By: Randy Engel
Picture this scene if you will —
A religious superior, a devout priest and founder of a relatively new religious order dedicated to the education and religious formation of Catholic boys between the age of seven and fifteen, has just discovered that one of his priests, a headmaster at one of the Order’s most famous and prestigious schools, has been buggering his male pupils.
Even though the motto of the Order is “For the Glory of God and the Service of Our Neighbor,” the Father General’s first thoughts are not of God or the sexual pervert’s young victims. Rather, they are directed at protecting the reputation of the Order and its thriving school system and avoiding public scandal. Why that is — well, that’s a story for another day.
Of course, he knows that something must be done. But what?
The situation is complicated by the fact that the perpetrator of these crimes, let’s call him Father S., comes from a very wealthy and influential family with links not only to the local hierarchy but to the Curia and Papacy. The Order’s founder cannot afford to bring dishonor upon the noble family which claims at least two famous lay canon lawyers serving the Church.
Finally, the accused sexual abuser of young boys is summoned for an audience with the Father General and the charges of homosexual pederasty laid bare. Father S. is very angry. The headmaster insists that he is innocent of the charges of moral turpitude and demands to know the identity of the accusers. When his superior, fearing violence and other reprisals, wisely refuses, the perp tries another tack. He reinforces the founder’s greatest fear by reminding him that any public trial would inevitably involve the pope. Thus the Order would be on trial as well. Father S. takes his leave and the Father General is left alone to decide the young priest’s fate.
After consulting with his second-in-command, who advises “prudence,” the Father General decides “to let the matter die,” for the greater good of the Order.
Thus the fatal cover-up begins.
One year passes. The “problem” has not been solved. In fact, it has gotten worse. Rumors of the headmaster’s penchant for hunting beautiful boys among the poor students who flock to the Order’s school have reached the ears of not only the Order’s brothers, priests and lay staff but outside sources as well. There is also “mischief” in the toilets as Father S’s victims, themselves become predators.
This time the Father General decides to take action designed to separate (at least in theory) Father S. from his prey. He adopts, what in ecclesiastical parlance is known as promoveautur ut amovatur (promotion for avoidance) that is, Father S. is to be “kicked upstairs.” Instead of being punished, the perpetrator is rewarded with the prominent and powerful position of Procurator General for the whole Order. At this point, the cover-up begins in earnest.
The villain has been placated. His rough feathers smoothed by the new appointment which has been confirmed by the pope in writing.
All of the school’s priests and brothers are instructed never to mention the scandal again under strict obedience to their superiors. Likewise, lay teachers are pressured to hush up the matter. A handful of potential “whistle-blowers” are sent to other Order schools in the outlands. Provisions are also made to interrogate Father S’s victims and insure their silence at all costs.
Years go by. Father S. has not been “rehabilitated.” He exhibits no guilt or remorse. Indeed, he has not only survived but he has managed to attract others of his kind to the Order.
Ironically, the aging Father General and the unrepentant perp eventually reach a “rapprochement,” of sorts. The former headmaster has certain administrational and financial abilities which the Order has profited from.
It is not until Father S. is appointed the universal superior or head of the Piarist Order with the approval of the Holy Office and the pope, that the high price of the founder’s years of cover-up is revealed. By this time, it is too late. The entire Order is in a state of chaos and dissolution. It is falling apart. The pope delivers the final coup de grâce. The once thriving teaching order is officially suppressed. Fini.
The Tragedy of the Piarist Order
The above loosely translated historical rendition of the fall of the Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools, Piarists, for short, a religious order founded in Rome in 1621 by Spaniard José de Calasanz is based on Karen Liereich’s 2004 classic Fallen Order – Intrigue, Heresy, and Scandal in the Rome of Galileo and Caravaggio.
The Father General in this lurid tale is José de Calasanz, who was canonized a saint by Clement XIII on July 16, 1767 and was declared the “Universal Patron of Catholic Schools” by Pope Pius XII in 1948 in recognition of the founder’s establishment of the first free tuition schools in Europe for the poor.
The notorious pursuer of beardless youth is Father Stephano Cherubini, headmaster of the Pious School in Naples and later the universal superior of the Piarists. He died begging and receiving Father Calasanz’s forgiveness on his death bed on January 9, 1648.
