Cover and Spin
Editor's Note: Following is a disturbing trend that seems to permeate too many chanceries these days: tolerance toward on-going sin. The article from Associated Press this past Monday, written by J.M. Hirsch is interspersed with orthodox Catholic commentary by Gary Morella who correctly asserts Catholic truth in challenging the shepherds to not scandalize even one of His little ones. Today Gary questions (Gary's comments are in red in larger type) the nonchalance, tolerance of sin and bad judgment New Hampshire Bishop John B. McCormack of the Manchester Diocese has exhibited. McCormack is already embroiled in the Boston scandal. By McCormack's comments, he gives the impression that homosexual acts committed by a priest are "no big thing" if children aren't involved. While the disturbed priest's action is terrible and causes great scandal, the bishop's failure to discipline offenders and protect the flocks by the duty of his office are ever more dangerous and scandalous. Where is the outrage by the citizens of the Diocese of Concord? Where is the outrage from Rome? Truly, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
One gets the distinct impression after reading the account of the news report below that committing homosexual acts as a priest can be ignored if minors aren't involved. Such is the position of the priest involved, and his bishop given their comments below. Saint Thomas Aquinas would be in strong disagreement with this priest and his bishop in that regard as is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. - Gary L. Morella
Subject: Priest inclined to homosexuality admits sexual relationship with a teenage male. Bishop's attitude is pathetic in the lack of recognition of the serious scandal and sin involved here.
Priest Admits Sexual Relationship
By J.M. HIRSCH,
Associated Press Writer
CONCORD, N.H. A Roman Catholic priest acknowledged to his parishioners that he had a sexual relationship with a teenage male during the 1980s, but said the young man was at least 18 at the time.
The Rev. Roland Cote read a letter Sunday to parishioners at St. Patrick Church in Jaffrey, asking forgiveness and describing the relationship, which he said lasted five or six years starting in 1985.
"What I did was wrong, but it did not involve a minor or a parishioner," he said.
Bishop John B. McCormack also wrote a letter to the congregation, saying that though Cote's actions were wrong, they did not violate the Diocese of Manchester's policies on sex abuse.
[I guess willfully committing one of the most grievous of mortal sins due to the unnatural act involved is no big thing in this diocese. The lame excuse made by the bishop in this report is disgusting. We're all children of God. To say that no one is at risk because this pervert priest doesn't abuse children is unfathomable. Souls or at stake for eternity, not the least of which are those of this excuse for a priest and his bishop who is his apologist.- Gary L. Morella]
The diocese defines a minor as anyone under 18, and its policy is to remove any priest from active ministry in New Hampshire if he is the subject of credible allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor.
[So if the sexual misconduct doesn't involve a minor, no big thing, correct? That seems to be the unmistakable message here regardless of whether we're talking about natural or the far more grave unnatural sex acts per the consistent teaching of Holy Mother Church rooted in Sacred Scripture. Recall that one of the sins crying out for vengeance in the Bible is sodomy to underscore what Aquinas referred to in the Summa as the "unnatural vice." - Gary L. Morella]
McCormack said he was confident Cote "had not engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor and that he is not a risk to children or young people."
[I guess this means that the residents of McCormack's diocese can all sleep better knowing that Cote did nothing of any consequence in his bishop's eyes. - Gary L. Morella]
The bishop also noted that an allegation against Cote was investigated this year by civil authorities and no charges were filed.
[Is this lowest common denominator approach the way to minister to your flock as a "good shepherd"? Just because that the civil authorities didn't consider that anything grave happened, does that mean that God doesn't through the clear unambiguous teaching of His Church on these matters? The civil authorities, may I remind you, don't consider that partial birth infanticide or the killing of upwards of forty million babies in the womb to be unlawful. Is the Church suppose to follow the example of the civil authorities or SET THE EXAMPLE for the civil authorities? Anyone who needs more than a millisecond to answer that question is not Catholic. - Gary L. Morella]
McCormack said he made the right decision when he appointed Cote to St. Patrick in June, although he did not tell parishioners until Sunday about either the criminal probe or a church investigation that followed.
