Fratelli Tutti remember St. Paul; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.”

Fratelli Tutti, (Brothers All), talks about everyone getting along in this world despite our differences, a sort of man made Shangri-La. Lets forget for a moment about the division in our country, the riots, the looting the property destruction. Those who do that don’t play by the rules or see themselves as humanities brother act out. Islam, besides wanting to kill all non-Muslims, also has the death penalty for apostates. (If we had that I estimate about 2/3 of the hierarchy would qualify for death.) We see irreconcilable differences with the pope here. There are so many beliefs and so much that is culturally diverse around the world that some people just don’t want to get along they just want their way. The idea that we should all get along is a nice one, it is just not a reality this side of heaven.

Further stoking the flames of dissent is the Catholic Church herself, (at least the men who run her). Can Pope Francis be taken seriously when he personally has contributed to the clergy sexual scandal? Are those who have been sexually abused, (mostly males), somehow not brothers? Are they less important than say an Islamic Imam or a Baptist preacher? Feminists are also in an uproar over the title because they feel excluded too.

What is clear is that any moral authority that the pope wielded, (moral authority comes from God not man), he let dissipate. The first and most important thing in getting it back is cleaning up your own house. That of course would be the Church, and that would include the clergy sex scandal and subsequent cover-up. Until that happens his words and thoughts mean nothing. They are just the hollow, meaningless platitudes of an old man. No disrespect is meant…leading by example is what the Church needs. That is what the world needs.

The Bride of Christ has been battered from her beginnings as the Catholic Church. She has been battered both from the outside and also from the inside. We all have to remember the words of St. Paul; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.”

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I love the Church, not so much the men in love with money who run it, not so much the weak bishops and weak priests who seem to have abandoned her, not so much the faithless but the Church

Doing soul searching during the Wuhan Virus many things have come to the forefront of my thoughts. I am not a soldier, (actually I am for God), and have never fought in an armed conflict or in a war yet I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD wasn’t diagnosed until after my horrendous experience at St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia and my horrendous experiences with the priests, both faculty and administration, there.

The horrendousness started because I had the audacity to turn in a priest for his inappropriate behavior toward me and my partner during an apostolate, (like an internship), to a high school. All hell broke loose. In my naiveté I thought priests would care about the safety of seminarians and…I don’t know…the teaching of the Church. Silly me. Notice I’m not a priest of Philadelphia…just sayin.

Of course the initial trauma came from my own molestation at the hands of a priest. All of this other crap just served to reiterate the feelings of not being safe in the Church. Almost all people who have been traumatized have a problem with trust and a dislike for authority especially when they are non-supportive and retraumatize us. My first tattoo is on my butt and it really is a middle finger to the powers that be in the Church. The first tattoo is a spade ♠, acceptable cutting.

After experiencing zero support as a priest, (because the bishop chose money over me), from my own diocese, and seeing zero support for individuals who have been molested by; priests, by the hierarchy, by other priests and by the laity it’s easy to leap to cynicism. Lip service is not enough. Where is the report on Mr. McCarrick? Where are the reports on the others who have treated their priesthood as their own private Sodom & Gamora?

I am well aware that I am not perfect, not even close, and I will have to answer for my own sins at my judgement. And it is not an excuse that some of them, most of them, stem from the abuse. I need to constantly work at it. Healing does not happen with re-traumatization.

I love the Church, not so much the men in love with money who run it, not so much the weak bishops and weak priests who seem to have abandoned her, not so much the faithless but the Church that believes in Devine truth, in scripture and tradition. To hell with the pc crowd going against TRUTH for money or political favor…literally. Feeling good about yourself will not get you to heaven. The hard work of belief has to happen. God save us all, me especially.

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acceptably cut

The feeling, (not overwhelming), to acceptably cut by getting a tattoo is once again washing over me. I must ask myself why now? Why all of a sudden? Something must have triggered me. What though? I think I figured it out. Most of the bishops and a plethora of priests do not care one wit about what the Catholic Church believes, stands for or even give a wit about God.

It is apparent that the hierarchy doesn’t have any faith or belief in God or in the eschaton by the things they have said and done regarding the next presidential election. I came to the conclusion that anyone who was sexually abused by a priest is not even on the radar of things to care about. If they are homeless, jobless, or identify as a member of the LGBT(& other initials) community they might earn a little lip service. But once it is established that they have been victimized by a priest…poof…silence…& inaction.

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What is going on with the Theodor McCarrick case?

Ugh! What is going on with the Theodor McCarrick case? I did wonder in this blog if his case signaled real change in the Church in dealing with homosexual acting out or if he was just the sacrificial lamb to make the Church look as if it is actually doing something about this issue. Sadly it turns out that he was just a sacrificial lamb…kind-of-an antichrist…one of many I fear. Rumer is that the investigation is done and the report complete. Will it see the light of day? It will if God wills it.

