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Fr. Benedict Groeschel: Response to Brooks Egerton’s March 2, 2003 Article n Dallas Morning News
http://www.franciscanfriars.com/ ^ | Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel CFR, Ed. D.

Posted on 03/06/2003 8:29:10 AM PST by Polycarp

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To: Polycarp
I am still amazed that you guys keep up with this screed.

Do you REALLY not understand that the REAL scandal here is NOT that a few priests were "bad apples," but that the hierarchy continued to cover for them, move them from one assignment to another without dealing with them as they should have, and attempted to cover everything up and deny everything.

Even now, they seem far more concerned about their "fraternity brothers" than they do the victims of the abuse.

So yes, you're right: Probably 1%, maybe LESS. But how many times were each of those individuals allowed to continue their outrages while the hierarchy covered for them, hoping they could figure out how to "make them change" next time?

How many times were laws broken when these people weren't turned over to the authorities as the law requires?

It is not a minor point that the focus has been on people like Cardinal Law, rather than the perps themselves.

51 posted on 03/06/2003 6:30:20 PM PST by Illbay
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To: sinkspur
You got it, Sink. And every time someone tries to bring up that point, this "1% of priests" thing is brought up. Well, what percentage of the hierarchy has been involved in the cover up?
52 posted on 03/06/2003 6:33:38 PM PST by Illbay
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To: Polycarp
**Fr. Benedict Groeschel**

bttt!
53 posted on 03/06/2003 6:36:12 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Illbay
How many times were laws broken when these people weren't turned over to the authorities as the law requires? I would guess that they bishops rarely broke the law. If there was any corruption, it was in hiding behind the law.
54 posted on 03/06/2003 7:19:09 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: sinkspur
What "agenda"? You assume, because he's gay, that Egerton has an agenda.

This may be the dumbest thing you've ever said. He's not just "gay," he's also the president of a homo-promo organization. If you don't think he's got an agenda, you're either painfully naive or purposely ignoring it because his article furthers your aim of dragging a holy, conservative priest's name through the mud.
55 posted on 03/06/2003 7:36:01 PM PST by Antoninus (In hoc signo, vinces †)
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To: Antoninus
I'm done dialoguing with you, Antoninus. You're a nasty, smarmy little jerk.

I know you don't like me, and I'm growing to despise you.

So, before I come to hate you completely, I'm putting you on ignore.

Civility is not in you.

56 posted on 03/06/2003 7:48:37 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
The quotation from Fr. Groeschel's letter does not refute Serrano's contention that Groeschel questioned why Serrano was hurting Hanley further by bringing charges forward because Hanley was "a sick man." If Serrano is right, Groeschel was more concerned about the priest than about him.

You're fixated on one quote from a victim utterly divorced from it's context. If you're willing to hang Fr. Groeschel out to dry based on this one unsubstantiated, contextless comment in an agenda-driven article, well... it's pretty clear you had little love for Fr. Groeschel to begin with.

I honestly feel bad for you. Your overriding desire to smear Fr. Groeschel seems to have precluded all rational thought.
57 posted on 03/06/2003 7:48:37 PM PST by Antoninus (In hoc signo, vinces †)
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To: sinkspur
I know you don't like me, and I'm growing to despise you.

On the contrary, I actually like you quite a bit. I think you're dead wrong on a number of issues--and you have a real hard time admitting when you've a.) overreacted, or b.) are just plain wrong about something. I think in this case, you read an article that looked like pure gold in terms of your agenda, but turned out to be a lump of iron pyrite.

Civility is not in you.

Not true. I am civil when I need to be. In your case, civility generally has little effect. I have never once heard you admit that you were anywhere on the southside of 100% right, even when it's plain to everyone that you've been had.

Guess what? In the case of this article, you've been had.
58 posted on 03/06/2003 8:04:06 PM PST by Antoninus (In hoc signo, vinces †)
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To: american colleen
* Good Friday among Catholics is often marked by Stations of the Cross. Why don't we hire a bus (or do a motorcade) and have a Survivors' Stations, going to 14 scenes of abuse all over Boston, with reporters invited along and media opportunities, ending with a press conference in front of the chancery?

These goofballs, VOTF, aren't Catholic and no Catholic bishop should recognize them as being so.

59 posted on 03/06/2003 8:04:46 PM PST by Land of the Irish
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To: sinkspur
I just want everybody to be up front, take responsibility, stop placing blame.

Dream on, Alice. People who do the kind of stuff that's been done in the church don't take responsibility for it. They lie like rugs. Men with fortitude resign, like Cardinal law did.
60 posted on 03/06/2003 8:09:38 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Illbay
Do you REALLY not understand that the REAL scandal here is NOT that a few priests were "bad apples," but that the hierarchy continued to cover for them, move them from one assignment to another without dealing with them as they should have, and attempted to cover everything up and deny everything.

Yes, we know that. Law was the least of the problems. The worst of them are still insulated and aren't going to be easy to dethrone.

That doesn't change the faith.
61 posted on 03/06/2003 8:12:21 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Desdemona
Men with fortitude resign, like Cardinal law did.

There are too few of these kind of men in the Church.

