From Corrispondenza Romana:
Translated and adapted by Rorate's Italian Correspondent, Francesca Romana:
By Roberto de Mattei
Last April 5th the press reported the news that Pope Francis had reaffirmed Benedict XVI’s stance of zero tolerance against pedophilia. The subject was brought up by the Pontiff during an audience with Monsignor Gerard Ludwig Muller, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. The Pope especially asked for the utmost firmness in measures to protect minors, help for victims, procedures against the guilty and a commitment by the Episcopal Conferences to formulate and actuate the directives in this matter of such importance to the credibility of the Church.In his Letter to the Catholics of Ireland of March 19th 2010, and in many other declarations, Benedict XVI had already expressed [the necessity] of a line of extreme rigour against abuses by clerics, emphasizing the urgency of moral reform in the Church. This position, as was expected, stirred up an immediate consensus on the part of public opinion and the mass-media. For the laws and common sentiment of the greater part of western countries, pedophilia is considered, as is rape, an appalling crime, not however, because of the act itself, but for the violation that these crimes comport regarding rights, in the one case of children and in the other of women. Homosexuality, by contrast, is considered a right that even children should be educated to respect, in the name of the absolute liberty that they would be able to have in choosing their own sexual “orientation.”Nothing comes from nature, everything is founded on the self-determination of man, and according to this logic, the only sin [that exists] consists in impeding the individual of pursuing his own instincts and his own tendencies. On the contrary, from a Christian prospective, a natural law does exist, imprinted by God in the conscience of every man. The violation of this natural and Divine law, constitutes a grave sin, in other words a estrangement of man from God, and thus, destined to have catastrophic consequences. All mortal sins, in fact, according to the Catechism of the Church, if they are not followed by repentance and confession, will carry the soul to hell, which is a place of every eternal suffering, beginning with the most terrible, which is the loss of God.For Catholic morality homosexuality is a sin as grave as rape and pedophilia and at times paves the way for pedophilia. On the 12th April 2010, at a conference in Chile, referring to the abuses committed by clerics, the Secretary of the Vatican State, Tarcisio Bertone, had underlined the existence of a link between homosexuality and pedophilia, specifying afterwards how that which is called pedophilia is more often “efebofilia” or “pederastia”, that is homosexual attraction not for children, but for adolescents. The lines connecting homosexuality, efebofilia and pedophilia, are ephemeral, in spite of the homosexual lobby’s repudiating with contempt the association between pedophilia and homosexuality. Most certainly, from the viewpoint of Christian morality, zero tolerance is extended to homosexuality and sodomy, terms that indicate, broadly speaking, the sexual union between people of the same sex carrying the name of the biblical city of Sodom which was destroyed by God because of the moral perversion of its inhabitants. (Genesis 18, 20, 19, 12-13; 19, 24-28).Today, also inside the Catholic Church, a relativistic, hedonistic culture has spread and there are dioceses, seminaries, colleges, religious institutes, in which homosexuality, or at least homosexual tendencies, are considered irrelevant from a moral standpoint and are peacefully tolerated. The situation in the diocese of Rome brought to light by Corrispondenza Romana is a sad example (here).Some people object that bringing to light the sins of sodomy by clerics may create scandal, by throwing mud at the Church, by feeding malicious gossip and rash judgments and so, even if one knows about it, it is appropriate to remain silent. This policy of silence may have a significance when the sin represents an exception, but certainly not if it has become a social evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church distinguishes personal sins from “structures of sin”, which are the expression and effect of personal sins. They induce their victims, in their turn, to commit the evil and constitute, in an analogical sense a “social sin” (n.1869). The Catechism specifies moreover, that we have a responsibility in the sins committed by others when we cooperate with them: a)taking part in them directly and willingly; b) commanding them, counseling them, praising them or approving them; c) but also in not denouncing them or not impeding them, when it is necessary to do so; d)and protecting those who commit evil (n.1868).When we find ourselves faced with “ structures of sin” silence is not admissible, but it is right and proper to rip the veil of hypocrisy, by testifying the truth, by denouncing the evil wherever it is nesting and by singling out its accomplices at all levels. Rectitude, transparency and public condemnation of immorality are not the prerogative of lay critics such as Marco Travaglio and Roberto Saviano, but are most of all the responsibility of Catholics. In the case of the “mafia” , for example, there is a crime of “ personally aiding and abetting” , and thus of complicity, on the part of not only whoever collaborates with the criminals, but of whoever helps them, and in reality, favours them. It is the same for pedophilia. Why should the Church not behave in the same manner towards the sin of sodomy which has taken root among its members?The example of great saint reformers is of comfort to us. St. Peter Damien (1007 -1072) in his famous Liber Gomorrhianus , written around 1051 for Pope Saint Leo IX, condemns such evil with these words: * “in these parts a certain abominable and most shameful vice is spreading and if it is not combated by a zealous punisher, without doubt the sword of Divine wrath will be exceedingly pitiless, annihilating many (…) This turpitude is rightly considered as the worst among crimes, because it is written that Almighty God hated it and always in the same way, so much so, that for other vices He established restraints by means of legal precepts, [but] He wanted to condemn this vice with a punishment of the most rigorous vengeance. It cannot be concealed, in fact, that He destroyed the two ill-famed cities of Sodom and Gomorra, and all the confining areas, sending rain of fire and sulphur from the heavens. (…)*In fact, this vice is absolutely not comparable to any others, because its enormity supersedes them all. Indeed, this vice produces the death of bodies and the destruction of souls. It pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of reason, expels the Holy Ghost from His temple in man's heart and introduces into it the devil who is the instigator of lust; it leads into error, totally expels truth from the deceived soul, sets up traps for those who fall into it, then caps the well to prevent those who fall into it from getting out, opens the gates of Hell and closes the door of Heaven to them, turns a former citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem into an heir of the infernal Babylon, transforming him from a heavenly star into a straw for the eternal fire, wrenches a member away from the Church and plunges him into the voracious flames of the fiery Gehenna. (…)Thus, as soon as someone has fallen into this abyss of extreme perdition, he is exiled from the heavenly motherland, separated from the Body of Christ, confounded by the authority of the whole Church, condemned by the judgment of all the Holy Fathers, despised by men on earth and reproved by the society of heavenly citizens. As Moses says: 'Whoever is for the Lord, let him stand with me.' (Ezek 32:26) *That is to say, if one identifies himself as a soldier of God, he has to undertake with zeal the task of confounding this vice and not neglect to destroy it with all his strength; and wherever it is discovered, to hurl himself against it in order to pierce it and eliminate it with the sharpest darts of the word. ”* (Saint Peter Damien o.s.b., Liber Gomorrhianus in Patriologia Latina, by J.P. Migne vol 145, col. 159-190)
**These indicate the parts of St. Peter Damien’s texts done by the translator as the English originals were not found.
+Marco Travaglio – a left-wing journalist frequently on Italian TV.
+Roberto Saviano – author of the book “Gomorra” exposing the activities of the Camorra (mafia) in Naples.