"I will turn their glory into shame" (Osee IV: 7)

Glory Into Shame

Most Rev. Donald J. Sanborn

HORROR IS THE ONLY WORD TO describe the proper reaction to news stories in recent weeks concerning the misbehavior of the Novus Ordo [post-Vatican II] clergy. The level of depravity is so high, and the problem so widespread, that now one has to be ashamed to wear the Roman collar in public.

I am referring, of course, to the national problem of pedophilia among Novus Ordo “priests.”

In the past, before the Council, there was scarcely anything more honorable, particularly in America, than to be a Catholic priest. In the eyes of all, even most Protestants, he was a man of dignity, worthy of respect and admiration. To the Catholic people, the priests were like beings from heaven, worthy of the most profound reverence and obedience.

Thanks to Vatican II, all that has changed. The glory of the priest has now turned into shame. We are now embarrassed to wear our Roman collars.

The further tragedy is that Novus Ordo “priests” (most of them are doubtfully ordained) have abandoned their Roman collars for many years now. Except for a few conservatives, the only time they can be seen in them is on formal occasions. Yet, since they are perceived to be Roman Catholic priests in the eyes of the world, they bring down opprobrium upon us all. Traditional priests, who wear the collar all the time, have to bear the shame of these monsters of perversion and selfishness.

In the news stories, one should note that, in nearly all cases, the problem began after the Council. Typically the abuse began in the 1960’s or 1970’s. It is, I think, appropriate to address why this is such a widespread problem in the Novus Ordo. It is of no surprise to me that they are beset by this catastrophe. It is a harvest completely in accordance with the seeds that they have sown. It is not a mere coincidence that the Novus Ordite clergy in this country, which before the Council enjoyed a supreme reputation as the Roman Catholic clergy, after the Council has sunk into the pits of moral degradation.

1. Loss of Faith.

Vatican II, purely and simply, was the destruction of faith in many tens of thousands of priests. The Council and its subsequent reforms destroyed this holy virtue by which we have a sight of supernatural realities and of our supernatural goal, the Beatific Vision. The heresy of Modernism took its place, which strips God of His transcendental and supernatural attributes, and reduces Him to a product of our subconscious. Religion is not from above, but from the depths of our soul. God is one of us. This loss of supernatural faith, together with its natural effect of reducing the priest to a social worker or self-help counselor, is the most important factor in the immorality of the Novus Ordo clergy.

2. Repudiation of Traditional Spirituality.

After the Council there was an abrupt switch in what we call spirituality, that is, the principles which govern the spiritual life. The traditional spirituality was that we had to castigate our bodies, and bring them into subjection, lest we be led away by our passions into sin. Mortification of the passions, and of the effects of original sin, were the foundation stones of Catholic spirituality. That was all thrown out in the 1960’s. The traditional ascetical books, such as the Imitation of Christ, were scoffed at and even mocked. Instead, you were supposed to become “more human.” Your passions were not to be castigated or repressed; rather you were to follow them, in order to be more “yourself.” Original sin and its effects were virtually denied. Naturalism took the place of the traditional asceticism. The result was that seminaries of the 1960’s and thereafter became fraught with immorality of all types.

3. Denial of Hell.

In the Novus Ordo, everyone is going to heaven, because everyone is a “good person.” So the pedophile had no reason to doubt his salvation. There are no eternal fires of hell to fear for having violated the most sacred thing on earth after the Blessed Sacrament: the holy priesthood. So he can carry on his filthy business on the side, and still manage to be a “wonderful priest” to his other parishioners. For the measure of the quality of his priesthood was not the state of his soul, or his love of God, but how he “related to people.”

4. Psychology.

In the 1960’s, psychology replaced the spiritual life. You were told to “fulfill yourself,” to “follow your dream.” The soul was merely a complex union of many different fears, anxieties, imaginations, desires, fantasies, and so forth. All problems could be worked out by therapy. No one was responsible for his actions, since you were acting merely in a pre-programmed, natural way. If there was anything wrong, it was to be blamed on something else: the way you were raised or your genes. Moral responsibility was practically non-existent. The bishops enthusiastically embraced this new approach, and tried to solve the problem of the abusive priests by merely sending them to therapy for a while, and then reassigning them to another parish.

5. Death of Outrage.

Owing to lack of supernatural faith, and to the other factors that I have already described, outrage over these crimes of abuse came to a halt. For example, under St. Pius V in Rome, the penalty for sodomy was burning at the stake. In the American War Between the States, the penalty for the same crime in the Union army was hanging, since they considered the firing squad to be too dignified. Lincoln hardly ever gave a reprieve. In the French army in World War I, the penalty was death by firing squad. If they were merciful to you, they would put you at the head of a suicide mission from which you would not return.

