Saturday, September 01, 2012

Ready for your screen test?

 Better screening of seminary applicants. What?

What the Benedict Groeschel interview might have done.

I mentioned it to a few friends who questioned me on my posts in defense of what Fr. Groeschel had to say in his interview regarding the sexual abuse of minors.  Remarking on the immediate criticism and subsequent apology by Groeschel, I said:
There is a possibility - a strong one - that many of these abuse cases Groeschel was thinking of were homosexual in kind - not pedophilia - yet that interpretation is shunned and politically incorrect. Why?  Perhaps, because there are so many ssa priests in the Church.  Likewise, there remains a willingness to ordain ssa men who are themselves convinced and have convinced vocational screens and superiors they have integrated their sexuality and are able to function from their wellness and not their 'pathology'.*
To another correspondent I had this to say:
... as far as the ordaining of ssa men, the Holy See permits it so long as the person is detached from gay culture, is stable, chaste, faithful, and so on.   (At least that is what I have been told by spiritual directors, vocation directors, priests and at least one bishop.  Just last week another priest repeated it to me.  As I always say - the discernment of a vocation lies ultimately with the Church and is between the person and his legitimate superiors.  I just pray, pay and obey - and blog.)
At any rate, I think the Groeschel interview shed some light on how things 'used to be' handled, and how Church authorities want to move on and put all of that behind them.  Rightly so, however, the elephant is still in the room, isn't it.

"Of course, anything critical of homosexuality offends modern standards, even the standards of some within the Church." - Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap.

Providentially, Fr. Regis Scanlon has an article discussing the scandal, stating questions still remain.  he is specifically addressing the presence of homosexuals in the priesthood.  If I remember correctly, fr. Scanlon once argued that the vow of celibacy could not be taken by a homosexual due to the fact it refers to abstaining from marriage - conjugal love, as well as the fact that the homosexual is already bound by moral law to abstain from homosexual acts.  In short, it wouldn't be valid since the person's sexual orientation is objectively disordered.  I'm not visiting that argument here - experts can debate that - I'm not qualified to do so.  However, I located the text and will publish here Scanlon's theory:
The celibate homosexual male, therefore, doesn't need a vow to give up sex with men. He already has a divine law obliging him to do so.

Because the homosexual is already bound by the natural and divine law to renounce sexual relations with other males, he cannot renounce sexual activity with other males as a free gift to the Lord. And because he does not have a full and healthy attraction to women, he cannot renounce the possibility of sexual relations with women. One cannot renounce what one does not have! - Source
"One of the 'disturbing problems' in the Church today is that 'homosexuality exists in monasteries and among the clergy.'” - Benedict XVI

I don't know - I'm sure there are those who would like to argue Father Scanlon's positions.  Myself, I've never heard anyone else propose such a notion that ssa men can't make a valid vow of chastity.  To me that is almost like saying a destitute person couldn't make a vow of poverty if he entered religious life.  I accept his POV for what it is - his point of view.  That said, Fr. Regis is apparently not at all in favor of ordaining ssa men.  However, the point of my post here is to call attention to his argument that the presence of ssa men in the priesthood may pose a problem, and in my opinion, was the problem which led to the cover-ups and the sanctioning of transfers rather than laicization.  Anyway - what follows is Fr. Scanlon's most recent views on the matter.  (My apologies this post is so long - I always like to get my 2 cents in as well.  It's why I blog I suppose.)
... [T]he Vatican still sees a need to encourage more thoroughness when screening priesthood candidates.

