U.S. clergy scandal.
The documentary article "U.S. Cardinals visit Rome" (C.I., June, pp. 12-15) explained the state of affairs during and after the cardinals' April visit to Rome. Since then the American bishops have met in plenary session in Dallas, Texas, June 13-IS. What was the outcome?
First, why are we offering this feature? Needless to say, we are not doing this to "get" the Church, or priests, or bishops as, perhaps, some others are doing.
Rather, the Catholic Church in North America, including Canada therefore, has a crisis on her hands. This crisis requires "scrupulous self-examination, candid confession, firm contrition, and believable amendment of life" (R. Neuhaus, First Things, June-July /02). This is our contribution towards this purpose.
April 30, 2002
By the end of April, the cardinals--speaking on behalf of all the U.S. bishops--had done the following:
1) recognized the sexual abuse of minors as a crime, in addition to being "an appalling sin in the eyes of God";
2) acknowledged that they had failed "in solidarity" with the victims;
3) recognized the need to clearly promote the moral teaching of the Church and publicly to reprimand individuals who spread dissent;
4) proposed the dismissal of priests from the priesthood who had become notorious by being guilty of the serial, predatory, sexual abuse of minors, and provide a special process for "cases which are not notorious";
5) reaffirmed the value of priestly celibacy.
What the cardinals did not do was:
1) address the accountability of the bishops (for denying, or ignoring, or downplaying the seriousness of sex abuse and allowing the priest-perpetrators to carry on their ministry as if nothing had happened);
2) indicate how to define the term "notorious" (how many victims are required to make an offender notorious?);
3) focus on the root cause of the vast majority of the abuses referred to by one writer as "the elephant in the sacristy," namely homosexual activity.
Dallas, June 13-15, 2002
The Dallas meeting registered no advance on omissions one and three: nothing was said about either the accountability of bishops, or about the causes of the sex abuses.
Point two was taken off the table by the drastic decision to remove priests guilty of sex abuse from all ministry, as well as from the priesthood. The bishops, therefore, accepted "zero tolerance," as it is called.
According to Philip Lawler, editor of the monthly Catholic World Report (CWR), there seemed to be almost unanimity among the 700 members of the press accredited to the conference that the problem of episcopal accountability was central.
The Dallas Morning Post presented the results of an exhaustive survey of 178 dioceses (out of 195) on the morning before the start of the conference. It reported on its front page that approximately two-thirds of the American bishops--111 out of 178--had been guilty of covering up sex abuse crimes, or failed to stop them.
Among acts of episcopal malfeasance, the bishops:
* ignored warnings of suspicious behaviour;
* kept priests on the job after legal settlements and criminal convictions;
* issued lawsuits and threats against Catholic individuals (e.g., the groups called The Roman Catholic Faithful) and independent Catholic publications such as The Wanderer, Catholic World Report, and others, to prevent media exposure (e.g. Lexington, KY; Springfield, IL).
* issued counter-lawsuits and threats of lawsuits against victims and their families to silence them;
* participated in or facilitated the homosexualizing of clergy, schools, seminaries, religious orders, and diocesan papers;
* prevailed upon Catholics of goodwill to remain silent;
* punished priests for reporting inappropriate behaviour of fellow priests as in San Francisco, Springfield, MA, and Arlington, VA;
* ignored other bishops' warnings and allowed suspended priests and resigned bishops (as in Springfield, IL) to carry on as if nothing had happened (Wanderer, June 20/02)
Yet the draft for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) never even addressed the issue of episcopal responsibility, and their spokesman, Msgr. Francis Maniscalo, mocked the idea that "anybody's feet be held to the fire" (Wanderer, June 20/02).
The first day, Thursday, June 13 began with an address by the president, Bishop Wilton Gregory. He opened with the warning, "The Catholic Church in the United States is in a very grave crisis, perhaps the gravest we have faced." He described it as "a profound loss of confidence by the faithful in our leadership as shepherds." Further on he even felt obliged to ask: "If there is any bishop here who has sexually abused a child or a young person, I ask you to report this fact to the nunciature so that justice and the Church will be served."