The world shaped by Catholicism had a horror for this crime, and even Protestants retained a respect for the natural law in this regard. If you open a traditional catechism, you will find that the Catholic Church considers this sin to be one of those sins “which cry to heaven for vengeance.” This severe condemnation is based on God’s special hatred for it, found in Genesis, and in the epistles of St. Paul.

For this reason, prelates in the past dealt with such problems with great severity. Immediate expulsion and defrocking were the normal penalties. There was no sending you to the psychiatrist, and then reassigning you.

With the resurgence of paganism in the twentieth century, however, and with it the return of shameless abandon in the realm of sexual mores, shock and outrage about this vice has disappeared. The ancient pagan world was not in any way repulsed by the thought of unnatural vice. The Roman army encouraged it. Plato held it in esteem, and the three hundred Greek soldiers who defended Western civilization at Thermopylae Pass were also addicted to the vice. It was only the Jews who objected to it, blessed as they were by divine revelation. St. Paul repeatedly warns the new converts from paganism that they had to abandon this vice.

Complacency with the vice, however, is returning.

6. No Objective Morality.

Anyone familiar with the Novus Ordo knows that for them all morality is subjective. This may not be what is taught in their catechisms, but it is certainly the spirit and attitude of the Novus Ordo religion. There is a tremendous gap between official teaching and what, in fact, is held. Although artificial birth control is officially condemned, for example, the vast majority of Novus Ordites believe in it and practice it and receive communion on Sunday. If they should bring it up to a Novus Ordo “priest,” they are told to use their consciences. That means, “go ahead.”

The abandonment of objective morality, however, leaves the door wide open for the practice of unnatural vice. Who is to say that it is wrong? So what if it is against nature? What is nature? Isn’t it natural to feel good?

Is it any wonder, then, that these same “priests” that are blessing the unnatural vice of contraception in marriage should also be practicing a form of it themselves?

7. “No More Anathemas.”

These awful words were pronounced by Paul VI in the 1960’s. It would be the equivalent of a police chief in a great city declaring “no more arrests.” The anathema is the Church’s way of keeping her dogmatic and moral house in order. It is a statement to those of her fold who go astray that they are no longer of the fold. But John XXIII and Paul VI, entirely in the spirit of Modernism, did away with it, and decided that the best way to deal with dogmatic recalcitrants was to be kind to them. They would solve the problem of their heresy by merely reaffirming the truth, as they put it, but not by condemning the error, or the erring. Thirty-five years of this dogmatic and moral anarchy, therefore, has produced its bitter fruit: heretics, misfits, perverts, and sickos representing, at least in the public eye, the Roman Catholic clergy.

The Catholic Church is in an awful state.

When Will It End?

When will the Novus Ordo hierarchy recognize that Vatican II was a disaster? When will they pack it in? When will they give it up? How many more scandals need to happen? How many more minors need to be abused? How many more seminaries and convents need to be sold off for no vocations?

And here we have confined ourselves to the current problem of pedophilia. What about the other forms of immorality in the Novus Ordo clergy?

Are the traditional priests sinless?

No, of course not. They have to say their Confiteor at the foot of the altar, too. But the traditional standard is high. A priest is supposed never to commit a mortal sin. If he does, he is not to say Mass, but must confess as soon as possible, and be restored to the state of grace. He is supposed to strive against all venial sin, and even imperfections, with the help of grace and mortification.

Is it possible for the traditional priest to fall as the Novus Ordites have? Of course it is, and some have. But the traditional priest has many, many barriers against such a fall: supernatural faith in the sacredness of his own priesthood; belief in objective morality; horror at the very thought of such a sin; the sense of mortal sin and hell; the traditional asceticism leading him to the mortification of evil passions; a sense of moral responsibility for his actions; ostracism by his fellow priests and by the lay people. If a traditional priest should fall, he must crash through all of these barriers. The Novus Ordo clergyman has none of these.

Something is Deeply Wrong…

If Satan himself wrote a plan for the destruction of the Catholic Church, it would not be more efficacious than what Vatican II has done. This wretched Council has destroyed everything dear to us, and has brought Catholics and the world at large into the darkness of ignorance and into a putrid state of morality. Will the sting of this widespread loathsome behavior of clergy wake any one up? Will anyone take notice that the honor of the Catholic priest has been turned into shame?

As horrific as these news stories are, it is my hope that some greater good will come out of them. Certainly some will conclude that Vatican II has given us evil fruit. I hope and pray that some will finally see that the Vatican II religion has been the ruin of Catholicism, the 9/11 of the Catholic faith for millions of people, and that the only hope is to return to the unaltered Faith of all time.

(from Most Holy Trinity Seminary Letter to Benefactors, March 2002)