Peter Baklinski

Gay porn actor left it all for Jesus after ‘possession,’ terrifying near-death experience

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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Note: An extensive interview with Joseph Sciambra is included below the story.

NAPA, California, October 2, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Joseph Sciambra, 44, will be the first to tell you of his large-hearted and abiding love for gays. He will also be the first to tell you that despite its feel-good name, genuine happiness cannot be found in the “gay” lifestyle.

The former gay porn actor has described his own journey into the darkest core of the gay underworld in the Castro District of San Francisco in the early 90’s as like being “Swallowed by Satan” – the title of his new book, in which he recounts his experiences. 

Joseph, who left the gay scene thirteen years ago after a dramatic reconversion to the Catholic faith, says his quest for love and acceptance through sex began with pornography. At the age of eight, he one day naively flipped through a porn magazine left out by an older brother. This was followed by more graphic porn magazines. Then came masturbation and the urge to act out with others what he saw in the magazines. 

Joseph says that what he craved to experience was a deep and satisfying sexual nirvana. He grasped for this by expanding his sexual escapades. New sexual experiences with new partners was the only stimuli that seemed to offer him the excitement, what he called the “happy-place,” that he was so desperately seeking. Brothels and prostitutes became part of his sexual routine. 

Becoming bored with female porn, Joseph moved onto gay porn. Then he realized that he must be with gay men if he was to gratify his ever-increasing sexual desires. 

Older gay men initiated 19-year-old Joseph through gay sex into the Castro gay scene. He began visiting bathhouses and adult video arcades for anonymous gay sex. In his quest for love and companionship Joseph immersed himself deeper into the gay scene. What he sought after so desperately constantly eluded him. 

So-called “glory-hole booths” (a place for anonymous oral sex) offered the next form of excitement. It was at one such place that Joseph says he delivered himself sexually over to Satan, who presented himself in the form of a gaping mouth with a foot-long forked tongue. From that point forward Joseph began hearing voices inside his head. 

Seeking new stimulant, Joseph became an amateur porn actor and escort. 

Joseph finally found himself traveling down into the darkened dungeons of sadomasochism. Here he inflicted and received sexualized pain and torture. This included horrendous practices too graphic to describe here. Most of this was filmed for the gay porn industry. Sexual nirvana for Joseph could now only be obtained along with violence, subjugation, and aggression.

Now in his late twenties, Joseph says that all he experienced inside himself was hate: hate for other men, hate for his life, and hate for the world. By now he had experienced sex with as many as 1000 men. He embraced everything that was sexually gruesome and hideous. 

One diabolical orgy was so violent that it put Joseph into the hospital. There he had an experience of death and of his soul descending into an open and salivating mouth, which he says he knew was hell. 

But Joseph’s Catholic mother was at his bedside, praying earnestly. Fear seized Joseph’s heart. He did not want to enter the eternal mouth that had opened up to receive him because of his life of choosing sin. He says he begged for God’s help and deliverance. At that moment he felt himself being brought back into his body. 

Joseph went on to rediscover his Catholic faith that he had forsaken in his childhood. He experienced forgiveness from God for his years of sexual sin in the sacrament of confession. Demons were cast from him in an exorcism performed by a Catholic priest. He says he found strength to continue his faith journey by frequently receiving the Eucharist at Mass, and found help and consolation from Mary, the mother of God.

Joseph admits that he still struggles with attraction to other men and with temptations to masturbate, but he says he has come to know that the love, acceptance, and peace he so ardently sought in sex with other men, Jesus now gives to him in abundance through a spiritual life. 

For Joseph, same-sex attraction is a cross that God has asked certain people to bear for the redemption of the world. Now running a Catholic religious shop in Napa, California, Joseph says that there is genuine joy in carrying the cross. By uniting his sufferings with those of the suffering Jesus, Joseph believes he is helping to save his gay friends from a devilish fate he barely escaped. 

According to Joseph, many gay men have come to him, telling him of their unhappiness and their own similar experiences in the gay lifestyle. Joseph says he will speak first of his love for them. Then he will speak of how his encounter with and acceptance of God’s love saved him from being “swallowed by Satan.” He will tell them that gay sexual ecstasy is momentary and delusional, but God’s love is enduring, satisfying, and as real as it gets. 

