Lay group: Face up to the scourge of homosexuality

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Lay group urges clergy: Dare to face up to the scourge of homosexuality
Fri Jan 4, 2019 - 6:00 pm EST


ROME, January 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A prominent group of Catholic laity are calling on bishops and priests to break their silence surrounding the “homosexual networks” in the Church’s hierarchy, which many believe are at the “root” of the clerical sexual abuse crisis to be discussed next month at the Vatican.
In an appeal launched in Italian, English and Spanish on Jan. 5 (see full text below), the president of the Rome-based Lepanto Foundation, Italian historian Professor Roberto de Mattei, is urging Catholic bishops and priests to abandon “the path of absolute silence” about the current crisis in the Church, arguing that their silence is only precipitating her “self-destruction.”

He is also entreating the clergy to place “the interests of the Church, which are those of Jesus Christ,” above their own personal interests, and to join their voices to those of prelates like Archbishop Viganò, who have publicly denounced “homosexual currents” in the hierarchy that thrive in “secrecy” as they “strangle innocent victims, priestly vocations, and […] the entire Church.”

Titled, “Dare, Monsignor!,” the appeal urges bishops and priests to ask God for the supernatural grace needed to respond courageously to the current crisis.
“If you will dare to ask Him, the Holy Spirit will not fail to suggest to your conscience times, ways, and tones of coming out into the open, in order to be ‘the light of the world, a city set on a hill, a lamp set on a lampstand’ (Mt 5:13-16),” the appeal reads.

“What are you afraid of? The world may attack you with defamation and slander. Your superiors may deprive you of your authority and external dignity. But it is to the Lord that you must render an account, as must each one of us on the Day of Judgment,” it asks.

Until now, de Mattei observes, many clergy — even those who sympathize with the unease expressed by cardinals and laity alike over the current crisis in the Church — have adopted “silence as the supreme rule” and counselled others to follow suit in the name of “following the Pope” and “preventing schism.” But, he argues, “there is only one way to save the Church from schism. Proclaim the Truth. By remaining silent we will only further the schism.”

The appeal continues, urging bishops and priests: “Dare to openly encourage those who defend the Church from within, and who publicly profess the entire Truth of the Catholic Faith. Dare to seek out other confreres who will join you and us in issuing that cry of war and of love which St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort raised in his “Fiery Prayer” [Prière embrasée] with these prophetic words: “Fire! Fire! Fire! There is a fire in the house of God! There is fire even within the Sanctuary!”
In comments to LifeSite, de Mattei explained why the Lepanto Foundation is issuing their appeal now, what they hope to achieve, and also why they focused on the issue of homosexuality. He said:
On February 21, a summit on clerical sexual abuse with presidents of episcopal conferences around the world will open at the Vatican. Pope Francis has just sent a letter on this issue to the US bishops gathered at Mundelein Seminary in the Chicago archdiocese for their week-long retreat. Pope Francis, however, seems to limit the problem of the moral corruption of pedophilia to one of clericalism and the abuse of power, without extending it to homosexuality — which Archbishop Viganò has rightly denounced as a true “scourge” in the Church today.
In issuing our appeal, we are acting as the laity have done many times in the course of history. The laity by their action have contributed to the moral reform of the Church in key moments; for example, through the “Pataria” movement of the eleventh century in Lombardy.
The Pataria was a religious movement in the northern Italian archdiocese of Milan that sought to reform the clergy and ecclesiatic government, and supported papal sanctions against simony and clerical marriage. The “patarini” — or “ragpickers” as their opponents called them — were generally lay tradesman who were motived by personal piety.

De Mattei continued:
Today, however, the problem is not only moral but also theological, because even more serious than the practice of homosexuality is the affirmation by many members of the clergy that a bridge between the Catholic faith and LGBT culture is possible. These pastors and theologians are likely a minority, but they are an active minority, and have been encouraged by the Supreme ecclesiastical hierarchies through a general silence. I often meet both in Rome and in other cities around the world, clergy who privately criticize these positions and complain about the situation of the Church, but do not dare to make their voices heard and lock themselves up in silence.
Our appeal aims not only at shaking the sleeping clergy from their lethargy, but at serving as a symbolic act of indignation and defense of the Church’s honor. We hope that our voice as simple lay faithful will not be despised, but will be listened to and respected, also as a contribution to the debate that must precede the February summit.
Here below is the official English text of the Lepanto Foundation appeal. It may also be accessed here in pdf format.

