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message 1: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
Given all that's been going on in the Church the last few weeks, I decided to open a thread if people want to discuss it. Let me say up front I really don't like these current events discussions on Catholic Thought. Most of these issues divide us and I like to have a sanctuary away from divisive issues. We get enough of that in our newspapers and TV. But this church scandal is a big issue, and to avoid it would be to stick our heads in the sand. So let's have a place for this discussion, but please do so in the spirit that we are part of the one Body of Christ.


message 2: by Susan (new)

Susan | 218 comments Thank you Manny. I was wondering if I would see any discussion on this. I was wondering how people felt. This has been a smoldering issue (I guess several related issues) that has been going on for decades and it needs to be addressed and overcome.


message 3: by Kerstin (last edited Aug 28, 2018 08:06PM) (new)

Kerstin | 1554 comments Mod
I do think there is a general sense of betrayal among the faithful. My husband and I have had numerous conversations about this. We who love the Church and the truth of Catholicism have been egregiously deceived by those who should be our shepherds. But we need to be careful. If the numbers I've seen are correct, then it was 6% of the clergy who've fallen, and we have to pray for them! The rest of the clergy have been hurt just as we have, maybe even more so. And we have to show our support and our love for them.


message 4: by John (new)

John Seymour | 167 comments Kerstin, I think it depends on what you mean by “fallen.” If you mean the number of priests and bishops who have acted as wolves preying on their flock, then yes, that’s right. But if you include the putative shepherds who have acted as hirelings, turning their heads and avoiding unpleasantness, such as clergy living lives of sin, then the numbers appear much, much, higher. If McCarrick had been able to restrain his appetites to seminarians, he would likely still be a cardinal today. That is grotesque. It turns out all the rumors and whispers I’ve heard over the years about a “lavender mafia” are true, only much worse than ever suggested.

There are now credible allegations that Pope Francis and 30 some bishops, archbishops and cardinals, including many at high positions in the Curia, are all part of it. And those are only the ones for whom documented evidence is said to exist. There is a pattern of Pope Francis appointing compromised clerics to high positions. So much so that in my view appointment as bishop, archbishop or cardinal by Francis justifies investigation.

This filth must be removed from the church.


Manny, just because we don’t discuss the issues here doesn’t mean we have all stuck our heads in the sand. Refuges have value too. But, that said, this is the biggest event in the church in 500 years and to ignore it does seem somewhat artificial.


message 5: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
John wrote: "Manny, just because we don’t discuss the issues here doesn’t mean we have all stuck our heads in the sand. Refuges have value too. But, that said, this is the biggest event in the church in 500 years and to ignore it does seem somewhat artificial. ."

Well, I haven't stuck my head in the sand either. I've been commenting on this elsewhere. I meant the book club as a collective group sticking its head in the sand.


message 6: by Manny (last edited Aug 29, 2018 05:31AM) (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "I do think there is a general sense of betrayal among the faithful. My husband and I have had numerous conversations about this. We who love the Church and the truth of Catholicism have been egregi..."

In my usual Dominican way (ala St. Thomas Aquinas ala Aristotle) my mind has categorized the situation into three issues, though they are interrelated.
a) The priest abuse of minors
b) The bishop's administrative cover up of it
c) The gay network within the church that John refers to as "the lavender mafia."

Kerstin uses the word "betrayal." I do not feel betrayed by (a). The statistics have shown that the clerical abuse is no different than public school boards or any institution that deals with minors. Human nature fails and while one expects better of priests I can understand their fallen nature.

I am a little more dismayed by (b) but again I don't feel betrayed. I work in a bureaucratic world and I see administrations try to balance things/problems and many times they take the wrong course of action. If they truly believed the abusers would repent and reform, I can understand trying to soften the situation. Not good policy and unjust to the persons abused, but it's not necessarily betrayal.

Now as to (c) I have to say I do feel betrayed. I don't care if priests have same sex attraction and internally are gay. It's that they consciously acted on sinful behavior with other consenting adults and in many cases other priests. Check this excerpt that came out of the Pennsylvania report:

"One priest worked in close proximity to the archbishop in the archdiocesan chancery for a number of years. “There were the ‘nephews,’ for sure,” he said. “He had a type: tall, slim, intelligent – but no smokers.” …
While the Archdiocese of Newark declined to confirm the name of the accused priest remaining in active ministry, several priests in the archdiocese identified him as Fr. James Weiner, and told CNA that he has a reputation among the clergy, dating back to his time in the seminary, for active homosexuality.
In recent years, several priests said, Weiner is known for hosting cocktail parties in his rectory, which other homosexual priests of the archdiocese are known to attend.
One recalled that he attended a cocktail party, thinking he had been invited to a simple priests’ dinner. “I was led into the room to a chorus of wolf-whistles,” he said. “It was clear right away I was ‘on display.’”

That excerpt came from this article, which links to the report:
https://www.getreligion.org/getreligi...

That is appalling! Appalling. That is a direct disregard for casual, unmarried sex as sinful. And yes, there are appalling testimonies of heterosexual affairs that would also turn your stomach. But the majority of these behaviors happen to be homosexual. How could bishops cover that up? How could they cover up priests having homosexual experiences with each other?

What it comes down to it, they did not see this as sinful. And here is my main point: along with the current culture (post the sexual revolution), many in the church have abandoned the concept that improper sexuality (proper being between a husband and wife) is sinful. I have come to believe that many in the church are in agreement with the culture at large when it comes to sex, either homosexual acts or pre-marital sex as sinful. They may have to follow the doctrine, but deep down the sexual revolution has infiltrated the church.

