Fr. Blake responds to Mr. Warner

Yesterday I posted Gerald Warner’s fulmination against bishops and Vatican II.  

My friend Fr. Ray Blake, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton, has a response to Mr. Warner.

 Yesterday, Gerald Warner created a bit of a stir by provacatively claiming that sexual abuse was a post Vatican II problem.

    How could clergy transgress so gravely against the doctrines of the Church? What doctrines? These offences took place in the wake of Vatican II, when doctrines were being thrown out like so much lumber. These offenders were the children of Paul VI and “aggiornamento”. Once you have debauched the Mystical Body of Christ, defiling altar boys comes easily.

    The “neglected” sacraments and devotional practices that the Pope says could have prevented this did not just wither on the vine: they were actively discouraged by bishops and priests. In the period when this abuse was rampant, there was just one mortal sin in the Catholic Church: daring to celebrate or attend the Latin Tridentine Mass. A priest raping altar boys would be moved to another parish; as for a priest who had the temerity to celebrate the Old Mass – his feet would not touch the ground.

In order for him to uphold his thesis he would have to prove that sexual abuse either didn’t happen before the VII or was much, much rarer. I don’t think that is possible to prove. Indeed many of the cases now coming to light in Germany and Austria are cases where the alleged clerical perpetrator is now dead, some of them happened in the 1950s, before the Council and many of the abusers were trained and ordained before Council.

The Pope has linked this "filth" to a loss of faith, secular commentators have linked it to celibacy, Warner links it to "trendy bishops". All three are right.

The Pope of course is the most right. I watched a video recently in which an Irish priest famed for his work amongst street children said of conversion, "we’ve moved beyond all that". I suspect he meant: we are concerned with making a better world but without personal Salvation. [Which would actually make the world more dangerous.]

It is not VII, it is the loss of the centrality of Christ in the Church that is the heart of the problem. [At this point, I think some would suggest to Fr. Blake that the documents of Vatican II are not always clearly Christocentric.] I think that it would be provable that the crisis is the fruit of Modernism, a direct result of the dethroning of God, a violation of the first commandment. Modernism saps belief in the power of Grace. It destroys any understanding of the Church’s mission. It transforms holy dynamic celibacy into self-serving bachelorhood. It robs the priesthood and religious life of any transcendent meaning and can so often reduce it to empty loneliness. [Well said.]

The great exeunt from the Church after the Humanae Vitae was a crisis greater than this present one, seems not to have been a crisis over the restatement of the traditional doctrines of the Christian faith but a dam break of pre-Concilliar liberal Modernist thought.

Warner is wrong to lay this crisis at the door of VII but I suspect he is not wrong to lay it the door of "the spirit of VII". [Qui bene distinguit bene docet.] Certainly the "rupture" with the past brought about an undermining of the spirituality of the Church, cutting many off from the roots that not only gave nourishment but also support.

Warner blames post-Concilliar liturgy as being an important constituent part of the crisis, which is worth considering. One of the things that has been going through my mind recently, is the Pope’s expression, "the closed circle" describing "ad populum" celebration of the Mass. [Do I hear and "Amen!"?] If that is the constant presentation of the image of the Church in its public worship, it is easy to juxtapose this image with cover-up. The "closed circle" tends to be self serving and self interested, it tends to look to itself and be self-preserving and self congratulatory. If the priest, when he prays is constantly looking to the congregation, is he not likely to be concerned with the congregation’s validation.

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  1. Henry Edwards says:

    In order for him to uphold his thesis he would have to prove that sexual abuse either didn’t happen before the VII or was much, much rarer. I don’t think that is possible to prove. Indeed many of the cases now coming to light in Germany and Austria are cases where the alleged clerical perpetrator is now dead, some of them happened in the 1950s, before the Council and many of the abusers were trained and ordained before Council.

    Although I much respect Fr. Blake and what he says, here and elsewhere, I think this particular reaction may miss an important point. Of course, we know clerical homosexuality has a venerable history going back at least a thousand years (e.g., St. Peter Damian). And a now-deceased priest who had a pre-Vatican II position of diocesan personnel responsibility once told me that there were indeed some abuse problems then, albeit much rarer than in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

    As I understood it, it was irrelevant whether the perpetrators were formed before or after the Council. The point is that, before the Council, virtually everyone (including the sinners themselves) had a clear sense of right and wrong.

