February Summit on Clerical Sexual Abuse: The Inaction of a Corrupt Church

 

Back in September of 2018, I reported on the call by Pope Francis to have the presidents of the Catholic Church’s bishops conferences meet in Rome in February 2019 to deal with the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the Church. Today, the Vatican released new details on this summit:

The February Meeting on the protection of minors has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of the Bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors. Pope Francis knows that a global problem can only be resolved with a global response. The Pope wants it to be an assembly of Pastors, not an academic conference – a meeting characterized by prayer and discernment, a catechetical and working gathering.

It is fundamental for the Holy Father that when the Bishops who will come to Rome have returned to their countries and their dioceses, that they understand the laws to be applied and that they take the necessary steps to prevent abuse, to care for the victims, and to make sure that no case is covered up or buried.

Regarding the high expectations that have been created around the Meeting, it is important to emphasize that the Church is not at the beginning of the fight against abuse. The Meeting is a stage along the painful journey that the Church has unceasingly and decisively undertaken for over fifteen years.

The first sentence of this communiqué shows how they are deliberately setting up for failure and how utterly out of touch the Vatican is with the anger of the lay faithful. For the most part, the Church has dealt with the sexual abuse of minors. What looms large over the Church now, and what the Vatican deliberately ignores, is the problem of homosexuals in the priesthood, their predatory actions, and the cover-up of this part of the scandal by the bishops.

In November of 2000 (prior to the Boston Globe exposing the problems of sexual abuse in the Church), Fr. Paul Shaughnessy SJ (a Marine Corps and Navy Chaplain) wrote a bombshell essay entitled The Gay Priest Problem. Reading it, one realizes that nothing — nothing — has happened in the Church to deal with the problem of the lavender mafia and the predatory homosexuals in the priesthood. Fr. Paul blames this on the sociological corruption within the Church:

I define as corrupt, in a sociological sense, any institution that has lost the capacity to mend itself on its own initiative and by its own resources, an institution that is unable to uncover and expel its own miscreants. It is in this sense that the principal reason why the action necessary to solve the gay problem won’t be taken is that the episcopacy in the United States is corrupt, and the same is true of the majority of religious orders. It is important to stress that this is a sociological claim, not a moral one.

If we examine any trust-invested agency at any given point in its history, whether that agency be a police force, a military unit, or a religious community, we might find that, say, out of every hundred men, five are scoundrels, five are heroes, and the rest are neither one nor the other: ordinarily upright men who live with a mixture of moral timidity and moral courage. When the institution is healthy, the gutsier few set the overall tone, and the less courageous but tractable majority works along with these men to minimize misbehavior; more importantly, the healthy institution is able to identify its own rotten apples and remove them before the institution itself is enfeebled. However, when an institution becomes corrupt, its guiding spirit mysteriously shifts away from the morally intrepid few, and with that shift the institution becomes more interested in protecting itself against outside critics than in tackling the problem members who subvert its mission. For example, when we say a certain police force is corrupt, we don’t usually mean that every policeman is on the take—perhaps only five out of a hundred actually accept bribes. Rather we mean that this police force can no longer diagnose and cure its own problems, and consequently if reform is to take place, an outside agency has to be brought in to make the changes.

By the same token, in claiming the US episcopacy is corrupt, I am not claiming that the number of scoundrel bishops is necessarily any higher than it was when the episcopacy was healthy. I am simply pointing to the fact that, as an agency, the episcopacy has lost the capacity to do its own housecleaning, especially, but not exclusively, in the arena of sexual turpitude.

Pope Francis has proved Fr. Shaughnessy’s point — he cannot diagnose the problem. The Holy Father has surrounded himself with men of dubious character (Coccopalmiero, Rocca, Rossica, Farrell, Cupich, Tucho, et al.) and has totally revamped his communications staff to carry his water and spin things favorably.

Fr. Shaughnessy offers some good advice to Rome and the bishops:

What Rome can do
Require Heads on Platters. No man should be made a bishop, and no bishop should be promoted, unless he embraces authentic Catholic doctrine about sexual morality and leads a morally upright life. But the first condition is too easy to fake; anyone can give lip service to the teaching. Therefore no man should be elevated unless he has a track record as a head-cracker and has cleaned up problems of sexual wrongdoing, by dismissing gay seminarians or seminary faculty, for example, or by getting rid of miscreants at a university chaplaincy. The reason is that gays are perfectly prepared to let one of their own number mouth Church teaching if by so doing he earns a promotion; but if a man exposes their iniquity and acts against it, they will retaliate fiercely if there is any ammunition to be had, any wrongdoing, that is, in their adversary’s past. They will do the necessary vetting out of vindictiveness. Keep in mind that this goes for heterosexual mischief as well. Rome should make it clear that, before a man can be considered episcopal material, he needs scalps hanging from his belt. God knows there is no shortage of opportunities.

