Friday, July 20, 2018


The loss of priestly majesty has turned the priesthood into a joke for many people, Catholics and non Catholics throughout the world. Did Pope Benedict XVI know this with his recovery of papal majesty and the renewal of the Church in continuity with the pre-Vatican II Church, something completely lost on Pope Francis and His Holiness's 1970's mentality?

Who nose what he'lll do next? Pope Francis dons a red nose to surprise two newlyweds who are volunteers with the Rainbow Association Marco Lagulli Onlus, a charity that offers clown therapy to sick children

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of a Honduran auxiliary bishop whose boss is Cardinal Maridiga and is on Pope Francis additional bureaucracy to clean up the lower bureaucracy of the Vatican. His Eminence is also under the shadow of financial scandal. His auxiliary, in charge of the cardinal's diocese while the good cardinal travels the world, is a homosexual predator of seminarians and priests. This is what got him sacked.

I know, I know, these things happened in pre-Vatican II times but I wonder if it was to the same extent as today. In pre-Vatican II times it was easier to keep these things quiet than it is today.

However, I know from first hand experience that the liberalization of the seminaries in the 1970's and the view that these liberal seminaries, corrupt in and of themselves, could fix seminarians who had serious pathological issues is not what happened in the pre-Vatican II seminary. The pre-Vatican II seminary wanted manly candidates, candidates not from "broken" homes and candidates that had the intellectual capacity to learn.  That was all but thrown out of the corrupt liberal seminaries of the late 60's and early 70's.

Investigations into these liberal seminaries and into relgious orders by the Vatican made strides to correct the corruption of the the 1970's thanks be to Pope St John Paul II.

I know in my liberal seminary there were behaviors amongs seminarians, among seminarians and faculty and with outside individuals that were not pursued. The only thing that was suspect was orthodoxy and rigidity. That would not be tolerated because the rigid would tell their bishops about the scandals in the seminary, which officials wanted to keep quiet.

My former and now deceased bishop told us priests in the 1980's that we need to regain the majesty of the priesthood. We're not to be buddy preists. We need a higher standard by which we live. We need to wear our clerics. We need to celebrate the Mass and sacraments with dignity and to follow the rubrics. We need to stop promoting ourselves during the liturgy and to make sure that Christ is glorified and not ourselves.

Does the modern liturgy with its emphasis on the personality of the priest attracting priestly candidates who are narcissistic? And have these priests been promoted to bishops and remain narcissists?

The cult of the priestly personality is on steroids in the post-Vatican II Church and the abandonment of professionsalism is also.

Do we need clowns or priests today? I would say the latter.  



Anonymous said...

I never thought I would say this but the celibate priesthood must go. A priest should be married before ordained and automatically laicized if he divorces or is divorced. Parish priest should provide the sacraments and say mass but the management of the parish should be in lay hands. Never going to happen I know. I am not leaving the Church. As Peter said where shall we go?

Bishop appointments should include a lay board of inquiry before made final and the priest is ordained a Bishop.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The Protestant Churches have the same problem but in the context of marital infidelity. Catholic scandal often revolve an authority figure taking liberties with those in their charge be they of legal age or not. This happens with Protestants too. Celibates need a more rigid lifestyle with accountability to stir away from sexual immorality of the "normal" kind or perverted. Do you believe marital infidelity of Protestant ministers less serious than priest breaking vows or promises of celibate chastity?

John Nolan said...

The Australian Royal Commission which delivered its report on clerical sex abuse at the end of last year has some interesting statistics. (I wouldn't recommend reading the whole document, but the Executive Summary is reasonably digestible and can be downloaded. For the record, I believe the report to be seriously flawed on a number of levels.)

Firstly, concerning the Anglican Church, which has optional celibacy. The proportion of abusers who were ordained ministers was 43%; those who were lay people made up 50%. The report concluded: 'Lay people involved in the governance of the Anglican Church' resulted in 'child safety not being prioritized' and the 'undermining of attempts to implement professional standards.'

