St. Peter Damian

From Our Lady’s Warriors

The Life of St. Peter Damian (1007-1072)

It appears that whenever Holy Mother Church has had a great need for a special kind of saint for a particular age, God, in His infinite mercy, has never failed to fill that need. And so, in the year 1007 A.D., a boy child was born to a noble but poor family in the ancient Roman city of Ravenna, who would become a Doctor of the Church, a precursor of the Hildebrandine reform in the Church and a key figure in the moral and spiritual reformation of the lax and incontinent clergy of his time.

Tradition tells us that St. Peter Damian’s entrance into this world was initially an unwelcome event that overtaxed and somewhat embittered his already large family. He was orphaned at a young age, and his biographer John of Lodi tells us that were it not for the solicitude of his older brother Damian, an archpriest at Ravenna, the youth might have lived out his life in obscurity as a swineherd. But God deemed otherwise. Peter’s innate intellectual talents and remarkable piety in the light of great adversity were recognized by the archpriest, who plucked his younger brother from the fields and provided him with an excellent education first at Ravenna, then Faenza and finally at the University of Parma. In return, Peter acknowledged his brother’s loving care by adopting Damian as his surname. Although he excelled in his studies and quickly rose in academic ranks, Peter felt drawn to the religious rather than university life. His spirituality would be formed by his love for the Rule of St. Benedict and his attraction to the rigorous penance and individualistic practices of St. Romuald.

In his late twenties he was welcomed into the Benedictine hermitage of the Reform of St. Romuald at Fonte-Avellena where he eventually became Prior – a position he retained until his death on February 21, 1072 while also serving as Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia, an honor bestowed upon Peter by Pope Stephen IX in 1057. The life of the well-traveled holy monk was distinguished by his great learning and a marvelous knowledge of Holy Scripture, and by great penitential acts, which served both as a rebuke and as an inspiration to his fellow monks and the secular clergy at a time in the Church when moral turpitude was endemic in clerical ranks. His wise counsel and diplomatic skills were employed by a lengthy succession of Popes, most importantly, Pope Leo IX, another forerunner of the Gregorian Reform. Peter Damian died in the odor of sanctity on February 22, 1072 in his sixty-sixth year. [1]

The Book of Gomorrah – A Lesson for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Among St. Peter Damian’s most famous writings is his lengthy treatise, Letter 31, the Book of Gomorrah (Liber Gomorrhianus), containing the most extensive treatment and condemnation by any Church Father of clerical pederasty and homosexual practices. [2] His manly discourse on the vice of sodomy in general and clerical homosexuality and pederasty in particular, is written in a plain and forthright style that makes it quite readable and easy to understand.

In keeping with traditional Church teachings handed down from the time of the Apostles, he holds that all homosexual acts are crimes against Nature and therefore crimes against God who is the author of Nature.

It is also refreshing to find an ecclesiastic whose first and primary concern in the matter of clerical sexual immorality is for God’s interests, not man’s, especially with regard to homosexuality in clerical ranks. Also, his special condemnation of pederastic crimes by clergy against young boys and men (including those preparing for holy orders) made over nine hundred years ago, certainly tends to undermine the excuse of many American bishops and Cardinals who claim that they initially lacked specific knowledge and psychological insights by which to assess the seriousness of clerical pederastic crimes.

Upon a first reading of the Book of Gomorrah I think the average Catholic would find himself in a state of shock at the severity of Damian’s condemnation of clerical sodomical practices as well as the severe penalties that he asks Pope Leo IX to attach to such practices.

Part of this reaction, as J. Wilhelm asserts with regard to modern Catholics’ adverse reaction to the severity of medieval penalties (including capital punishment for heresy), can be attributed to the fact that we live in an age that has “less regard for the purity of the faith”. [3] Many Catholics have simply lost a sense of sin. It does not seem to matter if an overt effete homosexual cleric “camps” it out on the altar while administering heretical rites for an Ash Wednesday service. Like those watching Hilaire Belloc’s new barbarians at the gate, parishioners smile. They are titillated. They find him ‘amusing’. [4]

Also, many Catholics today have little, if any, knowledge of how the early Church Fathers dealt with the issue of homosexuality, including pederasty, in clerical ranks.

Take, for example, the spiritual and physical penalties declared by the 4th Century architect of Eastern monasticism, St. Basil of Cesarea (322-379AD), for the cleric or monk caught making sexual advances (kissing) or sexually molesting young boys or men. The convicted offender was to be whipped in public, deprived of his tonsure (head shaven), bound in chains and imprisoned for six months, after which he was to be contained in a separate cell and ordered to undergo severe penances and prayer vigils to expedite his sins under the watchful eye of an elder spiritual brother. His diet was that of water and barley bread – the fodder of animals. Outside his cell, while engaged in manual labor and moving about the monastery, the pederast monk was to be always monitored by two fellow monks to insure that he never again had any contact with young men or boys. [5]

One wonders how many homosexuals and pederasts would be lining up at Bernard Cardinal Law’s or any other American prelates, seminary door if they knew that such a harsh fate awaited them if they were found guilty of even attempting much less carrying out the sexual seduction and molestation of minor boys and young men? And speaking of seminaries, I might mention the papal ruling of St. Siricius, a contemporary of St. Basil, who ordered that “vessels of vice,” that is known sodomists, including those who had fulfilled their penance, were forbidden from seeking entrance to the clerical state. [6]

Considering that the Book of Gomorrah was written in 1049 A.D. it borders on the miraculous to note how many of Damian’s insights can be applied to the current pederast and homosexual debacle here in the United States and abroad, including the Vatican. His treatise certainly stands as a masterful refutation of contemporary homosexual apologists who claim that the early Fathers of the Church did not understand the nature or dynamics of homosexuality. Rather, as Damian’s work demonstrates, the degradation of human nature as exemplified by sodomical acts is a universal phenomenon that transcends time, place and culture.

One of the main points of the Book of Gomorrah, is the author’s insistence on the responsibility of the bishop or superior of a religious order to curb and eradicate the vice from their ranks. [7] He minces no words in his condemnation of those prelates who refuse or fail to take a strong hand in dealing with clerical sodomical practices either because of moral indifferentism or the inability to face up to a distasteful and potentially scandalous situation. [8]

Other issues tackled by St. Peter Damian which have a particular relevance today are:

  • The problems of homosexual bishops or heads of religious orders who engage their “spiritual sons” in acts of sodomy.
  • The sacrilegious use of the sacraments by homosexual clerics and religious.
  • The special problems for the Church related to the seduction of youths by clerical pederasts, and
  • The problem of overtly lax canons and penances for clerical and religious offenders that make a mockery of the seriously sinful nature of homosexual acts.

The Motivation for a Treatise on Sodomy

When the humble monk and future saint, Peter Damian, presented his Letter 31, the Book of Gomorrah, to Pope Leo IX in 1049, he made it clear that his first and overriding concern was for the salvation of souls. While the work is addressed specifically to the Holy Father, its distribution was intended for the universal Church, most especially the bishops of secular clergy and superiors of religious orders.

In his introduction, the holy writer makes clear that the Divine calling of the Apostolic See makes its primary consideration “the welfare of souls”. Therefore, he pleads with the Holy Father to take action against “a certain abominable and most shameful vice,” which he identifies forthrightly as “the befouling cancer of sodomy,” that is ravaging both the souls of the clergy and the flock of Christ in his region, before God unleashes His just wrath on the people.[9] Recognizing how nauseating the very mention of the word sodomy must be to the Pope, he nevertheless asks with blunt frankness: “… if a physician is appalled by the contagion of the plague, who is likely to wield the cautery? If he grows squeamish when he is about to apply the cure, who will restore health to stricken hearts?” [10]

Leaving nothing to misinterpretation, Damian distinguishes between the various forms of sodomy and the stages of sodomical corruption beginning with solitary and mutual masturbation and ending with interfemoral (between the thighs) stimulation and anal coitus. [11] He notes that there is a tendency among prelates to treat the first three degrees of the vice with an “improper leniency,” preferring to reserve dismissal from the clerical state for only those men proven to be involved in anal penetration. The result, Damian states, is that a man, guilty of the “lesser” degrees of the vice, accepts his milder penances, but remains free to pollute others without the least fear of losing his rank. The predictable result of his superior’s leniency, says Damian, is that the vice spreads, the culprit grows more daring in his illicit acts knowing he will not suffer any critical loss of his clerical status, he loses all fear of God and his last state is worse than his first. [12]

Damian decries the audacity of men who are “habituated to the filth of this festering disease,” and yet dare to present themselves for holy orders, or if already ordained, remain in office. [13] Was it not for such crimes that Almighty God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and slew Onan for deliberately spilling his seed on the ground? he asks. [14] Quoting St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Eph 5:5) he continues, “… if an unclean man has no inheritance at all in Heaven, how can he be so arrogant as to presume a position of honor in the Church, which is surely the kingdom of God?” [15]

The holy monk likens sodomites seeking holy orders, to those citizens of Sodom who threatened “to use violence against the upright Lot” and were about to break down the door when they were smitten with blindness by the two angels and could not find the doorway. Such men, he says, are stricken with a similar blindness, and “by the just decree of God they fall into interior darkness.” [16] If they were humble they would be able to find the door that is Christ, but they are blinded by their “arrogance and conceit,” and “lose Christ because of their addiction to sin,” never finding “the gate that leads to the heavenly dwelling of the saints,” Damian laments. [17]

Not sparing those ecclesiastics who knowingly permit sodomites to enter holy orders or remain in clerical ranks while continuing to pollute their office, the holy monk lashes out at “do-nothing superiors of clerics and priests,” reminding them that they should be trembling for themselves because they have become “partners in the guilt of others,” by permitting “the destructive plague” of sodomy to continue in their ranks. [18]

Homosexual Bishops Who Prey on their Spiritual Sons

Then comes the bitterest blast of all reserved for those bishops who “commit these absolutely damnable acts with their spiritual sons.” [19] “Who can expect the flock to prosper when its shepherd has sunk so deep into the bowels of the devil Ö Who will make a mistress of a cleric, or a woman of a man? Ö Who, by his lust, will consign a son whom he spiritually begotten for God to slavery under the iron law of Satanic tyranny,” Damian thunders. [20] Drawing an analogy between the sentence inflicted on the father who engages in familial incest with his daughter or the priest who commits “sacrilegious intercourse” with a nun, with the defilement of a cleric by his superior, he asks if the latter should escape condemnation and retain his holy office? [21] Actually, the latter case deserves an even worse punishment says Damian, because whereas the prior two cases involved natural intercourse, a religious superior guilty of sodomy has not only committed a sacrilege with his spiritual son, but has also violated the law of nature. Such a superior damns not only his own soul but takes another with him, Damian states. [22]

The Continuing Scandal of Bishop Daniel Ryan

I do not know who or what comes to one’s mind after reading such an excoriating censure of homosexual bishops and Cardinals whose unnatural lusts drive them to prey on rather than pray for the spiritual sons that Holy Mother Church has entrusted to their care. Mine went directly to the person of Bishop Daniel Leo Ryan.

