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Why did so many seek to revolutionize the Church in the 60s and 70s?
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | 2/23/2014 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 02/24/2014 2:34:59 AM PST by markomalley

In my college years I worked with a company that built and serviced pipe organs around the Washington DC area. During those years I probably entered some 300 different churches both Catholic and Protestant.

Of course, as a Catholic, I particularly loved going to the Catholic churches. I especially loved visiting the older city parishes that were built back before the revolution. I had grown up in the suburbs where almost every church was built after 1955, when church building took a decided turn for the worse: Ugly bland, beige buildings with carpeted floors and potted plants. A plain wooden table and two candlesticks for the altar, almost no statues not even a crucifix, but that strange 70s invention known as the resurrected Christ” was on the walls floating in midair with his hand extended. Maybe there was a cross behind him, maybe but he certainly wasn’t nailed to the cross.  “We are resurrection people” was inevitable response to those of us who wondered what ever happened to the very Catholic crucifix.

So there I was a young man in my early 20s toolbox in hand to tune and service a pipe organ. I would walk into one of those old city parishes, it’s soaring ceiling, more often than not it was ornately decorated with beautiful carved stations of the cross, stained-glass windows, beautiful high altars made of marble and carved wood,  statues and burning candles. You could even smell the candles and the incense.

Every now and again I’d walk into an old church and be gravely disappointed, someone had “wreckovated” it: painted its beautiful walls beige, demolished its altars,  turned its pews sideways sideways and carpeted its terrazzo floors. Such a tragedy I thought.

No one really taught me to think this way of preferring old churches. My parents were not all that traditional in terms of Catholicism. Somehow I just “felt” the magnificence of beauty in my bones. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that the human person is wired for beauty. Somehow we innately  appreciate symmetry, proportion, order and so forth.

Once we’ve seen beauty it’s hard to get it out of our system. Having grown up in the sterile suburbs and sterile suburban churches I was largely unaware of beautiful churches. Yet in my early 20s, as I walked into many of them, some of them with a faded glory,  so many of them wonderful to behold, I never got it out of my system. But of course, I’m not supposed to. Having seen beauty, I am meant to be drawn to it and to its beautiful message.

So in my mid 20s, my questions began to grow. What it happened? Why did we set aside such beauty? Why had we even destroyed some of the beautiful things we already had?

One day I asked an older priest why so much had been discarded by the priests of his time. I thought I’d get a straight answer from him, because he had been one of those priest who reveled in all things new, and come to regret that many wonderful things of been discarded and lost.

I paraphrase the answer he gave in the first person. May he rest in peace; he died some years ago. But I remember his words well and he said something like this:

I think I need to say, that we really thought we were doing the right thing. Many of us had grown greatly concerned that the Catholic Church was no longer able to speak to the modern age; an age that  was becoming increasingly sophisticated, scientific, etc. Increasing numbers of people had college degrees and demanded the faith speak to the intellectual and social issues of the day. But despite this need, we were still running churches that catered to a peasant and immigrant community. We were hunkered down in Catholic ghettos. The Catholic Church was increasingly identified with poor old immigrant women kneeling before statues, lighting candles, and fumbling beads. Yes, our schools were full, but our children weren’t being “prepared for the future.” It was thought to be a time that we had come of age in America. Science had reached new heights, there was talk of going to space, we had split the atom, computers and televisions were entering onto the scene.

Meanwhile in our churches we were chanting in ancient languages and reciting old formulas. Many of us desperately thought this had to change the church was ever survive and be able to speak to the modern age. It’s funny that we didn’t turn into our own intellectual tradition. St. Thomas, St. Anselm, St. Augustine, and so many wonderful Church Fathers and Doctors had developed a rigorous intellectual tradition in the Church. Even still, all this seem to us so old-fashioned.

A popular book from that time “A Catholic Priest Looks At His Outdated Church” articulated our many concerns for a Church that was out of touch for the modern world.

Regarding architecture, remember that Art Deco and other streamlined forms were very popular in the 50s. The phrase, “sleek and modern” comes to mind. Straight lines, and functional design were all the rage. But our churches pointed back to flourishes and excesses of what many people considered “myths” of a previous time. Why should we keep running to St. Blase to bless throats when modern medicine had more to offer? Did priests really have more to offer us by way of counsel than Sigmund Freud in other modern psychotherapist? Who needs exorcism when you have psychotherapy? Was not our time mumbling on beads better spent with social action?