    However, in the aftermath of Vatican II (though not necessarily because of the Council itself) many such moral strictures evaporated. As a consequence, some who had previously restrained themselves may have “let loose” more freely starting in the 1970’s, along with those actually formed in those lax times.

  2. Mary Kay says:

    Funny when there’s no rebuttal against a point, a previous talking point suddenly becomes “irrelevant.”

  3. Desertfalcon says:

    I would comment, but all I have to say is, I agree with Henry E. Spot on.

  4. Henry Edwards says:


    WDTPRS commenter “southern orders” in reaction to Fr. Brent Shelton’s post that I linked yesterday (22 March 2010 @ 4:02 pm) in the previous thread, and which is even more explicit and hard-hitting than Mr. Warner’s.

  5. Konichiwa says:

    Where could I read more about the Pope’s expression, “the closed circle”?

  6. Nan says:

    Henry Edwards, I disagree with your informant; I don’t believe that abuse (whether by priests or someone else) was previously more rare, but rather that society has changed so what was formerly hidden is now in the open.

  7. Konichiwa: To learn more about the Holy Father is saying with the image of a “closed circle” you can find his book entitled “The Spirit of the Liturgy”. I also talk about this concept, and Joseph Ratzinger’s proposal, in some of my PODCAzTs. The “closed circle” especially refers to the improper dynamic created during Mass when the priest celebrant and the people in the congregation are facing each other during Mass, when they are focused on each other instead of both of them together turning to face the LORD.

  8. southern orders says:

    I think the problem surely existed in the Pre-Vatican II Church and liturgy. In terms of children below the age of 13 it is pedophilia which is a serious mental illness. When a priest has this illness and also has power, authority and access to children, then there is a catastrophe in the making!In pre-Vatican II times priests were very high on a pedestal. Any child making a complaint would have been punished and severely so. In terms of teenage abuse, I would like to know statistics, but prior to the 1980’s no one talked about this stuff. Certainly priests abusing their role now publicly in terms of abuse of Mass, Church teaching, etc needs to be corrected and publicly so by bishops. We don’t need to be on pedestals any more, but held accountable by the parish, the bishop and God when we abuse our power and authority. Both civil and canonical authorities should be contacted where appropriate. I think Pope Benedict in his letter to Ireland said as much, but also the need for proper faith formation, sacraments and devotions that help everyone to weather the scandals that human beings create for themselves in and outside of the Church, pre and post-Vatican II. Facing the people has caused not just a few priest at Mass to think they are the star! It is Jesus who must be the center and yes, the Mass should be Christ-centered and Ad Orientem I think helps promote that, will it eliminate sex abuse, I doubt it. When a priest tries to control the liturgy and his people, adults, teenagers or children, then there is a pathology that needs to be addressed and it centers on power and control, not very healthy.

  9. irishgirl says:

    southern orders-I read your sermon on your blog, and WOW! If only more priests preached like that and ‘told it like is’! Amen, amen, and again amen!

    As one of your commentators stated, ‘someone get a miter for him!’-or something like that!

    We need more priests like you and Fr. Z, to tell us what we need to hear!

  10. Lee says:

    Southern Orders- Two things: The idea that pedophilia is an illness is itself a very large part of the syndrome that gave us the scandal in the first place. It is first a sin and then a vice- for which the Church has many remedies. The cure of souls belongs to the Church, but the bishops delegated this task to the psychiatrists. The bishops then took benevolent diagnosis as gospel, and reassigned these men for parish work. Secondly, incredibly, pedophilia has actually become a euphemism for what was in fact- most of the time- homosexual predation on post-pubescent males.

  11. Henry Edwards says:


    southern orders has posted some great sermons of his own, but the one you read was by my own associate pastor Fr. Brent Shelton in the Diocese of Knoxville. And I suspect anyone who saw an OF Mass celebrated by him would agree that he would wear a mitre well.