Ryan was consecrated an auxiliary bishop of the Joliet diocese on September 30, 1981 by Joseph L. Imesch, Bishop of Joliet, and assisted by Daniel W. Kucera, Bishop of Salina and the future Archbishop of Dubuque and prime architect of the infamous New Creation sex ‘catechism’ which bears his imprimatur. [23] Two years later, on November 19, 1983 Pope John Paul II appointed Ryan Bishop of Springfield, IL. He was installed on January 18, 1984. [24]

In 1999, Ryan took an unexpected early retirement for “health reasons” amid well-documented charges by Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF), based in Springfield, that he (Ryan) is an active homosexual who has engaged in gross homosexual misconduct with area under-age male prostitutes, and clergy. [25] The Holy See and the American papal nuncio were said to have been aware of Ryan’s predatory homosexual propensities. [26]

Among the witnesses who came forward to support RCF’s indictment against Ryan’s sexual exploits was Frank Robert Bergen, a former runaway turned male prostitute who contacted RCF and informed President Steve Brady that he had had sodomical relations as a minor with Ryan and other priests. Bergen said that the bishop had heard his confession and absolved him of his sins each and every time he had a sexual encounter with him.” [27]

When Bishop Ryan “retired,” his episcopal office was filled by Bishop George Lucas, former chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and a close associate of Archbishop Justin Rigali. Lucas’ installation reception was held at the Ansar Shrine Masonic Temple in Springfield, IL. [28] His influential mentor, Archbishop Rigali was consecrated for service to the Holy See in the mid-1980s by Pope John Paul II and served as papal chamberlain and Secretary of the College of Cardinals until his return to the United States as Archbishop of St. Louis in 1994. [29]

Under Lucas’s bishopric, RCF reports that Bishop Ryan has continued to say Mass publicly and has administered the Sacrament of Confirmation in both the Springfield and Joliet dioceses. He (Ryan) was in attendance at Lucas’s installation. In February of this year, the Springfield diocese announced that Bishop Ryan would be the presenter of “A Lenten Day of Reflection & Prayer for Priests,” at Sts. Mary and Joseph Church in Carlinville, IL. [30]

Seen Through the Eyes of St. Peter Damian

Let us now recall the warnings of the monk-author of the Book of Gomorrah presented hereto.

By any standard, the Holy See’s lack of public censure in the Ryan case must be considered incredibly lenient. No public chastisement, no shaved head, no chains, no solitary confinement in an isolated monastery under strict guard, no bread and water diet, as proposed by St. Basil. No! Quite the opposite! [OLW note: the Holy See called the American Bishops to Rome in April 2002, which has begun to force a response to sexual problems in the clergy as dealt with at the American Bishops conference in June 2002. This is a beginning; it is clear that more needs to be done.]

Bishop Ryan continues to remain a retired bishop in “good standing.” Neither his pederast activities with minor males nor the sexual harassment of his “spiritual sons” have been publicly denounced by either the Vatican or his fellow bishops including Bishops Lucas and Imesch. As predicted by Damian, Ryan has not been humbled by his personal shame or the shame he has brought on Holy Mother Church. Indeed the whole experience appears to have stimulated his audacity to even greater heights. He collects his pension, has unlimited mobility, easy contact with youth and where, by his very presence, he continues to pollute, figuratively if not literally, the faithful priests and religious of his and other dioceses who have to suffer daily the remembrances of his homosexual affairs. Not to mention the public scandal caused by his public appearances at public sacramental rites of the Church.

So I find it necessary to ask, has the Holy See fallen into such a state of dissolution that it can no longer profess, much less protect, God’s interests in this matter and defend the sanctity of Holy Orders from the pollution of the sodomites?  Do not the horrific acts of predatory homosexual clerics and bishops like Ryan, and Symonds and Ziemann, to name but a few, strike the fear of God into the heart of our Holy Father and the members of the Roman Curia? [31]

Clerical Homosexual Abuse of the Sacrament of Confession

Leaving the matter of active homosexual members of the hierarchy and religious orders for the moment, let us move on to what Damian denounces as one of “the devil’s clever devices” concocted in “his ancient laboratory of evil,” by which confirmed clerical sodomites, experiencing a pricking conscience, “confess to one another lest their guilt come to the attention of others.” [32]

As Damian observes however, though such men have become “penitents involved in great crimes,” they appear to look none the worse for their penances. “… their lips are not pale from fasting nor are their bodies wasted by self-denial,” nor are their eyes red from weeping for their sins, he observes. [33]

The holy monk questions the validity of such confessions asking, “By what right or by what law can one bind or loose the other when he is constrained by the bonds of evil deeds common to them both?” [34]

Quoting Holy Scripture concerning “the blind leading the blind,” (Matt 8:4; Luke 5:4) Damian continues, “… it becomes perfectly clear that he who is oppressed by the same guilty darkness tries in vain to invite another to return to the light of repentance. While he has no fear of extending himself to outstrip the other in erring, he ends up accompanying his follower into the yawning pit of ruin.” [35]

Since this practice remains a common one today within the homosexual underworld of diocesan priests, bishops and religious and between pederast priests and their young victims, it may be well to recall that under the revised 1983 Code of Canon Law, the absolution of a partner (clerical or layperson) in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is invalid, except in danger of death (Can. 977) and a priest who acts against the prescription of Can. 977 incurs a latae sententiae excommunication, the lifting of which is reserved to the Apostolic See. (Can. 1378 ß1) Unless the offending priest has his excommunication lifted by the Sacred Penitentiary or the Holy Father, he has not been validly absolved. Should he attempt to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a state of mortal sin he compounds his offenses with the grave sin of sacrilege.

Sodomite Priests and the Sacred Mysteries

In a lengthy and scathing attack on faulty and “spurious” canons and codices related to penalties for various sodomical acts that were in use by the Church in the mid-1000s, Damian compares them to the harsh and long penances assigned to laymen guilty of unnatural acts with men and beasts by the Church Fathers at the Council of Ancyra (314 A.D.), and finds them wanting. [36]

If, under earlier Church laws, a layman guilty of sodomy can be deprived of the Holy Eucharist for up to twenty-five years or even till the end of his life, how is it possible that a similarly offending cleric or monk is let off with minor penances and is judged worthy to not only receive the Holy Eucharist but consecrate the Sacred Mysteries? he asks. [37] If the holy Fathers ordained that sodomites should “pray in the company of demoniacs,” how can such a cleric hope to rightly exercise his priestly office as a “mediator” between God and His people? Damian continues. [38]

Later, Damian returns to this same theme and exclaims “For God’s sake, why do you damnable sodomites pursue the heights of ecclesiastical dignity with such fiery ambition?” [39] He warns these clerics, who persist in their unnatural lusts, against inflaming the wrath of God, “lest by your prayers you more sharply provoke Him whom your wicked life so obviously offends.” [40] At the conclusion of this section, Damian reminds clerics and prelates alike that, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” [41] (Heb 10.31)

Remarkable Insights into the Nature of Homosexuality

In his description of the unnatural passions that rule over the sodomite, Damian reveals an extraordinary degree of perception regarding the narcissistic, promiscuous and compulsive psychosexual aspects of homosexual behavior.

“Tell us, you unmanly and effeminate man, what do you seek in another male that you do not find in yourself?” he asks. “What difference in sex, what varied features of the body?” he continues.

Then he explains the law of life. “For it is the function of the natural appetite that each should seek outside himself what he cannot find in his own capacity. Therefore, if the touch of masculine flesh delights you, lay your hands upon yourself and be assured that whatever you do not find in yourself, you seek in vain in the body of another,” he concludes. [42]

The Particular Malice of the Vice of Sodomy

A wise Dominican once told this writer, that once the vice of sodomy has contaminated a seminary, Church authorities have only two options – close the place down and send everyone home or do nothing and simply wait for the moral rot to spread until the foundation collapses on its own. Why is this particular vice so deadly to the religious life?

According to Damian, the vice of sodomy “surpasses the enormity of all others,” because:

Without fail, it brings death to the body and destruction to the soul. It pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of the mind, expels the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human heart, and gives entrance to the devil, the stimulator of lust. It leads to error, totally removes truth from the deluded mind … It opens up hell and closes the gates of paradise … It is this vice that violates temperance, slays modesty, strangles chastity, and slaughters virginity … It defiles all things, sullies all things, pollutes all things … 

This vice excludes a man from the assembled choir of the Church … it separates the soul from God to associate it with demons. This utterly diseased queen of Sodom renders him who obeys the laws of her tyranny infamous to men and odious to GodÖ She strips her knights of the armor of virtue, exposing them to be pierced by the spears of every vice … She humiliates her slave in the church and condemns him in court; she defiles him in secret and dishonors him in public; she gnaws at his conscience like a worm and consumes his flesh like fire. … this unfortunate man (he) is deprived of all moral sense, his memory fails, and the mind’s vision is darkened. Unmindful of God, he also forgets his own identity. This disease erodes the foundation of faith, saps the vitality of hope, dissolves the bond of love. It makes way with justice, demolishes fortitude, removes temperance, and blunts the edge of prudence. (emphasis added)

Shall I say more?” [43]

No, dearest St. Peter Damian, I think not.

Repent and Reform Your Lives

Like every saint before him, and every saint that will ever come after him, St. Peter Damian exhorts the cleric caught in the vice of sodomy to repent and reform his life and in the words of the Blessed Apostle Paul, “Wake up from your sleep and rise from the dead, and Christ will revive (enlighten) you.” [44] (Eph 5:14) In a remarkable affirmation of the Gospel message, he warns against the ultimate sin of despairing of God’s mercy and the necessity of fasting and prayer to subdue the passions:

… beware of drowning in the depths of despondency. Your heart should beat with confidence in God’s love and not grow hard and impenitent, in the face of your great crime. It is not sinners, but the wicked who should despair; it is not the magnitude of one’s crime, but contempt of God that dashes one’s hopes.” [45]

Then, in one of the most beautiful elocutions on the grandeur of priestly celibacy and chastity ever written, Damian reminds the wayward cleric or monk of the special place reserved in Heaven for those faithful priests and monks who have willingly forsaken all and made themselves eunuchs for Christ’s sake. Their names shall be remembered forever because they have given up all for the love of God, he says. [46]

Fraternal Correction is an Act of Mercy

Saints are realists, which is no doubt why St. Peter Damian anticipated that his “small book” which exposes and denounces homosexual practices in all ranks of the clergy including the hierarchy, would cause a great commotion in the Church. And it did.

