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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Tuesday, June 18, 2019
This article was first posted at NCRegister.com June 11, 2019.
By Edward Pentin
ROME — In comments sent via email to The Washington Post, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has accused Pope Francis of “deliberately concealing” evidence on Theodore McCarrick, “blatantly lying” to cover up his own actions and doing “absolutely nothing” to expose cover-up and wrongdoing because it would be “disastrous for the current papacy.”
But in his first lengthy interview since his testimony last year, the former nuncio to the United States told the newspaper June 10 that nothing would make him “happier” than for Francis to “acknowledge and end the coverups” over McCarrick and other abuse cases and to “reconcile himself with God.”
“I am grateful to the Lord because He has protected me from having any sentiments of anger or resentment against Pope Francis, or any desire for revenge,” he said. “I pray for his conversion every day.”
The retired Holy See diplomat also said he is “not fighting against Pope Francis, nor have I offended him” but “simply spoken the truth.” The Holy Father, he said, “needs to reconcile himself with God.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the former nuncio called for McCarrick to be excommunicated to help bring him to repentance, said he believes McCarrick’s laicization was timed “to manipulate public opinion,” and reiterated his belief that a largely homosexual “mafia” is primarily responsible for this “truly dark moment for the universal Church.”
Archbishop Viganò also admitted his own mistakes, saying “in retrospect” that “certain points” of his own testimony, such as his call on the Pope to resign, “could have been better stated” and made dependent on the Pope not admitting his errors and asking for forgiveness.
The Washington Post interview began with an assessment of the four-day Vatican summit in February on protection of minors in the Church. Archbishop Viganò said he was “praying intensely” for its success but that it turned out to be “pure ostentation” as he did not see any “genuine willingness” to deal with the “real causes of the present crisis.”
He criticized the choice of Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago as the event leader, especially in light of the U.S. cardinal’s earlier comments that the Pope had a “bigger agenda” to address. Archbishop Viganò also said the summit press conferences were “discouraging” and that an “especially serious problem” was that the summit focused on exclusively on abuse of minors and did not include abuse of young adults and seminarians. Nor did it “properly” address the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood, he said.
Archbishop Viganò spoke of “truly ominous” signs, saying he believes the Pope is doing “close to nothing” to punish abuses and “absolutely nothing” to expose and bring abusers to justice. He pointed out that Francis praised Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., for his “nobility” when he resigned last fall, even though Cardinal Wuerl had, according to Archbishop Viganò, “covered up the abuses” of McCarrick for “decades.”.
McCarrick’s laicization in February, shortly before the Vatican summit began, was “as far as it goes, a just punishment,” Archbishop Viganò told The Post, but he said the procedures and timing were “designed to manipulate public opinion” and give the appearance the Pope was “determined to fight” against clerical sex abuse.
Also, by the Pope making the laicization “definitive,” the Holy Father was able to rule out any “further investigation” that could have exposed the guilt of others, the archbishop said. “The bottom line is this,” he said. “Pope Francis is deliberately concealing the McCarrick evidence.”
He added that from the “far more important spiritual dimension,” laicization is “completely inadequate” as it fails to consider the “salvation of McCarrick’s soul.” He said he thought he was not alone in thinking that excommunication would be appropriate as it would “induce him to take responsibility for his sins,” repent and be reconciled with God.
Asked about the Vatican’s intervention at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting last November, stopping bishops from voting on measures to hold bishops more responsible on overseeing abuse cases, Archbishop Viganò said such a measure was “wholly unjustified.” Without that intervention, he believes unquestionably episcopal corruption, abuse and other misconduct would have been examined that would “intolerably implicate and embarrass the Holy See.”
Pleading the Fifth?
Turning to his own earlier testimony from August 2018, Archbishop Viganò told the Post that “no one has plausibly denied the facts,” some of which “have been independently confirmed.” He also said the prelates he named in his testimony as being involved in, or having knowledge about the McCarrick mishandling are lying low, and he wondered why journalists are “letting them get away with this.”
On the Pope’s response to remain silent, he said: “Is it not what you Americans call ‘taking the fifth’? By responding as he did, the Pope is essentially admitting that he is unwilling to be transparent.”
Francis knew of McCarrick’s crimes, “yet rehabilitated him” and made him a trusted adviser, he added, but by not discussing this the Pope was showing “contempt” for both victims and those wanting an end to cover-ups, he said. Archbishop Viganò said later in the Post interview that he believes the Vatican’s archival investigation into McCarrick, announced last October, was an “empty promise.”
Referring to the Pope’s most recent interview, in which Francis said he’d replied “many times” about the McCarrick affair, knew nothing about McCarrick’s abuses, and couldn’t recall a 2013 conversation with Archbishop Viganò about McCarrick, the former nuncio asked: “How may these claims be affirmed and sustained together at the same time? All these three are blatant lies.”
In particular, he repeated his allegation that Francis asked him specifically about McCarrick during that conversation, and that he told the newly elected Pope about the existence of a “huge dossier” on McCarrick’s abuses. “How could anybody, especially a pope, forget this?”
“We are in a truly dark moment for the universal Church,” the archbishop added. “The Supreme Pontiff is now blatantly lying to the whole world to cover up his wicked deeds! But the truth will eventually come out, about McCarrick and all the other coverups, as it already has in the case of Cardinal Wuerl.”
Archbishop Viganò, who said he has been receiving an “incredible outpouring of support,” rejected the accusation, made in an open letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet last October, that he was motivated by bitterness from thwarted ambition. In any case, he said, “motivation is not the point,” but “whether my testimony is true.” He said those who “impugn my motives” have been unwilling to “conduct open and thorough investigations.”
