Skip to comments.St. Peter Damian : The Book of Gomorrah (Part 2)
Posted on 07/09/2002 5:38:39 PM PDT by Dajjal
Click here for Part One of "St. Peter Damian's Book of Gomorrah" by Randy Engel
St. Peter Damian's Book of Gomorrah
A Moral Blueprint for Our Times
by Randy Engel
Editor's Note: CFN has asked Randy Engel to help clarify the basic issues surrounding clerical pederasty and homosexuality in the Church today. She has studied and researched the homosexual network in the Catholic priesthood and religious life for more than thirteen years and we believe that her commentary based on the works of the 11th Century Italian monk St. Peter Damian will help put the current crisis into a proper perspective for our readers. A December 2003 date has been set for her latest book The Rite of Sodomy-----Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church. JV
Pope Leo IX
The Precursor of Gregorian Reform
Before describing the reception that St. Peter Damian's treatise on sodomy received at the papal court of Leo IX, I think it helpful to briefly examine the early life of this extraordinary Pope, the precursor to the great Hildebrand reform in the Catholic Church.
Unlike Peter Damian, Bruno entered the world under much more favorable emotional and material circumstances than those of the holy monk. He was born at Egisheim, near the border of Alsace on June 21, 1002. At the age of five, his influential, loving and pious parents committed him to the care of the energetic Berthold, Bishop of Toul, who had a school for the sons of the nobility. The future Pope's principal biographer and intimate friend, Wilbert, records that the youth was handsome, intelligent, virtuous and kindly in disposition, a description which later manifested itself in the distinguishing title given him when he served as chaplain at the imperial court-----"the good Bruno." 
In 1027, Bruno became Bishop of Toul, the frontier town of his youth, that was now plagued both by war and famine, and remained at this rather obscure See for more than twenty years until his ascendancy to the Chair of Peter on February 12, 1049.
When the saintly Bruno, after his election at Worms, entered Rome dressed humbly in a friar's robe and barefooted, he was greeted by a cheering populace who acclaimed with one voice that they would have no other but Bruno as their new Pope. Little wonder as under the on-again off-again reign of the dissolute Benedict IX [1032-1044, 1045, 1047-1048] the papacy had fallen into serious disrepute. Bruno's predecessor, Damasus II, the Bishop of Brixen, had died of malaria after only twenty days in office. 
Like any pontiff set on reforming abuses within the Church, Pope Leo IX immediately surrounded himself with like-minded virtuous and able clerics including the remarkable Benedictine, Hildebrand of Tuscany, the future Pope Gregory VII, one of the greatest Popes of the Church.  In 1049, the Pope appointed Hildebrand administrator of the Patrimony of St. Peter's [Vatican finances] and made him promisor of the monastery of St. Paul extra Mucros which had fallen into moral and physical ruin. "Monastic discipline was so impaired that the monks were attended in their refectory by women; and the sacred edifices were so neglected that the sheep and cattle freely roamed in and out through the broken doors."  Deplorable conditions indeed.
Only four months after coming into the Chair of Peter, the new Pope held a synod to condemn the two notorious evils of the day-----simony, the buying, selling or exchange of ecclesiastical favors, offices, annulments and other spiritual considerations and clerical sexual incontinence, including concubinage [permanent or long-standing cohabitation] and sodomy. Immediately following the April synod, Leo IX began his journeys through Europe to carry out his message of reform. In May 1049, he held a council of reform in Pavia, which was followed by visits and councils in Cologne, Reims [many decrees of reform were issued here] and Mainz before returning to Rome in January, 1050.  It was during this period that Damian brought his treatise on sodomy to the attention of the Holy Father.
Pope Leo IX Gives His Ruling on Clerical Sodomy
The approximate date that Damian delivered the Book of Gomorrah to Pope Leo IX is generally held to be the second half of the first year of the pontiff's reign, i.e., mid-l049, although some writers put the date as late as 1051. We do know, absolutely, that the Pope did respond to Damian's concerns, as that response in the form of a lengthy letter [JL 4311; ItPont 4.94f., no.2] is generally attached to manuscripts of the work. 
Pope Leo IX opens his letter to "his beloved son in Christ, Peter the hermit," with warm salutations and a recognition of Damian's pure, upright and zealous character. He agrees with Damian that clerics, caught up in the "execrable vice" of sodomy". . . verily and most assuredly will have no share in his inheritance, from which by their voluptuous pleasures they have withdrawn. . . Such clerics, indeed profess, if not in words, at least by the evidence of their actions, that they are not what they are thought to be," he declares. 
Reiterating the category of the four forms of sodomy which Damian lists,  the Holy Father declares that it is proper that by "our apostolic authority" we intervene in the matter so that "all anxiety and doubt be removed from the minds of your readers". 
"So let it be certain and evident to all that we are in agreement with everything your book contains, opposed as it is like water to the fire of the devil," the Pope continues. "Therefore, lest the wantonness of this foul impurity be allowed to spread unpunished, it must be repelled by proper repressive action of apostolic severity, and yet some moderation must be placed on its harshness," he states. 
Next, Pope Leo IX gives a detailed explanation of the Holy See's authoritative ruling on the matter.
In light of Divine mercy, the Holy Father commands, without contradiction, that those who, of their own free will, have practiced solitary or mutual masturbation or defiled themselves by interfemoral coitus, but who have not done so for any length of time, nor with many others, shall retain their status, after having "curbed their desires" and "atoned for their infamous deeds with proper repentance". 
However, the Holy See removes all hope for retaining their clerical status from those who alone or with others for a long time, or even a short period with many, "have defiled themselves by either of the two kinds of filthiness which you have described, or, which is horrible to hear or speak of, have sunk to the level of anal intercourse." 
He warns potential critics, that those who dare to criticize or attack the apostolic ruling stand in danger of losing their rank. And so as to make it clear to whom this warning is directed, the Pope immediately adds, "For he who does not attack vice, but deals with it lightly, is rightly judged to be guilty of his death, along with the one who dies in sin." 
Pope Leo IX praises Damian for teaching by example and not mere words, and concludes his letter with the beautiful hope that when, with God's help, the monk reaches his Heavenly abode, he may reap his rewards and be crowned," . . . in a sense, with all those who were snatched by you from the snares of the devil." 
Differences on the Matter of Discipline
Clearly, on the objective immorality of sodomical acts, both Damian and Pope Leo IX were in perfect accord with one another. However, in terms of Church discipline, the Pope appears to have taken exception with Damian's appeal for the wholesale deposition of all clerics who commit sodomical acts. I say, appears, because I believe that even in the matter of punishing known clerical offenders, both men were more in agreement than not.
Certainly, Damian, who was renown for his exemplary spiritual direction of the novitiates and monks entrusted to his care, was not unaware of certain mitigating circumstances that would diminish if not totally remove the culpability of individuals charged with the crime of sodomy.
For example, as with certain clerical sex abuse cases that have come to light today involving the Society of St. John and the Legionaries of Christ, which the Holy See has yet to investigate, some novices or monks may have been forced or pressured by their superiors to commit such acts. No doubt, it is circumstances such as these that prompted Pope Leo IX to use the term, "who of his own free will" in describing a cleric guilty of sodomy.  Also among the four varieties of sodomy Damian discusses in his treatise, he states that interfemoral and anal coitus are to be judged more serious than solitary or mutual masturbation. 
All in all, what this writer found to be most remarkable about the Pope's letter to Damian, was the absolutist position Pope Leo IX took concerning the ultimate responsibility of the offending cleric's bishop or religious superior. If the latter criticized or attacked this apostolic decree, he risked losing HIS rank! Prelates who fail to "attack vice, but deal lightly with it," share the guilt and sentence of the one who dies in sin, the Pope declared. 
Damian's Contemporaries React to the Treatise
Considering the utterly deplorable state of the secular clergy and monastic life during the 10th and 11th Centuries, I think we can say, without contradiction, that the publication of the Book of Gomorrah must have sent shock waves throughout the Church.
Leslie Toke, whose biography of St. Peter Damian appears in New Advent, confirms that his work "caused a great stir and aroused not a little enmity against its author". Toke conjectures that "Even the Pope, who had at first praised the work, was persuaded that it was exaggerated and his coldness drew from Damian a vigorous letter of protest."  I do not agree with this latter assessment, that Damian's treatise proved to be controversial and unwelcome especially among superiors and members of the hierarchy who were sodomizing their "spiritual sons" or those with bad consciences resulting from an inability or an unwillingness to exercise their authority in severely disciplining offending clerics or monks, is not surprising.
But as to the charge that the holy monk was guilty of exaggerating the seriousness and extent of sodomy among the secular clergy and monks not only in his region but also in the Church at large, I believe that charge to be false.
We know, for example, that among the first actions taken by Pope Leo IX at the Council of Reims in 1049 was the passage of a Canon against sodomy [de sodomuico vitio]. 
Also, the probability that Damian was, in fact, speaking the full truth concerning the extent of this plague in the Church can be discerned from the fact, that in June, 1055, during the pontificate of Victor II [1055-1057], Damian was in attendance at a synod held at Florence, where simony and clerical incontinence were once more condemned. 
Certainly, Damian's reputation and credibility was not diminished in the minds of the great and holy men of his day by either the writing or the publication of his treatise on sodomy. Pope Leo IX and future Popes continued to seek out his services and advice including Pope Nicholas II [1059-1061] and Pope Gregory VII [1073-1085]. Also, Pope Stephen X [1057-1058] made Damian a Cardinal in 1057 and consecrated him Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia and appointed him administrator of the Diocese of Gubbio.
Toke noted that although no formal canonization ever took place, Damian was revered as a Saint. at the time of his death on February 22, 1072. Toke states that his cultus has existed since then at the monastery of Faenza; at the desert hermitage of Fonte-Avellana, at the great abbey of Monte Cassino, and at Hildebrand's Benedictine monastery at Cluny. In 1823, Pope Leo XII extended his feast [Feb. 23] to the whole Church and pronounced St. Peter Damian a Doctor of the Church. The Saint is usually depicted as a Cardinal bearing a discipline [a pentitential exercise] in his hand or as a pilgrim holding a papal Bull, to signify his many papal missions. 
Homosexuality in Religious Life Today:
The Dominican Model
By way of comparing the views of St. Peter Damian on the Vice of sodomy in clerical and monastic ranks with the modern post-Vatican II View on homosexuality, I have selected a Lenten Letter titled, "The Promise of Life,'" by Father Timothy Radcliffe.  Radcliffe, the Master of the Dominican Order, issued his message on February 25, Ash Wednesday 1998. The English-born aristocrat was elected in 1992 to serve a nine-year term and was residing at the Santa Sabina priory at Rome, when the letter was issued and subsequently posted on the Vatican's web site, which is where I first read it.