In anticipation of harsh criticism, the holy monk puts forth his own defense as a ‘whistle-blower’. He states that his would-be critics will accuse him of “being an informer and a delator of my brother’s crimes,” but, he says, he has no fear of either “the hatred of evil men or the tongues of detractors.” [47]

Hear, dear reader, the words of St. Peter Damian that come thundering down to us through the centuries at a time in the Church when many shepherds are silent while clerical wolves, some disguised in miters and brocade robes, devour its lambs and commit sacrilege against their own spiritual sons;

… I would surely prefer to be thrown into the well like Joseph who informed his father of his brothers’ foul crime, than to suffer the penalty of God’s fury, like Eli, who saw the wickedness of his sons and remained silent. (Sam 2:4) … Who am I, when I see this pestilential practice flourishing in the priesthood to become the murderer of another’s soul by daring to repress my criticism in expectation of the reckoning of God’s judgement? … How, indeed, am I to love my neighbor as myself if I negligently allow the wound, of which I am sure he will brutally die, to fester in his heart? …[48] “So let no man condemn me as I argue against this deadly vice, for I seek not to dishonor, but rather to promote the advantage of my brother’s well-being. “Take care not to appear partial to the delinquent while you persecute him who sets him straight. If I may be pardoned in using Moses’ words, ‘Whoever is for the Lord, let him stand with me.’ (Ezek 32:26)” [49]

True Church Reform Begins with the Vicar of Christ As he draws his case against the vice of clerical sodomy to a close, St. Peter Damian pleads with another future saint, Pope Leo IX, urging the Vicar of Christ to use his office to reform and strengthen the decrees of the sacred canons with regard to the disposition of clerical sodomites including religious superiors and bishops who sexually violate their spiritual sons. Damian asks the Holy Father to “diligently” investigate the four forms of the vice of sodomy cited at the beginning of his treatise and then provide him (Damian) with definitive answers to the following questions by which the “darkness of uncertainty” might be dispelled and an “indecisive conscience” freed from error: Is one who is guilty of these crimes to be expelled irrevocably from holy orders? Whether at a prelate’s discretion, moreover, one might mercifully be allowed to function in office? To what extent, both in respect to the methods mentioned above and to the number of lapses, is it permissible to retain a man in the dignity of ecclesiastical office? Also, if one is guilty, what degree and what frequency of guilt should compel him under the circumstances to retire? [50] Damian closes his famous letter by asking Almighty God to use Pope Leo IX’s pontificate “to utterly destroy this monstrous vice” that a prostrate Church may everywhere rise to vigorous stature.”[51]

Author’s Note: In Part II of St. Peter Damian’s “Book of Gomorrah-A Moral Blueprint for Our Times,” I will discuss the response of St. Leo IX to the above questions and examine a number of current issues facing the universal Church today as they relate to clerical homosexuality, in all its forms and ‘orientations’ including pedophilia, pederasty, and sado/masochism.

ope Leo IX -The Precursor of Gregorian Reform

Before describing the reception that St. Peter Damian’s treatise on sodomy received at the papal court of Leo IX, I think it helpful to briefly examine the early life of this extraordinary Pope, the precursor to the great Hildebrand reform in the Catholic Church.

Unlike Peter Damian, Bruno entered the world under much more favorable emotional and material circumstances than those of the holy monk. He was born at Egisheim, near the border of Alsace on June 21, 1002. At the age of five, his influential, loving and pious parents committed him to the care of the energetic Berthold, Bishop of Toul, who had a school for the sons of the nobility. The future Pope’s principal biographer and intimate friend, Wilbert, records that the youth was handsome, intelligent, virtuous and kindly in disposition, a description which later manifested itself in the distinguishing title given him when he served as chaplain at the imperial court – “the good Bruno.” [52]

In 1027, Bruno became Bishop of Toul, the frontier town of his youth, that was now plagued both by war and famine, and remained at this rather obscure See for more than twenty years until his ascendancy to the Chair of Peter on February 12, 1049.

When the saintly Bruno, after his election at Worms, entered Rome dressed humbly in a friar’s robe and barefooted, he was greeted by a cheering populace who acclaimed with one voice that they would have no other but Bruno as their new Pope. Little wonder as under the on-again off-again reign of the dissolute Benedict IX (1032-1044, 1045, 1047-1048) the papacy had fallen into serious disrepute.

Bruno’s predecessor, Damasus II, the Bishop of Brixen, had died of malaria after only twenty days in office. [53]  Like any pontiff set on reforming abuses within the Church, Pope Leo IX immediately surrounded himself with like-minded virtuous and able clerics including the remarkable Benedictine, Hildebrand of Tuscany, the future Pope Gregory VII, one of the greatest Popes of the Church. [54]  In 1049, the Pope appointed Hildebrand administrator of the Patrimony of St. Peter’s (Vatican finances) and made him promisor of the monastery of St. Paul extra Mucros which had fallen into moral and physical ruin. “Monastic discipline was so impaired that the monks were attended in their refectory by women; and the sacred edifices were so neglected that the sheep and cattle freely roamed in and out through the broken doors.” [55]  Deplorable conditions indeed.

Only four months after coming into the Chair of Peter, the new Pope held a synod to condemn the two notorious evils of the day – simony, the buying, selling or exchange of ecclesiastical favors, offices, annulments and other spiritual considerations and clerical sexual incontinence, including concubinage (permanent or long-standing cohabitation) and sodomy. Immediately following the April synod, Leo IX began his journeys through Europe to carry out his message of reform. In May 1049, he held a council of reform in Pavia, which was followed by visits and councils in Cologne, Reims (many decrees of reform were issued here) and Mainz before returning to Rome in January 1050. [56]  It was during this period that Damian brought his treatise on sodomy to the attention of the Holy Father.

Pope Leo IX Gives His Ruling on Clerical Sodomy

The approximate date that Damian delivered the Book of Gomorrah to Pope Leo IX is generally held to be the second half of the first year of the pontiff’s reign, i.e., mid-1049, although some writers put the date as late as 1051. We do know, absolutely, that the Pope did respond to Damian’s concerns, as that response in the form of a lengthy letter (JL 4311; ItPont 4.94f., no.2) is generally attached to manuscripts of the work. [57]

Pope Leo IX opens his letter to “his beloved son in Christ, Peter the hermit,” with warm salutations and a recognition of Damian’s pure, upright and zealous character. He agrees with Damian that clerics, caught up in the “execrable vice” of sodomy “Ö verily and most assuredly will have no share in his inheritance, from which by their voluptuous pleasures they have withdrawn. Ö Such clerics, indeed profess, if not in words, at least by the evidence of their actions, that they are not what they are thought to be,” he declares. [58]

Reiterating the category of the four forms of sodomy that Damian lists, [59] the Holy Father declares that it is proper that by “our apostolic authority” we intervene in the matter so that “all anxiety and doubt be removed from the minds of your readers”. [60]

“So let it be certain and evident to all that we are in agreement with everything your book contains, opposed as it is like water to the fire of the devil,” the Pope continues. “Therefore, lest the wantonness of this foul impurity be allowed to spread unpunished, it must be repelled by proper repressive action of apostolic severity, and yet some moderation must be placed on its harshness,” he states. [61]  Next, Pope Leo IX gives a detailed explanation of the Holy See’s authoritative ruling on the matter.

In light of divine mercy, the Holy Father commands, without contradiction, that those who, of their own free will, have practiced solitary or mutual masturbation or defiled themselves by interfemoral coitus, but who have not done so for any length of time, nor with many others, shall retain their status, after having “curbed their desires” and “atoned for their infamous deeds with proper repentance”. [62]
However, the Holy See removes all hope for retaining their clerical status from those who alone or with others for a long time, or even a short period with many, “have defiled themselves by either of the two kinds of filthiness which you have described, or, which is horrible to hear or speak of, have sunk to the level of anal intercourse.” [63]

He warns potential critics, that those who dare to criticize or attack the apostolic ruling stand in danger of losing their rank. And so as to make it clear to whom this warning is directed, the Pope immediately adds, “For he who does not attack vice, but deals with it lightly, is rightly judged to be guilty of his death, along with the one who dies in sin.” [64]

Pope Leo IX praises Damian for teaching by example and not mere words, and concludes his letter with the beautiful hope that when, with God’s help, the monk reaches his heavenly abode, he may reap his rewards and be crowned, “Ö in a sense, with all those who were snatched by you from the snares of the devil.” [65]

Differences on the Matter of Discipline

Clearly, on the objective immorality of sodomical acts, both Damian and Pope Leo IX were in perfect accord with one another. However, in terms of Church discipline, the Pope appears to have taken exception with Damian’s appeal for the wholesale deposition of all clerics who commit sodomical acts. I say, appears, because I believe that even in the matter of punishing known clerical offenders, both men were more in agreement than not.

Certainly, Damian, who was renown for his exemplary spiritual direction of the novitiates and monks entrusted to his care, was not unaware of certain mitigating circumstances that would diminish if not totally remove the culpability of individuals charged with the crime of sodomy. For example, as with certain clerical sex abuse cases that have come to light today involving the Society of St. John and the Legionaries of Christ, which the Holy See has yet to investigate, some novices or monks may have been forced or pressured by their superiors to commit such acts. No doubt, it is circumstances such as these that prompted Pope Leo IX to use the term, “who of his own free will” in describing a cleric guilty of sodomy. [66]  Also among the four varieties of sodomy Damian discusses in his treatise, he states that interfemoral and anal coitus are to be judged more serious than solitary or mutual masturbation. [67]

All in all, what this writer found to be most remarkable about the Pope’s letter to Damian, was the absolutist position Pope Leo IX took concerning the ultimate responsibility of the offending cleric’s bishop or religious superior. If the latter criticized or attacked this apostolic decree, he risked losing HIS rank! Prelates who fail to “attack vice, but deal lightly with it,” share the guilt and sentence of the one who dies in sin, the Pope declared. [68]

Damian’s Contemporaries React to the Treatise

Considering the utterly deplorable state of the secular clergy and monastic life during the 10th and 11th Centuries, I think we can say, without contradiction, that the publication of the Book of Gomorrah must have sent shock waves throughout the Church.

Leslie Toke, whose biography of St. Peter Damian appears in New Advent, confirms that his work “caused a great stir and aroused not a little enmity against its author”. Toke conjectures that “Even the Pope, who had at first praised the work, was persuaded that it was exaggerated and his coldness drew from Damian a vigorous letter of protest.” [69]  I do not agree with this latter assessment.

That Damian’s treatise proved to be controversial and unwelcome especially among superiors and members of the hierarchy who were sodomizing their “spiritual sons” or those with bad consciences resulting from an inability or an unwillingness to exercise their authority in severely disciplining offending clerics or monks, is not surprising.

But as to the charge that the holy monk was guilty of exaggerating the seriousness and extent of sodomy among the secular clergy and monks not only in his region but also in the Church at large, I believe that charge to be false.

We know, for example, that among the first actions taken by Pope Leo IX at the Council of Reims in 1049 was the passage of a Canon against sodomy (de sodomitico vitio). [70]

Also, the probability that Damian was, in fact, speaking the full truth concerning the extent of this plague in the Church can be discerned from the fact, that in June, 1055, during the pontificate of Victor II (1055-1057), Damian was in attendance at a synod held at Florence, where simony and clerical incontinence were once more condemned. [71]

Certainly, Damian’s reputation and credibility was not diminished in the minds of the great and holy men of his day by either the writing or the publication of his treatise on sodomy. Pope Leo IX and future Popes continued to seek out his services and advice including Pope Nicholas II (1059-1061) and Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085). Also, Pope Stephen X (1057-1058) made Damian a Cardinal in 1057 and consecrated him Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia and appointed him administrator of the Diocese of Gubbio.