Law is doing penance, while the Adamecs and Murphys and Banks hang on to power like drunks hanging on to the rim of a toilet.

This sexual abuse scandal is far from over. Like kudzu, it will continue to reach out and claim clerical perpetrators for years to come.

62 posted on 03/06/2003 8:15:11 PM PST by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
Like kudzu, it will continue to reach out and claim clerical perpetrators for years to come.

Wow, man, that's like, so profound.
63 posted on 03/06/2003 8:34:50 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Illbay
Do you REALLY not understand that the REAL scandal here is NOT that a few priests were "bad apples," but that the hierarchy continued to cover for them, move them from one assignment to another without dealing with them as they should have, and attempted to cover everything up and deny everything.

Dang! We shoulda asked your opinion in the beginning! You nailed the problem! Thanks!

Unfortunately, this thread is about a priest being smeared by a journalist and has nothing to do with anything else.

64 posted on 03/06/2003 8:41:57 PM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: Land of the Irish
These goofballs, VOTF, aren't Catholic and no Catholic bishop should recognize them as being so.

Not goofballs, unfortunately. They are Call To Action, We Are Church, Corpus and Catholics for a Free Choice all rolled into one. And they have some big names behind them. And they have a lot of friends in the press. And they are all upper-class white people with a a lot of money.

And you are right, they are not Catholic unless the Church now teaches heresy. BTW, a lot of the bishops do recognize them and allow them to meet on parish grounds.

65 posted on 03/06/2003 8:46:41 PM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: Polycarp
Polycarp,You gave us up,knock it the heaven off and get the hxxxxx out of here,we can handle it.Thanks for your post which I knew would come but it was important for him to say this.I only saw Father once on local TV and most have never saw him.I can say that my children were attacked by a gay mag.they took pics.off our TV website and ripped my kids apart.Dear God what do you do.I went to Mass and the gospel was about slander thank my paster for his homily because it put me at peace.Some people had many souls ready to picket this paper and to sue but I said no because of my Pastor's homily.The bottom line is the article was a hit piece on my son and daughter and hosts and guests on a TV show that was loved by teens,it was hard not to respond.The author said our kids would be better off huffin-"drugs"than to be nice.Father had to answer because my kids were attacked for bieng nice and more people tuned in,Father was accused of something not nice.I beleive father.
66 posted on 03/06/2003 10:00:54 PM PST by fatima (Prayers for all our troops and loved ones.)
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To: sinkspur
sinkspur,Can you sum it up because I am getting mixup up,Father said no and you are saying maybe yes.
67 posted on 03/06/2003 10:08:43 PM PST by fatima (Prayers for all our troops and loved ones.)
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To: Illbay; Polycarp
Soo Illbay, do you want the same level of scrutiny applied to your Mormon leaders?
68 posted on 03/06/2003 10:10:47 PM PST by CARepubGal
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To: sinkspur
Right again.
69 posted on 03/06/2003 10:11:42 PM PST by fatima (Prayers for all our troops and loved ones.)
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To: sinkspur
"No. Did he tell Mark Serrano to leave Fr. Hanley alone? Did he scold him for coming forward with accusations of abuse?"

Sorry sinkspur but my search on father Hanley came up with your name,first hit,who is he.
70 posted on 03/06/2003 10:33:32 PM PST by fatima (Prayers for all our troops and loved ones.)
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To: Polycarp
Thank you for posting this. I have had the honor of spending a few days in the presence of this good priest and have never believed the smears against him.

That said, I believe he is wrong about the number of priest-abusers. Newsweek quoted Richard Sipes as stating that close to 20% of the 57,000 priests in the US are homosexual and half of these are sexually active. --And this may be a low estimate. Some put the number of homosexual priests at closer to 40%, with half sexually active. Of this number, it is true that true pedophilia--the sexual abuse of children--is rare. But the abuse of male adolescents is far less rare and represents a much higher per centage than would be indicated by the Ratzinger comment.

This doesn't make Fr. Groeschel wrong to focus on true pedophilia per se, but it suggests that he, like others in the Church, are still in considerable denial.
71 posted on 03/07/2003 4:47:02 AM PST by ultima ratio
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To: Desdemona
I am not criticizing your faith, nor your religion.

But those here on FR who continue to make apologies for such satanic doings are not doing anyone any favors.

72 posted on 03/07/2003 4:50:25 AM PST by Illbay
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To: american colleen
Give me a break. Why do you think that so many are jumping on this "journalist" and anyone else who dares criticize the way this was handled? I've been reading Sinkspur's commentaries, and it is OBVIOUS what the bottom line is.

There are people who are willing to circle the wagons and "protect" those who "protected" gross criminality. It's bizarre to watch.
73 posted on 03/07/2003 4:53:03 AM PST by Illbay
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To: CARepubGal
If you will point out to me any criminal prosecutions pending for any of our leaders, I'd be interested to know it.
74 posted on 03/07/2003 4:53:49 AM PST by Illbay
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To: ultima ratio
This doesn't make Fr. Groeschel wrong to focus on true pedophilia per se, but it suggests that he, like others in the Church, are still in considerable denial.

