Dear Troubled Catholics,

I have never seen so many “ordinary Catholics” — who usually never follow or hear about Church news — as deeply troubled as I have seen them in response to the recent revelations about the retired archbishop of Washington, D.C.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was asked by the Pope to resign from his membership in the College of Cardinals, and ordered to live in seclusion until a canonical trial can be held to verify the validity of charges of sexual abuse and harassment made against him. After the first brave person came forward (whose accusations were found credible by the Archdiocese of New York Review Board), more and more followed. The climate of fear among many of our clergy — the fear of being punished or marginalized if they report sexual immorality among their fellow clergy or leaders — is starting to break. Cardinal McCarrick is now known as Archbishop McCarrick.

What has been so disturbing to so many people is the fact that there had been numerous warnings to various church officials that he was a homosexual predator, harassing many seminarians, priests, and young boys, for many years, but nothing had ever been done about it, and he was continually promoted. Even after a delegation of priests and lay people went to Rome to warn the Vatican about the situation, he was promoted. Even after a leading Dominican priest wrote a letter to Cardinal O’Malley, nothing was done. Even after lawsuits accusing him of homosexual sexual harassment in two of his previous dioceses had been settled with financial awards, he was still promoted. And not only that, he became a key advisor to Pope Francis, and offered advice on whom to appoint as bishops in the United States!

One young Catholic mother with two boys who was open to the priesthood for them said to me that she now has grave concerns about ever having one of her sons enter the seminary, given the corruption that has been revealed.

Another said she could no longer see anyone joining the Catholic Church, due to such bad leadership. She lamented about the difficulty this presents for evangelization.

Another said that seven people from her very small, rural parish had left the parish, because sexual sin is never spoken of, and there is almost an exclusive emphasis on political issues. She now fears that even more will leave.

Another said that the only way this is ever going to change is if we simply stop giving to the bishops’ national collections, and to our own dioceses and parishes’ collections, unless they are led by bishops who are willing to call a spade a spade, and govern accordingly. To this day, there are quite a number of “gay friendly” parishes in even “good dioceses,” where those afflicted with homosexual temptation are not encouraged to live chaste lives, or offered effective correction, but instead are confirmed in their sexual activity. It seems many bishops are afraid to tackle the local “homosexual lobbies” and choose to turn a blind eye.

This past weekend at Mass, the priest giving the sermon was more upset than I’ve ever seen him about the unfolding scandal. The Gospel was about how the weeds and the wheat grow up together, and will only finally be separated at the judgment. It was unclear what the priest was actually saying, but we are certainly not called to “enable the weeds.” And shepherds in particular have the obligation to admonish the sinner, and remove from ministry those who refuse to preach the truth, and who encourage others in wrong doing. Yes, we will always have sin, but as Jesus said, “whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck, and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18:6).

There has been a veritable deluge of articles that have appeared from highly respected lay Catholics and priests saying that “enough is enough,” and we need to stop the cover-ups, and get to the bottom of who is implicated in promoting men like this, and covering up for them. We do.

In 2002, when the American bishops approved their “charter” that attempted to respond to the many cases of priest pedophilia that had come to light by that time, they conspicuously exempted themselves from their “zero tolerance” policy. Many priests have told me that they felt “thrown under the bus” by the bishops, who conveniently didn’t adopt policies to deal with their own tolerance of immoral behavior, cover-ups that allowed the pedophilia to go on for many years, or in some cases, their own immoral behavior. Another disturbing thing about the 2002 Charter is that — despite pleas to not ignore the fact that this is primarily a homosexual scandal, since most of the victims were adolescent boys rather than true children — the bishops decided not to tackle “the elephant in the room.” Could it be because they knew some of their brother bishops/cardinals were implicated, and they didn’t want to face the mess of cleaning it up? Now this refusal to acknowledge the “homosexual lobby,” as Pope Benedict termed it, is coming home to roost. But there’s not just a huge homosexual problem in the Church; unfortunately, heterosexual sin and financial malfeasance are common in many places as well. In some countries, a significant percentage of priests are living with concubines, or fathering children by vulnerable women, and giving scandal to the faithful, who often know about it. This is the case in Uganda, from which I have recently returned, and in many other countries as well. In these situations, the “protection” of the priests, and the frequent disregard for their victims — the women and their children — cries out for justice.

And so, once again, because of the pressure of lawsuits and the press, the bishops are talking about “developing new policies” that would apply to bishops. As a colleague at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, has said: “Isn’t it clear enough from the Gospel that covering up immoral behavior is itself wicked? Why do we need new policies when the teaching of Jesus and the apostles is so clear?” Can the words of the Old Testament prophets, and Jesus Himself, against false shepherds be any clearer or more devastating? (See Jeremiah 23:1–6; Matthew 23, etc.)

The Archbishop McCarrick case may prove to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” It may make the bureaucratic, carefully worded, evasive statements that have come from our leaders finally address sin and repentance, instead of the mere policies and processes they typically focus on. Could it be — finally — that the revelation of the long-term sexual harassment of seminarians and priests, that never stopped Archbishop McCarrick’s rise in the hierarchy, will be so totally repugnant that real repentance may actually start to happen? I have never prayed more for the Pope and our leaders than I have in the last several years, and we all must continue to do so. More about that later.