 

LifeSiteNews.com interview with Joseph Sciambra

Joseph shared with LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) his experience in the gay lifestyle as it relates to today’s hot-button topics on homosexuality.

LSN: In your book “Swallowed by Satan,” Playboy was your gateway to hell; pornography led you to homosexuality. What are your thoughts on the logic behind this progression?

Joseph Sciambra: Children, especially boys, are naturally curious about the opposite sex and sex in general. Before I even saw a pornographic magazine, I had already been introduced to the idea of female sexuality through such popular shows of the time, including “Charlie’s Angels” and “Three’s Company.” When I had the opportunity to see naked women in a Playboy or Penthouse, of course, I took it. After all, many of my friends’ fathers collected Playboys, as did my older brother; so it was seen as a sort of male passage rite; looking at porn somehow made you a man.

After that first introduction to porn, you are hooked. Then begins a desire for more pornography and variant forms of porn; i.e. different female models, more explicit material, then the inability to become excited by soft-core forms of porn. It’s a cycle of addiction that often mirrors drug and alcohol abuse. When this exposure to porn happens in childhood, the entire structure of desire within the mind becomes reliant on a constant flow of visual stimulus. Later on, in adulthood, the idea of being with just one woman often leaves the porn addict feeling underwhelmed. 

LSN: Your experience with homosexuality is absolutely terrifying, especially when you relate the kind of sexual acts that were forced upon you and that you forced upon others. What you related of your experience seems quite alien from anything having to do with the political push for gay “marriage”. From your experience on the gay scene for ten years in the 90’s, what do you think is really behind the push for gay “marriage”?

Sciambra: At its core, I believe the push for gay marriage is a political ruse foisted upon the gay community by the Democrats and some within the elite liberal gay-lobby movement. Back in the early 1990s, when I was an out and proud gay man, I saw this same thing happen with DADT [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy] in the military. It became a political rallying-cry in which the gay community could lock-step behind; even though this policy affected relatively very few gay men or women. 

Now, the concept of gay marriage has been successfully fused with that of homosexual equality. This creates a dynamic in which all gays feel obliged to support gay marriage — even if they have no interest in marriage for themselves — because it has to do with homosexual liberation. And, the point of homosexual liberation is to inevitably create some kind of relief within the gay mind, because every gay person, once they have embraced their homosexuality, comes to that end [of having no peace] after much suffering, persecution, and struggle. Going into the lifestyle is an attempt at peace and wholeness. But, it’s a deception. And the peace they long for never happens.   

LSN: Based on what you relate in your book about homosexual relationships, it seems that mainstream media has presented America with a sanitized version of the gay lifestyle, as can be seen in a movie like "Brokeback Mountain" which glorifies a homosexual relationship between two cowboys. What would you say to awaken people to the reality of what homosexuality is really about? How would you pull the wool away from people’s eyes?

Sciambra: Because the mainstream media is collaborating with those in the gay elite, there has been a very skewed and untrue picture of the homosexual lifestyle painted for the American people. At one time, I bought into that as well, although the imagery was very different when I was a child. At that time, The Village People and The Castro in San Francisco were portrayed as one big party. 

By the time I entered the lifestyle, the mood had changed with the advent of AIDS. I had to watch as beautiful young men from all across the United States, who arrived in San Francisco seeking a safe harbor of acceptance, succumbed to disease. It was heartbreaking. But in the 90’s, things started to return to business as usual: gay pornography became a hot commodity and a new generation of boys were lured to their deaths by promises of pleasure with no risk. 

With my book, my intention was not to simply disgust people or gross them out, but to reveal a very significant side of the gay lifestyle that is rarely investigated. The last serious exploration was probably the much maligned film “Cruising” directed by William Friedkin. But that movie got it right. Because, although, gay men may one day settle down and attempt monogamy, the vast majority, beforehand, had to travel through a wasteland of perversity and promiscuity. Because, every young boy, who just enters the lifestyle, is quickly set upon by a troop of eager older men ready to exploit new recruits. It sets you up for a life of bitterness and disappointment. Some survive and move on, many do not. But, they all reemerge damaged and untrusting. 

