From the Pastor: Vigano’s Third Letter
On October 19 Archbishop Vigano published a third letter. In it he responded to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, the man whom Vigano had, in his second letter, begged to come forward with truthful corroborating statements and evidence about the disgraced former Cardinal and now publicly outed abuser McCarrick. Cardinal Ouellet instead attacked him without refuting the veracity of his previous letters. Archbishop Vigano’s new letter is definitely worth reading in its entirety but I want to highlight just a bit of what he stated near the end, when he was wrapping up his arguments. I find this part to be essential to the whole situation and the essence of the problems the Church is facing (or still refusing to face). Below I will comment on just a few lines from his letter.
“In the public remonstrances directed at me I have noted two omissions, two dramatic silences. The first silence regards the plight of the victims. The second regards the underlying reason why there are so many victims, namely, the corrupting influence of homosexuality in the priesthood and in the hierarchy.” It is amazing that so many defenders of Francis (for that is what Vigano’s attackers are doing rather than refuting his statements), will go to great lengths to ignore the victims or to, at the very least, downplay the grave damage done to them on three levels: 1) psychologically; 2) spiritually; and 3) physically. Why is that? They ignore the psychological damage because they insist that homosexual activity is a good thing! Engaging in the sexual activity which “God made you” crave cannot do damage, they claim. These clerics cannot admit that their “non-victims” didn’t desire such perverted actions before they were traumatized by the homosexual abuse or else they lose their rationale for engaging them in such actions. (Yes, this sick thinking permeates their thought and the “blame the victim” mentality is alive and well. In fact, it thrives since homosexual clergy refuse to see their targets as “victims” at all. The sick clergy are simply “introducing” these young men to “the most beautiful way of showing God’s love”, don’t you know?) They ignore, secondly, the spiritual damage to their victims because, as I have written before, they generally have no Fear of God and no belief in hell. Lastly, they ignore the physical damage done to their victims because sodomy and the related sexual actions are just so absolutely putrid that even those who engage in them regularly cannot bear to describe them in any detail. Body parts rip apart because other body parts don’t fit. Excrement becomes a disease-ridden, sexually enticing flavor. Even the smell... sorry, I cannot go on. See what I mean? I think these few comments of mine suffice to show how “corrupting” the “influence of homosexuality in the priesthood” is, for once the cleric has started down the nauseating path of sodomy, it corrupts all of his thinking about who is victim and who is abuser, what is beautiful and what is not just ugly but truly horrendous, and what is good and what is evil. Then he does his damnedest to corrupt his victims in that exact same evil, twisted thought process and, of course, actions. Once corrupt, each corrupt cleric will absolutely cover for every other corrupt cleric, for it preserves, justifies, and increases his own corruption. After entering into this dark cabal, though they despise each other (just as demons have no capability of true love or even friendship) a sodomite cleric will surround himself with like-minded “men” for his own protection and pleasure. He will only “rat” on another sodomite as a last resort, in order to save his own skin (as the law comes down on him) or to increase his own power (by instilling servile fear in other sodomites whose immoralities he could easily expose next) or prestige (receiving accolades from the general public who are fooled into thinking that he must be a “good guy”).
Vigano continued by stating that “this very grave crisis cannot be properly addressed and resolved unless and until we call things by their true names. This is a crisis due to the scourge of homosexuality, in its agents, in its motives, in its resistance to reform. It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy, and it can only be eradicated with spiritual weapons. It is an enormous hypocrisy to condemn the abuse, claim to weep for the victims, and yet refuse to denounce the root cause of so much sexual abuse: homosexuality. It is hypocrisy to refuse to acknowledge that this scourge is due to a serious crisis in the spiritual life of the clergy and to fail to take the steps necessary to remedy it.” He nailed it. But how, you may ask, is this different than the (relatively few) heterosexual clergy who abuse young females? Are not clergy who break their vows of equal concern whether homo- or heterosexual? His great answer: “Unquestionably there exist philandering clergy, and unquestionably they too damage their own souls, the souls of those whom they corrupt, and the Church at large. But these violations of priestly celibacy are usually confined to the individuals immediately involved. Philandering clergy usually do not recruit other philanderers, nor work to promote them, nor cover-up their misdeeds -- whereas the evidence for homosexual collusion, with its deep roots that are so difficult to eradicate, is overwhelming.” That’s the difference between “failure” in properly ordered sexual attractions and “success” in “tendencies” and “inclinations” which are “objectively disordered” (CCC 2358).