Regarding the Catholic Church, where the ordained made up 30% and lay people 29%, we read: 'The exclusion of lay people and women from leadership positions may have contributed to inadequate responses.' One doesn't need a PhD to see a stark contradiction here.

The Summary goes on to attack Catholic doctrine regarding the priesthood, the Sacrament of Penance, and celibacy (suggesting that the Holy See be petitioned to make celibacy optional for diocesan clergy, which can only mean that priests should be permitted to marry, as is the case with Anglican ministers).

Is Anonymous (above) seriously suggesting that only married men be ordained? 'I believe I have a vocation so I'd better get myself a token wife before deacon's orders'. Hardly the best reason for contemplating matrimony!

John Nolan said...

Regarding the picture of the PF with the clown nose, and assuming it was not 'photo-shopped', I can't imagine any of his predecessors doing this, not even the down-to-earth John XXIII (who was actually more into papal pomp than was the austere Pius XII).

Nor can I see HM the Queen making a spectacle of herself in this way. Donald Trump might, but with Trump anything is possible.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Her Majesty's Olympics opening scene with 007 was quite a spectacle, no?

While it did not involve rubber noses, it was quite a bit of silliness, almost worthy of Monty Python...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A priest, bishop or pope wearing a clown nose is all about showing that the priest, bishop, or pope is just like the laity and can be funny and cute too. It is the look at me theology of the 1970's to show how flexible and funny and just like anyone else I am compared to the old, stuffy pre Vatican II version of clergy and religious.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. McD, was Fr. Kavanaugh on vacation at the same time you were? Because he seems to have reappeared here the same time you did...

Just wonderin'

Hope you had a restful relaxing time.

God bless.

John Nolan said...


Agreed, the entire opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics was cringeworthy - Monty Python without the gags. It was all the more deplorable because the Brits are better at pomp and circumstance than anyone else - witness Trooping the Colour.

As a constitutional monarch HM has to put up with a lot of dodgy spectacles, and not just the Royal Variety Performance. The recent nuptials of her grandson Harry, for example - how she managed to keep a straight face while the American 'bishop' ranted on at inordinate length is evidence of years of practice. (The Duchess of Cornwall could barely restrain her giggles.)

I'm not sure you understand what I mean by 'making a spectacle of oneself'. The 'bishop' indeed did (unwittingly). In the English idiom, it is not a compliment, and is met by embarrassment, quickly followed by mirth.

Anonymous July 20, 2018 at 4:40 PM said...

It is impossible to eliminate all abuse on any front. However, homosexual offenses might be greatly eliminated if the presence of homosexuals is reduced. A person would finish seminary and until married he would not be ordained to the priesthood. This is how the uniate Greek-Catholics do it. There is no perfect solution to abuse but what I am saying would greatly reduce pedophiliac and epebophiliac offenses; possibly, in time, virtually eliminate homosexual presence in the priesthood. The policy would also engender vigilance among the laity.

Additionally, why not create an abuse investigating board in each diocese to help Bishops deal with this problem. The Board should be staffed by lay people. Once board members are nominated by the local Bishop they would act independent of the ordinary much like the US supreme court.

The current situation is intolerable. What is your recommendation Fr. McDonald, et al?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I thought the charter on the protection of minors mandated such boards for every diocese. I do believe that vocation directors need a board of laity to interview candidates and to make recommendations about acceptance or not.

Back in the 1970's it was thought that there would be no issue with accepting homosexual candidates and that it was an injustice not to do so--this was promoted by the "gay agenda" of that period which was very strong. Dignity started around this time and challenged the Church's teaching on homosexuality and many moral theologians opening challenged the old morality of the Church.

I do believe that some men with homosexual tendencies can live manly, chaste lives. But celibacy isn't easy and to place a heterosexual man in an all female environment (like a seminary setting) would be quite challenging. We know that our all male seminaries if there is lax discipline can become a gay hothouse rather quickly if homosexuals are allowed to enter and become the majority.