  12. southern orders says:

    To Lee, yes you are right, bishops shirked their canonical responsibility and common sense and bought into the culture of psychology as though it was infallible. Burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice (and how many more times?) same on me! As a former vocation director I’ve heard nationally known priest psychologists speak about pedophilia and ephebophila as though these are like alcoholism. Just as our society has sympathy for recovering alcoholics who are in AA, so too should we for those who have sexual addictions even toward minors. However, there was never a hint from these priest psychologists (I’m saying in the 1990’s) about child victims and placing children and teenagers at risk by recycling these offenders. It was as thought that wasn’t their problem. Yes, the greatest problem we have experienced in the priesthood is not pedophilia but ephebophilia. In the Catholic priesthood it has again to do with access, parents and institutions trusting their teenage sons with priests, allowing them to spend the night, go on trips, etc, but this would not have been allowed by parents in terms of their daughters. Again, Virtus programs alert parents and others to be aware of situations that are not kosher. Yes, it is first a mortal sin, then a crime, then a psychological pathology. Recycling priests over and over again is a mortal sin and should be a crime both canonical and civil! I would suggest that the majority of men in prison for both child and teenage sex abuse are married men or men who have sex with both children and adults and predominantly heterosexual. They’re not celibate and thus supposedly sexually repressed.

  13. In regards to “the closed circle” I think it is also relevant to consider the Pope’s work *The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood* where he speaks of the *Open Circle*

  14. Mary Kay says:

    Nan is spot on. None of this would have been talked about before. Victims of sexual abuse of all stripes, clerical and non-clerical, were blamed for “causing” the abuse and silenced. It wasn’t that long ago that adult rape victims were consistently blamed.

    David Finklehor’s book Child Sexual Abuse, published in 1977, was one of the first published on the topic (if not the first book, with Suzanne Sgroi’s book around the same time). Much work has been done in the past 30 odd years; much more needs to be done.

    Lee, it’s a false dichotomy to say that something is either illness or sin. I know some people have used “illness” as a way to avoid “sin” but in your defense of sinfulness, don’t toss out the illness aspect. They are separate spheres but there’s a huge amoung of overlap.

    southern orders, you make some good points.

  15. Mary Kay says:

    I’m having difficulty confirming that publication date,partially becasue my own copy is packed away and not accessible. I have it as late 70s rather than early 80s, but I could be mistaken about that. At any rate, open and objective discussion on the topic is fairly recent.

  16. shane says:

    The post-conciliar reforms led to a backlash against ‘legalist’ pre-conciliar procedural norms and it was assumed that the 1917 Code of Canon Law had fallen into abeyance. The Murphy Report into child abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese found a “collapse of respect for canon law in archdiocesan circles” after the Second Vatican Council. It also stated:

    The Commission is satisfied that Church law demanded serious penalties for clerics who abused children. In Dublin from the 1970s onwards this was ignored; the highest priority was the protection of the reputation of the institution and the reputation of priests. The moving around of offending clerics with little or no disclosure of their past is illustrative of this.

  17. Lurker 59 says:

    I am an adult convert and what really draws me to the Catholic faith, especially as I have matured in it, is that there are no dividing walls. Catholicism really takes Gal 3:28 to heart. Catholicism is all inclusive – it is for everyone in every time and place and the more we draw closer to Christ the more we find ourselves closer to our neighbors and to even our own selfs. The Pope is the Pope of the whole world, not just of Catholics. He is truly universal for he guides all peoples, especially the sinners and those far from Christ, to Him.

    I have always appreciated that the Mass is offered not just for the present elect in the congregation (as some non-Catholics view their worship services) but rather for us and for the whole world. The action of the Mass looks outward to draw all to Christ.

    I do not like the symbology in ad populum Masses for it is a closed circle and circles are dividing walls and the implied mentality is us vs. the world. In a closed circle our neighbor is an outsider an other. Prayer is no longer with and for the lost, the abandoned, the one who is in the darkness, but it gazes literally at the navel of the circle. It is true that we gaze at Christ who is in the center of the circle (often quite literally given the construction of modern churches) but our backs are to the ones outside of the circle. The beams of the cross no longer are loving arms that are outstretched to gather in the whole world to the embrace of He who thirsts.

