A story about St. Luke’s: “you are totally in their power – you are utterly at their mercy.”

The horror stories are pouring in from priests who have been through The Psych Strike Gambit by their bishops or superiors.   Here is one, with some detail, which I have permission to post and which I have anonymized.  His is a fairly recent experience, under the new, not ancient, regime of St. Luke’s.  It’s current.

My emphases and comments.

I am a solemnly professed religious (not a cleric) in what is regarded as a very orthodox community. As one of your comments mentioned, sometimes these things are not ideologically motivated, it’s just a way of dealing with someone who stepped out of line/ might need help. That was my case.  [I’ve also mentioned that there, truly, some priests and religious who really do need help.] (Nonetheless, I saw and experienced many in the ideologically motivated position you spoke of.)


As I mentioned, I did an evaluation at St. Luke’s. Before I even got there, I was given the strong impression that my vocation depended completely on going. Once there, the impression of the power of that place over my future was overwhelming. You clearly know that you and your whole future in your vocation depends upon getting a good report from these people. I saw and heard that same fear in the others I met there. I was surprised by the number of younger men, especially those who were amenable to tradition, etc. Also, what you said about lack of communication and total lack of privacy is completely correct. You have to sign disclosures immediately upon arrival.
Specifically, one of the doctors evaluating me mentioned how strange is was that I was not sexually active during high school and had not experimented with homosexual acts. He said that such behavior was a normal part of development. Thus, on top of everything, I was deemed sexually immature, even though I had had no problems with chastity. As far as I could tell, the vast majority of people there were on a lot of meds. Thankfully, I avoided that.
Now, for the six months in St. Louis. Again, you know that you are totally in their power and that everything depends upon getting a good report. The St. Louis Consultation Center (now the St. Luke’s Consultation Center, it was recently acquired by St. Luke’s) is an outpatient program, which makes it much less intense and provides more individual freedom because there is no residential aspect to the program. What I saw and heard over the course of six-months: I was personally encouraged to masturbate (that was normal, and I know that others were likewise encouraged)/ I was told that if I went on a “leave of absence” I could explore dating and “see where that went”/ I saw other priests and religious in the program whose struggles surrounded homosexuality freely encouraged to fully identify as gay/ praying the Liturgy of Hours/ going to Mass daily, etc. was considered “rigid.” The sanctity of vows or one’s vocation was not taken seriously. Eg. Priests who were otherwise totally capable of being good priests (and had been for many years) were totally unchallenged in “discerning” out of the priesthood. Finally, one priest who became a good friend of mine was sent there for preaching against contraception.
Also, a note. At both of these places, your stay can be extended beyond six-months at the behest of your bishop/superior or the staff.  [Sweet Mother of God, Queen of the Clergy, save these men!]
I think you get the drift. [NB] It’s too bad, because for those who need psychological/ emotional help, they do that part very well. There is a lot to gain for those who need it. It’s just not reinforced with the Church’s teaching, or free from the atmosphere of pressure and coercion. In that respect, it was all disheartening and confusing.
The main thing I would emphasize is that you are utterly at their mercy. Further, bishops/ superiors can use your time at these programs as justification to do whatever they want with you/ to you for the rest of your life. Whenever they want, the simple fact that you were there can come back to haunt you (often completely outside the bounds of Canon Law). As you said, they never forget who is paying the bills. Unfortunately, I would know about this, since, after going through all of that, I have been treated very unjustly (not just according to me) and now have to be represented by a canon lawyer.
Please pray for me. Know of my prayers for you and your very good work.

Story after story, friends.

Take away… and this is consistent with other things I have heard.  They can do a good job with priests and religious who need real help.  I’ve heard that they can do that well.  However, they also can be the arm of the bishop.

It seems that they will do anything for money, good job, hit job, whatever.

