” I am not going to go to hell for not preaching the gospel. I may go for other things, but it won’t be because I did not preach the gospel.”

Sometimes I am a tad slow on the uptake. I like to think I have an innocence about me and not that I’m slow and dimwitted.  I have conclude that there are many, many priests that want to do the very minimum with truth because they choose to worry about earthly things, (lights, boilers, roofs et. al.) Fortunately or unfortunately I do not care about such things.  The things that brought me to that grand truth are legion. I want to touch on two, and both of them are connected.

Since I seem to be one of the few priests that try to preach the truth of Jesus Christ I do receive push back from people who want to believe whatever makes them feel good about themselves. Of course, they never actually come to me. Here is my first problem with that…how about the pastor or the Chancellor tell the people who complain that their understanding of Catholicism is not authentic. (I only preach the Gospel of Christ that St. Paul preached.)  Since it has already been written for me there is no need for me to write or preach something other than the gospel. The rub is that pastors would rather not deal with the truth or deal with irate and delusional parishioners. The bottom line is the salvation of souls is less important than the boiler.

The other thing that chaps my ass, (to use a colloquialism), is that it was admitted by the Chancellor that the complaints aren’t always about what I’m saying but how I’m saying it…my tone. That sounds awfully politically correct and somewhat feminine. The salvation of souls isn’t masculine or feminine just ask St.’s Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Sienna, Joan of Arc, the Blessed Mother et. al. their number one priority is/was saving souls for God.  It is misogynistic to say otherwise.

The knowledge was put before me that a friend of the Office Manager was feeding her information about my homilies. The office Manager in turn tried to clarify what she was told by going to the organist. The organist, God bless her, told the Office Manager that everything I said was the truth.  The relatively new term, “snowflakes” comes to mind when dealing with the un-catechized or poorly catechized.

As I have often said from the pulpit many times,” I am not going to go to hell for not preaching the gospel. I may go for other things, but it won’t be because I did not preach the gospel.”

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If you do not believe, get out

I have a question and a problem, and of course it is related to clergy sex abuse and the wider Church. I think that there is a pretty strong connection with the lack of belief of Church teaching in the laity and clergy and the Sexual abuse scandal. Here is what I mean. If you go to church and you sit in the pew but do not believe in the true presence in the blessed sacrament, you have no belief in the Church’s teaching on reconciliation and you do not believe that abortion and euthanasia are wrong even though the Church teaches that they are wrong then I must ask why is it you consider yourself Catholic and why it is that you bother to come to mass? The same can be said about some clergy. If you do not believe in God why are you wasting your time pretending that you do.  If you do not believe in Church teaching, especially about moral issues, then why are you still here?  I know a Jewish woman who only considers herself a cultural Jew. She even says she is atheist.

I do not get it?  And please spare me the argument people need to stay in the Church for conversion. That is a straw-man argument. Staying in the Church, even though you know the Church’s teachings but do not believe them, just wastes your time and mine. Being obstinate in your sin does not help your soul AND THAT IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT, THE SALVATION OF SOULS!

It is ironic that St. Paul, St. Augustin, St. Francis and St. Ignatius did not have the church per se have the Church but did have an intimate encounter with God.  The great thing about doors on the Church is that you can not only exit, (and some should), but you can also enter.  What a concept!

Now what about these errant priests? I will be the first to admit that I know and believe what the Church teaches in scripture and in the deposit of faith but often fail to live it,  that is sin, (and that is why we have reconciliation).  But molesting a child or living a double life is not only anathema but also obstinate in its choice.

Why does all hell break out when you make the suggestion that some people leave the Church?  If you are not in the pew, you cannot give any money.  Ohhhh, is that the answer? Where does the salvation of souls fit in?  Obstinate sin and unworthy reception of the Eucharist will damn your soul. (That is not me speaking but the Church speaking.)

So, what are we to do? There has been much too much silence on what the Church actually teaches. Theologians, bishops, priests and others have embraced a watered-down version of theology or even a theology that forsakes the truth for feelings and in the process creates a God that would be unrecognizable to the apostles. Truth does not change…ever.

