Hitchcock’s Rope and its Relevance to the Church’s Sexual Abuse Crisis

by Jeffrey Tranzillo

In 1924, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two intellectually precocious, teenage university students in a homosexual relationship, murdered one of Loeb’s relatives, fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks. According to their interpretation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy, the pair’s intellectual superiority placed them above the moral norms of ordinary men; therefore, they decided to plan and execute the perfect murder (1) as an intellectual experiment; (2) to get the widespread attention they thought their crimes deserved; (3) for the thrill of it.

In 1929, British author Patrick Hamilton published a play entitled Rope, whose two protagonists were based rather closely on Leopold and Loeb–homosexuality and all. Nearly twenty years later, Alfred Hitchcock directed and released a film adaptation of Hamilton’s play, retaining the same title, as well as hints of the homosexual element (which was all a filmmaker could get past the censors back then).

While it would be too much to claim that Hitchcock intended his version of the story as a study on the psychopathology of active homosexuals, we cannot discount entirely that the film provides us, to an extent, with such a study. For one thing, its two main characters were patterned closely on real persons, whose personalities were marred by psychological and temperamental features common to the homosexual disorder, and also by the self-destructive effects of the precipitous moral decline that comes with acting on the disorder. Secondly, Hitchcock had a predilection for exploring, in his films, the hidden, sometimes tortured depths of the human psychology. Rope is no exception.

While certain psychological conclusions we might draw from the film could pertain to people other than active homosexuals, they nevertheless correspond quite well with what we are learning from Christian psychologists about the typical personality traits and behaviors of homosexually active persons. We will therefore use the film as a point of departure for highlighting some of them. We will then consider the film’s relevance to the problem of clerical sexual abuse in the Church. First, a brief overview of the film.

Synopsis of ROPE

Brandon Shaw and Philip Morgan are wealthy, young Harvard graduates sharing an apartment in Manhattan. Brandon is steely, manipulative, and domineering, whereas Philip is highly emotional, completely dependent on Brandon, and submissive to his directives. Their former mentor, Rupert Cadell, had indoctrinated them with his Hitlerian take on Nietzsche’s Superman. Intellectually and culturally superior individuals are not bound by the moral laws that govern the masses, he told them. It is therefore the privilege of these individuals to murder inferior human beings. For most men, murder would be a crime; however, the lofty few are capable of turning that ordinarily base act into an art.

Whereas Rupert is all talk, his two protégés aim to prove their greatness by carrying out an actual murder, the perfect murder. They choose, as “the perfect victim,” a former classmate, David Kentley: “The Davids of this world merely occupy space,” Brandon declares. The film opens with Philip strangling David with a rope, while Brandon supports the victim. They then throw the corpse into a large, wooden chest.

In order to enhance the “aesthetic” quality of the murder, and also to heighten the danger of getting caught (which Brandon thinks can’t happen, since his superior intellect has planned and executed everything perfectly), Brandon invited the victim’s parents and two former classmates–including David’s prospective spouse–to attend a dinner party at the apartment the night of the murder. He also invited Rupert Cadell. The host gave them all the impression that David would be coming as well.

To turn this “work of art” into a masterpiece, Brandon got the idea of turning the dinner party into a buffet, with the food laid out on the chest in which David’s body is laid out. The fact that the chest isn’t even locked has Philip worried, but not Brandon: it adds to the danger of getting caught.

The central topic of the dinner party is, Where is David? Brandon has a grand time playing dumb, offering possible explanations for David’s absence, mendaciously manipulating the guests, and even dropping subtle hints about what happened. Philip, on the other hand, is an emotional wreck, intent on getting drunk. After all the guests had left the party, Rupert, suspicious of his former pupils, returned to try and unravel the mystery of David’s absence. When he succeeded, he summoned the police.

Rope and the Psychopathology of the Homosexual Disorder

Let us now examine some of the basic characteristics of the homosexual profile presented subtly, but quite accurately, in Rope.

Faux Complementarity

Rope is replete with allusions to the mock complementarity of homosexual “couples.” Brandon (patterned on Loeb) clearly plays the part of the stereotypical man in his relationship with Philip (patterned on Leonard), dominating him to the point of making every decision for him about his own life. Philip, on the other hand, plays the part of the stereotypical woman–weak, emotional, easily upset, submissive, and utterly reliant on Brandon for everything.

Visibly shaken by their bloody deed, Philip wishes the victim had been someone other than David. “Whom would you have preferred?” Brandon asks. “You, perhaps,” Philip replies. “You frighten me. You always have.” This moment of truth was clearly out of character for Philip, and Brandon icily brings him back into line–an early indication of trouble in “paradise.” Though Brandon is a cold, calculating, and threatening figure, Philip suggests that this is part of his “charm.” Philip sees in him the “strong” and “manly” qualities that he perceives as lacking in himself, this forming the basis of his erotic attraction to Brandon.

For his part, Brandon, in addition to his need to be domineering, feared, and idolized, acknowledges that he has “always wished for more artistic talent.” So, the basis for his erotic attraction to Philip is the latter’s artistic ability, his servility, and his awe of Brandon. “You just astound me, as always,” Philip tells him.

Clearly, the homosexual “relationship” is not complementary at all, but mutually parasitic. Each man feeds off the other in order to try and satisfy his twisted emotional and psychological needs. Narcissistic to its core, this relationship replaces the truth of male-female complementarity–which is ontologically constituted, hence objectively real–with the superstition that “like cures like.” By sexually “possessing” a man who has the qualities that the other man lacks but wants for himself, he supposes that he will come to possess these qualities as well, without any further effort on his part. Active homosexuals thus pervert the meaning of a married man and woman’s forming one body, whereby his masculinity and her femininity are perfected in the reciprocal gift of their persons to each other.

Nietzschean Narcissism

It is easy to see how Nietzsche’s philosophy would feed the narcissistic, homosexual ego and encourage its irresponsible, outward expression. Brandon never tires of trying to convince himself–and everyone else–that he personifies Nietzsche’s concept of the Superman, a creative genius who transcends the weakness of ordinary men by dispensing with their traditional values and creating his own norms of existence. The new norms reflect and foster his superiority. The Superman rejects any virtue or vice that signifies weakness. He is therefore utterly free to express his intellectual prowess, will, physical strength, instincts, and passions in any way that signifies, to him, his strength and power. He confers his own meaning on the world.

For example, when Philip asked Brandon how he felt “during it”–ostensibly meaning the murder, but probably hinting at their sodomy as well–he replied that he didn’t feel much of anything, until the body went limp. Then he “felt tremendously exhilarated.” Why? Because in violently asserting his dominance over another person until the latter succumbed, he experienced the “thrill” of transgressing a boundary that “inferior” men are forbidden to cross. Having “transcended” the ordinary, Brandon proved himself superior to the masses. The only crime, he says, is making a mistake, which is a sign of weakness, ordinariness. The “mistake,” in this case, would be that something does not go as planned, so that he and Philip fail or get caught.

