobody may dispute this); and if you want to take place in a marathon race or a cycle ride, the streets will be closed for you, and non-worshippers told to stay at home. Words such as Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, marathonophobia and cyclophobia are bandied around as a way of stopping debate.
One of the Little Sisters of the Post models her new habit.
So from now, Christians will be behaving more like Muslims and the other protected groups. Expect Christians to jump out at you with knives crying “Shine, Jesus, Shine!” (for the Catholics, Pope Francis has agreed to make a little update to the Catechism permitting this). Some religious denominations will take part in “Christian Pride”, dressing up in gaily-coloured costumes, and insisting on the participation of policemen. Anyone who refuses to take part will be guilty of “hate crime”.
“Some people thought we were real bishops!”
Catholics are also demanding special “Catholic lanes” in our streets, so that pilgrims can march in safety, unimpeded by cars, cycles, shoppers, etc. Anglicans are demanding that Henry VIII be accorded the same status as the prophet Mohammed – no cartoons or derogatory remarks allowed, and priests expected to sing “I’m Henry the Eighth, I am” from church towers as an early morning call to prayer. Baptists and other Sola Scriptura types will be taking “Bible-bashing” literally by slamming the Good Book down on the heads of any unbelievers.
“Are you sure this Christianity of yours is compatible with our gay faith?”
In the interests of equality, diversity, drone, drone, we think that this new Christian initiative will be popular with all sections of society. What could possibly go wrong?
Benedict XVI: Prophet
Note: Fr. Imbelli tells us he was reading along in some works by Pope Benedict XVI and was moved to extract several passages that seemed to speak powerfully to the multiple scandals in which we find ourselves. We agree, and thought you would like to see them as well. – Robert Royal
During his last trip to Germany, at Freiburg im Breisgau, on September 24thand 25th2011, Benedict XVI gave two addresses to German bishops, clergy, and lay leaders. Reports at the time indicated they were not well received by the audience. From the vantage of the present crisis, however, they appear prescient. Here follow extended excerpts from the two discourses:
“We live at a time that is broadly characterized by a subliminal relativism that penetrates every area of life. Sometimes this relativism becomes aggressive, when it opposes those who say that they know where the truth or meaning of life is to be found.”
“And we observe that this relativism exerts more and more influence on human relationships and on society. This is reflected, among other things, in the inconstancy and fragmentation of many people’s lives and in an exaggerated individualism. Many no longer seem capable of any form of self-denial or of making a sacrifice for others. Even the altruistic commitment to the common good, in the social and cultural sphere or on behalf of the needy, is in decline. Others are now quite incapable of committing themselves unreservedly to a single partner. People can hardly find the courage now to promise to be faithful for a whole lifetime; the courage to make a decision and say: now I belong entirely to you, or to take a firm stand for fidelity and truthfulness and sincerely to seek a solution to their problems.”
“The Church in Germany is superbly organized. But behind the structures, is there also a corresponding spiritual strength, the strength of faith in the living God? We must honestly admit that we have more than enough by way of structure but not enough by way of Spirit. I would add: the real crisis facing the Church in the western world is a crisis of faith. If we do not find a way of genuinely renewing our faith, all structural reform will remain ineffective.”
“If the Church, in Pope Paul VI’s words, is now struggling ‘to model itself on Christ’s ideal,’ this ‘can only result in its acting and thinking quite differently from the world around it, which it is nevertheless striving to influence.’ (Ecclesiam Suam, 58) In order to accomplish her mission, she will need again and again to set herself apart from her surroundings, to become in a certain sense ‘unworldly’.”
“In the concrete history of the Church, however, a contrary tendency is also manifested, namely that the Church becomes self-satisfied, settles down in this world, becomes self-sufficient and adapts herself to the standards of the world. Not infrequently, she gives greater weight to organization and institutionalization than to her vocation to openness towards God, her vocation to opening up the world towards the other.”
“In order to accomplish her true task adequately, the Church must constantly renew the effort to detach herself from her tendency towards worldliness and once again to become open towards God. In this she follows the words of Jesus: ‘They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world’ (Jn 17:16), and in precisely this way Jesus gives himself to the world. One could almost say that history comes to the aid of the Church here through the various periods of secularization, which have contributed significantly to her purification and inner reform.”
“Secularizing trends – whether by expropriation of Church goods, or elimination of privileges or the like – have always meant a profound liberation of the Church from forms of worldliness, for in the process she, as it were, sets aside her worldly wealth and once again completely embraces her worldly poverty.”
“History has shown that, when the Church becomes less worldly, her missionary witness shines more brightly. Once liberated from material and political burdens and privileges, the Church can reach out more effectively and in a truly Christian way to the whole world, she can be truly open to the world. She can live more freely her vocation to the ministry of divine worship and service of neighbor.”
“It is not a question here of finding a new strategy to re-launch the Church. Rather, it is a question of setting aside mere strategy and seeking total transparency, not bracketing or ignoring anything from the truth of our present situation, but living the faith fully here and now in the utterly sober light of day, appropriating it completely, and stripping away from it anything that only seems to belong to faith, but in truth is mere convention or habit.”
“To put it another way: for people of every era, and not just our own, the Christian faith is a scandal. That the eternal God should know us and care about us, that the intangible should at a particular moment have become tangible, that he who is immortal should have suffered and died on the Cross, that we who are mortal should be given the promise of resurrection and eternal life – for people of any era, to believe all this is a bold claim.”
“This scandal, which cannot be eliminated unless one were to eliminate Christianity itself, has unfortunately been overshadowed in recent times by other painful scandals on the part of the preachers of the faith. A dangerous situation arises when these scandals take the place of the primary skandalon of the Cross and in so doing they put it beyond reach, concealing the true demands of the Christian Gospel behind the unworthiness of those who proclaim it.”
I grew up in a strong Catholic family. I was taught about the Roman Catholic Church at a very early age. I can honestly say I didn’t quite grasp everything readily, but I knew within me that the Holy Roman Catholic Church was the one true Church founded by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It just wasn’t something that I was told, but rather it was something I came to know by what I was being taught about the Church. It was a time when religion, faith played an important role in the lives of Americans. I never tired of learning about the Catholic Church. The teachings of the Church appealed to me. The Holy Roman Catholic Church seemed to me to be a Church of compassion, caring, hope, adventure, deep spirituality – a spirituality that made me feel the closeness of God (that God was not some abstract concept or unknown far, far away – He was close at hand).
I learned certain prayers at a very early age. The prayers were not just words I was taught, but rather they were means of communicating with God and the Saints. Prayer became very important to me. I learned various pious acts/actions through prayer. It was a time when people were dedicated, committed to their faith.
I learned to make the Sign of the Cross reverently, deliberately.
I was taught that while reciting the first half of the Gloria Patri (Glory be to the Father…..) to bow my head and shoulders (an acknowledgement of the glory of the Trinity).
Whenever the Divine Name (Jesus) was mentioned everyone bowed their head (this devotional had specific value). We were taught that bowing our head at the mention of the Divine name was a form of compliance with Sacred Scripture (“…..at the Name of Jesus, every knee must bend”). It was a simplification of the Scripture because it was not always practical to genuflect when hearing the Name of Jesus. Also, bowing our head at the mention of the Name of Jesus we confound Satan. When Satan tempts someone to use the Name of Jesus in a profane way in our hearing, by bowing our head we take an act of profanation and turn it into an act of adoration.
Every time we passed in front of a Catholic Church if we had a hat/cap on our head we would tip our hat/cap acknowledging the Real Presence in the Tabernacle. If we did not have a head covering when we passed in front of a Catholic Church we would then make the Sign of the Cross.This was done if we were in a vehicle passing in front of a Catholic Church. If we were walking past a Catholic Church, when we passed at the center of the building we would turn, face the Church building, then genuflect (removing our head covering if we wore something on our head) and make the Sign of the Cross. This was a public showing of respect for Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle as well as public acknowledgement of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Catholic Church building.
We always showed respect when we saw a Priest/Sister/Brother. It was always a polite “Good morning/afternoon/evening, Father/Sister/Brother”.
When in church we never turned around. Our attention was directed forward – toward Jesus in the tabernacle. There was absolute silence inside the church – no talking, no laughing, no applause, etc. Single right knee genuflection when the Blessed Sacrament was in the tabernacle and double knee kneeling with profound bow when the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the altar (Monstrance).
We had weekly Bible readings at home as well as weekly family recitation of the Holy Rosary. Grace Before Meals and Grace After Meals was always part of the family dining experience.