Toke noted that although no formal canonization ever took place, Damian was revered as a saint at the time of his death on February 22, 1072. Toke states that his cultus has existed since then at the monastery of Faenza, at the desert hermitage of Fonte-Avellana, at the great abbey of Monte Cassino, and at Hildebrand’s Benedictine monastery at Cluny. In 1823, Pope Leo XII extended his feast (February 23) to the whole Church and pronounced St. Peter Damian a Doctor of the Church. The saint is usually depicted as a Cardinal bearing a discipline (a pentitential exercise) in his hand or as a pilgrim holding a papal Bull, to signify his many papal missions. [72]

Homosexuality in Religious Life Today: The Dominican Model

By way of comparing the views of St. Peter Damian on the vice of sodomy in clerical and monastic ranks with the modern post-Vatican II view on homosexuality, I have selected a Lenten Letter titled, “The Promise of Life,” by Father Timothy Radcliffe. [73]  Radcliffe, the Master of the Dominican Order, issued his message on February 25, Ash Wednesday 1998. The English-born aristocrat was elected in 1992 to serve a nine-year term and was residing at the Santa Sabina priory at Rome, when the letter was issued and subsequently posted on the Vatican’s web site, which is where I first read it.

In light of the major homosexual scandals that have plagued the priesthood and religious life worldwide, I was interested to see if Father Radcliffe would discuss the issue of homosexuality in Dominican ranks. He did – both directly and indirectly.

The first indirect reference to homosexuality was Radcliffe’s quoting of American Dominican and writer Donald Goergen, OP on the subject of celibacy. The quote reads: “Celibacy does not witness to anything. But celibates do. We witness to the Kingdom if we are seen to be people whose chastity liberates us for life.” [74]

My first thought when I read the Goergen quote was, why, of all the Dominicans he could have chosen to quote on celibacy, did Radcliffe choose a man whose personal and private life has been distinguished by an open and long-term advocacy and financial support of clerical homosexuality.

Father Goergen, who is currently living with the “Friends of God,” a Hindu-styled Dominican Ashram in Kenosha, Wisconsin, began his early claim to infamy with the publication of his book The Sexual Celibate in 1974. [75]

Based on notes from lectures given to Dominican seminarians, Goergen’s homosexual apologia speaks of “healthy homosexuality,” promotes the homosexual “continuum” theories of the predatory homosexual and bisexual Alfred Kinsey, decries the “disease” of “homophobia,” defines homosexuality according to the Gay Manifesto as “the capacity to love someone of the same sex,” holds the door open for homosexual ‘unions’ by stating that, “genital activity should be the expression of a permanent relationship which involves fidelity,” states that “so-called traditional Christian attitudes towards homosexuality are beginning to change,” claims that “homosexuality can exist in healthy, Christian and graced forms,” defends masturbation as being a genital activity that is “not bad, not unhealthy, not harmful, not immoral, even for a celibate,” and then gives the sodomical coup de grace by attacking the perpetual virginity of Our Lady. [76]

Goergen’s connections to the homosexual network in the Church go back many years. In Rev. Enrique T. Rueda’s 1982 classic expose, The Homosexual Network, Goergen gets three dishonorable mentions for his advocacy of homosexuality. [77] He was also an early financial supporter of Communication Ministry, Inc., “an underground ‘ministry’ for lesbian nuns and gay clergy and religious.” [78]

Soon after his election in 1985 as Provincial Superior to the St. Albert the Great Central Province, Goergen, a devotee of Teilhard de Chardin [OLW note: Chardin was condemned by the Church], began his search and destroy operation against many of the faithful and nationally outstanding Dominicans in St. Albert the Great Province including Father Charles Fiore, Father John O’Connor and the traditionalist Dominicans teaching at Fenwick High School. The River Forest Priory was transformed into a homosexual ‘safe house’ for other clerical perverts. [79]

This action is in stark contrast to the protection the young turk Goergen offered to the notorious Father Matthew “Creation Spirituality” Fox, champion of “lust,” “sexual mysticism,” and homosexuality as “the first gift of the Cosmic Christ”. [80] In 1988, when the Holy See finally insisted that Fox be removed and silenced in order to finally halt the spread of his errors, Fox received an all expense one-year sabbatical during which he continued his heretical tirades. [81] Even after Fox left the Dominican Order and the Church to become an Episcopal ‘priest’ in California, Goergen continued to defend Fox’s heterodox views on faith and morals.

So again I ask, why would Radcliffe quote Goergen on any subject, most especially clerical celibacy?

The answer I believe lies in the second of Goergen’s quotes, cited by Radcliffe in “The Promise of Life” in which Goergen espouses the familiar litany of the Left, almost identical to that espoused by Fox:

“If I partake of consumer society, defend capitalism, tolerate machismo, believe that Western society is superior to others, and am sexually abstinent, I am simply witnessing to that for which we stand: capitalism, sexism, Western arrogance, and sexual abstinence. The latter is hardly deeply meaningful and understandably questioned.” [82]

For many bishops and religious superiors like Radcliffe, a seminarian’s or priest’s homosexual activities and advocacy can be overlooked as long as the offending priest adheres to the gospel of Liberalism. It is not until a diocese or religious order is hit with catastrophic lawsuits related to the criminal sex abuse of underage young boys and young men, including seminarians and religious novices, by homosexual clerics, that the former have a second thought about the policy of accepting and ordaining homosexuals to the priesthood and religious life.

Radcliffe on Homosexual Clerics and the Homosexual “Sub-Culture”

However, in the case of Radcliffe, it appears that the pressure of pederast lawsuits against offending Dominicans worldwide had not yet reached critical mass in 1998. Indeed, in the paragraph titled “Communities of Hope,” just preceding his statement on the acceptance of homosexual candidates into the Order, the Master General insists that, “Our communities must be places in which there is no accusation, ‘… the accuser of our brethren is cast forth …’ “(Apoc. 12.10) [83]  Positioned at it is, just before his support for homosexual candidates and homosexual members of the Order, one might easily interpret his comment as a warning against in-house ‘whistle- blowers’ who reveal clerical sexual misconduct and criminal acts by their fellow Dominicans to their superiors or to public authorities and law enforcement officers.

Getting to the specific issue of “Community and Sexual Orientation,” the Master General begins with the statement that various cultures react differently to “the admission of people of homosexual orientation to religious life,” with some holding it to be “virtually unthinkable,” while others accept it “without question.” [84]

Frankly, outside of ancient cultures that practice certain pagan rites or followed certain gnostic doctrines, I have not run across any peoples that accept “without question” men who unnaturally lust after other men – whatever their role in the community. But even if such a culture existed in modern times, its beliefs should not matter a hill of beans to the universal head of the Dominican Order whose sole concern, one would think, would be what Christ, His Saints (including St. Dominic) and His Church teaches on the matter of homosexuality. And that teaching is clear – from the time of the Apostles – for a man to lust after and desire another man is perverse and acting on that unnatural desire and lust is an abomination in the eyes of God.

In any case, Radcliffe tells his fellow Dominicans not to worry about the matter of sexual orientation. “It is not for us to tell God whom He may or may not call to religious life,” he states. And besides, he adds, the General Chapter of Caleruega, after much debate, affirmed that “the same demands of chastity apply to all brethren of whatever sexual orientation, and so no one can be excluded on this ground”. [85]

The actual text from the Acts of the General Chapter of Diffinitors of the Order of Friars Preachers meeting from July 17-August 8, 1995 at Caleruega, Spain (the birthplace of St. Dominic) reads:

“Ö as a radical demand, the vow of chastity is equally binding on homosexuals and heterosexuals. Hence, no sexual orientation is a priori incompatible with the call to chastity and the fraternal life.” (emphasis added) [86]

[Note: The above reference to “no sexual orientation” is an extremely sophisticated turn-of- words that leaves the door open for lesbianism, transvestitism, transsexualism, pederasty, pedophilia, sado/masochism and other sexual perversions. The fact that the worldwide Dominican leadership permitted such a statement to be incorporated into an official pronouncement of the Order demonstrates in a concrete manner the degree to which the Dominicans are now controlled by the homosexualists and their minions.]

Radcliffe concludes his segment on “sexual orientation” with words of compassion for his Dominican homosexual brethren, but he warns the emergence “of any subgroups within a community, based on sexual orientation, would be highly divisive,” and “threaten the unity of the community,” and “make it harder for the brethren to practice the chastity that he has vowed”. [87]

Dioceses also Accept ‘Gays’ as Candidates for the Priesthood

I think it is quite obvious that the above official directive of the Dominican Order, as promulgated at the 1995 Caleruega meeting, represents a radical departure from traditional Church teachings on the necessity of scrupulous screening of, and vetting out of men and women with perverse sexual inclinations as candidates for the priesthood or religious life.

The Dominicans, however, along with other religious orders such as the Salvatorians, Paulists, Jesuits, and Christian Brothers to name but a few, are not alone in adopting pro-homosexual screening and ordination policies. Virtually all dioceses have a similar policy.

For example, as recently as April 28, 2002, the Baltimore Sun ran a story titled “Future priests vow to make a difference,” in which Rev. Gerard C. Francik, the Baltimore Archdiocesan director of vocations told staff reporter John Rivera that the fact a man is ‘gay’ does not, in itself, disqualify him from entering the seminary as the Church condemns homosexual acts not homosexual orientation. Francik says he asks candidates for the priesthood if they are ‘gay’ but is more interested in knowing: “Are they celibate and how long have they been celibate, to see if they can live this kind of lifestyle (vocation?) and be happy.” [88]

Along similar lines, Bishop Joseph Adamec of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in Pennsylvania, rife with active homosexual clergy, told reporters on May 6, 2002 that although some Roman Catholic dioceses screen out would-be priests because of ‘gay’ sexual orientation, his diocese did not, since a seminarian was expected to keep his vow of celibacy after he was ordained. [89]

U.S. Bishops Violate 1961 Vatican Directive

In March of this year, Catholic News Service (CNS) revealed what must be one of the all time best kept secrets of the American Church. In a wire-service release titled, “Vatican to Enforce 1961 Document Banning Homosexual Priests and Religious,” CNS revealed that in 1961, under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, a directive was issued by the then-Sacred Congregation for Religious [OLW note: said document is available here] reiterating the Church’s opposition to the ordination of homosexual priests and religious. [90]  The document which was sent to all Ordinaries in the United States reads in part: “Those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination.” [91] Readers will note the words “perverse” and “inclination” (not just acts) and the significant pairing of homosexuality with pederasty. The Holy Office under the indefatigable Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani was certainly on the right track.

