I saw the full-moon-sized face and squinted. I stared at his image for several seconds. Yes; it was him.
In the closing frame of Bishop Joseph Strickland’s 2018 USCCB plenary assembly testimony and rebuke to bishops for their concealment of homosexual predator Theodore McCarrick sat a clergy member below the dais, facing the sea of bishops.
He is seen below the dais as Bishop Strickland returns to his seat to trailing applause. Poker players call what the priest did, “a tell.” He addressed a sudden itch by his nose, as if something mysterious and invisible just struck him in the face.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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The priest’s name is Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill, then the general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. You will remember him from The Pillar’s story two years ago, the one that sent him into hiding and forced him to resign immediately from his position at the USCCB. The Pillar had gathered data showing Msgr. Burrill’s mobile phone was used throughout 2018-2020 to access Grindr, a “hook-up” app designed for people to meet up to have homosexual sex with strangers.
It was Msgr. Burrill who held a critical oversight role in the Catholic Church’s response to the landslide of sexual abuse and misconduct scandals in 2018. In essence, one of the Church’s assigned watchdogs against clergy predation after 2018 was shown to be in bathhouses and gay bars, where he habitually pursued a homosexual lifestyle.
You will recall that after the 2002 homosexual clergy abuse scandals, the one elected for a similar oversight role was McCarrick.
On this autumn Thursday, Msgr. Burrill oversees a parish in a restful village in Wisconsin. Also today, after decades of proven immoral carnality, McCarrick is free to do as he wants. Disgraced Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston bishop Michael Bransfield can occasionally be found presenting himself as a bishop at glad-handing functions in West Virginia. Several-time accused sexual predator, Jesuit priest and artist Rev. Marko Rupnik, has returned to priestly ministry after his removal from the Society of Jesus. It is tedious to proceed because the point must be made: homosexually active clergy members roam untethered and unfenced in America—and Bishop Strickland, the man who tried to stop them, has been punished, and now has no home.
It is everywhere, this leviathan pus that oozes into the worldwide Church. Although it will have arrived decades too late, it is well within reason that men of stamina and sacrifice in the Roman Catholic hierarchy will eventually take on the leviathan—which is active disordered clergy homosexual activity occurring from some of the highest levels of the Church down to the local parish.
As long as this evil persists, the Church will continue to fracture and split, where eventually it will all but collapse and disappear. Of course, the Mystical Bride of Christ will press on as a hope-filled and bright Alleluia of light, but until the putrid fountain from which many in the Church drinks is acknowledged, drained, and scrubbed clean, Our Lady’s tears will ceaselessly flow. And within a decade or so, the remnant Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger prophesied in 1969 will be wholly realized.
“If you think active priestly homosexuality is something that happened decades ago, you have no idea what is happening in the Church today,” said an individual who has served alongside priests for many years. “It is explosive. The priesthood remains one of the best hiding places on the planet for this dark lifestyle. This problem is current. And it is massive.” This person spoke without rancor, malice, or emotion. He spoke as one who might mention the weather or the score of last night’s hockey game. If you think active priestly homosexuality is something that happened decades ago, you have no idea what is happening in the Church today.Tweet This
Since Bishop Strickland’s ouster five days ago, three individuals who serve in various Church capacities have told me they believe at least fifty percent of priests in their diocese are active homosexuals. The three individuals are not bomb-throwers; they simply said what they are almost certain is true.
“The Church is entering a period of a type of Babylonian captivity. Anthropologically, with active clergy homosexuality, it’s entered a period of a type of anti-fatherhood. It is the time of an anti-Bridegroom—because it is the inverse of God’s Fatherhood,” a long-time pastor said on Tuesday. “Even good and chaste bishops and faithful clergy have mostly made peace with their surrender to the homosexual culture. They know they will be crushed if they address or speak against it. You must stay silent, or you will be annihilated.”
Just one story I’d like to share, a personal one, that demonstrates this level of annihilation—and of the manner in which active clergy homosexuality has never played well in the Church. It’s caused millions of Catholics to flee, to become Nones, agnostics, or to join any number of Protestant denominations. It’s placed hundreds of millions of dollars—that could have gone to the poor—into the hands of attorneys and the sexually scarred.
My story: Numberless people believe the tentacles of clergy homosexuality ended the life of my uncle, Msgr. Thomas Wells, one of the most beloved and devoted priests in the history of the Archdiocese of Washington.
Now-deceased James Cardinal Hickey of Washington D.C. transferred Msgr. Wells in the late ’90s to build a new church at a parish in Germantown, Md., and terminate a homosexual-priest coven mafia. He helped to accomplish the former but had the tables turned on him as a consequence of attempting the latter when he was stabbed to death in his rectory the summer of 2000. An unshakable conviction, shared by dozens of priests and numberless lay faithful in the Maryland/D.C. corridor, is that his life ended as a direct result of the active homosexuality practiced by priests who lived in the now-bulldozed rectory, that for years had been the site of appalling sacrilege and sin.
Two priests, Rev. Paul E. Lavin and Rev. Aaron J. Cote, who had served at the parish, were later credibly accused as sexual predators of teenage boys. A third pastor, who seems to have vanished, is widely known to have been sexually active with other men prior to my uncle’s arrival.
My uncle’s first act as pastor at the parish was to rip out the rectory hot tub, where parties for priests were widely known to have taken place. A secret service agent and police officer involved with the investigatory work told me Msgr. Wells died for one of two reasons: it was “a hit” for what he had learned, or “that his murderer was looking for a ‘trick’ [that night]. Msgr. Wells was murdered because of the homosexual activity that had taken place in that rectory.”