Unfortunately, the Archbishop McCarrick case is certainly only the “tip of the iceberg.” The cumulative effect of revelation after revelation of immorality in high places is devastating. First, a number of years ago, a cardinal from Austria was forced to resign over homosexual activity; then, more recently, a cardinal from Scotland resigned over sexual harassment of seminarians and priests; and then the archbishop of Guam underwent a canonical trial in Rome over the sexual abuse of minors; and now cardinals in Chile (one of whom is on the Pope’s Council of Cardinals that oversees reform) are under heavy suspicion for covering up homosexual abuse in their country. In fact, the whole bishops’ conference of Chile, acknowledging complicity in not taking seriously reports of a bishop’s cover up of sexual abuse, recently gave their resignations to the Pope, and he has so far accepted several of them. The Pope himself at first stubbornly backed the appointment of this bishop, and dismissed the victims’ pleas as “calumny” and “gossip.” And before we could absorb this news, there was news of an archbishop in Australia getting a prison sentence for covering up abuse on the part of a priest. And just today, as I am writing this, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered the release of a grand jury report implicating more than 300 “predator priests” in six of the eight Pennsylvania dioceses involved in the sexual abuse of minors over many years.

Unfortunately, the rot is wide and deep, and years of covering up abuse (and the concomitant reluctance to really preach the Gospel and call people to faith and repentance) and its ultimate exposure, have injured the faith of millions. How shocking and tragic was it to see tens of thousands of Irish people in the streets of Dublin wildly celebrating that they could now legally kill babies!!! Just when the Irish bishops needed to speak most strongly on fundamental moral issues, their credibility was destroyed when it was finally exposed that they had covered up abuse for decades. Satan is, indeed, like that wild boar Scripture talks about, that rampages though the vineyard of the Lord because the hedges of protection have been destroyed (Ps 80:12–13). The corruption, ineptitude, and cowardice all run wide and deep, and its effects on the eternal salvation of millions, and the destiny of nations, is devastating.

Most recently, Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras has seen his auxiliary bishop resign over homosexual and financial impropriety, and forty seminarians in his diocese published a letter asking him to please root out the homosexual network in his seminary. This cardinal is Pope Francis’s chief advisor, the head of his “Council of Nine” that works closely with the Pope in bringing about reform in Rome, and is mentioned as a possible successor to Pope Francis.

But continual reports of ongoing financial and sexual scandals suggest reform doesn’t seem to be happening. Recently, a male prostitute in Italy published the names and photos of sixty priests who frequent his services — with scarcely any comment from the shepherds. And the homosexual orgy in the apartment of a Vatican cardinal, used by his secretary, was met with a “no comment” by the Vatican press office. And then we hear, also, of a monsignor in the papal nuncio’s office in Washington, D.C., who suddenly leaves the country, and is put on trial in the Vatican for trafficking in child pornography, and is given a five-year prison sentence.

I didn’t plan to discuss this whole situation, but it came up this summer when the thirty priests in my class at the seminary wanted to discuss Pope Francis’s leadership, and the McCarrick scandal. We all agreed that Pope Francis has said and done some wonderful things (I teach his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel in one of my classes), but he also has said and done some things that are confusing, and seem to have led to a growth of confusion and disunity in the Church. How can German and Polish bishops approach the question of whether divorced and remarried couples can receive Communion without getting an annulment in opposite ways, and the Church still retain an ability to speak to the contemporary culture with one voice? It can’t. And how long can Church officials speak about the “positive values” of “irregular relationships” until the average Catholic comes to believe that we no longer believe the words of Jesus that fornicators, adulterers, and those who actively practice homosexuality will not enter the kingdom of God unless they repent? How many still believe that there is really a hell and that, unless we repent from such serious sins before we die, we will go there? Have we ever heard from leading churchmen, even in Rome, in recent years, that adultery, fornication, and homosexual relations are not only “irregular,” but gravely sinful? Has the creeping “universalism” (the belief that virtually everyone will be saved) so undermined the holy fear of God and belief in His clear word, which has been transmitted faithfully all these centuries, and is found intact in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that people have become “understanding” about persisting in grave sin with no fear of God, or of hell? Has false compassion and presumption on God’s mercy replaced true love, which is based on truth, and the only appropriate response to God’s mercy faith and repentance?

And what are we to make of the fact that so many of those advising the Pope have questionable fidelity to the truth? How can we have confidence in Cardinal Maradiaga as the head of his Council of Cardinals when he is accused of financial impropriety (which he denies); he chose an active homosexual as his auxiliary bishop; and he allowed a homosexual network to grow up in his seminary, dismissing attempts to appeal to him to clean up the mess as unsubstantiated gossip? How can we have confidence in the Pope’s main theological advisor, a theologian from Argentina who is most known for his book, The Art of the Kiss, or the Pope’s main Italian theological advisor, who is known for his subtle dissent from the Church’s teaching in the area of sexuality, and who tried to insert texts in the synods on the family that pushed the document in a permissive direction? And how can we have confidence in the recently appointed head of the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and the Family — an archbishop who commissioned a mural in his former cathedral in an Italian diocese from a homosexual artist who included homo-erotic themes in the mural, including a portrait of the archbishop in an ambiguous pose?

One godly woman just asked me last night if it was OK for her to be upset with what was happening. I sadly said “yes,” of course it is. How can we passively endure such corruption that runs so wide and deep? It is right to make our views known. It is right and necessary. But even more so, it is necessary to pray, and offer sacrifices for the Church and her leaders, at this time. It is necessary to pray that genuine reform, rooted in real repentance, and an embrace of all the truths of the faith, would come out of this awful situation, and that the Church, more deeply purified and humbled, may shine forth with the radiance of the face of Christ. But it is going to be a long way from here to there. Grave damage has been done to the credibility of the Church, and more will leave. Grave damage has been done to many of the flock, and reparation must be made; public repentance is called for. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote when he was a young priest, the Church will have to become smaller and more purified before it can again be a light to the world. The Church is going through a radical purification under the chastising hand of God, but already we can see a remnant of fervent renewal appearing all over the world, which is a sign, indeed, of hope and the renewal to come.