I can understand fallen nature, I can understand bureaucratic mistakes. I cannot understand loss of faith on key Catholic dogma. That is a betrayal of their clerical duties and a violation of their sacrament of orders.


message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan | 218 comments I still feel betrayed by pedophilia...we seem almost to the point that, a certain amount of pedophilia is 'bad', but not to be unexpected based on the stats; quite 'comparable' or even better than other institutions... this is the Catholic Church! Although all humanity is prone to sin, those involved with the Church included, 'this' sin can not ever be expected/allowed. Not once. And if a single case was ever even a possibility, there should have been such a nuclear response that no one ever even had a fleeting thought of trying it
again....
The more extensive issue is the post-pubescent (not pedophilia) element and the homosexual element. This apparently is not a small %, who are trying to live chastely, but fail at times and use confession exactly in the manner Jesus gave it to us...This apparently involves a massive number of almost militant homosexuals who seem to have no qualms at all about living an active lifestyle and promoting it among the faithful and working diligently towards changing Church doctrine. And I feel betrayed about that too.
And what about the cover up or mere silence.... I hear so many stories of priests/bishops etc. say their hands are tied, there was nothing they could do....I don't understand this. How are the bad (seemingly unfaithful) guys so powerful? What is everyone so afraid of? What exactly would have happened? Black mail? Loss of their jobs? There were not enough numbers of good guys to overwhelm the bad guys? The Pope himself is so powerless? The Pope, aligned with the good guys 'still' are so powerless? This isn't a top Fortune 500 company where I guess things are expected to get a little cut throat...it is the Church Jesus established... It only got this far because of the silence and inaction for decades...I feel betrayed...this is why so many Catholics see nothing wrong with same sex marriage and families are being broken apart with same sex issues in their own families....it has only made teaching our own children the Faith and trying to keep them in the fold that much harder overall. There should not be tension between the Church and the domestic church - they should be shepherding us and supporting us.
I would add to Manny's post:
d. financial corruption: how do the faithful put their hard earned money into the appeals etc., with any 'faith' that they will be good stewards of it?
e. confusing ecumenism that has only become more broad with time. What 'is' the distinction of Catholicism? It doesn't really seem to matter to even our higher ups whether one is Catholic or not. They almost seem ashamed or embarrassed to claim all the truths of the Faith any more...now we are celebrating Luther....
Call it Modernism or what you will, but the public face of our Church has most definitely seemed to bow to the world and it' interests (anyone see Cupich's comment?) over trying to strive for holiness and follow God's Will and lead souls to Heaven. They have truly lost any moral authority which is stunning for any religious institution, but especially for The One True Faith...
Something bold has to happen to restore faith, and more clearly express the distinction, the beauty, the Truth of our Faith, that ultimately draws men and women, truly striving to be holy, to the vocation and effectively sustains parishioners and their families, and converts others...
Although the Blessed Mother seemed to be speaking about our time...living through it in 'real' time, if these are those times, is still almost incomprehensible.


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan | 218 comments Just listening to Bishop Barren speak to Vogt....and he acts like this is something new...that we "need to set up a group forensically trained to look into all this"and find out "what is the truth".... if I may....this is what gets some people so annoyed....where has he been? Some brave outlets have been expressing these things forever....If the PA announcement and the Vigano testament had not been heroically penned and put out...we probably would not be addressing any of this...does anyone believe otherwise? That is a basic underlying problem....a big one....


message 9: by Manny (last edited Aug 29, 2018 09:39AM) (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
Susan I understand feeling betrayed. Yes it is unacceptable for priests to do what they did and I agree a nuclear response should have been given. I said I understood it and put it into context, and once I did that I did not feel betrayed. But that's me.

I listened to Bishop Barron's response. I agree it was tepid. Again though you can't go around lynching people without some sort of investigative process. I don't know what else Bishop Barron could say.

But let's keep the catagories straight. Here:
a) The priest abuse of minors
b) The bishop's administrative cover up of it
c) The gay network within the church that John refers to as "the lavender mafia."

Which of the Bishop's response are you referring to? The police system has either already conducted or now further conducting catagory (a) and to some degree (b). Catagory (c) is not necessarily criminal. So no one has conducted a thorough investigation of that. That's what I thought Bishop Barron was referring to. But I might be wrong.


message 10: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1554 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Just listening to Bishop Barren speak to Vogt....and he acts like this is something new...that we "need to set up a group forensically trained to look into all this"and find out "what is the truth"..."

I haven't listened to his latest statement on the crisis yet, but he has said many times that this is the worst self-inflicted wound the Church has had in a long time. I also recall him saying that it will take the better part of the century to move beyond it. By this I understood him to say that once we've done the clean-up the stigma will linger for some time to come.

There seems to be an eerie recurrence of deep crisis in the Church once every 500 years or so. There was one in the early Church, then around the turn of the first millennium, then came Protestant Revolt in the mid 1500s, and now this.


message 11: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
Oops in my comment just above I had a typo. I meant you can't go around lynching, not can go. I have corrected it.


message 12: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments Here is my two cents worth.

Like Susan, I have felt betrayed. But the worse of my anger and sense of betrayal came a decade ago when the scandal first broke in Boston. I have worked through some of those initial feelings and found that my reactions are a bit more complex than they were initially.

