An Open Letter to the US Catholic Bishops

Your Excellencies,

I cannot speak on behalf of the lay faithful, but I can speak from them, as one among millions, and I believe what I have to say here mirrors the thoughts of many. I am not a member of the clergy, nor am I an employee of any diocese or parish. I have no position in the Church, and every position I once had, I have now resigned from. I have no title, no office, no job within the Church, and at this time I don’t want one. I’m not making any money from this, nor am I seeking publicity. I have nothing to gain from writing to you now. In fact, it would be easier for me to say nothing at all, hide among the millions, and watch you from a distance. What I have to say has been said many times by others far more influential than I. Now it’s my turn to say it, and I do hope you will listen. I am simply a Catholic layman, a husband and a father. This open letter is addressed first to my own bishop, who is new among you and blameless in all of this. It is then addressed to the rest of you. Some of you are blameless, some of you are not, and I am sure that some of you simply don’t care. To those of you who don’t care, feel free to stop reading now. I wouldn’t want to waste your precious time. To those of you who do care, complicit in this present crisis or not, I invite you to read on.

You have failed us. In 2002, in Dallas, you promised that this matter of sexual abuse and cover up would be dealt with, and we would never find ourselves in this situation again. Or at least, that was the impression you gave us all. That was a lie. If you were a bishop in 2002, please be a man and own up to it. There have been many cases of sexual abuse since then, and many of you have covered it up. Furthermore, some of you who were complicit in previous cover-up did not do the honorable thing and resign. Nor did you admit to your own culpability, but instead continued to protect and shield yourselves from any consequences associated with the crisis that befell us then. Some of you continued in cover-up even after 2002.

I recognize that not all of you were complicit in this, but right now (from the perspective of the laity) it’s pretty hard to tell who is complicit and who isn’t. This is why so many of us have blamed all of you collectively, and will continue to do so, until this matter is truly addressed in a meaningful way. I’m not talking about clutching your pectoral crosses and telling us how you didn’t know, and how sorry you are. We’re tired of that! We’ll have none of it! We want actions not words, and nothing but actions will suffice now.

Because you have failed us, so badly for so long, many within the laity have now turned to the government for help, and we will continue to do so. Many of us are eager to see criminal justice be done in this matter, and many of us are looking to the federal government as well as the states for help. We want our Church to be clean again, and if that means going to Caesar to mop it up, then so be it. You, dear bishops, have taught us from the beginning that we must be good citizens. Part of being a good citizen means stopping the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. So that is what we are going to do. The government of this nation has been empowered, by the people, to investigate and take legal action against the Catholic Church in the United States. Many Catholics support this. I am among them. Last month, October 9, a letter was sent from Attorney William McSwain, U.S. Department of Justice, to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S.C.C.B., instructing all U.S. Catholic bishops, of all rites and jurisdictions, “to preserve the documents” consisting of anything related to evidence kept in diocesan “secret archives,” reserved for allegations of clerical misconduct, including sex abuse. It is no mystery that the intent of this instruction is to preserve evidence for an upcoming R.I.C.O. investigation. I support this letter, and I strongly encourage you bishops to abide by the contents thereof, so as to avoid any additional criminal penalties that may be the result of obstructing justice. It is tragic that it has come to this. I cannot describe the conflicting sorrow I feel right now, as a taxpaying citizen of these United States, to unleash the full wrath and fury of my own government against my own Church. Had it been anything else, anything, I would have sided with my Church and solicited my government officials to stop. However, because what you have allowed has compromised the safety of all Catholic children, including my own, I must (as a father, a citizen and a man) approve and support what my government is about to do to you.

If you are not complicit in this crisis, you have nothing to fear. Please cooperate with the authorities fully, and all will be well with you. If however, you are complicit in this crisis, I strongly suggest you turn in your resignation to Pope Francis now, without delay, and while you are waiting for him to accept it, fully cooperate with the authorities in every way possible, so as to reduce the criminal penalties that are surely coming your way.