And so, what can we do as we continue to pray for the Pope and our leaders that God may give them the wisdom and courage to deal with the root of the rot, and bring about a real renewal of holiness and evangelization in the Church?

We need to go about our daily lives, trying to live each day in a way pleasing to God, loving Him and loving our neighbor, including the neighbor in our own families. We need to look to ourselves, lest we fall.

We need to remember that even though we have this treasure in earthen vessels (or as some translations put it, “cracked pots”), the treasure is no less the treasure. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater! Baby Jesus is the treasure, and He is still as present as ever, and still as ready to receive all who come to Him. And the Mass! Every day, He is willing to come to us in such a special way. Let’s attend daily Mass even more frequently, to offer the sacrifice of Jesus’ death and resurrection to God the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the salvation of souls and the purification of the Church.

We need to remember that the Catholic Church is indeed founded by Christ and, despite all problems, has within it the fullness of the means of salvation. Where else can we go? Nowhere; this is indeed our Mother and Home, and she needs our love, our prayers, and our persevering in the way of holiness more than ever.

We need to remember that there are many truly holy and dedicated bishops and priests, and we must pray for them, and support them. They need and deserve our support.

We need to remember that this isn’t the first time such grave problems have beset the Church. In the fourteenth century, St. Catherine of Siena bemoaned the “stench of sin” coming from the papal court, and prophesied that even the demons were disgusted by the homosexual activity he had tempted priests into, and the cover up by their superiors! (See chapters 124-125 of Catherine of Siena’s The Dialogue.)

That isn’t to say that we don’t need to take seriously and do all we can in response to the grave scandal we are facing in our time. And yet, we need to remember that all this is happening under the providence of God, and He has a plan to bring good out of it. It was even prophesied strongly in Mary’s apparitions in Akita, Japan. Jesus is still Lord, and will use the current grave problems to bring about good.

And finally, I’m beginning to see why the Lord has impressed on me so strongly in the past year the urgent need to heed the appeals of Our Lady of Fatima. Indeed, as Mary said, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” Let’s continue to pray and offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, and as reparation for sin, and let’s pray the rosary daily as Mary requested, for peace in the world, and true renewal in the Church.

Your brother in Christ,
Ralph Martin
Renewal Ministries
This article was first published in the Renewal Ministries Newsletter, and recently appeared in the National Catholic Register as well.

Dr. Ralph Martin, STD About Dr. Ralph Martin, STD

Ralph Martin is president of Renewal Ministries, an organization devoted to Catholic renewal and evangelization. Ralph also hosts The Choices We Face, a widely viewed weekly Catholic television and radio program distributed throughout the world.

Ralph holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome and is a professor and the director of Graduate Theology Programs in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was named by Pope Benedict XVI as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and was also appointed as a peritus to the Synod on the New Evangelization in October of 2012.

Ralph is the author of a number of books, the most recent of which are The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call, The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints, and Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization. He and his wife Anne have six children, and seventeen grandchildren, and reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  1. Avatar S.Fachini says:

    Indeed our Church is in trouble. Thank you for addressing this. The homosexual priest scandal, and the lack of courage from Church leaders to report and speak out, must end immediately. Woe to the Shepard who leads his flock astray. I would like to see criminal charges brought if appropriate. Once again, thank you for addressing this.

  2. Dcn W Pat Cunningham Dcn W Pat Cunningham says:

    Amen to all this. I was reading about a highly placed bishop with these sexual proclivities at least twenty years ago. The priest shortage means that bishops hesitate to withdraw homosexual practitioners from ministry, and then we get complaints about “witch hunts” when they do anything rigorous. We have to ignore the barbs of the culture leaders, who love perverse sex, and remove these people from ministry altogether. And yes, pray, pray and pray.

  3. Avatar Tom McGuire says:

    Dr Martin,

    Thank you for responding to the crisis created by the news about Cardinal Theodore McCormick. Your inclination to remain silent is understandable but may be part of the problem. We are all the Church responsible for each other as members of the Body of Christ.

    I once had this experience. I served on a committee with an American Bishop who was very disrespectful to the lay members of the committee. I remained silent. He went on to be appointed bishop of a Diocese. The disrespect of the laity that I experienced in serving with him surfaced in his diocese. It resulted in a major scandal. I, as a lay person, had remained silent. In reflection on that experience recognize my silence contributed to the scandal.

    Your letter expresses a great deal of emotion. Perhaps after a period of cooling off you will write again with a more reasoned response to a major crisis in the Church. As an academic, I look to you for research based information, not just emotional response.

    The NCR, probably not a periodical you look to as an academic, published an article Cardinal Pell is no stranger to controversy, by Barney Zwartz. In it he sites many academic responses to the crisis now facing the Church. The research clearly identifies many causes for how in the historical past and in the present there has not been accountability for leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. I recommend the article to you.

    One statement in the article that stands out in my mind in relation to your letter.

    “The psychological studies have found that homosexuality as such is not the cause of abuse, but when gay seminarians do not come to terms with their orientation in the church’s closed homophobic environment, it is more difficult for them to become psychosexually mature enough to resist opportunities with minors.”

    Perhaps as you prepare to respond again to the crisis as an academic it might be good to take a look at research on homophobia. In the 1980’s I help to found the Lansing Area AIDS Network. Although I am not gay, many considered me to be gay. That experience and the experience with the many gay men with whom I worked made me deal with my homophobia. As I read your article, I wondered, how would a priest who had successfully dealt with his sexual orientation as a gay man felt reading your article?

    I agree with you our prayers are needed now as always for the Church. I pray we will find new ways to structure accountability in the Church so that our witness to the Good News is not clouded by our lack of accountability.