My large family was startled to learn what then-cardinal McCarrick did in the days preceding the trial of his convicted murderer, Robert Paul Lucas. McCarrick issued a letter to each priest in the Washington Archdiocese forbidding them to attend my uncle’s trial.
Very briefly, for readers perplexed by the enormity of the number of homosexually-active priests in today’s Church, I offer this explanation from Monsignor John Esseff, a 95-year-old exorcist and priest of 70-plus years who spends his days offering private retreats for clergy from his small apartment in Pennsylvania. He has heard, arguably, more priests’ confessions than any priest in the world. When Mother Teresa asked him in the early ’80s to begin the work of forming priests, he began to travel to seminaries to present retreats, where he said he repeatedly came face-to-face with the malevolent shadow of homosexuality. When he voiced his concerns and warnings to seminary rectors, he was often politely rebuffed. It was then that he came to realize that a closeted subculture had been set free to roam and deform the spotless Bride from within.
“I began to see that the seminary was the sick womb of Holy Mother Church. Priests became deformed in the belly of the church—or if you were a well-intentioned and good seminarian, you were going to be aborted. The guys who were real, they would just leave.
“I saw it as demonic. It was easy to piece together—when you’re anti-Eucharist, anti-Mary, and anti-prayer, you’re of the demonic.”
So what to do? Gathered today at the USCCB meetings in Baltimore is much of the “old guard.” Each older bishop is fully aware of, or possibly even involved in the hidden subculture. It can be imagined that every American bishop—young or old, faithful or unfaithful, masculine or the opposite—grasps to some degree the strain of active homosexuality within their ranks and in their own dioceses. It can also be imagined that not a single mention of the scourge will occur throughout the meetings.
Meanwhile, dispiritedness crushes the souls of countless millions of faithful laity who noiselessly beg to be nourished by a shepherd or two who speaks out against it—who understands their identity to protect and guard their scarred consciences. Deliberate Catholics despise the so-called Lavender Mafia, and the piecemeal destruction of the Church’s sacred traditions their sins have wrought. They hate that their children are now questioning the existence of God and of His Natural law.
On Tuesday, Cardinal Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, merged the Synod on Synodality with the Eucharistic Revival. He used the familiar Gospel story of the Road to Emmaus to attempt to marry the Source and Summit of our faith with the month-long October event countless Catholic laity question. Cardinal Pierre clearly does not understand the mind of the exhausted American Catholic, who thought he had, alas, stepped from the word salad haze of synodal adverbs and adjectives.
It is nouns and verbs laity starves for today: adoration, mortification, signal graces, contemplative prayer, sanctity, Hell, etc. Sadly, even a faithful, daily Mass attendee may never once hear any of the aforementioned terms—and that is an enormous and frightening issue. Why? Because it means our Catholic faith is disappearing before our very eyes, in the very place we come to be fed by it—in the Sacrifice of the Mass and from the priestly voice behind the ambo.
There is a major identity crisis in the priesthood today. It is a rupture. Clergy members who are engaged in homosexual relations cannot properly nourish their flock in the dimension laity deserves—but that’s, perhaps, not the gravest problem. Is the bigger problem that chaste and faithful bishops and priests are too afraid to speak plainly about the homosexual scourge in their Church, and to finally work at cleaning things up? Or is it an even bigger problem than that—is clergy’s reticence to preaching against the rampaging LGBTQ movement contributing to the wide-scale acceleration of the secularization of their parishioners?
An enormously growing faction of regular Sunday Mass-goers, who ten years ago would have rejected the notion of so-called homosexual marriage, now have no issue with it. In October, when Pope Francis didn’t reject the notion of blessing same-sex relationships in his response to questions presented to him by a handful of bishops, why would a poorly catechized Catholic lay member take issue with it—especially in light of the fact that their pastor does not wade into the Church’s teaching on homosexual acts?
Bishops and clergy members are called to live a holy life, care for souls, and help to lead folks to heaven. They are called to be unblinking heralds of Truth. But outside the finger of God, until they begin to break from their silence on the homosexual scourge in their Church, we seem headed directly toward schism.
There seems to be only one answer to solving the issue. If a bishop or clergy member ascertains indisputable proof of an actively gay clergy member, he must suggest in private that the individual immediately meets with his superior and tender his resignation. If the individual refuses, he must take the case to an honest bishop or cardinal, and provide a detailed report of what he knows. If this, too, fails, he must go to a member of the Catholic media, and urge the reporter to write the story in full.
Perhaps the greatest problem facing the Church is that in its long-standing comfort, it has repeatedly chosen the path of least resistance. Clergy who lay low with knowledge of a homosexually-active bishop or priest reject their mandate to protect the flock. When a priest quietly ignores the neighborhood’s library transgender story hour or President Joe Biden’s embrace of childhood sex mutilation and homosexual marriage, et. al, it is a stain on his identity.
Christ commanded Peter to tend, care for, and spiritually nourish His flock. The celibate nature of the Roman Church was to liberate the priest to be radically available to accomplish this task. Christ requested martyrs before ascending to His Father. Is there a holy Athanasius among you, one willing to stand among your brethren at today’s meeting to at least begin the conversation? The laity starves for you.
Our Lady will be guarding you, her little Athanasius, if you do decide to stand up. And it will be you that finally slowed her tears. And I imagine she will tell you as much one day.