Monday, November 08, 2010

The Religion of Sex Without Consequences

Facebook comment on one of my posts:

Abortion is at once a failure of science and society to provide simple, affordable, easy to use, and 100% effective birth control and the consequence of of some imposing their notions of sexual morality on others….


Roseanne Sullivan
Isn't that interesting? I used to believe in your religion, Fred..

Now my eyes are open about all the deceptions that have led to people redefining an absolute evil as good. I realize that abortion is the result of people making a god out of sexual "freedom." Abortion, like contraception, was seen as a great evil by society at large until the 20th century. Both of these things ARE still evil, but those who want to make us believe otherwise have the mind share and control of the airwaves.

We have a president who believes that a child would be a punishment, if one of his daughters ever made a "mistake," and he supports getting rid of the result of the "mistake." It wouldn't occur to him to teach his daughter not to give herself and her precious love that is capable of bringing life into being to someone who only wants a piece of her.

Adherents are taught to despise anything that gets in the way of their religion of sex without consequences, even their children. Their prophets, such as Hugh Hefner and Alfred Kinsey and various _psycho_-therapists, tell their followers that it is a reasonable and a healthy thing to remove all love and commitment and fertility from the intimacy that in reality belongs only in marriage and in reality is designed to bring life into being. Who cares about fruitful, faithful, and committed love?

We'd rather have the option to live like Hugh Hefner. !Not! Even the supposedly liberated Playboy bunnies (non-reproducing bunnies, ironically enough) say they want marriage and children, when they are asked. Instead they get stuck with Hugh Hefner and his ilk, and lap dogs, and a ticking biological clock, and highly likely infertility problems from undetected low level STDs, such as chlamydia, if they ever find a decent man who would want to marry them and have children with them.

We are all surrounded by old maids these days, truly old, but not maids, relicts of the playboys of the world, who have used them and not married them or given them any children or loved or cared for them in their old age. Women are trained not to screen for someone who wants the same thing they do, but instead are lectured, don't scare him away, don't start talking about "the relationship too soon." Any bozo who would be scared away by a woman who asked him what his intentions are is worth losing, but I digress.

Birth control doesn't work all the time. Birth control is usually foisted on the woman, with great risks to her health. If men had to take the pill, it would be banned.

There is a parallel here between the separation of sex and life-giving and the separation of food from nourishment. When either are pursued for the pleasure alone, it is a perversion, and has terrible consequences, in addictive behavior and in the person's health, personal life and relationships, and in society as a whole.

Another important shot of reality is that the availability to almost every child of sex education and contraception has driven up the pregnancy rate and the abortion rate instead of driving it down. And in spite of the snide mockery of abstinence training, the fact is that in Africa abstinence training has been the only social program that has driven the AIDs rate down. Condoms just don't work.

Sex outside of marriage is a public health nuisance, and for that reason alone, it probably should be outlawed again. Its consequences are abortion, STDs including AIDs, infertility (look at the large numbers of infertile couples, who when they get around to wanting a child, cannot have one), depression, depravity, child abuse and neglect, low self esteem, breast cancer (from the pill). . .. Any other behavior that had such horrible consequences and such a high cost to society would
be outlawed. We fine people for poisoning the water. But the birth control manufacturers aren't being fined, even though their products have polluted our water sources, causing feminization of boys and early puberty in girls, and who knows what other side effects they'll discover down the line.

When the poison hormones or the other contraceptive barriers between the couple don't work, and that particular rite of the initiates fails them, and a child is conceived, devotees of these false prophets are encouraged to believe that the child is not a child. Heck, even if it is a child, the parent who doesn't want to parent the child are pressured to kill it. What a terrible depressing religion is that!

Free love is not free and it's not love. Ask any woman, or man, who has been used. And then when a baby comes into being (as part of the normal use of the function in an unnatural way that seeks only the pleasure), these fanatics demand the "right" to take its life to keep their idol happy.

Just a thought, did you ever realize that the ultimate child abuse is to kill it in its mother's womb?

We are killing millions upon millions every year in the name of that false religion. You should see the teenagers at the SF Walk for Life carrying signs saying "I'm a survivor." If you asked them why, they would tell you that 1/3 of their generation has been slaughtered.

Some day society will wake up and see the atrocity for what it is. Do you know that the Nazis called people that didn't think all Jews and defectives should die religious fanatics? Actually, I'm certain of it. They didn't just call dissenters religious fanatics, they killed millions of Catholics and protestants who spoke out against them.

The only 100% effective birth control is abstinence unless you are willing to welcome the life that might come into being. For all of us to play with the force that created the universe for simply for pleasure is just as dangerous as if we were giving a nuclear bomb to children to play with, and telling them it is just for fun.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The St. Ann Choir gets literary immortality with a sonnet?

Tonight, I and some members of the St. Ann choir who study Latin together got an email from Cynthia Haven, writer and Stanford blogger. She explained why she is too busy to join the study group at this point, and then she quoted a sonnet written about the St. Ann choir by Vikram Seth, whose novel in Puskinian sonnet form is highly regarded. The exact text that refers the choir is as follows: "He finds the plainsong too uplifting/To concentrate (to his chagrin)/On unoriginal thoughts of sin..."

In case you don't know, plainsong is Gregorian chant.


------- Quote from Cynthia Haven's email-----------------------------
Those of you who follow my blog might have seen my post on Vikram Seth, who began his writing career in Palo Alto/Stanford, and went on to write an acclaimed novel-in-sonnets, The Golden Gate. You might be interested to know (if you don't already) that St. Ann's choir gets a sonnet:

Next morning in the St. Ann Chapel
Ed sinks into the Latin mass.
Although he does his best to grapple
With the degenerate morass
Where his sick soul is doomed and drifting,
He finds the plainsong too uplifting
To concentrate (to his chagrin)
On unoriginal thoughts of sin.
Confession helps to ease the pricking
Of his relentless conscience. Ed
Now rejoins Phil. The deep wine-red
Blood of the olives they were picking
Has left on the white tub a stain,
Dark, inerasable, profane.

So you've achieved a kind of literary immortality.

A bientot,

C.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Catholic Holocaust in Nagasaki Japan, August 9, 1945

I never had an inkling that there was a great Catholic story to be told about the atomic bombing of Nagasaki Japan until I read this article The Story of Takashi Nagai: Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb. The story of the Japanese Catholics at Nagasaki and what many believe to be their sacrificial deaths that helped bring about the end of the war in the Pacific is jaw dropping. The Nagasaki Cathedral of Mary burst into flames at the same time that the Japanese Emperor decided to surrender.

Part of the intense interest for me is that this history includes saints who were widely separated in space and time: St. Francis Xavier, Spanish Jesuit missionary in 1549, the St. Paul Miki and the twenty-six martyrs of Nagasaki in 1597, and Marian Franciscan missionary, St. Maximilian Kolbe. Kolbe is best known for his offering of himself in a Nazi death camp to save the life of another prisoner, but he is beloved by Japanese Catholics for his intense missionary activity in Nagasaki during the 30s. The intercession of St. Kolbe after his death in 1941 brought about the miraculous healing of one of the bomb victims, Takashi Nagai, who by his books and speaking has brought a message of sacrificial suffering, forgiveness, and peace to many in Japan after the war. To this day, while the people of Hiroshima remember the bombing there with bitterness, the people of Nagasaki remember their bombing without rancor.
"One of the regular participants in 1985 expressed the difference in this way:'Hiroshima is bitter, noisy, highly political, leftist and anti-American. Its symbol would be a fist clenched in anger. Nagasaki is sad, quiet, reflective, nonpolitical and prayerful. It does not blame the United States but rather laments the sinfulness of war, especially of nuclear war. Its symbol: hands joined in peace.'"


