(Lepanto Institute) — We’ve received many requests concerning the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ), also known as the Dehonians, asking if they are safe for Catholic donations. After a lengthy period of research, we must unfortunately report that the Priests of the Sacred Heart as an organization is NOT SAFE for Catholic giving because it supports and promotes causes such as women’s sacramental ordination, homosexual activism, paganistic syncretism as well as contraception and Planned Parenthood “sex education” through its outreach programs.
Summary of Findings
The Priests of the Sacred Heart violate Catholic teaching in the following ways:
- Through its publications: Articles written by priests and associates of the order in Dehonian-owned publications directly promote women’s ordination and LGBT activism. For example, SettimanaNews (a Dehonian-owned publication) published an article titled in Italian “Donne prete: ‘Dio lo vuole,’” which translates to “Women priests: ‘God Wants it.’”
- Through its leadership: Past and current leadership and influential members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart were found publicly promoting women’s ordination, contraception, and LGBT activism. For example, previous superior general of the Dehonians, Fr. (now Bishop) Heiner Wilmer, SCJ, publicly called for the “blessing” of homosexual unions. Also, Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ, is the current interim director of the Dehonian Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission. He is noted for publicly assisting a woman seeking priestly ordination, as well as explicit promotion of contraception and revolutionary Marxism.
- Through its programs: The Dehonian’s St. Joseph Indian School promotes a modernist tolerance of syncretism and ritualistic practices. The school regularly equates Lakota traditional practices such as “smudging” to Catholic sacramentals such as Holy Water and claims that the pagan ritual has spiritual power. Furthermore, Native Hope, a Dehonian outreach program from the Indian School, has promoted a Planned Parenthood Sex Educator as well as transgenderism in its podcasts.
- Through its partnerships: The Dehionians had for years regularly funded and supported the now defunct 8th Day Center for Justice, even giving it a place in seminary formation, while the 8th Day center openly pushed for LGBT “marriage” and women’s ordination.
The Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ), also known as the Dehonians, are a religious community founded by Fr. Leo John Dehon in 1878. The community’s stated objective is “to reveal the profound love that Jesus has for all people through prayer, service, social action, and reaching out to those in need.” Their U.S. headquarters is in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, while their international head office is situated in Rome.
The official international website of the Dehonians, as well as their official magazines SettimanaNews and Umbrales, feature articles promoting women’s ordination and homosexual activism.
an online platform that offers religious information in the context of cultural and historical-civil confrontation…North Italian Religious Province of the Dehonians is the owner of the site.
On April, 21, 2023, SettimanaNews published an article titled “What Church today? Returning to the origins of the Church.” The article promoted the condemned theory that ordination somehow evolved through the centuries, eventually excluding women. It also advanced the protestant notion that the papacy was established in the 6th century rather than being definitively instituted by Christ as part of His mission. The Dehonian International HQ shared the same article on its website.
Some selections translated from Italian:
- Here, the article claims that women once performed ecclesial services, but were phased out:
- In this process, which lasted for centuries, it should come as no surprise that women have gradually been marginalized from ecclesial services and not even the service of deacon has been recognized to them as it was recognized and appreciated at the beginning. They could no longer evangelize, or celebrate, or govern a community. Excluded from everything. The clergy became celibate, but not in all communities, predominantly in the western ones. Only celibates could “become” priests. The sacred was to be the prerogative only of celibate males.
- Here, the article suggests that priests and bishops were not a part of the institutional Church until 210 AD:
- The charismatic service is institutionalized, a regime of sacred separateness is started. Places, clothes, behaviors, books, objects, everything loses its original secularism and becomes sacred. The clergy is made up of an ordo of consecrated persons and, for the first time, around 210, a bishop is called with the title of priest, a term that is not found in any text of the NT to indicate ecclesial ministries.
- Here, the article suggests that the papacy was invented in the 6th Century:
- The Church became synonymous with the clergy. And in the following centuries a work of theological justification of this power concentrated in the clergy began. The bishops and the nascent papacy (around the sixth century the word pope is used for the first time to indicate the bishop of Rome) began to shape the doctrine, to read the Scriptures at convenience, to establish what in the Scriptures was in conformity with their magisterium. That’s right: the Scriptures were interpreted in a certain way, even some passages deleted and translated in one way instead of another. It was established which books were canonical and which apocrypha. All based on the doctrine that the clergy themselves began to consolidate and impose. The laws conformed to his will.
It’s difficult to see how these statements can escape the condemnations found in the dogmatic canons of the Council of Trent:
- Christ gave His Church a hierarchical constitution. Canon V of Session 23 of the Council of Trent declared:
- If any one saith, that, in the Catholic Church there is not a hierarchy by divine ordination instituted, consisting of bishops, priests, and ministers; let him be anathema.
