Why VOTF's Solution to the Catholic Scandal is Wrong?
By Fred Martinez
The New York Times, Boston Globe as well as newspapers in Ireland and on the European landmass have recently been promoting Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) as having a solution to the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal.
The VOTF solution to the scandal is to democratize the “authoritarian” church and have the bishops cede authority to lay Catholics.
For this group “democracy” appears to mean that the Bishops should cede their authority to lay “Catholics” such as possibly pro-gay abortion advocates like Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton's former chief of staff, or Robert Bennett who was Clinton’s hardnosed lawyer in the Paula Jones sex scandal.
If that’s the case then VOTF is too late because the US bishops have already attempted to cede these Clintonian “sex abuse experts” authority on their 12-member National Review Board to deal with the sexual abuse scandals.
It’s obvious that groups such as VOTF- who are calling for “democracy” because bishops are “tyrannical rulers”- don’t know many bishops. The reason there is a crisis is because many bishops - far from being tyrants - cede or refuse to use their authority to discipline liberals who are abusing their positions to morally corrupt the Catholic people.
The problem is that many bishops are acting like politicians.
Even Frank Bruni in the Oct 20 New York Times admitted the “American Bishops were responding to the child sexual-abuse crisis in an almost secular, political fashion: rewriting rules, confessing faults and acknowledging that they need outsiders [such as Panetta and Bennett] to keep them honest.”
Bishops as Politicians
Many bishops instead of steadfastly upholding the moral teachings of Jesus Christ, act like politicians worrying about the media and liberal diocese bureaucrats. Thus the media and liberal bureaucrats control even many otherwise once orthodox bishops by intimidation.
According to historian James Hitchcock:
“[I]n an [diocese] environment governed by ideology, this [orthodox] scenario really cannot play itself out. Liberals are quick to notice even small ‘backward’ steps by their bishop, and they test him by relentlessly pushing ahead with their agenda, so that he must either confront them or surrender.“ Professor of history at St. Louis University Hitchcock in the 1995 World Catholic Reporter said,
“Conservative secular journalists have cynically invented the ‘Strange New Respect Award’ which the media bestow on conservative public figures willing to betray their principles. Every bishop, whether or not he hankers after the award, knows that it exists.
(Thus in one diocese a bishop with a national reputation for conservatism before he was appointed now enjoys regular encomia from the local media, even as he actively cooperates in portraying conservative Catholics as unbalanced fanatics.)”
Conservative bishops also find that the full moral teachings of the church are undermined by their follow bishops and that they are treated as a second class citizen for their orthodoxy. Hitchcock who is a founder of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars said:
“Despite fifteen years of episcopal appointments by John Paul II, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops remained essentially a liberal body, in which determined conservatives have difficulty merely staving off serious defeats, much less winning substantial victories.
Once again it requires a particularly resolute kind of man to accept the status of a defined minority within a body which seems to place great importance on the spirit of belonging.
If nothing else, a new bishop is likely to discover quickly that he will be consistently on the losing side unless he moderates his positions substantially.”
According to Hitchcock, the Vatican since after 1980 has appointed bishops who are “personally orthodox and pious but low-keyed, cautious, and ‘non-confrontational.’" Unfortunately, through1970s the Holy See appointed liberal bishops who were “tolerant of dissent” as well as some that were “personally sympathetic” to dissent.
The problem is that the personally orthodox, but non-confrontational weak bishops are profiled for failure when confronted by hardened doctrinaire liberals and in some cases hardened doctrinaire sexual revolutionaries with agendas.
Sexual Revolutionaries in the Church
Catholic journalist Paul Likoudis in his book “Amchurch Comes Out: The U.S. Bishops, Pedophile Scandals and the Homosexual Agenda” presents a case that sexual revolutionaries although a small minority are to some extent in control of the American Catholic Church.
Likoudis documents that since the 1950s many bishops’ offices and other top management positions within the Church were filled by men of “perverse sexuality.“ These men created an old boy network with those of like mind to corrupt the sexual morality of Catholics in catechism and by sex abuse.
Fr Joseph Wilson who wrote the preface to “Amchurch Comes Out” in a nutshell explains the bishop crisis:
“If you stop for a few moments and quietly ponder the fact that the percentage of bishops whose names have been linked with sexual incidents is appreciably larger than the percentage of priests, it begins to seem less mysterious that so many sexual offenders in the priesthood were tolerated by their bishops.”
One central figure in the corruption of Catholic sexual morality was Clinton’s Cardinal- Joseph Cardinal Berdardin. In appreciation for all he had done for the cultural elites’ sexual revolution Berdardin at his “well-publicized death-bed” was visited by Hillary and received a letter from Bill Clinton.