Pope Innocent X suppressed the Piarist Order on March 17, 1646.
Pope Alexander VIII revived the Piarist Order in 1656 without its original privileges. These were gradually restored, however, and in 1669 Pope Clement IX restored the Order to the condition of regulars with some later modifications. Members of the Order take a 4th vow dedicating themselves to the education of youth, especially the poor.
Today the Piarist Order is still active in Italy, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria and has expanded to include schools in Asia, Africa and America. Among its most famous graduates are Mozart, Goya, Gregor Johann Mendel, Achille Ratti (Pope Pius XI), and numerous priests and brothers who have led saintly lives in the service of God and poor children.
A Curious Footnote to Fallen Order
Though the subtitle of my article is “Fallen Order – Homosexual Pederasty in the Roman Catholic Church,” I thought it passing strange that the book’s author, Karen Liebreich, never uses the word “pederast” to describe the sexual abuse of male adolescents by adult homosexual males, in this case, clerics, even though in both ecclesiastical and secular circles, pederasty has been known since the time of the ancient Greeks, and was in common usage in 16th century Italy and continued to be used in Church documents until the mid-20th century. *
Liebreich circumvents the use of the term pederast by referring to the practice in largely generic terms such as “child abuse scandal,” “child sex,” “sexual misconduct with children,” “sexual abuse of minors,” and numerous references to “paedophilia,” all implying both sexes, when Father Stephano Cherubini and other homosexual Piarist priests were in fact “boy lovers” or “pederasts.”
Why the author’s reluctance to identify clerical pederasts by their traditional name?
*I read and reread the book several times and did not see the word pederast. An e-book version might have turned the word up, in which case my apologies to the author.
Or, perhaps, more to the point, why has the Vatican abandoned its traditional terminology of pederasty in favor of “paedophilia?”
The Disappearance of the Term Pederast
If we examine Church documents in the post-Conciliar era that deal with the issue of homosexuality there is no reference to pederasty, which, from a historical perspective, has been the most universal and pervasive form of homosexuality in recorded history. Actually, there is not even a generic reference to clerical sex abuse of any kind in connection with the vice of homosexuality. This includes the Declaration Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) on December 29, 1975 and On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons issued by the CDF on October 1, 1986.
The last time that the Vatican issued a document linking homosexuality with pederasty was in the early 1960s under Pope John XXIII. Instruction on the Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders, issued on February 2, 1961, barred entrance to the seminary and the ordination to the priesthood and religious life to anyone who has “perverse inclinations to homosexuality or pederasty.”
Crimen Sollicitationis, the 1922 document re-issued by the Holy Office on March 16, 1962, on “Instruction on the Manner of Proceeding in Causes involving the Crime of Solicitation” refers to crimen pessimum [“the foulest crime”] which is “understood to mean any external obscene act, gravely sinful, perpetrated or attempted by a cleric in any way whatsoever with a person of his own sex (71).” Under Pope John Paul II, this document was updated in the Apostolic Letter Sacramentorum SanctitatisTutela, issued on April 30, 2001, which spells out the norms concerning the gravest delicts against faith and morals reserved to the CDF.
On November 23, 2011, Cardinal William Levada issued Considerations on the Delicta Graviora (more grave delict (or crime) in which he lists the two offenses against morality which come under the purview of the CDF, namely, an offense against the sixth Commandment committed by a cleric (bishop, priest or deacon) with a minor under the age of 18 years, be it of a paedophile, ephebophile, heterosexual or homosexual nature; and the crime of acquisition, possession or distribution of paedophile pornography by a cleric.
Note there is a distinction made between the clerical paedophile whose victims are usually female infants and pre-adolescent girls and the clerical ephebophile whose victims are almost always post-adolescent males under the age of 18. Ephebophile is a clinical term that comes closest to describing the homosexual pederast but is rarely used outside of clinical circles.
Regarding the practice of replacing the term pederasty/pederast with paedophilia/paedophile, we should note that during the pontificate of John Paul II, the term paedophile appears only sporadically. For example, in the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s 2004 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, paedophilia is mentioned under crimes against children. The pope personally condemned paedophilia in his November 1999 Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia as one of the greatest social evils of our time.
Pope Benedict XVI employed the term paedophilia on a number of occasions including his 2008 visit to Australia when he was asked to comment on the sexual abuse of minors in the Church. The pope reiterated that “paedophilia is always bad.”