Why? I would suggest that, from the start, reforms concentrated on defensive measures—protecting young people from predators who may be lurking in the clergy. That is well and good. However, a more important question remains unanswered: why should the Church allow predators to be lurking among the clergy in the first place?
... the sex abuse crisis was the overwhelming work of a very small number of clergy targeting young males as their victims. This fact suggests one reform that has yet to be addressed: the Church must screen out clergy candidates with same-sex attractions.
At first, this reform appeared to be on the radar. In 2004, the National Review Board stated that while the sex abuse crisis had no single cause, “an understanding of the crisis is not possible” without reference to “the presence of homosexually oriented priests.” The board cited the data: “eighty percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.”
Dr. Paul McHugh, a former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a member of the National Review Board, put it more strongly. Quoted in an August 25, 2006 National Catholic Register editorial, he observed that the John Jay study had revealed a crisis of “homosexual predation on American Catholic youth.”

But that warning soon disappeared from the public perception. The John Jay conclusions began to be explained as an “environment” problem. This new interpretation was made official in a 2011 John Jay report, “Causes and Context.”
Before going further, let’s be clear: sexual predators come in both homosexual and heterosexual orientations. In either variety, sexual predation is evil, and homosexual behavior isn’t the only sexual sin, or the only problem. All sexual sins can gain strength unless the clergy formation process includes an emphasis on spirituality, prayer, and asceticism. But the data from the John Jay study strongly suggests that a homosexual influence in the clergy is a key factor in the sex abuse crisis.
Of course, anything critical of homosexuality offends modern standards, even the standards of some within the Church. But those are not the standards of the Catholic Church, and her teaching. Pope Benedict XVI, for example, says in his recent book, “Light of the World,” that one of the “disturbing problems” in the Church today is that “homosexuality exists in monasteries and among the clergy.” He goes on to say that “homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation.”

The Pope’s statements are backed by the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (#2358), and other documents which declare that homosexual behavior is “objectively disordered.”
We must face facts. The data overwhelmingly identifies the main victims of the sex abuse crisis as young men. Furthermore, what critics call “access to boys” is a natural consequence of Church life, and the male priesthood. Therefore, true reform should not be to question “access to boys,” but to reconsider, with compassion and wisdom, whether clergy roles are appropriate for any man who finds “access to boys” a sexual temptation. - Source
So there you have it.  As I said to another person, Fr. Benedict's statements really betray a vulnerable culture which believed men based on sacramental graces and displays of sincere penitence, giving them the benefit of the doubt, permitting second and third chances.  Every one makes mistakes, sometimes pricey ones - we just hate to admit it or let it be known.  Personally, I believe men with ssa can move away from that identity and be ordained or admitted to religious profession.  Nevertheless, it is up to the Church and the appointed authorities to make that decision.  What is impossible for man, is possible for God.

*I'm not suggesting that such conviction is necessarily inauthentic either.


Labor Day Weekend: Last chance!

What did Our Lady really say?

 I looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none. - Ps. 69:20

What did Our Lady mean at Fatima when she requested that we pray for 'poor sinners'?   In her charity, did she mean that she approves of sinful behavior by calling them 'poor sinners'?  Or in her compassion, did she want us to believe she objects to the just punishment due to sin if sinners do not repent?  Of course not - everyone understood exactly what she meant - even the little children to whom she conveyed her very disturbing message.

Today is First Saturday, Our Lady asked us to "pray for poor sinners who have no one to pray for them."  When she made that request, I wonder if she was thinking of criminals and ...


Please pray for me and for those most in need of God's mercy.  Thank you.

“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart..."


Labor Day Weekend

Remember, after Labor Day, no more white!

Friday, August 31, 2012

May-December "Romances"...

I don't know what caused me to think about this topic?  But ...

There is a 2007 film documentary titled Chris and Don, A Love Story - it's a study of a proto-gay-marriage relationship between the author Christopher Isherwood and his partner, artist Don Bachardy.  It's a very interesting study and quite revealing as regards gay relationships and the accommodations they require.  Neither Isherwood nor Bachardy desired to be 'married' in the traditional sense - in the film Bachardy asks "why would we need a piece of paper to say that?"  Which is essentially the same argument straight couples who choose to co-habitate have made - one hears Hollywood couples repeat it all the time.  Nevertheless, Bachardy states that he feels if same-sex couples* want to get married** - they should be allowed to do so.  I doubt Isherwood would have agreed.