Yes, we were desperately afraid that the Church was frozen in time, while the modern age was moving forward in light-speed.

So we thought we were doing the right thing. Updating was essential if the Church was to survive and be able to speak to the modern age. We started gutting and simplifying churches to make them look “sleek and modern.” We started demanding more vernacular in the liturgy and  celebration of the sacraments. English was common in the Sacraments long before Vatican II. Baptisms and weddings were conducted almost wholly in English as early as the 50s.

For most of us, changes like these couldn’t come fast enough. How could we appeal to the new young college “jet set,” those were going to school in the G.I. Bill, how could we ever appeal to a  young intellectual crowd while running old-fashioned peasant churches, reciting old myths, novenas, legends of the Saints, and catechetical formulas?

And so we ushered in our little revolution, convinced that we were doing the right thing, convinced that this would save the Church from irrelevance in the modern, scientific, intellectual and supposedly sophisticated age. 

Remember the times! We were building interstate highway system, we just introduced television, there were scientists in lab coats seen everywhere, and computers were entering on the scene. We were planning to go to the moon by the early 60s! Yes, we thought we had come with age. If it was old it was bad,  but if it was new it was good.

So, when the cry a “aggiornamento”  all went out, the foundation for this phrase had been laid more than a decade before. Whatever the Pope meant, most of us in the trenches heard that we had out with the old, in with the new!

That was Father’s answer to me. I appreciated it, first of all because I trusted him. He was no rebel. He had come to see many erroneous insights for what they were. But he did at least have this testimony, that many who undertook the revolutionary cry did not do so with malice. They thought they were doing well,  they thought they were doing good.

Let me be clear dear reader, I do not write these reflections as a complete repudiation of any updating or changes that occurred back in the 60s and 70s. Ecclesia semper reformanda. Yet most of us looking back on that time do not see a few minor updates, but a great rupture in the hermeneutic of continuity. And the rupture was about far more than art and architecture. It was about the shredding and scrapping of time test theological teachings in favor of trendy sociological and psychological substitutes, questionable moral theories, dubious Scriptural theories and the like. It was about open disobedience to liturgical norms and the casting aside of our spiritual traditions in favor of far Eastern and non-Christian philosophies and the like.

It is one thing to make necessary adjustments, for example as languages change, and our terms need adjusting. As new possibilities emerge for evangelization (such as the Internet and social media), we ought to use them.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen considered by most as a conservative was actually quite cutting edge as he exploited a new open-door called television. But he combined age-old wisdom with modern forms of communication.

Too many of us in the Church have not gotten this balance right and favoring the new, we discarded the old. Who are not like that wise man the Lord just praised: Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old. (Matt 13:52)

I do not argue here for a wholesale return to the “old days” or to an exclusively Latin Liturgy. My first concern remains those who demand we change our doctrine to suit the times. We cannot. Liturgy debates and changes permit some leeway. But not the doctrines and solemn moral teachings of the Church.

Even today, far too many in the Church who want to go on making the mistake described above by the older priest friend who spoke to me. How desperately they want the Church to adapt to the modern age, by discarding the received doctrine, tradition and wisdom of God. Too many would have us reflect the modern age, more than Christ. In order to be “welcoming” modern and sophisticated, they want the Church to succumb to worldly demands that we cave on many issues related to marriage, sexuality, life issues, and Church authority and governance. We cannot survive, they say, unless we make these sorts of changes.

Never mind that denominations that have done just this, such as the Episcopalians and many branches of the Lutherans and Methodist have suffered far worse declines than we. Still many go on that we must better reflect the modern “wisdom” and age in order to appeal to it.

But really, have we not learned at this point that seeking a reproachment  with the world only ends in the further erosion of the church and the ultimate impoverishment of the world. Our modern world is in a mess, and in darkness, because we have failed to be what we are supposed to be, a light in the midst of darkness, and the sign is often contradicted.

