November 24, 2018


Permission to speak freely?

In light of the ever-burgeoning, ever-more-bizarre Catholic Church Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal 2018 Plus (I add "Plus" because a host of other irregularities, malfeasances, ongoing mysteries and behaviors have attached themselves or are organically attached to this juggernaut like remora fish on a nurse shark). As many have already mentioned, not even Malachi Martin or Dan Brown could have made up some of this heinous and outrageous stuff.


Until 2002, I had no idea that any kind of sexual abuse was being perpetrated by Catholic clergy--it was that clandestine and successfully buried. However, when the bad news broke back then and I began rabidly researching and reading about the roots of the crisis, I learned that clergy sex abuse was nothing new in the Church. In one form or another, it went all the way back to at least the beginning of the second millennium, to the times of St. Peter Damian, who, in his "Book of Gomorrah," railed against sexual crimes and sins in the clergy, particularly priests having sex with boys and young men (which, is, incidentally, an ancient pagan Roman and Greek custom). Intentional disciplining, clean-ups and purifications would transpire through the ages, but somehow, persistent, systematic, often incestuous patterns would rear their ugly heads over and over.

I told myself in 2002: This isn't over. A subculture of evil and perversion fortified by an ironclad code of silence and absolute authority does not just roll over and give up the ghost. The wagons will be re-circled and eradication of the malaise will be an ongoing battle. But little did I realize that CSA 2002 was just the tip of the iceberg--no, glacier. Little did I (or anyone else not deep "in the know") realize that the code of silence was backed up by fear and  intimidation employed by powerful cloak-and-dagger hierarchs over their own, those lower in the ranking system, or those not really or fully part of the good old boys club.


If we truly want to understand this perplexing and devastating mess, the first thing we must do is stop thinking like nice people for whom certain things are just unthinkable and certain lines uncrossable. Go ahead and think the worst. Do not even try to imagine the wolves as the shepherds they are not. Holy Mother Church has been "infiltrated" by people who are not nice, not at all. What did Joan of Arc mean when she told her politicized, ill-willed clergy interrogators/persecutors: "You are not the Church!"? Surely she knew they were validly ordained and had every "right" to take the steps they were taking against her. Yes. But she also knew that they "cared nothing for God nor man" and may very well have been endangering their immortal souls on account of that fact, and that their "election" may not be "permanent" in the Mystical Body of Christ come Judgment Day. We must also ask ourselves: Can Satan do more harm outside the Church or within the Church? Don't you think he tirelessly assaults the gates seeking entrance--and sometimes succeeds?


So how is John Paul II's masterwork, his magnum opus, the "Theology of the Body," the answer to today's current iteration of clergy sex abuse? For anyone inside or outside the Church: who isn't sure what it means to be human; who isn't sure what God's plan and destiny for the human body-person is, male and female; who chafes against God's divine order and design; who believes God's ways aren't golden for us; who has not entered into the sacred mystery of their sexuality which makes us most in the image of God; who have repressed or indulged their sexuality; who believes that God's Word is an impossible ideal with regard to the body, sexuality, love and marriage; who are clergy who have compromised their belief about and promise of celibacy; who are shepherds who believe their job is to water down the ancient faith and encourage their sheep to put down their cross? This Bud's for you.


CSA 2002 and CSA 2018 has given me a deepened love for priests and the priesthood and I have redoubled my prayers for priests. What do I ask most for them? That they know who they are. That they understand the priesthood. I pray that we all understand the priesthood. If we don't? Then we don't understand Jesus Christ. There is only one priest: Jesus Christ, our High Priest. Every bishop and priest share in His priesthood. At ordination, a man enters into the sacrament of the priesthood--with his male sexuality and spirituality inextricably linked--as an icon of Jesus Christ. If he doesn't understand what this means, how do to this, that he is a real bridegroom and father, he will be lonely, unfulfilled in his masculinity, constantly tempted to dissemble, compromise, weaken his resolve, and, at best, be some kind of "presider" or "administrator." If he doesn't know how to channel the "fire that is male sexuality," he will be prone to destructively burning himself and/or others up.