We went to confession every week – whether we needed to or not (always for the grace of the sacrament if we had no mortal sins). We were always well prepared before entering the confessional – examination of conscience and knowing what were going to confess before we entered the confessional.
We were encouraged to read the lives of the Saints. This opened us up to learning of the faith journey of those who have gone before us.
Holy Mass (Latin) was just that – holy, reverential, prayerful, sacred. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was always celebrated with dignity and integrity. All actions were directed to God. The Mass was most beautiful and conducive to entering into deep union with God.
Holy Days of Obligation were taken seriously (no matter what day of the week they fell on – the obligation was never removed). Churches were filled to capacity – just like on Sunday.
No work on Sunday – it’s the Lord’s Day. Masses were very well attended. Family time was spent.
Weekly Novena with Exposition and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
40 Hours Devotion was well planned and carried out. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the altar for prayer, visitation at every minute somewhere in the nation/world. As one parish was closing 40 Hours Devotion another parish was opening the 40 Hours Devotion. It was continuous throughout.
The Feast of Corpus Christi was on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Mass was always crowded and in the evening after the Mass there was a huge procession through the streets with the priest carrying the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament (continual incensation during the procession).
Holy Thursday we visited the Repository at our parish church and then kept the custom of visiting 6 additional Repositories at 6 different churches. The Repository was open (with adorers) immediately after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper until 7 a.m. Good Friday morning.
No meat EVERY Friday. Ember Days various times throughout the year. Vigils of certain solemnities were days of abstinence.
The Eucharistic fast was always observed.
There were many more devotionals, celebrations than mentioned here. We lived our Faith. We knew and understood what the Church taught. We didn’t pay lip service. We made a commitment to the Church and lived out that commitment with deep faith, true conviction, and genuine belief.
So, what has happened to the Catholic Church? I will explore this question in future blogs. I’m thankful for having lived in the Church during the years I grew up in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. The bridges from the past are being destroyed today. This is dangerous. Without our links to the past we cease being the Church Jesus founded and instead are becoming a new, different Church. Tradition is one of the pillars of the Church. To tear down that pillar is a grave mistake and danger.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article was first published at OnePeterFive in October 2015 under the pen name “Benedict Constable.” Due to some controversy (the nature of which need not be gone into here), the article was taken down, but not before it had reached a large number of readers and received praise as one of the most helpful responses yet penned to the present crisis in Church authority. The author has extensively revised the article for republication, benefiting from the feedback of a number of readers, including church historians and dogmatic theologians. It is also being published under the author’s proper name.
There are those in the Church who cannot bear to see a pope criticized for any reason – as if the whole Catholic Faith would come tumbling down were we to show that a particular successor of Peter was a scoundrel, murderer, fornicator, coward, compromiser, ambiguator, espouser of heresy, or promoter of faulty discipline. But it is quite false that the Faith would come tumbling down; it is far stronger, stabler, and sounder than that, because it does not depend on any particular incumbent of the papal office. Rather, it precedes these incumbents; outlasts them; and, in fact, judges them as to whether they have been good or bad vicars of Christ. The Faith is entrusted to the popes, as it is to the bishops, but it is not subject to their control.
The Catholic Faith comes to us from God, from Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church, its immovable cornerstone, its permanent guarantee of truth and holiness . The content of that Faith is not determined by the pope. It is determined by Christ and handed down in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium – with the Magisterium understood not as anything and everything that emanates from bishops or popes, but as the cumulative public, official, definitive, and universal teaching of the Church enshrined in dogmatic canons and decrees, anathemas, bulls, encyclicals, and other instruments of teaching in harmony with the foregoing.
One serious problem that faces us is a “papalism” that blinds Catholics to the reality that popes are peccable and fallible human beings like the rest of us, and that their pronouncements are guaranteed to be free from error only under strictly delimited conditions . Apart from that, the realm of papal ignorance, error, sin, and disastrous prudential governance is broad and deep – although secular history affords no catalog of greatness comparable to the nearly 100 papal saints, and plenty of worse examples than the worst popes, which says a lot about man’s fallen condition.
At a time when Catholics are confused about whether and how a pope can go wrong, it seems useful to compile examples in three categories: (1) times when the popes were guilty of grave personal immorality; (2) times when popes connived at or with heresy, or were guilty of a harmful silence or ambiguity in regard to heresy; (3) times when popes taught (albeit not ex cathedra) something heretical, savoring of heresy, or harmful to the faithful.
Not everyone may agree that every item listed is, in fact, a full-blooded example of the category in question, but that is beside the point; the fact that there are a number of problematic instances is sufficient to show that popes are not automatic oracles of God who hand down only what is good, right, holy, and laudable. If that last statement seems like a caricature, one need only look at how conservative Catholics today are bending over backward to get lemonade out of every lemon offered by Pope Francis and denying with vehemence that Roman lemons could ever be rotten or poisonous.
Popes Guilty of Grave Personal Immorality
This, sadly, is an easy category to fill, and it need not detain us much. One might take as examples six figures about whom E.R. Chamberlin wrote his book The Bad Popes .
- John XII (955-964) gave land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with the man’s wife.
- Benedict IX (1032-1044, 1045, 1047–1048) managed to be pope three times, having sold the office off and bought it back again.
- Urban VI (1378-1389) complained that he did not hear enough screaming when cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured.
- Alexander VI (1492-1503) bribed his way to the throne and bent all of his efforts to the advancement of his illegitimate children, such as Lucrezia, whom at one point he made regent of the papal states, and Cesare, admired by Machiavelli for his bloody ruthlessness. In his reign, debauchery reached an unequaled nadir: for a certain banquet, Alexander VI brought in fifty Roman prostitutes to engage in a public orgy for the viewing pleasure of the invited guests. Such was the scandal of his pontificate that his clergy refused to bury him in St. Peter’s after his death.
- Leo X (1513-1521) was a profligate Medici who once spent a seventh of his predecessors’ reserves on a single ceremony. To his credit, he published the papal bull Exsurge Domine (1520) against the errors of Martin Luther, within which he condemned, among others, the proposition: “That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit” (n. 33).
- Clement VII (1523-1534), also a Medici, by his power-politicking with France, Spain, and Germany, managed to get Rome sacked.
There are others one could mention.
- Stephen VII (896-897) hated his predecessor, Pope Formosus, so much that he had him exhumed, tried, de-fingered, and thrown in the Tiber, while (falsely) declaring ordinations given at his hands to have been invalid. Had this ill advised declaration stood, it would have affected the spiritual lives of many, since the priests would not have been confecting the Eucharist or absolving sins.
- Pius II (1458-1464) penned an erotic novel before he became pope.
- Innocent VIII (1484-1492) was the first pope to acknowledge officially his bastards, loading them with favors.
- Paul III (1534-1549), who owed his cardinalate to his sister, the mistress of Alexander VI, and himself the father of bastards, made two grandsons cardinals at the ages of 14 and 16 and waged war to obtain the Duchy of Parma for his offspring.
- Urban VIII (1623-1644) engaged in abundant nepotism and supported the castration of boys so they could sing in his papal choir as castrati. Cardinals denounced him, with Cardinal Ludovisi actually threatening to depose him as a protector of heresy.
There are debates about the extent of the wrongdoing of some of these popes, but even with all allowances made, we must admit there is a papal hall of shame.
Popes Who Connived at Heresy or Were Guilty of Harmful Silence or Ambiguity
Pope St. Peter (d. ca. 64). It may seem daring to begin with St. Peter, but after all, he did shamefully compromise on the application of an article of faith, viz., the equality of Jewish and Gentile Christians and the abolition of the Jewish ceremonial law – a lapse for which he was rebuked to his face by St. Paul (cf. Gal 2:11). This has been commented on so extensively by the fathers and doctors of the Church and by more recent authors that it needs no special treatment here. It should be pointed out that Our Lord, in His Providence, allowed His first vicar to fail more than once so that we would not be scandalized when it happened again with his successors. This, too, is why he chose Judas: so the treason of bishops would not cause us to lose faith that He remains in command of the Church and of human history.
Pope Liberius (352-366). The story is complicated, but the essentials can be told simply enough. The Arian emperor Constantius had, with typical Byzantine arrogance, “deposed” Liberius in 355 for not subscribing to Arianism. After two years of exile, Liberius came to some kind of accord with the still Arian emperor, who then permitted him to return to Rome. What compromise doctrinal formula he signed or even whether he signed it is unknown (St. Hilary of Poitiers asserted that he had), but it is surely not without significance that Liberius, the 36th pope, is the only one among 54 popes from St. Peter to St. Gelasius I who is not revered as a saint in the West. At least in those days, popes were not automatically canonized, especially if they messed up on the job and failed to be the outstanding shepherds they should have been.