In light of the major homosexual scandals that have plagued the priesthood and religious life worldwide, I was interested to see if Father Radcliffe would discuss the issue of homosexuality in Dominican ranks. He did-----both directly and indirectly.
The first indirect reference to homosexuality was Radcliffe's quoting of American Dominican and writer Donald Goergen, OP on the subject of celibacy. The quote reads: "Celibacy does not witness to anything. But celibates do. We witness to the Kingdom if we are seen to be people whose chastity liberates us for life." 
My first thought when I read the Goergen quote was, why, of all the Dominicans he could have chosen to quote on celibacy, did Radcliffe choose a man whose personal and private life has been distinguished by an open and long-term advocacy and financial support of clerical homosexuality.
Father Goergen, who is currently living with the "Friends of God," a Hindu-styled Dominican Ashram in Kenosha, Wisconsin, began his early claim to infamy with the publication of his book The Sexual Celibate in 1974. 
Based on notes from lectures given to Dominican seminarians, Goergen's homosexual apologia speaks of "healthy homosexuality," promotes the homosexual "continuum" theories of the predatory homosexual and bisexual Alfred Kinsey, decries the "disease" of "homophobia," defines homosexuality according to the Gay Manifesto as "the capacity to love someone of the same sex," holds the door open for homosexual 'unions' by stating that, "genital activity should be the expression of a permanent relationship which involves fidelity," states that "so-called traditional Christian attitudes towards homosexuality are beginning to change," claims that "homosexuality can exist in healthy, Christian and graced forms," defends masturbation as being a genital activity that is "not bad, not unhealthy, not harmful, not immoral, "even for a celibate," and then gives the sodomical coup de grace by attacking the perpetual virginity of Our Lady. 
Goergen's connections to the homosexual network in the Church go back many years. In Rev. Enrique T. Rueda's 1982 classic expose, The Homosexual Network, Goergen gets three dishonorable mentions for his advocacy of. homosexuality.  He was also an early financial supporter of Communication Ministry, Inc., "an underground 'ministry' for lesbian nuns and gay clergy and religious." 
Soon after his election in 1985 as Provincial Superior to the St. Albert the Great Central Province, Goergen, a devotee of Teilhard de Chardin, began his search-and destroy operation against many of the faithful and nationally outstanding Dominicans in St. Albert the Great Province including Father Charles Fiore, Father John O'Connor and the tradi tionalist Dominicans teaching at Fenwick High School. The River Forest Priory was transformed into a homosexual 'safe house' for other clerical perverts. 
This action is in stark contrast to the protection the young turk Goergen offered to the notorious Father Matthew "Creation Spirituality" Fox, champion of "lust," "sexual mysticism," and homosexuality as "the first gift of the Cosmic Christ".  In 1988, when the Holy See finally insisted that Fox be removed and silenced in order to finally halt the spread of his errors, Fox received an all expense one-year sabbatical during which he continued his heretical tirades.  Even after Fox left the Dominican Order and the Church to become an Episcopal 'priest' in California, Goergen continued to defend Fox's heterodox views on faith and morals.
So again I ask, why would Radcliffe quote Goergen on any subject, most especially clerical celibacy?
The answer I believe lies in the second of Goergen's quotes, cited by Radcliffe in "The Promise of Life" in which Goergen espouses the familiar litany of the Left, almost identical to that espoused by Fox:
"If I partake of consumer society, defend capitalism, tolerate machismo, believe that Western society is superior to others, and am sexually abstinent, I am simply witnessing to that for which we stand: capitalism, sexism, Western arrogance, and sexual abstinence. The latter is hardly deeply meaningful and understandably questioned."  For many bishops and religious superiors like Radcliffe, a seminarian's or priest's homosexual activities and advocacy can be overlooked as long as the offending priest adheres to the gospel of Liberalism. It is not until a diocese or religious order is hit with catastrophic lawsuits related to the criminal sex abuse of underage young boys and young men, including seminarians and religious novices, by homosexual clerics, that the former have a second thought about the policy of accepting and ordaining homosexuals to the priesthood and religious life. Radcliffe on Homosexual Clerics and the Homosexual "Sub-Culture"
However, in the case of Radcliffe, it appears that the pressure of pederast lawsuits against offending Dominicans worldwide had not yet reached critical mass in 1998. Indeed, in the paragraph titled "Communities of Hope," just preceding his statement on the acceptance of homosexual candidates into the Order, the Master General insists that, "Our communities must be places in which there is no accusation, '. . . the accuser of our brethren is cast forth . . .' " (Apoc. 12: 10)  Positioned at it is, just before his support for homosexual candidates and homosexual members of the Order, one might easily interpret his comment as a warning against in-house 'whistleblowers' who reveal clerical sexual misconduct and criminal acts by their fellow Dominicans to their superiors or to public authorities and law enforcement officers.
Getting to the specific issue of "Community and Sexual Orientation," the Master General begins with the statement that various cultures react differently to "the admission of people of homosexual orientation to religious life," with some holding it to be "virtually unthinkable," while others accept it "without question." 
Frankly, outside of ancient cultures that practice certain pagan rites or followed certain gnostic doctrines, I have not run across any peoples that accept "without question" men who unnaturally lust after other men-----whatever their role in the community. But even if such a culture existed in modern times, its beliefs should not matter a hill of beans to the universal head of the Dominican Order whose sole concern, one would think, would be what Christ, His Saints [including St. Dominic] and His Church teaches on the matter of homosexuality. And that teaching is clear-----from the time of the Apostles-----for a man to lust after and desire another man is perverse and acting on that unnatural desire and lust is an abomination in the eyes of God.
In any case, Radcliffe tells his fellow Dominicans not to worry about the matter of sexual orientation. "It is not for us to tell God whom He may or may not call to religious life," he states. And besides, he adds, the General Chapter or Caleruega, after much debate, affirmed that "the same demands of chastity apply to all brethren of whatever sexual orientation, and so no one can be excluded on this ground." 
The actual text from the Acts of the General Chapter of Diffinitors of the Order of Friars Preachers meeting from July 17-August 8, 1995 at Caleruega, Spain [the birthplace of. St. Dominic] reads:
". . . as a radical demand, the vow of chastity is equally binding on homosexuals and heterosexuals. Hence, no sexual orientation is a priori incompatible with the call to chastity and the fraternal life." (emphasis added) 
[Note: The above reference to "no sexual orientation" is an extremely sophisticated turn-of-words that leaves the door open for lesbianism, transvestitism, transsexualism, pederasty, pedophilia, sado/masochism and other sexual perversions. The fact that the worldwide Dominican leadership permitted such a statement to be incorporated into an official pronouncement of the Order demonstrates in a concrete manner the degree to which the Dominicans are now controlled by the homosexualists and their minions.]
Radcliffe concludes his segment on "sexual orientation" with words of compassion for his Dominican homosexual brethren, but he warns the emergence "of any subgroups within a community, based on sexual orientation, would be highly divisive," and "threaten the unity of the community," and "make it harder for the brethren to practice the chastity that he has vowed." 
Dioceses also Accept 'Gays' as Candidates for the Priesthood
I think it is quite obvious that the above official directive of the Dominican Order, as promulgated at the 1995 Caleruega meeting, represents a radical departure from traditional Church teachings on the necessity of scrupulous screening of, and vetting out of men and women with perverse sexual inclinations as candidates for the priesthood or religious life.
The Dominicans, how ever, along with other religious orders such as the Salvatorians, Paulists, Jesuits, and Christian Brothers to name but a few, are not alone in adopting pro-homosexual screening and ordination policies. Virtually all dioceses have a similar policy.
For example, as recently as April 28, 2002, the Baltimore Sun ran a story titled "Future priests vow to make a difference," in which Rev. Gerard C. Francik, the Baltimore Archdiocesan director of vocations told staff reporter John Rivera that the fact a man is 'gay' does not, in itself, disqualify him from entering the seminary as the Church condemns homosexual acts not homosexual orientation.
Francik says he asks candidates for the priesthood if they are 'gay' but is more interested In knowing: "Are they celibate and how long have they been celibate, to see if they can live this kind of lifestyle [vocation?] and be happy." 
Along similar lines, Bishop Joseph Adamec of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in Pennsylvania, rife with active homosexual clergy, told reporters on May 6, 2002 that although some Roman Catholic dioceses screen out would-be priests because of 'gay' sexual orientation, his diocese did not, since a seminarian was expected to keep his vow of celibacy after he was ordained. 
U.S. Bishops Violate 1961 Vatican Directive
In March of this year, Catholic News Service [CNS] revealed what must be one of the all time best kept secrets of the American Church.
In a wire-service release titled, "Vatican to Enforce 1961 Document Banning Homosexual Priests and Religious," CNS revealed that in 1961, under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, a directive was issued by the then-Sacred Congregation for Religious reiterating the Church's opposition to the ordination of homosexual priests and religious.  The document which was sent to all Ordinaries in the United States reads in part: "Those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination."  Readers will note the words "perverse" and "inclination" [not just acts] and the significant pairing of homosexuality with pederasty. The Holy Office under the indefatigable Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani was certainly on the right track.
Unfortunately, while the 1961 document notes that "the community-life and priestly ministry would constitute a 'grave danger' or temptation for these people [i.e., homosexuals and pederasts] it does not appear to recognize the 'grave danger' that such individuals pose to the priesthood, the religious life and the Catholic faithful including the young, the mentally retarded, and seminary students and other clerical homosexual targets". 
Since this writer has been unable to obtain a copy of the 1961 document from what is now called the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome, it has been necessary to depend on the above CNS report for details on its content. It appears however that the document contained no specific oversight regulations to insure its enforcement and was not well publicized in the Catholic press. Rather, CNS explains, the implementation of the directive was left to the "prudence" of local bishops and heads of religious orders,-----a combination that has proved to be a prescription for disaster in the modern Church. 
Vatican Formulating New Directives
According to the same CNS report, while the Holy See is currently scrambling to get a handle on the immediate issue of sex crimes and maleficence involving clerical pederasts, it is also preparing to issue a reformulated version of the principles enunciated in the 1961 document so that, in the words of CNS, "the message gets through more clearly to local Churches".  Unfortunately, it appears that the only one who can't seem to 'get the message,' given the fact of forty years of non-compliance by the American hierarchy, is the Vatican.
In any case, CNS did quote some anonymous Church officials as saying that the new regulations will only pertain to future priests, not those already ordained, and that care will be taken not to offend the 'delicate sensibilities' of homosexual candidates to the priesthood by attempting "to impose an arbitrary norm" against them.  Translation-----the Holy See has no realistic and concrete plans to systematically dismantle the hierarchical, diocesan and religious order homosexual network already in place throughout Catholic dioceses in the United States and around the world.