An Appeal from the Lepanto Foundation
Dare, Monsignor!
Twenty-five years later...
Twenty-five years ago, on 8 February 1994, the European Parliament voted on a resolution that invited the nations of Europe to promote and give legal protection to homosexuality. In his Angelus address on 20 February 1994, the Holy Father Pope John Paul II appealed to public opinion worldwide, affirming that “the legal approbation of active homosexuality is not morally admissible [...]. The Resolution of the European Parliament has called for the legitimization of a moral disorder. The Parliament has unduly given institutional value to deviant behaviors, which do not conform to God’s plan.”
In May of that same year, the Lepanto Cultural Center [Centro Culturale Lepanto] handed out a manifesto in Strasbourg to parliamentary representatives, called “Europe at Strasbourg: Represented or Betrayed?”. The manifesto made an indignant protest against the promotion of a vice condemned by both Christian and Western conscience, and asked the European bishops “to unite their voices to that of the Supreme Pastor [John Paul II] in order to multiply it in their dioceses, by publicly denouncing the moral fault with which the European Assembly has stained itself and warning the flock entrusted to their care of the growing attacks of anti-Christian forces in the world.”

Today, one after another, the principal European nations, including many of those with the most ancient Catholic tradition, have elevated sodomy to a legal right by recognizing, under different forms, so-called “same-sex marriage” and introducing the concept of the crime of “homophobia.” The Pastors of the Church, who should have formed an unbreakable dam of opposition against the homosexualization of society promoted by the political class and by the media-financial oligarchies, have in fact fostered it by their silence. Even at the highest levels of the Church, the practice of homosexuality and of a so-called “gay-friendly” culture that justifies and encourages homosexual vice has spread like a cancer.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan, said in a message dated 28 July 2018, that “We are witnessing an incredible scenario, in which some priests and even bishops and cardinals, without blushing, are already offering grains of incense to the idol of homosexuality or gender ideology, to the applause of the powerful ones of this world, that is, to the applause of politicians, social media giants and powerful international organizations.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in his historic testimony of 22 August 2018, denounced — using precise names and circumstances — the existence of a “homosexual current in favor of subverting Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality” and the presence of “homosexual networks, which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc.,” and which “act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.”

These courageous voices remain isolated even until today. The climate of indifference and cover-up which reigns within the Church has profound moral and doctrinal roots that date back to the Second Vatican Council, when the ecclesiasticalhierarchies accepted the process of secularization as an irreversible phenomenon. But when the Church subordinates herself to secularism, the Kingdom of Christ becomes conformed to this world and is reduced to a mere power structure. The militant spirit dissipates, and the Church, instead of converting the world to the law of the Gospel, surrenders the Gospel to the world’s demands.

How we long to hear resounding once again the fierywords of a new Saint Peter Damian or Saint Bernardine of Siena, instead of the infamous statement of Pope Francis, “If a person is gay and is seeking the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge them?” If it is true that the meaning of this statement was distorted by the media, such misuse should have been combatted by means of clear and solemn documents condemning sodomy, as St. Pius V did with the two constitutions Cum Primum of 1 April 1566 and Horrendum Illud Scelus of 30 August 1568. Instead, Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia of 8 April 2016 not only was silent about this most grave moral disorder but also relativized the precepts of the natural law, opening the path towards the approval of cohabitation and adultery.

And this is why we now make an appeal to you, Monsignor.
[Translator’s note: In Italian and several other European languages, the term “Monsignor” is an honorific form of address used with prelates of the Catholic Church below the rank of cardinal and patriarch, including archbishops, bishops, and priests to whom the title has been granted. It is in this broader sense that “Monsignor” is being used here.]

To Serve the Church
The term “Monsignor” evokes a certain dignity, not a power or a bureaucratic function. Each one of the bishops, as Successors of the Apostles, are recognized with the title of “Monsignor,” but simple priests are also able to receive this title. The word “dignity” seems to have lost its meaning today, despite the fact that there was an entire declaration of Vatican II dedicated to it. Dignity means an awareness of a role and mission given by God. Respect for a person’s dignity is the source of a feeling of honor. Your dignity, Monsignor, derives from the honor which you have of serving the Church, without seeking either your own interests or the approval of the powerful. You have received the dignity of Monsignor from the Church, not from the men of the Church, and it is to the Church that you must render an account. The Church is the divine society founded by Jesus Christ, ever-perfect and ever-victorious, both in time and in eternity. The men of the Church may either serve the Church or betray her. Serving the Church means placing the interests of the Church, which are those of Jesus Christ, ahead of one’s personal interests. Betraying the Church means placing the interests of a family, a religious institute, or an ecclesiastical authority taken as a private person ahead of the Truth of the Church, which is the Truth of Jesus Christ, the one Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6).

