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On Throwing Stones ...

Wednesday, 27 February 2002 12:00 AM

That passage is from an e-mail I received from a reader who has himself been a Catholic priest for 20 years. It is about as telling a comment on the damage done by the pedophile priest scandal as I have seen.

Make no mistake about it, even if a majority of the cases in the Boston Archdiocese are ancient history, dating back to the time when it was believed that pedophilia was both treatable and curable, the behavior of the archbishop and his associates leaves much to be desired.

To begin with, whatever possessed them to put the matter into the hands of a bunch of shrinks, members of a profession most of whose members are at best agnostics and at worst sworn enemies of religion and capable of making the most egregious of errors in their exploration of the workings of the human mind?

That inexcusable behavior, and that of other dioceses that simply ignored a serious problem or, worse, covered it up, is responsible for 70-year-old dedicated servants of God being called "perverts."

The scandal has shaken the faith of some Catholics and embarrassed countless others. It has cast a pall of suspicion over a priesthood composed of some 40,000 men nationwide, the majority of whom have given their lives to practicing their difficult vocation with dignity, humility and honor.

In my long lifetime I have been associated with countless numbers of priests, from simple parish assistant pastors to bishops. Some were near saints, many others were trying to be, and a handful were simply pains in the butt.

But all of them took their priesthood seriously and in almost every case were an intellectually superior breed determined to give all of themselves in humble service to God and His people.

Since the death of my wife 10 years ago, my association with men of the cloth has deepened. I am the full-time sacristan for my parish – a task that puts me in the closest contact with not only my parish priests, but also many others in the diocese, including our sainted bishop.

I have worked hand in glove with seminarians assigned to our parish as part of their training, and have had the honor and joy of being present at the ordinations of a number of them after they had survived years and years of rigorous training and scholarship.

There wasn't a bad apple among them. A couple who left the priesthood did so because either they could not live up to the rigors of celibacy or they could not endure the loneliness of rectory life – the most common cause of defections from the priesthood, by the way.

I have been fortunate in having had an opportunity to mingle with, and work alongside, what are regarded as some of the nation's greatest men of our age – several presidents of the United States, legendary military figures and war heroes, famous – and infamous – politicians, members of congress, governors, even a few Hollywood celebrities.

I can honestly say that not a single one of these men could be rated higher in character, humility and dedication than the majority of priests I have had the honor of associating and working with.

That having been said, the present scandal is but a symptom of the problems besetting the Roman Catholic church in America – and the blame for that can be laid squarely at the door of the American hierarchy.

The other day NewsMax.com covered in some detail a story that dealt with one of the most outrageous examples of clerical nonchalance I've seen. And guess where it's happening – in none other than within the Archdiocese of Boston, the epicenter of the pedophile scandal.

Briefly put, in the city of Dorchester, which lies within the authority of the ordinary – his excellency Bernard Cardinal Law – there is a Catholic Charities division that, among its other activities, has a crisis center counseling pregnant women on how to find alternatives to abortion.

The director of counseling services is a man named Howard M. Brown, a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, whatever the hell that is.

Mr. Brown has an interesting avocation, one he's followed for the last 10 years and in other states. He is also a minion of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortion, where he spends his Saturdays – the day when most abortions take place. His job there is escorting women into an abortion clinic, where they allow their unborn babies in the womb to be diced up, vacuumed out piece by piece, or scalded to death.

In an effort to learn how an organization with the word Catholic in its title can tolerate having one of its officials involved in an activity that goes against everything the church stands for, Ed Oliver, a reporter for MassNews, tried to get an explanation from Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of Boston. As we reported in NewsMax.com "he ran into a stone wall."

"Neither the Archdiocese of Boston nor Catholic Charities of Greater Boston expressed concern over Brown's abortion activities when contacted by MassNews," Oliver wrote, noting that his phone calls "to several departments of the Archdiocese of Boston, including Cardinal Law's office, Human Resources, and the Pro-Life office, resulted in hostility or bureaucratic indifference and referrals back to Catholic Charities."

One person who did comment, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities, told Oliver that Catholic Charities "does not grill people" about things they do on their own time.

Such as participating in the slaughter of the innocent unborn, one gathers.

While outrageous in itself, this case is symptomatic of the problem afflicting the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the United States. The problem is deep-rooted, and has become one of the most serious threats to the well-being of the Church in its history in America. Call it "the sin of tolerance," the nicest way to put it.

In an effort to appear tolerant in the eyes of their fellow non-Catholic Americans (oops, that's very politically incorrect – we now call them "our separated brethren"), the American hierarchy has tolerated excesses that have directly resulted in such scandals as pedophilia among a tiny minority of the priesthood and the toleration of offenses against Church doctrine as the one outlined in the matter of Mr. Brown.

The hierarchy has kowtowed to radical feminism, even allowing rabid feminists to occupy high posts in some dioceses. I have been told that in some dioceses, feminists with the authority to accept or reject candidates for the priesthood seeking to enter seminaries have given preference to homosexuals over heterosexual men, who have been shown the door.

Since pedophiles are homosexuals, part of the blame for the scandal can thus be laid at the door of the diocesan bishops who allow these women to misuse authority under their domains.

So-called Catholic universities have acted contrary to Church doctrine, allowing gay and lesbian groups to openly function on their campuses. Sacrilegious plays such as the disgusting "Vagina Monologues," have been performed at allegedly Catholic institutions.

Instead of vigorously implementing Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution

Said Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., such institutions should challenge their secular counterparts "to show how it is possible to find and transmit the truth if they neglect or marginalize the word of God."

To accomplish that, allegedly Catholic colleges and universities must first practice what Cardinal Dulles would have them preach. And it is up to the American hierarchy to see that they do. Now!

If the Church is to overcome the current scandals and prosper, the bishops of America will have to start acting like the shepherds they are supposed to be and stop trying to pacify, in the name of cowardly tolerance, the wolves assailing their flock.

It might be a good idea if all candidates for admission to seminaries were first required to serve a hitch in the Marine Corps. We need a few good men in the hierarchy able to identify a foe and not afraid to take on the enemy.

Semper Fi!

Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute.

He can be reached at

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That passage is from an e-mail I received from a reader who has himself been a Catholic priest for 20 years. It is about as telling a comment on the damage done by the pedophile priest scandal as I have seen. Make no mistake about it, even if a majority of the cases in...
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2002-00-27
Wednesday, 27 February 2002 12:00 AM
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