You are very keen and astute to realize that the gay lifestyle has been “sanitized” by the media, and that was precisely what I wanted to fight against [by writing my book]; to show just how ugly, and yes dirty, the gay lifestyle is; but also how ultimately sad and tragic it seems to end for almost everyone involved. I especially wanted to reach modern parents who are so willing to offer their sons up to this horror – to explain what awaits their children, and to also give some dignity to those who fell into the life because of no fault of their own. 

LSN: Good Christians speaking out against homosexuality are accused of bigotry and homophobia. Such Christians will respond that they are not speaking against persons who identify themselves as gay per se, but against their actions which are harmful to everyone involved. Many Christians are simply motivated by love of neighbour to speak this way. (But of course, unfortunately, some are not.) As someone who has descended to the very depths of the homosexual lifestyle, what message do you think Christians should give to homosexuals that would help them the most? How should Christians deliver the message so that it’s effective and so that they avoid coming across as bigots?

Sciambra: I have seen many unhappy and searching gay men and women turned off to Christianity because of an over-zealous Christian who showed them condemnation, but no love. As I discovered, when a gay person is contemplating leaving the lifestyle, they often just want a disinterested friend; i.e. someone that doesn’t want or demand something from them. This may be a matter of just listening, not really offering a lot of catechesis or dogma, but simply letting them know that you care. Once a relationship is established, you have to decide when and how the Truth of Jesus Christ’s plan for each one of us is to be delivered. Again, one must always remember that these are deeply wounded and suffering people: they need your sympathy, compassion, and prayers. 

LSN: You encountered the darkness of spiritual evil during your sexual downward spiral. Is there any connection between the homosexual movement and the spiritual forces of evil?

Sciambra: I believe there is a connection between the homosexual movement and the forces of evil because the gay lifestyle is essentially a lie and a tool of deception. Those that advocate for it – promise much, but rarely deliver. 

Now, one of the main recruiting devices is porn. It gives a completely false view of gay relationships and gay sex. In porn, everyone is beautiful, happy and healthy. Its themes, often emphasizing supreme masculinity and sexualized father-son relationships aims at the very woundedness that sits at the center of every gay man’s malformed sense of masculinity. Porn preys upon their desires for healing. What you get, is a quick fix. That, later on, leaves you more damaged than before.

I know heaven wept when I had to see so many young men buried because of disease and suicide. It was a waste. And, that was evil.

LSN: There is a movement to crush those who offer therapy to persons struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction. What are your thoughts as to why there is such opposition to this kind of therapy?

Sciambra: There is opposition to gay-reparative therapy because [born-this-way gay advocates] know deep-down that it works. Very good reparative therapy excavates the root causes which brought forth homosexual desires in the person. For the most part, these incidents are embedded in early-childhood traumas. When a therapist is able to dig down and reveal these traumas, they no longer have the same power over the person that they once did. At that point, relationships can be mended and new healthy friendships can be fostered. 

LSN: Porn led you down a slippery slope. What advice do you have to offer to someone struggling with pornography addiction?

Sciambra: The advice I would give to someone struggling with pornography is that healing is possible, but that it takes time, perseverance, and being stout of heart. Most importantly, this is only possible by the Grace of God and our full cooperation in His Love for us.

The person must spend much time in prayer, taking part in the Sacraments (daily Mass and weekly Confession) in order to understand why they have this need to view pornography. What empty space is it filling? A great part of this endeavor is having a very good confessor and or spiritual director. And, in this I discourage men from roaming about from confessor to confessor because they are embarrassed that they have become a habitual sinner. When you find a qualified spiritual director, stay with him. You have to start from this place of honesty: with yourself, others, and with God. 

LSN: Anyone would recoil at the thought of seeing someone go through what you experienced of homosexuality as described in your book. What advice do you have to someone struggling with — and tempted to act out on — same-sex attraction?