Pope Vigilius (537-555). The charges against Vigilius are four. First, he made an intrigue with the empress Theodora, who offered to have him installed as pope in return for his reinstating the deposed Anthimus in Constantinople . Second, he usurped the papacy. Third, he changed his position in the affair of the Three Chapters (writings that were condemned by the Eastern bishops for going too far in an anti-Monophysite direction). Vigilius at first refused to agree to the condemnation, but when the Second Council of Constantinople confirmed it, Vigilius was prevailed on by imperial pressure to ratify the conciliar decree. It seems that Vigilius recognized the condemnation of the Three Chapters as problematic because it was perceived in the West as undermining the doctrine of the Council of Chalcedon but nevertheless allowed himself to be cajoled into doing so. Fourth, his wavering on this question and his final decision were responsible for a schism that ensued in the West, since some of the bishops of Italy refused to accept the decree of Constantinople. Their schism against both Rome and the East was to last for many years .
Pope Honorius I (625-638). In their efforts to reconcile the Monophysites of Egypt and Asia, the Eastern emperors took up the doctrine of Monothelitism, which proposed that, while Christ has two natures, He has only one will. When this was rejected by theologians as also heretical, the further compromise was advanced that, although Christ has two wills, they have nevertheless only “one operation” (hence the name of the doctrine, Monenergism). This, too, was false, but the patriarch of Constantinople made efforts to promote reunion by stifling the debate and forbidding discussion of the matter. In 634, he wrote to Pope Honorius seeking support for this policy, and the pope gave it, ordering that neither expression (“one operation” or “two operations”) should be defended. In issuing this reply, Honorius disowned the orthodox writers who had used the term “two operations.” More seriously, he gave support to those who wished to fudge doctrinal clarity to conciliate a party in rebellion against the Church.
Fifteen years later, the Emperor Constans II published a document called the Typos in which he ordained precisely the same policy that Honorius had done. However, the new pope, Martin I, summoned a synod that condemned the Typos and upheld the doctrine of two operations. An enraged Constans had Martin brought to Constantinople and, after a cruel imprisonment, exiled him to the Crimea, where he died, for which reason he is revered as a martyr – the last of the papal martyrs (so far). In 680-681, after the death of Constans, the Third Council of Constantinople was held, which discarded the aim of harmony with the Monophysites in favor of that with Rome. Flaunting solidarity with the persecuted Martin, it explicitly and famously disowned his predecessor: “We decide that Honorius be cast out of the holy Church of God.” The then reigning pope, Leo II, in a letter accepting the decrees of this council, condemned Honorius with the same forthrightness: “We anathematize Honorius, who did not seek to purify this apostolic Church with the teaching of apostolic tradition, but by a profane betrayal permitted its stainless faith to be surrendered.” In a letter to the bishops of Spain, Pope Leo II again condemned Honorius as one “who did not, as became the apostolic authority, quench the flame of heretical doctrine as it sprang up, but quickened it by his negligence” .
Pope John Paul II (1978-2005). John Paul II designed the gathering of world religions in Assisi in 1986 in such a way that the impression of indifferentism as well as the commission of sacrilegious and blasphemous acts were not accidental, but in accord with the papally approved program. His kissing of the Koran is all too well known. He was thus guilty of dereliction in his duty to uphold and proclaim the one true Catholic Faith and gave considerable scandal to the faithful .
Popes Who Taught Something Heretical, Savoring of Heresy, or Harmful to the Faithful
Here we enter into more controversial territory, but there can be no doubt that the cases listed below are real problems for a papal positivist or ultramontanist, in the sense that the latter term has recently acquired: one who overstresses the authority of the words and actions of the reigning pontiff as if they were the sole or principal standard of what constitutes the Catholic Faith.
Pope Paschal II (1099-1118). In his desire to obtain cooperation from Emperor Henry V, Pope Paschal II reversed the policy of all of his predecessors by conceding to the emperor the privilege of investiture of bishops with the ring and crosier, which signified both temporal and spiritual power. This concession provoked a storm of protest throughout Christendom. In a letter, St. Bruno of Segni (c. 1047-1123) called Pope Paschal’s position “heresy” because it contradicted the decisions of many church councils and argued that whoever defended the pope’s position also became a heretic thereby. Although the pope retaliated by removing St. Bruno from his office as abbot of Monte Cassino, eventually Bruno’s argument prevailed, and the pope renounced his earlier decision .
Pope John XXII (1316-1334). In his public preaching from November 1, 1331 to January 5, 1332, Pope John XXII denied the doctrine that the just souls are admitted to the beatific vision, maintaining that this vision would be delayed until the general resurrection at the end of time. This error had already been refuted by St. Thomas Aquinas and many other theologians, but its revival on the very lips of the pope drew forth the impassioned opposition of a host of bishops and theologians, among them Guillaume Durand de Saint Pourçain, Bishop of Meaux; the English Dominican Thomas Waleys, who, as a result of his public resistance, underwent trial and imprisonment; the Franciscan Nicholas of Lyra; and Cardinal Jacques Fournier. When the pope tried to impose this erroneous doctrine on the Faculty of Theology in Paris, the king of France, Philip VI of Valois, prohibited its teaching and, according to accounts by the Sorbonne’s chancellor, Jean Gerson, even reached the point of threatening John XXII with burning at the stake if he did not make a retraction. The day before his death, John XXII retracted his error. His successor, Cardinal Fournier, under the name Benedict XII, proceeded forthwith to define ex cathedra the Catholic truth in this matter. St. Robert Bellarmine admits that John XXII held a materially heretical opinion with the intention of imposing it on the faithful but was never permitted by God to do so .
Pope Paul III (1534-1549). In 1535, Pope Paul III approved and promulgated the radically novel and simplified breviary of Cardinal Quignonez, which, although approved as an option for the private recitation of clergy, ended up in some cases being implemented publicly. Some Jesuits welcomed it, but most Catholics – including St. Francis Xavier – viewed it with grave misgivings and opposed it, sometimes violently, because it was seen as an unwarrantable attack on the liturgical tradition of the Church . Its very novelty constituted an abuse of the lex orandi and therefore of the lex credendi. It was harmful to those who took it up because it separated them from the Church’s organic tradition of worship; it was a private person’s fabrication, a rupture with the inheritance of the saints. In 1551, Spanish theologian John of Arze submitted a strong protest against it to the Fathers of the Council of Trent. Fortunately, Pope Paul IV repudiated the breviary by rescript in 1558, some 23 years after its initial papal approval, and Pope St. Pius V altogether prohibited its use in 1568. Thus, five popes and 33 years after its initial papal approval, this mangled “on the spot product” was buried .
Pope Paul VI (1963-1978). As the pope who promulgated all of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, whatever problems are contained in those documents – and these problems , neither insignificant nor few in number, have been identified by many – must be laid at the feet of Paul VI. One might, for example, point out materially erroneous statements in Gaudium et Spes (e.g., n. 24, which asserts that “love of God and neighbor is the first and greatest commandment” , or n. 63, which asserts that “man is the source, the center, and the purpose of all economic and social life” ), but it is perhaps the Declaration on Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae (December 7, 1965) that will go down in history as the low water mark of this assembly. Like some kind of frenzied merry-go-round, the hermeneutical battles over this document will never stop until it is definitively set aside by a future pope or council. In spite of Herculean (and verbose) attempts at reconciling D.H. with the preceding magisterium, it is at least prima facie plausible that the document’s assertion of a natural right to hold and propagate error, even if it be misunderstood by its partisans as truth, is contrary both to natural reason and to the Catholic faith .
Far worse than this is the first edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, promulgated with the signature of Paul VI on April 3, 1969, which contained formally heretical statements on the nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When a group of Roman theologians headed by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci pointed out the grave problems, the pope ordered the text to be corrected so that a second revised edition could be brought out. In spite of the fact that the differences in the text are astonishing, the first edition was never officially repudiated, nor was it ordered to be destroyed; it was merely replaced . Moreover, although expounding the claim would exceed the scope of this article, the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae itself was both a dereliction of the pope’s duty to protect and promote the organic tradition of the Latin Rite and an occasion of immense harm to the faithful.