The article tells about Takashi Nagai, Catholic convert from Buddhism and radiation scientist who was hurt badly in the bomb blast, until a small voice (perhaps his guardian angel) told him that he should pray to Maximilian Kolbe. Kolbe had left Japan 9 years earlier, and none of the Japanese Catholics had known his fate.

Devotion to Mary is also a major theme in the series of events narrated in the article, as is the feast of the Assumption of Mary. St. Francis Xavier arrived in Nagasaki on August 15. "Exactly four hundred years later in Nagasaki on August 15, 1949—and exactly four years after Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945—there would be a great celebration of Japan’s evangelization by this great preacher, with high Church officials and a delegate from Pope Pius XII in attendance." And St. Maximiiian Kolbe's death on August 14, 1941 was followed by his body's immolation in the Auschwitz ovens on August 15.

On August 9, 1945, God’s inscrutable providence allowed an atomic bomb named “Fat Man” to be dropped from a B-29 into the heavily populated city of Nagasaki. The epicenter of the blast was the Urakami district, the heart and soul of Catholicism in Japan since the sixteenth century.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Missing the Relief and What Brought the Need for Relief

Here in California
I miss lightnings and thunderstorms
And the blessed relief they brought
When they arrived on cue
While I was a little girl lying sunburnt in bed in Boston
Hours after the sun set on hot summer days.

A wet cool breeze would suddenly rise up
And reach through the open windows.
The bedroom curtains would start to twitch.
And the venetian blinds would clank a little, restively.
Then, ah! A crack of lightning and a crash of thunder
Would herald a gush of rain.

The sodden heat would wash down through the grates in the gutters
Splash through the drains on the way to the harbor
Flow past the beach where we'd played the days away among the mild waves
Finally to drift away among those nasty jellyfish
Where they hid out at night and let their stinging tendrils down into the dark deep depths of the pacific Atlantic
And then I'd be able to sleep.


Monday, July 12, 2010

What's on My Mind? Mary, Fair, Bright, Terrible as an Army in Array

Facebook presents a little box on your Home page that asks "What's on your mind?"

Today I had to answer: Mary, the Mother of God, and our mother too.

Madonna del Parto (Pregnant Madonna) Portrayed as Ark of the Covenant

Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array? Douay Rheims Bible, Canticle of Canticles 6:10

After I came back to the Church after 16 or so years of successive phases as a scoffer, atheist, new ager, heretic, I had to pray my way around the accusatory name of Mariology that some folks give to devotion to Mary. In prayer, I asked Jesus "What's all this about Your Mother? Please show me." He continues to show me. I realize more and more all the time about how appropriate it is that the Church deeply loves Mary.

One of Mary's titles is Ark of the Covenant. Mary carried the Creator of the Universe in her womb for nine months. If there had been any stain of sin in her, she would have been destroyed. Remember the story about when David was returning the Ark to Jerusalem, and how that one unfortunate man, Uzziah, put his hand on the Ark to steady it and then died? Even if Mary had any sin in her (and the Church's teaching is that she was conceived without original sin and that she never sinned after her conception), I believe that sin would have been burned away in the fire of God who physically dwelled within her.

We all must go through a purification in which the dross is burned out so that we can stand in the Presence of God. The Church teaches that she had no dross to burn away.

Another amazing thing to me is that God formed Himself from her DNA alone. In that sense, Mary and Her Holy child were one in flesh.

Mariolatry implies worship, but hey maybe that might actually be an appropriate response to this Wonderful Woman. Mary's body was assumed after her death and lives with the glorified body of Christ. She doesn't have to wait, as we have to wait, for the Last Judgement to be with God in our physical bodies. She has already been divinized as we all shall be. The divinization of all Christians is stated in the Scripture, don't get all accusatory on me for saying it.


Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. ... Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is." 1 John3:1,2


We all are called and are now sons of God, adopted, co-heirs with Christ. And when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him because we shall see Him as He Is. Mary has seen Him as He is and must be like to Him already.

Mary was conceived without original sin. Unlike our first parents, who also were created without sin, she did not sin. She lived in perfect obedience. And who more fully lived in union with the Will of God? She lives in His Will still.

When the Angel Gabriel, God's messenger, came to announce that Mary would be the mother of the Most High (think of that!) he gave Mary a new name, never given to anyone before or after her: Full of Grace.

Hail, Full of Grace.


From an online article called The Meaning of The Meaning of Kecharitomene: Full of Grace (Luke 1:28) I learned that the term we translate as full of grace, Kecharitomene, "denotes continuance of a completed action."" The term also indicates that grace and divine favor have been bestowed "for a special vocation...." The author writes, "[T]hat final definition is essentially coextensive with the Catholic understanding of the why of Mary's sinlessness ... it is communicating precisely that Mary was immaculately conceived."


And the Angel said this extraordinary thing, The Lord is with thee." And there is even more: "Blessed art Thou among women."

Blessed is she indeed, who was prepared by God to be fit to be the Mother of the Son of the Most High.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace. The Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among womenn. And Blessed is the Fruit of thy Womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

I am reminded of Jewish author Roy Schoeman's conversion story in which he was waken from a sleep and brought into the presence of the most beautiful young woman you could possibly imagine. He knew nothing about Christianity but immediately knew he was in the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To be with her was so great a joy because of the holiness and love that she radiated, that he wanted to worship her. She told him, that is not me, it is all from my Son.

Gregory Thaumaturgus (205-270 AD):

O purest one
O purest virgin
where the Holy Spirit is, there are all things readily ordered.
Where divine grace is present
the soil that, all untilled, bears bounteous fruit
in the life of the flesh, was in possession of the incorruptible citizenship,
and walked as such in all manner of virtues, and lived a life more excellent than man's common standard
thou hast put on the vesture of purity
has selected thee as the holy one and the wholly fair;
and through thy holy, and chaste, and pure, and undefiled womb
since of all the race of man thou art by birth the holy one,
and the more honourable, and the purer, and the more pious than any other:
and thou hast a mind whiter than the snow, and a body made purer than any gold


By the way, I just realized that in Dante's Divine Comedy, Mary is the one who gave Dante the opportunity to turn out of the dark wood and go through the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso for his enlightenment and conversion. Beatrice prayed to Our Lady for Dante, and Our Lady's answer to Beatrice's prayer is what set the whole journey in motion. Mary greets him when he arrives at the highest level of heaven, and it is through her that he at the end of the Commedia obtains a vision of God.

Wonder Woman, pray for us!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What's Is the Meaning Of "In the Name?"


One of God's Glorious Names: Ancient of Days [Painting by Damian]

We Catholics recite and receive this blessing all the time: "In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." ("In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritu Sancti" in Latin.)

Do you ever wonder as I sometimes do, "What does in the name actually mean?" This post is an exploration of some of the spiritually weighty meanings attached to that simple phrase.