When you meet in Baltimore next week, you will find nearby a large gathering of lay Catholics who have come to pray for you and show you their concern. I understand that the U.S.C.C.B. has spent a large sum of money to order “enhanced security” to protect you from these men, women and children with rosaries in hand. I’m not sure why the Conference saw it necessary to protect you from their prayers and tears, but at least you now know why there will be so many security guards present at your meeting. I would like to encourage you to break away from this fortress the Conference has provided, and go out to meet these people who have been so tragically abused by your actions, or lack thereof, and perhaps say some prayers with them. Shedding a tear or two might be meaningful, if it’s followed with real action in the Conference to prove your sincerity. Remember, we are no longer interested in words and performances. We want concrete measures.

What are those measures that we require?

First, we want resignations. If you were complicit in this crisis, in any way, no matter how seemingly small, we want your resignation on Francis’ desk immediately. If you do this, you will perhaps garner some of our sympathies when the Feds come after you, and we may even plead to the authorities for mercy on your behalf. If, however, you are one of the complicit ones and you do not resign, don’t look for sympathy from us when the Feds come after you. For our sympathies will be with them!

Second, we want a commission of laypeople, consisting of retired law enforcement and experts in child abuse, to be given full authority to look into your records and investigate your conduct as the administrators of your dioceses. It is very important that this commission not be answerable to you, but rather independent. Lack of independence will make this commission a joke and none of us will believe their findings. This independent commission, should investigate the bishops at least every ten years, and submit its final report on each bishop in triplicate. The first copy will go to the bishop being investigated. The second copy will go to Rome. The third copy will go to local law enforcement and the F.B.I. Now we understand how the authority structure works at the U.S.C.C.B. We know you cannot compel bishops to comply with this independent commission or any resolution of the Conference. That’s fine. We understand that. Which is why we demand that the commission be created anyway, and that bishops willing to comply should do so voluntarily, with the U.S.C.C.B. keeping a public record, available on its website, showing which bishops have complied with the commission and which bishops have not. We, the laity, will make our own judgement from there. If the U.S.C.C.B. will not cooperate with this on an institutional level, then we demand that another conference or council be created that will, and that compliant bishops join this conference or council as evidence of their commitment to solving the problem. There is no harm in being a member of two national organizations — the U.S.C.C.B. and something else built on episcopal accountability.

Third, we want a letter sent to Pope Francis, bearing the signatures of all the bishops of the U.S.C.C.B., requesting a Vatican investigation into the claims of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. We want this letter made public and placed on the website of the U.S.C.C.B., any other conference or council the bishops might create, and on the diocesan websites of every bishop in the country. We would like the contents of this letter brought up in a pastoral address to every parish in every diocese.

