At the Root of Clerical Sexual Abuse
Are Celibacy, Power, Silence and Dehumanization
Caused by Cultural Inbreeding
By Vinnie Nauheimer © 2009 All rights reserved
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Starving, gassing, burning, hacking, bombing and mutilating on a large scale are all well documented crimes against humanity. In each case humanity reflects on how inhuman man can be to his fellow man, decries and tries to destroy the offending dictators or regimes and puts up a memorial in the hope it doesn’t happen again. The travesties generally last no longer than the time span of the despot’s rule: I.e. Hitler, Pol Pot Idi Amin etc. There is however, one very notable exception. That exception is the rape, sodomization and molestation of children by the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church. There is ample documentation showing this carnage has been carried out unabated for centuries!
The focal point of this essay is not the pedophile priest, for we know what he is. He is a sick twisted deviant who relishes despoiling innocence. He is the predator. An animal who exists for his next meal: despoiling an innocent child. Like the jackal, he preys on the weak and vulnerable in order to feed his sick insatiable appetite. This examination will focus on the following: How the pederast became an integral part of the clergy, why their handlers, the bishops, allow these jackals free reign to prey on children, and the causes for the utter silence of the priesthood at large on the subject of the sexual abuse of children by priests.
What do you call a man who knowingly allows a malevolent individual to prey on children? What term can be coined for a man who upon finding out that a perverted priest has violated a child, moves said priest to new hunting grounds? How do you address someone who knowingly sends a serial child molester into a parish with an elementary school? What term can accurately describe a man who sends a child raping priest out of his country to prey upon the children of poor indigent people; whose only hope in life is an afterlife in heaven? Sadly, there is one answer to all of these questions, you call him bishop!
Any man worthy of the name man, with merely a meager amount of humanity, would run and hide in deep shame at the thought of allowing innocent children to be sexually abused, but not a bishop. Any father, who understands what it means to have, hold, raise and love a child, would cringe at the thought of putting any child in the path of a sexual predator, but not a bishop. If a man’s son or daughter runs afoul of a sexual predator, he cries and berates himself for years burdened with the guilt of thinking he has failed his child, but not a bishop. If the child commits suicide as a direct effect of the abuse, that man takes his burden to the grave, but not a bishop! A bishop will defend his logic for allowing children to be raped by a priest from a pulpit, in front of cameras and even under oath in written depositions. Normal human beings just don’t do that!
Normal people are simply not capable of casually allowing children as young as four years old to be raped, sodomized or molested. This is not a character trait found in the general public! Why, then, does it exist in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church? Societies as well as cultures around the world have stringent laws against sexually abusing children. Interpol has the prevention of sexual abuse of children as one of its main goals. The U.N. through its UNICEF organization has put together “The Convention on the Rights of the Child,” which states a child has the right to grow up unmolested. It has been signed by most of the civilized countries of the world with one major exception, the Vatican.
There is no love in and even less humanity in any person who moves sexually abusing priests among parishes as easily as he would move a chess piece across a board. Men such as this can’t possibly stake a claim to humanity let alone to Jesus. Therefore, the imperative question is, “What caused these men: priests, bishops and cardinals, to shed their humanity and act in ways that defy human dignity?”
The answer, for all who care to look, lies in the history of Catholic Church. Much has been written about the term culture. Culture is something that defines an individual or groups of individuals. It includes things like, beliefs, foods, language, dances, music, etc. Cultures also have traditions some of which can date back hundreds or even thousands of years. Rites of passage into manhood have long been a cultural tradition. The circumcision is a good example. It goes back millennia. So it is safe to assume that if the same thing continuously occurs within the same group over hundreds or even thousands of years, it is deeply embedded in that culture. So let it be known that history tells us that the sexual abuse of children by priests is deeply embedded in the cultural tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
The following are historical examples of this malevolent cultural practice recorded over a sixteen-hundred year period.
The Fourth Century
From the Council of Elvira 306: There were a host of Canons that came out of this Ecumenical Council. These are but a few that speak to the subject of sexual abuse.1
18. Bishops, presbyters, and deacons, once they have taken their place in the ministry, shall not be given communion even at the time of death if they are guilty of sexual immorality. Such scandal is a serious offense.
71. Those who sexually abuse boys may not commune even when death approaches.
Laws are not written to protect children from things that don’t occur and if the church adhered to these laws today, the number of clerics receiving communion the world over would drop significantly.
