Monday, June 17

Fr. Thomas Doyle writes to comment on the Charlotte Allen piece: (linked below)

I believe, after seventeen years of close involvement in the Catholic sex abuse issues in this country and others, that debating whether the cause
has been liberal trends in Catholicism and society or consevrative trends,is missing the point. In my extensive experience I could never see a cause-effect relationship. Allen claims that virtually all the abuse took place in the 70's and 80's. That is simply untrue and not backed up by reality. I have had contact with more victims than I can count. A very high number were abused in the pre-Vatican, pre-sexual revolution, pre-counter culture era. they were abused by men who had been trained and formed in the
so called "old church." The oldest victims I have ever me and with whom I spent extensive time in spiritual healing were 91, 86 and 73. I have met and gotten to know dozens if not more who were abused in the sixties. All of these people were abused by men who kept their secret deeply hidden, who were trained in the former system of moral theology, who were somehow convinced that their status as clerics would protect them. Indeed this last point is the truest. The clerical system produced men with severely
warped senses of sexuality but I also produced men who were so "clericalized" that they cognitively and emotionally believed that they would not be discovered.

The bishops, when they became aware of those cases of abuse that managed to get beyond the secrecy and denial of the "good Catholic home" also relied, though subconsciously, on the clerical system to protect them. It did.

When clericalism began to crack ever so slightly after Vatican II the dark secrets began a long and slow ascent to the surface.
To argue that the problem is homosexuality and homosexuals misses the point.The problem, from my experience, is clericalism. Sex abuse by heterosexual and homosexual clerics has been happening for centuries.....take a look at the Medieval Canon Law Collections and you will find more documentation than you need to prove the point. The true destructiveness has been the
mannerwith which abusers have been covered up and victims...children and adults...have been dismissed, denied and turned into the culprits for trying to "hurt the church." The church never needed the homosexuals or any other kind of sexual to hurt it. Its own leadership has been doing quite a good job at that.

Don't forget the story of the encounter between the Pope and Napoleon the night before Napoleon crowned himself at Versailles:

Napoleon: "Your Holiness, do you realize that I could shut your church down overnight."

The Pope, laughing: "Is that so? Well, the priests have been trying to do it for 1500 years and they haven't succeeded so what makes you think you will?"

George Will on Jerry Brown getting back to his Jesuit roots: as mayor of Oakland, spearheading the creation of a unique school:

the state supported the idea for this novel charter school--Gov. Gray Davis attended a military school--and the first class, about 160 seventh-graders, boys and girls, just finished its first year at what Brown calls ``a pre-Vatican II Jesuit school in the form of a military academy. I am applying the truth I was brought up on.'' The truth of the Jesuits' founder, Ignatius Loyola, whose principles, says Brown, have ``worked for 400 years.''

Meaning: The school day runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. No social promotions. Everyone is in uniform. High expectations--everyone is aiming for college. AP--advanced placement--courses will begin in the ninth grade. It is, says Brown, a ``cram school'' that ``unabashedly'' teaches to the pertinent tests. Part of the application process is a 10-day encampment at the National Guard facility in San Luis Obispo, from which, Brown says, ``a bus will leave every day with those who can't make it.'' During the school year there is a National Guard sergeant as well as a teacher in every class.

Hmmm..the irony. Would any modern Jesuits be associated with such an institution? Probably not.

Amid much strife, the story of Blessed Damien of Molokai finally comes to the screen

In 1995, Pope John Paul II granted Father Damien the second step before sainthood - he is now Blessed Damien. During the making of Molokai, Wenham and Cox discussed the fact that the Belgian priest needed one more miracle, proved after his death, to become a fully fledged saint.

"Paul always said once the film gets released in Australia, that'll be it," says Wenham. "That will be his final miracle."

No word on when the film might be released over here.

This will be interesting

Fr. Thomas Doyle and Peter Vere will be conversing about the charter on Vere's Canon Law blog in the near future. Bookmark it.

An interesting saint for today: St. Albert Chmielowski, canonized by JPII in 1989, but even more intriguingly, the subject of a play written by that same JPII, then KW, in 1949.

