New York Catholic High School Okays Gay Couple to Attend Prom

Three guesses as to what order runs the high school. The first two don’t count.

The administrator of a Catholic high school in New York wrote to his students’ parents this week to explain why a gay couple at the all-boys school is being allowed to attend the junior prom together.

Father Edward Salmon, president of McQuaid Jesuit High School in Brighton, explained that the boys “will be welcomed” as a couple, even though he insisted the gesture of acceptance is not meant to condone homosexuality or go against church law in any way. His full letter, sent Wednesday, was published Thursday by local news website rochesterhomepage.net.

For Salmon, the acceptance represents the success of a student-driven campaign to allow the boys to attend their junior prom together. The school’s administrator described the emotions that campaign generated as “darkness and heavy clouds,” leading to the spread of “misinformation, fear, misunderstanding, and even anger.”

There’s more at the Deacon’s Bench, including the letter from Father Salmon. For those who feared that Pope Francis’s washing of women’s feet would embolden liberal Catholics, you severely underestimate how easily liberal Catholics can twist any words and actions of the Pontiff to suit their particular cause. Witness the beginning of Father Salmon’s letter:

Our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, in the homily for his Inaugural Mass, had encouraging and inviting words: “Today amid so much darkness we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation and to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope, it is to let a ray of light break through heavy clouds.”

And if you don’t interpret Pope Francis’s words to mean that it’s okay to allow a gay couple to attend a prom at a Catholic high school, then clearly you just want more darkness.

Most of the rest of the letter is a bizarre stream of consciousness that uses the imagery of light and darkness to ironic affect – ironic because it just muddies the waters and thereby darkens everyone’s understanding of the faith. He closes with this:

With this decision I am not contradicting the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church with regard to human sexuality; I am not encouraging nor am I condoning homosexual activity just as I do not encourage or condone heterosexual activity at a dance. I am not contradicting the Church’s opposition to the redefinition of marriage. With this decision I invite and encourage us all, as Pope Francis does, to exercise care, protection, goodness which calls for a certain tenderness “which is not a virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness.”

You see he’s not contradicting Church teaching because, well, he says so. And light and darkness. And Pope Francis.

There. Don’t you feel much better now?

Father Salmon selectively quotes the Catechism to defend his position. Perhaps Father Salmon should familiarize himself with the concept of scandal.

54 Responses to New York Catholic High School Okays Gay Couple to Attend Prom

  • I am honestly shocked. Mind you, it’s not that this is happening at a
    Jesuit school– that was only to be expected, as Mr. Zummo suggested
    in his opening sentence. No, what’s shocking is the poor quality of
    Fr. Salmon’s weaseling and misdirection. I’ve grown accustomed to
    Jesuits who could engage in high-level sophistry and manipulation, with
    flights of fancy that could almost make an art form out of heresy. And
    now we have Fr. Salmon SJ phoning it in with a letter that is just plain
    dumb. I’d expected better (that is, worse) from the Jesuits. Evidently
    they’re still a decadent order, only now they’re also boring.

  • The only mild relief I felt is when, after seeing that it was a New York high school, it turned out not to be my alma mater. But, give them time.

  • ” I am not contradicting the Church’s opposition to the redefinition of marriage.” Like the guy asking for money in the supermarket parking lot who says he isn’t panhandling.

    Just as they used Vatican II to justify their liberal interpretation of doctrine, they now do the same with the new Pope’s words and actions. I do hope Francis will in some way discourage them from doing so further.

  • Love the sinner. Hate the sin.

    Stuff like this is the reason I stopped telling myself, “Now, I’ve seen everything.”

    N.B. it’s a jesuit high school, not a Catholic High School.

    Where in NY is Brighton? I never heard of it.

    I am a bad person. I keep thinking S.J. means “society of judas.”

  • Originally I thought this was Brooklyn, T Shaw, but that’s Brighton Beach. Evidently this is near Rochester, which also explains much.

  • “You see he’s not contradicting Church teaching because, well, he says so. And light and darkness. And Pope Francis.”

    Scratch most Jesuits these days and you will find a sophist, and not even a smart sophist. I bet many of the parents sacrificing to pay the tuition, over eleven grand a year, at the dump he runs are so gratified to be paying through the nose to help destroy the faith of their kids. Public schools will at least do it for free.

  • Evidently this is near Rochester, which also explains much.

    McQuaid High is/was the biggest rival of my alma mater, Aquinas High School. I have cousins and nephews who attended McQuaid. I wonder how they feel about this. I’m almost afraid to ask.

  • Bp. Clark is now retired and the diocese is under the supervision of Bp. Cunningham of Syracuse. However, he was in charge for 33 years and rainbow flags were one of his pet projects, so this sort of rancid mess is embedded in the local culture of the church. If Rochester manages to acquire a capable and faithful bishop, he will really have to power wash the place.

  • Scratch most Jesuits these days and you will find a sophist, and not even a smart sophist.

    About 10 years ago, Fr. Paul Mankowski, SJ penned a reflection on what had happened to the priesthood after 1960. In the course of it he offered an estimate that somewhere around 55-60% of the novices with whom he had entered Jesuit formation in 1974 had no true interest in matters religious; they were homosexuals “hiding in the tall grass”.