What to believe? The numbers are probably different depending on what part of the country you are in. The other day Fr. Greeley weighed in on the number of abusing priests (inc. those abusing children as well as those abusing teenagers) and his estimates were on the low side as well.

It probably doesn't matter about the numbers so long as they are weeded out one way or the other. This is a case of NOT letting the tares grow along with the wheat.

75 posted on 03/07/2003 4:56:06 AM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: Illbay
There are tons of threads dealing with the bishops and the cover-ups. This thread has nothing to do with that. This thread is about the smear of one of the good guys by a jounalist with an axe to grind - one of the subplots in the big picture.
76 posted on 03/07/2003 4:58:13 AM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: american colleen
Back in the 90s the Kansas City Star did an exhaustive survey on the number of priests dying of AIDS. The rate of mortality was four times that of the general population. They found out six out of ten priests knew of a priest friend or associate who had died of AIDS. So clearly there's a huge problem. There is a lot more information on this in Rome, moreover, than it cares to acknowledge. So when Cardinal Ratzinger speaks of only a small 1%, he is speaking only about true pedophilia, which is always rare. The Cardinal is actually exercising damage control on behalf of the Vatican. He knows homosexuality among the clergy is not rare--and may run as high as 40 or 50%. Since an extimated half of these men are sexually active, this is an enormous scandal yet to be honestly faced by the Holy See.
77 posted on 03/07/2003 6:18:49 AM PST by ultima ratio
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To: Desdemona
why are the actual bishops and cardinals who are guilty of the cover-up not stuck in the spotlight like Groeschel is. Bernardin so far has gotten a pass. People like Mahoney and Adamac should be in the crosshairs,

Ahh, my dear young thing, this is your first lesson in "the homosexual network," which also happens to be the title of a VERY revealing book written about 20(!!!!!) years ago by Fr. Enrique Rueda. The book sort of slid into oblivion, but named lots of names.

To your question: simple answer: Fr. Groeschel simply calls a spade a spade---homosexual attacks on children.

The Bishops who are questionable are members of, or have significant ties to, the "network."

They are automatically exempt from questioning.

78 posted on 03/07/2003 7:25:32 AM PST by ninenot
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To: american colleen
They don't like the interim bishop, Archbishop Lennon because he hasn't aquiesed to their wishes.At least part of the reason is that Bp. Dolan 'won't play ball' with the victims.

It is yet to be determined which ballgame the victims would like Dolan to play.

79 posted on 03/07/2003 7:35:43 AM PST by ninenot
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To: Illbay
To me, the R/C hierarchy is, at the very least, guilty of gross stupidity in the handling of these people.

For once we agree.

And your qualifier 'at the very least' is portentious. Frankly, I think that the majority of the Bishops involved were criminally negligent.

80 posted on 03/07/2003 7:39:04 AM PST by ninenot
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To: american colleen
Post-Fix:

Yesterday 5 lawsuits were filed against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by victims of one priest. This seems to be related to the "agenda" you described earlier.

Part of the reason for the lawsuits was that 'Abp. Dolan was not co-operative' with the victims--didn't play ball with them, whatever THAT may mean...
81 posted on 03/07/2003 7:48:28 AM PST by ninenot
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To: ultima ratio
Funny that you mention the article in the KCS... I was just reading something on that the other day. Maybe I can find it again and post it - I'll try. The gist of the story was that the survey was done using only those priests who responded -- and they gave numbers and the sexual orientation of the respondants -- and it seemed to be that the respondants were largely gay and active. Which kind of coincides with what I see with the gay community. They can't help but talk about themselves where we might throw away a survey or say "no thanks" to a phone survey, they really do live in a world "all about me."

Never mind the Holy See, the cardinals and bishops have to face up to who is in charge of the parishes... most of them cannot control even the heresy and lack of belief in the Magisterium/Faith that eminates from the parish pulpits - which is just as/almost as damaging as an actively homosexual priest (leaving out the abusers here - they are even more damaging to the Faith). Until the bishops act and believe in what they are called to do, the Holy See is almost a moot point - since most?/some?/a lot?/too many? of the bishops ignore the Vatican anyway.

I don't know that Cardinal Ratzinger is exercising damage control - hell, most of the time the press only uses the word pedophelia and not active or abusing homosexuals - so it is possible that his 1% estimate was based on true pedophelia and only in response to that narrow charge.

Lookit this, a direct example of the difference in the AmChurch and the Vatican's belief in the homosexual inclination having an effect on priestly ordination:

"The Vatican made it clear in a letter issued in October 1986 that homosexual orientation should be viewed 'as an objective disorder'."

"The letter was one of the Vatican's most definitive pronouncements on homosexuality. In the letter, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said that 'although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not itself a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder'."

"That contradicted the U.S. bishops' 1976 position, which noted a distinction between homosexual acts, believed to be sinful, and a homosexual orientation."

Anyhow, numbers cited are certainly only speculative unless a poll is taken including all priests and then they are asked directly "are you a homosexual" and then they answer honestly. Which ain't gonna happen. One thing is for sure - all the priests who left to marry in the 60s and 70s certainly skewed the numbers... either way, it seems to me that the bottom line with sin is that it is usually connected to sex in some way.