Mary, Queen of the Clergy, intercede for us with Your Son the High Priest.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kathleen10 says:

    Well this is beyond just being ridiculous. Nobody should be submitting to this. There were some great suggestions in your prior post on this topic, Fr. Z. If priests feel they need mental help or counseling, there’s no shame in that, but at this point they should not be submitting to these Satan Centers. Honestly, I can’t in any way understand why any man would not walk away if told he needed to go somewhere to be reprogrammed. Telling priests they should be committing grave acts against chastity should be the final straw.
    Sometimes you have to get away to gain a better perspective on things. I suppose priests have to make up their own minds if they are going to allow men who aren’t Catholic in any sense to punish or reprogram them because they are. I would say there is nothing worth that, and that to put yourself in such “care” is an exceedingly dangerous thing to do. Don’t walk off hand in hand with the devil! In all seriousness, it would be far better to work at Home Depot than to tolerate such abuse. I can’t even believe it has come to this. No matter what priests are thinking, there IS life beyond the church. You can leave and still live out your vocation and your Catholic faith.
    Heck, just join the rest of us.

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    I do understand priests are not told they need to be reprogrammed. But unless the priest has asked for help, and with this going on, they need to be aware this may be the plan.

  3. Traductora says:

    This is terrifying. Orthodox laypeople just get marginalized or even ostracized, depending on the vindictiveness of the pastor, but the clergy do not have enough legal power over us to send us off to the “mental health” gulag. But these poor priests are totally subject to evil, vindictive and cruel bishops or even just the “more important” lower clergy.

    One of the things that people never discuss is how VII consecrated two new masters for the Church: Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. All of this sexual obsession is due to the adoption of Freudianism by the Catholic Church.

  4. Hidden One says:

    Papal authorization wouldn’t be necessary for an apostolic visitation of these places, I think…

  5. Ultrarunner says:

    Cardinal Kevin Farrell is the highest ranking religious member of the SLI Board of Directors.


  6. Pingback: Cardinal “Soupy” Cupich Tries To Wrap Straight Jacket Around Faithful Priest For Burning Pervert Pennant — Updates – William M. Briggs

  7. Anneliese says:

    This is the saddest thing I’ve read in a long time and it worries me that the men I know who are ordained or in formation are vulnerable to this foolishness.

    Out of morbid curiosity I looked at the Consultation group in St. Louis. I’m not surprised that there are SSNDs at that center or Jesuits. And there’s at least one laywoman there whose husband is a staff member at the local SJ parish.

    St. Louis is an oddity in terms of the faith. We have some really good orthodox priests and parishes. We have one oratory and another group that promotes the EF in the archdiocese. Then you have some strange parishes. One that essentially gives out wonder bread for communion and allows women to preach. You have a Catholic worker house that distributes communion to anyone and everyone. One the of the Catholic colleges offers a list of spiritual directors that offer reike and other new age methods, and happen to be in religious orders.

    A friend, who during her single days had discerned religious life, had gone on nun runs in St. Louis. The archdiocese has a Carmelite monastery with a beautiful adoration chapel. The city also has the Poor Clares. My friend said those women seemed so happy. When my friend had visited one of the more liberal orders, she was somewhat taken aback by the sisters’ attitudes. It was the time for the Angelus to be recited. They laughed and boasted that they didn’t have to pray it anymore. Very odd and very strange times we live in.

  8. Eoin OBolguidhir says:

    “Whenever they want, the simple fact that you were there can come back to haunt you…”

    Exactly. They’ll never stop hanging it over your head or otherwise torturing you with it. If before you were their obedient servant, now you are their chattel slave. Congratulations.

    I hate to keep beating the same drum, but the moment they suggest you go for a Psychological evaluation, know that they have executed a plan to do you in, professionally anyway. It’s done. Get away a fast as you can. They would never risk later to risk their having to answer questions like: “So Father O’Piety needed a six month stay in a Psych’ Hospital, and then you sent him here? Why did you send us a crazy man?” And they don’t ever want to have to deal with your demands for redress if you ever take just umbrage at their persecuting you and are able get into a position to do something about it. This is why the Byzantine Emporers, murdered, castrated, and slit the noses not only of their enemies, but of their enemies’ children as well.

