Tag Archives: American Catholic Council

Already, the pendulum has swung to orthodoxy…

I do not know Mr. Joseph A. Wemhoff, but I sure do admire the way in which he arrests the “Spirit of Vatican II” in regard to the American Catholic Council in the following article …

Seeking fewer dissident Catholics

The 1,800 people at the recent American Catholic Council conference in Detroit compares with 1,840 at the first Call to Action meeting there 35 years ago. On the ACC meeting, the liberal National Catholic Reporter wrote (6/21/11): “well over half the participants were 65 or older and most of the rest were at least 50 … only a small scattering … in their 20s, 30s, or 40s … overwhelmingly white, with only a tiny black and Hispanic presence.”

The hierarchy need not portray these folks as “divisive, wild-eyed radicals and fringe loonies” — their own actions define them as such.

There is no right of dissent in the Catholic Church. One rejects the Church’s teachings and discipline at the peril of damnation. The Catholic Church never will be a democratic, human institution. It is a hierarchical, divine institution designed by its Founder to preserve the faith and save souls. Like the military, the Church is mission-driven. Like nature, form follows function.

The Detroit conference was a desperate attempt by ideologues to resurrect a dead movement. These closed-minded fanatics are in denial that their agenda is over, even as Anglicans beat a path to the orthodoxy of Rome. Francis Cardinal George wrote the epitaph on Feb. 27, 2001, at the Commonweal Forum when he said, “Liberal Catholicism is an exhausted project. … It no longer gives life” and has surrendered to the world.

Despite their tiny numbers, these heretics — and more so their fellow travelers in the clergy — have done incalculable damage to the Church from positions of power these past two generations by acting “in the spirit of Vatican II,” but contrary to its letter and actual intent. We faithful Catholics have seen our children abused spiritually (inverted order of first sacraments, poor catechesis, etc.); a false ecumenism belying our one, true faith; moral relativism; sacrilege toward the Sacred Species at Mass; invalid general absolutions; advocacy for the homosexual agenda; a contrived, artificial priest shortage; a refocus on humans instead of God; introduction of Masonic elements into our church buildings via needless “renovations”; willful misrepresentations of Church teachings; liturgical “innovations”; etc.

Through Alinsky tactics of deceit and intimidation, rebel clergy and laity have committed violence against faithful Catholics by denying us our rightful patrimony.

The fruits of this unbridled dissent are legion. Vocations have plummeted; only 25 percent of Catholics attend Sunday Mass; only one in three believe in the Real Presence. “Catholic” politicians support abortion and other evils. Bishops lack courage to enforce discipline, and “Catholic” colleges are anything but. The priestly homosexual abuse crisis is an abomination.

Ken is right in that we lay Roman Catholics must act — to help restore our Church. Already, the pendulum has swung to orthodoxy. In its 2,000-year history, under the protection of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church has always triumphed, and always will.

We pray that our heretical brothers and sisters will repent, convert, and save their souls.

Joseph A. Wemhoff

END OF POST

American Catholic Council — Before and After…

No, Sophia is not presenting herself for Holy Communion, she's snoring...

In April of 2009 I posted an article warning about a small dissident group from Minnesota calling itself the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform and its support for the formation of the American Catholic Council. The article was entitled “St. Joan of Arc Mpls. – Dialogue on difficult church issues, or advertisement to subvert the Catholic Church in America?“. In it I said:

“Simply put, there will be no effective American Catholic Council if reformers can’t somehow hoodwink laity and bishops into believing that their illegitimate goals are, well, legit…”

They weren’t, they couldn’t , and the council was…well, ineffective.

With the exception of a 78-year-old Priest from someplace called Ferndale, (not sure if this isn’t the name of a local retirement home or suburb of Detroit), the visible-active presence of any hierarchal authority capable of providing momentum for the movement was non-existent. After 2+ years of long hard planning and promoting the event  by various dissident groups throughout the country, this “spirit driven” council celebrating the 35th anniversary of the now infamous Call To Action Conference led by the late Cardinal John Dearden, former Archbishop of Detroit, would in the end produce a whopping 1500 participants…

Snore.

“Getting the Priests…”

“Quite frankly, it is more acceptable in our society today to defend the rights of Gitmo detainees than Catholic priests…”

Straight Talk About the Catholic Church

by Bill Donohue

When the Boston Globe exposed massive wrongdoing in the Boston Archdiocese in 2002, Catholics were understandably angry. And when more horror stories surfaced elsewhere, we were furious. But now our anger is turning on those who are distorting the truth about priestly sexual abuse. That some are exploiting this issue for ideological and financial profit seems plain.

Every time a new wave of accusations surfaces in one diocese, not coincidentally we see a spike in accusations in other dioceses. What is not often reported is that the vast majority of new accusations extend back decades. For example, for the first quarter of this year, 80 percent of the cases of alleged abuse involve incidences that occurred before 2000.

In March, an 80 year-old man came forward in St. Louis claiming he was abused 70 years ago by a priest who has been dead for a half century. This is not an anomaly: the same phenomenon has happened in other dioceses. Unfortunately, too often bishops have been quick to settle, thus inspiring more claims. When $225,000 is dished out to a Michigan man who claims he was abused in the 1950s by a priest who died in 1983—and the diocese admits the accusation is unsubstantiated—it encourages fraud.

A common belief, fostered by the media, is that there is a widespread sexual abuse problem in the Catholic Church today. The evidence is to the contrary: In 2004, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice issued its landmark study and found that most of the abuse occurred during the heyday of the sexual revolution, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. What we are hearing about today are almost all old cases. To wit: from 2005 to 2009, the average number of new credible accusations made against over 40,000 priests was 8.6. This is a tribute to the reform efforts that have taken place: 5 million children and 2 million adults have gone through a safe environment program. Indeed, there is no religious, or secular, institution that can match this record, either in terms of the low rate of abuse or the extensiveness of a training program.

Penn State professor Philip Jenkins has studied this problem for years. After looking at the John Jay data, which studied priestly sexual abuse from 1950-2002, he found that “of the 4,392 accused priests, almost 56 percent faced only one misconduct allegation, and at least some of these would certainly vanish under detailed scrutiny.” Moreover, Jenkins wrote that “Out of 100,000 priests active in the U.S. in this half-century, a cadre of just 149 individuals—one priest out of every 750—accounted for over a quarter of all allegations of clergy abuse.” In other words, almost all priests have never had anything to do with sexual molestation.

The refrain that child rape is a reality in the Church is twice wrong: let’s get it straight—they weren’t children and they weren’t raped. We know from the John Jay study that most of the victims have been adolescents, and that the most common abuse has been inappropriate touching (inexcusable though this is, it is not rape). The Boston Globe correctly said of the John Jay report that “more than three-quarters of the victims were post pubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.” In other words, the issue is homosexuality, not pedophilia.

