Sunday, July 29, 2018

Something too important to forget ...

Anto Carte

Just a couple of follow-up thoughts...

I personally believe that what we have come to know about the McCarrick scandal is more than a sex scandal or a #metoo scandal - it is about the corruption of clerical culture - clericalism - especially as it concerns Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

I cannot possibly understand the 'lifestyle' of men like McCarrick without believing that priests and Catholic leaders who do these things, or cover up these abuses, no longer believe that homosexual acts are gravely sinful and that homosexuality is a condition which is objectively disordered.  In other words, they believe it is not sinful to desire another man for sex or romantic love - just as long as you don't act on it.  I'm not talking about temptation - I'm talking about the more or less predatory sexual inclination connected to lust.  Forgive me if it sounds as if I'm saying the inclination itself is sinful - it is not, and the Church doesn't teach that.

Moving along.

The tolerance of a homosexual culture - call it ssa or gay - in religious life and priesthood seems to me to be a culturally based rejection of the notion that homosexuality is an objective disorder.  In other words, gay is equal to natural heterosexual love between a man and a woman.  (Which even in an adulterous relationship is objectively ordered towards procreation.  Which pretty much means artificial contraception is objectively disordered, as is sodomy for sexual pleasure as an end in itself in a hetero situation.  I think that's right - someone will correct me if I got it wrong.)

That said, Anthony Esolen actually made a good point on a Joseph Sciambra post in connection to the McCarrick scandal:

The McCarrick business is not, as I see it, mainly about the harassment of the seminarian. It is about the WHOLE life that McCarrick has led, a life of subterfuge, hypocrisy, and sexual disorder. It is no surprise that he was one of the signers of the infamous Land O' Lakes statement way back in 1967. We should also, I think, be aware that people like McCarrick may not necessarily believe that they have violated their vows of chastity ... They set up casuistic categories. So long as you don't do X, but only do Y, you're in the clear....

Esolen points to the real problem which has been exposed in the McCarrick debacle as being a life of subterfuge, hypocrisy, and sexual disorder.  Fair enough, but it is enabled in and through through clericalism - which is corrupt.  Pope Francis consistently warns against it and has himself even fallen victim to it, as he admitted in the Chilean abuse case.

Nevertheless, this is the point I believe to be very key in the comment made by Esolen: . "We should also, I think, be aware that people like McCarrick may not necessarily believe that they have violated their vows of chastity ... They set up casuistic categories. So long as you don't do X, but only do Y, you're in the clear...." This is getting close to the heart of what is wrong when it comes to interpreting Catholic teaching on homosexuality as an 'objective disorder."

Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. - CDF
Living the lie.

Many in the Church no longer believe that. Esolen points out that many may not think they are violating any vows if they give themselves some leeway - for instance, hug or cuddle or kiss - so long as the do not commit 'complete abuse'. That used to be the criteria for mortal sin when I was in 8th grade, essentially it meant not touching or fondling yourself to the point of ejaculation. The same principle applies in the McCarrick case - maybe - I have no proof. But some people believe you can cuddle, hug, kiss, etc. so long as there is no penetration or ejaculation. This is important to point out, especially for those who think same sex friendship can allow for that sort of intimacy without committing sin.

Accepting that, it means you can do anything gay so long as you don't commit a mortal sin. Then of course we have the theologians who tell us it is nearly impossible to commit a mortal sin if every factor is not present to constitute mortal sin and so on.  (Not to mention Fr. Martin's deal that there is no sin since some aren't able to 'receive' the teaching in the first place.)  Of course, if they go too far and do X, they go to confession and go back to the beach house the following weekend to do Y. (Willing themselves not to do X of course - it's a matter of the will.) This is very troubling because they clearly do not believe homosexual acts are gravely sinful, much less that homosexuality is objectively disordered in and of itself. That in turn is the attitude which  gives way to the approval of same sex monogamous unions. It's clericalism and corruption at its worst, because it is a lie.

No dispensations possible.

Anyway - I may be wrong, but I'm convinced the McCarrick case reveals not only clerical corruption, but the complete compromise of authentic Catholic moral teaching across the board.  It also demonstrates an institutional loss of the sense of grave sin - mortal sin.  That's the smoke of Satan.  It's not liturgical abuse or reform - traditional EF priests and Novus Ordo priests of a particular inclination all seem able to apply that 'mental reservation' as seen in the double lives of clerical abusers, which permits them to continue in ministry without guilt or shame.  That's the mystery of sin we are all prone to.  Nevertheless the watering down of doctrine and compromising moral theology, aids and abets our propensity to rationalize our behavior.

Since McCarrick's resignation many pundits online are calling for the names of those who enabled and promoted, as well as covered up McCarrick's sexual exploits.  Many want some sort of Mass resignation similar to the Chilean Bishops.  That's probably not going to help matters.  The current Honduran seminary scandal demonstrates that these things keep happening, and most likely will continue to do so.  Unless the Church and her ministers, as well as Catholic laity return to authentic Catholic teaching, nothing will change.
That about wraps it up for me.

Talk amongst yourselves.


  1. Maybe the church needs to admit that the actual inclination for same sex is a disordered evil and needs to be overcome by a holy life. I think allowing for the acceptance of same sex thoughts or desires will always lead to acting in some way on them. I only speak to what I have experienced. End times my friends, these are the end times.

  2. "Something too important to forget ..."

    After reading this, it seems to me McCarrick and those like him forgot Jesus and who he is. Did they forget what awaits at the Divine Judgement if none repent? Or has that been watered down in their minds as well?

    What was it he was quoted as saying?

    "Do you know how important I am?"

    Let's keep praying ...

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  4. This reminds me of the Italian girls in my neighbourhood when I was growing up. As long as there was no penetration it was OK - never mind that there was a whole lot of bodily fluids being exchanged. And some point someone is not going to be able to hold back so the inevitable is going to happen. Best not to let oneself get to that point. I'm not saying everyone needs to "side hug" and wait for the wedding ring before kissing like the Duggars but people really have to learn self control and chastity. Faithful in little, faithful in much...

    1. This goes for people with SSA as well - except in their case there can never be the wedding ring. I can't believe how hard life would be without a partner but God never said it would be easy.


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