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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, 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 The group also asked its members to blast the archdiocesan religious education office with emails urging that he be withdrawn from the congress.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:
Posted on: Tuesday, March 19, 2019
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was published March 18, 2019, at National Catholic Register.
The reception of Frederic Martel’s widely anticipated book In the Closet of the Vatican has been surprising. The tantalizing hints dropped before the “bombshell,” “salacious” book’s release exclaimed, “80% of Vatican priests gay.” After an initial international media flurry, the book has dropped out of sight. Two questions arise in my mind. First, what, if anything, can we infer from this deeply flawed book? Second, what did Martel believe he was accomplishing?
The author, Frederic Martel, is a self-described “French gay atheist.” His overarching theme is that the Church’s stance on homosexuality is hypocritical and harmful. Many priests are living “double lives,” professing Church teaching by day and seeking homosexual sex by night.
The solution, in Martel’s mind, is to change Church teaching so that these clergy can live openly homosexually active lives. In this, he, no doubt, has many supporters, both inside and outside the Church.
But all sides of the Catholic debate over moral issues have panned Martel’s book. They make essentially the same critique: Martel trades in stereotypes, gossip and innuendo. He is grossly unfair to prelates he (evidently) does not like.
To answer the first question, I infer beyond any shadow of a doubt that Cardinals Raymond Burke and Müller and Pope Benedict are not homosexual. Not that I ever thought they were. But Martel makes a great deal of suggestive noise on this topic, without a shred of proof. Jesuit Father James Martin objects, saying flatly, “Pope Benedict, Cardinals Burke and Mueller are treated unfairly.”
If Martel had the slightest shred of actual evidence, he would have provided it. Instead, he goes on about their choice of clerical vestments.
Therefore, we can reasonably conclude: These men are not “gay” in any morally relevant sense. Tripping Martel’s “gaydar” doesn’t prove a darn thing.
Second, we can infer from In the Closet of the Vatican that Archbishop Carlo Viganò’s charge that Pope Francis knew about then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s misdeeds is substantially correct. Martel states that “the pope’s entourage indicated to me that Francis ‘was initially informed by Viganò that McCarrick had had homosexual relations with adult seminarians, which was not enough in his eyes to condemn him.’ In 2018, when he learned for certain that he had also, apart from his homosexual relations, sexually abused minors, ‘he immediately punished the cardinal.’”
In other words, Martel’s implied defense of Pope Francis and his unnamed “entourage” is that homosexual activity with seminarians is not problematic in any way worthy of serious correction.
Thirdly, we can conclude that two synods on the family were deliberately steered toward changing the ancient teachings of the Church on marriage, divorce and the Eucharist, with the added goal of changing the teaching on homosexual practice.
In the chapter entitled “The Synod,” Martel’s highly-placed sources, including Cardinals Lorenzo Baldisseri and Walter Kasper, confirm this. Whether they intended to reveal as much as they did, I cannot say. I feel certain, though, that Martel does not realize that his chapter confirms the worst suspicions of defenders of traditional teaching. Pope Francis deputized a “war machine,” a “gang” of “fast workers.”
I followed the synods closely and even participated in a conference designed to encourage and equip the minds of prelates who would be participating in its deliberations. I remember when Ignatius Press published Remaining in the Truth of Christ, a collection of essays by prominent cardinals defending the traditional teaching. Ignatius mailed it to the synod participants. None of them received it. The book “disappeared.” We were all suspicious, but nothing could be proven at the time.
But Martel reports that Cardinal Baldisseri “had the pamphlet seized!” Martel does not seem to realize the significance of what he has said.
This brings me to my second question: What exactly did Martel believe he was accomplishing?
I think he thought that demonstrating hypocrisy and double lives would be a “slam-dunk” argument in favor of changing Church teaching. By painting “conservatives” as closeted and not-very-nice homosexuals, he seems to have thought he would discredit them personally, and by extension, discredit their views.
But proving someone does not live up to his professed beliefs doesn’t actually prove much. The hypocrite is unattractive; that is for sure. But we cannot automatically conclude that he should change his beliefs. Perhaps his professed beliefs are correct and his behavior is wrong. Piling up examples of hypocrisy, even if they were all true, (which, in this book, they certainly are not) does not tell us whether the hypocrite should change his beliefs or his behavior.
To answer that question, we have to look elsewhere.
What is Martel’s underlying belief system about human sexuality and its place in our lives? He does not explicitly say. But his “Rules of the Closet” give us clues. In a chapter on Roman clergy who use male prostitutes, Martel tells us:
“In prostitution in Rome between priests and Arab escorts, two sexual poverties come together: the profound sexual frustration of Catholic priests is echoed in the constraints of Islam, which make heterosexual acts outside of marriage difficult for a young Muslim.”
Confining sex to marriage is “poverty” for young Muslim men, and, we would suppose, non-Muslim men, as well. Keeping sex inside marriage is an unreasonable, even unbearable, burden to place on young men: Martel evidently thinks that people cannot live without sex.
His belief has this one virtue: It is easy to live up to a standard that says there are no standards. There will be no conflict between that belief and any possible set of behavior. When sex is an entitlement, there are no hypocrites.
This is exactly the belief that has caused so much trouble in the past 50-plus years. We now know (or should know) that “consent” is not an adequate standard for judging the worthiness of sexual behavior. We now know (or should know) that people who think they are entitled to sex cause a lot of problems for other people.
The more powerful they are, the more problems their power allows them to cause. We now know that sex within marriage protects the legitimate interests of children to a relationship with both of their parents. And we know beyond any shadow of a doubt that children need their parents.