Pope John Paul II asserted on multiple occasions a right to change one’s religion, regardless of what that religion may be. This is true only if you hold to a false religion, because no one is bound to what is false, whereas everyone is bound to seek and adhere to the one true religion. If you are a Catholic, you cannot possibly have a right, either from nature or from God the author of nature, to abandon the Faith. Hence, a statement such as this: “Religious freedom constitutes the very heart of human rights. Its inviolability is such that individuals must be recognized as having the right even to change their religion, if their conscience so demands”  is false taken at face value – and dangerously false, one might add, because of its liberal, naturalistic, indifferentist conceptual foundation.
Pope Francis. One hardly knows where to begin with this egregious doctor (and I do not mean it in the complimentary sense of doctor egregius). Indeed, an entire website, Denzinger-Bergoglio, has been established by philosophers and theologians who have listed in painstaking detail all of the statements of this pope that have contradicted Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, we may identify several particularly dangerous false teachings.
(1) The explicit approval of giving Holy Communion to divorced and “remarried” Catholics who have no intention of living as brother and sister, expressed as a possibility in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and confirmed as a reality in the letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis .
(2) The attempted change in teaching on capital punishment, first raised in a speech in October 2017 and now imposed on the Church by means of a change to the Catechism, in spite of the fact that the new doctrine manifestly goes against a unanimous tradition with its roots in Scripture . The worst aspect of this change, as many have already pointed out, is that it loudly transmits the signal, most welcome to progressives, liberals, and modernists, that doctrines handed down over centuries or millennia, printed in every penny catechism that has ever rolled off the printing press, are up for revision, even to the point of saying the opposite, when the Zeitgeist pipes and the pope dances to the tune. There is no telling what further “development of doctrine” is in store for us enlightened moderns who see so much farther into the moral law than our barbaric predecessors. Ordination of females, overcoming the last vestiges of primitive patriarchalism? Legitimization of contraception and sodomy, finally letting go of the reductionistic biologism that has plagued Catholic moral teaching with the bugbear of “intrinsically disordered acts”? And so on and so forth.
As a Benedictine friend of mine likes to say: “The issue is not the issue.” A Dominican priest perceptively wrote: “This isn’t about the death penalty. It’s about getting language into the Catechism that allows theologians to evaluate doctrine/dogma in historicist terms; that is, ‘This truth is no longer true because times have changed.’ The Hegelians got their wish.”
(3) The annulment reforms, which amount, in practice, to an admission of “Catholic divorce” because of the novel concept of a “presumption of invalidity” .
This overview, from Paschal II to Francis, suffices to allow us to see one essential point: if heresy can be held and taught by a pope, even temporarily or to a certain group, it is a fortiori possible that disciplinary acts promulgated by the pope, even those intended for the universal Church, may also be harmful. After all, heresy in itself is worse than lax or contradictory discipline.
* * *
Melchior Cano, an eminent theologian at the Council of Trent, famously said:
Now one can say briefly what [those do] who temerariously and without discrimination defend the supreme pontiff’s judgment concerning everything whatsoever: these people unsteady the authority of the Apostolic See rather than fostering it; they overturn it rather than shoring it up. For – passing over what was explained a little before in his chapter – what profit does he gain in arguing against heretics whom they perceive as defending papal authority not with judgment but with emotion, nor as doing so in order to draw forth light and truth by the force of his argument but in order to convert another to his own thought and will? Peter does not need our lie; he does not need our adulation. 
Let us return to our point of departure. The Catholic faith is revealed by God, nor can it be modified by any human being: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever” (Heb. 13:8). The pope and the bishops are honored servants of that revelation, which they are to hand down faithfully, without novelty and without mutation, from generation to generation. As St. Vincent of Lerins so beautifully explains, there can be growth in understanding and formulation, but no contradiction, no “evolution.” The truths of the Faith, contained in Scripture and Tradition, are authentically defined, interpreted, and defended in the narrowly circumscribed acta of councils and popes over the centuries. In this sense, it is quite proper to say: “Look in Denzinger – that’s the doctrine of the Faith.”
Catholicism is, has always been, and will always be stable, perennial, objectively knowable, a rock of certitude in a sea of chaos – despite the efforts of Satan and his dupes to change it. The crisis we are passing through is largely a result of collective amnesia of who we are and what we believe, together with a nervous tendency toward hero-worship, looking here and there for the Great Leader who will rescue us. But our Great Leader, our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is Jesus Christ. We follow and obey the pope and the bishops inasmuch as they transmit to us the pure and salutary doctrine of our Lord and guide us in following His way of holiness, notwhen they offer us polluted water to drink or lead us to the muck. Just as our Lord was a man like us in all things except sin, so we follow them in all things except sin – whether their sin be one of heresy, schism, sexual immorality, or sacrilege. The faithful have a duty to form their minds and their consciences to know whom to follow and when. We are not mechanical puppets.
Neither are the popes: they are men of flesh and blood, with their own intellect and free will, memory and imagination, opinions, aspirations, ambitions. They can cooperate better or worse with the graces and responsibilities of their supreme office. The pope unquestionably has a singular and unique authority on earth as the vicar of Christ. It follows that he has a moral obligation to use it virtuously, for the common good of the Church – and that he can sin by abusing his authority or by failing to use it when or in the manner in which he ought to do so. Infallibility, correctly understood, is the Holy Spirit’s gift to him; the right and responsible use of his office is not something guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. Here the pope must pray and work, work and pray like the rest of us. He can rise or fall like the rest of us. Popes can make themselves worthy of canonization or of execration. At the end of his mortal pilgrimage, each successor of St. Peter will either attain eternal salvation or suffer eternal damnation. All Christians, in like manner, will become either saintly by following the authentic teaching of the Church and repudiating all error and vice or damnable by following spurious teaching and embracing what is false and evil.
I can hear an objection from some readers: “If a pope can go off the rails and stop teaching the orthodox Faith, then what’s the point of having a papacy? Isn’t the whole reason we have the vicar of Christ to enable us to know for certain the truth of the Faith?”
The answer is that the Catholic Faith preexists the popes, even though they occupy a special place vis-à-vis its defense and articulation. This Faith can be known with certainty by the faithful through a host of means – including, one might add, five centuries’ worth of traditional catechisms from all over the world that concur in their teaching. The pope is not able to say, like an absolute monarch: La foi, c’est moi.
But let us look at numbers for a moment. This article has listed eleven immoral popes and ten popes who dabbled, to one degree or another, in heresy. There have been a total of 266 popes. If we do the math, we come out with 4.14% of the Successors of Peter who earned opprobrium for their moral behavior and 3.76% who deserve it for their dalliance with error. On the other hand, about 90 of the preconciliar popes are revered as saints or blesseds, which is 33.83%. We could debate about the numbers (have I been too lenient or too severe in my lists?), but is there anyone who fails to behold in these numbers the evident hand of Divine Providence? A monarchy of 266 incumbents lasting for 2,000 years that can boast failure and success rates like this is no mere human construct, operating by its own steam.
These numbers teach us two lessons. First, we learn a sense of wonder and gratitude before the evident miracle of the papacy. We learn trust in a Divine Providence that guides the Holy Church of God throughout the tempests of ages and makes it outlast even the relatively few bad papacies we have suffered for our testing or for our sins. Second, we learn discernment and realism. On the one hand, the Lord has led the vast majority of his vicars along the way of truth so that we can know that our confidence is well placed in the barque of Peter, steered by the hand of Peter. Yet the Lord has also permitted a small number of his vicars to falter or fail so we will see that they are not automatically righteous, effortlessly wise in governance, or a direct mouthpiece of God in teaching. The popes must freely choose to cooperate with the grace of their office, or they, too, can go off the rails; they can do a better or worse job of shepherding the flock, and once in a while, they can be wolves. This happens rarely, but it does happen by God’s permissive will, precisely so we do not abdicate our reason, outsource our faith, and sleepwalk into ruin. The papal record is remarkable enough to testify to a well-nigh miraculous otherworldly power holding at bay the forces of darkness, lest the “gates of hell” prevail; but the record is speckled just enough to make us wary, keep us on our toes. The advice “be sober, be vigilant” applies not only to interactions with the world “out there,” but to our life in the Church, for “our adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8), from the lowly pewsitter to the lofty hierarch.
