Saturday, October 23, 2021

Catching-up - The Catholic Man-Crisis and The Great Reset

Fr. Jim Cosgrove before he was ordained a deacon.

 Kind of.

I haven't posted much because I've been busy and it is easier just to post links on FB with a comment of two.  My title for this maybe misleading, since I have no intention of writing a great deal on these subjects - but I am catching-up with blogging.

The 'man-crisis' business.

I consider it a sort of business - even though it's part of a big apostolate online and in many American dioceses. I've read some good things, I know there are wonderful spiritual talks on the subject - with the Year of St. Joseph offering more profound spiritual dimensions to the work.  It's just that, I don't know, what makes a Catholic man a manly man?  Sports?  Beer? Guy's on a camping trip?  All the things bears do when they go hunting or hiking?  Dressed in Army fatigues, cowboy hats, big beards, plaid flannels, drinking whiskey shots before and after the rosary?  Because if you watch a lot of
Youtube, that's what it looks like - window dressing for MAGA Catholic men.  It reminds me a bit of how to raise your son so he doesn't turn out gay.  Load him down with masculine interests and activities, especially sports and he'll turn out fine.  

How to fix the Catholic 'man-crisis'.

Like I said - it's an apostolate now.  A business.  A beard, for at least one guy, a priest named Fr. James Cosgrove.  As a young, good-looking, enthusiastic priest, he was in the perfect position to exploit the crisis.  Men are so naïve, so caught up in machismo.  Just like gay men.  Gay men are attracted to what?  The same sex - they like men, real men.  What better scenario than to minister to men, to help them come to terms with their masculine vulnerability, acceptance of their sexual being, to dealing with their inhibitions and fears and of course - sexuality.  Be it same-sex attracted or opposite sex attracted or consecrated to God attracted.

Cosgrove on The Catholic Man Show.

Here's the story on Fr. Jim.

It's similar to how former Cardinal McCarrick operated.  It also could have happened to me, since I used to get similar invites - but didn't go because I knew what they wanted.  

"Three former seminarians say Cleveland diocesan and seminary officials failed to respond appropriately, after Fr. James Cosgrove allegedly pressured them to take naked swims with him at a lake house and other locations, couching the invitations in both spiritual language and excessive alcohol consumption.
One seminarian also said the priest took nude photos and videos of him without consent.

The former seminarians say they were harassed and manipulated in 2019 by Cleveland priest Fr. James Cosgrove. They also allege that after they reported the misconduct and it was investigated, the priest still had access to seminarians, and a key to the seminary.

While the priest resigned from ministry this month, the former seminarians say that seminary and diocesan officials left other seminarians at risk of abuse from the priest, and have not listened seriously to their concerns.

Former Cleveland seminarian Nick Grismer told The Pillar that in June and July 2019, Cosgrove pressured him into skinny-dipping at the seminary’s swimming pool, and at a lake house owned by a diocesan priest. Cosgrove also took nude photographs without his consent, Grismer alleged.

He said the priest exploited their close relationship and his trust, encouraging him to drink heavily, even when he knew that Grismer struggled with alcohol abuse - on one occasion, the seminarian got so drunk with the priest that he says he cannot recall what happened.

Grismer also alleges that the priest abused his religious influence to coerce and manipulate him.

When urging him to skinny-dip, Cosgrove would tell Grismer to “be free before God,” or “be naked before God,” the former seminarian claimed."
- The Pillar

Cosgrove wasn't attached to the seminary, so it isn't a clear case of abuse.  He just visited.  The diocese doesn't think much of it either: "While the Cleveland diocese told The Pillar Thursday that the matter “does not involve any conduct that could be reasonably considered to be coercive [or] harassing,” one former seminarian called that response stunning." Which suggests to me, it's not unusual to have something like that happen - boys will be boys or men, if you will.