Names Identify the Person as a Member of a Family
When we do anything in the name of God, we are doing it as a member of His family. In that sense, we can regard the name of God as our family name

Through our regeneration by sanctifying grace in Baptism, we are begotten, born of God, and we are brothers and sisters of Christ.

This is from the Catholic Encyclopedia article on supernatural adoption:

He is our Father, but in such wise that we may call ourselves, and truly are, His children, the members of His family, brothers of Jesus Christ with whom we partake of the Divine Nature and claim a share in the heavenly heritage.

St. Paul calls this adoption and the Scriptures speak of our adoption in many places.

In the early Church, the newly baptised were called "infantes," no matter what age they were. They took names that suggested adoption, such as Adeptus, inheritor, and Deigenitus, begotten by God. The Church Fathers wrote extensively about our adoption as children of God, which makes us share in His Divine Nature.

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

But wait, there's more, much more. Not only are we members of God's family, but His name is engraved at the very deepest level of our being. At baptism the very name of God along with the image of God are inscribed on our souls!

The Church refers to a seal of Baptism, which is an indelible mark. Whatever we do, we will eternally have the name of God and image of God marked on our souls.

Because of this mark, we know we are not only members of His family in His name, we know and the devils know that we belong to Him.

The Church says that the seals imparted to the soul by sacraments are a cause for increased torment if a soul with one or more of those marks dies unrepentant for grave sins and goes to hell. It is horrifying to even think about the fact that the devils' malice is unleashed on baptized Christians and especially on ordained priests if their unrepentant souls end up in the devils' domain.


Canon Michael Wiener, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, baptises Martha Wilson, a convert

A Name Represents the Reputation of the Person Named
As an essay about God's name at a Jewish education website states, a name represents the reputation of the person named, and a name should be treated with the same respect as the person's reputation.

Orthodox Jews do not allow even the written name of God to be destroyed or defaced, so high is their respect for His Name.
Sidebar: While researching this essay, I found it interesting to see in a few different places that the first of the names used by the Jews for the one God is a plural. ""The first Name used for God in scripture is Elohim. In form, the word is a masculine plural." Some Catholic thinkers believe that the plurality of the name Elohim is a prefiguring of the knowledge that the One God of Israel is actually more than one Person, which was only fully revealed later at the time of Christ.

Like Orthodox Jews, we too are responsible to live in a way that does not defile the reputation of the name of God. And we should show the name itself every respect possible. People who constantly use the name of God casually in exclamations (OMG!), this means you.

God's Name Describes Who He Is
In Exodus 13 there is a fine example of how the name of God describes who He is:

[I]n Ex. 3:13-22: Moses asks God what His "name" is. Moses is not asking "what should I call you;" rather, he is asking 'who are you; what are you like; what have you done.' That is clear from God's response. God replies that He is eternal, that He is the God of our ancestors, that He has seen our affliction and will redeem us from bondage." [Also from http://www.jewfaq.org/name.htm.]

God’s immediate answer to Moses' request for God's name was: "I am Who am." And then God went on to say He is "He who is" and that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac,, and Jacob, and that will be His name forever.

Exodus 3:13-15 and following (Douay Rheims Bible):

13 If they should say to me: What is his name? what shall I say to them?

14 God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.

15 And God said again to Moses: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me to you: This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations."


So when we are blessed or bless ourselves in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we are asking that blessing from He Who eternally IS. The eternal nature of God's existence is evoked in the response, "As it was in the beginining is now and ever shall be."

In Greek "In the Name" Means "To the Account of"

From Wikipedia, an article on the Trinitarian formula comes this an explanation of what the phrase seems to have meant in Greek at that time:
The phrase "in the name" is (Greek: εἰς τὸ ὄνομα)...) The formula (εἰς τὸ ὄνομα) seems to have been a tech. term in Hellenistic commerce ("to the account"). In both cases the use of the phrase is understandable, since the account bears the name of the one who owns it, and in baptism the name of Christ is pronounced, invoked and confessed by the one who baptises or the one baptised."


With this meaning, we can see whatever we do "in the name" we do to the account of the person named. This is related to the theme of not besmirching the named person's reputation.

When we sin, shame is cast on this name, which is after all, our family name, and is the very name that is written on our souls.

Aside from the other damage our sinful actions cause to ourselves and others, our sins create scandal for the Church, which causes great additional harm to many. Our malfeasances are laid to the account of many innocent members of our Church Family, and to the Eternal God Almighty Himself.

For a current example see how the horrendous sins of the sexually predatory priests greatly damaged those who were involved and are being used to besmirch the Catholic Church as a whole. People have lost and continue to lose their Faith, and their eternal salvation is in jeopardy from the scandal caused by those individuals' sins.

As St. Joan of Arc said, Christ is the Church and the Church is Christ. When our sins are laid to the account of the Church they are laid to the account of Christ. He and His Church, which is His Body on this earth, are in no way guilty of the sins of those who call themselves by His Name, but the world will naturally blame our wrongdoings on the Church. And the losses to people who lose their faith from that kind of scandal are immeasurable.

We need to think long and hard about these consequences of sin and pray that all of us Christians live up to our family name and not willfully do anything that could foul the Holy Name.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Forgiveness, Heinous Psychology, and Sexual Predators

Shockingly, the ABC Australia website under "The Drum Unleashed Robust Community Debate" published an article by writer Bob Ellis, who compared our response to Al Quida to our response the Catholic Church's child sex abuse scandals. In his article, Ellis suggested that to be consistent we should shoot the pope and bomb the Vatican.

When a reader commented that he would pray for, love and forgive Ellis, Ellis replied by asking if he could forgive the sexual predators? And, Ellis wrote, if everything is forgiveable, why is there a God? This blog is my reply.

I have never seen a writer who commented back to his commenters. That's great and a bit brave, Mr. Ellis.

Forgiveness is essential part of Christianity. In the Our Father, which Christ taught us to pray, we pray "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." We will be forgiven only as much as we forgive.

For example, Christians have gone so far as to act kindly to their guards in the Roman Coliseum and in Nazi prison and death camps. That's one price of following Christ, forgiving our trespassers. Hard, but not impossible, with Christ as our model. He forgive those who tortured, mocked, and crucified him.

Part of the healing of the victims of abuse might be for them to forgive the ones who damaged them. A Church father I read in the Breviary recently said that unforgiveness is like a rusty arrow tip poisoning the soul.

Forgiveness does not imply that no wrong has been committed or that the person should not be punished.

What the sexual predators (priests or not) have done is heinous. The priests who do such things are worse than other pederasts and child sex abusers and should be held to a higher standard because they abused their roles and sacreligiously broke their vows of chastity. And they brought shame to the Church and to other good priests, damaged many lives, and led many to despair and lose their faith, and gave ammunition to the Church's enemies.

I make no excuses for them. But I want to remind you of a few things.

Do you remember that at the time when most of these crimes were committed, reputable psych journals were publishing articles claiming that sex between adults and children can be healthy and positive for the child? Removes sexual repression and all that rot?

It stunned me to hear that kind of filth coming out of the lips of a sedate woman Ph.D. student in psychology I knew in the 1980s. I read the articles myself.