- Holy Orders is a true and proper Sacrament which was instituted by Christ. Canon II of Session 23 of the Council of Trent states:
- If any one saith, that order, or sacred ordination, is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord; or, that it is a kind of human figment devised by men unskilled in ecclesiastical matters; or, that it is only a kind of rite for choosing ministers of the word of God and of the sacraments; let him be anathema.
- The Sacrament of Orders confers a permanent spiritual power on the recipient. Canon 1 of Session 23 of the Council of Trent:
- If any one saith, that there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood; or that there is not any power of consecrating and offering the true Body and Blood of the Lord, and of forgiving and retaining sins; but only an office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel, or, that those who do not preach are not priests at all; let him be anathema.
These are dogmatic teachings of the Church. To deny or cast doubt on these teachings is objectively heretical. But this is just one aspect of the thematically heretical issues of the International Dehonians.
On May 10, 2021, SettimanaNews published an article titled “Vietato benedire le unioni LGBT? (Forbidden to bless LGBT unions?)” by Fr. Jesús Martínez Gordo. Fr. Gordo is a priest of the Diocese of Bilbao in Spain and a professor at the Faculty of Theology of Vitoria-Gasteiz and the Diocesan Institute of Theology and Pastoral Care of Bilbao. In this article, Fr. Gordo states his hope that the church will soon recognize homosexual unions:
…it does not surprise me that, here in the Basque Country, the bishop of San Sebastián, mgr. Munilla, proposed to create “a chain of prayer and fasting for the unity of the Church in Germany” and its communion with the ecclesial magisterium. I suppose because he is concerned not so much about said unity, but about a possible change in the Catechism that leaves behind the thesis that orientation towards people of the same sex “is objectively disordered”. Isn’t it more consistent with the Gospel and reason to freely recognize that people attracted to the same sex “are oriented differently”? I hope that, before long, it will be possible to read this, or something similar, in the said Catechism. It has happened before with the death penalty and the so-called just war. Why not with homosexual unions? [Translated from Italian; emphasis added]
On January 23, 2023, SettimanaNews published an article titled in Italian “Donne prete: ‘Dio lo vuole,’” which translates to “Women priests: ‘God Wants it.’”
This article interviews Sister Monika Amlinger, who desires sacramental ordination for women and homosexuals and is pushing for such in Germany. Amlinger states:
I would like to be ordained to be able to serve people also through the sacraments and to transmit to them the closeness of God. However, I don’t know if I will ever see my dream come true. Of course, the priesthood as it is currently understood should also change for women who are not celibate like me, but have family and children or are queer (not heterosexual).
We are also interested in strengthening the diaconal dimension of the priesthood. This means that we intend to accompany people not only with short-term sacramental action. In no case do we want to perpetuate clericalism. We want to be able to celebrate the sacraments because we women also feel that we are called to be priests. We feel that God wants it! [Translated from Italian]
The Uruguayan Dehonian periodical Umbrales also published articles promoting homosexual ideologies and women’s ordination.
On September 21, 2022, Umbrales published an article by Fr. Primo Corbelli, SCJ, titled “Crisis that empowers the Church,” and it was reposted on the Dehonian International website. Fr. Corbelli was one of five original councillors for the newly erected Argentine SCJ Province in 1983. In this article, Fr. Corbelli promoted the idea of a female priesthood, as well as the “acceptance” LGBT-identifying individuals by the Church:
Just as the clergy-laity dichotomy must be overcome, the male-female dichotomy must also be overcome, as Gal 3,28 teaches. As for the female priesthood, it is necessary to distinguish the common priesthood of the laity due to Baptism, from what is the ministerial priesthood that is conferred with the sacrament of Holy Orders. One must also ask what Jesus would do today, not what he did twenty centuries ago.
Many ask for the possibility of a permanent female diaconate (in the Amazon Synod more than two thirds asked for it), acceptance and openness towards everyone, including LGBT+, divorced, imprisoned, marginalized, participation of the laity in the election of local bishops; and above all how to communicate faith in this change of times. The Pope has said: “Today it is not a question of giving lessons from balconies or pulpits, but of going out into the streets to share the daily life of the people, based on faith.” These developments, brought about by the Spirit, hopefully will help to revitalize and strengthen the Church. [Translated from Spanish; emphasis added]
Furthermore, on July 21, 2020, Umbrales published an article titled “ESPAÑA: ORGULLO GAY [Spain: Gay Pride],” quoting a Spanish Jesuit who called on the Church to “overcome their misunderstanding and to commit to a greater and better integration, welcome and acceptance of these people.” From the article:
On the occasion of Gay Pride Week in Madrid from July 1 to 5, the Jesuit José María Olaizola wrote an article condemning the fact that LGBT people are still “subject to contempt, rejection and persecution” and called for the Church to “overcome their misunderstanding and to commit to a greater and better integration, welcome and acceptance of these people… One day there will be no need for Gay Pride or any other pride when we all recognize the equal dignity of every person, of every person regardless of their sexual orientation. They experience the trauma of feeling judged and many are ashamed of having a homosexual child and hide it as if it were a tragedy. Many and many adolescents hear mockery and derogatory comments even in the family environment and among their loved ones. In the Church there is too much silence in the face of some statements that do not respond to the pastoral reality of our communities. There are too many people who reduce sexual orientation to gender ideology, when there are so many gay Christians who only ask to feel more at home when it comes to being in community and in Church. Each person should be proud of how God created them because homosexuality or heterosexuality is not a capricious decision of anyone. It is part (and only part) of someone who is a human person.” [Translated from Spanish; emphasis added]
These articles are very recent, having been published between 2020–2023 under the current leadership of the SCJ order. But things were no better under the previous head of the Dehonians. The previous superior general of the Dehonians was Fr. (now Bishop) Heiner Wilmer, SCJ, who led the order from 2015 until 2018, only stepping down due to his appointment as a bishop by Pope Francis.