Though Philip doesn’t really fit the Superman mold, Brandon insists that he won’t let either of them be weak. Philip’s “weakness” is that, unlike Brandon, he still evinces a glimmer of conscience over what they’ve done. Nietzsche would classify such weakness as belonging to “slave morality,” as opposed to “master morality.” This distinction aptly signifies the master-slave nature of Brandon and Philip’s debased relationship, which reflects the narcissistic structure of homosexual relationships in general.

Brandon became intoxicated with an overwhelming sense of power after the murder. He felt that “the power to kill can be just as satisfying as the power to create.” He and Philip killed for the sake of killing, for the danger it entailed, and for the experiment of doing it, and yet they were still “truly and wonderfully alive.” In Nietzschean terms, they exercised their “will to power,” having conferred on life the meaning they wanted it to have, thus affirming it by their own strength. Only the inferior man needs to posit a God who supplies life’s meaning. Implicitly, the superior man is God, having power over life and death.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Brandon decided to give his dinner party a pseudo-religious significance. Placing candelabras on the chest containing David’s body, he and Philip would turn it into “a ceremonial altar” on which to heap “the foods for our sacrificial feast.” Brandon had affirmed his own superiority by “sacrificing” David’s life.

In contrast to Brandon’s intoxication with the “power” of evil, Philip tries to intoxicate himself with alcohol, so as to ease the pain of his guilt. Even more, he wants to ease his fear of getting caught. That he is concerned more about himself than about the man he murdered exposes his own brand of narcissism. For his part, Brandon is absolutely indifferent to the fact that he murdered another human being, for that constituted, for him, his supreme act of self-affirmation.

Overcompensation

The active homosexual’s sense of superiority derives from the psychological mechanism of overcompensation, by which he tries to suppress his overwhelming sense of inferiority. It is this that fuels his inordinate need for affirmation. That’s why Brandon had to invite Rupert to the dinner party: Cadell was the one person brilliant enough to unravel the murder. Once he did, Brandon supposed his former mentor would shower him with the praises he craved. Rupert would surely appreciate the artistic angle of the murder.

Still, the murderers are superior even to him, for Brandon surmised that Rupert would not have had the “courage” to participate in the murder itself. So, on the one hand, Brandon tries to suppress his feelings of inferiority by contriving reasons for affirming his own superiority: he is courageous, Rupert is not. Yet, he still wants desperately to secure Rupert’s affirmation–and perhaps also his overawed admiration, in the hope of turning Rupert into another Philip. After all, Brandon admitted to him, “you always interest me.” He was nevertheless prepared to murder Rupert, Philip, or anyone else who got in his way.

Brandon’s relentless domination of Philip was yet another, twisted, overcompensatory expression of superiority and self-affirmation. Once the guests had left and Philip was well under the influence, he inveighed against Brandon for his narcissistic boast that the evening “couldn’t have gone more beautifully.” For Philip had “a rotten evening.” Brandon warned him that he would have “a worse morning” if kept drinking. He was probably alluding to the inherently violent nature of every sodomitic relationship, and his “mastery” over Philip in theirs.

Shipwreck in the Wake of Truth

When drunken Philip realized that Rupert Cadell figured out what he and Brandon had done to David, he grabbed Brandon’s gun and pointed it at both Rupert and Brandon, saying he’d just assume kill the one as the other–Brandon sooner, in fact. “You made me do it and I hate you–I hate both of you!”

Philip blamed the others for his own actions, rather than take responsibility for them himself. Implicitly and falsely, he was denying thereby that he had acted as a free agent. Seeing himself instead as the tragic victim, he wanted to destroy in Brandon and Rupert what he hated in himself. Indeed, the inferiority complex of the active homosexual tends to express itself as an unbearable self-loathing projected onto others.

Brandon’s self-loathing expressed itself in other ways. His violent domination of Philip was an outward expression of his inner turmoil. So, too, was his constant effort to increase the risk of getting caught for his misdeeds. A part of him sought the attention that being exposed would bring him, for this would assuage his infantile self-centeredness. At the same time, however, he was secretly looking for others to punish him for what he loathed in himself, and so put an end to it.

After Rupert managed to wrestle the gun away from Philip, he opened the chest. Sickened and ashamed at seeing David’s corpse therein, he immediately renounced his Nietzschean take on life in toto.

Regardless, Brandon–having killed his own conscience, and hence impervious to a salutary sense of shame–still needed to justify himself. So, he reminded Rupert of their Nietzschean outlook, explaining that he and Philip have merely “lived what you and I have talked.” He then declared emphatically, “I knew you’d understand, because you have to, don’t you see? You have to!” True to the typical psychological profile of the active homosexual, Brandon tried to rationalize his evildoing, while pitying himself as the tragic figure that no one understands because he is somehow “different” or “special.”

Rupert’s unconditional condemnation, rather than affirmation, both of Brandon, and of the real act of murder, completely negated the “values” by which Brandon had been interpreting himself and the world. In a single instant, he lost his whole take on reality, including his false sense of identity as a “creative genius.” Whereas real meaning is grounded in the truth of being, Brandon tried futilely to define himself and the world in terms of congenial theories that temporarily satisfied the needs of his wounded ego. In the end, reality confronted the delusory lie and obliterated it.

Rope’s Sobering Lessons for the Church Today

In the light of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, we see more clearly that the moral subjectivism and the moral relativism presently overtaking the Church are eerily Nietzschean, hence foreseeably disastrous. Interestingly enough, Nietzsche described man as a rope stretched across the abyss between animal and Superman. Hitchcock’s Rope shows that when man strives to reach the “Superman” side of that abyss by dispensing with traditional–especially, Christian–values and creating new ones that give life the meaning he decides, he ends up acting more brutally than the mindless beast on the other side. For he now has at his disposal a complete, subjectivistic program for justifying his own decadence.

Heedless of this, Pope Francis and many of his bishops are encouraging wayward Catholics to confer on their egregiously sinful moral actions (including sodomy) the meaning they want them to have, based on what they “discern” their own intentions and circumstances to be. Yet, it is impossible for anyone to change, in this way, the inherently dehumanizing and depersonalizing meaning that such actions have in themselves, for they radically contradict the universal, immutable laws governing the truth and goodness of our nature, as God created it. Only when our actions respect those laws do we express ourselves through our nature in a truly human and personal way. Claims to the contrary are merely hubristic attempts to assert freedom’s absolute “right” to create the values by which it will interpret reality–so as to act–in the most egotistically congenial way: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gn 3:5).

The widespread, uncritical acceptance of this false, ultimately atheistic concept of human freedom helps explain why the Church is so inclined, nowadays, to tolerate and overlook the “consensual” participation of her members in mortal sin. The “god” of consent is one reason why the problem of clerical sodomy has yet to be effectively addressed.