Quick history:  Don met Chris when Don was in his teens - they moved in together when Don was 18 -  and Isherwood was 30 years his senior.  Isherwood liked younger men - teens - that is evident from his days in pre-WWII Berlin.  Don was much younger when they met - perhaps 15 or 16.  It ought to be noted, in addition to the age difference, there was also a class difference.  That is important when considering a younger person's attraction to an older gentleman.

If I recall correctly, Christopher Isherwood was actually interested in Don's brother at first.  Both boys frequented the gay beach - a rendezvous for gay sex.  I'm quite sure boys as young as 14 made themselves available.  In larger cities, similar encounters took place in parks and recreation areas - notorious for such things, as well as beaches and pools, latrines and gyms.  People don't like to discuss such things.  Although it is one of the hidden reasons why efforts to lower the age of consent keep coming up in Europe and elsewhere.  There are psychological studies and papers written today, discussing the topic - and of course, there are horrible pro-pedophilia discussions bandied about these days. Most people do not want to deal with the issue however - they don't want to know - they would rather sweep it under the rug.

While same-sex marriage grows in acceptance and popularity.

In the pre-Stonewall era Isherwood’s increasingly acute political consciousness led him to make “the treatment of the homosexual a test by which every political party and government must be judged.” - NYT Review of Chris and Don

Looks as if that is happening today in our political climate.

Kids need real moms and dads - if they don't have them, some will go looking for someone to watch over them ...

*couples.  I wonder if the word derives from copulate?  Just a thought.

**Interesting link on gay parenting study:

University Vindicates Mark Regnerus
The University of Texas at Austin announced Wednesday that a sociologist who has been excoriated by some in the media over a study showing that parents’ homosexual relationships can have negative effects on children is innocent of academic misconduct.

Here's a thought...

To discover who your true masters are, find out who you are not allowed to criticize. - Voltaire

Pope Encourages Altar Boys

And Goyls...

"An estimated 2,500 people gathered in the town square just outside the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo for the main part of the pope’s audience.

Walking with a cane, the pope then held a second, mini-audience in the courtyard of the papal villa with 2,600 French altar servers — boys and girls — who were on a pilgrimage to Rome.

Pope Benedict told the young people they were blessed to be “particularly close to Christ Jesus in the Eucharist. You have the enormous privilege of being close to the altar, close to the Lord.”

The pope prayed that being an altar server would help the young people deepen their friendship with Christ and enthusiastically share God’s love with their friends and families.

“And, if one day you feel called to follow the path to the priesthood or religious life, respond generously,” he told the youngsters." Benedict XVI

Works for me.

H/T Deacon's Bench

Thursday, August 30, 2012

BREAKING NEWS! Mitt Romney Accepts the GOP Nomination for President of the United States!

Wow!  I never saw that one coming!

Fr. Benedict apologizes...

From The Deacon's Bench:
"I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone." - Fr. Benedict Groeschel
I always pray to Venerable Fr. Solanus for Fr. Benedict every day, and will continue to do so.  I understood that he was not laying blame on the victims, nor was he excusing the perpetrators.  Fr. Benedict is a holy man, a compassionate priest.  May God console him and grant him perfect joy in this trial. 

Benedict Groeschel Interview: Can 14 year olds be seducers?

Yes - though it is rarely acknowledged.

A friend sent me an interview with Fr. Benedict Groeschel speaking about the 25 year anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.  Fr. Benedict is well known and therefore needs no introduction from me.

Asked if his work involved priests accused of sexual abuse, Fr. Benedict replied:
A little bit, yes; but you know, in those cases, they have to leave. And some of them profoundly — profoundly — penitential, horrified. People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer. - NCR
My friend questioned the statement - she could conceive of an 18 year old as a seducer, but not a 14 year old.  Before saying more let me point out two things:  For a 14 year old, or younger, to solicit any sort of sexual intimacy, he or she was most likely sexualized and/or sexually abused at an early age, hence the child's acquired/conditioned strategy for seeking approval, acceptance, and affection is in and through sexual intimacy.  That said, be assured that in every circumstance, the adult is the person in control of the situation and needs to act responsibly. 

