Monday, February 25, 2013


The Scottish Cardinal who vociferously objected to same sex marriage in Scotland, but only a few days ago said that priests should be able to marry (keep in mind the radical nature of his proposal, priests should marry, not what is typically seen as a viable option of married men becoming priests) has had his early retirement accepted by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI just this morning and because of allegations of homosexual advances and inappropriate behavior with his priests and seminarians when he was rector of a seminary in the 1980's.

And with the brouhaha that Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles is making over his own mismanagement of the perversions of some of his priests, should he not recuse himself from the conclave and submit that to the Holy Father prior to the Holy Father's last minute in office? Time will tell. I hope he does, just my 2 cents worth. I hope His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI demands his absence from the conclave, it will be one of the the many necessary actions needed if the Catholic Church is to recover from all of her self-inflicted wounds, most of which revolve around grotesque mismanagement of the Church and her priests and religious and buying into the progressive spirit that Gary Wills highlights so well in his interview below with Stephen Colbert. That is the problem, my friends, the theology of Gary Wills and his logic that infects so many in the Church and in high places. We are on the brink of a new and orthodox spirit in the Church and the acceleration of the purification the Church needs so desperately!

Sometimes I wonder if the Final Judgement isn't taking place in time with all that has been exposed in the Church since the turn of the century. You just can't make this stuff up and we know that the General Judgment is a judgment of institutions including the Church and for all to see and hear.

This is Rocco Palma's report from Whispers in the Loggia:

Monday, February 25, 2013
Hit By Scandal, A Cardinal Falls

Following allegations of "inappropriate behavior" made by several men dating to his time as a seminary rector in the early 1980s, Great Britain's lone cardinal-elector has resigned less than a month before reaching the retirement age of 75.

At Roman Noon, Pope Benedict yanked Cardinal Keith O'Brien as archbishop of St Andrew's and Edinburgh three days before the pontiff's own departure from office is to take effect.

After three priests and a former cleric lodged allegations against Scotland's longtime top prelate before Benedict's resignation, the story broke into public view over the weekend with a piece in the London-based Observer, a liberal paper.

According to early reports, O'Brien – who scored earlier headlines over the weekend with comments favoring optional celibacy for priests – will not participate in the Conclave.

Should O'Brien not attend, Great Britain would lack a representative in a papal election for the first time since 1963, when England's primatial see at Westminster was vacant. Only in 1979 did Scotland receive its first resident cardinal since the Reformation.

Born in Northern Ireland, the now-cardinal oversaw a minor seminary – the site of the incidents – for the five years before his 1985 appointment as head of the capital's 115,000-member church.

Long viewed as an outspoken progressive, O'Brien was unusually ordered to make a public Profession of Faith by the Vatican before his 2003 elevation to the College, while already a cardinal-designate. In recent years, however, the cardinal has become a leading voice against the growing British movement toward same-sex marriage.

Following late last week's announcement that the Indonesian Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja SJ is unable to travel to Rome due to failing eyesight, with the Scot's absence the number of electors in the coming process would fall to 115.


John Nolan said...

Why are these people only now crawling out of the woodwork? I don't like the way that the Church in E&W, Scotland or Ireland has been run these past 40 years, and this includes O'Brien, but I think he is being unfairly pilloried.

Isn't it strange how the 'spirit of Vatican II' prelates are now being increasingly discredited?

Unknown said...


I am of the opinion that if a deacon, priest, or bishop is accused of a crime he should be immediately removed from office and sequestered into a convent or monastery until such time as his innocence can be proved. If it cannot be proved, then he should remain in said monastery or convent indefinitely with a mandate to do two things, say Holy Mass and pray.

We do not live in an age where chances or the benefit of the doubt can be given any longer. Every Archdiocese, Diocese, and Eparchy in the Catholic world must run above board and there can be nothing which can cause scandal.

There will be more to come out. Of that I am sure. This is not the end, but it is a good thing. We must relieve the priesthood of any and all criminal predators, whatever the stripe.

The answer is clear though to solve this issue which exists in the Church today. We must start teaching sexual temperance and we must start living in a temperant way. This means that we must do all we can to snuff out several things:

(caveat: when I speak of priest, I include all three levels, deacon/priest/bishop)

1. Active homosexuality within the priesthood. We cannot control the inner dispositions of another, so if he does not disclose that he his homosexual, there is nothing which can be done. However, any and all active homosexual activity must end immediately. This ranges from identifying as homosexual all the way to actively living the lifestyle.

