|Book Review: Vatican Ii, Homosexuality, and Pedophilia, by Atila Sinke Guimaraes
By Atila Sinke Guimaraes
True Restoration II
December 29, 2008
Title: Vatican II, Homosexuality, & Pedophilia
Author: Atila Sinke Guimaraes
Publisher: Tradition in Action
Excellence: 4 stars
Why: much needed hard evidence of destruction in the Church
Summary in a sentence: A devastating dossier of deviancy.
The last book I reviewed by TIA was Previews of the New Papacy. I gave it only 2 stars because I thought it was not responsible to give such an extensive grouping of photographs with so little (con)textual commentary to guide the reader. But I will say that generally TIA, and Guimaraes in particular, are relentless when it comes to documentation. This was no exception, with 573 footnotes in just over 300 pages.
I certainly don't agree with TIA on everything, and they would certainly say the same about me, but I don't let that get in the way of endorsing and heartily agreeing with good work that they do.
Many of us don't remember where we were when we first heard of the sexual scandals plaguing the Church. There was no liminal event. We just started hearing bits and pieces on the news, punctuated with the names of Weakland or Bernadin or Law. It seemed at first a slow trickle that became a torrent. What Guimaraes does, with a flood of horrifying information, is show that the crisis is much, much worse than our worst nightmares.
I don't follow the news anywhere near as closely as I once did, and even if I did, I would not have been able to see at a glance the dossier that Atila compiles in this book. It is separated into six simple parts:
I - Position of Sacred Scriptures and Catholic Tradition regarding homosexuality
II - A new tolerant conciliar morals
III - Homosexuality and the Catholic Church in the US
IV - Ecclesiastical homosexuality in other countries
V - The scandal of priestly pedophilia in the US
VI - Clerical pedophilia in other countries
In today's society, where the world is ever softened by phrases like "sexual orientation" and "civil unions" to accept as "normal" what God and His Church have always seen as one of the the darkest and most evil sins, it is sometimes hard to truly realize the horror that should normally be associated with this terrible deviancy. Atila lays the groundwork for his thesis by explaining the natural distance and horror always formerly associated with this sin.
He cites Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:24-27, among 15 other Scriptural passages, as evidence for this abominable and shameful practice.
He then adds some much lesser known, but no less relevant citations:
"See that you determine to extirpate that obscene crime committed by men who lie with males, whose fearful conduct defiles the decency of honest living and provokes from Heaven the wrath of the Supreme Judge" (p. 17, full citation given in text).
St. Basil, who would have been a welcome addition to the United States Conference of Apostate Catholic Bishops, said:
"The cleric or monk who molests youth or boys, or is caught kissing or committing some depravity with them, let him be whipped in public, deprived of his crown (tonsure) and, after having his head shaved, let his face be covered with spittle and let him be bound in iron chains, condemned to six months in prison, reduced to eating rye bread once a day in the evening three times per week. After these six months of living in a separate cell under the custody of a wise elder advanced in the spiritual life, let him make prayers, vigils, and manual work, always under the watch of two spiritual brothers, without being allowed to have any relationship...with young people" (p. 23, full citation given in text).
Boy, St. Basil might have had a few words to say to Levada, Mahony, Law, Bernadin, Weakland, and George...
St. John Chrysostom said:
"All passions are dishonorable, for the soul is even more damaged and degraded by sin than the body is by disease. But the worst of all passions is lust between men...The sins against nature are more problematic and less satisfying, so much so that one cannot even say that they procure pleasure, since true pleasure is only that which is according to nature. But when God abandons a man, everything is turned on its head! Therefore, not only are such passions (of homosexuals) satanic, but their lives are diabolic...So I say to you that they (the homosexuals) are even worse than murderers, and that it would be better to die than to live in such dishonor. A murderer only separates the soul from the body, whereas these (homosexuals) destroy the soul inside the body...There is nothing, absolutely nothing more absurd or damaging than this perversity" (p. 25, full citation given in text).
St. Gregory the Great notes that the reason brimstone might have been used to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah was because "Brimstone calls to mind the foul odors of the flesh..." (p. 25, full citation given in text).
St. Bernadine of Siena adds: "One who lived practicing the vice of sodomy will suffer more pain in Hell than anyone else, because this is the worst sin that there is" (p. 29, full citation given in text).
All these texts and citations serve a dual purpose:
1) To illustrate that this terrible sin has been with us since nearly the beginning of man's time on earth, as illustrated by Scripture and Saints' comments and warnings.