Unfortunately, while the 1961 document notes that “the community life and priestly ministry would constitute a ‘grave danger’ or temptation for these people (i.e., homosexuals and pederasts) it does not appear to recognize the ‘grave danger’ that such individuals pose to the priesthood, the religious life and the Catholic faithful including the young, the mentally retarded, and seminary students and other clerical homosexual targets”. [92]

Since this writer has been unable to obtain a copy of the 1961 document from what is now called the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome, it has been necessary to depend on the above CNS report for details on its content. It appears however that the document contained no specific oversight regulations to insure its enforcement and was not well publicized in the Catholic press. Rather, CNS explains, the implementation of the directive was left to the “prudence” of local bishops and heads of religious orders – a combination that has proved to be a prescription for disaster in the modern Church. [93]

Vatican Formulating New Directives

According to the same CNS report, while the Holy See is currently scrambling to get a handle on the immediate issue of sex crimes and maleficence involving clerical pederasts, it is also preparing to issue a reformulated version of the principles enunciated in the 1961 document so that, in the words of CNS, “the message gets through more clearly to local churches”. [94]  Unfortunately, it appears that the only one who can’t seem to ‘get the message,’ given the fact of forty years of non-compliance by the American hierarchy, is the Vatican. In any case, CNS did quote some anonymous Church officials as saying that the new regulations will only pertain to future priests, not those already ordained, and that care will be taken not to offend the ‘delicate sensibilities’ of homosexual candidates to the priesthood by attempting “to impose an arbitrary norm” against them. [95] Translation – the Holy See has no realistic and concrete plans to systematically dismantle the hierarchical, diocesan and religious order homosexual network already in place throughout Catholic dioceses in the United States and around the world. [OLW note: with the depth of the problem shown in the recent USA scandals, such plans will take great effort and some time to come to fruition. This era is similar to that of the Arian heresy in which the majority of the Bishops went against the Faith. This heresy took about 50 years to quell. When the majority of Bishops do not follow Church teachings, then the repair time is long indeed, no matter how holy and good the Pope.]

Timetable for the Paradigm Shift Favoring Homosexual Clergy

Since the Vatican directive was issued in 1961, and given the generous time lapse that normally exists between the time the Vatican learns of a serious problem and decides to act against it, I think that we can safely assume that the traditional Church prohibition against the acceptance and ordination of known homosexuals, was being violated well before the start of the Second Vatican Council. Evidence provided in court transcripts and records of more than 1500 hundred civil and criminal charges of clerical pederasty and illicit adult homosexual activity (i.e. solicitation of male prostitutes) by bishops, priests and religious to date, confirms that evaluation. My own research traces the start of the American Church’s pro-homosexual paradigm shift to the early 1900s, with the breakdown of this specific Church discipline beginning first in religious orders and then filtering down to the secular clergy.

The number of known homosexuals accepted into the seminary and subsequently ordained, as well as the rise of prominent homosexual bishops to the cardinalate, was known to rise significantly under the pontificate of Paul VI and has continued under the reign of Pope John Paul II. [96]

Homosexual Situation Graver than Damian’s Time

In Part I of this article, I indicated some common threads that link the clerical homosexual practices of St. Peter Damian’s day with our own times. Human nature being what it is, I think we can assume that the clerical catemites of homosexual bishops of 11th Century Rome probably enjoyed the same familiar astronomical rise in power and position as those today. And no doubt, Damian was witness to the petty intrigues, spites and jealous rages that are characteristic of sodomical relationships. He may have also been aware of the always-present element of blackmail or potential blackmail attached to any illicit sexual affair, especially one involving sodomy. And as I have already noted, Damian did condemn the practice of homosexual clerics confessing and giving absolution to one another or to their lay partners – a practice widely used today in clerical homosexual circles.

However, homosexuality, as a vice, has not always played itself out in exactly the same manner in different periods of history. There are significant differences between the practice of homosexuality in clerical life in the mid-1000s and today.

For example, while Damian mentions that one active sodomite at a monastery can continue to practice the vice with “eight or even ten equally foul companions,” the monk does not reveal the existence of any large network of sodomites at the monastery or what might be called a homosexual ‘subculture’ in the region or city-states of Italy or other areas of Europe. [97]

That such a vast ‘gay’ network and subculture (actually an anti-culture) exists today among homosexuals in general and clerical homosexuals and pederasts in particular has made the problems associated with a homosexual clergy in the seminary, priesthood and religious life considerably more dangerous and complex than that which confronted Damian and Pope Leo IX in 1049.

The Homosexual Underworld and Overworld in the Catholic Church

The active and flourishing homosexual network in the Church, with tentacles that cross national boundaries and reach into the Vatican itself, can be divided into an active and flourishing homosexual underworld and an ever-expanding overworld that protects and succors the underworld.

Within the Church structure itself, homosexual clerics or religious who prefer young men or even older partners have tended to move into positions in dioceses or religious orders that offer opportunities for acquiring financial resources, power and upward mobility. Many have become rectors at large seminaries or moved into key positions of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference (NCCB / USCC) now known as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) which has always been a major force in the Church’s homosexual network. Clerical homosexuals with a creative bent and penchant for novelty are often attracted to programs of ‘liturgical renewal’ or Church ‘wreckovation’. Homosexuals with pederast inclinations, on the other hand, tend to go ‘where the boys are,’ that is, parish schools and youth centers and institutions such as orphanages and camps run by religious orders.

Oddly enough, the great advances made in electronic communications which have made the worldwide clerical homosexual underworld and overworld possible, has turned out to be a two-edged sword for them.

A common practice in the Church that dates back to the 800s and was probably known but disapproved of by St. Peter Damian, is that of removing clerics found guilty of criminal acts, including sodomy, on the basis of whether or not their offenses were publicly known, or carried out and confessed in secret.

In cases that had become “notorious,” the offending cleric was defrocked and/or handed over to the secular authorities for punishment. If his crime was known only to a few persons such as his confessor or religious superior, the offending cleric was privately reprimanded, served a penance, and then was permitted to continue at his post, or transferred to a similar post in a different diocese. [98]  This practice has been somewhat modified today by using so-called “treatment centers” or homosexual/pederast-friendly dioceses to squirrel away offending clergy until the heat is off. However, as Bernard Cardinal Law and many of his fellow bishops have discovered to their everlasting regret, today’s instant mass communication, electronic tracking systems and access to public and private records of all kinds, is making it much more difficult to hide offending clergy or conceal criminal sexual abuse committed either by hierarchy or by priests and religious under their jurisdiction.

The Shanley Case – A Joint Operation of the Homosexual Underworld and Overworld

The recent widely-publicized case of accused pedophile/pederast/homosexual priest Rev. Paul Shanley of the Boston Archdiocese clearly illustrates not only the existence of an extensive clerical homosexual underworld and overworld in the American Church today, but affords the reader an unusually penetrating glimpse into its joint-operations. The case also reveals many of the darker and more secretive elements of the homosexual underworld including drugs, prostitution, pornography, criminal conspiracy, and blackmail and how these elements eventually filter upwards to the homosexual overworld of Cardinals and bishops.

The first time I saw Shanley’s name in print was in 1982 in Father Rueda’s book, The Homosexual Network, referenced earlier in this article. Rueda provided details of the first conference of the invitation-only North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) held at Boston’s Community Church on December 2, 1978. [99] On its speakers’ list was Father Paul Shanley, Humberto Cardinal Medeiros’ representative for “sexual minorities” to the United States Catholic Conference (USCC) Youth Ministry board. [100]  What “sexual minorities” in general, and pedophiles and pederasts in particular, have to do with Catholic youth ministry is, I believe, an important question, but it is unlikely that Medeiros ever gave it a second thought. Bishops tend not to try and second-guess their own bureaucracy.

Later, in researching The Rite of Sodomy, I discovered other references to Shanley’s multi-faceted sexual proclivities in Daniel Tsang’s The Age Taboo – Gay Male Sexuality, Power and Consent, an apologia for child-youth sex with adults. [101]  Tsang, a gay popular left-wing journalist, reported that in Shanley’s talk at the 1978 NAMBLA organizational meeting, the priest told a story of a boy rejected by family and society, but helped by a boy-lover. According to Shanley, the boy was shattered when the “lover” was arrested, convicted and sent to prison. “The ‘cure’ does much more damage,” he theorized. [102]

It is interesting to note that Shanley never had any difficulty in bridging that mythical gulf that is supposed to exist between pederasty and adult homosexual relations. All pederasts and most homosexuals acknowledge the connection, while most American bishops appear to still be in denial.

For example, in 1998, NAMBLA representative David Thorstad eagerly proclaimed to a standing room only “gay” and lesbian group gathered in Mexico City that: “Pederasty is the main form that male homosexuality has acquired throughout Western civilization Ö” [103] In an April 5, 2002 interview with The Beacon Journal, Neil Conway, a former priest who admits to molesting young boys while in the Church states that he does not consider himself a pedophile. He said he differentiates between people who abuse young children and those who abuse teenagers. He compared this to a preference for “different brands”. [104]

Human sexuality has proven to be somewhat fluid and a sex abuser’s range of victims may vary greatly at different times and under different circumstances in his predatory career. Shanley appears to have the capacity to shift effortlessly between his boy victims, older teens, and adult sex partners.

Shanley Practiced What He Preached

Unfortunately, while NAMBLA membership has always been long on men and short on boys, Father Paul Shanley, throughout his clerical life, has never lacked for vulnerable boys and young men to prey on.

Sometime early in his predatory career, perhaps during his residency at St. John’s Seminary in Boston or shortly after his ordination to the priesthood in 1960, Shanley must have discovered the ecclesiastical goose that laid the golden egg, because for more than thirty years he has been permitted by his superiors to act out with immunity the NAMBLA philosophy he openly preached.

The handsome, charismatic and free-spirited Shanley was initially assigned to St. Patrick’s Church in Stoneham where he teamed up with Father John J. White another gay Boston priest. Together they forged a mutual protection society that would span more than four decades.

Between 1966 and 1967, rumors of Shanley’s predatory appetite for young boys began to make their way to the Chancery office and Richard Cardinal Cushing. A priest from La Salette Shrine reported that Mr. Charm was bringing young boys to his summer cabin in the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton for illicit and criminally prosecutable sex. Shanley was moved to another parish.

In 1970, during the transition period from Cushing to the Portuguese prelate Humberto Cardinal Medeiros, Shanley received permission to launch his own Roxbury Street ministry based at St. Philip’s Church for wayward youth including runaways, drifters and young ‘gays.’ Scattered notations from the young priest’s diaries, found among the 1600 plus pages of court-subpoenaed records from the Boston Archdiocese, indicate that he taught some of his charges how to “shoot up” correctly which meant that Shanley, like many homosexuals, had a working knowledge of illegal drugs. The same source indicated that during this time period he was treated for various venereal diseases that confirmed his sexually active status. In 1971 Shanley was photographed by the Boston Globe riding a tractor in Weston, Vermont where the newspaper reported he had established a “retreat house” for youth workers on a 95-acre farm. [105]

Cardinal Medeiros was advised that Shanley was “a troubled priest,” a euphanism for a ticking bomb; that Shanley had been charged with sex abuse of minors in 1974; and that the priest was becoming more outspoken in his defense of homosexuality and ‘man/boy love’. Shanley was said to use any opportunity including counseling sessions and the confessional to solicit sex from youth. The Vatican was informed of Shanley’s record of sex abuse and relations with boys and young men. Nevertheless, Shanley continued to serve as the Archdiocese’s “sexual minorities” advocate until the December 1978 NAMBLA fiasco.

Medeiros then transferred the priest to St. Jean’s Parish where Shanley’s sex abuse pattern is alleged to have continued. Later, Shanley was moved to St. John the Evangelist parish where he served as assistant pastor.