Two years later, in his Christmas address to the Roman Curia, Benedict stumbled through a reference on paedophilia in which he claimed that “In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children.” “This,” he explained, “was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos.”
As far as the current occupant of the Chair of Peter is concerned, for all practical purposes, Francis has formally institutionalized the term paedophilia to describe the nature of the sexual abuse problem in the Catholic Church. In an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica, in July 2014, Francis stated that “Two percent of clergy had paedophile tendencies.” He included “even bishops and cardinals.” The Vatican later denied the pope’s reference to cardinals. Francis has likened paedophilia to “a satanic mass” and to “leprosy.”
Paedophilia is an Incorrect Label Says Vatican Official
On March 13, 2010, mid-way in the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna, Promoter of Justice in the CDF, aka the chief Vatican “prosecutor” for clerical sexual abuse cases involving minors, received special permission to give an on-the-record interview for L’Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference. The title given the interview was “On the Strictness of the Church in Cases of Paedophilia.”
In his introductory remarks, Msgr. Scicluna noted that in the past, in practice, some bishops had been too indulgent toward clerical sexual abusers “out of a misdirected desire to protect the good name of the institution,” but “in principle, the condemnation of this kind of crime has always been firm and unequivocal.” The Maltese priest then went on to explain and defend the 1922 Instruction Crimen Sollicitationis promulgated under Pope Pius XI, and the Holy Office’s distribution of the modified document under Pope John XXIII in 1962.
Later in the interview, the reporter, Gianni Cardinale, asked Msgr. Scicluna, “How many have you dealt with so far?”
The canonist replied, “Overall in the last nine years (2001-2010) we have considered accusations concerning around three thousand cases of diocesan and religious priests, which refer to crimes committed over the last fifty years.”
Cardinale, seeking confirmation of that number then asked, “That is, then, three thousand cases of paedophile priests?”
To which, Msgr. Scicluna, who just a few minutes earlier had used the term paedophile twice himself, replied, “NO, IT IS NOT CORRECT TO SAY THAT (emphasis added).” He then went on to explain:
We can say that about sixty percent of the cases chiefly involved sexual attraction towards adolescents of the same sex [that is, pederasty], another thirty percent involved heterosexual relations, and the remaining ten percent were cases of paedophilia in the true sense of the term; that is, based on sexual attraction towards prepubescent children. The cases of priests accused of paedophilia in the true sense have been about three hundred in nine years. Please don’t misunderstand me, these are of course too many, but it must be recognized that the phenomenon is not as widespread as has been believed.
Actually, in the United States, the figure given for the number of crimes involving clerics and male adolescent is closer to 80 percent, and in some dioceses and archdioceses, especially those with a history of homosexual bishops and cardinals, the percentage approaches 90 percent.
In its final report of May 18, 2011, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice set the percentage of priests who engaged in homosexual relations of an adult nature with post-adolescent youth at 81 percent. Despite this obvious factoid, the report denies there is any connection between homosexuality and the infliction of adult homosexual acts upon adolescent victims by priests and religious.
On October 16, 2005, the Philadelphia-based Inquirer posted an article titled, “Profiles of 25 priests who are accused of sexual abuse” in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey.
Of the 25 alleged perpetrators, three were accused of the molestation of young girls (heterosexual paedophilia), and one perpetrator was accused of a seven-year homosexual relationship with a young boy beginning at the age of six (homosexual paedophile).
The remaining 21 cases involved pederasty – the sexual assault of adolescent boys mostly between the ages of 12 and 16 by clerical homosexuals. One of these cases involved a 15-year “relationship” between a priest and a young boy beginning at the age of 12. All of the acts carried out on the adolescents were of an adult nature including oral sex and sodomy/rape. The assaults included several sets of brothers. One parent who went to the diocese to report her son’s assault was threatened with excommunication. Despite a state law requiring the reporting of abuse against minors, it appears the Camden Diocese routinely ignored the law.
Francis is in Denial
In early June of this year, Francis ordered the revision of Vatican procedures and laws dealing with the responsibility of bishops to exercise “due diligence” with regard to the handling of clerical sexual abuse cases of minors and vulnerable adults.
