|Ottawa homosexual priest & U of Ottawa prof André Samson|
In light of my last posting, readers may find the following article, now almost 20 years old, to be quite illuminating. It is simply another small piece of a very large puzzle picturing a sad history of apostasy amongst the Canadian Bishops. It could be an accompanying piece to Michael Voris' recent Vortex entitled Gay Knights and Damned Bishops.
P.S. Ottawa priest Andre Samson, pictured on left, recently caused scandal with his criticism of Cardinal Burke.
UPDATED: The Vox expands on and updates this posting. Interesting commentary.
Treason Of The Clerics
Subtitled: Gay Apostasy Subverts And Paralyzes The Canadian Catholic Church
By Joseph K. Woodard
Alberta Report, July 8, 1996
One of the mysteries surrounding the speedy passage of Bill C-33, the "sexual orientation" clause to the Canada Human Rights Act, is the near-silence of the Canadian Catholic Church in the debate. The Vatican defines homosexual behaviour as an "objective moral disorder" and has opposed repeatedly the very idea of "gay rights." The Church's silence in 1996 was a marked change from 1994, when the robust opposition of Ontario bishops was instrumental in defeating the NDP provincial government's own homosexual rights bill. Now a possible--and shocking--explanation has surfaced. It is now known that the Canadian Catholic hierarchy made its own peace with the radical homosexual agenda in 1992, when in a settlement of sexual abuse claims made against Ontario monks, it recognized homosexual "spousal benefits."
Despite Justice Minister Allan Rock's assurances to the contrary, C-33 will soon result in the complete elimination of legal distinctions heterosexual marriages and homosexual liaisons. And so the relative uninterest of the Canadian bishops in this crippling blow to the legitimacy of the traditional family has not gone unnoticed. Indeed, Bishop James Wingle of Yarmouth, a C-33 opponent, has condemned the "false impression" that his colleagues had actually supported the legislation.
It is true that no Canadian bishop actually endorsed C-33. But of the more than 50 Anglophone bishops, only a handful stood firmly against the bill. And when representatives of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB)--the church bureaucracy--appeared before the House Justice Committee on May 2, they effectively sabotaged what little opposition Canada's prelates had mustered.
When C-33 was announced, Vancouver Archbishop Adam Exner issued a statement demanding the law continue to protect "the conscience rights of Canadians morally opposed to homosexual behaviour," and "allow employers to make non-practice of homosexual activity a bona fide occupational qualification." Yet on May 2, when homosexual MP Svend Robinson questioned CCCB general-secretary Doug Crosby about that statement, the priest could only stammer an incoherent denial of Bishop Exner's position. The CCCB delegation also repudiated the Vatican's 1992 statement on homosexuality. (See story, page 31.)
"It was pathetic," objects Sylvia MacEachern, of Ottawa's traditionalist St. Brigid's Association. "Here was Canada's most infamous gay MP, the only one quoting the Church's teaching, and when he asked the representatives of the Canadian Church whether they agreed with it, they were tongue-tied." In her response to Mr. Robinson, Father Crosby's colleague, Jennifer Leddy, could only beg him, as a "serious advocate for human rights," to "give us a chance to participate constructively," since "we want to participate."
Apologists for the Canadian Catholic hierarchy say the speed with which C-33 was rammed through Parliament made any strong resistance impossible. But the capitulation of the Catholic bureaucracy to the gay rights agenda was in April, when New Brunswick Senator Noel Kinsella introduced his "sexual orientation" Bill S-2. The CCCB was offered the opportunity to make a submission against it to the Senate but declined.
Furthermore, the Liberal government has been promising to bring in such legislation since 1993, and renewed its promise last winter. Yet the national church office did nothing.