A lot of people doubted their right to disagree with the psychological establishment. Our society has deified psychologists for many decades. We are too enlightened to believe in prophets, unless they are shrinks.

In addition, for another example, remember that Kinsey published research from pederasts who were abusing children from the time they were babies. One of the Kinsey Institute "researchers" was a Nazi who did his experiments in camps. Kinsey's website still has writings that claim that the only real damage to a child who has been abused by an adult occurs if the mother finds out and makes a fuss. To his mind,that was the only trauma. Kinsey not only ignored the obvious physical damage to anuses and undeveloped vaginas, he denied the psychological damage.

Why has everyone found it in their hearts to forgive Kinsey? And to forgive the sickos who were trying to push the sexual "freedom" agenda as far as normalizing sex between children and adults?

All of the homosexuals with whom I was once friends believed that children should be "liberated" from sexual restraints, and they would love to be the "liberators," and would be if the occasion arose. I know kids who have been approached in park bathrooms by homosexuals. Should we go after all homosexuals too because of that? Or should we just go after those who knew about those actions and didn't report them?

I would be all for consistency.

Rock Hudson had parties to which beautiful young boys were brought for his pleasure. He was not the only movie star or theatre person to participate in sex with young boys, the younger the better. The same thing was done by John Donahue, director of the Children's Theatre in Minneapolis would invite boys to his parties to be shared among his pervert friends with a threat that they would not get parts in the plays if they did not play along. Their friends knew. But they didn't turn him in.

Let's have equal retribution for all. When are you going to exhort people to shoot movie stars, theatre directors, and psychologists and to bomb Hollywood, theatres, and wherever it is that psychologists hang out? And don't forget to shoot the ones who knew but didn't call the police!

The psychological establishment gave people with those leanings perfect justification. That philosophy may have also given some bishops a fear that if they took radical action against predators they would be considered narrow minded and unenlightened.

In those years, practically everyone (Catholic or not) practically deified psychologists and some bishops (sinners who truly also violated their roles as shepherds of the flock) trusted the "science" of psychology more than they trusted their Church's own consistent moral teachings.

Psychologists had not yet "discovered" that sexual predators cannot be cured. So treatment was always recommended as the appropriate response. I have heard stories of those treatment centers, which were flawed because they didn't teach chastity appropriate to the priests' station in life. At the same time, psychologists were preaching the goodness of fantasizing to priests and religious. It doesn't take a high IQ to realize that what you think about you become.

Jesus said that what you think about in your heart, you have done.

I even saw a sign at the Minneapolis convenstion center once advertising a MBLA (Man Boy Love Association) convention. Unbelievable, but true!

But nowadays people who hold those perverted views are keeping their lips zipped until the excoriation of the Church is finished.

I ask you to answer this fair question. If all is forgiveable, why have a church, or a God, at all?

All is forgivable, but not all is allowable and not all is excusable. You made excuses for the victims who went on to victimize others. Perhaps the predators you despise had been victims themselves?

Don't mistake me. Anyone who does these things deserves to be removed from contact, jailed, or otherwise punished and prevented from committing future crimes. To be consist, of course, punishment would have to include the victims who went on to victimize others.

You mentioned Graham Greene was called an agent of Satan. All I've ever seen is that his flawed doctrine in the Power and the Glory was called into question. And Pope Pius XII actually supported him. Graham was an unfortunate Catholic who let his pursuit of sexual "freedom" drive him out of the Church, out of his marriage, and out of decent life. His promiscuity was loathsome and pathetic.

Or do you have a different view?

I think there were several different classes of bishop. Some were complicit in the same crimes and would not act. Some were practicing homosexuals, some of whom were sympathetic to their pederast peers and, even if they were not, their peers had too much dirt on them for them to act against them.

Another third class is the bishop who was chaste himself, but who was swayed by the psychological establishment. He would either believe the canard that the abuse was not really all that serious, or would believe that the right thing to do was to send the perpetrator to treatment, and give him another chance. Since we are supposed to forgive 70 x 70, then perhaps this might explain the multiple reassignments of some priests. A member of this class of bishops should confess his own sins and not hide his culpability for his own years of cowardice behind stringent new regulations to protect children. After their innocence has been stolen.

Another class of bishops was perhaps naive. Chaste and sincere himself, a bishop in this class most likely believed that priests who sinned this way were capable of repenting and amending their lives. Priest predators like all child molesters are cunning and charming, and they fooled adults and superiors alike. They probably fooled good bishops too.

I'm hoping for the day that some of the bishops who were in the third class, the ones who trusted psychologists more than their own Church's clear teachings, will come forward and confess instead of pointing their fingers only at the priests.

I'm also hoping for the day that all sexual predators are held to the same standards by people like you, whether they are priests, ministers, scout leaders, parents, relatives, or free-thinking journalists.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You Call This a Definition, Fr. Bretzke?



Left: Photo of Fr. James J. Bretzke from when he taught at University of San Francisco and San Jose's Institute of Leadership in Ministry

Authorial Self-Indulgence in a "Latin Theological Dictionary"

Quite some time ago I chanced upon a very odd example of authorial self-indulgence on the topic of Mass celebrated ad orientem in the book Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary, by Jesuit Father James Bretzke.

Fr. Bretzke started his definition of "ad orientem" with: "Expression used primarily in a recent liturgical dispute . ..." [How completely off the wall is that, just for starters?]

Fr. Bretzke went on to write, "Certain 'traditionalists' allied with Mother Angelica's Eternal Word Television Network, based in the diocese of Birmingham, Alabama, claimed that the only 'true' tradition in the Church was for both the presider and the people alike to face toward the east in celebrating the Eucharist." [Clearly he doesn't like 'traditionalists' or EWTN and seems to think that the station's location in Alabama is a strike against it too. ]

The way Father Bretzke spins it in his "definition," Birmingham Bishop Foley won a judgement against the EWTN "traditionalists" from the Congregation for Divine Worship. The Congregation "rejected the traditionalists' claims ... The Congregation's Prefect, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez wrote that it is 'incorrect and indeed quite unacceptable' that anyone should claim that to celebrate toward the apse is the more orthodox choice for the presider."

You should know that Fr. Bretzke egregiously ommitted the fact that the Congregation also wrote that it was incorrect to prohibit the use of the ad orientem posture or for anyone to claim that facing towards the people (ad populum) was the more orthodox choice.

And he also neglected to mention that EWTN was not trying to prohibit the Mass being said ad populum, but only trying to celebrate and televise their own Masses using the ad orientem posture, which had never been disallowed.

Bishop Foley responded to the Congregation's decision by withdrawing his blanket prohibition, which was clearly illegal. But he then took an action that was apparently within his rights as a bishop, and he prohibited the televising of ad orientem Masses.

The way Raymond Arroyo's biography of Mother Angelica, The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles, tells the story, the EWTN friars (an order started by Mother Angelica) had been increasingly alarmed at the inclusive language that was being inserted into the English translations of the Mass. Mother Angelica set her nuns to studying the Vatican II documents, and they discoved that neither the use of Latin or the ad orientem posture had ever been forbidden. So the friars changed the way they said the Masses.

Arroyo's story gives the strong impression that Bishop Foley lost face after the Vatican response. The bishop had forbidden ad orientem Masses completely, but he had to withdraw that prohibition after the Vatican firmly made it clear that he was not allowed to do that.

