My local parish has recently begun a schola for the children, led by a very talented mother.  The other mothers are often in the back, nursing and bouncing babies, and the fathers usually outside overseeing (lightly) whatever children are not participating and talking amongst themselves.  If there was ever a “safe environment” for my children, that’s it.  Yet, one of the biggest headaches of the whole thing – bigger than the cat-herding of teaching young ones – is that we have to finagle people to sit inside so as to dot the I’s and cross the T’s of “safe environment” requirements for our diocese.  It’s a pain, and to anyone outside of a bureaucrat’s office a foolish waste.

Many of us have gotten use to these requirements, but it might be time to push back, or at least remind the fathers-that-be (our bishops) that we, the parents, are not the problem.  I know that needs to be said because many diocese are either publishing “reports” that list all of the requirements for youth protection in their diocese and how many people have gone through “training,” or hosting fake Q&A sessions at parishes that are meant to say, “See, we did good things to protect your kids.”  This is their response to the scandals of late, and it’s the worst response possible.  I’ve been through the youth protection training and I, like most sane people, realize how silly the little video was (Virtus in my case).  Really its harmless and all, but, as some have said, it seems like the penance imposed on the laity for the sins of the clergy.

But youth protection training failures are not the scandal right now.  To reiterate, the bishops have lost the trust of the faithful by not curbing the cowardice in the face of evil or being directly involved with the evil itself.  And, of course it’s been said but can’t be said enough, it’s our money that has both funded the playpens of dirty uncles and then paid for their sins in the courts.  We don’t need reminders about policies and guidelines enacted after 2002.  2018 is a very different year.

This is not a PR problem folks.  Stop writing reports of all your great deeds and sending in your officials to tell us solutions to problems we’re not talking about, like how many of us are trained to keep predators away from our kids.  Because of decades of failure in almost every measurable way, we’re already skeptical about that official’s salary and position as it is.  We know how to keep our kids safe – in the Catholic Church it means keeping them far from the actively homosexual clergy and their nooks and networks.  They are not safer because my friend’s grandma is sitting in for me to fulfill safe environment training.

A better understanding of what has happened to the relationship between the laity and the bishops is a deep wounding.  We are hurt by our fathers (See, Make Bishops Fathers Again).  Sure, plenty of them are innocent, but not enough of them to make us stop asking questions and demanding more than an op ed of courteous sorry-and-all-that’s.  And, as in the case of biological fathers that have violated the trust of their family, listing all of the things you did right wont help.  We want to hear, out loud, what was done wrong (See, How to Make a Sincere Apology).

And, yes, we’re now lumping all of the abuses together – liturgical, catechetical, etc. – because we have been abused too long.  We have funded failure and grown up on spiritual saccharine.  We are Catholics and have a right to hear and see Catholicism preached, prayed, and practiced.  If you can’t do this, go retire to a cabin or beach house somewhere.  The Catechism, GIRM, and other such things are available online.  We’re not dumb.  We want you to stop all of the abuse and get busy building a culture of truth and holiness – only that will save us (which has always been the case).  When people are hurt, repent and show actions that communicate you understand how wrong the wrong was and how much you want to right it.  Don’t tell us we’re safe because we’re following the guidelines to keep our children’s choir safe.  We weren’t worried about that.

  • Dom_Pedulla

    A married or anthropologically normal man does NOT, I repeat NOT, need training to keep his children out of the clutches of predators. He need only be a normal man, an honest pagan even. I have not let my boys nor my girls be in compromising situations for more than 25 years now, simply because of a lively awareness of the threats, and of their innocence. I submit, that many bishops lack the instincts of true fathers, so that even if they aren’t predators themselves, they have no way to understand it as real men.

  • Dom_Pedulla

    So true!

  • Patrick O’Brien

    Years ago a friend here in Denver was required to take the Virtus class so that she could sit in on the CCD class for her Down Syndrome boy. What chance was there that she was going to molest anyone? How stupid Church bureaucrats can be!

  • Justin Nelson

    This isn’t a clergy vs laity issue. This is an issue about homosexuality which has been allowed to grow and thrive within the Church.
    The reason the clergy is so afflicted by it is that people have become accustomed to accepting effeminacy from those in the Church.
    To those that continue to talk about lay leaders in the church having problems it is because people have been brainwashed into accepting personalities inside the church that they would never accept elsewhere.
    Unfortunately the problems in the church are now spreading to society.
    Until men start acting like men-true men, images of Christ,not some distorted machismo nor some effeminate hippie,and protecting their families from the disordered people inside and outside of the church it will never get better.
    Call evil evil and never accept it around you or your family.