Keeping on topic... I'm glad Fr. Groeschel answered the charges levied at him by Mr. Egerton and the DMN. I wonder if the DMN bothered to print Fr. G's words.

82 posted on 03/07/2003 8:13:47 AM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: ninenot
Part of the reason for the lawsuits was that 'Abp. Dolan was not co-operative' with the victims--didn't play ball with them, whatever THAT may mean...

Excuse me? Was this a quote?
83 posted on 03/07/2003 8:28:32 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: ninenot
Are they (do they look like) legit lawsuits?

Got links to the story? I'd like to check it out and compare it with what is going on here.

Ya know, I am probably in the minority here, but the whole thing with declaring bankrupcy looks good to me. All victims come foreward, file the lawsuits and get the money. And they are at least compensated financially if not emotionally - and the lawyers and bad feeling generated from all the legal tactics on both sides are done with. I look at some of the holdings that we have here in the Archdiocese of Boston - like the chancery and land holdings and the seminary (combine it with another state, only 4 seminarians there anyway and it would free up for parish work priests who are professors there) - and I just say to myself, get rid of them. The bishop can live in a rectory (plenty of room in most of them!) just like any other priest.

Get rid of the stupid (in our case) "Boston Catholic Television" -- a duplication of efforts since there is EWTN and our BCTV is vastly inferior, broadcasting a lousy Mass from the chancery with no one in attendance, old TV shows and some odd priests occasionally - one was preaching from the pulpit to an empty parish about "centering prayer" a couple of weeks ago. He's also one that is not orthodox in other things. But I think every Bishop likes to have his own TV station that he heads up and so many of them resent Mother Angelica and what she has done and what she stands for.

And the chancery is a mess. Tons of duplicated effort by priests who could be out in a parish. I know one young, orthodox priest who is bilingual and who looks for work... calls area parishes every day to say Mass as a visiting priest. This guy should have his own parish which would be orthodox and vibrant.

The other day for the Lenten Mass the new bishop decided he wanted to do it at noon and therefore, change the old practice of doing it at 11 AM. I heard that the priests in the chancery were all up in arms, really upset. They carried on and on about it and were bent out of shape because "this isn't what we always did" -- too much time on their hands, it seems like. A bunch of old ladies.

Also, too many parishes. Although the number of Catholics has increased over the years, hardly any of them attend Mass - it seems to me that we are decrying a lack of priests although this lack of priests is geared to the number of parishes and not the actual number of practicing Catholics. So if you look at it that way, there probably is no real shortage of priests. Remember years ago (I'm 43) there would be standing room only if you arrived at Mass within 10 minutes of it starting. Today, there are tons of empty seats. I'm no martyr, but I wouldn't mind driving a piece for Sunday Mass - although it is nice to have daily Mass 5 minutes away and I probably couldn't attend daily Mass if it wasn't so close (kids are home until 9 AM school starts).

OK, enough of this rant! I have to go replace some plumbing in the bathrooms and take off for a haircut.

84 posted on 03/07/2003 8:34:56 AM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: american colleen
Never mind the Holy See, the cardinals and bishops have to face up to who is in charge of the parishes... most of them cannot control even the heresy and lack of belief in the Magisterium/Faith that eminates from the parish pulpits - which is just as/almost as damaging as an actively homosexual priest (leaving out the abusers here - they are even more damaging to the Faith).

Isn't that the truth.

I don't know that Cardinal Ratzinger is exercising damage control

the problem with damage control (or crisis) as you point out is that unless you have a LIVE audience or paid advertising, everything you say/do goes through a filter. The gatekeepers jealously guard their possition. At this point the whole affair has been labelled, with a fraction of the actual problems as the epicenter. The media doesn't get what the main problem is. You can spin all you want, but if it has to go through editors, the message is going to get skewed.
85 posted on 03/07/2003 8:36:19 AM PST by Desdemona (Crisis PR was my thing. But, for work, you have to depend on disasters.)
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To: Desdemona
The media doesn't get what the main problem is.

Oh, I think they get it fine. It is just a matter of where our country is - live and let live and nothing is a sin or wrong. Look at the push for same sex marriage... which is currently going on here in Massachusetts (and there are quite a few priests who support it as we are an "inclusive" church, doncha know). But it isn't politically correct to delve too deeply into the problems same sex marriage presents. It's a hot potato issue and people stay away from it so they can't be called a homophobe or a right wing hater or a bigot. Same with the pedophelia word (non sexual orientation word) as opposed to the homosexuality word.

Even if you don't look at these issues with "Catholic" or "Christian" eyes, mind and soul, common sense tells us that homosexuals have on the whole, many, many more sexual partners than heterosexuals do. Homosexual "unions" don't last very long. Homosexual men (women? - not sure) are attracted to those much younger than they are. One of the kindest most gentle and giving men I ever met was my across the hall neighbor when I lived in a condo (and who helped me out with some tough things years ago) he was an active homosexual... a constant parade of beautiful men month after month. God rest his soul and have mercy on him, he is dead now. You know how. At age 44. Well, I knew his friends as well. And it is a much different lifestyle than heterosexuals live. It's pitiful and sad and honestly, none of them that I knew were truly happy and peaceful men.

