The Scandal is not history while bishops ignore the causes

The Scandal is not history while bishops ignore the causes

While some bloggers lavish effusive (and perhaps over-the-top) praise on Archbishop-elect George Niederauer, Diogenes casts a more skeptical eye on the new archbishop of San Francisco. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s reporter who covers gay and lesbian issues, the archbishop-elect says:

“People who see as the sex abuse scandal as having as the cause the sexual orientation of the priests—I felt they were mistaken. Because when we’re talking about pedophilia, we’re talking about a sickness, an illness, an aberration.”

As Diogenes insightfully asks, “Then what is homosexuality?” Is it not a sickness, an illness, an aberration? The Church certainly thinks it is.

Once again, the US bishops’ own study compiled by the John Jay College found that nearly 80 percent of all abuse by priests over the past 40 years involved abuse of adolescent boys. This is not pedophilia, according to all medical standards, but is properly called ephebophilia, which is a form of homosexuality.

Now we have a question with one of two answers: Is Archbishop-elect Niederauer ignorant of the study’s conclusions or does he have a reason to tell the gay-issues reporter for the gay-friendly newspaper of America’s gayest city in his new archdiocese what he wants to hear?

Update: Later in the interview, Niederauer talks about movies he’s seen. He saw and liked “Syriana” and “Brokeback Mountain,” and admits he didn’t see “Chronicles of Narnia.” Now, I’m not saying that one has to see Narnia to be considered a good Catholic, but what does his choice of films say to you, considering everything else he said about homosexuality above? Of “Brokeback” he said:

“I thought it was very powerful, and I probably had a different take on it than a lot of people did…. It was a story not only about the relationship between the two principal characters, but very much a cluster of relationships…. And I think in all of that one of the lessons is the destructiveness of not being honest with yourself, and not being honest with other people—and not being faithful, trying to live a double life, and what that does to each of the lives you try to live.”

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
32 comments
  • Oh how wonderful! We need prophets and saints to clean the smoke of Satan out of the Church-especially in the hierarchy. But if the article about the archbishop-elect of San Francisco is any indicator it looks like there are going to continue to be more Hollywood brainwashed bishops passionately determined to be “modern,” “with-it,” and preened by the media oligarchy instead of leaders with a passion for the Word of God and being counter-cultural in an increasingly valueless society.

  • but what does his choice of films say to you, considering everything else he said about homosexuality above?

    It says “business as usual”, and it says that the laity had better keep a close eye on their sons who serve Mass.

    It makes me ask the question, why was this particular priest elevated to his present position?  And who made the decision?  Because

    The Scandal is not history while bishops ignore the causes.

    Discussion at my house about “Brokeback Mountain”:

    Husband:  “Let’s go to a movie.  I hear there’s this new one called ‘Brokeback Mountain’ that is getting a lot of publicity.  Want to see that one?”

    Me:  “Well, it’s about two homosexual cowboys.  Are you sure you want to see it?”

    Husband:  “It is?  I didn’t know that.  Never mind.”

  • When will Rome ever get to know whom they are electing as bishops?  Is the real world of events in American dioceses that well kept from their eyes?  Who is control in the Vatican?

  • Levada is one we know of who is in control, and it’s been reported that he recommended his replacement, guaranteeing more of the same homosexuals R Us atmosphere in San Fran.

  • Levada is the Holy Fathers choice.  Is this all going to be a reflection on him? Is the Holy Father being hood-winked?

  • Or Maybe, just maybe, Christ and the Holy Father have a different standard of judgement for the episcopacy than you do?

    Horror of horrors!  A bishop liked Brokeback Mountain!  Watch out, he’s probably a pedophile (as Carrie seems to suggest).  I wonder if any of you hear this and ask yourselves if your own preconceptions and opinions might be called to a different standard based on what the good bishop has just said?

  • Take a deep breath and repeat after me: “Ignore the Bishops, find a good priest and trust him”
    “Ignore the Bishops, find a good priest and trust him”

    Viri probati NOW!!!!

  • His Excellency’s “Two Thumbs Up” review of the film, “BM”, seems as profoundly trite as a freshman film criticism class paper…just the right things that appeal to the artistic sensitivities of those who imagine that somehow banality can be turned into legitimate art.

    Perhaps it is the times and communication media, but there seems now to be an overabundance of mediocre Catholic prelates at least in North America.  Maybe this has always been the case, but we would not have noticed prior to a medium like the Internet.  There are lights of hope and courage among the U.S. bishops, but as a whole they are a preety mediocre lot.