After the opening address, the bishops heard from victims of sex abuse. As Philip Lawler in his article "Whose responsibility?" (CWR, July 2002) put it: "Some of these witnesses successfully held their emotions in check; others did not. But with or without the quivering lips and watering eyes, their stories were gut-wrenching".
Later in the day, the bishops heard from two lay guest speakers, Scott Appleby, a historian at Notre Dame University, and Commonweal editor Margaret Steinfels. Appleby recalled the background of the crisis, namely the 35-yearlong dissent of American laity and priests from Catholic moral teaching, especially from the 1968 papal encyclical on family and contraception, Humanae vitae. The laity, he said, had sex outside of marriage, and endured (Editor: committed) abortions at about the same rate as other Americans. The breakdown of the Christian community, in short, opened the way to the crisis (ibid.)
The next day, Friday, the bishops discussed amendments to the policy paper in a session closed to the media. Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis presented the hastily-drafted policy proposal. After debate, it was approved for two years only. Thereafter, bishops kept proposing amendments one after the other, often in fear of what the media might say if they didn't do this or that.
The word "cleric" was reworded to apply only to "priests and deacons," not to bishops, who thereby exempted themselves from scrutiny.
* Sexual abuse was defined as in an earlier Canadian document;
* from now on all allegations of sex abuse are to be reported to civil authorities;
* "zero tolerance," including the laicization of the priest, is to be maintained, although bishops are allowed some latitude on laicization itself;
* as for the offending priest, he will not be permitted to celebrate Mass publicly, to wear clerical garb, or to present himself publicly as a priest.
The policy also calls for diocesan advisory boards composed mostly of laity; there is to be a national board; and priests are to be removed from ministry during the investigation of any serious allegation.
A proposal by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz suggesting that the National Review Board examine the causes of sexual abuse, such as doctrinal dissent and homosexuality, was overwhelmingly rejected on the ground that this meeting dealt only with the abuse of children. The bishops continued to speak about paedophilia, although everyone knew that 90 percent of the sex abuse cases were perpetrated by homosexual activists with post-pubescent boys and young men.
In the end, the Dallas meeting produced two documents: "The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," containing 17 articles plus introduction and conclusion; and "Essential norms for diocesan/eparchial policies dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests, deacons, or other Church personnel" (Eparchy is the name for an Eastern-rite diocese). Both documents require the approval of the Vatican. Texts of these documents, plus the opening address by Bishop Wilton Gregory, the submissions by Dr. Scott Appleby and Mrs. Steinfels, and victims' statements, may be found in Origins, CNS documentary service, June 27, 2002, Vol. 32, No. 7; or see: originsonline.com.
It is not at all certain what will happen in the future. If the refusal to seriously examine the root causes of clerical sex abuse is carried through, nothing will happen at all. As for the diocesan boards, they are advisory only; a bishop could easily decide to ignore them. The National Review Board is entirely voluntary and no bishop can be forced to report to it. As a matter of fact, the USCCB itself has no power to enforce any action over its member bishops.
The "zero tolerance" policy may well run into opposition as casting aside charity towards the priest. Criminal civil depositions to which a number of bishops (Law of Boston; Flores of San Antonio, McCormack of Manchester, NH) have already submitted themselves will proceed, but many states have statutes of limitation. As the majority of the abuse cases are not cases of paedophilia but of homosexual abuse of young men, or even between consenting adults, the press--so crucial in discovering and publicizing the sex abuse cases in Boston and many other cities--will lose interest. After all, the media have been promoting the acceptability of sodomy over the last 30 years.
On August 10, the Major Superiors of religious orders of men in the United States in their annual meeting said: "NO to defrocking priests," as newspapers put it. In other words, they rejected the bishops' "zero tolerance" policy. They did insist on keeping offenders away from children. And they have promised to fully cooperate with the bishops and develop or apply similar policies to themselves. Perhaps this will change the past treatment of sex abuse cases in secret with even their own members ignorant of what was going on.
What else happened? Once the Dallas meeting had concluded, a number of dioceses handed over sex abuse files to public prosecutors. No agency seems to keep track of numbers. As reported in June (p. 15), in the fall of 2001, the St. Louis Dispatch stated that 232 priests had been removed in 178 dioceses. Then Associated Press reported that between January and late April of 2002, 178 priests had been removed in 28 states (the U.S. has 50 states).
