Filed under: Culture and Catholicism, Vatican II | Tags: Abuse, Atila Sinke Guimaraes, Catholic, Catholic values, Catholicism, Church crisis, crisis, Homosexuality, Is the pope guilty, Kagan, morality, pedophile scandal, priesthood, SSPX, Vatican II
Yes, the Holy Father is guilty in the abuse situation. But not as the World thinks. Not because he personally engaged in sexual misconduct, or because he personally transferred priests to hide their sexual misconduct. Our Holy Father is guilty because he inadvertently fueled the fires of sexual immorality while he was prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He protected homosexuality theologically, and it was a short step from there to protecting it pastorally, which bishops did, subsequently, in arranging counseling for abusing priests rather than punishment and expulsion. The Holy Father, in his role as prefect, wrote two of the three relevant pastoral documents on homosexuality that currently drive Church policy. Into the tumultuous era following the sixties and the Council, one document had already addressed the growing homosexual movement, but it did not seem to have the desired improving effect. There was hope among traditionalists at the time that he would amend errors in the initial document by Cardinal Franjo Seper in 1975, but Cardinal Ratzinger instead compounded them. The resulting mishmash of directives and lack of definition opened the door to relaxation of sexual morals generally, not only regarding homosexuality. That is the thesis of Vatican II, Homosexuality, and Pedophilia, by Atila Sinke Guimaraes, Tradition in Action press, 2004. He makes an incredibly strong case, quoting liberally from the directives.
In these documents, Guimaraes says, Cardinal Ratzinger demonstrated an exaggerated concern for the civil rights of homosexuals, accepted as a given an in-born disposition toward homosexuality, and confused a possibly, unproven disposition toward homosexuality with a dispensation for accompanying actions expressing sexual orientation, like cross-dressing. The resulting theoretical chaos led to internal laxity regarding priestly behavior and response by their superiors.
Guimaraes does not say, but alert Catholics will quickly see a relationship between the disasterous process described by Guimaraes and another, the language and spirit of the documents of Vatican II. All three documents link in assumptions, language and style, and content, to the documents and errors of the Vatican II, and the errors have caused a general crisis in the Church, in liturgy, in vocations, in faithful priesthood, in mass attendance, in evangelization, and in discipline of all kinds, including the economy-killing plague of abortion.
The connection between the ineffective mis-named Vatican II ‘pastoral’ approach to the recent surge in newly legalized sexual immorality of all kinds is finally gaining recognition in liberal circles. An article in the St. Louis Review reports on a recent poll with a finding that troubled reporter Patricia Zapor: Catholic youth aged 18-29 (called the ‘Millenials’) are both pro-life and pro-choice, an intellectual position that is both logically impossible and politically paralyzing–and which Zapor traces, along with Catholic laxity toward homosexual ‘civic unions,’ to the same contradictions present in the teachings of Vatican II.
Zapor first quotes Paul Jarzembowski, the executive director of National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association, who explains the “seeming inconsistency” of defining oneself as both pro-life and pro-choice this way: “Young adults live in a culture of choice. They choose their religion, their see choices as defining who they are,” so it’s not surprising to him that even though they see abortion as murder, they “also would be reluctant to expect others to accept the same beliefs or demand that society make abortion unavailable.” Liberal commentators usually let it rest thus, when they notice the contradiction, as Jarzembowski does in saying the confusion is “a misinterpretation of the Church’s teaching,” but Zapor, using homosexuality as the example, notes that “the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage and teaches that any sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful. But it also teaches that the dignity of homosexual individuals must be respected as well as their [legal] rights as people, such as the right to employment and freedom from unjust discrimination.” [emphasis added] The confusion, and failure to protect souls from the damning effects of the sin of homosexual behavior, stems right from the present teaching of the Church, which comes from the poison liberal spirit of Vatican II.
The first post-Vatican II document regarding homosexuality, by the prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal Franjo Seper (approved by Pope Paul VI), broke in the Church what Guimaraes calls “the wall of repulsion and horror that held back the waters of this vice against nature.” This document, available at the Vatican website as Persona humana, substitutes the liberal analysis of homosexuality for the analysis previously in effect in the Church. While paying lip-service to former teachings of the Church, Seper ultimately accepts from liberal modern psychology a category of homosexuals that is “so natural that it justifies in their case homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage, in so far as such homosexuals feel incapable of enduring a solitary life” (Section VIII). Because they are special cases not responsible for their disposition, Seper counseled that everyone must take great caution in finding these homosexuals “personally responsible” for their sin.
