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August/September 2002

Systemic Symptoms of Decay

THE EDITOR

In January this year, Christian Order laid bare the grim reality of a Church now "in total chaos." In the same month, coincidentally, America's Boston Globe lit a fuse that was to blow the systemic cover-up of clerical sexual abuse - and with it any last vestige of post-conciliar episcopal propriety - to smithereens. Only readers who have just awoken from a six month coma could possibly be unaware of the worldwide media blitz that ensued. Nonetheless, let us very briefly recap the height, depth and breadth of the wickedness involved.

It all started with the Globe's expose of Father John G. Geoghan's gruesome history of child molestation and the systematic concealment of his crimes by the Boston archdiocese. Sixty-six-year-old Geoghan has been accused of molesting 130 boys, his favourite targets being from lower-income families without fathers at home. According to the judge, these victims "were helpless, they were unprotected" and the predatory cleric "felt no one would believe them." Geoghan was sentenced to 9-10 years on one count, awaits trial in two more cases and faces more than 80 lawsuits.

The detailed Globe investigation revealed that although Cardinal Law, a reputed "conservative," had been formally apprised of Geoghan's history of abuse of minors from the very outset of his appointment as Archbishop of Boston in 1984, he repeatedly moved him from parish to parish. Other serial abusers were similarly indulged. In 1990, Law's assistant bishop had vouched for Fr. Paul Shanley, even while his file "included allegations that he had molested boys and publicly advocated sexual relations between men and boys." In 1997, the Cardinal himself provided a written recommendation for this sexual predator to a Catholic College in North Carolina, less than two years after he had dismissed Shanley for "improper physical contact" with a 19-year-old seminarian (e.g. kissing him on the lips) at St. John's seminary, and despite holding a voluminous dossier on Shanley's activities. At the same time, the diocese quietly covered the tracks of at least 70 priests accused of molestation by arranging secret out-of-court settlements totalling between $30-40 million. A comparable amount will now be paid to Geoghan's victims. These out-of-court settlements alone may finally cost the archdiocese over $100 million.

The intense media pressure generated by the Globe's exposes forced the Cardinal to reverse previous diocesan policy and begin releasing all past and present child abuse allegations against his clergy to the civil authorities. The names of more than 80 sexually abusing priests in the Boston archdiocese going back 40 years were subsequently handed over. In addition, the Globe sought and gained public disclosure of court records relating to clergy abuse cases in the 1990s which diocesan lawyers had convinced judges to seal in their entirety out of fear that public knowledge of the molestations "would be seriously damaging" to the archdiocese. According to the Globe, these records contained fresh evidence of "a decade-long church effort to hide the extent of sexual abuse of children by priests."

As the Boston dam burst, Law's brother bishops, seeing nowhere left to hide after decades of unconscionable negligence and complicity, began declaring and removing known clerical abusers within their own dioceses. Suddenly, prelates from coast to coast were compelled to reveal the shocking facts: Philadelphia admitted possessing evidence that 35 priests had abused around 50 children over several decades; Los Angeles promptly removed up to a dozen priests involved in past sex abuse cases from active ministry; Manchester, New Hampshire, released the names of 14 priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors in the 25 years ending 1987 - and so it went, on and on, barely a day passing without similar revelations and mind-numbing details of abuse, cover-ups and blackmail at the highest levels.

A representative example of what became daily media fare occurred in Tucson, where a January 2002 settlement with 16 plaintiffs in 11 lawsuits involving four priests, cost the diocese $10-15 million. The Arizona Republic reported that court records and the local bishop's deposition showed "diocese officials protected one another, lied to a victim's family, failed to counsel victims, destroyed statements, did not notify child protective authorities, and were uncooperative with police. The cover-up began under the previous bishop but continued under the present bishop […] the diocese didn't begin an official investigation of Mgr Robert Trupia, the judicial vicar, until 1992, about 17 years after the diocese first heard that Trupia was abusing boys." Ordained in 1973, Trupia committed sexual acts in his rectory and office, as well as sodomising altar boys after Mass on a weekly basis for two years. Yet despite his notoriety for such behaviour in clerical circles, "Trupia was promoted to increasingly powerful positions that gave him ready access to boys." When in 1992 he finally admitted to Bishop Manuel Moreno that he was an abuser and "a man unfit for public ministry," Moreno withheld the truth of Trupia's statement both in a letter to a victim's family and in a secret canonical letter to the Vatican. In his deposition, Moreno said he could not explain why he had not been truthful. "Furthermore, he could not explain why he waited until 1995 to execute another canonical affidavit alleging that Trupia threatened to reveal personal sexual relationships with high Church officials [including the late Bishop Rausch of Phoenix], if he was not allowed to retire."