When the National Review Board, a group of notable Catholics, issued its study in 2004, the team’s chief, attorney Robert S. Bennett, said that “any evaluation of the causes and context of the current crisis must be cognizant of the fact that more than 80 percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.” One of the members, Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins, has said that “This behavior was homosexual predation on American Catholic youth, yet it’s not being discussed.” By the way, the figures after 2004 haven’t changed—eight in ten cases involve homosexuality. Worldwide, the Vatican estimates that 60 percent of the cases are same-sex, 30 percent are heterosexual and 10 percent involve pedophilia.

Though the data belie the conventional wisdom, it’s hard to break stereotypes. The assault on priests as child abusers has become a staple in the arsenal of Jay Leno, Bill Maher, Denis Leary, George Lopez, “The View” panelists, and others. So it is hardly surprising to learn that a stranger approached New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan at the Denver airport last month saying, “I can’t look at you or any other priest without thinking of a sexual abuser.” Indeed, most priests I know do not dress in priestly garb when traveling—they’ve had to deal with similar instances.

Why are priests being singled out when the sexual abuse of minors among other segments of the population is on-going today? According to Virginia Commonwealth University professor Charol Shakeshaft, the nation’s leading education expert on this issue, “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.” We know from the work of Jenkins, and others, that there is no reason to believe that the rate of abuse is higher among Catholic priests than among the clergy of other religions. Moreover, there has been a slew of stories over the past few years detailing the extent of this problem in the Orthodox Jewish community; some rabbis still insist that sexual abuse cases should be handled internally. No wonder Jenkins maintains, “As a result of the furious investigations of the past decades, and particularly the John Jay study, the U.S. Catholic clergy are now the only major group on the planet that has ever been subjected to such a detailed examination of abuse complaints, using internal evidence that could not have come to light in any other way.”

It would be nice if we could all get on the same page regarding the proper remedies. But just three months ago, Federal District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein took a “compassionate” view toward a man found guilty of collecting thousands of explicit pictures of children, as young as three, that he downloaded from a child porn website. Weinstein slammed existing legal penalties for the crime, saying, “We’re destroying lives unnecessarily. At the most, they should be receiving treatment and supervision.”

How often has the Church been ripped for following the advice of psychiatrists who thought they could “fix” molesters? To be sure, that was the zeitgeist several decades ago, as virtually every institution and profession can testify. Indeed, the punitive approach so favored today would have been cause for condemnation at that time had it been followed. Interestingly, a report on this situation in Ireland correctly concluded that had more bishops followed canon law, instead of seeking a more “compassionate” strategy, much of the problem could have been avoided.

The real damage done by the therapeutic approach is that it fostered the phenomenon of reassigning priests after they were treated. The exact same thing happened in the teaching profession. Indeed, moving treated teachers to new school districts is so common that it is called “passing the trash.” While moving treated priests to new parishes is no longer tolerated, the New York Times found that the practice of moving abusers around who work in New York’s state-run homes is commonplace.

Mandatory reporting of sexual crimes is not uniform in law or practice. In New York State, several attempts to blanket the clergy and other professionals have been met with resistance. Not by the bishops—but by Family Planning Advocates (the lobbying arm of Planned Parenthood) and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). Planned Parenthood counselors routinely learn about cases of statutory rape; mandatory reporting would obviously work against their clients’ interests. Even where mandatory reporting is law, such as in the state-run homes, it is seldom followed (more than 95 percent of the time the authorities are not contacted).

Calls for suspending the statute of limitations have regularly been made. But even if one sets aside the fundamental due process reasons why such laws exist, what is most disturbing about this issue is that they almost never apply to public employees. Unless explicitly stated, laws that revise the statute of limitations leave untouched those in education: they are protected by “sovereign immunity,” making transparent what the real goal is—“getting the priests.” And when proposed changes apply to teachers, in every state where this has happened, teachers’ unions and school superintendents have organized to register their objections. Why, then, should bishops who protest these revisions be criticized for doing so?

When the bishops met in Dallas in 2002 to consider reforms, panic gripped the conference. If there was one cleric who saw what the rush to judgment would do to the rights of priests it was the late Cardinal Avery Dulles. Sadly, events have proven him right. Quite frankly, it is more acceptable in our society today to defend the rights of Gitmo detainees than Catholic priests.

Grand juries are launched with the specific directive of investigating “sexual abuse of minors by individuals associated with religious organizations and denominations,” but then quickly evolve into the single-minded pursuit of priests; in Philadelphia, those who initially reviewed the accusations weren’t even called to testify. The unseemly practice of attorneys searching for new “victims” in bars and prisons is a disgrace. Just as sick is the sight of attorneys advertising for alleged victims of priests, but refusing to represent those abused by others. It has gotten so bad that dioceses are now being sued for “wrongful death” in cases where an alleged victim kills himself after his accusation was found wanting. And when AP runs a story on the “scandal” of allowing ex-priests to go unmonitored—as if someone is monitoring non-priest abusers—the bias shines through.

There is a huge difference between an accusation, a credible accusation, a substantiated accusation and a finding of guilt. But not when it applies to priests. I once had a female reporter lambaste me in my office when I expressed my opposition to proposals calling for all dioceses to publish the names of accused priests. I then asked her for her boss’ name and phone number. Startled, she asked why. “Because I want to press charges against you for sexually harassing me,” I intoned, “and then I want to see your name posted on your employer’s website.” She got the point.

BishopAccountabilty.org is accessed by reporters and lawyers for information on priestly sexual abuse, though the standards it uses cannot pass the smell test. It admits that the database “is based solely on allegations reported publicly” and that it “does not confirm the veracity of any actual allegation.” Swell. Furthermore, it says that “If an individual is ‘cleared’ or ‘exonerated’ by an internal church investigation and/or a diocesan review board decision, the individual remains in the database.” Ditto for cases where a priest faces an allegation for an act which occurred after he left the Catholic Church; even lawsuits against the dead are listed. There is no other group in the U.S. which is subjected to such gross unfairness. No wonder wildly exaggerated claims have been made based off of such collected “evidence.”

Perhaps no reform made in Dallas has proven to be more intrinsically dangerous than demands for “zero tolerance.” It all sounds so macho, but priests on the ground know first-hand what it means. Obviously, there should be no wiggle room in the most serious cases, but when priests are sued for “emotional” abuse, or violating “boundary issues,” the door is left wide open for exploitation. Dulles got it right when he said that “A priest who uttered an inappropriate word or made a single imprudent gesture is treated in the same way as a serial rapist.” Even worse, we now have the specter of a priest being suspended because a woman heard a kid in a playground call him a pedophile; she promptly called the cops. Joe Maher, president of Opus Bono Sacerdotii, a group that monitors the incidence of falsely accused priests, says that “at least a thousand priests…have been removed and remain out of public ministry because of unproven accusations.”

