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In 2014, Bishop John M. Quinn of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester gave a Heart of Mary Award to then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
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Priest questions his bishop for honoring McCarrick

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BLOOMING PRAIRIE, Minnesota, September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic priest has questioned his bishop honoring of a now-disgraced former cardinal.

In the August 26 Sunday bulletin for the cluster of three parishes he serves, Father Thomas Niehaus wrote of the current sexual abuse crisis and of Bishop John Quinn’s remarks when he gave Archbishop Theodore McCarrick an award. (Full text of the letter published below, edited for clarity.)

“I was present at the rector-bishop dinner held at St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN on April 24, 2014 when Bishop John M. Quinn gave the Heart of Mary Award to Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington D.C.,” Niehaus wrote. “He gave glowing accolades about the then-Cardinal and how as a friend (he) had encouraged him along the way by his example and kindness.”

But four years later, the memory is an unhappy one.

“Now as I look back at that day I am sickened,” Niehaus wrote. “What kind of example was Bishop Quinn talking about as he praised the now-shamed former Cardinal accused of corruption, sexual abuse and creating a culture of sexual perversion? Is that the example that leads others to holiness and the example that is leading the people of our Diocese of Winona-Rochester?”

In his memorandum, Niehaus condemned clerical sexual abuse and called for all scandals in the Catholic Church to be “brought into the light.” He told his six congregations that he had learned the reasons the majority of the abuse cases occurred between the late 1960s and the early 1990s were the sexual revolution of the 1960s, a new ethos of “self-actualization,” and the use of seminaries as hideouts.

“(T)hose of us who studied the materials during the ‘Fortnight for Freedom’ here in our area parishes this summer learned that in the wake of the sexual revolution in the 1960’s  … sexual permissiveness and sexual experimentation was rampant in western culture, especially here in the United States of America,” he wrote.

“The prevailing psychological movement of the day was self-actualization and the trying out of disordered or repressed desires,” he continued.  

“With the Vietnam War and the draft of young men into the military, there were some who hid out in Catholic Seminaries and houses of religious communities within the Catholic Church, not just to avoid the draft but to avoid scrutiny for the sexual abuse that had been inflicted upon them as children at home or covering up homosexual tendencies.”

Sexually permissive priests led to sexually permissive bishops. Niehaus explained that with the drop in vocations after Vatican II, many bishops were chosen from “effeminate business leaders”.

“With the decline in vocations to priesthood in the USA many of the priests who we knew as manly father-figures living for Jesus Christ were displaced in the Catholic Church with effeminate business-leaders hiding behind political agendas and lifestyles contrary to the Catholic Church,” he wrote.

Having studied the evidence, Niehaus is not surprised by allegations that a large percentage of American bishops are sexually active homosexuals or willing to cover up child abuse.

“When I look at all of this in context of this month’s news in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it does not surprise me that the (...) Catholic priests (...) available to become bishops in the Catholic Church in the USA in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s were increasingly active homosexuals or willing to promote and coverup homosexual or pedophile behaviors to conceal a culture of distorted sexual acts,” he wrote.

Niehaus believes this is the reason few American Catholics hear homilies against sexual sins.

“No wonder when certain bishops were consecrated here in the USA that they never held strong stances on Catholic Church teaching concerning immorality such as homosexuality, contraception or abortion to name a few ‘hot topics,’” he wrote.  

“These bishops and other Church leaders were covering up what they knew and were protecting those who had made it possible for them to climb the ladder of Church power and position without doing so through prayer and a love of Jesus Christ.”  

Niehaus concluded by saying that his heart went out to victims of clerical sexual abuse and their families and inviting his readers to join with him in prayer and fasting.

The priest told LifeSiteNews via email that he was willing for his statement to reach a wider audience if it might further accountability among priests, bishops and others.

“The Catholic Church needs to live in the light,” he stated, “and I have nothing to hide in my desire for a new generation of holy men, women and children to live as saints totally committed to Jesus Christ!”

The Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Winona-Rochester told LifeSiteNews via email that the then-Cardinal McCarrick received awards from many institutions around the United States.

“Bishop Quinn had only a casual acquaintance with Archbishop McCarrick, therefore there was no perceived need to investigate his background,” wrote Father Glenn K. Frerichs. “Bishop Quinn has shared his surprise over the recent revelations.”