After Bishop Foley's prohibition of the televised ad orientem Masses, beautiful reverent ad orientem Novus Ordo Masses in Latin continued to be said routinely at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament without the cameras turned on. I've been there for a few.

Rome several years later overturned Foley's decree, saying he didn't have the authority to issue it, because he was forbidding what the universal law of the church allows.

Even since Pope Benedict XVI liberalized the use of the traditional Latin Mass, now on ETWN Masses in both forms are celebrated frequently at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament with the priest facing ad orientem, towards the East, the Dayspring, the dawn, our salvation, Christ Our Lord.



For full disclosure, I have to tell you that Fr. Bretzke and I have a history. I met James J. Bretzke, S.J. when he was moonlighting at the San Jose Diocese Institute for Leadership in Ministry and I was a student there.

Called the ILM for short, the institute is promoted by the diocese in the Valley Catholic newspaper as a training ground for lay leaders who will be able to assume the role of "directors of parish life" and replace priest pastors in the diocese. I only gradually became aware of that purpose, and I am not a supporter of what they are trying to achieve. I believe that they are covertly trying to make an end run around the prohibition of women priests and the discipline of clerical celibacy by creating a new type of pastoral role that can be assumed by anyone, married or not, male or not, celibate or not, educated or not.

If the ILM has its way, these leaders will do everything a pastor can do, except that they will need to hire priests to "provide for the sacramental needs of the parish."

Fr. Bretzke was also a professor at the University of San Francisco at the time I took his ILM course in what I always snidely refer to as either "Moral" Theology or Immoral Theology. Fr. Bretzke in his classes and in his books teaches that a person is morally infantile if he or she accepts the ordinary teachings of the Magisterium on issues such as birth control. He is not alone in this disobedient position, which gained ground in the 1960s and whose proponents apparently never change even in the face of Papal teachings to the contrary. (See Ralph McInerny's books What Went Wrong with Vatican II and his novel The Priest for a description of this exact point of view espoused by 1960s enthusiasts for the pill and their subsequent disobedience to Humanae Vitae.)

Instead of being censured, Fr. Bretzke's teachings are accepted by his peers as normative, and he keeps getting bigger and grander teaching postions at Jesuit institutions.

Fr. Bretzke since has moved on to teach at Boston College.

This article is one I wrote about his teachings on "moral" theology. This blog post describes the connection between another blog post I made about his “moral” theology and my dismissal from the ILM. After two years of enduring bad teachings, my dismissal was the occasion for a big sigh of relief on my part.

Below, Fr. Bretzke as he looks now as a BC professor. I remember him in the ILM classes always wearing the same old sweater.

Monday, March 15, 2010

On Facing Towards the Dayspring from on High

What do you think? When a priest is facing ad orientem (towards the East) during Mass is he "standing with his back to the people"? Or is he facing along with the congregation towards Christ, who is the Dayspring from on high?


Critics always refer to the posture of the priest when he says Mass facing towards the East as "standing with his back to the people," with the implication that the posture is an insult to the congregation.

The current Pope and many others cite this ancient practice as praiseworthy, since the priest and the people are facing the altar, the crucifix, the tabernacle, the East, and ultimately God, and not each other.

We all have experienced the disorientation (pun intended) that occurs when the priest and the congregation face each other. With the priest facing the congregation, there is a well-known tendency to turn the Mass into a performance by the individual priest. And the focus is not so subtly shifted from the Sacred Mystery of the Eucharist to the interaction between the priest and the people.

Some quotes [see below] I recently found from ancient authors strongly reinforce the idea that the priest and the people should be facing together towards the East.

Why the East? It is the direction identified with Christ, and salvation, and, of course, with the dawn. In the Canticle of Zechariah, Christ is called the Dayspring, the dawn, from on high.

Churches were traditionally built with the sanctuary at the East end. The altar was installed on the East wall, so that when you faced the altar you were facing the East.

Turning to the East is turning to Christ

In reading St. Ambrose's On the Mysteries for last week's Dead Theologians Society meeting, I found in Chapter 2 that Ambrose wrote that the person being baptized turns to the east "for he who renounces the devil turns to Christ, and beholds Him face to face."

Atonement Comes From the East

In the Office of Readings one day this week, I found Origen in a homily on Leviticus wrote, "Atonement comes to you from the east. From the east comes the one whose name is Dayspring, he who is mediator between God and men. You are invited then to look always to the east: it is there that the sun of righteousness rises for you, it is there that the light is always being born for you."

This is a good article about ad orientem.

This is another good article.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Notes on The Devastated Vineyard by Dietrich Von Hildebrand [1]

Pope John Paul II called Dietrich von Hildebrand "one of the great ethicists of the twentieth century." Pope Benedict XVI said this about von Hildebrand, "When the intellectual history of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century is written, the name of Dietrich von Hildebrand will be most prominent among the figures of our time." Von Hildebrand's philosophy of personalism influenced the thought of both these popes. His writings on marital love impressed John Paul II when he was a young priest and may have had a role in the development of his own defense of marriage and of the Church's ban on contraception in his writings on the theology of the body.

In 1973, Dietrich Von Hildebrand wrote The Devastated Vineyard. He wrote these chilling words in the Preface, "the active work of destruction [of the holy Church] is in high gear." While many in the Church after Vatican II "were deceived by such slogans as 'renewal,' 'aggiornamento,' and 'come out of the ghetto'," Von Hildebrand was encouraged by seeing that many who were initially deceived were returning to orthodoxy. "Various movements have been formed which are taking the offensive against the destruction of the holy Church and the falsification of the Christian spirit..." But by 1973, the errors had gained much ground, and some errors that were being disputed when he starting writing books about them in 1969 (including the book The Trojan Horse in the City of God) had been widely accepted as beyond dispute in 1973.

He wrote, "The purpose of this book is, first of all, to give a short clear presentation of the principal errors which are being presented today .... Secondly, we shall especially try to unmask those hidden, subtle errors which are usually introduced under beautiful, apparently noble titles, and whose danger is often overlooked even by believing Catholics."

Sad to say, from what I've seen and heard, it seems that the battle for mindshare has largely been lost, and the errors that Von Hildebrand wrote of in his books are pretty much accepted by most Catholics, by the clergy (bishops and priests and religious sisters and brothers), and by the laity (university professors, RCIA directors, practically everyone down to the least educated person in the smallest parish in the least cosmopolitan town in the world). It took me years after I returned to the Catholic Church to find anyone who did not believe the errors Von Hildebrand wrote about, even if they had internalized them and would not be able to call the errors by name.

The past two popes have tried to counter most of the errors, but they are not being respected by the mass of Catholics who have been taught to believe (and believe because it suits them) that those old guys in Rome are out of touch and have no right to be telling them what to do.

I first heard about this book over coffee after Sunday Lauds, which are sung weekly by a few St. Ann choir members at Prof. William Mahrt's condominium at Stanford. Sitting with the others around the table in the little dining room drinking coffee out of one of Bill's sets of fine china cups, I remarked that I kept wondering how the Church could have changed so drastically after Vatican II. Just for one example, I told them that when I left the practice of my faith in 1963, sisters (nuns as we incorrectly called them) were leading lives of self-donation. Dressed in black or white habits with veils, sometimes elaborate headdresses and starched white wimples, with a big plain rosaries hanging from a cord at their waists and crucifixes on their breasts, they lived in simple surroundings. They taught children, took care of the sick, and did everything as humble brides of Christ who were not seeking their own way.

