Sunday, April 11, 2010


I'm updating this entry with the following video from Rome Reports. Then read what Mayor Koch has to say and what Fr. Joseph Fessio has to say. Have you heard any of this from the main stream media? No. But thank God they have no monopoly on reporting the news and controverting the truth! Those days are gone forever because of the internet!

First, a Jewish newspaper in Jerusalem publishes comments by the former mayor of New York, Mayor Ed Koch. I've been writing this in my blog for some time. The management, ownership and writers for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, AP and the main stream media are virulently anti-Catholic bigots! Not only are those who write stories and editorials for these papers bigots, their bosses and handlers are too. Where is the accountability in this regard? It appears that Fr. Cantalamessa in his exaggerated rhetoric was correct! But we knew that. When will we get a letter of apology from the miscreants in these "powerful" media establishments (which we can then tear apart!) When will these reporters, those who write editorials and the owners and management of these media outlets be brought down and fired and banished from the industry. O, I forgot, it's Mercy Sunday. The Church should offer forgiveness after punishment is served!

The second article is from Fr. Fessio instructing the "impersonators" who call themselves reporters on what lacization is in the Catholic Church. Do they ever bother to do their homework before they write an article? Evidently not!

Thursday Apr 08, 2010
Koch's Comments: He that is without sin, let him cast the next stone - enough already
Posted by Ed Koch

I believe the continuing attacks by the media on the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI have become manifestations of anti-Catholicism. The procession of articles on the same events are, in my opinion, no longer intended to inform, but simply to castigate.

The sexual molestation of children, principally boys, is horrendous. This is agreed to by everyone, Catholics, the Church itself, as well as non-Catholics and the media. The pope has on a number of occasions on behalf of the Church admitted fault and asked for forgiveness. For example, The New York Times reported on April 18, 2008, that the pope "came face to face with a scandal that has left lasting wounds on the American church Thursday, holding a surprise meeting with several victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Boston area.... 'No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse,' the Pope said in his homily. 'It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention.'"

On March 20, 2010, the Times reported that in his eight page pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, the pope wrote, "You have suffered grievously, and I am truly sorry ... Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated."

The pope also "criticized Ireland's bishops for 'grave errors of judgment and failures of leadership.'"

The primary explanation for the abuse that happened - not to excuse the retention of priests in positions that enabled them to continue to harm children - was the belief that the priests could be cured by psychotherapy, a theory now long discarded by the medical profession. Regrettably, it is also likely that years ago the abuse of children was not taken as seriously as today. Thank God we've progressed on that issue.

Many of those in the media who are pounding on the Church and the pope today clearly do it with delight, and some with malice. The reason, I believe, for the constant assaults is that there are many in the media, and some Catholics as well as many in the public, who object to and are incensed by positions the Church holds, including opposition to all abortions, opposition to gay sex and same-sex marriage, retention of celibacy rules for priests, exclusion of women from the clergy, opposition to birth control measures involving condoms and prescription drugs and opposition to civil divorce. My good friend, John Cardinal O'Connor, once said, "The Church is not a salad bar, from which to pick and choose what pleases you." The Church has the right to demand fulfillment of all of its religious obligations by its parishioners, and indeed a right to espouse its beliefs generally.

I disagree with the Church on all of these positions. Nevertheless, it has a right to hold these views in accordance with its religious beliefs. I disagree with many tenets of Orthodox Judaism - the religion of my birth - and have chosen to follow the tenets of Conservative Judaism, while I attend an Orthodox synagogue. Orthodox Jews, like the Roman Catholic Church, can demand absolute obedience to religious rules. Those declining to adhere are free to leave.

I believe the Roman Catholic Church is a force for good in the world, not evil. Moreover, the existence of one billion, 130 million Catholics worldwide is important to the peace and prosperity of the planet.

Of course, the media should report to the public any new facts bearing upon the issue of child molestation, but its objectivity and credibility are damaged when the New York Times declines to publish an op-ed offered by New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan on the issue of anti-Catholicism and offers instead to publish a letter to the editor, which is much shorter and less prominent than an op-ed.