Bishop Moreno's complicity mirrored that of many other prelates engulfed by allegations of abuse against their clergy. Cardinal Egan of New York and Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles, for instance, both recycled abusing clergy only to magically declare, post-Boston, that such crimes appalled them and that they would now come clean. Yet Edward Egan not only has a history of avoiding responsibility for active homosexual priests by claiming they are "independent contractors," but under Cardinal Cody was once known as Chicago's "hatchet man" for the way he intimidated the parents of victims with crushing threats of heavyweight legal action by the archdiocese if they threatened to sue, causing the collapse of families and shattering their faith. While the execrable Roger Mahony, who in 1988 claimed that he would "never deal with a problem of sexual abuse on the part of a priest or deacon by simply moving him to another ministerial assignment," provoked numerous questions following his hasty direction that up to 12 priests retire or otherwise leave their ministries. How long had he known about them? Why hadn't he acted before the media blitz? Or informed the authorities? Of course, given the radical and aggressive undermining of Church teachings and worship which has suffused Los Angeles under his notorious guidance, the incriminating answers are self-evident. Furthermore, in his previous see of Stockton, Mahony (together with his two predecessors) was guilty of recycling abuser Fr. Oliver O'Grady, which ultimately cost the diocese $30 million. And last summer he paid out another $5.2 million in a sexual abuse case precisely to avoid further revelations of rampant perversion involving the egregious sodomite Patrick Ziemann, Bishop of Santa Rosa, and his dissolute seminary.

With around 2,000 of America's 46,000 priests (about 5%) so far accused of interfering with minors, the abuse rate is said to be consistent with that among non-Catholic and non-Christian clergy and perhaps lower than in the general populace. But the figure is growing as the catastrophe escalates. In Boston alone 10% of active priests have now been accused of sexual abuse, while an increasing number of episcopal deviants are coming to light. Bishop Anthony O'Connell, who had replaced child sex-abuser Keith Symons as Bishop of Palm Beach, was himself accused of molesting a teenager over a four year period while rector of a Missouri seminary. Like his disgraced predecessor, O'Connell resigned - still covering-up and lying to the very last. At his farewell press conference he acknowledged the existence of "one other person" he had similarly abused, only for seven more former students to subsequently complain.

Of all the episcopal 'outings,' however, the most unsurprising concerned the Archbishop of Milwaukee, Rembert Weakland, who for so long has recycled and promoted clerical deviants, fostered homosexuality and every kind of vice, corrupted souls, wrecked churches, scandalised the faithful, publicly defied the Vatican and degraded the episcopal office [see The Weakland File, Parts I & II, CO, Aug/Sept and Oct 1996]. In May, after years of strutting around the world feted by supportive dissident pals like Basil Hume, this post-conciliar Modernist icon was finally revealed as the deceitful pervert we always assumed him to be. Bearing in mind that Weakland's own church, St. John's Cathedral, was once described in a sodomite journal as "second only to the homosexual bar district and the shopping mall as a homosexual gathering place," it was hardly earth-shattering to learn that twenty years ago he forced himself on a student who had sought him out for advice about entering the priesthood, pulling down the young man's trousers while trying to kiss and fondle him. In 1998 Weakland spent $450,000 of diocesan money to hush up the affair (from which he had finally extricated himself by way of an 11 page letter to the student.) "I was involved in a cover-up," admitted his now 53-year-old accuser. "I accepted money to be silent about it." Laughably, and as if to underline the duplicity which has defined his life, this revelation came to light just as 75-year-old Weakland introduced a "zero tolerance" policy towards molestation by priests. He subsequently resigned but will doubtless live out his days in splendour at the expense of the flock he betrayed and the Church he shamed.

On top of scandals already unearthed, a myriad of murky surprises lie in wait. There has long been talk of an ongoing low-key media investigation into the clandestine deeds of the late Cardinal Bernadin and his infamous circle of perverse friends [see Bernadin's Boys, CO, Jan. 2002]. While a priest was recently reported in the New York Post as saying that if the activities of one particular homosexual Cardinal are finally exposed "the dominoes will really start to fall."