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: A Recent Question
A couple of weeks ago I was asked a question which I thought was interesting enough to share with you here. The conversation came about as a result of someone reading my previous bulletin articles dealing with the active homosexual and homosexual activist priests and bishops. The reader asked what he thought would be a rather rhetorical question that went something like this: “You are pretty blunt about the sin of sodomy. I bet you never get any gays going to you for confession, huh?” Now, before I go further into the story, I want you to ponder what he had assumed. Because I am clear that sodomy is a mortal sin and, further, that those priests and bishops who embrace it rather than abhor it are evil and satanic (yes, I wrote quite bluntly about that issue), his assumption was that nobody who engages in this sin would come to me for confession. But, and this is a big BUT, except for those approaching the confessional for immoral purposes (which is a much larger discussion which I will not be able to fully engage in here), every person who enters the confessional, no matter what sin they may have committed (or what good they may have neglected) is there with repentance, seeking absolution and the additional graces needed to avoid falling into sin again. This man had not made the distinction between two groups of men: 1) Those who willingly and knowingly engage in mortal sin not only without repentance but, incredibly, with defiance against God’s moral law which defines it as mortal sin in the first place; and 2) Those who engage in mortal sin but afterward repent of it and seek out God’s abundant mercy with the intention to be cleansed and healed and never to commit that sin again. Certainly, those in the first group never come to confession to me or to any other priest, for that matter, for to them confession is a farce. Those of the second group will seek out the sacramental graces they need, as quickly as they can and as often as they need. Moreover, what the questioner failed to grasp is that they will often seek out a priest who is clear about what is and what is not mortal sin rather than one who is silent or, worse yet, approving of it. Let’s look at why they will often go out of their way to seek me out or seek out another priest with a reputation of being “tough.”
Many people who struggle with sins, especially sexual sins and even more specifically with those sins which the world currently champions, have had their fill of priests, first in the pulpit and later in the confessional, who make excuses on their behalf for their repented immoral behavior. They get frustrated with Benedict Arnold priests who tell them that the Church is wrong and that they can continue with their actions without qualms to their conscience. They know they have sinned, they know they have offended God, they know that their immortal souls are cut off from sanctifying grace. They want to confess to a priest who will not coddle them but will instead hold them to accountability, encourage them in holiness, and grant absolution with the proper words and formula. As I explained this to the questioner, he admitted that he had never thought of it that way before even though he has those same criteria when looking for a confessor himself! Why think sodomy is in a unique category? I write about this because I hope that others (you) will understand what happens when a priest does not speak clearly about sin. That is what drives people away from the confessional. After all, why confess if Father doesn’t believe in sin or in the eternally damning effects of mortal sin? More than that, I hope you realize how damaging it is for the penitent to confess something like sodomy to a priest who, from his teaching and preaching makes himself out to be so “merciful” and “inclusive” that he, unlike the “rigid” and “traditional” and “judgmental” priests like me, preaches mercy without repentance, forgiveness without confession, and death without judgment. In the confessional, that type of priest will, as has been attested to in many public stories recently, try to encourage him to continue his sin, either with others or, God help me for having to even type this, with the immoral priest himself. I hope people are waking up to the fact that many, perhaps most or all, priests who blather about a false “mercy” do so only because they are constantly engaging in mortal sin themselves and are trying to rationalize the literal hell out of their actions. Active homosexual priests will find plenty of “action” by making it known that they are available for “service” and no confession is required afterward. Blech. Repentant sinners find that repulsive. They go elsewhere for true mercy. Yes, I told my surprised questioner, many come to me for confession.