    Peace in Christ,

    Tom McGuire
    SHS Class 1962

    • Avatar Denis Jackson says:

      what a great, charitable and articulate response to Mr Martin’s article, which I cannot warm to at all.

    • Avatar Deacon John Edgerton says:

      I am so grateful for Dr. Ralph Martins article on the moral crisis in the Church that Jesus founded and is with us to this day. As Emeritus Pope Benedict said in his interview with Peter Seawald several years ago, “The Church is in a wretched condition due to the scandals and the sinfulness of its people.” However the One who promised to remain with her is still with us to the end of the age.” The Gospel tells us that Jesus healed St. Mary Magdalene of seven demons and yet she stood by the Cross, along with our Blessed Mother and St. John and she was the first one Christ appeared to in His resurrection . Today, there are many demons, those who are against the dignity of the dignity of human life, from conception to death into eternal life, same sex marriage (which Pope Francis condemned, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as “the work of the Father of Lies” and the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, and the role of each Catholic family as the domestic Church. In reality, many have lost their Faith in Who Jesus is yesterday, today and forever as physically and divinely present in the miracle of the Holy Eucharist. How any bishop, priest, deacon or religious Sister and Brother receive Jesus physically and divinely present in the the Sacrament of the Eucharist and refuse His Grace to overcome their demons is incredible or rather frightening. No where do I see the word “”Sacrilege” used in articles on this moral crisis. The Sign of the Church is the vocation to be holy as God is and how it is possible for all humans because of the Blood of Christ; the mission of the Church, as St. Paul put it is to be missionaries to all people in word and action of the Gospel Matthew 28), the plan of Christ is to draw all of creation under he headship of Christ Jesus. That will never change; it is we who must change. May we all look at our parishes and see how many First Fridays are celebrated with Eucharistic Adoration with Exposition of the Sacred Host, the Bread of Life proclaiming that Jeus is Lord.

    • Tom McGuire quotes from an article approvingly, saying, “The psychological studies have found that homosexuality as such is not the cause of abuse, but when gay seminarians do not come to terms with their orientation in the church’s closed homophobic environment, it is more difficult for them to become psychosexually mature enough to resist opportunities with minors.” That quote sounds like it was inspired by Satan himself, that cunning master of deceit. “Homophobia,” like “anti-choice” and anti-Semitism” and a whole host of modern weaponized terms, is used by the enemies truth and of the moral order to confuse, silence, and manipulate the minds of unsuspecting masses of people. What is “homophobia”? Is it fear and/or hatred of homosexuals? If that’s what it means then it must be an insignificant problem among people at large, much less Catholics. If it means opposition to homosexual behavior and the promotion of the gay agenda, then of course it is a good thing. The Church has always taught, and for good reason, that those of homosexual orientation, even those living chaste lives, should not be admitted into seminaries or religious communities, but this directive has been widely ignored by bishops and religious superiors, especially since Vatican II. The homosexual orientation, no matter the cause, is a serious and deep-seated affective disorder which seriously affects the psychological and emotional make-up of the homosexual person. It can be overcome with treatment, however, as the late Dr Joseph Nicolosi’s National Association for the Treatment of Homosexuality (NARTH) has proven, and it needs to be overcome before persons with same sex attraction may enter seminaries or religious communities. Let us not fall into the devil’s trap and that of his human agents by using deceitful and weaponized terms like “homophobia.” If we do we will only perpetuate serious problems afflicting the Church, and therefore the world as well, like the homosexualization of the clergy and the sexual abuse that such disordered and unnatural sexual addiction inevitably leads to.

    • Tom McGuire quotes from an article approvingly, saying, “The psychological studies have found that homosexuality as such is not the cause of abuse, but when gay seminarians do not come to terms with their orientation in the church’s closed homophobic environment, it is more difficult for them to become psychosexually mature enough to resist opportunities with minors.” That quote sounds like it was inspired by Satan himself, that cunning master of deceit. “Homophobia,” like “anti-choice” and “hate speech” and a whole host of modern weaponized terms, is used by the enemies truth and of the moral order to confuse, silence, and manipulate the minds of unsuspecting masses of people. What is “homophobia”? Is it fear and/or hatred of homosexuals? If that’s what it means then it must be an insignificant problem among people at large, much less Catholics. If it means opposition to homosexual behavior and the promotion of the gay agenda, then of course it is a good thing. The Church has always taught, and for good reason, that those of homosexual orientation, even those living chaste lives, should not be admitted into seminaries or religious communities, but this directive has been widely ignored by bishops and religious superiors, especially since Vatican II. The homosexual orientation, no matter the cause, is a serious and deep-seated affective disorder which seriously affects the psychological and emotional make-up of the homosexual person. It can be overcome with treatment, however, as the late Dr Joseph Nicolosi’s National Association for the Treatment of Homosexuality (NARTH) has proven, and it needs to be overcome before persons with same sex attraction may enter seminaries or religious communities. Let us not fall into the devil’s trap and that of his human agents and their pernicious ideologies by using deceitful and weaponized terms like “homophobia.” If we do we will only perpetuate serious problems afflicting the Church, and subsequently the world as well, like the homosexualization of the clergy and the sexual abuse that such disordered and unnatural sexual addiction inevitably leads to.