2. Disobedience regarding celibacy. Priests must embrace the charism of celibacy. I know that it is not an infallible teaching of the Church, but it doesn't need to be. The great graces attained from a celibate lifestyle are immeasurable. But that really is secondary in the argument. The bigger impediment to Holy Orders is Matrimony. I believe that a priest should have the freedom to exercise his ministry without the bonds of marriage. This is where the charism really lies. Insofar as this is the case, celibacy falls in line because for a single person the chaste action is celibacy.


Unknown said...

3. We must demand, absolutely demand that our clergy be chaste. There should be a zero-tolerance policy in this arena. If a priest is found to be unchaste, off to the monestary or convent he goes.

I firmly believe that the diaconate should be closed to married men. The charism of celibacy is too important for the priesthood to allow marriage to be a distraction. Deacons are too closely related to the priest to be permitted. The role of the permanent deacon is an experiment which is failing. They are underutilized and they are ineffective, in most places.

I know this will upset many, but the reality is that the permanent deacon is nothing more than the embodiment of the flawed post-Vatican Council II notion of participatio activa trumping true and meaningful participatio actuosa. The role of a permanent deacon in today's world is nothing more than a liturgical minister. It has been my experience that in 99.9% of cases and in all but one parish, that the permanent deacon assists at Holy Mass, takes Holy Communion to the sick and that's about it. But then again, laymen do the very same thing.

The other side of that coin is that it is the first step in legitimizing a married priesthood and that is unacceptable, as a general rule (This excludes the East, btw). The charism of celibacy is compromised.

This is my opinion and anyone is free to disagree, but I would ask them to prove why it is so.

4. His place of solace and comfort should be one of two places, either a monestary or convent. If the priest identifies as gay, he should be sent to minister to a convent, wherein his temptations will be lessened because he will not be around other men. He would live a cloistered life and he would offer the Sacraments to the sisters as well as live the rest of his life in solitude and prayer. If a priest is accused/convicted of any other crime, he should be placed in a monestary, where he can say Holy Mass and live a life of solitude and prayer.

The time for action is now. We cannot wait any longer. Bishops must, absolutely must choose those men who are free from the bonds of deviant sexual behavior, homosexual or heterosexual. Bishops must give men an honest shot to get through and finally bishops must promote vocations to the priesthood as a valued way of life. It is not easy and there is much self giving as well as self denial, but in the end it will cause a boom in vocations.

In short, the priesthood must return to a chaste state. The key is chastity and we must start teaching it and living it. It must start at home and it must continue until such time as the world ends.


Joe Shlabotnick said...

This could be the tip of an iceberg. O'Brien is probably not the only disordered member of the college of cardinals and this may embolden other people with information about other problem Cardinals to come forward before the conclave.

Now about Cardinal Mahony: Given his ego, he probably thinks he's a sure-thing to be elected this time.

Henry Edwards said...

"I am of the opinion that if a deacon, priest, or bishop is accused of a crime he should be immediately removed from office and sequestered into a convent or monastery until such time as his innocence can be proved."

If such a policy of removal without evidence of guilt were implemented--and it were publicly known that only a mere accusation was needed--then within a month there would not left a single traditional priest to celebrate the TLM, because all would have been targeted with false accusations. While progressive priests (including gays) would roam free to perpetrate their chosen offenses and abuses (liturgical, sexual, and otherwise).

Though I fully agree about the permanent removal of all proven gays, starting first with bishops.

rcg said...

I expect there are a few USA Cardinals who have changed their tickets to 'standby' this morning. As far as Cardinal O'Brien goes: This has the risk of being very unfair. I would have to wonder if he is suffering from the homosexual disorder and knows of its harm and that is why he has been so out spoken against it. It also could be he is simply a posturing hypocrite. I suppose we are too close to the Conclave to know.

I don't disapprove of Andy's recommendations, except I think most of them are impractical. The monastery orders, specifically. It does point to a need for realistic actions to give the clergy when they encounter any trouble of this importance, even alcoholism as an example. They are trying to deal with these issues in isolation, or at best secret rather than confidence, and is is not working. In the case of the married deacons, I agree completely that it is not a good thing. I think it was actually an incremental movement toward married clergy.