It is not the job of the Church to be popular, to reflect the thoughts of the times, or to parrot worldly “wisdom.” It is the job of the Church to reflect the views her founder and head Jesus Christ, who speaks  in the Scriptures and sacred Tradition he handed down to us. Is not our  job to be appealing, or even numerous. It is our work to proclaim that which is been received, whether in season or out of season.

In the past two weeks and the Sunday readings St. Paul has also hammered away at this theme. He calls us to remember that we live in a world that is arrayed against God’s wisdom, which mocks and ridicules it. If we are configured to Christ and his Cross, we will often be called fools. But as St. Paul writes, the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God.

Those who come to God’s house do not simply need another voice to parrot the same thing they hear from the news anchors and the talking heads or the intellectuals of the University. What the world needs and what every Catholic needs when they come into the Catholic Church is someone who speaks God’s wisdom. The world will often called this foolishness, call it out of touch, backward, intolerant, bigoted, homophobic; but we speak the wisdom of God. Perhaps then, to conclude, here are some reminders of what Paul has been teaching us in the sacred liturgy the last three weeks

  1. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Cor 1:18-25)
  2. Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” ; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about human leaders! (1 Cor 3:18-21)
  3. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Cor 3:27-29)


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: architecture; churchhistory; homosexualagenda; infiltration; lavendermafia; msgrcharlespope; religiousleft; sin

1 posted on 02/24/2014 2:35:00 AM PST by markomalley
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To: Biggirl; ConorMacNessa; Heart-Rest; Mercat; Mrs. Don-o; Nervous Tick; Rich21IE; RoadGumby; ...

Msgr Pope ping


2 posted on 02/24/2014 2:35:22 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley

Remember the “Jesus Freaks” of the early ‘70’s? LSD, magic mushrooms, mescaline, etc. can do weird things to people if consumed in mass quantities (no pun intended) often enough.

Better they became Jesus Freaks than go over the edge and end up like the Manson family...I think for most though, it eventually wore off but they retained the most positive aspects of those experiences.

Whatever the outcome, they were on a slippery slope because playing with those kinds of drugs is like playing with psychological fire.


3 posted on 02/24/2014 2:48:48 AM PST by equaviator (There's nothing like the universe to bring you down to earth.)
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To: markomalley
As a non-Catholic, I will voice my appreciation for Catholic cathedrals.

The author touched on, but didn't develop the smell of an old cathedral

Probably most arresting is the ever so faint aroma of the benediction incense.

The olfactory sense is one of the most powerful and least appreciated (imo) of the five and as we can all attest to the smell of a new car, only one attending since childhood can appreciate the smell of incense in a Catholic church ... but mainly (again, imo) the larger and more ornate cathedrals.

I think all those archetectural nooks and crannys just have a way of capturing and preserving odor ... almost like ... the walls have noses (as opposed to ears)


I grew up in Holy Name Church and, (reference the building near the end) though I haven't set foot in the building in about 50 years, I'll just BET'cha there's a smell in that building that may bring tears to my eyes.

Please do not misunderstand, I am referring to a building, not a liturgical doctrine.

4 posted on 02/24/2014 3:06:40 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: markomalley
It is not the job of the Church to be popular, to reflect the thoughts of the times, or to parrot worldly “wisdom.” It is the job of the Church to reflect the views her founder and head Jesus Christ, who speaks in the Scriptures and sacred Tradition he handed down to us. Is not our job to be appealing, or even numerous. It is our work to proclaim that which is been received, whether in season or out of season.

As a Catholic I can say that sums it up nicely.

5 posted on 02/24/2014 3:27:58 AM PST by Jed Eckert (Wolverines!!)
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To: knarf
Probably most arresting is the ever so faint aroma of the benediction incense.

That, and the subtle smell of beeswax.

6 posted on 02/24/2014 3:29:14 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley

Contemplating this whole subject ... I hope I get an opportunity to visit before I die.


7 posted on 02/24/2014 3:41:45 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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bump


8 posted on 02/24/2014 4:06:51 AM PST by foreverfree
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To: markomalley

Homosexuals actively infiltrated the Catholic Church-mostly through Georgetown- in order to bring it down from within. Part of the Cloward Pivin strategy.