This all makes for painful reading, yet it is only a snapshot of events. In June, the Dallas Morning News published a detailed three-month study showing that 111 of the 178 US Catholic dioceses (nearly two-thirds!) are run by bishops who have protected priests against whom credible accusations of sexual abuse have been made. And we have not even mentioned the ramifications of sexual abuse: the dreadful psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical sufferings of the individuals and families concerned. One can only imagine their torment: the initial clerical betrayal and physical abuse later compounded by ecclesiastical authorities far more concerned with protecting the 'clerical club' and Church finances than seeking truth and saving souls. Indeed, it has proved too heavy a burden for many, who have taken their own lives. Nor have we touched on the damage done to the reputations and lives of priests sometimes falsely accused by malicious 'gold diggers' seeking to cash-in on the pay-outs, or the general humiliation and shame that a small minority of Catholic clergy have inflicted on the vast majority of their brethren. "I saw it too and was physically repulsed by the whole mess," wrote a young clerical friend from Ireland after a vile case of serial abuse, ruined lives, suicides and a twenty-year episcopal cover-up in the Ferns diocese was aired on the BBC last March. "I slept badly last night. God forbid that we have to spend the rest of our lives clearing up the mess of these men. The eggs which were laid over the last thirty years have hatched out and it is monsters thy are producing. It's terribly disheartening, especially when you are dressed in black and wearing a white collar. I for one cannot see an end in sight."

Nor will US Catholics ever see light at the end of tunnel while bishops continue to interpret and rationalise their wicked attitudes, actions and omissions on the basis of advice obtained from Freudian, Rogerian and Jungian "experts." As one Vatican official opined: "In America there is too much reliance on modern psychology in place of the Church's traditional wisdom." Accordingly, the aforementioned Bishop O'Connell explained that his sleeping naked with teenagers in the 1970s had been some kind of psychotherapeutic technique he picked up from "sexologists" Masters and Johnson. Sounding like a group-therapy facilitator, he suggested that those still upset about his behaviour should "pray for their ability themselves to forgive." Meanwhile, Cardinal Egan washed his hands of responsibility by claiming that he always insisted on psychiatric assessment before returning accused priests to parishes - an episcopal penchant for passing the buck to diocesan shrinks that Cardinal Mahony summed up thus: "If there's a suspicion or a problem, we refer it to competent professionals to assist in making a decision. If the competent professionals do not raise any flags or concerns, then we rely on their judgment."

Excuse my plummeting jaw! Since when did Catholic shepherds need batteries of "experts" to tell them that sick and dangerous perverts make sick and dangerous priests? Especially as a secret report issued to the US bishops in 1985 had "told them in no uncertain terms that pedophilia was untreatable." Moreover, a 1961 document from the Sacred Congregation for Religious clearly states that "Those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination." In fact, ongoing episcopal disregard of this 1961 directive is the nub of the matter: the major contributing factor to the sex abuse scandals. Because despite the best efforts of the liberal media and the gay lobby to hide the fact behind endless headlines about "paedophile priests," clerical sexual abusers are overwhelmingly homosexual ephebophiles i.e. molesters of young male adolescents. Only a very small percentage are (heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual) paedophiles i.e. abusers of pre-pubescent children. Thus, ephebophilia - viz. homosexuality - is the overriding concern. As well it should be given the recent findings of renowned US researcher Dr. Judith Reisman, which reveal that on average 3 to 4.5 boys are victimized per homosexual male (as opposed to only 1 girl victimized per 11 heterosexual males). Since obviously not all homosexual males sexually assault boys, Reisman concludes that a vast subset of the 'gay' population "commits multiple, repeated child sex offenses" [full details available at http://rsvpamerica.org].

If Western episopates have long refused to address this vital homosexual ingredient in the abuse saga, it is largely because they have been compromised at the corporate level by those among their number compromised on a personal level. Only the existence of a sizeable fifth column of homosexual bishops (including the many who sublimate their affliction and live chastely) could possibly account for such scandalous, widespread episcopal toleration or promotion of homosexuality in just about every Western country, especially within the seminaries and religious houses. In this regard, psycho-therapist Richard Sipe, an ex-priest, considers that "at least a third of the bishops of the world" are homosexual. Even if that liberal estimate is on the high side, the ratio of homosexual bishops is certainly many times higher than the estimated number of homosexuals in the wider population (barely 2%), and is more than enough to foster a morally lax ecclesiastical environment and constitute a determining negative influence on the Modernistic, politically correct, heterosexual majority of Western bishops. Apart from its corrupting impact on seminaries, this fifth column enables feminists and homosexuals exclusive entrée to the sort of epsicopal committees that fashion documents like Always Our Children, the compromising pastoral letter on homosexuality from the American bishops which Rome eventually forced them to revise. And it emboldens 'gay'-friendly prelates to publicly undermine Vatican directives, such as the late Cardinal Hume's infamous "Note on Church Teaching Concerning Homosexual People" [1995] - the sole purpose of which was to muddy the clear teaching from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons] that the homosexual inclination is objectively disordered.