  • What Went Wrong?

    by Father Paul Mankowski, S.J.

    An Address to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy – July 15, 2003

    What went wrong, and why?

    Everyone in the room will rightly understand the question to refer to The Crisis, the daily revelation over the past eighteen months of numberless instances of priestly turpitude, episcopal mendacity, and the resultant bewilderment and fury of the laity.

    My own take on the problem, which I offer for your consideration, is that the Crisis is chiefly surprising in how unsurprising it is.

    No one who has been fighting the culture wars within the Church over the past twenty years can fail to recognize his own struggles with a hostile bureaucracy and conflicted hierarchy in the struggles of those pleading for relief from sexual abuse — notwithstanding the disparity in the attendant journalistic drama.

    In fact, I’d contend that the single important difference in the Church’s failure regarding abusive clergy and the failures regarding liturgy, catechesis, pro-life politics, doctrinal dissent and biblical translation is this: that in the case of the sex abuse scandal we’ve been allowed a look over the bishops’ shoulders at their own memos.

    Deviant sexual assault has accomplished what liturgical abuse never could: it has generated secular media pressure and secular legal constraints so overwhelming that the apparat was forced to make its files public.

    What we read in those files was shocking, true, but to most of us, I suspect, it was shocking in its sense of daja vu.

    The housewife who complained that Father skipped the Creed at mass and the housewife who complained that Father groped her son had remarkably similar experiences of:
    •being made to feel that they themselves were somehow in the wrong;
    •that they had impugned the honor of virtuous men;
    •that their complaints were an unwelcome interruption of more important business; – - that the true situation was fully known to the chancery and completely under control;
    •that the wider and more complete knowledge of higher ecclesiastics justified their apparent inaction;
    •that to criticize the curate was to criticize the pastor was to criticize the regional vicar was to criticize the bishop;
    •that to publicize one’s dissatisfaction was to give scandal and
    •would positively harm discreet efforts at remedying the ills;
    •that one’s duty was to keep silence and trust that those officially charged with the pertinent responsibilities would execute them in their own time;
    •that delayed correction of problems was sometimes necessary for the universal good of the Church.

    This picture was meant to describe the faithful’s dealing with the normally operating bureaucracy, in which the higher-ups are largely insulated.

    Occasionally someone manages to break through the insulation and deal with the responsible churchman himself. In this case another maneuver is typically employed, one I tried to sketch eight years ago in an essay called “Tames in Clerical Life”:

    In one-on-one situations, tames in positions of authority will rarely flatly deny the validity of a complaint of corruption lodged by a subordinate. More often they will admit the reality and seriousness of the problem raised, and then pretend to take the appellant into their confidence, assuring him that those in charge are fully aware of the crisis and that steps are being taken, quietly, behind the scenes, to remedy it.

    Thus the burden of discretion is shifted onto the subordinate in the name of concern for the good of the institution and personal loyalty to the administrator: a tame must not go public with his evidence of malfeasance lest he disrupt the process — invariably hidden from view — by which it is being put right.

    This ruse has been called the Secret Santa maneuver: “There are no presents underneath the tree for you, but that’s because Daddy is down in the basement making you something special. It is supposed to be a surprise, so don’t breathe a word or you’ll spoil everything. And, of course, Christmas never comes.

    Perhaps most of the well-intentioned efforts for reform in the past quarter century have been tabled indefinitely by high-ranking tames using this ploy to buy their way out of tough situations for which they are temperamentally unsuited.

    What I’ve put before you are two scenarios in which complaints of abuses are brought to those in authority and in which they seem to vanish — the complaints, I mean, not the abuses. One hoped that something was being done behind the scenes, of course, but whatever happened always remained behind the scenes.

    As the weeks went by without observable changes in the abuse and without feedback from the bureaucracy, one was torn between two contradictory surmises: that one’s complain had been passed upstairs to so high a level that even the bishop (or superior) was forbidden to discuss it; alternatively, that once one’s silence had been secured and the problem of unwelcome publicity was past, nothing whatsoever was being done.

    Now the remarkable thing about The Crisis is how fully it confirmed the second suspicion.

    In thousands and thousands of pages of records one scarcely, if ever, is edified by a pleasant surprise, by discovering that a bishop’s or superior’s concern for the victim or for the Faith was greater than that known to the public, that the engines of justice were geared up and running at full throttle, but in a manner invisible to those outside the circle of discretion. Didn’t happen.

    I think this goes far to explain the fact that when the scandals broke it was the conservative Catholics who were the first and the most vociferous in calling for episcopal resignations, and only later did the left-liberals manage to find their voices.

    Part of our outrage concerned the staggering insouciance of bishops toward the abuse itself, but part, I would argue, was the exasperation attendant on the realization that, for the same reasons, all our efforts in the culture wars on behalf of Catholic positions had gone up in the same bureaucratic smoke.

    I take issue, then, with commentators who refer to the Crisis as an ecclesial “meltdown” or “the Church’s 9-11″ or who use some similarly cataclysmic metaphor. Whatever there was to melt down had already done so for years, and that across the board, not just in priestly misconduct.

    Therefore, in addressing the question, “what went wrong, and why?” I need to try explain not simply the sex-abuse scandals but the larger ecclesial failure as well, weaknesses that existed even before the Second Vatican Council.