9 posted on 02/24/2014 4:56:34 AM PST by MattinNJ (It's over Johnny. The America you knew is gone. Denial serves no purpose.)
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To: markomalley

The invention of the traveling mic.


10 posted on 02/24/2014 4:58:07 AM PST by Oratam
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To: markomalley
How can they be blamed for following marching orders? Those of us who remain blind to the wonderful fruits of the revolution are apparently suffering from an unfortunate lack of discernment.

"...A rich harvest

The harvest of Vatican II is impressive. Often people have forgotten what happened and how much was achieved in practice. So many things are now just taken for granted as common that the faithful are not even aware that such a sensitive change was due to the council.

But if one would make a list of all the fruits of Vatican II, one would see how greatly the Council has changed and renewed the Church..."

http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=21284

11 posted on 02/24/2014 7:42:36 AM PST by BlatherNaut
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To: markomalley

I recall reading many years ago an author’s theory that much of the change throughout the Protestant world came about because of the Vietnam War. Young men of draft age found they could avoid military service by enrolling in divinity school. Once finished, these same men discovered they could use their respective churches as power bases from which to continue their original social and political activism and rebellion.

So, over the process of time, these religious leaders moved their churches from theology to social activism and social justice issues.


12 posted on 02/24/2014 7:53:21 AM PST by caseinpoint (Don't get thickly involved in thin things.)
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To: markomalley
I love yesterday's reading:

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.


13 posted on 02/24/2014 8:20:11 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Obamacare: You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.)
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To: caseinpoint

There were easier ways to deal with the draft than to become a Christian minister for life.

The Mormon church though, did get to hand out their own deferments, for instance they sent Mitt Romney to France.


14 posted on 02/24/2014 11:38:47 AM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
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To: ansel12

“There were easier ways to deal with the draft than to become a Christian minister for life.”

The author I read didn’t intimate the ministers enrolling in divinity school intended to make the ministry a career goal. It was a way to wait out the draft. But then some discovered that churches could be a ready-made power base for continued activism. Not saying all or even most were like that, by any means.

Romney would have served a two-year mission and while some may have used it to avoid the draft, two years is a lot less than four years plus graduate studies in divinity school.


15 posted on 02/24/2014 11:49:35 AM PST by caseinpoint (Don't get thickly involved in thin things.)
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To: caseinpoint

There were easier ways for someone who probably wasn’t very religious to avoid military service, I was involved in that era, including with draft issues and resistance, I never personally heard of of an anti-military guy wanting to become a minister, as an escape, years of divinity school was not exactly appealing to most draft dodger types.

Romney continued to avoid the draft as his father ran for the presidency, no man in Romney’s direct line, has ever served the United States in the military, no draft, no war, no patriotism, nothing, has gotten one to do his duty during their more than 170 years history here.


16 posted on 02/24/2014 12:18:56 PM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
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To: markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; ...

Ping!


17 posted on 02/24/2014 1:42:02 PM PST by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: MattinNJ

Homosexuals actively infiltrated the Catholic Church-mostly through Georgetown- in order to bring it down from within. Part of the Cloward Pivin strategy.

_________________________________________

That strategy emmanates from much much further below.

;-o


18 posted on 02/24/2014 2:24:36 PM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: SumProVita; MattinNJ

When you say ‘infiltrate’ instead of ‘attracted to’, think of what you are trying to sell as a conspiracy.

It just isn’t rational to think that there was a conspiracy of many young men to devote their entire lives to the Priesthood of the Catholic church, just on the off chance, that at some time before they die of old age, someone will discover them individually involved in homosexual practices at sometime, somewhere.


19 posted on 02/24/2014 3:10:02 PM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
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To: ansel12

You don’t think Satan is capable of such a conspiracy?


20 posted on 02/25/2014 9:09:14 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: MattinNJ

I meant to address post #20 to you as well.


21 posted on 02/25/2014 9:11:10 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: SumProVita

You don’t think the structure and culture of the leadership of the Catholic church could be a natural magnet to males who are attracted to a life of avoiding and excluding females and any role involving companionship with their sex, even as fathers or husbands?
Doesn’t common sense reveal that many males who are attracted to males and repulsed by females, yet who have strong religious feelings, that some who are trying to overcome internal conflict, may be drawn to that culture and life long alliance, (and identity) with varying capabilities of adhering to the vows of chastity for life?