Following Cardinal Medeiros’ death in 1983, Bernard Cardinal Law took on the reins of power and Shanley was promoted to the office of pastor of St. John’s. Apparently, Shanley was also working as a chaplain at a mental institution because the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter claims a patient accused Shanley in 1988 of ” ‘coming on to him’ by talking graphically about sado-masochism.” [106]

Finally, in 1989, Shanley was getting too hot to handle in Boston and had to be shipped out-of-state.

Cardinal Law sent him off to the Diocese of San Bernardino, California as a priest “in good standing”. Officially, Shanley was on “sick leave for allergies.” The Rev. White followed Shanley out to California and the enterprising duo set up a type of bed and breakfast house in Palm Beach that catered to a ‘gay’ clientele. As was the case with young boys, lack of money never seemed to be a problem for Shanley.

In October of 1993, the Diocese of San Bernardino got wind of, to use Cardinal Law’s exact words, Shanley’s “impressive record” and quickly yanked him from his post at St. Anne’s Parish. Shanley headed back East and did what any red-blooded active pedophile / pederast / homosexual cleric would do under the circumstances – he entered a “treatment center,” – the Institute of Living in Hartford, CT – for an all- expense R&R compliments of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Sometime during this time period, Shanley had the uncanny good fortune to link up with his old friend and fellow pederast, Dr. Frank Pilecki, who had resigned from Westfield State College in Barre, Massachusetts, after he was indicted (but not convicted) of homosexual misconduct with students. [107]  Pilecki had been hired in 1987 by the Archdiocese of New York to work at the Leo House, a Catholic outreach center and travel hostel always teeming with young students, operated for the Archdiocese by Catholic Charities. Pilecki’s job connection to Leo House was reported to have been another member of the Catholic pederast network, Father Bruce Ritter of Covenant House.

Pilecki convinced Shanley to take a job as a minister at Leo House where the aging “street priest” took up a residency with an openly gay roommate.

Unfortunately for Shanley and his new protector, Cardinal Law, one of the priest’s former victims had traced him to the Leo House and began a series of calls to the nuns in charge of the lodging. Finally in 1995, one of the Leo House nuns contacted John Cardinal O’Connor and asked if the accusations against Shanley were true. She never got a formal reply from O’Connor, but Fr. Brian Flatly, an assistant to Cardinal Law, contacted the nun to allay her fears.

Now the Archdiocese of Boston finally leapt into action … no NOT against Shanley! Rather it attempted to contact the ‘snitch’ and see if they could reach a financial settlement. In the meantime, the Archdiocese continued to pay Shanley’s mounting medical bills and in 1996 on the occasion of Shanley’s 65th birthday, Law awarded him a “senior priest” status that meant an increase in pay and benefits.

In 1997, Law, upon learning that the position of Executive Director for Leo House was vacant, informed O’Connor that he would not stand in the way of Father Shanley taking the job, but the New York Cardinal is reported to have turned down Law’s proposition. Eventually Shanley found his way back to California where he remained until May 2, 2002 when his luck ran out. California law enforcement officers in San Diego arrested him. He was extradited to Massachusetts where he was arraigned at the Newton District Court in Cambridge, and is currently awaiting trial. It has been reported that Shanley will plead innocent to charges of repeated sodomical rape of a young boy and that his defense lawyers may argue that Shanley was a homosexual with no history of sexual activity with pre-pubescent children.

The Overworld that Protects Shanley

As the Shanley case demonstrates so well, the Archdiocese of Boston, like every large diocese in the nation, has a flourishing Catholic pederast/homosexual underworld – Shanley knew Pilecki who knew Ritter who knew Ö. and so it goes.

But, more importantly, the Shanley case has an active clerical and lay overworld consisting of Cardinals, bishops, priests, lay bureaucrats and attorneys and an infinite number of other Catholics who protect the underworld either by their silence or by their overt approval. Shanley went through three Cardinals –

  • Richard Cardinal Cushing (1944-1970)
  • Humberto Cardinal Medeiros (1970-1983)
  • Bernard Cardinal Law (1983 -?)

All three protected Shanley. Why? When all is said and done, the answer probably boils down to blackmail. Shanley knew too much about too many – and like many clerical homosexuals was clever enough to have kept good records as a form of “insurance” against the day he would run into trouble with either the Church or secular law enforcement agencies. Shanley has accused Cushing of abusing him when he was a seminarian at Boston’s St. John Seminary. Medeiros played a major cover-up role in the case of Father James Porter. And, as the record clearly shows, Law has not been out of Shanley’s grip since they took over the Boston Archdiocese – for reasons yet to be revealed. [108]

Shanley also went through a host of Boston auxiliary bishops. Those now living include:

  • Bishop John B. McCormack, now bishop of Manchester, NH
  • Bishop Robert J. Banks, now bishop of Green Bay, WI
  • Thomas V. Daily, former bishop of Palm Beach, now bishop of Brooklyn, NY
  • Bishop Alfred C. Hughes, now bishop of New Orleans
  • Bishop William F. Murphy, now bishop of Rockville Centre, Long Island, NY

Banks, consecrated by Law in 1985, served as his vicar for administration, and helped stash Shanley safely away in the diocese of San Bernardino. According to San Bernardino Church officials Banks wrote them a letter in 1990 in which he “assured our diocese that Father Shanley had no problems that would be of concern” to the diocese. [109]

McCormack, the former Chairman (and still member) of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse is reported to have been working with Shanley to develop a “safe house” system for clerical pederasts on the lamb. As Law’s secretary of ministerial personnel for the Boston Archdiocese from 1984 to 1994 he was charged with handling numerous sexual abuse complaints against Archdiocesan priests. McCormack has been named in a recent clergy abuse lawsuit involving the late Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham of Boston.

Defendants charge that McCormack, a seminary classmate of Birmingham who served in a parish with him in Salem, saw the priest take boys to his room in the 1960s and did nothing to stop it. [110]

Daily, consecrated by Medeiros in 1975, is reported to have played an important role in the cover-up involving convicted pederast Father John J. Geoghan of Boston and as chancellor and vicar general under Medeiros would have been an insider in the Shanley Case. In an excellent New York Times article titled “Cardinal’s ex-aides touched by scandal,” reporters Pam Belluck, Fox Butterfield and Sara Rimer stated that in 1982, Daily permitted Geoghan to go on a planned two-month sabbatical to Italy after he had promised the family of seven, yes, that is seven abused sons that he (Daily) would “act responsibly”. [111]

In 1984, Daily was made the first bishop of the unfortunate diocese of Palm Beach, FL. After Daily left for Brooklyn, his office was filled by Bishop Joseph K. Symons, who resigned in disgrace in 1999 following charges of homosexual misconduct involving altar boys.

Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell, who was consecrated by Pio Laghi, Apostolic Delegate to the United States in 1988, followed Symons. O’Connell resigned on March 8, 2002 when it was revealed that he had a long-standing homosexual relationship with a 14-year-old seminarian at St. Thomas Aquinas in Hannibal, MO where O’Connell served as rector for almost 25 years. That relationship was said to continue into the young man’s adulthood. Two other men have recently filed similar charges against O’Connell. [112]  The diocese is currently under the charge of a Vatican-appointed Apostolic Administrator.

The roles played in the Shanley case by Hughes, who was consecrated by Medeiros in 1981 and Murphy, a Law man, are yet to be determined and recorded in up-coming court depositions.

[Note: The only Boston auxiliary to have voiced an objection to Geoghan’s “history of homosexual activity with young boys,” with Cardinal Law in 1984 was Bishop John M. D’Arcy of the diocese of Fort Wayne/ South Bend, IN.]

Finally, Shanley went through hundreds if not thousands of Church bureaucrats, pastors, news reporters, law officers, social service personnel and other lay people in his forty-year plus sexual career which includes at least a half-dozen different Catholic parishes and dioceses.

Altogether, it is an amazing story, all the more so, when one considers that the Rev. Paul Shanley represents only one priest in Am-Church’s vast homosexual underworld-overworld network.

Many Questions to be Asked, Many Issues to be Addressed

While the American hierarchy continues to blithely tip-toe over the dead bodies of hundreds of homosexual priests who have died of AIDS or priests who have committed suicide rather than face sex abuse charges, and while reports of criminal assaults by pederast/ homosexual priests and religious continue to mount – one more bizarre than the other – there are many questions to be asked and clarifications to be made concerning the current crisis in the American Church. Since I suspect that most of these issues will not have been discussed much less resolved at the bishops’ June semi-annual meeting in Dallas, permit me to highlight two that I consider to be of extreme importance.

Sex Abuse of Minors Only?

Readers who have followed Am-Church’s attempts at “managing” its clerical sex abuse crisis over the years including its presentation at the Rome meeting with the Holy Father on April 24-25, 2002 will immediately recognize the phrase, “clerical sex abuse of children,” or “the sex abuse of minors”?

But what about cases of clerical sexual abuse that involve other vulnerable groups such as the mentally or physically handicapped and dependent adult? What about clerical abuse cases involving seminarians or novices? Should not these cases be promptly reported to both Church and law enforcement officers? Should not these clerics, be they Cardinals, bishops or priests or religious, be brought to justice and if found guilty, deposed and handed over to the civil courts for punishment? The question is not merely an academic one.

On March 24, 2002, LA Times reporter Glenn F. Bunting filed a story titled “Cloak of Silence Covered Abuse at Jesuit Retreat,” based on a little-publicized sex abuse case involving two mentally retarded men, known as “John Doe” and “James Doe” employed as dishwashers at the Los Gatos Jesuit Center (Sacred Heart). [113]

“John,” a polio victim and foster care child came to the Jesuit retreat house in 1969 at the age of twenty-four. “James,” an orphan adopted by parents who later divorced, was only nineteen when he came to the center. Both men were mentally retarded. Both were considered to be “charity” cases. According to Bunting, reports show that their starting salary of $150.00 a month gradually rose to $1000 a month from which the Jesuits extracted money for room and board – their rooms located away from the Jesuit residence on the second floor of a storage facility.

Like the infamous case of the Christian Brothers at Mount Cashel in Newfoundland, the whistleblowers in this case turned out to be two extraordinarily ordinary and decent women. [114]  It was May of 1995 when John’s financial advisor overheard rumors from the kitchen staff that he was being sexually molested by Brother “Charlie” Leonard Connor. She knew that the Jesuit had taken John on trips and spent a great deal of time alone with him. After John confirmed that the rumors were true, she reported Connor to Father Greg Aherne, the Jesuit superior at Sacred Heart.

Although he initially denied the charge, Connor later told his superior that he may have “inappropriately” touched John while giving him a “massage” to ease his back pains – a practice, he said, that went back ten years, to 1985. Aherne warned Connor to halt all contact with John and James and filed a report with Father John Privett, the California provincial who was residing at the retreat center. [115]

Father Privett, readers may recall, was the same layback provincial who ignored complaints of continuous homosexual harassment and solicitation by a dozen priests at the Order’s Berkeley seminary by John Bollard, who later filed a lawsuit against the California Province. [116]

Need I say that neither Aherne nor Privett ever reported the sex abuse of the two dependent males to the local law enforcement officers? The abuse continued.

Two years later, in October 1997 another woman, this time a friend of James contacted the Sheriff’s office and reported that James told her that Connor was fondling him. This report unfortunately came to nothing, as both James and John, who had been repeatedly warned by Connor not to talk about the abuse to anyone, denied the charges in the presence of two uniformed deputies and the case was dropped.

By the spring of 2002 however, the Sheriff’s office had obtained sufficient evidence against Connor and once again returned to Sacred Heart to discuss the allegations with still another Jesuit superior – Father Richard Cobb. Cobb then discussed the fate of “Charlie” with other Jesuit superiors and decided to send the wayward Jesuit off to the Order’s Bellarmine Preparatory High, an all-boys school in San Jose. Cobb ‘forgot’ to mention the reason for the transfer to school officials. But the police had not forgotten “Charlie”.

Using evidence obtained after a search warrant of Sacred Heart, Connor was eventually arrested on January 17, 2001, pleaded no contest to one count felony of committing a lewd act on a dependent adult, underwent a six-month monitoring term, was ordered to register as a lifetime offender and forbidden from having any contact with mentally disabled adults or minors. Time served in jail? Zero..

That same evidence also proved that Connor was not the only sex abuser living at the retreat house. Father Edward Thomas Burke, the librarian at Sacred Heart also had been sexually molesting James. As with Connor, Cobb had known of the sexual contact but had failed to report it to the authorities. Instead Cobb drove Burke to the Jesuit community at Santa Clara University where, according to Bunting, he remains today. Time served in jail? Zero.

On June 19, 2001, attorneys representing John Doe and James Doe filed a $10 million civil suit (a criminal complaint against Burke is on hold) on behalf of the two men, charging four Jesuits, including Connor and Burke, of subjecting James and John to repeated acts of sodomy, molestation and false imprisonment beginning within a year after their arrival at Sacred Heart, that is, 1970-71. [117]

How many registered sex offenders can one retreat house hold? Well, in addition to Connor, the San Jose lawyers representing James and John discovered there were at least three others staying on and off at Sacred Heart – Brother John Rodrigues Moniz, Father Angel Mariano, and Father James Thomas Monaghan – all convicted of felony sex crimes with minors. [118]

However the real “kicker” to this case is the statement made by the attorney for the California Province as to why no incidence of sex abuse was ever reported to the proper authorities. According to Paul E. Gaspari, the Jesuits’ attorney, the Order had no obligation under California law to disclose the information. “We are not mandated reporters because these two individuals are not minors.” (emphasis added) [119]

The issue of sex abuse of the mentally or physically handicapped and other adult dependents along with the sexual exploitation and criminal assault of seminarians (generally young adults) is a canonical loophole that the Vatican needs to close with more exact language and stiffer penalties, and an issue the American bishops need to hammer out, hopefully sooner than later.

From Whom Do the Bishops Get Their Advice?

I ask this question because from the very moment the issue of sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests and religious was secretly raised in the mid-1960s with the James Porter Case in Boston, and later publicly raised in the mid-1980s with the infamous Gauthe case in Lafayette, Louisiana, the American bishops appear to have been ill, if not criminally, advised on the matter. [120]

As a collective, the bishops have followed a systematic pattern of elaborate cover-ups that has included the ‘transfer’ of offending clerics to other parishes, dioceses, countries or ‘treatment’ centers; the obstruction of justice, the intimidation of victims and their families and the ‘disappearance’ of incriminating files and documents.

Since 1966, one of the major sources of this morally indefensible legal advice and disastrous public relations strategies has been the bishops’ own national bureaucracy – the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference (NCCB / USCC), recently reorganized and renamed the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Earlier I stated that the NCCB / USCC, now the USCCB, has been a major player in pro-homosexual politics. If there is any bishop who wishes to take exception to this statement, I advise him first to read an article posted on the USCCB’s website titled “Priest Pedophiles,” written by Melvin C. Blanchette, S.S. and Gerald D. Coleman, SS. The article also reflects the type of pro-homosexual propaganda found in our seminaries today as Blanchette is the director of the Vatican II Institute at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, CA and Coleman is the president/rector of the seminary – a hotbed of homosexuality. [121]

The article states that there are five basic sexual orientations – heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and “fixated” pedophilia (preference for children from 1-13) and “fixated” ephebophilia (preference for children 14-17). To state that the biological norm of heterosexuality is merely an “orientation” is skewed enough but to give equal weight to sexual perversions including homosexuality is even worse.

According to Blanchette and Coleman, “Ö the pedophile and ephebophile have no capacity for authentic heterosexual or homosexual relationships.” (emphasis added) Again we see the favorable pairing of heterosexuality with homosexuality. And what pray tell is an “authentic homosexual relationship?” They talk about the “recurrent, intense” sexual urges of the pedophile and ephebophiles but not about the “recurrent, intense” unnatural passions of the homosexual for another adult male.

The authors are in favor of seminaries screening out actual or potential “fixated” pedophiles and ephebophile but make no reference to the vetting out of homosexuals as candidates to the priesthood. They also favor, not surprisingly, more sexual formation programs for seminarians.

The Blanchette-Coleman article serves to reinforce the charge that the bishops’ Washington, D.C. bureaucracy has played a major role in fostering the clerical homosexual underworld and overworld.

After all, it was the NCCB / USCC legal apparatus and media – public relations department that, early in the game, identified “the problem” as “pedophilia” rather than homosexuality in all its forms, as the root cause of clerical sex abuse.

And for seventeen plus years, the hapless American hierarchy has followed the NCCB/USCC party line. Only recently has the hierarchy been forced to admit that good old-fashioned pederasty, the oldest and most pervasive form of homosexuality known to man, has been “the problem” all along.

In their Final CommuniquÈ from Rome on April 24, 2002, the American Cardinals confessed:

“3) Even if the cases of true pedophilia on the part of priests and religious are few, all the participants recognize the gravity of the problem. In the meeting, the quantitative terms of the problem were discussed, since the statistics are not very clear in this regard. Attention was drawn to the fact that almost all cases involved adolescents and therefore, were not cases of true pedophilia.” (emphasis added) [122]

Final Thoughts on the Extraordinary Rome Meeting

Although I was not in Rome to cover the April 23-24, 2002 meeting, CFN editor John Vennari was good enough to send me a tape of the final press conference which served to summarize the conclusions reached by the American Cardinals with Pope John Paul II and Curia members on the subject of clerical sex abuse.

I listened to the tape once but could not bear a second hearing. It was simply too painful.

Once again, the most appalling aspect of the press conference was the total lack of genuine outrage that God’s law had been grievously offended and abominable acts perpetrated on youth by men, who as priests and religious act in the persona of Christ.

As I listened to the drone of Cardinal McCarrick’s and Cardinal Stafford’s voices, and the former’s attempt at some sick humor at the expense of the Pope, I thought back to my first reading of Michael Harris’s Unholy Orders – Tragedy at Mount Cashel, more than ten years ago. There was one particularly horrific incident that has never left my mind. It involved a young boy named Malcolm, who within a week of having arrived at the orphanage in October 1975 was taken for a “ride” by the sadistic pederast, Brother Edward English. According to Harris, when English got into his car at the church parking lot where he had picked up sacred hosts, the Christian Brother gave Malcolm a piece of the “holy bread” and then began to masturbate the frightened boy and finally tried to force Malcolm to fellate him. [123]  When I read this I literally convulsed with tears and could not control myself. I did not sleep for several nights. That incident will forever be imprinted on my memory and not a day goes by without my praying for Malcolm and the many victims of Mt. Cashel.

Yet as I listened to the Cardinals speak, I could not sense anything that resembled genuine tears of compunction or the necessity of sack cloth and ashes as means of atonement for the harm done to God, to His Church and to the victims of clerical abuse and their families. As for the claim that the American bishops would never do anything to harm children, I think upon the millions of Catholic children in the United States who have been subject to more than thirty years of premature sexual seduction and spiritual and mental rape in the Catholic classroom via so-called “sex education”. By casting children as “sexual beings” the bishops have primed Catholic youth for NAMBLA’s “sexual tutors”. It is no coincidence that the rise in clerical sexual abuse has paralleled the removal of traditional doctrinal catechetics from Catholic parishes and schools, and the substitution of absolutely demonic “sexual catechetics”.

In the end, what specifically was accomplished at the Rome meeting?

Other than offering the media a change of scenery, very little. Unfortunately, it could not have been otherwise.

First, because the present American hierarchy as a whole is totally incapable of initiating any type of authentic reform in or of itself whether it be at the moral level or in matters of faith and doctrine. The corruption just goes too deep. Besides as St. Peter Damian clearly enunciates in the Book of Gomorrah, true reform in the Church begins at the top – with a strong and independent papacy. Unfortunately, the papacy today is neither strong nor independent and it too shares in the corruption. [OLW note: as mentioned previously, the magnitude of the clergy problem will take some time to clear out, for any Pope or succession of Popes, as it took for the Arian heresy.]

Secondly, because the institutionalization of national episcopal conferences such as the USCCB, mitigates against authentic Church reform of any kind. These self-perpetuating, ever expanding Church bureaucracies interfere with the divinely mandated role of the true Catholic bishop in the transmission of authentic Church teachings in matters of faith and morals to his flock. The Holy See needs to canonically remove these subversive barnacles that have attached themselves to the Bark of Peter.

I believe that the Rome meeting would have been more instructive and profitable had the Holy Father ordered the text of St. Peter Damian’s Book of Gomorrah to be read, word for word, to the American Cardinals and USCCB officers, with copies for distribution to the world press. After all, the American bishops are said to be moving toward a “zero tolerance” policy and who was more zero-tolerant in cases of clerical sexual misconduct than the holy monk?

I know that I might not live to see these moral reforms in the priesthood and religious life come to pass. But I remain as confident as St. Peter Damian was in his time, that God will bring about the conditions necessary for these and all other reforms we need and provide a succession of Popes to carry them out in the great Counter-Reformation that lies ahead for the Church. Until that time comes, may our Lord Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, and all His saints, most especially St. Peter Damian, bless us and keep us strong in the Faith.