Are the men that think they are in charge of the Church on earth pushing the agenda of sodomy, trying to make it okay even though God says it is not okay? Are they pushing an agenda of ‘gay is okay’ even though the sterile sexual acts of gay men are seen by God and the Church as evil, (sin). Being gay is not evil, doing gay is evil. Would all of these thoughts somehow change or dismiss the egregious evil perpetrated on so many? (And less we forget, women and girls were also sexually abused, but in smaller numbers.)

Again I must ask what part of no sexual relations do abusers not understand? It has gone further than abusers and has spread to sex between grown men with no power differential. It wasn’t that long ago that President Clinton and an of age intern had multiple sexual liaisons in the White House. It was about the power differential between them that made it so wrong, (not to mention he was married), not the “consent” of the intern. Poor Makenzie Phillips thought wrongly that the incest she experienced with her father was partially her fault because of her consent. At first she dismissed the inappropriateness of her father’s behavior and dismissed the power differential of a parent and child. Age does not matter.

A priest has power. A bishop has power. An archbishop has power. 
Cardinals have power. Alter boys, seminarians, CYO members and youth
in awe of their priests have NO power. Because of this paradigm they
are vulnerable.
I believe they qualify as vulnerable even if they are
adults. they qualify as vulnerable adults.

The Church is a political machine. I do not have any idea how it operates. Even the people that seem to be in charge seem to be controlled by evil cabals, cliques and groups. We have to remind ourselves that God can not and is not controlled or impressed with money or worldly power. That is our salvation…God

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Insight: part III

The most significant thing that happened to me on my third attempt at priesthood was the Boston Archdiocese clerical sex abuse scandal. I was a transitional deacon at that time. Being in the seminary at that time was surreal. With my history of abuse it was cataclysmic for my mental health. It felt as if evil wisps of dark smoke wrapped me in a robe of darkness.

Unbeknownst to me this had become an issue in my proceeding to priesthood. I was never asked directly what was going on with me or ever told that there was a problem that could keep me from ordination. (I would not have told them about my abuse because I was not ready to deal with it yet.) Then my hand was forced.

Finding out I was not being ordained to the priesthood forced me to tell the rector and vice-rector what had happened to me. Finally saying it out loud was not cathartic in any way. It was no longer a dirty little secret but a real event that I had tried to suppress but could suppress no longer.

I drove home to tell my parents everything. They had no idea. Now they knew and the secret was not a secret any longer. It would be another four years or so before I could confront the abuse head on in therapy.

I did get ordained the following year. After three assignments in three years I bottomed out and asked for a leave of absence to deal with the molestation and all of its fallout. It was granted but I was now seen as a problem in my diocese.

After a lot of hard, painful work on my part, a plethora of tears and a very helpful Grief to Grace retreat I was ready to rejoin the world and ministry. Even though I was still pissed-off and untrusting of others I was also in a place, (still am), where I will not take any crap or burry my feelings. Working for the entity that belittled victims, shirked responsibility for the evil that it is and tried their damnedest to cover-up and lie my life is constantly triggered. (Studying for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is a perfect example.)

Sixteen years after ordination I keep plugging away. The Catholic Church has done nothing or almost nothing to confront and/or fix the problem of clergy sexual abuse not to mention all the other kinds of abuse. The bishops all over the world are either tone deaf, uncaring or non-believers, (A scary thought.), so nothing gets done.

Round two of this mess has finally woken a lot of the laity up to the corruption that is in the Church but should not be. Where is God? God is here, cling to Him.

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Insight; part II

After leaving the seminary a second time I wound up at what was called at the time, “St. Edmond’s Home for Crippled Children”. It struck, “for Crippled Children”, from the name while I was there. It is a residential facility for, (How to put this delicately?), children with the primary medical diagnosis of some measure of mental retardation. Mental Retardation is a medical diagnosis that is all and in and of itself is a neutral term. I am aware that it has become a slur used against another in heated exchanges. (That’s not cool.)

Anyway that is where I ended up. The 40 children who lived there were also medically fragile and most were in wheelchairs. The staff was not supposed to have favorite children but we all did. Mine was Neil. I could not have loved him anymore if he was my own son. I got too comfortable there and pondered it as my life’s work. Neil passed away at the age of 14. Puberty was not kind to the boys of St. Edmond’s Home.

I freely admit that I was in a fog at that time but through the fog God started in on me again. Emotionally I was happy, sad and more than a little angry. NOT AGAIN, I thought. But again it indeed was. Since Neil’s death I did not want to stay at St. Edmond’s Home or to continue working with children. God used that.

I have to stop. I’ll continue soon.

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Insight; part I

Lately I have been focusing on my woeful relationship with God. It should be better. Thinking about it in the now I have tried to examine my past. Then the thought came to me that when I was in high school before I was molested my relationship with God was constant. I talked with him all the time. I kept a journal that started with, ‘Dear God’, at every entry. I am not saying that in any way I really had a deep understanding of the Catholic faith or a deep understanding of the love of God but there was a longing for God. That went away.