Which is what I find to be rather humorous.  Not every abuse is actual abuse - the seducer might be designated a perpetrator, stalking for prey, but in this situation, it just sounds gay.  Cosgrove was manipulative, the guys were manipulated, but still, nothing really happened - I'm not getting any victim vibe here.  They got drunk, they took off their clothes.  Blowing the whistle and making it public - well that took care of it, despite no punitive action from the seminary or the diocese.  Fr. Cosgrove left ministry on his own.  How he got ordained is a good question, but people can hide behind a lot of things.  They can hide behind a pious façade, behind a manly-man façade, a 'just a guy' jock type of façade.  

Jack from Will and Grace wants the ex-gay
group leader to 'hit the showers'
with him.

Call it 'masculine vulnerability'

Men like men.  It's natural.  Men know how to be masculine.  It's normal.  Most men are normal - even those who find other men handsome and easy to get along with and who want to be friends with them.

Homosexuality has scared so many people, they no longer know how to deal with it. Before it became acceptable, it was feared, now that it's all in the open, it's feared even more.  Leaders and spiritual directors of men's groups promote gender/cultural-stereotypes of masculinity to defeat it.  The men  want their beer, their guns and their beards to make sure they can be identified as real men.  The leaders and directors developed a spirituality suited only for men, to make sure they are doing it right.

I can't put my finger on it, but I think it's kind of a cult in the making.  I could be wrong - in the meantime, I'll look for the humor in it.

Oh!  Look at the time - The Great Reset will have to wait.  Don't press that button without me.

"There's something about nakedness in the male psyche — and now I've studied initiation rites — it's universal. The boy always gets naked, as you see in the sweat lodges, too." - Richard Rohr

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The irony of Facebook censorship.

ABC News posted this:

I left the following comment:

Terry Nelson

"She is the most annoying woman in the US. I wish someone would shoot her into space."

FB wouldn't allow the comment, albeit the meme from ABC News says the exact same thing:  Warren says billionaires 'have enough money to shoot themselves into space.'  She says 'shoot' - 'into space'.  Yet my casual remark doesn't follow their Community Standards?  

So nuts.  AI will destroy us.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

The Truth

Bishop Bonnemain

An Interview with Dr. Gerard van den Aardweg.

I don't subscribe to LifeSite but I've been reading a few articles from their site. I especially admire Dr. van den Aardweg and his studies on the homosexual condition, and I often agree with his conclusions, in reference to my own experience of the condition, that is.

I especially appreciate his insights in this interview, which is all I have to say at this time.  

LifeSiteNews interviewed Dr. Gerard van den Aardweg, an expert on Opus Dei and homosexuality, to discuss Bishop Bonnemain, Father Jesusmary, Opus Dei and the homosexual problem. Dr. Van den Aardweg described how the recognition of homosexual relationships 'erodes and coarsens the natural perception of the unique ideal of marriage and of the intimate link between sexuality and procreation.' - Continue reading here.


Monday, October 04, 2021

The Day Facebook Vanished

Social Giant Wiped From Web

Big headlines on Drudge - and all the chatter on Twitter.  It's pretty amazing.

We are all online and dependent upon the Web.  What will happen when the powers in space are averted?  Wiped out?  When you can't even make a phone call, receive an email or access your bank account because of an internet glitch or the Domain Name Server collapsed?  Or a massive solar event?

Anyway - FB is back after approx. 6 hours down.  Just a test.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Imagine that.

 I think seminaries need to do better screening.
I'm surprised someone like McCarrick didn't
think of this.  Wait - maybe that's what he was doing?

Transgender men unknowingly admitted to seminary and religious life?

To be honest, I had always been suspicious of one of the novices in my novitiate.  He bore a striking resemblance to Romy Schneider.  What?

Trans men... unknowingly...

A leader of the U.S. bishops' conference has written to Catholic prelates throughout the country, alleging that an unspecified number of transgender men have been "unknowingly admitted" to diocesan seminaries and houses of formation for religious orders.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, who serves as the chairman of the bishops' Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, told the nation's bishops in a Sept. 22 memo that they might consider "various options" to ensure that only people assigned male at birth are ordained to the Catholic priesthood.

Among the recommendations are DNA testing and certification from a medical expert of the bishop's choosing.