  • Leo D.

    Hello Good People,
    As you know by now, and if you didn’t know, multiple Texas Law Enforcement authorities “executed search warrants (aka raided) at the diocese property in Houston Texas. This is HUGE.
    I’ll get right to the point, the bulls eye.
    Here it is and mark your calendar…
    If the Texas authorities investigate these crimes with due dilagence (I’m sure they will) they will then issue an international subpoenas and warrants for guess who? Pope Francis…..

    That will blow the top off all this paedophilia once and for all…
    Infact they may issue an international arrest warrant for him…

  • RLuczak

    “pissed off”? I thought it was just me. The bishops are addressing everything except the elephant in the room.

  • Bill Johnson

    Thank you Jason. This mirrors my experience in a Cleveland area parish.

  • Paul

    Well said indeed!

  • Paul

    “It’s a pain, and to anyone outside of a bureaucrat’s office a foolish waste. […] I, like most sane people, realize how silly the little video was (Virtus in my case). Really its harmless and all, but, as some have said, it seems like the penance imposed on the laity for the sins of the clergy.”

    Very false. While it can seem like a burden or penance that is only there to a diocese’s behind, it *does* work and the protocols that come along with it *do* help. And it’s not just for being aware of sins of the clergy.

    When I was an adolescent a lay adult church leader groomed me and attempted to abuse me. At the time I didn’t know what to do or how to process it. Taking VIRTUS the spring before I turned 18 made me realize what was going on and how it wasn’t just an awkward situation that could be nervously laughed away. It gave me the confidence to report the guy. And if the appropriate policies would have been followed, I never would have been in a situation where the person would have been able to attempt anything. Kids are absolutely safer because your “friend’s grandma is sitting in for me to fulfill safe environment training.” – one of those kids was me.

    • Phil Alcoceli

      Thank you so much Paul for your contribution. While I still think the abuse response is seriously lacking, given the seriousness of the homosexual/communist infiltration of the Church, Virtus has raised a very useful awareness. I am SO glad you were spared and made that report against this sinful lay adult church leader. I admire you greatly for making that report as I know that it’s not easy by any means because we are confused by false compliance and sometimes some “sympathizers” and “admirers” of the guilty party will come negatively against you.

      I had that treatment when I reported a very talented, young, attractive, super charming male choir leader for sexually grooming a minor middle school girl who herself acted too adult and too provocative. Both guilty, and I got fire from the family and friends of both sides, even with the rest of the choir as witnesses. Even clergy “well charmed” by this leader also acted hostile for a short while against me. No heroics just sacred duty. Solid Truth: No compromises in Holy Doctrine bring true, zero tolerance of sin. At the end, the perversion came from outside but the cure must come from inside and the Church has more than 2,000 years of Holy Spirit healing resilience against the gravest of sins (Matthew 16:17-19). Still, we need to do more, including much more Bold Hard Truth and much more Bold True Holiness. Hard Truth: Pope Francis likes to live in “weaponized ambiguity”. We shouldn’t ever. Jesus never did and it’s Him Who we worship, no one else. Peter may sink in the storm, Jesus’ True Church never does. Hold tight to JESUS’ hand.

  • Sean

    Four respectful emails to the Bishop of Manchester, NH have warranted exactly zero response from the bishop or his minions. Nothing, nada, silence.
    In his mind, I am not a Catholic man. In his mind, I am a medieval peasant unworthy of any response or Christian courtesy of a reply.
    There you have it. I’m done with these fraud shepherds.

    • Phil Alcoceli

      Sean, you and your anger are very welcome here (courtesy and respect included, thanks). The Book of Psalms is plentiful with hard, tough, heartfelt expressions of boiling anger, frustations against others and God, anxiety, depression, anguish, joy, celebration, etc. Like in that great Book, we are here not just to flush our red hot emotional grievances, suffering and righteous pain, justified or not, but also to listen and to grow, so our anger is wisdom-guided, productive, humanizing and holy instead of just generically blind, destructive, dehumanizing and evil. If we really care and if we really want good to triumph over evil, then that distinction is absolutely imperative.