2) The Church always presented a united front of horror and revulsion for this sin, not a false "compassion" or "understanding".
This changed with (surprise!) Vatican II.
In fact, the tone was set by John XXIII, of infelicitous memory, in his Opening Speech of the Council, October 11, 1962: "In our days, however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to use more the remedy of mercy than that of severity; she deems it better to satisfy today's needs by showing the validity of her doctrine rather than by condemning errors" (p. 39).
Taken in itself, and giving the broadest benefit of the doubt to John XXIII, the statement is not in itself bad. But what is naive about the statement is that severity and mercy are used hand-in-hand with different situations, especially in the Church. An ecclesiastic stealing from the treasury should probably be treated with more severity than a young boy who steals a stick of gum. So too, homosexuality, so strongly condemned by God in Scripture (entire cities destroyed for that reason alone) and through the voice of His Saints, never was viewed through the rose-colored "pastoral" sunglasses that John XXIII put on during this speech.
Guimaraes than examines 3 documents: The Declaration on Certain Questions concerning Sexual Ethics, signed by Cardinal Franjo Seper and approved by Paul VI, The Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care for Homosexual Persons, signed by Joseph Ratzinger and approved by John Paul II, and Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons, also by Joseph Ratzinger. Showing that these documents were part of a slippery slope, Guimaraes incisively points to the Church's changing tone (as we can witness what it was previously by the citations above) regarding this sin. Regarding the 3rd document, he opines:
"The document...emphasized the rights and personal dignity of homosexual persons even while it mentions certain limits: Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons, including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity. Among other rights, all persons have the right to work, to housing, etc. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered outward conduct" (p. 50, full citation in text)
Again, this text is not wholly bad in itself, but you can clearly see how the change in emphasis/approach changes the entire tone and color of the debate on the topic.
Citing an Angelus message in his summary on these documents, Guimaraes adds:
"...The Vatican has continued to take essentially the same tolerant position, affirming the need for compassion and respect for the homosexual person, while rejecting protection for his homosexual act" (p. 52, full citation in the text).
Turning to place the problem of these matters when observed within the priesthood, Guimaraes comments:
"If the traditional moral precepts had been guiding the Church, the predatory priests would have been dismissed from their sacramental duties and brought before the Civil Law to be punished for their crimes. Today, however, with the conciliar principles of tolerance governing a new moral code, the very opposite has occurred. The predatory priests have been hidden, protected and often reinstalled in other ecclesiastical services, where they easily could commit similar aberrations again" (p. 57).
One might remember the famous "Dallas conference" of 2002 in which "never again" was the theme loudly trumpeted to the press:
"Many Bishops left Dallas speaking loudly about "zero tolerance". This expression, however, also lacks a precise definition, and until this is provided it is without any serious juridical base. It seems a mere slogan, repeated over and over to impress public opinion.
"The Dallas documents were sent to the Vatican for its due approval. That approval did not come. On the contrary the Vatican considered the disciplinary measures against the guilty priests as too radical, and instead insisted on a different text, a much more tolerant one" (p. 61).
What is not surprising to the reader is that the Vatican lagged on discipline and then insisted on laxer positions. What is surprising is even the assertion that US Bishops are "tough on crime". We know otherwise, and Guimaraes wastes no time in shredding the imprecisions of the original Dallas document, which leaves gaps wide enough for Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he once said to Ariana Huffington in a debate, to "drive his Hummer through".
Guimaraes closes the chapter with this quote: "One can see that the first concern of the Vatican does not seem to be justice..." (p. 77).
Chapter III holds much of the first groups of documentation regarding priestly crimes of homosexuality and pedophilia that I alluded to above. At the risk of citing too much, I will only cite the most disturbing and unbelievable pieces of news he brings forth - not, I assure you, to revel in scandal, but to point out to you that we have perhaps had our eyes wide shut for too long on this topic.
"Fr. Kenneth Waibel, qualified "gay spirituality" as the only authentic one. He also made this absurd statement: 'Jesus wants us to be erotically in love with Him, and that is not possible for homophobes" (p. 90-91, full citation in the text). This statement was made in the course of a weekend conference during which Cardinal Mahony was the principal celebrant of Mass. More:
"At one point during the convention Fr. Peter Luizzi, director of the Archdiocesan Ministry for Lesbians and Gays, "pretended to bless attendees with puppy urine, and then simulated a strip show, tossing his clerical collar into the crowd" (p. 91).