Born to a wealthy aristocratic family, he initially studied agriculture in order to manage the family estate. Involved in politics from his youth, he lost a leg at age 17 when injured while fighting in an insurrection. In Krakow, he became a popular, well-known and well-liked artist. His interest in politics and art made him keenly aware of the human misery around him. A gentle and compassionate soul, he felt called to help those in need. After years of reflection, he understood that this desire was how God was caling him to service and Himself.

Here's a 1997 OSV article on a film made from that play.

A reader writes about Holy Angels Parish in Chicago and asks, What is it about that place?

In today's Chicago Tribune, (LRR), there's a story about Reverend John Calicott, who would be out of his ministry if Cardinal George follows The Policy:

The charismatic pastor was removed from Holy Angels in 1994 after the archdiocese substantiated claims of sexual misconduct involving two 15-year-old boys in 1976 at another parish. He was restored to his post in 1995 by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin after he received counseling, agreed to be monitored and promised never to be alone with a child.

Bernardin said he believed Calicott was not a threat to children if he continued the therapy.

That should be good enough for today's bishops, Holy Angels leaders said Sunday. To remove Calicott again would constitute a kind of double jeopardy and break the parish's heart, they said.

"I think the church has an obligation to live up to the agreement it made to allow him to be here," said retiree Gregory Callaway, 67, a parishioner for 12 years. "It would be a shame if they abrogated that."

In his letter, the reader elaborates on some priests previously associated with Holy Angels:

Father George Clements, who enjoys broad fame and accolade, left Holy Angels under unclear circumstances, and he is generally not willing to
discuss the reason for his departure in concrete terms. It is my understanding he departed Holy Angels to spend more than a year in a Kentucky monastery (red flag?) before going to work with One Church -One Addict in Washington.

Father Paul Smith was principal of Holy Angels school for many years until his death in 1996. I know one of the attorneys who represented one of the men convicted of Father Smith's murder, Burrell Geralds. There is significant evidence supporting the defense claim that Father Smith was in the practice of obtaining homosexual favors from addicts in exchange for money. Much of this evidence was suppressed by a RC judge and RC prosecutor (the defense attorney is also RC), and I understand the the matter is now on appeal. In fact, the defense wanted to call an expert witness to testify that Father Smith's fatal injuries could have been sustained in sadomasochistic bondage sex play as alleged by the defendants, but the court refused to allow this. Even if the defendants' claims with regard to the events on the night of the murder are not true, there is still significant evidence that Father Smith was a regular participant in this type of activity....My purpose in writing is not to bash Holy Angels, but to suggest that there is something systemic going on in that place that someone with connnections to the inside might want to look into as the Church in America seeks to reclaim what it has lost.

Terry Mattingly writes about the power of the Internet, focusing on everyone's favorite, Fr. Wilson,, whose analysis of Dallas is available here, courtesy of NorDog.
Done in Dallas by Rod Dreher

If ever two were one, then surely we.

If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee;

If ever wife was happy in a man,

Compare with me ye women if you can.

I prize thy love more then whole Mines of gold,

Or all the riches that the East doth hold.

My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,

Nor ought but love from thee, give recompence.

Thy love is such I can no way repay,

The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.

Then while we live, in love let's so persever,

That when we live no more, we may live ever.

To My Dear and Loving Husband by Ann Bradstreet

Happy Anniversary to us!

Want to write in support of Frank Keating before he gets fired from the Bishops' Board?

Click here!

Michael Rose responds to Fr. Johansen.
In NRO, Charlotte Allen explains that the source of the Church problem is the 70's

The bishops caught the 1970s spirit, too: the idea that the way to deal with criminals, from litterbugs to ax murderers, was to sign the offender up for a lot of counseling sessions, after which he could be pronounced "rehabilitated" and then released. This explains why even respected conservative prelates such as Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law seemed willing to reassign known sex abusers from parish to parish, as long as they said they were sorry and went to group.

It's one piece, but not the whole piece. I give Allen credit for having a broader view of this than merely seeing it as a "homosexual problem" -

For conservatives such as, say, Mary Eberstadt in The Weekly Standard, the debate is about homosexuality in the priesthood in general, the idea being that since most of the priestly pederasts have been gay, if we screened out homosexuals from the priesthood, we'd solve the problem. (On this theory, the church of the Middle Ages should have screened heterosexuals out of the priesthood, for the big problem back then was clerical concubines.)