    • Avatar Rev. David K. Seid, O.P. says:

      Tom McGuire may mean well but there are at least two psychologically naive notions that need to be challenged in the interests of truth and authentic compassion. I am a psychology professor at a seminary with a prior background in juvenile probation and child protective services, so I do not readily let ideologically-driven conclusions pass for empirical proof of anything. And this is exactly what we find in the highly misleading statement from the NCR that “psychological studies have found that homosexuality as such is not the cause of abuse, but when gay seminarians do not come to terms with their orientation in the church’s closed homophobic environment, it is more difficult for them to become psychosexually mature enough to resist opportunities with minors.” Individuals with an unhealthy sexual interest in minors enter the seminary with such appetites already and need to be asked to leave if they lack the character to do the right thing and withdraw on their own. If we are talking about individuals who are influenced by or who are open to being influenced by the gay subculture in our society (with its strong ephebophile tendencies), they urgently need to be transparent with wise, caring spiritual directors who will walk with them but decisively call them to repentance and conversion (N.B.-1, A mildly “homophobic” environment should catalyze getting real with one’s spiritual director and one’s inner anguish; if not, such a non-transparent individual is not a suitable candidate for holy orders anyway)(N.B.-2, a gay-friendly environment within a community typicallly fosters a culture of individualism, entitlement, and disobedience–qualities we do not need in priests). Then they must be put on the path toward psychosexual maturity by being offered appropriate psychotherapeutic assistance and/or inner healing and, if indicated, deliverance prayer AS WELL AS help toward integration into a healthy (morally, emotionally, spiritually) peer group so that they can get beyond their developmental fixation or at least substantially mitigate the same sex attraction. This is a matter of healing a form of human woundedness and cooperating with God’s transformative grace. Catering to homosexual fantasies and tolerating worldly attitudes in seminary environments has gravely damaged the Church. On one hand, serious homophobia has not been a problem in the seminaries that I have been a part of while, on the other hand, I do know about some programs (through trustworthy witnesses) where semi-paranoid homosexuals with comforts, privileges, and private lives to protect have been the oppressors in their own communities. It has been my privilege to have helped several individuals with same sex attractions arrive at freedom in Christ. I have known others, including a few priests, who have arrived at this peace by renouncing homosexuality and choosing Christ unconditionally. So, any priest who has successfully dealt with a homosexual orientation redemptively can be counted on to admire Dr. Ralph Martin’s courage, insight, pastoral wisdom, and holy passion for reform (that McGuire mistakes for emotionality). Those who have “come out of the closet” but not dealt with their sexual orientation successfully can be counted on to handle his article poorly, particularly if they have developed a very _strong_ gay identity. In that worst case scenario, the response will be characterized by self-pity and a victim mentality plus anger, bitterness, and resentment as they continue to live in illusion. Given the opportunity, the unhealed narcissistic wound may drive them to retaliate against priests and theologians who speak necessary but inconvenient truths.

  4. Avatar Frank Ascanio says:


  5. Avatar Frank Ascanio says:


  6. Avatar Fr. Salvador Ferrão S.J says:


    • Avatar Bryan Parry says:

      Not so. It was a failure of the hierarchy and Rome. It should have been investigated with rigor many years ago.

  7. Dr. Martin,
    What are your thoughts regarding the email below I sent to my Pastor a few weeks ago about which I’m yet to receive a reply:

    Dear Fr. Russo,

    After ordering at Marlene’s request and reading St. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical (Dominum et Vivificantem dated May 8, 1986) on the Holy Spirit, the message is given to us that we are living in the third phase of life on earth begun right after Christ’s Ascension. But, instead of becoming closer to the end times described in the Bible when the enemy of Christendom will be converted and they become a footstool for Christ, we seem to be getting further and further away from that possibility. I’m trying to describe a simple summary prayer patterned after the Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit containing Jesus’ requests during the final hours of his mission that can be faithfully recited (as was done prior to Pentecost) by more and more Catholics. If you think this has any merit, we would love to get together and discuss it when you find the time within your schedule. Here’s the preliminary draft for you to critique/comment.

    The laity’s essential “Come, Lord Jesus” Prayer to the Holy Spirit:

    Recalling (1) that the Incarnate Jesus was conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and (2) that prior to Pentecost Jesus promised the Apostles “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit …will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” in answer to the first ‘novena’ prayer, intrigues us to pray in a similar manner.

    Therefore, let us again pray for the Holy Spirit to work miracles in forming us to become unified in belief of God’s complete ‘doctrines of truth’ (just as Jesus prayed to the Father regarding His Apostles and followers, “…that they may be one as We are.”); this widening disunity has to end within both the Church as well as in all other various Christian religions thereby correcting those who have gone astray throughout the years.

    O Holy Spirit, Advocate of those who hope in the Blessed Trinity, graciously hear our plea, for without You we frail mortals can do nothing, and grant us always the help of Your grace to reverse this worsening trend.

    Maybe the Holy Spirit is waiting for us to do our part for the fulfillment of the Blessed Trinity’s plan for the second coming patterned after the Pentecost event but over a longer timespan: i.e., grow in holiness, and include such a prayer when we act on the message of Fatima by reciting a daily rosary.

    In Christ,

  8. Avatar Geneviev Connor says:

    Thank you, Dr. Martin, for this disturbing article.
    The temptation is to run and hide and stay close to Jesus, my God, but there are so so many poor Catholics who risk their eternity in disgust of what is going on.
    Yes truly, prayers to our Mother, and all the saints, who suffered martyrdom to preserve their purity, is needed.
    I ask Mary to lead the Pope by her maternal love, to be forceful about the real threat that has infiltrated His Church, that She may not be akin to Sodom.

  9. Avatar Deacon Stephen Sansevere says:

    There is much to agree with in this lengthy essay and little I could add to these many observations by Dr. Martin. My only assertion is that this church of ours was founded by Jesus Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit, unfortunately it is run by very fallible men. I have been a Deacon for 18 years and feel the revelations about Archbishop Mc Carrick seem to be more devastating than much of the scandalous behavior we have witnessed in the past 20 years. God bless our bishops and priests who continue to faithfully serve the people of God. Pope Benedict may certainly be correct that we may indeed become a smaller and more pure church before we turn things around. Prayer certainly is, and must be, our response.

