The media and the Catholic world have exploded at the possibility that any official body of the Catholic Church could even suggest that there could be acceptance of homosexuality as a “sexual orientation” – one legitimate lifestyle choice among many – coming out of the Vatican. Of course, there is no reason at all to be shocked. The signs were clear for months leading up to the Synod, with non-stop chatter about what we could probably expect, given the kind of people who have been given charge of the affair.
Still, I admit it is a bit of a slap in the face to actually witness it unfolding before our eyes. Shock, perhaps then, to really see it in real-time. But surprise? No. Not even a little.
Really, how long have we been hearing warnings that the Church, from top to bottom, has been infiltrated by a group of people with a set purpose to undermine or even completely abolish the teachings on sexual morality? Did it start in February when Cardinal Kasper gave his show-stopping address to the consistory? Hardly.
This is a video taken in 1986 of a homily given by a Dominican priest named Fr. John O’Connor. In it, he details the work, instigated by Freemasons and Communists in the Church, to use homosexuals to “infiltrate” throughout the institution of the Catholic Church in order to weaken her political and social influence in the world.
“…Their whole purpose… they know they’re not going to get the pope to come out and approve of sodomy. But they think that by infiltrating the Church they can neutralize the Church’s teaching. Just as the Modernists did with the Pill. You ask most Catholics today, “What’s the Church’s teaching on contraception?” Well, they’re really not sure, it’s been so compromised by the Modernists.
“Well, this is what the homos want here in America. They want to be accepted. They want their lifestyle accepted as a normal, ordinary, every-day alternate lifestyle. They know the only way they can achieve that goal is by infiltrating the Catholic Church which is the greatest obstacle to their acceptance.”
Father O’Connor noted that the book, “Rite of Sodomy” by the Catholic researcher Randy Engel, said the religious orders were all being “inundated” by homosexuals. He related the story of his own seminary days in the 1950s, when he was warned of this by his own religious superior, who said he had written to his own superiors to ask what to do, but said by that time it was too late, his letters were never answered. “I’m afraid that we had been so taken over by Communists at this time, they rejoiced to have us infiltrated by homosexuals.”
The recording was made in 1986, and at that time, Fr. O’Connor said that in his own religious order in the US, the Dominicans, “It’s so bad today that a good boy can’t even get in my province. I’ve talked to some of the finest young men I’ve ever met, who were turned away from our novitiate. They wouldn’t let them in. No, to become a Dominican in the central part of America today, you’ve got to be effeminate. Or at least, you’ve got to approve of homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle.”
Freemasons? Communists? To most North American Catholic ears (though less so in Europe) these names will send up everyone’s Crazy Conspiracy Theory flags. No one really believes in that stuff, right? I mean, it’s like believing in abduction by space aliens. Indeed, Fr. O’Connor, along with anyone else who dared to speak the unspeakable truths, was utterly ruined in the Church by his courage to say this out loud. He died in 2006, but is remembered as one of the very early, and most furiously crucified, of the whistleblowers who fell afoul of the notorious Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Archbishop of Chicago and American kingmaker of the “lavender mafia”.
But which part of the outcome Fr. O’Connor predicted has not come exactly and precisely true? Have we not had a global crisis in homosexual priests abusing boys and young men? Have we not seen in the secular world a global sweep of acceptance of homosexuality in western societies? And have we not seen that secular acceptance rapidly morphing into a decidedly intolerant and grim-faced determination to use the law to force us Christians to go along with it?
Do we now not talk freely in the Church of “pink palaces,” seminaries where homosexuality is openly tolerated, or even encouraged, and traditional Catholic teaching and devotion discouraged? Do we not hear regularly about the “lavender mafia” having unprecedented influence and power in Church structures?
But I think anyone who is still wondering might have got a jolt this week with the wording of the Relatio. After watching Fr. O’Connor’s homily above, it is hard to get past Paragraph 50 without sitting up and paying closer attention.
“Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”
With the pandemonium this was certain to cause, the bishop who is reported to have written this entry – rumour has it on his own cognizance – is remarkably sanguine when confronted.
Michael Voris of Church Militant TV attended the press conference yesterday afternoon that followed the release of the Relatio, and asked Archbishop Bruno Forte if the “Synod is proposing that there is something innate in the homosexual orientation that transcends and uplifts the Catholic Church, the Christian community? And if so, what would those particular gifts be?”