In the almost 14 years that I was vocation director for our diocese, I interviewed many men who had a homosexual orientation or had been in same sex relationships. I do not believe that I ever accepted a candidate that I knew was homosexual. I do know that those I did not accept were accepted by other dioceses. This would have been in the mid 80's to late 90's.

Pope Francis and others are now saying that we need to closed the door to homosexual candidates. This will help, but everyone has to be vigilant about it.

Anonymous said...

Anoymous at229, "being married" would not necessarily solve the problem of sexual misconduct among the clergy. Back in the 1980s, the married Jimmy Swaggart hooked up with a prostitute at a Louisiana Motel 6...and that was about the time of the Jim Bakker (PTL) scandal. Maybe 20 years ago, a "married" Episcopal bishop was revealed to be bisexual. Another Episcopal bishop (I think in Massachusetts) took his life after it was revealed he had had an affair. Then again, given the "state of affairs" in the Episcopal Church these days (no pun intended)---as revealed by further embrace at their recent triennial convention in Austin of same-sex "marriage", maybe we should not be too surprised....

Another issue with married clergy is transferability. Father ABC and his wife and kids like living in Savannah, by the coast---then the bishop says "y'all are off to some isolated rural area in south Georgia---maybe Blackshear, McRae, Vidalia"---and they don't want to move. What then? And how about compensation? A married priest certainly could not make it on the salary of a single priest (unless Father M. tells us he is raking in a nice 6-figure salary, which I doubt!)

All this said, I don't necessarily oppose married clergy, but such a policy is not easy to implement....

Anonymous said...

Not easy but not impossible. Military families face similar challenges married clergy do. The elimination of the plague of pedophiles and epebophiles corrupting the devine message of salvation requires sacrifice of both the laity and clergy. The latter have a very special role within the Church as teachers dispenser of the holy sacraments (alter Christi) (sp?) and as special guardians of the deposit of the faith. Very few people are able to live chaste lives without the loving support of at least another person. Same sex attracted men will (can) not marry women, the morally acceptable Christian spouse.

If you recall, Benedict XVI in an encyclical or apostolic letter (I forget) instructed bishops not to admit men with same sex attraction in seminaries if such men live and are unable to give up the "gay"lifestyle, or who advocate such a lifestyle for others. Remember, 75-80 percent of the Catholic clerics accused of abuse were not really pedophiles but abused older teens. Lastly, homosexual priest in time form a secret society within the Church. The former Cardinal of Washington headed one such illicit protection racket. Their main goal has little to do with spreading the gospel. They are committed to each other and to fullfilling their disordered desires. The outcome is spiritual death and corruption of the very young and the very weak.

Anonymous said...

I am torn. I remember the days when I reflexively blamed liberalism, Vatican II, modernism, and those sorts of things for all the disasters in the Church, particularly the problem of the seemingly countless number of priests and bishops who engage in gross sexual misconduct of every kind (homo, pedo, hetero). I remember feeling like my church life was safe, secure, and free from all of that nasty stuff because I was a traditional Catholic. I exclusively attended the Latin Mass, and all the trappings of sacred tradition were on obvious display in the different places where I worshiped.

Until age 11, I had been raised in the "Novus Ordo" Church. Then, my parents took us kids to an "independent" Catholic Church that defiantly operated in spite of the local bishop's declaration that attending Mass there would fail to meet one's Sunday obligation. Later, I went to an SSPX parish, and then back to another independent chapel. Quite honestly, during all those years, I felt pretty smug. The horrors of the New Church simply were not to be found in traddie circles. Reality soon hit me in the face.

At the very last traditional parish (independent) that I attended, a member of the congregation was arrested, charged, and convicted of the sexual abuse of a minor. The perp had been a male, and his victim had been a boy of one of the parish families.

It is completely true that the aggressor had long presented himself as being a loser in life. He had trouble holding a job, did not hold a driver's license, lived in a figurative dump, and spent what little money he had on cigarettes. His personal hygiene was poor, and he smelled bad.

