Friday, February 23, 2007

Feast Day of Saint Peter Damian


Today is the fest day of Saint Peter Damian, a famous Dominican monk and Cardinal. From Our Lady's Warriors:

Among St. Peter Damian's most famous writings is his lengthy treatise, Letter 31, the Book of Gomorrah (Liber Gomorrhianus), containing the most extensive treatment and condemnation by any Church Father of clerical pederasty and homosexual practices. [2] His manly discourse on the vice of sodomy in general and clerical homosexuality and pederasty in particular, is written in a plain and forthright style that makes it quite readable and easy to understand.

In keeping with traditional Church teachings handed down from the time of the Apostles, he holds that all homosexual acts are crimes against Nature and therefore crimes against God who is the author of Nature.

It is also refreshing to find an ecclesiastic whose first and primary concern in the matter of clerical sexual immorality is for God's interests, not man's, especially with regard to homosexuality in clerical ranks. Also, his special condemnation of pederastic crimes by clergy against young boys and men (including those preparing for holy orders) made over nine hundred years ago, certainly tends to undermine the excuse of many American bishops and Cardinals who claim that they initially lacked specific knowledge and psychological insights by which to assess the seriousness of clerical pederastic crimes.

Upon a first reading of the Book of Gomorrah I think the average Catholic would find himself in a state of shock at the severity of Damian's condemnation of clerical sodomical practices as well as the severe penalties that he asks Pope Leo IX to attach to such practices.

Part of this reaction, as J. Wilhelm asserts with regard to modern Catholics' adverse reaction to the severity of medieval penalties (including capital punishment for heresy), can be attributed to the fact that we live in an age that has "less regard for the purity of the faith". [3] Many Catholics have simply lost a sense of sin. It does not seem to matter if an overt effete homosexual cleric "camps" it out on the altar while administering heretical rites for an Ash Wednesday service. Like those watching Hilaire Belloc's new barbarians at the gate, parishioners smile. They are titillated. They find him 'amusing'. [4]

Also, many Catholics today have little, if any, knowledge of how the early Church Fathers dealt with the issue of homosexuality, including pederasty, in clerical ranks.

Take, for example, the spiritual and physical penalties declared by the 4th Century architect of Eastern monasticism, St. Basil of Cesarea (322-379AD), for the cleric or monk caught making sexual advances (kissing) or sexually molesting young boys or men. The convicted offender was to be whipped in public, deprived of his tonsure (head shaven), bound in chains and imprisoned for six months, after which he was to be contained in a separate cell and ordered to undergo severe penances and prayer vigils to expedite his sins under the watchful eye of an elder spiritual brother. His diet was that of water and barley bread - the fodder of animals. Outside his cell, while engaged in manual labor and moving about the monastery, the pederast monk was to be always monitored by two fellow monks to insure that he never again had any contact with young men or boys. [5]

One wonders how many homosexuals and pederasts would be lining up at Bernard Cardinal Law's [or Cardinal O'Malley's] or any other American prelates, seminary door if they knew that such a harsh fate awaited them if they were found guilty of even attempting much less carrying out the sexual seduction and molestation of minor boys and young men? And speaking of seminaries, I might mention the papal ruling of St. Siricius, a contemporary of St. Basil, who ordered that "vessels of vice," that is known sodomists, including those who had fulfilled their penance, were forbidden from seeking entrance to the clerical state. [6]

Considering that the Book of Gomorrah was written in 1049 A.D. it borders on the miraculous to note how many of Damian's insights can be applied to the current pederast and homosexual debacle here in the United States and abroad, including the Vatican.

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