Connection of liturgical abuse and abuse of minors?

I read an interesting take today with a new view of a possible nexus of abuse of children by women religious and priests and, on the other hand liturgical abuse of congregations by women religious and priests.

On the blog MommyWrites comes, the writer starts with an explanation that she is teaching CCD to 2nd graders… may God bless her.  She describes a video that has something to do with her mandatory VIRTUS program.  The video showed how to deal with children and it showed really bad liturgy.  She makes a very interesting point toward the end. 

Here is what she said:

As I watched, I wondered what message the Bishops were trying to send by including bad liturgy in the Virtus video.

1. Was it supposed to evoke warm fuzzy feelings? “Why, that parish is just like MY parish!” It didn’t, because those liturgical abuses wouldn’t fly around here.

2. Was it supposed to show us what the Bishops think a parish SHOULD look like? If so, I weep for our Church.

3. Or was it something more subtle? Was it supposed to help us make the connection between Liturgical abuse and sexual abuse? [NB:] After all, if we can’t treat the body of our Lord and Saviour with respect, why would we treat the bodies of our neighbors with respect? Is there a short, slippery slope that runs between sloppiness at Mass and sin?

I have a feeling that the makers of the video were aiming for 1 and 2. But I think our pope would probably point to number 3. When we take Mass and the Eucharist seriously and let all our relationships flow forth from that first, essential relationship as Christ, we cannot use other people as objects. When the Mass goes, everything else starts to go too.

Of course, abuse can happen in ‘Good Liturgy’ settings too – because good liturgy can not be our goal. Our goal is to love and adore Christ. I think that a reverent liturgy flows naturally from a love of Christ in the Eucharist and a realization that we’re in the presence of God. (For instance, I noticed my 6-year-old’s behavior at Mass has improved DRAMATICALLY since we started attending Children’s adoration once a month.) If you have a nice-looking Liturgy, but no love, it’s just an empty pageant.

On the other hand, most awful liturgies are also empty pageants, focused on the congregation instead of the Divine.

In the end, I did learn something at Virtus training. Father Z is right. “Save the Liturgy, Save the World.” It’s not a coincidence that the pope who is focused on cleaning up the filth of abuse in the Church is also focused on cleaning up the Liturgy. If we can’t respect God, we won’t respect each other.



I wonder if it is possible to make a connection at this point with those who are trying to poison the atmosphere regarding the implementation of the new English translation.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Clerical Sexual Abuse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. traditionalorganist says:

    Well, I’d be interesting in seeing the statistics of abuse between priests characterized as traditional vs those who are “progressive.” All the priests I’ve known that have abused were in fact quite liberal, or at least apathetic. The Holy Father’s logic is air-tight: Foster authentic worship and you will get authentic priests.

  2. Sedgwick says:

    VIRTUS is connected with a whole heck of a lot more than bad liturgy. How about prostitution and abortion? How about its connections with COYOTE (“Call Off Your Tired Old Ethics”)? ….

    [Or… we could stay on topic.]

  3. Elly says:

    Very interesting!

  4. Jason says:

    A wonderful observation and yet another example of the age old axiom:

    lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.

  5. EXCHIEF says:

    Interesting. Lack of discipline accounts for a lot of different types of abuses. I think there is little question that there is a relationship between those who abuse the liturgy and those who abuse children. The question is which one led to the other. I think liturgical abuse (cheating on the rules) with no consequences could easily lead to other forms of cheating.

    Not to go off track but the Bishop in this Diocese has refused to use VIRTUS for several reasons and, instead, has developed another much more satisfactory program which accomplishes what the purpose should be without the pitfalls of the USCCB offering.

  6. Eric says:

    I had to take the VIRTUS training several years ago and found it most disappointing. They show children receiving communion in the hand and more disturbing from a glass chalice. The only nun shown is not in habit. The people are flakey and it’s all around poorly done.

    My friend made a commit afterword that if one was inclined to abuse that this would be an excellent video on how not to get caught.

  7. In the cases of both liturgical and sexual abuse, the abuser thinks it’s all about him. He has license to do as he wishes, and uses his personal charisma, or mere force of personality, to secure this license. He surrounds himself with sycophants who look the other way, enabling his narcissism and his perversion.

    Regarding VIRTUS, all I remember about it was this harpie of a psychiatrist teaching children: “It’s MY body.” The problem is, it isn’t. VIRTUS is not about solving a problem, but about spreading the blame.