When I came back to the Church in the mid 70s, sisters were either dressing for success, clicking down school corridors in their high heels and good suits, wearing polyester pant suits from thrift stores, or they were shlumping around in sweatshirts and jeans and athletic shoes.

For example below are photos from the Sisters of Providence website: Their founder is in the old habit and the present-day sisters are in their mufti. Other contrasts: eyes no longer modestly cast down, big grins on faces


And one of my first indicators of how drastically things had changed from the days when a religious sister taught only approved Church doctrine was when I happened to glimpse the cover of America magazine on the desk of a priest at a Newman Center. It featured a cover story by a Sister so and so, and the title was something like, "Should Divorce Be a Sacrament?" Another indication was the "dress for success" type sister at my daughter's high school who said, "I don't believe in abortion, but I believe we should provide a safe abortion for women who have made that hard decision." I sputtered at her something about how we don't provide similar amenities for women who might make the "hard decision" to kill their babies after birth, so they don't have to do something as difficult as taking the baby out in the back yard and dropping a rock on its head. And I walked off.

When I was done repeating my tales of woe, Professor Mahrt then mentioned that philosopher Dietrich Von Hildebrand had written this book. I asked if I could borrow his copy, and Bill said yes, but then he told me during a later Lauds coffee time that he had looked through his piles of books and couldn't find it.

I finally found it about a month ago in the catalog of Santa Clara University library.

I'll list some of the principal errors mentioned by Von Hildebrand here. As I have time, I will create other blogs with notes from my reading of this book, where I think Von Hildebrand made some good points.

However, I still am looking for the book or books that will explain from a spiritual point of view how almost everyone in the Catholic Church moved from the at least superficial orthodoxy I witnessed in my childhood to acting out a set of beliefs that contradicted traditional doctrines. Von Hildebrand's book lists the errors, but it doesn't explain the values shift that occurred that made it possible for well-meaning Catholics to embrace philosophies that directly contradict what they previously believed, and how they did it without losing their faith in the Church.

I repeat again what I've written elsewhere: I don't understand how someone who believed in the teachings of the pre-Vatican II church could believe that the Church had been wrong for 1960 odd years until some theologians and bible scholars (I use the words theologians and scholars for these debunkers of the faith with a sneer, I am sorry to say) came along and figured out how wrong the Church had been. With that point of view, what's left to believe in? Why do they stay Catholics at all?

According to Von Hildebrand's book and to others I've read, such as Ungodly Rage, many unbelievers stay Catholic either as a fifth column that is consciously trying to destroy the Church from within, or as zealots who think they have the truth and work to "transform the Church into something which completely contradicts her meaning and essence." p. xii.

Von Hildebrand quotes Henri de Lubac, S.J. "in the name of a 'new' Church, a 'post-concilar' Church, some people are atempting to found another Church than that of Jesus Christ: an anthropocentric society, which can be drawn into a movement of general surrender under the cloak of rejuvenation, ecumenism, or adaptation.'" p. xiii.

Some of the Principle Errors

"[T]he theories of the arch-heresiarch, Teillard de Chardin"
"[T]he legend or myth of 'modern' man, and historical relativism"
"[T]he apostasy from the true Faith, which is not conceded to be apostasy by those who proclaim it but is interpreted instead as aggiornamento .... "[This apostasy is evidenced by T]he pluralism of [Karl] Rahner ... Schillebeecks's denial of he imorality of the soul ..."
"[T]he false idea of a middle way between extremes"
"[T]he illusion that our time represents progress in comparisonwith earlier times"
"[T]hat Divine Revelation should be changed to adapt it to the spirit of the age


To be continued.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Trying to understand the last 50 years

I finally located a copy of Dietrich Von Hildebrandt's The Devastated Vineyard. I started to try to find the book about three years ago after Prof. Mahrt mentioned it it one Sunday morning over coffee after Lauds at his home. I had posed to Prof. Mahrt this question that nagged me. What could account for the radical changes that happened between when I left the Church in 1964 and when I returned in 1976 or so?

Bill told me that Von Hildebrandt had written on that topic. When I asked if I could borrow the book from him, Bill said he would be willing to lend it to me. But then when I asked him about it after another Lauds, he told me he was not able to find the book. That was plausible, Bill Mahrt has hundreds of books that at that time stood in hip-high piles around his condomonium on the Stanford campus. (He since then has cleared out his guest bedroom, had the floor reinforced and filled it with book shelves.) But my search for the Von Hildrebrandt book led to a dead end when I found that the only copy I could locate at Amazon was priced close to $100.

When I was at Santa Clara University library a few weeks ago for Paul Mariani's talk on Gerard Manley Hopkins, I found The Devastated Vineyard in the catalog. After all this wait, I'm plowing through it now, but I'm not greatly impressed.

But luckily a new prospect of understanding what happened the Chruch after Vatican II presents itself to me in the writings of Ralph McInerny, who died the day before I went to the Mariani talk. In reading articles lauding McInerny that I chanced upon that day, I first heard of McInerny's autobiography, and so I was able to locate it at the same library catalog that night. The title itself speaks volumes to me: I Alone Have Escaped to Tell Thee.

I have often thought to write a novel about a religious sister who was full of the faith I had been raised on and describe what her life was like after all the changes happened after Vatican I. McInerny, as it turns out, got to the topic first. His first two novels were about two priests facing the fallout from the council. The first The Priest, was about a young priest. "What was the novel about? It was set in 1968 and the central character was a young priest, Frank Ascue, just returned from Rome to begin teaching moral theology at the Fort Elbow, Ohio, seminary. The question I had put myself was: what is it like to be a young priest today when the Church seems to be reeling in post-conciliar factionalism?"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Traditional Mass Jottings: Positive Article by Valley Catholic Editor About the Traditional Mass Where We Sing

I was flabbergasted and thrilled to see this article in the Valley Catholic, San Jose diocesan paper! It presents the San Jose Latin Mass community and our love of the Latin Mass from the community's own perspective, and the journalist gets out of the way and lets the priests' words speak eloquently about the reasons for the appeal of the traditional Mass.
Left: Father Jean-Marie Moreau and Abbe Eric Majewski (seminarian) at the altar at Five Wounds Church

Father Morgan, pastor of Five Wounds Church in San Jose, who welcomed the Latin Mass that is said at his church at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday, was quoted as saying that he is intrigued by the numbers of young people he sees at the Tridentine* [sic] Mass. “Perhaps they find the formality of this liturgy appealing because they are so used to informality, especially in California.

Tridentine* (which the author used often in the article) is not quite the correct term. The form of the Latin Mass that was allowed to be celebrated more freely by Pope Benedict XVI in his Summorum Pontificum is called the "Extraordinary Form" (EF). The EF is contrasted with "Ordinary Form," which is the New Mass, or Novus Ordo" (NO).
This blog explains more about the terminology.