During June and July there were many other deletions:
In Milwaukee, 21 priests stood accused; in Cincinnati, Archbishop Pilarcyzk was resisting demands for information; in Joliet, chancery officials were stonewalling enquiries; in Dallas, prosecutors were looking for five Jesuits who used to be at a preparatory high school there; in Los Angeles, prosecutors who have at least 70 cases under investigation were digging into Cardinal Mahony's record of covering up abuse cases when he was still bishop of Stockton; in Manchester, N.H., Bishop John McCormack was shown to have protected the notorious Father Paul Shanley when he, McCormack, was Archbishop Law's secretary in Boston; in Chicago, a group of faithful were demanding a new investigative committee independent of the Archdiocese and the handing over of all files to the state attorney; back again to Los Angeles, where this time Cardinal Mahony was being accused of refusing to hand over the files of twelve priests discharged for allegedly abusing minors. Albany dismissed 6 priests; Detroit 2; Rockville 5; San Jose 2; Chicago 8; and so on. Somebody someday may have all the numbers, but here it suffices to say that the scandal is enormous even though the number of priest offenders is far below the average of society in general. There should have been none.
Some concluding notes
* A Washington Post poll of June 19 showed that a majority of both Catholics (66%) and non-Catholics (75%) believed the new guidelines do not go far enough. Other polls indicated that a large majority of Catholics believed that the Pope should discipline bishops who protect abusers.
* The Bishops' Executive quickly filled the thirteen posts of the National Review Board with Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating as chairman. Yet some of the appointments drew fire almost immediately, beginning with Keating, who on June 23 hailed Martin Luther's reforms as appropriate for a more democratic and lay-managed church. One month later, in late August, he suggested that frustrated Catholics should boycott Mass in their own diocese or should stop donating if they don't like the way their bishop is policing priests. (Zenit, Aug. 30/02)
Others criticized were Robert Bennet, a lawyer who defended President Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones sex scandal; Leon Panetta, Clinton's former chief-of-staff, who has a solid pro-Planned-Parenthood and pro-abortion record; and Paul McHugh, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University Medical School as their behavioural scientist, a man who once defended the university's Sexual Disorders Clinic for concealing multiple incidents which should have been reported to the police (LSN, Aug. 23, etal).
Certain groups of protesting Catholics such as Voice of the Faithful in Boston demand that lay Catholics "actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church" (Nat. Post, July 22/02). VOTF's first national convention held in Boston drew 4,200 out of some 19,000 new members across the country.
Commonweal magazine (Aug. 16/02) described the mostly "white, late-middle-aged suburban lay Catholic" crowd as excited and ready to act, yet unsure where they were heading. It didn't help that members of victims' organizations didn't appear all that sympathetic to them: the mostly "liberal" group--they cheered at the mention of women priests--could easily relegate itself to become one more liberal fringe group of no consequence, the magazine's reporter warned.
On July 31 eight American bishops sent a letter calling for a Plenary Council of all U.S. bishops to discuss the root causes of the crisis, beginning with homosexuality. At the same time the National Pastoral Life Centre in New York also called for a Plenary Council. (For texts and further details, see Origins, Aug. 29, 2002, pp. 201-207)
Ongoing reflections on priest-bishops scandals
The following is an extract from the article "On going reflections on priest-bishop scandals" in the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, Spring 2002, reprinted with permission. The article was written before the June meeting in Dallas. The author, Father John Harvey, OSES (Oblates of St. Francis de Sales) is among the most knowledgeable professionals on the subject of homosexuality. He has exercised spiritual therapy with homosexuals for 40 years, is the founder of Courage, a healing community for Catholics struggling to overcome homosexual orientation, and has written extensively on the subject.
First, Fr. Harvey noted that "the main problem of errant priestly crimes" is not in the area of paedophilia...but rather in the phenomena of priests with homosexual inclinations seeking out vulnerable youths. The secular press refuses to recognize that these priests are actively homosexual, not paedophile.