    (Gee I hope that’s all on topic.)

  8. Lisa Graas says:

    Very interesting. I’ll be watching for more on this. I’d be interested to know what the answer to that question is. Thanks for sharing this, Father.

  9. Mike says:

    I think there’s a connection. The heart that can treat another person as an object, that would do this to young people, doesn’t want to be reminded of:

    a) God’s infinite majesty
    b) Man’s sinfulness
    c) God’s infinite justice
    d) God’s infinite mercy

    All of which are embodied (made flesh, so to speak) in reverent, traditional liturgy.

    “Rain Down”? hey, doesn’t do ANY of the above.

  10. Magpie says:

    Liturgical and sexual abuse proceed from the same rotten roots: pride and narcissism, using others for one’s own selfish purposes, no matter the cost, whether that be souls denied reverent liturgy and valid sacraments and sound preaching, or the right to not be sexually abused. We need to make this connection. I did so in a letter to the newspaper, making the point that liturgical, sexual, and doctrinal abuses all have their roots in dissent, pride, and narcissism. Good work Fr Z for highlighting this.

  11. maynardus says:

    I’ve always thought that the de-masculinization of the liturgy and the usurpation of the priest’s proper role had their origin in an aberrant view of sexuality.

    Two examples came immediately to mind when I read this post: the “Life Teen” priest – I can’t remember his name, Msgr. Dale something – and Fr. John Huels. There’s one more that I can vaguely remember, but I can’t recall his name right now.

    Not exactly Q.E.D. – I know that the “data” is not the plural of “anecdote” – but interesting examples. Two influential avant-garde litniks who were disgraced by their behavior with young boys. I believe both were eventually “laicized”…

  12. frjim4321 says:

    It is interesting that one of the “markers” designating potential child abusers is an attitude that “The rules don’t apply to me.” That certainly could apply equally to retrogressive and progressive liturgical styles.

    With respect to attempts to correlate clergy sexual abuse with retrogressive vs. progressive styles, it would be very difficult to design such a study; but perhaps not impossible. For my bachelor’s thesis I did create a BMVT scale which was used to correlate various scales of the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule with the degree of Marian Devotion of seminarians. The study was later validated at the master’s level.

    I doubt, however, that the designers of the John Jay study would go to the expense of creating a retro v. progressive scale. The validity of such a scale would surely be called into question.

    Therefore, we are left with anectodal data. I suspect that most priets know a handful of retrogressive priests who have been removed due to sexual abuse of minors, and a handful of progressive priests as well. In the absence on data indicating the contrary, there is no reason to doubt that with respect to liturgical stlyes of presiders pedophilia and ephebophilia are equal opportunity proclivities.

    With respect to “Mommy,” her liturigal pet peeves are trival, petty and absurd. Her complaints:

    “Communion under both forms.” Not an abuse, it is permitted if not preferred.

    “A Glass Chalice.” The Virtus video was created prior to the current GIRM.

    “A Lay Minister.” Permitted, not an abuse.

    “Girl taking the cup and handing it back.” The correct manner of distrubion of the Precious Blood.

    “Bishop filmed with ceramic chalices in the background.” The chalices were not in use, they were on a book shelf.

    “Banners.” They are not prohibited. Tasteless perhaps, but not an abuse.

    “Bad Folk Choir.” A matter of taste, not prohibited.

    I suspect that “Mommy” knows all of this, and was making a crude attempt at sarcasm.

    Pinning sexual abuse of children on priests with a liturgical style she does not like is ugly and mean-spirited.

    This woman would not be teaching PSR at my parish, and she certainly would not be responsible for second grade sacramental prep.

  13. moon1234 says:

    Wow frjim4321. If you are really a Priest I will pray for you. The VIRTUS program is simply revolting. It is full of mis-information, very poor liturgical practices and outright scandelous topics.

    I am so very thankful that I am CCD teacher in my parish who is allowed to use the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism. I used this for 8th grade last year and this year I am teaching 7th and 8th grades. Other teachers have seen the traditional catechisms and this year there will be several other teachers using the Baltimore Catechism.

    A strong emphasis on respect for our Lord, Piety, the sacred and holy places is what is missing in the Virtus program. I highly suggest everyone take a look at this video that exposes what the virtus program is:

    Then you decide if you think that what people believe does not flow from what they see and hear:

    This woman who wrote in to Fr. Z. has it spot on.

  14. prairie says:

    I have a friend who says, “You can tell everything about a priest by the way he serves mass.” As long as we understand she means general character and not gritty details, I agree completely. I have also noticed that while no priest has ever taken advantage of me or otherwise violated my dignity in any way, I feel “safer” somehow with the ones who are more careful about how they serve mass. I can think of one in particular who is a paragon of trustworthiness and also displays greater reverence in mass than others. (He doesn’t send an extraordinary minister to put consecrated hosts in the tabernacle after communion, but does it himself, etc.) I realize that’s entirely subjective, and may say more about me than about the priests in question.

  15. The VIRTUS program is a joke.
    Went through it (thank the good Lord it was only one evening wasted).
    We’ve GOT to do better than this.
    As for a link between liturgical abuse and the sexual abuse issue: very interesting correlations.
    I would be careful, however, to attribute the whole problem on liturgical abuses.
    We have, unfortunately, cases of “traditional” priests abusing minors.
    It’s a little more complex than just liturgical abuses; but I believe it IS a factor.

  16. Fr. Z – Thanks for the link – I’m frankly flattered and floored! :)

    Fr. Jim- I posted a response to you in the comments at my place since you commented there as well.

    BTW– With respect to the 2004 GIRM – I thought that Glass Chalices were frowned on BEFORE that as well? Because I seem to recall the matter coming up in a parish back in 2002-2003. (The priest had recieved complaints that the chalice he was using wasn’t appropriate and responded by promising that if someone bought him a new chalice made of precious metals, he would use it in a heartbeat….)

  17. TJerome says:

    fr4321, I hope you’re not referring to priests who legitimately say the EF as “retrogressive.” This option is permitted by your boss, the Pope. Sed contra, most liturgically “progressive” priests are serial violators of the texts and the rubrics. I don’t know if there is a connection between child sexual abuse and liturgical practice, but there might be, because both types tend to be narcissistic.

  18. asophist says:

    frjim4321 is correct: all kinds of things that many of us don’t like are permitted. However, just because they are permitted doesn’t make them the best option (or even desirable) for fostering deeply devotional liturgy. I shy away from connecting two things together just because I don’t like either of them; otherwise I’d be engaging in mere conjectural psycho-analyzing. But, to add another anecdote: in Minneapolis, where St. Joan of Arc parish is infamous for its bad liturgy (hard rock and Jazz “Masses”, street-clothed priests, and I know a lay eucharistic minister there who is a Lutheran), there is a stained glass window celebrating the union of a homosexual couple. How this parish is allowed to persist is beyond me. I know that when the bishop is known to be coming to visit, they clean up their act somewhat for that Sunday, but the place is a farce all the way around. I’ve heard it referred to as the “Bolshevik-Catholic parish”. One thing does seem to lead to the other – even if we can’t exactly, scientifically prove it.

  19. Magpie says:


    I feel the same way. I do not feel comfortable confessing to priests who refuse to offer Mass reverently and who refuse to preach authentic faith and morals. I figure, if they are unfaithful in these things, who is to say they are faithful with other things, for example, the seal of Confession. Sloppiness doesn’t inspire trust.

  20. catholicmidwest says:

    If you think that everything that’s permitted is advisable, I’m just glad I’m not in your parish.

  21. JonM says:

    As others have posted, there is an obvious link between narcissism and bad behavior. To what extent child abusers are those who make liturgy mere self worship, I can’t say. Experience suggests that the worst havens for this horrible sin are liberal dioceses.

    I think it is important to not get Calvinistic and tar a person with a sin; of course many dioceses have only waded on in the modernist muck offering no penance.

    A man with heterosexual desires who feels a calling by God to His service, I have trouble imagining as prone to sexual abuse of children.

    VIRTUS is an evil program. ‘Nuff said.

  22. xgenerationcatholic says:

    I concur with the theory that bad liturgy and disobedience/unorthodoxy does play out in things like sexual abuse. I bet it’s the case in most of the cases. However I am sadly aware of at least one exception to this rule. I don’t wish to go into details, but my heart is still broken and it’s been a decade.

  23. Bad liturgy is one form of pride and disobedience. So that mindset is a setup for all types of sins, some of which are extremely heinous such as child abuse. Once a soul opens the gate to vices, particularly disobedience, then the devil gets in and anything goes. Remember that Jesus was obedient, the true sign of humility.

  24. Mrs. O says:

    It does make me keep my eyes wide open because I view those that commit liturgical abuses (true and grave ones) as having little respect for boundaries.

