ASK FATHER: Lethal force against homosexual aggression in seminary?

From a reader….

QUAERITUR:

Is it morally permissible for one to use lethal force in stopping a predator in a situation of abuse (i.e. in a seminary or elsewhere)?

In my opinion, yes.

Given that homosexual aggression can be also horrifically violent, you do not know for sure that you are not defending your life.   It is correct and pious to say, “I’d rather be killed than… blah blah…”.  That’s all well and good.

Yes, you can defend yourself with lethal force.  I think this is important for women to know, too.  I highly recommend certain kinds of training, if for no other reason than to be well-informed about options in a realistic way.  Training also will surely involve avoidance and deescalation strategies.

We have the right to defend our lives and the lives of the innocent – and their innocence – who are endangered.   Make sure you cannot be hurt anymore and then stop and call 911.

In every situation, if possible, you should ideally use the least amount of force to stop the aggression.   Force is only used to end threats.  Your intent must not be to kill, but to end the threat.  Full stop.

I’m talking here, of course, not about a fairly non-violent grab without follow up, etc.  I talking here, of course, not about an awkward moment involving misunderstanding which ends as fast as it started.  I’m talking about real aggression.  You don’t break an arm at an attempt to, say, tickle or cop a feel – though I’ll be some women might disagree.  But there are other situations in which a broken arm is how you stop the aggressor.

That can be really hard to assess when you are in the “black zone”.  When you are in condition black, you experience mental changes and physiological effects that, unless you have experienced them, are hard to predict.  Among them are changes to your range of vision, hearing, time perception.  Your physical reactions and reflexes can be repressed or increased.  Your heart is racing.  Your adrenaline is flooding.  You are in “fight or flight”.  Afterward, your memory of what happened will often be impaired.

When you’ve bene through this, even once, then you have a different idea about “I’d rather be killed than… blah blah…”.  If you’ve been through it more than once, then… well.

There was only one situation in which I physically had to defend myself from a homosexual aggression.  In Rome.  Yes, it was clerical. It did NOT involve the “black zone”, however.  It involved maybe “orangey-red zone” and a lot of anger.  He was fortunate that that was “back when” and not now, in Rome, not in these USA. I suspect that his therapy lasted decades. No.  I’m sure of it.  Speed and training gave me the advantage.  But aggressors don’t fight fair.   Neither should you, “fight fair”.  You use instant and decisive force to stop the threat. Think… Jack Reacher.

I would do that again with no hesitation. “NO!” means “HELL NO!”  I have real compassion for those who suffer from these inclinations.  I have little patience for those who don’t strive to deal with them properly.  Assault is assault.  You don’t want to guess at what is at the end of any assault of any kind.

Yes, you can defend yourself, even with lethal force.  But I also must say that it is a horrible thing to take a life.  Moreover, it could render you irregular for Holy Orders except in cases of legitimate self-defense!  That can be remedied with recourse to the proper authority, in the case of legitimate self-defense or defense of others.  Censures can be lifted if they were incurred, but that is the stuff of another post.  [I edited that bit, a bit.]

That said, I think the chances of homosexual aggression in seminary now are highly unlikely.  Not only is there the recent news, but, frankly, seminaries have been cleaned up.  I wouldn’t give that a second thought if you are considering seminary.  I think the chances of homosexual inuendo in seminaries will be highly unlikely.

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28 Responses to ASK FATHER: Lethal force against homosexual aggression in seminary?

  1. CanukFrank says:

    I would also advise taking a sanctioned and recognized Krav Maga self defence class. With the easy to learn basic techniques these swift, aggressive and emphatic strikes will leave the thug predator wondering what’s hit him.

  2. Malta says:

    Be a man, and don’t be afraid to punch an aggressor as hard as you can in the thortax area of the throat.

  3. Andreas says:

    Father Z. is spot on with regard to his recommendation that all be trained in the fine art of self-defense. One need only see how, for example, pilots most often respond to emergencies whilst in flight. The training ‘kicks-in’, replacing any behaviors that might otherwise prove inappropriate. Indeed, with the discipline created by sufficient and effective training, it is more likely that even if one must put such training into action, the individual will exhibit those qualities aligned with the ‘yellow’ category in the good Father’s note. That is, good situational awareness will be maintained and the individual will respond based on the well-seated training rather than in panic. With such training, one is more likely to react to such situations in a manner best suited to deal with the hazards at-hand.

