Randy Engel, who has written the magisterial book on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, The Rite of Sodomy, has written this excellent article in Renew America about St. Peter Damian and his historic Book of Gomorrah, which all Catholics need to know about.
Excerpts from the article.
February 23rd on the traditional Roman Catholic calendar is the feast day of one of the greatest saints in the Church, Saint Peter Damian (1007–1072), an Italian Benedictine monk and hermit, Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia, a precursor of the Hildebrandine reform in the Church, a key figure in the moral and spiritual reformation of the lax and incontinent clergy of his time and a Doctor of the Church.
I first made the acquaintance of Saint Peter Damian in 2002 when I was researching the history of sodomy and pederasty in the Church in the Middle Ages for The Rite of Sodomy. When I obtained Damian’s treatise Liber Gornorrhianus (The Book of Gomorrah) written sometime between 1049 and 1054, as an inter-loan acquisition from Catholic University of America, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Indeed, heaven or Paradiso was where Dante has placed the saintly Peter Damian near the end of his Canto XXI (Seventh Heaven: Sphere of Saturn) in his epic literary masterpiece, the Divine Comedy.
So impressed was I with Peter Damian’s work, that I took two months off from my research to pen a two-part series for Catholic Family News (June/July 2002) titled, “St. Peter Damian’s Book of Gomorrah – A Moral Blueprint for Our Times.” Later, I expanded the article for inclusion in The Rite of Sodomy. Today, fourteen years later, this article continues to be the most popular reprint on the New Engel Publishing website.
Naturally, you can appreciate how overjoyed I was to recently learn that a new and beautifully translated, and I might add, affordable version of Saint Peter Damian’s treatise has been carried out by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman and published by ITE AD Thomam Books and Media. What makes The Book of Gomorrah and St. Peter Damian’s Struggle Against Ecclesiastical Corruption even more attractive is that the translator, like this writer, actually believes what Saint Peter Damian wrote and taught, and what the Church has formally and publicly taught on the “most abominable and exceedingly disgraceful vice” of sodomy, at least until the post-Conciliar era. Indeed, the treatise is as fresh, lively, and pertinent as the day it was presented to Pope Saint Leo IX almost a 1000 years ago….
Saint Peter Damian was the first and only Bishop and Doctor of the Church to write a specific treatise on the grave sin of sodomy, a term which is broadly interpreted by him to include the solitary sin of masturbation, masturbation with another, stimulation between thighs, Onanism (contraception), bestiality, sodomy, that is, penetration of the rear of an adult by an adult male, and pederasty, that is, sexual relations between a male adult homosexual and an adolescent boy. The language Damian employs in describing the various acts of sexual perversion is explicit and clear, as are the punishments he assigns to the specific practices mentioned above.
For example, is cases involving pederasty, which is, historically speaking the most universal and enduring form of homosexual behavior, the cleric or religious is to be “publicly beaten” and humiliated “by his loss of tonsure, his face smeared with spittle, bound in chains, worn down with six months of imprisonment, and three days every week to fast on barley bread at sundown,” and confined to a monastery in perpetuity under constant guard.
Damian opposes the ordination of sodomites. He is also opposed to unshriven sodomites saying Holy Mass and wrote that “God refuses the sacrifice from an impure priest.”
As a word of encouragement to the faithful clerics and laity of his day, as well as those of our own time, Damian argues that “It is no sin to expose the grave sins of the clergy and monks,” when he is criticized for his writings by his detractors. “How else will they be lead to repent and do penance?” he asks.
Then Damian asks another excellent question, “How can a sodomite priest, depraved himself, seek to become of intercessor for the sins of others?”…
When I finished reading the Hoffman translation, just for fun, I decided to take a look at the talks given by Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII on or about the saint’s feast day which falls on the 21st of February on the Nervous Order calendar. After all, if the Modernist popes of Virtual Church, which is mired in sodomy and pederasty and other unchaste acts, were sincerely seeking advice on dealing effectively with clerical homosexuality and pederasty, what better source could they go to than Saint Peter Damian?
As I suspected, I didn’t find any reference to The Book of Gomorrah by any of the popes mentioned above.