And yet there are many people in the Church, or say they are in the Church even though they are not, who do not want to teach the hard truths. Heaven forbid we do not feel good about ourselves all the time and no matter what. Heaven forbid we teach about the difference between venial and mortal sin. Heaven forbid we ever say that there are some people in hell because of the wicked or luke warm lives that they have led.

Where are our HERO’S? Where are our saints? If you bring up this subject you are labeled a trouble maker and you are possibly canceled, (Fr. Altman was). The Church has never taught that faith comes piecemeal. So I’m begging…if you do not believe in something that is in the Church’s scripture or tradition then please get out, you can always come back when you do believe.

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The right thing

Pondering the rich young man and his interaction with Jesus it is clear to me the respect God has for freewill. The rich young man went away sad. God himself told this rich young man what it would take for him to gain heaven. He went away sad, and Jesus let him go. So, we have to be willing to let people go. It is the old cliché you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

And so goes it with the Church. The upper echelons, the power in the Church, know the truth and just walked away. They know what it is that has to be done but won’t do it. It might have to do with money, it might have to do with lawyers, and I don’t want to believe this but maybe there are many that do not believe in the one true God but a god of their own making.

It has taken me a lifetime to get to the point where I can let people go. And I realize that when dealing with others who have been abused, I want to fix them. (That is such a man thing.) Truth be told I cannot fix anyone. It is very difficult for me to always operate at that paradigm. When I sought healing for my abuse, I experienced so much pain…so much remembering that caused me so much crying. It takes courage but I never felt courageous…and not everyone is there…

I cannot fathom anyone not wanting healing for their pain. But I understand people do not want to re-live their pain because it feels as if they are inflicting pain on themselves.

Back to bishops and others in the Church who have power…you cannot make them drink. You cannot make people who have experienced abuse, (of any kind), drink. If Jesus Christ allowed free will to stand in the way of the rich young man, who am I, who are we? Unfortunately, we can’t make people do the right thing. God can’t even make people do the right thing.

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Eucharist and Abuse

The Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church has NEVER taught that Eucharist is owed to anyone, and it never taught everyone should or can receive Eucharist. Furthermore, the Church has always taught that if you are in mortal sin you should not go to communion. The Church also teaches that any graces equated with the Eucharist are not available for those who receive the body, blood soul and divinity of Christ unworthily, that is in mortal sin. I learned that in second grade and then it was reiterated in the seminary. It does not matter how may deacons, priests or bishops try to teach the contrary, the truth is the truth. Sadly, there are deacons, priests and bishops who go against the teaching of the Church. ANATHAMA!

In our Catholic schools some teachers tell their students it is okay to leave before communion if the priest says something that angers them. WHAT? NO! The summit of Catholic worship of the Catholic, is not based on a particular person’s feelings.

In a conversation with two priests the subject of a woman leaving before the Holy Eucharist came up. I stated that the action says more about her than it does the priest she was annoyed by. You would have thought I called for the overthrow of the Church. If you are not in mortal sin, go to communion, don’t ever deny yourself God if you can receive God.

How does this tie into the priest sexual abuse issue? If members of the Church cannot even get Eucharist correct everything down wind is so much dross. I don’t blame the people in the pews who have never been catechized but clergy should know better. Since we do not defend God is it surprising we do not defend those who have been abused

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Eucharist and abuse

Just another example of Roman Catholics without a clue would be the total misunderstanding of the Eucharist. Putting priests and other clergy on very high pedestals was a huge misjustice, forgetting that clergy are human, and it led to an even greater misjustice when clergy sex abuse victims were not believed and conspired against by the hierarchy and their ilk. Destroy the victim, that was their plan. ‘He’s a drug addict…a drunk…mentally ill…’ (Could the molestation have had anything to do with that?) The destruction of victims failed somewhat because there were too many of us.

That leads to the Eucharist, the body, the blood, the soul and divinity of Jesus. It should be held on a pedestal but is often times not. (I have to continue this latter.)

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Okay my first impression of the new bishop. Reserved, at least at this meeting. At the start I asked for him to pray for someone I have been visiting and who wants to die and who’s doctor suggested he kill himself. Heavy beginning.