Timetable for the Paradigm Shift Favoring Homosexual Clergy
Since the Vatican directive was issued in 1961, and given the generous time lapse that normally exists between the time the Vatican learns of a serious problem and decides to act against it, I think that we can safely assume that the traditional Church prohibition against the acceptance and ordination of known homosexuals, was being violated well before the start of the Second Vatican Council. Evidence provided in court transcripts and records of more than 1500 hundred civil and criminal charges of clerical pederasty and illicit adult homosexual activity [i.e. solicitation of male prostitutes] by bishops, priests and religious to date, confirms that evaluation. My own research traces the start of the American Church's, pro-homosexual paradigm shift to the early 1900s, with the breakdown of this specific Church discipline beginning first in religious orders and then filtering down to the secular clergy.
The number of known homosexuals accepted into the seminary and subsequently ordained, as well as the rise of prominent homosexual bishops to the cardinalate, was known to rise significantly under the pontificate of Paul VI and has continued under the reign of Pope John Paul II. 
Homosexual Situation Graver than Damian's Time
In Part I of this article, I indicated some common threads that link the clerical homosexual practices of St. Peter Damian's day with our own times. Human nature being what it is, I think we can assume that the clerical catemites of homosexual bishops of 11th Century Rome probably enjoyed the same familiar astronomical rise in power and position as those today. And no doubt, Damian was witness to the petty intrigues, spites and jealous rages that are characteristic of sodomical relationships. He may have also been aware of the always present element of blackmail or potential blackmail attached to any illicit sexual affair, especially one involving sodomy. And as I have already noted, Damian did condemn the practice of homosexual clerics confessing and giving absolution to one another or to theIr lay partners-----a practice widely used today in clerical homosexual circles.
However, homosexuality, as a vice, has not always played itself out in exactly the same manner in different periods of history. There are significant differences between the practice of homosexuality in clerical life in the mid-1000s and today.
For example, while Damian mentions that one active sodomite at a monastery can continue to practice the vice with "eight or even ten equally foul companions," the monk does not reveal the existence of any large network of sodomites at the monastery or what might be called a homosexual 'subculture' in the region or city-states of Italy or other areas of Europe. 
That such a vast 'gay' network and subculture [actually an anti-culture] exists today among homosexuals in general and clerical homosexuals and pederasts in particular has made the problems associated with a homosexual clergy in the seminary, priesthood and religious life considerably more dangerous and complex than that which confronted Damian and Pope Leo IX in 1049.
The Homosexual Underworld and Overworld in the Catholic Church
The active and flourishing homosexual network in the Church, with tentacles that cross national boundaries and reach into the Vatican itself, can be divided into an active and flourishing homosexual underworld and an ever-expanding overworld that protects and succors the underworld. Within the Church structure itself, homosexual clerics or religious who prefer young men or even older partners have tended to move into positions in dioceses or religious orders that offer opportunities for acquiring financial resources, power and upward mobility. Many have become rectors at large seminaries or moved into key positions of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference [NCCB/USCC] now known as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB] which has always been a major force in the Church's homosexual network.
Clerical homosexuals with a creative bent and penchant for novelty are often attracted to programs of 'liturgical renewal' or Church 'wreckovation'. Homosexuals with pederast inclinations, on the other hand, tend to go 'where the boys are,' that is, parish schools and youth centers and institutions such as orphanages and camps run by religious orders.
Oddly enough, the great advances made in electronic communications which have made the worldwide clerical homosexual underworld and overworld possible, has turned out to be a two-edged sword for them.
A common practice in the Church that dates back to the 800s and was probably known but disapproved of by St. Peter Damian, is that of removing clerics found guilty of criminal acts, including sodomy, on the basis of whether or not their offenses were publicly known, or carried out and confessed in secret.
In cases that had become "notorious," the offending cleric was defrocked and/or handed over to the secular authorities for punishment. If his crime was known only to a few persons such as his confessor or religious superior, the offending cleric was privately reprimanded, served a penance, and then was permitted to continue at his post, or transferred to a similar post in a different diocese.  This practice has been somewhat modified today by using so-called "treatment centers" or homosexual/pederast- friendly dioceses to squirrel away offending clergy until the heat, is off.
However, as Bernard Cardinal Law and many of his fellow bishops have discovered to their everlasting regret, today's instant mass communication, electronic tracking systems and access to public and private records of all kinds, is making it much more difficult to hide offending clergy or conceal criminal sexual abuse committed either by hierarchy or by priests and religious under their jurisdiction.
The Shanley Case-----A Joint Operation of the Homosexual Underworld and Overworld
The recent widely-publicized case of accused pedophile/pederast/homosexual priest Rev. Paul Shanley of the Boston Archdiocese clearly illustrates not only the existence of an extensive clerical homosexual underworld and overworld in the American Church today, but affords the reader an unusually penetrating glimpse into its joint-operations. The case also reveals many of the darker and more secretive elements of the homosexual underworld including drugs, prostitution, pornography, criminal conspiracy, and blackmail and how these elements eventually filter upwards to the homosexual overworld of Cardinals and bishops.
The first time I saw Shanley's name in print was in 1982 in Father Rueda's book, The Homosexual Network, referenced earlier in this article. Rueda provided details of the first conference of the invitation-only North American Man/Boy Love Association [NAMBLA] held at Boston's Community Church on December 2, 1978.  On its speakers' list was Father Paul Shanley, Humberto Cardinal Medeiros' representative for "sexual minorities" to the United States Catholic Conference [USCC] Youth Ministry board.  What "sexual minorities" in general, and pedophiles and pederasts in particular, have to do with Catholic youth ministry is, I believe, an important question, but it is unlikely that Medeiros ever gave it a second thought. Bishops tend not to try and second-guess their own bureaucracy.
Later, in researching The Rite of Sodomy, I discovered other references to Shanley's multi-faceted sexual proclivities in Daniel Tsang's The Age Taboo-----Gay Male Sexuality, Power and Consent, an apologia for child-youth sex with adults.  Tsang, a gay popular left-wing journalist, reported that in Shanley's talk at the 1978 NAMBLA organizational meeting, the priest told a story of a boy rejected by family and society, but helped by a boy-lover. According to Shanley, the boy was shattered when the "lover" was arrested, convicted and sent to prison. "The 'cure' does much more damage," he theorized. 
It is interesting to note that Shanley never had any difficulty in bridging that mythical gulf that is supposed to exist between pederasty and adult homosexual relations. All pederasts and most homosexuals acknowledge the connection, while most American bishops appear to still be in denial. For example, in 1998, NAMBLA representative David Thorstad eagerly proclaimed to a standing room only "gay" and lesbian group gathered in Mexico City that: "Pederasty is the main form that male homosexuality has acquired throughout Western civilization . . ." 
In an April 5, 2002 interview with The Beacon Journal, Neil Conway, a former priest who admits to molesting young boys while in the Church states that he does not consider himself a pedophile. He said he differentiates between people who abuse young children and those who abuse teenagers. He compared this to a preference for "different brands". 
Human sexuality has proven to be somewhat fluid and a sex abuser's range of victims may vary greatly at different times and under different circumstances in his predatory career. Shanley appears to have the capacity to shift effortlessly between his boy victims, older teens, and adult sex partners.
Shanley Practiced What He Preached
Unfortunately, while NAMBLA membership has always been long on men and short on boys, Father Paul Shanley, throughout his clerical life, has never lacked for vulnerable boys and young men to prey on.
Sometime early in his predatory career, perhaps during his residency at St. John's Seminary in Boston or shortly after his ordination to the priesthood in 1960, Shanley must have discovered the ecclesiastical goose that laid the golden egg, because for more than thirty years he has been permitted by his superiors to act out with immunity the NAMBLA philosophy he openly preached.
The handsome, charismatic and free-spirited Shanley was initially assigned to St. Patrick's Church in Stoneham where he teamed up with Father John J. White another gay Boston priest. Together they forged a mutual protection society that would span more than four decades.
Between 1966 and 1967, rumors of Shanley's predatory appetite for young boys began to make their way to the Chancery office and Richard Cardinal Cushing. A priest from La Salette Shrine reported that Mr. Charm was bringing young boys to his summer cabin in the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton for illicit and criminally prosecutable sex. Shanley was moved to another parish.
In 1970, during the transition period from Cushing to the Portuguese prelate Humberto Cardinal Medeiros, Shanley received permission to launch his own Roxbury Street ministry, based at St. Philip's Church for wayward youth including runaways, drifters and young 'gays.' Scattered notations from the young priest's diaries, found among the 1600 plus pages of court-subpoenaed records from the Boston Archdiocese, indicate that he taught some of his charges how to "shoot up" correctly which meant that Shanley, like many homosexuals, had a working knowledge of illegal drugs. The same source indicated that during this time period he was treated for various venereal diseases that confirmed his sexually active status. In 1971 Shanley was photographed by the Boston Globe riding a tractor in Weston, Vermont where the newspaper reported he had established a "retreat house" for youth workers on a 95-acre farm.  Cardinal Medeiros was advised that Shanley was "a troubled priest," a euphemism for a ticking bomb; that Shanley had been charged with sex abuse of minors in 1974; and that the priest was becoming more outspoken in his defense of homosexuality and 'man/ boy love'. Shanley was said to use any opportunity including counseling sessions and the confessional to solicit sex from youth. The Vatican was informed of Shanley's record of sex abuse and relations with boys and young men. Nevertheless, Shanley continued to serve as the Archdiocese's "sexual minorities" advocate until the December 1978 NAMBLA fiasco. Medeiros then transferred the priest to St. Jean's Parish where Shanley's sex abuse pattern is alleged to have continued. Later, Shanley was moved to St. John the Evangelist parish where he served as assistant pastor. Following Cardinal Medeiros' death in 1983, Bernard Cardinal Law took on the reins of power and Shanley was promoted to the office of pastor of St. John's. Apparently, Shanley was also working as a chaplain at a mental institution because the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter claims a patient accused Shanley in 1988 of " 'coming onto him' by talking graphically about sado-masochism."  Finally, in 1989, Shanley was getting too hot to handle in Boston and had to be shipped out-of-state. Cardinal Law sent him off to the Diocese of San Bernardino, California as a priest "in good standing". Officially, Shanley was on "sick leave for allergies." The Rev. White followed Shanley out to California and the enterprising duo set up a type of bed and breakfast house in Palm Beach that catered to a 'gay' clientele. As was the case with young boys, lack of money never seemed to be a problem for Shanley.
In October of 1993, the Diocese of San Bernardino got wind of, to use Cardinal Law's exact words, Shanley's "impressive record" and quickly yanked him from his post at St. Anne's Parish. Shanley headed back East and did what any red-blooded active pedo phile/ pederast/homosexual cleric would do under; the circumstances-----he entered a "treatment center,"-----the Institute of Living in Hartford, CT-----for an all-expense R&R compliments of the Archdiocese of Boston.