He went on to say he was “saddened” that news media are not insisting that the Holy Father and other prelates “answer my charges” and believes it is because they favor Francis’ “more liberal agenda.” He asked why no media have searched the archives themselves, interviewing victims, following money trails, and investigating corrupt networks.
As one of “so many cases to go after,” he referred to a new book by Martha Alegria Reichmann about the “misdeeds” of Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (Alegria discussed the contents of her book with Register in April). “Have you thought of interviewing her? Of investigating her claims?” he asked the Post.
Turning to homosexuality, and drawing on a recent studies including by Father Paul Sullins of the Ruth Institute, he said it is “mind-boggling” how the Vatican has avoided bringing it up at the February summit and recent synods, when the evidence of its preponderance in sexual abuse is “overwhelming.”
He said a “gay mafia” is bound together not by “shared sexual intimacy” but through protection and advancement, the “homosexual cliques” Benedict XVI mentioned in his “notes” compiled for the Vatican abuse summit. The archbishop then reproduced relevant passages on homosexuality from the Catechism.
Archbishop Viganò told the Post he regretted not publicly speaking up earlier about McCarrick, but thought the Church “could reform itself from within.” He said when it became clear the Pope was one of those covering up the crimes, “I had no doubt the Lord was calling me to speak up, as I have done and will continue to do.”
He said he believes a formal schism is unlikely, but that a “de facto schism based on acceptance or rejection of the sexual revolution” already exists.
He also admitted his testimony could have been handled better. “I am far from perfect,” he said, and would have reworded his initial statement to urge the Holy Father to “face up to his commitments,” pointed out St. Peter’s denials of Christ and subsequent repentance, and call on the Pope to resign only if he failed to imitate St. Peter by refusing to repent.
Asked how he feels in his conscience, Archbishop Viganò said he did what he believed needed to be done, knowing he would soon meet the “Good Judge.” He also did not want falsehoods to go unchallenged and “harm my soul and the souls of others.” His conscience “has always been clear,” he said, and that the “truth makes us free.”
Referring to how he was pushed out of his curial position in 2011 because he was uncovering corruption, Archbishop Viganò said, “Little did they know that the Lord was using them to put me in a position to speak out about the McCarrick scandal.”
He hinted that he is holding relevant documentation but said “the time has not yet come for me to release anything,” and suggested journalists ask the Pope and the prelates he mentioned in his testimony to “release the relevant documentation, some of which is quite incriminating, assuming they have not yet destroyed it.”
He concluded by observing that this crisis “is causing an institutional paralysis that is immensely demoralizing for the faithful,” but “we should be neither entirely surprised nor overly disturbed by this desperate state of affairs, given the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s promise to come again and establish his definitive kingdom.”
Archbishop Viganò, who began the interview by saying the Church is “going through one of the most turbulent moments in her history,” ended it by quoting paragraph 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The paragraph states the Church must pass through a “final trial that will shake the faith of many believers” and that the persecution that “accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”
Posted on: Tuesday, June 18, 2019
This article was first published on The Washington Post June 10, 2019. In the article, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò quotes the Ruth Institute's special report by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. The report is called "Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000" and can be found here.
The part of the article where Fr. Sullins' report is quoted is here: (The WP reporter's question is in bold.)
Let’s keep two arenas distinct: (1) crimes of sexual abuse and (2) criminal coverup of crimes of sexual abuse. In most cases in the Church today, both have a homosexual component — usually downplayed — that is key to the crisis.
As to the first, heterosexual men obviously do not choose boys and young men as sexual partners of preference, and approximately 80 percent of the victims are males, the vast majority of which are post-pubescent males. Statistics from many different countries regarding sexual abuses committed by clergy leave no doubt. Horrific as the cases of abuse by true pedophiles are, the percentage is far smaller. It is not pedophiles but gay priests preying on post-pubertal boys who have bankrupted the U.S. dioceses. One of the most recent and reliable studies, “Is Catholic clergy sex abuse related to homosexual priests,” was conducted by Father Paul Sullins, PhD, of the Ruth Institute. In its executive summary, the Sullins study reports, among other things, the following:
● “The share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s. This trend was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.”
● “Estimates from these findings predict that, had the proportion of homosexual priests remained at the 1950s level, at least 12,000 fewer children, mostly boys, would have suffered abuse.”
The preponderance of these cases of abuse is overwhelming. I do not think anyone can dispute this. That homosexuality is a major cause of the sexual abuse crisis has also been stated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his recent essay, “The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse.” From his long experience as president of the CDF, he recalls how “in various seminaries homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries.”
Posted on: Thursday, June 13, 2019
Jennifer Roback Morse to Appear on EWTN This Evening, June 13, 2019
In a June 10 interview with The Washington Post, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, (Apostolic Nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016) cited the Ruth Institute study, “Is Catholic clergy sex abuse related to homosexual priests”.
Archbishop Vigano called the Institute’s report, conducted by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., “One of the most recent and reliable studies.”
The Archbishop said that in the report’s executive summary, Fr. Sullins noted: “The share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s. This trend was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.”
Such recognition in one of the most prominent liberal newspapers in America, but one influential in the nation’s capital, was most welcome.
An interview with Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. will be broadcast on “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) this evening at 8 pm ET. The interview will focus on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Baltimore, where clergy sexual abuse is expected to be discussed.
Click here for the Washington Post interview.
Posted on: Friday, May 31, 2019
Press Conference on Latest Report from Fr. Paul Sullins: “Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests Since 2000”
May 31, 2019 For Immediate Release
For More Information, Contact: Rachel Golden email@example.com
On June 6, The Ruth Institute will hold an exclusive online press conference to release a new report by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. The new report, Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000 , finds that male victimization and homosexual priests rose together through the 1980s. They have also fallen together more recently. The report also shows that the proportion of female victims has risen.