    I am a reformed poker player, and I still bet that our Holy Father has his own strategy for placing Archbishop Levada in Rome and George Niederauer in San Francisco.  There are other thing occurring at the Vatican that make these two fellows look like the progressive dog was thrown a bone.  We’ll have to wait and see just how the hand plays out.

    In the meantime, tkozal’s comments above sound pretty good to me.

  • “Ignore the Bishops, find a good priest and trust him.”

    When the folks in my parish (Archdiocese of Boston) say just this kind of thing, I make every effort to remind them that such a sentiment is not Catholic and leans towards congregationalism.  Am I wrong in such a warning?

  • Joe: That link may be done, but its the cover of last weeks Village Voice, a picture of a Priest with St. Pat’s in the background, and the headline “Outing Cardinal Egan”.

    A painful thing to see blaring from every corner newsrack and newstand in Manhattan for the last week.

    and aplman, since you’re from Boston, the rule doesn’t apply, for your diocese is already fully congregational from what I can see. wink

  • also, I am fortunate to attend parishes where C.S. Lewis is frequently quoted, along with GK Chesterton and others. (thanks to Msgr DiGiovanni and Fr. Check in Stamford, and Fr. Rutler in the city).

    The fact that a Bishop could speak favorably about “Brokeback”, and hasn’t even seen “Narnia” just blows my mind frankly.

  • since you’re from Boston, the rule doesn’t apply, for your diocese is already fully congregational from what I can see.

    tkozal… I take exception with this remark.. the RCAB is only 50% Congregational, the other half is faithful and true.

  • This just highlights, as another stated, “Business as Usual”.  And still, nothing is being done.

    We waited in joyful hope for the new Pope to make some moves – any moves, but his appointments to date are discouraging.

    The New Oxford Review has an excellent critique of the homosexual thing in it’s latest issue.

  • Meanwhile, Kathy Shaidle at “Relapsed Catholic” posts this bit on the demands by homosexual activists in Canada to lower the age of consent for anal sex from 18 to 16 (and then falling more)with all the inherent dangers thereof:

    http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/feb/06021403.html

    Meanwhile Archbishop Niederauer’s fails to act as a shepherd by pandering to sin in his most “artsy-craftsy” weaselly way.  I find it ironic that so many Catholics in the pews now have to shepherd their own prelates rather than the other way round.

    As I recall, Our Lord told his disciples to respect and honor the pharisees and scribes as heirs of Moses, but then to pay no attention to their teaching.

  • Dom, I’m sure you’ve probably posted on it, but how about Levada?  I just couldn’t understand that one.  I remember the argument that Levada would be under the watchful eye while in Rome, so maybe an orthodox guy would be appointed in San Francisco, but that argument is out the window now. 

    I did cartwheels like so many others last April, but now I’m wondering “what gives?”.

  • Joe Soucy,

    If it is a fact, that only half of the RCAB is Catholic, the other half heretics, is the arch-bishop ignoring this scandalous situation?

    By the way, this is the same situation in my diocese, i.e very few are really “faithful. The rest are dissenters, or “caferteria” Catholics. And those “caferteria” Catholics were formed by the clergy as is so in your diocese. So many are heretics thru no fault of their own.

    However, I cannot give the percentage as you have done. I would be curious how you were able to come up with your computation.

    Perhaps this will have to go into the “discussion forum.

  • Paul,

    It could be that as a diocesan ordinary, Levada is not so good, but working within the Vatican bureaucracy at CDF he’s much better. He could be someone that the Pope especially trusts and can work with and when they’re working together they’re in sync.

  • Dom,

    That’s understandable, but he filled that SF vacuum with the same (if not worse).  I just don’t get how the Pope has always spoken so forcefully against homosexuality and it’s influence on society but then he appoints someone to a position of authority who is, if not an explicit proponent of it, at least someone who seems to take a neutral stand on the issue.

  • I’m sure the Holy Father had no idea of Niederauer’s beliefs in this area. The Pope does not personally appoint every bishop. There’s something like 40,000 bishops in the world. He relies on bishops’ conference, his nuncios in each country, and the Congregation for Bishops. For big, important sees, he’s more likely to know the players, but not Salt Lake/San Fran. For that, I’m sure he relied on Levada.

    Evidently that was a mistake, but not a damning one.

    I’m waiting to see who he appoints in Detroit and Washington. That will be more telling.

  • Appointing Gumbleton as Archbishop of Washington would qualify.

