After the comprehensive and well-written essays on this page by Thomas Addis and Vincent Ruggiero, plus an uproar in the secular media, one might question what I might add to this discussion about the evil that has been polluting our Church for several generations. A pair of personal anecdotes may shed some light on the longevity of this clerical moral affliction and my introduction to it.
In 1986, my St. Louis parish welcomed a new pastor, only the third one in its long history. Of German origin, he had an uncommonly sardonic wit. I accosted him just south of the Sanctuary one morning. I was the parish’s new pro-life coordinator and I had some form that I thought he should approve. He halted me from about 30 feet saying that he was alarmed anytime someone approached him with a folder, such as the one I bore. What is it, he asked.
I responded, It’s a paternity suit. Do not question why I said such a thing! Perhaps it is my own German wit but the pastor’s quick draw wit might suggest the Holy Spirit was involved. Without hesitation he said, That would be an improvement.
About six or seven years later, I was hosting a weekly talk show on WGNU radio. One of my regular callers was a husky black man, whose broadcast handle was the Prisoner of Love. He was an odd duck who weekly kept quacking the same refrain, Why don’t you talk about them priests and those little boys? I usually dismissed his comments without fanfare.
One time, I did answer him saying that’s why the Church now has altar girls. Years later, I concluded that maybe he knew more about the subject than I did. I wished I had questioned him as to why he kept asking me such a cynical question every week. Was he a victim or did he know someone who had been abused? Or did he just have it in for the Catholic Church?
Since then, I have been studying this issue for the last 15-20 years. What follows is essentially what I have learned. I think you will find it is somewhat different from what we have continually heard or not heard in Catholic media and from the pulpit.
At long last, as the aforementioned Catholic Journal essays mentioned, the considerable homosexual influence in this scandal has finally come out of the clerical closet. What neither fully addressed was the perpetuation of the Big Lie that has shrouded this pernicious influence for at least two generations.
Both the Church and the media have been engaged in what amounts to a gentlemen’s agreement to obfuscate the truth of the scandal. They have adeptly accomplished this under the rubric of the ambiguous cover of pedophilia, which is defined as an unnatural attraction for prepubescent boys AND girls. (Emphasis Mine)
One of the aforementioned essays articulated the salient fact that the vast majority of cases have surrounded young boys and adolescent boys. I can only remember one or two prepubescent girls mentioned under the age of sixteen.
I offer three arguments for this connection between homosexuality and the clerical sex scandal. As I quoted in my book, Liberalism: Fatal Consequences, a newspaper headline in a San Francisco gay newspaper read: If no sex by eight, it’s too late. Since gays could not marry, this was and still is the best way they could recruit new members.
And then there is the notorious organization, known as NAMBLA, an acronym that stands for North American Man-Boy Love Association. I suggest the daring check out their website.
I questioned a reporter for the progressive newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on the phone several years ago after reading his six-part series on clerical sex abuse. I suggested to him that both the media and the Church were essentially engaged in a conspiracy that cloaked the true nature of the crime that had befallen the Church.
I also shared with him my belief that the Church had a vested interest in not admitting just how many gay priests it has ordained while the media did not want to expose the sordid connection of sex abuse with a type of homosexuality. It was a mutual lie that has served to euphemistically shield their dark secret.
I submit that both institutions have obscured the fact that the sexual abuse of minors is a branch of homosexuality that traces its roots back to the Phoenicians and the Egyptians, though it was the Greeks and the Trojans, who popularized it, elevating it to a near cult status. Socrates and many many of his fellow philosophers practiced pederasty because they enjoyed the smooth, hairless bodies of young boys for their hedonistic pleasure.
In ancient Greece, pederasty was a socially acknowledged romantic relationship between an adult male and a younger male, usually in his teens. The influence of pederasty, or what I call the Greek Persuasion, on Greek culture was so pervasive that is was called the principal cultural model for relationships between citizens.
According to Plutarch, Theban pederasty was instituted as an educational device for boys in order to soften their natural proclivity for fierceness and violence and to temper the manners and characters of the youth. In other words, sex with an older man was good for them and a natural part of their maturation.