We would be insulting your intelligence, Monsignor, were we not to suppose that you already have a certain awareness of the crisis in the Church. Certain eminent cardinals, on various occasions, have manifested their unease and concern over what is happening in the Church. The same unease is displayed by the common man, who is profoundly disoriented by the new religious and moral paradigms. In the face of this unease, Monsignor, many times you have put up your hands, seeking to calm the person speaking to you, using words like: “There is nothing we can do but be silent and pray. The Pope is not immortal. Let’s wait for the next conclave.” That’s all we can do, you say. We cannot speak; we cannot act. You adopt silence as the supreme rule of your behavior. Is this attitude the result of human self-serving; of a selfishness that seeks above all else to live quietly; of the opportunism of those who are able to adapt themselves successfully to every situation? To assert this would be to make a judgment about your intentions, and a judgment about intentions cannot be made by men; only God can do this on the Day of Judgment, when we will each stand alone before Him, to listen to His lips pronounce the un-appealable sentence that will send us either to eternal happiness or to eternal damnation.
We who live on earth can only judge facts and words as they objectively appear. And the words with which you explain your behavior, Monsignor, at times appear to be more noble than your true feelings. “We ought to follow the Pope, even when he displeases us, because he is the Rock on which Christ has founded His Church,” you say; or “we ought to avoid a schism at any cost, because this would be the most serious disaster for the Church.”

Noble words, because they state truths. It is true that the Pope is the foundation of the Church, and that the Church can fear nothing worse than a schism. But what we would like you to reflect on, Monsignor, is that the path of absolute silence that you want to follow will bring harm to the Papacy and will hasten a schism in the Church.
It is true that the Pope is the foundation of the Church, but before being founded on him, the Church is founded on Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the primary and divine foundation of the Church, while Peter is the secondary and human foundation — even if it is true that he is divinely assisted. The divine assistance does not exclude the possibility of error or the possibility of sin. In the history of the Church, there has been no lack of popes who have sinned or erred, without this fact ever prejudicing the institution of the papacy. To say that “we need to always follow the Pope and never depart from him,” while refusing to respectfully correct him in exceptional cases, means attributing to the Church all of the errors which, over the course of the centuries, have been made by the men of the Church. The absence of this distinction between the Church and the men of the Church enables the enemies of the Church to attack her, and many false friends of the Church to refuse to truly serve Her.

Equally fraught with (disastrous) consequences is the assertion that to break silence, to tell the truth, and to denounce – if necessary – the infidelity of the same Supreme Pastor, would lead to a schism. The word “schism” means division, and never as in this moment of her history has the Church appeared so internally divided and fragmented. Within each nation, within each diocese, even within each parish, it is impossible to agree on a common way of living according to the Gospel, because each one experiences and lives a different Christianity – both liturgically and dogmatically – with each one constructing their own religion in such a way that the only thing remaining in common is the name “Catholic”, but the essence of Catholicism is no longer present. What are the reasons for this fragmentation? The star that lights the way has disappeared, and the faithful make their way in the darkness of night, following opinions and personal sentiments, without even one voice being raised to remind them of the unchanging doctrine and praxis of the Church. The schism is being caused by the darkness, which is the daughter of silence. Only clear voices, crystalline voices, voices which are entirely faithful to the Tradition, are able to dispel the shadows and permit good Catholics to overcome the divisions which have been provoked by this pontificate, and to avoid new humiliations to the Church beyond those which have already been inflicted upon her by Pope Francis. There is only one way to save the Church from schism: Proclaim the Truth. By remaining silent we will only further the schism.

An Urgent Appeal
Monsignor, you who enjoy a certain dignity, you who exercise a moral authority, you who have received an inheritance – what are you afraid of? The world may attack you with defamation and slander. Your superiors may deprive you of your authority and external dignity. But it is to the Lord that you must render an account, as must each one of us on the Day of Judgment, when everything will be weighed and judged according to measure. Do not ask us what you ought to do concretely. If you will dare to ask Him, the Holy Spirit will not fail to suggest to your conscience times, ways, and tones of coming out into the open, in order to be “the light of the world, a city set on a hill, a lamp set on a lampstand” (Matthew 5:13-16).