But how can this issue be successfully addressed if Francis cannot bring himself to publicly admit that the issue at hand is homosexual pederasty not paedophilia, as Msgr. Scicluna has already explained? And that pederasty is intimately tied to homosexuality? It always has been and always will be.
If Francis wants to eliminate the crime of pederasty in the Catholic Church, he is going to have to take a strong stand against homosexuality. As Father Enrique Rueda states in The Homosexual Network – the Homosexual Collective and its subculture (anti-culture) represents “a sick and diseased portion of the social body” and “both should be driven back underground.”
Homosexuality, a perversion which has been institutionalized in the United States and abroad, has an unrelenting corruptive effect on the family and civilized society, especially the corruption of traditional sexual mores and sexual practices by its unrestricted pursuit of pleasure. The plain and simple truth is that the larger the number of homosexuals in the diocesan clergy and religious life, the larger the number of pederasts, and the larger the number of young male victims, many of whom will succumb themselves to the homosexual death style.
So far, the current occupant of the Chair of Peter has been most indulgent toward the Homosexual Collective going so far as to state that the Church (Christian) should apologize to “gay” persons for marginalizing them.
But since when do Catholics have to apologize for opposing vice and perversion and those persons who promote and engage in such vice and perversions? Catholics are commanded by Christ to promote virtue and suppress vice, not suppress virtue and embrace vice.
(To be continued…)
Randy, thank you for this post, I never heard of this order or this scandal. I looked up this “saint” to find out more. I am shocked Jose de Calasanz is a saint in the Church. Wikapedia says he is the “Universal Patron of all Christian popular schools in the world” and that his heart and tongue are incorrupt. Wikapedia also says, “Pope John Paul II affirmed that Saint Joseph Calasanz took as a model Christ, and he tried to transmit to the youth, besides the profane sciences, the wisdom of the Gospel, teaching them to grasp the loving harmony of God.”. WHAT???? How can someone who did not defend the innocent boys but rather the reputation of an order be considered to be a saint? He is the rather the patron of pedophile priests and of bishops who cover them up. Can a canonization be un-done? This is a disgrace in the Church.
I do not dare make an assumption as to who this Saint actually was, because like you, I had never heard of this Saint’s before Randy’s article. I would only suggest that possibly you look at the early life of St Paul, prior to his conversion. Im not trying to make excuses here….Im just saying that all of us, even the Saints, sinned.
Saint’s NAME. Sorry for the typo.
The story of this saint is especially sad because these circumstance have been repeated throughout the Church’s history and continue to today. Whether Jose de Calasanz deserves sainthood can be debated. However, he has been judged by God and the matter has been settled for eternity. Randy, your very thorough investigative reporting is appreciated, but very difficult to absorb. There are so many vile kinds of evil both inside and outside the Church. It makes your head spin. No wonder Our Lady said the Catholic Church will be a “cesspool”. Our Lady, help of Christian, pray for us!!
I have my sons signed up for a Catholic boys’ camp.
I read this article and I’m now thinking, “Oh, hell no! No way, no how, hell no!”
One cannot trust Catholic clergy.
Please take the time and trouble to actually read the very fine book, Fallen Order, carefully and in its entirety, before you start sliming a canonized saint. St. Joseph Calasanctius (his name in English) tried repeatedly to have some of the well-born, highly connected pederasts and paedophiles who had infested his order excommunicated, laicized, etc. For his repeated efforts, he was repeatedly attacked, belittled, smeared to the Pope himself, and the highly born pederasts’s family attacked and decapitated three (3) of the priest members of his order, as a lesson to St. Joseph Calasanctius to shut the f*** up and not rock the boat. The well-born, highly connected pederasts and paedophiles managed to wrest control of the Piarist order from St. Joseph Calasanctius, so that he did not even have the power to expel these criminals!
If you read the biography of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, as well as Fallen Order, you will find that for many, many years, older males (and females) seducing underage males was not only not a criminal offense, but was widely accepted in that time, place and culture as a pleasant diversion for wealth males and females. The fact that it was a mortal sin and crime against God and man did not seem to trouble some people.
Since St. Joseph Calasanctius could not even get the worst offender(s) expelled from his own religious order, due to the above interference, etc., he promoted the dude to an administrative-only position in the order, so that he would no longer have direct contact with minors.