June 2002 - District Superior's Letter
The biased and one-sided media relishes publishing sex abuse cases involving catholic clergy. They knowingly omit that this immoral behavior is not exclusive to clergy but is common amongst laypeople. Not only do they smear the good reputation of the overwhelming 98% plus majority of good priests but they alledge that priestly celibacy is the cause of this abuse. This is simply false. Priestly celibacy is a necessary means for priestly holiness. This issue and its real causes are discussed in this letter.
One-sided newspapers ever-quick to report sex abuse cases involving catholic clergy
We hear these days of the terrible scandals which afflict the Church. The media are quick to report and the newspapers are full of articles concerning sexual abuse cases involving priests. While in no way do I want to excuse this scandalous behaviour, when we consider the small percentage (2% according to a very good and balanced article in a US newspaper) of "abusive" clergy in comparison with those who have remained faithful and have dedicated their lives to the service of God and their neighbour sometimes at the price of great sacrifices, I cannot help but see this as another attempt on the part of some to discredit the priesthood and the Church. When do faithful priests ever receive any mention in the media?
Of course, priestly celibacy is the culprit
If you read letters to the editor or listen to open line radio programs you will hear that one of the reasons, if not the main reason given for these abuses, is the Church's requirement for priestly celibacy. I've even heard priests call for its abolition.
In fact, celibacy is not the cause
If celibacy was really the cause of this scandal there should be many more abusers and there should have been more throughout the history of the Church. Also if you look at the clergy involved it almost always includes clergy who have rejected the Churches teaching on sexual morality, for example Fr Paul Shanley.
This abuse is not exclusive to the catholic clergy
Neither is this abuse confined to the Catholic clergy. It is also found amongst Protestant clergy, teachers, coaches and daycare workers who are for the most part married. They are also simply moved around. Incidentally it seems that this, more than the abuse itself, is what has angered most people. So celibacy cannot be the cause of the problem.
The real cause is a culture of impurity
What is the real cause? Simply our culture in which fashions and advertising represent teenagers more or less as sex objects and encourages them to have sexual encounters. You have to remember that the victims of this abuse are not pre-puberty children, but almost always underage teenagers between the ages of 15 - 17. Some time ago, in a documentary, where else but on CBC radio I even heard a teacher in class encouraging her students to make their own sexual experience.
Holiness is the reason for priestly celibacy; it is necessary for a deeper union with Christ
This questioning of the law of priestly celibacy is not new but one which rears its ugly head periodically. It is nothing else than an attack on the holiness of the priesthood. No one has to be ordained and no one has a right to be ordained a priest. If a man cannot or does not want to accept the obligation of celibacy he should not seek ordination.
This obligation, which goes back to the Apostles1 , has been a constant tradition especially in the West so that it cannot be considered a purely disciplinary measure. God himself seems to have favoured this discipline since it is the discipline he has allowed to spread throughout most of the Catholic world. I do not intend to denigrate the legitimate customs of the Eastern Catholic rites but, "Our only intention was to eulogize what we regard as the greatest glory of the catholic priesthood and what seems to us to be the most perfect fulfillment of the wishes and designs of the Sacred Heart for the sanctification of his priests." 2
Why does the Catholic Church require celibacy from her priests? Is it really the problem or rather the solution to the problem?
"The priestly office demands of you, so to say, various particular forms of sacrifice amongst which is that primary and complete sacrifice of self in devotion to Christ which is made by celibacy."3 The priesthood is a life of sacrifice. A man wishing to enter the priesthood must sacrifice everything in this world in order to devote himself solely to the service of God wherever and in whatever manner God may call him. "Continuing as he does our divine Saviour's work of redemption, the one unceasing purpose of his life ought to be the salvation of souls. Is it not right that he should free himself from family cares and preoccupations which would absorb no small part of his energies?"4 "Freed from obligations which might attach him too closely to this world, e.g. those arising from family ties and self-interest, the priest will be more on fire with that heavenly love for souls which flows from the Heart of Jesus Christ…This zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, so characteristic of our Redeemer, should so inflame and so to speak, consume the heart of the priest that, forgetting self and personal interests, he will dedicate himself entirely to this sublime mission…" 5
"He that is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God."6 "Therefore it is necessary that he renounce the things of the world, so that he may have care only of the things of the Lord."7 "In order that her sacred ministers may acquire this spiritual liberty of soul and body, and avoid becoming involved in earthly business, the Latin Church demands that they should freely and willingly submit to the obligation of perfect chastity."8 "In the words of the angelic Doctor the use of marriage 'holds back the soul from complete dedication to the service of God."9
One who consecrates Our Lord's Body and Blood must be celibate
But there is a deeper reason for celibacy. "Sacred ministers do not renounce marriage solely because of their apostolic ministry, but also because they serve at the altar." It is because the priest acts in the person of Christ and of his proximity to the Holy Eucharist that the priest is celibate. This is why Archbishop Lefebvre always said that priestly celibacy is related to faith in the Holy Eucharist. Here we cannot help but see an indictment against the new mass. By taking the Mass as a sacrifice away from the priests to replace it with the mass as a assembly, they have taken away from the priest his reason for being a priest: i.e. the sacrifice. But I think this explains more the reason why priests have left the priesthood not why they molest children.
Infiltration of homosexual network in the Church
I think the real reason is the infiltration of the Church by the homosexual network. Father John O'Connor O.P. has documented well enough the destruction of the Dominican order in the US by this infiltration. He even gives names. The problem is not so much the problem of pedophilia as the problem of homosexuality in the clergy.
John Paul II to be present at World Youth Day in Toronto; should we bother attending?
Next July Toronto will have the misfortune of hosting World Youth Day to which Pope John Paul II has promised to be present. Can we rejoice at such events? Can we encourage them? Can we take part? What is the aim of this event? Is it really for these youths to deepen their faith? I fear it will be nothing else than another ecumenical jamboree with all the aberrations and sacrileges attached to such displays. What good comes from such events? None! It is a "flash in the pan" with no results for conversion. This is simply the experience of the past. If it strengthens these children in something it will be in the "new evangelization" and ecumenism rather than in the Faith. What is more the promiscuity and immodesty will be a true occasion of sin. All one has to do is remember is the immodesty of dress displayed by the women in Rome in 2000. It is obvious we can have no part in this whatever.
Attend the Ordinations to the priesthood in Winona instead
I do invite and encourage as many of you as possible to attend the ordinations at Saint Thomas Aquinas seminary in Winona on June 23. Again this year Canada will be blessed with another priest. His Lordship Bishop Fellay will on that day ordain Reverend Mr. Robert MacPherson to the holy priesthood along with 3 other young men.
Thank you for your continued financial and prayerful support. May God and his holy Mother reward you a hundredfold. Be assured of the prayers of our community for all of you and your intentions. As usual the monthly Mass for all our friends and benefactors is offered on the last Sunday of the month.
Father Jean Violette
1."What the Apostles taught and the early Church preserved let us too observe." The council of Carthage quoted by Pius XI AD CATHOLICI SACERDOTII FASTIGIUM December 20 1935.
2. Encyclical AD CATHOLICI SACERDOTII FASTIGIUM Pius XI December 20 1935.
3. Pius XII DISCOURSE TO THE SEMINARIANS OF THE ROMAN COLLEGES June 24 1939.
4. Encyclical AD CATHOLICI SACERDOTH FASTIGIUM Pius XI December 20 1935.
5. Encyclical AD CATHOLICI SACERDOTH FASTIGIUM Pius XI December 20 1935.
6. I Cor. 7:32
7. Apostolic Exhortation MENTI NOSTRAE of Pius XII September 23 1950.
8. Encyclical SACRA VIRGINITAS on Christian Virginity Pius XII March 25 1954.
9. Summa Theologica II-II, q.186, a. 4. Quoted by Pius XII.