Gotta go, plumbing has to wait but the haircut can't!

86 posted on 03/07/2003 8:51:29 AM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: american colleen
Most knowledgeable sociologists believe the study was accurate and appropriately conducted. Look, the bottom line is we're swimming in a sea of corruption--but the Church is still in denial. I don't at all buy the argument that the Vatican opposes the bishops on this. Sure it floats some trial balloon claiming it might ban gays in the priesthood, and has made a few comments about this for the press. The gullible will seize on this and say, "See! the Pope agrees with us!" But Rome doesn't take ACTION. Nor will it. The Pope has never in twenty-five years moved against the gay subculture that has all but taken over the clergy in some countries, including the US and Canada.
87 posted on 03/07/2003 9:40:31 AM PST by ultima ratio
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To: american colleen
Link, but without HTML hotlink code:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/mar03/123489.asp

Looks like it may be all about the money....surprise!!
88 posted on 03/07/2003 10:52:34 AM PST by ninenot
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To: ultima ratio
Most knowledgeable sociologists believe the study was accurate and appropriately conducted.

Can you give me some names on this issue? I trust sociologists about as much as I trust psychologists and psychiatrists.

The rest of your post...

The Vatican has done nothing more and nothing less than has been done in the past... witness the 1961 statement on homosexuality and also the one from the 1930s (and I'm sure before that as well, but I've not looked that far back)... all three statements basically say the same thing - no one with a homosexual tendency should be ordained. This reminds me of those Catholics like Frances Kissling who say that they are not excommunicated unless the Vatican literally sends someone to her house and tells her she is excommunicated. She hasn't heard from anyone with "standing," so she says she is a practicing Catholic in good standing. I guess she expects the Swiss Guard or maybe the pope himself to knock on her door and hand her a document outlining why she should not be calling herself a Catholic. Listen, we all know the "rules" and we all have a conscience - sadly, too many not formed correctly.

"Swimming in a sea of corruption" --- maybe so, but this generation isn't the first dealing with corruption. The gates won't prevail, we know that. There are also a lot of wonderful things going on in the Church today.

89 posted on 03/07/2003 11:00:49 AM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: ninenot
Thanks for the link.

Gross, isn't it.

The money thing makes me uncomfortable... how does getting $100,000 make being abused feel better? One is separate from the other. OTOH, getting money from the archdiocese that enabled a priest to abuse and keep on abusing is maybe not a bad thing - since money means so much to us. However, I have never seen a victim not take the money and donate it to charity. And then you have the blood sucking attorneys - again, I've not seen one of them forgo the customary 1/3 of whatever settlement amount they get - or even opt for a smaller percentage. Of course a bigger settlement means more $$$ in their pockets...

Releasing the names of priests accused of abuse... a can of worms. How do you defend yourself if you are dead or senile in a nursing home? How do we know that some accusations aren't false? And how does a priest accused of abuse have any credibility at all if his name is public property and additional accusers come forward - he is already guilty of some abuse and has no leg to stand on with new accusations that may be false. It was a terrible thing when Keeler released those names. I recall one of the priests in Keeler's diocese was accused only of having consensual homosexual relations with a 17 year old prostitute 20 years ago. He is no longer a priest, thank God, and he has been celibate and repentant since. And now the entire story is public.

The next step being pushed is releasing the files of ALL priests in the name of openness and transparacy. This is going on here in Boston and being pushed by the victim groups and the VOTF types.

90 posted on 03/07/2003 11:19:52 AM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: american colleen
Perilous choice to ignore AIDS issue
By A.W. RICHARD SIPE

A firestorm of reaction has followed a Kansas City Star series on priests with AIDS, published in the Missouri paper Jan. 30, 31 and Feb. 1 (http://www.kcstar.com/projects/priests/). Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, associate director of communications for the U.S. Catholic Conference and a spokesperson for the American bishops, attacked the series, the Star, the Associated Press and Knight Ridder with scathing criticism in the Feb. 14 issue of Editor & Publisher, a weekly journalism and trade magazine. She chided the Star for exposing the AIDS death of a Catholic college president, as if exposé was the aim of the series. In fact, the Star had documentation of the AIDS death of another Catholic college president, which they chose not to publish, presumably to avoid sensationalism.

The ever-vigilant Catholic League named the Star a “Catholic basher.” The Catholic League took credit for “taking the sting out of” the series and stated that the Star was being “swamped by criticism.”

Already on Feb. 4 the Catholic League claimed that notable statisticians had “discredited” the results of the Star’s survey of 3,000 priests, which appeared in the series. They cite as their authority S. Robert Lichter who, not coincidentally, had previously been hired by the Catholic League to produce a study that analyzed media coverage of the Catholic church.

Lichter runs three Web sites: Newswatch; Center for Media and Public Affairs; and STATS. What first appears to be four separate entities criticizing the series is in fact a consortium of information sources and interests, not independent, objective sources.

The Catholic Register accused reporter Judy Thomas of collaborating with NCR in producing her series and retracing interviews that had previously been published.