Because the Catholic Church is often criticized for not following a “zero tolerance” policy, the Catholic League did some investigation of its own. Here’s what we found. Almost every media outlet, teachers’ union and religious organization we examined does not have a “zero tolerance” policy in place for sexual misconduct (or any other offense). The few that do make no mention of mandatory reporting.

These organizations are not wrong for not having the same kind of policy that the Catholic Church has. The New York Times seems to understand this matter when applied to schools. In an editorial titled, “The Trouble With ‘Zero Tolerance,’” it noted that schools which have adopted these policies have created conditions where children are being “arrested for profanity, talking back, shoving matches and other behavior that would once have been resolved with detention or meetings with the students’ parents.” The NYCLU agreed saying, “De facto zero tolerance causes wrongful arrests, searches and suspensions of students in too many of the city’s neediest schools.” Yet as recently as April 2, the Times issued another editorial insisting the bishops follow this flawed policy.

No amount of reform will ever satisfy some. Attorneys like Jeffrey Anderson, and his well-greased friends at SNAP, a professional victims’ group, are dogmatic in their convictions; their hatred of the Catholic Church is palpable. Similarly, when others tell the bishops we’re going to “sue the s*** out of you,” and are informed that the goal is to put an “out of business” sign in front of every parish, school and charitable center, it is evident that the Church needs to fight back with greater vigor.

What accounts for the relentless attacks on the Church? Let’s face it: if its teachings were pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and pro-women clergy, the dogs would have been called off years ago.

The British atheist Richard Dawkins is no fan of Catholicism. But he is honest enough to say that the Catholic Church “has been unfairly demonized over the issue, especially in Ireland and America.” Now if Dawkins gets it, why can’t others?

Bill Donohue

President

Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

(Full Text) Florida Bishop Victor Galeone issues statement warning faithful on American Catholic Council

“Although the stated purpose of the ACC is to “reclaim the promise of the Holy Spirit manifested in Vatican II,” in fact, the goals proposed in their literature, as well as the organizations which make up the ACC, are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Holy Spirit, which inspired that Council…”

The Orate Fratres Blog has long reported here on the American Catholic Council and various dissident sub-groups promoting “listening sessions” within U.S. Catholic dioceses around the country; as well as followed the efforts of Bishops to warn faithful Catholics to this real threat to Church unity. Today, Bishop Victor Galeone of the Diocese of Saint Augustine cautioned any Catholic against participating in an upcoming North Florida listening assembly, as well as the national assembly to be held in June in Detroit… His statement follows:

***************************************************************************

Statement of Bishop Galeone Regarding the American Catholic Council’s “North Florida Listening Assembly” (scheduled for Feb. 19, 2011)

It has come to my attention that an organization called the American Catholic Council (ACC) will be holding what they describe as the “North Florida Listening Assembly” in Jacksonville on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011.  Self-described as “seeking to reclaim the promise of the Holy Spirit manifested in Vatican II,” this assembly is billed as “a day of reflection and stimulating dialogue” – all in preparation for a national gathering to be held in Detroit in June of 2011. I want to clearly and unequivocally advise all Catholics that this North Florida Listening Assembly is not conducted under the auspices of the Diocese of St. Augustine, nor is it sanctioned, approved or endorsed by the diocese or any other entity of the Roman Catholic Church.

Although the stated purpose of the ACC is to “reclaim the promise of the Holy Spirit manifested in Vatican II,” in fact, the goals proposed in their literature, as well as the organizations which make up the ACC, are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Holy Spirit, which inspired that Council.

I commend and embrace all true efforts at Church renewal, but the ACC’s agenda is decidedly not such an effort. Many of the groups which have banded together in the ACC espouse positions which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith and morals, and which engender only alienation and estrangement from the Church.

Accordingly, the Diocese of St. Augustine cautions any Catholic against participating in this North Florida Listening Assembly, as well as the national assembly to be held in June in Detroit. Catholic parishes, schools, and institutions are not to host any meetings, gatherings, or “listening sessions” associated with either event or with the ACC.

Additionally, priests, deacons, and lay ministers are expected to avoid these events, and to strongly urge the faithful not to attend or support them or the ACC in any manner.  I ask, rather, that we all pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and shun efforts which threaten the unity of the Church for which Christ, himself, so fervently prayed.

Bishop Victor Galeone

Diocese of Saint Augustine

END OF POST/SOURCE

Who is Paul Kokoski, and why is he so right? — A Church Divided

EDITOR: Found the following spot-on essay, “A Church Divided”, by Paul Kokoski on Pravda.ru this morning. A quick google doesn’t reveal who Paul Kokoski is, but one uncharitable woman describes our mystery man [here] such:

Paul Kokorski is a sick, deranged invidual in Hamilton Ontario Canada who routinely spews forth his evil opinions in the face of reality by sending his letters to editor and opinion pieces to newspapers around the world hoping to pull the wool over most editors’ eyes, even Pravada got foolled on this one. The man is the most unethical liar on Earth. Someone should investigate who he really is, if in fact that is his real name. To attack Christophher Hitchens this way just shows what a sick deranged person this Paul Kokosli is. He is a shame on all of unthinking Catholicism. He is not a Christian. He is sick sick man.

Ghost writer or not, Mr. Kokoski’s fine work gets re-presented here…

A Church Divided

When Our Blessed Mother appeared to Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in Akita, Japan in 1973 she warned that “The work of the devil will infiltrate the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests). Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”

The word “diabolic” comes from the Greek “dia-boline” which means to tear apart, rend asunder. Anything, therefore, that breaks pattern, that destroys unity, that corrupts gestalt, that produces discord. That is the diabolic. Biblically speaking, the essence of the satanic or the diabolic is the hatred and contempt of the cross of Christ. We have it – the spirit of it – in the Catholic Church. Notice, for example, how much we have given up mortification, self-denial, discipline in schools, discipline in seminaries. The decline of the spirit of discipline is a hatred of the cross and, therefore, of Christ himself.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2010 homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, confirmed that the greatest damage threatening the church today is the pollution from within that is “eroding the integrity of the Mystical Body, weakening its ability to prophesy and witness, tarnishing the beauty of its face.”

Today we find numerous examples of this bickering and infighting among top members of our hierarchy. For instance, only recently public accusations of a sex abuse cover up were leveled by Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna against Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who served for 16 years from 1990 to 2006 as secretary of state, the Vatican’s second-most important position. According to protocol accusations made against a Cardinal are the sole competence (of judgement) of the pope.

