Saturday, October 04, 2008
COINCIDENCE IN THE MAILBOX
Yesterday two Catholic publications arrived in my mailbox at the same time--"New Oxford Review" and "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam". Both contained articles on Pope Benedict's American visit. Both interpreted it in a similar way with regard to the Papal apology. Both publications spoke specifically about the Pope's response to John L. Allen Jr.'s question, presented on the papal plane, about Benedict's response to the suffering of American Catholics over the scandal.
From the NOR editorial titled "A Loss of Nerve?":
Benedict...replied, "It is a great suffering for the church in the United States, for the church in general, and for me personally that this could happen....We will do all that is possible that this cannot happen in the future....We now have also norms to react in a just way. I would not speak in this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia, [which] is another thing. We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry, this is absolutely incompatible. And who is really guilty of being a pedophile cannot be a priest." (The Pope's response is repeated here verbatim from Allen's transcript from the papal plane; Benedict is not a native English speaker.)Not yet superseded? It's a pretty fuzzy distinction between that and "deep-seated" tendencies. As Leon Podles writes in Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church..."The source of the [clerical] scandals was homosexual priests who were stuck in adolescence and sexually attracted to adolescent males." There doesn't appear to be a discernable difference between being "stuck in adolescence" and an "adolescence not yet superseded."
What are the "norms" to which Benedict refers? In May Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone sent a letter approved by Pope Benedict to the bishops of the world that reaffirmed the 2005 "Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations With Regard to Persons With Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and Holy Orders" as being universally applicable without exception. Cardinal Bertone's letter and the Instruction restrict from seminary "those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture.'"
But that hardly covers all varities of the homosexual inclination, and in fact leaves massive loopholes through which homosexuals can waltz into the priesthood, including, as expressed by the Instruction, those for whom homosexuality was "only the expression of a transitory problem--for example that of an adolescence not yet superseded."
Contrary to the Pope, and with all due respect, pedophilia is a red herring; homosexuality is the root of the problem. (October 2008, pg. 18)
It could be said, based on Benedict's statement, that the Pope cares for the laity's children until they reach puberty. After that they are fair game for the priesthood.
Stephen Brady writes in AMDG (Summer 2008):
There is a final statement worthy of attention in Benedict's response to reporters en route to the US. He assured Catholics that he would do everything possible to see that "this" [the sexual abuse crisis] would not happen in the future by keeping pedophiles out of the seminaries: "I will not speak in this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia, [which] is another thing. We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry, this is absolutely incompatible."New Oxford Review editor Dale Vree rightly noted that "the priesthood will continue to be or become a 'gay' profession, thanks to this document." (pp 12-13) (emphasis in original)
He clearly states that in his opinion, homosexuality and pedophilia are two different things, not to be compared or confused. Here he supports the progressivist contention that has spread to prevent public furor against pedophilia from striking at homosexuality. Certainly there is a difference between the two crimes when studied by scholars and punished by the courts, but regarding pedophile priests in the clergy, it so happens that the two vices are intimately related. Benedict ignores this fact.
He affirms categorically there is no place for pedophiles in the Catholic priesthood, but what about homosexuals? He says nothing against the homosexual subculture that has established itself in the American Catholic Church since Vatican II.
His actions since assuming the papal office confirm his soft stance on homosexuality in the priesthood. To replace him as head of the CDF, he chose his friend Archbishop William Levada, known for complacent handling of pedophile priests when he was Bishop of Portland, and for his friendly approach to homosexuals when he became Archbishop of San Francisco. Then he appointed as Archbishop of San Francisco George Niederauer, who openly supports "tolerance" for homosexuals and opposes a constitutional ban on same-sex "marriage."
In 2006, Pope Ratzinger signed an unmistakably "soft" document setting out new guidelines regarding homosexuals entering the seminary. Instead of condemning the sin against nature and firmly barring those who practice it or have tendencies toward it from the sacred priesthood, the document takes a more tolerant view. Only those with "deep-seated tendencies" toward homosexuality are barred from priesthood; those with "transitory problems" or "chaste" homosexuals can be accepted.
Brady writes something else that is in harmony with my own thoughts at this particular time. In speaking of the compromises that priests who have said the Latin Mass under the indult necessarily had to make, he writes:
...discretion must be used in attending such Masses, especially when the Holy Communion distributed at these Masses includes Hosts from a priorNovus Ordo Mass which may or may not have been a valid Mass, depending upon the additional tampering with the liturgy that might have been committed by the "presider" at that Mass. Additional caution must be exercised if the homilies at such Masses depart from the authentic Catholic Faith. We cannot endanger our souls or those of our families by exposing them to doctrinal error. (p. 20)
We may be able to find a priest at any given parish who is true to the Faith. But what about those hosts. Technically, they are valid if the priest who consecrated them intended what the Church intends. But how can intention be defined, and how can one receive with confidence when one was not present when the particular hosts were consecrated, and so did not see what took place at the Mass where the consecration took place.
The obvious solution is to receive only from the priest who is saying the Mass we are attending. That is not always possible, however. Lately, when I have any sort of doubt about the host, I refrain from receiving.
The scandal, coming on top of 40 years of liturgical abuse; on top of churches stripped of Catholic symbolism, with corny liturgical music which is at times heretical; and coming on top of the renewed talk about birth control in H.V. and my discoveries in reading about the Papal Birth Control Commission of the way in which this encyclical was promulgated; and coming on top of the information Randy Engel provided in THE RITE OF SODOMY about the pope who promulgated H.V.; I find that more and more my faith is being eroded by the multiplication of scandal.
There are Sundays when I have to decide if it is better when I die to have an unblemished record of Mass attendance to present to the Judgment Seat, or whether it is better to still believe in Jesus Christ at the time of my death. Too often these two choices seem to be mutually exclusive, and I see no signs that this situation is going to improve in my remaining lifetime.
Brady has made the decision to get away from this filthy state of the Church and attend only Masses such as the SSPX provides. I don't see this as a viable option because the Church provides the validity for the sacraments we seek. Those outside of the Church, even if teaching the authentic faith, are still without the authority to validly present the sacraments. Only God can know whether the SSPX and other groups in schism have valid sacraments. But when the validity question arises every Sunday at Mass, faith cannot survive for long before the scandal in the Church moves faith in Jesus Christ to the margins for the faithful.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for me!