Rocco Palmo, who writes the blog Whispers in the Loggia, first reported the memo, titled "Transgenderism and Seminary Formation," via Twitter on Sept. 23. Palmo's initial tweet sparked a range of incredulous replies, with some people comparing the memo to medieval practices that involved physically checking priesthood candidates. - NCR
Romy eventually left
the novitiate.


Saturday, September 11, 2021

In Memoriam

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 

We will remember them.

For the Fallen, Laurence Binyon

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Prayers for Dom Mark

“Christ appearing to Saint Lurgarde” - Gaspar de Crayer

 Asking pardon and praying for his intentions.  May Our Lady Undoer of Knots undo every problem and difficulty.  May Our Lord Jesus take care of everything, repairing every slander, calumny and detraction.  

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Hypocrisy in the Church

Is particularly detestable.

Ever since the article concerning Fr. Benedict's version of the visitation at Silverstream, involving the former prior Fr. Mark, I have been pondering the story and why I involved myself.  I never had to offer information regarding my association or correspondence with those involved.  I suppose I thought I was lending support in the 'private investigations' conducted by others - first involving the book, In Sinu Jesu, and second, the troubling relationship experienced by Fr. Benedict with Fr. Mark.  Having been 'unfriended' by Fr. Mark, along with the sense of being 'scorned' maybe that influenced my decision - or maybe the developments revealed by news stories simply confirmed my sense that something was off, that I called it way back when, and desired to have my insights validated?  So what?

What is it to me?

Perhaps My insights into dissimulation, lies and cover-up is because I know how to do the same things?  Perhaps my skepticism regarding private revelations and ostentatious piety is because over the years, I had adopted an external show of piety and fidelity to safeguard my reputation and find acceptance in the Church.  Although I found out that doesn't work at all - there are always those who speculate and investigate to find out if you are gay or ssa?  If you live with a man - you must be active sexually? If you say gay or use LGBTQ you must be gay, and so on.  Likewise, when they got you pegged, it makes no difference if you are living in accord with Catholic teaching or not.  You're gay - even though they insist on SSA, or ex-gay - you are still branded.  It is what it is - disagree all you want - it is what it is.

Formalism and Decorum.

Pope Francis has consistently taught against that formalism and concern for honor and reputation which infects religious people and dictates decorum.  It is why he upsets so many in the church.  It is also why his precautions cause me to examine my conscience in ways I was never able to do before.

The pope continued his series of talks on St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians and focused on the dangers of the law by looking at the apostle Peter's "inconsistency" at Antioch.

Gentile Christians were free from the Jewish law, but there was pressure from people from Jerusalem that caused Sts. Peter and Barnabas to draw back from what the Gospel said.

That is why, in his letter, St. Paul condemns St. Peter "to his face because he clearly was wrong" by trying to appease critics who still observed Mosaic law and to justify his hypocritical behavior.

"Peter had been eating with the Christians of pagan origin without any difficulty; however, when some circumcised Christians from Jerusalem arrived in the city, he then no longer did so, because he did not want to incur their criticism," Pope Francis said. - Hypocrisy in the Church.
"Watch out. The mistake was paying more attention to the criticism, to make a good impression than the reality of the relationships," the pope said.

So, I have to watch out.  I have to examine myself.  One has to be especially careful not to destroy the reputation of others to make a good impression or to avoid criticism.  It's better to be found out and be who you are.  Actually, I don't know what I'm trying to say, I can't sum this one up - I'm still examining my conscience in this regard.  I accuse myself...

The Father makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. - Matt 5:45

Perhaps Our Lord and Our Lady really do engage in book length locutions to show their love for mankind.  Though I'm skeptical of many locutions, which are subject to interpretations as well as limitations, my point is that they in no way are a guarantee of the recipients sanctity or impeccability.  So - they can be authentic and deeply inspire the person who prays, they can also be the product of seasoned meditation, albeit inspired.  (I think the The Imitation of Christ is a good example.)