Pater Ignotus said...

Andy - Not only is the discipline of celibacy not defined infallibly, it is not an integral part of priestly identity, nor is it an impediment to fruitful pastoral ministry.

Cardinal (then Archbishop) Francis Stafford tried to make this connection in "The Eucharistic Foundation of Sacredotal Celibacy" in 1993. He wrote, "It is because of the priest's own nuptial integration into the sacrifice he offers that only a man capable of acting in the person of the head can be a priest . . . He cannot marry without that betrayal of his own nuptiality, which is analogously adulterous; his exclusive dedication to the bride of Christ bars any secondary self-donation."

Needless to say, the 2000+ year old tradition of married priests in the Eastern Churches (and the 1000 year tradition of married clergy in the West before universal celibacy became the norm) indicates that Stafford was "off the mark." Eastern priests are not "analogously adulterous" and they and their bishops were right to suggest that Stafford needed to rethink his thoughts.

I think Stafford fell into the error of "reification," the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. The nuptial relationship Stafford seems to concretize is a metaphor, not a reality.

I believe that celibacy should be optional for our clergy, priests and deacons. If one chooses to be celibate, then be celibate. If one chooses to marry, be chaste in marriage.

Unknown said...


"If such a policy of removal without evidence of guilt were implemented--and it were publicly known that only a mere accusation was needed--then within a month there would not left a single traditional priest to celebrate the TLM, because all would have been targeted with false accusations."

It has been my experience that frivolous accusation whilst a flash in the pan quickly abates. It is better to be conservative in such matters than to continue to allow even an accusation to be proven true.

As the addage says, "If one is innocent, he has nothing to fear."

Fr. Kavanaugh,

You are such a bore. Of course you believe that celibacy should be optional. Hogwash. At no time did I speak of it in the terms you assume me to be. No, Father. I am well aware that it is a charism and I am well aware that it has not always been the practice, but it IS the practice now and one which bears much more fruit than it pushes off.

The bottom line is that celibacy is more important today than ever. It is through strict discipline and strict obedience that the priests of tomorrow will be better formed. As it stands, the lax views and opinions regarding discipline and obedience of the last 40 years, especially those since the 1970s and 1980s which are as much to blame as anything else.

You can go on and on about whatever you like, but Father, you're at odds with Holy Mother Church on this. You belief about celibacy is inconsistent with current Catholic opinion. And even though it is opinion, it is something to be held in deference to the opposite.


If one chooses to be celibate. Well, Father, nobody twisted your arm the day the bishop put his hands on your head now did he. Celibacy is a choice, one that every priest makes. If a man chooses not to be celibate, then he chooses not to be a priest. Pretty simple logic. The choice is always there.

Pater Ignotus said...

Andy - You overlook 1) the current practice of Catholics of Eastern Churches and 2) the history of married Western Catholic clergy before celibacy became the norm.

I am not complaining about my personal state of life and I never suggested that anyone twisted my arm. And I am fully aware that I am at odds with the current practice - but not at odds with the practice of 1) the East and 2) the first 1,000 years. Eastern Catholic priests (among others) have both charisms - to priesthood and to marriage. More power to 'em!

I am not bored by history as you seem to be. I find it rather . . . instructive.

Marc said...

If the Western Church needs to look to the East to justify its practices, perhaps the Western Church needs to reconsider its beliefs in papal infallibility, universal jurisdiction of the Roman Bishop, the Filioque, leaven in the Eucharist, the doctrine of Purgatory, the doctrine of indulgences, the doctrine of the development of doctrine, and a host of other issues.

Those citing Eastern praxis for these things, such as married priests or Communion whilst standing, always seem to selectively apply the Eastern tradition with little regard to examining the theology behind the tradition and why it is done that way in the Eastern Church.

Lest Fr. Kavanaugh think I am picking on him here -- I am not. I actually agree with him. The West had married clergy for a long, long time. There is no reason the West shouldn't have married clergy again. But, in order to do so, the idea of the parish priest must be re-evaluated in most instances. I think that, practically speaking, this would be a difficult sell for most Catholics.

I find it interesting from a purely rhetorical standpoint that people will argue simultaneously against a married clergy and against the nefarious, hidden underground movement of homosexual priests. Presumably, having married priests would militate against homosexuality amongst the priesthood. At the very least, it would expose it rather quickly when the civil divorce papers were filed!

