FROM THE PRESIDENT'S KITCHEN TABLE
Do you feel confident the U.S. bishops are serious about solving the problems in the Church? I’m skeptical. Don’t misunderstand – I think there is a remnant, holy men vigilant for souls and good shepherds to their dioceses. But they are the few, and the ignored (at least at USCCB meetings). Most stand by while the sheep are gobbled up by dissent and gay priests. These aren’t our only problems, but many flow from them: the sex abuse scandal, spiritual indifferentism, bad catechesis, liturgical abuse, etc. Consider this scenario, repeated in just about every diocese in the country as newspaper headlines continue to illustrate. Any resemblance to real people is coincidental. The facts are boringly similar.
Fr. Randy is the pastor of a large suburban parish with a school. He has been a priest for about 25 years and has rotated through eight very affluent parishes. For years it’s been common knowledge among the diocesan priests and the bishop that Fr. Randy is actively gay. Most don’t know first-hand, but some do — for example, the associate pastors who have lived with Fr. Randy and know his “boyfriend.” (I’ll call him Scott.) Scott often hangs out at the rectory. He’s jealous and resentful of the heterosexual associates, especially if they’re good-looking. He makes his dislike clear. The bishop reassigned a young priest who complained. Another had the bad luck to move from another gay pastor into Fr. Randy’s rectory. His experiences led to depression which landed him at a treatment center for disturbed priests. When he walked out of the center he walked out of the priesthood as well. As for Fr. Randy? He got a new associate.
Soon after arriving at his current parish Fr. Randy made many changes. He replaced the traditional crucifix with one depicting the risen Christ. (Having a constant reminder of what sin did to Jesus hit a little too close to home.) He also renovated the rectory adding gold fixtures in the bathroom and a Jacuzzi. He upgraded the furnishings and installed a gas fireplace. Father also added a private entrance to his living quarters so he, Scott, and their other gay friends could come and go more discreetly — all this with parish money. Father has a large collection of pornography and a big-screen TV. He and his friends have regular “movie nights.” Sometimes they discuss the other gay priests who fill their churches with statues, incense, and Latin hymns. Fr. Randy and his gay seminary classmate disparagingly call them “the girls.”
In addition to his day off, Father spends several days every week at the gated community where he owns a condo. He and Scott are often seen together there and at the nearby IHOP, but since the condo is in a neighboring county they rarely meet Father’s parishioners. If they do, he calmly introduces his “friend.”
Father is affable and charming. He courts the elderly who offer him their timeshares when they can’t use them and sometimes leave personal bequests in their wills. He makes many “retreats” in Las Vegas, Key West, and other gay hangouts. He gives pointers to younger homosexual priests on how to “borrow” from the collection and urges gay friends to consider the priesthood as a good career.
At Mass Father preaches God’s love, social justice, the primacy of personal conscience, and forgiveness. Sin is never mentioned and universal salvation is presumed. The choir uses electric guitars, a keyboard, and drums and plays “upbeat” music. Father promotes “ministries” that serve the homeless and the poor and lets AA use the facilities; but never mentions abortion, contraception, or any sexual sins. Liturgical abuses are the norm. Confessions are offered for half an hour on Saturday and “by appointment,” but no one goes. Since Fr. Randy came the parish has had a growth spurt, but a lot of the newcomers are “a little strange” according to the old timers. The parish is thriving financially which pleases the bishop; but most of the orthodox Catholics have left.
Now let’s talk about Fr. Faithful. He is a priest of God from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. He makes frequent holy hours before Jesus in the Eucharist and has great devotion to the Blessed Mother. He preaches the truth, urges his parishioners to live an authentic Catholic life, and provides them with a vivid personal example. His reverence at the altar is edifying. When he says, “This is My Body,” you know he believes and adores with every fiber of his being. He spends many hours in the confessional, takes Communion to the shut-ins on First Friday, and fasts regularly. He is a model priest.
Fr. Faithful has no first hand knowledge of Fr. Randy’s lifestyle, but he has seen the effects because he was the spiritual director for the young associate who left the priesthood. He has also had other young priests and seminarians come to him distraught over gay superiors who approached them for sexual favors. Fr. Faithful spoke to the bishop about the problem, but when the bishop did not respond he felt helpless to do anything else. He suffers in silence praying that things will change with a gnawing feeling he ought to be doing something more, but what? He’s seen the high price paid by whistleblower priests in his own and other dioceses.
Now let’s consider the situation. Fr. Randy is in imminent danger of losing his immortal soul. If he doesn’t believe and doesn’t intend what the Church intends at Mass, i.e. to transform bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, there is NO Eucharist. The people receive only a piece of bread. If he believes, every time he stands at the altar he commits a blasphemy against God and a sacrilege. In either case he is courting damnation. Additionally, the faith of his people is in serious jeopardy. He is lying to them about the role of conscience, failing to call them to repentance, and training them in modernism, the synthesis of all heresies. The few who come to Confession have their ears tickled and leave with no firm purpose of amendment. Fr. Randy’s ministry is a scandal from start to finish. He is leading his people to hell.
What about Fr. Faithful and his brothers who know about Fr. Randy and other actively gay priests? What is the impact of their silence on Fr. Randy, his parish, and the diocese? And what about the bishop?
Scripture is clear on fraternal correction. “If your brother should commit some wrong against you, go and point out his fault, but keep it between the two of you. If he listens… you have won your brother over. If he does not listen, summon another, so that every case may stand on the word of two or three witnesses. If he ignores them refer it to the church. If he ignores even the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” Matt: 18:15-17. In this case, the wrongs go deeper than one brother and they scream to heaven for a response.
Fr. Randy is wronging his associates, his fellow priests, his parishioners, his bishop, the Church, his “gay” partners, and his own soul. But who has confronted him about his double life? Those who should, the bishop and his brother priests, rarely do. Their silence consents to Fr. Randy’s activities. Those priests who do speak up often experience retaliation from the bishop which provides a powerful motive to do nothing. That explains why lay groups like Roman Catholic Faithful expose gay priests’ chatrooms and those trolling the internet and local parks for sex. They, of course, are condemned for doing so.
Many gay priests stay away from minors, knowing that as long as they avoid the evening news and keep their perversion private, the bishop will turn a blind eye. But as the case of Fr. Mike Lastiri in Fresno illustrates, they are still a serious threat to children. Fr. Lastiri didn’t abuse a child; but one of his gay partners did — a six year old at his parish. And the scandalous headlines continue.
The fight in the Church rages and it’s colored pink and lavender. Instead of addressing the issue head on, the bishops continue to enable it and cover up with their high profile insurance programs. We’re long overdue for a formal ban on homosexuals in the priesthood. Let’s pray and work for that day.