That was an important understanding for me.  Remember from the film, The Sound of Music the song, 'Something Good'?  I was always charmed by this particular lyric, "So somewhere in my youth or childhood - I must have done something good."  Yet everything is grace, every good gift flows to us from the Divine Mercy.  

Last week I asked for rain - specifically asking for an inch to 2 inches.  It rained over night, 1.5 inches.  I thanked God, of course.  I asked for more, and by Sunday, 3.5 inches more filled my rain gauge.  I used to sometimes imagine 'because I pray, or because I'm in the state of grace, God heard my prayer.'  It's like thinking, 'I must have done something good.'  See how vain, even presumptuous that thought is?  Yet it is the "Father who causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust."  That doesn't mean we don't have to try and be good or that we shouldn't ask good things from the Father in prayer.  Nevertheless, it seems to me, being convinced of our own self-righteousness gives us an 'in' with God, is very much a part of that hypocrisy the Holy Father warns us against.  

"Hypocrisy can be seen as a "fear of the truth. It is better to pretend rather than be yourself," he said.

Wherever people are living "under the banner of formalism, the virus of hypocrisy easily spreads," he said, mimicking the kind of strained, forced smile one might see — a smile "that doesn't come from the heart," but comes from a person "who tries to get along with everyone," but, in the end, gets along with no one.

"Hypocrites are people who pretend, flatter and deceive because they live with a mask over their faces and do not have the courage to face the truth," he said. "For this reason, they are not capable of truly loving" because they are limited by their ego and cannot "show their hearts transparently."

Hypocrisy can be hidden at a workplace "where someone appears to be friends with their colleagues while, at the same time, they stab them behind the back due to competition," he said." - Hypocrisy

As for Silverstream - the ultimate decision as a result of the Visitation, is up to the Church to decide.  Sadly, the actors have all defamed themselves - reputations ruined, perhaps vocations lost.  That really is regrettable.   

""To act other than truthfully means jeopardizing the unity of the church, that unity for which the Lord himself prayed," the pope said." - ibid

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” - Dostoyevsky

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

You know what?

I changed my mind.

I don't know enough to discern whether or not the stories emerging from Silverstream Priory, concerning Fr. Mark Kirby, are all that serious as I once thought they were. (Including my skepticism regarding In Sinu Jesu.)  So far there appears to be no canonical or civil crime as a result of the 'whistleblower' complaint.  The most serious repercussion seems to be Fr. Mark being replaced as prior - while he remains part of the community.  As one friend on FB told me: "I read the whole thing. Lots of accusations but none of them appear nuclear. He hugged too much, etc. Why would he want to send them to prison for financial oversights? Lots of accusations."

After some correspondence with others, it appears the scandal didn't rise to any sort of cult activity, much less anything decadently sexual.  Boundary issues are real, as are inordinate attachments and affections.  It's obvious a negative culture developed, perhaps a co-dependent toxicity tainted the pastoral atmosphere, not to overlook issues related to religious governance and the duties of the Cellarer - which were perhaps not well managed.  Therefore the monk who called for a visitation, was not wrong in doing so.

After reading The Pillar piece several times, I have to say the article was rather objective.  I first read the piece persuaded by my own bias and suspicions regarding Fr. Mark.  There are things about Kirby I find very strange, some of Fr. Benedict's narrative confirmed many of my own misgivings, the relationship between the two also reminded me of my own experiences with other religious superiors, novice masters and even a couple friends of Fr. Mark.  So I assumed there was more to the stories - some sort of smoking gun of decadence and corruption.  I realize that is not the case.  

Therefore, as I responded to my FB friend: "I think you are right that it all seems pretty minor. The financial oversights can most likely be accounted for. I knew one of the owners at Loome's (A theological bookstore) and mentioned Fr. Mark once.  They loved him because he placed huge orders for books as soon as he began the house in Tulsa. Thus it appears, all the extravagant spending was to build and furnish a suitable priory. It's not a crime. I think Fr. Mark's main fault would have to be he's a bit eccentric and a bit grandiose. Otherwise the community seems to be doing well. Much ado about nothing."