However, overall, Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., warns: “There has been a disturbing rise of the sexual abuse of children by priests after reaching an all-time low just after 2002.”
Morse continued, “The good news is that since 2000, only a small fraction of overall cases of abuse (11%), has been perpetrated by newly ordained priests (those who have been priests less than 10 years), while 52% has been perpetrated by priests ordained 30 years ago or longer.”
Among its recommendations, the report urged, “Catholics must remain vigilant in protecting all minors against clerical sexual abuse.” Further, “The Church or interested lay organizations should increase educational programs on authentic Church teachings on human sexuality.” An Executive Summary of the Report can be found here.
The press conference will take place on June 6, at noon EST. More information, including log-in instructions can be found here.
Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is a retired Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America and is currently a Senior Research Associate at the Ruth Institute.
For more information on Fr. Sullins’ earlier report on clergy sex abuse, please visit: http://www.ruthinstitute.org/
Ruth Institute President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, is the author of “The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along,” and has spent decades working with survivors of the Sexual Revolution
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family in the public arena. On April 26-27, the Institute held a Summit for Survivors of Sexual Revolution in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Summit included discussions of the long-term impact of childhood sexual abuse.
Find more information on the Ruth Institute here.
Posted on: Tuesday, May 07, 2019
The Ruth Institute’s first annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (April 26-27, in Lake Charles, Louisiana) was highly praised by participants. All agreed that the caliber of speakers and content (which covered Survivors of Divorce and Survivors of the LGBT subculture) were exceptional.
Here are a few of the comments from speakers and participants:
“The Summit revealed to me many different survival stories which involved deep pain. However, their stories all ended in hope because they turned to God. It also gives me hope to see everyone that attended was united to God’s plan for marriage and family.” Al Chlupacek -- Chemical Engineer, Indianapolis
“Thank you all. It was incredible, and a real shot in the arm. Now we all have work to do. But I feel like at least we know our fellow soldiers in this battle! It’s a rough world out there, and sadly, many of our ‘enemies’ are fellow Christians… It’s a battle from within and without. But I’m so pleased at the depth of intelligence and holiness on display this weekend! God bless you all! And thank you, Dr. Morse! You are a true solider for Christ!” Leila Miller – Catholic author, Phoenix
“This was a very meaningful conference. I enjoyed the scholarship, the personal testimonies, and all the informal conversations and relationship-building in between. I look forward to ongoing conversations with many of the wonderful people I met this weekend. The experience was powerful and inspiring.” Matt F. Johnson – humanitarian and disaster relief, Washington, D.C.
“Thank you Mr. And Dr. Morse plus your team for putting together such a conference. I learned a lot. Thanks also to you all that took time to do papers and share with us your stories. It gives me hope as an African to see the good side of America. You people are amazing. Hopefully we do this in Africa, too? God bless you all.” Ann Kioko, CitizenGO Campaigns Manager for Africa, Nairobi
“I just want to tell you all how very honored I am to have had the pleasure to work with all of you this weekend in this critical endeavor! Mr. & Dr. Morse, you are both tireless in your efforts and I have great respect for you both. Thank you - and the Ruth Institute's extremely capable staff and volunteers -- for showing us all such genuine kindness and hospitality. This weekend will go down in my memory as one of great blessings and fellowship. To be gathered with so many others who recognize the beauty, goodness and critical importance of marriage and the traditional family was a such a true honor and pleasure.” Christy Fitzgerald – Registered Nurse, Case Manager, Hickory, N.C.
“This Summit was a bright moment for recovering from a toxic family culture and beginning to build something better. I want to add my thanks to everyone as well, for sharing your stories and journeys and scholarship and standing for marriage, life and children. Patti and I were both deeply touched by the accounts of struggle and overcoming and finding new life and sanctity in the pain of marriage and parental loss. For me, one of the most fruitful times was also breakfast at the hotel, when I was blessed to, and saw others too, encourage one another and build friendships and mutual support and plot ministry strategies in a fellowship free-for-all. There are not many other places something like that could happen.” Fr. D Paul Sullins, Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute
“I hope everyone realizes just how innovative this was. For all the many ‘pro-family’ groups out there, almost none of them seriously confronts the divorce system, connected issues, and the government machinery behind it. I also noticed other ways in which the various speakers were ‘pushing the envelope,’ and I for one think that we have nothing to lose, and much to gain, from continuing and even increasing the push.” Stephen K. Baskerville, Purcellville, Virginia
“To get the inside scoop on the extraordinary Survivors Summit, be sure to check out the various presentations at the Ruth Institute’s website, and on its Facebook page. Be forewarned that the truth about these problems is not easy to handle. However, the truth shall set you free.” C. Preston Noell, American Society for Tradition, Family and Property, Washington, D.C.
“Don’t sit on the sidelines. Now that you understand the devastation caused by the Sexual Revolution, help us to fight for the family and cultural sanity.” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute
Posted on: Monday, May 06, 2019
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published February 28, 2019, at One Peter Five.
While the Vatican’s decision to laicize Theodore McCarrick was a valuable step, it is not, and cannot be, the end of the affair. Mr. McCarrick was the elephant in the room at the recently concluded Vatican summit. We still don’t know who promoted McCarrick’s rise and whose careers benefited from McCarrick’s protection. At least one person has the power to bring this affair to a more satisfactory conclusion: Mr. McCarrick himself.
Ever since Archbishop Viganò made his explosive charges about McCarrick, all eyes have been on Pope Francis. “The Holy Father should respond to these charges.” “Pope Francis could release the documents that would answer these questions once and for all.” And it is quite true that Pope Francis could take steps that would resolve at least some of the questions.