    What makes one truly modernist is when we reduce the Faith to ethereal words and ideas that are devoid of connectivity to reality and which spring forth from our minds and are that which we define them to be. Once one takes a step down the path of nominalism, it is all over for the result will only be a faith that is a product of the minds of the now, a flat product of an instant created by man instead of a faith that has been given to us through words and deeds of Christ and which ever expounds anew the themes and symbolisms that have been spoken by the one above since before all creation.

  18. Lee says:

    Fr Ray Blake writes, “I think that it would be provable that the crisis is the fruit of Modernism….”

    For decades now devout young men have been saying good-bye to Mom, Dad, siblings and girlfriends, taking up their cross and going off to seminary. On the first day of Scripture 101-or soon thereafter- their professors cut the legs out from under them by explicitly telling (or implying to) them that there are no angels, demons or miracles.

    Typically this is done by running them through the JEPD theory (the documentary hypothesis, the higher criticism)- or as Rabbbi Solomon Schecter called it in 1915, “The Higher Atheism.” This theory- for which there is not one iota of extra-textual evidence is still in possession in our seminaries, and I doubt very much one could get a higher degree in scripture without subscribing to it. The same is true, mutatis mutandi, of “The Infancy Narratives,” in which the opening chapters of St. Luke are accorded mythical or legendary status.

    How do you think this would affect the faith of seminarians? – for it is, after all, a direct attack upon it. Naturally, they would have to wonder, “What else about Catholicism isn’t true?” With this wound in their minds and hearts, what kind of defense will they be able to mount against serious temptation? Evidently, a very weak defense, both in their seminary careers and their later priestly lives. Moreover, this evisceration of their faith leads naturally to a fight with despair, and an inclination towards sensuality

  19. shane says:

    ‘Fr Mark’, commenting on Fr Blake’s blog cautions against liberally attributing sexual abuse to post-conciliar modernists because “it encourages parents who frequent the traditionalisrt clergy to relax due vigilance. Priestly abusers have often taken advantage of an exagerated deference to priests which has led to their enjoying an absolute trust which they have then betrayed. Parents often closed their eyes in an astonishingly naive way to behaviour (sleepovers at presbyteries etc.) which should have caused suspicion.

    I think he has a point. A lot of ink has been expended on the Second Vatican Council in relation to the sex abuse scandals, but little on Victorian values, Fruedian and Kinseyian psychiatry, or sexual libertinism. The abuse of children, and its administrative mishandling, also has a strong preconcilar dimension; although it is not something uniquely Catholic.

    I agree with southern orders that the unduly elevated social status clergy enjoyed in the preconciliar era played a part.

    Consider this very naïve response of the Irish Minister of Education, Seán Moylan, in April 1954 to an incident of gross physical assault perpetrated by a Christian Brother in the infamous Artane industrial school:

    “I cannot conceive any deliberate ill-treatment of boys by a community motivated by the ideals of its founder. I cannot conceive any sadism emanating from men who were trained to a life of sacrifice and of austerity. They are also trained to have great devotion to a very high purpose. The point is that accidents will happen in the best regulated families and in this family there are about 800 boys. Many of them were sent to Artane because of the difficulties of their character and because of a good deal of unruliness of conduct. These boys are difficult to control at times. Maybe it is essential now and again that children should be punished. […] I think it would be an evil thing for the school, for the character of the children, for the future of the children, that any misuse should arise in any school like Artane. Because of the unfortunate background of many of these boys, possibly due to evil social conditions, Deputies must realise how careful the handling of them as a group must be and how far from easy it is to ensure the working of such an institution. I deeply regret that there should be such a happening and I appreciate the anxiety of the boy’s mother. Apart from my high regard for the Brothers concerned, the community concerned, there is also a very constant system of inspection for all such institutions. I personally have visited practically all of them and I make personal and constant inquiry as to what is happening in them. I know in that particular school how deep is the anxiety for the children’s spiritual and physical welfare. This is an isolated incident; it can only happen again as an accident. […]This is an isolated incident. I wish to express my sympathy to the parents of the child and I can assure them that nothing of the like will happen again.”

  20. jlmorrell says:

    I must say that I am not persuaded by Fr. Blake’s article. Firstly, while it is true to say that many problems resulted from the so-called “spirit of Vatican II”, this is not entirely the problem. The more I study the pre-conciliar period, the council documents, and the immediate post-conciliar period, I find the ambiguity of the council documents (and even some of its positive statements) to be a major cause of many of the problems the Church has experienced. It can’t all be laid at the doorstep of the “Spirit of Vatican II”.

