By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | July 30, 2022
Dr. Jules Gomes, who got Cardinal Oswald Gracias into ‘action’ with his article exposing the “leaked phone call” between him and Bishop of Mysore K A William, is the Rome Correspondent and Producer for Church Militant, a Catholic media apostolate based in Detroit, Michigan. The clergy and laity in India are aghast at the content of the audio and the nonchalant manner in which the Cardinal speaks about doctors, media, and publicity.
Dr. Gomes has a doctorate in biblical studies from the University of Cambridge and has lectured at universities and seminaries in Britain and India. He served as an Anglo-Catholic priest in the Church of England for 25 years, holding the position of Canon Theologian at Liverpool Cathedral and Chaplain to the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. He led a public campaign against abortion on the Isle of Man after which he and his bishop—the Rt. Revd. Dr. Gavin Ashenden, a former Chaplain to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth—came home to the Church of Rome. Dr. Jules Gomes is passionate about saving souls, defending the Catholic faith in the public square, and teaching Sacred Scripture from the Hebrew and Greek texts.
Opening Doorz reached out to Dr. Gomes for an insight into the scandal.
Has Church Militant received any call [condemning] or legal notice from the Archdiocese of Bombay after your sensational revelation of the goings-on in the Catholic Church in India and the knowledge of Cardinal Oswald Gracias about these issues?
Cardinal Gracias is normally very good at responding to my queries and I am very grateful to him for his graciousness in doing so. However, in this case, we have received no response from the Archdiocese of Bombay.
As a seasoned journalist, you would have made attempts to speak to the people concerned to ensure fair representation of the case with the audio tape. Was Cardinal Oswald Gracias or the people connected to his office sought for an explanation by Church Militant?
We most certainly spoke to Cardinal Gracias and he responded by saying he could not comment as the matter was under investigation. Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Girelli’s office repeated the same mantra. Bishop William did not respond.
Ideally, when a story of this nature is published, there is always a denial from concerned parties or uproar among the common man, in this case, the Laity. There has been none. Is it creating a healthy Church environment?
Denial is most often issued when there is wriggle room and the news story has not provided sufficient evidence to back up its reporting. With digital evidence like a phone call or video, one wonders how the concerned parties would deny what is so unambiguously documented.
Surprisingly, there’s a deafening silence in the mainstream media in Mumbai. It appears that the voice in the audio does know a thing about “controlling the media.”
The mainstream media in the West has proved to be utterly corrupt and morally bankrupt. We know this from how they responded during the COVID-19 crisis. Funnily enough, when I was a doctoral student in Cambridge, I knew an academic who would get his daily newspaper flown from India because he no longer trusted the British media. The Indian media, at least newspapers like The Hindu, were still ‘newspapers’ and not ‘viewspapers’, he told me. Your observation of the “deafening silence” of the Mumbai media is deeply disappointing.
“The deafening silence of the Mumbai media is deeply disappointing.”
The clergy is not surprised by this revelation. One said that the article is “iron clad”. Another says he is daily looking at the newspaper hoping to find a mention of this scandal…
I would draw your readers’ attention to the Old Testament prophets. You have the ‘cult prophets’ and the ‘court prophets’ who are part of the establishment. With a few exceptions like the prophet Nathan who confronts King David after his adultery and murder of Uriah, the establishment prophets are silent at best or spout state propaganda at worst. Jeremiah has a thing or two to say about such “false prophets”.
A few good Priests continue to remain good… and silent. Don’t they have an obligation to their vocation?
Priests have to decide if they are willing to take up their cross and follow Jesus to Golgotha, or if they would like to sit in the cloisters of the false prophets and say, “Peace, Peace” when there is none.
“But, of course, Church Militant loves and supports the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We exist for Her; how can we bash the Body of Christ and the Bride of Jesus? Yes, we do bash the “fake church” (which Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò calls the “deep church”) which comprises heretical and corrupt bishops and priests.”
Church Militant is well versed with the scandals in the Church. How would you rate this scandal as opposed to say the West? I’m ashamed I’m even asking this question.
Western Catholics tend to assume things are better in Asia and Africa. But Indian bishops seem to be learning a thing or two about “cover-up” from their episcopal counterparts in the West! In the West, it is mostly homosexual clerical scandals that dominate the news. Our readers sometimes joke: “At least priests and bishops in India are having affairs with women and not with men!”