Then we were supposed to get into the body of the meeting. Again, I began and told the new bishop about my molestation at the hands of a priest. I suspect, but do not know, that the molestation revelation did change the tenor of the meeting. At this meeting was the bishop, the vicar for clergy, the vicar general and yours truly. I am aware that the old bishop did lie about me to the vicar general. I suspect that the vicar for priests had also been privy to untruths about me.

I also gave the bishop an inexhaustive list of some of the betrayals I’ve experienced in/with priests and/or bishops. That in itself is sad and should not happen. Just once I would like to be supported by the diocese and I told him that. We talked about my tattoos which is really acceptable cutting. We talked about Grief to Grace and how it was paramount in giving me understanding of how I sometimes react to some situations and why I am a spendthrift. (It doesn’t effect people the same except for the inability to trust others. We all have that.) When he asked how long I have been at my current assignment. My response to him was; since 2013, I’m being punished and I don’t know why. The other two priests didn’t say much of anything.

The bishop was cordial, not cold, not warm, cordial. I suspect he was lied to also.

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New bishop…the jury is still out

This will be brief. On Sunday, 08/22/2021 a little girl that I had baptized five years previous wanted me to read to her in the Holy Woman’s/cry room in the church. This was during a Sunday Mass. Her father was present and took a few photographs. Someone complained to the office of the new bishop.

The vicar for priests called me. I do not have the best relationship with him. I don’t trust him as far as I could throw him. He told me that the complainant said I was lying down, I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I did not have the mass so could dress how I wished. None of what was reported was true. Also reported was no other adult was in the room. That was also false. When I told the vicar for priests that the information was incorrect he shot back, in a tone that to me was disbelief, “Well that’s what they said.” I told him I was done talking about this and hung up. Not the most mature reaction but a textbook reaction for an abuse survivor. Just another example of betrayal by someone in the Church. To many people it may seem insignificant but to someone who has been abused and betrayed many times it is just another example of not being believed.
The photographs that the father of the little girl I was reading too plainly showed that I was sitting on the floor not lying down, I was in black pants not jeans and I was wearing a button-down shirt and not a t-shirt.

In my paranoia it seemed like a set-up to me. I also need to ask, and actually did ask the bishop, vicar for clergy and the vicar general, if a person was that concerned that I was going to molest that little girl then why didn’t they come into the room? Set up! And I have a suspicion who did it.

Today I received a letter from the bishop thanking me for sharing the name and phone number of the father. I did not know this until after he had already done it, but the father sent a letter excoriating the diocese and three pictures of me reading to his daughter.

More about the meeting that was generated by this lie at a later time

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Covid-19 and the Church Abuse connection

The Church has had a profound MISS with the Covid-19, China Virus as well as the Sexual Abuse Crises. The common issue is control. (Let’s pretend that the powers that-be in the Church are not thrilled that priestly sexual proclivities are out of the news for now.) And still the Church is desperately trying to control the flock.

One of the issues that should be obvious to ALL Catholic clergy is how the so-called vaccines are tainted by the death of children in the womb. The Johnson & Johnson shot has a direct cell line of an aborted infant in it. The Pfizer and Moderna shots are tainted by abortion because aborted baby cell lines were used in its testing. I learned in moral theology that is cooperation with evil. And yet we have some priests and bishops, (some are even Cardinals of the Church), pushing this to the point of penalizing some people who choose not to get the shot. Careers/jobs are threatened, going to school is threatened and receiving the Sacraments of the Church is threatened.

I am fully aware and fully believe that this virus is real. I also believe that it can and has been deadly to some of the people who have been infected by it. But, and there is a really significant but, it doesn’t rise to deadly crises status. Most of the people who get it do not die. Yet we have many people in the Church trying desperately to couch it in love of neighbor. That is a guilt trip tactic that goes hand in hand with the fear mongering that has been done by the press and politicians. It does not and should not be forced upon anyone. It does not matter how one feels about President Biden or former President Trump what matters is the connection to abortion that all three of the current shots have and the fear porn that is being propagated about this virus. I do have a co-morbidity so if I get the virus I will probably die from it. Even though that is scary for me, and I really do not want to die, I also do not want to cooperate with the evil of abortion.