However, all of these things were overlooked because the guy attended the Latin Mass. He was a traditionalist. It was assumed that he was harmless if somewhat eccentric. Sex abuse only happened in the Novus Ordo it was thought. That was the first time I began to realize that fallen human nature remains fallen, even when immersed in sacred tradition.

Far too many traditionalists are wiling to engage in selective blindness because they imagine that sexual misconduct is not their problem. And predators are beginning to understand that as long they play along with the outward signs of tradition, they can go a long time without being suspected. Have a look at this case:

Clearly, the priest involved had no problem throwing himself into all the smells and bells that are present in tradition. Things like wearing the traditional cassock helped provide him with cover. He projected priestly majesty, dignity, reserve, etc., but underneath it all, he was sexually licentious.

When priests fail to project majesty and dignity, it makes it easier to spot the perverts.

John Nolan said...


I don't know where you got the idea that Byzantine-rite priests are denied ordination until they marry; this is not true. Nor can married men be bishops (widowers are eligible provided they take the monastic vow of celibacy before consecration).

Likewise in the Western Church a married man may be ordained but may not be a bishop. The former Bishop of London, Graham Leonard, was ordained priest soon after his conversion but there was a certain amount of head-scratching when JP II made him a monsignor. Arguably this is the only the Latin-rite equivalent of archpriest, which married priests in the Byzantine rite may be considered for.

Do we really want a two-tier priesthood in the Catholic Church? Do we really want young men who want the best of both worlds marrying in haste (and presumably repenting at leisure)? Is it not a fact that most abusers are married men? Homosexuals do marry women, sometimes as a cover, more often nowadays because their sexuality is confused.

Nor is 'homosexual' a catch-all term. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins took a private vow of chastity before he became a Catholic and a Jesuit priest. Whether or not this was because he discerned in himself a disordered sexual orientation is a matter for speculation. This does not make him a 'gay' priest.

Anonymous said...

Another problem with "requiring" priests to marry---bishops traditionally have not been married (not even in the Eastern Orthodox Church). Si if you require married bishops, then you would have to have married bishops---and that would be a big leap for both Rome and Constantinople. Also the matter that some priests might not want to be married in their mid 20s (marriage ages getting later these days, more like early 30s).

Anonymous said...

As I said before, we can hope but we know that no matter what rules are some abuse will occur. Secondly, St. Peter was married. St. Paul was not. This is discipline it can be changed. What good is a celibate bishop (unmarried bishop) if he is sleeping with his deacons and seminarians. Bishops should satisfy the Pope and a lay board not under the control of the hierarchy that there is nothing in his background that disqualifies him for his leadership. Currently we are draining bishops who become leaders of gay cabals. This is a very serious issue that cannot be ignored. You may not like this suggestion but I ask what better alternatives have to offer (J. Nolan?).

In the 14-15 centuries we had similar issues: clerics living in concubinage, and worse. Popes too. We got the reformation because the laity understood that our church leadership was corrupt even if they lacked theological expertise to sort out the finer points of the contemporary debates. They would rather believe a charlatan monk than the Holy Father because a large majority of the faithful accepted the Lutheran proposition that the Catholic leaders of the day were in the service of the Devil. We are rapidly reaching this point today. There is great need for a reforms of Church governance. The Pope can be and must be our guardian of orthodoxy. But he cannot be an absolute monarch in everything

Православный физик said...

I've been thinking about this topic and how exactly to reply to it....

I'm going to have to agree with the first anonymous and say that the celibate rule must be relaxed.....but before the torches and pitchforks come out, here ma out.

Far too long, the perverted persons in the church have been using the both to hide their perversion, work their way to the top and make life absolute hell on those who don't support the perverted behavior....While the "married" priesthood isn't a cure all for perversion, it is harder to hide that homosexual perversion amongst married people than celibate clergy (where effectively those that aren't perverted become pretty much free targets for those that are so). There is a certain wisdom to having matushkas around....When I was discerning the Roman priesthood, I long thought that there was zero way I could do so alone. I was going to have to have a strong matushka to be able to work this.