Many diocesan papers have published editorials and official statements about the series; some expanded their coverage to defend seminary training, the quality of sex education in the seminary and the leadership of the church in sponsoring AIDS hospice care.

Why the furor?

Already on Dec. 12, 1986, NCR ran a substantial story about the AIDS death of a priest and spoke of “a dozen cases” within the clergy. That story quoted a Hawaiian physician who said, “There are an awful lot of men in that profession [clergy] who test positive for the AIDS antibody.”

In 1987 NCR ran a piece about the gospel response to AIDS (Dec. 25). Pamela Schaeffer updated the NCR coverage of priests with AIDS in the April 18, 1997, issue and estimated that 100 priests had already died and several hundred more were infected with the virus.

NCR was one of the few Catholic papers to address the problem of priests with AIDS, but the secular media has also dealt with the issue for some time.

The Village Voice for Feb. 10, 1987, noted more than a dozen confirmed cases of priests with AIDS and cited the relationship of the virus to homosexual behavior. They referred to the October 1986 Vatican letter that identified homosexuality as “an objective disorder” and homosexual orientation a condition “ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.”

David Firestone, writing for the New York Post, found a dozen priests with AIDS in New York after he was told by the chancery in 1989 that they knew of no cases. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jacqui Banaszynski reported in a Feb. 8, 1987, St. Paul Pioneer Press article on priests with AIDS: “The incidence of AIDS among priests seems to be almost four times higher than among the general population.” She also quoted priests who acknowledged that clergy were not instructed in safe sex procedures, either in the seminary or after.

Fr. Donald Cozzens, a seminary rector, commenting on the current status of the priesthood, does not hesitate to acknowledge that a large proportion (perhaps over 50 percent) of American priests are homosexual in orientation.

The Star series raised a level of attention and wrath not engendered by any of the earlier articles either individually or collectively.

Why?

The Star series was based on interviews, over a seven-year period, of priests with AIDS; families and friends of priests who died of AIDS; experts in HIV/AIDS research, training and treatment; and documentation including death certificates; and a sample survey sent to 3,000 randomly selected priests. Critics have zeroed in on the survey as if the piece stands or falls on its methodology and results. The sophistication, or lack thereof, of the Star survey is not a major consideration. The deaths of several hundred priests from AIDS can be documented.

Twenty priest deaths would be sufficient to establish a ratio of HIV infection greater than that of the armed services – 2 per 10,000 – in a group of males of somewhat similar ages.

Thomas’ series did more than venture a conclusion on the basis of the survey. In effect, the author posed some important questions. Do priests contract HIV/AIDS? If so, how many? In what proportion to others in the population? What is the experience of a priest with HIV/AIDS? How is he treated by his diocese or by his community? His family, friends? Lay people? Does the rate of infection among clergy have any relationship to the lifestyle or requirements of the priesthood? Does the number of homosexually oriented priests influence the kind of sex education priests and seminarians receive? Are priests instructed about safe sexual practice? And finally, does the church’s understanding of homosexuality prevent or foster the transmission of the HIV/AIDS among the clergy?

These are the real land mine questions that lie beneath any responsible treatment of the subject of AIDS in the priesthood. The Star series raises all of these questions, all linked to sexual issues that remain controversial in church circles. If ignored, they can result in peril to priests and lay persons alike.

In 1995, a priest with AIDS asked me to write his story. I had hesitated to speak about priests with AIDS until that project was complete because I want to set his story in the surest possible context, one that avoids any misunderstanding or aura of sensation. But the church’s response to the Star series commands attention.

Fr. James Graham was probably the first full-time diocesan director of an AIDS ministry in this country. He founded a hospice for the poorest of the poor AIDS patients. In 1989 he was appointed by the Vatican to head the International Christian AIDS Network (ICAN) as an adjunct to the Pontifical Council on Health and Healthcare Workers. He was a close personal friend of Dr. Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of the virus that causes AIDS and founding director of the human virology research institute at the University of Maryland.

These are all elements that make his story complex and compelling.

Graham knew that AIDS among priests was not the central problem of the AIDS pandemic. He had hoped that the American church, with its health care knowledge and its wealth of medical resources, would lead the church in preventing, fighting and curing AIDS throughout the world.

But he was also aware that AIDS does not discriminate. Bishops and priests from many countries have died of AIDS, and others are infected with the virus. This in itself is not scandalous, nor even surprising to those who understand human nature and the history of the church.

There are two scandals: the measures the church takes to deny the reality of the illness among clergy and its refusal to openly discuss the issue, means of primary and secondary prevention, and the ways in which it contributes to the stigmatization of the disease and those who suffer from it.

There are examples of the church’s behavior far more disturbing than the Star series: An archbishop died in Rome of AIDS. Those responsible for his body had his legs broken so that the cause of death could be listed as accidental.

A priest in a major American city was diagnosed HIV positive. In the process of contact tracing, 20 priests were notified that they had been either primarily or secondarily exposed to the virus.

And death from AIDS has not bypassed clerics in those areas of Africa that are being devastated by the disease.

The church will assume its moral credibility sooner is the issue of priests with AIDS is faced squarely in all of its dimensions.

No one is suggesting that the church abandon moral teaching. Rather, AIDS within the clergy is an urgent call for the church to establish its moral leadership by confronting all the elements that impact the contracting and transmission of HIV/AIDS in all persons everywhere.

The American hierarchy had ample notice to become proactive about the crisis of sex abuse by clergy. Many dioceses and religious communities are still picking up the pieces from their resistance to a clear warning from the 1985 Peterson, Mouton and Doyle report of the potential repercussions of the problem of abuse.

The Kansas City Star series is the beginning, not the end, of the story of AIDS in the church. The portrait it gently and kindly painted is of good clerics in profound struggles. These lives do not ask for cheap compassion, so easy for religion to supply. They beg for consideration, honest discussion and attention to the celibate/sexual agenda facing everyone in the church.

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops should be the leader not the reluctant follower – let alone the obstructionist – to the discussion of sexual problems within the church. They should know the number of priests suffering unnecessarily from this deadly disease and establish effective means of prevention and education within their own ranks.

This is a time when a growing number of priests and bishops are homosexual in orientation. They should not be outcasts or second-class servants or secreted behind homophobic facades. Homosexually oriented clergy are equally observant of their celibacy, as are their heterosexual brothers, and one struggles as much as the other. Coming to terms with one’s identity and relationships are tasks central to any spirituality and leadership irrespective of one’s sexual orientation.

If The Kansas City Star moves the American hierarchy to pay attention to a vital problem within its own ranks, it should receive a medal for saving lives and enhancing the credibility of a venerable institution.

National Catholic Reporter, March 31, 2000

Top of page

91 posted on 03/07/2003 12:12:59 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
It's a "he said" "he said" kind of thing, I guess.

Here is the article I spoke about earlier. I guess we can both cite the old adage "figures don't lie, but liars can figure." Let me say that even one priest dying of sexually contracted AIDS is one too many.

Kansas City Star Survey Claims Priests More Likely to Have Aids: Report Not Scientifically Accurate

ABSTRACT: According to a recent article by the Kansas City Star, Catholic priests are four times more likely to have AIDS than society at large. The sensationalist slant offered in this article, used a flawed research design to arrive at conclusions unsupported by the data.

ROME, FEB 2 (ZENIT).- A recent series of articles by the Kansas City Star has awakened discussion and debate in the Church about the occurrence of AIDS among its priests. According to the first of the series, Catholic priests are four times more likely to have AIDS than society at large. The first three reports are online at KCStar .

A Flawed Survey
The assertions about the demographics of AIDS among priests are based on a survey that the newspaper sent out to 3,000 priests, both diocesan and religious, from all over the country. A total of 801 priests responded, only 27%. This makes the survey a self-selected group, already making the results suspect.

Given that the survey was confidential, after this self-selection, it is impossible to know if all the respondents came from one part of the country or shared some other demographical trait. It is even possible that priests who weren't HIV positive would have felt that the survey didn't apply to them and ignored it. All of these factors make the results at the very least questionable.

Four Times More Likely?
The Kansas City Star's survey indicates that 0.5% of the respondents have AIDS—4 priests out of this group. Another 3 priests said they were unsure and hadn't been tested. In its analysis, the newspaper assumes that this means that 0.9% of all U.S. priests have AIDS. This represents four times the AIDS rate in the general public, according to the article, citing figures from the Center for Disease control (CDC).

However, the numbers don't seem to match up.
The CDC estimates that there are between 650,000 and 900,000 Americans with AIDS: 0.25-0.35% of the general population (cf. 1997 World AIDS Day Pamphlet). This would seem to justify the newspaper's assertion that priests are four times more likely to have the disease, if we take the lowest estimates for the general public and the highest estimates for priests.

When one considers that most AIDS patients are men (women represent only 20% of new AIDS cases), the CDC figures would have to fall very close to or above the 0.5% figure of priests who actually reported having the disease. Furthermore, since children make up a relatively small group among AIDS victims, the percentage of adult males suffering from AIDS would be even higher, possibly even exceeding the rate seen among priests in the survey. At any rate, a far cry from the four times higher rate of HIV cited in the article.

The article strongly emphasizes the figures that 58% of respondents personally knew “priests who died of an AIDS-related illness” and 30% “know priests with HIV or AIDS.” These figures could, however, point to nothing more than the intimacy of dioceses and religious orders. Priests within the diocese tend to know one another, and this is even truer among the religious. It is not clear that there is anything unusual involved here at all. The article only provides the figures—presented in the lead paragraph as the most important fact in the article—and leaves it up to the reader to determine their meaning.

The AIDS epidemic must be faced by the Church with compassion, and must be headed off by education, both for children and in seminary formation. Accurate studies can help the Church identify where its problem areas lie. The sensationalist slant on the data provided by the Kansas City Star, however, would tend to impede, rather than encourage, serious dialogue and study.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

ZENIT is an International News Agency based in Rome whose mission is to provide objective and professional coverage of events, documents and issues emanating from or concerning the Catholic Church for a worldwide audience, especially the media.