Given the fact that you were a priest for 25 years and are now a journalist, apart from being a professor teaching scripture, what, according to you, is the panacea for a disease-free Church?
First, incessant prayer accompanied by fasting. Second, a deep sense of repentance and reparation—for our silent complicity, and because we have not loved the Bride of Christ enough. Third, a return to serious study of the Sacred Scriptures so we can understand the will of God and the mind of Christ. Fourth, is a willingness to speak truth to power even when it costs us. As a priest, I was willing to do this and I was punished for doing so.
“If the Church has to be renewed and revived, it will be because of the laity and not the clergy. The layperson as part of the “royal priesthood” conferred by baptism has to exercise a prophetic ministry.”
Do you feel the laity has a role in being a strong opposition to wrongdoings within the Church?
If the Church has to be renewed and revived, it will be because of the laity and not the clergy.
So how does one energize the laity?
I honestly don’t know how one galvanizes the laity in the Indian context, but in the West, Church Militant is at the forefront of creating a very strong “Resistance” movement. We have over 7,000 members in the movement all over the United States of America.
I would like to believe that by virtue of one’s baptism, and as a Christian, one has a right to stand up for things that are not right, and correct them. If not, it would be a sin of omission. Who (in this case) has more of an obligation to clean the mess, the Cardinal or the laity?
Those who are called by God to exercise sacramental leadership in the Church have a greater responsibility. But when they fail, the layperson as part of the “royal priesthood” conferred by baptism has to exercise a prophetic ministry.
“Most faithful Catholics, including faithful bishops and priests, consider the ongoing Synod to be the biggest waste of time and money in the history of the Church.”
How can the ongoing Synod make a difference? Do you think it can have any impact in the first place?
This question opens a can of worms. I cannot respond in a few sentences. But most faithful Catholics, including faithful bishops and priests, consider the ongoing Synod to be the biggest waste of time and money in the history of the Church. The Synod is an attempt to change fundamental Catholic teaching on morality and affirm the practice of homosexuality, usher in the ordination of women, and give a green signal to contraception, divorce, and remarriage. It will destroy Catholicism as it exists and lead to a schism in the Church. We are repeating the mistakes of the Church of England, which is now fractured beyond repair.
Currently, the Pope is touring Canada asking for forgiveness for past abuses… I feel he should also focus on current abuses and stem the rot. I mean the Vatican wanted to reinstate Bishop Franco Mulakkal? Does not the Pope owe an apology to the raped Nun and the Nuns fighting for her? Does he not owe an apology to the sodomized boy who the Cardinal turned away (because he had a flight to Rome) according to media reports?
Being based in Rome and reporting daily on the Vatican and being privy to Pope Francis’ almost incoherent and politically correct mumbo jumbo day after day, this will never happen. Pope Francis has appointed some of the most discredited bishops as cardinals and has himself covered up the most notorious clerical sex abuse. If there are apologies, they are merely an exercise in damage control and an attempt to pacify the Western media following billions of dollars paid out to victims of homopredator priests.
“Pope Francis has appointed some of the most discredited bishops as cardinals and has himself covered up the most notorious clerical sex abuse.”
One last question, Church Militant sounds like a Church-bashing outfit. What exactly is this media house all about?
Our job is to report the news. We can do this objectively and without fear or favour because we are not controlled or funded by the bishops. When people accuse us of Church-bashing my response is: “Can you point to a single fact in our story which is false? If so, I am happy to correct the mistake and apologise.”
Moreover, when reporting the news, we at Church Militant don’t editorialize. We simply state facts and we double and triple check our facts and sources. Church Militant is aware that any reporter and news outlet can be sued for millions of dollars for defamation or libel. We have veteran lawyers and copy editors who make sure we are walking on the straight and narrow path.
But Church Militant does indulge in a lot of ‘Church bashing’?
People may argue that our “opinion” and “comment” pieces are “Church-bashing”. But, of course, we (Church Militant) love and support the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We exist for Her; how can we bash the Body of Christ and the Bride of Jesus? Yes, we do bash the “fake church” (which Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò calls the “deep church”) which comprises heretical and corrupt bishops and priests. Such false teachers are parasites on the true Church and their deeds of darkness must be exposed and brought to light. Truth is the best antiseptic for falsehood. This is precisely what the prophets did, and like Elijah, we are called to exercise our prophetic ministry, even if King Ahab calls us “troublemakers.”