What we ask of you, Monsignor, is that you assume an attitude of filial criticism, of deferential resistance, of devout moral separation from those responsible for the Church’s self-destruction. Dare to openly encourage those who defend the Church from within, and who publicly profess the entire Truth of the Catholic Faith. Dare to seek out other confreres who will join you and us in issuing that cry of war and of love which St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort raised in his “Fiery Prayer” [Prière embrasée] with these prophetic words: “Fire! Fire! Fire! There is a fire in the house of God! There is fire within souls! There is fire even within the Sanctuary!”
Tongues of fire like those of the day of Pentecost, as well as flashes of fire like those of Hell, seem to be hanging over the earth. A destroying fire, a purifying fire, a restoring fire – destined to engulf the entire world, to consume it and transform it. May the divine fire flare up within us before the fire of God’s wrath does, which will reduce our society to ashes as happened to Sodom and Gomorrha. And this is the reason why, twenty-five years after the unfortunate resolution of the European Parliament, I now make this appeal to you, for the good of souls, for the honor of the Church, and for the salvation of society.

Monsignor, please accept this appeal, which is also an invocation to the Blessed Mother and to the Angels, that they may intervene, as soon as possible, in order to save the Church and the whole world.

Dare, Monsignor, to take up this holy cause in 2019, and you will find us battling at your side in this good fight!

Roberto de Mattei
President of the Lepanto Foundation

Written at the foot of the Manger,
on this First Saturday of January 2019,
the Vigil of the Epiphany of the Lord

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Argentine bishop promoted by Pope Francis at Vatican
accused of abusing seminarians


ROME, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An Argentine bishop, who suddenly resigned from his diocese in 2017 citing health reasons only to be appointed to a top Vatican administrative position by Pope Francis, is now under investigation for sexual abuse, the Vatican said in a statement today.

Alessandro Gissoti, interim director of the Vatican Press Office, said today that accusations against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta emerged over recent months, about a year after Pope Francis created a position for him as “assessor” of the Holy See’s financial administration office.
Bishop Zanchetta resigned from his diocese of Oran in northwest Argentina in 2017, stating that “a health issue prevents me from carrying out the pastoral mission that was entrusted to me.” He added that he wished to relinquish his post as “soon as possible” so as to receive treatment elsewhere. “Please forgive me for having failed or deceived you,” Zanchetta wrote.
After his resignation, Zanchetta spent some time in Spain before being named as an advisor to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, which oversees the various real estate and other properties of the papacy. According to a papal spokesman, Zanchetta was appointed to the administrative position because of his professional abilities. During the investigation, Zanchetta will take a leave of absence from his work at the Vatican.

According to Gissoti, at the time of Zanchetta’s resignation, there had been accusations laid against him of authoritarianism and strained relations with members of the clergy. However, no accusations of sexual misdeeds emerged at that time. Bishop Luis Antonio Scozzina, who currently presides over Zanchetta’s former diocese, has several testimonies about Zanchetta that must still be reviewed.

According to El Tribuno, the newspaper of Salta, a province in northern Argentina, three seminarians accused Zanchetta of abuse and later left the seminary. Ten other seminarians were intimidated to remain silent about the abuse they had witnessed, said the report.

According to media reports, some of Zanchetta’s accusers were subjected to his reprisals and were reassigned. “Knowing the gravity of all types of abuse, the bishop is available to anyone who would like to present a complaint to begin the corresponding procedure for canonical justice, while recalling the right of all victims of abuse to seek ordinary justice [through civil authorities]," said a statement from the current bishop of Oran, an impoverished province that borders neighboring Bolivia.

The alleged abuse, according to testimony provided to the papal nunciature in Buenos Aires, occurred at parties organized by Zanchetta where he offered alcohol to his alleged victims. Reportedly, the seminarians were minors at the time. Zanchetta founded a seminary in Oran where six seminarians were admitted. That seminary is due to be closed.

Zanchetta was under a cloud of accusations even before being named bishop of Oran. According to El Tribuno, Zanchetta was accused of abuse of power and financial misdeeds during his time as bishop of Quilmes, a city near Buenos Aires. A number of priests and laity expressed opposition at that time to his nomination to the Oran diocese. It was Pope Francis himself, a fellow Argentine, who elevated Zanchetta to the post at Oran. Zanchetta was one of the first bishops named by the pope, a fellow Argentine.

Zanchetta hastily left behind his flock in Oran without even a customary farewell Mass on July 29, 2017, after returning from the Vatican where he had offered his resignation to Pope Francis. He departed to Corrientes, several hundred miles away, and was the guest of the archbishop there until the pope accepted the resignation three days later.
***
Statement by Alessandro Gissoti, interim director of the Vatican Press Office
Bishop Zanchetta was not removed from the diocese of Oran. It was he who resigned. The reason for his resignation is linked to his difficulty in managing relations with the diocesan clergy and very tense relations with the priests of the diocese. At the time of his resignation there had been accusations of authoritarianism against him, but there had been no accusation of sexual abuse. The problem that emerged then was linked to his inability to govern the clergy.

