Monday, July 26, 2010

Closer to home: La Crosse priest charged with possession of child pornography.

From Rome to Wisconsin...
They're here and they're queer.  Like I said in a comment on another post concerning gay priests, "There always have been gay priests and there always will be gay priests - and monks." 
But this is just sad and devastating and maddening:  Wisconsin priest charged with possession of child pornography.  C'mon - in 2009 he was ejected/banned from a Wisconsin Dells water park for following boys into the restroom.

No charges were filed in the July 2009 incident involving Father Patrick Umberger, who served parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee before moving to the La Crosse Diocese in 1996.
The incident, however, was the impetus for the investigation, according to the criminal complaint.
Umberger, 59, was charged Thursday in La Crosse County Circuit Court and released on a $10,000 signature bond.
According to the complaint, Umberger said that he was attracted to boys and young men but that he never had inappropriate contact with children in his 30 years as a priest. Among the images of children on his computer were three boys and possibly one girl in sexual poses, according to the complaint.

Umberger has been suspended from duties by the La Crosse Diocese. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. - Source

The priest is 60 years old.  Gustav von Aschenbach was in his early 50's when he stalked Tadzio (Death in Venice, Thomas Mann).  The problem is not pedophilia - it really is homosexuality.  And as the examples of both Aschenback and Ted Haggard demonstrate - being married is no insurance policy - in fact I think in such cases a wife is often referred to as a "beard" - a cover.  Of course, not all homosexual/same-sex attracted men encounter this temptation, nevertheless it remains an important consideration for not ordaining homosexuals.
H/T PewsittersNews


  1. If music be the food of love play on....I noticed the Hamlet quote

  2. You are turning into me Cath. Gosh! That's scary!

  3. Terry ~ There are, however, some cases of child pornography, and from what I understand, this priest was actually found with actual child pornography. It's important because, of course, the children and families involved, as well as those priests who are so sick (and have likewise been abused) need prayer, compassion...and justice.

    May God have Mercy...


  4. michael r.6:47 AM

    "The problem is not pedophilia - it really is homosexuality." No, the problem really is pedophilia. In particular instances, your statement may be true. In other instances, like the one involving my own female sibling, the problem was most definitely NOT homosexuality. This constant attempt to blame homosexuals for the crisis in the Church is really quite tiresome.

  5. Terry,

    Forgive me if you've explained this before elsewhere, but why do you conclude homosexuality is the problem--not just a problem, but the problem?

  6. Seminarian X - I will try to explain it, but I think I may need to take some time to do so, and maybe it will have to be another post. In reality it is 'a' problem and not a stand alone problem - but it's a major problem nonetheless. In my opinion it has been radical feminism and homosexuality which has posed major problems for the Church in our times - both are related to what I like to call 'the original sin' of modern times - contraception. Anyway - I'll do my best - and keep in my mind it is just my opinion. Thanks.

  7. X - for now the following post will have to do as an explanation why gay clergy is the problem.

  8. Could "gay clergy" be the problem because we as the Church don't have the "courage" to face the real problems?

  9. Thom,

    What are the real problems?

  10. A deficient "theology" of sexuality, for starters.

  11. Can you explain that a bit further?

  12. The theology isn't fully developed, it doesn't take into account objective natural evidence, and some of the arguments make precious little sense unless one has a preconceived answer.

  13. I'm still missing the connection, I think. What about sexuality is not understood? Objective natural evidence of what? Is this in relation to homosexuality in particular or all sexuality?

  14. In this discussion homosexuality, but I think it could apply to sexuality, generally.

    Eg.: In a discussion of theology and sexuality (let's say homosexuality, since that's the topic of the day), when was the last time you heard a Bishop reference a study or a new bit of research that relates to the issue at hand?

  15. Terry,
    I agree with you 100% that *the* problem is homosexuality.

    I am also sick of people trying to poo-poo that idea (reality).

    I have spent years of my life entrenched in gay culture and I've heard and seen alot. Alot of it was jokes and catcalls about wanting to "do" young passing-by boys and teenagers.

    It's just the truth.

  16. I can't speak to the sort of people that you associate with, Charlotte, but to most normal people, that behavior is inappropriate.

    Far be it from a straight man to ever cat-call a woman, right?

  17. It depends on what the issue at hand is. If we're talking about the morality of homosexual acts, it isn't the bishop's job to research so as to inform his teaching on that--he has a duty to communicate the truth the Church guards and continues to expound.

    If it's why homosexuality is disordered in relation to sexuality on the whole, again, I don't think it's the primary concern of a bishop to be on the lookout for research to guide his teaching. What the Church has now in terms of theology may be 'deficient' or underdeveloped in your view, but that doesn't then dictate a new role for a bishop.

    I don't think that then means that research or other 'evidence' has to be necessarily discarded as if to assume that it's unhelpful in the making of a point within a certain context.

    But that isn't and never could be the bottom line for us in terms of guidance on alot of the questions surrounding homosexuality. If it was, or if we thought it was, we'd be misunderstanding the nature of the Church from the start.

    In terms of homosexuality and the priesthood--whether gay men should be ordained--I think there's deep theological reflection we could tap into to see why that's probably not a good idea.

    And, the continued attempt to call attention to straight men's immoral behavior (cat calling a woman) with a gay man's behavior of the same kind so as to argue for some kind of equal opportunity ordination, if I've even understood the point being made correctly, doesn't get at the heart of the problem.

  18. God gave us brains with which to think; why are we not to use them to understand God more completely?

    Re: the catcalling, I was merely pointing out that such behavior can't be limited to one sexual orientation- it's simply a matter of bad manners.