And regarding a former Jesuit, Fr. John McNeill: "Describing the role of the homosexual in the religious ambit, McNeill pointed to Our Lord Jesus Christ as model" (p. 107).
Commenting on the role of the Bishops in these scandals, a passage deserves to be quoted at length:
"Regarding the complicity of Bishops with homosexuality, there are several proofs. First, many Bishops have been denounced as homosexual or pedophiles and, given that the charges were sound, have resigned from their positions. Certainly the Bishops who were denounced were not the only guilty ones in the American Episcopate. This kind of Bishop obviously supports the "lavender mafia" at the seminaries. Second, many Bishops, although not homosexual, follow the progressivist agenda and defend homosexuality in the seminaries, priesthood, Episcopate, and so on. Third, most of the Bishops who do not agree with homosexuality in the seminaries, do not act for fear of receiving reprisals. Such reprisals can take several forms: some skeleton in his own closet might be revealed, or his ecclesiastical career could be threatened by his peers or superiors. Id est, either the Bishop has a past that is not sparkling clean and wants to keep his wrongdoing quiet, or he lacks the courage to face the pressures he could receive from those around and above him. He prefers to progress in his career than to cure the aberration of homosexuality in his seminary. Therefore it is difficult for this kind of Bishop to not be judged as either a bandit in the past or a coward in the present" (p. 119-120).
Chapter IV features the infamous 1995 "Hume affair" in which Cardinal Hume scandalously put forth a document which can be said to almost completely exculpate homosexuals of any sin whatsoever. One part of the document:
"The particular orientation or inclination of the homosexual person is not a moral failing...Being a homosexual person is, then, neither morally good nor morally bad; it is homosexual genital acts that are morally wrong" (p. 134, full citation in the text).
"...by reducing moral culpability only to acts, Cardinal Hume appeared to legitimize sinful thoughts and words. However, such concessions incur culpability with regard to the vice of homosexuality like any other vice, as Catholic doctrine has always taught. Thus, this omission by the Cardinal can hardly be said to harmonize well with Church teaching...
"...by reducing the moral culpability of homosexuals to genital acts, the Cardinal appeared to legitimize a whole series of libidinous acts between these people, which can range from necking, hugging, and kissing, to acts more directly offensive to good customs such as manual or oral contact with private parts, which nonetheless are not explicitly "genital acts" (p. 134).
In Spain, Fr. Emili Boils said:
"I am homosexual by nature and the grace of God, and as a believer and a religious...I am neither 'corrupt' nor 'scum' nor a 'shameful son of darkness.' Nor is my sin 'nefarious;' nor does my abnormality 'cry out to heaven;' nor amI 'sick' nor 'abominable'...I am not a Sodomite. I was not born in such an exotic place (Sodom); nor was I born more than twenty centuries ago...Enough of this (expletive)! I am a priest because I am homosexual" (p. 151, full citation in the text).
In Miami, a "requiem" "Mass" was said for Gianni Versace, a famous fashion designer and known homosexual. The homilist said that "Versace was already in paradise and that St. Peter had 'put him in charge of redecorating Heaven'" (p. 155).
Guimaraes wryly points out, regarding the use of the Milanese cathedral for Versace's actual funeral: "It is interesting to note that Versace's family donated $580,000 to the Milan Curia for the use of the Cathedral" (p. 156, full citation in the text).
This action was writ large the attitude of the a Church that seemed to externally condemn homosexual acts, but compromised for either money or to cover up its own internal transgressions in this area. In this sense, we can observe that the priests involved were:
"themselves victims of a system that simultaneously condemned homosexuality and tacitly condoned clandestine homosexual sex" (p. 125).
In Chapter V, Guimaraes examines more recent "attempts" to deal with the American crisis:
"In an attempt to respond to this growing problem, Fr. Doyle teamed with Fr. Michael Peterson and attorney Ray Mouton in 1985 to write a confidential report on the political ramifications of the pedophilia crisis. The report, sent to all the American Bishops, predicted a staggering array of scandals to come and billions of dollars in legal fees. A well-informed priest described what happened to this report: 'The report was shelved by the Bishops. So was Fr. Doyle, who pressed for the report's acceptance, and was canned'" (p. 170, full citation in the text).
He then takes the reader on a woeful journey of public revelations of clerical wrongdoing in these matters, spanning the time of 1985-2004 solely, that is deeply shocking and saddening. Again, I choose only the most shocking to try to drive home the point of this outrage, which we have been far too complacent about for far too long.