  4. Credoh says:

    In the 70s when I was at school we were taught that it was permissible to kill in defence of life and chastity.

  5. Credoh says:

    To be clear, I don’t mean at all to advocate maximum force, just that we were taught as teenagers, that if necessary it was morally permissible.

  6. aliceinstpaul says:

    Your claim that the seminaries have been cleaned up, and that liturgical faithfulness will cleanse this filth seems overly hopeful. Maybe. But this set of stories out of Lincoln suggest… otherwise.

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/monsignor-kalin-metoo-for-conservative-catholic-dioceses/

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/lesson-kalin-diocese-of-lincoln-townsend/

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/latest-from-lincoln-god-does-not-need-our-lie-catholicism/comment-page-1/

    From Dreher:…
    detailed account of a purported 2017 incident with Father Charles Townsend, a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, and a protegé of Kalin’s. “Liam” was quite specific about the incident, which — I’m going to generalize here — involved Father Tim Danek, a young assistant priest in Father Townsend’s parish, discovering that the pastor had provided alcohol to an 18-year-old altar server, gotten him drunk, and was behaving inappropriately with him. “Liam” provided specific details, which were scandalous but did not involve actual sex…

    There is far more at the link. His reporting brought this to light. Dreher, who left the RC Church, is more determined to shine the Light of truth than anyone else I Know. would any of this have come to light without him?

    Yet again a bishop did the “mistakes were made” garbage and clearly had ample knowledge of these incidents and didn’t tell the truth. He also punished the priest who told what happened, a clear signal that priests should keep lying by omission.

    And that’s in a “good” diocese.

  7. Wow. Thanks for the clear thinking on this. Thanks for recalling an incident. Not easy. It makes me recall an incident. I thank you for that too. It sharpens attention like nothing else.

    Although I knew nothing academically about the OODA Loop at the time I must say I was quite exceptional with situational awareness nonetheless. The thing with situational awareness is that it makes you open to knowing that anything could happen at any time from any person anywhere.

    There were a couple of non-seminarians in my seminary from the at-the-time-about-to-fall USSR. Gaydar, as you call it, over against these two was high. One day, one of them sat me down and almost violently recounted his ss inclinations and rationalizations, almost shouting. He demanded that I approve his, their way of life, and that of others higher up in the hierarchy that he started to name off. He was apoplectic, waving his hands and arms, red in the face, shaking. Soon his friend appeared who started in the same way. I must say that I was a bit fearful of where this could lead. Circumstances intervened just then and I was able to escape leaving him shrieking and the other wondering what he could do to salvage the situation. The escape didn’t last long.

    The two spotted me late for lunch not long after that. I was alone trying to make my way to the refectory across an empty courtyard. They had been waiting in ambush. They instantly started chasing after me full speed. I was into extreme sports back in the day, mountain biking the crater of Lago Albano, and I was easily able to elude them, though this chase went on for some five minutes, with them cursing the whole time, wondering how I was able to simply disappear.

    Five minutes is quite the chase, as it seems like forever when you are in it, from stairwells to roofs to storage rooms. Sometimes they were far, sometimes they didn’t realize they were only inches away. They were both big guys and I don’t know if I would have been able to fight them off. Heart beating out of my chest, sweating, out of breath but not able to breathe when they were nearby lest I give away my position. Having failed a couple of more times in subsequent days, they soon left the seminary for gayer pastures. Situational awareness is, of course, also about deescalation if possible and escape if possible. I think of the great Saint Maria Goretti before whom I am humiliated in my lack of spirituality to pray for my own would be attackers.

    Just a note on the black section of your chart for levels of awareness. Those effects of adrenaline are not to be feared, putting one in a panic, but rather to focus your attention to be able to do the one thing necessary to keep yourself alive. You can learn, as you well imply, to use it to your advantage. But not all readers may know that it’s good to train in this way (adrenaline) with a “CC” of whatever kind on a private range, throwing yourself into firstly exhausting and then somewhat dangerous and then very stressful circumstances with extreme time constraints, immediately, say, firing off some rounds at ideally moving (spring action) steel targets. Not that one would ever be in such a circumstance, but it is useful for getting used to adrenaline when precision skills need to be at their sharpest, using adrenaline as your friend.