      If we ignore that distinction, we are just pawns playing into the Devil’s evil hands while playing the disgusting role of today’s Anti-Church-Anti-Culture-Anti-Life Pharisees. Yes, I’ve had a heavy overdose in my many years of life of heartfelt painful clashes with my Bishop (face to face), priests, nuns, laity, etc. I also felt like bailing out like you but this question stopped me: “Who do I worship?” Our noble Catholic ancestors dealt with 8 bad Popes and God knows how many numerous complicit bad Bishops. They answered that previous question right and they endured, thrived and prevailed, and the Church flourished again. That struggle remains until Jesus returns but Triumph is our destiny in Him: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus promises Victory in True Life not a meth-like Bisneyland (misspelling intentional).

  • Phil Alcoceli

    Yes, the Bishop’s response to the scandals has been misguided, pathetic, cartoonish and ridiculous. Now cool your jets and your hot afterburners and realize the good Bishops (most of them) have been hand tied by the Homosexual Infiltration of the Church as the most powerful arm of the Communist Infiltration of the Church (read: “School of Darkness” by Bella V. Dodd). The False Sexual Revolution (FSR) poisoned society with sexual liberalism but that was just a prelude to open us to homosexuality, the main and most vicious of all poisons. Inject homosexuality in a person, family, group, society, Nation or Church and you bring it to its knees to be kicked on the face and homosexualy violated. Rome didn’t fall because “there was lead in the aqueduct pipes” but because there was homosexual lead in their brains. Homosexuality at its core is a total rebellion of total self-hate against life and the true identity of all things and of all human beings as created and designed by God.

    That’s why there are many more Intelectual-Mental-Emotional-Homosexuals (Functional Homosexuals) than the ones involved in direct homosexual sexual acts. There’s a core homosexual component in every sin of direct rebellion against God and Life. It becomes full homosexuality with the addition of the lust of rage which is why the Church’s enemies cultivate hate, anger, unforgiveness, envy and entitlement like some of us cultivate flowers or useful crops. That’s why all violent tyrants, criminals and Church destroyers are Functional Homosexuals (read: ;”The Pink Swastika” by Scott Lively). Jesus Righteous Holy Anger lead him to cleanse the Temple (all 35 acres, twice). We need to learn from our noble Catholic ancestors about how they dealt bravely with huge sinful crisis (read: “Calm in Chaos” by George Rutler). Either we fight sin (starting with our own) with Jesus’ Manly Holy Anger or with Satan’s very homosexual anti-Father rage. Choose wisely!!!

  • Zachary Swinehart

    I am a former Catholic School educator. I used to teach Social Studies and Religion to 5th thru 8th grade. I remember having to sit through the videos meant to “protect” children and the videos told us if we ever felt the “urge” to molest kids to report it to our superiors. What a joke that was. I would never molest a child but how many molesters are going to own up to being what they are? I found that sort of checklist safety precaution a sad joke much as the training that you describe here seems to be. I feel no animus toward the Church due to these scandals, only a heartfelt sadness, but token safety training isn’t the way to repair the broken fences. I think the most holy bishops need to take a long hard look at who is being allowed into the priesthood and also where those people who may be tempted by this sort of debauchery are being placed to serve within their diocese. Known homosexual men should not be placed into leadership positions within the Church as that is where most of these problems seem to have stemmed from anyway.

    • Paul

      “I would never molest a child but how many molesters are going to own up to being what they are? I found that sort of checklist safety precaution a sad joke much as the training that you describe here seems to be.”

      The point of the program isn’t for potential molesters in the audience to report themselves; it’s so that normal lay people like you and me can spot the signs. when I took it the spring before I turned 18, I realized that a lay adult leader had been grooming me and attempting to abuse me. It gave me the courage I needed to report him. Also, if the “checklist safety precautions” you think are a joke had been followed, I would not have been put into a position where he would have been able to attempt to do what he did.

      • John Flaherty

        I’m afraid that’s rather a two-edged sword, Paul. As I went through training, some of those “signs” struck me as being more than a little overly suspicious. I find the potential accusation almost as infuriating as the abuse.

        I could be, in effect, accused of being a potential sex predator for nothing more horrid than giving a kid a consoling hug when his life has taken a rough turn.

        No wonder our modern life tends to be so interpersonally cold.

  • EET Yeo

    Youth protection is designed to protect all children. The two-deep leadership policy is in place in the BSA as well as most youth organizations, because abusers tend to know and be known by children. This isn’t a penalty, and it sounds like there are plenty of people available who will take on the responsibility at your church for keeping your children safe if you don’t care to do it yourself.

