NEWARK VALLEY, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - From his pulpit in the diocese of Rochester, a New York priest is railing against clerical sex abuse and cover-up, while rallying Catholics to cling tighter to the Barque of Peter.
In his Aug. 26 homily "The Crisis in the Church," Fr. Anthony Amato affirmed the Catholic priesthood is rotten with homosexuality and warned that corruption among the hierarchy is destroying both lives and souls.
Father Amato prefaced his address by outlining its purpose: "I mention these things ... because the devil wants to stay in the darkness."
"There are people who want to push this aside ... because it hurts — because it's just more comfortable to go back to our lives the way they were," he added. "But we can't. We can't do that."
"The word 'crisis' isn't even an appropriate word to describe the situation," Amato noted. "There is a disease, or rot, that has been allowed to fester for many years. And like any deadly disease, sin — and especially the kinds of sin that cry out to Heaven for vengeance — will only spread and take everything down with them, 'til there is nothing left."
"This is the work of Satan," the priest declared, "who got a hold of weak men, who compromised to the point that they no longer knew who they were, or even who they were supposed to be. It is straight from Hell."
Referring to the Pennsylvania grand jury report, the John Jay report and other studies of clerical sex abuse, Fr. Amato noted that the overwhelming majority of cases are "homosexual in nature."
"The horror of such sins is compounded by the fact, of course, [that] they are priests," he observed. "It is sacrilege ... they have used their office to take what they want and destroy the lives of our young people."
Calling former Cdl. Theodore McCarrick "just the tip of the iceberg," Amato marveled at how the serial sexual predator "was still allowed to have influence over the choices of bishops in this country," with evidence of the corruption stretching "right to the top."
McCarrick "created a network of seminarians and then priests and then bishops and cardinals, who were all compromised," he noted, pointing to the homosexual network pervading today's Church. "And they kept a culture of sexual secrets. There is now, and has been for decades, a subculture of homosexual priests, bishops and even cardinals, and it must be rooted out. This cannot stand."
"How does it start?" Fr. Amato asked. "How does this happen?"
"It starts with evil. It starts with sin. It starts with evil sexual acts," he explained.
"And then they promote each other through a system of favors, intimidation and blackmail," the priest said. "And then they protect each other through the apparatus of the hierarchical structure that is inherent to the Church, and they crush anyone who opposes their evil."
"In such a situation, their consciences become so numb, their view of the world becomes so skewed, they couldn't even see the evil that was right in front of them," Amato continued. "And they covered it up. And they lied about covering it up. And they're still lying."
He pointed out the crisis reflects the progressive nature of sin: "This is how evil works. We begin to make small compromises. Just these slight sins, because we think we won't be found out."
As a result, he continued, "We become numb to sin, and we may not even recognize just how bad sin really is, let alone a grave sin. We then make excuses for why certain sins are not so bad."
In the end, he said, "We say things like, 'The Church needs to be more compassionate.' 'The Church needs to get with the times.' 'The Church needs to be more understanding of people today.'"
Father Amato reiterated the crisis is the work of Satan.
The devil did a number on us, my friends. ... If you were the devil — if your whole mission is to destroy the Church and, therefore, devour souls — you would strike at the priests and bishops first, because they have the most influence over the people of God, day in and day out. You would get them to compromise the Faith through their words of commission, ommission and through their actions. Through their evil actions, they would be unable to speak the truth on so many issues plaguing our culture today. Their conscience won't allow it.
The infiltration of the priesthood by morally compromised men is reflected by the weak, vapid messages coming from most pulpits, Amato observed.
"How many priests and bishops have been utterly silent in the last 50 years on issues of sexual morality?" he asked. "When have you heard a homily against contraception, sodomy, fornication or anything like that?"
"It's much easier to always preach about the poor, the immigrants or just generally about how much Jesus loves you just the way you are, because we're all just so wonderful," he added.
Amato called for the laity to combat clerical rot by praying for their priests and bishops daily.
"Make it part of your daily prayers that our priests strive for perfect virtue and holiness," he pleaded.
The priest also warned against abandoning the Church at this time of peril: "We all have that potential to fall away from God. Some of us are right on that edge — it can go either way. This is not a time for retreat. It is not a time to despair and to lose faith in the promises of God."
"Christ established for us a Church on Earth with the foundation of the twelve Apostles so we could know where the true Church is with our eyes and with our hearts," he reminded listeners. "He promised us that the truth would remain undefiled, immaculate, in His one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church — the only means of salvation for the whole world — regardless of how sinful any individual member may be."
Continuing, Fr. Amato stressed that the purification of the Church is underway and that Catholics must to it ever more tightly if they hope to spiritually survive:
My friends, this is a time when saints are made. Cultural Catholicism is over. We'll remain in the Church if we are deliberate, while striving for holiness, conforming our minds and our hearts to Christ in every action. ... The Church has been compared to a ship tossed here and there in the waves of a stormy sea in the dead of night. ... The sails have been shed. The rudders are broken — they're gone. And the captain might as well be asleep. Those in the boat know that by divine faith that the only chance they have of survival is to stay in that boat no matter how hard the waves crash down or how hard that ship is tossed.
"But I promise you, the storm cannot last forever," he said. "At some point, the dawn will begin to break, and we will see that safe harbor in the distance. And on that shore is the Lord Jesus, with His arms outstretched and His immaculate mother Mary to His right, and His wounds of His passion still visible as they were to the Apostles."
"And we will know that throughout the storm, He never left us. He wept with us," Amato added. "And it is only when we flee into their loving embrace that we will find peace for our souls and our eternal refuge."