“People have a great desire to connect with the mysterious which they don’t find in the ‘new’ Mass,” he said, “where there is a focus on community."
Since I sing in the choir, I especially like this quote from Fr. Morgan: “We have a great choir here and they are excellent with Gregorian chant, one of the Church’s and civilization’s great treasures.”

Left: Choir loft; look at all the young people!

Fr. Morgan is a diocesan priest, recently installed pastor of Five Wounds Portuguese National Church where our choir sings every Sunday at 9:15 a.m. High Mass and at other Masses and services. Fr. Morgan has been eagerly learning how to say the Latin Low Mass and to lead Sunday Vespers. As a result of his being a quick study, Fr. Morgan has just begun to offer a low Mass every Wednesday evening at the church at 6 p.m. And he leads the sung Latin Vespers at 3:30 p.m. on the Last Sunday of every month.

And I like this other quote from Canon Jean-Marie Moreau, who is from the Institue of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the Episcopal Delegate for the Extraordinary Form at St. Margaret Mary Church in Oakland, and the rector of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Oratory in Santa Clara, and who says the High Mass at Five Wounds at 9:15 a.m. in Sundays.
“The liturgy speaks to your senses. The Gregorian chant is beautiful and the high Mass at Five Wounds has a wonderful choir.”

There is one thing I would want the diocese of San Jose to understand from the glimpse in this article of the vibrant set of volunteers who keep the Latin Masses going in the diocese. It is that lay involvement does not mean everyone should be a minister and take the role of the priest--which is one of the often stated goals of the diocese's Institute for Leadership in Ministry, that laity should be trained to assume the role of the priest as pastor. Lay involvement is what we all do! And we do it out of love. We don't need no ILM to know how to serve!

The current Pope is quoted often as having called for a new liturgical movement to counteract the over-the-top liturgical innovation that followed Vatican II. Here is a link to my blog post about the subject, aptly called: Traditional Mass Jottings: Pope Benedict XVI Called for a New Liturgical Movement. I believe we are part of that movement.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Comments on a CNS Comparison of the New Mass with the Traditional Mass

A few comments in response to this article from the Valley Catholic, quoted from Catholic News Service, which seems a bit biased against the Tridentine Mass:

Full participation

Many people who attend the Tridentine Mass feel they are more-fully participating in the Mass in the Extraordinary Form by following the prayers of the Mass in the Missal in a reverent way. Full participation does not require everyone to be a minister, but that everyone prays the Mass along with the priest with hearts lifted up to God.

Latin

The Vatican II document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, did not get rid of Latin. On the contrary it stated that the vernacular should be "allowed" for readings (Epistle and Gospel) with the expectation that Latin would continue to be used for the rest of the Mass. Before the wholesale change to the vernacular, which was not a requirement of Vatican II, everyone followed the Mass with the Missals that were provided in the pews. And anywhere you went in the world, you could always participate fully in the Mass, which was offered in the universal language of the Church. Every religion has a sacred language that is set apart. Why should Catholics abandon their sacred language?

Penitential Prayers

About the implication that the congregation does not participate in the penitential prayers because they do not recite them out loud, I want to point out that the congregation reads the penitential prayers from the Missal. And the "Kyrie Eleison" is/should be said by the congregation.

Ad Orientem Vs. Ad Populum

About the priest praying with his "back to the congregation" [ad orientem], the current Pope and many others cite this ancient practice as praiseworthy, since the priest and the people are facing the altar, the crucifix, the tabernacle, the East, and ultimately God, and not each other. With the priest facing the congregation, there is a well-known tendency to turn the Mass into a performance by the individual priest instead, and the people rather than God become the focus of worship in the round.

Give Us Our Propers

Another change between the old and the new form is the removal from the Mass of many ancient prayers that were intrinsic to the Mass, and that are sung in Gregorian chant in an EF High Mass: the Introit, the Gradual, the Alleluia and verse, the Communion, and the Offertory, and much is taken away when they are omitted.

Gregorian Chant

Sacrosanctum Concilium referred to Gregorian chant as one of the inestimable treasures of the Church.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Abortion's Root Causes: Deification of Sex

Anyone who opposes abortion should address the root causes: the deification of sexual license and the use of contraception. The god of sexual freedom demands human sacrifice and is getting millions of these hideous offerings in the form of aborted children. If, as many people believe, sexual pleasure is the greatest good, then anything that limits it is evil.

The values taught by the Church, celibacy outside of marriage and chastity inside marriage, are the only ways for people to have "safe sex": sex that is safe for their bodies, their emotional happiness, their souls' salvation, the good of society and the good of any children that may be conceived when couples are intimate. I used to support NFP, but I now admire more the many married lovers I have encountered who welcome all children that God intends for their families. God decides when a soul comes into being and loves that person for eternity. How can the children's mothers and fathers do any less?

Licentious sex goes after the pleasure of the union and kills the result. The deepest human emotions are trampelled in the process too. "Don't tie me down," is the cry of the sexual predator. From Dorothy Day onward, women have been pressured by their "lovers" to abort a child the "lover" doesn't want, and then the women often find they are not loved either. It is a terrible thing to use another person for pleasure without recognizing the real bond that is created in the act. The religion of sexual freedom seeks to avoid at all costs the full expression of the act that is realized in the creation of a child.

This is all Newspeak. A child is not a "failure of contraception" or a "mistake." It is a human being loved by God. A woman should not be asked to stuff down her emotions of love and attachment to her lover so that she doesn't "drive him away" or "be possessive." And women should not be pressured to murder their children to serve the god of sexual freedom either.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Answering Scandal with Personal Holiness

This is a reprint of an essay I wrote in May 2002 at the crux of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. In it, I refute the politically motivated claim that states that the child sexual abuse was caused by celibacy. The root causes go a lot deeper than that.

Roseanne T. Sullivan
Answering Scandal with Personal Holiness

From: "Mary N."
To: "Roseanne Sullivan"
Subject: I added my name to votf today
Date: Wed, 22 May 2002

Roseanne,

I had to tell you this. I hope you don't mind.

I don't know what you think about the Catholic church's scandal of the year erupting on the east coast, but it's something I think about more than I want to admit. What is coming out in the news strikes me as horrible in every sense of the word, and I am saddened by a church that really has done a lot of good in the world making a mockery of itself by all the denials and weasel-wording that seems to be taking place. I just don't get it.

At the same time, I can't walk away from the church, either. At least not yet. It's hard enough trying to be a Catholic these days without all the scandal heaped on top of the day to day living.

I added my email address to Voice of the Faithful's website today. I don't know if you've heard about them, but I think that this new group captures the essence of the possible good that could come out of this. If you're interested in hearing more about them, go to www.votf.org. At times, I've thought about joining Call to Action, but a lot of what they stand for seems too radical even for me. The VOTF people have a chance, though.

---Mary

Date: Wed, 22 May 2002
From: Roseanne Sullivan
Subject: Answering Scandal with Personal Holiness
To: Mary N.

"You don't judge something by those who don't live it, but by those who do."
--Rev. Roger Landry in a sermon dated 2/12/2002: Answering Scandal with Personal Holiness

Hi Mary,

Thank you very much for letting me know what you are going through about the abuse scandals and the coverups.

I never heard of votf until I looked at the web site. I will think about whether I should participate. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it, except that it might give more ammunition to the people who are trying to condemn the Church itself, rather than the sinful individuals who are to blame in this scandal. I certainly couldn't support call to action.

