Pope Francis Meets With Kim Davis

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2015

Pope Francis and Kim Davis

Just when I think I have Pope Francis figured out, I am back at square one.  Inside Vatican is reporting that Pope Francis met secretly with Kim Davis:

On Thursday, September 24, in the afternoon after his historic address to Congress, just a few minutes before flying to New York City, Pope Francis received, spoke with, and embraced Kim Davis — the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples who wished to have their civil marriages certified by the state of Kentucky.

Also present was Kim’s husband, Joe Davis.

Kim and her husband had come to Washington for another purpose — Kim was to receive a “Cost of Discipleship” award on Friday, September 25, from The Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Pope Francis entered the room.

Kim greeted him, and the two embraced.

There is no recording of this conversation, or photographs, as far as I know. But “there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

Kim Davis gave me this account of the meeting shortly after it took place.

“The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.

“Then he said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me.”

Joe told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother, who is a Catholic. And Kim then said that she would give her rosary to her father, who is also a Catholic.

Vatican sources have confirmed to me that this meeting did occur; the occurrence of this meeting is not in doubt.

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54 Responses to Pope Francis Meets With Kim Davis

  • Good for Francis. I had a wish that he would join a march in front of a Planned parenthood aboritorium.
    Imagine the response from both sides as they pass each other shifting their evolving likes and dislikes.

  • I read about this yesterday. I hope it is true. If true, then it should be publicized far and wide..

  • Pope Francis seemingly defends marriage between a man and a woman. Very sad that this should shock us.

  • . On a similar note, he blasted the pro gay/ pro euthanasia Mayor of Rome as a pretend Catholic. Could he have been touched by the US meeting with Davis into “judging” the Mayor at some level…

    http://news.yahoo.com/pope-shows-no-mercy-blasts-rome-mayor-pretend-201914363.html

  • BTW, folks, the news articles published on Yahoo and elsewhere are getting the expected cursing from all the pelvic crazed baboons.

  • I hope this meeting with Kim Davis represents a shift in Vatican attitudes and policies toward the sodomites

  • On the papal flight back to Rome after the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis was asked about Kim Davis and he didn’t know who she was.

    I’m digging around to try to confirm this story, if it’s true or not.

  • Tito,
    Some degree of non familiarity is shown in the gifts of rosaries to two Protestants who then gave them to Catholic parents. I suspect he was hurriedly briefed on the story and presumed they were Catholic.

  • The yahoo news article about the mayor of Rome described him as unpopular in the Italian press. If you’re wondering why the pope is publicly criticizing him, but not Pres Obama etc, their comparative popularity might be relevant info.

  • Bill Bannon,

    I agree.

    I’ve dug around and about 40 minutes ago, the mainstream media (secular and liberal press) just exploded on the news.

    The Vatican, Fr. Federioc Lombardi, has confirmed the meeting took place but won’t divulge any details.

    The lawyer for Kim Davis, Staver, also confirmed the story.

    Kim Davis as well has confirmed the story.

    The story looks genuine and true.

  • NBC on the 28th prior to knowing about Davis has the Pope saying to reporters on his return plane that conscientious objection in such situations is a human right..

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/pope-francis-visits-america/pope-francis-i-understand-anger-catholic-church-sex-abuse-victims-n434681

    Good response by Francis on the matter of those intimately radicalized against God for the sex abuse by priests…” I understand that woman”.

  • “…pelvic crazed baboons”
    .
    Paul W. P. you are a genius of the keyboard.

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  • From Yahoo, I’m not surprised. The NHL blog I used to read there, Puck Daddy, was run by a big time gay marriage supporter. I presume he is not alone at Yahoo with that view.

  • If they were intellectually consistent, the papal positivists would treat this the same way they did, say, his phone call to Jaquelina Lisbona–i.e., it’s just her version of the story, she has an interest in it being spun this way, she misunderstood, etc.

    Now, I’m inclined to think this turned out the way the Davises said it did–but I also believe Mrs. Lisbona, too. Getting in contact with the Pope would be pretty well unforgettable.

  • How did ETWN coverage miss this?

  • Explains the sudden spinning of the Pope telling Islamic folks who don’t like being associated with terrorism that they should, y’know, CONDEMN IT as “pope calls Koran a book of peace.” (He did one of those “hey, if you are saying X, then you should do Y” rhetorical devices.)

  • This just confirms my belief that the Pope had his hands tied, to a certain degree, on the stage of Catholic political issues, coming to America. He can criticise an Italian mayor because frankly, he isn’t really anybody. Criticise an American congressman, and you’ll feel it. As someone previously said, congressman act like little gods.

    he isn’t rocking any boats publicly, because they’ll pressure him out like they did with Benedict. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but it all makes sense. He is treading his power very carefully, whilst staying true to the Gospel.

    And it also confirms my initial belief that his speech to congress was intentionally diplomatic, otherwise he would not have been invited.

    I Wouldn’t be harsh on him on this matter. We don’t see what really goes on behind those Vatican walls, nor the conversations or the decisions that are made.

    This is not excusing his lack of a “heavy hand”. This is understanding the logic behind his politics.

    PF is a good man doing a very tough job. I Pray for the Pope.

  • Bergolio’s “leaked” (Really? You believe that?) “secret” encounter with a Christian who refused to issue sodomite “marriage” licenses, in my opinion, was a media stunt, well organized by his buddies in the Vatican.

    Seriously now, are we THAT naive?

    “WOW, you see, Bergoglio is against sodomite marriage”… REALLY?

