Benedict’s Letter Cites Porn Scandal at Detroit Seminary

News: US News
Print Friendly and PDF
by Jay McNally  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  April 12, 2019   

Former pontiff mentions Ken Untener's controversial course assignments

You are not signed in as a Premium user; we rely on Premium users to support our news reporting. Sign in or Sign up today!

There is a lot to unpack in Pope Emeritus Benedict's April 10 letter, and surely pundits will be talking about it for a long time.

Benedict's insights are especially relevant for those in the archdiocese of Detroit, which was Ground Zero for the wholesale destruction of the Catholic Church following Vatican II. As Church Militant has reminded everyone who will listen, some of the same folks who were participants in the destruction of the local Church in the '70s under Cdl. John Dearden are still in the chancery. Knowing the history in Detroit is important to understand the present.

Some of the same folks who were participants in the destruction of the local Church in the '70s under Cdl. John Dearden are still in the chancery.
Image
Cdl. John Dearden

A few observations, as a journalist and former editor of The Michigan Catholic, the newspaper of the Detroit archdiocese:

1. It is an incredible document, and one can only shake their head in wonderment at how the Church could have come to such a tragic state of affairs that it comes six years after Benedict abdicated, paving the way for the worst pontificate in many centuries.

2. The final sentence is ironic and can be seen as a biting rebuke of Pope Francis.

3. It is satisfying to see Benedict mention the pornographic films that were shown by then-Rector Kenneth Untener in the archdiocese of Detroit's St. John's Provincial Seminary in 1980, which I've written about here and in other venues. The following paragraph from Benedict's letter describes perfectly the situation in Detroit at the time:

Indeed, in many parts of the Church, conciliar attitudes were understood to mean having a critical or negative attitude towards the hitherto existing tradition, which was now to be replaced by a new, radically open relationship with the world. One bishop, who had previously been seminary rector, had arranged for the seminarians to be shown pornographic films, allegedly with the intention of thus making them resistant to behavior contrary to the faith.

Untenter went on to be appointed bishop of Saginaw, where he oversaw the spiritual destruction of that diocese for more than 20 years. Saginaw is now under criminal investigation for sex abuse cover-up.


4. Benedict mentions the two Vatican visitations to U.S. seminaries that came to nothing. Here is how he put it:

In various seminaries homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries. … The Holy See knew of such problems, without being informed precisely. As a first step, an Apostolic Visitation was arranged of seminaries in the United States. ...

There were — not only in the United States of America — individual bishops who rejected the Catholic tradition as a whole and sought to bring about a kind of new, modern "Catholicity" in their dioceses. Perhaps it is worth mentioning that in not a few seminaries, students caught reading my books were considered unsuitable for the priesthood. My books were hidden away, like bad literature, and only read under the desk.

The Visitation that now took place brought no new insights, apparently because various powers had joined forces to conceal the true situation. A second Visitation was ordered and brought considerably more insights, but on the whole failed to achieve any outcomes.

When Vatican officials came for the first visitation in about 1982 at St. John's Seminary, which was proudly labeled the "Pink Palace" by local homosexuals, Detroit's Cdl. Edmund Szoka was able to prevent any real discussion of the homosexual culture there, until the final day, when seminarian Eduard Perrone forced the issue by secretly delivering a long and detailed dossier about the seminary's homosexual culture to the visiting Vatican official.

The story of amazing intrigue — and courage — by seminarian Perrone is included in Michael Rose's profile of Perrone in his book, Priest: Portraits of 10 Good Men Serving the Church Today. Since 1994, Fr. Perrone has been pastor of one of the most orthodox parishes in the Detroit archdiocese, Assumpton Grotto Church.

Perrone's dossier led to the Vatican forcing Szoka to shut down St. John's and consolidate the major and minor seminary at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. Sadly, Szoka was not much for selecting good men to run his operations, and he put now-disgraced Bp. John Nienstedt in charge at Sacred Heart. He, in turn, put in place mostly "conciliar-minded" administrators under him, including, as vice rector, Allen Vigneron, now the current archbishop of Detroit.

Image
Bp. Fabian Bruskewitz

The second Vatican visitation took place in Detroit in 2006 and was widely publicized. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz was assigned to visit Detroit, and people who wanted to talk to him about the seminary were invited to speak with him. I applied to talk to him and was surprised to get an appointment.

At the appointed hour, Bp. Bruskewitz met me alone in a room on the second floor of the seminary, literally only about 50 feet from where I spent hundreds of hours 37 years earlier as a high school student (in 1969) editing the Sacred Heart High School newspaper.

For almost an hour, Bp. Bruskewitz read aloud every sentence of six documents (about a dozen pages typewritten) I presented to him about specific instances of outrageous homosexual situations that screamed for both acknowledgment of how vast the problem was in Detroit. The report mentioned names of prominent priests in Detroit who were deep into the active homosexual culture and the almost-incomprehensible complicity of several men, now bishops, in keeping the culture intact.

It becomes more and more apparent that ordinary faithful would know virtually nothing about anything that is going on regarding the homosexual crisis in the Church without independent media.

I had met and talked with Bruskewitz on several other occasions at Call to Holiness conferences, including a long breakfast, so we were somewhat acquainted. He said he was grateful for all the information and would present his notes and my documents to the Vatican office handling the visitation.

Several years later, I had occasion to come across Bruskewitz and asked him whatever came of the visitation. Unlike most bishops, Bruskewitz is known for his candor and down-to-earth manner. He laughed heartily and said, "I have no idea! I sent everything in and have not heard a word about it!"

As times rolls on, it becomes more and more apparent that ordinary faithful would know virtually nothing about anything that is going on regarding the homosexual crisis in the Church without independent media.

Jay McNally is former editor-in-chief of The Michigan Catholic. He has written investigative reports for several national Catholic publications about the archdiocese of Detroit and offers a unique perspective on how operations and current practices will have little to no positive impact and are, in fact, a blueprint for more destruction of the Faith.  

 

Have a news tip? Submit news to our tip line.


We rely on you to support our news reporting. Please donate today.
By commenting on ChurchMilitant.com you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our comment posting guidelines