The way I think about the scandals is that evil permeates everything in this world, including some people in the Church.

For how to respond to this evil, I look to St. Francis' example. During his time when abuses were rampant in the Church and some bishops lived like secular princes, St. Francis lived his life simply according to the teachings of Christ. And He would even kiss the feet of priests whether they were living good moral lives or not because they had the exalted privilege of consecrating the body of Christ.

In other words, Francis did not condemn or point fingers or try to bring down the current Church hierarchy or start a new religion. He set himself to love God with his whole heart. He also set himself to live completely the authentic teachings of the Church. And his example inspired millions to clean up their own acts.

Luther when faced with the same set of abuses started a new church.

When priests are immoral and false to their calling, it is a great evil and a great shame. And Christ I am certain is grieved that little ones have been molested by priests who are supposed to be acting in His name. There is something much worse than a millstone around the neck waiting for priests like that.

Here are some of the root causes I see. After Vatican II, a lot of people thought that because some precepts changed (such as not requiring people to abstain from meat on Friday), that the whole doctrine and moral teachings passed down from the apostles were up for grabs. What I see in the modern Catholic Church are lots of people who think that Vatican II meant that the Church should conform to the world's ideas of what is right and wrong. The flaw behind that idea is, as it says somewhere in the Bible, the devil is the prince of this world.

As one part of the post-Vatican II attitude, I have noticed that priests seem to have a naive faith in the power of psychologists. If you go to them for spiritual counseling they often tell you to get secular counseling. I believe the Church has the answers, and I don't want to go for advice to someone who is probably an athiest and a moral relativist, like most psychologists I've met.

What I'm trying to say is that the problems we are seeing now are partly from the fact that this generation has put too much credibility in the pronouncements of psychiatrists and psychologists. For one example of how wrong they can be, about 20 years ago, I was acquainted with an older woman getting a PhD in psychology at the U of MN. She was reading in psych journals that echoed Kinsey's position: that sex between adults and children can be good. She didn't practice it herself but she acquiesced because she had a respect for experts. At that time a lot of counselors were having sex with their clients because they believed it was beneficial--for the client. She was one of the clients of a psychologist who thought that way.

Did you know that Kinsey did most of his research on pederasty by interviewing one subject who had abused hundreds and hundreds of children? You can search for Kinsey at google and prove it. That is how he was able to document how early in a child's development a child is capable of orgasms and how many. The pederast took notes! Just think, the fact that Kinsey didn't turn the guy in has never been seen as a coverup. After all, as a psychologist and a scientist, he had to protect the man's privacy, and couldn't reveal his sources.

Kinsey and others have also promoted the idea that a child who has been molested will not be traumatized unless his parents make a fuss.

I bet you many priests and bishops even those who were pure themselves might have swallowed those lines of baloney.

And I have found homosexuals I have known to believe that sexual repression of any sort is wrong and that children should be taught to explore sexuality without any limits. For example, I hung out with Alan Ginsbery and his lover Peter Orlovsky, and they talked fondly about how Peter walked around naked in one family's house and how cute it was that a small child came up and touched Peter's .... I found out before he died that Ginsberg was a member of the Man Boy Love Association. MBLA, and he practiced it himself.

[A man I was once involved with, who since has decided he is a homosexual] at one point mused about how he would like to get a chance to free my children from the sexually-repressive teaching he was sure I was foisting on them.

I don't have any proof, but I am convinced that the almost all the priests who are abusers of boys were practicing homosexuals before and probably after they joined the priesthood. It is going to be hard to be a good priest, I believe, if you have been practicing unloving uncommitted sex for its own sake, hetero or homo, outside of marriage. Just saying some vows won't automatically make you able to resist the impulses you cultivated before you made the vows. And when you secretly or not so secretly believe there is no harm in it, then you definitely won't put up too big of a fight.

At the same time period I knew the PhD student quoting the experts about the beneficial nature of children having sex with adults, my daughter Sunshine was a student at the Children's Theatre Company. When the scandal about John Donohue molesting students came out, many parents rallied to John's defense. I remember I was interviewed by TV news and I told them "Parents have been paying him a lot of money to teach their children, not to molest them." They then interviewed a very modern little girl next to me who confidently spoke to the microphone: "It takes two, you know." Can't you just hear through her what was being said around her house? I've heard the same thought expressed in my own family.

It just crossed my mind that we don't say that the theater industry is evil because of people like Donohue, do we? Donohue was a member of MBLA too. And we don't brand all psychologists as evil because some of them sexually abuse their clients or because some of them promoted rot such as the stuff I quoted earlier.

The Church is Christ's body on earth, a mystical body whose breath is the Holy Spirit. Even though some Catholics close themselves off from the Spirit, the Spirit is alive. God will not abandon His Church, because the Church is His Body on this earth.

I cry about what is happening. There is more to cry about than the sexual abuse of young people, horrible as that is. I pray to God to purge the Church of unworthy shepherds who are not caring for the sheep that God has entrusted to them. And for those who are teaching their own opinions formed by the most cynical of wordly philosophers instead of what God has taught.

Here is what I think of the coverups. Those of the bishops who haven't capitulated to modern mores probably put too much stock in the notion that you can trust a repentant priest to be able to stay away from sin.

I'll call them the "good bishops." The good bishops, being maybe more virtuous than many of us, probably did not understand how hard it is to break the hold of habitual sin. So they might not realize that turning away from sin is not just a matter of deciding to not do something wrong again. They don't know that sin is addictive, and even if a priest is truly repentent, he might not be able to turn away from the behavior just by wanting to. They saw it as their duty to forgive.

And I know the priests that were only outwardly repentant got a lot of mileage out of their superiors' beliefs that they had to forgive and rehabilitate sinning priests.

I know that the notion of turning the sinning priests over to the authorities probably never occurred to the bishops.

I am personally affronted by the fact that some bishops really didn't seem to realize that these activities weren't just (oh well) a result of our sinful fallen human nature. And that they didn't seem to be concerned appropriately with how terrible it was that children were being used for sex. And I'm affronted that the priests who were abusers could allow themselves to do those terrible things. I definitely think there was too much tolerance.

I also think that the good bishops and the others also were bound to try to avoid scandal that might damage the reputation of the Church (as is happening right now). I don't think it was a coverup to save their own skins (like the attempted Watergate or Monica Lewinsky coverups). The motive was to avoid bringing shame on the Church. If they made it public that nice Father Shanley was doing unspeakable things with the altar boys, they would cause a lot of people to lose heart and maybe to lose faith. As is the case right now.

How they could have reassigned these wolves to other parishes and not forced them to leave ministry, even I cannot come up with an explanation for that. How they could promise parents to deal with an offender, and then allow him to keep offending, I don't know about that either. Maybe they were like us all, too busy, finding it hard to put things in the proper priority. Maybe they just let proper action slide out of avoidance for distasteful tasks.

I am glad that the Pope has said that no man who practices such things can be allowed in the priesthood.

Don't bail out Mary.

Here is the title of a sermon written by a very articulate priest after the scandals broke: Answering Scandal with Personal Holiness. He said that even one of Christ's closest friends betrayed him. Don't let these betrayals separate you from the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.

Affectionately from your Catholic friend,
Roseanne