SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A southern Missouri bishop is signaling that homosexuality is at the root of the clerical sex abuse crisis.
On Tuesday, Bp. Edward Rice of the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau published a column on his diocesan website affirming that the McCarrick scandal is but one component of a vastly larger crisis, and that the crisis springs from homosexuality.
Titled "'Dear Troubled Catholics': Church needs spiritual renewal," the reflection began with Bp. Rice's direct observations. "I, along with all those who love the Church, am dismayed, disgusted, and numbed when I think of those who have been harmed by his behavior," he said. "While I would rather not address the situation publicly, to not address it is to stick my head in the sand."
Rice then introduced portions of an article by Dr. Ralph Martin, president of Renewal Ministries, saying the piece "expresses my feelings and perhaps your feelings, too" [emphasis added]. The bishop's phrasing was highly significant, as Martin repeatedly references homosexuality as a metastasizing cancer in the Church.
At the outset, Martin noted a bright spot amid the bishops' mushrooming sex abuse scandal: "The climate of fear among many of our clergy — the fear of being punished or marginalized if they report sexual immorality among their fellow clergy or leaders — is starting to break."
He also recounted a recent conversation with a fellow Catholic over the power of money: "T]he only way this is ever going to change," they agreed, "is if we simply stop giving to the bishops' national collections and to our own dioceses and parishes' collections, unless they are led by bishops who are willing to call a spade a spade and govern accordingly."
Martin then launched a stinging rebuke of the homosexual infiltration of the Church.
"To this day, there are quite a number of 'gay friendly' parishes in even 'good dioceses,' where those afflicted with homosexual temptation are not encouraged to live chaste lives or offered effective correction, but instead are confirmed in their sexual activity," he observed. "It seems many bishops are afraid to tackle the local 'homosexual lobbies' and choose to turn a blind eye."
Martin faulted the U.S. bishops' 2002 Dallas Charter for its deficiencies, noting that "despite pleas to not ignore the fact that this is primarily a homosexual scandal, since most of the victims were adolescent boys rather than true children ... the bishops decided not to tackle 'the elephant in the room.'"
"Could it be because they knew some of their brother bishops/cardinals were implicated, and they didn't want to face the mess of cleaning it up?" he asked. "Now this refusal to acknowledge the 'homosexual lobby,' as Pope Benedict termed it, is coming home to roost."
Describing McCarrick's crimes as only the "tip of the iceberg," Martin outlined a host of scandals demonstrating the "devastating" effects of homosexual "immorality in high places" inside the Church:
Martin noted that in spite of scandal after scandal, "reform doesn't seem to be happening."
"And what are we to make of the fact that so many of those advising the Pope have questionable fidelity to the truth?" he asked.
Specifying his concerns, Martin continued:
How can we have confidence in Cardinal Maradiaga as the head of his Council of Cardinals when he is accused of financial impropriety (which he denies); he chose an active homosexual as his auxiliary bishop; and he allowed a homosexual network to grow up in his seminary, dismissing attempts to appeal to him to clean up the mess as unsubstantiated gossip?
"How can we have confidence in the Pope's main theological advisor, a theologian from Argentina who is most known for his book, The Art of the Kiss," he continued, "or the Pope's main Italian theological advisor, who is known for his subtle dissent from the Church's teaching in the area of sexuality and who tried to insert texts in the synods on the family that pushed the document in a permissive direction?"
And how can we have confidence in the recently appointed head of the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and the Family — an archbishop who commissioned a mural in his former cathedral in an Italian diocese from a homosexual artist who included homo-erotic themes in the mural, including a portrait of the archbishop in an ambiguous pose?
"It is necessary to pray that genuine reform, rooted in real repentance and an embrace of all the truths of the Faith, would come out of this awful situation and that the Church, more deeply purified and humbled, may shine forth with the radiance of the face of Christ," Martin reminded his readers.
"But," he warned, "it is going to be a long way from here to there."
Looking ahead, Martin described the Church as embarking on "a radical purification under the chastising hand of God."
"As Pope Benedict XVI wrote when he was a young priest," he reflected, "the Church will have to become smaller and more purified before it can again be a light to the world."
Homosexual infestation, hierarchical dereliction, radical purification, divine chastisement, Church retrenchment —Martin's article is bursting with weighty themes.
That a U.S. bishop is endorsing the evangelist's lament is giving faithful Catholics a measure of hope.