- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 13, 2002

The spokesman for U.S. bishops hashing out a sex-abuse policy for the church protected homosexual priests who joined a pornographic Internet chat room, where participants railed against Pope John Paul II's policies against homosexual clergy and one eagerly anticipated his death.
Two Dallas priests who joined the site, where some members posted naked pictures and talked about sexual encounters with men and boys, were allowed to continue at their parishes even though Bishop Joseph A. Galante and the diocese's chancellor, Mary Edlund, were told of their activities more than three years ago, according to documents obtained by The Washington Times.
Bishop Galante is a canon lawyer and member of the bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse. He is being offered to the media as a spokesman on these matters at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Dallas this week.
Both Bishop Galante and Ms. Edlund refused to respond yesterday.
"There are no priests currently serving in the Diocese of Dallas who have an allegation against them that involves minors," said a statement issued by Dallas diocesan spokesman Bronson Havard.
The case of Bishop Galante backs up a report in yesterday's Dallas Morning News, which disclosed that roughly two-thirds of top U.S. Catholic leaders have allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to keep working, "a practice that spans decades and continues today," the newspaper reported.
"Meanwhile, recent polls say that most American Catholics believe that church leaders involved in cover-ups should resign," the newspaper said.
The Rev. Cliff Garner, 36, associate priest at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Dallas, openly expressed his sexual appetite for Hispanic men in one message posted in the chat room Web site, called "St. Sebastian's Angels," on Nov. 22, 1999.
"I've been away for the week attending the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC)," the priest told the chat room, where approximately 50 homosexual priests from throughout the United States and foreign countries gathered online.
"I must say that although I am no 'chicken hawk,' there are some really cute guys around the country," Father Garner said in the message, a copy of which was obtained by The Times.
"I did, however, share a room with one of our youth ministers here in Dallas and is he cute! He's no Ricky Martin but he is Hispanic and we got along wonderfully! It was almost like we were meant to be together. I do have a very special place in my heart for those Latin blooded ones!"
Father Garner, pictured on the Web site with his arm around a man when he served in the Navy, also praised a homosexual South African auxiliary bishop, Reginald Cawcutt, for disparaging remarks he made about the pope and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.
"You are doing God's work and because of that you and the rest of us will be beaten and crucified but we will rise!!!! Peace be with you!!" Father Garner told Bishop Cawcutt in a message dated April 14, 2000.
Cardinal Ratzinger, responsible for enforcing church law requiring priestly celibacy, or sexual abstinence, and against ordination of homosexuals as priests, was a frequent target of ridicule on the Web site, according to copies of chat room messages and e-mails obtained by The Times.
Catholic canon law specifically bars from the priesthood those with "tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty," the latter term meaning sex between men and boys.
In a November 1999 message from Cape Town about "Ratzinger and other minor problems," Bishop Cawcutt wrote: "Hi guys, kill him? pray for him?"
Bishop Cawcutt earlier said of the pope's June 1999 visit to Poland: "Talking about the Vatican JP is in Poland at the mo mebbe he will die there? I shall listen to the news broadcasts in hope!"
Another Dallas-area priest, the Rev. Art Mallinson of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Lancaster, Texas, also was a member of the Web site.
No accusations of sexual abuse have been made against Father Garner and Father Mallinson. The priests could not be reached for comment. "Father Garner is out of town," a receptionist at St. Pius X Catholic Church said. "He's in Rome. He's doing a pilgrimage. He left June 7 and won't be back until June 17."
Failure of Catholic bishops to remove the homosexual priests has infuriated some Catholic lay leaders in Dallas.
"To me, this is appalling that priests involved in a Catholic clergy homosexual site that not only is obscene, but clearly is at odds with the basic teaching of the Catholic church, the pope himself are given clearance to continue serving in their capacity as pastors in their parishes, while two orthodox priests are removed," said Thomas W. Pauken, who headed the federal ACTION agency for President Reagan.
Two orthodox priests were recently removed from their churches for not performing background checks on nuns and church employees as part of the diocese's new sex-abuse-prevention plan.
"This is total hypocrisy," Mr. Pauken said of disparate treatment in cases involving orthodox and homosexual priests. "The people involved ought to step down, including the chancellor and the bishop."
Stephen Brady, the founder of the orthodox Catholic group, Roman Catholic Faithful of St. Louis, wrote to Catholic cardinals and bishops throughout the country to inform them of the homosexual clergy site and asked them to remove participating priests from office.
"All any of us want is to be able to raise our children to be God-fearing Catholics. It is bad enough we have to fight the public schools and society to protect our children's innocence, but why do we have to protect our children from the church?" Mr. Brady asked the Dallas bishop.
Bishop Galante responded on April 25, 2000: "As a heterosexual priest, I am obligated to celibacy, and I expect the same attitude and obligation from all priests whatever their orientation," he said in an e-mail to Mr. Brady. "Acting out in any way is not acceptable. I have always been clear and firm on that, and I continue to be. There are no exceptions, sin is sin.
"Cliff [Garner] is undergoing counseling. As long as his behavior is appropriate he will be alright," the bishop added. "Where is Cliff writing? he was told to end the e-mail communications. Also, I firmly believe that the normal ethos for the priesthood and seminarians is heterosexual."
The St. Sebastian's Angels Web site, started by a homosexual Catholic priest in Maine, was moved off the public Internet in 2000 to a private site available only by password after Roman Catholic Faithful discovered it.
A supporter of Roman Catholic Faithful who found the homosexual Web site joined it and copied daily chat-room and e-mail transmissions. Identities of many priests who did not list their full names or used pseudonyms were discovered by tracking their e-mail addresses, Mr. Brady said.
Mr. Brady said he republished pictures and messages from the homosexual clergy Web site on RCF's Web site because he was appalled by the church's inaction. "No one in the [Catholic] hierarchy seems to care," he said.
Father Garner protested duplication of the Web site.
"This is a grave violation of both ethics and morality," he told Mr. Brady in an e-mail. "You and this RCF Web site, philosophy, etc., I believe, are in mortal sin as you continue to judge and exploit this site."

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