  8. Unwilling says:

    Burned at the stake in 1886 for refusing to perform homosexual acts on King Mwanga, St Charles Lwanga and his companion [says Wikipedia] “had repeatedly defied the king by rescuing royal pages in their care from sexual exploitation by Mwanga which they believed contrary to Christian teaching.” [emphasis added]

    Wikipedia seems to assume that St Charles was mistaken and to anticipate a change in “Christian teaching” [of the CCC?] allowing for the admissibility of either exploitation of pages or homosexual acts.

    NB: The entries for neither St Charles nor King Mwanga contain the word “homosexual”.

  9. Cafea Fruor says:

    Does anyone know if the self-defense argument would also hold up in court in the U.S.?

    I’m remembering the case a couple of years ago of the dad in Florida who came home and found an 18-year-old molesting his 11-year-old son and beat him within an inch of his life, saying it took enormous restraint not to kill him outright. The authorities didn’t arrest the dad because they said it was what any father would do. But I wonder if he wouldn’t gotten off free had he not restrained himself and did kill the guy.

  10. Seraphic Spouse says:

    Father Z, could you contact me at dmclean@lifesitenews.com? We’d like to talk to you about this Roman story. (I’m in the UK, so I’ll try calling your UK number, too.) Thanks. DCM

  11. Lepanto ! says:

    <>

    Agreed.

    Though seeming injustice with this headline…. “Arizona father beats, kills man who followed his daughter into bathroom stall, police say.” where the father is being charged with 2nd degree murder. The report was that the man tried aggressively to open the stall door where the daughter was. What parent wouldn’t defend his child this way?

    I think the joke goes like this …

    A man followed a young girl into a Target store bathroom saying he self identified as a woman.
    The man’s teeth were knocked out by the girl’s father who self identifies as the tooth fairy….

  12. Lepanto ! says:

    Missing quote from Fr. Zed’s post was,
    …We have the right to defend our lives and the lives of the innocent – and their innocence – who are endangered….

  13. Flos Carmeli says:

    Fr. Z says: “That said, I think the chances of homosexual aggression in seminary now are highly unlikely. Not only is there the recent news, but, frankly, seminaries have been cleaned up. I wouldn’t give that a second thought if you are considering seminary. I think the chances of homosexual inuendo in seminaries will be highly unlikely.”

    Thank you so much for this, Father. We pray daily, offering our sons for priesthood if God so calls them, and have been in a true agony of spirit lately to think that in answering that call they might put themselves in real danger. Your words bring great comfort to me.

  14. Josephus Corvus says:

    Lepanto: If your news report is the same one I read, the key point is “defend.” It doesn’t sound like the father was defending anybody in the legal definition. Apparently, the perpetrator was unsuccessful in getting in. The girl returned to her car where her father was waiting and told him about it. The father first talked to the security guard then beat the guy up. It doesn’t sound like it was just a punch where the perp fell down and hit is head either. As Father says above: “Make sure you cannot be hurt anymore and then stop.” Sound like this guy and his daughter were already out of danger and could have driven away – hence the reason he is being charged.

  15. Fyrdman says:

    Fr. Z hits the nail on the head here…”We have the right to defend our lives and the lives of the innocent – and their innocence – who are endangered. Make sure you cannot be hurt anymore and then stop and call 911.

    In every situation, if possible, you should ideally use the least amount of force to stop the aggression. Force is only used to end threats. Your intent must not be to kill, but to end the threat. Full stop.”

    The father in the above example (Cafea Fruor) exercised great restraint, which can be extremely difficult to do in situations requiring the use of force. Especially for someone not accustomed or trained to confront violence. Make no mistake, sexual aggression is an act of violence. Defend yourself or those who can not or will not defend themselves.

    However, as a sheepdog, I must reiterate what Father Z is saying. Stop the attack using only the force that is reasonable AND necessary to do so.

  16. Danteewoo says:

    When I was 25, I received a homo-hug from a seminarian I had met (I was not a seminarian,) I thought it strange. Now 43 years later, I know what the guy ultimately had in mind. He was ordained, I found out, but is no longer active — good.