Copyright © 2000 ZENIT

92 posted on 03/07/2003 12:30:53 PM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: american colleen
No, it isn't. Perhaps the methodology is debatable--but not the overall indifference of the Church to the problem of widespread homosexuality and corruption among the clergy. That is NOT debatable.

Consider this: a few days ago a story surfaced that a priest was staying at Cardinal George's residence whenever he visited Chicago. The priest is a liturgist and was working on a project of interest to the Cardinal. Fine--except that this priest had once been a schoolteacher who pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a minor. Think of it a minute. This priest--while still a layman--had abused a kid sexually and publicly admitted this act--and yet was allowed to become a candidate for the priesthood and eventually get ordained--and this at a time when hordes of orthodox, straight, pious young men were complaining of being rejected by seminary gatekeepers.How come? And how come the Cardinal, knowing his background, still honors him at a time like this, by inviting him to stay at his personal residence? What's going on here, do you think?

If you happen to think this is happenstance, consider this as well: recently the Cardinal invited the disgraced bishop, Daniel Ryan of Springfield, IL, to co-consecrate at the elevation rite of a new bishop. Bishop Ryan, you will remember, resigned in disgrace after a group of laymen proved he had been sleeping with teenage boys for years and had been sexually harrassing and sleeping with priest-subordinates. Yet Ryan was paraded by the Cardinal as a religious leader in good standing at this prestigious religious ceremony.

Do you deny this has the smell of corruption?
93 posted on 03/07/2003 1:09:16 PM PST by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
PS. I know even a stopped clock is correct twice a day, but I don't think I trust the National Catholic Reporter for information with an orthodox Catholic understanding of Truth. These guys are the same ones pushing for a married priesthood, possible female ordination and a "different kind of confession" - general absolution. I don't know where they stand on same sex marriage, but since they like to be part of the "inclusive" Church mentality, I wouldn't be surprised if they favored it.
94 posted on 03/07/2003 1:15:09 PM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: ultima ratio
Do you deny this has the smell of corruption?

No. But I do give people the benefit of the doubt - Cardinal George said he didn't know about the priest's past - should he have? Ya. I'll have to re-read his statement on this. All in all, every day I see the wiseness of a George Weigel who says that we are all called to a life of piety and conversion... if each one of us took our faith and lived it, there would be no such stories. And in that same vein, I am reminded every single day of the Pharisees. Listen to what they say, but do not imitate their ways. Put your faith in no man.

I don't know about the other story, but I will look into it sometime today and comment back about it.

Can we not (I'm begging you) have this escalate into a "Rome is corrupt" "the pope is complicit" conversation?

95 posted on 03/07/2003 1:21:01 PM PST by american colleen (Christe Eleison!)
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To: sinkspur; Illbay; ninenot
As for Ratzinger's remarks, he, like Groeschel, miss the point. The issue is not how many abusers there are or were in the priesthood; the issue is the cover-up by bishops and those who enabled the bishops to carry out that cover-up!
That's the news story, and is a legitimate one.
8 posted on 03/06/2003 10:26 AM PST by sinkspur

Do you REALLY not understand that the REAL scandal here is NOT that a few priests were "bad apples," but that the hierarchy continued to cover for them, move them from one assignment to another without dealing with them as they should have, and attempted to cover everything up and deny everything.
[snip]
So yes, you're right: Probably 1%, maybe LESS.
[snip]
51 posted on 03/06/2003 6:30 PM PST by Illbay

Exactly. The bishops are the real scandal, and Fr. Groeschel is in the news because he appears to have been complicit with the bishops in some cases.

And can you imagine what would happen to a fast food chain in which it was discovered that "only 1%" of its employees molested children who came in for Kiddie Meals, and the CEO chose not to punish any of the store managers?

To your question: simple answer: Fr. Groeschel simply calls a spade a spade---homosexual attacks on children.
The Bishops who are questionable are members of, or have significant ties to, the "network." They are automatically exempt from questioning.
78 posted on 03/07/2003 7:25 AM PST by ninenot

Well, then, my question is: Why is Fr. “Call A Spade A Spade” Groeschel running interference for the guilty bishops and deflecting scrutiny with his “It’s all the media’s fault” campaign?

96 posted on 03/08/2003 6:20:43 AM PST by Dajjal
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To: ultima ratio
exhaustive survey They asked 10 people,Hello,We as a people at Mass did not watch our priest's die of aids.
97 posted on 03/08/2003 11:14:24 PM PST by fatima (Prayers for all our troops and loved ones.)
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To: american colleen
"I wonder if the DMN bothered to print Fr. G's words."Why should they,who cares,he answered and that is what matters.
98 posted on 03/08/2003 11:27:42 PM PST by fatima (Prayers for all our troops and loved ones.)
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To: fatima
They asked 10 people,Hello,We as a people at Mass did not watch our priest's die of aids.

You appear to be very tired.

99 posted on 03/08/2003 11:29:36 PM PST by Land of the Irish
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To: american colleen
american colleen,You are wrong about BCTV,I know for a fact it works for independent producers and have gotten calls late at night that have saved lives and changed minds to go back to church.
100 posted on 03/08/2003 11:36:24 PM PST by fatima (Prayers for all our troops and loved ones.)
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