Fast forward to my entering the seminary a second time. Before that happened the longing returned. At that point I did not want to go into the seminary again, I did not want to be a priest. God, he gets the credit or the blame, had other ideas. So I went into the seminary again. This was post-molestation. It was a unmitigated disaster. I asked God why He called me to something that would bring me such pain and would scar me for life. The only thing I can think of is, “The wounded healer.” This is when I had a run in with a molester, who acted predatorily, who was my supervisor one day a week at a high school assignment. It was then that another priest in charge told me to keep my mouth shut in reference to the situation. The priest who was my mentor, (not chosen but thrust upon me), lied to me and about me and also said some very hurtful things to me. The only saving grace was the Spirituality Year that we went on as a class. At that time its greatness was lost on me. The longing for interaction with God rekindled. I let circumstances and evil people quash it once more.

I can’t write anymore. I’ll finish some other time.

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“Anyone who is so progressive that he does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God…”

This is from Friday’ Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours.  It is taken from the second letter of the apostle John.

“Anyone who is so progressive that he does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God, while anyone who remains rooted in the teaching possess both the Father and the Son.”

It goes on.  This is illustrated in many issues today; euthanasia, abortion, immigration, LGBT issues, a myriad of priests and bishops and of course the abuse issue, especially in the Church. God should be at the core of our actions and sadly is not.

Many people who still come to reconciliation mention that they do not love God enough. Join the club…isn’t that what sin is, not loving God enough to trust him and trusting in ourselves.  As difficult as life can get we should never forget that some how, some way God has a plan for our lives. With our cooperation it will come to fruition. God can do an end-around when the freewill of others interferes.

This blog seems to be in opposition to that reality.  Yes there are a lot of people who consider themselves progressives.  And yes they don’t have God at the center of their social warrior activities. We have witnessed some people in the Church who do not have God as the center of  their activities.  There are things that are anathema to God. That is why we have experienced the sexual abuse crises. This is why we still have a diobolical cover-up.  It is also why some in the Church support things like sodomy, gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, womens ordination, open boarders. There are things that are anathema to God. I not only see the splinters in their eyes I also see the log in my own.

So what is the answer? It is not keeping silent that is for sure. Rioting and burning down buildings is not the answer. We have to keep praying. We have to keep speaking up. We have to constantly remind ourselves that God has got this. In the worst of our anguish and turmoil God has got this.




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Rely on God 100%

Hmmm, I think I’m a little depressed.  It’s not that I feel depressed because I don’t. But I have observed one of the signs.  In the past two days I have spent money pretty much indiscriminately. I did pick up some gifts for birthdays and for Christmas but I clearly see that is a rationalization. Spending is my M.O.

So what is up? It could be the death of Artemus. It could be that the mother of a friend of mine is dying of cancer.  It could be that a friend in Wisconsin has had an unresolved issue with abuse by a priest, (not sexual), that happened 10 years ago. The issue could easily be remedied.  It could be that her experience with the church reminds me of the whole sex abuse nightmare that has engulphed us all.  Inertia is the Church’s M.O. And then, of course, there is all of the above.

My strategy is to ride it out. I will be the first to admit that I haven’t relied 100% on God, I have done significantly better than I have in the past but it hasn’t been 100%.   It needs to be 100%. I pray that I rely on God 100%.   We all need to rely on God 100%.

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Artemus, my dog, is no longer. How is he germane to the clergy sexual abuse scandal?  When I first started to go to therapy I cried a lot while talking about all of the abuse I experienced at the hands of priests.  (Only one was sexual abuse.) About three years into therapy a priest friend of mine was on an extended “educational” stay in Portugal. When people came to visit him in Lisbon he would take then to Fatima. I never visited.  When a mutual friend and her sister went a stray dog attached himself to them in Fatima. Since all the vets in Portugal said he would be destroyed Regina paid to have him brought back to the USA. Many hysterical e-mails catalogued the dog’s trip.  I responded to them by saying that I would take the dog just for the stories. I was not really serious.  Bing. bang, boom I now had a dog.

My therapist enthusiastically endorsed what seemed like folly to everyone else.  He said taking care of a pet would force me to go outside of myself.  So my murderous feelings towards a number of priests were now transferred to the dog. (Not really.) The first year was a power struggle between us. I won some, he won some. But I loved him and taking care of him. I even called him my baby.  I was defiantly outside of myself.  I had him for nine years, eight months and 11 days. It was estimated by the veterinarian that he was about five when I got him so he was about 14.

I loved him, I’ll miss him and my heart hurts. (I hope it is not a pending heart attack.) He most definitely took me outside myself. In reality Artemus helped save me.

No more dogs. My three cats must suffice.

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