By Jay McNally
Finally. It seems the Catholic hierarchy — as in just about every bishop in the United States — has finally realized some of their dirty secrets are not so secret anymore.
With the dismissal of Cdl. "Uncle Ted" McCarrick from ministry in June, all of a sudden prominent Catholics are publicly saying what many long-suffering, long-maligned Catholic journalists and activists have been saying for decades: "Rome, we have a problem." And that problem is what Church Militant has been highlighting for years: the homosexual network that controls most of the Church.
Among the more prominent Catholic commentators identifying the problem is Janet Smith, theology professor at Sacred Heart Seminary, whose interview in the National Catholic Register last month is a good starting point for an analysis of the problems in the archdiocese of Detroit (AOD).
When the Register reporter asked, "How seriously do you take reports of the presence of 'lavender mafias' in the priesthood?" Smith replied, "I am convinced that they are present in nearly every diocese. And that they control some dioceses." (emphasis added)
Finally, Smith sounds like Michael Voris and the whole "Wanderer Gang." Her voice seems to have emboldened many other more reticent professional Catholics to find a voice for more honest disclosure in the "mainstream Catholic press" — which gets us to the archdiocese of Detroit.
A proper understanding of Detroit Abp. Allen Vigneron's campaign to "change the DNA" of the Church in southeast Michigan through his "Unleash the Gospel" campaign requires understanding his relationship to the local Catholic homosexual network.
While he was rector-president of Sacred Heart Seminary for nine years (1994–2003), Vigneron failed in several important situations to face down the powerful "gay lobby" in the AOD.
Today, after nine years as the ordinary in Detroit, a case can be made that rather than being merely silent on the issue, Vigneron is more than tacitly supportive of the homosexual juggernaut destroying the Church and our culture. The difference is between mere weakness before a stronger foe and being a quisling.
One can see the current influence of the gay network in Vigneron's chancery today by "connecting the dots," to quote Catholic League director William Donohue, who used the phrase when he indirectly blamed the archdiocese of Detroit as the catalyst for the plague of clerical sex abuse.
In a press release titled "Dissidence and Deviance in the Church: Connecting the Dots," released after The Boston Globe started publishing its "Spotlight" series in January 2002, Donohue was withering in his condemnation of Cdl. Bernard Law and then laid much of the blame for the hierarchical collapse on Detroit priest Fr. Anthony Kosnik, president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and a long-time professor of moral theology and dean at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake. Saints Cyril and Methodius was a tiny but influential school oriented mainly toward educating students from Poland for ordination in their homeland; however, it is located within the AOD.
Donohue wrote in the release:
It is well known that Paul Shanley, a former priest of the Boston Archdiocese, was a serial child molester. Indeed, he not only practiced pedophilia, he publicly justified it and even went so far as to say 'the kid is the seducer' in sexual encounters between adults and children. Shanley also endorsed bestiality. That he remained a priest for more than a decade after this was disclosed is not in dispute. Nor is it disputed that he was promoted to pastor by Cardinal Law after it was known that he attended the first conference of the North American Man/Boy Love Association in 1978; at the time he was the representative of Cardinal Madeiros for sexual minorities.
Shanley's twisted views on sexuality were not an anomaly. In a 1977, book published by the Catholic Theological Society of America, Human Sexuality: New Directions in American Catholic Thought, author Father Anthony Kosnik argued against traditional Catholic teaching on sexuality. He maintained that we must jettison the view that holds fornication, adultery, homosexuality, sodomy and bestiality to be intrinsically evil acts. ... Kosnik concluded that priests must understand that "God is surely present" in homosexual relations that are marked by "sincere affection." This book was widely used in seminaries at the time but was condemned in 1979 by the bishops. Kosnik, however, remained teaching in a seminary until 1982.
When Human Sexuality was published in 1977, faithful Catholics in Detroit and throughout the country protested by every means available, always requesting that Cdl. John Dearden silence Kosnik. Dearden ignored the complaints and doubled down in defense of Kosnik.