1. I agree that the Catholic Church, the baptized and of course, ordained ministers of the Church, should be held to a much higher standard than the general public. It is true that teachers, coaches, doctors etc have abused children and that is inexcusable. But, when those publically identified with Christ so tragically betrays the Gospel it is even worse. Not only has the well being of so many young people been deeply harmed, but the ability to credibly proclaim the Gospel has been diminished. By baptism, we accept for ourselves a higher standard than the rest of humanity because we die to self and rise with Christ, "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me and the life I now live, I live by faith in the one who loved me and gave himself for me." The rest of the population has not put on Christ.

At the same time, I also realize that the terrible sin of some is tragically hurting the reputation of so many good people. For every priest that each of us knows who has violated his calling, I suspect we know 10 more who are genuinely trying to be faithful to that calling.

2. My initial reaction to the accusations of cover up was to be outraged. How could an institution knowingly put children at risk of such harm? I am still outraged. But I have also come to realize that it was not always a matter of an intentional cover up, a gross disregard for the well-being of children. Many bishops sent men off to treatments centers, then followed the recommendation of the psychiatric community who provided post care reports. Bishops are not mental health professionals. If those with expertise in this area said that the man could be returned to ministry in some restricted form, they believed them. Fifty years ago, our understanding of psychosexual disorders was very different than it is today. Should the legal authorities have been called in immediately when any allogation of predatory behavior was reported? Absolutely. But that was not the standard 75 years ago and it is hard to judge people in the past by today's standards. In my own diocese I know of former bishops who appear criminally guilty of negligent, immoral, even criminal cover ups and I know former bishops who honestly tried their best to rid the diocese of priests and seminarians who could harm another person. But, because he did not notify the civil authorities about old allogations or allogations that had not been cooraborated, but simply removed them from ministry, he is being tarred and feathered. In hindsight...., but hindsight is always 20/20.

Of course, to voice a nuanced opinion about the bishop response can sound as if I am disregarding the anguish of those harmed. I am not. What has happened to children and adolescents, not just sexually by priests, but physical abuse in bording schools by members of religious communities, is a sin so grave that the Church should be willing to repent for in dramatic ways for a very long time. We should be fasting in sack cloth and ashes, willing to do whatever it took to prove to those who observe us that we are truly repentant. The last thing we need to do is be publically defensive, as if our reputation and comfort level is more important than the anguish of those who have suffered such harm.

As the Body of Christ, when one member suffers, we all suffer. We all suffer with those who were physically and sexually abused by those in leadership among us. And we all suffer in repentance for the sins committed by the body.

3. I am concerned that the 13 page attack on Pope Francis and others in the Vatican is politicizing this current crisis. I have not read that 13 page statement, but I have read reports by journalists such as John Allen, who say that it is filled with unsubstantiated allogations against high ranking officials, all of whom are on the opposite side of key theological debates from its author. Whether or not that is true, the response of the US bishops seems to be turning this into a political issue. The leadership of the Church should not be politicized. We are not a democracy. Either we believe that the Holy Spirit is behind the election of the pope or we don't, but we can't claim absolute papal authority when he leads as we want but call for his over throw when we disagree. I have no diea if Francis knew of sexual misconduct by McCarrick or not, but a 13 page statement presented to the world news which does not address the allogations outstanding against its own author and promulgated when the Pope is trying to speak a message of repentence makes the underlying motivations a bit suspect.

As for the allogations of some over sexualized homosexual climate in the Church, I have no evidence of that after working in church structures for decades. I know that many priests break their vow of celibacy, and it is not dominated by gay sex by a long shot. I don't know what a Lavinder Moffia is, but I suspect that it is a derogatory term. Are there gay men who are ordained? Yes, I know there are. But there are also many straight men. Moffia implies violent coersion, murder, racketeering, and an extensive network of criminal activity for the financial gain of the clan. There are always plenty of rumors, but I have seen no substantiated evidence of racketeering, murder, organized criminal activity for the political or financial advancement of a group of gay priests. I would never doubt the narrative of someone who personally experienced something, but I would take it as one person's experience. Of all the priests I work with, and have worked with, I can't get any corroboration of a culture that was sexually charged, prodding men into gay sexual encounters by cat calls or other group behavior. So, I question what the purpose of derogatory titles might serve at this point. I question if there is a pervasive gay culture at the Vatican (as for any specific diocese or seminary, I can't say since I only know the handful in which I have some experience). And I question if linking the issue of gay priests with the pedaphilia scandal is helpful or if it muddies the waters.


message 13: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
Irene, I think by mafia they mean a secret network of common interests that are clandestine, but they do not mean a criminal operation. I guess if you look at the example that came out of the Pennsylvania report in my comment #6 above, that priest who provided that testimony suggested a group of priests who actively engage in homosexual activity. Whether it is true or not I have no idea and how widespread it is I have no idea. Pope Francis in his first year alluded to a "gay lobby" within the church and I believe he was talking about clergy. Wikipedia has an entry on "Homosexual Clergy in the Catholic Church, here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosex...

The fall out of all this may be stunning to our understanding of what goes on.


message 14: by Madeleine (new)

Madeleine Myers | 692 comments Susan wrote: " I still feel betrayed by pedophilia...we seem almost to the point that, a certain amount of pedophilia is 'bad', but not to be unexpected based on the stats; quite 'comparable' or even better than other institutions... this is the Catholic Church! Although all humanity is prone to sin, those involved with the Church included, 'this' sin can not ever be expected/allowed. Not once. And if a single case was ever even a possibility, there should have been such a nuclear response that no one ever even had a fleeting thought of trying it again...."

I'm with Susan here. As a mother, I trusted my children to the priests and sisters, and, though none of them ever reported any
inappropriate conduct on the part of priests, nuns, or laity, none of the three claim to be Catholic, and my youngest refused to be confirmed. I pray daily for their reconversion, and that my grandchildren will come to the faith, but one of the egregious scandals occurred during their high school years and involved a priest in our former parish whom they knew and possibly had contact with. The priest was charged, sentenced, and the case made headlines. In recent years I have heard from the wife of an ex-seminarian that there is still a homosexual network in our diocese. I do feel a definite betrayal of trust. Remember what Christ said about people who harmed the innocent: "better to hang a millstone around their necks...." I would hope that these priests who harmed young people are arrested and tried in a criminal court.


message 15: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
Madeline, I’ll pray for your children’s conversation as well.


message 16: by Madeleine (new)

Madeleine Myers | 692 comments Thank you! Talking with other people in my age group, the Church in our area lost a great many in their generation, probably thanks to the scandal that broke during their teen years, and a failure to engage the young people in a positive way. I see the parish we live in now is doing a much better job, and there have been a number of vocations from the group.


message 17: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
I want to again emphasize that there are three separate issues as I've listed in a, b, and c. Sometimes when we talk we talk passed each other because one is referring to "a" while the other is referring to "b" or "c."

As to (a) the child abuse issue, I do think the reforms are working. The Pennsylvania report was in my opinion a bit of a low blow, or at least the media presented it as if it were new information. The allegations go back 70 years. Very few if any were recent allegations post the reforms. According to the Catholic League, "No entity in America today, private or public, has more institutionalized mechanisms in place to check for the sexual abuse of minors than the Catholic Church." Since the reforms "in the last two years for which we have data, only .005 percent of the clergy have had a credible accusation made against them (see the Annual Reports on this subject, July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, and July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016; they are posted on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)." .005% is actually microscopic. So while we need to be upset and if you wish, feel "betrayed," the issue has been resolved. We need to keep proving it over time. That's why the McCarrick allegations so hurt the Church. Just when it was proving to the world we had corrected our problem, a separate problem that gets blurred with the original problem crops up. From what I've seen the Church has paid over $3 billion dollars in reparation for the child abuse. We are doing penance for it, we have stopped the problem, and we are trying to live up to our faith and expectations.

Most gracious Blessed Mother, pray that we and the entire Church be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

You can read the Catholic League defense of the reforms here:
https://www.catholicleague.org/church...


message 18: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1554 comments Mod
Manny wrote: "I want to again emphasize that there are three separate issues as I've listed in a, b, and c. Sometimes when we talk we talk passed each other because one is referring to "a" while the other is ref..."

Yes, there are separate categories here, but I'm for letting the conversation flow naturally. We all have different experiences with the subject matter.


message 19: by John (new)

John Seymour | 167 comments Manny wrote: "c) The gay network within the church that John refers to as "the lavender mafia.""

I am using a phrase that has been used for years. I don't get the credit or the blame. It is a useful shorthand.


message 20: by John (new)

John Seymour | 167 comments Manny wrote: "Susan I understand feeling betrayed. Yes it is unacceptable for priests to do what they did and I agree a nuclear response should have been given. I said I understood it and put it into context, an..."

I think there is confusion because many of the Bishops have muddied the waters. Using your categories (which I think are roughly right, though the last I would describe as much broader category of a network of compromised (sexually, financially, or otherwise) men mutually protecting and promoting each other.


message 21: by John (new)

John Seymour | 167 comments Irene wrote: "Here is my two cents worth.

Like Susan, I have felt betrayed. But the worse of my anger and sense of betrayal came a decade ago when the scandal first broke in Boston. I have worked through some o..."


I bought the same lie about the episcopal cover-up, Irene. And even defended the Church along those lines. But then I realized, that if that was all true (and it MAY have been true for some bishops), it didn't explain the neglect and abuse that so many victims received. If you understood the abuse as a psychological problem that could be treated, why would you have such disregard for the victims.

Do you understand that in parroting Allen's line you are already participating in a similar cover-up of allegations of serious problems in the Church? The question is not whether or not an allegation is substantiated, but whether it is credible. In their specificity, dates, details, names, and in his having been in a position to know the things he claims to know, Vigano's allegations are quite credible. They must be investigated. So far Pope Francis shows no inclination of doing so.

As to the cover-up allegations, Vigano has forcefully denied them and explained the circumstances in which the allegations arose. They should, of course, also be investigated. The documents that have come to light so far support Vigano's version of events.

The allegations against Francis seem very credible to me. And if the number of corrupted priests and bishops in the Church is a tiny minority, it is an absolute wonder that Francis has somehow surrounded himself with them.