When this shot was first offered it was offered as a panacea that would get our world back to normal. Booster shots are now being talked about because some of the people who got the shot still got the virus. We were told to wear masks because masks work. A CDC report came out saying masks don’t work. Yet that is another threat being used against us. Social distancing that I loved and embraced has been found in yet another study to not be effective in preventing the spread of the virus. So…everything we have been told and have been doing hasn’t really helped. And now we are being told we need to resume doing all of those things that have not been helpful. That is called psychotic.

Let me be clear here the Church is not the only entity doing this. Politicians, the media, and the public have all jumped on the shaming and demoralizing band wagon.
With the sexual abuse crises, the Church blamed others, called victims and their families names, advised that going public with these allegations against a priest is a sin…the Church slandered many. That and name calling were the modus operandi of the men of the Church.

So now what? Truth seems to be slow in coming both about this virus and also the abuse issue. It has been very telling watching the men in the Church twist themselves into pretzels over this issue, the same way they try to shirk any responsibility for the abuse in the Church. It seems that all weak people can do is lie, blame others, slander, call people names and then lie some more. God help us all.

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Betrayal by my diocese

Betrayal is a hard thing to incorporate into your life. People who have been abused in any way have been betrayed. Unfortunately, if you have been abused by an employee of the Church you are automatically set up for even more betrayal. Sad. My own timeline of betrayals illustrates that.

Betrayal – Sexual abuse by a priest.

He had been the first person I told I thought I had a vocation. I went into the seminary right after high school. It was a disaster. I left.
I re-entered after college and work.

Betrayal – A priest supervisor behaved inappropriately toward me and another seminarian.

Betrayal – After bringing it to the attention of the powers that be I became the problem.

I got no support. I kept being told that I was overreacting. The priest psychologist at the seminary said that they were under-reacting.

Betrayal – I was told to resign or be thrown out.

For the next five years I worked at a home for…how shall I say this…intellectually challenged, medically fragile children. Then I went back into a different seminary for a different diocese.

Betrayal – The earth-shaking revelations about the Boston Archdiocese Clergy Sexual Abuse issue.

At this point no one knew that it was a priest who sexually abused me. Once I had made the off-handed remark that I should sew because of what I had been put through in Philly. Someone told Bishop Michael Saltarelli.

Betrayal – The bishop asked if it weren’t punishment enough that the former priest supervisor had been laicized for homosexual molestation?

He had not even an inkling of how this effected victims.

Betrayal – I was not voted to be ordained a priest.

Granted I was barley keeping it together. Everything that was due was late and I no longer got to chapel early to pray. I couldn’t even sit up straight in chapel. Depression is a mental illness. I couldn’t help myself and no one helped me.

Betrayal – School drama.

Not being ordained I was sent to a parish with a school. I would be there a year. Once in a while I would go to visit the kindergarten kids. I made sure a teacher was always present. Because of the climate of the Church at that time, (that’s my guess), a teacher went to the principal,(there were three classes), the principle went to the pastor and he, in a tizzy, came to me. My response was, ‘The teacher was in the room!’ There was no accusation just paranoia. I won’t go into a school now unless it is to say mass.

Betrayal – As an ordained priest while dealing with molestation.

During my assignment as a hospital chaplain the grand jury report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Clergy Sexual Abuse was released. Both my abuser and the sleezy supervisor I had in the seminary were in it. I read the report twice. It devastated me. I demanded a transfer. I was told I’d have to meet with the bishop. I took it as a threat although I did not feel threatened by the bishop.

Betrayal – The meeting with the bishop.

I had already decided to reveal my molestation to the bishop. The start of the meeting was contentious. After revealing my molestation, it became a different meeting…caring and empathetic. I wondered why it wasn’t like that at the start.

Betrayal – Lies of a new bishop.

At his installation Bishop W. Francis Malooly said a lot of pretty words about how he cared about the abused in the Church. Not true. I don’t even remember the issue, but it was in the paper. He responded in what seemed to me was a knee-jerk reaction. I wrote him a strongly worded letter. In it I did say his response sounded petty and he isn’t a petty person. (I have revised my opinion.)

Betrayal – Funeral fiasco and no support.