I am appalled that, according to the Times of April 6, 2010, "Last week, the center-left daily newspaper La Repubblica wrote, without attribution that 'certain Catholic circles' believed the criticism of the Church stemmed from 'a New York Jewish lobby.'" The pope should know that some of his fellow priests can be thoughtless or worse in their efforts to help him. If the "certain Catholic circles" were referring to the Times, the Pope should know that the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., is Episcopalian, having taken the religion of his mother, and its executive editor, Bill Keller, is also a Christian.

Enough is enough. Yes, terrible acts were committed by members of the Catholic clergy. The Church has paid billions to victims in the US and will pay millions, perhaps billions, more to other such victims around the world. It is trying desperately to atone for its past by its admissions and changes in procedures for dealing with pedophile priests. I will close with a paraphrase of the words of Jesus as set forth in John 8:7: He [or she] that is without sin among you, let him [or her] cast the next stone.

Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio sets the media straight concerning "defrocking" in the Catholic Church. You'd think that reporters who work for the New York Times and AP would do their homework. But they are so blinded and gleeful in their anti-Catholic bigotry that all professional standards for journalists have been tossed! SHAME!

Let's Get the Story Straight: Defrocking and Divorce | Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.
The following piece was written by Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., founder and editor of Ignatius Press, in response to the breaking story about a 1985 letter written by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to Bishop John S. Cummins of Oakland.

The so-called "stalled pedophile case", blame for which has been laid at the feet of then-Cardinal Ratzinger, had nothing to do with pedophilia and everything to do with strengthening marriage and the priesthood.

Here's what was happening in 1981 when Bishop Cummins of Oakland first wrote the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asking that one of the priests from his diocese of Oakland, be dispensed from his promise of celibacy.

Well first, what was not happening. The letter came a week before Cardinal Ratzinger had even assumed his duties as Prefect of that congregation. This is a very important office of the Roman curia. It handles a variety of cases worldwide, mostly having to do with defending and promoting doctrinal integrity in the Church. There's a lot of work to do, and it takes time for someone to become fully engaged in its activities.

But much more pertinently here: By 1980 the effects of the sexual revolution on marriage and the priesthood had been devastating. In 1965 there had been 59 marriage annulments granted by Rome to American couples. By 2002, there were over 50,000 annulments per year in the U.S. alone. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of priests were asking for dispensation from their promise of celibacy in order to be able to marry.

The Catholic Church holds the marriage vows to be indissoluble. Even an annulment, contrary to a widespread misconception, does not dissolve those vows. It is a declaration that because of some impediment, there never was a valid marriage in the first place.

Priestly ordination is also "indissoluble", in the sense that a validly ordained priest never ceases to be a priest.

And here's the rub. It was literally scandalous in the Church that priests, who had been prepared for eight to ten years for their ordination (which would be permanent, irreversible) and their promise of celibacy (which also has the character of a solemn promise before God), were, in the 1970s, being so easily dispensed from their promise of celibacy.

Married Catholics said to themselves: If a priest, who is so well prepared for his commitment, can so easily be dispensed from it so that he can marry, why can't we be dispensed from our commitment so that we can remarry?

When John Paul II was elevated to the papacy in the Fall of 1978, he immediately changed the policy on priestly dispensations. I don't have the exact dates and numbers at hand, but I remember at the time that many of us were amazed that the hundreds of dispensations per year (and it may have been thousands) under John Paul II's predecessor, Paul VI, suddenly were reduced to almost zero. It was almost impossible to get a dispensation in 1980.

What was John Paul's intent? To restore the integrity of the priesthood and of marriage. These commitments are permanent. A priest may be removed from ministry, but he will not be given a dispensation to marry. Priests are to be made to take their commitments with utmost seriousness. They will be an example to married couples to take theirs seriously also. When a priest makes a promise of celibacy, it's forever; when a couple make vows of marriage, it's forever.

This is the decisive context of Cardinal Ratzinger's letter to Bishop Cummins. It is not a smoking gun. It did not mean that Ratzinger was not taking the priest's sins seriously. (He called the accusations "very serious" [gravis momenti].) It meant that he, following the policy of John Paul II, was taking the priesthood and its commitments very seriously.

And again, this entire affair had nothing to do with preventing further abuse by this priest. That had already been done, or should have been done, by the local bishop.