    • John Flaherty

      EET, I recall first hearing of the two-deep need back in the summer of ’99. I thought it was legalistic horse manure then; if you can’t trust me with a boy without such legal idiocy, I think you can’t trust me with it either, nor vice versa. I tolerated this nonsense, thinking I could still provide decent mentorship, even tolerating the madness of New Scout and Senior Scout patrols.
      When the BSA decided to allow for gay Scouts, also gay Scout leaders, that was the last straw. I find it absurd that the BSA would profess to teach morals to young men, even while it publicly allows for baldly immoral behavior. As noted by the author, we get the idea, yet this does nothing at all to address the real problem. I would strongly advise dropping it.

      • John F. Kennedy

        Among my many roles in the BSA, I was a district Scoutmaster of the Year, a Cubmaster for many years, a Unit Commissioner and a religious emblem counselor and coordinator. I felt that I had to resign from the BSA due to these immoral behaviors that were now acceptable. No one could answer this simple question, was the BSA position on that behavior (it was immoral) and its prohibition wrong then or is its accepting position wrong now. It can’t be both.

    • Sean

      What a BS response. The author is not abdicating anything, much less the responsibility for his own children.

  • Bob Ewald

    Having investigated my own Diocese (Rockville Center, NY) while a prosecutor, the VIRTUS response is inapposite to the problem. Yes, it alerts parents & guardians about telltale signs of abuse and the creation of safe environments. But the problems go far deeper than the abuse itself. The homosexual atmosphere in man seminaries created a safe haven for abusive priests (pedophiles & ephebofiles alike); and the rank coverup and movement of abusive priests to other parishes without notification are just two of the problems. Clericalism is another. We have a long row to hoe but the gates of hell will not prevail. But we must stand fast in our faith and demand that our leaders do the same.

  • jp

    “we, the parents, are not the problem”. Um, yes they are. I normally avoid these arguments on Facebook. But come on. Statistically, 50 percent of those abused under the age of six suffer that abuse from an immediate family member. For every priest mentioned in the reports from PA, etc, there’s a whole family telling the child to be quiet, that they’re lying, etc. I’m all for holding the Church accountable, but lame attempts to “push back” against what little the Church has already done to protect kids, all the while ignoring your own culpability as a parent, just because it’s “inconvenient”… we’re better than this.

    • Howard

      Probably most incidents of food poisoning occur at home, too, but if a restaurant has a rash of food poisoning incidents, maybe they need to check the cleanliness of their own kitchens, rather than criticize the kitchens of their customers.

  • Admiral Nissan

    We, as Catholic Men, need to present to the clergy that WE have a zero tolerance for abuse and that we will address any instances of abuse immediately and vigorously — by any means necessary.

  • jmj_1

    I agree with most of your argument. However Virtus is NOT harmless. The content is very explicit and includes testimonials of actual offenders (not actors), such that it provides a medium for them to boast or memorialize their sins under the guise of performing some public penance. That is indeed HARMFUL, not only to the souls of the offenders but to the victims and the people forced to endure a program, the content of which offends against common sense & discretion, but also violates purity, charity, & prudence. You’re right – 2018 is a very different year – Virtus & other “safe environment” programs do not need to use explicit content & descriptions to create understanding: there isn’t a single person in any one of those sessions who doesn’t already know the nature of the problem. For these reasons, in addition to those frustrating issues mentioned in the article, my wife & I decided some months ago that we will never again participate in a safe environment training, and we know our children may no longer be able to participate in the Catholic home school group activities and some parish events. So be it.

    • John F. Kennedy

      I thought that they were boasting too and that the video was closer to a “How to do it” video.

    • Paul

      When I was an teen, a lay adult church leader groomed me and attempted to abuse me. At the time I didn’t know what to do or how to process it. Taking VIRTUS the spring before I turned 18 made me realize what was going on and how it wasn’t just an awkward situation that could be nervously laughed away. It gave me the confidence to report the guy. I certainly didn’t recognize what had been happening to me at VIRTUS made me realize what needed to be done. I can’t speak to how the offenders might “like” talking about what they did, but from the standpoint of someone who was being offended against, the sessions were what I needed to be able to report the person trying to abuse me.

  • A few years ago, in the (Excruciatingly Orthodox) Diocese of Arlington, the staff told me that most of the abuse reports were about laity. Of course, if you count the statistics from the Departments of Education and Justice, which includes public schools and other institutions, yes, it would be true. But they were misleading me, and they, or to whomever they report, knew this.

    Diocesan staff are being instructed to lie.

    • Paul

      An adult lay volunteer attempted to groom and abuse me. It happens.

  • Phil

    Amen to that

    great rant

    thank you