  25. JosephMary says:

    It is not as though there were never any cases of the abuse of children by priests and religious ‘back in the day’ of the TLM.

    Maybe not to the extent that erupted in the 60s,70s, and 80s when everything sacred and true seemed to be in the midst of change, but human nature is under the curse of concupiscence. Perhaps the priesthood has been more infiltrated by some men who never should have been priests but from the time of Judas, there has always been scandals. The liturgical abuses seem to me to have been the convenient vehicle for the loss of faith that perhaps led to such great falls.

  26. YadaYada says:

    I met a priest recently who was recounting when he was publicly accused of being a pedophile because he offered the Gregorian Mass when children were present, corrupting them as he was with Gregorian chant and the Sacred Mysteries offered sotto voce.

    At any rate, when I sat through the Virtus Film, I was disgusted to see that it promoted the “virtues” of the real life pedophiles who were including in the film, lauding them for keeping what seemed to be daily, detailed follow ups on their victims’ well being, as if they were actually altruistically concerned about their victims from their prisons. This and other sloppy aspects of the film (such as how it goes out of its way to avoid speaking of the percentage of homosexual deviancy of the predators) make me think that the liturgical sloppiness presented is not understood to be sloppy, but that it is as normal as thinking that pedophiles are just so very nice as to be concerned about their victims without having any ulterior motives.

  27. TNCath says:

    The connection between liturgical abuse and the abuse of minors was covered a few years ago by Dr. G. C. Dilsaver in the December 2007 issue of the Homiletic and Pastoral Review. I think it provides an interesting supplement to what is being presented in this posting.

    Here is the article. It is well worth checking out:

  28. RosaMystica says:

    There’s definitely a connection – if not directly, then indirectly. The Holy Father has been so clear about why liturgy is so important. First, it gives God the worship due to Him. Second, IT IS OUR PRIMARY SOURCE OF CATECHESIS. If there is bad liturgy, one of two things could be going on; the priest and/or bishop is knowledgeable but disobedient, or the priest and/or bishop is uninformed (unformed) about correct worship of God.

    If the priest and/or bishop is disobedient, then sin is involved directly. Sin dims the intellect and weakens us morally, so we are more likely to sin in other areas as well.

    If the priest/bishop is uninformed/unformed about correct worship of God, then he likely has an incorrect view of who God is. He will be less likely to understand or support the Church’s moral teachings, leaving him unprotected when temptation comes his way.

    That said, I think the connection is much more direct. How can we have reverence for other humans if we have no reverence for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?

  29. annieoakley says:

    Regarding the liturgy – I thought the new translation was supposed to be more authentic to the Latin but some choir members at my parish are saying it will be more liberal. Would anyone know which it is?

  30. Mrs doyle says:

    I have to say that I’m a bit surprised at people’s readiness to accept a direct correlation between these two things.
    I think everyone needs to have a more clear understanding of what leads a person to abuse (whether priest or no).
    If you accept the premise that those with a tendency for this behaviour are attracted to situations of opportunity (ie parish work) and are accepted by a seminary who does not carry out stringent psychological screenings, then the result is a person who could have very few inhibitions (both personally and otherwise) as well as a general disregard for rules of any kind.
    It would be natural for a person like this to behave in a way which shows a lack of deep thought and understanding of strict protocol which may involve liturgical norms being flouted.
    This, of course, shouldn’t be seen as cut and dry, and nor should we start suspecting priests who don’t have a clue about liturgical norms as potential abusers.
    Instead, it’s a sign of bad formation by seminaries and either a refusal to be corrected or a genuine lack of opportunity (unless you’re in a third world situation, it’s not much of an excuse).

    I think if you do take a look at the historical situation of when the seminary’s allowed these men to enter, and the social context of the time (sexual liberation etc…), it’s not surprising that the liturgy reflects this.
    But to suggest that there is a absolute direct correlation is dangerous and bordering on a bit of a witch-hunt to suit our liturgical leanings (correct or otherwise).

  31. I remember reading an article a few years ago by a priest who made a connection between sexual deviancy on the one hand and heterodoxy and liturgical abuse on the other. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the author (though I think he had an Italian last name), and I can’t find the article. I don’t think it’s the one linked above to Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

    I would be surprised if a correlation between liturgical and sex abuse did not exist. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.

  32. ghlad says:

    I’m certain there’s a connection, but I don’t think it involves causality, per se.