Bp. Wilmer participated in the German Synodal Way and publicly questioned the Church’s teaching on human sexuality, calling for “significant changes” to this teaching. He then voted in favor of the German Synodal Way’s LGBTQ platform, which includes “blessing” homosexual unions.
Following the German Synodal Way’s conclusion in March, Bp. Wilmer wrote a letter to his diocese in support of the Synodal Way.
LGBTQ people are rightly at the center of the Synodal Way consultations. It has become clear that we need significant changes in sexual morality in the Catholic Church. The insights and discussions of the synodal path will be of significance for the universal church. It is very important to me that LGBTQ people receive pastoral, spiritual and liturgical support. I welcome that the Synodal Way advocates setting up a working group to provide a handout for blessing celebrations for same-sex couples and remarried divorcees. [Translated from German; emphasis added]
On January 31, 2023, the Dehonian’s international website published an article titled “Dehonians in Germany reflect on the German church synod.” In this article, the Dehonians expressed support for Bp. Wilmer’s participation in the German synod and quoted German provincial superior Fr. Stefan Tertünte’s gratitude for the proposed changes regarding women in the Church and human sexuality:
Bishop Heiner Wilmer SCJ reported on the process, cooperative work, results, and reactions from Rome and the universal Church with respect to the German Church’s synodal journey. “It is fortunate that he was able to explain many things first-hand,” said Fr. Hamelijnck. “The goal of the consultation and discussions was also to explore what these discussions meant for the religious. In the afternoon, the small groups then continued with the presentation of the religious in Germany to the World Synod.”
“’None of us can escape a personal examination of the issues of the synod journey,” said Provincial Fr. Stefan Tertünte, SCJ, expressing his gratitude that so much space was given to this topic. “When we talk about the issue of power, women in the Church, sexuality and the image of the priest, it is not about structures. It’s about people!”
Serious moral problems with the Priests of the Sacred Heart are not just confined to international publications and leadership. We found dissident corruption at the U.S. provincial level in initiatives funded by the Dehonians as well as severely morally compromised local efforts.
For example, despite knowledge of the 8th Day Center for Justice’s (8th Day) support for “reproductive justice,” homosexual activism, and women’s ordination, the U.S. Dehonians were members of and gave major financial and personnel support to 8th Day from 1977 through 2018, when it went out of business.
The 8th Day Center self-described itself as
a progressive Catholic social justice organization that works to dismantle exploitative systems of power such as racism, sexism, capitalism, militarism, and borderism.
In 2011, the Priests of the Sacred Heart found themselves caught between continuing funding for 8th Day and obedience to Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George. 8th Day had just held an event that featured a presentation of the pro-women’s ordination documentary called “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” as well as a talk by the noted heretic Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who was later laicized and excommunicated for his views. According to the National Catholic Reporter, Cdl. George put pressure on the Dehonians to end all support for the 8th Day Center. In response, the Dehonians paused its financial support (a $14,000 yearly grant) for the group and suspended its representative Fr. Bob Bossie from his work at the 8th Day Center.
However, this proved to be short lived. According to meeting minutes of the 822nd Provincial Council Meeting held in March of 2012, just six months after the Dehonians obeyed Cdl. George, they revisited the province’s commitment to the 8th Day Center and voted to resume support of the organization with the originally planned $14,000 grant. The discussion from the meeting minutes shows complete awareness by the provincial leadership of the moral concerns involved:
In September, 2011, Cardinal George of Chicago contacted Fr. Cassidy to express his concerns regarding the 8th Day Center’s seeming support of a screening of “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican,” a film that explores issues surrounding women’s ordination in the Catholic Church. It was followed by a presentation and discussion by Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who was excommunicated latae sententiae for his participation in a women’s ordination ceremony.
The cardinal contacted Fr. Cassidy both because the province was a sponsoring community of 8th Day Center and Fr. Bob Bossie, an SCJ, was on the center’s staff. The council discussed the cardinal’s concerns at that time and felt that it had to respond to them. Councilors decided that the province would suspend its support of Eighth Day for an undetermined period of time and suspend Fr. Bossie’s activity with the center. This suspension was to be reviewed in approximately six months.