The Eleventh Century: St. Peter Damian's Letter 31, the Book of Gomorrah (Liber Gomorrhianus), Randy Engel says it is “the most extensive treatment and condemnation by any Church Father of clerical pederasty and homosexual practices.  His manly discourse on the vice of sodomy in general and clerical homosexuality and pederasty in particular, is written in a plain and forthright style that makes it quite readable and easy to understand.” 2
Pierre J. Prayer translated Peter Damian’s work and in his introduction, he makes this comment: “One of his consistent themes was an attack on the sexual immorality of the clergy and the laxness of the superiors who refused to take a strong hand against it.” 3
We can take away two things from this book. 1. The problem of sexual immorality had to be so widespread that Damian deemed it necessary to write this treatise in a time when writing was a tedious job done with quill and ink on very expensive paper. 2. If the Church Fathers had disagreed with Peter Damian, his treatise the on sexual immorality of the clergy would have never survived and he would never have attained sainthood.
The Seventeenth Century
From Karen Liebreich’s book Fallen Order: “One of his recruits in particular, Father Stephano Cherubini, was to prove a disaster. Cherubini was dogged throughout his career by allegations of inappropriate behaviour with pupils, but his powerful family ties and connections with the Inquisition made Calasanz wary of expelling him. Instead, he invented that staple of the Catholic church in subsequent centuries when faced with paedophile priests - he promoted him, writing to the priest he charged with clearing this up: "I want you to know that your reverence's sole aim is to cover up this great shame in order that it does not come to the notice of our superiors” 4
The Twenty-First Century:
From the Boston Globe referring to Cardinal Law: “He knew about allegations that John J. Geoghan, the now-convicted child molester, had been attacking little boys and returned him to parish work nevertheless.
Law knew that the Rev. Peter J. Frost was an admitted sex addict and child abuser and still held open the prospect of future ministry for him.” 5
Author’s note: For anyone interested, there are numerous books dedicated to covering clerical sexual abuse during specific periods as well as chronicling its long and sordid history.
We can therefore deduce the following about the culture of the church regarding clerical sexual abuse:
- Any member of the hierarchy who even attempts to claim ignorance of clerical sexual abuse or its history in the church is either a liar or an ignoramus.
- Celibacy and Chastity are unattainable myths. If the combined force, intelligence and fear of God commanded by the church over a millennium cannot teach priests to adhere to their vows, the vow is impossible to keep.
- Insanity is defined as repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again for centuries expecting a different outcome. Celibacy and chastity belong fit this definition,
- Clerical child abuse has been going on uninterrupted in the RCC for a millennium and a half. These are not new crimes; just old ones getting more publicity.
- For the last thousand years, the tradition has been to gloss over the existence of violations of both celibacy and the sexual abuse of children.
- The hierarchy of the Catholic Church has passed the tradition of protecting priests at all costs down through the ages to where it has become a cultural policy.
The Depths of Depravity: Dehumanizing Actions
The culture of the RCC has been to totally ignore their victim’s pain and suffering. There is not a shred of historical information that proves otherwise. The RCC has steadfastly refused to promote the healing and wellbeing of children who have fallen victim to predator priests. Even to this day, the church fights tooth and nail in their attempts to ignore their victims. Are these the acts of an organization with humanitarian goals or unchecked arrogance?
The too obvious questions are: “What kind of men would allow heinous crimes against the bodies and souls of children to go unpunished?” What kind of men would then leave these children to suffer in silence? Never once has a bishop said that he considered the children when transferring sexually abusing priests to a new parish. Heartless is a kind moniker. Inhumane is a better one. The less obvious and more important question is why would men allow these same crimes against humanity to persist over centuries? To really understand that question, you have to first understand the depths of depravity reached by priests committing these crimes before you can truly appreciate the inhuman actions of person that lets them continue unabated.
The detachment molesting priests are capable of borders on sociopathic; meaning there is no remorse for even the most monstrous of crimes. The following stories are true and the reader must remember these are not the worst. Propriety and respect for the reader prohibit going into graphic detail regarding the sordid crimes priests have committed upon the bodies of children. However, for those seeking verification, the Internet now has over three quarters of a million hits on the subject of clergy abuse. The query “survivor stories of clergy abuse” produces almost ninety thousand hits.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Wednesday was accused of helping an Ecuadoran priest flee the United States last year after he allegedly molested a 4-year-old girl in Minneapolis. 6
A woman goes to her parish priest for counseling. She tells the priest that she wants to be a good Catholic, but is having a hard time because she was sexually assaulted by a priest as a young girl. This priest gains her confidence and uses her needs to get to her twin boys and sexually abuses both of them. One of the boys, as a result of the abuse, attempts suicide. As he lay in his hospital bed hovering between life and death with his mom at his side, who comes to her offering prayers and consolation? None other than her counselor, her parish priest, and her son’s abuser, the same man who’s sexual abuse drove the boy to attempt suicide in the first place!
