Showing posts with label Ordination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ordination. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oregon Priest Arrested for Sexual Abuse After Pursuing His Victim Dressed Only in His Underwear

In recent years, I've heard Catholics say, "I believe in the Catholic Church.  I mean, we're all sinners."  "The bishops have taken care of the sexual abuse crisis."  "The pedophiles have been weeded out.  They were just old priests, who went to seminary decades ago."  "Why won't the media leave us alone?  Can't we just move on?"  

No, we can't just move on.  Sexual abuse by Catholic clerics continues.  

Perez was arraigned in Marion County Circuit Court on Tuesday, appearing via video from Marion County Jail, wearing a black V-neck top with his hands secured in front of his waist. He faced allegations of first-degree sexual abuse, abuse of a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct, furnishing alcohol to a minor and driving under the influence of intoxicants.
Father Perez was arrested after he chased a twelve-year-old boy down the street at midnight wearing only his underwear.  The priest had told the boy's parents that he was taking him on a trip to the mountains.  Instead, the priest took the boy to his rectory, got the boy drunk, waited for the boy to fall asleep and then assaulted him.  Thankfully, the boy was able to run away and find help.

Father Perez is not the product of some seminary past.  Like me, he was ordained in 2002, which as you might recall, was when sexual abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church was on the front page of nearly every U.S. publication.  We baby priests were under a great deal of pressure.  We needed to be the new life, the new hope that the church needed.  We needed to provide people with the assurance that our generation would change the abusive culture that had been exposed.  We would make things right.  

In 2002, Father Perez was interviewed by The Oregonian.  He was praised for being the only priest ordained by the Diocese of Portland that year.  The following excerpts from that article show how Mount Angel Seminary formed Father Perez well.  He knew the right things to say in order to distract Catholics from smelling the predator in their midst: 

The sex scandals trouble him, but Perez says he is confident bishops are dealing with the problems. His new duties come first... "There are rules. There are so many rules," he said, walking back to the parish. "They taught us at the seminary -- we are not supposed to touch. I don't have any problems with that. I know my boundaries."
Rev. Angel Perez, in 2002 (via  The Oregonian

The 2002 article provides an accounting of Father Perez's Mass of Thanksgiving -- the grand Mass newly ordained priests celebrate in their parish.  Again, Father Perez said all the right things:


The new priest's hands were shaking. In the cavernous sanctuary of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Corvallis, hundreds of college-town Catholics waited to hear what the Rev. Angel Perez would say. In heavily accented but fluent English, he assured them he would be a priest for all, not just for the Latino parishioners. I will need your help, he said. "I said to them, my faith is very strong," he recalls. "That even though we have these problems in the church right now, these sex scandals, I really believe the Holy Spirit sustains us.  God is with us," he said, and stopped to look at his notes. Silence. In the pews, he heard one parishioner applaud. Then another, and another, until they all were clapping. For a moment, the anxiety that accompanies a new Catholic priest in 2002 went away.
Ten years later, that anxiety lives on in the communities of Woodburn and the victim's hometown, Salem.  

After losing the boy to a couple of good Samaritans, who took the boy to the police, Father Perez went to the boy's home at two in the morning and told his victim's parents, "I am just one who serves in the church, and I have sinned; don't stop believing in the church."

I won't stop believing in the Catholic Church.  I still believe that it is incapable of protecting its children from its priests.

The police report goes on to state that Father Angel Perez refused to leave his victim's home until "the mother forgave him and 'gave him her blessing.'"  

How Catholic of him: Go to confession.  Be forgiven. Go out and sin again.  I can only hope that no other parents have granted this same "blessing" to Father Angel in the past.

Rev. Angel Perez, Today.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Donatism Alert: Pope Benedict's Back on the Banning-Gay-Priests Bandwagon

     The big  news last week was that, in his new book, Pope Benedict said condom use to prevent HIV-infection is okay for male prostitutes.  The scientific world responded with a resounding, "It's about time.  But it's not enough."

     But there's much more to the book, in which Pope Ratzinger's bigotry shines through, like a sunbeam splitting the clouds and illuminating a dove flying over a pair of hands locked in prayer.   