Another reason is this: Having sacrificed the objectively true moral good on the altar of all-about-me, sodomitic priests and bishops have forsaken the intrinsically self-sacrificial meaning of both the priesthood and their own humanity. In consequence, they have each become a personified lie. Now that they are the lie they are living, they tend to express their lying nature in self-serving equivocation and mendacity. The homosexual assault cover-ups plaguing the Church are, in some measure, a result of this cult of the false self, and of the determined effort to protect it.

As Pope Francis’s summit on clerical sexual abuse approaches, Rope reminds us that sodomitic behavior is hardly as benign as the Church’s apologists for homosexuality make it out to be. If the pope is going to insist that “clericalism” explains the abuse problem, then he needs also to specify, in obedience to the truth, that homosexual narcissism is far and away the main underlying cause of this particular expression of clericalism.

As the film suggests, the active homosexual tries to mask his acute feelings of inferiority by asserting his “superiority”–his “power”–over others. This necessarily entails viewing others as inferior. Dehumanizing other people in this way makes it easier (along with drugs and alcohol, in some cases) for sodomitic clergy to justify their vile, impersonal sexual acts against other human beings. It is a mark of their developmental immaturity and egotistical pride that they need to prove their “superiority” chiefly by humiliating others in the basest of ways. Their looking down on others from on high explains why they tend to remain coldly indifferent to their victims when finally caught. In fact, these clergy often portray themselves as the “real” victims, while blaming those they victimized, if not others as well.

The problem of clerical homosexual abuse will not go away on its own. When homosexual clerics transgress the clear and absolute moral boundary proscribing such behavior, and thus act in a radically perverted way against persons weaker than they–or even against persons who consent to it willingly–they destroy the life of supernatural charity in their own soul. It often happens that the devil fills the void by inciting in them a sense of prideful exhilaration at their evildoing, seemingly accomplished with impunity. The risk of their getting caught provides them with an additional thrill. Having prevailed over all the dangers and obstacles, they can affirm their “superiority.” They are “gods,” who have glorified themselves by sacrificing, to themselves, the true physical, moral, and spiritual good–and perhaps also the innocence–of other persons. Their psychological need to do this is insatiable, while the darkening of their mind and the deformation of their will through the habit of perverted sexual behavior guarantees they will seek opportunities to satisfy that need. Clerical homosexual abuse is therefore a self-perpetuating, death-dealing, ecclesial plague.

Actively homosexual clerics show contempt not only for their “inferiors,” but also for God as He has actually revealed Himself. To bury the guilt of their troubled conscience, they must fabricate an idol–a nonjudgmental, made-and-loves-me-this-way god, whose “mercy” is sickeningly saccharine and superfluous. But even the affirmation of their own idol–a projection of their egotistical needs–cannot fully relieve their inner sense of inferiority. That’s one reason why they must “network.” The homosexual network serves as an insular society of mutual admiration. This makes the grandiose, though delusional, attitude of “gay pride” much easier for its members to assume, at least for a time. Yet, if one member begins to see in any of the others what he has always hated secretly in himself, he will quickly turn his self-hatred on that person.

As the foregoing suggests, the contempt that actively homosexual clerics show for God and neighbor is ultimately an expression of self-contempt, projected and visited on others. The fundamental human need–indeed, vocation–to love and to be loved, and thereby to love oneself, has become radically twisted in them, so that they express it falsely and perversely. The intrinsic lovelessness of active homosexuality is absolutely opposed to the very essence of Christianity, and of God Himself. Inevitably, this opposition turns the individual soul into a battlefield, on which either homosexual hate or, by the grace of God, Christian love will finally prevail. The inner battle of the sodomite who habitually resists God’s gracious initiatives cannot but express itself outwardly in a way that reflects his resistance. No rapprochement is ever possible, therefore, between inherently narcissistic, active homosexuality and the Christian life. The two cannot reconcile and coexist, for the abyss between hell and heaven is unbridgeable.

This is not to say that active homosexuals–Catholic ones, in particular–are incapable of performing any good actions at all. Whatever good they might do, in cooperation with actual grace, might even dispose them toward conversion, with God’s gracious help; however, as they are presently deprived of sanctifying grace, and so also of the infused theological virtue of charity, their divinely assisted good acts cannot reach the supernatural level. Such acts are consequently not meritorious unto eternal life. They will become so only when the mortal sinner has been restored to the state of grace by sincere repentance, sacramental confession, and amendment of life.

In order for the Church to remain true to her mission as “a sign and a safeguard of the transcendence of the human person” (Gaudium et Spes, 76), she cannot tolerate the evil of sodomy. Nor can she give the scandalous impression of doing so by allowing active homosexuals to participate in any of her ministries. Rather, she must teach forthrightly about sodomy’s deadly nature, help restore those enslaved to it to the life of grace, and sacramentally fortify Catholics to avoid this and every other sin.

Those bishops and priests who are going so far as to “welcome” sodomitic relationships into the Church–sometimes even to the point of rationalizing and endorsing their existence–have cast Christ out of the sanctuary and set up their own abomination of desolation in His place. While their idolatry is comprehensively destructive, it represents a particularly direct and virulent attack against marriage and the family, as instituted by God. While perhaps an incidental detail, it is nonetheless interesting that the “perfect” victim in Rope was the only character serious about getting married. Sodomites, on the other hand, despise, undermine, and attack true marriage, both in principle and in practice. To attack the institution is to attack God Himself, its Author. Indeed, the love of spouses for each other and for their children, in the unity of the family, is iconic (1) of God’s love for His Church; (2) of His intra-Trinitarian life and love; and (3) of the mystical marriage of Christ, the eternal Bridegroom, and the sanctified members of the Church, His Bride, in the Eucharistic feast. In consequence, the Catholic, above all, who deliberately chooses the act of sodomy, wills, necessarily, to mock these iconic realities in the most defiant and contemptuous way, as this belongs to the very nature of the object willed.

So, Rope has it exactly right: sodomy, or idolatry of self, is intrinsically godless. It brutally defiles and chokes off the life of the soul, whose inexorable tendency is, consequently, to express itself outwardly in increasingly violent and deadly ways, choking the life out of its victims. The essentially corrupt and corrupting nature of the sodomitic act turns the soul into a demonic stronghold, from which it is most difficult for the person to escape. This is partly due to the fact that a demonic influence had long been exploiting antecedent psychological and emotional pathologies that were already disposing him toward the choice for sodomy.

If, unlike Rope, the upcoming Vatican summit doesn’t get it exactly right, by properly diagnosing the inherently violent and deadly nature of the sin of sodomy, so as to address truthfully, and to extirpate completely, the main source of clerical sexual abuse in the Church, then the pope and the bishops will be in no position whatsoever to deny their damnable complicity in all the cases of homosexual abuse that they will have consequently allowed to happen. Nor will they be able to deny their damnable complicity in the tireless efforts of the homosexual network to corrupt and destroy the Church. For they can no longer honestly and reasonably deny the plain truth about the nature and scope of clerical homosexual abuse and corruption in the Church.

Seventy years ago, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope depicted accurately the psychological, the emotional, the intellectual, the volitional, the moral, and, implicitly, even the spiritual impact of sodomy on the person and, consequently, on how he relates to others. Sodomitic behavior is always comprehensively destructive. Precisely because of the film’s accuracy, borne out both clinically and by the present abuse crisis in the Church, it testifies clearly and credibly to the fact that there is absolutely no place in the Church for those who stubbornly persist in their sodomitic ways, nor for clerics so cowardly, blind, or malicious as to ignore, trivialize, “welcome,” or promote such gravely immoral, death-dealing ways. The pope and the bishops have therefore no excuse for lagging so far behind the times, and for ignoring, so far, its obvious signs.

Saving Mysteries of the Christmas Season

by Jeff Tranzillo

“I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are my son, today I have begotten you’” (Ps. 2:7). The psalmist is referring here to Israel’s messianic king. As God’s anointed one, he is God’s “son.” The person of this messiah is supremely fulfilled, of course, in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:26-27). He is begotten as the Son of God the Father in the everlasting “today” of eternity: God from God, light from light. When eternal Light begets Light eternally, the Son-Light “turns” eternally toward the Source, toward the Father, in Love. The Holy Spirit is the personal expression of this mutual love of Father and Son, proceeding eternally from both. Together with their Spirit, the Father and the Son are eternally bound in an incomparable and ineffable communion of love, united consubstantially as one God.

The Father has also begotten His Son on a particular “today” in time, when “the power of the Most High” overshadowed Mary of Nazareth, and she conceived that same, divine Son as man. It belongs to the very identity of this Son to be the only begotten one; therefore, His self-revelation in time, as man, requires that He be the only begotten of His mother, as He is of His Father. Jesus had therefore no siblings born of His ever virgin mother. The mystery of the Father’s eternally begetting the Son of God grounds the mystery of His incarnation as the Son of man, Our God and Savior Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.

Since the eternal Son of the Father and the Son of Mary are one and the same Person, it follows that Jesus Christ, the Son incarnate, would express His eternal begottenness of the Father, and toward the Father, in a way corresponding to the humanity He received from His mother, by God’s power and her gracious consent. For only then would the Son’s expression of Himself in and through His human nature be genuinely revelatory of who He is eternally.

And so it is that Jesus’s perfect obedience to the will of His heavenly Father manifests temporally the Son’s eternal embrace of the Father in the Love of their Spirit. In that sense, Jesus’s every act of obedience to the Father’s will is a concrete actualization, in time, of His eternal begottenness. Through His obedience, the incarnate Son affirms anew His eternal, filial relation of love for the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. It follows, therefore, that Christ’s obedience both reflects and confirms the Father’s begetting Him “today,” the Father’s establishing eternally His paternal relation of love for His only Son, in the Spirit.

Since all things temporal are transitory, the incarnate Son expresses, and thus reveals to us, His eternal relation of begottenness-of-and-toward-the-Father through constant acts of filial obedience. The evangelists have recorded the most momentous of these. We recall and celebrate them during the Christmas Season and Holy Week. The Easter Season, on the other hand, recalls and celebrates their glorious results. As we are still celebrating the Christmas Season, let us consider briefly three of the “revelatory mysteries” that we celebrate therein, concerning the incarnate Son’s obediential expression of His eternal begottenness.

The Incarnation

We have already spoken much about the Incarnation. The Son “comes forth” from the Father eternally as God, as light from light; therefore, it is the Son who “comes forth” from the Father, in the fullness of time, to redeem us as man–indeed, as the God-Man: the Word became flesh. “To be begotten” is a revelation of who the Son is eternally. So, in the Spirit of love, the Father sends the Son to us and for us, as one of us, through His begetting in a human mother, Mary.

The revelation of God’s saving love for us in the Incarnation, and the fact of the Incarnation itself–God’s becoming man in the Person of the Son–reveal with unparalleled power and clarity our inherent dignity as human beings. Jesus Christ was born to us, one holy night, to restore in us the divine image in which we had been created, but which we marred by sin. “Long lay the world/ in sin and error pining/ till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”

In the Incarnation, the Father prepared “a body” (Heb. 10:5–i.e., a human nature, body and soul) for the Son, through which He would express His obedience–and so, too, His filial relation–to the Father: “Behold, I have come to do your will” (Heb. 10:7). The Father willed but one thing, toward which Jesus’s whole earthly life was directed with unwavering fidelity: that through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14), the Son should offer His sinless humanity to the Father as a sacrifice for our sins. His offering Himself to the Father was, therefore, at once an offering also for us, for our sanctification (Heb. 10:8-14).

So, in the obedience of the incarnate Son to the Father, their eternal relation of mutual love in the Spirit is revealed, together with their saving love for us. We are, after all, the ones for whose sake the Father sent the Son “in the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:7). What is more, their undying love for us, as expressed in the gift of the divine baby who would grow up specifically to die for us, reveals the incalculable value that God has placed on each of us. This is what we celebrate on Christmas Day. This we ought to celebrate, in humble gratitude, every day.

The Holy Family: Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple

When Jesus was twelve years old, Mary and Joseph took Him to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. As the pilgrims departed after the feast, He stayed behind in the temple, without His parents’ knowing it: “Zeal for your house consumes me” (Ps. 69:9). During the three days it took them to find Him, He listened to the rabbis, holding His own among them. He posed questions and answered them, exhibiting an amazing level of understanding.

When His anxious parents finally found Him, His mother asked Him why He had done this to them. In all innocence, He asked them, in turn, why they had to search for Him: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk. 2:49), as if to say, “Where else would I be?” It seems that Mary and Joseph had not yet recognized the divine identity of Jesus, which gave Mary pause to ponder His reply in her heart.

Jesus, on the other hand, knew well that He is eternally the only begotten Son of the Father, whose will He had come to fulfill in perfect obedience, as the perfect, human expression of His filial begottenness. The implication is clear: it was the mysterious will of the Father Himself that Jesus should remain behind in the temple and interact with the rabbis. Expressing His filial relation to His divine Father through perfect obedience to His will took precedence over His relationship with Mary His mother, and Joseph her husband, the devoted guardian of Jesus. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to accomplish His work” (Jn. 4:34). By remaining behind in the temple, therefore, Jesus was nourishing Himself on that food. In the meantime, His heavenly Father would provide for Mary and Joseph, and for all else.

Then why, we might ask, did Jesus return to Nazareth with His parents and remain obedient to them thereafter? Had He not been obedient to them before? Disobedience on the part of Jesus is out of the question. He is the divine Person of the eternal Son. As such, He is impeccable, even in His human nature.

What is more, there could be no real conflict between the good that the Father wills His Son to accomplish relative to His salvific mission, and the good that the Father wills Him to accomplish relative to His parents. It follows, therefore, that Jesus had in no way failed in His filial duty toward Mary and Joseph.