That does not mean that all priests who preach the truth always live the truth. No, even the best priest can fall into sin. Too, there is always a slight possibility that a priest who teaches the fullness of the Faith lives a double life and does not believe what he preaches. But when a priest openly and proudly admits to being “progressive” (ie., does not believe Church teachings, especially in the moral realm) nobody really expects him to give good advice (or even valid absolution) in the confessional, either.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Diocesan Family Faith Fest
In two more weeks, on Saturday, October 27, the Diocese of St. Petersburg is hosting its first Diocesan Family Faith Fest. By now you have read about it in church bulletins, you have seen ads for it if you receive the Pastoral Bulletin from the Diocese, and you have, if you listen to Spirit FM, heard about it on the radio. But for the sake of all of those who are just now scratching their heads and thinking, “Hmmm.... I am not sure what Father is writing about. How did I miss it?” I am writing about it in this column, too. I just gave you the date. Now for the time and location. It will be held from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm at Al Lopez Park in Tampa. Where it that? The entrance is located on Himes Avenue across the street from and between St. Lawrence and Jesuit High School. The address is 4810 N Himes Ave, Tampa, FL 33614. There is an app which you can download for either Android or Apple. Just go to the diocesan webpage (www.dosp.org) and find out how. The app will give all sorts of information about the event. Here is a snippet about the app: “For the thousands of people planning to attend the Family Faith Fest on October 27 at Al Lopez Park, good news – there’s an app for that! The app features so much content about the day’s events and activities, it’s an easy way to plan your day and be sure that you don’t miss out on your favorite activities. Whether you are wanting to see the schedule of concerts and performances, view the list of exhibitors, watch videos about the Fest or view a map of the park, look no further than the new app.” It also mentions that “You can also register for free tickets to the Fest from the app by clicking on the ‘Info’ button. While the event is free, if you register for tickets before Oct. 25 at 1 PM you are entered into a drawing for prizes. Registering also gives us information to plan for parking, etc.” So get the app, get your tickets, win a prize, have a fun, faith-filled day with the family.
But what exactly is the Faith Fest? Again, from dosp.org,
The Diocese of St. Petersburg was established on June 17, 1968, and Bishop Gregory Parkes has announced that a large-scale music and faith festival will be held to celebrate the momentous occasion of our 50th anniversary.
“Our golden jubilee is a time to celebrate,” said Bishop Parkes. “Like many families who gather for family celebrations, we want to bring together our diocesan family to celebrate our 50th anniversary. It’s going to be a fun day but also a day of faith, a day to share our faith, a day to celebrate our faith and to pray together and to just have a good time together.”
The Family Faith Fest will gather together families and individuals from throughout our community to celebrate together the many blessings the Good Lord has bestowed upon us these past 50 years. Our greater community includes 81 parishes & missions, 3,177 square miles covering Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough & Pinellas Counties, 118,904 registered Catholic households, over 470,017 Catholics, 3 campus ministries at local colleges, 25 elementary schools with 7,500+ enrolled and 4 high schools with 1,900+ enrolled.
The event is being held on Saturday, October 27 in honor of the diocesan patron saint that watches over us in a special way. St. Jude is our patron and his feast day is Oct. 28. In order to honor this saint and the role he has in guiding the lost to find hope in Jesus, our Family Faith Fest is on the weekend of his feast day!
The Fest will be held at Al Lopez Park in Tampa, which is located on 132 acres of a natural preserve with plenty of trees, Florida wildlife, open green spaces, playgrounds, walking trails and two scenic ponds. It is centrally located between the major metropolitan areas of the Diocese with easy access to major highways.