     Once again, Ben's promoting his "theology" of celibacy and priesthood, which claims celibate gay men are so intrinsically disordered that they can't properly image Jesus and should therefore not be ordained.  

     What he is saying is that the priesthood must consist of men who have renounced the love of women, not those for whom it has never been a major temptation:
     "Sexuality has an intrinsic meaning and direction, which is not homosexual...The meaning and direction of sexuality is to bring about the union of man and woman.  And, in this way, to give humanity posterity, children, a future. This is the determination internal to the essence of sexuality. Everything else is against sexuality's intrinsic meaning and direction ... Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation.  Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don't want to get married anyway."
     This is ironic in view of the widely held view that he himself is not a man for the ladies (as a gay catholic once said to me). It's also obviously unworkable. But his reasoning is interesting, for it shows that he understands one of the problems that compulsory celibacy has brought to the church in the West. As it became less and less common for men not to marry – and perhaps this was a result of increasing prosperity as much as anything else – the church was one of the few professions in which a gay man could remain "respectable", even to himself.
     Furthermore, Ben's viewpoint, if promulgated, will create a dilemma of Donatist proportions: Are gay priests who have already been ordained validly ordained?  If not, what does that mean about all the sacraments that they performed?  Does that mean my child wasn't really baptized?  Have I only been eating bread and wine all these years and not Jesus' body and blood?  Are my confessed sins really forgiven?  Is my marriage invalid?  Are my children bastards?  Am I going to hell?

     No need to worry, conservative Catholics.  That line of thinking is Donatism; a heresy. (Had you lived in the fourth century and believed that sinful priests' sacraments were invalid and did not confer your god's grace, you would have been excommunicated or put to death.)  

     A priest, who lives in a state of mortal sin, will someday leave the priesthood, or is later found to have an invalid or illicit ordination, still performs valid sacraments.  Why?  Because the Catholic god provides, where sinful gay priests (like me) failed.

     Confused?  I'll try to clarify Ben's anti-gay and anti-Donatist logic with a few "hypothetical" situations. 

     1.  A heterosexual priest hears the confessions of his nine-year-old students.  Unbeknownst to the children's parents and (maybe) teachers, the priest has been feeding the children more than Christ's body for the past two years.  Even though the priest is raping these children, the sacraments of Confession and Eucharist that he performs for the children still shower them with god's grace and love, because the priest, in spite of his moral failure to stop using the children for his sexual gratification, is still a vessel of god by virtue of his ordination.  To believe that that abusive priest's sacraments fail to confer grace upon the children he's raping is Donatism.

     2.  A gay priest, who has never had sex (this includes with children), retires at age 73 after forty-eight years of faithful ministry.  If Pope Benedict's anti-gay-ordination theology is promulgated, this closeted and celibate gay priest's ordination could be invalidated.  All of the sacraments performed by this gay priest would remain valid.  But, after a lifetime of sacrifice and service, this priest is thrown out, because being gay is just so evil.

     That's the logic of Pope Benedict.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pope Benedict Laps up Conservative Anglican Converts Who Want to Keep Women from Ordination

     The Los Angeles Times reports:
     Five Anglican bishops announced Monday that they will accept an offer from Pope Benedict XVI to convert to Catholicism, primarily over their opposition to the Church of England's decision to ordain female bishops.
     The five bishops, in a joint statement, spoke of their distress caused by developments in the Anglican Church that they felt were "incompatible with the historic vocation of Anglicanism and the tradition of the church for nearly 2,000 years."
     Because when you're looking for an institution that maintains the "God[sic]-given" "historical vocation" to repress women, there's nothing like the Roman Catholic Church.  How's that for communion and a spirit of ecumenical dialog?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Catholic Church Puts Ordaining Women in the Same Category of Crime as Child Sexual Abuse by Clerics

     Ordain a Catholic woman and go to hell.  Rape a child and go to confession.
     
     Here's a quick and sick update in Vatican politics and Canon Law.