The reason, then, why Jesus returned to Nazareth with His parents, and was obedient to them, is because they undoubtedly expressed their will that He do so. And He understood that their will was harmonious with that of His heavenly Father–indeed, an expression of it, here and now. The Father would have the Son sanctify everyday family life by having Him lead an everyday family life, during His “hidden” years, with Mary and Joseph, in conformity with the reciprocal obligations of parents and their children entailed in the Fourth Commandment. The Holy Family is holy precisely because its members fulfilled that Commandment perfectly, both individually and collectively, in accordance with the Father’s will.

The Baptism of Jesus

John the Baptist preached repentance, and the people went out to him to be baptized in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. He was thus preparing a people well-disposed for the One who, though ranking ahead of him and existing before him, would come after him (Jn. 1:30). When Jesus presented Himself to John to be baptized, John sought to prevent Him, acknowledging his own need to be baptized by Jesus; however, Jesus explained that “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Mt. 3:15), meaning, “It is the will of my heavenly Father, who is now consummating His covenant with Israel in and through me.” So John relented.

When John baptized Jesus, the heavens opened, the Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father spoke. According to Matthew and Mark, the Father declared, “This is [or, You are] my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” According to ancient versions of Luke, the Father declared, “You are my beloved Son; today I have begotten you.” Both renderings are significant, and eminently compatible. They agree in beginning with the words of Psalm 2:7. Luke completes the verse, whereas Matthew and Mark combine its first words with words selected from the opening of Isaiah’s first servant song (Is. 42:1).

Both the kingly figure in Psalm 2, and the servant of God in Isaiah, are endowed with the Spirit– the king implicitly, as he is the LORD’s anointed (Ps. 2:2), and the servant explicitly: “I have put my Spirit upon him” (Is. 42:1). God has given his servant as a covenant to the people and a light to the nations (Is. 42:6; 49:6, 8). The servant will fulfill that mission through agonizing suffering, as an offering for sin. But God will vindicate him, and many will become righteous because of him (Is. 50:5-9; 52:13-53:12). Indeed, God will exalt him to a very high degree, and kings will be silent on his account (Is. 52: 13-15; 49:6-7). This suggests that the servant will, in the end, surpass them all in power and glory–in kingliness. It seems, then, that the suffering servant and the LORD’s anointed are one and the same person. The evangelists are telling us that this Person is Jesus Christ.

The incarnate Son is the very embodiment of God’s covenant with His people–of the “marriage” of God and man. His obedience to the Father’s will in being baptized by John fulfills the very righteousness of God, for in and through the Son, on whom the Spirit has come to rest, the Father is fulfilling the covenant with Israel by which He will redeem her and make her His own. The Son’s fidelity to the Father compensates superabundantly for Israel’s history of covenantal infidelity.

It seems reasonable to suppose that the Father had the Son, though free of all sin, undergo John’s baptism of repentance in order, as our Head, to take our sins on Himself, and to make a perfect act of repentance for them on our behalf. This was a decisive step toward His making possible the forgiveness of our sins in reality, by water and the Spirit, and not just symbolically, as John was doing, by water alone. The Father was “well pleased” with the Son’s perfect act of obedience to His will. Jesus’s baptism thus signified His perfect filial love for the Father, whose voice from heaven revealed, in the “today” of time, His ever begetting the Son in the “today” of eternity.

While the Son took on our sins at His baptism and repented of them fully, an expiatory act of reparation was still necessary: the Lamb of God had yet to take away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29). His “anointing” by the Spirit, at His baptism, revealed publicly that the humanity of Christ was “confirmed” with the fullness of grace necessary to realize that act, in gracious obedience to the Father’s will. Hence, the baptism of Jesus inaugurated the public ministry that would lead Him, inexorably, to the cross.

By the atoning sacrifice of His own life for our transgressions, Jesus would justify many. At the same time, His agony–the agony of God–on the cross would expose: (1) the vile and violently evil nature of our sins; (2) their injustice to God above all; and (3) the necessity of their being justly punished and expiated.

Since all the attributes we ascribe to God separately are really one and the same in Him, we also see in the cross, which divine justice demanded, the overflowing mercy that the Father extends to us through His innocent Son. In perfect obedience to the Father, Our Lord was willing to endure the cross–an incomparable injustice against him–in place of, and for the sake of, the guilty, the ones deserving of death. We sinners, thus spared, would consequently gain, through the superabundant merit of Christ, the offer of forgiveness for our sins, and, through the grace of forgiveness, the grace of becoming partakers in the divine life.

By our accepting the transformative grace that Jesus won for us, He is “begotten” in us, such that we may call His Father our Father. Through the Son and in the Spirit, we must express our filial love for the Father by living a life of humble, uncompromising obedience to His saving will. It is precisely this that the Father has willed to accomplish in and through His obedient Son, born for us in Bethlehem, and born in us through baptism and the other sacraments. So, when the Son reveals Himself, and His Father, and their Spirit to us each Christmas, He means thereby also to reveal to us who we can be, and who we ought to be, by the grace of adoption into the trinitarian family of God.

Actions Speak Louder than Words: Pope Francis’s Response to the Allegations of Archbishop Viganò

by Jeff Tranzillo

On August 28, LifeSite News published an article citing Bishop Robert Morlino’s “disappointment that in his remarks on the return flight from Dublin to Rome, the Holy Father chose a course of ‘no comment,’ regarding any conclusions that might be drawn from Archbishop Viganò’s allegations,” three days earlier, concerning the gay network and the gay cover-up at the highest levels of the Church. With all due respect to this courageous bishop, I believe that Pope Francis might, indeed, have commented on the allegations–loudly–giving faithful Catholics an even bigger reason for disappointment.

As LifeSite News also reported, again, on August 28, the pope named pro-gay Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who heads the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, as a delegate to the upcoming synod in Rome on youth. The synod’s instrumentum laboris speaks of  “LGBT youth” who want to form homosexual relationships, while still remaining close to the Church. In consequence–and even well before the instrumentum was published–faithful Catholics have been bracing themselves for the commandeering of the youth synod by gay-friendly clerics, who, by recourse to Amoris Laetitia’s unprincipled principles, will use the synod as an opportunity to push the Church toward changing her teaching on sexual morality in general, and on homosexuality in particular. Tobin’s formidable size and intimidating scowl are naturally suited to quelling the opposition. Archbishop Viganò’s testimony states that Tobin owes his present appointment as Newark’s ordinary, in large part, to his predecessor, disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out why McCarrick would have been so keen to have him in that position.

It seems, then, that the pope’s handpicking Tobin as a delegate to the youth synod might itself have been his in-your-face response to Viganò’s allegations. Not only will Francis not confront the gay free-for-all in the Church by disciplining or dismissing gay and gay-promoting clerics: he will foster it. He will see to it that clerics of just this type are in place to exploit every opportunity to promote the gay cause, as they did at the synods on the family held in 2014 and 2015, and as they also did, with devilish subtlety, in Amoris Laetitia, the rotten fruit of those two synods. The youth synod provides one more such opportunity. The whole concept of this synod seems to have been contrived, and its preparatory phase manipulated, for the express purpose of corrupting youth; and, through corrupted youth, Church teaching as well.