For an excellent summary of the life and list of complete writings of St. Peter Damian see the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. Peter Damian,” by Leslie A. St. L. Toke (transcribed by Joseph C. Meyer) at: and Catholic Online Saints, “St. Peter Damian,” at: damian.html. Also, see Owen J. Blum, O.F.M., St. Peter Damian: His Teaching on the Spiritual Life – A Dissertation, Catholic University Press of America, Washington, D. C., 1947. 
This writer has used two translations of Peter Damian’s the Book of Gomorrah. The most accurate is by Owen J. Blum, O.F.M., Peter Damian, Letters 31-60, part of the Fathers of the Church – Medieval Continuation series issued by the Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C., 1990. An earlier translation, Book of Gomorrah – An Eleventh-Century Treatise Against Clerical Homosexual Practices, by Pierre J. Payer, published by Wilfrid Laurier, University Press, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1982, includes some additional interesting notes and commentary on the work. 
See “Heresy” by J. Wilhelm, transcribed by Mary Ann Grelinger on New Advent, Online Catholic Encyclopedia at:
Eyewitness account of an Ash Wednesday service by the author in the Diocese of Greensburg, PA. 
Both Atila Sinke Guimar“es in In the Murky Waters of Vatican II, Volume I, MAETA Press, Meteirie, Louisiana, 1997, pp. 360-361and Father Blum, pp. 28-29 quote from Peter Damian’s the Book of Gomorrah. Other Church Fathers favored defrocking the offending cleric and then turning him over to the State for punishment. 
Blum, pp. 29-30. 
Ibid., p. 15. 
See Payer for a discussion of ecclesiastic responsibility in cases of clerical sexual misbehavior, pp. 29-30. 
Blum, pp. 5-6. 
Ibid., p. 6. 
Ibid., pp. 6-7. Throughout the history of the Church the definition of “sodomy” has varied somewhat especially with regard to the issues of self-abuse, mutual masturbation by use of hands and bestiality. However, it has always included anal penetration, usually of another male, although in some cases of a female. St. Peter Damian makes no reference to fellatio either as a form of masturbation or as a homosexual practice. 
Ibid., p. 8. 
Ibid., p. 8. 
Ibid., pp. 8-9. 
Ibid., pp. 10-11. 
Ibid., pp. 12-13. 
Ibid., pp. 12-14. 
Ibid., p. 15. 
Ibid., p. 15. 
Ibid., p. 15. 
Ibid., p. 16. 
Ibid., p. 16. 
Randy Engel, Sex Education the Final Plague, second printing, Tan Publishers, Rockford, IL, 1993, p. 158. 
Ordinations of U.S.Catholic Bishops 1790-1989, Charles N. Bransom, Jr., NCCB/USCC publishers, Washington, D.C., 1990, p. 185. 
Thomas A. Droleskey, “More Witnesses Emerge in Bishop Ryan Case,” The Wanderer, February 5, 1998. Author used the non-paged electronic version of the article. 
“An Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops,” Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, published by Roman Catholic Faithful, Springfield, IL, Winter 2001/2002, p. 19. 
RCF Newsletter, Winter 2001/ 2002, p. 19. 
Bransom, Jr., p. 205. 
RCF Newsletter, p. 19. 
Bishop J. Keith Symons of Palm Beach resigned in June of 1998 after accusations of pederasty were made public. Like Ryan, Symons has been making clerical retreats for clergy around the United States. Bishop Patrick Ziemann was sexually involved with a priest whom the bishop allegedly blackmailed for sexual favors that included sodomy. Ziemann, consecrated by Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, resigned as the Bishop of Santa Rosa, CA, in July of 1999. According to RCF, he too has been giving retreats, his at the Holy Trinity Monastery where he resides as well as a parish in Sierra Vista. See RCF Newsletter, Winter 2001/2002, pp. 12-14. Please note that I did not include on my list the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago or Bishop Joseph Ferrario of Hawaii. These cases require extensive treatment which I will give them in my upcoming book The Rite of Sodomy
Blum, p. 16. 
Ibid., p. 17. 
Ibid., p. 17. 
Ibid., pp. 17-18. 
Ibid., pp. 20-27. 
Ibid., p. 27. 
Ibid., p. 28. 
Ibid., p. 38. 
Ibid., p. 38. 
Ibid., p. 42. 
Ibid., p. 35. 
Ibid., pp. 30-32. Here the term “vice” (Lat. Vitium) is used in its traditional sense as a habit inclining one to sin. This vicious habit or vice, which according to St. Thomas Aquinas, stands between power and act, is the product of repeated sinful acts of a given kind and when formed is in some sense also their cause. While St. Thomas Aquinas holds that, absolutely speaking, the sin surpasses the vice in wickedness, he also states while the sin may be removed by God the vice or vicious habit may remain. One conquers vice by the continuous practice of all virtues, but particularly that virtue to which it is opposed. In the case of the vice of sodomy that particular virtue is chastity. See 
Ibid., p. 44. 
Ibid., pp.44-45. 
Ibid., pp. 47-49. 
Ibid., p. 49. 
Ibid., p. 50. 
Ibid., p. 52. 
Ibid., p. 53. 
Ibid., p. 53
For an excellent and extensive biography of St. Leo IX from which this short profile was taken see the New Advent electronic Catholic encyclopedia at The biography was written by Horace K. Mann, and transcribed by W. G. Kofron.
For a biography of Damasus II see cathen/04614a.htm and for Benedict IX see cathen/02429a.htm. According to the New Advent biography by Horace K. Mann (transcribed by Kryspin J. Turczynski), Abbot Luke of the Abbey of Grottaferrata reports that St. Bartholomew convinced Benedict to definitely resign the pontificate. Benedict died in penitence at Grottaferrata.
For an excellent biography of Pope Gregory VII see Thomas Oestreich (transcribed by Janet van Heyst) at cathen/06791c.htm.
Mann, p. 1.
Ibid., pp. 1-2.
Owen P. Blum, O.F.M., Peter Damian, Letters 31-60, part of the Fathers of the Church – Mediaeval Continuation series issued by the Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C., 1990, p. 3.
Ibid., pp. 3-4.
I.E. solitary masturbation, mutual masturbation, and interfemoral (between the thighs) and anal coitus.
Owen P. Blum, O.F.M., Peter Damian, Letters 31-60, part of the Fathers of the Church – Mediaeval Continuation series issued by the Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C., 1990, p. 4.
Ibid., p. 4.
Ibid., p. 5.
Ibid., p. 5.
Ibid., p. 5.
Ibid., p. 5.
Ibid., p. 4.
Ibid., p. 7.
Ibid., p. 5.
See the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. Peter Damian,” by Leslie A. St. L.Toke (transcribed by Joseph C. Meyer) pp. 1-2. at
Pierre J. Payer, Book of Gomorrah – An Eleventh-Century Treatise Against Clerical Homosexual Practices, Wilfrid Laurier, University Press, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1982, p. 21.
Toke, p. 1.
Toke, p. 2.
See for the full text of the Radcliffe letter. Also, The new Dominican Master general is the Very Rev. Carlos Azpiroz, OP, from Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Radcliffe, p. 6.
Donald Goergen, The Sexual Celibate, Seabury Press, (Crossroad), NY, 1974.
Ibid., pp. 81. 82-83, 85, 101, 127, 195, 203.
Enrigue Rueda, The Homosexual Network, Devin Adair Co., Old Greenwich, CT, 1982, pp. 334, 346, 556.
Letter from Communication to Rev. Donald J. Goergen, OP and Dominican fathers and brothers at River Forest, dated March 25, 1988.
Author’s interviews and notes with Dominican fathers, 1987-1989.
See Donna Steichen, Ungodly Rage – The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1992, pp. 219-241. Also Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ – The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, Harper and Row, NY, 1988, pp. 177-180.
Steichen, p. 238. Note: After his dismissal from the Dominican Order, Fox was received as an Episcopal priest by Bishop William Swing of the Diocese of California.
Radcliffe, p. 8. Also compare Goergen’s statement with Father Fox’s almost identical listing in The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 44-47. For a favorable book review of Radcliffe’s book, Sing a New Song, see
Ibid., p. 11.
Ibid., p. 12.
Ibid., p. 12.
Electronic version of the Acts of the General Chapter of Diffinitors of the Order of Friars Preachers, July 17-August 8, 1995 at Caleruega, p. 42.
Radcliffe, p. 12.
John Rivera, “Future priests vow to make a difference,” The Sun, April 28, 2002, pp. 1A, 5A.
Mike Joseph, “Local bishop outlines sexual-abuse policy,” Centre Daily Times, posted May 7, 2002 at wysiwyg://101/http://www.
Catholic News Service, “Vatican to Enforce 1961 Document Banning Homosexual Priests and Religious – Implementation Previously Left to Local Bishops,” March 28, 2002, pp.1-2.
Ibid., p. 2.
Ibid., p. 1.
See Garry Wills, Papal Sin – Structures of Deceit, Simon & Schuster, NY, 2000 in which Wills is quoted as saying that, “many observers suspect that John Paul’s real legacy to his Church is a gay priesthood.” From “Challenging The Church,” a Washington Post book review by Tad Szulc, June 4, 2000, Book World section, p. X01.
Blum, pp. 7-8.
See Payer, p. 17.
Rueda, pp. 296. Note: Cardinal Medeiros removed Shanley from his “job” soon after the NAMBLA conference, but did not take steps to depose the priest. Rueda also listed Shanley as a scheduled speaker at Dignity’s 1981 convention on the topic “Ecumenism on the Gay Community.” Dignity promotes itself as a “Catholic” pro-homosexual organization.
Paul Likoudis, “Sex Abuse Scandal Ö Shifts to Larger Issues of Homosexual Clergy,” The Wanderer, May 2, 2002, pp., 1, 8.
Daniel Tsang, The Age Taboo – Gay Male Sexuality, Power and Consent, Alyson Pub., Boston, Ga Men’s press, London, 1981.
Ibid., p. 38-39.
See (link no longer working), 8/13/99, David Thorstad, “Pederasty and Homosexuality,” speech to an audience of over 600 at the Sema Cultural Lesbica-Gay in Mexico City on June 26, 1998. 
Stephanie Warsmith, “Former priest explains past,” The Beacon Journal, posted online April 5, 2002.
“DEFIANT LETTERS A humbling exit from spotlight,” by Michael Rezendes and Sacha Pfeiffer, Boston Globe Staff, 4/9/2002.
Paul Srubas, “Bishop: ‘We’ve got an ulcer,'” Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter online, posted April 12, 2002
Kris Hundley, “The Question Nobody Wants to Answer Why was $15,794 withdrawn from the Pilecki Scholarship Fund on June 30, 1985?” originally published on June 30, 1986 in the Valley Advocate.
Likoudis, pp. 1, 8. Note: To date there have been two charges of sexual misconduct against Medeiros but these charges have not been well substantiated and may be simply false.
“Letter cleared Shanley transfer,” Boston Associated Press release, April 8, 2002.
Matt Carroll, “Law is new defendant in clergy abuse suit,” Boston Globe online, April 5, 2002.
Pam Belluck, Fox Butterfield and Sara Rimer, “Cardinal’s ex-aides touched by scandal,” New York Times, appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 18, 2002, p. A-11.
Stephen Kurkjian, “Worker’s warning on priest led to her firing,” Boston Globe online, April 5, 2002.
Glenn F. Bunting, “Cloak of Silence Covered Abuse at Jesuit Retreat” LA Times, March 24, 2002.
See Michael Harris, Unholy Orders – Tragedy at Mount Cashel, Viking Press, Ontario, 1990.
See Bollard v California Province of the Society of Jesus, Ninth Circuit, 5/5/00; 211 F3d 1331.
Jack Sullivan, “Records: Vatican knew of scandal cover-up in 1973,” Boston, May 16, 2002.
Melvin C. Blanchette and Gerald D. Coleman, “Priest Pedophiles,” reprinted from America, April 25, 2002.
Final CommuniquÈ of the Extraordinary Meeting Between Cardinals of the United States and the Leadership of the United States, Vatican, April 23-24, 2002.
Harris, p. 317.