It is also true that the greatly anticipated book by gay French atheist Martel, In the Closet of the Vatican, essentially confirms the most damaging of Archbishop Viganò’s claims: Pope Francis knew about McCarrick’s homosexual activity. According to Martel’s sources, “Francis was initially informed by Viganò that McCarrick had had sexual relations with over-age seminarians, which was not enough, in his mind, to condemn him.”
We forget that there is one other person in a position to know the full truth of Viganò’s charges: Mr. McCarrick himself. McCarrick could confirm or deny some or all of the suspicions. McCarrick could answer the tough and important questions. How did he rise through the ranks? Who protected and promoted him? Whom did he protect and promote?
I’m not saying I expect a full confession from McCarrick, or that he could “heal” the Church or anyone else. He could, of course, repent. But at this late date, who in his right mind would take him seriously? If Mr. McCarrick started, all of sudden, professing contrition and sorrow, we’d all wonder what he was angling for. God can know the truth of McCarrick’s heart and heal anyone of anything. The rest of us would need more than words.
On the other hand, he might inadvertently do something constructive, as a side-effect. Assume for the sake of argument that McCarrick really did use his fundraising abilities and his power in the Church to promote the careers of men of homosexual sympathies. Assume that Pope Francis was aware of this. Assume further that some of McCarrick’s power arose from the power of secrets. He had dirt on a lot of people. The people who had dirt on him didn’t want to reveal it, because he might reveal the dirt he had on them.
This system of mutual secret-keeping is a bit like the old Mutual Assured Destruction strategic balancing act from the Cold War. Once one side fires a missile, the other side has an incentive to retaliate. The mutual fear of total annihilation kept both sides from pushing that big red button. As crazy as that system sounds, it did keep peace, albeit an uneasy peace, for quite a few years.
Apply that same logic to McCarrick and his friends. The Mutual Assured Secret-Keeping game is now over. McCarrick’s old friends and allies kicked him to the curb. All those people whose rise to power he engineered, all those people who owed him their careers, all those people whose secrets he kept, they all betrayed him. They offered him up as a scapegoat to make the public outcry over clergy sex abuse go away. Why should he keep their secrets now? He might as well retaliate.
He could get revenge. He could make a lot of money, selling exclusive rights to his tell-all memoirs to some enterprising journalist or publisher. As an added benefit, the public would finally get a fuller picture of what actually happened. He has nothing to lose now by spilling his guts. (If he does have something to lose, that suggests another whole layer of deception about even more deeply hidden costs and benefits. But that is purely speculation at this point.)
He does have an interest in exaggerating things that make his enemies look bad, or downplaying things that make himself look bad. But the names he would reveal would be substantially correct. He would have an incentive to skewer those who let him twist in the wind in his hour of need. That might include the senior cardinals whose promotion he promoted, or even Pope Francis himself. He might, in the end, corroborate Viganò’s charges.
On the other hand, who would believe Mr. McCarrick if he tried to frame someone completely outside the orbit of homosexually inclined or heterodoxy-inclined senior prelates? “I, Theodore McCarrick, secretly aided the rise of Cardinal Burke. Bishop Athanasius Schneider and I used to secretly hang around together. Cardinal Sarah and I are old pals.”
That type of frame-up job just wouldn’t fly. If he had sexual dirt on any of his orthodox former colleagues, such as the dubia cardinals, he would have revealed that information a long time ago.
The best possible end to the McCarrick Affair is that Mr. McCarrick tell all he knows. He might do it for all the wrong reasons: revenge, greed, spite. He might not do it for the good of the Church or his immortal soul. No matter. People often do the right thing for the wrong reasons. The entire Body of Christ would benefit, whether McCarrick intends it or not.
Please, someone: Offer Mr. McCarrick a book deal.
Posted on: Tuesday, March 26, 2019
by Jim McDermott
This article was first published March 1, 2019, at America Magazine.
In an effort to pressure Cardinal Roger Mahony to withdraw from a talk he is scheduled to give at the upcoming Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Religious Education Congress, a private Facebook group called 1000 Fed Up Catholics launched what it deemed “D-Day” on Feb. 26. The group asked 500 of its members to send registered or certified letters to the cardinal requesting he remove himself from the event—the gesture forcing the cardinal or someone assisting him to sign for each piece of correspondence. The group also asked its members to blast the archdiocesan religious education office with emails urging that he be withdrawn from the congress.
The invitation-only Facebook group objects to the cardinal’s participation at R.E.C. because of his handling of the church’s sexual abuse crisis during his leadership of the archdiocese between 1985 and 2011. The group was created by the Ruth Institute. That organization is also responsible for one of a number of online petitions pressing to have Cardinal Mahony removed from the R.E.C. program.
To date the institute’s petition has received slightly more than 4,000 signatures, roughly one-tenth of the normal attendance at the congress (though there is no indication how many of the petitioners would also prove to be R.E.C. attendees). Members of the Fed Up Catholics group have also posted negative reviews on the Facebook pages of the R.E.C. and the archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education. The office’s review page is filled with attacks on Cardinal Mahony and demands that he withdraw.A “global non-profit organization creating a mass social movement to end family breakdown” with no affiliation with the R.E.C., the Ruth Institute is not a stranger to controversial activism. The Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed the institute an extremist organizationbecause of a pattern of incendiary comments related to the L.G.B.T. community, such as describing homosexuality as a “decision” and transgenderism as “a political act.”
Commentary from the institute has compared Christians who fail to oppose marriage equality for L.G.B.T. people to Catholic priests who were loyal to the Nazi regime in Germany. In 2017 the organization’s online donation processor dropped the institute as a client because of the promotion of “hate, violence, harassment or abuse.”