There are also many open displays of opposition to church teachings by both priests and laity on issues such as the Holy Mass, women’s ordination, papal infallibility, contraception, homosexuality, abortion and obligatory celibacy. In April 2009 Georgetown University, in a disgusting public display of shame at the name of Jesus, covered over the monogram “IHS” to please U.S. President Barack Obama who no longer believes America is a Christian nation. In Phoenix, Arizona, Bishop Thomas Olmsted had to excommunicated Sister Margaret McBride, a nun and ethics committee adviser, for trying to justify a direct abortion in the first trimester.

We also see a variety of disturbing contradictions in the ways in which the faith is being practiced. For example, while the archdiocese of Denver had permitted a Colorado Catholic school to deny enrollment to a gay couple’s child, the Archdiocese of Boston, in a similar case, countered the decision of a local Catholic elementary school that denied admission to an 8-year-old child of a lesbian couple.

Also, while roughly one third of U.S. bishops strongly opposed President Barack Obama”s appearance at Notre Dame in 2009, about 2/3 of the bishops tacitly approved the visit giving the pro-abortion president a national platform to advance moral relativism. We see contradictions even in clerical dress – many priests and nuns refusing to wear their collars and habits as a visible sign of Christ in the world.

Indeed, our National Bishops Conferences’ have been unable to speak with a single unified voice on the simplest of issues such as that regarding the question of whether pro-abortion politicians should be allowed to receive Holy Communion. On this elementary and straightforward matter each U.S. bishop has been given the green light to set his own policy in his own diocese. This of course is a claim to “territorial morality” – in essence the same slogan and formula used by politicians who claim the right to lead a double life – a private life in which they supposedly oppose the evil of abortion and a public life in which they allow and even promote this evil in others. What form of mental ‘compartmentalization’ or bicameral thinking can allow intelligent thinking humans to rationalize this way when Scripture has it that “no man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6: 24)?

We also see a rise in fraudulent or nominally “Catholic” newspapers run by the laity and clergy alike such as Commonweal, America Magazine, The National Catholic Reporter, Catholic New Times, Prairie Messenger, and Conscience Magazine. Under the pretense of serving Vatican II they seek to maim the true Spirit of the Council. Even the Vatican newspaper L”Osservatore Romano (LOR) has, in recent times, veered from its main course in defending orthodoxy. Since Giovanni Maria Vian became its editor-in-chief the paper has become somewhat of an international scandal attempting to become relevant to an international pop culture that is increasingly decadent. In 2009, for example, LOR published an article by Archbishop Rino Fisichella entitled “On the Side of the Brazilian Girl” which falsely claimed that direct abortion could be morally justified and its evil mitigated in some “extreme circumstances”.

Coming to the fore also today are several fraudulent “Catholic”groups seeking to overthrow in anarchistic fashion the church hierarchy in favor of a people’s democracy. Some of these are Catholics for a Free Choice, We Are Church, Voice of the Faithful, Catholic Network for Women’s Equality, Catholic Women’s Ordination. These groups tactfully use the mass media to deliberately misrepresent Catholic teaching in the public square. Added to these groups are various and spurious charities and health organizations such as Development and Peace and the U.S. Catholic Health Association which are known to support several pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups. Under the tutelage of Sister Carol Keehan, the U.S. Catholic Health Association became hugely instrumental in helping to bring into law President Obama’s anti-life health care reform.

These are not isolated cases of internal division threatening the church. Indeed Cardinal George of Chicago recently lamented the rise of a “parallel magisterium” seeking to destroy the faith completely from within. This is all the work of the diabolic, the satanic. We can have no tolerance the devil. Bishops have to vigorously, uncompromisingly, and publically condemn these false and shady groups with an unambiguous and unified voice that is both heard and understood.

Pope John Paul II, as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, warned in 1976, during a visit to Germany: “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through… We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel…we must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not too distant future, trials that will require us to be ready to give up our lives.” St. Paul himself writes in his Letter to the Ephesians: “for we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present world of darkness, against the evil spirits in the heavens” (cf. Eph 6: 12).

Pope Benedict XVI, as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, continued this theme stating in 1997 that the Church in coming years “will assume different forms. She will be less identified with the great societies, more a minority Church; she will live in small vital circles of really convinced believers who live their faith. But precisely in this way she will, Biblically speaking, become the salt of the earth again.”

The Gospel speaks of the Church as a whole and of her indemnity from the forces of evil in their full and profound sense. Jesus has thus promised us that “the powers of death shall not prevail against” the Church. To procure and safeguard this remnant flock and achieve victory during this time of great persecution and purification we need to set out immediately on the mountainous path to the good where we will discover more and more the beauty that lies in the efforts demanded by truth.

Three powerful weapons we can use against Satan are: I) The Holy Name of Jesus. That is a name that Satan cannot stand. Because in the name of Jesus every knee will bend in the heavens, on the earth and under the earth. 2) The invocation of the blood of Christ. We are saved by the blood of Christ and therefore in temptation we should call upon his blood for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. 3) Devotion to our Blessed Mother, for at the beginning in the book of Genesis we are told it was the seed of a woman that would crush the seed of Satan.

Indeed, the rains are here and the pope’s ship is already sailing. Those who do not climb aboard the barque of Peter while there is still time will be left behind as in the days of Noah.

Paul Kokoski

Canada

END OF POST

Detroit Archbishop releases Q & A document addressing errors of dissidents and American Catholic Council

Responding to concerns raised by the faithful about a movement called the American Catholic Council (ACC), the Archdiocese of Detroit issued an advisory to its priests and parishes on October 12, 2010. The group has planned a national gathering in Detroit on the weekend of Pentecost 2011. Noting that the ACC and its national gathering are not conducted under the auspices of the Detroit archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the archdiocese or the Roman Catholic Church, the advisory cautioned Catholics “…against participating in the American Catholic Council local listening sessions and national gathering.” The advisory noted the goals of the ACC are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. There are positions espoused by some of the speakers and organizers which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith. What follows is a resource document addressing this matter in greater detail.

Questions and Answers
Regarding the American Catholic Council

1. The American Catholic Council is being held on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Vatican II. Are the positions taken by the ACC consistent with the teachings of Vatican II?

Answer: No.
While the ACC upholds some general values affirmed by Vatican II, there are explicit departures from what the Council actually taught. For example, the Preamble to the ACC’s “Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities [CBRR]” states that “distinctions between clergy and laity are functional and arbitrary,” but Vatican II teaches that “the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood differ from one another in essence and not only in degree.”[i] The ACC’s “Declaration for Reform and Renewal” seeks “reform of the governing structures of the Church so that they reflect the better aspects of the American experience” and “a democratic spirit.” Vatican II, however, affirms the “perpetuity” of the hierarchical structure of the Church, which is realized in “the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff”[ii] and “the sacred order of bishops” who have succeeded to the place of the apostles “by divine institution.”[iii] The ACC affirms an alleged “freedom to dissent” from Church teachings (CBRR, no. IV), but Vatican II instructs the faithful to manifest “faithful obedience”[iv] to the Church’s Magisterium and “religious submission of will and intellect” to the teachings of the Roman Pontiff even when he is not speaking ex cathedra.[v]

2. The American Catholic Council is being held in conjunction with the 35th anniversary of the Call to Action Conference held in Detroit. Is the American Catholic Council in historical continuity with the original Call to Action conference held in Detroit, October 20-23, 1976?