Behavior like that defies any connection with either a conscience or humanity, yet it happened. Worse still is the abusing priest who has the unbridled audacity to say the funeral mass for one of his victims that succeeded in committing suicide. This behavior strongly mirrors that of the arsonist who delights in watching his flames devour a building.
Just as twisted as the above but on a different level is the priest who while buttoning the cassock of the young altar boy fondles the boy’s genitals. Ten minutes later, he is using those same fingers to lift and consecrate a host, but a short time later is sticking those same fingers on the tongues of adoring parishioners seeking communion with Jesus. He moves blithely from one despicable act to the next with no remorse, no conscience or one so suppressed as not to exist. He has no fear, not even the wrath of God. His abominable sacrilege and desecration of children and the host continues Sunday after Sunday.
How can anyone claiming ties to humanity perpetuate these acts by moving offending priests from parish to parish? Yet, bishops, cardinals and popes have done it as routinely as saying mass. First they ignored the complaints. Then, when the complaints grew too loud, they simply moved the priest to another unsuspecting parish, with unsuspecting parents and vulnerable children. With a fifteen hundred year history of sexually abusing children, the RCC can hardly expect us to believe they “Didn’t know!” Bishops knew children were being raped, sodomized and molested, but simply did not care. Behavior such as this is both heartless and inhuman. For centuries, bishops have knowingly tossed children to predator priests as easily as throwing peanuts to an elephant. Consider the following: In Canada, there are over 50,000 aboriginal children missing. They either died or were murdered in residential schools across the country.
“An international tribunal found the government and several churches guilty of the crime of genocide. Ever since June, 1998, when an international tribunal in Vancouver found your government, the RCMP, and the Catholic, United, Anglican, and Presbyterian churches guilty of acts of Genocide against native people, the world has waited to see if your government and the churches in question would respond to the charges brought against you by survivors of the residential schools. Your government and these churches have shown by your silence that you do not dispute the charges of mass murder and Genocide being made against you.”7
The story from Ireland is just as bad.
In Ireland, several commissions on Clergy Sexual Abuse have filed their reports over the past few years and each report from the Ferns Report to the most recent Dublin Report unequivocally condemns the Roman Catholic Church for their dismal failure in dealing with priests who abuse. The reports deal with the thousands of Irish children abused while the bishops of the church in Ireland did nothing to put a halt to it.
Why is it that bishops have no fear? There are a couple of possibilities: either they know there is no God, think they are gods or they believe they will suffer no consequences because they were appointed by god. The first one is difficult to prove, but there is a plethora of evidence for the latter two. The evidence is in the way they act horrified when anyone casts aspersions on their character, the global cover-up and the fact that there are thousands of cases where bishops knowingly shuffling pedophiles. These are not the actions of men who have fear. To date, not one bishop has paid the consequences for the most egregious crimes against humanity dating back a thousand years.
Somewhere after the Council of Elvira, when stringent rules were imposed, the men in the hierarchy lost touch with both their humanity and the teachings of Jesus.
The Culture of Power and Hubris
Cultural clerical inbreeding has wed the “god complex” with hubris. A person who is said to have a “god complex” does not believe he is God, but acts so arrogantly that he might as well believe he is a god or that he was appointed to act by a god” and Hubris applies to any outrageous act or exhibition of pride or disregard for basic moral laws.”
Hubris or the outrageous acts and total disregard for moral laws displayed by today’s hierarchy are readily explained by the above. Now compare the definitions above to the passage below. It was written to the members of an organization known as the Conference of the Major Superiors of Men by their then Executive Director. These words, written shortly after Boston’s sex scandal broke were truly prophetic. The organization’s name alone should give the reader a preview of how high they hold themselves in their own esteem. The CMSM represents all the religious orders of priests. Behold the words of those who believe themselves the divinely appointed betters of the human race.
"The days of the pass or station house adjustment for Father or Brother by the Irish cop or prosecutor are over. Either we will learn to become more comfortable in the gaze of the rude and scoffing multitude (depending on our attitude) or we will be dragged kicking and screaming into a new future for religion and religious life"8 (italics are the author’s emphasis)
The thought processes that allow priests to refer to the laity as the “rude and scoffing multitude” are the same ones that allow and even encourage priests to use children as sex objects. “Less than” is the operative concept; it allows children to be treated as though they are mere baubles to be used, abused and discarded at will. However, it is those who believe they are “better than” humanity who are, in reality, the ones dehumanized. Priests suffer “the disconnect” of being separated from humanity by their vows so they had to conjure up a rationale to compensate for that disconnect. Being chosen by God to lead sinners into the light goes a long way to rationalizing the separation from and supposed superiority over humanity. This is but a salve, because it never reaches the source of the true itch.