    Paradoxically, one of the major factors in the corruption of clerical life at the end of the 20th century was its strength at the beginning of it. Here I quote from James Hitchcock:

    A gloomy fact about clerical life is that, with the possible exception of the very early centuries, there was no time in the Church’s history when such life was idyllic. The Middle Ages had their share of misbehaving priests, and the ordinary parish clergy were uneducated and part of a peasant culture which was in some ways still pagan. The Counter-Reformation made strenuous efforts to improve the state of the clergy, not least through the establishment of that institution which ought to have been obvious but for some reason had not been — the seminary. Even despite these efforts, clerical scandals and various kinds of clerical incompetence long continued, amidst occasional saintly priests and many others of solid piety and zeal. In the United States the period cl900-l960 can be considered a golden age of the priesthood, not merely in modern times but throughout all the Catholic centuries. (This golden age was not confined to America but existed in other countries as well.) While priests of that era certainly had their faults, by all measurable standards there was less ignorance, less immorality, less neglect of duty, and less disobedience than at almost any time in the history of the Church. More positively, priests of that era were generally pious and zealous, and those who were not at least had to pretend to be.

    Not only was the reality of priestly character in good shape, but the reputation of Catholic clergymen was likewise high. This brought with it several problems.

    First, being an honorable station in life, the clerical life provided high grass in which many villains and disturbed individuals could seek cover. I would estimate that between 50 and 60% of the men who entered religious life with me in the mid-70s were homosexuals who had no particular interest in the Church, but who were using the celibacy requirement of the priesthood as a way of camouflaging the real reason for the fact that they would never marry.

    It should be noted in this connection that the military has its own smaller but irreducible share of crypto-gays, as do roughnecks on offshore drilling rigs and merchant mariners (“I never got married because I move around so much it wouldn’t be fair on the girl…”). Perhaps a certain percentage of homosexuals in these professions can never be eliminated.

    I further believe that the most convincing explanation of the disproportionately high number of pedophiles in the priesthood is not the famous Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers Theory, but its reverse, proposed to me by a correctional officer at a Canadian prison.

    He suggested that, in years past, Catholic men who recognized the pederastic tendency in themselves and hated it would try to put it to death by entering a seminary or a monastery, where they naively believed the sexual dimension of life simply disappeared. It doesn’t disappear, and many of these men became active pedophiles.

    This suggestion has the advantage of accounting for the fact that most priests who are true pedophiles appear to be men in their 60s and older, and would belong to a generation of Catholics with, on the one hand, a strong sense of sexual mortal sin and, on the other, strong convictions about the asceticism and sexual integrity of priestly life.

    To homosexuals and pedophiles I would add a third group, those I call “tames,” who are men incapable of facing the normally unpleasant situations presented by adulthood and who find refuge, and indeed success, in a system that rewards:
    1.concern for appearance,
    2.distaste for conflict, and
    3.fondness for the advantageous lie.

    In sum, the social prestige and high reputation that attached to the post-WW2 priesthood made it attractive to men of low character and provided them with excellent cover.

    A second key factor in the present corruption is loss of the bishops’ ability for self-correction. This problem has institutional and personal dimensions.

    The model of episcopal collegiality in place since the Council has not increased the mutual good-will of the bishops, but has, paradoxically, made the appearance of good-will obligatory in nearly all situations.

    Once more I turn to James Hitchcock. Speaking of the Church’s necessary recourse to diplomacy in dealing with militarily superior nation-states, Hitchcock says:

    It is ironic and discouraging that in the modern democratic era, when the Church enjoys the blessings of complete independence from political control, diplomacy still seems necessary, now often concentrated on internal ecclesiastical matters.

    It appears, for example, that the Pope is not free simply to appoint bishops as he sees fit, but that an elaborate process of consultation, of checks and balances, takes place, after which successful candidates are often people who have no highly placed enemies.

    The Holy See now appears to treat national episcopal conferences, and the numerous religious orders, almost as foreign powers. Scrupulous correctness is observed at all times, formal verbiage masks barely hidden disagreements, and above all potential “incidents” are avoided. … This endemic practice of diplomacy within the Church has yielded small results. Abuses have been tolerated not for the sake of unity but merely for the “appearance” of unity, which itself soon becomes an over-riding concern.

    Because what matters most in this mindset is perception, the appearance of unity, it has become virtually impossible to remove a bad bishop without prior public scandal — “public” here meaning notorious in the secular sphere, through the mass media.

    When the scandal is sexual or financial, it seems the Holy See can move quickly to remove the offender. When the scandal is in the arena of heresy or administrative irregularity or liturgical abuse, there is almost never enough secular interest generated to force the Holy See’s hand. Bishops Milingo and Ziemann and Roddy Wright have many brethren; Bishop Gaillot has few.

    Intermediate reform measures like seminary visitations are doomed to failure for the same reason; there simply is no possibility in the present disposition for a hostile inspection, where the visitators try to “get behind” the administration and find the facts for themselves. To do such a thing would be to imply lack of trust in the administration and hence in the bishop responsible for it, and such an imputation is utterly impossible.