The Most Influential Bishop in the History of America
Berdardin has been called “the most influential bishop in the history of America.” Neither orthodox Catholic nor liberal “Catholic” deny that his influence. Likoudis said:
“ No one disputes his influence: as creator of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the United States Catholic Conference: as a bishop-maker who...consoled and empowered dissenters while professing his loyalty to his Roman superiors; as an architect of proposals to deconstruct the Roman liturgy, Catholic education and the all-important field of catechetics.”
What the liberal “Catholics“ and the media have covered up about “the most influential bishop in the history of America” according to “Amchurch Comes Out” was that “ one after another of Berdardin’s closest clerical friends from his native Diocese of Charleston made the newspapers for charges of pedophilia: Fr Eugene Condon, Fr Justin Goodwin, Fr James Robert Owen-Howard, Fr FX Seitz, in addition to continuing allegations against [Monsignor Frederick] Hopwood...[r]eputedly, he was Berdardin’s best friend and seminary roommate.”
Likoudis documents not only that Berdardin’s friends were involved in alleged sex abuse, but that some of his closest bishop friends were responsible for pedophiles such as Fr Kos of Dallas.
“Amchurch Comes Out” also exposes a number of other lesser know bishops and church leaders who were Berdardin clones. The thread that ties all these church leaders together is their pro-gay advocacy and activism “to deconstruct the Roman liturgy, Catholic education and the all-important field of catechetics.”
The reason for this activism is summed up by Fr Wilson:
“If sexual autonomy is one’s goal, one will not want the traditional Mass as the central symbol of the Faith, for the very form it takes will always seem a reproach... [a] nd as for catechesis: well, why else would one promulgate religion textbooks that avoided subjects such as commandments, precepts of the Church, original sin; why else would one find situation ethics attractive -- unless one were anxious to usher in a new religion, one much more amenable to one’s whims.”
Sexual Revolutionaries’ New Religion
According to Likoudis the doctrinaire liberals as well as the sexual revolutionaries in the Church with their liturgical “reform” have caused a sixty- percent decline in Mass attendance.
The liberal’s catechetical and “tolerance” parochial school reform has lead to two-thirds of Mass-going Catholics not being able to “identify the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist” and eighth graders who are “learning about anal sex and bestiality in their Catholic school classrooms” according to Fr Wilson.
If what Likoudis and Wilson say is true then the liberals have created a religion that is not Catholicism. The new religion appears to be pan-sexualism in which original sin and personal sin are denied. Pan-sexualism in it’s extreme form allows all sexual acts including homosexuality, anal sex, bestiality, sex abuse of children and minors.
Even the National Catholic Reporter on May 17 admitted the Vatican knows about pan-sexualism. The May article said:
“The [church's highest court, the Vatican] Signatura's brief, later published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, stated: "St. Luke Institute [where the US bishops send sex abuse priests], a clinic founded by a priest[Fr Michael Peterson] who is openly homosexual and based on a mixed doctrine of Freudian pan-sexualism and behaviorism, is surely not a suitable institution apt to judge rightly about the beliefs and the lifestyle of a Catholic priest."
However, some liberal bishops continued to rely on Peterson for advice despite the Vatican's warning, as shown in the liberal National Catholic Reporter's May 17 article:
"By the time of Peterson's death [of AIDS], Cardinal James Hickey of Washington had come to rely on Peterson, along with a number of bishops, for advice in handling sex-offending members of the clergy. During the Mass, Hickey praised Peterson's work at St. Luke Institute, calling him a 'brilliant and hard-working priest.' "
If some liberals are doctrinaire pan-sexualist then they will pretend to promote policies against sex abuse only as a means of public relations. However, they will with the cover of the cultural elites’ media continue to promote and act out sexual perversions that are in opposition to twenty centuries of Catholic moral teachings.
The only change will be that the sexual revolutionaries will have to become cleverer in their war against Catholic morality. And as seen in the case of Bill Clinton if they stay true to doctrinaire pan-sexualism then the media will cover up and protect them from their sex scandals.
Orthodox Catholics Two Choices
The orthodox Catholics have only two choices if it is true such liberals and revolutionaries are in many of the Churches top leadership positions.
They can do nothing and as a result allow the liberals as well as the revolutionaries to continue to corrupt the young people of the Church. In such a case in a few decades not even one-third of the Catholics in the US will know or support the most central Catholic moral or faith teachings.
Remember liberal catechetical and parochial school “reforms” have made it possible for two-thirds of Mass-going Catholics to not be able to “identify the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist.”