In the credible book, "Michelle Remembers," a woman who was ritually abused as a child (by a Satanic cult) recalls a demon chanting taunting words to the effect: "The priests don't know who they are."


Men are now systematically beaten down in our culture. If there is a "War on Women" there is also a "War on Men," because the feminine and masculine will always fall or rise together. May I encourage you to watch this video where Dr. Jordan B. Peterson talks about "the tyrannical patriarchy"?

I was recently speaking on Theology of the Body at a parish in a part of Atlanta which is home to some very high-powered CEO's. (The CEO of Coca-Cola lives in the parish.) One of these "types," a gentleman, approached me and critiqued: "It seems to me that the Catholic Church forms beta males." I instinctively knew what he was saying, and I regret that we didn't have time to chat more. Certainly the world and the Church needs beta males (in the best sense of that word--and not all men can be alphas), but it also needs alpha males--true alpha males, good, strong men who do the right thing no matter what it costs. Perhaps this Atlanta parishioner diagnosed a big part of our problem. But are we (whether we're male or female) also a big part of the problem? Do we actually believe in our heart of hearts that masculinity can be nothing other than "toxic," and that male sexuality is some kind of necessary evil, intractably dominating, arrogant, violent, and better not talked about or dealt with, but just shamefacedly swept under the rug? Or do we believe that male sexuality/spirituality is a gift that needs to be renewed, redeemed and rejoiced in in every age? Has the Church internalized the emasculation of the Sexual Revolution where men get free sex, a pass for their misdeeds and irresponsibility, while nothing is required of them?  


Active homosexuality in the seminary/priesthood/episcopate is sinful. (By way of refresher: sin is evil. It's a turning away from God and breaking of God's law, always detrimental to all involved, and unrepented, can lead to final impenitence and damnation). Active homosexuality in the priesthood is a breaking of promises/vows, it's a form of fornication and/or sodomy, it's leading a double-life, it's living a lie. Unless one is married, one is called to celibacy. Celibacy means no sex with anyone: oneself, men, women, teens, children, animals, objects, digital images, etc. 

Since men tend to organize themselves into hierarchies anyway (Sociology 101), the "homosexual secret" (because it can't just be blatantly trumpeted to laity, family, donors, etc.) turns into a homosexual "network" or "current" or "cabal" and suddenly it's a homosexual culture and a culture of corruption (read: exclusion, intimidation, indulgence, blackmail, etc.). Should this lifestyle turn toward recruitment, seduction, pedophilia, hebephilia, ephebophilia--we have just entered egregiously evil waters that spiritually/sexually destroy whatever they come in contact different ways.

Please read these articles about what happens to young men in "lavender seminaries" (please note, not all seminaries harbor abusive/predatory priests, superiors, rectors, professors OR allow/condone homosexual activity among seminarians!):

And this is how seriously lack of celibacy and homosexual activity was dealt with in seminaries/priesthood in the recent past (but, it seems, no longer):

If it's true as has been estimated by various sources* that close to 50% of the U.S. episcopate is SSA (same-sex attracted, celibate or not) due to the fact of SSA priests and bishops recommending and promoting one another up through the ranks (a particular form of "clericalism," you could say), and a large but lesser percentage of U.S. priests also are SSA--then I think this has answered two of my biggest puzzlements of Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal 2002 (if a clergyman is homosexually or even otherwise sexually active):

1. I thought men wanted to be heroes and protect women and children--not harm them or cover up for those who harm them??? [If a man doesn't feel himself a bridegroom to the Church, the Bride of Christ, and if he's not a pure, chaste father to this children, he's not going to care much about sticking his neck out to protect them.]

2. Why has our Catholic Church of late been so mediocre and dead and sick; rife with watered-down mamby-pamby liturgy, preaching, catechesis and doctrine at best...and heresy at worst? Where is the virile adventure of the defense of truth for the sake of the flourishing of the flock? [If one's main focus is secrecy and acquiring status and power to maintain a particular lifestyle, or to pander to those in power just to survive, then a campaign to change God's Word in Scripture and Church teaching to suit oneself, to abolish one's sin, or simply to make life easier may very well be one's contribution to the life of the Church.]