The council invited Fr. Bossie to meet with them to review the events of last year. Councilors expressed their regret that Fr. Bossie was not initially a part of the dialogue regarding the cardinal’s concerns. Several suggested that it was a learning experience; in the future they will be much more cognizant of the need to ensure that when issues of concern arise that SCJs who may be a part of those issues are also a part of the council’s conversation in regards to them.
Councilors stressed that their decision to suspend Fr. Bossie’s activity with 8th Day was not an action against him personally, but a part of their decision to suspend province support of the center.
Fr. Bossie expressed his appreciation for time with the council and comments made. He made several suggestions regarding the 8th Day Center, and also asked the council consider hiring a full time justice and peace director.
Following their meeting with Fr. Bossie, the council voted to lift Fr. Bossie’s suspension from the 8th Day Center. This does not necessarily mean that he will return to work at it.
The council voted to fulfill the $14,000 grant commitment that it made to the 8th Day Center for FY11. However, this is not an endorsement of future province support of the center. [Emphasis added]
At the end of May 2012, just two months later, the same provincial council again revisited its support of the 8th Day Center. This time, in addition to committing to yet another grant, the U.S. Province of the Dehonians absolved the 8th Day center completely. According to the meeting minutes:
Councilors discussed Eighth Day. While it at times takes confrontational stands that are not in line with the majority of viewpoints in the province, Eighth Day does provide an important voice on many issues, issues which have value to the province and the Church. Members of the JPIC Commission are in favor of continuing the $14,000 commitment to the center. There has been an effort to see if there are other such organizations that the province could support as an alternative and none has been found.
As religious it is important to be prophetic and at times “push the envelope.” However, councilors asked if Eighth Day could be encouraged to address issues that are closer to the concerns of the province, such as Native American issues, and the concerns of African Americans in Mississippi.
The council voted to support the Eighth Day Center for FY13 at the same level as before: $14,000, along with $1,000 to the Illinois Committee on Corporate Responsibility.
A new provincial administration will be in place for FY14. Perhaps it can then work with the province to determine whether support of Eighth Day should continue.
It was noted that Fr. Bob Bossie is retiring from Eighth Day, though he may do periodic volunteer efforts there. [Emphasis added]
In 2014, the Dehonian’s Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission (JPRC) reported to the Province about continued support for the 8th Day Center. The JPRC stated that the 8th Day Center told the JPRC that it has no formal positions on homosexual activism and women’s ordination:
The Commission members present were impressed by the many issues the Center is working on and the interrelationships they’ve discovered between them. But we also asked about their positions on LGBT rights and women’s ordination, which have been a source of concern to many in the province. They explained that the Center does not have a formal position on these issues. Rather, on these issues, and others like them where some Catholics have chosen to dissent from official Church teaching, the Center has only advocated that individual conscience should be respected and dialogue maintained.
This incredible claim directly contradicts clear evidence easily found from that time. Given the close relationship and shared personnel between the two organizations, it is simply not plausible that the 8th Day Center could just openly lie to the Dehonians about its positions on LGBT ideologies and women’s ordination and be believed. In 2012, the 8th Day Center had produced a formal position statement on LGBT issues—prominently displayed on its website—that proclaimed support for legalizing homosexual “marriages” and denounced Catholic moral teaching:
The 8th Day Center for Justice does not believe the official teachings on homosexuality reflect the Catholic values and beliefs that call each of us “to promote justice, equality and human dignity among all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, abilities, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic class.”
The following image is a web capture taken June 20, 2012, well before the 2014 meeting with the JPRC:
The 8th Day also clearly took a formal position on women’s ordination as far back as 2006. On February 7, 2006, the 8th Day Center published a formal statement titled “A Response to the Instruction from the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education.” Though the Internet Archive only has a link to this statement as early as 2012, the website GayLiberation.net has the statement dated as February 7, 2006.
In the statement, the 8th Day Center rails against the Catholic Magisterium stating: “This instruction flows from a worldview that names heterosexuality as normative, and it broadens the centuries old discriminatory practice barring women from ordination.” Again, this statement was prominently displayed on 8th Day Center’s website before, during, and after its meeting with the JPRC.