Secondly, he observed that the so-called crime of the bishops who kept moving priests around was that they accepted the advice of psychologists and psychiatrists at various treatment centres who assured them that such priests could continue to do good work. Thirdly, Father Harvey felt that turning every complaint over to the lawyers and public prosecutors could lead to unsubstantiated charges doing irreparable damage to the good reputation of a priest.
Fourthly, he recognized that the seminary investigation coducted by the late Bishop John Marshall some ten years ago was a failure because of deception on the part of seminary staff with their dissident theologians. The bishops are proposing a new investigation.
Father Harvey then broaches the question, "Should a seminarian with homosexual inclinations be ordained to the priesthood?" and gives the following answer.
My own opinion
Father John Harvey, OSFS
In the January 1971 American Ecclesiastical Review, I offered an opinion on this issue, which I reinforced in Lay Witness (March 2001). I hold that the homosexual inclination in itself should not be viewed as an impediment to ordination to the Catholic priesthood. I am aware of the 1961 Vatican document from the Congregation of Religious which was concerned with those entering religious orders. It stated: "those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination." It added that community life and priestly ministry would constitute a "grave danger" or temptation for these people.
The 1961 document of the Congregation for Religious was dependent upon the state of our knowledge at that time concerning homosexuality. The document needs to be updated by the collective insights of the last forty years concerning homosexuality and the nature and circumstances of contemporary forms of religious life. I hope that the Vatican will develop another document which will be the result of consultation with scholars in the fields of psychology, sociology, and moral theology. A recent statement by the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) called Homosexuality and Hope ought to be considered. It is available on the CMA's website, at cathmed.org.
On Sunday, April 29, 2002, Cardinal George was asked on "Meet the Press" whether a person with homosexual inclinations should be ordained to the priesthood. He responded that each homosexual seminarian should be evaluated according to norms that apply also to heterosexual seminarians. He did not think we need a universal law forbidding all men with same-sex attractions from studying for the priesthood. Earlier, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick offered the same opinion (Editor: But see the quote in Part IV).
Where are the roots?
There are other issues which remain unresolved until the bishops meet in June. One example is how the bishops shall handle cases of priests who, over twenty years ago or so, had failed in their commitment to chastity with teenage persons, but subsequently have led a good life. Another issue is whether one failure should result in dismissal from the priesthood. This needs fuller analysis beyond the phrase "zero tolerance."
What are at the roots of the problem? Some forty years ago, we witnessed Catholic theologians and ethicists who started to disagree with the authentic teaching of the Church on marriage and human sexuality, separating the procreative aspect of marriage from its love-union aspect by the justification of contraception. By the time Paul VI issued the encyclical against contraception, Humanae vitae, in 1968, it had already been assumed by the above theologians that contraception was justified in marriage for a variety of reasons. This was the first but very significant factor in scuttling Catholic doctrine.
Next came the justification of sexual intercourse before marriage. It was said that sexual pleasure is necessary for one's fulfilment, even for persons who had no opportunity to marry. Sexual pleasure became the focus of the individual. This in turn led to describing masturbation as "self-pleasuring." Pop psychologists recommended it for relaxation. The full meaning of human sexual intercourse had now been reduced to obsession with individual sexual "fulfilment." Since sex was now separated from procreation and marriage, why could not two persons who had same-sex attractions find their happiness in an attempt at bodily union with each other?
This massive dissent by Catholic leaders from the magisterial teaching of the Church is the basic message of Human Sexuality by Fr. Anthony Kosnik (Paulist Press, 1977). This book and others like it reached the libraries of many Catholic seminaries and colleges and the future teachers of Catholic high schools and grade schools.
Thus the first root cause was false teaching on the meaning of marriage and sexuality. Prominent dissenting theologians were teaching at Catholic universities and no one in authority reproved them until the case of Fr. Charles Curran (Editor: The Vatican denied him the title Catholic theologian in 1986). The situation in some seminaries and colleges became more difficult for seminarians and students who knew that the Church's teaching was not supported by dissident professors. For example, Catholic League president William Donohue refers to Fr. Anthony Kosnik's view that "fornication, adultery, homosexuality, sodomy, and bestiality" were not "intrinsically evil acts," but merely "sexual taboos." He quotes Kosnik as saying that "priests must understand that God is surely present in homosexual relations that are marked by 'sincere affection."'
