IRONY! Francis calls 2019 meeting of bishops on Feast of St. Peter Damian

Reports are out that Francis will convoke a meeting with all the presidents of conferences of bishops across the globe to discuss the issue of the sexual abuse of minors.  The meeting is scheduled for 21-24 February 2019.

The cynic in me worries that the focus here on “minors” will obfuscate the real, core issue of most of the cases of abuse and of clerical sin: homosexuality.

However, the Church’s calendar might just remind those who meet about why they are really there.

In the Novus Ordo calendar 21 February is the Feast of St. Peter Damian, Doctor of the Church.

In the Traditional calendar 23 February is the Feast of St. Peter Damian.

That means that, as the meeting opens, they will begin work under the aegis of St. Peter Damian and, as they are working, those who celebrate the TLM will invoke Peter Damian.

This great Doctor of the Church made many great contributions.  However, his works that is most pertinent to The Present Crisis is the Liber Gomorrhaianus, written between 1049-54.    The LG is a call for reform of the clergy.  LG treats the vices of clergy, especially sodomy.

The LG is available online in LATIN HERE.

Peter Damian, a zealous reformer of clergy who combated corruption such as simony called for the removal of bishops from their sees in no uncertain terms.  Regarding one such, he wrote:

Now may the multiform head of the poisonous serpent be crushed, and the commerce of perverse business come to an end.  […]  For unless the aforesaid church is taken away from the hand of that incestuous adulterer, perjurer and robber, all the hope of the restoration of the world that has been raised among the peoples will be completely drained. Indeed, all turn their eyes to this purpose, all raise their ears to this one voice. And if that bishop, implicated in so many crimes, is restored to the height of the episcopacy, the Apostolic See will be utterly unable to do any further good.

It was a turbulent time of anti-popes.  Eventually one of history’s greatest clergy reforming Popes would in 1049 emerge from the rubble, Bruno von Egisheim, Pope St. Leo IX (all the more reason for the next pontiff to be called “Leo”).   It is to Leo that Peter Damian addressed the LG.    The Doctor wrote about this most evil of corrupting vices, the “cancer of sodomitic impurity”, with horrible clarity.  He addressed contraception, masturbation, same-sex pederasty and adult homosexual acts, noting that the Church had penalties for them.  Peter Damian said that punishments should be greater for clergy and that the most severe should be applied to clerics who abused children and adolescents: public beatings, imprisonment for months in chains with fasting three days a week till sundown with confinement of monasteries under guard.

While he denounces homosexual acts in stark terms he also writes about his compassion for the sinners and prays for their repentance.

Leo IX praised St. Peter Damian lavishly for the LG.  

It is a fact of our human experience that whisteblowers will eventually be attacked and smeared.  So too was it with Peter Damian.    Detractors denounced him to Leo.  However, a later Pope eventually made Peter Damian a cardinal and entrusted him with great duties.

The Doctor strongly admonished Popes and Bishops who failed in their duties.  In 1059 he denounced cover ups and wrote with a warning about divine punishment to Nicholas II about unchaste bishops: “What worse thing can one do than to spare lustful bishops when he has the power to correct them?”

That’s enough for now.

In the time that intervenes between now and the February 2019 meeting, we might keep the figure of St. Peter Damian before the eyes of those who will participate.

I recommend:

The Book of Gomorrah and St. Peter Damian’s Struggle Against Ecclesiastical Corruption


Lastly, St. Peter Damian with the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and Velletri from 1060–1072.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Unwilling says:

    I was thinking of the (possibly intentional) focus on minors instead of on the more fundamental factors: homosexual sins and complicity. But I don’t see any alternative. The (pseudo)paedophilic problem excites everyone‘s outrage and will both speed the start and prevent the inquiry from being glossed over before the depths are plumbed. In fact, lamentabile dictu most people have come to accept homosexuality as OK or even normal; focus on that would be seen as homophobia and given a pass. Once the investigation gets going, defenders of the truth will need (prudence and skill) to make sure the real causes are exposed and not allowed to be left in place.

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  3. teomatteo says:

    “The cynic in me worries that the focus here on “minors” will obfuscate the real, core issue of most of the cases of abuse and of clerical sin: homosexuality.” —Fr Z.
    I just saw John Allen’s, Crux headline [New Advent], “Why Francis’s child protection summit may be the ,..”
    Fr Z. you are not a cynic.

  4. Katherine says:

    Of all the Catholic leadership available, why would Pope Francis select Archbishop William Lori to investigate the alleged homosexual activities of his brother bishop in West Virginia? Here is the answer:

  5. LeeGilbert says:

    Regarding The Book of Gomorrah, I see that it is endorsed by the emeritus archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Iniguez. Fine, but this seems rather thin. You would think many more bishops would be standing in line to endorse this book. Have they not been asked?