Fourth and finally, we want the bishops to stop lying to us, by addressing the real source of the crisis, which is rampant homosexual behavior within the priesthood. The primary problem driving this crisis is pederasty. The mainstream media has clouded this issue by calling it “pedophilia,” and some bishops have been complicit in bolstering this false narrative. It’s not primarily pedophilia and never was. While one can find occasional cases of this, just as one can find occasional cases of a priest raping a teenage girl, everyone knows that is not the primary source of the problem. We all know this, Your Excellencies, we are not stupid. We can read the John Jay Report too. We know who the majority of victims are. These are, by a margin of about 80%, post-pubescent teenage boys. That, by definition, is not pedophilia. That is pederasty, an entirely different mental pathology based on homosexuality. One cannot be a pederast unless one is first a homosexual. Everyone knows this. History has proved, over and over again, that homosexuals shelter and protect pederasts. We can speculate on the reason from now until Kingdom come and it makes no difference. The historical evidence is there before our eyes. It cannot be denied now. Stop playing games with us. Man up and admit the problem. If you can’t do this, we know you’re not serious. For generations now, you and your predecessors have admitted scores of homosexual men into the seminaries and the priesthood. Some of them became bishops. Some of you are among them. (Let’s not kid around here. We know.) When you concentrate a large number of homosexual men into one vocation, the results are inevitable and plain for all the world to see. Maintaining celibacy is very difficult for the homosexual man when so many opportunities to break that vow are all around him by men suffering from similar temptations. Priests with priests, committing what is shameful, and sometimes even in public, as we saw recently in Florida. Not just spiritual fathers with other spiritual fathers, but also spiritual fathers with their adult spiritual children, committing spiritual incest in physical ways. No man has been safe from their sexual predation, especially the amiable young men in the seminaries, eager to please their mentors, who these priests corrupt with their homosexual incest. Thus, they produce more of their kind to prey upon others. This has been going on for generations! Enough! We, the laity, expect nothing less than a complete embargo on all homosexuals in the seminaries, and this would include both faculty and students. We expect this embargo to be vigorous and draconian. Nothing less will do. Likewise, we also expect a similar embargo on all priests unable to keep their vow of celibacy, especially if this failure is with other men. As for those priests already ordained, suffering from same-sex temptation, if they have proved themselves by keeping their vow of celibacy, then they can remain, but only if they are watched closely. In the future, however, no man who suffers from latent same-sex temptation, should ever be admitted to the seminary, and certainly not the priesthood. To place such men in the clerical collar is cruel and unusual punishment, not only to the lay faithful, but also to the poor soul seeking ordination. Only a merciful bishop would spare him from becoming a special target for the devil and his fallen angels. For we know now, tragically, that the floors of Hell are likely paved with the skulls of pederast priests and their episcopal enablers. To ordain a homosexual man is to unfairly expose him to this potential fate. Only a cruel bishop, likely damned himself, would knowingly do this.

I have expressed my mind here, and my heart. I believe many other laypeople (and perhaps even some clergy) would support what I have written, if not fully than at least in part. As I said above, I will say again. I have nothing to gain from this, other than the hope that some of you will listen, and maybe (just maybe) my children will enjoy a better Church than I did when they reach adulthood.

I am a convert you see, having come into the Catholic Church in 2000. So I’ve been through this nightmare twice now, along with millions of other converts and cradle Catholics. Had I known in 1999 what I know now, I would not have converted to Catholicism. I would have either remained an Anglican, or else considered Eastern Orthodoxy. For no convert chooses to convert to a scandal-ridden Church like this. I have endured it twice, once in 2002 and again in 2018. I will not endure it a third time. (I’m sure I speak for many here.) The federal government will soon see to that. I know you cannot control what happens in Rome or around the world. I’m not asking you to control those things. You can, however, control what happens right here in the United States, in your own dioceses and by holding each other accountable. This is my final plea. It is the last open letter I’ll ever write to you. I hope it was not in vain.

I am sincerely yours in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Shane Schaetzel

1 Comment

  1. Shane,
    I congratulate you on putting pressure on the bishops to have this ongoing scandal dealt with at the base.
    However, the church will always have ongoing problems of one sort or another. This particular one is fueled by the aftermath of the sexual revolution, which has destroyed western sexual morality. It will take a long time for the culture to recover from this. Things will get much worse in that culture, as we can see day by day, before they get better. We Christians will be persecuted for standing in the way of this wave of immorality, and we already are seeing the beginnings of this. The problem is not about to just go away.
    The church is lucky in a sense that it is in the media’s crosshairs, as this is forcing it, however reluctantly, to deal with the problem. But in society in general, nothing is being done to address paedophilia or pederasty, no pressure is being brought to bear to help the countless victims, or any attempt made to deal with the pornography, the violent games, often involving sex, which our youth is subjected to constantly, to say nothing of the bizarre sexual education programs they undergo which only attempt to corrupt them.
    We will be hearing of all this for a long time to come.

    Liked by 1 person

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