Sometime during this time period, Shanley had the uncanny good fortune to link up with his old friend and fellow pederast, Dr. Frank Pilecki, who had resigned from Westfield State College in Barre, Massachusetts, after he was indicted [but not convicted] of homosexual misconduct with students.  Pilecki had been hired in 1987 by the Archdiocese of New York to work at the Leo House, a Catholic outreach center and travel hostel always teeming with young students, operated for the Archdiocese by Catholic Charities. Pilecki's job connection to Leo House was reported to have been another member of the Catholic pederast network, Father Bruce Ritter of Covenant House.
Pilecki convinced Shanley to take a job as a minister at Leo House where the aging "street priest" took up a residency with an openly gay roommate.
Unfortunately for Shanley and his new protector, Cardinal Law, one of the priest's former victims had. traced him to the Leo House and began a series of calls to the nuns in charge of the lodging. Finally in 1995, one of the Leo House nuns contacted John Cardinal O'Connor and asked if the accusations against Shanley were true. She never got a formal reply from O'Connor, but Fr. Brian Flatly, an assistant to Cardinal Law, contacted the nun to allay her fears.
Now the Archdiocese of Boston finally leapt into action . . . no NOT against Shanley! Rather it attempted to contact the 'snitch' and see if they could reach a financial settlement. In the meantime, the Archdiocese continued to pay Shanley's mounting medical bills and in 1996 on the occasion of Shanley's 65th birthday, Law awarded him a "senior priest" status that meant an increase in pay and benefits.
In 1997, Law, upon learning that the position of Executive Director for Leo House was vacant, informed O'Connor that he would not stand in the way of Father Shanley taking the job, but the New York Cardinal is reported to have turned down Law's proposition.
Eventually Shanley found his way back to California where he remained until May 2, 2002 when his luck ran out. California law enforcement officers in San Diego arrested him. He was extradited to Massachusetts where he was arraigned at the Newton District Court in Cambridge, and is currently awaiting trial. It has been reported that Shanley will plead innocent to charges of repeated sodomical rape of a young boy and that his defense lawyers may argue that Shanley was a homosexual with no history of sexual activity with pre-pubescent children.
The Overworld that Protects Shanley
As the Shanley case demonstrates so well, the Archdiocese of Boston, like every large diocese in the nation, has a flourishing Catholic pederast/homosexual underworld-----Shanley knew Pilecki who knew Ritter who knew and so it goes.
But, more importantly, the Shanley case has an active clerical and lay overworld consisting of Cardinals, bishops, priests, lay bureaucrats and attorneys and an infinite number of other Catholics who protect the unerworld either by their silence or by their overt approval.
Shanley went through three Cardinals-----
Richard Cardinal Cushing [1944-1970]
Humberto Cardinal Medeiros [1970-1983]
Bernard Cardinal Law [1983 -?]
All three protected Shanley. Why? When all is said and done, the answer probably boils down to blackmail. Shanley knew too much about too many-----and like many clerical homosexuals was clever enough to have kept good records as a form of "insurance" against the day he would run into trouble with either the Church or secular law enforcement agencies. Shanley has accused Cushing of abusing him when he was a seminarian at Boston's St. John Seminary. Medeiros played a major cover-up role in the case of Father James Porter! And, as the record clearly shows, Law has not been out of Shanley's grip since he took over the Boston Archdidocese-----for reasons yet to be revealed.  Shanley also went through a host of Boston auxiliary bishops. Those now living include:
Bishop John B. McCormack, now bishop of Manchester, NH
Bishop Robert J. Banks, now bishop of Green Bay, WI
Thomas V. Daily, former bishop of Palm Beach, now bishop of Brooklyn, NY
Bishop Alfred C. Hughes, now bishop of New Orleans
Bishop William F. Murphy, now bishop of Rockville Centre, Long Island, N.Y.
Banks, consecrated by Law in 1985, served as his vicar for administration, and helped stash Shanley safely away in the diocese of San Bernardino. According to San Bernardino Church officials Banks wrote them a letter in 1990 in which he "assured our diocese that Father Shanley had no problems that would be of concern" to the diocese.  McCormack, the former Chairman [and still member] of the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse is reported to have been working with Shanley to develop a "safe house" system for clerical pederasts on the Iamb. As Law's secretary of ministerial personnel for the Boston Archdiocese from 1984 to 1994 he was charged with handling numerous sexual abuse complaints against Archdiocesan priests. McCormack has been named in a recent clergy abuse lawsuit involving the late Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham of Boston. Defendants charge that McCormack, a seminary classmate of Birmingham who served in a parish with him in Salem, saw the priest take boys to his room in the 1960s and did nothing to stop it. 
Daily, consecrated by Medeiros in 1975, is reported to have played an imported role in the cover-up involving convicted pederast Father John J. Geoghan of Boston and as chancellor and vicar general under Medeiros would have been an insider in the Shanley Case. In an excellent New York Times article titled "Cardinal's ex-aides touched by scandal," reporters Pam Belluck, Fox Butterfield and Sara Rimer stated that in 1982, Daily permitted Geoghan to go on a planned two-month sabbatical to Italy after he had promised the family of seven, yes, that is seven abused sons that he [Daily] would "act responsibly". 
In 1984, Daily was made the first bishop of the unfortun ate diocese of Palm Beach, FL. After Daily left for Brooklyn, his office was filled by Bishop Joseph K. Symons, who resigned in disgrace in 1999 following charges of homosexual misconduct involving altar boys.
Bishop Anthony J. O'Connell, who was consecrated by Pio Laghi, Apostolic Delegate to the United States in 1988, followed Symons. O'Connell resigned on March 8, 2002 when it was revealed that he had a long-standing homosexual relationship with a 14-year-old seminarian at St. Thomas Aquinas in Hannibal, MO where O'Connell served as rector for almost 25 years. That relationship was said to continue into, the young man's adulthood. Two other men have recently filed similar charges against O'Connell.  The diocese is currently under the charge of a Vatican-appointed Apostolic Administrator.
The roles played in the Shanley case by Hughes, who was consecrated by Medeiros in 1981 and Murphy, a Law man, are yet to be determined and recorded in up-coming court depositions.
[Note: The only Boston auxiliary to have voiced an objection to Geoghan's "history of homosexual activity with young boys," with Cardinal Law in 1984 was Bishop John M. D'Arcy of the diocese of Fort Wayne/South Bend, IN.]
Finally, Shanley went through hundreds if not thousands of Church bureaucrats, pastors, news reporters, law officers, social service personnel and other lay people in his forty-year plus sexual career which includes at least a half-dozen different Catholic parishes and dioceses. Altogether, it is an amazing story, all the more so, when one considers that the Rev. Paul Shanley represents only one priest in Am-Church's vast homosexual underworld-overworld network.
Many Questions to be Asked, Many Issues to be Addressed
While the American hierarchy continues to blithely tip-toe over the dead bodies of hundreds of homosexual priests who have died of AIDS or priests who have committed suicide rather than face sex abuse charges, and while reports of criminal assaults by pederast/homosexual priests and religious continue to mount-----one more bizarre than the other-----there are many questions to be asked and clarifications to be made concerning the current crisis in the American Church. Since I suspect that most of these issues will not have been discussed much less resolved at the bishops' June semi-annual meeting in Dallas, permit me to highlight two that I consider to be of extreme importance.
Sex Abuse of Minors Only?
Readers who have folowed Am-Church's attempts at "managing" its clerical sex abuse crisis over the years including its presentation at the Rome meeting with the Holy Father on April 24-25, 2002 will immeliately recognize the phrase, "clerical sex abuse of children," or "the sex abuse of minors"?
But what about cases of clerical sexual abuse that involve other vulnerable groups such as the mentally or physically handicapped and dependent adult? What about clerical abuse cases involving seminarians or novices? Should not these cases be promptly reported to both Church and law enforcement officers? Should not these clerics, be they Cardinals, bishops' or priests or religious, be brought to justice and if found guilty, deposed and handed over to the civil courts for punishment?
The question is not merely an academic one.
On March 24, 2002, LA Times reporter Glenn F. Bunting filed a story titled "Cloak of Silence Covered Abuse at Jesuit Retreat," based on a little-publicized sex abuse case involving two mentally retarded men, known as "John Doe" and "James Doe" employed as dishwashers at the Los Gatos Jesuit Center [Sacred Heart]. 
"John," a polio victim and foster care child came to the Jesuit retreat house in 1969 at the age of twenty-four. "James," an orphan adopted by parents who later divorced, was only nineteen when he came to the center. Both men were mentally retarded. Both were considered to be "charity" cases. According to Bunting, reports show that their starting salary of $150.00 a month gradually rose to $1000 a month from which the Jesuits extracted money for room and board-----their rooms located away from the Jesuit residence on the second floor of a storage facility.
Like the infamous case of the Christian Brothers at Mount Cashel in Newfoundland, the whistleblowers in this case turned out to be two extraordinarily ordinary and decent women.  It was May of 1995 when John's financial advisor overheard rumors from the kitchen staff that he was being sexually molested by Brother "Charlie" Leonard Connor. She knew that the Jesuit had taken John on trips and spent a great deal of time alone with him. After John confirmed that the rumors were true, she reported Connor to Father Greg Aherne, the Jesuit superior at Sacred Heart.
Although he initially denied the charge, Connor later told his superior that he may have "inappropriately" touched John while giving him a "massage" to ease his back pains-----a practice, he said, that went back ten years, to 1985. Aherne warned Connor to halt all contact with John and James and filed a report with Father John Privett, the California provincial who was residing at the retreat center. 
Father Privett, readers may recall, was the same layback provincial who ignored complaints of continuous homosexual harassment and solicitation by a dozen priests at the Order's Berkeley seminary by John Bollard, who later filed a lawsuit against the California Province. 
Need I say that neither Aherne nor Privett ever reported the sex abuse of the two dependent males to the local law enforcement officers? The abuse continued.
Two years later, in October 1997 another woman, this time a friend of James contacted the Sheriff's office and reported that James told her that Connor was fondling him. This report unfortunately came to nothing, as both James and John, who had been repeatedly warned by Connor not to talk about the abuse to anyone, denied the charges in the presence of two uniformed deputies and the case was dropped.
By the spring of 2002 however, the Sheriff's office had obtained sufficient evidence against Connor and once again returned to Sacred Heart to discuss the allegations with still another Jesuit superior-----Father Richard Cobb. Cobb then discussed the fate of "Charlie" with other Jesuit superiors and decided to send the wayward Jesuit off to the Order's Bellarmine Preparatory High, an all-boys school in San Jose. Cobb 'forgot' to mention the reason for the transfer to school officials. But the police had not forgotten "Charlie".
Using evidence obtained after a search warrant of Sacred Heart, Connor was eventually arrested on January 17, 2001, pleaded no contest to one count felony of committing a lewd act on a dependent adult, underwent a six-month monitoring term, was ordered to register as a lifetime offender and forbidden from having any contact with mentally disabled adults or minors. Time served in jail? 0.