In Genesis 2, God says, referring to Adam, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” In Matt. 19:5 Jesus said, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?” Leave it to the Catholic Church to countermand both the Father and the Son just as they have done in Matthew 18 where Jesus uses his harshest language to describe the fate of child abusers. Then again in Matt: 23: 9 where Jesus says: “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” Isn’t it about time someone read this passage to the “Holy Father”? Hubris?
Much has been written about the need human beings have for intimacy. Studies have found that human babies needed physical and emotional contact in order to thrive. The operative word here is thrive. More than that, recent studies prove the need for intimacy continues into adulthood and those who are not afforded intimacy generally turn to addictions of all sorts. God instilled in man and woman the need for intimacy. The only organization that has refused to recognize this concept is the Roman Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church came to grips with it a long time ago.
The lack of intimacy created by the unfounded and unproven beliefs of RCC about celibacy has created a unique brand of both hetero and homosexuality. They have created an institution of men and women, who because of their vows, can only indulge in gratuitous sex. Whether with one another, one night stands, prostitutes, the sexual abuse of children and adults, pornography, gambling, drugs and alcoholism; they are all classic symptoms of those who lack intimacy in their lives. Contrary to what the church would have us believe, being married to the church doesn’t fill that void. God put two sexes on the earth so man and woman would fulfill each other. Louise Hagget’s Bingo Report9 sites loneliness as the primary reason for breaking vows and what is loneliness but the lack of intimacy.
A prominent psychiatrist who worked for the church had this to say:
In fact, statements by Dr. Jay Feierman support a link between sexual repression and pedophilia. As a psychiatrist who has met with hundreds of pedophilic priests at a Catholic treatment center in New Mexico, Feierman is in a position to recognize the connection.
Feierman says celibacy is not "a natural state for humans to be in." Pointing to the celibacy requirement as a cause of clergy abuse of children, he explains: "If you tell a man that he's not allowed to have particular friends, he's not allowed to be affectionate, he's not allowed to be in love, he's not allowed to be a sexual being, you shouldn't be surprised at anything that happens."10
“You shouldn’t be surprised at anything that happens” and the RCC isn’t because it is the oldest continuous enclave for hetero and homosexual men seeking all forms of gratuitous sex. There is no other institution in the world with a longer, well documented, continuous history of the sexual abuse of children than the RCC. Their own records stand in testimony to this fact.
In either hetero or homosexual relationships where there is intimacy or the expectation of it, there is a commitment. A homosexual couple raising a child would be just as outraged at having their son or daughter defiled by a priest as would a heterosexual couple. Why, because they have what priests lack, a commitment, intimacy and love. By their very nature, human intimacy and a priest’s commitment to his vows are mutually exclusive. Therefore attempts to seek intimacy through sexual gratification always fall short leaving the sex gratuitous and unfulfilling.
This failure, on a grand scale, to adhere to celibacy mandated that a rationale be concocted to excuse breaking the vow. Celibacy itself became one of the chief rationales; the excuse used for allowing exceptions. “Oh, you a good priest and it is so hard to keep your vows. Say your confession and try not to do it again.” The biggest coup in history for the hierarchy was the laity swallowing it hook, line and sinker. How many Catholics have said, “A priest is entitled to break a vow once in a while, after all they are only human.” Cardinal George gave us the best known public example of this type of exemption in this quote:
Cardinal George said, ''There is a difference between a moral monster like Geoghan,'' who preys in serial fashion, and an individual who, ''perhaps under the influence of alcohol,'' engages in inappropriate behavior with ''a 16- or 17-year-old young woman who returns his affections.”11
Even this rationale couldn’t soothe the conscience of the clerics. And so a grand philosophy had to be constructed; one that would forever blind or bind the conscience of priests and bishops. Enter the scion of the marriage between the God Complex and Hubris: the Dehumanizing Effect. This stated that all who received Holy Orders were called directly by God. Being selected by God made them better than the rest. The myth of celibacy was the linchpin that proved priests were the betters of man. Ipso facto, the rude and scoffing multitude could be used and abused without penalty. (If anyone really thought God was calling these perverts to the priesthood, they would all be running for the exit doors.)
For centuries the hierarchy has had an ingrained attitude that there is nothing wrong with dalliances by members of their priesthood with men, women and children. This thought process became tradition and the tradition became church policy. It readily explains the Dehumanization Effect by which the hierarchy hasn’t given a second thought to children being raped, sodomized or molested by their priests. It took a proclamation by the pope in the sixteenth century to declare that Native Americans had a soul. Hitler referred to his idea of sub-humans as mud people. American slave owners declared slaves property. Religious orders call them, “the rude and scoffing multitude.” Whoever the abuser, they all see their victims as “less than,” which makes any crime against them palatable.