It took 16 years (2002-2018) for me to figure this out. Now I get it. Now it all makes sense.

But do NOT mistake me here. We need our priests! We need our bishops! We want good, holy, virtuous, courageous men to lead us! If men ever doubted that the world and the Church needs them, just look at what happens when bad men lead and good men fail to! Also, Jesus Christ constituted the Church as it is, and it's instrincially good (not an instrinsically flawed system/structure or some kind of necessary evil to "get the job done") and that's never going to change.

The clergy sex abuse scandal is actually very simple. It's the bad guys vs. the good guys. We pray for you daily despite...or rather because of our righteous anger. But we also know many of you personally--and we love you and are so grateful not only for your ministry, but for who you are.

At this juncture in the horror show, no amount of spin can get the bad guys (or even the good guys at this point) out of the mess they've created--and the bubble they've created around themselves seems to be preventing them from even realizing this fact. The whole world--via various forms of media--saw the almost total lack of reaction, remorse, emotion, outrage, and worst of all, the lack of swift action on Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal 2018: Chile, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury, McCarrick, Vigano, Honduras seminarians, USCCB annual meeting in November, and then a host of smaller, ongoing, bizarro cases and incidents. Secrecy, inaction and deflection is not going to work in the day and age of the internet, social media and independent Catholic news outlets. The active participation of the laity in building up the Church called for by Vatican II is in full swing.

One of the best (and most immediate) episcopal responses to CSA 2018 still remains Bishop Morlino's letter (may he rest in peace):


Why is male sexuality linked to male spirituality? (And female sexuality linked to female spirituality, for that matter?) Because we don't "have" bodies, we "are" bodies. We ARE our bodies. Bodies R Us. Because human beings are body and soul. Different bodies, different souls. Our whole approach to life as males or females and our relationship with God is purposefully and blessedly different.

One of my Theology of the Body mentors, a Byzantine priest named Fr. Thomas Loya, has written a book on the topic of the priesthood and male sexuality/spirituality. When CSA 2018 hit, Fr. Loya emailed me his fear that now, more than ever: "the Church, priests and seminaries will run even further away from male sexuality instead of running toward it and entering into the gift of male sexuality and living it well." I can't recommend his book enough, for everyone. It's entitled "Priesthood, Manhood and the Theology of the Body": It unapologetically outlines why priesthood is an intrinsically male thing--and why that's a good thing. Every man is a priest in his own family, in society. Everything he does, he does as a man. Every time he helps, gives back, works for the good, he exercises his spiritual fatherhood which is life-giving. I have had the grace several times to present Theology of the Body to seminarians. My favorite question to ask them is this:

Q: If men engender love and life in their families, what do priests do?
A: Priests engender divine love and divine life--and it doesn't get any better than that.

The bridegroomship and fatherhood of priests is very real. If God is Ultimate Reality, the realest--then the sacraments which are God really working through matter to change our reality for the better and do good to us are also the realest.


And what about women? The masculine priesthood is FOR the feminine. Everything Jesus did He did for His Bride, the Church. The priesthood is the masculine laying down its life for the feminine. The priesthood is the masculine becoming a saving victim, a sacrifice for the feminine. Women themselves are priests in two ways: Every human being is a natural priest because only human beings can offer Creation back to God in thanksgiving. Every baptized Christian woman has the priesthood of the faithful. But when it comes to the ministerial, ordained priesthood--it's the opportunity for women to now accept the gift. And this is why I think we women have the better deal. I know that Jesus said: "It's better to give than to receive," but seriously, would you rather have to give a gift or be the one to receive it? Think of Our Lady who graciously received the gift of her feminine authority, power, mission and influence with the words: "Be it done to me according to your word." Check out the definitive book, "The Catholic Priesthood and Women," by Sr. Sara Butler (a former proponent of "women's ordination" and a personal heroine of mine), and "The Authority of Women in the Catholic Church," by Monica Miller.