  9. The Masked Chicken says:

    I will try to stay as calm and objective as I can, here. I owe this to both myself and the many brave souls I have encountered in my life that have given me the insights about this matter that I now possess.

    To begin with, in my very informed opinion about certain aspects of this story (the psych aspect), Fr. Kalchik has, at this stage, done about the best he can do, fleeing the scene. He made a huge tactical error at the beginning by not fully appreciating the environment in which he decided to have the rainbow flag burned. In a rightly-ordered diocese, the bishop would have been right there, with him, burning the flag, but, alas, the Chicago diocese is not rightly-ordered. Fr. Kalchik forgot that the Chancery always controls the narrative. It is twenty-twenty hindsight to say, but he should have kept the knowledge of the flag to himself and discretely mailed it to a priest in a different, more orthodox diocese, and had him burn it. Alas, the time for trust is at an end. Priests need to be innocent, but they need to ramp up their cunning. They need to be sober and alert. In some dioceses, the Chancery, I mean the Devil, is prowling like a roaring lion ready to devour the naive.

    In my entire life I have not seen the level of spiritual combat going on as I have in the last six months and it will only get worse for some time to come. Be calm and of good cheer, for this will pass.

    In any case, did the bishops get together as a group and decide to be stupid on the psych issue? Unless one is suicidal, extremely paranoid or delusional, or pose a threat to others, no one goes to a psychiatric HOPSITAL for an evaluation. One goes to an outpatient pyschiatrist , who, then decides to commit the person, if necessary, either because he wants to try some drugs, such as lithium, which must be medically monitored (lithium carbonate, sometime used to treat bipolar disorder, although not so much, today, is poisonous, so the concentration has to be monitored) or he sees that the condition is down sliding and will need intervention. There is a reason for the de-institutionalization push in the late 1980’s. The preferred mode is outpatient, when possible.

    Once you get into the psych hospital system, you can plan on a stay of anywhere from a week, if it is merely for a drug adjustment or up to three months and most of that time is not talk therapy, but to try one drug after another to see if any one or a possible combination will render the patient either stabilized or docile.

    Let me be blunt. Psychology and psychology are materialistic in their approach. They have no understanding of the spiritual life except as a quaint bromide for feeling good or secure. By their damned training, they are not allowed to even give the impression that homosexuality is anything other than a good, much less a disorder. That went out in 1973 when the spineless APA (American Psychiatric Association) voted to change the diagnosis of homosexuality from a disorder to a lifestyle. That, more than anything else, opened the door for the current homosexual crisis in the Church. What the heck could Fr. Kalchik hope to gain by going into an institution that would not even listen to Catholic Orthodoxy?? Any therapist who would agree with him would be fired.

    Don’t get me started in the current state of theory in the psychological sciences. They have no good theory of depression, for example. They got lucky finding the MAO inhibitors back in the 1960’s and the tricyclics, shortly thereafter, but is all trial and error, not theory-driven. Mania is an extended humor state just as depression is an extended tragedy state, but ask them to describe either and they flounder. The state of the art has not advanced beyond that of Aristotle and, now, I speak as an expert. If treatment works, there are, usually confounding variables beyond drugs or talk.

    Almost all states have moved to the position that one cannot be probated into the hospital (legally committed) unless one is a danger to oneself or others, but some states used to allow a psychiatrist to keep you in the hospital merely if they thought you could benefit from treatment. The psychiatrist has an enormous amount of power once you get into the hospital, including the forced use of restraints and medication.

    There are four conditions under which a command may be disobeyed:

    1. If the order is immoral
    2. If the order violates an order by a higher authority
    3. If the order puts one in a life-threatening position not anticipated (the threat of death is anticipated in war, for example)
    4. If the person issuing the order is incompetent to do so.

    Sadly, notice that mere vindictiveness is not on the list.