Archbishop Forte replied, “It is not easy to answer such an ontological question.” […Suave chuckle…]
“I guess that what I want to express is that we must respect the dignity of every person. And in fact, to be homosexual doesn’t mean that this dignity must be not recognised and promoted. So then fundamental idea is the centrality of the person, independently of the different sexual orientations. I think that it is the most important point, and also the attitude of the Church, to welcome persons who have a homosexual orientation, it’s based on the dignity of the person.”
Did you catch that? He didn’t answer the question. But the question is at the very heart of the issue, the uproar: Is homosexuality itself, not the person but the inclination described in the catechism (and until recently by the rest of the world) as a disorder, now a source of some kind of spiritual or social value that the Church must recognise and accept? The Relatio paragraph said quite specifically that we are not talking about valuing the person, but the “sexual orientation” itself. (And who could ever have imagined that a Vatican document, say in the ancient history of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, would have used the homosexualist propaganda term as though it were a legitimate description of anything?)
It is perhaps notable that Archbishop Forte, appointed “Special Secretary” of the Synod by Pope Francis, is no wacky, “progressivist” outlier denying the divinity of Christ or the doctrine of Transubstantiation. He was consecrated as a bishop by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2004, and is known as the “most famous” theologian in Italy, though of a decidedly “liberal” position. He was once thought to be a contender for the position of Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in the early part of the pontificate of Benedict XVI. He is, in short, the living embodiment of the mainstream of the Catholic Church hierarchy.
Debacle is probably not too strong a word, even for bishops who are reportedly increasingly furious and even horrified over how it is all being carefully orchestrated – “manipulated”. Today the Italian press is leading with comments reported by La Repubblica they claim come from Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - an office that used to hold quite a bit of weight in the Vatican machinery - who is quoted calling it “undignified, shameful” and “completely wrong.”
Cardinal Burke has told Il Foglio (relayed through the Tablet – of all places!), “It seems as if something is not working if the information is manipulated so as to give just one view instead of the various positions stated.”
As of today, the reports say that more bishops are cardinals are speaking up in the Aula against the direction things are taking, including some of the Church’s heaviest hitters: Müller, Burke, George Pell; the Canadian head of the Congregation for Bishops, Marc Ouellet; the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan and reported runner-up for the papacy, Angelo Scola; Paris archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois; Bologna archbishop Carlo Caffara; New York’s Timothy Dolan; Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Fernando Filoni, and Stanisław Ryłko, the Polish president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
One of the few Synod bishops who is speaking out vociferously and repeatedly in out-of-Synod interviews, is Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, and the Church’s highest-ranking canon lawyer. He told the ultra-liberal Tablet magazine in the UK yesterday that the document is “unacceptable to me in the way it’s presently worded.”
Cardinal Burke added, “First of all we don’t refer to people by their attraction to persons of the same-sex, calling people ‘homosexual persons.’ That’s not their identity.” Cardinal Burke distinguished between genuine pastoral care of people suffering from same-sex attraction, and this document that looks, for all the world to see, like nothing more elevated than the Church pandering to the demands of the LGBTQ lobby.
“It is impossible for the Church to say that homosexual Relations have a positive aspect. How can we attribute a positive aspect to an unchaste act? That has to be clear,” he said.
Cardinal Napier was at pains to describe the Relatio as a mere “working document,” but stop for a moment and try to imagine what would have been the response if such expressions had been published in a document by the highest authorities of the Church, in any form, “working” or otherwise, 50 years ago. Are we really such boiled frogs that we can no longer feel any shock at this?
But if we cannot depend upon the official documents, whether “final” or “working” from a group of 200+ bishops assembled in the hallowed halls of the Vatican itself for an accurate and reliable iteration of the Catholic teaching, then how are we to proceed as Catholics at all?
Few are being as clear and forceful as Cardinal Burke, but there are certainly growing indications that the bishops are very unhappy with the way things are going. I know a lot of people have been calling for prayer for the Synod. But for the first time, that call has taken on more the tone of a desperate plea. Last night, our friends with Voice of the Family had a meeting with Archbishop Zbignev Stankevics, the archbishop of Riga in Latvia, who used the opportunity to make “an urgent call for prayer”. I’d say it’s good advice.