That same evidence also proved that Connor was not the only sex abuser living at the retreat house. Father Edward Thomas Burke, the librarian at Sacred Heart also had been sexually molesting James. As with Connor, Cobb had known of the sexual contact but had failed to report it to the authorities; Instead Cobb drove Burke to the Jesuit community at Santa Clara University where, according to Bunting, he remains today. Time served in jail? 0.
On June 19, 2001, attorneys representing John Doe and James Doe filed a $10 million civil suit [a criminal complaint against Burke is on hold] on behalf of the two men, charging four Jesuits, including Connor and Burke, of subjecting James and John to repeated acts of sodomy, molestation and false imprisonment beginning within a year after their arrival at Sacred Heart, that is, 1970-71. 
How many registered sex offenders can one retreat house hold? Well, in addition to Connor the San Jose lawyers representing James and John discovered there were at least three others staying on and off at Sacred Heart-----Brother John Rodrigues Moniz, Father Angel Mariano, and Father James Thomas Monaghan-----all convicted of felony sex crimes with minors. 
However the real "kicker" to this case is the statement made by the attorney for the California Province as to why no incidence of sex abuse was ever reported to the proper authorities. According to Paul E. Gaspari, the Jesuits' attorney, the Order had no obligation under California law to disclose the information. "We are not mandated reporters because these two individuals are not. minors." (emphasis added) 
The issue of sex abuse of the mentally or physically handicapped and other adult dependents along with the sexual exploitation and criminal assault of seminarians [generally young adults] is a canonical loophole that the Vatican needs to close with more exact language and stiffer penalties, and an issue the American bishops need to hammer out, hopefully sooner than later.
From Whom Do the Bishops Get Their Advice?
I ask this question because from the very moment the issue of sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests and religious was secretly raised in the mid-1960s with the James Porter Case in Boston, and later publicly raised in the mid-1980s with the infamous Gauthe case in Lafayette, Louisiana, the American bishops appear to have been ill, if not criminally, advised on the matter. 
As a collective, the bishops have followed a systematic pattern of elaborate cover-ups that has included the 'transfer' of offending clerics to other parishes, dioceses, countries or 'treatment' centers; the obstruction of justice, the intimidation of victims and their families and the 'disappearance' of incriminating files and documents.
Since 1966, one of the major sources of this morally indefensible legal advice and disastrous public relations strategies has been the bishops' own national bureaucracy-----the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference [NCCB/USCC], recently reorganized and renamed the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB].
Earlier I stated that the NCCB/USCC, now the USCCB, has been a major player in pro-homosexual politics. If there is any bishop who wishes to take exception to this statement, I advise him first to read an article posted on the USCCB's web site titled "Priest Pedophiles," written by Melvin C. Blanchette, S.S. and Gerald D. Coleman, SS. The article also reflects the type of pro-homosexual propaganda found in our seminaries today as Blanchette is the director of the Vatican II Institute at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, CA and Coleman is the president/rector of the seminary-----a hotbed of homosexuality. 
The article states that there are five basic sexual orientations-----heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and "fixated" pedophilia [preference for children from 1-13] and "fixated" ephebophilia [preference for children 14-17]. To state that the biological norm of heterosexuality is merely an "orientation" is skewed enough but to give equal weight to sexual perversions including homosexuality is even worse.
According to Blanchette and Coleman, ". . . the pedophile and ephebophile have no capacity for authentic heterosexual or homosexual relationships." (emphasis added)
Again we see the favorable pairing of heterosexuality with homosexuality. And, what pray tell is an "authentic homosexual relationship?" They talk about the "recurrent, intense" sexual urges of the pedophile-----and ephebophiles but not about the "recurrent, intense" unnatural passions of the homosexual for another adult male.
The authors are in favor of seminaries screening out actual or potential "fixated" pedophiles and ephebophile but make no reference to the vetting out of homosexuals as candidates to the priesthood. They also favor, not surprisingly, more sexual formation programs for seminarians.
The Blanchette-Coleman article serves to re-inforce the charge that the bishops' Washington, D.C. bureaucracy has played a major role in fostering the clerical homosexual underworld and overworld. After all, it was the NCCB/USCC legal apparatus and media-public relations department that, early in the game, identified "the problem" as "pedophilia" rather than homosexuality in all its forms, as the root cause of clerical sex abuse.
And for seventeen plus years, the hapless American hierarchy has followed the NCCB/USCC party line. Only recently has the hierarchy been forced to admit that good old-fashioned pederasty, the oldest and most pervasive form of homosexuality known to man, has been "the problem"all along. In their Final Communiqué from Rome on April 24, 2002, the American Cardinals confessed:
"Even if the cases of true pedophilia on the part of priests and religious are few, all the participants recognize the gravity of the problem. In the meeting, the quantitative terms of the problem were discussed, since the statistics are not very clear in this regard. Attention was drawn to the fact that almost all cases involved adolescents and therefore, were not cases of true pedophilia." (emphasis added) 
Final Thoughts on the Extraordinary Rome Meeting
Although I was not in Rome to cover the April 23-24, 2002 meeting, CFN editor John Vennari was good enough to send me a tape of the final press conference which served to summarize the conclusions reached by the American Cardinals with Pope John Paul Il and Curia members on the subject of clerical sex abuse.
I listened to the tape once but could not bear a second hearing. It was simply too painful.
Once again, the most appalling aspect of the press conference was the total lack of genuine outrage that God's law had been grievously offended and abominable acts perpetrated on youth by men, who as priests and religious act in the persona of Christ.
As I listened to the drone of Cardinal McCarrick's and Cardinal Stafford's voices, and the former's attempt at some sick humor at the expense of the Pope, I thought back to my first reading of Michael Harris's Unholy Orders-----Tragedy at Mount Cashel, more than ten years ago. There was one particularly horrific incident that has never left my mind. It involved a young boy named Malcolm, who within a week of having arrived at the orphanage in October 1975 was taken fora "ride" by the sadistic pederast, Brother Edward English. According to Harris, when English got into his car at the church parking lot where he had picked up sacred hosts, the Christian Brother gave Malcolm a piece of the "holy bread" and then began to masturbate the frightened boy and finally tried to force Malcolm to fellate him.  When I read this I literally convulsed with tears and could not control myself. I did not sleep for several nights. That incident will forever be imprinted on my memory and not a day goes by without my praying for Malcolm and the many victims of Mt. Cashel.
Yet as I listened to the Cardinals speak, I couldn't sense anything that resembled genuine tears of compunction or the necessity of sack cloth and ashes as means of atonement for the harm done to God, to His Church and to the victims of clerical abuse and their families.
As for the claim that the American bishops would never do anything to harm children, I think upon the millions of Catholic children in the United States who have been subject to more than thirty years of premature sexual seduction and spiritual and mental rape in the Catholic classroom via so-called "sex education". By casting children as "sexual beings" the bishops have primed Catholic youth for NAMBLA's "sexual tutors". It is no coincidence that the rise in clerical sexual abuse has paralleled the removal of traditional doctrinal catechetics from Catholic parishes and schools, and the substitution of absolutely demonic "sexual catechetics".
In the end, what specifically was accomplished at the Rome meeting?
Other than offering the media a change of scenery, very little. Unfortunately, it could not have been otherwise.
First, because the present American hierarchy as a whole is totally incapable of initiating any type of authentic reform in or of itself whether it be at the moral level orin matters of faith and doctrine. The corruption just goes too deep. Besides as St. Peter Damian clearly enunciates in the Book of Gomorrah, true reform in the Church begins at the top-----with a strong and independent papacy. Unfortunately, the papacy today is neither strong nor independent and it too shares in the corruption.
Secondly, because the institutionalization of national episcopal conferences such as the USCCB, mitigates against authentic Church reform of any kind. These self-perpetuating, ever expanding Church bureaucracies interfere with the Divinely mandated role of the true Catholic bishop in the transmission of authentic Church teachings in matters of faith and morals to his flock. The Holy See needs to canonically remove these subversive barnacles that have attached themselves to the Bark of Peter.
I believe that the Rome meeting would have been instructive and profitable had the Holy Father ordered the text of St. Peter Damian's Book of Gomorrah to be read, word for word, to the American Cardinals and USCCB officers, with copies for distribution to the world press. After all, the American bishops are said to be moving toward a "zero tolerance" policy and who was more zero-tolerant in cases of clerical sexual misconduct than the holy monk?
I know that I might not live to see these moral reforms in the priesthood and religous life come to pass. But I remain as confident as St. Peter Damian was in his time, that God will bring about the conditions necessary for these and all other reforms we need and provide a succession of Popes to carry them out in the great Counter-Reformation that lies ahead for the Church. Until that time comes, may our Lord Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, and all His Saints, most especially St. Peter Damian, bless us and keep us strong in the Faith.
52. For an excellent and extensive biography of St. Leo IX from which this short profile was taken see the New Advent electronic Catholic Encyclopedia at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen 109160c.htm. The biography was written by Horace K. Mann, and transcribed by W. G. Kofron.
53. For a biography of Damasus II see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/046 14a.htm and for Benedict IX see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/024 29a.htm. According to the New Advent biography by Horace K. Mann (transcribed by Kryspin J.Turczynski], Abbot Luke of the Abbey of Grottaferrata reports that St. Bartholomew convinced Benedict to definitely resign the pontificate. Benedict died in penitence at Grottaferrata.
54. For an excellent biography of Pope Gregory VII see Thomas Oestreich (transcribed by Janet van Heyst) at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/067 91c.htm.
55. Mann, p. 1.
56. Ibid., pp. 1-2.
57. Owen P. Blum, O.F.M., Peter Damian, Letters 31-60, part of the Fathers of the Church-Mediaeval Continuation series issued by the Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C., 1990, p.3.
58. Ibid., pp. 3-4,
59. I.E. solitary masturbation, mutual masturbation, and interfemoral (between the thighs) and anal coitus.
60. Owen P. Blum, O.F.M., Peter Damian, Letters 31-60, part of the Fathers of the Church-Mediaeval Continuation series issued by the Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C., 1990, p. 4.
61. Ibid., p. 4.
62. Ibid., p. 5.
63. Ibid., p.5,
64. Ibid., p. 5.
65. Ibid., p. 5.
66. Ibid., p. 4.
67. Ibid., p. 7.
68. Ibid., p. 5.
69. See the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, "St. Peter Damian," by Leslie. A. St. L. Toke (transcribed by Joseph C. Meyer) pp. 1-2. at http://www. newadvent:org/cathen/11764a.htm.
70. Pierre J. Payer, Book of Gomorrah -----An Eleventh-Century Treatise Against Clerical Homosexual Practices, Wilfrid Laurier, University Press, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1982, p. 21.