And yet, despite clear evidence showing the 8th Day Center’s duplicity, the September 2, 2014, meeting minutes of the U.S. Dehonian Province show that the JPRC strongly recommended that the Dehonian Provincial Council continue support. The minutes clearly note that 8th Day Center has a strong relationship with the Dehonians, including seminary formation:
Finally, we discussed 8th Day and whether to continue a relationship and/or financial support. The unanimous feeling was that 8th Day is an important alternative Catholic voice whose social justice priorities overlap significantly with our top priorities of immigration reform, economic justice and youth. They have a strong history of relationship with us, not only through Bob Bossie’s involvement, but through interaction with our seminarians over the years (and they are willing to work more closely with our formation program if the program directors request it). Also, it seems to us that the perception that the Center dissents from Church teaching is inaccurate. However, given that the organization has always operated from a predominantly feminine perspective, we also felt that we need to hear and can benefit from their perspective and concerns. We therefore strongly recommend to the Provincial Council that this relationship be continued and financial sponsorship be maintained. [Emphasis added]
As a side note, the JPRC noted that some Dehonians were concerned about donations intended for the Priests of the Sacred Heart being “funneled” to outside organizations such as the 8th Day Center. The JPRC downplayed such concerns:
Were we to adhere to the principle of donor intent in the absolute strictest sense, there might be many uses of donations that could be questioned. But we also believe that there is a more important, positive argument to be made for our support of these groups, namely, that promoting social justice (understood as more than charity or direct service) is a part of the SCJ and US Province mission, and in those places where we are present but not equipped to do such work, we may choose to fund others who can do it more effectively or efficiently. [Emphasis added]
The statement regarding the intention of donations to the Dehonian order is greatly troubling. The SCJ leadership actually expresses contempt for the suggestion that they should honor the intention of donors to support the mission of the order by carrying out the charitable works of the Church. This is a massive betrayal of Catholic trust and a strong reason to avoid supporting the Priests of the Sacred Heart until such blatant disregard for its donors is publicly addressed and halted.
In light of this contempt, it is important to note that the Dehonians continued sending tens of thousands of donor dollars to the 8th Day Center right up until it closed its doors in 2018. In 2015 and 2016, the JPRC approved $10,000 grants, and in 2017, the JPRC listed the 8th Day Center for Justice as one of 13 grant recipients for an undisclosed amount.
As the years passed, the 8th Day Center persisted in its dissident behavior while continuing to enjoy funding from the Dehonians.
In April of 2016, the 8th Day Center for Justice published the “Feminist Platform” to answer the question, “If 8th Day were running for President, what would our platform look like?”
Beginning on page 10 of the Feminist Platform is a segment devoted to “Reproductive Justice,” which it defines as including contraception and abortion, even citing Planned Parenthood as a statistical resource. According to this section, religious moral teaching should have no bearing on policy. The platform states:
Religious teachings and traditions about birth control and abortion are important teachings for those who hold them. In a pluralistic society, however, they cannot be seen as normative. [Emphasis added]
The “Policy Recommendations” section of “Reproductive Justice” says that work must be done to ensure
Affordable comprehensive health services that ensure privacy and provide complete coverage – including reproductive health services – that is not dependent on an employer’s religious beliefs. This needs to include the needs of trans and queer communities. [Emphasis added]
In May of 2016, the 8th Day Center hosted an event co-sponsored by the dissident group Call to Action titled “LGBTQ+ Justice in Faith-Based Communities: Understanding the Evolving Story of Gender & Sexuality.”
The description of this event from 8th Day states:
What does it mean to be queer? How can we better understand queerness so that our faith communities can be more inclusive? How might the story of the evolving universe inform our understanding of sexuality and gender? What might a church that is fully embracing of the queer community look like?
Please join us as we explore these questions and more during a workshop on understanding gender and sexuality, and how that relates to Catholic identity. Chris McNulty will lay the foundation for our discussion with the basic language and tenets of queer theory. What is queer theory? What terms are most inclusive and appropriate? How might we need to challenge our pre-conceived understandings of the human person? How do gender and sexuality intersect with race, ability, and economic status? [Emphasis added]
As mentioned above, the 8th Day Center began the process of closing down in 2017 and finally shut its doors in 2018. The continuous funding of the 8th Day Center, even after it drew Cardinal George’s ire for its heretical positions, is not happenstance. The provincial leadership can be seen turning a willful blind eye throughout all of this time period while continuing a close relationship and maintaining a presence at 8th Day, mainly through Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ.
Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ
Fr. Robert (Bob) Bossie is currently “actively retired” but holds several prominent positions with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in the U.S. Currently, he is the interim chair-person of the Dehonian’s JPRC, serves on the board of admissions for the Dehonians, and most recently was recommended as an interim director for the JPRC. He was also tasked with writing descriptions for the 2024 Priests of the Sacred Heart North American Conference on the threats of “climate change” and nuclear weapons and its preparatory committee. So, it is plain to see that Fr. Bossie enjoys a continuing active and influential role in the leadership of the U.S. province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
In June of 2018, the SCJ council voted to approve an annual budget for Fr. Bossie due to his retirement. According to the meeting minutes for June 2018:
“Fr. Bossie will be moving to a retirement community to remain close to his brother after the formation community moves to SHM. The council voted to approve his budget for a total of $29,750.”