"In 1994, a jury in Plymouth County, MA, convicted Fr. John Hanlon of raping an altar boy at a summer cottage in Scituate. He was sentenced to live in prison" (p. 177, full citation in the text).
"In 2000 Eric Patterson, 29, killed himself in the Diocese of Wichita, KS. The family blamed the deep depression of the young man on the sexual abuse that began at age 13 by his parish priest, Fr. Robert Larson...six altar boys who served under Fr. Larson have committed suicide. He went to jail" (p. 185, full citation in the text).
For those who think the Traditionalist movement is exempt from these problems and have not followed the tireless and indefatigable work of Dr. Jeffrey Bond in pursuing the former members of the Society of St. John, there is also Fr. Timothy Svea, formerly of the Institute of Christ the King.
"Fr. Timothy Svea...pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor, for actions committed while he was at the Institute's location in Wausau, Wisconsin. He was charged with sexual assault, indecent exposure, false imprisonment, and exhibition of pornography. The offenses date from April 1999 through February 2000. He was sentenced to a 20-year prison term" (p. 188, full citation in the text).
"March 29, 2002 - The shocking case of Fr. Donald Kimball came to light. A 38-year-old woman alleged she had been raped in 1977 by the priest behind the altar at Resurrection Church in Santa Rosa, CA, when she was age 14. She claimed that sexual encounters continued and when she became pregnant, Kimball arranged for an abortion. According to the diocesan attorney, $120,000 had been paid to the woman for counseling" (p. 195, full citation in the text).
"Fr. Robert Meffan had allegedly abused teenage girls preparing to become nuns. According to the records, Meffan would tell the girls that he was Christ and that he would teach them to be 'brides of Christ'" (p. 226).
"April 12, 2002 - Fr. Paul Desilets was indicted by a grand jury in Worchester County, MA, on charges of molesting 18 boys while serving at a church in Bellingham between 1978 and 1984...he faces a 32-count indictment for sexual abuse of 18 altar boys" ( p. 201, full citation in the text).
"August 20, 2002 - Citing sealed court documents to which it had access and interviews of the alleged victims, The Boston Globe reported that in 1979 the late Bishop James Rausch of Phoenix sexually abused Brian O'Connor in Tucson, AZ, over a period of several months starting when O'Connor was 17. He then referred the young man for drug counseling to two Tucson priests, who also abused him" (p. 219, full citation in the text).
A Los Angeles Times survey to priests gave vent to what those priests felt about these scandals. Remarks included:
"They (the abusers) should be removed from the priesthood.
"They must know that nobody is above the law. It is their fault.
"Heads have to roll in the Episcopate before people are going to be satisfied.
"I can't wait for a Bishop or a Cardinal to go to jail.
"In the end the Bishops have absolved themselves and will walk away unscathed" (p. 223, full citation in the text).
In 2003, Frank Keating, formerly in charge of investigating these matters for the US Conference of Bishops, resigned under pressure, due to hard remarks he had made regarding Cardinal Mahony. Some weeks later he stated:
"I make no apology. To resist grand jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away - that is the model of a criminal organization, not my Church" (p. 245, full citation in the text)
And the costs, beyond the incalculable moral loss of souls to the Church? Certainly income which could have gone to much better use than paying the families of the victims of these terrible crimes. Guimaraes calculates that based on the current disclosures of 13 dioceses of the 192 in America alone, which he estimates to be low based on some inconsistencies in the numbers, that the final figure could be well over $3.19 Billion.
Chapter VI also includes:
"In June 2002, Archbishop George Pell admitted that he had offered $28,000 to buy a family's silence about the alleged sexual abuse of its two girls by a local priest for six years. The youngest girl was five at the time the abuse began, the family said...In 2003, Pope John Paul II granted Pell the Cardinal's hat" (p. 262).
Guimaraes ends the chapter, and the book: "The Conciliar Church would indeed seem to be rotten from head to toe. And the time for divine intervention would seem to have arrived" (p. 289).
If the reader takes no more than 3 things away from this book, which can be recommended to any serious adult Catholic, male or female, married or single, given advice from their confessor, it would be this:
1.) The crisis of homosexuality and pedophilia in the Church is much, much graver than even the media has painted it to be.
2.) The faithful must be informed about the facts.
3.) The faithful must stand strong in their workplaces and other spheres of influence against the softening siren song of false "tolerance" regarding this dark sin, which prior to 1960, was always and everywhere condemned by the Church. The Church has now abandoned this condemnation, and we alone must carry the torch for Our Lord and His commandments.
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