Yes, this has all become politicized. That is a shame. For my part, I should be clear, that I don't care where the chips fall. I don't care whether a priest or a bishop is progressive or conservative, if he falls into one of Manny's thee categories, he should be laicized. And if that means I have to drive 50 miles to attend mass, and wait 45 minutes in line to receive communion, so be it. I don't care whether a priest has a gay lover or a concubine, if he has abandoned his vows, he should leave.


message 22: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
I addressed issue (a) above. Let me now address (b), the administrative cover up. No one of course approves it. What should be done? As Irene says, some of this had to do with an erroneous understanding of psychology. Again the modernist thinking is at fault here, the thinking from Freud that through psychoanalysis - what garbage that term is - people can be cured of deep rooted compulsions. So they sent these problem priests to be cured, traded them away to another parish/diocese to give them a new start, accepted their confessions and promise to do better. That's the more innocent version. As John points out, there's a more sinister version, that bishops sent these problems off to get them off their hands and pass the problem on to someone else. Maybe they said a prayer and hoped for the best, but it was avoidance of responsibilities. The truth is that both occurred and sometimes in between.

So what to do about it now? While justice would dictate some lesser penalty for those involved in the more innocent version, I think it's impossible to distinguish the innocent from the sinister. Plus I don't think the victims care and the public relations would be horrible. So any bishop that was involved in passing on a abusive priest or having knowledge of one and doing nothing needs to be stripped of his office. it's zero tolerance for misadministration. I don't care what the excuse, how long ago, or whatever. I will not accept anything less.

I have to say I have lost a lot of respect for the bishops these last few weeks. It does seem bishops are not promoted based on their holiness but on their administrative skills, which of course many have failed at anyway. I was not for another investigative body to root out past abuse. My thinking is it's over and we have corrected it, so let's move on. But now I see there is some purgative value to digging out past crimes, so perhaps (and I'm still somewhat reluctant) to put together an investigative body to bring to light the past. However, I do not believe this body should include any Church hierarchy. It should be composed of lay people and perhaps even fair minded non-Catholics.


message 23: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments John, It seems as if I have misrepresented Allen's opinion. I mentioned one of his many articles on the Vigano letter, but did not summarize it. I apologize for that. It was not an intentional misrepresentation. He does say that the allogations by Vigano be investigated. He stated clearly at the outset of his article that what Vigano said should be taken seriously because any allogation of this nature needs to be taken seriously. But, he goes on to say that it should not automatically be accepted as true because there are some potentially problematic issues with its content, timing, ommissions, etc. So, by referring to Allen, I was not participating in or suggesting a cover up because Allen did not suggest that the report be dismissed. Yes, it should be investigated.


message 24: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments Manny, I agree with you that any current sitting bishop that mishandled allogations of child abuse needs to be removed from office. Any bishop currently in office is most likely young enough to have a more enlightened understanding of sexual perversions. The USCCB has had policies in place for the screening of volunteers and reporting of abuse for more than a decade. And less formal or more localized policies have been in place in individual diocese for even longer. I won't weigh in on whether laisizing or a life of prayer and penance or what the correct punishment should be. That is far beyond my pay grade or my wisdom.


message 25: by Kerstin (last edited Aug 30, 2018 08:56AM) (new)

Kerstin | 1554 comments Mod
Bishop Barron's article from today:

https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/...

Let me add this quote:

"You know, keep in mind everybody, we are not Catholics because of the moral excellence of our leaders. I mean, God help us if we were. We want our leaders—indeed, we expect our leaders—to be morally excellent. But we are not Catholics because of that moral excellence. We’re Catholics because of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. We’re Catholics because of the Trinitarian love of God. We're Catholics because of the Mystical Body of Christ. We’re Catholics because of the sacraments. We’re Catholics especially because of the Eucharist. We're Catholics because of the Blessed Mother. We’re Catholics because of the saints. Even as leaders in the Church fail morally, the Catholic Church remains the Mystical Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. And she’s worth fighting for."



message 26: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments Well said


message 27: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
I've given thoughts on (a) and (b), I might as well give my thoughts on (c), the gay network within the church. I have no idea how widespread this is, but given so many references over the years and given what has come out in the Cardinal McCarrick allegations, there is no question in my mind that it exists. Here's another article in case you didn't see it: "Honduran Seminarians Allege Widespread Homosexual Misconduct." http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/...

In Honduras? I've heard about it in several countries around the world. I believe that there are many gay priests in the church, but how many are active in gay sex? In doing searches around the internet I've found numbers from as little as 6% to as high as 50%.
Now 50% sounds ludicrous. The general population is only 2% gay, so 6%, the very lowest claimed, is three times the population rate. So whatever it is, I think the claim that the priesthood has a tendency to attract homosexual men is true. The reality is, I'm afraid even higher than six percent, perhaps a lot higher. And what to do about it?

(1) If a priest has same sex attraction and never acts upon it, I have no problem it. I am not looking for a witch hunt or some sort of filter to screen out homosexuals before they are ordained.

(2) Anyone who is caught in a homosexual affair or act - and I'm referring between consenting adults - should be reprimanded. If Catholic school teachers get fired for similar, then you have to punish priests as well. Now this goes for heterosexual acts as well. Priests caught in heterosexual acts must face the same punishment. Priests are supposed to be celibate. Period.

(3) Priests caught engaging in homosexual acts with other priests or seminarians both must be lacized. Period. That is such a heinous betrayal of the sacrament of orders that a nuclear option must be put in place.

(4) Bishops covering or ignoring non celibate priests must be stripped of their office. That is just a failure of their administrative responsibilities and their duty of teacher of the faith.

(5) The Catholic church needs put forth a campaign on what true sexuality is and what disordered sexuality is.