Since that time, the budget amount for what the SCJ Council itemized simply as “Chicago” has varied wildly, jumping to $111,000 in 2019, $125,000 in 2020, $160,000 in 2021, and $73,000 in 2022. From 2019–2021, the budget also included International SCJs doing graduate work in Chicago, while in 2022, the entire amount was designated only for Fr. Bossie. Most recently, in May of 2023, over $40,000 was approved specifically for Fr. Bossie via this line item:
The financial support for Fr. Bossie was critical because of his vocal support for women’s ordination, contraception, LGBTQ ideologies, and Marxist communism before and during these budget items listed on his behalf.
According to an article in Time Magazine in 2010 titled “The Push to Ordain Female Priests Gains Ground,” Fr. Bossie is quoted at length about how he trained Alta Jacko, an elderly woman, in how to say the liturgy prior to her attempted ordination. Fr. Bossie stated:
I don’t think that’s sexist. I am a priest, and this is breaking down the hieratical priesthood … But if people ask me for help, I feel compelled to help, out of respect and love. If God called me, why wouldn’t God call a woman?
Given the public nature of this indirect participation and cooperation in an attempted woman’s ordination, it is surprising that the Priests of the Sacred Heart did not sanction Fr. Bossie. Canon 1379 § 3 of the Code of Canon Law indicates the automatic excommunication of those directly involved in the attempted ordination of a female, and Canon 1329 extends the automatic excommunication to “accomplices [who], even though not mentioned in the law or precept, incur the same penalty if, without their assistance, the crime would not have been committed.” It is difficult to see how Fr. Bossie could escape automatic excommunication, and despite this, the SCJs maintain his leadership positions, giving scandalous approbation to his views.
In 2011, Fr. Bossie took to Facebook, promoting a talk given by prominent, excommunicated women’s ordination apologist Roy Bourgeois:
More recently, Fr. Bossie posted a direct promotion of women’s ordination on his Facebook feed on June 20, 2022:
As previously mentioned, Fr. Bossie worked with the 8th Day Center for over 30 years, including during the time that Cardinal George questioned the 8th Day Center for screening “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican.” Fr. Bossie stated of his time with the 8th Day Center:
For over 30 years I ministered at the 8th Day Center for Justice, a Catholic, faith-based NGO working for social change. During these years, I let go of many of the presuppositions with which I was raised. Again, I find this to be fully consistent with the spirituality of the Priests of the Sacred Heart: to establish the reign of the Heart of Jesus in souls and societies. [Emphasis added]
Fr. Bossie is also a prominent supporter of homosexualist and transgender activism, especially on his social media accounts. Here are some examples:
This April 9, 2022, Facebook post claiming Jesus has no opinion on homosexuality:
This June 7, 2023, Facebook post called on Target to reinstate all its “pride” merchandise:
This March 16, 2021, Facebook post calls for people to sign a petition pushing for the Church to bless homosexual unions:
In February of 2022, Fr. Bossie used Facebook to push a petition to force funding for homosexualist books in public libraries.
These examples are only a few of many. Of further note is Fr. Bossie’s heavily Marxist leanings.
Revcom states that they have the “goal of emancipating all of humanity through revolution and advancing to a communist world, free of exploitation and oppression.” They are also very publicly pro-abortion. In a statement to Revcom on April 28, 2023, Fr. Bossie thanked the organization for “all the good things you do, both large and small things, to oppose the madness that threatens all life as we know it.”
An audio statement from Bossie was played at a Revcom rally in Chicago in early April 2023.
RefuseFascism’s Mission Statement states:
RefuseFascism.org exposes, analyzes, and stands against the very real danger and threat of fascism coming to power in this country. Seventy-four million people voted for Trump in 2020. The Republi-fascist Party has been purged of dissenting voices. The mass fascist movement has hardened in the wake of their January 6 coup attempt. Fascist initiatives around restricting voting, immigration and abortion rapidly advance in statehouses across the country. The election of Biden has not eliminated the danger, it has only bought some time. [Emphasis added]
Fr. Bossie spoke at RefuseFascism rally in Chicago, as noted in this November 5, 2017, Facebook post.
Fr. Bossie also advertised a similar event on November 15, 2017:
Fr. Bossie stated publicly that he has contributed to RefuseFascism and asks that you do as well.
Fr. Bob Bossie signed a RefuseFascism pledge that states: “We do not comply with a regime: putting targets on the backs of Black, brown, and Native people denying women control of their bodies forcing LGBTQ people back into the closet.”
The problems with the Priests of the Sacred Heart’s U.S. Province are not just confined to its leadership figures like Fr. Bossie and Chicago area grantees such as the 8th Day Center. The moral corruption of modernism can be found in other areas of the country as well, and especially in Dehonian projects such as its St. Joseph Indian School and its Native Hope outreach program, both in South Dakota.
St. Joseph Indian School
a residential school dedicated to providing opportunities to Native American children and families. The school is an outreach of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart with a mission to partner with Native American children and their families to educate for life — mind, body, heart and spirit. More than 200 students each year receive education, counseling and residential living through our programs.