Our teacher, our model, our doctrine, our way of life: these are all given to us, gloriously manifested in the Incarnate Word, inscribed in the fleshy tablets of our hearts. We are not awaiting them from the pope, as if they do not already exist in finished form. The pope is here to help us to believe and to do what our Lord is calling every one of us to believe and do. If any human being on the face of the Earth tries to stand in the way – be it even the pope himself – we must resist him and do what we know is right . As the great Dom Prosper Guéranger wrote:
When the shepherd becomes a wolf, the first duty of the flock is to defend itself. It is usual and regular, no doubt, for doctrine to descend from the bishops to the faithful, and those who are subject in the faith are not to judge their superiors. But in the treasure of revelation there are essential doctrines which all Christians, by the very fact of their title as such, are bound to know and defend. The principle is the same whether it be a question of belief or conduct, dogma or morals. … The true children of Holy Church at such times are those who walk by the light of their baptism, not the cowardly souls who, under the specious pretext of submission to the powers that be, delay their opposition to the enemy in the hope of receiving instructions which are neither necessary nor desirable. 
 To understand this point better, I recommend reading the words of Fr. Adrian Fortescue and the excellent posts of Fr. Hunwicke, such as this, this, and this. This explanation of infallibility is also worthy of consideration.
I define “papalism” or its more extreme version “papolatry” as follows. If the Faith is seen more as “what the reigning pope is saying” (simply speaking) than “what the Church has always taught” (taken collectively), we are dealing with a false exaltation of the person and office of the pope. As Ratzinger said many times, the pope is the servant of Tradition, not its master; he is bound by it, not in power over it. Of course, the pope can and will make doctrinal and disciplinary determinations, but relatively few things he says are going to make the cut for formal infallibility. All that he teaches qua pope (when he seems to be intending to teach in that manner) should be received with respect and submission, unless there is something in it that is simply contrary to what has been handed down before. The examples given in my article show certain cases (admittedly rare) where good Catholics had to resist. This, I take it, is what Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider have also been saying: if, e.g., the synods on marriage and family or their papal byproducts attempt to force on the Church a teaching or a discipline contrary to the Faith, we cannot accept them and must resist.
 E. R. Chamberlin, The Bad Popes (Dorchester: Dorset Press, 1994).
 Following (sometimes verbatim) Henry Sire’s account in Phoenix from the Ashes (Kettering, Ohio: Angelico Press, 2015), 17-18. I recommend Sire’s book as the best analysis of modern Church history that I have yet read.
 He did not carry through with this move – but only because the Emperor forbade it.
 Again following the account in Sire, Phoenix, 18-19.
 See Sire, Phoenix, 384-88.
 Following the detailed account of Roberto de Mattei. It is true that the term “heresy” was used rather widely in earlier times, almost as shorthand for “anything that looks or sounds uncatholic,” but there is implicit in Paschal II’s temporary stance on investiture a false understanding of the true, proper, independent, divine, and non-transferable authority of the Church hierarchy vis-à-vis all temporal authority. It is, in other words, a serious matter, not a mere kerfuffle over bureaucratic procedure.
 For full details, see this article.
 See Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy, 2nd ed. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 37.
 We should not be surprised to find that, almost 400 years later, Archbishop Bugnini in 1963 expressed his unbounded admiration for the Quignonez Breviary, which in many ways served as the model for the new Liturgy of the Hours.
 In Phoenix from the Ashes, Henry Sire provides excellent commentary on many of the difficulties of Vatican II. One may also profitably consult Roberto de Mattei, The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story (Fitzwilliam, N.H.: Loreto, 2012). Msgr. Bruno Gherardini has made excellent contributions. Paolo Pasqualucci has provided a list of “26 points of rupture.” While I do not necessarily agree with every point Pasqualucci argues, his outline is sufficient to show what a mess the Council documents are and what an era of unclarity they have prompted. The simple fact that popes over the past fifty years have spent much of their time issuing one “clarification” after another, usually about points on which the Council spoke ambiguously (one need only think of the oceans of ink spilled on Sacrosanctum Concilium, Lumen Gentium, Dignitatis Humanae, and Nostra Aetate), is sufficient to show that it failed in the function for which a council exists: to assist Catholics in knowing their faith better and living it more fully.
 G.S. 24 states that “love of God and neighbor is the first and greatest commandment.” This contradicts Christ’s own words: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Mt. 22:37-40). Are we required both to assent to Christ’s words that the first and greatest commandment is the love of God while the second is love of neighbor and to assent to G.S. 24 that the first and greatest commandment is the love of God-and-neighbor (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem 8)?
While the love of God and of neighbor are intimately conjoined, love of neighbor cannot stand on the same level as the love of God, as if they were the very same commandment with no differentiation. Yes, in loving our neighbor, we do love God, and we love Christ, but God is the first, last, and proper object of charity, and we love our neighbor on account of God. We love our neighbor and even our enemies because we love God more and in a qualitatively different way: the commandment to love God befits His infinite goodness and supremacy, while the commandment to love one’s fellow man befits his finite goodness and relative place. If there were only onecommandment of love, then we would be entitled to love God as we love ourselves – which would be sinful – or to love our neighbor with our whole heart, soul, and mind – which would also be sinful. In short, it is impossible for one and the same commandment to be given for the love of God and the love of neighbor.
The same erroneous view is found in Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium 161: “Along with the virtues, this [observance of Christ’s teaching] means above all the new commandment, the first and the greatest of the commandments, and the one that best identifies us as Christ’s disciples: ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (Jn. 15:12).” Here John 15:12 has been taken for the first and greatestcommandment, which it is not, according to Our Lord’s own teaching. Characteristic of the same confusion are the misleading applications of Romans 13:8,10 and James 2:8 that follow in E.G. 161, which give the impression that “the law” being spoken of is comprehensive, when in fact it refers to the moral law. In other words, to say that love of neighbor “fulfills the whole law” means that it does all that the law requires in our dealings with one another. It is not speaking of our prior obligation to love God first and more than everyone else, including our very selves.
 G.S. 63 claims: “Man is the source, the center, and the purpose of all economic and social life.” This might have been true in a hypothetical universe where the Son of God did not become man (although one might still have a doubt, inasmuch as the Word of God is the exemplar of all creation), but in the real universe of which the God-Man is the head, the source, and the center, the purpose of all economic and social life is and cannot be other than the Son of God, Christ the King, and, consequently, the realization of His Kingdom. Anything other than that is a distortion and a deviation. The fact that the same document says elsewhere that God is the ultimate end of man (e.g., G.S. 13) does not erase the difficulty in G.S. 63.
 See Sire, Phoenix, 331-358, for an excellent treatment of the problems.
 For details, see Michael Davies, Pope Paul’s New Mass (Kansas City: Angelus Press, 2009), 299-328; Sire, Phoenix, 249, 277-82.
 Message for the World Day of Peace, 1999. Compare the formula in a letter from 1980: “freedom to hold or not to hold a particular faith and to join the corresponding confessional community.”
 See John Lamont’s penetrating study.
 See my articles here and here, and Ed Feser’s article in First Things online. There will undoubtedly be a thousand more responses, all equally capable of showing the magnitude of the problem Francis has (once again) created for himself and for the entire Church.
 First, such a presumption contradicts both the natural moral law and the divine law. Second, even if there were nothing doctrinally problematic in the content of the pertinent motu proprios, the result of a vast increase in easily granted annulments on thin pretexts will certainly redound to the harm of the faithful by weakening the already weak understanding of and commitment to the indissoluble bond of marriage among Catholics, by making it much more probable that some valid marriages will be declared null (thus rubber-stamping adultery and profaning the sacraments), and by lowering the esteem with which all marriages are perceived. For good commentary, see Joseph Shaw here, here, here, and here.
 Reverendissimi D. Domini Melchioris Cani Episcopi Canariensis, Ordinis Praedicatorum, & sacrae theologiae professoris, ac primariae cathedrae in Academia Salmanticensi olim praefecti, De locis theologicis libri duodecim (Salamanca: Mathias Gastius, 1563), 197. This is often cited in a paraphrase: “Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See – they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.” (This is how it appears, e.g., in George Weigel, Witness to Hope: The Biography of John Paul II [New York: HarperCollins, 1999], 15.)
 St. Robert Bellarmine: “Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff that aggresses the body, it is also licit to resist the one who aggresses souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by preventing his will from being executed; it is not licit, however, to judge, punish, or depose him, since these acts are proper to a superior” (De Romano Pontifice, II.29, cited in Christopher Ferrara and Thomas Woods, The Great Façade, second ed. [Kettering, Ohio: Angelico Press, 2015], 187).
 The Liturgical Year, trans. Laurence Shepherd (Great Falls, Mt.: St. Bonaventure Publications, 2000), vol. 4, Septuagesima, 379-380. He is speaking here of opposition to the Nestorian heresy.
