Friday, August 05, 2011

Blame the Homosexual Priests.


Keeping up with the posts.
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I know - I've missed a few breaking news stories about the gays - I've been busy.  It's good to be busy.
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Now to our feature article...
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[CNA]  As debate surrounding the recently published John Jay Report (Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010) continues, more and more Catholics are coming to the unavoidable conclusion (contrary to “official findings”) that the overwhelming majority of abuse cases were directly related to homosexuality.
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One may further deduce that the historical spike in such incidents also likely coincided with an increase in the relative number of homosexual men in the priesthood - a proposition too unsavory (not to mention too politically incorrect) for many to acknowledge.
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Those who are willing to look at the situation with eyes opened wide are left to ponder, not just the aforementioned abuse crisis, but also the broader implications of homosexuality in the priesthood.
I would submit that the impact of homosexual priests has perhaps been brought to bear in a particularly profound way in the liturgical life of the Church, and I would ask the reader to keep in mind as we proceed the warning issued by St. Paul, “Know you not that a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump?” (1 Cor. 5:6) - The Liturgical Impact of Homosexuals in the Priesthood, Louie Verrechio
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Ya think?
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The article is well written and makes sense - to an extent.  But are gay priests the ones solely responsible for dismantling the liturgy too?  I suppose we could ask retired Archbishop Weakland about it, and if he were honest, he might have to say 'to an extent'.  Look what he did to the liturgy and church design.  I know!
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I've known many priests over the years - several were gay - their influence as regards the celebration of the sacraments and Mass was pretty much the same as any priest's  - not always perfect, but not always bad either.  Not all promoted liturgical abuses, and most of those I knew were very devoted to the proper celebration of the sacraments and Mass, while a couple were even rather staunch traditionalists.  Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that until recently, a certain decadence has prevailed and contaminated religious life as well as the formation of priests in the Church.  The Michael Rose book, "Good-bye Good Men" more or less documents that fact.
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That said, something I find interesting in the CNA article is the suggestion that the celebration of the liturgy - Mass - lost it's focus while the personality of the celebrant somehow took on exaggerated importance.  The author attributes this to the idea that the homosexual priest 'struggles with an underlying inclination toward narcissism.'  However true that might be, not all narcissists are homosexual.  I know straight priests who make everything all about them as well.  Anyway, here's what Verrecchio says about that:
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Priests on stage.
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In the Novus Ordo, however, the priest most commonly offers Holy Mass in the vernacular versus populum (facing the people) wherein his personality (and at times his emotional health) is unavoidably on display. Aware of the impact that his liturgical persona can have on the experience of the assembled faithful, the priest often feels tremendous pressure to draw upon his personal resources to “perform” his duties in a compelling way. Even in the best of circumstances, it is quite natural for the priest to feel moved to so meet the expectant eyes and ears of the faithful such as they are ever cast upon him in the newly configured rite. 
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For the priest who also struggles with an underlying inclination toward narcissism, the temptation to use the liturgy as a venue for seeking attention and personal gratification can be all but overwhelming.
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Given the fact that the Council Fathers encouraged neither the dramatic change in the priest’s posture toward the people nor the construction of free-standing altars to accommodate the practice, it is reasonable to wonder what sorts of influences and pressures within the priestly population itself may have allowed for such a radical liturgical innovation to take hold so quickly. - CNA
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Blame it on the _____________.
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I think that's a stretch - although containing an element of truth.  Yet the supposed narcissism of the priest leading to his being the focus of the liturgical celebration doesn't seem to me to be the main reason for how the Mass changed, becoming more banal, even profane in some cases.  After all, suspected narcissists such as Cutie, Corapi or Phlegger are definitely not gay, nor is their performance at Mass necessarily the focus of their ministry.  (Corapi as much as said that.)  So while the narcissistic dimension makes some sense, I don't know if that can be used as the excuse for liturgical decline and abuse.
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However, setting aside the general climate of moral decline in the Church after the rejection of Humane Vitae (not forgetting the 'original sin' of modern times has been the sin of contraception) the big changes to how Mass has been celebrated seem to me to be a lot less sinister - again - just my opinion here. 
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Active participation.
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Originally, my understanding as to why the altar was turned around and brought front and center, was, for all intent and purpose to facilitate "greater participation" by the laity - the community gathered together in the "worship space" around the "people's altar".  In effect, priest and laity became one.  If anything, there may have been a certain anti-clericalism at work - the emphasis off the priest and on the Body of Christ - the assembly.  One can argue against that, or claim some sort of an 'organic development', thus placing greater focus on the celebrant - but I've rarely experienced it that way.  Although I'm sure there are people who do and can tell me I'm mistaken.
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Likewise, I think there was an ecumenical dimension to the changes. Since the Reformation, many Protestant services were conducted in the same way.  For instance, today one could be in a Lutheran assembly, or attend an Episcopalian Eucharist and there would be very little difference from the Novus Ordo.  The altar is turned around, the language is the vernacular, and there is greater participation in the celebration by the assembly.  Thus, perhaps in the rush to ecumenism, the Mass underwent radical changes in externals - but I don't see how that can be attributed to homosexual priests. 
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To blame it all on the gays seems to me to be a stretch.  I could be wrong. 
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Maybe it was really Bella Dodd's Communists instead?  Along with the Masons of course.
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Top Photo:  Archbishop Weakland
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Bella Dodd

2 comments:

  1. Perfect timing Terry. As I suspected, bishops are just kind shepherds with the salvation of our souls in mind. Nope, no crisis here: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/1256776.html

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  2. Thank you for your comments on Louie's article. As an orthodox Catholic who struggles with ssa, the article actually made me angry and sad at the same time, since, as you reminded us, a number of the high profile priests who fell certainly were narcissistic and not "objectively disordered." I know of priests - yes, even traditional ones - who struggle with ssa, and I have to think that they can mirror Christ just as much by offering up their sufferings. Thank you Terry for validating my "what the heck" moment when I read the aforementioned article!

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