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"Double Standard" Update

 —  And Nothing Happens
23 Chicago Pro-"Gay" Priests Denounce the Vatican

by Christopher A. Ferrara

This column has noted more than once the curious double standard of discipline that governs the Church today: staunchly traditional priests are exiled to obscure outposts or even "suspended" by their bishops, while priests who openly dissent from the Magisterium are ignored or even coddled in their betrayal of the Church. The most outrageous example of this disparity is the case of Fr. Nicholas Gruner, a faithful Marian priest who stands as the only cleric in the entire Catholic Church to be publicly condemned  —  for nothing  —  on the pages of L’Osservatore Romano. The very terms of the baseless condemnation reveal that it was issued by order of "a higher authority"  —  Vaticanese for "Pope" Sodano I, the Vatican Secretary of State who now de facto rules the Catholic Church without divine mandate. (By comparison, the Pope’s own personal secretary, Msgr. Dziwisz, has twice sent Fr. Gruner personal notes of praise and encouragement.)

Fr. Gruner has been harassed relentlessly by Sodano’s Vatican apparatus on the pretext that his legitimate criticisms of certain fallible and quite novel Vatican policies  —  including Ostpolitik and the modernist revision of the Message of Fatima along lines more acceptable to the world  —  have caused "scandal." But there can be no scandal in the true sense from publication of the truth: that the Vatican’s post-conciliar "opening to the world" has, as Paul VI himself admitted, caused "a veritable invasion of the Church by worldly thinking."

Funny, but the Vatican apparatus does not seem to detect any scandal in an open letter issued on December 9, 2003 by 23 Chicago priests, denouncing the Vatican’s recent statements against "gay rights" and the legalization of homosexual "marriages." The open letter declares: "As Catholic pastors, we have become increasingly disturbed by the tone and, in some cases, content of documents and statements from the Vatican… [W]e find particularly troubling the increase in the use of violent and abusive language directed at any human person. Such language is inappropriate…"

And what do the 23 priests find "violent and abusive" in Vatican statements concerning homosexuals? Here is an excerpt from their open letter:

    Has any other group of people within the Body of Christ been so assaulted and violated by such mean-spirited language? Examples from the most recent Vatican document show all too clearly the demonization of these children of God, referring to homosexuality as a "troubling moral and social phenomenon," "a serious depravity," "the spread of the phenomenon," "approval or legalization of evil," "grave detriment to the common good," "harmful to the proper development of human society," "intrinsically disordered." Does anyone consider this vile and toxic language invitational?

In other words, the 23 dissenters object to Church teaching on the evil of homosexual acts and the intrinsic disorder of the homosexual perversion. And, in view of the rather effete tone of the collective hissy-fit of these 23 priests, it is legitimate to ask how many of them are homosexuals who seek to justify their own deviancy.

Now, the Vatican’s statements on this subject, unlike the failed "opening to the world," are not mere fallible policies of the past 40 years, but rather reflections of the Church’s constant and infallible teaching on faith and morals. Yet the Vatican thus far has issued no condemnation of the 23 priests for their condemnation of the Vatican in a matter of faith and morals.

Will any of these 23 dissenters be condemned by name on the pages of L’Osservatore Romano, as Fr. Gruner, who upholds Church teaching, has been? Of course not. For the current Vatican apparatus seems more concerned about squelching any criticism of the prudential judgments of "Pope" Sodano I and his collaborators than it is with preserving the integrity of faith and morals against direct public attack by dissident priests. No wonder the Church is in crisis.