A final, minor but significant point of translation. The translation being used by the media of an important part of Ratzinger's letter is: "your Excellency must not fail to provide the petitioner with as much paternal care as possible". This has been rightly interpreted by some to mean that Ratzinger was saying that the bishop should keep a watchful eye on the priest. The original Latin makes that even clearer: "paterna...cura sequi" which means "to follow with paternal care". We get the word "persecute" from the Latin "per-sequi". "Sequi" is much stronger then "provide".

There is a completely mistaken first premise underlying all this criticism.The premise is that "defrocking" has anything to do with protecting victims and preventing further abuse.

First, the media needs to know that according to Catholic teaching, Holy Orders is a sacrament which leaves an "indelible mark"; in layman's terms, once ordained a priest, a man is always a priest. The reason the word "dispensation" is used in the correspondence is that that is what happens technically: the priest is dispensed from his obligation of celibacy. In a sense, this works in the opposite direction from protection: a restraint is being removed.

Further, as if to prove this point, the priest in question continued to abuse children after he was "defrocked" and had married. QED.

Secondly, nothing at all prevents a bishop from: removing a priest from all ministry; removing his faculties; reporting him to civil authorities. There is no need even to inform Rome about this. The only way (until 2001 or in cases of abuse of Confession) that it need get to Rome is if the priest appeals the bishop's actions.

Thirdly, why was the CDF involved anyway? That was not the congregation that handles abuse cases, except where abuse of Confession has played a role. I believe the CDF was involved in cases of dispensation from celibacy. (Though you would think that should be under the Congregation for Priests.) But, again, dispensation has nothing to do with preventing further abuse. It may appease the sense of justice on the part of victims. But at the same time, It normally takes eight to ten years to become a priest. It's not a club one joins. It is a very serious thing to dispense a priest from celibacy, and there needs to be a careful process to protect innocent priests.

Fourthly, there are definitely cased of priests who have been falsely accused. Especially the American media ought to be sensitive to the principle that a man is innocent until proven guilty. Civil law requires that to be done in a court of law. A bishop can, and in many cases, should take action against a priest before there is any canonical trial.

Finally, let's compare this to the difference between a criminal and a civil trial. Criminal trials can be expedited, but even then in all but the most grievous cases, a criminal defendant is a free man until convicted. In the case of priests, the "punishment" of removal from ministry can be applied immediately by a bishop even before there is any canonical trial, which is like a civil trial. How long do civil trials take in this country. I know of trials that have dragged out for more than seven years.

If Ratzinger took part in "stall[ing]" a "pedophile case", the worst one can say is that he wanted care taken in a canonical trial. And, let's not forget, this wasn't "punishment" at all from the priest's point of view. He had "asked" to be dispensed


Gene said...

The secular press, the media, government, Congress, and secular culture...
Remember when Satan took Jesus up and showed Him all the kingdoms and powers of the world and offered them to Him? It is most pointed, I believe, that Christ never questioned Satan's right to offer them, never questioned the Devil's ownership.
We(the Church) need to stop trying to justify ourselves to "this world that is passing away." As I understand it, the Church's mission is to redeem lost souls and bring those within Her to eternal salvation through the forgiveness and grace of our Lord. I hate the phrase, "redeem the world," unless by "world" we mean the collective individual souls therein. It has been made most clear in Scripture to whom the "world," in terms of politics, culture, philosophy, history, and "world religions"(for God's sake), belongs. Yes, that means Disney, the Masters, Wal Mart, NASCAR, Microsoft, and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, thank you very much!

Tony_Lyons said...

Thank you for sharing this with us Father. I have seen Catholics attacking their own Church over this issue. Much of which is based upon what is fed to them by the main stream media rather by the facts. Statements, letters and such can always be taken out of context as a weapon of evil. Thank you for your efforts to disarm this dangerous and bigoted weapon.

Mike said...

The Vatican Information Service has an informative Blog.

Anonymous said...

Mr Koch is not quite right in his statement that the Catholic church bans 'gay sex'. The Church bans ALL sex outside of marriage. That means that teenagers are prohibited from engaging in sexual activity unless they are married, divorced people are prohibited and divorced and remarried people are prohibited. Since the Church does not accept same sex marriage there can be no acceptance of 'gay sex'.