Keeping Solid in the Faith |
While all around us souls are falling apart, we must keep our wits about us. A level head and a loving heart is the best way to emulate Our Lord and His Blessed Mother in restoring a ship that is badly listing in the wake of the scandals. Those who have caused the mutiny of souls must be held accountable but not thrown to the denisons of the deep for every soul is precious to God.
"While we must insist upon the removal of those, including cardinals and bishops, who have proven themselves to be a menace to the salvation of souls, we must have a sense of our Catholic history, knowing that that Barque of Peter has been through rough waters before."
The outbreak of stories in the secular press concerning salacious scandals involving homosexual priests continues to be a source of conversation and consternation in Catholic circles. As I have noted in recent commentaries, these scandals are not new. The Wanderer and Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., for example, have been reporting these matters for quite a long time now. Indeed, Fathers Enrique Rueda and Charles Fiore both worked closely with the murdered Father Alfred Kunz in the 1980s to root out the network of sodomites which had infiltrated the Church and insinuated itself in the highest quarters of the Church's hierarchy, both here and around the world.
We must keep ourselves solid in the Holy Faith in the midst of the outbreak of secular news stories. We know that the Church is divinely founded and maintained. We know that she will last until the end of time and that the jaws of Hell will not prevail against her. We know, as I note so frequently, that each one of our own sins has wounded the Mystical Body of Christ, that we are not free from culpability for the state of the Church and the world. And we must never use the outbreak of scandals to fall into despair or to think that our Lord has abandoned either us or His Mystical Bride, the Church. Indeed, we must be steadfast in prayer, especially prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, which is breaking so much over the way in which her Son's bishops and priests continue to betray Him and thus weaken the faith of those who are not well-formed or whose interior lives are lukewarm and unsteady.
To put things in their proper supernatural perspective, this commentary is going to try to analyze the crisis we face on an issue-by-issue basis. While this is not going to be an exhaustive or necessarily definitive analysis, it is hoped that the commentary offered below will be of assistance to readers.
There will be more revelations as the weeks and months progress. Our Lord is permitting a purification of His Mystical Body to take place. We know that the final victory belongs to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, and that we should never become so exercised about the state of the Church and the world that we forget to take care of our own interior lives.
- The root cause of these scandals. As is the case with all of the problems in the world, the root cause of the scandals now breaking in the secular media is Original Sin. Human nature was irreparably wounded by Adam's sin. We suffer from the vestigial after-effects of Original Sin - a darkened intellect and weakened will - even after Baptism. Our Lord did not take away our fallen human nature; He redeemed it, making it possible for us to scale the heights of personal sanctity by cooperating with the graces He won for us on the wood of the Holy Cross and administered to us by the working of the Holy Ghost in the sacraments. Every single sin we commit darkens our intellect and weakens our will, which is why we must be about the business of "recovering by penance what we have lost by sin," as one of the prayers in the Miraculous Medal Novena reminds us.
- The proximate cause of these scandals. It would be overly simplistic to state that the proximate cause of these scandals has been the recruitment and promotion of sodomites into the priesthood. Certainly, that is one of the proximate causes. And it is also certainly the case that those who have been caught up in perversion have attempted to proselytize their sickness by perverting the received teaching of our Lord. Those who can abuse the doctrine of Christ will find it much easier to reduce the bodies of others to the status of objects fit for their own abuse. There is no doubt about this at all. However, it is also the case that men noted for their doctrinal orthodoxy - and even for their commitment to our living liturgical tradition - have fallen into perverted vice more than once. Admitting that Original Sin is the root case of all falls, it is impossible for us mortals to know what leads otherwise good men to fall so far and so repeatedly into perversion. What can be said with certainty, though, is that priests who demonstrated an inclination to perversion should have been removed from their pastoral assignments immediately by their bishops rather than transferred within their own dioceses (and/or transferred out of their dioceses altogether).
- The reaction of the bishops. I noted in last month's issue of Christ or Chaos that the bishops have enabled proven perverts for far too long. Part of this is attributable to the fact that some bishops are perverts themselves. Others have stood by while the perversion known of "sex education" has robbed the young of their innocence and of their purity in Catholic schools and in religious education programs. Some bishops simply did not want to believe that men they were friends with were guilty of perversion and/or that such perversion was curable. (This is illustrative of the human tendency to deny the possibility that one's family members or friends can ever do that which is wrong. Many parents reflexively defend their children when they are charged with crimes or when they are living in states of sin. After all, one has to be "loyal" to one's children. Isn't that what "love" is all about." Well, no. Authentic love wills the good of each person, the ultimate expression of which is the salvation of his immortal soul. It is sometimes essential for a parent or a friend or a superior or a coworker to challenge a person's uncritical acceptance of that which is injurious to the salvation of his immortal soul.) Others did not believe that perversion was a big deal at all. Yet other bishops responded legalistically, thinking first of a diocese's financial liability rather than the good of souls, as I commented on last month. In sum, though, the reaction of the bishops has been abysmal, and we should understand that men who have proven themselves to be so irresponsible, blind and stupid in the past are not going to suddenly become wise by the time of the bishops' meeting in Dallas, Texas this month.
