Today I posted elsewhere something I wrote about before: Moral Injury.
I originally wrote about Moral Injury because I had also, previously, written about how bishops use “psychological evaluation” – the Psych Strike Gambit – against priests to remove them as annoyances and to intimidate others.
There seems to be a pattern. A bishop calls in a priest about whom there has been some complaint: he seems aloof; he could have issues with women in ministry; he is trying to “turn the clock back”; he moved a chair in the sanctuary; etc. The bishop says that he wants Father to go to a place like St. Luke’s in Maryland for evaluation. The priest goes. He is there for a week or so. At the end of the stay, he is told that there doesn’t seem to be much wrong with him. He goes home thinking that that is the end of it.
But wait. There’s always more.
A while later the bishop calls the priest in and tells him that he received an evaluation letter saying that he has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, or some such. He is told that if he doesn’t go, he will be suspended. The priest obeys and goes.
Once the priest is there, all his means of communication are taken away and the drugs and therapies begin. He gets some communication means back later. He thinks he will be there for a couple months. Then they hit him with it: “Oh no, you will be here for 6 months or more.” By the time he leaves, he is different.
As an interesting note, I’ve been told by someone who endured this process that many if not most of the priests in treatment are conservative. Curious, that.
My Augustinian training pushes me to imagine conversations between bishops gathered in their hotel rooms at a meeting of the USCCB.
Over the tinkle of ice in the glass, one says,
“Hey Bill! You said you had one of those guys who wants to say the Latin Mass. Well, over at Libville Fatty McButterpants took care of the whole problem by forcing one of them to go in for evaluation at St. Luke’s. I gave it a try too.”
“How did it go?”
“Well, the first evaluation letter seemed a little thin, if you get my drift. But after a couple of calls I got one that made it possible for me to call the kid in and bring down the hammer. He’s off for at least a half a year and the rest are scared ****less.”
“What does it cost?”
“Well, yah, it’s expensive. Really expensive. But it’s worth every penny to get rid of these guys. Hey, can I top you up?”
It’s an old technique, of course, one used by Communists. Anyone who deviated from the Party line must be psychologically sick. Dissent is a psychiatric problem. If you don’t agree with, say, every title or jot of the spirit of Vatican II or Traditionis custodes you have a mental disorder. Perhaps you have “sluggish schizophrenia” as the Soviets called it… maybe the symptoms aren’t showing themselves now… but one day they will.
“Father, you’ve been diagnosed as having a ‘borderline’ condition, stemming from your ‘anger issues’.”
Deviants from the Party line are in need of treatment. Hence, they get to sojourn at the Church’s equivalent of Lubyanka.
Today I read at Catholic World Report that a priest in Costa Rica is getting the treatment.
Costa Rican priest suspended, sent for psychological treatment for celebrating Latin Novus Ordo
A Costa Rican priest says he has been suspended, removed from his parish, and sent to psychological treatment by his bishop who is angry with him for celebrating the reformed liturgy in Latin and ad orientem.
Fr. Sixto Eduardo Varela Santamaría, who until very recently was the Chancellor of the Diocese of Alajuela, had been celebrating the Mass since 2019 for a community of hundreds of faithful who are devoted to the Catholic Church’s traditional Roman rite, known popularly as the “Tridentine Mass.” The liturgies were celebrated at the parish of San Jose, of which he was a pastor, with the blessing of his bishop.
Fr. Varela and other members of the faithful say that the priest obeyed his bishop’s refusal to grant him permission to continue celebrating the pre-reform “Tridentine” mass, but exercised his right under canon law to celebrate the reformed or “Novus Ordo” mass in Latin, stoking the ire of his prelate and leading to his ouster.
The removal of Fr. Varela leaves hundreds of devotees of the traditional liturgy in Costa Rica without a pastor and without the traditional sacraments.
The country’s episcopal conference declared a total ban on the ancient liturgy last month in response to Pope Francis’ recent letter Traditiones custodes, which imposes restrictions on the traditional rites but does not require their prohibition. However, the bishops also prohibited any practices “proper” to the pre-1970 liturgy, which appears to include the use of Latin as well as the custom of the priest facing the altar with the people. The Church’s ancient repertoire of Gregorian Chant would also be swept away in such a prohibition.
In an audio recording sent to his former parishioners and obtained by Catholic World Report, Fr. Varela said he has been sent to live with his parents for a half-year “sabbatical”, and has been prohibited from celebrating the sacraments in public. He added that his bishop, Bartolomé Buigues, will also be sending him to a clinic in Mexico that gives “psychological” and “medical” care.
“I’ll be going to Mexico for three months to an institute that the bishop has designated so that they can accompany me spiritually, psychologically, and medically – at least that is what the page says of this institute, which is run by the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit,” said Fr. Varela.
There’s more to it, of course. For example, Fr. Varela has been admonished before…
In 2016, he made headlines in the secular media when he refused to allow a practicing homosexual to act as a godparent in a baptism, applying a rule that has existed in the Church for many centuries, which requires baptism sponsors to be a good example to their godchildren. Although he received no public punishment for his stand, he was condemned strongly by pro-LGBT parliamentarians, and seems to have received no public defense from he episcopal hierarchy.
However, in 2018, Fr. Varela was openly condemned by the bishops’ conference of Costa Rica when he accused the country’s president and other public officials of being “disguised atheists” following their support for the legalization of abortion and homosexual marriage. Despite the president’s anti-Christian stance on such issues, he and other government officials continued to attend the Mass in public and to be given Holy Communion.