Fri Aug 17, 2018 – 4:06 pm EST
Washington, D.C. newspapers: ‘Cardinal Wuerl must go’
Cardinal Wuerl needs to resign. Sign the petition here.
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two Washington, D.C. newspapers have published articles calling for Cardinal Donald Wuerl to resign as fallout from the Pennsylvania grand jury report continues.
The grand jury report details a number of clerical sex abuse cases that intersected with Wuerl’s tenure as Bishop of Pittsburgh. He is being criticized for allowing predatory priests to remain in active ministry, shuffling them between dioceses and parishes.
On August 16, the American Enterprise Institute’s Marc Thiessen wrote an opinion piece titled Cardinal Wuerl must go for the Washington Post.
“Wuerl, who served as the bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, did discipline some priests — and even went to the Vatican to fight an order that he reinstate one,” Thiessen acknowledged. “But the grand jury also wrote that he reassigned other predator priests — including the one who ‘groomed’ [victim] George and introduced him to the [pedophile] ring that photographed him.”
“In at least one case, Wuerl required a victim to sign a ‘confidentiality agreement’ barring him from discussing his abuse with any third party as part of a settlement,” he continued. “That is a coverup. In addition, the grand jury also wrote that under his leadership the diocese failed to report allegations of abuse to law enforcement, advocated for a convicted predator at sentencing, and then provided a $11,542.68 lump-sum payment to the disgraced priest after his release from prison.”
Comments that Wuerl made about his predecessor Theodore McCarrick – who resigned from the College of Cardinals after he was revealed to have been a serial abuser of priests, seminarians, and boys – have also come under fire.
“I don’t think this is some massive, massive crisis,” Wuerl said. “It was a terrible disappointment.”
“Excuse me, Your Eminence? It is a massive, massive crisis,” responded Thiessen. “How was McCarrick allowed to rise through the hierarchy despite the countless warnings to both his fellow bishops and the Vatican that he was a sexual predator? Who knew? Who helped him?”
“The same conspiracy of silence that allowed sexual predators to flourish in Wuerl’s Pittsburgh diocese for decades also allowed McCarrick to become, until just a few weeks ago, one of the most powerful American cardinals, even in retirement,” he continued.
Also on August 16, the Washington Examiner published an opinion piece titled For the church’s and the nation’s sake, Cardinal Wuerl must go. The byline on that article is “Washington Examiner,” suggesting it represents the sentiment of the paper’s editorial board.
“In three cases, the grand jury report suggests Wuerl either obfuscated or kept quiet records of abuse by priests under his supervision in Pittsburgh,” the Washington Examiner observed. “One former priest, Rev. George Zirwas, was known to be part of a ring of priests who had exploited and raped teenage boys. Zirwas’s co-conspirators were convicted of their abuse during Wuerl’s first year, and fresh reports about Zirwas’s abuse of boys trickled in during Wuerl’s tenure there. Nevertheless, Wuerl moved him around to four different parishes before finally removing him.”
That paper also blasted Wuerl for what he said about his predecessor: “‘Disappointment’ was the label he gave to the news that a prince of the church and a papal confidant had hosted gay sex parties, into which he recruited the aspiring priests in his charge.”
The Examiner criticized Wuerl for sounding “like a corporate spokesman” and not expressing “anger at the behavior of McCarrick, or of the priests he oversaw in Pittsburgh, or whoever may have hid from him the truth of these men’s behavior. He has not acknowledged or addressed the anger of the average layman at our clergy.”
Wuerl is not exhibiting “the behavior of a good shepherd looking out for his sheep, whose friends and families and neighbors and seminarians and priests have been attacked by wolves. This is the behavior of a bureaucrat looking out for the reputation of his office.”
‘Mercy without truth and penance is PR’
Writer Sohrab Ahmari also took bishops to task for their reaction to the grand jury report.
“The most painful aspect of all this is the blasé response of many American hierarchs and especially those, like Washington Archbishop Donald Cardinal Wuerl, who are implicated in the report,” he wrote in the New York Post. “Wuerl and his colleagues have treated the report as a PR headache rather than a moral and spiritual wake-up call. They have acted like corporate reputation managers rather than successors to the Apostles. Instead of venting prophetic anger, they’ve taken refuge behind flacks.”
Ahmari castigated the U.S. episcopacy for its “heavily lawyered blabber” and ripped Wuerl for writing on a now-deleted archdiocesan website in his defense: “While I served as Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and as our understanding of child sexual abuse increased, the Diocese worked to strengthen our response and repeatedly amended the Diocese’s safeguards and policies.”
“That bit about ‘our understanding’ of abuse ‘increasing’ over time is particularly rich, as if the Catholic Church hadn’t prohibited sexual immorality of all kinds for two millennia,” he responded. “Whatever ‘amending’ took place during Wuerl’s time in Pittsburgh wasn’t enough. On his watch, the diocese allowed a predator priest, Ernest Paone, to interact with kids in other states, though cases against him had piled up at the Pittsburgh chancery.”
Ahmari concluded: “These days there is a lot of talk of ‘mercy’ and ‘accompaniment’ in the Roman Church. But these outrages call for a different kind of spirit: the spirit of judgment, the fiery spirit of Saint Paul, who raged against sexual immorality in the early Church in his epistles and consigned those who defiled the people of God to fates worse than excommunication. For mercy without truth and penance is just PR.”
EPISCOPAL SODOMY: NY AG OUTLINING GRAND JURY PLANS
NEWS: NEWS REPORTS
The dam is about to break
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Church Militant has learned exclusively that the attorney general office of the state of New York is now outlining plans for a Pennsylvania-style grand jury report.
Before we get to that, it was just announced that the publisher of Cdl. Donald Wuerl’s upcoming book has yanked the deal, canceling publication. The book had been titled What Do You Want to Know? and was described as Cdl. Wuerl’s advice to everyday Catholics when inviting non-Catholics to friendship.
There are eight dioceses in the state of New York, including the archdiocese of New York, with 7.3 million Catholics throughout the state and initial reports indicate that sexual abuse and specifically cover-up of that abuse by bishops is every bit as bad as in the state of Pennsylvania.
Church Militant spoke with New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who told us:
The Attorney General has directed her Criminal Division leadership to reach out to local District Attorneys — who are the only entities that currently have the power to convene a grand jury to investigate these matters — in order to establish a potential partnership on this issue.
In the wake of the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, speculation around the country has begun that grand juries should be convened in every state — an idea that fed-up faithful Catholics are now supporting publicly.
Brad Miner: “I’m in favor, frankly, of 50 grand juries, including, you know, we’ve already had one in Pennsylvania, but we need one in the District of Columbia too — so that makes 50. Every single state, we got to do this, and it’s got to be the civil authorities, I’m sorry to say.”
Joining Miner are the likes of Illinois State Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, who was a member of the 2002 U.S. bishops’ national review board. Burke says, “I think every state should convene a grand jury into this culture of secrecy that protected offenders at all costs.”
Miner’s and Burke’s public sentiments may soon become a reality. In addition to the Pennsylvania grand jury, Nebraska is now sending signals that it too is prepping for the possible convening of its own grand jury. This as a result of revelations of homosexual predation on seminarians in the diocese of Lincoln.
But the eight Catholic dioceses in New York could prove to be a target-rich environment for any grand jury investigation.
The eight dioceses of New York are Albany, Brooklyn, Buffalo, New York, Ogdensburg, Rochester, Rockville Centre and Syracuse. Each diocese has more than its fair share of abuse and episcopal cover-up spanning many years, including recent years.
In the diocese of Albany, the homosexualization of the Church got underway in the late 1960s under Bp. Edwin Broderick, ordinary from 1969 to 1976. Broderick was a protege of powerful New York Cdl. Francis Spellman, whose active homosexuality was well known but covered up by Church officials and the media.
During Broderick’s tenure, Albany became known for accepting and promoting gay seminarians and priests. When Bp. Howard Hubbard succeeded Broderick, the gaying of the diocese accelerated greatly. Hubbard was bishop for nearly 40 years and among many disturbing cases, he was linked to Thomas Zalay, who, in 1978, committed suicide at age 25.
The revelations surfaced when Zalay’s brother, Andrew, discovered a letter, written by Zalay shortly before his death, alleging homosexual activity with Hubbard. Zalay said Hubbard justified homosexual acts by suggesting the Bible defined celibacy as being free of sexual contact with women; therefore, according to the bishop, homosexual acts aren’t sinful.