A funeral I presided at became a defining event in my priesthood. A man came into the sacristy and said, ‘We’re ready’. This was witnessed by the permanent deacon who was with me. We both thought he was from the funeral home. He was from the deceased’s family. We started. The funeral director became apoplectic. After the funeral he yelled at me on the street. This was in front of the deceased’s family and the permanent deacon. I wrote him a letter saying in no uncertain terms that he was out of line and a bully. The letter was strongly worded. I did not threaten him, I did not threaten his family and I did not threaten his business. He took the letter to the bishop who sided with him against me. Turns out he is a big donor to the diocese.

Betrayal – Priest Personnel Board.

It was time for a transfer, and I had to go in front of the priest personnel board. Not a problem. The head of the bored had a copy of my letter to the bishop. I was not intimidated, in fact I thought, but didn’t say; You can wave that paper around until you take off and fly around the room it does not take away my right to say what I said. I think that the fact I was not intimidated caught him off guard.

Betrayal – The blame game at a priest gathering.

At one point in his pontificate Pope Benedict XVI told priests and bishops to stop blaming others for the clergy sexual abuse crises. He was pretty clear that it is our problem. And lo and behold Bishop Malooly got in front of all the priests of the diocese and started blaming the press. Two things here, as a sexual abuse survivor I was terribly insulted that once again everyone was being blamed but the priests who did it and the bishops who covered it up. I was also bothered by the facts being ignored and also ignoring the pope. At the comment session later that day I spoke, calling on the carpet the bishop I said a few things. The pope said not to blame others. Journalists would have nothing to write about if priests and bishops were living what they are supposed to live, what they proport to believe. Also, if Bobby is molested by his baseball coach although tragic it is worse when it is a priest because of the power we have and the life we are supposed to be living. (I also chose to ignore the low but audible groans coming from the older priests, also a betrayal.)

Betrayal – Being slandered by the bishop to other priests.

Such things always get back to a person, even if it takes a while. And it explains some of the things that other priests have said to me or reactions to me because of not fitting into the lies that were told about me. He’s gone. AMEN.

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list nor does not take into account the Universal Church and all the ways they have betrayed victims, the laity and both good and bad clergy. When I was in the seminary I could not fathom why or how someone goes through all of that, gets ordained, then leaves the priesthood. I would never do that, but I understand. That is really sad.

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Bone heads

On a zoom call yesterday I was able to witness first hand how at least one catholic diocese does not get the issue of abuse. (All abuse.) My volume had been disabled, good thing, and the moderator of the meeting did not have her phone with her. Obviously God was with us because I called her and I was angry! One of the participants whom I could hear but could not see…I don’t even know how to say it…said something akin to, the beatings won’t stop until morale improves.

Here is a little background; An organization called, Gather My Lost Sheep, founded for the sole purpose of making abuse survivors or those with mental illness feel that they have a place in the Church. That they indeed are loved by Jesus and the Church is a welcoming and safe place for them. I am on the board.

The bishop of the diocese of the founder tapped her to help implement this for anyone with mental illness. Of course she ran into trouble right away. A permanent deacon downloaded three videos she made and distributed them without compensating her. Now this is a non-profit not a free service. She put a ton of work into this project and deserves compensation.

One of the gentlemen at this meeting kept saying to her that she should be happy that she has been instrumental in helping others. Of course that doesn’t address compensation, put food on her table or a roof over her head. That is a perfect example of a person not getting the abuse thing. I was very angry.

And of course it brought to mind all the people in my life who really do not understand including my current bishop. The scariest thing is that these people think they actually do understand.

This is what victims are up against, people who do not get it but think they do and saying things like compensation for work doesn’t matter. (That priest only molested five boys in his first parish before we moved him. or The Boy Scouts of America had a worse problem with sexual malfeasance among their ranks.)

However this meeting was not about the clergy sex scandal it was about understanding people who have been traumatized and/or people dealing with mental illness. How can a safe space be created when you have people saying bone headed things.

I told ‘C’ to get out of that diocese and away from those toxic people. That takes money and she doesn’t have any. She keeps tapping into her retirement savings to make ends meet…but she should be happy.

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