At the Festival, there will be family entertainment, food, confessions, a vigil Mass, information about various ministries and organizations at various parishes throughout the diocese, bible story-telling and games and entertainment geared towards little kids and some other activities geared towards teens, and still more things for adults. Plus, some Tampa Bay Lightning and Rowdies players will be there signing autographs! Since there has never been something like this on a diocesan scale, I can just guess that it will be like a parish carnival, ministry fair and food fest all wrapped up into one and on a much grander scale. Be sure to put it on your calendar and spend a day with thousands of local Catholic families!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: At the Convocation
Every year the priests of the diocese go on Convocation. I wrote about it last week, reminding you about it and encouraging you not to die for at least a few days. I want to thank all of you who took my advice seriously and are still around to read the bulletin this week. I also want to tell you a little about what I experienced during the week. I have already told you that for me, the best part of the Convocation is always being together with other priests. This was true once again this year. It started out in the normal way. I went to the registration table and immediately was greeted with an information packet with my name on it. How is it that everyone knows who I am? I had no clue who was handing the large bulky manilla envelope to me, yet he gave me the right one. Of course, I didn’t let on that I had no idea of who he was and greeted him as an old friend. We exchanged pleasantries, we both greeted the other priests coming in behind me, and, ten minutes later, still standing at the desk, I opened the envelope and pulled out my room key and the schedule of events and dug through the rest to see if there was anything else of interest. There wasn’t. So off I went to drop off my suitcase. I was on the top (2nd) floor, which I considered to be a sign that I am not yet considered to be a decrepit old priest by those making the room assignments. After all, since they expected me to carry my stuff up the stairs to my room (there are no elevators in the Bethany Inn), they must figure that I am still pretty spry, at least in comparison with the other priests. That assumption turned out to be quite mistaken later that night when I saw a long-ago retired Monsignor slowly, and I mean s-l-o-w-l-y, make his way up that same flight of stairs to get to his assigned room, which was just a few doors away from mine.
Our first official function was Vespers chanted in the chapel. We do a fairly good job chanting together, and starting off with prayer is a great beginning to the week. It is also when we first get to hear the spiritual moderator, as he always gives a short reflection on the prayers, the Convocation theme, and how he will be tying everything together through the week. As I wrote last week, no spiritual moderator was listed on the registration form, so I was quite interested to see who it would be. As it turned out, nobody gave a reflection. The the newly ordained priests were given the task of preaching the sermons at Masses each day, though. That's a pretty difficult thing for even an “experienced” priest to do! I think it was a resounding success. After being spiritually nourished, it was time for physical nourishment and off we went to dinner. At my table were three retired Monsignors, two priests ordained only a couple of years, and a couple of foreign priests whom I had never met before. Like I said, these are the things I look forward to. We had a great meal and great conversation and then it was time for the first talk.
Two men from LifeTeen got up and, bouncing back and forth one to the other, told us of how a particular priest had touched their lives in such a way as to bring them from the brink of being young, baptized secularists, and change them into committed, practicing Catholics. Both were raised about as Catholic as the average Catholic in the past 50 or so years and neither saw any point to it until challenged by a priest. That set the tone for their subsequent talks, which went something like this: priests must challenge the youth to actually be Catholic, but the priests must realize that the youth have no Catholic foundation (because their parents were not given one); the youth of today have no attention span due to electronics; and the youth are exposed through these electronics to huge amounts of information, some of which is good (so they are used to getting quick, large doses of good information and we shouldn’t give them too little, too slowly), and some of which is very, very, evil (porn and other demonic things which older generations never even knew about, let alone were immersed in). They also emphasized the youth’s expectation of instant gratification with no effort and how difficult that makes it to show the value of Catholicism, for to be Catholic is to work hard and to be patient. God is not Alexa or Siri! They gave examples and told stories and overall did a decent job.
After a couple of hours of that, it was time for a little male bonding of the sort that we do at the Holy League. The talk over drinks and cigars and chess and baseball was a nightly delight. The older guys told about what youth ministry was in their days and the younger ones couldn’t believe what kind of things were mandated in the past which are completely prohibited today.
Every day I got to sleep in until 6:00 am(!), commuted to celebrate the 8:00 Mass at Epiphany, and, after confessions and Benediction, had just enough time to almost get back for the mid-morning talk. All in all, it was a good week.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka