Fr. Richard Neuhaus, in First Things provides a de…

Fr. Richard Neuhaus, in First Things provides a defense of Fr. Marcial the founder of the Legionaires of Christ (see below), in the March 2002 issue of First Things: The Public Square:

So what is a person who does not share their prejudices and purposes to believe? I can only say why, after a scrupulous examination of the claims and counterclaims, I have arrived at moral certainty that the charges are false and malicious. I cannot know with cognitive certainty what did or did not happen forty, fifty, or sixty years ago. No means are available to reach legal certainty (beyond a reasonable doubt). Moral certainty, on the other hand, is achieved by considering the evidence in light of the Eighth Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” On that basis, I believe the charges against Fr. Maciel and the Legion are false and malicious and should be given no credence whatsoever.

That being said, I would disagree with some of Fr. Neuhaus’ reasoning.

I met Fr. Bruce Ritter once some years ago and I was very impressed with him. I spent a weekend with him, he never made any moves toward me that were inappropriate and we shared some moments watching news coverage of the Pope’s visit to Nicaragua. Ritter’s work was praised by President Ronald Reagan at the time and his Covenant House ministry spread throughout the country. But, sadly when tales started coming out about Fr. Ritter’s inappropriate sexual activity, very few came to his defense. Human beings fail and they fall, whether they are conservative or liberal.

On Good Friday it seems redundant to have to bring this up. When the Son of God was arrested–all of the Apostles fled Jesus. In Mark’s Gospel the point is driven home by telling us that one young man even left his clothes behind to get away from Jesus. When he called them, they left everything to follow him, now at the moment of decision they leave everything to get away from him.

If we make excuses for some priests who fall, then we are unjust. If we make our judgements based on idealogy and who agrees with us versus who doesn’t than we are indeed libelous.

Our Lord counseled against judging and I believe wholeheartedly that this is the most ignored command of Jesus–I know personally it is a sin that I have confesses regularly throughout my life and made little progress allowing the Holy Spirit to convert me from, but he also counseled the Church to remove those who harm the “little ones”, St. Paul in Corinthians counseled them to remove the man living in an incestous relationship from their midst. The Church has a duty to excomunicate those who pervert the Gospel for selfish means–whether they are conservative or liberal.

It is hard to know the truth when faced with two people, one accusing and the other claiming it didn’t happen. In fact in Jewish law at least two witnesses were needed to condemn anyone. That didn’t stop the evil elders from conspiring against Susanna when she would not give into their attempts to seduce her so there is good reason to doubt even two witnesses. But when a number of people come forward all claiming the same thing one has to wonder.

Utimately, God is the judge and ultimately God sees that justice is done no matter what I or anyone else thinks–the truth is the truth.

Holy Week gives us the unique oportunity once a ye…

Holy Week gives us the unique oportunity once a year to join the crowds on Palm Sunday lauding Jesus as he enters into Jerusalem only to join the same mob on Good Friday yelling “crucify him.” It is our sinful behavior that puts the Son of God on the cross, but it is in his mercy he forgives us largely because in choosing sin we show our ignorance.

Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem before entering it, “if only you knew what made for peace,” words that haunt us, each time we choose something other than God and make the fatal mistake of looking for something other than God to save us.

May this Good Friday, give us pause to reflect that God alone can save us and that all of our causes and crusades will fail if they are not of His will.

Several people wrote me yesterday wondering if “conservatives” could be guilty of these crimes or guilty of homosexual activity. I suppose the answer is a nuanced one in that only someone who pretends to be conservative (meaning person of prayer, faithful to the Magisterium and Christ). There is a Latin phrase, pia fraus, meaning “pious fraud” for such people and they have always been around and continue to do their damage. And of course anyone can fall.

There are numerous examples of pious frauds. Brother Gino, later Father Gino in Italy at one time was thought to be the next Padre Pio. But unlike the soon to be saint Brother Gino was a fraud who faked his stigmata, scent of holiness and molested Children. You can read more about him here.

The founder of the Legionaires of Christ has had a number of former members claim that he abused them. The Vatican has been unwilliing to remove him, largely it seems because they feel the good that the Legionaires are doing merits it (but I for the life of me cannot reconcile this lack of action). You can read about the charges against the founder here.

Most recently in this country there has been a case in the Diocese of Scranton and two priests from the Society of St. John. You can read about it here.

Last night at Mass, the priest repeated words that I have heard a number of bishops use over the past few days, “this is a time of purification.” Let us hope it will be a time of truth also.

I received an email from someone claiming to be Mi…

I received an email from someone claiming to be Michael S. Rose, the author of Goodbye, Good Men (see below). He didn’t like my review of his book, which I can understand on some levels, but if I wasn’t clear about one thing. let me state it here–it is a good book and one that should be read by every Catholic. My disagreement with him is his contention (I presume) that this is just a liberal problem.

Now when it comes to Ugly as SIn (his Sophia book), I would agree with him that liberal Catholicism builds ugly Churches and destroys beautiful ones.

Since a few people have complained about the pulsa…

Since a few people have complained about the pulsating blogger, I have changed templates again. I’m not sure why some people were having problems–there was no problem on my screen.

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