71. Toke, p. 1.
72. Toke, p. 2.
73. See http://freespace.virgin.net/ crc.english/promis:e.htm for the full text of the Radcliffe letter. Also, http://www. op.org/Curia/MG/englet.html. The new Dominican Master general is the Very Rev. Carlos Azpiroz, OP, from Buenos Aires (Argentina).
74. Radcliffe, p.6.
75. Donald Goergen, The Sexual Celibate, Seabury Press, (Crossroad), NY, 1974.
76. Ibid., pp. 81.82-83; 85, 101, 127, 195, 203.
77. Enrigue Rueda, The Homosexual Network, Devin Adair Co., Old Greenwich, CT, 1982, pp. 334, 346, 556.
78. Letter from Communication to Rev. Donald J. Goergen, OP and Dominican fathers and brothers at River Forest, dated March 25, 1988.
79. Author's interviews and notes with Dominican fathers, 1987-1989.
80. See Donna Steichen, Ungodly Rage -----The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1992, pp. 219-241. Also Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ -----The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, Harper and Row, NY, 1988, pp. 177-180.
81. Steichen, p. 238. Note: After his dismissal from the Dominican Order, Fox was received as an Episcopal priest by Bishop William Swing of the Diocese of California.
82. Radcliffe, p. 8. Also compare Goergen's statement with Father Fox's almost identical listing in The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 44-47. For a favorable book review of Radcliffe's book, Sing a New Song, see http://www.faithalivebooks.com/books Itp_sing_song.html.
83. Ibid., p. 11.
84. Ibid., p.. 12.
85. Ibid., p. 12.
86. Electronic version of the Acts of the General Chapter of Diffinitors of the Order of Friars Preachers, July 17-August 8,1995 at Caleruega, p.42.
87. Radcliffe, p. 12.
88. John Rivera, "Future priests vow to make a difference," The Sun, April 28, 2002, pp. 1A, SA.
89. Mike Joseph, "Local bishop outlines sexual-abuse policy," Centre Daily Times, posted May 7, 2002 at wysiwyg:/1101/http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/3213399.htm.
90. Catholic News Service, "Vaticanlo Enforce 1961 Document Banning Homosexual Priests and Religious -----Implementation Previously Left to Local Bishops," March 28, 2002, pp.1-2.
91. Ibid., p. 2.
92. Ibid., p,1.
96. See Garry Wills, Papal Sin -----Structures of Deceit, Simon & Schuster, NY, 2000 in which Wills is quoted as saying that, "many observers suspect that John Paul's real legacy to his Church is a gay priesthood." From "Challenging The Church," a Washington Post book review by Tad Szulc, June 4, 2000, Book World section, p. X01.
97. Blum, pp. 7-8.
98. See Payer, p. 17.
99. Rueda, pp. 296. Note: Cardinal Medeiros removed Shanley from his "job" soon after the NAMBLA conference, but did not take steps to depose the priest. Rueda also listed Shanley as a scheduled speaker at Dignity's 1981 convention on the topic "Ecumenism on the Gay Community," Dignity promotes itself as a "Catholic" pro-homosexual organization.
100. Paul Likoudis, "Sex Abuse Scandal . . . Shifts to Larger Issues of Homosexual Clegy," The Wanderer, May 2, 2002, pp., 1, 8.
101. Daniel Tsang, The Age Taboo-----Gay Male Sexuality, Power and Consent, Alyson Pub., Boston, Gay Men's press, London, 1981.
102. Ibid., p. 38-39.
103. See http://www.nambla.org/ pedersty.htm, 8/13/99, David Thorstad, "Pederasty and Homosexuality," speech to an audience of over 600 at the Sema Cultural Lesbica-Gay in Mexico City on June 26, 1998.
104. Stephanie Warsmith, "Former priest explains past," The Beacon Journal, posted online April 5, 2002. See http://www.boston.com/giobe/spotlight labuse/printl040902_shanley _letters. htm.
105. "DEFIANT LETTERS A humbling exit from spotlight," by Michael Rezendes and Sacha Pfeiffer, Boston Globe Staff, 4/9/2002.
106. Paul Srubas, "Bishop: "We've got an ulcer," Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter online, posted April 12, 2002
107. Kris Hundley, "The Question Nobody Wants to Answer Why was 515, 794 withdrawn from the Pilecki Scholarship Fund on June 30, 1985?" originally published on June 30, 1986 in the Valley Advocate.
108. Likoudis, pp. 1, 8. Note: To date there have been two charges of sexual misconduct against Medeiros but these charges have not been well substantiated and may be simply false.
109. "Letter cleared Shanley transfer," Boston Associated Press release, April 8, 2002.
110. Matt Carroll, "Law is new defendant in clergy abuse suit," Boston Globe online, April 5, 2002.
111. Pam Belluck, Fox Butterfield and Sara Rimer, "Cardinal's ex-aides touched by scandal," New York Times, appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 18, 2002, p. A-11.
112. Stephen Kurkjian, "Worker's warning on priest led to her firing," Boston Globe online, April 5, 2002.
113. Glenn F. Bunting, "Cloak of Silence Covered Abuse at Jesuit Retreat" LA Times, March 24, 2002. Online edition at http://www.latimes.com/news/ local/la-032402m_olest.story .
114. See Michael Harris, Unholy Orders -----Tragedy at Mount Cashel, Viking Press, Ontario, 1990.
116. See Bollard v California Province of the Society of Jesus, Ninth Circuit, 5/5/00; 211 F3d 1331.
120. Jack Sullivan, "Records: Vatican knew of scandal cover-up in 1973," Boston Herald.com, May 16, 2002.
121. Melvin C. Blanchette and Gerald D. Coleman, "Priest Pedophiles," reprinted from America, April 25, 2002.
122. Final Communiqué of the Extraordinary Meeting Between Cardinals of the United States and the Leadership of the United States, Vatican, April 23-24, 2002.
123. Harris, p. 317.
Reprinted from the July 2002 Issue of Catholic Family News.
(Engel's outstanding ... I've posted many threads taken from her "McHugh Chronicles")
In any case, CNS did quote some anonymous Church officials as saying that the new regulations will only pertain to future priests, not those already ordained, and that care will be taken not to offend the 'delicate sensibilities' of homosexual candidates to the priesthood by attempting "to impose an arbitrary norm" against them.  Translation-----the Holy See has no realistic and concrete plans to systematically dismantle the hierarchical, diocesan and religious order homosexual network already in place throughout Catholic dioceses in the United States and around the world.
Reading this paragraph leads me to believe that the homesexual priests will be "grandfathered in" but henceforth, no such privileges will be given.
Any other comments here? Or am I mistaken?
"Reading this paragraph leads me to believe that the homesexual priests will be 'grandfathered in' but henceforth, no such privileges will be given."
But see the paragraph above the one you quoted.
Unfortunately, it appears that the only one who can't seem to 'get the message,' given the fact of forty years of non-compliance by the American hierarchy, is the Vatican.
I take it as Engel's opinion that even if the Vatican reaffirms the 1961 instruction or issues a new version of the 1961 instruction, it will still be up to the local bishops (and their seminary faculties) to enforce them, and that the most probable outcome is that the instructions will be ignored for another 40 years by many bishops and seminaries.
As I recall, in the letter the Boston Globe posted on its website, Shanley used the rather curious circumlocution about being abused "by a predecessor to one of the Cardinals now persecuting me." The current Cardinals referred to were O'Connor and Law.
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St Peter Damian, 1007-1072. Doctor of Reform and Renewal, Feb 21st.
Spiritual reform and renewal are indispensable actions, attitudes and plans for sanctification. The Church and individuals have implemented these efforts down through the ages. Today, nationwide in most archdioceses, parishes and communities, small and large groups are being formed for spiritual awakening. To enrich our spirituality through corporal and spiritual works of mercy, renewal and reform, programs are constantly being developed. Peter was a superb leader in this endeavor and his example can serve us as a model and mentor. No matter how much he felt drawn to God in prayer and solitude, he remained obedient and humble in allowing God to use him not as he wanted but in service to the Church by exercising total trust and surrender.
Prior to Peter's birth, the Church had been waiting the longest time, three hundred and thirty years, for another doctor to be born. The Church needed to be reborn again because of laxity and excessive worldly leisure had infiltrated into the clergy, which is deplorable in the eyes of God. I do not mean to suggest that if the laity were excessively indulgent and lax in spiritual development it would be a lesser offense to God. However, if those who are expected to set godly example do not show good behavior, how much more offensive is that to God who calls certain people to a more consecrated lifestyle.
And as often is the case, God bestowed mercy on the bride of Christ, the Church, by raising up St Peter Damian to usher in immense reform and renewal and none too soon. Imagine, during Peter's lifetime alone, there were sixteen popes and the Church had its own "dark ages".
Peter lost both of his parents at a very young age. He was a poor boy and identified with the indigent. He never forgot the poor during his life and enjoyed ministering to them by serving them meals frequently or doing other charitable deeds. One of Damians brothers treated him rather unfairly with menial assignments. Another brother named Damian favored him and Peter was able to receive an education. He adopted his name in gratitude for favors received from him. Providence works in different ways but It is always working to lead us to sanctity. Peter eventually became a professor of great ability.
During this period of his life, when he was still young, Peter practiced fasting, praying and meditating on the Creators plan for him. He also practiced secret penance in thanksgiving for favors received. There were many allurements of pleasure and paths available to him. Scandals and distractions of university life were another reason for him to enter into a more secluded environment. As today, the temptations of life are always there and they pull and push us to do the wrong and easy things. It is only through prayer, fasting and constantly searching for God that we will discover God anew. By fostering in his life the spirit of solitude, charity and humility, Peter Damian would be able to become a master of his spiritual life. The reforms and renewals of his own personal life preceded his work and reform for the Church and other people.
After teaching, he abandoned all for a personal prayer life, doing penances and seeking to please God through holy consecration as a religious. Obviously, one does not give up something unless one receives an attraction to another type of life that is of more interest. Peter received a powerful attraction to belong entirely to God in silent prayer within the solitude of a hermitage in Italy. When he wasn't absorbed in prayer, he studied the bible.
He favored the contemplative and hermitage division of the Benedictines. They are called the Camaldolese whose founder was St. Romauld. Peter also wrote the life of this saint. The Catholic Church is rich in holy professions and has many unknown (to many people) eastern and western dedicated hermits and monks. They often live apart from the world in remote and deserted areas where silence and solitude can be practiced and lived. This style emboldens and nourishes the spirit which can be easily sapped by all the cares and anxieties that we experience. Solitude and silence must be found wherever we are. This is where God wants us. The Powerful One has a way of revealing and energizing us in the most active ministries and occupations if we petition God for help and insight. No sincere prayers will ever be deny us by our Father when we ask in Jesus name. Silence and solitude are indispensable for spiritual awareness, assurances and strength.