    Seriously, I can’t speculate. I’ll know it when I see it. And I don’t meaning “damning” literally. I should probably say “serious enough to make me question whether his pontificate will bring relief to the Church in the US.”

    As I said, I have no reason to think that.

  • I too was ecstatic in April.  As discouraging as Neiderauer seems, I am not ready to drink the purple Kool-Aid and give up hope on Pope Benedict.

    What keeps me going here in Boston is 1) prayer;  2) listening to and obeying the Pope no matter what the USCCB, the local chancery bureaucrats, or an individual bishop may do or not do; and 3) trying to form myself and my wife in true Catholic doctrine and ascetical practices.

    That said, I suggest writing the Papal Nuncio and asking him to carefully screen the backgrounds of prospective bishops for orthodoxy (right teaching) and more importantly these days orthopraxy (right action).

  • Seems that the new Archbishop of San Francisco had the temerity to actually see a film before commenting on it. As a result, he was in an intellectually honest position to address what he saw to be an important theme in the film:  “the destructiveness of not being honest, of not being faithful, of living a double life.”  (Listen to the podcast of the interview, linked through Diogenes – see Dom’s main post on this page.)   

    People are going to see this movie.  It’s constructive that a Catholic bishop might help viewers see something in it they might otherwise miss. There are a number of characters and relationships in the movie – it’s not just about the two stars.  More than half the movie is about how their actions and affections disrupt their own lives and the lives of those who love them.  Those who have seen the movie know that it does not have a happy ending.

    Those ready to toss the new Archbishop out of office might want to read the homily from his installation Mass.  It’s superb and relies heavily on the Holy Father’s encyclical for its foundation.  I don’t think the Holy Father was hoodwinked into making this appointment or that he was uninformed about the name on the paper he signed to make the appointment formal.  Does anyone actually think that the Pope and Levada didn’t discuss this appointment – or that Levada held a few cards up his sleeve during the conversation?  There could very well be intentional pastoral method here in what others are quick to judge as madness.

  • “the destructiveness of not being honest, of not being faithful, of living a double life.”

    And not one word—from him or from you—on the destructiveness of the homosexual lifestyle.

    It’s not seeing the movie that’s the problem. It’s not seeing it, if you get my meaning, and then pandering to the people who want to use it as propaganda.

    I don’t have a particular opinion about the movie per se. People I trust says it’s a work of art. Okay, but it’s being used as homosexual propaganda. Is Niederauer too foolish to see that?

  • I believe the Archbishop had a desire to influence people’s thinking about the film and so he did two things:  he saw the film and then found a way to speak about it that might invite thousands of viewers to understand something in it that is important: the destructiveness of living a lie.

    The film is not a glorification of homosexuality. If it’s “propaganda” it doesn’t do a very good job.  The relationship of the two men breeds lies,  mistrust, anger and discord – and ends in loneliness, broken marriages and unfulfilled dreams.

  • Dom, you note that, “People I trust says it’s [Brokeback Mountain]a work of art.”

    Unfortunately, that’s an overused, hackneyed expression regarding any medium that supposedly conveys some deep message, and has been used to glorify even rank pornography among the haut monde.  One only needs to recall that the dung-covered Virgin was promoted by the connoisseurs of modern madness as art, and those of us who had objections to its taxpayer-supported presentation were labelled as gross philistines.

    I have read perhaps a dozen or so reviews regarding this latest insidious entry into the “art” of the homoerotic and proctological glorification.  I don’t feel, after reading across the spectrum of opinions, from gushingly rave reviews to leveling psychiatric critiques, that I need to spend money better used in the missions to support more Hollywood nonsense.  These reviews plus seeing the trailer is sufficient cause for me to can this stuff.

    Enshrining the Goddess of Reason produced two centuries of genocidical madness.  Enshrining the Goddess of Art is now producing our first century of utter and gross degenenacy—affecting even our churches and our church leaders.  But does it ever allow some of us to feel sophisticated!

  • The new archbishop of SF says that those with the homosexual orientation can serve in ministery. This does not jive with the expressed view of the Holy Father,  does it???

    And why is the term “gay” used. Why drop the reality of the problem, it is—homosexual. After all, there really isn’t a homosexaul person. The homosexual person is not a third catergory of mankind. There is male and female. A human being is either a man or a woman.  God created mankind to he just this and nothng more.  If there is the orientation to be attracked to the same sex, then one has a “defective sexuality” and needs professional and spiritual direction to overcome this problem.

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