After his resignation he spent a period of time in Spain. After the period in Spain, in consideration of his capability for management, he was appointed councilor of APSA [Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See] (a position that does not provide governmental responsibility for the dicastery).

No charges of sexual abuse had arisen at the time of appointment as advisor. The accusations of sexual abuse date back to this fall. On the basis of these accusations and the news recently reported by the media, the bishop of Oran has already assembled some testimonies that are yet to come to the Congregation for Bishops. If the elements to proceed are confirmed, the case will be referred to the special commission of the bishops. During the investigation, Msgr. Zanchetta will abstain from work.​

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Stunner: Vatican said to have deemed McCarrick sex acts with 16-year-old altar boy as ‘consensual’


January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a shocking reversal, the Vatican reportedly indicated that it deemed the allegations of sexual abuse by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick against an altar boy, found to be credible by the Archdiocese of New York, to be “not credible,” essentially nullifying the grievous testimony upon which the Holy See’s case against the prelate was being built.

The former altar boy, 16 years old at time the abuse occurred in 1972, had testified that in preparation for Christmas Mass at New York’s venerable St. Patrick’s Cathedral, McCarrick sexually abused him in the Cathedral’s sacristy and then again a year later in a lavatory.
“The credible evidence has been dropped because the altar boy went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to solicit sex from McCarrick,” according to James Grein, another man whom McCarrick had abused as a boy. As a newly ordained priest, McCarrick had baptized Grein when he was an infant and then molested him repeatedly for 18 years beginning when Grein was just 11 years old.

“He was 16 years old,” so “he was a consensual adult,” added Grein in his recent interview with Taylor Marshall. “There was no crime.”
Despite the fact that the United States views a 16 year old as a minor, Canon law views a young person of that age as having reached the age of majority.

“The Vatican is attempting to recast the molestation as somehow ‘consensual sex,’” noted Church Militant’s Michael Voris in a video report.
Voris also pointed out that this echoes a notion promoted by Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meeting in November, that consensual homosexual sex involving priests with young men is somehow not all that egregious.
The Vatican’s apparent attempt to discredit and downplay the charges against McCarrick raises a “big red flag,” said Voris, who asserted, “The Vatican is more concerned with cover-up than the truth.”

“Many are thinking that all of this is just one huge smoke screen,” said Voris, who suggested “Rome has no real concern about this issue, too easily adopts a ‘blame the victim approach,’ and is content to treat this scandal as just an ‘American thing’ that will be forgotten soon enough.”
Because the initial case against McCarrick seems to be crumbling, Grein’s sworn testimony last week to Church authorities conducting the Vatican’s investigation into McCarrick’s long history of sexual predation may soon become the cornerstone –– and the last hope –– for any canonical action to be taken by the Holy See against McCarrick.

Though canon law may be lenient on McCarrick for his despicable sexual abuse of the altar boy in the sacristy of a St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Grein’s abuse occurred during confession, which canon law views as a capital crime.

Grein explained that when he was a young boy, McCarrick, who was a close friend of his parents, brought him to a third floor bedroom in the Grein family’s house to hear his confession, far away from the others who were gathered on the main floor. McCarrick told Grein he wanted to “hear my sins of the mind and body.” “And as he blesses me, he puts his right hand on my right shoulder and starts to bless me with Holy Water down my body,” recounted Grein, “and then he massages my genitals, and he kisses me there.”

Because the sexual abuse began when Grein was just 11 years old, this is clearly a case of abuse of a minor that cannot be excused as consensual sex by higher ups in Vatican City seeking to protect the now-disgraced former cardinal.

According to Patrick Noaker, Grein’s attorney, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is considering charging McCarrick with three distinct canonical crimes based on his treatment of Grein when he was a boy: sexual contact with a minor; sexual contact with an adult, since the abuse continued for nearly 20 years; and perhaps most chillingly, soliciting sex from a penitent during confession (canon 1395 §1 and 2 and §1387).

Grein’s personal testimony confirms precisely why such an act by a priest or prelate within the Sacrament of Penance is a capital crime: “The biggest thing he did to me was he made me lose my faith in Jesus Christ, which condemns me to hell and death.”
“With Dolan’s original case against McCarrick apparently blown out of the water by Vatican investigators, (New York’s Cardinal Timothy) Dolan needs to put together case and to it fast, and it would have to be air-tight,” said Voris in his video report.
“And in James Grein, he has found such a case.”

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