In an interview with America about the Mahony petition, founder Jennifer Roback Morse defended her organization’s positions. “I believe what Pope John Paul II says about human sexuality is correct, and certain things flow from that. I also get a lot of grief from people who don’t agree with my positions on divorce; that’s how I got into this work, my belief that traditional Christian morality protects the rights of children to both their parents.”
When it comes to Cardinal Mahony and the issue of his upcoming talk, though, Ms. Morse is deferential. “We respect him and his office,” she told America. “But right now the issue of clergy sexual abuse is so much in the news, and the issue of covering up.” Cardinal Mahony, she said, is a “symbol of this. Whether you could convict him in a court of law or not, he’s a symbol of covering up.” To this point, she noted the investigative work of The L.A. Times into these issues.
“I’ve been trying to look at this from a position of those who have been harmed,” she said. “And it occurred to me that he didn’t need to be on that platform. Out of respect for these people who have been harmed and who are vulnerable, particularly at this time, I just think it would be the decent thing to do to stay home.”
Cardinal Mahony did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this article. Asked about the campaign to remove the cardinal from the R.E.C. program, archdiocesan communications director Carolina G. Guevara said in a statement that Cardinal Mahony remains a priest in good standing, “as has been clarified by the archdiocese on several occasions and covered in news outlets.”“While nothing can take away the very real harm that has been done by those who abused children and the vulnerable and by the church’s faults in addressing allegations of misconduct,” she said, “Cardinal Mahony was one of the first to not only apologize for the mistakes of the past, but also to establish some of the most strict policies for reporting and abuse prevention in the nation that continue today. He also personally met with victims and established the Victims Assistance Office to ensure that they would receive the support to help them through the healing process.”
Ms. Guevara also pointed out that this year’s R.E.C. will include workshops addressing issues surrounding abuse. “It is the hope that this will be an opportunity to foster healing and empowering our communities to prevent abuse in our local church.”
Cardinal Mahony has apologized for poor judgment in responding to allegations of sexual abuse by clerics under his watch, though his critics remain dissatisfied with his various efforts to explain his decisions regarding priest abusers. He has also regularly appeared at the Religious Education Congress, both before and since he was temporarily removed from public ministry by Los Angeles Archbishop José Gómez in 2013. “The cardinal has been a speaker at Congress for more than two decades as a leader on the issue of immigration, which is the topic of his 2019 presentation,” Ms. Guevara said.
But the point that Ms. Morse and others are making is that the church has dramatically changed in the last year. After the revelations about decades of abuse that emerged from a Pennsylvania grand jury report and the offenses committed by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, clericalism, cover-up and ecclesial privilege have become public scandal to such a degree they threaten the credibility and future of the church.
And having a Catholic religious leader identified with cover-up and failure in his duty to care for young people speaking at the largest Catholic religious education event in the world? “The optics are bad,” said Ms. Morse.
Posted on: Tuesday, March 26, 2019
LifeSite's Lisa Bourne drops off petition to Los Angeles Archdiocese March 22, 2019.
by Lisa BourneEditor’s note: LifeSiteNews appreciates Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse and the Ruth Institute for their collaboration with LifeSiteNews on this petition project
LOS ANGELES, California, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews delivered two petitions to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Friday opposing the scheduled appearance at its massive annual religious education gathering by its controversy-laden former cardinal archbishop who was involved in sex abuse cover-up.
The two petitions totaling more than 10,000 names protested the archdiocese standing by while retired Cardinal Roger Mahony spoke at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (LA REC) amid the continued devastation of the Church’s clergy sex abuse scandal. Mahony has a contentious history of cover-up with sex abuse cases, which resulted in his having been removed from public duties in the archdiocese several years ago by its current leader, Archbishop José Gómez.
The event ran from Thursday through Sunday, and Mahony gave a workshop at the LA REC on Saturday titled, “Connecting Junior High and High School Students with the Volatile Immigration Issues.”
LifeSite delivered the petitions to the archdiocese located in Los Angeles Friday morning, the opening day of the three-day adult session of the REC.
“It is unconscionable that the organizers should have invited Mahony to speak at the REC at all,” it continued. “But, it is all-the-more insulting to the faithful that he should be invited to speak about connecting with youth!”
Addressed to the organizers of the REC, the hard copy of the LifeSite petition that was delivered the archdiocese Friday contained 5893 names and has continued to accumulate signatures. A petition from the Ruth Institute containing some 4300+ names asking Mahony directly to withdraw was delivered along with LifeSite’s petition.
“His participation is a travesty,” the Ruth Institute petition stated, continuing on to list the various reasons why. “Cardinal Mahony should voluntarily withdraw from participating in the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.”
The LA REC, long known for dissenting presentations and liturgical aberration, along with its repetitive LGBT affirmation, is presented by the LA archdiocese, conducted in the neighboring Diocese of Orange, and promoted as the largest gathering of its kind in the U.S.
Criticism and concern were intensified this year with the scheduled appearance from Mahony, who led the Los Angeles archdiocese from 1985 until his 2011 retirement. Mahony was found to have had secreted his knowledge of abusing priests and protected the offenders from prosecution, and also moved some abusers after they’d had counseling, at times out of state to skirt reporting laws, where they could abuse again.
Mahony was reproached by Gómez in 2013 following the court-ordered release of archdiocesan files in the wake of a 2007 sex abuse lawsuit settlement, which was the largest payout in Church history ($660 million).
Once the files were released, Gómez publicly removed Mahony going forward from having “any administrative or public duties” in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Mahony, who has flouted the sanction, has reportedly apologized for his handling of sex abuse cases, met with victims, and set up a victims assistance office.
But critics say this is not enough.