    The same is true in bishops’ dealing with universities, learned societies and religious congregations. The only permissible inspections are friendly inspections, where the visitators ask the institution under scrutiny for a self-evaluation, which, of course, will be overwhelmingly positive and which will render the chances of reform almost nil.

    A priest official in a Vatican dicastery whom I trust told me that the needed reforms will never take place unless the Church undoes Pope Paul VI’s restructuring of the Vatican curia, whereby the Secretariate of State has become a kind of super-bureaucracy — no longer charged simply with the Holy See’s relations to other nations but with de facto control over the relations of the Vatican dicasteries to one another of the Holy See to its own bishops.

    In practice the Secretariate of State not only sets the tone for the Holy See’s dealings but often sets the agenda as well, ensuring that the diplomatic concern for appearances will prevail over the need for reforms involving unpleasantness, and exercising indirect influence over the selection of bishops, characteristically men of diplomatic demeanor if not experience.

    This profile goes far to explain why telling the truth is a problem for a large number of bishops, many of whom seem baffled and hurt when their falsehoods are not taken at face value.

    All embassies, moreover, have a high number of homosexuals in their staffs, and the Vatican diplomatic corps in no exception. The combination of the physical comforts attendant on diplomatic service, the skill at bureaucratic manipulation and oblique methods of pressure, the undercurrent of homosexual decadence, and the alacrity with which truth is sacrificed to expediency do not make an environment conducive to reform.

    The dominion exercised by the Secretariate of State means that many good-willed attempts to clean house go nowhere, and will continue to go nowhere in the future, being lost in its corridors or disfigured beyond recognition.

    A third answer to “What Went Wrong?” concerns a factor that is at once a result of earlier failures and a cause of many subsequent ones: I mean sexual blackmail.

    Most of the men who are bishops and superiors today were in the seminary or graduate school in the 1960s and 1970s. In most countries of the Western world these places were in a kind of disciplinary free-fall for ten or fifteen years. A very high percentage of churchmen who are now in positions of authority were sexually compromised during that period.

    Perhaps they had a homosexual encounter with a fellow seminarian; perhaps they had a brief heterosexual affair with a fellow theology student. Provided they did not cause grave scandal, such men were frequently promoted, according to their talents and ambition.

    Many are competent administrators, but they have time-bomb in their past, and they have very little appetite for reform measures of any sort — even doctrinal reforms — and they have zero appetite for reform proposals that entail cleaning up sexual mischief. In some cases perhaps, there is out-and-out blackmail, where a bishop moves to discipline a priest and priest threatens to report the bishop’s homosexual affair in the seminary to the Nuncio or to the press, and so the bishop backs off.

    More often I suspect the blackmail is indirect. No overt threat is made by anyone, but the responsible ecclesiastic is troubled by the ghost of his past and has no stomach for taking a hard line. Even if personally uneasy with homosexuality, he will not impede the admission and promotion of gays.

    He will almost always treat sexuality in psychological terms, as a matter of human maturation, and is charity of the language of morality and asceticism. He will act only when it is impossible not to act, as when a case of a priest’s or seminarian’s sexual misconduct is known to the police or the media. He will characteristically require of the offender no discipline but will send him to counseling, usually for as brief a period as possible, and will restore him to the best position that diocesan procedures and public opinion will allow him to.

    Note: sexual blackmail operates far beyond the arena of sexual misconduct. When your Aunt Margaret complains about the pro-abortion teachers at the Catholic high school, or the Sisters of St. Jude worshiping the Eight Winds, or Father’s home-made eucharistic prayer, and nothing is done, it is eminently likely that the bishop’s reluctance to intervene stems from the consciousness that he is living on borrowed time.

    In short, many bishops and superiors, lacking integrity, lack moral courage. Lacking moral courage, they can never be reformers, can never uproot a problem, but can only plead for tolerance and healing and reconciliation.

    I am here sketching only the best-case scenario, where the bishop’s adventures were brief, without issue, and twenty years in his past. In cases where the man continues his sexual exploits as a bishop, he is of course wholly compromised and the blackmail proportionately disastrous.

    A fourth element in the present corruption is the strange separation of the Church from blue-collar working people.

    Before the Council every Catholic community could point to families that lived on hourly wages and who were unapologetically pious, in some cases praying a daily family rosary and attending daily mass. Such families were a major source of religious vocations and provided the Church will many priests as well.

    These families were good for the Church, calling forth bishops and priests who were able to speak to their spiritual needs and to work to protect them from social and political harms. Devout working class families characteristically inclined to a somewhat sugary piety, but they also characteristically required “manly” priests to communicate it to them: that was the culture that gave us the big-shouldered baritone in a lace surplice.

    Except for newly-arrived immigrants from Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines, the devout working class family has disappeared in the U.S. and in western Europe. The beneficial symbiosis between the clerical culture and the working class has disappeared as well.

    In most parishes of which I’m aware the priests know how to talk to the professionals and the professionals know how to talk to the priests, but the welders and roofers and sheet-metal workers, if they come to church at all, seem more and more out of the picture.

    I think this affects the Church in two ways: on the one hand, the Catholic seminary and university culture has been freed of any responsibility to explain itself to the working class, and notions of scriptural inspiration and sexual propriety have become progressively detached from the terms in which they would be comprehensible by ordinary people; on the other hand, few priests if any really depend on working people for their support.