In other words, the evidence of the past 50-plus years tells us that the Church’s teaching is correct. We can eliminate hypocrisy, but not in the way Martel supposes. We, the members of the Body of Christ, need to change our behavior to conform to the Church’s teaching.
Posted on: Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Listen to the podcast with Patrick Coffin and Fr. Paul Sullins here.
This is the first in a series on the roots of the priestly abuse scandal. I know, a sad and depressing topic. But we have to “go there” if we want to “get there.”
Father Paul Sullins, PhD, author and professor emeritus of sociology at the Catholic University of America, has done us all a huge favor. He has collated and made sense of the data drawn from the John Jay Report, the data from the USCCB, the 2002 Los Angeles Times poll about homosexual priests, the data of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Reports, and intel from CARA (Center for Applied Research In the Apostolate).
It’s all in one place, a study done in collaboration with The Ruth Institute. Get the link below. His findings are stunning and sobering.
Posted on: Tuesday, February 05, 2019
The Ruth Institute, an inter-faith pro-family organization combating the Sexual Revolution and clerical sex abuse, launched a petition asking retired Cardinal Roger Mahony to withdraw as a speaker at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (March 22-24).
Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., notes that during Mahony’s tenure leading the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, “He had a terrible record of covering up clergy sex abuse. The Archdiocese was forced to pay $660 million in damages – the largest such settlement in the Church’s history.”
The Petition observes that due to Cardinal Mahony’s mishandling of the abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose Gomez relieved
him of administrative and public duties in 2013. Cardinal Mahony’s dismal record was thoroughly documented by the Los Angeles Times.
Morse concludes, “The Cardinal’s participation in the Religious Education Congress is a travesty and an insult to the victims of clergy sex abuse, and all Catholic faithful.”
Fr. Paul Sullins Ph.D., Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute, is the author of the groundbreaking November 2018 study, “The Role of ‘Sexual Orientation’ in the Clerical S*x Abuse Scandal in the Catholic Church.” http://www.ruthinstitute.org/csa-background
Dr. Morse concluded: “Your Eminence, with all due respect to your office, show some class. Stay home from the Religious Education Congress. Your presence will be hurtful to people who have already suffered enough.”
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the Sexual Revolution and helping survivors to heal. It defends the family at home and in the public square and equips others to do the same.
To sign the petition asking that Cardinal Mahony withdraw from the L.A. Congress go here.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse: email@example.com
Posted on: Monday, February 04, 2019
by Dorothy Cummings McLean
LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-family organization has launched a petition asking Cardinal Roger Mahony, infamous for covering up child sexual abuse by his clergy, to withdraw as a speaker at the upcoming Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.
The retired archbishop is invited to speak at the Catholic conference that is taking place March 22-24. The topic of his March 23rd address will be "Connecting Junior High and High School Students with the Volatile Immigration Issues."
The Ruth Institute, an inter-faith pro-family organization combating the Sexual Revolution and clerical sex abuse, launched the petition at CitizenGo. The petition currently has over 800 signatures.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the president of the Ruth Institute, told LifeSiteNews that Mahony represents what's wrong with the church's handling of the abuse crisis and should not be addressing Catholic conferences, no matter how pious his topic might be.
"I don't care if he's teaching children the Hail Mary. The subject of his talk is not the issue. He's a symbol of all the wrong things and he shouldn't be there," she said.
Morse said the petition was inspired by a combination of issues.
“The clergy sex abuse issue has been gnawing at me all summer, and then there’s Mahony’s history, and the L.A. Religious Education Congress – all coming together,” she said.
Cardinal Mahony and the L.A. Archdiocese have been embroiled in a scandal for years surrounding the cover-up of clerical sexual abuse and transfer of abusers to other locations. The archdiocese has been forced to pay out $600 million in settlements.
Morse is concerned for the effect Cardinal Mahony’s appearance at the Conference will have on survivors of clerical sexual abuse.
“People who have suffered childhood sexual abuse are triggered,” she said. “They are triggered by a person like Mahony.”
“It is so utterly clueless to give such a guy a platform,” she continued. “It’s not like this Congress has to have him. What are they even thinking?”
Morse said that the immediate inspiration, however, was Catholic writer Joseph Sciambra’s article, which was republished by LifeSiteNews, about Mahony’s appearance at the 2019 conference.
“You know, this has got to stop,” said Morse.
The scandal arising from revelations of Mahony’s bad management when he oversaw the archdiocese led Archbishop Jose Gomez to relieve the Cardinal of all administrative and public duties in 2013. Nevertheless, the Cardinal has accepted invitations to speak – and then rescinded after vociferous protest from outraged Catholics.
“We all thought Archbishop Gomez asked him not to appear publicly,” Morse said. “This has happened on two other occasions, and he didn’t appear.”
Whether Cardinal Mahony withdraws of his own volition or is disinvited is not the point.
“If he wants to save face by saying he doesn’t want to come, that’s fine with me,” Morse stated. “He should have the common sense and decency to see that his presence there is an affront to survivors of sexual abuse.”
Withdrawing, she said, “is a classy thing that he should do.”
In a press release, Dr. Morse concluded: “Your Eminence, with all due respect to your office, show some class. Stay home from the Religious Education Congress. Your presence will be hurtful to people who have already suffered enough.”
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the Sexual Revolution and helping survivors to heal. It defends the family at home and in the public square and equips others to do the same.
The petition asking Cardinal Mahony to withdraw from the L.A. Congress can be found here.