    Given that Fr. Kalchik poses no danger to himself or others, it is an incompetent order, in my opinion, to seek a psych eval within the confines of a hospital when outpatient evaluation is both cheaper and less disruptive. In other words, Cdl. Cupich’s action should land him in front of a board of psychiatrists who should set him straight on best practices or the bishop’s board for dereliction of duty. I repeat, did the bishops, as a group, decide on this idiotic strategy of an in-patient psych eval?

    Even if Fr. Kalchik were a perfectly well-adjusted Catholic priest, the doctors would never recognize it because they simply are not allowed to recognize Catholic behavior as normal. Chastity, why that’s sexual repression. Can’t have that. If a psychologist even hints that they are uncomfortable with homosexuality during their formal clinical training, they can be removed from the program (it has happened).

    One of the saddest, “triumphs,” of psychology is the case of the author, Karen Armstrong. She entered a convent at 17, just pre-Vatican II, if memory serves. She recounts the story in her book, The Narrow Gate. She started having, “spells,” where she would go limp. The psychiatrists diagnosed it as repressed sexual feeling. As I read the book, I kept saying to myself that something wasn’t right, that she had a vocation, but despite this, she left the convent. Well, in a follow-up book, it was discovered that she had temporal-lobe epilepsy, which, of course, accounted for the petite mal seizures. So much for sexual repression. The damage to her vocation, however, had been done.

    If a priest or religious has a truly serious condition, then by all means, they should seek the best help that current medicine has to offer, but they have got to know its limitations, as well, including its shortcomings in terms of spirituality and Catholic morality.

    At the very least, I hold bishops accountable, morally, if they do not allow priests to select their own doctors. It is the only way to make sure that the system is immune from the sort of power play that Cdl. Cupich is trying to pull. Let me be blunt. No seminarian should agree to enter formation without this freedom in writing. No one. Ever. Far from being a good father to his priests, this forced in-hospital psych eval is abusive coming from Cdl. Cupich. He doesn’t care enough to treat his priests like adults capable of making their own decisions.

    There are good Catholic psychiatrists, don’t get me wrong, but they do not seem to be attached to a hospital that is so cavalier in how it admits patients for in-hospital treatments. The word of an incompetent bishop is enough?

    There is so much more I could say, but I refuse to do so except over dinner (no chicken, if you please). Needless to say, I know this system very well. It can cure, but it can, also, kill, if not the body, certainly the soul. Fr. Kalchik is probably done as a priest. I hate to speak that possibility. This fight no longer belongs to him. It belongs to the medical community, who, if they have any integrity, will set Cdl. Cupich straight about what constitutes real care for the psychological welfare for priests. Although, given the state of practice with regards to insurance companies, maybe the decisions should be turned over a pack of wolves. At least they are honest about their intentions.

    The Chicken

  10. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    “Inmates running the asylum” is what several people have been describing.

    These inmates are, unfortunately, also apparently in local and national law enforcement.

    Basic reasoning: the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and sociology are heavily populated with liberals.

    Local and national law enforcement front-office decision-makers are, from what I understand, controlled by psychologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, etc.

    Because psychology, sociology, and psychiatry are controlled by liberals, and because law enforcement entities are run by psychologists, sociologists, etc., then it follows that many local and national law enforcement front-office decision makers are staffed by these types of liberals.

    That should be a scary thought for anyone who is in touch with reality.

    The Left/liberals/diabolical narcissists take over any entity which may provide them power. They then weaponize that entity that they take over. “Psychology”, “psychiatry”, “sociology”, etc. have been conquered and weaponized by liberals as a means to silence any opposition. (Fr. Z. rightly called this a Soviet tactic in a recent post.)

    Their definition of “mental illness” is basically the following: “mental illness is the opposition to contraception, abortion, multi-culturalism, homosexuality, socialism, Islam, open borders, or anything else we [liberals] decide to be progressive.”

    Law enforcement and states are permitted to forcibly drug persons who they deem to be a threat to themselves or others.

    They may also (wrongly) put these “threats” under surveillance – they hack their computers, surveil their cellular and home phones, they apparently break into the person’s car, etc.

    Whats more, though, is that those liberal decision makers for law enforcement likely also adhere to incorrect definitions of “hate”, and therefore what constitutes a “threat”.

    If you are opposed to contraception, abortion, “LGBTSJ”-ism, “multi-culturalism”, Islam, etc., and if your local or national law enforcement front offices are staffed by liberals, then you are likely on the verge of (wrongly) being considered a “threat” to others.

    Furthermore, in my experience of likely being unlawfully surveilled, I also became aware of law enfocement’s ability to attempt to induce the *appearance* of “mental illness”. In my location, law enforcement apparently staffs numerous plain-clothed persons who appear to be basically told to follow, isolate, and harass a surveilled target anytime that person leaves their house.

    They appear to even convince priests and parishioners to harass a target, and the priests and parishioners appear to willingly collaborate in these diabolical conspiracies.

    One result is that the targeted/surveilled/harassed person identifies these pre-planned skits/schemes/forms of harassment, he or she informs others about those skits/schemes, but nobody believes the targeted person and that targeted person is then wrongly labeled as “delusional”, “paranoid”, or “mentally ill”.

    So, there again, law enforcement/government entities are able to gain more control over an individual by provoking the appearance of “mental illness”. The Left, both “inside” and outside the Church, has indeed resorted to Soviet style tactics.

  11. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Excellent post by the Masked Chicken: I am wondering, however, about one aspect she brings up: “Unless one is suicidal, extremely paranoid or delusional, or poses a threat to others, no one goes to a psychiatric HOSPITAL for an evaluation. One goes to an outpatient psychiatrist, who, then decides to commit the person, if necessary. . . “

    My impression is that the Catholic hierarchy run their own care institutions, and my impression is also that they have absolute command and control over the clergy (in the sense that if you go head-to-head with your bishop; there’s no real detente; one of you has to back down. And although conservative bishops have often done so, the libs tend not to back down. Which means for the priest, he’s out of a job in that diocese, and probably won’t be accepted into another one. So his ministerial life would be, in effect, finished.)

    Saint Luke’s isn’t an open-to-the-public hospital that accepts “civilian” patients. It’s an institution run by the Church for ill churchmen. It’s a closed system, described on its website as “an international leader dedicated to bringing the healing ministry of Christ to Catholic priests, deacons and consecrated religious through education and integrated psychological, spiritual and physical care.” (N.B. “education.”) I’m sure Saint Luke’s has at times done fine work with some men who truly needed help, but such facilities can also be misused – cynically – as the Soviet “mental hospitals” were misused – by the powers-that-be who wanted inconvenient underlings to disappear, and possibly be re-programmed. And just as there are unethical physicians and other medical staff, willing to perform euthanasia and abortions, so, too, there are sure to be unethical psychiatrists and other psychiatric staff, who, for the right price, can be persuaded to drug, brow-beat, confine, deprive of sleep, and otherwise coerce the wills of men whom the boss (God help us!) want “educated,” “that is, to see the light; to be brought around to the right way of thinking.”

    If all this is true, (and I don’t know that what I’ve written is accurate in all its details) it’s certainly a sad state of affairs.

  12. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Marion Ancilla Mariae II,

    If your quote:

    “an international leader dedicated to bringing the healing ministry of Christ to Catholic priests, deacons and consecrated religious through education and integrated psychological, spiritual and physical care.” (N.B. “education.”)”

    is accurate, then it is comical. I stand by what I said. St. Luke’s, indeed, any in-patient psychiatric facility is a nuclear option that should be used for especially serious clinical cases, which Fr. Kalchik does not meet. The standard practice is outpatient. If in-patient is the first line of treatment for priests, merely because they are priests, then this is substandard practice at best, malpractice, at worst.