Francis and his pack of wolves will therefore continue laying the primary blame for clerical sexual abuse at the feet of clericalism, while denying its homosexual root. In that way, they can move ahead with their agenda to “welcome” and to “integrate” active homosexuals into the Church. They are thus inviting the very element responsible for most cases of clerical sexual abuse to spread throughout the Body of Christ. In consequence, everyone–especially the innocent and the vulnerable–will be in greater danger of exploitation and corruption by the swelling presence of unrepentant sexual perverts, who have little aptitude for, or interest in, self-control and moral decency.

This evil and subversive scheme cannot be reconciled with a serious intention on the part of the pope or like-minded bishops to address the problem of clerical sexual abuse in the Church. We can only conclude, then, that they are not serious about addressing it. They will therefore continue to stock the seminaries with sexually perverted or psychosexually abnormal males who have little chance of, or incentive for, integrating their sexuality manfully into their person, so as to live an unfailingly chaste, celibate, and priestly life by God’s grace, in accordance with God’s loving plan for His Church. The pope will be content, it seems, merely to issue apologies occasionally, as he did last week in Ireland, for the devastating personal wreckage caused by clerical sexual abuse.

Is the preceding assessment unfair? Is the new role assigned to Tobin, the timing of its announcement, and all that the appointment implies really the pope’s defiant response to the Viganò allegations?

At present, we cannot say for sure; nevertheless, some things are luminously clear. Pope Francis has consistently appointed and surrounded himself with gay-friendly bishops and priests, at least some of whom we can be forgiven for suspecting are gay–that is, sodomitic–themselves. Archbishop Viganò has named some of the relevant names in his testimony. Two others, Cardinals Godfried Danneels and Walter Kasper, were members of the St. Gallen mafia, which succeeded in getting Bergoglio elected to the papacy. As stated above, these wolves, together with the rest of the pack, are promoting the gay agenda under Francis with impunity–humanly speaking, of course.

What is more, the pope seems more inclined to reward bishops who cover up sexual abuse than to discipline them. One striking example is his 2015 appointment of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid to the diocese of Osorno, Chile. Francis wholly disregarded loud and sustained protests that Barros had covered up–indeed, witnessed–the sexual abuse crimes of his friend and mentor, Father Fernando Karadima, whom the Holy See disciplined in 2011. Francis seems, in that case, to have heeded instead the counsel of his friend and C9 member, Cardinal Javier Errázuriz Ossa, who is himself implicated in the same cover-up. The pope was finally forced to accept Barros’s resignation last June, after an investigation by Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Msgr. Jordi Bertomeu verified the credibility of the victims’ claims.

We have also the example of the pope’s rehabilitating Cardinals Godfried Danneels and Roger Mahoney, both of whom are long known to have covered up for clerical sexual abusers. And in view of Archbishop Viganò’s testimony, it now seems that the pope had also rehabilitated ex-Cardinal McCarrick, who has bragged about his prominent role in lobbying for Bergoglio’s election to the papacy. Was his restoration to the world stage the pope’s reward to him for a job well done?

Joseph Tobin, who, according to Viganò, acquired his present office with McCarrick’s help, is himself implicated in having covered up for the disgraced ex-cardinal. It was only when the Archdiocese of New York revealed in June that a credible charge of pederasty had been brought against McCarrick that Tobin, by then at Newark’s helm for well over a year, acknowledged the existence of a settlement between the Newark archdiocese and a former seminarian whom McCarrick had sexually abused. Nevertheless, Tobin’s cover-up has clearly not discouraged Pope Francis from naming him as a delegate to October’s youth synod. On the contrary, the cardinal’s steadfast allegiance to the gay cause seems to be what qualified him to serve in that capacity.

Within a few months after having taken over the Archdiocese of Newark in January 2017, Tobin gave his approval for a gay pilgrimage, including Mass, to take place in the cathedral. The event materialized on May 21 of that year. Though he could not stay for the entire event, Tobin was on hand to introduce himself to the group of openly gay and lesbian pilgrims, announcing, “I am Joseph, your brother.” He then qualified that declaration in terms of his being, like each of them, “a disciple of Jesus” and “a sinner who finds mercy in the Lord”; however, one is still hard pressed not to take his remark as possibly intended to signal something more. At the very least, he was grossly imprudent not to have considered how loaded it was, under the circumstances.

While Tobin has enthusiastically defended Amoris Laetitia, which lurked in the background as providing him with the rationale for “welcoming,” to the cathedral, people who identify openly as gay or lesbian, he went beyond even the most radical interpretations of the document. Disregarding its prerequisites of “accompaniment” and “discernment,” he allowed the “pilgrims,” some of whom were “married” to same-sex “spouses,” to be welcomed unconditionally to receive Holy Communion.

Rather than encourage the pilgrims to live chastely, Tobin thought it appropriate, on this occasion, simply to “call them who they were.” This is particularly significant relative to the upcoming youth synod that the pope wants him to attend. For it suggests that he will “affirm” the youth in the L, G, B, T, or other “identity” that they claim for themselves. If he does, in fact, indulge and encourage that death-dealing lie among the youth at the synod, then he will be guilty of causing scandal by tempting young people to sin, or to remain in sin. He will also be guilty of inflicting serious, psychological abuse on vulnerable youth.

As Tobin sees it, however, the real problem is the fear young people have that the Church “judges them.” His twisted approach to the “same-sex” issue seems to coincide with the subversive plan of the late Cardinal Carlo Martini, a member of the St. Gallen mafia, who wanted to exploit youth as the revolutionary means by which to advance the homosexual agenda in the Church. Tobin and Francis seem to be of one mind in their determination to fulfill Martini’s infernal plan.

We might add other evidence of Pope Francis’s favor toward gay and gay-minded clerics, and of the virtually free reign he gives them to promote, celebrate, and travel the gay path to perdition. But we will stop here to ask the following question: How does all this square with the pope’s remark, during an audience with Italian bishops last May, that it would be better for them not to admit active homosexuals or males having deep-seated homosexual tendencies into the seminary? His bizarre self-contradiction here, as in so many other instances, is not easily explained.

It is telling, however, that Francis did not deliver his remark during the televised part of his audience, but only during his closed-door meeting with the bishops afterward. Why did he not make his point publicly and direct it, not just to the group of Italian bishops before him, but also to all the bishops of the universal Church, for whom his message–which coincides with Church teaching–is just as urgent? After all, that message, if taken seriously, is crucial to addressing the crisis of clerical sexual abuse.

Significantly, the pope’s remark came just four days after the whole body of Chilean bishops handed him their resignations in the wake of Bishop Scicluna’s twenty-three-hundred-page report on the sexual abuse crisis in Chile. Did his words to the Italian bishops constitute a heartfelt, perhaps spontaneous personal plea for due discretion in choosing future seminarians, now that the nature and scope of the problem of homosexual clergy has finally penetrated his awareness?