The Priests of the Sacred heart founded the St. Joseph Indian School in 1927 and continue to run it to this day. According to the Dehonian’s May 2022 meeting minutes, it approved a $115,525,805 budget for the school. Unfortunately, the Dehonians are not only providing leadership to the school, but also a modernist tolerance for syncretism and ritualistic practices.
For example, the St. Joseph Indian School describes how it offers a “smudging ceremony” for the students on a regular basis. According to a blog post from the school:
Smudging souls is something that has been done for generations in our tribal cultures. It is a cleansing ritual for our bodies and minds. We take advantage of special days at St. Joseph’s to perform this ritual for our children, staff and mission. To mark a new beginning and the start of the school year, we smudged before we entered the school on the first day to show that each of us were entering the school with a clean being. Smudging helps to rid a person or area of unwanted energies that aren’t helpful throughout the day, week, or month. Smudging is also used to bless new areas, items or places so that a fresh start is felt in the heart.
Not only is our school equipped with the ability to smudge, but also St. Joseph’s homes have everything they need for the students to be smudged whenever they feel the need to take part in this very meaningful ceremony.
If burning sage is not possible, one can also rub the leaves in the palms of the hands and then rub the hands over one’s body to cleanse. Also, the plant can be rubbed directly onto the body. Either way, our students and staff are ready to embrace the 2014-15 school year with a connection to Mother Earth, home and school through the meaningful act of smudging. [Emphasis added]
It is beyond the scope of this article to tackle rituals such as smudging in general, though this Catholic Answers video is quite helpful. However, the main area of concern we have with St. Joseph Indian school is that these rituals are in no way being contextualized or adapted, but in fact being presented as equal to Catholic sacramentals and holding intrinsic spiritual power, which is false.
For example, this 2023 St. Joseph Indian School blog post compares the practice of smudging to the use of holy water, placing both on an equal footing. According to the post:
Despite being from different cultures, both holy water sprinkles and Lakota smudging share the belief in the importance of spiritual purification and connection with a higher power. St. Joseph’s Indian School recognizes and respects both traditions, and has incorporated them into daily or weekly routines.
By incorporating both holy water and Lakota smudging, St. Joseph’s Indian School has created a unique and inclusive environment that values and respects both traditions.
Overall, both rituals involve the use of sacred elements to purify and bless. However, they differ in their origin, beliefs and methodology, reflecting the diversity and richness of human spirituality. [Emphasis added]
Also, in a 2019 blog post, St. Joseph’s Indian School states that students were made to pray to Mother Earth before harvesting sage to be used for “smudging, prayer ties and ceremonies.” According to the post:
LaRayne, Native American studies teacher, took students outside, class by class, to experience and practice cutting sage.
The process begins with a prayer to Mother Earth, thanking her for providing the plant. Prayer is often followed by a song. Then the cutting process begins. [Emphasis added]
In another blog post from 2021, the school seeks to equate the Sundance ceremony of the Lakota tradition with a “similar” aspect of Catholicism, namely Christ’s Passion:
These two connections between the passion of Jesus and the Sundance ceremony are similar. They both are men suffering for the love of others. There is both temptation and suffering, both are done for the sacrifice of others, those whom they love. Both show courage, sacrifice and humility. Jesus suffered so others might be healed, and the Sundancer also prays and dances, “that the people might live!”
As a side note, information from St. Joseph’s own website about the Sundance ceremony perfectly illustrates why this comparison to our Lord’s Passion is untenable:
The annual Sundance, bringing many people from different bands together, serves as a time for renewal for the tribe, people and Uŋčí Makȟá — Mother Earth.
The heart of the ceremony is the piercing of the Sundancers’ pectoral or back muscles with a length of bone. The bone is then attached to the pole or buffalo skulls by rope. The purpose of the dance is to remove the pieces of bone from one’s body. Those attached to the pole leaned backwards to try and release themselves. Those attached to skulls drag them over rocks and through bushes to encourage the bones to break free.
The same 2021 post also attempts to connect the Lakota’s “White Buffalo Calf Woman” to Mary:
The last connection we share is the message brought to the people by a sacred woman. In Lakota Spirituality, we see the White Buffalo Calf Woman, who brought the message of peace: the pipe. In Christianity a sacred woman named Mary brings the prince of peace: Jesus. Both of these gifts, the pipe and Jesus are used in prayer.
So, instead of providing Catholicism to these children while maintaining an appropriate amount of pride in their heritage, the St. Joseph Indian School is instilling modernist confusion and equating cultural tradition with Catholic Persons and Sacramentals that hold true spiritual power. That this is being done through an order of priests is abominable!
Syncretism is not the only ongoing problem with the St. Joseph Indian School. The school, as well as the Priests of the Sacred Heart, created an outreach program called Native Hope, which supports homosexualist and transgender activism as well as contraception and Planned Parenthood.