Zalay regarded homosexual acts as sinful. He didn’t consider himself a homosexual and wanted to get away from Hubbard. The only way to escape him, he concluded, was suicide. Zalay set himself on fire at his parents’ home.
Hubbard also let a known homosexual predator priest, Fr. John Fitzpatrick, free access to high school students, whom he would take on regular outings after school. His predatory behavior was known as early as the late 1960s and continued over decades. After a sex abuse allegation in 1993, Hubbard sent Fitzpatrick away to a treatment center, only to place him back in ministry as a chancery aide for the next three years when further allegations of abuse surfaced.
Over his nearly 40-year reign, Hubbard became infamous for covering up cases of homosexual predator priests. In the nearby diocese of Rochester, Matthew Clark was bishop from 1979 to 2012, largely overlapping Hubbard’s time in Albany. In fact, Hubbard and Clark were known to be extremely intimate associates. They often appeared together and were seen as essentially inseparable.
As a point of interest, Bp. Clark was the spiritual director to the young Timothy Dolan during his time in seminary at the North American College in Rome.
Brad Miner: “As we’ve seen, the abuse, and to a very great extent, I think, the cover-up, comes from this gay network.”
Clark’s longstanding embrace of homosexuality earned him a public rebuke from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who castigated him for supporting homosexuality.
In late 1990s, Clark allowed Fr. Jim Callan to conduct same-sex weddings until the Vatican discovered and forced Callan out. In 2002, Clark had to place three priests on administrative leave after being threatened with a lawsuit for sex abuse cover-up.
Records show Clark, who routinely officiated at gay Masses, had allowed the priests to remain in active ministry for decades in spite of multiple credible allegations of abuse of teen boys.
The archdiocese of New York, home to almost half the Catholics in the whole state, has a long sordid history of homosexual acceptance on the part of the hierarchy and covering up cases of abuse. At least 80 priests stretching all the way back to Cdl. Francis Spellman’s tenure have been publicly accused of sexual predation — most of them of males.
The archdiocese of New York, home to almost half the Catholics in the whole state, has a long sordid history of homosexual acceptance on the part of the hierarchy and covering up cases of abuse.Tweet
Spellman was the bishop who ordained homosexual predator Theodore McCarrick who, the next year, began his sexual assaults.
The cases are in fact so many that the archdiocese just last year had to take a $100 million line of credit with CitiBank to begin paying off victims, many of whom had their cases covered up for years and decades under the tenures of Cdls. Terence Cooke and Edward Egan, something that Cdl. Timothy Dolan has been criticized for being slow to address.
Critics say he has exacerbated the homosexual clergy plague by cozying up to pro-gay elements in the Church.
He has been leading the charge among New York’s bishops in fighting against victims being able to come forward — by opposing the New York state legislature’s push to expand the statute of limitations for reporting sex abuse.
Church Militant interviewed a well-informed source who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.
Michael Voris: A whole network is built that protects this sort of secret, double-life infrastructure, gay mafia that runs the archdiocese.
Anonymous source: Yes, yes — that is absolutely true.
Shuffling over to the diocese of Buffalo, current bishop Richard Malone recently went on a tirade against Catholics withholding donations to the diocese because of sexual abuse allegations and bishops covering it up.
And for the record, his complaints came while he was vacationing on Cape Cod. He said:
Regarding the Catholic Charities Appeal, though, I do not understand, and cannot accept, the logic behind the decision on the part of some individuals to express their dismay by holding back on their contributions to Catholic Charities. … My heartfelt thanks to those of you who did not succumb to such unfortunate and, I believe, flawed thinking.
Malone also said that his vacation time had been “clouded by the challenges we are facing right now in our diocese.”
At least 90 people have applied for financial compensation through the diocese’s pay-out program for clerical sex abuse victims — which was rolled out in March 2018. Sixty-five priests in the diocese of Buffalo stand accused of sexual misconduct.
In late May and early June, there were calls for Bp. Malone to resign, after investigative reports by Buffalo’s ABC affiliate shed light on decades of negligence and cover-up by the diocese. The three-part investigation highlighted the cover-up under Bp. Edward Head, who led the diocese from 1972 to 1995 and the continued cover-up under Bp. Henry Mansell, from 1995 to 2003.
In a 10-minute interview on Feb. 27 this year, retired Buffalo diocesan priest Norbert Orsolits admitted sexually abusing “probably dozens” of underaged males, after one alleged victim had accused him publicly.
A few priests from Buffalo also appeared in the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
In one glaring case, Fr. Dennis Riter has three male victims who’ve given evidence of his abuse to the diocese. A witness to one of Riter’s assaults informed the diocese by letter in the early 1990s and the diocese swept it under the rug. The victim was a 10-year-old who had come running out of a rectory with semen on his face and chest.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the diocese of Brooklyn, who was consecrated by then-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick in 1996, has also resisted reforms in New York state’s statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse.
In 2016, New York State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey claimed DiMarzio offered her a $5,000 bribe if she would pull her support for the proposed legislation that would increase the statute of limitations for reporting sex abuse — the same legislation Dolan is vigorously campaigning against.
The next year, in 2017, the diocese, together with the archdiocese of New York, paid out $1.8 million to six victims of a total of eight priests implicated in the lawsuit.
In 2002, two lawsuits were filed against the diocese, which were both lost on appeal due to the statute of limitations.
Bishop John Barres, current bishop of Rockville Centre, was highlighted in the Pennsylvania grand jury report for his time as bishop of Allentown from 2009 to 2017.
It was during his time as bishop that accusations against the notorious Fr. Thomas Benestad resurfaced, and according to the grand jury report, Barres made no attempt to remove Benestad from ministry.
Pennsylvania grand jury report: “The Diocese elected to rely on Benestad’s word rather than the word of the victims and the determinations of law enforcement. No attempt was made to remove Benestad from ministry. Benestad was granted retirement, resides in Boca Raton, Florida, and assists with a local parish.”
Benestad is the priest singled about Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro during his Tuesday press conference for rinsing out the mouth of a 9-year-old boy with holy water after oral sex.
As we’ve seen, the abuse, and to a very great extent, I think, the cover-up, comes from this gay network.Tweet
In February 2018, a report called “Hidden Disgrace II” was released by lawyers, outlining the abuse of 51 priests, following a 2003 Suffolk County grand jury investigation, which took place under the tenure of recently retired Bp. William Murphy — Barres’ predecessor.
Turning to the diocese of Syracuse, also riddled with multiple sex abuse settlements, Bp. Robert Cunningham announced in February, following the model of the New York archdiocese, that it was launching a victims compensation program for 76 victims of priestly abuse.
Priests were routinely shuffled around even after credible accusations of sexual abuse.
For instance, Fr. James Quinn was accused of repeatedly molesting a 13-year-old boy during Catholic Youth Organization trips in the 1960s, where he would get the boy drunk and violate him when he was unable to resist. The victim sued the Syracuse diocese in 2003, but a court barred the lawsuit over the statute of limitations. The diocese then reinstated Fr. Quinn after an internal investigation revealed “insufficient evidence.”
Another victim, raped more than 200 times by Fr. Thomas Neary when he was 10 years old, sued the Syracuse diocese in 2011. The rapes happened in the boy’s own bedroom while his parents were home, the priest telling his parents not to worry if he heard the boy crying.
The priest was supposedly there to offer counseling to the boy on the priesthood and told the parents the boy was crying because “the priesthood is hard.”
It turned out Neary had many more male victims, the total number remaining unknown, but in at least eight cases, when the victims approached Bp. James Moynihan privately to share their stories of abuse, Moynihan gave each of them the same line: You’re the only one who has ever come forward about abuse by Fr. Neary.
In 2015, after Bp. Cunningham became head of Syracuse, a group of outraged Catholics petitioned Rome to force Cunningham to resign because of his callous attitude towards sex abuse victims. It became public that Cunningham had said during a 2011 sex abuse deposition, when asked whether he thought boys being raped by priests were sinning, Cunningham answered, “The boy is culpable.”
His words caused such uproar that nearly 90,000 signed a petition to Pope Francis, urging him to remove the bishop from the diocese. Cunningham never resigned and remains the bishop of Syracuse to this day, each year making appeals to the laity to give millions of dollars to his diocese.
Bishop Cunningham: “This weekend, as you’re preparing for Mass as a family, I encourage you to experience a greater love by giving to the Hope Appeal. Thank you for answering your call to serve during this year of the family.”