Because he embodies the Church hierarchy’s mishandling of its abuse scandal, they say, Mahony should not be making public appearances at Church events, and further, it’s a slap in the face to the victims of clerical sex abuse.
Security was at the ready during Mahony’s REC workshop. During the question and answer period, the cardinal avoided engaging the question of one particular participant. Since Mahony did not allow the question, it was not clear whether it was germane to the session topic of immigration. As the man attempted to ask the question, Mahony told him he’d already talked to him and security approached, with Mahony then escorted from the venue via a side entrance.
To respectfully communicate concerns on Mahony’s appearance at the L.A. REC, contact:
Posted on: Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Cardinal Roger Mahony on March 8, 2013 at the conclave that elected Pope Francis. Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images
by Lisa Bourne
March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Criticism of the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (L.A. REC) is heightened this year as the event is again poised to scandalize Catholics with some presenters who affirm homosexual behavior, and also include a cardinal who embodies the Church hierarchy’s mishandling of its clergy sex abuse crisis.
The L.A. REC, billed as the largest religious education gathering in the U.S., is sponsored by the Los Angeles archdiocese and conducted in Anaheim in the neighboring Diocese of Orange, and it is again offering presentations that are ostensibly LGBT-affirming.
But additionally this year, as the devastation of the Church’s clergy sex abuse crisis continues to unfold, Cardinal Roger Mahony, the retired archbishop of L.A., is scheduled to appear despite his controversial history of cover-up with abuse cases and his having been pulled from public duties in his archdiocese several years ago by his successor, Archbishop José Gómez.
Mahony is scheduled to present a workshop at the L.A. REC later this month on “Connecting Junior High and High School Students with the Volatile Immigration Issues.”
Gómez is taking part in the REC and is celebrating its closing “Eucharistic Liturgy.”
“The cardinal has become a symbol of the mishandling of sex abuse complaints,” Ruth Institute president Dr. Jennifer Roeback Morse said in a statement provided to LifeSiteNews. “For him to address a Catholic education conference at this time is wildly inappropriate.”
Morse’s organization has gathered over 4,000 signatures on a petition for Mahony to withdraw as a speaker for the L.A. REC. LifeSite has also gathered over 5,000 signatures on a petition urging the conference to disinvite Mahony.
Mahony stirred controversy last November at the U.S. Bishops’ fall meeting in Baltimore, which was largely centered on the abuse scandal, when he took the floor during an open mic session of the meeting and spoke for more than five minutes about how he thought the bishops should lead during the abuse crisis.
Pope Francis had appointed Mahony as his special envoy to the 150th anniversary Mass for the Diocese of Scranton in Pennsylvania to be held last March, but following word of planned protest by local Catholics, Mahony pulled out of the appearance.
Mahony, who led the Los Angeles archdiocese from 1985 until his 2011 retirement, was censured by Gómez in 2013 after a court-ordered release of archdiocesan files following a 2007 sex abuse lawsuit settlement that constituted the largest payout in Church history ($660 million).
The documents showed that Mahony had concealed his knowledge of priest abusers, shielded offending priests from prosecution, and transferred abusers after they’d received counseling, at times out of state to skirt reporting laws, where they could abuse again.
After the files were released, Gómez publicly removed Mahony going forward from having “any administrative or public duties” in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
While some continue to deny the role active homosexuality on the part of clerics has played in the Church’s sex abuse scandal, the fact remains that an overwhelming majority of the abuse was perpetrated by male clerics upon post-pubescent males.
Abuse survivors and other lay Catholics deserve better
As the debate over clergy sex abuse causation continues, and Church leaders connected to abuse cover-up such as Mahony appear at Church events, lay Catholics and abuse victims persist in their calls for accountability.
LifeSiteNews inquired with the Los Angeles archdiocese about how, with the sex abuse crisis continuing to play out, the archdiocese reconciles Cardinal Mahony’s appearance and that of other presenters at its faith formation event, whose message conflicts with Church teaching on sexuality.
The archdiocese did not respond.
James Grein, a crucial voice in the Church’s sex abuse scandal as Theodore McCarrick’s most incriminatory accuser, criticized the L.A. REC for presenting behavior at odds with the Church’s moral principles as acceptable at a religious education event, saying it could perpetuate abuse.
“The title of this conference brings innocent interest from many Catholics,” Grein told LifeSiteNews. “Most people attending believe they will receive guidance about the Church and our faith.”
“This is another misguided ploy by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to disguise homosexual and abusive behavior as [being of] good holy men of God,” he said.
What about chastity?
There are 10 workshops on LGBT issues on the event schedule, nine classified under the REC’s LGBTQ Ministry category. Workshop descriptions show a focus on LGBT acceptance, with no language pertaining to chastity or Catholic moral principles in that regard.
The Church teaches that everyone, whether ordained, single, or married, is called to be chaste and that sexual relations are reserved for marriage, which occurs only between one man and one woman. This is a mirroring of Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride. The Church teaches as well that homosexual acts are sinful and can never be condoned.
Some among the L.A. REC speakers are known for homosexual affirmation and are regularly booked to present at the REC.
Welcome and respect?
Repeat L.A. REC presenter Jesuit Father James Martin, widely known for his LGBT activism, is scheduled again for the REC. One of his workshops centers on “showing welcome and respect to LGBTQ people” in parishes.
Martin’s LGBT activism has been criticized for suggesting that welcome and respect mean acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle, for failing to effectively articulate the Church’s teaching on sexual relations outside of sacramental marriage, for the claim that LGBT-identifying individuals’ sexual preferences are given to them by God, and for implying that this sexual preference is innate in a human being’s identity.
Some of the LGBT workshop speakers are lay people recognized for their LGBT activism, some openly gay, and there are other priests presenting on this topic as well at the event in both Spanish and English.