As Fr. Benedict notes, in some cases the adult is indeed seduced, his judgement compromised: "Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him."  I'm not sure he needs to be having a nervous breakdown, he could be in the midst of grave temptation, or perhaps his judgement is genuinely impaired through alcohol use, medication, depression, emotional vulnerability, and so on.  I'm not saying the adult is not culpable nor responsible for the act, but this may explain how and why the fall happened so easily.

My only point in this post is to say yes, sometimes young kids can be the seducers.  Especially these days when just about everyone with a television has been sexualized at an early age.  Asked why a child could be a seducer, Fr. Benedict had this to say:
Well, it’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.
It’s an understandable thing, and you know where you find it, among other clergy or important people; you look at teachers, attorneys, judges, social workers. Generally, if they get involved, it’s heterosexually, and if it’s a priest, he leaves and gets married — that’s the usual thing — and gets a dispensation. A lot of priests leave quickly, get civilly married and then apply for the dispensation, which takes about three years.
But there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor. I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review was about 2%. Would that be true of other clergy? Would it be true of doctors, lawyers, coaches?
Here’s this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things.
If you go back 10 or 15 years ago with different sexual difficulties — except for rape or violence — it was very rarely brought as a civil crime. Nobody thought of it that way. Sometimes statutory rape would be — but only if the girl pushed her case. Parents wouldn’t touch it. People backed off, for years, on sexual cases. I’m not sure why.
I think perhaps part of the reason would be an embarrassment, that it brings the case out into the open, and the girl’s name is there, or people will figure out what’s there, or the youngster involved — you know, it’s not put in the paper, but everybody knows; they’re talking about it.
At this point, (when) any priest, any clergyman, any social worker, any teacher, any responsible person in society would become involved in a single sexual act — not necessarily intercourse — they’re done.
And I’m inclined to think, on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime. - NCReporter
In response to my friend who forwarded the article expressing incredulity that a 14 year old could be a seducer, I related an anecdote from my own experience:
Absolutely true. I worked in a parish in Boston in my mid-20's, and a 14 year old kid came on to me. I was deeply offended and upset - but more concerned for the boy. I retained my composure, laughed and then led him out of the hallway into an area where other people were gathered for a parish celebration, in the meantime, explaining to him that homosexual acts are sinful and encouraging him to go to confession, speak to a priest, and consecrate his life to Our Lady. I never spoke to him again and he avoided me whenever he was at Church.   And no, the kid was not known to me before this happened - evidently he knew me however.

UPDATE:  Evidently people did not like what Fr. Benedict had to say - National Catholic Register pulled the interview.  I found this at the Deacon's Bench:
UPDATE: I’m frankly shocked that the Register, which is owned by EWTN, would allow these kinds of outrageous statements to be published. (It’s also surprising that the interviewer didn’t challenge Fr. Groeschel’s assertions.) Two possibilities present themselves. Either the Register’s editor was asleep at the switch, and didn’t read this before it went to press; or, more troubling, maybe nobody saw anything wrong with what he said. - Deacon Kandra
Readers are calling it 'deeply disturbing' - rightly so - but that doesn't mean Groeschel is wrong.  Anyway, he was simply expressing his private, personal, albeit professional opinion on the subject. 

Don't go to strangers.

'Inside... filled with dead men's bones.'

"From deceitful and cunning men rescue me, O God." - Ps 43

Yesterday I spoke with a very good priest - a priest who actually has a job - he's a pastor of a parish.  The priest doesn't have a blog, nor does he follow or read blogs - he's too busy.  This priest is in very good standing with the Archbishop and the archdiocese.  He is very solid, very devout, a very Roman Catholic priest - some would say orthodox, others would say traditional, I would say faithful. 