National bishops' conferences are a modern innovation. In 1964, when episcopal collegiality was discussed at the Second Vatican Council, the venerable Cardinal Oddi quipped that he could find only one biblical citation for the notion, the time during Christ's passion when "they all fled." By 1985, Vatican theology watchdog Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was warning of the "burdensome bureaucratic structures" of the national offices. They have "no theological basis" and "do not belong to the structure of the church," he insisted. Each bishop has complete authority in his diocese and is subject only to the pope. But the national conferences, however, allow the majority of the bishops to hide in anonymity.
The CCCB's General Secretariat employs just under 100 people in a half-dozen commissions, with a budget of roughly $4.5 million. Its functionaries deal directly with their opposite numbers in the local dioceses, and thus they control information flow in the Canadian Church. The secretariat is under the nominal governance of an executive committee--this year led by Kingston Archbishop Francis Spence. But the election of full-time directors falls to its periodic "plenary sessions," dependent on the "guidance" of the existing directors.
"Individual bishops have great difficulty in freeing themselves from the national conference," says Monsignor Vincent Foy, a Toronto canon lawyer. "They're afraid their authority can be undercut at any moment. It's a great burden on the Church. But the Holy See is now preparing a document on the problem."
While lack of accountability is the "iron rule" of bureaucracy, the CCCB's "gay-friendliness" is the result of personalities. In the 1980s, Father Doug Crosby, who was appointed CCCB general-secretary, was pastor of Ottawa's St. Joseph's Church. This parish was jocularly referred to "St. Joe's by the Whirlpool," because of the party tub in its rectory. St. Joseph's became home to the Ottawa chapter of Dignity, the homosexual fifth column within the Catholic Church. Special pews were reserved for Dignity members at the church's noon masses.
Gay or gay-sympathetic priests tend to form a solid, cohesive block within the church, observes Michael McCarthy, a retired priest from the diocese of Saskatoon. "They have such an enormous potential to create embarrassment with their dirty little secrets, the bishops won't stand up to them."
While the number of homosexuals in the Canadian Catholic priesthood is unknown, it is known they have a particular interest in seminaries, where new priests are formed. On the eve of Pope John Paul II's visit to Canada in 1984, Emmett Cardinal Carter, then-archbishop of Toronto, ordered a clean-up of his St. Augustine's Seminary. "Students in the residence could hear other seminarians padding up and down the halls at night, and everybody knew what was going on," says one Toronto-area priest, who wishes to remain anonymous. The obvious theological dissidents were fired, but the previous graduates were already worming their way through the Canadian hierarchy.
An investigation into St. Augustine's found no evidence of homosexual behaviour. That investigation, however, was led by the then-bishop of London, Ont., Marcel Gervais. Bishop Gervais subsequent career has revealed him to be one of Canada's foremost gay-friendly clerics. He has since become Archbishop of Ottawa, sometime president of the CCCB, grand chancellor of Ottawa's dissident St. Peter's Seminary, and the ultimate superior--and protector--of its heterodox sexual ethicist, Fr. Andre Guindon. (See story, page 30.)
A just-published book, Who's in the Seminary, suggests that Canadian seminaries are still hothouses of homosexuality. St. Paul University professor Martin Rovers sent out 455 questionnaires to students at Canada's three major seminaries (St. Augustine's, London's St. Peter's, and Edmonton's St. Joseph's). Fully 25% of the 203 respondents claimed they were either gay, bisexual or unsure of their orientation. As with most self-reported surveys, the accuracy of Prof. Rovers data is open to question, yet it is certain that homosexual representation in Canadian seminaries is many times higher than the now-accepted figure of 1.5% to 3% for the population at large.
"The Catholic Church had a major problem with the retention of priests through the 1970s," says Pennsylvania State University sociologist Philip Jenkins, author of the major new study, Pedophiles and Priests. "So they let in a lot of guys they ought not to have." Many thousands of priests had left the North American churches after the tumultuous changes ushered in by the Second Vatican Council. Desperate for new vocations, seminaries relaxed intellectual and moral standards. According to Prof. Jenkins, many homosexuals have been ordained since then, resulting in "the gay movement becoming solidly entrenched in the Canadian hierarchy." He cautions, however, not to confuse the issues of homosexuality and pedophilia. "If you look dispassionately at the figures, priestly pedophiles run maybe two per thousand, about the same as the rest of the population," says Prof. Jenkins, an Episcopalian.
The perception of a pedophilia crisis was created both by a hostile media and by the division between conservative and liberal Catholics, says Prof. Jenkins. The former blamed homosexuality, and the latter, celibacy. "In fact, the figures indicate that there is no Catholic pedophilia problem, so it's not caused by celibacy." Most of the recent school and choir scandals have not been pedophilia, with prepubescent victims. Rather, they've involved 14-or 15-year-old boys--which is classic homosexuality. That problem, Prof. Jenkins repeats, arose from poor recruiting and later, subversive networking among gay priests.
Ironically, it is the worst homosexual scandal in Canadian history that has cemented the power of gay network within the Church. The Christian Brothers, a lay Catholic order, was for decades under contract to the government of Ontario to run reform schools at Alfred, near Ottawa, and Uxbridge, near Toronto. These schools may have seen some 500 to 1000 cases of physical and sexual abuse, from the 1960s through the early 1980s. When this abuse became public in 1990, a victim's group, Helpline, hired Toronto lawyer Roger Tucker to pursue their claims. Mr. Tucker approached long-time liberal-Catholic functionary Doug Roche, to mediate. Mr. Roche, a powerful Church fixer for three decades, was the founding editor of the Western Catholic Reporter, and a former MP and Canadian disarmament ambassador. He was then also Mr. Tucker's father-in-law. His mediation proved agreeable to the Ottawa Christian Brothers and the Toronto and Ottawa archdioceses. (The Toronto Christian Brothers have refused to endorse Mr. Tucker's efforts. They are pursuing a separate compensation arrangement with abuse survivors).
By 1992, Mr. Roche had completed an agreement whereby validated abuse claimants would receive some $20,000 each and keep silent about their abusers' identities. Yet by 1996, says negotiator Mike Watters, the claimants had received an average of only $12,000 each, Mr. Tucker had pocketed $750,000, and more than $10 million had been spent in administrative costs. Mr. Roche's fee remained secret. Even more interesting, Mr. Roche or one of his colleagues slipped a curious little clause into the agreement, one that was not noticed until years later.
"If you want to know why the bishops didn't fight Bill C-33 and argue the case against gay marriages, check out the reform school agreement," says journalist Michael Harris, author of Unholy Orders, an account of the Mount Cashel Orphanage scandal. The agreement with the Christian Brothers' victims provides for dental, medical, educational, and counselling benefits to victims, their family members, and those "in a close personal relationship that others recognize is of primary importance in both persons' lives." This, claims Mr. Harris, constitutes the Canadian Catholic Church's recognition of gay spousal benefits.
It is unclear whether Ottawa's Bishop Gervais or Toronto's Bishop Ambrozic knew about the "personal relationship" clause in 1994, when both vocally opposed the Ontario gay rights bill. But by 1996, "I think the bishops knew it was there, and Svend [Robinson] knew it was there," suggests Mr. Harris. Bishop Gervais remained silent during the C-33 debate, and Bishop Ambrozic, normally the "pit bull" of the conservative Canadian bishops, merely distributed a summary of the lacklustre CCCB statement.
For whatever reason, dissident former priest and theologian Gregory Baum is glad the Canadian bishops ducked Bill C-33. "I don't think the Church has any business saying this is okay or this isn't okay." he says. "This was not a church wedding the government was debating, but a human right."
While Canada's Catholic heretics are pleased with the C-33 resolution, the orthodox are appalled. "The Catholic Church isn't a foreign institution," says Toronto lawyer David Brown, vice-president of the Catholic Civil Rights League. "Canada is founded upon a vision of the human being, grounded in religion. And if the country loses that vision, it risks self-destruction."
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