Filthy Hands On The Body Of Christ

It seems not a month goes by that one does not read of some new revelation concerning the conduct of one or another Roman Catholic priest. Recently, the Diocese of Dallas was financially wrecked by the award of $120 million dollars to victims of convicted pedophile priest Rudy Kos. All told, the number of offenses alleged against Kos came to 1350 over an 11 year period.

Shortly after Kos' trial, the Archbishop of San Antonio made a public plea for funds to help the Archdiocese of San Antonio pay penalties and compensation awarded by local courts to the victims of two pedophile priests.

These are not isolated incidents. Within the past 20 months or so, the Diocese of Bridgeport (CT), was successfully sued by two victims of priestly child abuse in separate cases. A New Haven (CT) priest was successfully sued for sexually abusing a child. A diocese in Alabama and another in Springfield, (IL) and individual priests also were taken to court.

Jody Ericson, writing in the April 3, 1998 edition of the Providence Phoenix , reported the likely imminent ouster of long-time Rhode Island bishop Louis Gelineau in the wake of mounting sexual abuse scandals. Ericson reported that "some 40 rape and molestation suits have been filed against 13 priests in Rhode Island."

"Okay," say those inclined to turn a blind eye to such symptoms of depravity in the clergy and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, "there are bound to be a few bad apples who evade the close scrutiny of the the bishops and manage to get through seminary and be ordained to the priesthood. Their corrupt behavior should be viewed as the failings of individual men and not of the Catholic Church as a whole." On the surface, that sounds pretty good. On the surface.

Do officials of the RCC seek to "cover up" the aberrant sexual behavior of its priests? Let us examine the manner in which the various ordinaries are said to have dealt with the allegations and charges laid against priests under their authority. In San Antonio, claims surfaced that the Archdiocese was aware of the vile sexual preferences and behavior of at least one of the convicted priests but that rather than acting to protect children and others of the RCC faithful, simply transferred the offender to another parish.

Defrocked priest Rudy Kos claims he tried for years to tell officials something was wrong with him and that he needed help. He says he was told he was on his own. When he was 16, Kos was sent to a juvenile facility for deviant bevahior. He claims to have seen a number of psychiatrists who either could not or would not help him. He said he entered the priesthood seeking a refuge from homosexual feelings he had been having. Kos blames the RCC hierarchy, which he says betrayed him.

A suit against the Bridgeport (CT) Diocese was allowed to go to jury in spite of the abuse victim's age because there was an issue of fact as to whether the Diocese had fraudulently concealed the cause of the action. The Diocese was also ordered to pay $33,195 in sanctions for withholding evidence. (Martinelli v. Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocese. No. 3:93 CV 1482 (Arterton, J.) U.S.D.C. , New Haven, August 26, 1997

In a recent Alabama case, a woman claimed, in a suit against a priest and the catholic diocese, that her parish priest sexually abused her as a child, and that one of his female followers raped her. The case was dismissed on a technicality involving the statute of limitations. (Alabama, Doe v. Roman Catholic Church , 656 So.2d 5 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1995)

One can only wonder how such monsters can become priests. However, once the pedophiles, fornicators and carousers within the "celibate" priesthood are identified, why does the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church appear to protect them, rather than separate them from the innocents they are charged to shepherd? Why does the RCC hierarchy appear to do nothing, or very little, to help them. Sending a depraved priest on a retreat to the "mother house" of his order, seems hardly enough. Certainly, merely transferring such a person to a different parish does nothing more than expose other innocents to his predatory behavior.

Perhaps one reason is that Catholicism does not require impeccability of its priests. In itself, of course, this is not unusual, for who can live a sin-free life? Certainly not this writer and, as we have seen over the past several years, not some who would preach from a Protestant pulpit. What makes a difference within the RCC is its failure or refusal to adhere to its own doctrine and laws. Scripture is quite clear as to God's opinion of those who willingly participate in deviant sexual behavior:

Leviticus 18:22, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

Leviticus 20:13, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

There may be those who would argue that priestly pedophilia is not quite the same thing as homosexuality. I would agree. It is worse. In any case, the Lord God Almighty admits to no weaseling:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

The Lord has provided a golden parachute for those who turn aside from the reprobate life.

1 Corinthians 6:11-13, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body."

God forgives those who respond to His call and covers theirs sins with the shed blood of Christ, but He holds in low esteem those who, knowing Him turn back to their evil ways:

2 Peter 2:9-15, "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;"

The RCC, which is a law unto itself, has much to say concerning those to whom it accords the authority and power (according to her own dogma), to call Jesus Christ down from Heaven to reside in eucharistic wafers. To whom it calls alter Christus, or "another Christ." Compare the public behavior of the Roman Catholic hierarchy with the Canons of its own Law.

Can. 1395 1 Apart from the case mentioned in can. 1394, a cleric living in concubinage, and a cleric who continues in some other external sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue which causes scandal, is to be punished with suspension. To this, other penalties can progressively be added if after a warning he persists in the offence, until eventually he can be dismissed from the clerical state.

Whoa! Just what does this mean? In the Catholic reckoning of the Decalogue, which conforms to the Augustinian model, the Sixth Commandment is: Thou shalt not commit adultery. Now, according to the Catholic understanding of adultery, it must involve sexual relations with a married person. Clearly, a 10-year-old altar boy is not likely to be married so, I suppose, according to the strict letter of the canon law, pedophilia involving a priest and such a child would not strictly be considered adultery.