In point of fact, the celibacy of the clergy came about for mostly pragmatic reasons dealing with simony and debauchery. While I haven't yet heard cries of rampant simony, perhaps re-evaluating the discipline in the face of accusations of rampant debauchery is a good idea.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The eastern rite of the Church is completely under the pope and hold all the beliefs and practices of the. Church with married clergy. I has a Latin rite married priest in my very traditional Church in Augusta, he was accepted very well there and well known by all Augusta.

Pater Ignotus said...

When I refer to Eastern Churches in this discussion, I am speaking of the Eastern Catholic Churches, not the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Yes, we ought to look to their traditions and practices as they to ours. It would be mutually enriching, a phrase of current popularity in these parts...

Yes, there are practicalities we have to consider if we want to expand married clergy in the West. But the practicalities can be addressed.

Marc said...

Based on my interactions with Eastern Rite Catholics, they do not put much stock in things like papal infallibility and the pope's universal jurisdiction. Moreover, they do not recite the Filioque, use unleavened bread, or put much faith in anything beyond the first seven Ecumenical Councils (which rules out later developments like Purgatory and indulgences).

Moreover, all Eastern Rite Catholic Churches have as their antecedent some Orthodox Church. Therefore, Roman Catholic arguments from historical Eastern praxis are necessarily arguments from the Orthodox frame of reference. It is a fiction to say one is looking to the Eastern Rite Catholic Church's historical praxis as there is no such independent historical praxis prior to the advent of uniatism. But, that is a different discussion altogether.

My point is simply that the Western Church, united in the Latin Rite, should be primarily concerned with the historical development as it has come about within the framework of the Latin Rite. As for the topic at hand, married clergy, this is not an issue tied to the Rite as the practice came about centuries after the Latin Rite had developed as an independent Rite. Clerical celibacy developed as a result of abuses and rampant, public sinfulness of the clergy in the West. As I stated previously, it is currently argued that this is, once again, true. Therefore, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the usefulness of the discipline in light of the current situation. And the Church can do this because clerical celibacy is not a doctrine, but a discipline. But, the Western Church should not change the discipline because that is what the East does as there are theological and pastoral issues involved even though the practice does not rise to the level of doctrine. Since the East has retained the practice of married clergy over time, it is a well-settled issue. But, so is the monastic system and the interplay between monasticism and episcopacy, which is just one of many issues that would have to be sorted out if the West were to reverse course on this discipline.

I didn't say that married clergy wouldn't be well-accepted. I said that "practically speaking, it would be a difficult sell for most Catholics." Taking your singular, anecdotal tidbit for what it is, I stand by my statement. At any rate, there has been a concerted from the Vatican to eradicate and otherwise stop the practice of married clergy, even amongst the Eastern Rite Catholics, here in America. The reason is related to what I've said: it confuses the people to too great an extent. In fact, I seem to recall your commenting that people were often confused by your former associate priest's being married. So, even your limited anecdotal evidence supports my statement.

Gene said...

At this point in history, given the attacks upon Church dogma and doctrine as well as Catholic identity, to allow Priests to marry would be tantamount to surrendering to the modernists and secularists I imagine that the ordination of women, gay Priests, and the blessing of homosexual marriage would folllow rapidly. I would, however, love to see Ignotus married to a strong woman toward whom he behaved as he does to people on this blog. LOL! That would also mean that, under today's rules, he would have to leave the Priesthood which would mean one less of his ilk to worry with.

Unknown said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

You obviously didn't read my post very carefully, but rather decided to take a small point which has no REAL bearing on this conversaiton and make it a straw man. However, I will now knock down your straw man with one quote from my first post.

And I quote:

"The other side of that coin is that it is the first step in legitimizing a married priesthood and that is unacceptable, as a general rule (This excludes the East, btw). The charism of celibacy is compromised."

Your whole argument is toppled. I excluded the East on purpose, because I understand that the conversation is about obedience and discipline; NOT infallibility.

Fr. Kavanaugh, please read all of it before you comment. It makes you look silly when you don't. You typed a whole lot of words and started a dust up that I acknowledged before you even opened your mouth.

As I said, Hogwash.

AE said...