     The Vatican today made the "attempted ordination" of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism.
     The new rules, which have been sent to bishops around the world, apply equally to Catholic women who agree to a ceremony of ordination and to the bishop who conducts it. Both would be excommunicated. Since the Vatican does not accept that women can become priests, it does not recognise the outcome of any such ceremony.
     The latest move, which appeared to bar and bolt the door to Catholic women priests, came at a time when the Church of England moved in the opposite direction, to a step closer to the ordination of female bishops.
     The Guardian's claim that this move by the Vatican puts ordaining women in the same category as a cleric raping children is not exactly correct.  While both may be categorized as "grave crimes," from what I understand, a priest can still rape children, sexually assault parishioners and a bishop can cover it all up, and neither of them will be automatically excommunicated.  But if a woman attempts ordination, anathema sit.

     Someone who is excommunicated is said to have removed themselves from communion with the Catholic Church.  They are no longer allowed to receive the sacraments and their god's grace, which means they are going to hell.  

     So, if you are a woman and get ordained a Catholic priest, you will go to hell.  If you are Catholic priest and rape a little girl, you will go to confession and be welcomed back into the fold and on your way to paradise.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Anti-Gay Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock Is Secretly Gay and Attends Catholic Twelve Step Program to Control the Gay

     For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.  --Attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 8:17
     Another Christian leader, known for his anti-gay preaching and politics, has been outed.
     Tom Brock, Senior Pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis, is secretly a member of the Catholic Church's Courage Apostolate, which helps homosexuals to "move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity to a more complete one in Christ" by using the "Twelve Steps of Courage" to overcome their "addictive" sexual urges.

     Does "complete" in Christ include persecuting honest gays and blaming them for the evils of the world?  It does in Brock's case.

     John Townsend in Lavender Magazine writes:
     He[Brock] is known for his denunciation of homosexuality and GLBT rights on hid dailty KKMS AM 980 radio program, The Pastor's Study.  His video series lambastes with outrage the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for progressive attitudes toward women's reproductive rights, racial equality, ecological stewardship--worst of all in his view, openly gay or lesbian pastors having the right to minster if they are in a committed monogamous relationship with a member of the same sex.
     When a tornado touched down near the ELCA’s national assembly last year, on the same day it voted to allow the ordination of openly gay clergy in committed relationships, Brock claimed it was a sign of God’s wrath.
     The Lavender Magazine article reports another of Brock's gaytanic portents:
     Brock, who finds omens in any number of things, noted that what he calls the ELCA "sex statement" passed by 66.6 percent--a reference to 666...The actual vote was 559 to 451.
     Let's see.  559 + 451 = 1010.  555/1010 = 55.3%.   Apparently, Brock needs twelve steps to better math skills.

     At one of the meetings, Brock, dressed in a "tight fitting, short-sleeve shirt that accentuated biceps and triceps more ripped than the month before" reported having a "sexual breakdown" while attending a clergy meeting in Slovakia.  Lavender reports:
     Brock admitted, "I fell into temptation.  I was weak.  That place has this really, really weird, demonic energy. I just got weak, and I had been so good for a long time...There's a lot of gypsies there...They're toothless, filthy; they smell, stink; and the gypsies are trained in how to pick your pocket."
     To break the tension of  admitting his sexual sins in Slovakia, Brock spoke of a side trip to Hitler's Eagle's Nest retreat, after which a fellow Courage attendee made a comment about the Nazis loving Richard Wagner and intoned "Flight of the Valkyries," to which Brock rose his hand and conducted.  I guess in this particular Courage chapter, it's better to be a Nazi than gay.
     Later on, Brock told of a Catholic priest...who recently officiated the funeral of a man who had lived with a longtime same-sex partner.  Brock questioned the rightness of this situation, pointing out if he were in the priest's shoes, he would have been reluctant to conduct the funeral.
     Yes, because those, who live in the dark, should judge those living in the light.  Wait a minute. I don't think that's what Brock's Jesus had in mind with the whole lampstand parable.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vermont Catholic's Priesthood Ordination Photo Faux Pas

And they say that there are no gays in the Catholic seminaries.
     I don't know which is more frightening, the stoic indecency of the bishop's face, or the fact that they forgot to light the candles when they staged the photo shoot.  With this kind of attention to detail, who needs church-commissioned investigations into church-sanctioned sexual abuse?

Image Credit: Cover of Vermont Catholic via Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish