Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Personal Aside: The Lavender Priesthood.



Any doubt that the Catholic bishops really don’t get it…and are as a group almost to a man (with notable exceptions) wanton in their disregard for abused children while at the same time protecting their predatory clerical fellows…vanished yesterday when Bishop Gerald Kicanas spoke to the “Sun-Times’” religion writer, Susan Hogan-Albach.

And it proves also that while the “Sun-Times” is reeling from earlier mismanagement, it can still turn out excellent work. Susan Hogan-Albach is a prime example.

The next bishop in line, elected vice president of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) is Gerald Kicanas, bishop of Tucson, Arizona. Kicanas was an auxiliary bishop in Chicago and before that was rector of Mundelein seminary. Another prelate-product of our environment so to speak.

As rector he was a key part of the most egregious example of the Chicago archdiocese’s abject negligence and willful dereliction of duty. He headed the seminary passed up a number of chances to prevent the ordination of the self-confessed child predator Fr. Daniel McCormack. It stunned Catholics in 2006 because it showed that with all the pro-and-con sophist parsing, (having been told too often they’re the smartest one in the room) the same-old, same-old goes on.

Despite all the misfeasance that truly does makes one want to weep, two native Chicagoans were rewarded in Baltimore earlier this week. It shows the bishops are on automatic pilot, about as sensitive as pols which many so deeply resemble. One wonders what it takes to get them to understand the seriousness of the situation.

The next man in line to become president of the bishops, Kicanas, granted an interview with Hogan-Albach. Her lede was this:

“While rector of Mundelein seminary in the 1990s, Bishop Gerald Kicanas says he knew about three reports of `sexual improprieties’ against then-seminarian Daniel McCormack. Still, Kicanas supported McComack’s ordination, he told the `Sun-Times.’”

And he still does.

“It would have been grossly unfair not to have ordained him,” he told the newspaper.

Why, pray tell? Kicanas’ successor, now the vicar general Rev. John Canary disagrees and says it was a mistake.

McCormack was ordained in 1994, The following year Kicanas was promoted to Chicago auxiliary bishop. McCormack went to prison and pleaded guilty for molesting five boys while assigned to a West Side parish. The records involving much of McCormack’s derelictions were either lost or destroyed at Mundelein.

Now get this: this is what Kicanas told the newspaper—

“There was a sense that his activity was part of the developmental process and that he had learned from the experience. I was more concerned about his drinking. We sent him to counseling for that.”

What it tells me is this. We all know if we’re honest with ourselves that there is and has been a lavender coterie in the priesthood for decades. Sinning and confessing and repenting is one thing. But the lavender coterie is so corrupt it doesn’t understand what concupiscence is. It accepts the common secular psychological explanation that to participate is, after all, part of the developmental process.

There’s a difference between heterosexual and homosexual concupiscence. Heterosexual concupiscence can and often does lead men to decide to leave the priesthood for married life—which is a good thing for that is what they were fitted for. Homosexual concupiscence in the priesthood does just the opposite—makes them want to stay within the association of men. If you tie that in to the ultra-tolerant understanding that fooling around with each other is part of the developmental process, well, who’s counting?

The only way that can be counteracted is for a seminary to present the moral doctrine to its students as the Church is required to do to the faithful—without dilution, with perfect candor, helping to train those to cope with their moral problems leading to Christian maturity. That hasn’t happened here no matter what they say.

Once again: Translated in Kicanas’ terms if you are caught fooling around with people of your own gender, it’s, hey, just a part of the developmental process. This is the rationale of almost all the major seminaries and the reason why the Church is in the pickle it is. No wonder with the Kicanas view--a wink and a nod--lavender graduates matriculate to water-down age-old church moral dogma. Again, this has nothing to do with forgiveness of sin which we all must receive since we are inherently unworthy. We are all earthen vessels; Augustine, involved in an illicit heterosexual relationship and the father of an illegitimate child, repented and became a great saint and doctor of the Church. But he and others since have received absolution, made firm purpose of amendment and went out determined to sin no more.

