Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Visitation Begins Tomorrow

That's right, liebchins. For all the talking, all the hoping, all the bashing, the rubber hits the road in 24 hours as a team of five begins its investigation of the Aquinas Institute in St. Louis.

The protocol of the Visitations requires a brief introductory ceremonial. The Visitors are received at the door of the institution, at which point the designated head of the group presents its Letter of Appointment to the Rector or President of the facility. A familiar face in these parts will present the letter tomorrow at Aquinas as Auxiliary Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Philadelphia will head up the first Visitation.

Known for his cheerful personality, Burbidge, 48 and a bishop since 2002, served for five years as Rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary here in Philadelphia and currently chairs the Sapientia Christiana subcommittee of the USCCB. His commitment to issues of formation runs deep -- he devoted his dissertation for a doctorate in Education to a study of the Philadelphia program of the "Spirituality Year," the program instituted before theological studies which entails a year of prayer and spiritual conferences at a former Vincentian house 90 minutes from the Seminary's main campus.

Whether intentional or not, the choice of Burbidge to head up Visitation #1 is particularly noteworthy given his unusually clear and public stance on the admission of even celibate homosexuals to a formation program.

A 2002 interview the then-Monsignor Burbidge gave to The Philadelphia Inquirer caused ripples at the time, but the dominant trend has been moving closer toward it ever since. (The interviewee was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia two months after its publication.)
Msgr. Burbidge said that priesthood candidates are asked early on if they are gay.

Should a man answer unequivocally in the affirmative, he said, "then he would not be a candidate."

Msgr. Burbidge said the bar applies even if a candidate said he intended to be chaste, or as the monsignor put it, "whether he's acting out or not...."

St. Charles has "zero tolerance" of homosexual activity, Msgr. Burbidge said, and his 162 seminarians are instructed to report any violations.

"If we would discover anything like that, we would act on it immediately" through dismissal, the rector said.

In addition, he said, Cardinal Bevilacqua tells the seminarians as a group "that if that is their orientation, they have an obligation to the church to come forward and say they are no longer a candidate."

No one has come forward in his three years as rector. Nor is he aware of students reporting any infractions in that time.

Much of the weeding-out of candidates, Msgr. Burbidge said yesterday, occurs during initial interviews with the the archdiocese's director of vocations.

"Someone might say, 'I'm gay, but I could be a good priest.' His response would be, 'You are not a candidate.' Without a doubt."

At St. Charles, Msgr. Burbidge said leeway would be granted to a seminarian who admitted to suddenly being attracted to a classmate - as long as he had not acted on it.

"We might offer some insight-oriented counseling to see what it is," he said. "Because it may not be a homosexual-defined orientation. It just may be a confusion."
Whatever it is, it all begins in the morning.



Blogger A. Soul said...

All this while Devilacqua was protecting child rapists. Maybe he thought if the victim doesn't have pubic hair it's not a sin.

25/9/05 18:37  
Blogger Todd said...

Uncalled for, a.s..

The quality of child abusers that sticks out most in my mind is that as addicts, they groom both victims and friends. Maybe Bevilacqua should've had his bullspit antennae waving full beat in dealing with these guys, but he was conned just like the kids, most parents, and many other folks caught in the orbit of perversion.

That said, he must still take responsibility for what went on under his time of service. But I think he can take said responsibility without the backdrop of insult.

25/9/05 19:10  
Blogger Fr. John said...

todd, from the published reports, Cardinal B. knew full well who and what he was dealing with. These were not first offenders, these were hardend abusers who sent into new fields, to bugger new sheep.

As for the war on homosems, they will do what they will do. But it will not address the problems of a confused and isolated episcopacy nor will it stop men who are liars, cheats, abusers and worse from manipulating the system. Honest, talented, and chaste homosexuals need not apply, but manipulators will.

25/9/05 19:57  
Blogger A. Soul said...

If anything, the insult is too mild. Cardinal Bevilacqua said that the life a gay man would give up to become a priest is worthless. He banned even celibate gay men while he protected known child rapists. As an officer of the court [a lawyer licensed to argue before the US Supreme Court], he deserves disbarrment.
As someone insulted by him, as all gay men were, he deserves my scorn.

25/9/05 20:14  
Blogger patrick said...

"As an officer of the court [a lawyer licensed to argue before the US Supreme Court], he deserves disbarrment."

A.S. is a troll with nothing worthwhile to contribute. I suggest, Rock, that you ban him from contributing.

25/9/05 22:17  
Blogger A. Soul said...

From the Cardinal's Bio:

Cardinal Bevilacqua is admitted to practice as a civil lawyer before the Courts of New York State, Pennsylvania and the U.S. Supreme Court.

He's an officer of the court in Pennsylvania. He did not report serious crimes in he knew about. He deserves disbarrement.

25/9/05 23:40  
Blogger patrick said...

Dear A.S.

Please cite the ethical rule of the State Bar of Pennsylvania which required him to report child sex abuse crimes to the authorities. Until then, go back under the bridge where you belong.

26/9/05 00:31  

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