It is not surprising, then, that dissident teaching led to deviant behaviour, the second root cause. Again, as Donohue observes, it is time we connected the dots between dissidence and deviance. While the latter is not always caused by the former, dissidence provides intellectual cover for deviance. On the specific issue of homosexual acts, the authentic teaching of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on this question as found in the Declaration on Sexual Ethics, 1975, and later in the Letter to the Bishops of the World on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, was reduced to the level of a "venerable" opinion. In some seminaries and Catholic colleges, students who clung to magisterial teaching were regarded as "rigid." Indeed, many seminarians left and the Church was deprived of priests. Many laity, likewise, latched on to dissident teaching, particularly on the issues of contraception, and sex before marriage.
Besides considering the impact theological dissent had upon priests, seminarians, and the Catholic laity, we need to take a good look at the harmful effects which secular psychologists, like Karl Rogers and others, had on many Catholic educators. All this is detailed in the April issue of the magazine Culture Wars. Herein E. Michael Jones' article, "Paedophilia and Kulturkampf: The Consequences of Just Saying Yes to the Culture of Appetite" is right on target. (Editor: here Fr. Harvey discusses the influence of Rogers and others in some detail). He then continues:
Culture wars, April 2002
What can we do?
I think the first thing we can do is not panic. The Church has been in a crisis worse than this before. The point was made by a priest in Fall River, Fr. Roger Landry, who then referenced Saint Francis de Sales. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Francis de Sales, the exiled bishop of Geneva, was asked to publicly address a scandalous clerical situation in what is now southern France--then Savoy. He said that the sins of clerics were a source of scandal and could lead to the murder of souls; but he added that the greater evil was that of those who allowed the scandalous acts of clerics to turn them away from the Faith of the Church, to give up the Mass and the reception of Holy Communion. This he called spiritual suicide. Do not allow the scandalous conduct of a relatively few priests to shake your faith in the Church and in Christ.
A second example, also cited by Fr. Roger Landry, is that of Saint Francis of Assisi. Like Saint Francis de Sales, he lived in a time of great immorality among the clergy. He was asked by one of his confreres, another Franciscan brother, "Suppose you knew that the priest celebrating the Mass has three concubines. Would you receive Holy Communion from him? Francis answered that he would receive Holy Communion from him because, however sinful the priest may be, he has changed bread into the Body of Christ and wine into His Blood. This is so important: the efficacy of the sacraments, including the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and sacramental absolution, does not depend upon the holiness of the priest.
What can we do? I submit that we can continue to practise chastity of the heart, for which we daily pray. Allow me to distinguish chastity of the heart from its imperfect form which I term "white-knuckled chastity." This occurs when the individual is constantly in contact with impure fantasies and desires. Past sexual experiences continue to fill his imagination, particularly if he has formed bad habits. His affections are not yet purified from these impulses. He finds himself in constant fear that he will yield to mortal sin. He is practising imperfect chastity or continence--it is a virtue. He needs to intensify his prayer life, which will cleanse his heart of lustful desires. He needs to cultivate chaste friendships. With God's grace, he will find chastity of the heart. Such chastity is a form of divine love, because it is rooted in the strongest motive for practising chastity (virginal or marital), and that is love for Jesus Christ crucified.
A: Homosexual bishops
"If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea" (Mark 9:42).
* In an April 29, 2002, report on a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden, NJ, the local paper, The Newark Star-Ledger revealed that the late Bishop George Guilfoyle, bishop of Camden from 1968 to 1989, had been known as "Queen of Fairies," and one of his top priestly aides, known as his "pimp," recruited "priests having a homosexual propensity." This revelation came from the late Msgr. Salvatore Adamo, who before his death contacted the lawyer representing plaintiffs accusing a Camden priest of sexual abuse. In a sworn statement before a lawyer and witnesses, the Monsignor revealed how the diocese had covered up paedophilia and homosexual sex abuse by priests for decades (Wanderer, May 16/02).