The problem is, argues Guimaraes, it is impossible in practice to distinguish these ‘special cases’ from any other type of homosexual, those formed by what Seper listed as stemming from “false education, from a lack of normal sexual development, from habit, from bad examples, or from other similar causes,” types named in the same section of the document as being different from a “second category” whose homosexuality is “natural.”) By accepting the liberal idea that genetic information can determine the behavior of at least some individuals, the document effectively silences all attempts to find any homosexual responsible for any kind of behavior related to their homosexuality, or which can be made related, since it is impossible to distinguish the types from each other in practice, even if there is in fact any such distinction (there is as yet no ‘gay gene’ to be found, though research for this Holy Grail of the gay movement has been plentiful and well-funded). That is why Guimaraes and other traditionalists cite this new official Church teaching as part of the chain of guilt for the subsequent crisis in the Church among Her priests.
There was something else troubling in the Seper document. It extends a vague exoneration from guilt for all sexual sins. It states that in “sins of the sexual order,” it “more easily happens that free consent is not fully given” (X) and in fact, sections IX and X of the document obfuscate the responsibility for every type of sexual sin formerly condemned by the Church as both serious and under the control of the will, and question whether sins always taught as grave, as mortal, by the Church could in fact be less serious than previously thought. Discussed are masturbation, living together out of wedlock, and other sexual behaviors. It goes without saying that such teaching would be readily accepted and implemented by many pastors, catechists, children’s religion classes, pre-Cana classes for the engaged, and parents, for it is hard work, very hard work indeed, to teach purity in a world gone mad over sex. This new teaching also figures in the chain of guilt for the crisis in the Church in the sexual abuse of young people by Her priests. It is as clear a break with the traditional teaching of the Church as all the other Vatican II pronouncements. It unleashed hell.
The second document regarding moral sexual behavior, called Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, was written by then-Cardinal Ratzinger in 1986, who had assumed Seper’s position as prefect. It was purportedly written to counteract homosexual abuses rapidly emerging within the Church itself as well as to correct overly lax pastoral work, both conditions following and explicitly tied to the Seper document, which many had hoped Ratzinger would on the contrary clarify and correct. Ratzinger’s document insists that homosexuality is a sin, and makes the distinction between the “intrinsic moral evil” of homosexual actions, and the “objective disorder” of having a “homosexual tendency,” distinctions which are recognizable, pre-Vatican II Catholic doctrine, but these distinctions did not prove sufficient to the raging debate, because this document, like Seper’s, made other troubling statements, and thus the topic had to be re-visited in yet a third document in 1992.
Implementation of the 1986 document had one particular weakness that can be directly linked to Vatican II’s euphoric endorsement of collegiality. It was left up to individual bishops to exercise their authority “in light of the points” made, and to develop “appropriate forms of pastoral care.” These ‘forms of pastoral care’ were not to be found among the writings and practices of the saints, but rather pastors were pointed to secular, modern “psychological, sociological and medical sciences” without any apparent understanding of the content of modernist teaching regarding homosexuality as presented in those “sciences.” Nor was any rubric supplied to help with the interpretation of these broad counsels; nor was follow-up promised.
All this is standard post-Council operating procedure. In the spirit of the Council, which saw the age as a great blooming of humanity through science and technology, it seemed unthinkable that the sciences should have so far abandoned the culture, that to recommend counseling, even counseling staffed by “Catholics,” was to throw the ‘patient’ into a lions’ den of secularism, where an abusing priest might be returned to ministry, “cured” not of his decisions to abuse but only of the guilt he might feel exercising his will sinfully. That is what passes for counseling these days, as we can see examining the records and transcripts, now matters of court cases and law suits, when exactly that sequence happened again and again.
Another feature of this official Church letter to bishops in 1986 is a paragraph that deplored ‘malicious speech’ directed toward homosexuals. Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that “the intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action, and in law” (n. 10, emphasis added) thus indirectly allowing and even advising bishops to support civil laws defending ‘homosexual rights.’
In all, then, while the document does condemn the homosexual sexual act as sinful, at the same time it defends homosexuals; it strongly calls for tolerance and charity with regard to homosexuality, and makes civil laws a legitimate option to promoting this end. So instead of clarifying the Seper document, it added to the storm. Civil legislation followed, of course–civil legislation that made gay marriage inevitable.
That is how the topic came to be revisited by Cardinal Ratzinger in 1992 in Some Considerations Concerning The Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons bearing the official weight of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This document is atypical of official Church documents. It called the previous document as discussed above “a resource” only, thus qualifying its authority, but failed to claim that this updated effort was to be considered the official guide, and in fact was released without even a date, although other records establish the publication date in 1992. This document is completely destabilizing.