Answer: No.
The 1976 Call to Action conference was sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops in conjunction with U.S. Bicentennial of 1976. During the conference, however, special interest groups began to dominate, a reality noted by then Archbishop Joseph L. Bernardin of Cincinnati, the president of the NCCB/USCC.[vi] Subsequently, the NCCB/USCC distanced itself from Call to Action. Some Catholics, though, formed an organization called “Call to Action,” which continued without episcopal support. When a Call to Action conference was organized in Detroit in 1996, Cardinal Adam Maida issued a statement, which warned that “the overall climate of the conference creates the appearance of dissent from Church teaching and practice.”

3. Do some of the invited speakers to the ACC conference hold positions contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church?

Answer: Yes.
All of the invited keynote speakers have manifested dissent from Catholic teachings or support for dissenters. Hans Küng has rejected Vatican I’s defined dogma of papal infallibility, and in 1979, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that he “could no longer be considered a Catholic theologian.”[vii] Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez endorsed a letter in support of Rosemary Radforth Ruether’s appointment to a Catholic Chair at the University of San Diego, even though Ruether is a board member of “Catholics for Choice,” an organization that rejects Catholic teaching on the grave immorality of abortion.[viii] Dr. Anthony Padovano has questioned the physical resurrection of Jesus, the virgin birth of Jesus, the perpetual virginity of Mary, and the need for an ordained priest to celebrate a valid Mass. He is also active in promoting an “ecumenical alliance” of various schismatic “Catholic” groups such as the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC).[ix] James Carroll is the author of the 2001 book, Constantine’s Sword, which calls for a reconsideration of traditional Christology because affirming Jesus as the Messiah is, according to him, intrinsically linked to anti-Semitism.[x] Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is on record as publicly opposing Catholic teaching against legal abortion, and she chastised the U.S. bishops for their determination to make abortion illegal “even if it derails health-care reform entirely.”[xi] Sr. Joan Chittister is an open advocate of women’s ordination to the priesthood in spite of the definitive Catholic teaching on this subject.[xii] She also supported the right of 23 women religious to endorse a 1985 ad in the New York Times opposing Catholic teaching on abortion.[xiii]

4. Are the participants in the ACC representative of the whole Catholic Church?

Answer: No.
In fact, the ACC requires those wishing to participate to fill out a form designed to attract only those who share its agenda. There appears to be no attempt to reach out to Catholics who fully support the teachings of the Magisterium, and Archbishop Vigneron was neither invited nor consulted about the conference.

5. Are there any valid aspirations of the ACC?

Answer: Yes.
All Catholics can agree with the general affirmations made by the ACC regarding the dignity of baptism, the beatitudes, and the sacramental celebration “of God’s love and presence.” These valid affirmations of basic Christian values, however, are obscured by the resistance of the ACC to the divinely constituted authority of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him.

6. Is the ACC fostering alienation from the Catholic Church?

Answer: Yes.
Because a counter-structure of ecclesial authority is being set up that stands in opposition to the authority of the bishops, the Pope and the divine constitution of the Church as articulated by Vatican II.

7. What’s wrong with talking about controversial issues that are on the minds of many Catholics today?

Answer:
There’s nothing wrong with talking about these controversial issues. The question, though, is who has the authority to respond to these issues according to the mind of Christ and the Church. Vatican II states that “bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth.”[xiv] Because the ACC affirms a right to dissent from magisterial teachings, those discussing controversial issues at the conference will be subject to confusion and misinformation about what Catholics can and cannot hold.

8. Why can’t Archbishop Vigneron let people make up their own minds whether they wish to participate in this conference and the listening sessions being held in anticipation of it?

Answer:
Archbishop Vigneron is not taking away the right of people to make their own decisions. He has, however, issued warnings about the ACC because of his sacred responsibility to defend and uphold Catholic doctrine and guide the faithful with sound instruction. Like a good shepherd he is looking out for the well-being of his flock, and, as a faithful steward, he knows he must “one day render an account for their souls” (cf. Heb 13:17, Lumen Gentium, 27).


[i] Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 10.

[ii] Lumen Gentium, 18

[iii] Lumen Gentium, 20.

[iv] Lumen Gentium, 12

[v] Lumen Gentium, 25.

[vi] Russell Shaw, “Call to Action Conference,” in New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2010 (Detroit and Washington, D.C.: Gale Cengage Learning and the Catholic University of America, 2010) Volume 1, p. 191.

[vii] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Declaration regarding certain aspects of the theological doctrine of Professor Hans K?ng,” Acta Apostolicae Sedis 72 (1980): 90-92

[viii] See “Letter to the University of San Diego Supporting Academic Freedom and Rosemary Radford Ruether” (found on: http://www.womensordination.org/content/view/211/42/ ). The letter was written after the University of San Diego withdrew its invitation to appoint Rosemary Radford Ruether to the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology for 2009-2010. Although Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez has been an invited speaker to Church sponsored events, her support for Ruether is troubling.

[ix] Documentation from the writings of Dr. Padovano and the website of Corpus can be supplied.

[x] See review of Constantine’s Sword by Robert Louis Wilken in Commonweal (Jan. 26, 2001).

[xi] Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, “A Call to Catholics,” Newsweek (November 5, 2009).

[xii] In the summer of 2001 Sr. Chittister ignored admonitions by the Church that she not appear as a speaker at the Women’s Ordination Conference held in Dublin, Ireland. See Patty McCarty, “Nuns Firm Under Fire – Women’s Ordination Conference, Dublin Ireland,” National Catholic Reporter (July 13, 2001).

[xiii] See Alphonse de Valk, C.S.B. “Joan Chittister: Disloyalty as Obedience,” Catholic Insight (Jan./Feb. 2002).

[xiv] Lumen Gentium, 25.

END OF POST/SOURCE

Faith Advisory: Detroit Archbishop Vigneron issues warning on American Catholic Council, asks organizers to cancel…

 
Stating that the movement called American Catholic Council  distorts the true Spirit of Vatican II and causes alienation and estrangement of the faithful from the Church, Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit, Michigan, issued the following advisory:
 
Archdiocese of Detroit Statement on the American Catholic Council
Issued: October 12, 2010
Contact: Joe Kohn, infodesk@aod.org / (313) 237-5943

The Archdiocese of Detroit has been contacted by concerned members of the faithful about a movement called the American Catholic Council. Self-described as “bringing together a network of individuals, organizations, and communities to consider the state and future of our Church,” they have planned a national gathering in Detroit for the weekend of Pentecost 2011. The American Catholic Council movement and its national gathering are not conducted under the auspices of the Detroit archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the archdiocese or the universal Roman Catholic Church.

