Our Culture Inchoate: Being Catholic #19
Updated: Oct 16, 2019
Congresswoman Torres talks about the crisis in the Catholic church, and the problem with sexual pervasiveness in our culture.
VMM NEWS MORNING SHOW, FEBRUARY 19, 2019. 3PM.
FROM TAPE EARLIER IN THE DAY. DIRECT FROM THE TOP OF THE 6PM NEWS…
HIRO MIZUTO (HM): A month ago I interviewed in this hall Congresswoman Honoria Torres, a third term democratic congresswoman from New Jersey, a former teacher of history and a middle school administrator, and one of only four pro-life democrats in the House. She’s confident, and she says she’s a democrat in her DNA. But she does not come without controversy. Her statements often open up a huge gap in her alignment with Democratic platform policy.
Congresswoman Torres, thank you for speaking with us.
TORRES (T): Thank you, Hiro. Always a pleasure to speak with you.
HM: Mrs. Torres, this has been quite a week in Washington. The compromise to avoid a shutdown, the alleged emergency at the border, Virginia politics…
T: I am glad that a compromise bill was signed and Americans will not be effected negatively. As for the alleged emergency, I prefer not to get wrapped up in definitions that fit narratives. The situation was handled for months poorly by leadership in both parties. Both parties will use the word emergency for fund-raising, and I think the president’s legal options are very limited. Let’s see it play out.
And as for Virginia: The blackface picture and the attendant racism, which is what it is, is shameful, but I prefer to think that the governor is paying a bigger price for saying that children can be murdered outside of the womb at the discretion of the mother and doctor. The push back from that has been enormous, and his office effectively took that heinous narrative away with a yearbook photo.
He’s a physician, fercryinoutloud, he should know better, and he should remember that oath he took years ago… “do no harm.”
And I noticed you said nothing of Jussie Smollett. To that false reporting of crime, and unnecessarily shaming an entire city, and then candidates using this falsehood for campaign purposes, well… no comment.
HM: Last weekend the Vatican defrocked Cardinal McCarrick, a leading son of the Catholic Church … Your thoughts?
T: Hiro, I am happy to tell you my thoughts… they are simple but lengthy. If you have the time I will tell you. All of it, but please do not edit out what a reasonable person would consider meaningful. McCarrick being defrocked is long overdue… and may be too good for him.
HM: Well, I, uh, ummm…
T: For me, being Catholic is wonderful. My faith has been shaped by my mother, and enhanced by my Franciscan education at St. Bonaventure University. And by my marriage into a family that celebrates faith every day. The damage done by McCarrick and his ilk is hard to fathom and will not go away quietly.
HM: What is special about being Catholic?
T: Thanks for asking. It’s about the Eucharist… the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, who gave His life so that all of us, all of us, are rewarded with eternal life. It’s about forgiveness and redemption, but there’s accountability, too. No one gets a free pass on forgiveness if he won’t seek redemption.
HM: The church today has had a bumpy road… McCarrick and years of allegations of abuse…
T: There is a cancer in the priesthood. It has been exacerbated by horrible judgment of its leadership and bad actors, like McCarrick. These disgraceful sexual predators, from priests to cardinals, is, well, there is evil in the world, real evil, and we need no other proof.
HM: But you’ve always stated there’s a process…
T: Yes, I have, and I will continue to do so. In this instance I am afraid the process has failed. The church polices itself, and crimes have been committed, covered up, and hidden from the public eye, arguably to protect the innocent. Cash awards, big, big checks, have been written to families to buy silence under the guise of protecting anonymity. To say that the hierarchy of the church in Rome is unaware is a lie.
HM: Do you have firsthand knowledge?
T: Personal experience? No, thank God. My family also has not. We talk about it, and we all read established Catholic journals that have reported faithfully on the volcano of abuse that is forthcoming.
HM: What now?
T: My opinion? Charge the bishops under RICO. Public trial of those who aided or abetted, perjured or suborned perjury. The church can defrock and excommunicate priests, but as a nation of laws she cannot shelter or hide criminals and their activity.
HM: Is your faith shaken? My wife is Catholic, and she has doubts…
T: My faith is unshaken. Remember, it’s about the Eucharist. Interesting enough, seminary attendance is rising, not diminishing. We need, Catholics need, more priests. But it is better to have one good priest remaining in New Jersey than have one priest with no integrity. It may come to that. The ranks of those who abetted what can only be construed as a criminal enterprise must be purged.
HM: Should all priests and cardinals involved be defrocked and excommunicated?
T: That’s not my call, but in McCarrick’s case, as a prince of the church, one of the visible leaders in America, it is deserving. I am not an expert on the rules here, but if the egregiousness of either abuse or deliberately ignoring it is any measure, defrocking and excommunication is too good for them. My husband has a solution: bury them up to their necks in sand and pour honey on their heads. Let the ants eat ‘em.
HM: Goodness! You can’t mean that!
T: My husband is not an altar boy. I think he speaks for many, though. Look, I am a US Legislator, not a Catholic administrator. I believe the full weight of the law should be brought to bear here.
