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Vatican Spokesmen Says Abuse of Nuns a "Cultural Way of Living"

by Christopher A. Ferrara

As Cardinal Castrillón-Hoyos seems ready to carry out his threat to "excommunicate" Father Nicholas Gruner for the unforgivable offense of pointing out that something is amiss with the Consecration of Russia, yet another covered-up clerical scandal has surfaced in the major media.

It seems that for the past five years the Vatican has known of a report about the sexual abuse of nuns by priests in 23 different countries, including various countries in Africa. According to Reuters news agency, the report was prepared by a nun and physician, Maura O’Donohue, who delivered it to the ever-vigilant Vatican bureaucracy six years ago. Reuters reports that in a single African religious community 20 nuns are with child because of priests.

Commenting on the emergence of this horrifying news, Vatican spokesmen Father Bernardo Cervellera (director of Fides, the Vatican's missionary news service) "said the problem was limited to sub-Saharan Africa and related to negative cultural views there of women and of the value of celibacy . . ." (CNN, March 21, 2001) The value of celibacy? What about the priestly vow of celibacy before God? Must everything be reduced to a "value" in Vatican II-speak? Father Cervellera went on to comfort us with these soothing words: " These are not cases of ‘psychopathic’ violence against women, but instead a ‘cultural way of living’ that is common throughout the region . . ."

Yes, that’s just the way Catholic priests behave in "sub-Saharan Africa." Priestly celibacy is a tough sell on the Dark Continent. It’s a cultural thing! And what about the other 20 countries where priests have abused and exploited women? No comment.

According to Reuters, the Vatican is "monitoring the situation . . . but no direct action has been taken." So, numerous priests commit unspeakable crimes against consecrated virgins, and the Vatican takes "no direct action." For all we know, not one of these clerical criminals has been suspended by his bishop, much less defrocked as he should be.

But there is plenty of "direct action" in the offing for a lone Marian priest in Canada, who has kept the faith and kept his vows. For him threats of excommunication and declarations of "suspension" come directly from the Congregation for the Clergy. Out of 405,000 priests in the Church, Father Gruner is the only one they target for the public declaration of the ultimate canonical penalties. Meanwhile, the Vatican "monitors" the rape of nuns by priests. And so it goes in the "springtime" of Vatican II.

We have truly reached a state of affairs very much like that lamented by Saint Basil the Great at the height of the Arian heresy: "Only one offence is now vigorously punished - an accurate observance of our father's traditions. For this cause the pious are driven from their countries and transported into deserts . . . Religious people keep silence, but every blaspheming tongue is let loose."

How long, O Holy Mother of God, will this travesty continue? Our Lady of Fatima, pray for our Holy Church.