  10. Avatar Bea Zienkodky says:

    I am so very concerned about Cardinal McCarrick, as well as Pope Francis.. I never hear any priest or Bishops say anything to defend the true Church teachings. Why ? Are they afraid to offend the Pope? I am in a state of wondering if I should leave the Catholic Church, of which I have been a member for over 60 years. I am disgusted with Cardinal McCarricks’ acts and the homosexual parties that we were told went on in the Vatican. These are just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, How could Pope Francis not know this was happening in the Vatican? I have not heard one way or the other. We need a Holy Pope again as well as a cleaning out of these predator Priests and whoever else is participating in these lewd acts. God, please help us I pray to get back the true Church, and rid ourselves of this “trash” that is using their collar to prey on innocent beings. Sincerely, Bea Zienkosky

  11. Avatar gregory speck says:

    I don’t feel that is necessary to not become, or remain a Catholic, due to the deep scandal caused by
    men who are only out to satisfy their own needs. Granted, the scandal seems of a magnitude
    of a huge nature, and it is, Jesus’ teaching always comes back to His Love for us. “Either you are for me or against me.” There are no in-betweens. He also stated that the lukewarm He will spit out of His mouth. The church will weather this storm, but we all need to remain faithful. What promise does it hold, to threaten against God, the author of all Life?
    “Pray that you may not be put to the test.”

  12. Dr Martin thank you for a poignant article highlighting the grave crisis in the Church with the now ever-growing exposure of terrible sex scandals and such in many priests and bishops. You also show, at the close of such article, hope that the remnant of faithful Catholics will serve to revive and renew the Church.

    I would like to build on this with a Scripture analogy, hoping that you do not mind. The dire situation that you describe entirely corroborates my seven letters treatment. To elaborate, let me start by saying that the following development does not require spiritual historicism, as in, that the ages of the Church in some partitioning must match up with the seven letters. It suffices to consider each letter as way to look at many times in Church history where a particular spiritual climate has existed. That being said, let me proceed..

    To start, in the seven letters discourse that I have argued here: , out of the fullness of rigor therefrom, Sardis emerged as the fifth age of the Church by that model, and it was nothing short of our era, the modern minor secular apostasy.

    Apocalypse 3:
    And to the angel of the church of Sardis, write: These things saith he, that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast the name of being alive: and thou art dead. [2] Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I find not thy works full before my God. [3]Have in mind therefore in what manner thou hast received and heard: and observe, and do penance. If then thou shalt not watch, I will come to thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know at what hour I will come to thee. [4] But thou hast a few names in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments: and they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy. [5] He that shall overcome, shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
    [6] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

    Jesus said that it is a church that is rumored to be alive, but is dead. I saw this initially as the liberalism, its mind, or INTELLECT, being useless, dead fluff because of a hijacked, left-inclined “Spirit of Vatican II.”

    Too, of course, the world around the Church was dead because of apostasy, so that it regarded the true essence of the Church as dead, per the Two Witnesses and the Jairus’ daughter.

    But Jesus, toward the end of the fifth letter to Sardis, like how your article ends, comforts a remnant that have “not stained their garments,” and that they shall walk with Him in white.

    Of course, in the next age, by the same rigorous model, Jesus will visit the earth with the sixth age of Church history in the model, the Age of Peace of His Mother, Philadelphia, which includes the vindication of the Church’s teaching.

    What I then wished to apply from your article was that to say that the church of Sardis was dead would not merely mean it is dead in INTELLECT, as above, because of mushy theology, but also dead in the WILL, or immorality. Indeed, the Church in the West is saturated with bishops and priests that are now being exposed as homosexuals and pederasters, and the yet hidden Masons, and Communists that Bella Dodd testified to decades ago. For decades, the unfaithful clergy and theologians have dumbed down the seminaries, preaching, catechesis, and so forth, birthing two generations of Catholics who are nearly all clueless about doctrine, and whose morals are no different than pagans. Hence, the will of the Church, sparing the remnant, has been dead as well.

    But we are that faithful remnant, who are called to be true and loving and bold. We will build up the Church to prepare for Our Lady’s descent from Heaven spiritually to rest Her graces in nearly all men’s hearts throughout the world, when all Church teaching will vindicated in humanity, Christians will be reunited, and a glorious age of love and peace shall ensue.


    As [Cardinal Ratzinger] recently pointed out (in the context of the message of Fátima), we are not at the end of the world. In fact, the Second Coming (understood as the physical return of Christ) cannot occur until the full number of the Gentiles are converted, followed by “all Israel.”

    Approved Catholic mystics (Venerables, Blessed and Saints, approved apparitions) throw considerable light on this order, by prophesying a minor apostasy and tribulation toward the end of the world, after which will occur the reunion of Christians. Only later will the entire world fall away from Christ (the great apostasy) and the personal Antichrist arise and the Tribulation of the End occur.
    Although this is not Catholic doctrine, arising as it does from private revelation, it conforms to what is occurring in our time, especially in light of Our Lady of Fátima’s promise of an “Era of Peace.” This “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart” (other saints have spoken of a social reign of Jesus Christ when Jesus will reign in the hearts of men) would seem to occur prior to the rise of the Antichrist. The optimism of the Pope for the “New Evangelization” and a “Civilization of Love” in the Third Millennium of Christianity fits here, as well. This would place us, therefore, in the period just before the events spoken of in the Catechism, that is, on the verge of the evangelization of the entire world. Other interpretations are possible, but none seem to fit the facts as well, especially when approved mystics are studied, instead of merely alleged ones.