Although their stated purpose is to “respond to the Spirit of Vatican II by summoning the Baptized together to demonstrate our re-commitment and the documents issued by the American Catholic Council offer some valid aspirations for the Church, in fact, the goals proposed are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Holy Spirit, which inspired the Council.

The archdiocese wishes to commend and embrace all true efforts at Church renewal – the American Church Council’s agenda is not such an effort. Some of the advertised speakers and groups organizing the effort espouse positions which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith, leading to alienation and estrangement from the Church. The Archdiocese of Detroit cautions any Catholic against participating in the American Catholic Council local listening sessions and national gathering in June 2011. Catholic parishes, schools, and institutions are not to host any meetings, gatherings, or “listening sessions” associated with the planning of the June 2011 American Catholic Council. Priests, deacons, and ecclesial lay ministers will want to avoid lending support to such a misguided effort. On behalf of the archdiocese, Archbishop Vigneron has asked the organizers to cancel their plans for this national gathering that distorts the true Spirit of Vatican II. He asks us all to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we may embrace authentic development of faith and morals, and shun efforts which threaten unity.

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“A Sunday Without Women” in the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon

Mary Magdalene: Will be attending...
Despite their claims to the contrary, organizers behind Sunday’s scheduled world-wide protest “A Sunday Without Women” are promoting women’s ordination and the boycotting of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass within the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon. Promotional material for the event reads:   

Catholic women of the world unite. September 26 is the day to boycott Mass and pray for greater inclusion of women in the Catholic church.                  

In her misguided call to empty pews in the hope of  “making the powers that be think again”, Irish convert and instigator of the protest, Jennifer Sleeman recently noted that she herself, “Had always had questions about the fact that women could not be ordained.”

And again, this statement of purpose:       

“Stay at home and pray for change. We are the majority. We may have been protesting individually but unremarked on, but together we have strength and our absence, the empty pews, will be noticed.       

Whatever change you long for, recognition, ordination, the end of celibacy, which is another means of keeping women out, join with your sisters and let the hierarchy know by your absence that the days of an exclusively male-dominated church are over.”         

And so too, some believe here.          

Jennifer Sleeman: Questions the fact that women can't be ordained as Roman Catholic priests

The pro-women’s ordination group sponsoring the protest, One Spirit ~ One Call, along with the local chapter members of the dissident church reform organization Call To Action are asking for help in “talking up” the event in every parish throughout the archdiocese. And as if this breach of fidelity and communion weren’t serious enough, they have/are now recruiting help in contacting and promoting “Sunday Without Women” at Catholic high schools and colleges, as their website memo clearly reveals:          

Last week One Spirit ~ One Call was shared at the Call to Action meeting. Other organizations and groups we are working on getting in touch with are the Catholic high schools and colleges in the area and, of course, all the parishes. If you have contacts or would like to take the lead in contacting and “talking up” this event to any of these groups, please get in touch with Julie Granger: [E-mail omitted]          

Archdiocese Response         

Despite an Infallible declaration that ensures the subject of ordaining women to the Catholic priesthood is settled matter and will never change, some don’t accept this portion of church teaching as final, or fail in their duty to support and enforce it. And thus, the true reality that false ordination of women is grave sin punishable through excommunication becomes further obscured within the hearts of the faithful. Especially, when events such as this one are allowed to be promoted within the archdiocese beforehand, and at times with the carefully worded support of parish priest’s. For example:        

Rev. J. Mosbrucker       

In the Gospels, we hear Jesus treat women with respect and equality. Paul continues this attitude toward women, especially in the phrase “there is no longer male or female…”. It is time for the Church to reclaim this Gospel message. One Spirit-One Call is an opportunity to begin the dialogue to reclaim this status for women in the Church. I support this event as a beginning in this process.           

Rev. Robert W. Krueger       

Women have the human right, also a right recognized in Catholic Church law, to express the pain of the inequality they experience in the church and their opinions for change to their bishops and other Christian faithful. One Spirit~One Call will be an opportunity for women to make this expression clearly and strongly. I gladly endorse the event.            

Msgr. Charles Lienert, Pastor, St. Andrew Catholic Church       

I support the event on September 26 that calls for increasing the awareness of injustice to women in the Catholic Church. Women are equal to men in the eyes of God through creation and baptism.       

Despite some of his own pastor’s backing the demonstration on Sunday, it appears that Archbishop Vlazny is opposed. Local’s here will remember that His Eminence was previously bush-whacked 3-plus-years ago by members of this same chapter of Call To Action with their secretly organizing the non-ordination (and subsequent self-excommunication) of Toni Tortorilla–and that, on the very same day His Imminence was personally ordaining authentic priests. Yet, nonetheless, all this will remain baffling for the faithful, and understandably so, if it’s true as has been reported that supporting pastors of the current protest will not face any disciplinary measures.       

I for one would not recommend criticizing His Imminence… I do recommend contacting the Archdiocese with your concerns. And especially this one:       

The nature of Catholic dissent and action has changed. And faithful Catholics would do well to make this fact known to their pastors and shepherd’s. In this case, Archbishop Vlazny.       

With the creation of the American Catholic Council (ACC) set for Detroit, Michigan in 2011, all the former “old-Guard” individual reform groups such as Call To Action have now organized under this one banner of the ACC, and are currently in the process of creating and promoting so-called listening dialogue sessions in our communities. All with the intention of eventually addressing the hierarchy with their dialogue (demands) for change; a moral as well as structural push for change of the Catholic Church in America.  And this current protest blip in the process appears to be directed toward this same goal, by the same folks, within the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon.      

From the One Spirit – One Call website:       

What’s next?
The Spirit is guiding us as we plan and organize. We believe that One Spirit ~ One Call has the potential to become more than an event; it could the beginning of a new movement among God’s people and within the Church. We will contribute positively to reform and renewal in our Church. One Spirit ~ One Call will continue to use women’s wisdom and processes, inviting women to begin holding small gatherings to share their stories and name their hopes and dreams for the church. These small gatherings will begin in October and November; what comes out of the One Spirit ~ One Call Circles will guide us. When the time is right, we imagine we will enter into dialogue with the hierarchy. This all needs to be discerned and we will engage in a discernment gathering on the Feast of Christ the King, Nov. 21, at St. Charles Parish.             

 This all sounds too familiar to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis with this Saturday’s past convening of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR). A new organization that the Archdiocese find necessary to warn the faithful about:      

It has come to the attention of the Archdiocese that a group calling itself the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) is planning a 2010 ‘synod’ in the Archdiocese entitled, ‘Claiming Our Place at the Table’. 