- The reaction of lay Catholics. Some lay Catholics have responded to the outbreak of stories in the secular media with outrage, blaming the anti-Catholic and pro-homosexual media for exaggerating or fabricating the stories they have been reporting. However, there is no one to blame for this outbreak of secular news stories, which are certainly being exploited by the anti-Catholic and pro-homosexual movement to advance their own purposes, but the bishops, men who ignored the entreaties of both priests and lay Catholics warning them of these problems. The bishops ignored The Wanderer and Roman Catholic Faithful, dismissing them as irrelevant and unreliable. Other Catholics have done the work of the Devil, going so far as to commit spiritual suicide by using the scandals and the way in which they have been mishandled by the bishops as the excuse they have been looking for to either quit the practice of the Faith or to persist in a rejection of the Faith. Dissenting Catholics, who miss the point of everything all the time (being consistent on only one thing: that they are wrong all of the time on every issue), are using the scandals to call for a married clergy, women priests, and "changes" in the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law concerning the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. We know, though, that we are called, as noted at the beginning of this piece, to remain steadfast in prayer. While we must insist upon the removal of those, including cardinals and bishops, who have proven themselves to be a menace to the salvation of souls, we must have a sense of our Catholic history, knowing that that Barque of Peter has been through rough waters before.
- How the Adversary is using this situation. Apart from discouraging souls from the practice of the Faith, our ancient Adversary, who hates us because we are made in the image and likeness of the One he hates, has succeeded in infiltrating himself all the more into our pulpits. Subjects which are unfit for discussion in the presence of young children and adolescents are now being addressed in the most explicit terms by priests in their preaching. My bride Sharon and I encountered an example of this in Houston, Texas, on May 5, 2002. A priest who shall remain nameless used the most explicit language ("man-boy sex") to discuss the situation, apparently oblivious to the fact that young children were present at the Mass. Some parents took their children out of the Church immediately to protect them from such explicit talk, which is totally irresponsible in the presence of the young. There are few things the Devil wants more than for a child to ask his parents, "What's man-boy sex?" Our Lord wants us to maintain the innocence and the purity of young, whose minds should not be polluted with the dirty facts that not even adults should discuss in explicit detail. And there are other situations in which letters from bishops about these homosexual scandals have been read from the pulpit by priests. One can only imagine the harm done to the young as a result. Yes, the Adversary is having a field day at present. We know the final victory belongs to our Lord through the triumph of our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. How discomforting it is, however, to see so much damage flow from these thoroughly avoidable scandals and the way in which they continue to be mishandled by the hierarchy.
- Placing good priests at risk. As Father James McLucas, the courageous editor-in-chief of The Latin Mass: A Chronicle of Catholic Culture, has noted, all orthodox priests, especially those who are devoted to the Traditional Latin Mass, are placed at risk right now. While false accusations have always been made against priests, proving such accusations as false will be more difficult in the atmosphere created by the bishops' mishandling of legitimate accusations. This will make it much easier for those bishops and their chancery factotums intent on persecuting theologically and liturgically "incorrect" priests to do so in a spirit of "concern" for the welfare of children. Ultimately, this might prove be one of the greatest wedges used by the Devil as a result of these scandals.
- Responding to this mess. As noted at the beginning of this commentary, a faithful Catholic's Faith is never shaken. The late Father John J. Sullivan ("Jackie Boy") told a class at Holy Apostles Seminary in 1983, "I would not be scandalized if you told me the Pope was keeping a dolly in his apartment. It would be wrong for him to do so, but it would be a natural, not unnatural, vice. I'd want to know whether she was a good-looker. If you're going to lose you're immortal soul, you ought to make it worthwhile." That was Father Sullivan's way of reminding seminarians to avoid scandal themselves but to never allow themselves to have their Faith undermined by the weakness of others. One of the proofs of the Divinity of the Church is the fact that she has survived for nearly two millennia despite the bad example of the weak vessels of clay who have been incorporated in her by means of Baptism. That having been noted, however, the Holy Father must respond to this mess by removing cardinals and bishops. The bishops who remain (and those who replace the ones who ought to be removed) must themselves remove proven perverts, prevent the ordination of sodomites to the priesthood, remove anyone and everyone who dissents from one iota of the received teaching of our Lord from Catholic education and catechesis, cease all forms of sex-instruction (including so-called "abstinence-based" chastity education), and generously permit the celebration of the Mass of our fathers (which is not a panacea for our problems, but simply a better, fuller and more complete way or worshipping God and of sanctifying our own immortal souls).
- The necessity of forgiveness. Those who have been victimized by sodomite perverts in the Church and/or by chancery factotums must forgive others as Our Lord has forgiven them in the Sacrament of Penance. The requisite of unconditional forgiveness does not mean that one cannot seek justice in the ecclesiastical or civil realms. Not at all. However, the requisite of unconditional forgiveness does mean that no one is permitted to harbor grudges against those who have offended him. We are required to will the good of each person at all times, the ultimate expression of which is the salvation of his immortal soul. Remember: the prayers of St. Stephen from eternity won the conversion of the man who consented to his murder, the former Saul of Tarsus, Saint Paul. The murderer of Saint Maria Goretti attended her canonization. Pope John Paul II visited Regina Coeli prison in Rome in 1983 to offer his forgiveness to Mehmet Ali Agca. We must pray for our persecutors and for those who do wrong to us. We do not have to restore them to friendship. However, we do hope to have a happy reunion on the Last Day in Paradise with all of the souls of the just, praying that those who have fallen from grace may repent, seek out the mercy and forgiveness of Our Lord, amend their lives, and persist until their dying breaths in states of sanctifying grace. To do anything other than this is to do the work of the evil one, who desires us to hardened hearts, not hearts formed in the crucible of love that is the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Fortified by prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and to the Mother of God, may we in this coming month of July remember that we have been cleansed by the shedding of our Lord's Most Precious Blood, and that it will not be until the bishops themselves come to understand this that the Church herself will be cleansed of the spiritual perverts who, by and large, carry the most responsibility for the abortion of souls and the abuse of bodies.
Our Lady, Mother of the Church, pray for us!
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives
June 10-30 2002
volume 13, no. 103
CHRIST or chaos