    Secondly, I didn’t interpret Mr. Wagner’s article to say that there were not problems (abuse and others) in the pre-conciliar church, but that the epidemic we have seen is absolutely the bad fruit of this conciliar period. Everyone knows that there have always been heresies, false-prophets, and abusers within the church throughout its history; what is unique now is the level of malpractice on the part of our Bishops and the condemnation they have spewed on those attempting to uphold the faith of their fathers.

    While I certainly understand that some may think Mr. Wagner’s article a bit strong, I believe this kind of unequivocal article is sometimes needed. Too often we have euphemisms piled on top of metaphors together with an “on the one hand vs. on the other hand approach”. Sometimes you’ve just got to call it like it is.

  21. irishgirl says:

    Henry Edwards-oops. I didn’t know that your priest and southern orders were not the same. My bad, as they say.

  22. Mrs. O says:

    I like the way Fr. Blake summed up the problem, as well as the Pope, lax in morals and faith.
    It is interesting that Fr. Scanlon wrote an article “Can Clergy Sex Offenders be helped” in which he quote from a book (11th Century) “The Book of Gomorrah” in which it outlines how priests were to be treated when they HAD done this. It was also rampant during that time. But the particular letter quoted in the book from St. Damien quotes from St. Basil’s time.
    Check this out though:
    A cleric or monk who seduces youths or young boys or is found kissing or in any other impure situation is to be publicly flogged and lose his tonsure. He is to be bound in iron chains. For six months he will languish in prison-like confinement and on three days of each week shall fast on barley bread in the evening. After this he will spend another six months under the custodial care of a spiritual elder, remaining in a segregated cell, and giving himself to manual work and prayer, subject to vigils and prayers. He may go for walks but always under the custodial care of two spiritual brethren, and he shall never again associate with youths in private conversation nor in counseling them.

    So, we have had times where these things have sadly gone on, it wasn’t all fine and dandy before Vatican II.

    I do agree with Fr. Scanlon’s proposal on how to treat the offenders btw and I would donate money for him to build such a facility.

  23. On the one hand, it could be a POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC fallacy to infer that distortions and abuses of the so-called ‘spirit of Vatican II’ are the cause of the clergy sex abuse of children scandal. I would maintain that in this post-Conciliar era, there are more instances of this heinous crime and recently more publicity as well. In the pre-Conciliar era, pedophilia and ephebophilia took place but it was both rare and very commonly kept out of the media.

    While not a direct cause and effect, I do think the incidents of sex abuse of children by clergy are more prevelant since the dissent to Humanae Vitae in 1968. Theologians and faithful alike defied Magisterial teaching and embraced the so-called ‘sexual revolution.’ Contraception and homosexuality were deemed ‘alternatives’ as opposed to being sinful. SIMULTANEOUSLY, we have the phenomenon of prolific liturgical abuses in the aftermath of Vatican II. The letter of V2 was separated from the misrepresented ‘spirit’ of V2.

    Banal hymns, pedestrian vestments, inaccurate translations, illicit innovations, irreverent attitudes and a nearly global desecration of sanctuaries promoted and encouraged heretical notions and heterodox theology in Catholic schools, colleges, universities and seminaries during the late ’60’s and entire ’70’s. BAD LITURGY begets BAD THEOLOGY and vice versa. The two together, however, create a diabolical trinity where a third weapon of the Enemy is unearthed, i.e., BAD MORALITY. In other words, BAD LITURGY + BAD THEOLOGY = BAD MORALITY. Immoral behavior, whether contraception, fornication (pre-marital or homosexual), pornography, etc., or worse (pedophilia and ephebobophilia) are only encouraged when the public worship is vapid and the current religion books and seminary theology textbooks are saturated with heterodoxy.

    I find it ironic that modern albs worn by many priests today use a cheap velcro belt as opposed to the more traditional use of a rope cincture. The cincture was a SYMBOL of chastity and purity. Priests were formerly obligated to pray for an increase in purity every time they wore the cincture over the alb and under the chasuble. Now, the cincture and amice are ‘optional’ but is is not ironic that the prayer for purity was left by the wayside? It is still a viable option nonetheless. I do not believe there is any cause/effect relationship here, yet I still find it most interesting.