Peter was indeed very happy as a monk. Who, but God, could have called him? However, just because God calls us to one way of life doesnt mean the Almighty stops beckoning us. Oh, no! God is the Father, forever, and He is forever calling us to come up higher. This requires openness, docility and trust in our Lover who always wants to share His love more generously and intensely.
Damian was a person of sincere obedience to his superiors and he complied with accepting a leadership role when asked or commanded. He did this rather reluctantly but he was obedient and sensed the need to begin his renewal and reform efforts by immediately establishing five new hermitages.
As is often the case, holy people sooner or later become highly recognized and God challenges them with new duties and responsibilities which are often disagreeable to human nature because of its demands, conflicts and exhausting requirements dealing with problem situations.
Peter was asked to settle disputes (because he was a peacemaker) among the clergy, government and many societal or Church needs. He was involved in troubleshooting which is usually sticky and messy. He unearthed ugly or improper behavior, attitudes and thinking.
Some people are graced with ambition and high aspirations. That can be a blessing or a curse depending on how humble one really is and how one exercises and reacts to that intention. Some people flee from public service for God for many reasons based upon their upbringing, education, opportunity or temperament. St Peter Damian wanted out of the world of humankind and fled to the world of prayer in silence and solitude not because he was afraid but rather because he preferred God. He knew of his own weaknesses and tendencies when a lot of liberty and freedom reigned. However, the pope said no to Peter and made him a cardinal-bishop which plunged him into more mundane and public church concerns.
Many of the doctors began serving God publicly rather reluctantly. We see this clearly in Sts Ambrose, Hilary and in the most distinguished reform and renewal doctor, St Peter Damian. Obeying the will of God in service to the Church when they would have preferred another path can be heroic. Ambrose was a governor. Hilary was married. Damian was a monk. However, all were obedient to higher authorities and acquiesced in obedience when God revealed them a new need He had for the Church, His special Bride. Sometimes God used drastic measures to impress us as He did by knocking Saul off his horse, (Scripture does not mention his horse but some traditions suggest it- as the ass and ox with the Infant Jesus in the Nativity scene are omitted) and blinding him on the road to Damascus. We know how Saul cooperated and became St Paul and went on to serve the Church with Peter.
Simony was rampant in Peters day and he worked sedulously aiming to wipe out the buying and selling of spiritual goods or of a Church office. His efforts in this effort caused the Pope to state that Peters efforts were exaggerated. With sincerity, our renewal giant wrote a vigorous letter of protest toward those that wanted to keep everything the way it was. Scandals abounded. Peter urged, supported and encouraged the clergy to maintain their vows and promises. It is not always easy to remain celibate, behave chaste in all manners and live simply according to ones poverty oaths or serve as a model to the poor. Other behaviors that needed reform were encouraging more time for prayer, a reduction of needless traveling and living too comfortably. What was needed was not being afraid of more mortifications, asceticism, discipline, purifying one's thoughts and imagination as the gospel suggested through self-denial in a positive fashion.
Peter understood human nature well and knew that riches, comfort and loose living sets up temptations which we should avoid. Seductions, scandalous and sinful behavior can creep into our thinking, feeling and imagining unless it is balanced with prayer, discipline and meditation. Naturally, we can not control our feelings and impressions which may not be sinful but that doesnt mean we cant aim to improve how we handle our interior world. Another excellent measure to help in spiritual growth is to perform self-sacrifices for the poor and needy in a spirit of generosity. There are many things we can impose on ourselves to check human nature which wants total liberty and absolute freedom to do anything and everything in a selfish manner.
Our reformer envisioned a support system was needed such as urging even the diocesan priest to live together and maintain scheduled prayer time and religious observance. Little things such as sitting or standing at the proper time during the saying of the divine office were not overlooked by the keen eye of Cardinal Damian. (Peter resisted the Cardinals office and accepted only because of the threat of excommunication) Despite the nitty-gritty enforcement of things people didn't like to hear, Peter admonished others in charity. He took his duties seriously and strongly implemented widespread reform and renewal. He started with the clergy.
Added to his strong verbal support, visitations and observations, Peter wrote many letters and sermons on the subject of reform and also used biographies employing concrete examples and stories rather than theory and dry concepts to illustrate and give impact to his message of renewal.
Peter was asked by the pope to serve as papal legate. He worked himself to death quietly and cheerfully. "Let us faithfully transmit to posterity the example of virtue which we have received from our forefathers." This personal quote sums up his renewal and reform attitude: sharing, giving and passing on to others what God had first given to St. Peter Damian. He treasured and cherished his inheritance and challenges and worked diligently for the Church by offering more guiding light when deep darkness abounded.
Today, renewal and reform efforts are desperately needed inside and outside the Church. In government, prison treatment, military, politics, arts and sciences, education, sports, seminaries, monasteries and every conceivable layer of society, St. Damian can be a grand model and example for checks and balances.
For years Peter Damian was much employed in the service of the Church by successive popes. Peter constantly solicited the popes to grant him leave to resign his bishopric and return to his solitude but they usually always refused Peter. He interpreted this to mean God wanted him exactly where he was. Whatever austerities Peter prescribed for others, he first practiced on himself and he continued doing this even in his old age. He was never idle. Peters preaching was most eloquent and his writing voluminous. He was declared a doctor of the Church in 1838.
If this holy cardinal-bishop reformer were alive today he would applaud the great emphasis on prayer, prayer meetings and especially the houses of prayer that many religious communities have established. Although he was most passionate about leading a total prayer life, he readily gave it up to serve God in the Church when his superiors asked him. This takes wisdom, discernment and holy trust in others and God and especially a most generous spirit of sacrifice as Jesus and the saints have demonstrated.
People can identify with Peter in many ways. He had chronic insomnia. There are an estimate forty millions Americans alone who suffer from sleep disorders. It is very common and is a normal response to life stresses, aging and medical or psychiatric illness. Please petition St Peter Damian to help you. He longs to assist you because he himself can understand what you are going through.
Millions have drinking problems. Reform is needed in that area:
Gambling and smoking are other addictions that need modications and restrictions for good health.
Saints in heaven have tremendous influence not only to help you spiritually but bodily as well. With the anxiety and complex problems that we have both on our jobs and at home we need to get rested well to function well. Perhaps that is the reason that Peter Damian loved prayer intensely. He preferred always to be engaged in it. Why? He was restored to a restful and relaxed state while engaging in prayer. Who knows? Perhaps he got addicted to prayer (this can happen when we should be acting instead of praying-discernment is needed) and God had a subtle way to break that spiritual attraction by giving him other active duties and responsibilities.
Other current, notable addictions and compulsions include pornography and consummerism. The habit of pornography generally starts when we are ever so innocent and young, although this pernicious habit can begin at any time. God has made our bodies most beautiful. Young men and women view and gaze at naked bodies on the Internet, magazines, movies, and most especially, in one's imagination. Once we begin and get trapped in naked beauty we find ourselves easily undressing everyone as we let our imagination and eyes wander aimlessly as we look at people and do not exercise modest viewing.
With consummerism we pant for new products, merchandise and clothing because we often have the money, and lets face it, we love spending it-even when we don't have it but do have our credit cards. We reason, we've earned it and everyone else has it, why shouldn't we?
I'm not talking about needed things, I'm talking about things we actually don't need but we want to indulge because they are helpful or beautiful and why shouldn't we? We reason that we deserve it.
We are consumed with consummerism and our culture is obsessed with buying. We need virtue to guide our thinking, feeling and our actions. All possess subtle, often unknown vices, that we are unaware or conscious of. Our sense of morality has slipped or is latent. Reform and renewal awaken our soul's senses (awareness) of spiritual reality.
Christians need to have grace to keep graceful. We need purity, to have the chance of remaining pure and we need wisdom not to use our credit cards when buying urges us to overspend or misspend because of our materialistic urges.
Restraint and moderation are enacted with virtue and God's grace and in no other way. If we are able to discipline our behavior, that in itself is God's grace, albeit, hidden. Anything good you are able to do comes from God. Positive self-discipline is the ability to practice within. Grace filled people know that their thoughts beget habits and they need to discipline their thoughts to create the habits of checking impure or unwise actions as pornography and unchecked consummerism. In his day, Peter Damian performed penance and fasting. We, too, need checks and balances and God will always guide us from going astray or becoming too lax when we are earnest and sincere.
Temptations are slick and our vanity blinds and binds us. Jesus gave us only one prayer and it included 'lead us not into temptation' from the Our Father. And who is leading us into temptations? We lead ourselves when we do not pray enough. We do not pray enough because we are tempted. It's a vicious cycle.
When we are living honestly, we can never pray enough. Wake up in smell the roses! Christ spend 30 years praying to prepare for 3. Authentic Christians are challenged, tempted and confronted daily. One should almost expect to "fall" sometimes unless your're already perfect. Prayer picks us up and renews us. Penances are important. You don't necessarily have to beat your body. Beat your imagination, memory and habits of the heart of thinking unkindly-even when people are mean. This takes the Spirit's power. Prayer will give you what human nature can not imagine because it is a divine nature.
Oh, yes, lest we forget, that dirty word confession is necessary. We call it the sacrament of reconcilation today. That term sounds softer. The Church's law is to confess. Sometimes, in order of priorities, going to confession, is our last on the list. The first doctor of the Church, St Ambrose, said: "Confession opens the door to heaven". That is a powerful statement when you think about it. Perhaps we might change our priorites from last to first. We really ought to thank God for the ability to confess. Those who do not confess in some form can go to hell. Pride is an eternal killer. It underpasses hope or thought as love surpasses word or thought.
The Catholic Church collectively has held twenty-one ecumenical councils in twenty-one centuries. This fact should remind us that radical change has always been vital and needed for growth and development. This is what the Catholic Almanac has to say about the councils.
The councils have played a highly significant role in the history of the Church by witnessing to and defining truths of revelation, by shaping forms of worships and discipline, and by promoting measures for the ever-necessary reform and renewal of Catholic life. In general, they have represented attempts to mobilize itself in times of crises for self-preservation, self-purification and growth. See the Almanac for the dates and list of all the councils.
Many of us can identify with the last great Council of Vatican II ushered in by Blessed Pope John XXIII. That Council gave new meaning, focus and direction to the Church both within and to the world at large. Thus we see that God uses individuals as Peter Damian and moves others including popes to form large gatherings called councils. God always leads His people and provides the very best for all. God wants for His children peace, happiness and sanctification by the Holy Spirit. This can only be achieved with constant, spiritual reform and renewal. Councils frequently cause upheavals and imbalances. Radical changes often cause monumental challenges. Human nature and the divine plan are often at odds. We need humility, first and last.