One of the first things I hear when people are introduced to "Theology of the Body" for the first time is: "Why aren't we hearing this from the pulpit? Why isn't this mandated in Catholic schools, parishes, universities and marriage prep?" Two reasons, I believe. First: Theology of the Body was not (and often, sadly, still is not) part of routine seminary/theological training and studies--not only as an academic exercise, but as formation for the men themselves. Second: If one rejects any part of God's/the Bible's/the Catholic Church's teaching on sexuality, then Theology of the Body will also be rejected as naive, impossible to live, harsh, out-of-touch, non-progressive . I try to bolster TOB n00bs, novices and mavens alike with: "We don't have to wait for Theology of the Body to come from the top down! Theology of the Body is a grassroots movement and we get to be a part of it!"


And what of the sometimes strange and baffling comments that are coming from the Vatican itself of late, and came from the Synod on the Family (2015) and the Synod on Youth (2018) regarding sexuality? A Cardinal at the Synod on the Family actually stated (as though he was unaware of even the existence of JP2's TOB): "We need a Scriptural study of the human body, human sexuality, marriage and the family." On hearing this, one of our Sisters could not contain herself any longer and tweeted: "The Synod Fathers are asking for something the Church has had for 30 years." The Youth Synod final document plaintively sighs about the "difficulty" of transmitting the Church's teaching on sexuality in the current cultural context. Yeah, well, life is difficult. The grace of God and Theology of the Body make it easier. The "broad" way leading to perdition will still have its sorrows. The "narrow" way leading to heaven that Jesus urgently counseled us to follow will definitely have sorrows, challenges and struggles, but they all have redemptive, eternal value in this life and the next.  "Better to suffer for doing good...than for doing evil" (1 Peter 3:17).

 And why is the "current cultural context" what it is? Whenever society goes astray, it's always the Church's fault. Jesus revealed the Truth, Way and Life to us and told us to make disciples of the nations. When Catholics fall down on the job or lack conviction or courage and fail to evangelize and catechize, the world will be the worse for it. Every time. When the Church doesn't evangelize the culture, the culture evangelizes the Church.

Why does Theology of the Body paradoxically make life "easier"? Because we can ground ourselves in the whole truth about our authentic identity, love, the body, beauty, sex, relationships and the eternal destiny of our bodies and souls. The alternative is to flail about guessing, taking detours, trying chimerical shortcuts and compromising with sin. The experience of us TOB presenters is not a wall of resistance from audiences, but their joy of discovering a mind-blowing treasure: hard, sparkling diamonds that simultaneously challenge us to their acquisition while they dazzle us in "this present darkness."

by Steve Taylor
(from the album "Squint")

Once upon an average morn
An average boy was born
For the second time

Prone upon the altar there
He whispered up the prayer
He'd kept hid inside

The vision came, he saw the odds
A hundred little gods
On a gilded wheel

"These will vie to take your place,
But Father, by your grace
I will never kneel"

And I saw you, upright and proud
And I saw you wave to the crowd
And I saw you laughing out loud
At the Philistines

And I saw you brush away rocks
And I saw you pull up your socks
And I saw you out of the blocks
For the finish line

Darkness falls, the devil stirs
And as your vision blurs
You start stumbling

The heart is weak, the will is gone
And every strong conviction
Comes tumbling down

Malice rains, the acid guile
Is sucking at your shoes
While the mud is fresh

It floods the trail, it bleeds you dry
As every little god
Buys its pound of flesh

And I saw you licking your wounds
And I saw you weave your cocoons
And I saw you changing your tunes
For the party line

And I saw you welsh on old debts
I saw you and your comrades bum cigarettes
And you hemmed and you hawed and you hedged all your bets
Waiting for a sign

Let's wash our hands
As we throw little fits
Let's all wash our hands
As we curse hypocrites

We're locked in the washroom
Turning old tricks
Deaf and joyless
And full of it

The vision came, he saw the odds
A hundred little gods
On a gilded wheel

"These have tried to take your place,
But Father, by your grace
I will never kneel
I will never kneel"

Off in the distance, bloodied but wise
As you squint with the light
Of the truth in your eyes

And I saw you, both hands were raised
And I saw your lips move in praise
And I saw you steady your gaze
For the finish line

Every idol like dust
A word scattered them all

And I rose to my feet
When you scaled the last wall
And I gasped
When I saw you fall
In his arms
At the finish line

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