My advice to confused Catholics, not the ones who know everything, but ordinary Catholics who strive to be faithful and seek Jesus:  Don't go to strangers on the Internet.  Seek spiritual direction from a good Catholic priest, one who is faithful to the Magisterium.  For questions of doctrine and Church teaching, get yourself a catechism.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church is available online.  It is important to know your faith, no doubt about it, catechetics-theology is important, but without love, it is hollow.  For the ordinary Catholic, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is an excellent way to come to know and understand the faith.

When in doubt, consult your parish priest, or a priest you know is solid, or call your chancery.  Don't go to strangers or depend upon online evangelists.  

And pray.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Who is corrupt?

Who will cast the first stone?

Futility or ineffectiveness do not dispense one from speaking the truth, declaring what is wrong, and standing for what is right and just.  [...]  Whoever considers success, or makes his decisions or attitudes dependent upon whether something is futile or certain of success, is already corrupt.  Then authenticity no longer means his personal encounter with what is real; it is rather his personal dependence upon success, upon being heard, on popularity and applause, and on the roar of great throngs.  He is already corrupt.  And woe if the prophets are mute out of fear that their word might not be heeded. - Alfred Delp, S.J.

All have gone astray, there is not a good man left.


Special Florida Tornado Relief Fund...


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Miltary copters hovering over Minneapolis...

Patrolling for right-wing-nut-traditionalist-domestic-terrorist-spammers and drunks.

Story here.

The Archbishop speaks.

Bishop Cordileone explains what happened... 
While visiting in San Diego this past weekend, I had dinner at the home of some friends along with a priest friend visiting from outside the country and my mother*, who lives near San Diego State University. While driving my mother home, I passed through a DUI checkpoint the police had set up near the SDSU campus before I reached her home, and was found to be over the California legal blood alcohol level.

I apologize for my error in judgment and feel shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the Church and myself. I will repay my debt to society and I ask forgiveness from my family and my friends and co-workers at the Diocese of Oakland and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I pray that God, in His inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this. - CCD - land of fruit and nuts.

It could happen to anyone.  The big lesson here?  Like I said yesterday, "Don't drink and drive."

Crazy people are already spewing conspiracy theories about this.  The man was stopped at a DUI check point - that's it.  I'm sure he will be installed as Archbishop - as ordained.   Not to worry.

Just don't drink and drive.

Photo:  Bishop Cordileone saying the EF Mass.  Conspiracy theory #2:  He was set up by the Novus Ordo, Spirit of Vatican II, Lavender Mafia crowd, who work for the San Diego police department.

*I blame the mother.  What?

Catholics like to drink.

They sometimes even boast about it.

Fr. Z used to post photos of what he was drinking on warm sunny afternoons - I haven't noticed lately that he continues to post similar photos.  Nothing wrong with that BTW - readers seem to like it.  Other Catholic blogs often display or talk about their favorite brewskis, along with photos of the pope toasting the camera - all in good fun of course.  After all, we are not Puritans.  Drinks are on the house!  Haha!

Catholics like to drink. 

One of my confessors used to repeat scripture to me on how wine gladdens the heart and drinking in moderation is just fine.  Those were the confessions after a night of drinking just a bit too much.  At the time my confessor thought 2 to 3 drinks a night was just fine - but more than that - not so much.  Falling down drunk seemed to be the point where mortal sin was committed.  Whew! 

I could make some pretty stiff drinks, so limiting myself to 2 to 3 drinks was pretty good.  However, I came to the conclusion it was better just to stop drinking all together.  I suppose I'd have a social drink if I'm out for dinner or something - but I haven't been anywhere to have one since last Christmas.  That said, I don't think it's a good idea to drive - even after one drink. 

Years ago, when I did a lot of drinking - not at home, but in the clubs, I drove under the influence.  That was a sin.  I might add however, that it's a miracle I never had an accident or got myself arrested.  There but for the grace of God.