    Let me be darn clear, there is nothing in current psychiatry that has to do with, “the healing ministry of Christ.” If a priest is clinically depressed, it matters not one whit if he is treated in a civilian or “religious” hospital. The treatment would be, essentially, the same. The same is true for every other major psychiatric disorder. I have known a nun who was treated for clinical depression in a civilian hospital. A priest used to bring her and the other Catholic patients Communion, hear confessions, etc. What does Christianity have to do with depression? Okay, in a more advanced treatment of the subject I could explain several possible scenarios, none of which are anything but so rare as to be almost non-existent.

    What the heck is integrated psychology?? Yes, I know the jargon, but it is a cover for sloppy theory. Oh, and they aren’t going to receive any education on moral issues that shouldn’t have already been given in the seminary. Not in a psych hospital. Not from psychiatrists. Unless it is re-education.

    This stems from the incompetence of bishops on the science of psychology and the incompetence of psychiatrists on theology. Together, they have made a potentially abusive system, trying to combine two incompatible disciplines, one materialistic, one theistic.

    Oh, this makes me angry. It makes me want to know how St. Luke as a closed specialty treatment center came about. There is, certainly no need for it. Do priests have special psychological needs? I know some will disagree, but, actually, no, they don’t. They do not suffer anything not common to man. They do have special spiritual needs, however, but the last place to deal with those issues is in a psych hospital, where at least some of the patients may have grave spiritual disorders and provide a haven for the demonic. Certainly, and I will challenge any bishop on this, there is no good understanding of the relationship and interconnectedness between psychology and spirituality. Not at this time. Probably, not in this century.

    Bishops, get your acts together and give your priests some responsibility for their own health care. You treat them not as the strong men they should be, but as infantiles, if you shuffle them to an in-patient treatment center for such trivial reasons as Fr. Kalchik’s behavior. If you don’t see that, then, you, my good bishops, are part of the problem.

    The Chicken

  13. chantgirl says:

    Masked Chicken- I had the sense that Fr. Kalchik’s decision to burn the flag with parishioners was maybe not a tactical mistake, but perhaps his chosen hill on which to die. As the pastor of the parish where a previous priest had introduced the flag into the sanctuary, covering up the crucifix, he might have felt responsibility to teach his parishioners, in a public way, how wrong this was. Public error, and public correction?

    A comment on another thread mentioned that the flag may have been blessed as a sacramental, so the only way to dispose of it was by burning/burying. I’m not sure if the flag was blessed, but if it was, and if the flag itself was a symbol of vice, well, what is the result when an anti-christian item is blessed? Does it become some sort of demonic sacramental? I can definitely see burning such an item, preferably by a priest, and in public if it was foisted upon a congregation publicly.

    I do have a question for you, Masked Chicken, about the treatment one could expect in a facility like St. Luke’s. How is the psychiatric community attempting to treat pedophilia currently? It sounds like homosexuality is looked at as an innate characteristic that must be integrated in a healthy way, so how would these same professionals approach pedophilia/ephebophilia? I’m wondering how these facilities attempted to treat the priest abusers who were sent to them?

  14. mattg says:

    What are the mechanics of what a Bishop/Superior could do to a priest who refused to go to a place like St. Luke’s?

    What are we talking about here? Interdict? Suspension a divinis? Removal from the clerical state? Aren’t there formal appeal processes for those things? Why does standing your ground seem to not be an option here?

    Let’s assume that the priest in question has it in writing from his own doctors that he is in good mental health. Wouldn’t the Bishop be in a tricky legal position (in employment law) if he punished a priest for refusing to be involuntarily committed to a facility the Bishop effectively controls, even though independent doctors say that it is unnecessary?

  15. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Chantgirl,

    I do not know what the current treatment protocols are for pedophilia. The ones from the 1980’s, certainly, did not work. The research I do that has a connection with psychology is not in this area, so I don’t stay up with the literature.

    The Chicken

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