* In October 1993 Bishop Joseph Ferrario resigned as bishop of Honolulu, Hawaii, ostensibly for "health" reasons, but really because he had been publicly accused for years of homosexual malfeasance. On August 8, 1991, David Figuero had launched a lawsuit in Federal Court accusing Bishop Ferrario (hereafter F) of having abused him over a ten-year period both before and after F had been appointed bishop. The lawsuit was the conclusion of a twelve-year battle between a number of Catholics and a bishop prepared to crush them. The lawsuit fizzled when the statute of limitations expired.
Four months earlier, in May 1991, F had excommunicated six of the most vocal Catholics, an excommunication he had prepared over six years. On June 28, 1993, the Vatican declared the May 1991 decree "null and void." Both the Papal Nuncio in Washington and F's successor as bishop continued to support F. F has enjoyed his retirement playing golf in Maui. Figuero died of AIDS. Was it all over then? Not quite.
Ten years later, on May 20, 2002, Bishop Ferrario s judicial vicar who had engineered the excommunications, Father Joseph Bukoski--who in 1991 sported a ponytail and an earring--was removed from ministry by the current bishop following an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor some 20 years earlier (W., June 13/02).
* On June 2, 1998, Bishop Keith Symons of Palm Beach, 65, resigned after confessing he had sexually molested five altar boys early in his priestly career. He made his confession just five weeks after one of the victims went public. The 42-year-old man who levelled the accusations said he was abused over a two-year period more than two decades earlier. Symons was appointed bishop (of St Petersburg, FL) in 1981. He was the first American bishop to admit to homosexual malfeasance.
* On July 21, 1999, Bishop Patrick Ziemann, 57, resigned as bishop of Santa Rosa, CA, just days after Fr. Jorge Salas, 41, filed a complaint in court accusing Ziemann of sexually abusing him since 1996. Father Salas, a native of Costa Rica who had been ordained by Bishop Ziemann without ever having gone to a seminary, claimed that the bishop had forced him to endure sexual abuse in 1997 and 1998 in exchange for keeping quiet about Father Salas' theft of $1200 from a church fund. He also claimed that he contracted a venereal disease from Bishop Ziemann.
After Bishop Ziemann's departure, it was discovered that the small diocese (140,000 faithful) which he had governed for seven years, was $17 million in debt. In July 2002 a new lawsuit was filed against him on behalf of a 47-year-old man who alleges that Ziemann began abusing him as an altarboy and, when he turned 17, began paying him for sex (Wanderer, July 18/02).
* On October 19, 1999, Bishop Daniel Ryan, 69, of Springfield, IL, resigned with no reasons given. So ended a long struggle in which laymen in the diocese, especially Stephen Brady, who founded Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF) in May 1996, had fought to have their bishop removed for his sodomite activity. For years many people were aware of their bishop's behaviour, but only when Brady brought publicity to the cause did witnesses, including priests who had been propositioned by Ryan, step forward.
Brady wrote Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago who refused to intervene. RCF then wrote Bishop Ryan demanding his resignation, only to have the diocesan lawyers ridicule the charges and threaten lawsuits. By November 1996 an affidavit of a male prostitute was posted on the Internet showing that Bishop Ryan had paid handsomely for sexual favours for 11 years, from 1984 to 1995. A delegation was organized under Fr. John Hardon, S.J., to see first the Papal Nuncio in Washington and then the authorities in Rome. After that nothing happened.
In Feb. 1997 Brady called a press conference to publicly accuse Ryan of homosexual misconduct. When it became clear that neither the bishops of Illinois nor the Vatican were moving, while Bishop Ryan continued to solicit male prostitutes (right up till Christmas 1998), he started a publicity campaign providing detailed reports of Ryan's activities, accompanied with picketing of the bishop wherever he went. Local media--as in other cases--provided little, if any, coverage. Finally, in October 1999, Bishop Ryan resigned, almost three years after RCF had sent its delegation to Rome, but without rebuke or even reasons why. Because Bishop Ryan was involved in consensual sex, no lawsuits could be launched.
* On March 8 Bishop Anthony O'Connell of Palm Beach, FL, resigned after admitting he abused a seminary student in Missouri 25 years earlier.