    More likely, it’s an over-arching sloppiness in seminarian candidates in the previous decades. Sloppiness in teaching correct observation of the important rubrics, and sloppiness to avoid or address seminarians who aren’t sexually suitable for Ordination.

    So the sloppiness is “upstream” of both problems, and they are only indirectly related.

  33. Fr. A.M. says:

    There might well be a connection between liturgical abuses and the abuse of minors in some cases. But I think the reasoning is a bit false, or at least not entirely sound. Could we not also say that some individuals who prefer the usus antiquior have what we may call ‘deviant sexual preferences’ ? Sadly, such individuals, too, exist. I remember a priest friend telling me once – after he attended a conference concerning the abuse of minors – that it is not priests who because paedophiles: it is paedophiles who became priests. Let’s be careful when we discuss the roots of this terrible problem, which occurs more among family members than among the clergy. I write as one who fully supports what the Holy Father is trying to do in the field of liturgy, in Summorum Pontificum, and his desire to reform other areas of the Church

  34. trentecoastal39 says:

    I Don’t get the Connection, Between The Liturgical Abuse and Priestly Pedophilia.

    It’s How Priests Behave that Matters,NOT How They Celebrate the Mass and Other Liturgical Functions!!!(Although There Should Be,A Return to the Sense of the Sacred)

  35. shadowlands says:

    We must notice the tendency within us, to attack the Bishops, and change this, with prayer. All you lot here are mainly intellectuals, it’s obvious by the way you quote stuff. Seriously though, understand the attacks that priests and bishops must go through, continuosly. We are not in any kind of an academic flesh and blood war! We live in the time of Mercy. It has an end. Only the Father knows. More concentration on prayer please, says she who couldn’t hold a candle to most of ye!! Rosary!!

  36. shadowlands says:

    And when was the last time any of Father Z’s commenters prayed for him? You all visit each day, but literally, how often do any of you get down on your knees and pray for him? I mean, look at what his blog does, you reckon old nick doesn’t attack him? Now and again, give him a bit of moral support. Don’t take him for granted.Let him know you love him, once in a while. Oh, by the way Father, I love you and am glad to have encountered you, on blogger.

  37. Magpie says:

    Regardless of the causes or links between the two, I think we need to begin to hammer home the truth that both liturgical and sexual abusers deny the faithful their rights. It’s a good stick to use in the battle inside the Church against Modernism. We need to make the connection so that the perpetrators are ashamed enough to amend their lives.

  38. Hmm… I wasn’t thinking as much of a direct correlation for individuals (Father used a glass chalice! He must be a pervert!) as much as a bigger correlation – for Dioceses, Nations, and the Church as a whole. (Because, obviously, if it was a person by person correlation, Benedict’s efforts to renew the Liturgy would be worthless against the ‘filth’, not part of a two-pronged attack.)

    However, the Dioceses with the biggest problems (Boston and LA, for example) also seemed to have a loss of the sense that the Eucharist is really the center of our faith– every thing ought to be centered on and flow out from our adoration of the Person Christ in the Real Presence —

    Bad Liturgy of any stripe treats Christ as a ‘thing’ not a person, and as a means to our own self-glorification, rather than as God.

    Also, after reading “Looking at the Liturgy” (Aidan Nichols. From Ignatius Press.) I’m convinced that the problems did not magically appear at Vatican 2 — in fact, an overly utilitarian sense of the Liturgy pervaded the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Benedict is not the FIRST pope to try to redirect our gaze to God and to remind us that the Liturgy is about adoration and worship. I’m hoping he’ll be more successful than some of his predecessors, because he seems to have a clear idea of the steps he needs to take.

    So, no, it’s not a question of “Banners are bad! The priest is bad!” It’s more along the lines that we as a Church/Nation/diocese/etc. have lost the sense that the whole POINT of the Liturgy is the adoration of Our Lord and Savior. We treat Him as a tool. “Oh, I go to Mass to get the graces I need to fufill my ministries.” But really, the intense love of Christ needs to come FIRST. Adoration and Contemplation need to be the START.

    When using the Liturgy as a way to meet goals is the norm, can we really be shocked when some people’s goals are sinful rather than noble?