Alluding to this 'gay' bloc and its pernicious influence at the highest levels, Father Charles Fiore, a close friend of the late Malachi Martin who has counseled innumerable victims of sexual abuse and fought homosexual infiltration of the American clergy for over 40 years, commented:

"The Church in this country is in massive denial. When bishops rely more on psychiatrists, lawyers, and their insurance agents and less on the Holy Spirit and common sense to realise that homosexuality and pedophilia are compulsive illnesses and you don't put a diabetic in charge of the candy store or an alcoholic behind a bar, you still have a problem. No bishops are saying, 'We have to clean out the priesthood; we have to purge the seminaries.' I know that there are bishops - today - who have been informed in writing, by eyewitnesses, that they have priests serving in their dioceses who are involved in homosexual liaisons, who hang out in homosexual bars, and who have not been disciplined. Indeed, some have even received ecclesiastical or papal honors."

No wonder military chaplain Fr. Paul Shaughnessy has claimed that the US episcopate is now so institutionally corrupt that, as an agency, it has "lost the capacity to do its own housecleaning," to uncover and expel its own miscreants, "especially, but not exclusively, in the arena of sexual turpitude." Just consider that the offending bishops who have thus far resigned only did so after their victims went public. Without that media publicity (notwithstanding the anti-Catholic agenda and outrageous duplicity behind most of it), Bishops like Keith Symons and Anthony O'Connell of Palm Beach would still be in office - despite the fact that for years some of their episcopal brethren were well aware of their shocking histories of sexual abuse. Furthermore, even after stepping down in criminal disgrace such men are still treated as prelates in good standing with the Church and allowed to conduct public retreats. The notorious Bishop Daniel Ryan of Springfield, a repulsive predatory homosexual who resigned in 1999 just days before his case went to court, is even allowed to offer Mass publicly and undertake confirmations in his former diocese [see Cronies, Crooks and Crisis Popes, CO Jan. 2002]. Rome, all the while, when not waving away the scandals with a yawn as just the latest unfortunate dip in the roller coaster fortunes of ecclesiastical history, has connived in such treachery by turning a blind eye or stubbornly refusing to intervene.

In the above light, the outcome of the mini-summit held in Rome on 23-24 April between the US cardinals and the Holy Father to discuss the crisis can only be viewed with cold-eyed cynicism. Telling men like Law, Egan, Mahony & Co. to go home and sort things out with their brother bishops, as Rome effectively did, is like meeting with a delegation of lunatics and sending them back to their chaotic asylum to resume command and restore order with their fellow inmates. Facile recommendations in the final Vatican Communique about "a special process" for dismissing from the clerical state both notorious and less notorious clergy, and dutiful calls to ensure that the present crisis leads to "a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate, and a holier Church" make good copy. Ultimately, however, everything remains at the discretion of the episcopal inmates. It doesn't augur well. Especially in respect of the key proposal to undertake an "Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and religious houses of formation." Because without a purge (even a mini-purge) of the US episcopate itself, there is nil prospect of such a Visitation eventually purging seminaries of the heterophobic 'gay' ideologues who control most of them. And without that clean out there is no ending the homosexualisation of the priesthood and the consequent sexual abuse of teenage males, the major prey of clerical molesters.

So, despite the fine words and action-plans, it is hard to escape a strong sense of déjà vu: the feeling that it will all amount to just one more post-conciliar face-saving, damage-limitation exercise. Bureaucratic procedures might refine the vetting of candidates for the priesthood, standardise the handling of accusations, involve the laity, improve the response to victims and generally put the breaks on the American situation (which, by the way, Catholic investigative writer Michael Rose claims is "at least 100 times worse" than that portrayed in the saturation media coverage.) Yet whatever band-aid treatments are applied, we know too well that the homosexuality, sexual abuse and cover-ups are mere symptons of the underlying disease of neo-Modernism: symptoms which appeared well before the 1960s but then broke out all over and became systemic as neo-Modernism rapidly infected every aspect of the post-conciliar Church with episcopal blessing. Thus, barring a miracle of mass episcopal enlightenment, the sine qua non for genuine and lasting reform, the outlook is bleak. As the deputy editor of The Spectator, Stuart Reid, put it after laying the blame for the magnitude of the US scandals squarely on "the legacy of the Second Vatican Council" and the wholesale "moral, intellectual, cultural and spiritual decline" it ushered in:

No wonder the churches are empty; no wonder the culture of the bath-house and the internet chat room has such a secure footing in the Catholic - and for that matter the secular - world. […] it is hard to forget or forgive the fraud and experimentation that attended the introduction of the new liturgy in the 1970s. There were clown Masses and bunny rabbit Masses and dancing girl Masses and rock Masses. Celebrants began to get in touch with themselves, and, as we can now see, with others. Out went repression, in came expression. Altar boys paid the price. […] It is no good blaming the Yanks. The decline of the Church in America mirrors the decline of the Church elsewhere in the West, and indeed the decline of the West in general. The sex scandals will eventually disappear, but the rot is almost certain to continue, and perhaps to grow worse when John Paul II dies. We'd better watch out.

 

 

 

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