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I wonder what the circumstances were back in 1949 that led the Chicago archdiocese to name the church in Bartlett after St. Peter Damian in the first place. When I first arrived in the “survivor community” in the 1990s I heard about the monk who way back in the Eleventh Century wrote about deviant priests abusing the sacraments to perform outrageous sexual acts on vulnerable young people.
St. Peter Damian’s most famous work was an essay addressed to Pope Leo IX called The Book of Gomorah. He acknowledged the power imbalance in any relationship between priest and layperson, or between different clerical ranks, for that matter. He described clerical sex as a kind of “spiritual incest” and stated that bishops who did not discipline errant clergy were just as guilty as the offenders. He was well aware that power just made the opportunities to abuse greater.“For we indeed punish the acts of impurity performed by priests in the minor ranks, but with bishops, we pay our reverence with silent tolerance, which is totally absurd,” he wrote.
He even described how bishops who had sex with their own clergy abused the seal of Confession. The bishops would confess to their inferiors or hear their confessions to keep them from revealing the sin.
He suggested that any monk who seduced boys or adolescents be confined to a monastery where he could be watched, given harsh and degrading public penance, and even deposed from Holy Orders.
I will be writing more about St. Peter Damian Church in Bartlett in the future.
By far the funniest coverage of last week’s display of PR prowess by Cardinal George was at the Chicago Board of Tirade at Chicago Now here’s a quote:
Chicago's Francis Cardinal George will be remembered for two over-riding themes in his tenure as head of the Chicago Archdiocese, administrator of the largest parochial school system in the world. His main theme is a relentless condemnation of all things homosexual, especially gay marriage.His other cause, steadfastly championed by the 50-year priest is concealing both the sexual abuse of children by priests and the identities of the perpetrators. To sum up the George Doctrine: Pervs good, homos bad.At their core, these really aren't two separate themes, just two sides of the same coin. Like John Candy said in Uncle Buck, "You’re not a gnat are you Bug? Wait a minute, Bug, gnat. Is there a little similarity? Whoa, I think there is!"There's a scary similarity here, not to mention a perverse hypocrisy at work. Cardinal George endlessly interjects his opinion into secular affairs that don't concern him and affect mostly non-members of his Church, while condemning any attempt to root out and punish pedophile priests.A report describing abuse by 30 of the Church's offenders and 40 of their victims is going to be turned over to attorneys suing the Archdiocese. The documents will be made public later this week. As one might guess, the Church fought the disclosures.Included in this week's bulletin to parishioners, the Cardinal included a letter which said, in part, “Painful though publicly reviewing the past may be, it is part of the accountability and transparency to which the archdiocese is committed. It will be helpful, we pray, for some, but painful for many.” The policy of transparency to which Cardinal George refers isn't always clear to see
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
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where in the Database photo, Lupo looks like Snidely Whiplash.
I'll be writing a lot more about Horne, St. Peter Damian, my sister, and our experiences with the Church and recovery, here and at CofA 15. http://cityofangels15.blogspot.com where I'm publishing my whole story over the next few years.
In top left hand column of blog