  39. shadowlands says:

    I would ask each one of us, who read this blog. to rememeber the last Pope’s words, his poetry. He spoke about, when “deeper transluescence was my own”He was talking about a time that I believe no-one else has ever talked about.He was contemplating his own time spent, in the womb!! He was given that grace, and he was given that grace for a reason. Where sin abounds, how much more does grace abound. The battle is becoming fierce. Our weapons? The Rosary!!Please, everybody!! Consider ultimate reality! Either it’s the truth or it’s a lie.

  40. ipadre says:

    It would be interesting to see a study of those proven (not accused) pedophiles, how they offered the Mass, if they prayed the Divine Office, what seminaries they went to, if they had friends who were priests, year of ordination, etc. What would the common thread be? We all know a major common thread, that everyone won’t say because of political correctness.

  41. kradcliffe says:

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t think there’s a real case to make the connection between bad liturgy and pedophilia. Now, there could be a connection via the seminaries/liberalization of the Church, overall, at least if you include sex with post-pubescent teenagers in the discussion. But, a genuine pedophile is another thing, entirely, and I really doubt that there have been more or fewer pedophiles in the clergy since Vatican II.

  42. pfreddys says:

    I don’t have a scientific survey to back this up; but, I have observed that most of the bishops who were involved in the clerical abuse scandal were the ones who put up the most resistance to the traditional Latin Mass. Poster boy for this thought is the very hideous Archbishop Weakland.

  43. Henry Edwards says:

    ipadre: “It would be interesting to see a study of those proven (not accused) pedophiles, how they offered the Mass, if they prayed the Divine Office, …”

    I recall a bishop remarking that, whenever he called in a priest who had gotten into “trouble”, the first thing he asked him was … “Tell me, Father, when did you stop saying your daily Office.” And I remember wondering what question about his celebration of Mass would have served the same purpose.

  44. Eric says:

    The question of a link is beyond me, but I have to make a comment about the video.
    Why do the bishops endorse a video, even though it’s not an instructional video on liturgy, that shows bad liturgical practices?

    Would a video on how to stop sexual abuse in Little League show kids with their shirt tails out and their hats on crooked? Would it show kids throwing bean balls and slacking? No it would reinforce how things are supposed to be done.

    Would a video on how to stop sexual abuse in kindergarten schools show teachers teaching kids how to memorize facts for standardized tests? Would it show teachers thumbing their nose at the principal as he walks out of the room and kids sleeping at their desks? I doubt it.

    This whole idea of “reaching people where they’re at” has lost perspective, if it ever had any.

  45. Tom Ryan says:

    I’ve found that only parishes with lousy liturgies have quiet rooms. Somehow, at traditional masses, parents are able to keep 10 kids quiet for > 60 minutes.
    That’s usually enough time for a family of four to experience 10 tantrums at your typical banjo mass.

  46. I Don’t get the Connection, Between The Liturgical Abuse and Priestly Pedophilia. It’s How Priests Behave that Matters,NOT How They Celebrate the Mass and Other Liturgical Functions

    If you think the manner of celebrating Mass, which is none other than the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary itself, is of marginal importance, then no wonder you cannot see the connection.

  47. “Comment by annieoakley — 1 September 2010 @ 10:07 pm”

    More authentic to the Latin. Tell them to read it already!

  48. trentecoastal39 says:

    “If you think the manner of celebrating Mass, which is none other than the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary itself, is of marginal importance, then no wonder you cannot see the connection.”

    Anita,There May Be Hippie Priests who are Good Priests,And Conservative Priests Who May Have Pedophilia Tendencies

  49. Sid says:

    A connection between liturgical abuse, or simply hatred of anything of the Roman Rite, and pedophilia and ephebophilia seems credible to me (without saying all A is B!).

    28 years ago in seminary, we had wacko liturgy. More than a few of those seminarians who were the most enthusiastic for that liturgy were homosexual. How many were oriented toward pedophilia and ephebophilia I can’t say; yet the connection between ephebophilia and homosexuality is even more credible. I was clear also that those who opposed homosexuality also tended to oppose wacko liturgy, and also tended to be kicked out of the seminary for their opposition.

    In my judgement, the cause for this had less to do with V2 or the “Spirit of V2” and more to do with the Sexual Revolution, an event beginning in the 50s. That revolution really didn’t have a program; it just said “let go; go ahead and do what you feel like doing” — forgetting all the while Edmund Burke’s wise saying, that before we let people do as they like, we ought to ask what they like to do. And Burke is appropriate, for similar to all revolutions, The Sexual Revolution soon had its Reign of Terror. That Reign kept a number of good men from being ordained.