And, yes, it’s a little personal. The damage these bastards have done cannot be repaired. It has put the church itself on shaky ground, has made the priesthood a mockery, has pushed good well-meaning people into apostasy and away from mass, and turned people against God. Made us cynics. Yes, I am very upset about this.
But know two things… no one is above the law. And evil, real evil, exists.
HM: Wow. I think you’re right. Thank you for your candor.
T: Tell your wife to keep the faith, Hiro. We will weather this storm and come out better for it.
HM: What is the root cause here… why does this happen in the first place?
T: Well, I would always put evil and temptation at the front on this, but there’s more to it. The celibacy rule as regards to priests is important, mainly from noble tradition and to avoid a conflict of priorities, at least that’s how I see it.
But I think the problem with the priesthood, if it looked in the mirror, is that it is not just child molestation and its power over poorer souls. It appears to be a club for the homosexual. Homosexuality may be unethical and immoral in the priesthood, but is not illegal in society, in fact, it is celebrated. So the root cause is to be found in seminaries that do not throw out people who still are engaged in sexual practice in a job description that requires abstinence. Sordid and disreputable actions have apparently been treated with a shrug or, worse, encouraged, as the McCarrick story has told us.
To say that homosexuality is okay in the priesthood flies in the face of the highest standard of chastity which is the ideal the faithful expects of its prelates.
So, follow me here, closeted homosexuals like McCarrick leave the seminary ordained and are placed in parishes, complicated and beautiful parishes, eager for a spiritual leader. These leaders, who have acted or been encouraged in homosexual practices now have no outlet. So, as the evidence points, they groom or prey on the weakest… pre-pubescent boys. This is wildly unethical and immoral and most of all, illegal, criminal, and evil. This is the devil’s work and it was incubated in the seminary.
This is the church’s responsibility. It needs to correct its own disgraceful and potentially faith ending pattern of behavior. The practices are unconscionable to you and me, in a priest or bishop. But that’s where we are.
HM: Are you saying gay people caused this?
T: I am saying gay priests who acted on monstrous impulses caused this. It’s systemic. It will bring down the church if left unchecked. As I said before, better to have only one good priest remaining in New Jersey than have one evil among them all.
HM: Can I switch subjects? Sure? Okay. I want to bring to your attention a speech you made at County College in New Jersey earlier this month. Not to take the statement out of context, but you said that society does not owe trans-gender people anything. Can you explain that?
T: Sure, but I want to explain my reasoning. Up until age nine or ten, boys and girls are basically the same, biologically. Both sexes have organs, but they don’t operate, and kids have attractions, but they don’t understand them. That’s why parenting, setting the example in word and deed, is so vital to nurturing children and strengthening the family and society. We, parents, point the way. Kids, perfect recording machines, are smart enough to perceive hypocrisy, but unformed intellectually to separate a parent’s love and basic care for them from bad intent upon others outside the family or school, like prejudice and all the ism’s.
At majority, people can be anything they want. Prior to that, children (and they are children) need permission to use the restroom in school, fercryinoutloud, and should know that there are expectations… impulse and self-control being the first lessons of a school environment. But those two lessons, impulse and self-control, begin and must be reinforced in the home.
An eight-year old doesn’t know what sex is, but understands love. A girl can want to be a boy, but the overwhelming majority grow out of it.
This trans-sexual business is bad for children. Parents who encourage it are making a grave error. Let kids be kids. Point the way. It is not hateful or prejudiced to give a girl a doll and a boy a football. It is not wrong to let your boy play with stuffed animals or your girl to go fishing. It’s okay. Free play is healthy. Yes, peer pressure may nudge a kid to make a choice sooner than desired. Kids accelerate at different speeds, but it is the societal choice, the one of acceptance by those closely associated that forms the path to a person’s future. Raising kids ain’t easy. And our kids spend more time with kids their age daily than with their family members. That’s hard, yes, but that’s life.
Parents set the example and point the way. And we pray. Oh yeah, we hope and expect other parents and teachers and clergy and coaches will always act in the best interests of our children. That caveat has been destroyed by molesting priests and the catholic bishopric that hid, denied, and sometimes encouraged, by tacit approval, through weak moral leadership. The vast majority of parents, educators, coaches and teachers and clergy are good people doing sometimes thankless work. But we must hold each other accountable.
HM: So what happens to the church?
T: I am not a good predictor of what could happen, since in a 24/7 news cycle truth and fiction are sometimes lumped together. But I believe this: if the Vatican does not come down with both boots on the McCarrick element, and by extension the vetting that takes place in seminaries, this evil will persist and bring down the church. It will make the Reformation look tame. I would not be surprised of a schism, a separation of Catholic churches.
HM: Could that really happen?
T: Are we not outraged enough to do something? Has the faith been hijacked by radicals with a disgraceful criminal agenda? Is the responsible thing to do nothing?
HM: Congresswoman Torres, you have given us much to think about. I always appreciate talking with you. Thank you.
T: After today, you may be the only one. Thanks for your time.