My opinions on these issues:

1. Since priestly celibacy is a doctrine and not a discipline. Since there is no apostolic example of priestly celibacy. Since the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches allow married priests so long as the marriage occurs post ordination. Since the Roman Catholic Church has had priests and Popes who were married, I see no reason why the RCC cannot overturn the current discipline and allow married priests so long as such ordination occurs AFTER marriage.

2. I do not think reversing the discipline of priestly celibacy and allowing married priests will prevent or even substantially reduce pedophilia or the presence of actively homosexual priests. I do think, however, that it will lead to an increase in vocations - which is good.

3. I do concede though that if this discipline is reversed in the context of historical tradition, many on the secular left will seize this as a pivot to press for further radical changes: homosexual marriages, female priests, support for abortion and contraception, etc. Therefore, any such reversal must be clearly positioned as a reversal of the discipline and not a reversal of doctrine.

4. Some have commented that Catholics may not readily accept a married Roman Catholic priest given the practical differences in the way a RCC priest and an Eastern Catholic Priest relates with the congregation. Fair point. Ironically, I would posit, that a lot of these same people, would want priests to be married, would want women priests, openly gay priests e.g priests in gay marriages.civil unions, etc.

5. I do think that the unique role of "Father" of a RCC priest can be preserved by allowing two pathways to the priesthood:

A. Celibate Priests (the current pathway)

B. Converting the Permanent Diaconnate to Married Priests. That is, instead of ordaining them solely as permanent deacons, they should be ordained to the priesthood with full canonical rights and authority.

The option should be given to the candidate to ordination to decide what route to pursue. All Parishes should then have ideally, one fulltime (always on duty/on-call) celibate priest and other married priests who share the pastoral duties with the celibate priest.

6. The Roman Catholic Church should work in a humble and systematic way to bridge the differences that exist between her, the Eastern Catholic churches and the Eastern Orthodox Church. I do not believe the theological and philosophical differences are as wide as they are presented.

It is my dream, that in my lifetime we will see ONE TRULY APOSTOLIC, CATHOLIC CHURCH!

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - It is not correct to state that "all Eastern Rite Catholic Churches have as their antecedent some Orthodox Church." I would recommend a small book - "The Eastern Christian Churches: A Brief Survey" by Rev. Ron Roberson, CP. It gives an excellent thumbnail sketch of the sometimes incredibly complex history of the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox. Not all Eastern Rite Churches have Orthodox antecedents.

Andy - It is not "hogwash" to point out that, historically, married clergy have been and continue to be a part of our Catholic tradition. It IS hogwash to suggest that the experience of married clergy in the East has no bearing on the practice in the West, that celibacy is an essential aspect of priesthood (East or West), and that I don't read posts before I respond.

I disagree with your assertion that the charism of celibacy is compromised by allowing some Western Catholic Clergy to be married.

Gene said...

I believe many of us underestimate the power of the forces aligned against the Church. To begin to "rationally" consider such issues as AE wants to do (well-meaning though I assume) is to disarm. What we must begin to realize and let sink in is that the Left will seize upon any negotiation, any compromise, any discussion of alternatives and use it as a weapon against the Church. You do not negotiate with an enemy that is determined to destroy you. We should be hardening our positions and refusing to negotiate. There are times when negotiation and discussion have a place. These ain't them...

Marc said...

Father Kavanaugh, thank you for the book recommendation. Can you tell me which ones don't? I know there is some debate about the Maronites and whether they were ever not Catholic. Is there some other group discussed in the book that you have in mind?

The history of the eastern churches fascinates me, by the way. So, unlike my usual program, I am asking out of genuinecuriosity and not to be contrary.

Anonymous said...

Andy: "It has been my experience that frivolous accusation whilst a flash in the pan quickly abates."

Then your experience has been atypical. It is not at all uncommon for chanceries to take frivolous accusations as pretexts to move unjustly against faithful orthodox priests--while sweeping more serious accusations against "progressive" priests under the rug.

Perhaps your opinion in this particular matter should be set aside in favor of those with experience in the sordid real world of church politics, where the worst--i.e., most "progressive" and their proclivities--tend to rise disproportionately to the top, and there protect their own, while moving against those who are more faithful than them, whom they detest. You may not have seen this, but those of us with real world experience certainly have.

Anonymous said...

An accusation - a "flash in the pan" - even when proven to be completely false, is permanently destructive to many who are accused.