Sciambra: To those struggling with same-sex attraction, I would encourage developing their prayer life; their relationship with God. They need to spend much time in prayer, going to daily Mass, and making a weekly Confession. 

They also need to have a very good confessor and/or spiritual director. 

Instead of acting out on those desires, whether that involves sexual activity with another person or by viewing pornography, they need to excavate their feelings and memories, in order to discover why they have these homosexual desires. This is a very difficult and painful process, but it must be accomplished. Here, they must completely strip themselves of their false pride and stand completely unashamed before the Lord. Because, without exception, every gay man and woman that I ever knew, reluctantly at times, could trace their homosexuality back to some childhood experience. 

LSN: People who see their loved ones being pulled into the gay lifestyle are often unprepared to say or do anything about it. They become silent. What advice do you have to someone who is concerned about someone they love who is toying with the gay lifestyle?

Sciambra: When someone is concerned about a person that they know, who may be experimenting with homosexuality, they must first remember that God is Love. He is not shock, horror, or anger. Therefore, the way to approach such a person is not with worry or questions, but with reassurances of Love.

Every person who delves into the gay lifestyle is a person who has been hurt. As a result, they can often be guarded, mistrusting, and overly-sensitive. 

This must be considered at all times. 

With that in mind, the best outreach is gentle, patient, and understanding. This does not mean to capitulate, on the contrary, you must have an inner strength grounded in the Truth of Christ, but you must also be guided and open to the workings of the Holy Spirit. You must guard against becoming emotional, because the Truth can only be relayed and accepted when it is offered in kindness and understanding. 

Joseph’s website is available here

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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Growing ‘Women Against Feminism’ movement draws fury

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By Hilary White
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Critics of feminism have long said that it is entering the final stages of its long career, with more of its assertions about the nature of human sexual and social relations being contradicted by the evidence and fewer young people following its dictates every decade. But in the last few weeks, it seems that feminism’s last gasp is being used to direct insults at young women who are lining up to publicly reject and ridicule it.

The Tumblr site Women Against Feminism has started a social networking trend in which thousands of young women photograph themselves holding signs bluntly denouncing feminism, giving a sharp indication that the feminist brand has become poison to young, hip, and internet-savvy women.

Mainstream and journalistic feminists have lashed out at the site and its followers, entering into an online spat over the increasingly popular photos. The signs say, “I am not a victim,” and “This is what an anti-feminist looks like.”

They continue: “I am an adult who is capable of taking responsibility for myself and my actions. I define myself and derive my value by my own standards. I don’t need to be ‘empowered’. I am not a target for violence and there is no war against me. I respect me and I refuse to demonize them and blame them for my problems.”

The messages held by the women pinpoint with pithy and acerbic precision exactly the reasons given by many critics that the movement has lost favour with young people. They call it a creed of double standards that promotes victimhood and endorses bullying of anyone who critiques it.

The site’s explanatory page, which was taken down for unknown reasons in the last two days, said, “Feminists are the only people who lose their minds with rage when you tell them that women already have the same exact rights as men. That’s not good enough. They want more. They desperately want to be victims. They want a privileged social position.”

The author goes on to accuse feminism in general of systematic censorship, discrimination, elitism and “policing other women” who do not toe the line – as well as baseline misandry. The anonymous creator denounced feminism’s adoption of “abortion as ‘empowerment’”:

This opinion is unpopular, but I don’t agree that I need to have my baby scraped out of my uterus in order to feel empowered. But the abortion industry (i.e. Planned Parenthood) makes a ton of money off this perversion of empowerment. ‘Abortion as empowerment’ teaches women to see their wombs as nothing but garbage bins full of disposable waste.

One of the contributors wrote, “I don’t need feminism because my self-worth is not directly tied to my victim complex. As a woman in the western world I am not oppressed, and neither are you,” says one. Another: “I don’t need feminism because I don’t need to bully someone to share my opinions with others.”

Some come right out and say that feminism promotes exactly the evils it purports to fight against: “I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlements and supremacy.”

Although the site and its contentious photos have been running around the internet for many months, arguments among journalism’s feminists started breaking out this week after a mocking Buzzfeed feature helped the site gain momentum on social media outlets.

Some feminist journalists simply flung insults. Lillian Kalish sniffed on Ryot, “These Women Who Think They Don’t Need Feminism Don’t Know What Feminism Is.” “Did these posters ever think to look up the actual definition of feminism?”

Nuala McKeever, in the Belfast Telegraph, called the women posting the photos “silly, ignorant, vacuous wee girls with absolutely no thoughts beyond their own self-absorbed inanities.”

Time Magazine’s Sarah Miller said, “I Really, Truly, Fully Hate ‘Women Against Feminism’—But…” Miller wrote, “[T]he tendency to see sexism everywhere is proof that feminism is healthy and vigilant, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, because misogyny is insidious and rampant… We need feminism.”

But Miller added, “Still, the pain that we experience as women—even physical—does not give us the right to tell people there’s one way to think or feel, or to assume that we have some god-like understanding of everyone’s motivations.”

Cathy Young, however, responded in Time, saying, “Stop Fem-Splaining: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right.” She writes, “The charge that feminism stereotypes men as predators while reducing women to helpless victims certainly doesn’t apply to all feminists—but it’s a reasonably fair description of a large, influential, highly visible segment of modern feminism.”

The site, Young says, “raises valid questions about the state of Western feminism in the 21st Century — questions that must be addressed if we are to continue making progress toward real gender equality.”

Sarah Boesveld wrote in the National Post on Friday that the site shows that feminism has become “complicated” and “sometimes alienating.” She quotes an email sent to the paper by 22 year-old Australian Lisa Sandford, who “believes in equality for the sexes” but firmly rejects feminism as “rude and nasty” and intends to be a stay-at-home mother. 

Sandford wrote, “If feminism really accepted equality, they would not tell me my views are wrong, they would accept it and let me be.”

Browse the 'Women Against Feminism' archives here (warning: occasional strong language).


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Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

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Welcome Baby Filipino 100 Million!

Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse
By Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

Population Research Institute welcomes the birth of little Chonalyn Sentino. Baby Chonalyn was born this past Sunday to parents Clemente and Dailin, and was feted in the Philippines as “Baby 100 Million.” PRI welcomes Baby Chonalyn as well, saying that she will be a blessing to her family, her community, and her nation.

The Philippines is one of the largest Catholic countries in the world, and its people value children. For this reason, it has been a target of the population controllers for decades. It was one of the countries singled out by Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council in 1974 for special “attention” and, more recently, has been bullied by the Obama administration into passing its first population control law. 

The bill, which was touted as being all about promoting “reproductive health,” was actually intended to drive down the birth rate. For example, section 15 requires that all couples receive a “Certificate of Compliance” from the local Family Planning Office before becoming eligible for a marriage license.

Some in the Philippines are decrying Chonalyn’s birth, repeating USAID’s talking points about the “dangers” of overpopulation. They welcome Chonalyn as an individual little girl, while simultaneously calling for future little girls and boys to be removed from existence.

The Philippine Star wrote that the birth symbolized a “large population that will put a strain on the country's limited resources.” Another paper cited the executive director of the official Commission on Population who bluntly said “We'd like to push the fertility rate down to two children per (woman's) lifetime.” And the Global Post cited “concerned advocates” who thought the current population was not a “complement with the country's economic growth.”

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But many other Filipinos aren’t buying into the anti-people hysteria. Francisco Antonio, a Filipino Chemical Engineering graduate student at Yale, adamantly rebutted the notion that there are too many Filipinos, saying: “I celebrate life because population control is defeatism disguised as pragmatism. And because human creativity holds more potential for protecting this planet and its inhabitants than any other resource I know of.”

A Filipina currently living in California told PRI that she welcomed the transition of her country to 100 million persons: “Filipinos are not a burden to the world population, because we not only care for our own but also for others in the world. One of the greatest and most sought after exports of the Philippines is our skilled, motivated, and exemplary workforce. And these workers tirelessly cultivate their family and community abroad and in the Philippines. We are a very social and civic minded people. We care and share because it is part of our culture and we do it with a smile.”