    In any case, once bishops become aware of it, surely they would want to buy up enough copies to distribute to the entire presbyterate at the next priests’ retreat, synod or convocation. Perhaps well-heeled readers of this blog would supply their ordinaries with enough copies to do just that . . . .

    For that matter, perhaps Pope Francis would be interested in a supply to distribute to the curia. Of course he would! Why ask? Just send him copies!

    St. Peter Damian, pray for us.
    Pope Leo IX, pray for us.

  6. Matthew says:

    The recent German report ( ) makes it clear that the problem is predominately homosexuals preying on others including children.

    My Diocese in Florida had that problem with a now retired bishop and all of the other diocese in Florida have the same problem. Homosexuality was (and perhaps still is) rampant at the seminary here.

    A good priest turns in a pervert priest showing little boys obscene pictures, the pervert is convicted of a felony and deported, but the good priest who helped the police convict the criminal pervert is shunned by his bishop, that is in Florida (–law/priest-takes-defamation-suit-with-diocese-palm-beach-high-court/1CVSaOA0Oeo4AwVXDaXOdM/ )

    The homosexualists and homosexuals will stop at nothing to spread their filth. Their actions are most assuredly demonic.

  7. Katherine says:

    And I just looked up the leadership of The Papal Foundation (from their annual report, 2017). There seems to be a common thread here:
    Donald Cardinal Wuerl
    Archbishop of Washington

    Blase Cardinal Cupich
    Archbishop of Chicago

    Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
    Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

    Timothy Cardinal Dolan
    Archbishop of New York

    Roger Cardinal Mahony
    Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles

    Adam Cardinal Maida
    Archbishop Emeritus of Detroit

    Theodore Cardinal McCarrick
    Archbishop Emeritus of Washington

    Sean Cardinal O’Malley
    Archbishop of Boston

    Justin Cardinal Rigali
    Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia

    Joseph Cardinal Tobin
    Archbishop of Newark

  8. maternalView says:

    Well the Holy Spirit isn’t going to let them get away with making it all about the children and not homosexuality. Homosexuality will be revealed for the evil it is. Homosexual relations between men seems to be the gateway to homosexual abuse of children.

    But you got to love those ancients! To the point and certainly not worried about feeeelings!

  9. HibernianFaithful says:

    Is the above include a good English translation?

  10. hwriggles4 says:

    First, kudos to my newer bishop, Bishop Edward Burns, for sticking his neck out asking for an Extraordinary Synod. Twenty other priests in my diocese (and the auxiliary bishop) signed the letter too. Dallas had its share of problems in the 70s and 80s- Kos and Peebles (don’t get me started on Peebles) should NEVER have swept through the cracks, and one of the priests who helped turn in Kos (I tactfully thanked him privately) was transferred out into the sticks for several years afterward. Later on, he got a parish within city limits.

    Second, I need to mention since Katherine brought it up that Wheeling is a suffragen diocese of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, where Lori is the current Archbishop. That’s why Lori is the Apostolic Administrator for Wheeling. Wilmington, Delaware is also a suffragen.

    Third, looks like more of the storm is coming down the pike.

    Fourth, I am interested in seeing numbers showing that since 2002, newer cases are <0.001. If seminarians showed up at certain formation houses after 2002 with SSA, quite a few seminarians would have tried to run them off.

  11. Katherine says:

    Well, thank you, hwriggles4. I lived for over 10 years in the Diocese of Richmond (Virginia) and did not know that was part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, along with West Virginia–clearly, high school & college was not the most Catholic time in my life. You learn something every day!

  12. MrsMacD says:

    I’m noticing a lot of these things that Pope Francis calls land on days that the Church contradicts his teachings.

  13. clare joseph says:

    I’m just wondering if it’s possible that planning the February meeting for those dates was intentional … ? It would not seem likely, given all our evidence … but perhaps ….

  14. WmHesch says:

    Hopefully this means he won’t have a Consistory for naming new Cardinals, traditionally held on or about 22 Feb

  15. arga says:

    You call it “irony” I call it the hand of God. This is truly remarkable. Not a coincidence.

  16. Marius2k4 says:

    I love the symbolism developing here:
    Current Cardinal Bishop of Velletri – SRE Card. Arinze
    Previous Cardinal Bishop of Ostia – SRE Card. Ratzinger

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  18. Hidden One says:

    This coming year it’s particularly appropriate that the two feast days of St. Peter Damian sandwich the Chair of Peter.

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