The objective of the document was to help the bishops understand what position they should take regarding the proliferation of civil laws protecting the rights of homosexuals which the previous document had implicitly allowed, as we saw. It again accepted the modernist assumption that sexual orientation is determined (what had been only suggested in the 1975 document), but made a great leap: that it is therefore unjust to discriminate against homosexuals in some senses, without offending their dignity, and there are (only!) some specific areas in which it could be considered ‘just’ that homosexuality may be formally and legally restricted by civil law: only in the adoption of children, the hiring of teachers or coaches, and the recruitment of military service.
This document once again asserts that homosexuals have the right to be treated in a manner affirming their ‘personal dignity.’ Though Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that including ‘homosexual orientation’ among the conditions like race (against which he says it ought rightfully be illegal to discriminate) might lead to “promotion of homosexuality” (n. 13,) this document nevertheless teaches that there is another sense of homosexuality against which is really must be illegal to discriminate. It specifically teaches that there is “just” discrimination and “unjust” discrimination. It specifically names concrete and limited conditions where it is “just” to discriminate against homosexuals in paragraph 11, Section II: in adoption, in the employment of teachers and coaches, and in military recruitment. This simple, clear wording, which so easily could have been qualified with the phrase “and other jobs,” leads one to conclude that if discrimination is just in these circumstances, it might be unjust to discriminate against homosexuals in all others. Then the document (II, 12) says that homosexual persons have a right that they share with “all persons” to not be treated in a way that “offends their personal dignity.” It then lists other rights that “all persons” have, the “right to work, to housing, etc.” [sic] The document does not say what might constitute an offense “against personal dignity.” Clearly the document is defending the rights of homosexuals acting out as homosexuals, revealing their homosexuality in various ways. Otherwise there would be no discussion of “rights” that all citizens have.
Thus, even though there are several paragraphs in this document that explain the state’s duty to curtail certain legitimate rights in the service to the common good, as with contagious citizens deprived of their right to move about, and other paragraphs which correctly distinguish homosexuality from race or ethnic background, thus kicking homosexuals off that bandwagon, the impact is still one in which the average bishop, schoolteacher, parent, friend or landlord is led to consider whether a statement or action might be in the ‘just,’ or the ‘unjust’ column, and hesitate. It is perhaps not what was intended, given the many sections of the document that state the old, hard, traditional Catholic position, but the impact is one for tolerance, and it is the excess of tolerance that is killing us. Tolerance did not work with homosexual abuser priests, and it has cost the Church dearly in Caesar’s coin, and in God’s. And we have not yet faced it, or we would adjust the approach and the language. We would clearly say, homosexuality is a sin, it may not be promoted by open dress or action nor by indulged in by private and concealed practice, and we invite homosexuals to repent and do penance like all sinners. It has to be said gently, but often. We are very simple people, all of us.
Ambuiguity only leads to confusion, and confusion leads to strengthening homosexual influence in society. Homosexuals operating in the “unjust-discrimination” column (jobs not military or working with children) empower homosexuals demanding rights in the other, “just discrimination,” column! Of course–how can it be separated? Experience shows this. Consider the case of the supreme court nominee Elena Kagan. Although her sexuality is not yet outed at this writing, we would not have the ‘right’ to protest her nomination to the post even if it were, under the guidelines, while her politics have been strongly gay rights-oriented regarding gays in the military.
As a Harvard dean, she evidently tried to turn out Harvard in protest of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. She not only made the decision to protest for herself personally, she advised students also to protest, while exercising her powerful role as dean of the college. She helped set students’ future voting patterns and even lifestyle decisions, on gays in the military and by extension, on gays as teachers, scout leaders, priests, and coaches. So although Kagan’s role as supreme court justice might be one in which it would be “unjust” to discriminate against her according to the precepts advanced in Ratzinger’s directive, her support for ending discrimination in the military puts her at odds with the Church’s policy as stated in the same directive. It causes us to hesitate–what does the Church teach us to do, in this case? And we hesitate, and another piece of our civilization is lost.
An example of the confusion resulting from our liberal approach to the question of homosexuality may be found in the recent situation close to Ontario, Canada. An altar ‘boy’ (he is a grown man) who is living with a partner but says he is celibate was the target of resistance from the parish, and eventually he was removed from his highly visible position serving in the sanctuary. He is an open homosexual, living with another man, and no one can verify his claim to celibacy (nor should we be be asked even to consider it). Twelve parishioners complained to the bishop who, rather than thanking them for their charitable act toward someone living in danger of sin, in the shadow of extreme but voluntary temptation, and living besides giving scandal (and none of this is debatable as to its morality: the Church’s explicit position is that homosexuality is a sin, and so is the promotion of homosexuality, and even Vatican II did not rescind the injunction that we should not put ourselves in the way of temptation, but rather should flee the near occasions of sin)–instead of thanking them, he lectured them on tolerance.