  50. Luke says:

    Isn’t it more appropriate to make a statement along the lines that those priests who abuse children are more likely to perform the Liturgy in a flippant manner.I mean instead of suggesting that most or even a majority of those who abuse the Liturgy therefore must be abusing children? The root cause of Liturgical abuse isn’t always the same, necessarily. Pride, ignorance, lack of proper formation, or a lack of conversion or prayer life could all be causes. Pedophilia is a result of original sin and therefore man’s disordered passions.

    Having said that, I will say that I see a connection between the discipline that must be required to say the Mass well and reverently carrying over into the life of that Priest. Or better: The discipline required to say a reverent Mass almost necessarily flows from within the Celebrant. Even it is a matter of Charity for God it acts willfully and therefore is like discipline.

    It is unfortunate {TO SAY THE LEAST] that our Bishops cross the border of our children’s purity and innocence as a reaction to the sins of their priests.

    Deirdra is correct in her view that if our Priests don’t have the Love of God down right, then they will not be effective at exercising Charity toward their neighbor–or even those for whom God holds them responsible to shepherd. But to say that there is a direct link between poor Liturgy and sex crimes is a stretch. Man’s passion for sex is a powerful force and one that every person not delivered by a special actual grace has contended with. If we keep Priests as a specific topic here we could easily look back into history and find stories of clerical abuse when it wasn’t as easy to be flippant within the Church’s Liturgy.

    It is a simple matter of disorder within us. And grievously crushing to those who are abused. May God be with them in that pain.

  51. Glen M says:

    “Asophist” mentioned St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis as a parish infamous for its bad liturgy. I checked out their website and although there are no examples of liturgical abuse found (unlike St. Edward, Nashville) here are three things that jumped out at me: Halloween Caberet, the absence of the word “Catholic” and no regular Confessions scheduled. If the priest and parishioners don’t think the Sacrament of Confession is required they probably don’t think following the rubics is either. If there is no need to confess one’s sins there probably isn’t much desire to avoid sin either.

  52. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I have known several priest abusers. All of them were narcissists, and their liturgies manifested that. It was all about them – ME, ME, ME!!!

    The worst of them, Fr. Larry Reuter, groomed young men for seduction and brutally ostracized those seminarians the wouldn’t dance to his tune. That was especially so with regard to the Liturgy. Larry would beat you over the head with the “Spirit of Vatican II” – aka “Whatever I want it to mean.”

    With regard to these men, it was clear that they wanted to sleep with young men and teenage boys. The Church taught that it was wrong to sleep with young men and teenage boys. Therefore, they needed to undermine the Church’s teaching in every area so that it could not oppose them.

    There is, however, the flip side. Just as Aristotle taught that virtue lies in the middle between two extremes, so to the abusers exist on two ends of the spectrum. The liberals were only one side.

    On the other, there were the scrupulous adherents. These Pharisees used the outer trappings of orthodoxy & orthopraxis to hide their own foul corruption. Fr. Maciel is but one example. Other commentators have mentioned others.

  53. Traductora says:

    I had to waste last Saturday doing the “Protecting God’s Children” program for a volunteer slot where we have no contact with children…but the bishop has decided that this will “protect the diocese,” legally, at least.

    I found the program creepy and I’m still not sure exactly why. I agree that it was a very 1970s view of Catholicism, and the creepiness may have had to do with that (1970s Catholicism was touchy-feely, intellect-absent, and faith unclear). Or maybe it was the fact that they defended homosexuals so. While it’s true that the majority of sex offenders are straight, that’s because the majority of the population is heterosexual; if you examine the big lawsuits against Church officials, however, you will immediately see that most involve adult men pursuing young teenage boys.

    In any case, I still don’t know why I found “Protecting God’s Children” to be not only useless but creepy.

  54. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Surely, Father, the question isn’t IF they’re related, but HOW? What I mean is this: does sexual deviancy cause resistance to the faith and the right expression of it, or does a refusal to submit to God in His Sacred Feast lead to the mistreatment of children?

    On a related topic, I was once a participant in a VIRTUS program in [another diocese]. At the very end of it, I remarked that not once did we hear the word “Sin”. If one refuses to use the vocabulary of the Faith, all the categories one can use lead to the sort of nonsensical gibberish which regularly emanates from the penumbrae of modernism and hedonism.

  55. catholicxjw says:

    Here is an article on Catholic Exchange about the Virtus program:

    Jeff S.

Comments are closed.