While the agenda for the proposed synod purports to be an exploration of the role of baptized Catholics within the institutional Church of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, it is not being conducted under the auspices of the Archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the Archdiocese or the universal Roman Catholic Church. 

The Archdiocese wishes it to be known that the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, the 2010 synod, and individuals endorsing the same, are not agents or entities of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis or the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, the Archdiocese wishes to lovingly caution those members of the faithful participating in the ‘work/study groups’ and intending to attend the synod of the potential that the issues on which CCCR will seek reform are magisterial teachings of the Church, and are therefore to be believed by divine and catholic faith. The Archdiocese also wishes to remind the faithful of its need to shun any contrary doctrines, and instead to embrace and retain, to safeguard reverently and expound faithfully, the doctrine of faith and morals proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church.    

Let us hope for the same warning.

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Archdiocese of St. Paul/Mpls — Reform group billboard advertises illegitimate synod

St. Clare of Assisi (August 11) is the patron saint of sore eyes. In this case, an eyesore for his Eminence Archbishop Nienstedt…

 

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The billboard proclaiming a September, 18th, 2010, “Synod of the Baptized” stands just off a major thoroughfare leading to the archdiocese-a mere 3 miles away.

The group responsible for purchasing the billboard ad is the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform. A local coalition of long-frustrated individuals belonging to various national dissident organizations now banded together. Their ultimate goal is to create greater schism within the church as they organize for what they’re calling the American Catholic Council to be held in Detroit, Michigan, June 10-12, 2011.

Archbishop Nienstedt has previously found it necessary to warn the Catholic faithful concerning CCCR and the organizations’ non-affiliation with the Archdiocese of Mpls/St.Paul or the universal Roman Catholic Church. He had this to say about the group back in August of 2009:

It has come to the attention of the Archdiocese that a group calling itself the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) is planning a 2010 ‘synod’ in the Archdiocese entitled, ‘Claiming Our Place at the Table’.

While the agenda for the proposed synod purports to be an exploration of the role of baptized Catholics within the institutional Church of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, it is not being conducted under the auspices of the Archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the Archdiocese or the universal Roman Catholic Church.

The Archdiocese wishes it to be known that the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, the 2010 synod, and individuals endorsing the same, are not agents or entities of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis or the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, the Archdiocese wishes to lovingly caution those members of the faithful participating in the ‘work/study groups’ and intending to attend the synod of the potential that the issues on which CCCR will seek reform are magisterial teachings of the Church, and are therefore to be believed by divine and catholic faith. The Archdiocese also wishes to remind the faithful of its need to shun any contrary doctrines, and instead to embrace and retain, to safeguard reverently and expound faithfully, the doctrine of faith and morals proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church.

That same year I posted this on CCCR and the American Catholic Council:

WHAT YOU CAN DO DEFEND YOUR FAITH AND PROTECT THE FAITH OF OTHERS FROM SUCH ERROR WITHIN YOUR OWN DIOCESE…

1. Don’t participate. Warn your family, friends, and fellow Catholics of the spiritual danger(s) involved in falling for propaganda (errors) coming from representatives of either the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform or the American Catholic Council within your diocese. Especially, be on watch for advertisements that promote “Synods of the Baptized” or invitations to meetings found within parish bulletins describing “Catholics coming together to dialogue on difficult Church issues…” This smokescreen tactic was used recently within a bulletin at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Minneapolis.

2. Contact your pastor in person or by e-mail and (respectfully) inform him about the dangers CCCR and the American Catholic Council represent within the Archdiocese.

3. Contact your bishop in person or by e-mail and (respectfully) inform him of the same.

4. Pray for all those suffering from a spirit of constantly taking umbrage: with Church, Church doctrine, and defiance of divinely instituted authority–

Enough said…

SOURCE: THE WILD REED

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Researcher — Clerical Sexual Abuse: Separating Fact, Fiction, and Anti-Catholic Bias

 

‘Chronicles’ editor recounts propaganda campaign against Catholic Church

By Stephanie Block

“Never waste a crisis.” Chronicles editor Scott Richert describes a propaganda campaign against the Catholic Church in the US that has spread globally.
Scott Richert

A few weeks ago, a New Mexico county paper published a political cartoon depicting a small boy standing before a towering prelate, presumably Pope Benedict XVI. The boy says, “I was molested by a priest!” The prelate gleefully responds, “I forgive you.”

There are many “points” implied by this wicked bit of commentary, one of which seems to be that our society’s pedophile problem is a “Catholic” problem. This cartoon is no anomaly. To read secular news coverage, even in a predominantly Catholic part of the country, is to be bombarded with the message – sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant – that clerical celibacy and Church hierarchy intrinsically breed corruption.

Media messages have “an effect. A late April/early May New York Times/CBS News poll found that 73 percent of all respondents, and 53 percent of all Catholics, believe that ‘child sexual abuse by Catholic priests is a problem that is still going on today,’ despite the very solid evidence to the contrary,” Scott Richert, executive editor of Chronicles, told a June conference held at the Rockford Institute in Illinois. [Quotes are taken from Richert’s June 3, 2010 Rockford Institute lecture, “Clerical Sexual Abuse: Separating Fact, Fiction, and Anti-Catholic Bias.” Video clip of talk: http://www.rockford institute. org/?p=389 ]

Richert calls these media messages “propaganda,” and looks at specific polling questions about media coverage of the pedophile scandals “designed to gauge whether a piece of propaganda has been effective, rather than merely to sample public opinion.” Despite evidence “that Catholic clerical sexual abuse has, throughout this entire period, been less common than sexual abuse by those in other professions (especially other profession focused on children),” there is still a popular perception, fueled by unrelenting and distorted media reporting, that the evil Catholic Church is alone in this problem – with the painful; corollary that child sexual abuse will be under-investigated in those fields where it’s most prevalent.

In an interview, Richert answered some questions about this issue.

Block: You describe in some detail the questions pollsters have asked Catholics about priest scandals of the past several decades as reflective of a propaganda campaign against the Church. Could you give any concrete examples of this?

Richert: The final questions of the New York Times/CBS News poll that I mentioned in my talk read like push polling—that is, using question to try to change attitudes rather than to measure them. But the most egregious example of bias is found in question 25, right in the middle of the poll: “Do you think the problem of sexual abuse of children and teenagers is a more common problem in the Catholic Church than it is in other walks of life, or is it just as common a problem in other walks of life?”

Notice what’s missing? Those who were polled were given the opportunity to say that sexual abuse is “more common” in the Catholic Church than outside of Her, or “just as common” outside of the Catholic Church as in Her. “Less common” in the Catholic Church (or “more common in other walks of life”) was not an option.

Block: It certainly colors the answer, doesn’t it? Do you have any particularly egregious examples of biased reporting in the media’s coverage of the Church pedophile cases?