    In a mixed parish, they are supported by the professionals; in a totally working class parish, they’re supported by the diocese — i.e., by professionals who live elsewhere. That means not only does Father not have to account for his bizarre view of the Johannine community, but he doesn’t have to account for the three evenings a week he spends in lay clothes away from the parish.

    A related but distinct factor contributing to the Crisis is money. The clergy as a whole is enormously more prosperous than it was a century ago. That means the clergyman is independent of the disapproval of the faithful in a way his predecessors were not, and it also means he has the opportunities and the wherewithal to sin, and sin boldly, very often without detection.

    Unless he makes unusual efforts to the contrary, a priest today finds himself part of a culture of pleasure-seeking bachelordom, and the way he recreates and entertains himself overlaps to a great extent that of the young professional bronco. Too often, regrettably, the overlap is total.

    But even when a priest is chaste, by collecting boy-toys and living the good life he finds himself somewhat compromised. He may suspect a brother priest is up to no good by his frequent escapes to a time-share condo, but if he feels uneasy about his own indulgences he is unlikely to phone his brother to remonstrate with him.

    My own experience of religious life is that community discussion of “poverty issues” is exceptionlessly ugly, partly because almost everyone feels vulnerable to criticism in some aspect or other, partly because there’s an unspoken recognition that poverty and chastity issues are not entirely unrelated. As a consequence, only the most trivial and cosmetic adjustments are made, and the integrity of community life continues to worsen.

    One more point, perhaps more fanciful than the others. I believe that one of the worst things to happen to the Church and one of the most important factors in the current corruption of the clergy is the Mertonization of monastic life.

    I may be unfair to Thomas Merton in laying the blame at his feet and I don’t insist on the name, but I think you all can recognize what I mean: the sea change in the model of contemplative life, once aimed at mortification — a death to self through asceticism – now aimed at self-actualization, the Self has taken center stage.

    This change is important because, in spite of 50-plus years of propaganda to the contrary, the monastic ideal remains a potent ikon in any priest’s self-understanding.
    1.Simplicity of life,
    2.fidelity to prayer, and
    3.obedience

    all have different orientations in the case of
    1.a canon,
    2.a friar, and
    3.a diocesan priest, obviously,

    but they are all monastic in transmission and all essential to the clerical life.

    Where monastic life is healthy, it builds up even non-monastic parts of the Church, including and in particular the lives of priests in the active apostolate. Where the monastic life is corrupt or lax, the loss extends to the larger Church as well — it’s as if a railing is missing one side of a balcony.

    When I was preparing for priesthood my teachers lamented what they called the “monastic” character of pre-conciliar seminaries and houses of formation (fixed times for common prayer, silence, reading at meals, etc) complaining that such disciplines were ill-suited to their lives because they were destined not to be monks but pastors, missionaries and scholars.

    But looking at the lives of my contemporaries one of the things most obviously lacking is an appetite for prayer fed by good habits of prayer, habits which are usually the product of a discipline we never had.

    The same is true of asceticism and self-denial generally. When laypeople enter priests’ living quarters today, they rarely seem to be impressed by how sparse and severe our living arrangement are. They rarely walk away with the impression that the man who lives here is good at saying no to himself. Yet monks are, or used to be, our masters at saying no to the self. Something went wrong.

    Putting the same idea in another perspective, it’s wryly amusing to read commentators on the sexual abuse problem recommend that priests be sent to a monastery for penance. What penance? Is there a single monastic house in the United States where the abbot would have the authority, much less the inclination, to keep a man at hard labor for twenty months or on bread and water for twenty days?

    Let me sum up.

    I believe the sexual abuse crisis represents no isolated phenomenon and no new failure, but rather illustrates a state of slowly worsening clerical and episcopal corruption with its roots well back into the 1940s. Its principal tributaries include
    1.a critical mass of morally depraved and psychologically defective clergymen who entered the service of Church seeking emoluments and advantages unrelated to her spiritual mission, in addition to
    2.leaders constitutionally unsuited to the exercise of the virtues of truthfulness and fortitude.

    The old-fashioned vices of lust, pride, and sloth have erected an administrative apparatus effective at transmitting the consolations of the Faith but powerless at correction and problem-solving.

    The result is a situation unamenable to reform, wherein the leaders continue to project an upbeat and positive message of ecclesial well-being to an overwhelmingly good-willed laity, a message which both speaker and hearer find more gratifying than convincing.

    I believe that the Crisis will deepen, though undramatically, in the foreseeable future; I believe that the policies suggested to remedy the situation will help only tangentially, and that the whole idea of an administrative programmatic approach — a “software solution” if I may put it that way — is an example of the disease for which it purports to be the cure.

    I believe that reform will come, though in a future generation, and that the reformers whom God raises up will spill their blood in imitation of Christ.

    In short, to pilfer a line of Wilfrid Sheed, I find absolutely no grounds for optimism, and I have every reason for hope.

  • Mr. McClarey, thanks for posting Fr. Mankowski’s speech– every syllable
    of it has the ring of truth.

  • Your message, Mr. McClarey, didn’t exactly make my day, but it needs to be said nonetheless. How many souls will be lost, how many disillusioned Catholics will abandon the Church, before genuine reform finally happens?

  • Mac, I agree with Clinton.

    I initially thought, “What is this ‘War and Peace’.”

    In fact, every word of it has value.

    I was going to bring up this comment for the post on the new pope’s alleged liturgical abuse in the washing of feet (on many levels way out in left field).

    My real-life experience with an abusing priest involved his ad libbing prayers in the Mass. I also had evidence in his hearing of my Confession, which, at the time, went “right over my head.” That priest had been transferred from my parents’ parish. They didn’t think much of him, either. We were all correct.

    Our pastor was devastated, but carried on as we stayed with him.

    We need warrior priests and bishops, not “Dr. Phil” wannabes.

  • I truly liked War and Peace, but rarely have the time for that kind of reading anymore. However, I concur with those who said every word of Mankowski’s analysis rang true. I would add that through these same years marriage and family have been shamefully abandoned, and what we call “Marriage Prep” wouldn’t pass for kindergarden training in most places. (Regardless of Pope JPII’s excellent writing on both subjects.)
    But actually I intended to respond to the Jesuit school and Fr. Ed Salmon. I worked with Fr. Ed Salmon some years back at a Jesuit school. Although I am not surprised by his position, which is wholly unrelated to our new pope’s words, it is outrageous that this decision should stand. We have too long put up with this kind of “in your face” moral corruption so damaging to us all.

  • Thank you for the copy of Fr. Mankowski’s speech. Like every other essay of his that I have read, it rings true in all details!

  • So what is Father Salmon’s point? He’s against homosexuality but he’s inviting two guys to the prom to be nice to them anyway? That’s all I can take away from this.

  • LarryD,

    You went to high school?

  • Thanks for the Fr Mankowski speech transcription. That was TLDR: Too Long, Definitely Read.

    LarryD, I did not know you were a Rochester product. For a person of your fidelity, that clearly explains your, er, crankiness :)

  • As Pascal said of the Jesuits, “Know then that their object is not the corruption of manners- that is not their design. But as little is it their sole aim to reform them that would be bad policy. Their idea is briefly this: They have such a good opinion of themselves as to believe that it is useful, and in some sort essentially necessary to the good of religion, that their influence should extend everywhere, and that they should govern all consciences. And the Evangelical or severe maxims being best fitted for managing some sorts of people, they avail themselves of these when they find them favourable to their purpose. But as these maxims do not suit the views of the great bulk of the people, they waive them in the case of such persons, in order to keep on good terms with all the world.”

    Little has changed in 350 years.

  • LarryD, I did not know you were a Rochester product.

    Rich Leonardi too. Your truly had no contact with Catholic institutions as a youngster but is native.

  • If I lived in or near New York City, on the night of the prom I would outside the “Catholic” high school protesting with signs and prayer.

  • The school in question is in Rochester, some 300 miles away.

  • If I lived in or near Rochester, on the night of the prom I would outside the “Catholic” high school protesting with signs and prayer!

  • It seems the trend in most schools and colleges now is toward acceptance of homosexuality. A sentiment that originiated in society and swept the public schools has now caught on in private ones.

  • If I lived in or near New York City, on the night of the prom I would [stand] outside the “Catholic” high school protesting with signs and prayer.

    The gay lobbies and news organizations would be delighted with that – just imagine all the headlines you’d generate. You’d be an answer to their prayers, so to speak. In fact, if you angle it the right way, they might chip in for your travel costs, and a per diem.

  • First, thank you Donald for the article. Much to digest.
    Secondly to HA-
    Since when do we cower to lifestyles that are directly opposed to Church teaching…especially when the abuse is to take place in a “catholic school.”
    Rethink your position HA.
    The students grounded in Love for neighbor could of gathered in Peaceful protest and have had a constructive teaching moment to point out True Love. Love of neighbor is not complacency, silence and apathy. It’s explanation on why the Church teaches that the sexual union is intrinsicly evil could of carefully taken place before the Prom event.
    Silence in matters of the faith can lead to grave sin.

    4unborn-
    I disagree with night of the prom protest.
    The prayer protest, in my opinion, could of served the student body better by having it prior to the event with pamphlets giving reasons why our Holy Church professes the teachings that are in union with Christ and the Gospels.
    Welcome the media! Just be prepared to give good reason for the Hope of Eternal Life not cheaply bought, but rather extremely painfully purchased by the Son of God.
    Grace is Not Cheap, neither is Heaven.

  • Public protests seldom achieve anything other than assuaging the feelings of the protestors and provoking the derision of the uncommitted.

    To have real influence, Bl John HenryNewman’s approach is far better, “if he has ever told you what you knew about yourselves, or what you did not know; has read to you your wants or feelings, and comforted you by the very reading; has made you feel that there was a higher life than this daily one, and a brighter world than that you see; or encouraged you, or sobered you, or opened a way to the inquiring, or soothed the perplexed; if what he has said or done has ever made you take interest in him, and feel well inclined towards him…” More difficult, of course, but much more effective.

  • Actually MPS public protest has often proved quite effective in this country, and I would encourage people to protest this if they are so enclined.

  • “The gay lobbies and news organizations would be delighted with that – just imagine all the headlines you’d generate.”

    Yeah and if there are no protests they will say, “See, even the Catholics are accepting this!”. No, better to do a protest, assume that your enemies will attempt to twist what you are doing, and send a message to the Jesuit powers that be at the school that ordinary Catholics are paying attention to their attempt to pretend that evil is good.

  • LarryD,

    You went to high school?

    Best six years of my life.

    LarryD, I did not know you were a Rochester product. For a person of your fidelity, that clearly explains your, er, crankiness

    I’m looking forward to getting older so I can be “curmudgeonly” like Donald!

  • “so I can be “curmudgeonly” like Donald!”

    Age and 30 years at the bar are necessary to attain my degree of curmudgeoniliness!

  • To have real influence, Bl John HenryNewman’s approach is far better,

    Thanks for your input, Michael, but it’s the Diocese of Rochester. The only people with influence are

    1. The intramural cliques which gathered ’round Bp. Clark.

    2. People who can cut big checks, like Danny Wegman and Thomas Golisano.

    Bp. Cunningham is not plugged into this and it is possible (not holding my breath) that he could exercise whatever authority he has with regard to Jesuit institutions within the boundary of the two dioceses, so the situation is not as hopeless as it might usually be. However, you can wager that this insipid character made a careful actuarial calculation about what the authoritative response from Bp. Cunningham. Rich Leonardi’s concise description of the methods of termites in the Church: ‘try every door’ (and find the one that’s unlocked).

  • That’s a pretty fine line interpreting what Pope Francis said. I personally am against it. The two males should go stag and just go as to “buddies” who are going to the prom together without giving the appearance that it is same sex attraction.

  • About the public protest question: silence can be taken as acquiescence.

  • Anzlyne-

    Amen!

  • Since when do we cower to lifestyles that are directly opposed to Church teaching?

    Who said anything about cowering to them? The position I would rethink is your strategy of giving them exactly what they’re looking for.

  • Most of the Jesuits I have read about or heard from in the time period from about 70 years ago to today are nauseating. Reading things like this makes me support a new suppression of the Jesuits.

    This “event” also shows, yet again, what happens when a totally incompetent or criminally negligent bishop runs a diocese. I have never been to Rochester but I know Bishop Clark was terrible, a Roger Mahony in New York State.

    The nuttiness in the Liturgy is a clear indicator of what Fr. Mankowski speaks.

    Rorate Caeli had a post similar to Fr. Mankowski a few months ago.

  • I’m curious…what is the Jesuits’ reason for existence? What do they want to accomplish? Is it as sinister as conspiracy theorists would have it? Or is it far milder—a kind of liberal Chrsitinaity? Can anyone speak to this? Thanks.

  • Ha-
    Advocating “goodness” and “tenderness” in your sarcasm?

    If you find it difficult to defend the teachings of Our Church them please seek a Adult Faith Formation program in your Catholic parish.

    Maybe your afraid to defend the teachings, however I have stood in multiple protests with Jr. High School children that lovingly defend the Faith in the public square and they are helping to witness to the between media is that paint huge signs reading; “God hates Fags””

  • ….the media that views Christians as the Fla. Group that had the awful signs, God hates fags. We have to work even stronger to voice the truth, but never run from adversity.

    I was editing my post when the send accidentally was pressed…sorry.

    Ha- We can’t afford to teach our children to be silenced by culture differences, especially in Catholic schools. We most certainly don’t want them to follow the way of the Fla. pastor.

    Be not afraid!

  • If you find it difficult to defend the teachings of Our Church…

    Demonstrating with signs outside a high school is not the only way to defend the teachings of the Church – and for the 3rd time now, I submit that those ways which give the opposing side exactly what they want violate the Gospel instruction to marry our innocence with serpentine cunning.

    You presume a lot about me – you question whether I have difficulty defending the teachings of the church, and you presume that my admonition to your personal cardboard-on-stick sidewalk crusade somehow extends to the other demonstrations in which you have so participated so proudly. Such ineptitude when it comes to assessing the motives of those on your side, let alone the opposition, would further hamper your ability to persuade others, and would be another reason to consider broadening your arsenal.

  • Jon

    What the Jesuit want to accomplish is precisely what Pascal described 350 years ago. I quoted him in my post of 4 April at 5.55 am, but here it is again:_

    “Know then that their object is not the corruption of manners- that is not their design. But as little is it their sole aim to reform them that would be bad policy. Their idea is briefly this: They have such a good opinion of themselves as to believe that it is useful, and in some sort essentially necessary to the good of religion, that their influence should extend everywhere, and that they should govern all consciences. And the Evangelical or severe maxims being best fitted for managing some sorts of people, they avail themselves of these when they find them favourable to their purpose. But as these maxims do not suit the views of the great bulk of the people, they waive them in the case of such persons, in order to keep on good terms with all the world.”

  • HA-
    Just imagine all the headlines you would generate….

    You keep your imagination.
    It’s beautiful.
    It seeks the status quo.
    It’s comfortable there.
    HA. You could set up the rainbow banners and petition the school board to have a homosexual awareness and support center in all of New York , oh noooo, that was my imagination.

    If we don’t stand up for Christian principles in our own Christian schools, then expect the next fashionable lifestyle choice of the moment to be sitting across from your dining room table telling you, “there is no harm in my choice daddy, just Love.” You better pray that Jr’s choice is a socially accepted lifestyle….question is what will that be in ten years?

    Can you imagine?

  • HA-
    For presuming any trait that is unwarranted I do owe you an apology.
    I apologize.

    To offer no other means to teach the truth in this prom debate is what’s lacking.
    4unborn is offering a plan.
    You discourage it.
    Okay.

    What would you offer?

  • Apology accepted. As far as other alternatives, I think asking around, which you have just done, is the most important first step. I am far from an expert, but I would offer some of these approaches. Admittedly, they are far less triumphalist than demonstrations – and again, I am not saying that carefully targeted demonstrations don’t have their place, especially when it comes to getting rid of abortions – but they may have a more salutary effect: 1) Sackcloth and ashes, given Catholics’ own dismal collective record (on the part of both clergy and laity) when it comes to living out what we profess to believe regarding homosexuality. 2) Fasting and prayer, given that for some kinds of dark presences, Jesus tells us that these are a necessary part of the cure. 3) Following the Biblical admonition to first address the offending priest privately, rather than beginning by going public with your disapproval.

    Finally, consider the homosexuals’ own record with regard to demonstrations. It could be argued that gay pride parades and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence actually set back gay “rights” for decades, as long as that was what people thought of first when they thought of “gay agenda”. Sure, they let off some steam, and helped a lot of gay men to vent their irrepressible inner drama queens, but as far as actually helping, that’s doubtful. It is only when gay people broadened their efforts to more sophisticated and subtle methods involving media manipulation (lobbies, movies, affectionately quirky gay sitcom characters, etc.) that they began to make headway.

    I believe that the primary reason the gay marriage has leapfrogged other distortions of Christian marriage (e.g. polygamy, incest, … all of which are the next dominoes to fall once gay marriage is fully established), is simply a matter of power. As people have stopped looking to churches and Bibles for their entertainment and cultural and spiritual connections, and instead have turned to TV, movies, and the media (where gays are a force far in excess of their numerical presence within society as a whole), the gay agenda – in support with other secular anti-Christian movements – has come to the fore. Reversing that, if that’s even possible at this stage, will require Christians to be equally clever and compelling (or else, waiting till the whole structure burns down, and then grappling it out with Muslems again for what remains among the ruins, in which case fasting and prayer and the like may be our best solution for now). I don’t have an easy answer, but again, learning as much about the problem – and learning from the gays themselves – seems a pretty good way to start.

    Anyway, that’s my take. Father Groeschel (though I’ve only heard a little of him) seems to have far more substantive expertise on such matters. He might be worth looking up.

  • HA-
    Thank you for your suggestions.
    Fr. B.G. is a great offering.
    I will search his counsel in this topic.
    Blessings.

  • One other thing to consider before demonstrating: in the old days, every news organization that reported on gay demonstrations would focus on the most outrageous and most flamboyant members of the parade. These days, most media organizations are filled with so-called “gay-friendly” reporters and editors who know (perhaps subconsciously) that they must turn the camera away from the freaks with fishnet stockings and nuns’ wimples, and instead focus on adorable little Heathers in their strollers accompanied by her two mommies and other more wholesome fare.

    Conversely, any reporting on the “anti-gay” demonstrations is likewise almost certain to feature the Westboro Baptist types, or else, if the demonstrators are so superhumanly diligent that they have somehow managed to completely turn away their more extreme members, then the demonstration is likely to be relegated to page 20 of section ZZ. And so it goes…

    So, if you want to make demonstrations work again, you might have to wait until there are enough Christians in journalism and media (and who are able to resist the enormous ideological pressure within those organizations to conform to the liberal agenda) to make such activities work in our favor.

    I apologize if this sounds overly defeatist. Again, demonstrations do have their place, but speaking as a well-wisher, I do hope all Catholics keep that in mind.

  • Michael Patterson-Seymour, I read it when you first posted it. It merely tells us what we all know, that they employ hypocrisy and a kind of Machiavellianism. But what is the end in view? Do they have one?

  • . I appreciated your Pascal quote Michael as I had not read it before. I wonder what he would say today. Perhaps he would be more merciful in his comments! Remember Father Pacwa and plenty of others including jesuit martyrs from the time of Pascal to the 20th century.

  • Anzlyne

    It’s possible, though I doubt it – “By this policy they keep all their friends, and defend themselves against all their foes; for when charged with extreme laxity, they have nothing more to do than produce their austere directors, with some books which they have written on the severity of the Christian code of morals; and simple people, or those who never look below the surface of things, are quite satisfied with these proofs of the falsity of the accusation.”

    For Pascal, at the root of their laxity was their doctrine of grace – “You will then
    see the Christian virtues exhibited in such a strange aspect, so completely stripped of the charity which is the life and soul of them, you will see so many crimes palliated and irregularities tolerated that you will no longer be surprised at their maintaining that ‘all men have always enough of grace’ to lead a pious life, in the sense of which they understand piety. Their morality being entirely Pagan,
    nature is quite competent to its observance. When we maintain the necessity of efficacious grace, we assign it another sort of virtue for its object.”

  • Mr. Paterson-Seymour-
    St. Theresa of Avila was the rescue of the Carmelite order.
    With much prayer, could we entertain the hope that Pope Francis could be the reformer for the Society of Jesus?

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