He said he kept the information from church members because he wanted to protect Cote's privacy and because he was certain Cote was not a risk.
[Being at risk of going to hell is, again, appears to be no big thing for this bishop in regard to the souls of all involved. - Gary L. Morella]
"I am confident that I made the right decision even though it was made at the expense of your knowing about his entire personal background," McCormack wrote.
McCormack testified at a deposition in an unrelated case on Friday. There, he was asked about Cote, and a witness to the deposition told The Associated Press that the bishop wavered when asked about the age of the young man with whom the priest had a relationship, sometimes saying he was 17, and other times saying he was 18 or 19.
The man, now 35, told authorities Cote molested him while assigned to St. Patrick's Church in Newport.
Several law enforcement authorities, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the AP they believed the teenager was 15 or 16 when the relationship with Cote started, though they were unable to make an exact determination and did not press charges. Sixteen is the age when sexual consent can be given legally in New Hampshire.
Patrick McGee, spokesman for McCormack, said Sunday the young man met with church officials this spring and told the Rev. Edward Arsenault, chancellor of the diocese, that he was 18 when the relationship began.
Cote said he is now committed to a life of celibacy.
"I have assured Bishop McCormack that I have lived a chaste life as a celibate priest for many years now and actually throughout most of my ministry," he said.
[What has this individual done to demonstrate that he can now be trusted given the lie that he previously lived? Has he displayed remorse to the point of being ashamed to show his face publicly, doing penance for the scandal that he's caused for a significant period of time commensurate with his grevious offense against the Church? From here, it looks like we're dealing with a shameless Clinton clone who believes that he can do anything that he wants, say a simple, I'm sorry, and everything is hunky-dory.
Yes, certainly, there is forgiveness through the Sacrament of Penance, but there is also the temporal punishment due to sin, especially grave sin, which is the Church teaching on Purgatory. And to somehow disregard this dogmatic truth to the point of not wanting to atone for the sin committed in this life, mitigating what awaits you in the next, is not indicative of being Catholic, the most proper atonement being the realization that you of your own free will disqualified yourself from being considered a priest any longer. Of course, we're talking about dissenters across the board when we're discussing priests inclined to homosexuality, and the bishops who defend them by concealing their crimes and refusing to acknowledge the seriousness of their sin. For them, not only does Purgatory not exist, but neither does Hell nor anything else that remains of Church dogma, which must be reinvented to accomodate their vices. We're no longer talking about selfless concerns regarding the "faithful" in charity, but rather the selfish concerns of indivduals who are more concerned with getting patents on the reinvention of the Church itself to suit their ends, not God's.
You do not allow individuals such as this priest to remain as such anymore than you would allow someone who was an alcoholic to work as a bartender. The risks are too great as evidenced by the repeated sordid news stories breaking in the press on an almost daily basis, stories that need not have happened had our bishops been Catholic and obedient to the Teaching Magisterium of the Church by not allowing unchecked dissent in their respective dioceses to spawn a homosexual subculture in their seminaries, and ultimately in the Church proper as these "gay rancheros" were ordained. This priest needs to find employment elsewhere as do all those guilty of committing and concealing these crimes from the public, especially their bishops. No one is above the law, especially God's law which trumps all of the others.
How can you call yourself a bishop and make the argument that, just because a minor may not have been involved, and just because the civil authorities don't believe that anything illegal happened, nothing serious occurred to warrant the removal of the individual involved from the priesthood? Do they know their faith? Hardly, they certainly have never been acquainted with Aquinas or the Universal Catechism. We're talking about scandalizing the faithful by living a lie for, in this case, six years. Moreover, we're talking about sacrilege since Holy Orders is involved. The clear message from this story is "Well, since it didn't involve a minor, but rather was just a homosexual act between consenting adults, there is no need to get excited. Who cares about the fact that one of the consenting adults was supposed to be a priest of God, an alter Christus?"
Thank you Bishop McCormack for that wonderful catechism lesson. - Gary L. Morella]
October 3, 2002
vol 13, no. 108
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."