In addition, even though the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that " homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered...[and] under no circumstances can they be approved;” these same “reforms” have made it possible, as reported in recent polls, for 80% of high school Catholic seniors to believe (contrary to Church teaching) that homosexuals should have the “right” to marry while around two-third of adults agreed with the Churches position that gay marriages should not be legal according to the Sept 6 The Wanderer newspaper.
If this trend continues in three decades the vast majority of these Catholic high school seniors who are the future church and most the those “reformed” during these future decades by “Catholic” education will cease to be Catholic.
The Catholic Church in America will increasingly cease to exist except for a few orthodox Catholic colleges, the Catholic home schoolers and many times clandestinely orthodox Catholic parishes.
The other choice the people of US Church have is to first pray and then do everything under their power to influence the Vatican to start appointing a new type of bishop. One who is not afraid to confront sexual revolutionaries in the media as well as among their follow bishops and bureaucrats.
These strong bishops must be willing to discipline- as a good father- those who refuse to stop corrupting the Catholic youth. They must be willing to fire bureaucrats who refuse to abandon pan-sexualism. They must be willing to come under fire to the point of martyrdom from the pan-sexualist media and their liberal “Catholic” allies.
If the Vatican does not start appointing this new type of strong bishop, then Catholics in the United States must start joining orthodox Catholic parishes as well as groups such as the Apostolate for Consecration, Legionnaires of Christ and other groups like them, which are loyal to the Pope and the full teachings of the Church.
(The real fruit of Vatican II and John Paul II are these young spirited groups, which will hopefully lead to the evangelization of America as the old “Catholic” liberals fail to replace themselves because they offer the young only secularism with a Catholic veneer.)
These young groups are protected by the Vatican and offer refuge as well as support to orthodox Catholic families whose faith is often literally under siege. Such groups must be rallied round to grow rapidly so that if the Vatican waits a few decades to reform the bishops of America then there will still be a strong portion of Catholics to enjoy the reform.
In other words, it will be the job of these groups to evangelize the Catholics who are being run through the liberal catechetical and “reformed” parochial school programs if the Vatican doesn’t act.
Pope John Paul II needs Prayers
But most importantly Catholics must pray for John Paul II and his successor.
Everyone must remember that, for whatever the reason John Paul II has for not appointing strong bishops, he as well as his office of Pope (the holder of the keys of Peter) is hated and seen as a last stronghold against the sexual revolutionaries.
In nation after nation, at the World Summit for Children, from Beijing to Cairo, he is one of the last worldwide bastions fighting against the cultural elite’s agenda.
Remember the timing of the media’s "breaking" story was when Pope John Paul II’s health appeared to be deteriorating during masses. In fact the media was sending correspondents to Rome with expectation of a papal conclave.
On June 14, Mary Jo Anderson in the WorldNetDaily reported:
“The Globe and others have known for over a decade about the growing gay sub-culture in the Church, but the Globe and others simply winked – they are no less guilty of a cover up than Cardinal Law. It did not seem worthy of print. Until, that is, Pope John Paul II, the disliked "reactionary" pope faltered during Christmas masses.”
According to Anderson the goal of the timing of the scandal reporting was “to create chaos” and to built “momentum” so that “the cardinals can be stampeded into electing an unusual pope: a candidate approved by the New York Times and the United Nations.”
As can be seen, the Pope and the office of Peter (the Pope) needs prayers even as Catholics pray and work towards moving the Vatican to appointing strong bishops.
Orthodox Catholics should take heart because this may be a time the Vatican might be ready to listen to calls for strong orthodox bishops after seeing the US bishops in politician mode.
The Vatican may now be aware of the American bishops confusion as to “who they are.“
This new found Roman awareness of the bishops acting the part of politicians instead of the successors of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ was confirmed by the Oct 20 New York Times. The article by Frank Bruni was called “Vatican Defends Authority: US [Bishops] Sex-Abuse Policies that Cede Power to Lay People Rankle Rome.”
According to the New York Times’ report a Roman church official said: “They’re [the US bishops] dealing with the matter as if they don’t understand who they are.”
In his just released book “The Courage to be Catholic,” George Weigel said that because of archaic and poor information gathering methods the Pope and the Curia before the scandal had “a generally high impression of the U. S. hierarchy.” But if the New York Times report is correct then the crisis may have changed the Vatican’s impression.
Vatican insider Weigel in his book indicated that the Rome may be willing to listen to loyal orthodox Catholic input on how to fix the U S hierarchy.
Orthodox Catholics must take this change in the winds to heart in order to pray as well as do all in their power to help the Pope and Curia understand the need to appoint new bishops who act like the successors of the Twelve Apostles.