What bishops can do
Do ask, do tell. The policy should be made explicit that homosexuals are not admitted into the seminaries. Inter alia, this will result in an increase in vocations, and those of the right kind. Ordained priests found to be homosexual should be given the option of seeking reparative therapy by which they may be freed from their disorder, or else obliged to cease ministry. The time for gentler solutions is past.

Abolish general absolution. It doesn’t take great imagination to guess who has the deepest investment in absolution without confession. End it.

Restore simplicity to priestly life. Physical comfort is the oxygen that feeds the fires of homosexual indulgence. Cut it off. When you enter a rectory, take a look at the liquor cabinet, the videos, the wardrobe, the slick magazines, and ask yourself, “Do I get the impression that the man who lives here is in the habit of saying no to himself?” If the answer is negative, the chances are that his life of chastity is in disorder as well. It goes without saying that reforming bishops should lead by example in this department and not simply exhort.

Yet as I’ve pointed out, Francis requires no heads on platters, and instead surrounds himself and promotes miscreants. And as for the US bishops, silence seems to be their MO. Phil Lawler pointed out yesterday that following the call from Archbishop Vigano for Theodore McCarrick to publicly repent, only one US bishop spoke out: Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, TX.

This is a crucial time in the Church. The laity must not be silent and we must demand accountability. Unfortunately, it appears our corrupt Church will not act, and as Phil Lawler cautions:

Right now it seems the most likely path toward reform in the Church is the intervention of an “outside agency”—government authority. But that route could lead to disaster; our political leaders are not friendly to the cause of Catholicism, and a healthy Church always fights against the imposition of political control. If only a “morally intrepid few” bishops, here and in Rome, could call for and make public acts of repentance, we might yet avoid that danger. But time is running out.

I hold no hope that the February summit at the Vatican will provide any solution to this problem.

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There are 15 comments.

  1. Member
    Scott Wilmot Post author

    • #1
    • January 16, 2019, at 3:54 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Member
    Scott Wilmot Post author

    Even the popes sycophants are out in force trying to spin the abuse crisis as something that it isn’t.

    • #2
    • January 16, 2019, at 4:23 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Member

    The bishops convening to solve the problem are the problem. 

    Pro tip #1 for bishops: If a seminary under your authority is morally corrupt, if any sexually abusive priest in your diocese under your watch was simply transferred out instead of being defrocked and arrested, if any clerical close acquaintance turns out to be raging pedophile and you claim not to know it then YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

    Pro tip #2: If you think or act as if clerics are the Church and everybody else is just their studio audience and you therefore find it unthinkable that you are accountable and should ever resign YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

    Pro tip #3: Delay, concealment and the pretext of forgiveness for perverts so as to allegedly protect the Church from scandal is itself scandalous behavior and makes it clear that YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

    Pro tip #4: Don’t do committees or reports or meetings. Just clean house or step down and go away.

    • #3
    • January 16, 2019, at 5:11 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  4. Member

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Even the popes sycophants are out in force trying to spin the abuse crisis as something that it isn’t.

    So disgusting. He’s totally invalidated the suffering of the abused. 

    • #4
    • January 16, 2019, at 6:01 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Member

    I have a question as a non-Catholic. Why isn’t the Church enforcing the celibacy requirement for priests? I get the impression that this non-enforcement attracts a lot of young gay people who never intend to be celibate in the first place to become Catholic priests.

    • #5
    • January 16, 2019, at 8:12 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Coolidge

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):
    I have a question as a non-Catholic. Why isn’t the Church enforcing the celibacy requirement for priests? I get the impression that this non-enforcement attracts a lot of young gay people who never intend to be celibate in the first place to become Catholic priests.

    They call it the Lavender Mafia, because they seek out and protect each other. They are also very good at hiding behavior. As for the attraction of gays, it used to be much worse. 50 years ago, a guy had to either get married or be a priest. Now gays can marry each other. This is a reason to purge all the bishops over the age of 60. 

    You can count me among the people that wants Francis to resign today. 

    • #6
    • January 16, 2019, at 8:40 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Thatcher

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):

    I have a question as a non-Catholic. Why isn’t the Church enforcing the celibacy requirement for priests? I get the impression that this non-enforcement attracts a lot of young gay people who never intend to be celibate in the first place to become Catholic priests.

    Heck if I know. We had a gay priest at our church. He was the flavor of the month and the pet of the inner circle. When I asked about priest celibacy much less the homosexual aspect I was given the bums rush from the church. I have been in the process of unwinding myself ever since. It is hard to give up something that has been part of you for 5 decades. The Church has moved on.

    • #7
    • January 16, 2019, at 8:51 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Member
    Scott Wilmot Post author

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):
    I have a question as a non-Catholic. Why isn’t the Church enforcing the celibacy requirement for priests?

    The Latin Church does enforce this requirement. Celibacy only has to do with whether or not one gets married. There are three “c’s” involved with this issue; let’s define them.

    CELIBACY: The state or condition of those who have chosen to remain unmarried for the sake of the kingdom of heaven in order to give themselves entirely to God and to the service of his people. In the Latin Church, celibacy is obligatory for bishops and priests. (CCC 1579, 1580)

    CONTINENCE: The state of abstaining from sexual relations

    CHASTITY: The moral virtue which, under the cardinal virtue of temperance, provides for the successful integration of sexuality within the person leading to the inner unity of the bodily and spiritual being. (CCC 2337, 1832)

    In November of 2005, the Vatican’s Congregation for Education released the Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders. It says:

    From the time of the Second Vatican Council until today, various Documents of the Magisterium, and especially the Catechism of the Catholic Church, have confirmed the teaching of the Church on homosexuality. The Catechism distinguishes between homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies.

    Regarding acts, it teaches that Sacred Scripture presents them as grave sins. The Tradition has constantly considered them as intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law. Consequently, under no circumstance can they be approved.

    Deep-seated homosexual tendencies, which are found in a number of men and women, are also objectively disordered and, for those same people, often constitute a trial. Such persons must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. They are called to fulfil God’s will in their lives and to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter.

    In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”.

    The Church is making strides in this area to clean up the seminaries and not admit those with same-sex attraction.

    As to why the Church’s bishops will not enforce the requirements of priest to remain chaste and continent – the OP explains why: she is corrupt because of the weakness of so many spineless bishops.

    • #8
    • January 17, 2019, at 5:21 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):

    I have a question as a non-Catholic. Why isn’t the Church enforcing the celibacy requirement for priests? I get the impression that this non-enforcement attracts a lot of young gay people who never intend to be celibate in the first place to become Catholic priests.

    Heck if I know. We had a gay priest at our church. He was the flavor of the month and the pet of the inner circle. When I asked about priest celibacy much less the homosexual aspect I was given the bums rush from the church. I have been in the process of unwinding myself ever since. It is hard to give up something that has been part of you for 5 decades. The Church has moved on.

    That is sad and despicable. As the above story said, not all police or other entities are corrupt within a dept that may have some bad eggs, but it sours the ability of the whole group to see straight (no pun intended). Don’t allow that to sour your faith or a place to express it.

    • #9
    • January 17, 2019, at 6:37 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Member

    A pope who surrounds himself with active homosexual prelates and clergy who advocate for homosexual lifestyles; a pope who proudly wears an LGBT rainbow cross around his neck – isn’t going to suddenly demand heads on platters or overturn tables in the temple. He is more likely to overturn hundreds of years of Catholic teaching and cross out scriptural admonitions about homosexuality. It’s more probably that he’s been laying the groundwork to do so given his own friendships and personal actions in Argentina before becoming pope and his blessings and promotions of active homosexuals around him.

    There is a reason that the term LGBT was inserted in the Youth Synod document as a trial balloon. There is a reason that Cdl. Cupich made the distinction between sexual predation of minors and consensual relationships with adults at the Baltimore bishops conference in November prior to the upcoming February conference in the Vatican. The stage has been set.

    Those who hope and pray that Francis will somehow change his agenda; that he will have an epiphany and that the scales will fall from his eyes and he will somehow realize that his pontificate has been taking the clergy and many of the ‘woke laity’ happily tripping down the road to Hell — I’m sorry to say are bound to be disappointed. Even though I’ve characterized him as a junior varsity Machiavellian, Francis is still a Machiavellian and has developed a reputation for lying, slander and subterfuge – typically not characteristics we wish to see for the one who sits on the throne of St. Peter.

    Prepare yourself, sometime after February, for another synod – Amoris Laetitia II – The Sequel – followed by a papal bull or an encyclical on accepting homosexual lifestyles in the laity and the clergy. Then the slope is made slippery for Catholic gay weddings and married gay priests celebrating mass together.