Well, I can pontificate all I want, very little of this is going to happen.


message 28: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 640 comments Why isn't it going to happen? Catholics will insist on action. If no changes are forthcoming, there will be two types of response to this kind of moral deterioration: stay in the Church but donate one's contributions elsewhere; leave the Church and become an Anglican. Something has to get the attention of the people responsible.


message 29: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 640 comments For those who get EWTN's "World Over Live," Father Gerald Murphy, Robert Regal of "The Catholic Thing" and Raymond Arroyo have a frank and open discussion of these issues today.


message 30: by Susan (new)

Susan | 218 comments Taylor Marshall has an interesting video on 'mega-dioceses'; how it differs from what was done in the early Church -> 1500s and how it contributes to all that is going on if anyone is interested. I saw it on Twitter but I am sure it is searchable elsewhere.


message 31: by John (new)

John Seymour | 167 comments Irene wrote: "John, It seems as if I have misrepresented Allen's opinion. I mentioned one of his many articles on the Vigano letter, but did not summarize it. I apologize for that. It was not an intentional misr..."

Thank you for the clarification. I later went and looked at Allen's reporting myself and I agree with this characterization. I didn't want to come back and "pile on," so I really do appreciate the effort to clarify the confusion.

God bless.


message 32: by John (new)

John Seymour | 167 comments Frances wrote: "Why isn't it going to happen? Catholics will insist on action. If no changes are forthcoming, there will be two types of response to this kind of moral deterioration: stay in the Church but donate ..."

Anglican? Wouldn't that be like jumping out of the frying pan straight into the flames of hell? I can't see myself ever leaving the Church, but if I did, I can't see myself going anyplace other than Orthodox. On the other hand, I am taking ownership of where my money goes. The responses of my dioceses have been less than wonderful. No money for them until they develop chests and decide to fight for holiness. I have asked my parish priest for a meeting to discuss all of this. He has always struck me as a good man. Strongly orthodox. But I need to figure out how to support the parish without the diocese getting any of the money.


message 33: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 640 comments John, I'm sorry that I mentioned a specific religion, I.e. Anglican. That was not my point of emphasis. Catholics are going to search their souls over this crisis. Some may do what you are suggesting, taking ownership of where their money goes, and choose to donate it elsewhere. Others may leave the Church. That would be a catastrophic loss which no one wants. But people will insist on change, and if it doesn't occur, sadly, some may leave. I can't imagine how young people are processing this. The beauty of the faith and its timeless truths to which Bishop Barron refers are being overshadowed by a crisis of moral decadence -- not only in the United States but also in Ireland and Central and South America. Catholics are going to insist that those in positions of authority act and act decisively. Benedict XVI did. He defrocked at least 800 priests who had violated their vow of chastity. And still, more needs to be done. The New York Times and USA Today shouldn't be holding those in authority accountable. We should be.


message 34: by Irene (new)

Irene | 909 comments I had a conversation with a friend last evening, a person who used to work in the highest level of the diocesan university. Her position brought her into interaction with many priests, especially those working in diocesan offices, on campus and those ministering at the seminary, as well as with seminarians. The bishop that I had feared was being unfairly condemned she had first hand stories of his dismissing credible accusations. Her life has also brought her into contact with members of religious orders, especially the Jesuits. She shared stories she had been told of wide spread unwanted sexual advances in houses of formation. She did not say that there was rape, that individuals were forced into sexual acts or that those in formation universally accepted the advances, just that pretty much everyone had at least one time when an advance was made. This is certainly not the picture that I have wanted to believe. My interaction is that, although many of the priests with whom I have worked have had their short comings, they were not over sexed predators (womenizers, gay, pedifiles).

I want to believe that most of those ministering in the Church desire to serve God, not themselves, and want to do what is right. Maybe I am just naïve. I am hoping that this on going scandal will shake the Church to its foundation and bring about the necessary reforms. The Church has weathered scandal before and allowed the tragedy to be a corrective. I hope that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide this Church with the Divine love and mercy which is infinitely stronger than human sin.

I also worry about the impact on the faith of the young who are already living in a culture that has largely convinced them that religion is unnecessary. No matter how corrupt those in leadership prove to be, I can't imagine anything that would cause me to leave the Church. The grace of the Sacraments do not depend on the moral sanctity of the priest presiding. So, I anticipate that I will continue to cling to the Sacraments and remain an active member ministering in official capacities. But, proclaiming the faith in catechetical and evangelical ministries in the Catholic Church right now is very difficult.


message 35: by Manny (last edited Aug 31, 2018 05:07PM) (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
Frances wrote: "Why isn't it going to happen? Catholics will insist on action. If no changes are forthcoming, there will be two types of response to this kind of moral deterioration: stay in the Church but donate ..."

What I was referring to that isn't going to happen are Bishops resigning or demoted or the Church go on a campaign to fully explain what is ordered sexuality and what is disordered. They don't have the guts nor the will and frankly what I believe is that many in the Catholic Church, including Bishops and perhaps up to the Pope himself is that they no longer believe in disordered sexuality as a sin. I think they've bought into the modern notion that as long as it doesn't hurt anyone it isn't a sin. As long as sex is within consenting adults, it's not really a sin. But that's not the full definition of sin as preached by Christ and St. Paul. I truly believe that is the real crises within the church. Pope Pius X with his anti-modernism was the most intellectually sound Pope of the last several hundred years, even more so than JPII and BXVI. He really had the foresight of what modernism would do to the world. He was right and frankly Pope John XXIII's attempt to accommodate the Church with the modern world was wrong. Accommodation with the modern world has led to accomodation with sexual sin.


message 36: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
Anglicans are diminishing by the millions except in Africa. The comparison with Anglicanism is interesting. They lost the notion of sexuality as a sin a long time ago.