Do priests really consider themselves to be divinely selected? Proof of the god complex theory comes to us from the surveys done to gather information for Louise Haggett’s Bingo Report.12 According to the survey, a full third of priests surveyed said they either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement: "I believe in priestly divinity" an additional 10% said they neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement.
A Different Hypothesis:
The late, great, erudite New York Senator and Catholic, Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote an essay titled: Defining Deviance Down.13 His premise was that society keeps lowering the bar by which they define deviant behavior. If he were alive, he would certainly understand how his work applies to the RCC especially this paragraph.
“In this pattern, a growth in deviancy makes possible a transfer of resources, including prestige, to those who control the deviant population. This control would be jeopardized if any serious effort were made to reduce the deviancy in question. This leads to assorted strategies for re-defining the behavior in question as not all that deviant, really.”14
Moynihan’s observations lead to a completely new perspective on the permissiveness of the RCC. Applied to the church, the bishop’s control would be seriously jeopardized if any attempt were made to eliminate sexual deviants from the ranks of the priesthood. The greater the deviance allowed in the priesthood, (a virtual feudal system) the greater control and power the hierarchy exerts over its priests. This certainly explains the unprecedented inhumanity exhibited by bishops towards children. They redefined sexual abuse from a crime to a sin. Ephebophilia was carved out of pedophilia to make sex crimes with older children a few degrees more palatable since a teenager is not a prepubescent boy or girl. (Defining deviance down as if there were a distinction) The distinction with post-pubescent boys was made to place the blame squarely on homosexual priests. However, the bishops have conveniently ignored the equally offensive sexual abuse of teenaged girls. The bishops had a very clear choice, their power or children’s lives. Clearly, the bishops opted to keep their power.
The hierarchy has an incredibly strong hold on its priests. Marketing 101 has the 4P’s: Product, Price, Packaging and Promotion. The hierarchy of the RCC has its four P’s for absolute power: Placement, Promotion, Penance and Pension. All four are controlled exclusively by either the bishop or the order’s superior. The 4P’s are strong enough strings to make most priests dance. It is the difference between being stationed in the inner city or a country club parish. The four P’s are real power and very real control. Anyone of these strings when pulled by a superior can affect behavior. When all four are controlled by the same person, it is a recipe for total control. The four P’s of hierarchal power explain a great deal of the global priestly silence, but they can’t explain it all away. Enter Moynihan’s theory of defining deviance down in order to maintain control.
Combine the 4P’s of power with the concept of deviant control and you seal lips forever. Take an abusing priest of either homo or heterosexual nature. How much stronger is that priest’s allegiance when the priest knows his bishop or cardinal will protect him? Defend him by every means available? Will keep him out of jail, out of site and then ship him to a new parish, a.k.a. hunting grounds, where he can once again ply his immoral trade?
The Code of Silence Testifies to These Truths
Edmond Burke said,” All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
This could be the motto of the Roman Catholic Church. One of the most astonishing and disturbing facts of the Clergy Abuse Scandal is the singular solidarity of both priests and bishops in refusing to speak out against their brothers who have abused children. This silence is a condemnation of the entire church and its leadership. Out of forty thousand priests in the United States, only a handful have ever publicly spoken out against clergy abuse. Only a handful have ever aided victims in their quest for justice. The only internationally known priest advocate for survivors is Fr. Tom Doyle. The silence of the priesthood is not only about the abuse, it also applies to the outrageous crimes committed by the hierarchy in their handling of clergy abuse cases. The bishops have brought down great scandal upon themselves, their priests and the church yet the majority of “good” priests remain silent.
The question begs itself, why this deafening silence from men of god? Crimes as heinous as the rape, sodomization and molestation of children should inspire outrage, yet there was and is only silence. The cover-ups by the hierarchy should have resulted in calls for removal, yet there was and is only silence. The monumental scandal and shame brought down upon the church should have brought screams of anguish from every pulpit, yet there was and is only silence. Has every priest, like their bishops, lost every spark of humanity? Are we to believe that in the thousands of rectories across the United States not one good priest is upset about this? What compels men of God to maintain their wholesale silence?