Catholics like to drink.

I love to drink.  Although the words of Teresa of Avila always haunted me, "prayer cannot be accompanied by self-indulgence."  That's pretty much the only reason I finally stopped drinking - better late than never.

Now far be it from me to tell anyone how to live their life, but I should think that for a priest, with a parish or some specific pastoral assignment, drinking might be unwise - especially if he could be called out on a sick call, assist the dying, and so on.  As far as retired priests, and those with a lot of free time, drinking before cocktail hour is never in good taste.   In the United States, drinking at lunch time may be inappropriate as well - even just wine.  In Europe, things used to be different, but I think there may be alcohol problems these days.

Finally - if you must drink, have some one else do the driving.

"Honey, do we have time for a quick one before Mass?"
"As long as we got an hour before communion, Ma!"

Disclaimer:  Just my personal opinion here - don't pay any attention to me if you don't like what I have to say.

"1Everyone has his own gift from God, one this and another that (1 Cor 7:7). 2It is, therefore, with some uneasiness that we specify the amount of food and drink for others. 3However, [...] 6We read that monks should not drink wine at all, but since the monks of our day cannot be convinced of this, let us at least agree to drink moderately, and not to the point of excess, 7for wine makes even wise men go astray (Sir 19:2)." - RSB, Chapter 40

Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't drink and drive...

I knew one Archbishop who did and the only way he was stopped was by driving into a convenience store wall...

Fortunately, the new Archbishop of San Francisco was stopped by the police before he got that far...
The newly appointed archbishop of San Francisco was arrested for DUI over the weekend. Police in San Diego say Bishop Salvatore Cordileone was arrested over the weekend for driving under the influence. Police say it happened in San Diego's College District just before 12:30 Saturday morning. - Source
If this is true, it's too bad - it's this kind of thing that makes mothers MADD.  St. Monica wept for years, but after her son became a bishop he pretty much straightened himself out.   Mothers, weep for your children.

I think it was Fr. Hardon who felt priests should abstain from drink.

Thom alerted me to the story.  I replied, "Holy shit!"

Methinks some people protest too much.

You know...

Gosh!  No wonder people don't like gay people - sometimes it seems as if all they do is whine... 

"Oh! I'm so depressed."
 "I just wanna be ___." 
  "I can't be... like... that...  
like you..."  
"I just want to be normal!" 
"No I don't!"   
"Yes - I do!"  
"No - I don't!"

Snap out of it!

St Monica

Everyone is probably going to write something today about Monica being the patron saint for alcoholics because she nipped a little when she was a young girl.  She wasn't an alcoholic by any means however.  If you are an alcoholic a good saint for you is Venerable Matt Talbot - not canonized yet, but he drank like a fish.

I'm not saying you shouldn't pray to Monica however.  She just wasn't a drunk.  Monica cried a lot though.  Makes me think of this song.

Just passing through...

Lately I've been feeling as if I'm just passing through. 

That everything is fading into the distance and I won't know what happened next.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

You can just tell...

That was my first impression when I came across this photo in today's paper.  The guys are part of the NAGAAA Softball World Series.  The photo was taken at the official after party, which had a "Fleet Night" theme - hence the sailor cap(s).

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Neil Armstrong and the Moon Landing...

I almost missed it.

I vaguely recall watching it in the electronics department at Dayton's.  At least I think I was at work and we were doing windows - but I'm not sure.  I think I was with my co-workers and many other store people and customers, crowded together to watch it - but I'm not sure.  We may have done the corner window to commemorate the event as well - but I'm not sure. 
Nah.  I just looked it up, it happened on a Sunday - the store was closed.  See, I knew I wasn't sure.  I watched something in space however - in the television department - with Don Gruye.  I wonder what it was?

I suppose I should be ashamed of myself for not being more involved - but there was a lot going on back then.  For all I know, it could have been staged. 

Neil Armstrong died yesterday.  (I always got him and John Glenn mixed up.)