I was wondering how something like this would have gone down in an established abbey.  What would the abbot do?  How would this be handled?  Yet that's part of the problem, Fr. Benedict had no one to go to save the bishop and the request for a visitation.  If the visitation is concluded, the known results are not sensational, and the community remains.  If it is ongoing, I do not believe a public disclosure such as The Pillar article will, be all that helpful.  I read a comment online from another monk who simply said, 'the whole thing is a mess.'  Or something to that effect.  

It's best left up to the Church to sort out.  I believe Fr. Benedict, BTW.  I hope he comes through this and no harm is done to him.  I also hope, if it is God's will, Silverstream survives.  Another monk-friend reminded me that God writes straight on crooked lines.  I hope Fr. Mark comes through this unscathed as well.  I apologize for budding in, trying to say 'I told you so'.*  I lose more than I could possibly gain when I do such things.  I repent.

"All are made drunk from the cup of the whore of Babylon."

"Where does this poisonous harm fail to reach? And who fails to drink little or much from the golden chalice of the Babylonian woman of the Apocalypse? ...There is hardly anyone of high rank or low, saint or sinner, who does not drink of her wine, subjecting his heart somewhat. For as pointed out in Revelation 17:2-4, all the kings of the earth were inebriated with the wine of her prostitution. She reaches out to all states, even the supreme and illustrious state of the priesthood, by setting her abominable cup in the holy place, as Daniel asserts [Dn. 9:27], and she hardly leaves a strong man who has not drunk a small or large quantity of wine from her chalice..." - John of the Cross, Ascent III, 22:4

Friday, August 20, 2021

All are made drunk from the cup of the whore of Babylon...

Vision of S. Hildegard
Giovanni Casparro

The miseries of the Church.

As a sort of follow up to my post yesterday, and as a kind of contradiction to those online opposed to exposing the latest priest and bishop using social media to hook up for sex, I want to share a 2010 Christmas address by Pope Benedict to the Roman Curia. In his extensive greeting, the Holy Father laments that amongst the great tribulations of that year, the worst seems to have been how the priestly sexual abuse scandal went global - right in the middle of the Year of the Priest.  (I wonder what he thinks today?)

The torn garment..

The Holy Father likens the Church to a vision of St. Hildegarde, wherein she saw the garment of the Church torn and her feet all muddied by the crimes of her ministers. Pope Benedict asks where these sins came from, and what must be done to avoid them. He cites the decadence of culture saying:
We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again.

"In the vision of Saint Hildegard, the face of the Church is stained with dust, and this is how we have seen it. Her garment is torn – by the sins of priests. The way she saw and expressed it is the way we have experienced it this year. We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing penance. We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again.
... trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities...
We are well aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our corresponding responsibility. But neither can we remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society. The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times. From Bishops of developing countries I hear again and again how sexual tourism threatens an entire generation and damages its freedom and its human dignity.
The Book of Revelation includes among the great sins of Babylon – the symbol of the world’s great irreligious cities – the fact that it trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities (cf. Rev 18:13). In this context, the problem of drugs also rears its head, and with increasing force extends its octopus tentacles around the entire world – an eloquent expression of the tyranny of mammon which perverts mankind. No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart – and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which actually undermines man’s freedom and ultimately destroys it.
Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist.
In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a "better than" and a "worse than". Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today." - Source

What is happening cannot be dismissed as homophobia just because vocal elements on Catholic social media are engaged in creating a sort of moral panic over every revelation of sexual activity or misconduct.  It is much deeper than all of that.  I've been so perplexed by how otherwise holy men and religious personages could engage in habitual sinful behavior, as well as somehow justify the behavior, while living what we've all considered an exemplary life.  I'm thinking of Jean Vanier, his spiritual directors, and even McCarrick and others.  What kind of spirituality admits sexual affections within a celibate, chaste life?  

It may be too simple, yet it seems to me, a key to understanding it may be Pope Benedict's conclusion: "Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today."