As striking as the silence of the priests is regarding clerical sexual abuse, it is just as striking on the subject of homosexuality. The RCC is one of the most vocal anti-homosexual religions in the world. The tirades let loose from the pope on down to the pulpit on the evils of homosexuality are legendary. They are strong, inciting, inflammatory and resolute in their condemnation. Yet at the same time, the website Religious Tolerance15 offers, from a wide variety of sources, various projections (anywhere from 15% to 75%) on the number of homosexual men in the priesthood. Their conclusion is that about a third of the priests in the United States are homosexual. Is that anything new? I refer the reader to the church’s own history mentioned earlier.
How must these priests of the homosexual persuasion suffer listening to the constant tirades streaming down from a hierarchy whose own ranks are replete with homosexuals? How does the hierarchy tie the tongues of good men and why do good men allow their tongues to be tied? Fear and shame are the names of the game.
The Facts Underscore the Truth
Scientists, in order to test a theory, keep looking for the one thing which will disprove their theory. If none of the known facts refute the theory, it is considered a truth until such time as proof is offered to the contrary. So let it be with the following statements:
- The RCC has known about priestly sexual abuse within its ranks and has actively covered it up for over one thousand years.
- The RCC is the only organization in the Western World that has had men living with men on a continuous basis for fifteen hundred years.
- The RCC has had some of the world’s most brilliant minds working on their behalf during the last fifteen hundred years as priestly philosophers, scientists and writers, yet none of them have figured out how to make celibacy work.
- The priesthood of the RCC has had active heterosexuals, homosexuals and child abusers in the clergy for over a thousand years. At varying times in their history, the size and scandal of one or more of the above groups has reached epidemic proportions.
- At various times in church history, there has been a public rebellion against the clerical decadence that became pervasive. We are currently in one of these periods.
The RCC knows more than any other organization in history about trying to keep men celibate during the last millennium. Yet they still fail. God’s design is too strong for church doctrine. Judging by the fact that celibacy and chastity are still vows, it is obvious that there exists another reason to keep unholy vows. Knowing full well these vows can’t be kept by normal people, why does the RCC keep them as well as the sordid sexual perversions they have produced. The new hypothesis is the RCC has kept chastity and celibacy as vows for no other reason than to exert control over the members of the priesthood as in the manner stated by Moynihan in Defining Decadence Down.16
This is the stuff that makes for mutual protection as evidenced by Crimen Solicitationis, which turns all reported sexual abuse into a secret of the Holy Office. (The Pope) How far will members of the hierarchy go to protect sexually abusing priests? Up until now, Cardinal Law had been the poster boy, but he has recently been replaced by Cardinal Roger Mahony who has been fighting for a dozen years to keep the names of predator priests a secret. We’ve already discussed the moral turpitude of a man who knowingly protects child abusers. This is a sterling example of the lengths the cardinal has gone to prevent the names of abusive priests from being made public. It is an excerpt from a motion filed by the archdiocese of Los Angeles to squirm out of a commitment it made to survivors when they settled the sexual abuse claims against it
The relationship between a Roman Catholic priest and his employer, the Archdiocese in this case, is a uniquely close, all-encompassing one, in which the employer is also the direct spiritual superior of the employee, and between them there can be no secrets.”17
Therefore, as per the words of the cardinal himself, all bishops and cardinals have tacit knowledge of all the actions of sexually abusive priests in their employ. Once again, the often repeated words of the hierarchy, “I didn’t know!” ring hollow.
The child abusers only account for a minority of priests. What about the rest of the priests, does deviance bind them to the bishop in the same manner? Yes, but the deviance is not child abuse, it is the deviation from their vows. The bishops know who is philandering with whom and their sexual preferences, which places the majority in the same boat as the minority. Once you compromise yourself each and every deviance has to be accepted. The bishops have to protect everyone including those with the most egregious sexual appetites. The price for this protection is the priest’s absolute silence regardless of the shame attached. Appointing a confessor further guarantees the silence under the seal of confession.
This also explains why all the homosexual priests stay in an organization that openly condemns them? What buys their silence? The same 4P’s plus the deviant control and the fear of being exposed as a homosexual? How does a good hardworking homosexual priest feel living and working among parishioners who have been conditioned to believe that homosexuality is either an abomination or an aberration? How painful is it for them to read that a bishop has refused communion to supporters of homosexuals with no more cause than an identifying ribbon? How painful is it to know that the gratuitous sex homosexual priests are forced to partake in, because of celibacy, carries greater risks such as a higher incidence of Aids than the general population? This is high price to pay for an attempt at intimacy.
Has anyone wondered why the church is so adamantly opposed to legitimizing homosexual unions through marriage? One very real possibility is that homosexual marriages present a genuine threat to the priesthood and therefore the church itself. Over the past twenty years, homosexuality has integrated into the mainstream. It is shunned by a few, tolerated by some and accepted by most of the general population. Since Vatican II, many heterosexual priests have left the priesthood to get married. They left for the intimacy that was designed into their beings and fulfilled their natural needs.