The Trojans conjured the same activity more for its fraternal and bonding importance, because it served as a vital cog in the wheel of their future warrior class. Like the Greeks, they theorized that it was a good thing for these youngsters to be loved by older men, which in the street parlance of today, are known as Chickenhawks.
By sharing their bodies with the philosophers or warriors, they would enhance their intelligence or military skills and move ahead of their not-so-lucky peers. This resonates well with stories I have read about some abusive priests who convinced their confused victims that sex with a priest was nothing short of a holy act and maybe even a sacrament, rich with grace.
On another front, Deacon Kurt Godfryd and I discussed this issue in emails. He commented that we were living in historical times, not unlike what befell the Church during the 16th century. He is absolutely right but I think this issue is of a much greater magnitude than the Indulgence scandals. And look what that did to Christendom!
While I seriously doubt we should anticipate another 100 or more years of sanguinary warfare, Catholics must see the relevance of the 50-year struggle between its liberal and traditional wings. This inner debate has seriously muddied the waters and perhaps even paralyzed the Church in its attempts to cleanse the Church of what Pope Paul VI called the smoke of Satan.
It is this internecine struggle between these two factions or what the New York Times has called a Civil War that may largely be responsible for the Church to come together and foment a viable cure for this long standing cancer within the Church.
In my parish, I recently attended an open forum on the sex scandal. The moderator, a brilliant professor at the Catholic seminary in St. Louis, and the pastor, both seemed to say that the counter-reformation this time would come from the bottom up instead of the reverse as was essentially the case five hundred years ago.
The session allowed many to air their feelings, misgivings, and opinions of this troubling issue. Unfortunately, the opinions were all over the playing field. While some women were in tears, I was surprised there was not more anger vented that night. Perhaps the angry had already voted with their feet and had separated themselves from the Church in protest. Some called for the pope to resign. Others defended his reign.
I have no strong opinion as to whether Pope Francis should resign, like the NYT insists, or ride out the storm. I got the impression, however, that my parish is a microcosm of the Church at large with its political divisions. I do not not see what can be gained from another resignation. The damage done to the Church and the priesthood is historic.
What can we do seemed to be the common refrain. First of all, the Church has to honestly identify the pederastic source of the problem, and refrain from any attempts to equate the need for penance of the faithful with the crimes of the priests, as some prelates have done. Unless there are some heroic and even saintly leaders that come to the forefront, I do not believe the two sides will ever heal their historical differences.
Secondly, to heal as the Body of Christ, we should follow the wisdom of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who believed that any sin was likened to hammering a nail into a piece of wood. Once the nail was confessed, that is—removed, it still left a small hole. Just imagine how large a hole exists in the sturdy oak of the Church.
Consequently, the Church must do universal penance for the sins that these perverse priests have done with the good priests leading the way. By universal, I mean acts of self-denial and works of charity by everyone who still considers himself or herself a Catholic, starting with the clergy.
Maybe sack cloth and ashes is a bit Medieval but something along those lines. I suggest simple attire, the disdain of privilege and rank, processions, special masses, breast-beating and whatever else might be pleasing to God because one thing is for certain, He cannot be too happy with the Catholic Church in 2018.
A fictional example of the kind of clerical penance I am thinking of is the film, True Confessions, adapted from the novel written by John Gregory Dunne. Robert De Niro adroitly plays Msgr. Desmond Spellacy, an ambitious priest who sets his heart on swift advancement in the Church.
To accomplish this, he is required to become immersed in the sordid financial and moral corruptions of ecclesiastical power politics in Los Angeles. His character was allegedly based on the career of of Msgr. Benjamin Hawkes, who oversaw the growth of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from the 1950s to the 1980s.
As the movie ends, Msgr. Spellacy has repented his corruption and seen spending his declining days ministering to a poor Mexican parish, far from L.A.
Pope Francis just might be humble enough to at least start the ball rolling in this new Catholic reformation.