If so, the pope’s appointing Joseph Tobin to attend the youth synod seems inexplicable. But let us explore one of several possibilities.

In 2005, and again in 2013, the St. Gallen mafia conspired to get none other than Cardinal Bergoglio elected to the papacy. Its members must consequently have known him personally, or at least known a whole lot about him. Indeed, “mafia” members Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Carlo Martini were his friends and enthusiastic promoters. Bergoglio evidently measured up as being on the same page with the group, particularly with Martini, whose vision of the Church manifestly informs his own. What does that imply?

Of the clerics that we know to have belonged to the Gallen cabal, several, Martini among them, are famous for their radical opposition to Church teachings and practices–especially in the area of sexual morality. If Bergoglio “measured up” to them, then that would suggest he is cut from the same cloth. The “mafia” would then be able to count on him to “modernize” the Church in such a way as to serve their foul, revolutionary objectives.

Conscious, willful rejection of the Church’s teachings invariably entails grave, practical consequences for the person who rejects them–the Catholic above all. It follows that the Gallen gang and their papal candidate–who, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, was known for his ambiguity, his doctrinal and moral apathy, his protection of clerical sexual abusers, his morally suspect clerical retinue, and his “pastoral” bypassing of Church disciplinary practices–must have all seriously compromised themselves, whether in their personal life, or in carrying out their priestly ministry. In a word, they must all have been unfaithful to Christ and His Body. This would have given rise to four types of “loyalty” among them in their ecclesiastical collaboration:

1. a utilitarian loyalty, where birds of a feather conspire together to achieve one or another of their corrupt goals.

2. a pseudo-solidarity loyalty, where birds of a feather live it up together, doing favors for, and covering for, one another.

3. a guilty-conscience loyalty, where none of these birds is inclined to denounce or expose the misdeeds of any of the others, since he knows he’s guilty of the same transgressions himself, or of others just as serious. In consequence, they can each get away with murder.

4. a constrained loyalty, where these birds of a feather, who will either sink or swim together, are compelled–despite their differences–to act together. Each of them knows that he can get away with murder, and that the others have no choice but to help him pull the trigger.

Any of these types of “loyalty,” or any combination thereof, could explain why the pope has gone out of his way to conceal the disgraceful actions and cover-ups perpetrated by certain clerics. It could explain why he seems so often to reward vice rather than virtue. It could explain why he consistently fails to identify and to denounce genuinely grave sins according to what they really are. And it could explain why he continues promoting the gay agenda, even though he seems to have expressed a personal concern–albeit privately–about the problems that can arise when active homosexuals and homosexually inclined individuals are admitted to the seminary, and then later ordained as priests. While self-contradiction and concealing his hand are his signature trademarks, and we cannot discount the possibility that the pope’s brief, private comment to the Italian bishops was just one more of his red herrings, the comment seems, nevertheless, too gratuitous not to have some merit. Was he not at liberty, then, to utter it publicly?

In view of the above, it is not unreasonable for us to consider that Pope Francis might be seriously compromised. His being in a compromised position would determine everything he says and does–or can say and do–as pope. To take a recent example: On his flight home from Ireland last Sunday, the pope spoke in an interview about the possibility of psychiatry helping children who manifest homosexual tendencies. Sometime after the statement appeared on its official website, the Vatican deleted the reference to psychiatry. Someone behind the scenes evidently decided that it didn’t fit in with the gay-is-normal narrative issuing from the highest levels. The pope had not requested the change himself, for the Vatican spokeswoman who sought to justify the deletion indicated that someone else had divined what the pope really thought about the matter, and then altered the text accordingly. So, Francis was not consulted at all. Had he previously given the powers that be carte blanche to edit him unilaterally? Or, did they simply know that he would have no choice but to acquiesce, even if someone had bothered to consult him? After all, birds of this feather are bound to remain dirty together.

Let me now summarize what I have argued herein. To begin with, Pope Francis’s verbal silence about Archbishop Viganò’s allegations of a homosexual cabal in the Church, and in the Vatican itself, might not have been his “last word” on the matter. Within days, the pope seems to have responded in a practical way by shining the spotlight on Joseph Tobin, the “gay-is-good” cardinal, whom he named as a delegate to the upcoming youth synod. If the appointment was more than just an ill-timed coincidence, such that Francis really did intend, by his action, to make a statement, he would be saying something like this: Allegations or no allegations, it’s business as usual at the Vatican. The gay subversion of souls and of the Church will continue.

But the question is, was this the pope’s own strategy, or, if another’s, was he fully in accord with it? Did he act unilaterally to signal his defiance of Viganò’s allegations, or did the power players surrounding him script this drama—as well as his recent statement ascribing the cause of the clerical homosexual scandal to “clericalism”—and hand him the part he had to play, regardless of whether he was fully committed to it?

Since the time he reviewed the Scicluna report, it is possible that Pope Francis has become uncomfortable ignoring (as he allegedly did in his former diocese) the fact that the problem of clerical sexual abuse is mainly a homosexual one; however, it is crucial to the success of the gay agenda to suppress that damning fact. How, then, might the pope’s retinue keep him in check, if he is no longer of a mind to deny the pederastic nature of the current Church crisis, but would rather seek to address it?

While his Vatican handlers had no choice but to let him act in the high profile Barros and McCarrick cases, they might nevertheless have reminded Francis of the obvious: he cannot very well adopt a general policy of investigating, exposing, and dismissing from office, bishops guilty of covering up for pederastic priests. For he himself has just been accused of covering up for McCarrick. If the accusation is true–and his inner circle surely knows whether it’s true–then he would be condemning himself to the same fate. With the sword of Damocles thus set in place, the pope’s merry little band of prima donnas can go on prancing along to pursue the gay subversion of the Church, while prevailing on him to cooperate with them.

Of course, the immensely evil schemes that wicked ecclesiastical leaders are systematically carrying out in the Church, and the hidden culture of evil by which they secure the cooperation they need to accomplish their designs, surely run deeper than anyone can know before the time when God Himself reveals all that is now concealed in darkness. That the evildoers do not fear that day, or Him who has the power to cast both body and soul into hell, is a testimony to their spiritual blindness and unbelief.

The simple sketch given above provides, perhaps, a small part of the big picture–a possible scenario. There are other possible ways to explain Pope Francis’s inconsistent, self-contradictory, manipulative, and rebellious behavior; for example, the habitual equivocation, perhaps even duplicity, that seems to govern and disguise that behavior might bespeak some form of psychological and emotional instability (indeed, a remarkably Luther-like form). If that is the case, then only God knows whether the pope is blameless for his condition, or whether he brought it on and exacerbated it by his own sins.

But whether the factors affecting his conduct are internal or external or a combination of these, the end result is the same: Pope Francis does not seem fully at liberty to act consistently for the true good of the Church. Nevertheless, if, out of pure self-interest, he is capitulating mainly to pressure from the outside not to act as he knows he ought to; or, if he has committed himself to collaborating with an evil agenda to accommodate the Church to an ungodly world: then he is abusing his own freedom. He is compromised, dirty. He and his retinue.