But while the collapse of boundaries and the triumph of a therapeutic culture might explain some of this problem, Allen, like so many others, (especially conservatives) resolutely refuses to take the power of self-protective clerical culture into account.

The hesitancy to enact "zero tolerance" we saw in Dallas on the part of some bishops was explicitly stated as a reluctance to "rat on" priests (the Rockford guy) and a sense that it would be difficult to go back to the diocese and "face my brother priests" with this kind of policy.

Why is the existence of this self-protective ethos, that sees loyalty to the brotherhood as the highest value, so difficult for lay people to admit? Why do we continue to deny its role in the continuation of this crisis? Because it doesn't fit into an ideological explanation? Probably. Because it doesn't - for either "side" in this. Neither "liberals" nor "conservatives" want to admit that their favorite sons might be less moved in their actions by commitment to ideas than by loyalty to other guys in collars.

(A useful test for this, of course, would be an examination of how accused sexual predators among priests were dealt with in the American church in the first half of the twentieth century. Any answers?)

A very strong piece from the Chicago Tribune (LRR) taking the bishops to task for what they didn't do in Dallas:

Yet it has become virtually certain in the six months of this scandal that the percentage of bishops whose dismal management served up smorgasbords of fresh victims to molesters exceeds the percentage of priests who preyed on children. In scope and severity, the bishops' culture of secrecy and self-protection ultimately proved every bit as sociopathic as the sexual assaults by sick and criminal clerics. Just as judges, public officials and law enforcement officers who commit grievous wrongs deserve high penalties, the disastrous behavior of some bishops is especially galling because it is they who had been vested with the special trust of the faithful.

And yet for all their solemnity, even sincerity, in apologizing for their performance, where is the millstone? Where is the depth of the sea?

Mindful as they are by now of the anger rising against them, the bishops let contrition pass for action. They set harsh penalties for their subordinates and pledged to do better in the future. And while they created a mechanism to monitor their handling of future cases, who will have day-to-day responsibility for enforcing their newly rigorous rules (assuming the Vatican doesn't weaken those strictures)?

Why of course, the bishops--including those whose decades of sometimes aggressive neglect helped nurture this crisis.

.....As their Dallas meeting approached, leaders of the U.S. church vowed to prove that they comprehend the suffering and anger at their feet--that, in the vernacular, they "get it." Their refusal to start by demanding that their own ranks be culled, and their eagerness to pounce on the criminals whom an unknown number of them long protected, speak volumes about the bishops true priority: Yes, the flock is important, but Job One is to protect the lead shepherd.

Bishop Wuerl supports the policy. A balanced article from Pittsburgh.
As you can see from the sidebar, I'll be participating in an online chat sponsored by Our Sunday Visitor tomorrow evening from 7-8 EST. Please come and join in. I'm not sure how it's going to work yet, but if enough of you show up it might be entertaining.
Thanks to a reader (I guess) for this alarming story from Cleveland about the priest-shuffle there. Very, very bad.

In my mind, Cleveland is emerging as one of the worst dioceses in this regard - not only the shuffling (parishes getting a succession of abusers, as you'll see from the story), but in the way their legal forces have treated victims (led by their Knights of Columbus attorney. Yeah.)


Over the next few days, we'll probably see a round of stories about parishes preparing to lose their priests to zero tolerance, starting with this one from the NYTimes (LRR) about a priest in Michigan. It concludes with the most fascinating three paragraphs:

On Friday, Father DeVita presided over a funeral — probably his last — for a 47-year-old man. This morning, he sobbed when his 82-year-old mother called from Florida, saying she could not bear dying if he could not celebrate the Mass.

After years of struggling with loneliness, celibacy and the painful publicity over his mistakes, Father DeVita said this afternoon, "I think I feel a sense of complete freedom now."

"I think that's the gift of the Holy Spirit," he explained. "Because I've said yes to something I never wanted. I said yes not in anger, not in bitterness, not in hatred, but in faith."

One can't look clearly into another's heart, especially through the sausage grinder of a newspaper report, but doesn't it sound like the fellow is relieved? Let's put it this way...if I were writing a fictional account with a character like this at the center, the juxtaposition of his elderly mother's attachment to his priesthood and his own apparent relief at being forced out would be very telling, if I could tell it well......


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