22 posted on 02/25/2014 11:20:49 AM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
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To: ansel12

...could be a natural magnet...

____________________________________

In part it could be, but that does not diminish my response as to WHO is behind all of it. Also, look at the numbers of pedophiles attracted to non-Catholic denominations or to the public school environment. The problem of impure sex can be found everywhere...particularly in the current culture. It feeds the notion that people cannot really exercise self-control. That’s why faithful Catholics take vows sincerely and request the virtue of chastity, whether married or single.

I DO think the Church was infiltrated but exactly because it is a prime focus of Satan’s hatred. He also hates families.
The evidence of that hatred is all around us.

As for individual motives...they can be as varied as those individuals...but Satan and his minions encourage their decisions.

Satan has been quite deft in his ability to convince our current culture that SIN is a primitive concept or he merely distracts us from thinking about it by offering other entertainments.


23 posted on 02/25/2014 4:23:54 PM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: SumProVita

There is only one denomination famous for homosexual sex, and that was what I was writing about in post 22, Catholic leadership doesn’t have an unusually high incidence of falling for the female organist, or falling in love with a female parishioner, they are known for male on male relationships.


24 posted on 02/25/2014 4:38:42 PM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
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To: ansel12

If true, it must mean that Satan REALLY hates the Catholic Church more than any other Christian group.


25 posted on 02/26/2014 7:59:03 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: SumProVita

You should read posts 22 and 24.

Satan hates all Christian churches, but the men of the Catholic denomination have created a unique culture that is always going to have issues with it’s sexual problems, being mostly male on male lust.


26 posted on 02/26/2014 12:03:57 PM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
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To: ansel12

...but the men of the Catholic denomination have created a unique culture that is always going to have issues with it’s (sic) sexual problems,...

________________________________________

Learning the facts about the Catholic Church is a wonderful way to grow in wisdom.

http://catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0011.html


27 posted on 02/26/2014 12:39:39 PM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: ansel12

There is only one denomination famous for homosexual sex.

________________________

Thanks to our wonderful, free and just press who always seek truth./sarc

Satan’s minions are thrilled with their work.


28 posted on 02/26/2014 12:41:57 PM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: SumProVita

It isn’t honest to distort truth, this is what I actually posted, “” but the men of the Catholic denomination have created a unique culture that is always going to have issues with it’s sexual problems, being mostly male on male lust.””

You tried to turn it into something totally different, all walks of life will have trouble with sex issues, but only the Catholic denomination’s leadership is identified not with lusting for women as a problem, but mostly with lusting for males.


29 posted on 02/26/2014 1:17:15 PM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
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To: ansel12

Key word for why I posted what I did: famous

I did not intend to nor did I distort anything.
What facts most interested you via the link that I gave?


30 posted on 02/26/2014 2:39:27 PM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: SumProVita

The Catholic leadership is famous for homosexual scandals.

When people hear about a church sex scandal, they think of a man and a woman, unless the word Priest or Catholic is used, then they think of male on male sex.


31 posted on 02/26/2014 3:05:20 PM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
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To: ansel12

I’m sure the fact that most priests are not married couldn’t be a factor in that./sarc

Again, which fact most interested you from those in the article I linked for you?


32 posted on 02/26/2014 3:23:44 PM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo....Sum Pro Vita - Modified Descartes)
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To: SumProVita

Post 22 explains it, as far as other articles, if I want to comment on an article somewhere else, I will.

Remember my original post correcting you.

To: SumProVita; MattinNJ
When you say ‘infiltrate’ instead of ‘attracted to’, think of what you are trying to sell as a conspiracy.

It just isn’t rational to think that there was a conspiracy of many young men to devote their entire lives to the Priesthood of the Catholic church, just on the off chance, that at some time before they die of old age, someone will discover them individually involved in homosexual practices at sometime, somewhere.

19 posted on 2/24/2014 3:10:02 PM by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee — JFK told me that “he was all for people’s solving their problems by abortion”.)


33 posted on 02/26/2014 3:33:50 PM PST by ansel12 (Ben Bradlee -- JFK told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
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