In a way, this abuse may be a means of saving the Catholic Church from drifting into the Anglican heresy. Our response to the abuse is critical. May God turn this evil into a lasting good.


message 37: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1554 comments Mod
Manny wrote: "Pope Pius X with his anti-modernism was the most intellectually sound Pope of the last several hundred years, even more so than JPII and BXVI."

I'm not sure I agree. I haven't read anything by Pope Pius X, but I've read my share of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict, and some of St. John Paul II. Neither of these two were slouches - they were/are intellectual power-houses of incredible magnitude. These two also had the misfortune, if you will, to occupy the chair of Peter post Vatican II.
Ratzinger's ability to probe with laser-sharp focus takes your breath away. He wrote his share on the fallacies of modern-day philosophies. George Weigel said of him some time ago he is the most important theologian since St. Thomas Aquinas. Now I can't assess this the way Weigel can, but I'm not fool enough to brush it aside.

Let me suggest this: Lets read some of these texts either as short reads or if the group votes for them. We have plenty of Church documents on modernity, social justice (Rerum Novarum and successors), slavery, or whatever the topic of choice, and see how the development of them went. If a pope said something decisive, the next pope may not have needed to, and/or simply referred to a predecessor. When you look at 'New Advent's' list on Church documents http://www.newadvent.org/library/, there is plenty.


message 38: by Manny (last edited Aug 31, 2018 05:41PM) (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
I've commented on categories (a), (b), and (c) I think the last thing I have to comment on is the recent Cardinal Vigano letter (it's 11 pages by the way, not 13) accusing Pope Francis of knowing that Cardinal McCarrick was an abuser and active homosexual and not only not following up with reprimands but undoing the restrictions Pope Benedict XVI had put in place while McCarrick was under investigation.

Technically this falls under criteria (b) of a bishop - this time the Bishop of Rome - knowing about an abuse by an underling. If true, Pope Francis technically should be relieve of his office, but as Pope there is no person that can relieve him of his office or method of relieving him of his office. You cannot force a sitting Pope to abdicate. That is what led to the schism of the 1340s.

I can't seem to find the letter itself in any search. So I have not read it. All I get are articles that reference the letter and quote from it. If anyone knows of a link to the actual letter I would love to see it.

What to do? The allegations seem credible to me. We know for a fact (I think it's a fact) that Pope Francis eased the restrictions on McCarrick, so the dispute is whether the Holy Father knew of McCarrick's abuse.

So there are two possibilities, either he knew or he didn't know. If he didn't know, then no harm done, it was an innocent mistake. If he knew, we have a problem. Pope Francis has refused to answer the allegation. This leads us to suspect he did know.

So here's my opinion on it all. If he didn't know he should come out and say it and put it to rest. If he knew, then I would just let sleeping dogs lie and move on and never address the issue. Pope Francis was not overseeing McCarrick in that kind of detail. It amounts to more administrative bungling. The harm to the Church of having a Pope forced out and perhaps create a schism just when the church has been weakened would be huge and would not justify the maladministration. Pope Francis is 81 years old. He's not going to be there much longer, either from passing away or reaching a point where he can't keep up with the job and feels it's best to retire. Whatever political points some are trying to strike against Pope Francis (and I'm a conservative) are wrongheaded and counter productive.


message 39: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "Manny wrote: "Pope Pius X with his anti-modernism was the most intellectually sound Pope of the last several hundred years, even more so than JPII and BXVI."

I'm not sure I agree. I haven't read a..."


Well, I'm distinguishing intellectualism from theology. Both JPII and BXVI were probably greater theologians. But the intellectualism I'm referring to are the debates that have shaped the intellectual tradition of western civilization since the Enlightenment. To be fair, both JPII and BXVI were hamstrung by time: the modern world had taken shape.


message 40: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 640 comments "As long as sex is with consenting adults . . ." But what if those consenting adults, ordained priests, have committed themselves to a life of celibacy?

Somewhere a balance has got to be struck between charity and candor. Pope Francis seems to be coming from a place of mercy and compassion. But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has said that Archbishop Vigano's questions "deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence because without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past." Former Archbishop McCarrick sexually harassed seminarians and sexually abused minors. His actions were extraordinarily harmful in a multitude of ways. It just can't be allowed to happen again.


message 41: by John (new)

John Seymour | 167 comments Manny wrote: "I can't seem to find the letter itself in any search. So I have not read it. All I get are articles that reference the letter and quote from it. If anyone knows of a link to the actual letter I would love to see it."

Life Site has printed the full text of the Letter here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/for...

They include links to where you can get a pdf copy.

From a link at Rod Dreher, whose reporting on this is excellent, and generally fair, though he has his moments, you can also find the actual document here: https://www.scribd.com/document/38704...

When I run into issues that I am not qualified to judge factually, I put great weight on the behavior of the disputants. Are they focusing on facts or are they trying to destroy the character of their opponents, engaging in ad hominem attacks, appeals to authority or other logical fallacies? I am struck by two things: No one in the hierarchy not accused by Vigano has come out and said this stuff is insane and untrustworthy, I know these men and poor Archbishop Vigano must be suffering from some form of dementia. And second, those who have made statements (Wuerl, Cupich and Tobin) have essentially made non-denial denials. Picking on some non-essential facts like an irrelevant date.