When homosexual priests realize that they too can live a shameless life with a lifetime partner, a commitment, and intimacy among the general public, the priesthood will lose its appeal as a safe haven for homosexual men. This bears repeating: the priesthood will lose its appeal as a safe haven for homosexual men When homosexual priests start to leave the priesthood for committed relationships outside the priesthood, they will leave the church in critical condition. Along with that, the number of homosexual men needing refuge in the priesthood will drop too.
Behavior no longer considered deviant, equates with no more power. The RCC is pulling out all the stops to prevent the legalization of homosexual marriages because its future depends on it. If it doesn’t succeed, it is doomed to atrophy. Their recent bid to attract Anglican priests upset by the ordination of homosexuals is nothing more than attempt to shore up their dwindling clerical numbers. Without homosexual priests, the church will deteriorate at an even faster pace spurred on by an extremely critical shortage of priests.
Portents for the Future
Someone once said, “Hope springs eternal.” In the case of the RCC, we have to have serious doubts. Despite fifteen hundred years of evidence to the contrary, celibacy and chastity are still required as means of assuring control of the priesthood. The inhumanity that it has created has been catastrophic. The following is your assurance that nothing will change in the near future.
The pope was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith for some twenty odd years and during those years maintained the culture’s status quo. He says he was horrified by the stories he read as head of the CDF. As pope, he has assured the maintenance of the status quo by appointing Archbishop Levada to his former post. Jesus predicted this well when he said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”
Since past behavior is pretty much indicative of future behavior, we need to look at Levada’s record regarding sexual abuse to determine if he is a party to the culture that has dominated and perverted the Catholic Church over the past thousand years. Let’s start and end with the case of Bishop Ziemann which defines the depths to which Cardinal Levada will sink. Ziemann combines the elitist culture with the lack of humanity we’ve been discussing. Bishop Ziemann was arrested while receiving oral sex from a priest in his own car. To make matters worse, Ziemann forced this priest wear a pager so that he could be summoned for sex at the Ziemann’s whim. According to the priest’s testimony, Bishop Ziemann had twice given him Venereal Disease infections. When Ziemann left the diocese of Santa Rosa, he left it sixteen million dollars in the red. Consider the following from the San Francisco Weekly.
“He has been protected by and remains intimately connected with three influential fellow hierarchs, including San Francisco Archbishop William J. Levada. It was Levada who presided over Ziemann's skipping away from Santa Rosa with criminal impunity after church officials refused to fully cooperate with authorities. Ziemann's mentor and chief patron is Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, whose problems with pedophile priests rival the scandal-plagued Boston archdiocese's. The other member of the troika is Manuel Moreno, who until his surprise resignation this month for health reasons, was bishop of Tucson, Ariz., and in whose diocese Ziemann was given refuge at the Holy Trinity Monastery... Moreno has a long and tawdry record in covering up for pedophile priests…
At a time when someone else might have tossed him to the wolves, Levada lauded Ziemann to the bitter end in Santa Rosa. The day Ziemann resigned, shortly after a lurid audiotape surfaced exposing the bishop's illicit relationship with the priest, Levada extolled his friend as someone who had done much to help the diocese. It didn't seem to matter that, right up until the revelation of the bishop's tape-recorded apology to Father Jorge Hume Salas for forcing him to engage in sex, Ziemann's personal attorney proclaimed him to be "a very holy man" and the bishop steadfastly denied any misconduct.”18
Bishop Ziemann recently passed away retaining all his faculties.
Why did Benedict XVI pick Levada to replace him as head of the CDF? His unwavering loyalty, no matter how disgraceful, to a brother bishop and the church seems like the most logical answer. Silence is the golden rule. Levada has publicly proven the depths to which he is willing to sink in order to protect a fellow bishop from criminal prosecution. His is a sterling quality, a la Bernie Law, which is obviously deeply appreciated by the Pope. When handling future accusations of sexual abuse against priests and bishops, Levada has already shown how low he can be expected to drop the deviance bar. With Levada at the helm of the CDF, the culturally imbedded concept that bishops have the right and obligation to cover-up for abusers will carry on into the future.
Not being satisfied with Levada and Law, the pope has recently given Bishop Raymond Burke a slot at the Vatican. This is a man who handed out excommunications like pedophiles hand out candy. Like the queen of hearts in Alice in Wonderland, he ran around yelling, “To hell with your souls!” Burke is noted for his ability to silence victims as noted here.