Another Lesson from the McCarrick Case

by Jeff Tranzillo

Because of space limitations, I could not offer any more than the seven lessons that I presented in my article for Crisis Magazine on the McCarrick case. So here I will add one more lesson of great importance, especially for those who think there is nothing they can do in the face of the unspeakable evil of clerical sexual abuse. The eighth lesson is that there is something that every Catholic can do—something absolutely essential to ridding the Church of so great an evil.

Whatever the merits of the various proposals being put forward to address the problem of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, every such proposal will necessarily prove limited in its actual implementation–though the most viable plans must, indeed, be swiftly implemented. But we must keep in mind that the homosexual problem underlying most cases of clerical abuse is, first and foremost, a spiritual problem; therefore, it cannot be resolved by merely practical, human means, however reasonable and promising they might be. We are dealing not just with corrupt, morally bankrupt clerics–with flesh and blood–but also with the evil spiritual hosts ruling this present darkness (see Eph 6:12), that is, with the fallen angels, with whom the false shepherds have complied, or even actively connived .

We are therefore facing a battle of enormous proportions–but one for which Our Lord has amply equipped us (see, for example, Eph 6:13-18). The enemies within, outside, and invisible to the Church recognize that her defenses are down, and they will try to go in for the kill. But by God’s superabundant grace, we, the little people in the pew, can foil them until Christ comes again to defeat them definitively (short of the conversion of His human foes). Rather than becoming discouraged, then, we must become more resolute than ever about following Christ faithfully, precisely in and through His Church.

Wicked clerics have been, and still are, trying to prostitute Christ’s Bride to the dark ways of the world at the behest of the father of lies, the murderer from the beginning, whom they have evidently chosen as their father. But we must fight against their lies and their murderous treatment of the souls entrusted to them, by our unwavering fidelity, in thought, word, and deed, to God’s life-giving truth. By being truly and uncompromisingly faithful, we can, among other things, provide a compelling witness and an effective outreach to the poor victims who have been so horribly wronged by homosexual and pedophiliac clergy, helping thereby to restore their trust in God’s love and care for them, precisely through the ministry of the Church. We can show them what it really means to live by the power and love of God, and thus help them understand that this way of life is precisely what their assailants, and the clerical enablers assisting them, refused to take on. Instead, the evildoers became “darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God,” and callous, giving “themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness” (Eph 4:18-19).

We can expect to suffer greatly for our faithful witness to the power of God’s grace, truth, and love. As the vast extent of clerical evil becomes more fully known, we, as Catholics, will be vilified and perhaps even persecuted by society at large, both because of society’s unjustly associating us with the monstrous deeds perpetrated by the false shepherds among us, and because we dare to affirm the homosexual nature of the vast majority of those deeds. This affirmation won’t go over too well with the false shepherds either, as they are intent on denying its truth, in their idolatrous homage to a world hell-bent on sexual degeneracy. By our witnessing to the truth, we’ll be making them look bad and exposing their lies. We’ll be threatening the evil empire that they and their predecessors have built for themselves within Christ’s Church. We should not be surprised at how low they will stoop to try and repel that threat–for example, by calling the good Catholic standing of the faithful into question and threatening them with canonical penalties.

But through the suffering that steadfast witness to the truth will bring down on God’s faithful, they will become conformed more fully to Christ the Lord, who suffers with them and in them. At the same time, they will thereby enter a real solidarity with the poor victims of clerical abuse, who have themselves suffered so terribly, and in whom Christ has suffered, both with them, and as the ultimate object of the abuse. Had the abusers themselves ever been abused? That will surely prove true in some cases, perhaps very many. But that neither excuses nor diminishes the heinous nature of their sin.

Let’s be more specific about what we can do to address the catastrophic situation in the Church. We can all confront the foul and ugly impurity of active homosexuality, both within the Church and beyond, with the beauty of a luminously pure life, born of sanctifying grace and steadfast fidelity to truth and moral goodness. Nothing sends the devil packing like purity and sanctity, truth and goodness. That is why he tries so furiously to destroy these. But we must not be distracted from growing thus. This requires us to be counter cultural, to reject the ways of the world, lest we show ourselves to be ashamed of Christ. The current crisis in the Church makes it unequivocally clear that the true children of God cannot make friends with the world, contrary to the false doctrine of “dialogue” spewed out so mellifluously by many of the Church’s blind, clerical guides. The world has nothing to teach the Church–except how to forsake Christ and forfeit heaven.

How, then, do we proceed heavenward? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Daily examination of conscience and regular confession of sins (at least once a month) in the sacrament of penance, with the firm resolve to live according to the Spirit of God. Faithful observance of the Ten Commandments is a good place to begin fostering that new life.  (For the protection of the faithful–including the faithful members of the clergy–it is probably best, in these evil times, to confess anonymously and behind the screen.)

2. Attend Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion as often as possible (without prejudice to Canon 917).

3. Take up the devotions that heaven has asked for, and even prescribed; for example: daily recitation of the holy rosary; devotion, and acts of reparation, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; the five First Saturdays of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; the divine mercy chaplet. And let us not forget to invoke the intercession of St. Joseph, terror of demons, and St. Michael the Archangel, Captain of the heavenly host.

4. Renounce sinful fashion trends. Dress modestly.

5. Keep guard over the senses. Catholics, like so many others, are daily imbibing deadly doses of impurity through unsavory news items, TV and radio shows, movies, internet sites, decadent music, salacious ads, pornography, and so on. Such things are mortal enemies of sanctity, and hence a constant detriment to souls. Renounce them. Consider joining the Angelic Warfare Confraternity to help win the battle for purity.

6. Spend time with God by meditating on the Scriptures, using a good, Catholic edition of the Bible, with commentary. Read about the lives of the Saints, and study the Church’s perennial teaching, using reliable, Catholic sources.

7. Penance, Penance, Penance. When some people don’t fulfill their responsibilities, other people have to pick up the slack. In one way or another, responsibilities must be fulfilled, so that the damage caused by those who shirk them can be repaired. For example, if some people litter, other people have to pick up after them. For if no one takes on that responsibility, the problem will just keep getting worse, and everyone will suffer for it in the end.

Likewise, by serious, voluntary acts of penance (beginning with fasting), we must spiritually make reparation, both for our own sins and for the grievous sins of those who have renounced their moral, spiritual, and ecclesiastical responsibilities. Eucharistic adoration–particularly holy hours–for love of Jesus is an indispensable way of repairing the neglect, the ingratitude, and the sacrileges to which Our Lord is subjected day and night.

Both the Church and the world are in such a deep, moral abyss that our condition is beyond merely human remedy. And so with great love born of sanctifying grace, we must make heroic (even if ultimately meager) sacrifices in a humble spirit of reparation, uniting them to the all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ, from whom they derive their value, and for whom all things regarding human salvation are possible, if we but cooperate with His gracious help and inspiration.