    Abuses in the USA, Ireland, Germany et al. are all horrible and never should have happened. What is most disconcerting is that in times past (before JP2 and most definitely before B16), many seminaries and so-called Catholic colleges tolerated all sorts of theological dissent as well as liturgical abuse all in the name of ‘aggiornamento’. Vatican II never intended nor suggested such deviaitions, however, some shrewd dissidents hijacked many of the plans to implement the Council and instead used the occasion to insert their own agenda.

    If some seminaries in the 1970’s and early 1980’s had spent more time and effort encouraging REVERENT celebration of VALID and LICIT liturgies and the teaching of AUTHENTIC MAGISTERIAL DOCTRINE, some of the immoral behavior may have been prevented. If clergy and laity perceive the tolerance of liturgical and dogmatic disobedience, then the natural conclusion is that moral disobedience is acceptable, too.

    JP2 gave us excellent encyclicals and personal witness while B16 is doing that AND showing us the elegance of REVERENT & PROPER WORSHIP. GOOD LITURGY + GOOD THEOLOGY = GOOD MORALITY. The clergy and faithful will be INSPIRED to ASPIRE to live good, moral and most of all holy lives IF they are given a steady diet of orthodox doctrine and reverent worship. There were always be a very small minority of deviants who will sadly continue to commit abhorrent crimes but at least we can turn the tide and give more people more encouragement and equipment to fulfil their baptismal call to personal sanctification.

  24. robtbrown says:

    Henry Edwards, I disagree with your informant; I don’t believe that abuse (whether by priests or someone else) was previously more rare, but rather that society has changed so what was formerly hidden is now in the open.
    Comment by Nan

    My high school, with no demographic changes, now has metal detectors. I don’t think that students were carrying guns to school in the mid 60’s, but it just wasn’t being noticed.

    Previously, in the Church there were structures set up in seminaries and religious formation to form candidates in celibacy. Those structures, like the Army’s Ranger School, also weeded out those without the aptitude. Further, even for an ordained priest the life was so strict that it made such abuse very, very difficult.

    Having said that, the general confusion in the Church began before the Council. The extraordinary figure of Pius XII was able to hold back the many of the problems, although some think that his actions actually increased their momentum.

    The Council was called to address the situation, but many think it did little except compromise with the confusion. After the Council many of those elements were turned loose.

  25. The problem of Modernism goes back to the early 1900’s, if not earlier…Saint Pope Pius X attempted to deal with this; the dissidents went “underground” only to emerge at a later date.
    Donna Steichen has documented the problems within the life of women religious from before the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council; there was all kinds of dissent going on beneath the surface.
    Everything might have looked “good” at face-value in the ’40s and 50’s but all hell broke loose with the media “spin” during the Second V. Ecumenical Council, to the detriment of us all.
    Pope Benedict, H. U. von Balthasar and H.DeLubac all were critical of the ineffectiveness of “neo-Scholastic” philosophy and theology in order to deal with the present times; a return to the Church Fathers and a more “symphonic” approach to Catholic theology and practice, not an “archeologism” condemned by Pius XII, but an authentic renewal of Catholic theology, life and practice, according to the authentic Tradition was in order. This is still to be seen in practice throughout the West. We are undergoing a real purgation here.
    Sexual mores are always the symptom, not the real cause of deterioration, malaise, degeneration.
    Bad theology begets bad morals. Inauthentic Catholic living causes systemic disease.
    We have to return to an authentic Catholic understanding of theology, liturgy and living.
    Sexual sins have been with us since the Fall. But this kind of universal debauchery is the result of lack of faith, lack of love, lack of truth.

  26. “The Pope has linked this ‘filth’ to a loss of faith, secular commentators have linked it to celibacy, Warner links it to ‘trendy bishops.’ All three are right.”

    No, one is definitely wrong. Fr. Blake almost… kinda… qualifies the celibacy argument by saying “[Modernism] transforms holy dynamic celibacy into self-serving bachelorhood.”

    OK, but I still think he is way too kind to the opinion of the secular commentators here. The truth is, celibacy – even if it is improperly understood as self-serving bachelorhood – isn’t linked with the sexual abuse of minors.