    When I was about 40, upon my jesting to a priest that my wife would throw me out (total jest — we Irish often engage in self-deprecating humor,) the priest let me know that I was welcome to spend a night in his rectory. A year later his flaming homosexual activity became known to the parish. He also is not an active priest — good.

    Perhaps 20 years ago, giving a tour of the Eastern Rite church I attend to a couple of Dominican seminarians, I was struck at what one of them said as he noticed the Eastern Rite vestments: “Look at these cuffs!” (with a little lisp) I felt instant disgust. When seminarians or priests care too much about vestments, my gaydar flashes brightly.

    Older, wiser now, but not sadder, because nothing happened in those first two incidents, thank God. Looking back, what was really going on becomes clear.

    Gaydar is a valuable acquired skill.

  17. Romanus says:

    Father, intentional homicide (“voluntarium homicidium”) makes one irregular for holy orders or the exercise thereof (can. 1041 § 4; 1044 § 1, 3°; 1049 §2). Are you saying that includes acts of self-defence?

    [You are quoting the canons. What do you think I meant? If a guy is determined to have been acting in self-defense then he would not have incurred a censure and it wouldn’t have to be lifted.]

  18. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    If there were a Society of Saint Charles Lwanga, I’d join it! This would be a society whose primary mission would be to offer prayer and fasting to God day and night for the intention that any spirit contrary to the will of God would be cast out of the Vatican, out of the chanceries, the seminaries, the universities, the parish churches, the parish offices, and the parish schools, and from all Catholic homes. And for JUSTICE for all those whose lives and vocations and faith have been damaged by the behavior of evildoers within the Church. And that those in positions of authority in the church would finally WAKE UP to their true obligations before Almighty God, that is, to bring down the holy hammer of God upon evildoers who take advantage of their positions in the Church to do evil.

  19. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says: If there were a Society of Saint Charles Lwanga, I’d join it!

    So found it!

  20. Kathleen10 says:

    Back in the day, a homosexual advance was something that would rightly be met with force, if words were not sufficient. Anecdotally (since I am female) I do believe most boys and men would perhaps skip the first step and go right to a physical deterrent. This was right and natural. God gave man a natural revulsion to unnatural acts, and properly unfettered, people will generally respond to a threat with the proper degree of force and not overdo it. Back in the day, few gays were killed over advances as far as was known, but there were probably quite a few black eyes or punches in the gut. That was street justice and it generally worked fine. People understood boundaries.
    When I think back to the teens or young men I grew up with, I find it impossible to imagine any of these boys would have gone along with sexual advances by men in seminary. The punch in the eye was alot more likely. I don’t want to paint anyone unfairly, but for a young man to be raped or molested in seminary, certainly repeatedly, we are not talking about a one-off incident, we are talking about a young man who is perhaps predisposed to such incidents, and is perhaps not the right fit for the priesthood. I maintain, we need full blooded, completely well formed young men for seminary, vigorously male, with a definite heterosexual orientation. That in place, you are not going to be able to repeatedly target that young man, nor are you going to find a willing participant in nighttime beddie bye’s with Uncle Ted or anyone else.
    I raised a son I thought might have a vocation. As I said before, I would rather, on the eve of ordination, if improperly approached, to punch the man/priest/bishop out, rather than submit or succumb to any participation in an act that offends God and man, and certainly betrays his entire reason for being a priest in the first place. Sodomy, or genital groping, is no way to start out a vocation. What has happened to heterosexual men in seminary is intolerable. If we have any chance at cleaning this church out of this terrible practice and vice, and I do not at all know if we do, it absolutely must start at the seminary level. It would be better to have 50 authentic priests for the whole of the US who have a heterosexual orientation, than 1000 who don’t, as we see now only too clearly.

  21. Kathleen10 says:

    And a lay board in each seminary to respond to complaints about homosexual activity or advances. And here’s where you can stick some women to do something useful. Women make good arbiters of behavior.

  22. WmHesch says:

    In American legal circles, it’s called the “gay panic defense”- and it hasn’t worked since the 1980s

  23. WmHesch says: “gay panic defense”

    Interesting, and awful.