A Word from Father Thomas A. Niehaus

Mary Mother of Mercy Catholic Cluster

Blooming Prairie, Dodge Center, and Hayfield, MI

“It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, and everything that is illuminated becomes a light (Ephesians 5:12 13).”

During this current wave of sexual abuse accountability in the Catholic Church taking place in 2018, my heart is heavy and maybe yours is too. As a lifelong practicing Catholic who has two other brothers who served as faithful Catholic priests and a sister who is a vowed religious and as a Catholic priest ordained for 10 years I am not giving up or going anywhere else. As Peter said to Jesus, “To whom shall we go Lord? You have the words of everlasting life (John 6:68).”  I have realized […] over the years the difference between the Church as the Bride of Christ and the imperfection of Her members, you and me.

For the tragedy that has occurred at the hands of priests, religious and laity working in the Church who have abused children and vulnerable adults, there needs to be light. Any and all scandal in the Catholic Church needs to be brought into the light and dealt with. Any and all distorted sexual acts among Catholics needs to be brought into the light. Sexual abuse of minors by clergy has no place in the Catholic Church and should have no place in society. Disordered sexual acts by married couples have no place in the Catholic Church and should have no place in society.

The majority of sexual abuse cases have occurred in the late 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. Some may say, why is this? ..[T]hose of us who studied the materials during the “Fortnight for Freedom” here in our area parishes this summer learned that in the wake of the sexual revolution in the 1960’s,  … sexual permissiveness and sexual experimentation was rampant in western culture, especially here in the United States of America.

The prevailing psychological movement of the day was self-actualization and the trying out of disordered or repressed desires. With the Vietnam War and the draft of young men into the military, there were some who hid out in Catholic Seminaries and houses of religious communities within the Catholic Church, not just to avoid the draft but to avoid scrutiny for the sexual abuse that had been inflicted upon them as children at home or covering up homosexual tendencies ([see]“Good Bye Good Men,” by Michael Rose).

After the great decline of priestly and religious vocations following the Vatican II Council and the debunked rumor that Catholic priests were going to be allowed to marry, many masculine candidates found themselves leaving the priesthood or seminary in order to get married. In the wake of this exodus in the 1970’s and 1980’s the number of ordained clergy plummeted and those priests who were left were either the older mature priests formed before 1965 who were trained to live holy lives, some priests who made it as normal healthy priest by the Holy Spirit, or those priests who were confused about their identity and either hid behind hidden sexual practices and desires or alcoholism to cope with the unusual climate of the Church that was present in the United States of America.

With the decline in vocations to priesthood in the USA many of the priests who we knew as manly father-figures living for Jesus Christ were displaced in the Catholic Church with effeminate business-leaders hiding behind political agendas and lifestyles contrary to the Catholic Church.

When I look at all of this in context of this month’s news in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it does not surprise me that the [...] Catholic priests [...] available to become bishops in the Catholic Church in the USA in the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s were increasingly active homosexuals or willing to promote and coverup homosexual or pedophile behaviors to conceal a culture of distorted sexual acts.

No wonder when certain bishops were consecrated here in the USA that they never held strong stances on Catholic Church teaching concerning immorality such as homosexuality, contraception or abortion to name a few “hot topics.” These bishops and other Church leaders were covering up what they knew and were protecting those who had made it possible for them to climb the ladder of Church power and position without doing so through prayer and a love of Jesus Christ.

I was present at the rector-bishop dinner held at St.Mary’s University in Winona, MN on April 24, 2014 when Bishop John M. Quinn gave the Heart of Mary Award to Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington DC. He gave glowing accolades about the then-Cardinal and how as a friend [he] had encouraged him along the way by his example and kindness.

Now as I look back at that day I am sickened. What kind of example was Bishop Quinn talking about as he praised the now-shamed former Cardinal accused of corruption, sexual abuse and creating a culture of sexual perversion? Is that the example that leads others to holiness and the example that is leading the people of our Diocese of Winona-Rochester?

All of this abuse, corruption and scandal needs to be brought into the light and allow for the healing mercy of Jesus to bring restoration to people inside and outside of the Catholic Church. My heart goes out to victims and their families impacted by clerical sexual abuse in the Church. I pray for the abusers for the conversion, and I pray for the people of God that we would continue to put our trust in Jesus Christ and strive for holiness seeking to promote and implement a culture of light were no more children or vulnerable adults would be put in harm’s way.

Please join me in praying and fasting once a week on Fridays for the conversion of sinners and for healing in the Catholic Church in the United States of America.

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