    I know many, and was once myself, a self-serving bachelor, and frankly, I take exception. : )

    Seriously – nothing good can come from giving secular commentators any credit for that worn out, ludicrous celibacy argument.

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    I think there was always a chance things like this could happen, even though it used to be really very difficult with all the rules, to get around to it, if a priest wanted to. (Hat tip to robtbrown, who I think is right on that part.)

    The real question is this: Does anyone in here think things got better with respect to sexual abuse after Vatican II??

    No? Thought not.

  28. AnAmericanMother says:

    For the possible extreme consequences of the “closed circle”, see C.S. Lewis’s novel That Hideous Strength.

    The plot of the novel is based on the idea of an “Inner Ring” – what Lewis called it. He also discussed the concept in a lecture in 1944 at UCL:

    The Inner Ring

    The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the last place on earth that there should be a “closed circle” or “inner ring”.

  29. lhwhitaker says:

    This today:

    The story inches even closer to the Pope. He ignores pleas pertaining to a priest who molested 200 deaf children.

  30. catholicmidwest: “The real question is this: Does anyone in here think things got better with respect to sexual abuse after Vatican II??
    No? Thought not.”

    Let me tell you from first-hand experience; the supposed “spirit of VII” unleashed an absolute diabolical infestation of sexual inpropriatey bar none. I lived through it as a college student/graduate student in the late ’70’s , early ’80’s. I could tell you things that might curl your hair; I don’t for reasons of charity and the fact that it would really do no good at this time.
    Sexual abuse, whether of minors or of adults, was absolutely pandemic; the cause? Faulty moral theology was being taught in seminaries and Catholic colleges. All kinds of everything was going on; I actually met and know those who have been accused and sent to jail for the criminal sexual abuse of minors; it absolutely turns my stomach because at that very time in history I KNEW these men were evil, horrible, absolute manifestations of the devil himself; I had no part in this, I was merely acquainted with and lived in (to my horror, later on, in finding that my gut reactions, were, in fact, correct) this vortex of diabolical and evil action.
    We lived in a kind of “Limbo” in the ’70’s, ’80’s and early 90’s until all this crap hit the fan and the media became aware of it and the bishops had to begin to take responsibility for all they allowed to go on (for whatever reason, and I make no judgment on this, because there were all kinds of other influences here and we cannot judge the interior motives of those who chose to do what is wrong…I leave that up to God).
    I thank the Lord that all this has “hit the fan” these past fifteen years; it’s a horrible scandal for the faithful and a real wound on the Body of Christ.
    But, please God, it is a purgation; a time of reckoning; a time of conversion, re-evaluation of what is essential to the priesthood, the Church, the faithful; a time for seminarians to get a real formation in chastity, celibacy, accountability, fidelity, love of Jesus and His Church. And also a time for bishops to take stock; to really look at what is most important; for the Holy Father to appoint true “men of God’ to shepherd the local Church.
    We have so much to account for. But God, in His Mercy, our Lady in Her intercession, and good Saint Joseph, in his care for the Church will never let us down.
    Churchmen, can and will let us down. God never, ever does.

  31. lhwhitaker says:

    Sorry. IGNORED (past tense) when he was CDF.

  32. lhwhitaker says:

    I apologize for not including this in my first posting. Someone had asked me to document how then Cardinal Ratzinger ordered the victims to keep quiet under pain of excommunication. I didn’t have the citation handy, but here it is.

  33. Mary Kay says:

    nazareth priest, since this post is about sexual abuse, it makes sense that your comments focus on that and attributing causation to the “spirit of VII” and faulty/lax moral teaching. I’ve mulled this over for a long time and have been involved in previous discussions (not on this site) about co-occurrence not necessarily the same as causality. Facilitated and excerbated, yes – but not caused.

    From what I remember, I’d say that the “absolute diabolical infestation” that was unleashed was larger even than the “sexual inpropriatey bar none” (as bad as that was) and put it a little earlier than the late 1970s, more like late 1960s.

    In context of clerical sexual abuse, I agree with you that this is a time of purgation and cleansing. God will bring good out of this painful mess.

  34. Mary Kay says:

    ahem, excerbated should be exacerbated.

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