    • #10
    • January 17, 2019, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Coolidge

    I wrote a letter to my bishop this week. I told him that a shepherd has a responsibility, when there is a wolf among the sheep, to raise the alarm and attack with his crook and not to compose a letter with the other shepherds agreeing to an investigation into the habits of wolves. I assume that bishops understand parables more than direct speech. Right, now we need a few bishops to act like Paul Kersey or John Wick or Harry Callahan.

    • #11
    • January 17, 2019, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Member
    Scott Wilmot Post author

    Scott Wilmot: Pope Francis has proved Fr. Shaughnessy’s point — he cannot diagnose the problem. The Holy Father has surrounded himself with men of dubious character (Coccopalmiero, Rocca, Rossica, Farrell, Cupich, Tucho, et al.) and has totally revamped his communications staff to carry his water and spin things favorably.

    Renowned catholic author and former secretary for public affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Russel Shaw, offers some advice to the new communications team re the February summit:

    (I)t’s reasonable to think the meeting will have few immediate results beyond bringing participants up to speed on the nature and extent of the problem while perhaps moving those who need motivating to take another look at what is being done to deal with the situation within their particular areas of competence. If so, exaggerated expectations that dramatic new on-the-spot initiatives will be forthcoming from this gathering will be disappointed.

    That in turn suggests the disturbing possibility that those responsible for shaping public perceptions of the event may be tempted to do something that, I think, Greg Burke would not have been tempted to do–namely, try to create the impression that what took place was more consequential than in fact it was. In this, I might add, they would likely have the ready collaboration of those members of the Vatican press corps whom one might call journalistic cheerleaders.

    A serious, sober discussion by top-level Church officials from around the world could in fact be a useful exercise, especially if it takes a realistic, non-hysterical look at the sensitive issue of homosexuality as a causal factor in clerical sex abuse. Such a gathering might not be high drama–and it might be criticized if it’s not–but it could be something a great deal more important: a modest but useful step in the right direction. Remember that first law of good public relations, mentioned above: “Do the right thing.”

    • #12
    • January 18, 2019, at 3:02 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Member
    Scott Wilmot Post author

    Here is a perfect example where the use of the word “celibate” is used incorrectly to advance the agenda of the homosexualists. In the article from the WSJ, Fr. James Martin LGBTQSJ, is quoted:

    Father Martin agrees that “people who cannot live celibacy should not be clergy” but says that there is no reason to think gay people are less equipped to do so. “The catechism says that celibacy is what all gay people should do, so gay priests are following the catechism to the letter,” he said. “If you’re saying that gay men can’t be celibate, you’re saying that the catechism can’t be lived.”

    When one goes to the catechism (#’s 2357-2359), one does not find the word “celibacy”, but one finds the word “chastity”. Of course a “gay priest” can be celibate – they do not marry. The deliberate misuse of words in this way are a scandal.

    • #13
    • January 18, 2019, at 3:50 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Member
    Scott Wilmot Post author

    Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFM CAP, agrees that the February summit will be useless unless the question of homosexuality in the priesthood is addressed.

    Abuse Crisis Answer: Stricter Seminary Entrance Standards

    In late February, Pope Francis will meet with the heads of bishops’ conferences from around the world to address the clergy sexual abuse crisis which began about 50 years ago and continues to afflict the Church to this day. In a previously published article in Crisis Magazine, I pointed out the futility of this three- or four-day meeting in Rome next month. I would like to explain here in more detail why their meeting will be futile.

    This meeting will be futile primarily because of something the organizers and other Catholic leaders refuse to acknowledge: the root cause of clergy sexual abuse is homosexuality among bishops and clergy.

    He offers some advice.

    However, there is one topic that the pope and bishops are not addressing. If they did, it would make the short February meeting worthwhile: seminary and religious community entrance requirements.

    Whether it is sexual abuse of minors between the ages of 13 and 17 or sexual relations between clergy and consenting or non-consenting adults, the problem is the flow of young men into the priesthood and religious life who later become victims of bishops and other clergy. This early abuse by those in authority increases the probability that when these victims become priests and religious themselves, they will in turn sexually abuse other boys and young men under their care. Particularly vulnerable young men should not be placed in an environment where abuse may take place. This process of abuse must be stopped at the very beginning.

     

    • #14
    • January 18, 2019, at 5:37 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Member
    Scott Wilmot Post author

    • #15
    • January 18, 2019, at 10:14 AM PDT
    • 1 like