Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Personal Aside: Bishop Thomas Paprocki Responds A Counter-Comment and an Urge of Readers Plebiscite.
The Bishop Has His Say.
Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki, a longstanding friend of mine, responded by telephone to my remarks concerning the reportage of his speech concerning the danger that he sees to Catholic Charities with unlimited jury awards due to priestly pedophilia. I told him I would run the remarks as he wrote them. Here goes--.
In your blog for 11/15/2007 with reference to my Red Mass homily delivered October 15, 2007 in the cathedral of Grand Rapids, Michigan to the Catholic Lawyers of western Michigan, you had this to say to me:
`If busting dioceses to poverty through exorbitant lawsuits returns the Church to its original simplicity , penury may be worth it and souls may be saved because of it. And as such may not be the design of Satan but the mysterious work of God. Penury-time might mean a return to bishops who werre men first of all and not merely costumed potentates sitting on thrones as princelings with gold-leaf miters and crosiers and living in ornate mansions, with chauffeurs, servants and first-class air tickets, serving padding noiselessly down long dark halls on which oil paintings hang.
Well, that doesnt quite describe my lifestyle but if it is Gods will that I live in penury I will ask for the grace to accept that cross. However, the concern in my homily was not with preserving the lifestyle of bishops buit with preserving the charitable services that the Church provides. I noted that the Catholic Charities of the archdiocese of Chicago has recently been forced to discontinue its forster care program after ninety years of providing such services due to the $12 million settlement of a lawsuit that has resulted in the loss of insurance coverage.
I wish to clarify that I am not calling for a return to full charitable immunity but a way to provide just compensation to victims while at the same time preserves charitable services. My reference to charitable immunity was in tracing the history of how we have reached the point we are at today. The pendulum has swung from charitable immunity to charitable bankruptcy. We need a happy medium that I am now calling `charitable preservation. In fact, in my homily I said, `While a full return to the complete charitable immunity of the past is neither likely nor desirable, the civil law of our land needs to reflect a more rational and reasonable balance between equitable remuneration for those who have been harmed by agents of charitable and religious institutions and protecting the charitable contributions that have been given in trust to be used for charitable and religious purposes.
My reference to the devil must be seen in the context that this was a homily in which the theme from the Gospel for the day was Jesus statement, `This generation is an evil generation, also translated as `This is an evil age [Luke 11:29]. I did not mean to suggest that victims who seek just compensation for their damages are doing the work of the devil and I regret that some people have taken it that way. I also could have been clearer that the attacks by the devil directed at priests and bishops start with Satans temptation to lead them into committing the sexual sins that give rise to the lawsuits. In my experience over ten years as the Cardinals delegate to the Review Board that handles allegations of sexual misconduct with minors, I recall many times thinking to myself, after listening to the descriptions of the alleged sins and crimes that the devil himself had to be behind these heinous acts. It was also my experience that victims often said, at least initially, l that they werent seeking any money; they only wanted to make sure that the perpetrators would no longer be in positions to have access to minors, to receive some acknowledgment and apology for the wrongdoing and to receive assistance such as counseling for their emotional damages.
There is nothing wrong with that. However, I would still not hesitate to say that anybody who actually intends to use a lawsuit as a way to harm or destroy the Church is, albeit unwittingly, acting as an instrument of the devil, since nothing would please Satan more than to destroy the Church, the Body of Christ. Fortunately we have the promise of Christ Himself who said when He built His Church on the rock of Peter that `the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [Matthew 16:18].
Tom, please feel free to quote any or all of the above.
I have long admired Bishop Paprocki for his courage in defending the mission of the Church and regard him as an outstanding exemplar of what it means to be a good bishop. For one thing he has been singular in establishing a counseling and self-help program for young people afflicted with same-sex attraction known as Courage. I cannot thank the Bishop enough for his unsparing attention to that mission while he was Chancellor of this archdiocese under Cardinal Bernardin. And I do accept his clarification and fuller explanation of his views on the work of Catholic charitable enterprises.
And it was unfortunate that the news coverage may have over-stressed his advocacy of limitation of lawsuits rather than his equal support of the full rectification of the problem. The problem here transcends either Tom Paprockis or my dispute. Whats needed is for the hierarchy of this archdiocese to stop hiding behind honeyed words that things are going to change and then continue with the same-old, same-old.
For example, there was no grounds whatsoever for Cardinal George accepting the candidacy of Bishop Gerald Kicanas as vice president given that the Cardinal knows full well or should know full well that Kicanas presided over Mundelein and the Niles adjunct when in the 1990s they were at the nadir of their disreputability. And further that he defends the ordination of Dan McCormackwhich it was easy to ascertain before his electionand also his scandalous, if I may use such a word, reference to McCormacks derelictions as developmental adding that he was far more worried about McCormacks drinking than these transgressions.
I dont know how many times it takes to bring home to the hierarchy that the lavender coterie is so corrupt it doesnt understand what homosexual concupiscence is. It accepts the common secular psychological explanation that to experiment sexually is, after all, part of the developmental process to use Kicanas words which replaces the theological understanding of sin.
Once again, this is not to say that sin should not be forgiven or that we are not earthen vessels each with our own frailties. . But if we dont understand the difference between heterosexual concupiscence and homosexual concupiscence in seminariesand if current hierarchy here doesnt recognize itthere will be no change.
Heterosexual concupiscence regrettable as it is can and often does lead men to decide to lead the seminary because they either arent fitted for celibacy or they prefer married lifeso the priesthood is spared. Homosexual concupiscence in the seminaries does just the opposite and may continue to thrive, thanks to Kicanas permissive rationale. Tolerance of such concupiscence in the seminaries, terming them as developmental, does just the opposite. It makes them want to stay in the seminaries because seminaries provide an attractive and welcoming association of young men, many of whom have the same associationsand makes them want to be priests since identical associations can be cultivated. If the hierarchy does not understand thisand there is ample reason to believe the hierarchy here does notthere is no hope for reform.
The Bishop and I are agreed that the Church will endure, that its philanthropy should survive onslaught. I am in his debt for his amplification of his original statement. But the crux of the problem is this:
But if there is no other way to bring home the abuse that continues and the promotion of bishops who celebrate homosexuality as a gift as Kicanas has been reported as saying in Tucson by people who have written to us here and if there is no other recourse to end this stuff but by lawsuits, why then I say let the sheriffs padlock the material possessions and all of us go to Mass in the catacombs as our ancestors did in ages that involved persecution but also great holiness.
. The lavender priesthood must be stopped and bishops and priests who enable it and who stubbornly refuse to understand its danger should either be sent to join Cardinal Law in comfortable Rome retirement to be succeeded by other men of authority who do.
At this time I urge readers to express their views in Readers Comments. Let this be a plebiscite.