The Church’s Catechism is “gravely evil” regarding homosexual acts?
Dr. Arthur Fitzmaurice, former longtime chair of the archdiocese’s Catholic Ministry with Lesbian & Gay Persons, is a scheduled REC speaker who has called the language on homosexual acts in the Church’s Catechism gravely evil.
At last year’s REC, Fitzmaurice said in a presentation that the Church teaches that homosexual orientation is not a choice and also suggested that it was acceptable for Catholic parents to allow two boys or two girls to attend their high school prom or homecoming as dates.
One of the other presenters in that 2018 workshop was Fr. Chris Ponnet, director of the Office of Catholic HIV/AIDS Ministry for the archdiocese and the archbishop’s spiritual director for Catholic ministry with lesbian and gay persons.
Ponnet will again join Fitzmaurice this year at the L.A. REC to present “Building Bridges with Catholics Who Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning.”
Fitzmaurice had moderated another 2018 workshop that presented “transgenderism” among children positively. Joining him for that presentation was Fordham University theology professor Father Bryan Massingale, another regular REC presenter.
Massingale had said at previous REC events that the Church invented sin at the Council of Trent and that moral rules don’t always apply in every situation. He is scheduled to present this year at the L.A. REC with workshops titled “Race and the Limits of Dialogue” and “Jesus and the Virtuous Life.”
Massingale, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, spoke in 2017 at a national symposium for New Ways Ministry, the co-founders of which were officially silenced by the Vatican in 1999 because their teaching on homosexuality was found to be “erroneous and dangerous” and “doctrinally unacceptable.”
In 2011, Massingale spoke at a Capitol Hill event advancing the increased support for homosexuality among Catholics, appearing alongside dissident Sister Simone Campbell on behalf of the pro-LGBT group “Equally Blessed.” He also opposed Wisconsin’s 2006 Marriage Protection Act, which banned gay “marriage” and civil unions.
A retreat for gay priests
Massingale tangled with Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki last fall when leading a retreat in the archdiocese for gay priests, brothers, and deacons. Listecki criticized the event but allowed it to proceed, and Massingale pushed back against critics — including his archbishop.
Responding to America Magazine in regard to Mahony’s problematic history with abuse cases, archdiocesan communications director Carolina Guevara told the Jesuit periodical that the cardinal had “apologized for mistakes of the past” and “met personally with victims and established a Victims Assistance Office to ensure that they would receive the support to help them through the healing process.”
Morse called this response “pathetic.”
“To call the horror of clerical sex abuse, and the cardinal’s role in covering it up, ‘mistakes of the past’ is an understatement of epic proportions,” Morse said.
“It’s good that Cardinal Mahony met with some victims of crimes he may have helped to cover up,” she said. “But, if he’d acted responsibly when he was in a position of authority, there wouldn’t be as many victims in need of healing.”
“Guevara’s statement is a weak rationalization for inexcusable conduct that diminishes the suffering of victims,” continued Morse. “Imagine how they will feel when he speaks at a conference where he will, in part, interact with youth.”
“For the sake of victims,” she said, “and the pain that never goes away, the cardinal should do the decent thing and withdraw from the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.”
Grein forthrightly condemned the presentation of homosexuality as acceptable to the Church by priests at the L.A. REC.
“A different church”
“The abuse from these men may not be physical, but their speeches, writing, and pictures are presenting a different church,” Grein told LifeSiteNews.
“It’s Jesus’ Church,” he said. “Not a false god church. Jesus wants us to be fruitful and multiply. Homosexual behavior is forbidden. [With it o]ne cannot multiply.”
He expressed hope that L.A. REC attendees will be exposed to authentic Catholic teaching on human sexuality.
“It is a mortal sin for a priest to use his collar to speak or preach blasphemous ideas that homosexuality is part of Jesus’s Church,” Grein said. “It would be great if a few hundred true followers of the faith were there to help attendees see, hear and witness how a true Catholic lives.”
To respectfully communicate concerns on the L.A. REC, contact:
Posted on: Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Cardinal Roger Mahony speaks at LA REC in Los Angeles, March 2019
by Lisa Bourne
LOS ANGELES, California, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – With Cardinal Roger Mahony’s problematic history of cover-up with sex abuse cases during his time as head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, it’s expected that Catholics would be scandalized by his appearance over the weekend at the archdiocese’s massive annual Religious Education Congress (LA REC).
Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse concurred with the impropriety of Mahony’s appearance at the LA REC.
“The cardinal has become a symbol of the mishandling of sex abuse complaints,” Morse said in a statement to LifeSiteNews. “For him to address a Catholic education conference at this time is wildly inappropriate.”
Mahony’s mishandling of abuse cases became public record upon the 2013 court-ordered release of archdiocesan files in the wake of a 2007 sex abuse lawsuit settlement, for which the LA Archdiocese had to fund the largest payout for sex abuse claims in Church history ($660 million).
Following the documents’ release, Mahony was admonished by his successor, Los Angeles’ current Archbishop Jose Gomez, and pulled from having “any administrative or public duties” in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Nonetheless, Mahony, who has flouted the restriction, and is a known campaigner on immigration, gave a workshop at the LA REC on Saturday on the issue. The Los Angeles archdiocese’s event takes place each year in nearby Anaheim in the Diocese of Orange.
LifeSiteNews delivered two petitions to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Friday in opposition to Mahony’s appearance – LifeSite’s petition of more than 5,800 names, and another petition with more than 4,300 signatures gathered by the Ruth Institute.
