Directions for emailing the Forty Theses
Go to: http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/lla.html where you will find a list of all the living bishops. Click on your local bishop’s name and it will give you information about him. In the second row in the left box it will say, contact the bishop through the diocese. Click on the diocese and upon getting to the diocese, look to right for general information and click the official website. Once at the diocese official website, you can click on “Contact us” and you will find the bishop’s email address along with the addresses of other diocesan leaders. You can send the 40 Theses to as many of their clerics as they have listed. Either copy and paste it in the email or send it as an attachment or, preferably both. If stamps are not an issue, by all means print and mail a hard copy.
Click here for PDF version Theses of Clergy Abuse Final
The Roman Catholic Hierarchy, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy and Heresy
By Vinnie Nauheimer
Can a person unschooled in Roman Catholic theology take a noted 20th century theologian and 21st century Pope’s letter deriding homosexuality and turn it into a stinging rebuke of today’s hierarchy simply by changing key words and adding direct quotes from Jesus as found in the Gospels? If so, can the hierarchy honestly accept one version and deny the other? Only at the expense of their own integrity and by denying the words preached by Jesus Christ in three of the four Synoptic Gospels! The ramifications of this revised document are enormous because they speak to homosexuality, hypocrisy and heresy.
On October 1, of 1986, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, promulgated a letter of instruction to the bishops of the world in his official capacity as Prefect of the Congregation of Catholic Faith, “Letter To The Bishops Of The Catholic Church On The Pastoral Care Of Homosexual Persons1” In that letter, he called homosexuality, “Objectively Disordered.”
What follows is a parody of that letter, which maintains Benedict’s structure, logic and reasoning. However unlike Benedict’s version this version uses Sacred Scripture quoted directly from Jesus himself. Benedict XVI could not and can never use the words of Jesus to admonish homosexuality because these words were never spoken by Him in the Gospels. The revised letter uses several direct quotes from Jesus because they exist and have been recorded by the three out of four evangelists. The direct quotes from Jesus make a stronger case for the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church being “Objectively Disordered,” sacrilegious, heretical and hypocritical than all of Ratzinger’s arguments against homosexuality. Admonitions against child abuse have a strong biblical linkage going all the way back to Exodus and continuing on from Jesus to Paul and throughout the Church’s own Catechism and Canon Law. Using the noted theologian Cardinal Ratzinger’s logic, this extended linkage makes the admonitions for and penalties against child abuse ironclad. The Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith’s has been hoisted upon his own petard. Read the revised text and judge for yourself.
LETTER TO THE POPE, BISHOPS, and LAITY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE OBJECTIVE DISORDERS OF THE HIERARCHY
1. The issue of clergy abuse and the moral evaluation of acts of sexual abuse by priests have increasingly become a matter of public debate, especially in Catholic circles. Since this debate often advances arguments and makes assertions inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church, it is quite rightly a cause for concern to all engaged in the welfare of the church. There are many in the Church who have judged it to be of such a sufficiently grave nature to address the faithful, Bishops, Cardinals of the Catholic Church, and the Pope with this Letter on the Objective Disorder of the Hierarchy in the matter of dealing with sexually abusing, priests, nuns, bishops and cardinals.
2. Naturally, an exhaustive treatment of this complex issue cannot be attempted here because it has been going on for centuries, but we will focus our condemnation within the distinctive context of the Catholic moral perspective. It is a perspective which finds support in the most basic of human needs, protecting the most vulnerable, children and adhering to the laws of God, Scripture, Canon Law, the Catechism and of course, civil law regardless of whether or not the hierarchy sees themselves as subject to it.
Most important however, is that the Catholic moral viewpoint is founded on human reason illuminated by faith and is consciously motivated by the desire to do the will of God our Father. The Church is thus in a position to learn not only from Civil Law, but also to transcend its horizons because under God’s auspices, her more global vision should seek greater justice to the rich reality of the human person in their spiritual and physical dimensions, created by God and heir, by grace, to eternal life.
It is within this context, then, that it can clearly be seen that the phenomenon of Clergy Abuse, complex as it is, and with its many consequences for society and ecclesial life, is an extremely proper focus for both the Church’s concerned laity and unstained hierarchy, if any exist. It thus requires of her ministers to attentively: support the victims of clergy abuse, study the problem, actively work to remove the offenders, and eject all members of the hierarchy whose failure to remove offending priests resulted in yet more atrocities.
3. Explicit punishments, for the crime of abusing children, have been provided by the church for centuries with the first recorded Canons posted at the Council of Elvira in the year 306 C.E. The punishment for child abuse then was banning the errant cleric from receiving communion for life including the moment of death. Those Canons stressed the true horrific nature of the crime and a just punishment for the cleric involved. There was no attempt to understand and debate whether the abuse of children was a sin or a crime. At the same time the Congregation took no note of the distinction commonly drawn between pedophilic and ephebophilic actions. These actions were considered depraved and the Church looked upon their essential and indispensable finality, as being evil and “intrinsically disordered”, in no case to be either ignored or condoned.
In the centuries which followed, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the act of child abuse, some going so far as to call it a neutral act, Father’s misstep, the or even child’s fault,. Although the particular inclination of the sexually abusing priest is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
Therefore special concern and hierarchal attention should be directed toward those in the clerical life who have this condition; lest they be led to believe that the living out this orientation in churches, convents and rectories around the globe is a morally acceptable option. It is not!
4. An essential dimension of authentic pastoral care is the identification of causes of confusion regarding the Church’s teaching. One is a new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of child abuse, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life. Cardinal Napier of Africa verbalized what many other cardinals believe, “child abuse is not a crime.” These views are gravely erroneous, objectively disordered and call for particular attention here.
5. It is quite true that the Holy Scripture owes to the different epochs in which it was written. The Church today addresses the Gospel to a world which differs in many ways from ancient days. But the world in which the New Testament was written was already quite diverse from the situation in which the Sacred Scriptures of the Hebrew People had been written or compiled.
What should be noticed is that, in the presence of such remarkable diversity, there is nevertheless a clear consistency within the Scriptures themselves on the moral issue of harming children. The Church’s own doctrine regarding this issue is thus based, not on isolated phrases for facile theological argument, but on the solid foundation of a constant Biblical testimony. The community of faith today, in unbroken continuity with the Jewish and Christian communities within which the ancient Scriptures were written, continues to be nourished by those same Scriptures and by the Spirit of Truth who’s Word they are. It is likewise essential to recognize that the Scriptures are not properly understood when they are interpreted in a way which contradicts the admonitions against harming children. To be correct, the interpretation of Scripture must be in substantial accord with that Tradition.
The Vatican Council II in Dei Verbum 10, put it this way: “It is clear, therefore, that in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls”. In that spirit we wish to outline briefly the Biblical teaching here.
6. Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of clergy abuse is the theology of God’s exhortation to protect children. From the Old Testament, the second book, Exodus 22: 22-24, we have: “Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot.” God, in his infinite wisdom knows the propensity that men have to ravage the helpless and therefore warns against harming women and fatherless children, common fare of predator priests. As far back as Exodus, the Bible states these acts merit God’s wrath. Ezekiel 23:39, “For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house” This passage speaks to priests murdering the souls of children in sacristies and rectories and then having the audacity to commit the grievous sacrilege of consecrating the host while saying Mass immediately after their debauchery.
The Magisterium, teaches us that there is a hierarchy of importance in Sacred Scripture with spoken word of Jesus in the Gospels receiving the greatest weight. Therefore, a direct quote from Jesus supersedes a narrative form such as the Virgin Birth, also Paul’s letters, the Catechism and Canon Law etc. Thusly, the highest priority, as it should be, is the Word of God given us directly through the teachings quoted from Jesus. In three out of the four Synoptic Gospels, Jesus spoke the same words. Therefore, there can be no doubt that it was the wish of Jesus and the Gospel’s divinely inspired authors that children not be sexually abused by any person and certainly not his priests.
Matthew 18:6 “But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Mark 9:42 “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”
Luke 17:2 “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”
Matthew tells us of two additional admonitions by Jesus not to hurt children leaving no doubt that the teachings of the Lord prohibit the abuse of children. To violate these teachings is a blatant act of heresy. To let them continue is both sacrilegious and heretical.
Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”
Matthew 18:14 “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”
Ratzinger’s admonition against homosexuality does not carry the weight of this authority. Against the background of this exposition of theocratic law, an eschatological perspective is developed by St. Paul when, in I Cor 5:1-2 and I Cor 5:11-13, he proposes a similar doctrine. He exhorts Christians to drive the wicked out! The hierarchy of today’s church patently refuses to follow Sacred Scripture, thereby committing a vile act of heresy in willfully choosing to ignore the teachings of first Jesus and then Paul.
Corinthians 1, 5: 11-13, But rather I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside, “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”
Corinthians 1, 5: 1-2, “It is actually reported that there is immortality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let this be removed from you!”
In the above, still building on the moral traditions of his forebears, but in the new context of the confrontation between Christianity and the pagan society of his day, Paul uses immoral behavior as an example of the blindness which has overcome the hierarchy. Put in the modern context of today: Spiritual incest is a priest, Father, having sex with his children, parishioners. Instead of the original harmony between Creator and creatures, the acute distortion of idolatry has led to all kinds of moral excess. Paul is at a loss to find a clearer example of this disharmony than incest. One can only imagine what his response to the sexual abuse of children by priests would be. Finally, Paul in full continuity with the Biblical position, singles out those who spread wrong doctrine and in Corinthians 1, 5: 6-8, calls for their dismissal stating. “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened.”
In a singularly incredible act of unprecedented hypocrisy, Ratzinger had the unmitigated gall to cite Paul’s, Roman’s I: 18-32, as proof of his righteous admonition of homosexuality. There is no better description of the clergy abuse scandal and the hierarchy’s handling of it in the entire bible! Here are verses 28-32: “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (author’s emphasis)
Paul’s passage is not an admonition of a loving homosexual couple. It is a tirade against those who lust after power and excess! Paul’s passage is more in line with the theme of John Thavis’ book “Vatican Diaries” which examines the inner workings of the Curia. Ratzinger should be ashamed of himself for having the audacity to use this passage as a proof in his argument against homosexuality. Then again, Cardinal Ratzinger’s vision could have been clouded by what he saw day in and day out in the Vatican. He merely projected onto loving homosexual couples his only knowledge of homosexuality; that which he observed in the Vatican.
7. The Church must be obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life. For a cleric to choose a child for their sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator’s sexual design as well as the vows foresworn to the Creator. Child abuse is not a voluntary union. It is an abuse of power on a most egregious scale. This does not mean that priests are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in sexual activity with children, they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.
As in every moral disorder, sexual abuse of children prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous ways of her priests, nuns, bishops, and cardinals limits the personal freedoms, rights and dignity, which the most vulnerable members of the Catholic Church should take for granted.
8. Thus, the Church’s reaction to its sexually abusing clerics today is diametrically opposed to the Scriptural perspectives and inconsistent with her own Sacred Scripture and Traditions. Though today’s world is in many ways quite new, the Christian community senses with profound sadness the complete and utter failure of a hierarchy to deal with the current epidemic of clergy abuse.
Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, within and without of the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the hierarchy to stop treating clergy abuse as though it were not the disordered, sacrilegious and criminal activity it really is. Those from both within and without the Church who argue in this fashion are often ignored by the hierarchy, who have close ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as sacred vocation of the priesthood.
The Church’s hierarchy must ensure that predator priests under their auspices are not allowed to thrive in an environment so profoundly opposed to the teachings of the Church. But the risk is great and there are many in the hierarchy who seek to create confusion in an effort to protect offending clerics. There chief tools being power, real and implied, money, and obfuscation. Their heresy is as monstrous as the crimes of the abusers they protect.
9. The movement within the hierarchy, which takes the form of pressure from the Vatican, attempts to give the impression that it represents all who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine them. It brings together under the aegis of hierarchal paternalism clerics who have no intention of abandoning their aberrant behavior. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about the hierarchy, their shuffling of priests and maltreatment of survivors are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination against the Church commonly known as “Church Bashing.”
There is an effort by some of the hierarchy to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her members with a view to maintaining civil laws such as the Statute of Limitations, which enables sexually abusing priests to escape the justice they so richly deserve. They bring pressure about with threats of closings and bankruptcy never once admitting it was their fault in the first place. The blame is put on the victim who filed suit because the church failed to take action. This is done in order to conform to the pressure groups’ concept that predator priest is completely harmless, if not entirely good! Even when the practice of sexually abusing children may seriously threaten the life and well-being of the church its advocates, the hierarchy, remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the debilitating risks involved to the church they purport to love.
PS: Ratzinger’s letter goes on, but my comparison ends here in order to make the point without becoming overbearing. The hypocrisy is staggering especially when one considers the high percentage of homosexuals in the priesthood. However, homosexuality is not the issue here. The issue is the long, tried and true admonitions against child abuse and an aberrant hierarchy that has willfully chosen ignore them. Nothing in the Gospels tells us that Jesus wished to control the sexual behavior of two consenting adults. That came later from a church determined to control its members even unto their bedrooms. However, there is a great deal said about abusing children. It started in the Old Testament, Jesus spoke about it, the Evangelists memorialized it, Paul addressed it and prohibitions flow throughout the history of the Church Law from the early church up to current times against abusing children.
A hierarchy that ignores the words of the Savior to serve its own selfish needs is guilty of sacrilege, heresy, hypocrisy and moral relativism. They cannot with these sins upon their souls represent Christ on Earth because Jesus himself told us we cannot serve two masters. (Another teaching conveniently overlooked) In an effort to hide their own shortcomings, the hierarchy rail against divorce, contraception and homosexuality as if they knew something about morality. It is time for that to end.