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Straight Guy with the Catholic Eye, no. 2

by Matt Abbott

Well, it looks like this column will be more than just "occasional." It certainly won't be daily; but perhaps weekly. We'll see.

A pathetic situation in Albany

The Diocese of Albany, New York, has had its share of scandal in the last couple of months, with allegations of a ring of homosexual priests operating in the Diocese, Bishop Howard Hubbard being accused of protecting that ring and engaging in his own sexual shenanigans, and the recent bizarre suicide of a long-time critic of Hubbard, Father John Minkler.

(For a detailed background of this situation, click on the following link: www.cruxnews.com/rose/rose-27feb04.html

In an April 15 story on the website of Albany's Capital News 9 (www.capitalnews9.com), Jessica Schneider wrote that, "Outspoken attorney John Aretakis continued to press the Albany Diocese on Bishop Howard Hubbard's alleged homosexual relations and is now saying the note left by Father John Minkler before his suicide lashed out at the Bishop.

"'I have been told by people who are aware of the letter. That it does address Bishop Hubbard's homosexuality and the rampant homosexuality and sexual misconduct of many Albany Diocesan priests, including Bishop Hubbard,' Aretakis said.

"Aretakis stood by several alleged victims of clergy abuse, all who said Bishop Hubbard's homosexual lifestyle was well known around the community. And they also said Hubbard did everything in his power to shelter his fellow gay priests.

"David Leonard, alleged clergy sex abuse victim said, 'Priests in Bishop Hubbard's Diocese have gotten away with their own private sexual activities for years -- like Father Minkler told us, because Bishop Hubbard so brazenly and arrogantly denied being gay. Now all priests and the Bishop are called on as great big liars. Again, where is the polygraph?..."

Well, few informed faithful (and even a few unfaithful) Catholics would deny that there is, and has been, a clerical homosexual underbelly operating in the American Catholic Church.

Father Alfred Kunz, a canon lawyer and priest of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, whose 1998 murder remains unsolved, was quite familiar with this underbelly. In fact, a priest who was in contact with Father Kunz prior to his murder - and who himself stated "the [homosexuals] have many contracts on me" - when asked by Yours truly if he thought Father Kunz's murder was Church-related, stated (via e-mail), "Oh yes...[Fr. Kunz] knew too much!"

Scary.

Cardinal Egan's pro-life position?

Helen Westover, founder and director of Mid-Hudson Stop Planned Parenthood in Poughkeepsie, New York, gave this account of a talk by Edward Cardinal Egan:

"On June 12, 2001, Cardinal Egan spoke at St. Joseph's Church in Kingston, hosted by the Ulster County vicariate. I work as music director at St. Joe's in New Paltz, so I was invited to attend, along with my Pastor, Father Maurice Moreau, several members of our choir, and others who have an official capacity in the parish. I had heard some things Egan was purported to have said about politicians having a 'right' as Americans to be pro-choice. I will return to that later.

"As a pro-life activist, I was determined to question him on his commitment to the issue. I notified Father Maurice, and several of the others that I would be doing this. When he began to speak, however, he seemed so dynamic, so passionate, that my defenses went down, and I was sure that I had been wrong about him!

So when I asked the questions, it was with affection and respect. The narrative went as such:

"'Your Eminence, what are your plans to continue and foster the pro-life effort in the Archdiocese?'

"He immediately came back with, 'Well, I never use a religious approach.'

"He also addressed the priests, prior to the statement, and said, "Now some of you will get mad at me for this!" But, he said:

"'Apart from the Faith, there is much controversy over when life begins. Science cannot tell us for sure. Is it a human life at six weeks? At six months? Science cannot tell us.'

"He continued that he uses the 'Deer in the Forest' analogy, i.e., a hunter is not sure if what is moving in the bushes is a person or a deer, therefore 'He may not kill it.' And this is what he said over and over, Rod. If we 'are not sure, we must not kill it!'

"I stood up again and responded, 'Your Eminence, with all due respect, science does know when life begins. I use science and fetology all the time, and have never lost a debate. The only time there is 'doubt' is when we are talking about abortion.'

I also said, that in vitro fertilization has settled the argument: the scientists involved certainly can tell us 'when human life begins.' Then he changed his approach.

"'The problem with the abortion issue is you pro-lifers. You are disorganized, work at cross-purposes, and are therefore ineffective.'

"I stood up and said, 'Respectfully, that is not true, Your Eminence. We all have the same goal, but work in different facets of the issue; my group (STOPP) targets [Planned Parenthood], others attend to crisis pregnancy, others more in the political field, but we are not working against one another....'

"Over two hundred people, including my own pastor, witnessed this exchange. The meeting's organizer, as well as five people I had spoken with at the time, including the Vicariate's lay contact, Tom Conway, has more recently corroborated my report of my brief dialogue with Cardinal Egan.

"My subsequent research has revealed that Egan constantly uses the 'deer in the forest' argument, primarily for his relations with non-Christian groups. Tom Droleskey has quoted him (and notes from the ex-employee of Catholic New York, John Burger, concur) to the effect that he gives pro-abort 'Catholics' like ex-mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and Governor George Pataki a pass, saying that their 'pro-choice' stands are their 'rights as American Citizens'...."

Hmm. Thoughts and/or additional information, anyone?

A personal note

Two fine young, faithful Catholics - Renee Everson and Carl McIlheran - will be joined in Holy Matrimony on June 12 of this year. I wish them the very best.

Until next time...

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