I was talking with some Orthodox Nuns and they explained to me, without the rigors of their prayer life, there'd be a very small chance they'd be able to do what they do. When they go out into the world, they pray riguously before hand. It seems to me that secular clergy should be associated with a monastery, immediately, and try to mimic the monastery life at the parish level. Once again I'm not saying this would cure all the things, but it would cut down on the opportunities for the perverted actions to be going on.

There have been married Bishops' in the East and in the West, prior to a certain local council (which escapes the top of my head at the moment)...As long as the issues of nepotism are dealt with, I hardly see much of a problem in returning to the ancient practice.

The church of Rome has lost all credibility due to negligence of duty in dealing with these particular problems. She can't be taken seriously with McCarrick, Mahony, Danneels still in the college of cardinals. Who else have been covering up? They need to come out, in the open, do public repentance, Masses of Reparation must be offered for this. This needs to come to an end, or be minimized to a point where Rome can be taken seriously again.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous @ 2.45

Since you directed a question to me, I shall do you the courtesy of replying. You appear to be advocating that marriage should be a precondition for ordination in the Catholic Church. Quite apart from the inequity of such a policy, which applies to no other profession and amounts to forced marriage, how do you see it playing out in, say, a monastery? It's ridiculous and thankfully impossible, so it's not up to me or anyone else to come up with an alternative.

Clerical concubinage has always existed and probably always will. That does not make it right. The widespread practice of clerical marriage in the last century of the first millennium was only one of a number of abuses (simony was another) which reforming popes like Leo IX and Gregory VII had to combat. Lay interference with the appointment of bishops was another abuse, and one you appear to recommend!

The Reformation was imposed on the laity by their rulers who had their own reasons for advancing it, not necessarily religious ones. In England the laity rebelled against it in 1536-7 and again in 1549, only to be mercilessly crushed by the government. Where did you get the idea that the Reformation was a popular movement?

The First Vatican Council made it clear that the pope is not an absolute monarch. I agree that bishops need to be more emphatically counter-cultural, and open criticism of homosexualists is about as counter-cultural as one can get these days. Your 'lay boards' would most likely consist of liberal Catholics who are in tune with modern secular 'morality' and would see a 'gay' lifestyle as an advantage in a bishop.

Anonymous said...

Well John, your objections are the usual ones one hears when the subject of married priests is discussed. However, I asked what your suggestions are for a possible reform not what the usual cited objections are to it

Married diocesan priest are already a fact. We have some. The orthodox and uniate Catholics have them. Yes there are some problems with it too. We could start with diocesan married priest. Let the convents go for the time being. Investigating the background of episcopal nominees by a board for theological suitability (orthodoxy) and other behavioral history would be useful. How could we do worse than what we have today?

Thank you for your comments.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous, I was not objecting to married priests per se, but to your crackpot scheme to make marriage compulsory for ordinands. For the record, I would favour the ordination of married men subject to the following conditions.

1. Their children are no longer be dependent on them.
2. They will have been educated to at least first degree standard.
3. They will have successfully followed a professional career.
4. They will be sufficiently proficient in Latin to be able to celebrate Mass and pray the Office in that language.
5. Any instruction they might need in theology and Canon Law will ideally be done by 'distance learning'.

As in the East, the episcopacy would be reserved for celibates. However, secular celibate clergy would live in communities without vows, in the manner of the Oratorians. This would counter the loneliness which often leads to alcoholism, and any signs of deviant behaviour would be quickly picked up by other members of the community.

The involvement of lay people in episcopal appointments has led (for example in Austria) to orthodox appointees being effectively vetoed by liberal 'Wir sind Kirche' lay activists. However, National Bishops' Conferences have had a baleful effect on appointments, and I would like to see them downgraded, if not wound up altogether.