By that time AOD insiders were aware all three seminaries within the AOD — Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, St. Mary's in Orchard Lake and St. John's Provincial in Plymouth — were well into promoting homosexuality and admitting homosexuals on the path to ordination.
Even after the Vatican denounced Human Sexuality in 1979, Abp. Edmund Szoka allowed Kosnik to retain his seminary job through 1982, when the Vatican finally directly ordered the seminary to fire him, which it did.
The story of the Vatican intervention regarding Kosnik remains a secret and has not been reported in the media. Here it is, briefly, as told to me at the time by the two key figures in the drama, AOD priest Fr. Stanley Rokicki and Sr. Rose Michaels, S.L. (Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross):
Father Rokicki was a stridently traditional and conservative Polish priest on the outs with the chancery and was vexed by new trends in the Church. He had been running, in effect, an "underground seminary" recruitment program through which he diverted dozens of young men from Michigan to seminaries in Poland, where he was well-connected, and to several in the United States that were known to be "conservative."
With the ascension to the papacy of Polish Cdl. Karol Wojtyła, Fr. Rokicki now had a dear friend in the Vatican and started visiting him in the Holy City regularly. In one of his visits to the Vatican, he brought with him Sr. Michaels, a tiny but imposing nun who was known for both meticulous documentation regarding liturgical abuses in American dioceses and for her outspoken demeanor.
In one of their visits to Rome, both Fr. Rokicki and Sr. Michael met personally with Pope John Paul II and told him about the controversy Kosnik had created with Human Sexuality, as well as Cdl. Dearden's steadfast support of him.
Almost immediately, the Vatican issued a directive demanding the removal of Kosnik from the staff of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, which resulted in his contract for 1981–82 not being renewed, which in turn led to faculty protests and vacillation at the seminary. Finally, the Vatican pressured Dearden to fire Kosnik, who wound up at Marygrove College in Detroit as director of an academic program in pastoral ministry.
Nevertheless, Kosnik remained darling to the leadership in the AOD and at both seminaries for several years. He was listed in 1983 as one of the spiritual directors for seminarians at St. John's Provincial, which by then was nationally notorious as a "pink palace." For example, in 1980, a front-page article in the National Catholic Register explained that then-rector Fr. Kenneth Untener defended showing films of men masturbating as part of workshops at the seminary.
Kosnik was a priest in good standing in the AOD until May 25, 2002 (one month after Donohue's column citing Kosnik as the catalyst for the sex scandals), when he married Dr. Margaret Stack, who at the time was both a professor at the University of Detroit/Mercy as well as one of the psychologists who screened applicants for admission to Sacred Heart Major Seminary (SHS) during the time Vigneron was rector there.
Think about that for a minute: Vigneron hired the future wife of Anthony Kosnik as a psychologist to screen applicants to his seminary. One does not have to probe deeply among now-middle-aged men who tell stories about how Stack interviewed them in the screening process for admittance to SHS.
This article, published in 2002, explains how Vigneron screened applicants to his seminary to prevent strong candidates from being admitted.
Stack collaborated with Kosnik professionally for many years in presenting at least one paper on sexuality, "Sexual Questions for Christian Pastors," in March 1996. She also presented a paper in 2007 in Chicago at the Out There Conference: Second National Conference of Scholars and Student Affairs Personnel Involved in LGBTQ Issues on Catholic Campuses.
Stack was listed as a member of the archdiocesan Review Board (an advisory board for cases of clerical sex abuse) on the AOD website for many years until recent months, but she continues to list her membership on the Review Board on her University of Detroit/Mercy website profile.
Though Kosnik died last September, his influence remains extremely powerful in Vigneron's AOD, by way of several local organizations of which he was a member or championed, including pro-gay groups Dignity/Detroit, Call to Action and Elephants in the Living Room.
An examination of these groups reveals how powerful the "lavender mafia" remains in Detroit — a topic covered in our next column.