 Ed, a Filipino accountant, also celebrated the birth of Baby Chonalyn: “The typical Filipino does not associate a baby with ‘cost’ or ‘expense’ but rather as a ‘blessing’ and a ‘gift.’ This is because Filipinos recognize that true happiness does not come from the accumulation of material wealth or prestige, but rather, from true, genuine, and strong relationships with other people. [Filipinos] value life, not because the Church says or the Pope says so, but because they recognize it to be true. And the truth about the value of life, will continue to shine, long after the debates are over.”

It goes without saying that we at the Population Research Institute also welcome Chonalyn’s birth. We need more Filipinos, not fewer. 

Reprinted with permission from Pop.org.


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Two very different ways to respond to Pope Francis’ unrecorded interviews

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By John-Henry Westen

In the last few weeks another series of interviews with Pope Francis surfaced and have again left many Catholics scratching their heads.  Headlines all over the world had the Pope saying that two percent of priests are pedophiles, but is that what he said?  Even though the Vatican spokesman did issue a clarification, that question and others remain unanswered.

Critical reactions to these interviews have been interesting not even so much for their contents as from whom they arise.  These are the observations of some of the most faithful Catholic Church watchers today.  The folks pointing out these concerns are not, as many would assume, ‘“far right-wing-holier-than-the-Pope” types, but mainstream Catholics known for their loyalty to Pope Francis.

Phillip Lawler is the founder of Catholic World News, the first Catholic news service operating on the Internet. In part of his criticism of the most recent interview, he states: “Why was Pope Francis speaking with Scalfari without having first established clear ground rules for the conversation—rules that would certainly include recording and verification of any quotes?”

(To comprehend the situation accurately it is necessary to have an understanding of the man whom the Pope has allowed to interview him.  Eugenio Scalfari is relatively unknown in the West even after the fanfare of his papal interviews. LifeSiteNews has produced this piece to assist that understanding.)

Lawler recalls: “Back in October the Vatican had been embarrassed by an ‘interview’ in which [Scalfari’s] reconstructed quotes caused an uproar, and the Vatican press office was forced to issue an awkward ‘clarification’ which only added to the confusion.”

In addition to that clarification of the October Scalfari interview, the confusion and uproar got so bad that the Vatican removed the interview from their website, where they had it posted in the section containing the Pope’s speeches. Interestingly, that interview resurfaced two weeks ago on the Vatican website only to be removed again after a new round of criticism.

A blogger at the EWTN-owned National Catholic Register offered an observation similar to Lawler’s but with a little more bite. Pat Archbold writes, “The internet is once again abuzz with the second-hand hearsay of an unrecorded Papal interview.” Archbold advises his readers with characteristic sarcasm, “So pay no attention to those crazy and outlandish anti-Catholic headlines tearing up your RSS feed.  Just ignore them and hope they will soon go away, just like unrecorded Papal interviews.”

A second unrecorded conversation with the Pope makes news

Another write-up of an encounter with Pope Francis also caused a stir.  Brian Stiller, an Evangelical leader from Toronto was part of a delegation of Evangelical Christians who met with Pope Francis earlier this month. In his July 9 account, Stiller puts in quotes this statement he attributes to the Pope: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community.  There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s not spend our time on those. Rather, let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.”

That led noted priest-blogger Father Dwight Longenecker to first caution that the quotes are “Brian Stiller’s memory of the conversation.” 

Then with the caveat of not actually knowing the whole conversation, Fr. Longenecker says “it would not be unusual for a Catholic priest of Pope Francis’ generation to feel that way.”  He explains that he has “heard from numerous convert clergy over the years who said when they went to their local Catholic priest and expressed the wish to become Catholic the priest told them it wasn’t necessary and that they could do much more good to Christ’s kingdom and the Catholic church by staying where they were and evangelizing within their own denomination.”

“Now this strikes me as rather troublesome on several levels,” says Longenecker. He notes he had himself once used that line with a Protestant friend, to which his friend replied, “You don’t want to convert me? Why not? I don’t have much respect for your religion if you think so little of it that you don’t want me to share it!”