    John 17:
    And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. [20] And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me; [21] That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. [22] And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one: [23] I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me. [24] Father, I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me; that they may see my glory which thou hast given me, because thou hast loved me before the creation of the world. [25] Just Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee: and these have known that thou hast sent me. [26] And I have made known thy name to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them.

    Apocalypse 3:
    I know thy works. Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut: because thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. [9] Behold, I will bring of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie. Behold, I will make them to come and adore before thy feet. And they shall know that I have loved thee. [10] Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of the temptation, which shall come upon the whole world to try them that dwell upon the earth.

    Amen, let it come!

  13. Avatar Ted Heywood says:

    To paraphrase a popular political slogan … ‘ Fear is not the problem, it’s the activity stupid.’
    It is unclear how focusing on homophobia (the fear of gay individuals) will address the problems discussed above. The focus should instead be on recognition that, with the exception of their disordered inclinations, they are the same as all of us. They are children of God as we all are and are deserving of human respect as such. In parallel, programs and actions should be put in place to assist them in avoiding the occasions of homosexual conduct and pursuing a chaste lifestyle. If/When they fail in their effort, to provide the same counselling and support that would be afforded anyone that commits a mortal sin. The church has 2000 years of experience doing this and has all the tools necessary to do it (including Sacramental ones) and preaching orders that could spread the Word..
    The bigger issue is the ‘coverups’ and avoidance. The Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, Seminary Rectors, etc. have all been complicit in this. A perfect example is our Diocesan paper. The edition received today has a blaring headline about the Pope initiating a global effort to eliminate the Death Penalty across the world and enlisting all Catholics in the effort, including changing the words in the Catechism. All at the same time that the sex abuse scandals are recognized by the media as reaching even the highest levels the Vatican and Church Leadership in virtually all countries. The beat goes on while the faithful are falling away in disgust in droves and the influence of the Church is destroyed.
    Yes – prayer is very important, but once again, as the saying goes – The Lord helps those that help themselves. The time is for action not more hemming and hawing and hand wringing.

  14. Avatar paul wood says:

    Are you serious? what a bunch of babble to justify homosexuality. I saw it in MANY seminaries, Dr.Matin is bang on. Gays have been infiltrating the seminaries since the 60\s.. i was there! I saw them in bed, i saw priests in bed, i saw rectors and vocation directors , sure to be in high places , bringing in gay after gay; Gays have been pandered to, and they were let in and ordained above basic loyal fine men.. many of the latter were not allowed to be ordained. To continue to justify gayism in the seminaries and in our churches is an outrage. Stop it! I could elaborate on exactly what they do in their dark rooms, spas, etc. .. stop the crap.. it is sin, abuse, and has never been called such because of the gay lobby Pope Benedict speaks about.. Ill debate anyone on that topic!!!! I thank Dr. Martin for a compassionate , Catholic(!), brilliant and honest response which finally must be heeded. Gays dictated the entire life of the seminaries. Read “Good bye Good men”.. don’t call it bs.. i was there, it is 100% accurate except that volumes more could be written, said and demonstrated. Gays have been getting away with murder using our Church as their playground. The abuse of young people by people who are suppose to sanctify the people is so far off the mark it leaves one speechless. Worse, all one hears about is “don’t you dare criticize gays’, we hear of gayism mornming ,noon and night. The priest and bishops obsession with gayism is horrific, especially given the preference they get over the elderly, the poor, the depressed, the addicts, etc. Gayism is buggering our Church… the pun is real. It must stop. Millions are finally seeing it has been gayism all along, not pedophilia. It is political, deliberate, and incessant, and no other ;point of view, let alone Church teaching , is tolerated or as I was told by my rector” If you don’t like it, get out. “.. It is clearly a disorder.. maybe the public needs some education on that to convince them of that. I’m loaded with details,, they are very very ugly details. Seminaries are no places for gay men. They go there for the ‘boys’.. sound awful? you’ve heard nothing yet.. we’ve seen enough. Seen their victims? their lives are destroyed forever. Priests today NEVER address the issue nor any life issue which weighs so deeply in our hearts.. they approve of it. (gays are notoriously pro abortion too.. go to any prolife rally)/ There is going to be ‘hell to pay”!.. as , outside of the religious question, people will not any longer tolerate their abuse.. It has gone on so long that is is normalized.. Pope francis put his stamp on that: he tolerates the lobby, screwed up in Chile, has named two gay friendly cardinals, it’s a total mess. .. and it’s the same everywhere, in schools, government.. we’ve raised millions of sexually invaded boys, and the future will show the outrageous results. It is high time to say, enough!….the fear of gays and gayism must cease or else the Church will cease.(That won’t happen!) . In our public schools there are gay posters all over the schools, as a teacher if you don’t tow their line, you;re out.. ive been there. No one is more eminently qualifed to treat this matter than Dr. Martin.. not too many are leading people to God, are sanctifying people , like Dr.Martin. Gayism is an erotic ,dirty, unhealthy, lonely lifestyle, and God bless them.. but keep them out of seminaries and away from our young people. The element of sin is totally lacking in the entire discussion .. Dr.Martin is one of the very few in recent times to address the sinfulness of homosexual acts. , in fact, gay sins are glorified.. Ive been there!.. it’s outrageouos and deeply ,very deeply troubling, and many of us are angry as hell. Even I , a boy from north of the border, knew about McCarrick years ago… i saw a video clip and a photo of him naked in one of his boy’s room. All the seminarians i knew were aware of it– ‘ it’s impossible that the clery did not know either.. some of the seminarians told me they had informed higher sources in the Church.. like what I was told (“Grow up”, Get out if you don’t like it). Imagine, a Cardinal, a priest!… supposedly embarking on a God provided vocation for the sanctification of God’ s people naked in bed with young men!!!!! Dr.Martin’s letter should be read from the mountain tops. Most bishops should be thrown out.. sound drastic?!!! let’s look at what so many bishops have done and not done, known , promoted and condoned , then tell us. Im so outraged, my writing is poor. but I want to express my deep anger and loving concern for the Church i have loved so much and dedicated mylife and soul to, as millions do. Many were not allowed to be priests because we spoke up, opposed the gay agenda.. and now here we are!.. no one wanted to hear it. Drive them out of our seminaries and parishes! NOw! or we will drive them out. I have said for years to boycott parishes where the Gospel is not properly taught, where gayism is espoused an d promoted, where silence on the matter is constant. Let us drive them out. If the gays get nasty and upset (i know gay anger!), so what? .. They have done some horrific things to young people in the name of God, The Catholic Church. Salvation, redemption, sin, forgiveness is very far off their radar. I don’t mind exposing my fury, since I know of many abused men by priests.. someone must do something very fast. Drive them out, all of them, and any bishop who refuses to speak out. Thanks Dr.Martin, wonderful and important letter! Let’s move forward with the true and whole Gospel and not care if gays get miffed.. let’ s prefer to think and care about the thousands of victims ! (research based information!?? . .. are you kidding!? it abounds! Iv’e got plenty.. to date, the Bishops don’t listen if you put the evidence in front of their nose.. been there done that!.. so have many others. It’s high time we turned our attention to the real needs of Gods’ people. Gays have been using the Church and there is no doubt they expect to invade and change the face of the Church.. invade they have already done all over the world.