  19. Cat-calling over grown men and women is one thing.

    Cat-calling and lusting after boy children and boy teens is another. It happens ALL THE TIME in the gay community and anyone who has spent any considerable amount of time around gay men knows it.

    In fact, I'll go so far as to state that many so-called "effemminate" traits displayed by gay men are also and simultaneously juvenile and on purpose.

  20. Just because you've seen something doesn't establish it as a general rule.

    I say again, I do wonder about the people with which you chill.

  21. chill - ED

    past tense

    Every time someone makes a criticism of the gay community based upon personal and real, repeated experience, there always seems to be a voice from the gay community saying that those are aberations and isolated cases. Why is that?

    I don't buy it.

    Also, I have another question: Why is it that you are a standard fixture in so many Catholic discussions about homosexuality? I'm not just talking here - it seems you're everywhere. At some point, don't you feel you are banging your head up against a wall? I mean, it's not like we're gonna change our minds.

  22. Just checked Thom's blog. Hmmm. I had my first communion at Our Lady of Fatima in Huntington. Small world. I was even there last year once.

  23. "Every time someone makes a criticism of the gay community based upon personal and real, repeated experience, there always seems to be a voice from the gay community saying that those are aberations and isolated cases. Why is that? I don't buy it."

    So because you experienced something, that's how it is universally?

    "Also, I have another question: Why is it that you are a standard fixture in so many Catholic discussions about homosexuality? "

    Because it affects me. Directly. And it affects so many people. Adversely, usually.

    "At some point, don't you feel you are banging your head up against a wall? I mean, it's not like we're gonna change our minds."

    Yes, in fact, though that's never been known to stop me.

    And OLoF... nice place.

  24. Thom,
    I think you need to look through my blog say from about a year ago - maybe August or September 2009?

    I have PLENTY of experience with the gay community. Although reading through much of your blog in the last hour, I can see that you would totally disregard my own experiences based upon your prejudices against people who have changed their ways.....

  25. I'd be happy to- can you link me? I can't see an active blog, other than the child ones, on your Blogger profile.

    And you based what, exactly, on reading my blog? I'm not sure I understand.

  26. It seems that you do not believe in the whole ex-gay thing.

    September 29, 2009 entry "Full Disclosure"

  27. Well, you're right. I do doubt it very much, because I've been there. Not saying it doesn't work for some people, but I doubt it.

    I'll check out your referenced post.

  28. "God gave us brains with which to think; why are we not to use them to understand God more completely?"

    Thom, that strikes me at as a cop-out at this stage of the game.

    Since you still haven't specified exactly what it is you're taking issue with, I can only say as a general rule that of course the Church doesn't expect us to turn out brains off when we approach God or Church teaching. At the same time, there are times when we're called to obedience regardless of how much we understand at a given time.

    If you're interested in what I think is a thoughtful piece that approaches the subject of homosexuality and ordination, though it's not the writer's main focus, you may want to check this out:

  29. I think the whole thing is not a heterosexual or homosexual thing--it is a chastity/celebecy thing...

    Gay or straight, priests and religious take vows of or straight..if you CANNOT handle that vow, thenyou should not be in the religious life.

    It should not matter if a priest or religious is gay or straight, they are VOWED to be celibate...end of discussion.

    Singles must be chaste according to their state in life, just as marrieds are to be chaste to their spouse.

    And believe me, as a straight single woman constantly tempted on a daily basis by very attractive, fit, intelligent men, it is not a cake walk.
    Every day I can resist the temptation, and grow a bit more in holiness.

    Child molesting is just that--a CRIME. Anyone under 18 in most areas of the US, doesn't matter if it is young child or 17 year old male altar server. Criminals need to be reported to proper authorities and legal punishment rendered. any bishop or other authority who "hides" or "shelters" these offenders is guilty of an offense.

    Homosexual activity between "vowed" adult persons breaks vows of celebacy, same with heterosexual relationships, and need to be dealt with by the proper superiors. However these are not the same crimes as child molestation. Big difference.

    If an individual cannot keep his/her vow of celebacy then the religious life is not for them and they should be guided to a lay vocation.

    It is not a crime to be homosexual--however they are called to celebacy, just as I myself as a single person am called to celebacy until I am married. I pray alot, and offer up my temptations for the good of others. And believe me it isn't easy by any means....

    But the end result will be worth resisting all of the temptations of the flesh..

    God Bless.. Sara

  30. Good one, Sara.
    We are all "intrinsically disordered" through original sin. Each of us is affected by it in different ways. The good news is that we have a Redeemer.

  31. Wonderful and sensitive document addressing this topic. Skip to the endnotes for scientific research to back it up, much of which performed by groups supportive of the gay lifestyle:

  32. Yes we are all "intrinsically disordered" through original sin, but I think what people are trying to point out is that it's not just a black and white "both heterosexuals and homosexuals are called to chaste celibacy" kind of thing. I believe the view some are trying to show is that homosexuality takes it a step further in that it is against natural law. And from there it seems the point people are trying to make is that in the majority of all the abuse cases those suffering from a disorder in natural law (homosexuality) were also the perpetrators of the abuse. It was/is a huge commonality in the cases. So when the Church is looking at flushing out the problem and they have a group of people that are disordered right down to the basics of natural law and are also abusing-the focus of where to cleanse the problem then appears.

    Just some observations.

  33. Charlotte, I read your story. I hurt for the abuse you suffered, and I can understand why you present yourself the way you do. I hope you find healing.

    Sara and Melody, thank you.


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