It is a fact that today increase of homosexuality in certain affluent cultures causes some people to wonder if these acts are all that sinful. What can be so wrong about relieving emotional tensions, or in the case of homosexuals of two men or two women being in love? Why the secular attitude is that how one enjoys sexual pleasure is unimportant; what matters is the depth of commitment, the reason why. What difference is that attitude from the prevailing non-ethic in our secular universities?

Small wonder, then, that the Church’s traditional proscription against homosexuality—that it is contrary to the will of God—is ignored and viewed as trifling in the seminaries, because rectors, lavender or otherwise, don’t believe it or don’t practice it. Good old Dan McCormack was just expressing his need for love! Well he wasn’t. He was a child abuser and Kicanas has a major responsibility for McCormack’s violating children. In return for this dereliction, Kicanas got promoted to a full bishop and soon he will be head of all the bishops. Terrific.

When McCormack waited for his sentencing, the poor, dear boy went on vacation to collect his composure and shared a house with some of his conceivably lavender fellow clerics. Sneed has reported that one was a significant higher-up…but didn’t give the name. From an independent source, I know who it was. Let’s say the lavender association hasn’t hurt his chances of being promoted to future bishop himself.

A few days ago, Auxiliary Bishop Tom Paprocki, a friend of mine, a gallant priest, a courageous one—and a civil lawyer—said that Satan may well be behind the exploitative law suits that threaten to bankrupt the Church. I wish he hadn’t said that. I understand what he meant because there are those who would like to see the church go belly-up…just as there are those in the lavender clergy who wouldn’t mind seeing it happen either.

But I would have preferred the bishop say instead that Satan may—as he surely was--have been involved with actions and excesses and false teachings before the law suits were filed. Such as a cavalier attitude about homosexuality exhibited by Kicanas. Such as the false and utterly cynical ordinations of men unfit for the priesthood. Such as other dilatory and outrageous lapses in leadership.

I would say this to my friend Bishop Paprocki. If busting dioceses to poverty through exorbitant law suits 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 were 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, servants padding noiselessly down long dark halls on which oil paintings hang.

Poverty and diocesan bankruptcy could change the army of well-meaning people who grovel before the hierarchy with “Your Excellency this” and “Your Eminence that” medieval-style. They unwittingly and innocently foster an arrogance and laxity in high clerical office that corrupted Wolsey and Cranmer and echelons of prelates ever since.

Yes, maybe those lawsuits that bust church treasuries would be worth it.


  1. The past actions and current statements of Bishop Kicanas undermine his ability to ever function as an effective head of the USCCB. This is not simply an administrative post, but one that exemplifies the moral teaching positions of the Church. Redemption can be found in many things--in this case, Bishop Kicanas could show a bit of fortitude, humility and atonement by stepping down now as VP of the USCCB and sparing the Church, the victims, and those easily scandalized even more pain. To use an old-fashioned term, it would be "manly" of him.

  2. Hearing of these Blind Mice running the Church these days reminds me of prelates of days gone by who might be misidentified in these times, i.e. Archbishop Tutu (Anglican)of South Africa, and Cardinal Sin of the Philipines.

  3. Amen, Tom, Amen! I can't add a thing to what you wrote.

  4. I live in the Tucson diocese and have heard this bishop say the following:

    Homsexuality is a gift from God.

    Glowing reviews of the book Papal Sins, without any refutation of it published was o.k. with him. I don't know the reasons.

    It is O. K. to call God mother because
    God calls himself mother. ( I do believe that he may not say that in the open)

    For a while, according to another Catholic in Tucson, he posted on his online MOnday Memo, he would ordain homosexuals.

    He is having a "listening session" currently to dicide how to minister to homosexuals.

    His remarks in the Sun Times are a scandal and the fact that his borther bishops elected him VP is also a scandal in my opinion.

  5. To a real conservative what is going on here is nauseating. The Church should be purged of these demons. However to the liberals it is called being progressive, tolerant,
    openminded, diversity, rainbow, live and let live...

    A liberal would say that you Tom need diversity training. They would probably want to put you in a cage for a Paleo-Catholic!!!!!!

    Standards are important but only to real Conservatives.

    The moment moderation comes in, it all starts to fall apart.

    No wonder so many Catholics are Democrats and liberals!