  15. Avatar Margaret M Saindon says:

    Sexual sin is never mentioned in our parish. Sacramental confession is available 1/2 hour per week. But “the faithful” have no need of it anyway. Family rosary not taught or endorsed. Contraception is prevalent everywhere. Perversion is everywhere on the internet and children have access. The whole world is a swamp.

  16. If you haven’t read Paul Woods’ very revealing and informative comment, please do so. It alone makes this article worth going viral. Thank you, Paul! Paul Woods experienced homosexuality in the seminary, just as I did in a monastery, where homosexuals were admitted, as they were in the archdiocesan seminary, if they admitted (truthfully or not) that they could live chastely . One of the monks was an admitted homosexual predator who was sent away for “treatment” at St Luke’s where they recommended, among other things, masturbation to help men overcome their unnatural vice. He returned supposedly “healed” and the next prior of the monastery, of dubious sexual orientation, appointed him sub-prior. I was then soon encouraged to seek God’s will elsewhere by both the prior and sub-prior, and even the lady chancellor of the archdiocese (which means the archbishop as well by extension) for being “against homosexuals” and for my politically incorrect beliefs re- history and esp. Catholic-Jewish relations and harmful Jewish influence on our culture. I was called an “anti-Semite” of course, which is an amorphous weaponized term which is more and more used to silence anyone whom the Masters of the Universe and Masters of Discourse want to silence and very often persecute.

    The Church has been infiltrated, subverted, corrupted, and crippled by agents of Satan. The homosexual sex abuse crisis is just one part of an overall plan to destroy the Church. Her enemies within and without will be allowed by God to succeed, just as they succeeded in killing Christ. But like Him, she, His Mystical Body, will rise from the dead more glorious than ever. It will be the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary foretold by Our Lady of Fatima.

    For an incisive and revealing article on why the Church is losing the culture wars against her enemies, by arguably the premier cultural analyst of our times, Dr E Michael Jones – probably one of the most important articles you’ll have read in a long time – see
    which is also available in booklet form at

  17. Avatar Salvador Monzon says:

    I know better than to ask any questions. Why? Because as soon as they move their lips, I know they are lying. Just like they have before. Year after year, decade after decade, they have lied to us. I’m very sorry to express my self in a sarcastic way but it seems that that’s all that’s left.

  18. Avatar tracey a brong says:

    Thank you Dr. Martin and those responding above, for boldly stating the problems and some solutions. Obviously the laity need to call out/demand reform, for where else may such come from? The media points the finger (often in error), the courts wage bankrupting penalties yet more scandal surfaces. Why is our pope so ineffectual or worse about this, when he is so bold on other topics? Yes we need to pray on this, yes, we too are sinners, yes this behavior is rampant throughout society, yes this has happened before. What has reformed the Church in the past. -Saints! People on the ground demanding leadership or doing the leading. I cannot fathom how the Holy Spirit has allowed this in the Church-what are we to learn?—Peter sank when he took his eyes off Jesus and feared. We cannot be of little faith when there are storms around us. We must truly repent of our own sins-offer alms, penances, sacrifices for the world. Support our religious and monasteries, who pray constantly for the world. Remember it is the Office not the man who brings us the Eucharist.

  19. Avatar Caroline Bertouille says:

    I’ve been watching Da Vinci’s Demons, about Europe during the times of the Médicis,… Basically, there is nothing new under the sun! But this time there is so much more to distract people, that many think it’s “something THE OTHERS” are going through, not themselves.

  20. A large part of the problem, that has yet to be discussed, is that the laity are also complicit when they look the other way Worse yet, too many immediately judge victims who come forward in order to protect the clergy that they hold to such high esteem. As one specialist put it, “They are abused by the cleric, but they are destroyed by the congregation.”

    Until we overcome this tendency to worship the clergy in order to stay in their good graces, this problem will persist. This isn’t just a homosexual issue. Grooming, harassment, and abuse occurs with women as well. The primary problem is an abuse of power! Priests and deacons must return to the attitude of Christ. He came to serve and not to be served. We can pray for their spiritual growth into holiness as well as for our own spiritual growth, but we must stop placing the clergy on a pedestal. It is unhealthy and a sickness that must be rooted out.. We must pray fervently for reform.