    To my way of thinking, women should be able to use force, even lethal force, to defend herself from a sexual assault. Hopefully the force will never have to be lethal. However, if the aggressor is badly injured because he tried to assault a woman, he has himself alone to blame.

    To my way of thinking, men should be able to force, even lethal force, to defend himself from a sexual assault. Hopefully the force will never have to be lethal. However, if the aggressor is badly injured because he tried to assault a man, he has himself alone to blame.

  24. Joy65 says:

    ABSOLUTELY Seminaries need to be turned upside down and cleaned out of any FILTH! NO 3 strikes or 10 or 50 or 100 or more. FIRST STRIKE YOU’RE OUT——whether you are a Seminarian, Priest, Bishop, Cardinal or hold any other title or even a lay person– if it can be proven TRUTHFULLY that a person has abused in any way another individual no matter gender or age they need to be removed from any position that gives them even more easy access possible victims. We are all human/sinners, we all make mistakes and we all fall but any sexual abuse of anyone is a SICKNESS that must be treated by REMOVAL of the cause of the sickness—the person doing the abuse. Also I may be down a totally wrong road but instead of cash payments to victims WHY didn’t the Church give the victims the help of paying for their therapy, treatment, counselling for life. To me this would have been a MUCH better alternative. The only wat to overcome this kind of sick abuse is with the proper help and the proper people to talk to to help you get it all out, find ways to cope and gone on with your life. Having a family member who suffered abuse from another immediate family member NO amount of money would have helped but the offer of PAID Bills for therapy, counselling, treatment would have been a true blessing. It never goes away but the right help can make life livable again and also happy again.

  25. Joy65 says:

    And to add to my previous post I say CLEAN OUT THE DISOCESES as well not just Seminaries. DO it and do it ASAP! Those who are there to do God’s will and God’s work deserve to stay—those who don’t do not need to be there any more.

    “ABSOLUTELY Seminaries need to be turned upside down and cleaned out of any FILTH! NO 3 strikes or 10 or 50 or 100 or more. FIRST STRIKE YOU’RE OUT——whether you are a Seminarian, Priest, Bishop, Cardinal or hold any other title or even a lay person– if it can be proven TRUTHFULLY that a person has abused in any way another individual no matter gender or age they need to be removed from any position that gives them even more easy access to possible victims. We are all human/sinners, we all make mistakes and we all fall but any sexual abuse of anyone is a SICKNESS that must be treated by REMOVAL of the cause of the sickness—the person doing the abuse. Also I may be down a totally wrong road but instead of cash payments to victims WHY didn’t the Church give the victims the help of paying for their therapy, treatment, counselling for life. To me this would have been a MUCH better alternative. The only way to overcome this kind of sick abuse is with the proper help and the proper people to talk to to help you get it all out, find ways to cope and gone on with your life. Having a family member who suffered abuse from another immediate family member NO amount of money would have helped but the offer of PAID Bills for therapy, counselling, treatment would have been a true blessing. It never goes away but the right help can make life livable again and also happy again.”

  26. Kathleen10 says:

    Well I never thought I’d say something like this, but this is where the laity may be able to help. Given the fact that we have had this problem lo these many years, and we see the response from the church is the same as the 2002 response, clearly the church can’t get er done. The church is always working overtime to get laity involved, and as they remind us so many times, women have all this WISDOM we need to tap into. Here’s something they can do. Laypeople involved in seminaries, for zero tolerance and episcopal accountability, and at the parish and diocese level. Committees or boards, who as a group hear complaints and maintain compliance with zero tolerance pertaining to homosexual shenanigans, or any shenanigans. And why not? Why would this be resisted? Don’t we want to find an answer to it? Aren’t they always yakking about women’s gifts? Kill two birds with one stone! Give the women something to do with authority and clean out the clerical bath-houses.

  27. tominrichmond says:

    In general, one is only permitted to use proportional force to fend off an assault. Killing in response to an unwanted sexual advance would probably result in a manslaughter charge. Each situation is different of course, and if a reasonable person would consider that his life is being threatened by an assault (e.g., a weapon is involved, or a statement is made by the perpetrator), then deadly force to repel the assault could be justified.
    Be careful; although I subscribe to “better tried by 12 than carried by 6,” going through the grinder of a criminal prosecution is no picnic and if holy orders is the goal, a felony conviction is not advisable.