* On May 24 Archbishop Rembert Weakland, 75, of Milwaukee, WI, resigned abruptly a day after admitting he paid a man $450,000 hush money for a series of sexual encounters in 1979, two years after his consecration as archbishop. The man was 30 at the time, Weakland 52. The news was broken on ABC's "Good Morning America" on May 23 (Wanderer, June 6/02).
Archbishop Weakland was among the most "progressive" prelates in the United States. Only a few weeks earlier, on May 9, in a column in his archdiocesan paper The Catholic Herald, he had let it be known that he was less than happy with Pope John Paul II, revealing past "bouts of conflict with Roman authorities," boasting that they referred to him as a "maverick" (Wanderer, May 30/02).
* On June 11, 2002, Bishop Kendrick Williams, 65, of the diocese of Lexington, KY, resigned. On May 21, the bishop was named in a lawsuit by James Bennett, 33, as having molested him as a 12-year-old altar boy. The lawsuit is one of 104 lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Louisville, of which Lexington used to be part.
Associated Press reported that at the time of the resignation the bishop was being accused by three plaintiffs, including David Hall, 51, who alleges that he was an 18-year-old when molested (Wanderer, June 13/02).
* On July 17, 2002, the Holy See announced the resignation of Reginald Cawcutt, auxiliary to the Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, with special care for the archdiocesan AIDS program. The resignation came less than a month after Stephen Brady, president of Roman Catholic Faithful of Springfield, IL, called upon him to resign in a press conference at the USCCB meeting in Dallas, which was also reported in South Africa.
Brady, in his battle with the "gay" bishop Ryan, came upon a secret website for "gay" priests in 1999, called St. Sebastian's Angels. It proved to be a worldwide group of some 50 homosexually active priests, chatting under code names in vulgar and sexually explicit language, plotting strategies to increase their influence, with the site also featuring pornographic images. After due study of the dialogue, Brady was able to identify Reg, the "spiritual director," as Bishop Reginald Cawcutt in Cape Town, a sarcastic and utterly bold individual who among other things looked forward to the early death of Pope and Ratz (Cardinal Ratzinger).
On being found out in 1999, he immediately confirmed it, but fooled his Archbishop, Lawrence Henry, by telling him it was all part of his work for AIDS victims. The Archbishop encouraged him to continue his ministry.
This time around there was no encouragement.
B: Bishops in the courts
Currently, the following are being sued: Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston; Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, on April 29, 2002, under RICO, the federal racketeering act, together with the resigned Bishop Anthony O'Connell and Kansas City Bishop Raymond Boland (the Los Angeles archdiocese has at least 30 priests under investigation).
* On July 5, 2002, Archbishop Thomas Kelly, O.P., of Louisville, KY, became the first U.S. bishop to be accused of perjury, in a lawsuit filed by the niece of Father Louis Miller who, it is alleged, abused her. (Miller is named in 63 lawsuits and was indicted on June 26, 2002, on 42 felony counts of sexually abusing children) (Wanderer, July 18/02).
* On March 11, 2002, a canonical petition seeking the removal of Patrick Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio, TX, was forwarded to the Holy Roman Rota. The petition charged the Archbishop with gross negligence in the exercise of his episcopal office, failure to protect the temporal goods of the archdiocese, and endangerment of the faith of the people entrusted to his care by allowing the free reign of sexual predators within the clergy. When the Archbishop made his court deposition he pleaded almost 400 times: "I can't remember." Since his arrival in 1979 he apparently had turned all personnel matters over to his lawyers.
Sources: The Wanderer, 1998-2002. Full descriptions and many more details may be checked in the new book by Paul A. Likoudis; Amchurch comes out: The U.S. bishops, paedophile scandals and the homosexual agenda, Petersburg, IL, Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., 2002, Index, pp. 260, $25.00 U.S., $32.50 Can.
C: Bishops elsewhere
In Europe Archbishop Julius Paetz of Poznan, Poland, resigned in March 2002 after allegations of sexually molesting seminarians. Bishop Brendan Comiskey of Ferns, Ireland, resigned on April 1 following criticism of his handling of complaints that several diocesan priests abused youngsters.