Richert: The New York Times’ coverage of the case of Wisconsin priest Fr. Lawrence Murphy is a very good example. I’ve discussed it at length on the About.com GuideSite to Catholicism: http://catholicism. about.com/ b/2010/03/ 29/the-pope- and-fr-murphy- fact-fiction- and-anti- catholic- bias.htm; http://catholicism. about.com/ b/2010/04/ 26/the-new- york-times- public-editor- on-clerical- sexual-abuse. htm; http://catholicism. about.com/ b/2010/04/ 30/the-new- york-times- attack-on- pope-benedict- the-rest- of-the-story. htm. Those three pieces show how the coverage unfolded, and how the Times’ narrative—that Pope Benedict XVI protected a pedophile priest—was both untrue and delivered at the instigation of a lawyer who has made $60 million of such cases and repeatedly sued the Vatican.

Block: In your lecture, you said that the incidence of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church actually began to decline in 1980, “before public attention was drawn to it, and before the Church instituted various measures.” What happened?

Richert: One particular cohort of priests—born between 1925 and 1950 and ordained between 1950 and 1975—were responsible for the bulk of the crisis. And most of the bishops who transferred priests accused of sexual abuse and who covered up allegations in the 1980’s and 1990’s belong to this same demographic cohort. By 1980, they had begun to retire or die, and by 2002, most of them were no longer active priests.

Block: So, the next question would obviously be, why were such a disproportionately high number of problematic priests ordained between 1950 and 1975?

Richert: As early as the 1940’s (long before Vatican II, which has often been blamed for this crisis), far too many in the Church—bishops, priests, and laymen—began to regard the priesthood as a profession or occupation, rather than as a vocation. Clerical celibacy is a discipline, but it also reflects a metaphysical reality: The celibate priest is married. His spouse is the Church. He must devote his life to Her the way that a husband devotes his life to his wife. His children are the members of his congregation.

In other words, the celibate priesthood is not an alternative to marriage but a different form of marriage. When, for various reasons, some bishops lost sight of that, they began, as Fr. Thomas Loya, the pastor of Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church in the Chicago suburbs, has said, “to ordain men to the priesthood who weren’t fit to be husbands and fathers.”

Block: Does that analysis apply to bishops, too? Without a doubt, some of the Church’s problems – and I mean real problems, not media biased problems – can be laid at the feet of bishops who permitted deeply disturbed priests to continue functioning in positions where they could abuse children…

Richert: Perhaps the best analysis of the problem in the episcopacy was written by Rockford Bishop Thomas Doran and published in the February 22, 2002, issue of the diocesan newspaper, the Observer. “Sometimes,” Bishop Doran wrote, “people’s intentions are good. They look the other way, or they misjudge the nature of the problem. That was, it must be said, once the case with respect to pedophiles. Not so many decades ago the best science said their obsession could be cured, or at least treated and brought under control, in the same way that people can be freed from the snares of alcoholism and drug addiction. . . . Now we know better. . . . [W]e all must join together in beseeching God to make us duly conscious of the monstrosity of this evil.”

Treating the priesthood like a vocation and treating grave sin as a medical or physical problem rather than a metaphysical one went hand in hand.

Block: It’s been particularly disheartening to watch media attacks against Benedict XVI – it’s so undeserved. Your lecture went into great detail about all the steps he’s taken to address clerical sexual abuse, stemming from years ago, before he was pope. Could you summarize some of them?

Richert: Concerned by the slowness with which cases of clerical sexual abuse were being handled by the Roman Rota (which previously had authority over them), Cardinal Ratzinger wanted to streamline the process—and, also, to control it himself. He successfully lobbied Pope John Paul II to have responsibility for such cases transferred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Since April 30, 2001, over 3,000 cases worldwide have been investigated by the CDF. In those cases in which the CDF has found sufficient evidence to authorize a canonical trial, over 85 percent have resulted in convictions.

Cardinal Ratzinger had a hand, too, in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted in 2002 by the U.S. bishops, and adapted by bishops’ conferences in other countries to their own circumstances.

Over the objections of other high-ranking Vatican officials, Cardinal Ratzinger ordered the investigation of Father Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, which resulted in his removal from ministry and his exile to a monastery.

And finally, after his election, Pope Benedict put into place strict new rules to prevent the admission of not only practicing homosexuals but those with homosexual tendencies to the ministry. Over two thirds of all cases of abuse in the United States between 1950 and 2002 involved adolescent (i.e., postpubescent) males, and thus are more accurately described as homosexual acts rather than pedophiliac ones.

Block: Why are groups such as Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP!) and Voice of the Faithful so critical of Benedict XVI? One would think, with their ostensible concern to clean up abuse in the Church, they would applaud his work…

Richert: Exactly. Which calls into question their true motives. Both oppose the ban on homosexuals in the priesthood; both call for the end of clerical celibacy; and SNAP, in particular, has agitated for women priests. SNAP has also received significant funding from lawyers who have sued the Catholic Church.

Block: You said there were only six allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the entire United States in 2009. I realize clerical sexual abuse is just beginning to be uncovered in several European countries, so the subject is in the news, but it seems there’s a disproportionate emphasis about it in the US. What’s going on?

Richert: This latest round of media coverage has been served up by lawyers with a vested interest in keeping a dying problem alive. Jeffrey Anderson, the attorney who has made $60 million off of suits against the Church, directed the New York Times to the Father Murphy story. Less than a month later, he used that case as the basis for his latest lawsuit against the Vatican and Pope Benedict.

Block: So, if we accept the thesis that there’s a “propaganda campaign” – or a media bias – against the Catholic Church, the next question is “why.” What’s behind it?

Richert: Beyond the greediness of lawyers who are running out of clients, I think it’s the hatred of Pope Benedict XVI for believing—really, truly believing—what the Catholic Church teaches. And “modern” men and women—and journalists today are nothing if not “modern”—cannot believe that anyone could really believe what the Church teaches.

Block: Thanks so much for your time and all the work you’ve put into researching this.

**************************************************

On Thursday, June 3, 2010, Scott P. Richert, executive editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, delivered a lecture, “Clerical Sexual Abuse: Separating Fact, Fiction, and Anti-Catholic Bias.”

Drawing on his extensive research, Mr. Richert showed that, despite the surge in reporting over the last year, incidences of the abuse of children by bishops, priests, and deacons have decreased remarkably since the early 1980’s, thanks in no small part to the efforts of then-Cardinal Ratzinger. So what (or who) is behind the groundswell of media coverage of the “crisis”—and the attacks on Pope Benedict the XVI?

Mr. Richert answers that question and more in his lecture, which is available for purchase in an audio CD from The Rockford Institute. Call (800) 383-0680 to order your copy today.

LECTURE VIDEO SAMPLE: 

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