The Church as a wise Mother sets aside a specific period in the liturgical year for fasting, penance, almsgiving and especially prayer. This time is for the purpose of renewal and reform. We can identify with Jesus who prepared Himself for His ministry by spending forty days in the desert. During the Lenten Season we can meditate on the Lords passion and death. We can attempt to understand the great obedience of Jesus and his submission to the Fathers plan for our salvation.
Preparation is an important necessity for all work, professions and leisure. We are called daily to ones ministry, metier, and mandate. People do not plan to fail. They fail to plan. Praying daily is the surest plan for proper balance, peace and harmony within oneself and charity toward others. Ones praying can take on many forms and styles. St Peter Damian and the Church councils have provided for us marvelous examples on how to stay very closely united to God despite the many forces and concerns pressing us daily. This can always be achieved when we beg God to foster in us the spirit of charity, solitude (a place and habit of the heart) and humility. God alone can instill in us an unselfish concern for others, the divine presence and Gods role for us according to our lifestyles and everyday living.
Peter's renewal efforts included the Mother of God as it did for all the doctors. See link below especially on what Peter had to day and write about The Mother of God.
THE DOCTORS AND ST. MARY
Peter not only wanted Mary's role with the birth of Christ but with the highlighting of her role with Jesus and His appearance on the altar in every Mass. There were already connections known in the Eastern Church doing this type of Marian associations. He also associated the wisdom text in the bible and in his "office" of Mary with Christ. He felt the Church came from Mary indirectly because through her we have the birth of Jesus Christ.
We can be absolutely assured that Gods Mother and the saints, especially, the renewal doctor, Peter, are wide-awake to your prayers, petition and problems in heaven. Plead with them for anything you want and trust in the results. Reform and renewal can be most difficult and might seem impossible at times due to our weak human nature and the habits and patterns that chain us to fixed orientations and activities. Human nature can be both docile and rebellious. Praying enables us to conquer, overcome and subdue any and all hostile enemies and attacks. Listen to the piercing cry of Peter to Mary, his Queen. He says: Mary, thou (you) are most loving and you love us with an invincible love.
Renger's marvelous, doctor book found in the sources tell us that Peter had great confidence in Mary's intercession. He relates a number of incidents to prove her powerful aid. He states: "It was his custom when relating miracles or heavenly appearances to say carefully just how sure he was of the facts, a rather unusual scientific trait for his day." Father's subtitle for St Damian was Monitor of the Popes.
St Catherine was another holy person who told the pope of her day where God wanted the Church when it was in France. When one is closely united to the Holy Spirit and under the Spirit's influence as Catherine and Peter, great things happen for others. Thus, Rengers notes, Damian's emphasis on penance was not blind; rather, his chief emphasis was on the preparation for union with God in prayer and in the ultimate refreshment given to us in the gift of contemplation-finding God's presence everywhere but especially within oneself.
Peter's profound union, Rengers states, allowed him to best explain the unity of all Christians with Christ and with one another: "Indeed the Church of Christ is united in all her parts by such a bond of love that her several members form a single body, and in each one the whole Church is mystically present; so that the whole Church universal may rightly be called the one bride of Christ, and on the other hand every single soul can, because of the mystical effect of the Sacraments, be regarded as the whole Church."
St Damian claimed that those who are truly repentant, reformed, renewed and love Mary ardently would be personally assisted by her when their life is about to be finished. Mary will, in her own person, escort and assist them to the next life in heaven when God calls them to depart from earth. What a blessed assurance! Endeavor then to call upon Mary wholeheartedly because no matter how much you love her, it will always be less than her love toward you. True lovers of Mary are never able to equal Marys own love toward them. Thus we begin to glimpse the vitally importance of daily renewal and reform. It assures mastery of the spiritual life, the overthrowing and bringing down of any hostile forces. It destroys the enemys power (He has plenty) and defeats and suppresses him. Thank God for Peter Damian and the great role he played in showing the Church the life-giving blessings of renewal and reform.
To be a reformer and change the Church and the world profoundly as St Peter Damian, one does not have to be a bishop, hermit or a religious. It has nothing to do with being married or single. What is required is the dedication and consecration of one's heart to God, in one's own way, by acting and praying charitably always and perhaps wearing a smile more frequently.
Renewal and reform makes good common sense because we grow stale, weary and human nature needs a good refresher to live one's life fully. Whatever means you can find to rejuvenate one's thinking, acting and being kind and nice will have transforming effects according to the holy will of God for each person. The Church has set aside the time of Lent to make renewal and reform a reminder for all. What a wise and caring Mother whose main concern is to imitate our Messiah, Model and Man-God. One holy devotion for renewal and reform is praying the stations of the cross.
PRAYING THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS AND THE MEDIATION OF JESUS AND MARY'S PASSION IS A HOLY PRACTICE FOR RENEWAL, REFORM AND TRANSFORMATION.
In February, 2004, the movie The Passion of the Christ will be released. Their offical website is:
St Peter Damian is pictured or thought of by some as an extremist, seeing sin everywhere, but Rengers notes in his book: The 33 Doctors of the Church, listed in the sources, "he was actually a realist, and his sterness comes from looking stern reality in the face. His age was an age of grave abuses. He was a reformer and an eminent forerunner of other reformers. The age is named after his reforming friend, Hildebrand, later, Pope Gregory VII, whom he called a 'holy Satan.'
Today, 2004, the United States is engaged in war and our ages has been termed the 'culture of death'. Reform, renewal and transformation are as needed now as in Peter's day. This requires God's graces and gifts on the Deity's part that is never wanting and cooperation and collaboration on our part that is sometimes wanting our total responsibility, trust and confidence in God.
What is needed is somehow creating more time for prayer, guarding our thoughts and habits, and acting compassionately toward the poor and disable. These are sure paths to peace and love. Oh, yes, we will have the pain and crosses as Christ. However, through God's graces, the pain will be transformed into peace, and the crosses renewed into charity toward others. We will be reformed from aloneness to wholeness, and from sinfulness to saintliness. St Peter Damian urges us on to make it happen as in his day!
Perhaps we could pray for more enlightenment and awareness as we seriously petition the Holy Spirit: Oh! please come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of thy divine love, spend forth thy Spirit and You shall be created and You shall RENEW the face of the earth. Renew and reform are forms of prayer. It is prayer that awakens faith and fuels it. The Spirit of the Lord fills the whole world and governs all! Let us be attentive, atuned and open to the Spirit's power, presence and peace amidst the fury and fierceness of a culture that is steeped in fear and death in many parts.
To explore other Benedictine Doctors see St Bede, the Venerable, St Anslem, St Bernard and others on the Homepage among many heroic saints.
For more info on the founder of the Camaldolese Order, St Romuald, click on the below link:
Not mentioned in this link is his body was exhumed in 1466, over 400 years after his death, and it was found to be incorrupt. The body of the Saint lies in the crypt of S. Romuald at the Monastery of Saints Biagio and Romuald, Fabriano (Ancona) Italy. This is taken from Joan Carroll Cruz's book entitled The Incorruptibles published by TAN.
For more info on the Benedictine Order click of the below link:
For an online guide to St Benedict of Nursia, Patriarch of Western Monasticism and Co-Patron of Europe:
Lest we forget, St Benedict's twin sister is a fascinating read. Explore: Saints Scholastica and her twin brother Benedict: A Paradox, A Paradigm:
Another Damian link is below. Click on the Table of Contents and you will see the links at the top of the page:
Within this link there are additional links to St Peter Damian, the doctor of reform and renewal-The Order of Saint Benedict and A Benedictine Martyrology Renewal Spirit.
There are scores of active groups whose missions are reform/renewal. Most are listed on the link page that can be found near the bottom on the Homepage.
The Cursillo Movement, endorsed by Our Holy Father, is an effective organization for reform and renewal in the World. For information contact: The National Cursillo Center, P.O. Box 210226, Dallas, Tx 75211-0226. Business Telephone: (214) 339-6321.
Lastly, on the Doctors' homepage at the bottom, there are Benedictine awards that will tell one more about the Religious Order. Explore the Benedictines with St Peter to be blessed, and to cherish one's faith toward God and His holy Mother. The Lent Season offers no better time to be renewed and reformed to carry out the holy will of God in all matters.
Saint Peter Damian (1001-1072) was born at Ravenna in central Italy in 1007. After completing his studies he began to teach, but soon abandoned this and entered the hermitage of Fonte Avellana where, once elected prior, he promoted the religious life with such fervor that all of Italy was affected by his renewal. During calamitous times he helped the Roman Pontiffs through his works and writings and by various missions on behalf of Church reform. He was created bishop and cardinal of Ostia by Pope Stephen IX. Peter Damian died in 1072 and soon afterward was venerated as a saint.
Let us rejoice in the joy that follows sadness
You asked me to write you some words of consolation, my brother. Embittered by so many tribulations, you are seeking some comfort for your soul. You asked me to offer you some soothing suggestions.
But there is no need for me to write. Consolation is already within your reach, if your good sense has not been dulled. My son, come to the service of God. Stan in justice and fear. Prepare your soul; it is about to be tested. These words of Scripture show that you are a son of God and, as such, should take possession of your inheritance. What could be clearer than this exhortation?
Where there is justice as well as fear, adversity will surely test the spirit. But it is not the torment of a slave. Rather it is the discipline of a child by its parent.
Even in the midst of his many sufferings, the holy man Job could say: Whip me, crush me, cut me in slices! And he would always add: This at least would bring me relief, yet my persecutor does not spare me.
But for God's chosen ones there is great comfort; the torment lasts but a short time. Then God bends down, cradles the fallen figure, whispers words of consolation. With hope in his heart, man picks himself up and walks again toward the glory of happiness in heaven.
Craftsmen exemplify this same practice. By hammering gold, the smith beats out the dross. The sculptor files metal to reveal a shining vein underneath. The potter's furnace puts vessels to the test. And the fire of suffering tests the mettle of just men. The apostle James echoes this thought: Think it a great joy, dear brothers and sisters, when you stumble onto the many kinds of trials and tribulations.
When men suffer pain for the evil they have perpetrated in life, they should take some reassurance. They also know that for their good deeds undying rewards await them in the life to come.
Therefore, my brother, scorned as you are by men, lashed as it were by God, do not despair. Do not be depressed. Do not let your weakness make you impatient. Instead, let the serenity of your spirit shine through your face. Let the joy of your mind burst forth. Let words of thanks break from your lips.
The way that God deals with men can only be praised. He lashes them in this life to shield them from the eternal lash in the next. He pins people down now; at a later time he will raise them up. He cuts them before healing; he throws them down to raise them anew.
The Scriptures reassure us: let your understanding strengthen your patience. In serenity look forward to the joy that follows sadness. Hope leads you to that joy and love enkindles your zeal. The well-prepared mind forgets the suffering inflicted from without and glides eagerly to what it has contemplated within itself.
Source: The Liturgy of the Hours - Office of Readings
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