Adultery is defined as carnal connection between a married person and one unmarried, or between a married person and the spouse of another. It is seen to differ from fornication in that it supposes the marriage of one or both of the agents. Nor is it necessary that this marriage be already consummated; it need only be what theologians call matrimonium ratum. Sexual commerce with one engaged to another does not, it is most generally held, constitute adultery. Again, adultery, as the definition declares, is committed in carnal intercourse. Nevertheless immodest actions indulged in between a married person and another not the lawful spouse, while not of the same degree of, guilt, are of the same character of malice as adultery (Sanchez, De Mat., L. IX. Disp. XLVI, n. 17). It must be added, however, that St. A1phonsus Liguori, with most theologians, declares that even between lawful man and wife adultery is committed when their intercourse takes the form of sodomy (S. Liguori L. III, n. 446). (Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright 1997 by New Advent, Inc. )

Continuing to read in Canon 1395:

2 A cleric who has offended in other ways against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, if the crime was committed by force, or by threats, or in public, or with a minor under the age of sixteen years, is to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants.

I suppose the questions here must be 1) is it adultery when a priest sexually abuses an altar boy; and 2) if it is, what would be a "just penalty"? Perhaps another question should be: If it isn't adultery, is it not still wrong?

Well, "Mother Church" has a sort of catchall canon to cover those ecclesiastical crimes not addressed specifically in the canon law. When you read the following, please give particular notice to under what conditions this law might be invoked.

Can. 1399 Besides the cases prescribed in this or in other laws, the external violation of divine or canon law can be punished, and with a just penalty, only when the special gravity of the violation requires it and necessity demands that scandals be prevented or repaired

In other words, take action as necessary to protect the RCC from unfavorable media attention.

Is the Roman Church unaware of the evil nature of the predatory actions of its pedophile priests against the children who serve at the altar? I think not, for in the Catholic Catechism, we read:

ARTICLE 4 - THE MORALITY OF HUMAN ACTS 1749 Freedom makes man a moral subject. When he acts deliberately, man is, so to speak, the father of his acts. Human acts, that is, acts that are freely chosen in consequence of a judgment of conscience, can be morally evaluated. They are either good or evil.

1755 A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting "in order to be seen by men").

The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts - such as fornication - that it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil.

1756 It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it. (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

How can a pedophile or other sexual predator officiate at the Catholic Mass? How can a priest who, by even the Roman Catholic concept of justification, clearly has fallen out of grace be permitted to invoke priestly powers to call Christ down from Heaven to be offered yet again in the Eucharistic sacrifice? How can a priest who has fouled his soul with sexual sin take in his hands the consecrated wafer which is, according to RCC dogma, the real and substantial body, blood, soul and divinity of the Second Person of the Trinity? How can the Catholic faithful take this bread from his tainted hands?

Does not Scripture warn that those who partake of the Lord's Supper unworthily will incur God's wrath?

1 Corinthians 11:26-31, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."

Catholic canon law holds to a similar position:

Can. 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.

This appears to cover those who continue to practice grave sins such as fornication, pedophilia, and the like, but what about the officiating priest? What about the man whom Catholics love to refer to as alter Christus? Does he not only call Christ down from His seat at the right side of the Father to become a communion wafer but actually partake of that wafer, that so-called body of Christ, in the Eucharistic sacrifice? Can someone guilty of persistent grave sin be qualified to do these things? Canon law states:

Can. 916 Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the Body of the Lord without previously having been to sacramental confession, unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolve to go to confession as soon as possible.

I am not prepared to address whether a "sacramental confession" of persistent and continuing grave sin qualifies a person to be another Christ. Nor will I address the issue of the validity of such a confession when the confessing sinner has every intention of continuing to sin in the same way. Let Rome's canon lawyers dispute over that. Suffice it that the Council of Trent addressed the effect of grave sin on one's standing with the grace of Christ:

Against the subtle wits of some also, who by pleasing speeches and good words seduce the hearts of the innocent, it must be maintained that the grace of justification once received is lost not only by infidelity, whereby also faith itself is lost, but also by every other mortal sin, though in this case faith is not lost; thus defending the teaching of the divine law which excludes from the kingdom of God not only unbelievers, but also the faithful [who are] fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liars with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners, and all others who commit deadly sins, from which with the help of divine grace they can refrain, and on account of which they are cut off from the grace of Christ. (Council of Trent, 6th Session, January 13, 1547, Decree Concerning Justification, Chapter XV)

Making the question as clear as possible, can a priest who is cut off from the grace of Christ because of persistent sexual sin truly celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice that is the very heart of the Mass? Trent says he can and, moreover, that his standing with the Lord has no effect on the sacraments he confers or effects. Hard to believe, hunh?

Canon 12. If anyone says that a minister who is in mortal sin, though he observes all the essentials that pertain to the effecting or conferring of a sacrament, neither effects nor confers a sacrament, let him be anathema (Council of Trent, 7th Session, March 3, 1547, Decree Concerning the Sacraments, Canons on the Sacraments in General)

Those of you who in silence read the postings on this site, I entreat to search your hearts. Can you believe that Christ would choose to permit Himself to be controlled by the priestly incantations of a man guilty of such vile and persistent sin as pedophilia? Do you honestly believe that Christ, who is pure and holy, would submit to being handled and broken, when in cookie form, by the sinful hands of a depraved priest? When you take the consecrated host from the hands of the priestly celebrant of the Mass, can you be sure that those hands are spiritually clean? The canon law of the Roman Church requires that all Catholics diligently seek the truth in matters which concern God and His church.

Can. 748 1 All are bound to seek the truth in the matters which concern God and his Church; when they have found it, then by divine law they are bound, and they have the right, to embrace and keep it

The Word of God makes the same charge to the faithful:

2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Ye Must Be Born Again