More recently, in the US, a woman identified as a homosexual and accompanied by her ‘partner,’ both of whom engaged in substantial conversation (and argumentation) with the priest conducting her mother’s funeral mass, was subsequently refused communion–and the diocese apologized to her!
We Catholics simply cannot bear any more of this kind of mental torture. It leads to quietism, of course. It shuts us up. It is abuse! But we get no pity from our bishops, or our Holy Father in these earlier documents of his, for our horrible situation, for the fact that it is our children whose souls are being lost to homosexuality. It is a mortal sin being pushed hard, everywhere, in Dove soap ads, on billboards by the beach, in movies by the score, pushed by one of the most organized and powerful lobbies the world has ever known. We cannot fight it in a state of confusion. Charity is not ignoring sin. Hatred is ignoring sin. It is pure hatred disguised as charity to draw back, because we cannot see into the bedroom and the only clearly forbidden act, under present definitions. The sin is everything surrounding the promotion of homosexuality.
There is in practice no ‘unjust discrimination’ against open homosexuals. That is in opposition to the present teaching of secular society, but it is the difficult but necessary position of the Church, presently blurred by an unfortunate, compromised presentation overly-concerned with rights as defined by a religion-hostile Enlightenment. As far as rights go, those who are not practicing homosexuality (either in the sexual act itself or in their manner of living, so that they may not be said to be “open” homosexuals) may use the protections provided by law available to all citizens should they suffer unjust discrimination as citizens. That dignity is the only dignity to which any of us have an absolute right. They simply may not have special rights protecting them in the peaceful continuance in what we recognize as sin. The state will do that without us Catholics, and rather than join it, we must protest it, if that is all we can do. And we could propose a solution. The solution regarding civil law is simple, and is working in the military: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would work for all society just as it does among soldiers, and that is the civil legislation Catholics could legitimately request, and our numbers could make it feasible. Instead, we gave up everything, and now even Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for the military is in jeopardy. In any case, it is still the law, and we could adopt this language while it is still viable, before liberalism has poisoned the concept. (So little time left!)
This confusion resulting from over-accommodation to the world did not begin with Cardinal Ratzinger. It is common now in the Church, and it began before Vatican II, as early as the Elizabethan period with those who wished to see’ religious freedom’ in England rather than the restoration of our Holy Faith. These documents of Cardinal Ratzinger’s are like the documents that form the constitutions of the pastoral Vatican Council II with regard to the questions of ecumenism, religious freedom, and the secular state. Regarding those issues, it was similarly concluded that we are faced with a done deal, with a fait accompli. It was concluded that we must make a virtue of necessity and accept all that has passed since Luther nailed his infernal note to the church door. We Catholics, since the Council, feel that we must say ‘the secular state is the best state’ rather than reckon that the secular state is the only state that can deal with the proliferation of sects following Luther’s great apostasy, a sick state following a sick act, one which we lament but co-exist with, maintaining our independence. But no, we feel we must say, contrary to the blood of martyrs against the heresies, that ‘all religions have good points and deserve all freedom and respect,’ rather than the truth, that they broke the Faith and must return to It, or never had the Faith, and then we must offer It, still, in this century, in all centuries-as -we were obliged, before the Council. Vatican II made a false peace on all these issues.
So then let us, forty years after the fact with so much evidence on all sides pointing to the same suspect, rather resist at all cost the tendency to apostatize, in order to carry Catholicism, like the precious chalice it is, into the future.
Let us recognize the sad truth. Vatican II made false peace with both sexual sin and heresy. We can and we must re-visit those topics now, in the talks on-going between SSPX and the Vatican. Whatever your present position in the Church, you must pray for the success of SSPX–in fact, that SSPX becomes even holier and stronger than itself, that its followers wake up from our own slumber and raise the flag higher for others to follow, in prayer, in mortification, in evangelization, in donations. We shall otherwise continue our downward spin, inside and outside the Church. No less is needed regarding our position on homosexuality. Until clarification takes place on this matter, our ‘accommodation’ with the World will continue to cost us souls and the honor of the priesthood.
Until then, we do stand guilty, not just before the world but before the communion of saints and the Almighty.
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