In France Auxiliary Bishop Jean Michel di Falco is suing an accuser who claimed to have been abused by him in 1972 when he was a student in a school where di Falco was then the director.
In Austria, accusations of sexual abuse in 1995 against Cardinal Hans Groer, then Archbishop of Vienna, have been revived after another Austrian bishop recently called for his rehabilitation. Cardinal Groer resigned at the time. Now the alleged victims have banded together and entered a lawsuit against the Church (Tablet, June 1/02).
In Canada, Auxiliary Bishop John Knight of the Archdiocese of Toronto was placed on leave on March 1, 2000, following a single charge of sexual misconduct. No further details have been published.
On June 11, 2002, New York Auxiliary Bishop James F. McCarthy, 59, resigned after admitting to several affairs with women, brought to the attention of Church officials in a letter (Assoc. Press).
Certain psychiatrists and psychologists have created a defence around homosexual sex abuse with the creation of a new category called "ephebophilia." Paedophilia refers to sex abuse with little children (pre-pubescent) and ephebophilia with post-pubescent boys. Neither category, they argue, has anything to do with homosexual activity.
Msgr. Eugene Clark, New York: It is a "grave mistake" to allow homosexuals into the priesthood (April 23, 2002).
There are not many who accept this argument. One thing is clear: 90 percent of sex-abuse cases by Catholic priests in the USA is with post-pubescent boys and young men.
Consequently, a number of people have drawn their own conclusion. Here are some:
Chicago's Cardinal Francis George: "Homosexuals should be kept out of the priesthood" (April 24).
Detroit's Cardinal Adam Maida: "Homosexuality is at the root of the Church's sex problems" (April 24).
George Weigel: "The overwhelming majority of predators in recent decades are homosexual priests abusing teenaged boys and young men" (April 30).
Fr. Robert Fox: "Our bishops did not stand up sufficiently and effectively to the sexual revolution that began decades ago."
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska: "The whole problem quite frankly is precisely dissent" on issues of "sexual morality."
Father Amedeo Cencini, Vatican psychologist: North American culture has for a long time assumed "a very favourable attitude toward the homosexual condition, as if it were entirely normal" (May 25).
Rev. Paul Shaughnessy, "The gay priest problem," Catholic World Report (CWR), May 2002, pp. 44-51;
Germain Grisez "Assessing responsibility for the scandal (most clerical sex crimes are homosexual seductions of adolescents and young men,") CWR, May 2002, pp. 56-57. Dr. Grisez sent a letter of similar content to the Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse on May 4.
Richard John Neuhaus, "Scandal time (continued)," First Things, June/July 2002 (see especially the section "The Triumph of the Therapeutic" about psychology replacing spirituality).
Rev. Donald Cozzens, "Time to face the facts," The Tablet, London, May 4, 2002 (about the disproportionate number of homosexuals among American priests).
E. Michael Jones, "The Weakland legacy: Was the implementation of Vatican II a homosexual fantasy?" Culture Wars, July/Aug 2002, pp. 24-37.
Mary Eberstadt, "The elephant in the sacristy," a two-part, in-depth, 22-page article, examining the denial that homosexuality has anything to do with the clergy scandals by a Hoover Institution research fellow. The weekly Standard, June 17 and if., or http//www.weeklystandard.com.
"The real issue behind the scandals in the U.S." Part 1, June 6; Part II, June 13, Zenit.org; by Dr. Gladys Sweeney, president and dean of the Institute for Psychological Sciences, Johns Hopkins.
Open letter to the Catholic Bishops: "What could bring on same-sex attraction in boys," by a group of psychiatrists from the Pewaukee- Wisconson-based Catholic Medical Association; in two parts, June 27 and 28, Zenit.org.
Samuel A. Nigro, M.D., "Jaculasis: Behavioural pollution and sex abuse by priests," Social Justice Review, Sept/Oct 2002, pp. 133-138.
And a new book by Father Benedict Groeschel, From scandal to hope, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN, 2002, pp. 216, $9.95 U.S.
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|Author:||Valk, Alphonse de|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2002|
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