Native Hope was originally pitched to the Priests of the Sacred Heart’s provincial council in 2015 as a “social media-based program designed to create a community of supporters and friends focused on the efforts of St. Joseph’s Indian School and the people whom it serves.” Native Hope describes itself as existing “to address the injustice done to Native Americans. We dismantle barriers through storytelling and impactful programs to bring healing and inspire hope.”
According to Native Hope’s tax documentation, its president is Deacon David Nagel, SCJ, who also happens to be the treasurer for the U.S. Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The president of the Priests of the Sacred Heart appoints the board of Native Hope, showing that the Dehonians have a direct level of control over the organization.
In 2023 alone, the Priests of the Sacred Heart approved a budget for Native Hope of $1,595,231. This is separate from the budget for St. Joseph’s Indian School, which Native Hope is “primarily funded by.”
In 2018, according to a St. Joseph Indian School blog post, the Priests of the Sacred Heart’s Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission, led by Mark Peters, made Native Hope the first recipient of the Johnny Klingler Social Action Award. St. Joseph Indian School congratulated Native Hope:
St. Joseph’s Indian School is proud to congratulate Native Hope, our sister organization, on being the first recipient of the Johnny Klingler Social Action Award. The award was given by the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission through the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
Native Hope is contributing to the reign of social justice and defending the weak from oppression. With this award, the Province shows its support for their work.
“All the organizations that were nominated are doing some of these things,” said Peters. “But none of them are doing all of them, like Native Hope, or for people who need it more.” The award came with a $1,000 check to support Native Hope’s work.
In 2019, Native Hope invited musician and Sex Educator for Planned Parenthood Becki Jones onto its podcast. The podcast spoke approvingly of Jones’ work for Planned Parenthood:
Becki Jones, of the Navajo Nation, is from Window Rock, Arizona. By day she works professionally as a Sex Educator for Planned Parenthood, as it is a personal passion for her to be an active voice in purposeful spaces, lending her skills as an advocate and organizer. By night she is the lead vocalist and bass guitar player for the punk band Weedrat. In this interview, she shares her beginnings as a musician, as well provides further insight into important topics facing indigenous women, queer-identifying individuals, and “trans folks.” Using her “femme voice,” she “screams” rather than sings, providing awareness to political issues. She calls out “hetero-cis gendered males,” noting that the metal scene “lacked voices of women of color and people of color,” thus showing the need to “break down the binary of patriarchal society.” [Emphasis added]
Also in 2019, Native Hope invited “Two Spirit Ojibwe artist” Ryan Young onto its podcast. The podcast was all about homosexualist ideologies.
Ryan Young, a Two Spirit Ojibwe artist from the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Nation, joins us for this episode of the Native Hope Podcast. As a modern indigenous artist and intellect, Ryan sheds light on the importance of gender fluidity, personal pronouns, “reclaiming space,” the heterosexual construct of blood quantum, the gender neutrality of the Creator, and their recent accomplishment with the Eighth Generation, “Two Spirit Blanket.” Two Spirit is the reclaimed Indigenous way of describing a member of the LGBTQ community and has been accepted long before the influences of binary, traditional Western perimeters of gender classification and identity, which Ryan explains. Ryan prefers to be referred to as “they or their,” as they describe not being able to be classified as male or female but rather embodying both the feminine and masculine energies. They feel it to be of utmost importance to call out the marginalized aura that surrounds the Indigenous two spirited population, reminding everyone that “we define ourselves.”
In 2023, Native Hope published an article that promoted its “favorite Native-led charitable organizations.” Included in this article was Indigenous Women Rising, which Native Hope praises for providing “essential” emergency contraception:
Native American women are abused, assaulted, and trafficked at a higher rate than any other ethnic group in the United States. What makes matters worse is that so few have access to emergency contraception and other essential women’s health supplies. Indigenous Women Rising started in 2014 to bring attention to this fact and has since grown to be a powerful platform for Natives to share their stories and reclaim their identity, culture, tradition, and language. [Emphasis added]
This incredible organization is working to achieve “accountability, justice, equity, reconciliation, and healing” for Native Americans. They work with Natives and non-Native allies to fight against injustice, give a voice to Native people, and build a brighter future for Native children.
The latest assault campaign from the white supremacist right began on Friday, June 24th, with the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and 50 years of precedent in an attempt to control birthing people’s reproduction.
We were asked the simple question of whether Catholics can donate to the Priests of the Sacred Heart and trust that their donations would go to worthy and Catholic causes. Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding NO, and in fact, there is a sizable chance that a donation given to the Dehonians would be used to support the promotion of women’s ordination, homosexual activism, pagan syncretism, as well as contraception and Planned Parenthood “sex education” through its outreach programs.
While the Priests of the Sacred Heart may do some good, or even great things, and some or many of its members may be wonderful priests, given what we have discovered, the entire order appears to have gone the way of the Jesuits.
We ask our readers to contact their bishops about this report and provide this report to members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart so that they may become aware of the ongoing evils and possibly help change the course of their order.
Reprinted with permission from the Lepanto Institute.