The diocese of Ogdensburg is also tainted by scandal, with multiple priests over the course of decades outed as sex abusers.
Since 1950, 56 people, 37 of them minors at the time, have accused priests of sexually abusing them — with a total of $3 million paid out in sex abuse settlements and counseling for victims.
Ogdensburg has also launched its own victims’ compensation fund, announced earlier this spring, agreeing to pay victims in exchange for their promise that they won’t sue the diocese.
The bishop, Terry LaValley, has been criticized for his lack of transparency, refusing to follow the example of other dioceses in publishing the list of names of credibly accused priests.
Although LaValley headed the diocesan review board overseeing clerical sex abuse claims before he became bishop, he’s been very secretive about the accused priests, making it impossible for the public to learn who most of the accused clergy are, when the diocese learned of their alleged crimes, and how the diocese handled it, whether they removed them from ministry or, like so many other bishops in so many other dioceses, transferred them to other parishes and kept them in active ministry.
Concerned Catholics say all of this must come out and responsible bishops disposed of.
The bishops’ continual flow of statements expressing sorrow and regret just don’t cut it anymore.
Brad Miner: “Every time someone comes forward, like Cdl. DiNardo or someone else, to make a statement, it’s just more PR, it’s more stuff crafted by lawyers, so that culpability is pushed away as far as possible from the individual speaking.”
Sources tell Church Militant that if the New York attorney general does, in fact, pursue a grand jury investigation there will be many many more cases than this and the final report may be even more damning than the Pennsylvania one.
As various states now begin seriously considering launching their own grand jury investigations, it appears as though the American hierarchy will soon be buried under mountains of litigation and further scandal for years to come.
And all this while federal racketeering charges against the Catholic Church the U.S. Department of Justice are now being discussed freely in various media outlets.
Your Eminence, Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley,
It is with a spirit of faith, hope, and love that I write this letter to you, the shepherd of all Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston. During his apostolic journey to the United States, our Holy Father Pope Francis exhorted you and all of the U.S. bishops in attendance to be “close to people,” becoming “pastors who are neighbors and servants.” Citing the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Holy Father asked that you and your brother bishops be men of pastoral sensitivity, examples to the priests under your care, so that they too may “be ready to stop, care for, soothe, lift up and assist those who, ‘by chance’ find themselves stripped of all they thought they had” (Lk. 10:29-37).
As a victim of sexual abuse and misconduct, I, like the man in the parable who was attacked by robbers, found myself stripped of all I thought I had. I thought I had security and safety within the walls of an institution dedicated to forming men after the Heart of Jesus. I thought I had trust in those in power to promptly address issues of misconduct, especially seeing how past failures in this area damaged Catholics worldwide. Lastly, I thought I had a priestly vocation – something I have now given up in exchange for a prophetic one.
As you know, news of the abusive “Uncle Ted” McCarrick caused a firestorm among the Catholic faithful in this country. Many of us faithful Catholics find ourselves baffled at how the public face of the Catholic Church in America could have gone on to enjoy a successful episcopal career despite common knowledge among the Church and media that he was a predator. Reflecting upon the way McCarrick and other clerics with power were allowed to commit abuses and cover them up, I realized that silence was what allowed additional violence to be committed against more and more victims. So I decided to write about my experiences of wrongdoing, first published here by One Peter Five.
Out of courtesy, I declined to disclose the names of these seminaries I attended and faculty members guilty of misconduct, preferring to focus on the troubling issues themselves. However, as my story spread across social media, former seminarians spoke out publicly and confirmed that I was telling the truth – and went so far as to give the name of the seminary itself. It is now public knowledge that my tragic experiences took place at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary from 2010 to 2011 and at Saint John’s Seminary from 2014 to 2016, the latter of which is directly under your care.
Please allow me to make a few important distinctions that can hopefully help the investigation. First, my complaints regarding Saint John’s Seminary were not specifically about sexual abuse; they were about general misconduct, scandalous behavior by faculty and students, and an overall unhealthy seminary culture. Such misconduct includes former seminarians engaging in sodomy and a “sexting” scandal that disturbed many of us in the house. However, should the investigation focus exclusively on the issue of sex and sex abuse, it will be a relatively easy case to dismiss. On the one hand, the two seminarians were rightly expelled – but on the other hand, the sexting scandal was improperly addressed by priests on the faculty and outside the faculty alike. These two instances are not enough to address the many issues plaguing Saint John’s. Sexual misconduct is not the main problem – it is symptomatic of larger issues regarding immorality and accountability.
Secondly, as I have consistently stated, my motivation for speaking out was out of a sincere love for the Catholic Church. I am not a “disgruntled seminarian,” nor am I a seminary “failure.” I received a positive vote to advance in major seminary both years; it was my free and honest decision to leave the toxic environment. I, along with others, have seen the way silence has allowed sin to spread more pervasively. I have heard whispers that my story was “slanderous” and “dishonest.” Let it be known that I have corrected multiple news outlets in their erroneous reporting of important details of this investigation, which should testify to my claim that I care only about truth and justice, not sensationalism and embellishment. Should anyone doubt my honesty, I urge you to note how part of my testimony has already been confirmed through Pennsylvania’s recent grand jury report. Moreover, I have proof and witnesses of the misconduct at Saint John’s.
In speaking the truth, I sacrificed everything – my name, my reputation, my family, my friends, potential future jobs, connections, and more. I now understand what Our Lord meant when He said, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Mt. 16:25).
Thirdly, this investigation must address the disturbing reality that these allegations were brought to the public eye precisely because they were previously ignored. As I mentioned in my story, I went through the proper channels in my attempt to address the misconduct. I brought my concerns to my formation adviser and my vocation director multiple times. There are only two options with regard to my allegations about the culture at Saint John’s Seminary – either the seminary faculty were so obtuse that these complaints went unnoticed, or worse, those in power are lying about their ignorance of my allegations. Either of these options is damning; in either scenario, those entrusted with proper leadership failed in their duty to uphold (in your words) the “moral standards and requirements of formation for the Catholic priesthood,” whether by sins of commission or sins of omission.
I hereby request that the investigation focuses on three major areas:
- Immoral and unprofessional misconduct by faculty and students alike, including, but not limited to:
- “Private parties” where certain faculty members would invite an exclusive clique of seminarians into their room late at night.
- Widespread alcohol abuse, including a bachelor party hosted at the seminary in which a faculty member, drinking with seminarians until 2 A.M., fell out of his chair.
- Allegations of grooming and its subsequent cover-up.
- A mismanagement of seminary finances.
- A toxic culture of fear, intimidation, and discrimination at Saint John’s Seminary:
- Bullying by certain faculty members.
- Threats of a lawsuit against those exposing the misconduct.
- Certain faculty members seen as “untouchable” and who survived over a decade of credible allegations.
- Fear from seminarians, priests, and laity of speaking out.
- Subsequent cover-up of such misconduct and unhealthy culture by leadership:
- The fact that my complaints – and others’ – went ignored and mishandled.
- The insistent denial by leadership regarding the basis of these allegations.
Since this is an open letter, I sincerely hope that anyone who is reading this who has experienced, witnessed, or heard of misconduct in regards to Saint John’s Seminary will come forward – publicly or anonymously – so that additional light may shine on the darkness that has been hidden. Since coming forward, I have received dozens of messages from seminarians, former seminarians, and Catholic laity across the country. Some of these messages include their own experiences of abuse and misconduct at the hands of the Catholic Church; others include their own suspicions about Saint John’s Seminary, which my testimony confirmed. Many, including priests, are afraid to speak publicly because they are afraid of the repercussions. Such is the culture of our Church today – those who speak truth to ecclesial power find themselves ostracized and hated.
Your Eminence, it is my sincere hope that you continue to take seriously these allegations and guide the investigation accordingly. Admittedly, I am perturbed that you appointed a former member of the seminary faculty (who was on the faculty during my time at SJS) to lead this investigation. The Catholic faithful have seen how bishops policing themselves and conducting internal investigations can jeopardize the objectivity so desperately needed for the pursuit of justice. That stated, I trust in your judgment, as I know that Bishop Mark O’Connell is a true shepherd and a man of integrity.
I witnessed and experienced improper behavior by those entrusted with forming men to the Catholic priesthood, and I pray that others may not have a similar experience. You have my utmost support and prayers during the days ahead. May this investigation result in the light of truth and the freedom that only Truth Himself can give.
In the Sacred Heart,
John A. Monaco
Editor’s note: This letter was originally published at Medium. It is edited and republished here with the author’s permission.