I am also struck by some of their countercharges (don't believe Vigano, he engaged in cover ups as well - a strange sort of defense which almost amounts to an admission), which so far Vigano has pretty effectively responded to. A strong denial followed up by documents which support his version of events.

One interpretation of the behavior of Francis, Wuerl, Cupich, Tobin, et al, is that they don't know what other documents Vigano might have available and know that any charge they make that is refuted makes them look guiltier.

A number of bishops have weighed in vouching for Vigano's character and demanding an investigation. I doubt we'll get one, but I think we are learning who the good guys are. It is depressing there are so few.


message 42: by John (new)

John Seymour | 167 comments Frances wrote: ""As long as sex is with consenting adults . . ." But what if those consenting adults, ordained priests, have committed themselves to a life of celibacy?

Somewhere a balance has got to be struck be..."


Francis, doesn't charity demand candor? I think the hierarchy has used the fear of scandal as an excuse to hide their sins. But covering up scandal doesn't avoid it; it multiplies it. As bad as the sex abuse of children is, it was much worse to learn that our bishops had engaged in criminal cover-ups. However bad McCarrick's behavior was, it is worse to discover that it was an open secret that was ignored for years, even by Pope Francis. They claim to be protecting the Church, but they seem to think that THEY are the Church and protecting their own power and prestige is identical with protecting the Church. Charity cannot be afraid of the truth. Whenever we hide from the truth, or hide the truth from others, we are that much less followers of Christ, that much less Catholic. God is Light, Truth and Love. What is hidden in the dark is not of God and must be shouted from the rooftops.


message 43: by Susan (new)

Susan | 218 comments Kerstin wrote: "Lets read some of these texts..."

Pascendi was good. Not too long and pretty understandable.



message 44: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 640 comments John, yes, charity demands candor. I worded my sentence that way because I think the pope, in choosing to show mercy and compassion for McCarrick, has put those priorities ahead of candor. Innocent people were betrayed. The circumstances of that betrayal must be faced in the light of day, so that this never happens again.

In today's WSJ George Weigel has an excellent article on the crisis in the Church. On page C3 Weigel explains that the Church is "now called to a great purification."
I'll try to copy parts of it later for our group.


message 45: by John (new)

John Seymour | 167 comments Frances wrote: "John, yes, charity demands candor. I worded my sentence that way because I think the pope, in choosing to show mercy and compassion for McCarrick, has put those priorities ahead of candor. Innocent..."

I saw that article, but haven't read it yet. I will do so over lunch.

I had coffee with my pastor this morning. He is a good man who works his tail off for our small working-class parish. He celebrates four masses every weekend, including a Latin Mass, daily mass everyday except Monday, when the deacon performs a communion service and he includes Morning Prayer after each mass during the week. He also oversees a small Pre-K - 8th grade school attached to the Church. He is constantly working to be a good shepherd and support spiritual development of his flock. It was a good reminder that he is the norm in the Church, not the corrupted souls in the limelight lately.


message 46: by Susan (new)

Susan | 218 comments Frances wrote: "...I think the pope, in choosing to show mercy and compassion for McCarrick..."

Is all of this 'really' mercy and compassion....or something else....



message 47: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 640 comments Susan, I think we will know. The Archdiocese of Detroit issued a statement regarding Archbishp Vigano's remarks: "The Lord assures us that the truth will set us free. We have nothing to fear in facing squarely the allegations made by Archbishop Vigano. I join with the priests and people of the Archdiocese of Detroit in praying for the triumph of truth and transparency -- and praying that it comes quickly. Whether the Archbishop's claims are confirmed or prove to be unfounded, the truth which comes to light will show us the sure path to the purification and reform of the Church."


message 48: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 640 comments From a letter to Pope Francis signed by more than 6000 Catholic women:

"Holy Father, in your letter to the People of God on the scandals, you wrote: 'An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.' That's why we expect you, our Holy Father, to be honest with us.
"Please do not turn from us. You've committed yourself to changing clerical ways in the Church. That a cardinal would prey on seminarians is abhorrent. We need to know we can trust you to be honest with us about what happened. The victims who have suffered so greatly need to know they can trust you. Families, who will be the source of the Church's renewal, need to know we can trust you, and thus trust the Church.
"Please do not keep us at arm's length on these questions. We are faithful daughters of the Church who need the truth so we can help rebuild. We are not second-class Catholics to be brushed off while bishops and cardinals handle matters privately. We have a right to know. We have a right to your answers."

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, September 1-2, Page A11


message 49: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
This is a fascinating read. The author of this takes the Pennsylvania report, crunches the statics, compares it with the historical dat, and draws some insightful conclusions. "The Pennsylvania Report; By the Numbers":
http://actsapologist.blogspot.com/201...


message 50: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 469 comments John wrote: "I had coffee with my pastor this morning. He is a good man who works his tail off for our small working-class parish. He celebrates four masses every weekend, including a Latin Mass "

That is a model pastor if I ever heard of one. Our pastor has two assistant priests and two deacons. He celebrates one weekend mass and hears confessions every two weeks. I don’t know how many weekday masses he celebrates. He takes a month vacation in the summer and also a separate annual pilgrimage to Europe with a group. There is no parochial school but religious instruction for about a dozen children during Sunday mass. There is good attendance on weekends or else the church is too small for what seems like 80% older parishioners.


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