But some members of Raymond Burke's former flock paint a far different portrait of the erstwhile bishop of La Crosse. If cases of clergy sex abuse were few and far between, they say, it was because Burke was a master at keeping a lid on them. Several victims who claim they were abused by priests in La Crosse tell Riverfront Times they were stonewalled by Burke, who declined to report their allegations to local authorities. And while some of his fellow church officials nationwide were reaching hefty settlements with victims, Raymond Burke was unyielding in his refusal to negotiate with victims' rights groups. He declined to make public the names of priests who were known to have been abusive, and he denied requests to set up a victims' fund. Most strikingly, Riverfront Times has learned, while bishop in La Crosse Burke allowed at least three priests to remain clerics in good standing long after allegations of their sexual misconduct had been proven -- to the church, to the courts and, finally, to Burke himself.19
Burke has recently been appointed by the pope to an office that will handle the worst cases of the clergy sexual abuse as the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Once again, we have the pope planning for the future and insuring the status quo. What chance is there of change with men like these in positions of power?
We have seen how men, supposedly good men, are so hypocritical in their nature, that they can one day preach justice and morality before a packed cathedral and the next day transfer a serial rapist to another parish. This is not only the pinnacle of hypocrisy, but it is so much more than that. It is about a totally corrupted system that not only trains men to behave in this manner, but which has become the only quality that will ensure promotion.
And what of the Catholic laity? Ashamed, embarrassed, angry, distraught, hurt, victims of a culture that uses fear and human sexuality to maintain control; what is to become of them? They have been trained well to pay, pray, and obey. Those that wake up to hypocrisy will leave discontented, others will pray for change, some will try to affect it, and the rest will pray and pay regardless of how outrageous the acts of the hierarchy become because more than anything else in the world, they want to go to heaven. It is thus fitting to close with a line from Defining Deviance Down. “A society that loses its sense of outrage is doomed to extinction."20 So is a church!
1. From: The Council of Elvira, ca. 306, retrieved November 26, 2009 http://faculty.cua.edu/pennington/Canon%20Law/ElviraCanons.htm
2. Engel, Randy. St. Peter Damian's Book of Gomorrah:A Moral Blueprint for Our Times - Part I Nov. 26, 2009 Retrieved from: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/articles/damian1.htm
3. Damian, Peter. The book of Gomorah an Eleventh Century Treatise Against Clerical Homosexual Practices. Translated by Pierre J. Payer. November 26, 2009 Retrieved from: http://books.google.com/books?id=hr4VAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA11&lpg=PA11&dq=eleventh+century+clerical+abuse&source=web&ots=kBcxq4YpkG&sig=PwlMgSfUtRxys6KqhwrSJNf4GSE&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA12,M1
4. Liebreich, Karen. Fallen Order November 27, 2009 Retrieved from: http://www.liebreich.com/LDC/HTML/Books/FallenOrder.html
5. Farragher, Thomas. Admission of awareness damning for Law. Nov. 26, 2009. http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories3/121402_admission.htm
6. Estrada, Herón. Archdiocese helped priest flee, suit says. Nov. 26, 2009 http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/28150429.html?elr=KArks:DCiUnP::DE8c7PiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU
7. Annett, Kevin. Open letter, Nov. 26, 2009 Retrieved from: http://signatoryindian.tripod.com/id80.html
8. Keating, Ted, From the Executive Director. July/August Bulletin, 2002 Retrieved from: http://www.cmsm.org/index.shtml Author’s note, site is no longer open to public.
10. Sommer, J. Clerical Celibacy and Pedophilic Priests. Nov. 27, 2009 http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/clerical_celibacy_and_pedophilic.htm
11. Wilgoren, J. Scandals in the Church: The Lay Members; In Chicago, Group Urges A Suspension of Donations. NYTimes, Published: Saturday, April 27, 2002, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DEEDA103EF934A15757C0A9649C8B63&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
13. Moynihan, D. P. Defining Deviancy Down. American Scholar (Winter 1993) Retrieved from: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/formans/DefiningDeviancy.htm
15. Homosexual orientation among Roman Catholic priests. Nov. 27, 2009. Retrieved from: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_rcc.htm
16. Ibid, 13
17. City of Angels Blog, October 1, 2008 Retrieved from: http://cityofangels13.blogspot.com/2008/10/objection-to-transfer-of-personnel.html
18. Russell, R. Bishop Bad Boy. San Francisco Weekly, March 19, 2003 Retrieved from: www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2003_03_19_Russell_BishopBad.htm
19. Gay, M. Immaculate Deception. Riverfront Times, August 25, 2004, Retrieved from: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2004_08_25_Gay_ImmaculateDeception_Raymond_Bornbach_etc.htm
20. Ibid, 13