While Mahony has reportedly apologized for his handling of sex abuse cases, met with victims, and established a victims assistance office - the wounds of the sex abuse crisis remain fresh and he still embodies for many the hierarchy’s mishandling of abuse cases. It’s this, but also other aspects of the controversial cardinal’s history that have some Catholics dismayed at Catholics at Mahony’s appearing at the REC, as though nothing were wrong.
“I am still disappointed that Mahony is still speaking,” one local Catholic told LifeSiteNews on the first day of the three-day adult section of the gathering.
Catholics are supposed to be supportive and forgiving, a local Catholic man told LifeSiteNews, but the situation with Mahony is different, because of the harm done to sex abuse victims.
“He could be doing some other kind of penance, not out in public,” the man said regarding Mahony. “It implies that what he did is okay.”
Both Catholics requested anonymity in their comments.
In at least one other REC workshop that was focused on the Church’s handling of the sex abuse scandal, one Catholic called out during the question and answer period, remarking how Mahony had still been performing Confirmations in the archdiocese despite being suppressed from public ministry.
The local Catholic continued to cite other issues with Mahony for LifeSiteNews.
This included barring the Church’s only sanctioned ministry for same-sex attracted Catholics Courage, and its companion Encourage program for family members, she said. The woman, who has a child who struggles with same-sex attraction, said this act directly impacted her family negatively since it left them with only LGBT-affirming groups to choose from.
“Not only did he cover up the sex abuse in LA,” the Catholic said, “not only did he propose and push horrible liturgical changes in our parishes in Los Angeles .…”
She then referenced Mahony’s 1997 document on the liturgy, in which he calls for an Americanized liturgy that ignores the meaning of the Mass as a sacrifice. His writings prompted criticism from EWTN foundress Mother Angelica, to which Mahony responded by angrily seeking her censure with various Vatican offices unless she would publicly apologize, even broaching threats of denying Mother the sacraments.
The local Catholic woman’s list on Mahony went on.
“Not only did he forbid Courage and Encourage from being in LA,” she said. “But instead he brought in so many gay-affirming anti-Catholic ministries to LA.”
It was only after Mahony’s time that the Courage apostolates would receive a blessing and be allowed to minister within the archdiocese.
The local Catholic man is also the parent of a child who struggles with same-sex attraction, and he too recalled for LifeSiteNews that Mahony wasn’t supportive of Courage and Encourage.
“Overall he was not supportive of traditional teaching,” he said.
The Courage apostolates work to uphold the Church’s teaching on sexuality, which is that all Catholics - gay or straight, married, single, celibate and ordained – are called to live chastely. Courage’s programming stands largely alone in upholding this teaching in the area of homosexuality. Many "support" groups for Catholics who struggle with same-sex attraction espouse acting upon their attractions under the guise of being welcoming, accepting, and accompanying. This has meant some quarters in the Church have actually acted to suppress Courage, while “accompanying” same-sex attracted Catholics into acting on their inclinations is pushed at venues such as the LA REC.
Mahony is lauded on the archdiocese’s Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons (CMLGP) webpage.
While Courage and Encourage have since gained Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez’ blessing to be available to Catholics, the Mahony legacy persists, and other LGBT-affirmative groups still have precedence.
“I think it’s easier to find all the other groups,” the Catholic gentleman said, “all the more liberal groups.” “I think in that sense it hadn’t been promoted as it could be,” he added.
The Catholic father further told LifeSiteNews that under Mahony, Mass in the archdiocese started to take different turns, becoming more Protestant, with guitars and clapping, and the Religious Education Congress kept getting more liberal.
This was evidenced by the closing Mass for this year’s REC, which, when it surfaced on YouTube Sunday, garnered remarks on social media from Catholics for its bizarre liturgical character.
“It definitely transformed into something that’s not very Catholic, or orthodox,” the local Catholic man told LifeSiteNews of the REC.
Mahony’s appearance at the REC was also not good given the larger picture in the Church right now related to the clergy sex abuse crisis, he said.
“The Church is often accused of forgetting the victims,” the Catholic man said.
“That’s evidence right there that we aren’t being sensitive,” he said of Mahony being given a platform to speak at the REC. “At best we’re being insensitive, at worst, we’re condoning what he did.”
Mahony had caused controversy as well last November at the U.S. Bishops’ fall meeting in Baltimore, which was mainly focused on the abuse scandal, when he took the floor during an open mic session of the meeting and talked for more than five minutes about how he thought the bishops should lead during the abuse crisis.
Mahony was one who refused to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians or homosexual activists who purposely presented themselves for Communion wearing rainbow sashes to protest Church teaching on sexuality. He was among four U.S. bishops to officially welcome them to Communion wearing the sashes.
He is reported, though, to have denied Holy Communion to a young Catholic woman because she approached to receive it on the tongue.
He also had a group of young pro-life Catholics removed and threatened with arrest at the Los Angeles Cathedral in 2005 during prayerful protest of the inauguration ceremonies being held inside for Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor-elect of Los Angeles, who is pro-abortion while identifying as Catholic.
In the investigation leading to the archdiocese’s abuse settlement, the cardinal was found to have had concealed his knowledge of abusive priests and shielded them from prosecution. He’d also moved some abusers after they’d had counseling, at times out of state to avoid reporting laws, where they were able to abuse again.
He had withdrawn from a scheduled fundraising appearance for Utah’s Catholic diocese in August in anticipation of possible protests over his involvement in covering up clerical sexual abuse.
Mahony had also pulled out from an appearance earlier last year as Pope Francis’ special envoy to the Catholic Diocese of Scranton’s 150th anniversary Mass. Francis had appointed Mahony as his representative at the celebration observed with a Pontifical Mass on March 4 in the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton, and local Catholics had promised to protest the event due to Mahony’s presence.
To respectfully communicate concerns on Mahony’s appearance at the L.A. REC, contact: