I dedicate this post to my dear friend Janet. She declared she will not read anything unfavourable about the Pope.
Too bad, Janet. You will miss a good essay.
Allow me to refresh you, Dear Reader, on personal points about myself and the Catholic Church:
- I was born and raised Roman Catholic.
- My dad was the lay CCD Director of our parish.
- I attended Catholic school (2nd through 9th Grades).
- I performed all the duties of a loyal and devout Catholic and received all the sacraments due.
I later served as a Catechist and Youth Minister at my parish when I lived at suburban Salt lake City (1980 – 1985). I completed official Catholic Church curriculum and achieved my catechist teaching certificate. I maintained my certification by attending and completing weekly catechetical courses specified by the Diocese and Church. I participated at monthly weekend religious retreats. I attended annual Church catechetical conventions (Denver, Anaheim) at my own expence where I completed additional courses to supplant my certification.
Our SLC parish pastor regularly conducted home Mass as originally devised by early followers of Jesus. We members of our faith joined together – both women and men – equally taking duties of the ordained as written in the New Testament. After all, Genesis specifies that God created both female and male in the image and likeness of God.
I moved to Tucson (1985). Both my parish pastor and the sister in charge of religious education at my new Tucson parish remembered me from a prior parish before I moved to Utah. They invited me to join as a lay religious educator for their Tucson parish; I came with excellent Church credentials from the Diocese of Salt Lake City including a Diocese performance award from 1984.
I began seeing things differently. Ironically it was the accumulation of Biblical studies and catechetical training; it was the history of the Catholic Church and the hierarchy propounding its own doctrine anti-thetical to the New Testament.
Right there, ‘In the Beginning …’, on the first page of Genesis in the Old Testament. It is written that ‘All creation is made in the image and likeness of God …’ and ‘it is good’. Catholic Church hierarchy prohibited me from teaching that from the time I began at my Salt Lake City parish.
- The New Testament includes both women and men equal to all levels of Church membership and leadership;
- The New Testament provides no obligation of celibacy;
- The New Testament provides no opposition to ‘sex before marriage’.
I held my tongue; I taught my students the official, directed Church line in the classroom; I spoke freely elsewhere. I caused no issue at my Salt Lake City parish. Not so Tucson; one extremist, conservative parent opposed my personal liberal Catholicism and my presence; I did not teach the former in my classroom nor was I ‘out’ in the latter. This mom confronted me directly as well as both the pastor and catechist director; she demanded my removal. My Tucson pastor, sisters, and parish staff liked me and supported me. I quit anyway; she was not worth the fight.
Now let me tell you about the Catholic Church pederast cover-up and scandal. It happened at the parish where I grew up. I learned a decade ago or so that my parish’s youth priest is among the most infamous pederast priests of America. This was a guy who conducted the weekly children’s Mass and other special events Mass (e.g., Christmas and Easter). He co-directed the parish’s children’s choir under the direction of the parish’s choir director. This pederast priest lived at his own residence separate from the parish rectory. His home was within our residential area; parish and neighbourhood children regularly gathered at his home. I certainly knew nothing of what he was doing to the other children at my neighbourhood. I get chills looking back at all the years this pederast priest was parish youth minister, when I sang in his children’s choir, and I attended his youth mass.
Neither the parish priests and pastor, the Diocese, nor any papal authority took any action against this molester in our midst.
Neither did the parish choir director. The family of the parish choir director and my family were close family friends and neighbours. We literally resided right around the corner from each other. His daughters were the same ages as my sister and me; we played together every day at each other’s home. What did this parish choir director know and when did he know it?
Neither, too, my dad, the respected parish CCD Director. I know that my dad knew this pederast priest extremely well. What did my dad know and when did he know it? Was my dad active among the cover-up? Was he an accomplice after the fact? Too late to ask now – he died in 1989. My father’s complicity in the Catholic Church’s pederast scandal and cover-up is among the worst burdens that I carry in my life. Nor is there any doubt that I personally know many of the children molested by this confirmed and acknowledged pederast priest – neighbourhood playmates, school-mates, class-mates, friends. I may not know their identity, but how can I look anyone in the eye when their thought to me is, ‘How could your father do this?’
I also recall the grand retirement party held for the long-time pastor of our parish. I made a video of the event. I interviewed the pastor and many of the parish members. Now I wonder. Certainly this pastor knew what his priest was doing; neither he nor the Diocese did anything to stop their pederast priest. How many of the people at that retirement gala were victimised by the pederast priest, the pastor, and the Diocese? Perhaps another way is pondering how many parisheners did not attend because they were assaulted by this pederast priest and further victimised by Church hierarchy. I now wonder. I expected to see old school-mates at that retirement party. They were not there. Who among the absent are among the assaulted children?
Here is another point at issue. Please read the following.
I am not unlearned:
- My dad brought me to many of the WW1 and WW2 battle and memorial sites when we toured Europe during school breaks and vacations (10th Grade and 11th Grade – 1971-1973).
- I became a ‘student of the Shoah Holocaust’ upon witnessing the horrors of Dachau and Maribor.
- I participated at the ‘Seeds of World Conflict’ convention at University of Utah and debated global issues with such disparate notables as both Elie Wiesel and Edward Teller (Autumn quarter 1983).
- I completed a post-graduate honours study course in the Shoah Holocaust (2000).
Therefore, I do not use such terms as ‘Fascist’ or ‘NAZI’ for exaggerated effect when I use them.
So it came to be on the day the Catholic cardinals announced they chose Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis. News commentators mentioned Bergoglio’s family moved from Italy to Argentina before Jorge was born. It was common during the 1920s to 1940s that Italian Fascists and their counterpart German NAZIs moved to Argentina and Brasil where they established their movements. Both Argentina and Brasil were Axis nations durng WW2.
Peronistas would be Argentine Fascists as, too, the military junta of the 1970s and 1980s.
The military rules of Argentina and Brasil and Nixon’s CIA overthrow of President Salvadore Allende of Chile are fresh in my mind. I am someone who lived through them as ‘current events’; these are not from some page of vague history younger folks might read in textbooks.
These were my perspectives as I watched the news reporting the day Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became Pope Francis. The commentators described how the Catholic Church had been steeped in scandal – decades of entreched pederastery and cover-up and corruption in the Curia and Vatican Bank. So little honesty among the men (there are no women in the Church hierarchy) who boast to be most honest.
I sought to make my own research without pre-conceptions. An early search of the existing web-sites would avoid the pitfalls ahead of the expected post-selection sites (pro and con) that would skew the pre-selection balance. I found numerous (Cardinal) Bergoglio references of him making nice with the Argentina military junta. If Bergoglio was truly, seriously opposed to the generals, then he would have – should have – done more. That was the gist of the contemporaneous articles I found about Bergoglio that dated from the 1970s and 1980s. Those narratives described many civilians and many priests who endured torture, disappearance, and execution while Bergoglio sat pretty with the junta.
There were many news reports on that day of the selection describing both Pope John-Paul and Pope Benedict leaving behind these on-going scandals to now-Pope Francis. The commentators explained how these prior popes lacked neither authority nor power to remedy these failures. Huh? Who is really in charge of the Catholic Church if not ultimately the Pope? This says much of the failings of both John-Paul and Benedict.
There is no end to the almost daily news reporting failure at the top:
- ‘The Pope’s statements about the Church’s sexual abuse scandal are little more than rhetoric.’ (PBS Newshour – 5 Apr 13)
Then there is the continuing pederastery throughout Australia. Their cardinal refuses to investigate; he wants to delay all enquiries at least another decade.
Pope Francis is not ‘liberal’ as long as he insists that women hold no place in his Roman Catholic Church. The New Testament repeatedly calls for both women and men to lead their sect.
Lastly we had Pope Francis ‘fast-tracking’ sainthood for John Paul 2. I propose JP2 be known as ‘Saint Pervertus’. (Don’t credit me for that; watch for it in the movie ‘Last of Sheila’.)
Everyone – woman or man – Catholic or not – is free to learn, choose their own actions, witness their truth. This is my witness to what I know to be honest and true.
As for Pope Francis as ‘Person of the Year’, he will be among the notorious of that list, not among the celebrated.
My friend Janet posted her message to me at our board:
- ‘He has so much love and compassion for everyone. Sorry you don’t see it. It’s kinda sad that you don’t. I won’t read anything against him’.
Where is this Pope’s ‘love and compassion’ for the people he directly and indirectly victimised? I see blindness to not see truth and fact.
- Under now-retired Cardinal Roger Mahoney and Monsignor Thomas Curry (Los Angeles), there are at least 500 known victims. For example, Monsignor Peter Garcia is documented ‘for sexually abusing 17 youths, maybe 20. No one in the Catholic Church alerted the authorities.’ (CBS News)
- ‘The Church ignored the children. A cover-up, paramount to the Church for decades, protected itself.’ (Ray Boucher, one-time victim and now lead victim attourney)
- ‘There are maybe 20 youths Garcia was involved with in First Degree Felonies.’ (Curry in reply to Mahoney)
- ‘They made conscious, clear decisions hiding priests and move them around. Never did they consider the children they destroyed and left behind.’ (Manny Vega, victim)
What do you think now, Janet? How much more blindness will it take for you to see?
Friends care about each other. I care about you enough to share my truth with you.
Up-date (5 Nov 16):
Please review this post from fellow spirit friend Cara:
As I wrote above when I originally posted this blog, this current Pope re-iterated this week that women in his Catholic Church hold absolutely no position of authority, responsibility, or reverence. Some pope, eh?