“He basically called me out on what was a little lie on my part. I wanted to be nice to him [so] I said I didn’t want to convert him. He said our discussion would be much better if I admitted that I did want him to become Catholic. He was right. I did. I still do.”

Inside the Vatican

Vatican journalist Edward Pentin has reported that unnamed “Vatican officials are uneasy and perplexed” about the interview. Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002 and has since covered the pope for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times.

“The officials’ discomfort also extends to the Pope’s spontaneous telephone calls to strangers, a couple of which implied he deviated from Church teaching but, being private and unrecorded conversations, are difficult to verify,” he wrote for Newsmax.

From the outset of the Francis pontificate, there were these unrecorded and yet published interviews – the first was from a meeting with Latin American religious leaders in June 2013.  That was the one that had Pope Francis speaking of the existence of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican and also about being concerned about Catholics who would count rosaries to offer prayer bouquets.

At the time LifeSiteNews published nothing on that first unrecorded interview even though almost all other news services did.  Shortly thereafter I was at the Vatican inquiring about that unrecorded but reported-on encounter and was assured by various Vatican insiders that the communication was not accidental but intended – to me at the time a rather startling revelation.

But that same assessment came later from another Vatican quarter, a man who speaks German as does the pope and also shares the pope’s religious order.  “Francis knows exactly how power is spelled,” said Bernd Hagenkord, a Jesuit who is in charge of German programming for Vatican Radio in a May interview with The Atlantic. “He’s a communicator in the league with Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. They say he’s being unclear, but we know exactly what he means.”

Two different ways to respond

One of the most disturbing outcomes of these ‘interviews’ is that the words and interpretations of what is being said by the Pope, while they may be clear for the German Jesuit, are remarkably unclear for the vast majority of Catholics.  Catholics who know well their faith, its moral teachings, and the reason for them are few and far between. They are able to discern that the Pope cannot mean to undermine Church teaching; that those teachings are unchangeable.

But most people are taken in by the media’s false interpretation that ‘who am I to judge’ involves a new acceptance of homosexuality; the false possibility for legitimately-married Catholics to divorce and remarry outside the Church and still receive Communion; the idea that the Church should quiet down on her teachings on abortion, contraception, and same-sex “marriage.”  All of those false conclusions were drawn from previous Francis interviews.

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There are two ways forward for faithful Catholics in such a situation.  One way – a way that is most tempting - was recently recognized as a growing tendency by blogger Father Ray Blake. “Most Catholics but especially clergy want to be loyal to the Pope in order to maintain the unity of the Church,” he said.  “Today that loyalty is perhaps best expressed through silence.”

In leading up to that observation, Blake noted that in the previous pontificate “there was a solidity and certainty in Benedict's teaching which made discussion possible and stimulated intellectual honesty, one knew where the Church and the Pope stood.”  He added, “Today we are in less certain times, the intellectual life of the Church is thwart with uncertainty.”

However, Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke suggested a different approach recently. According to Burke, who serves as head of the Vatican’s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, the pope has made a strategic decision to focus on making the Church appealing, and thus bishops and priests “are even more compelled to underline these teachings (on life and family) and make them clear for the faithful.”

He told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, “The Holy Father has said on different occasions that he expects that bishops and priests are doing this teaching while he’s trying to draw people closer and not have them use [these doctrines] as their immediate excuse for not coming to the faith.”

Cardinal Burke’s strategy confronts the culture head-on even on the most difficult issues.  He sees that the often-used but failed tactic of avoiding difficult situations, of obfuscating or compromising on moral issues as worse than useless.

When truth is pushed aside for political correctness, to fulfill ideals of civility or to achieve false unity and false peace, the world is harmed by the lack of truth the Church is called to bring to it.

When truth is boldly proclaimed and held to, despite persecution, even the enemies of truth are forced to see that the opponents of their secular or liberal ideologies truly believe their teachings and are willing to suffer for them. This eventually generates a degree of respect from some of the critics and an openness to re-consider their own flawed positions.


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