    The guy should be ashamed of himself pretending to be the Vicar of Christ and doesn’t have the COURAGE of a Protestant to declare and proclaim his faith and say to a nation that “what you did was wrong and either you correct yourself or you will go to Hell.” How many public speeches and homilies he gave in America? How many times he explicitly condemned the sodomite marriage law when he had the chance? Not one single time. Most, if not all of his gibberish was about his freaking mother earth and government’s redistribution of wealth.

    Do we have a Catholic Pope?

  • Will you please decide if the Vatican is great at setting things up, or horrible? And if they want to slap orthodox Catholics in the face, or make us like them?

    Also, how on earth a “well organized media stunt” manages to go past the Catholic media that would welcome it, mostly bypass the official media, and only sneak around the back with the far side of crazy that hate the Pope because he worships anything but their goals?

    I found out about it this morning from someone that assumed it was another “all dogs go to heaven” type rumor that went viral.
    ….
    I think the Pope has rather poor personal judgement on a lot of issues, and without a doubt holds some very questionable notions. That’s different from not being Catholic.
    You don’t think he’s strident enough, great. You don’t agree with his tactics. I don’t, either, but your choice of tactics is rather questionable when it drives someone who agrees that the Pope should be acting differently out of wanting any kind of association.
    He may be a milksop, but at least he doesn’t violently drive off everyone who isn’t perfectly in step.

  • Question: Is Bergoglio embarrassed to be Catholic?

    There is no doubt at all, if you watched his actions and words since he was put on Peter’s Chair, that when addressing non-Catholics, when addressing issues that are contrary to Catholicism when meeting the non-Catholics, he NEVER says anything defending the teachings of the Catholic Church and never says any objectionable word to these people.

    He wants to be nice to sinners. He wants to be popular and the media darling. He is from this world.

    Instead of correcting sinners, he welcomes them and even declares a year of “mercy”.. i.e. everything is allowed for a year because that’s what it’s really about… the “year of mercy” … starting with allowing and facilitating for Catholics to divorce.

    And don’t assume that after the year, everything will go back “Catholic”.. No Sir Ree Bob!!!

    Once he opened the door for “everything is allowed”, and the Synod will confirm it, it will be the new “normal” just like sodomite “marriage” is the new “normal.”

    Do we have a Catholic Pope?

  • “He may be a milksop, but at least he doesn’t violently drive off everyone who isn’t perfectly in step”

    Agree Foxfier.

    I wander sometimes, in the way some Carholics carry-on, what differentiates them from a fanatic Muslim Ayatollah. ?

  • While the pope’s meeting with Davis is, in itself, praiseworthy, I find it strange in the context of the entirety of Francis’ visit to the U.S. When the pope is speaking about the hoax of man made global warming errr Climate Change and the naked anti-death penalty activism, he is not only bold but in your face about it. But on stuff like this that actually has bearing on Catholic Christian morality, he is oh so secretive. Something doesn’t smell right here.

  • >>>Throughout his papacy, Francis has insisted that marriage is between a man and woman, but he didn’t emphasize this church teaching during his trip because he wanted to offer a “positive” message about families to America, Lombardi (Bergoglio’s “press secretary”) told reporters<<<

    I wonder what would Jesus say or do….

    Correcting sinners, leading them to Heaven or telling them everything you're doing is honky-dory, it's "mercy time"??? "I'm not going to offend you, I'm going to be nice to you because that's how you're going to believe in me…..I'll let you live and die sinners."

    Hmmmm

  • Ezabelle –
    bodycount?
    ***
    Greg- if we assume he really is trying to draw people into the faith, and that in the US the global warming and anti-death-penalty folks are most likely to be, ah, not in agreement with the important bits… he may be trying to get common ground, get them to like him, so they’ll listen to him enough to save their souls. That whole “find common ground” tactic.
    He didn’t make a secret of the visit to the Little Sisters, but it didn’t much hit the news outside of Catholic circles– and they’re nuns, people would EXPECT him to visit them!
    I heard folks talking about his speech to Congress and expected a lot of open borders junk…I go read it, and find that he did a good job of drawing a distinction between what HE supports, and what principles we need to apply.
    ( I sure as heck don’t think it’s very loving to be the pressure relief valve for Mexico, so that the folks who are most desperate can take the “steal a loaf of bread when starving” route with immigration laws rather than improving the country.)
    Of course, that goes back around to the question of his practical judgement… did he KNOW that his speech would be mined and treated as ammunition for exactly the opposite, to drive people away from the Church? If not, who the heck isn’t doing their job about briefing him? I know that they mentioned he doesn’t let anybody know everything he’s planning to do, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t get a blessed briefing about “ways the English language media is going to screw this up.”

  • What would Satan do?
    ———————————

    Satan would be nice to people, all people because he wants to have followers. So, he will not offend anybody. He will welcome everybody. He will be merciful to everybody. He will not correct anybody who offends God.
    .
    Instead, he will tell everybody that there are no sinners as fas he is concerned.
    .
    He will give people the impression that God is judgmental, not nice, bigot, discriminatory, and evil. But that he isn’t any of these.
    .
    He is merciful, loving, caring, welcoming, accepting, forgiving.
    .
    He will let you do anything you want and he will never judge you but instead he will encourage you and help you do what you like to do.
    .
    Satan would be the good guy and God the bad guy.
    .
    Satan will appoint a representative on earth. And who can represent him better than the pope himself, the Vicar of Christ, Satan’s sole enemy?

    Bergoglio is leading souls to Hell.

  • “Bergoglio is leading people straight to hell”. Ok. We’ll tally them up at the end of his papacy. If you believe some, the body count is going to be huge!

    It seems he won’t please anyone until he starts condemning the infidels to hell. Sounds like another religion to me.

    His name is Pope Francis, not Bergoglio.

  • Some, err, many so-called “Catholics” venerate to the point of almost worshiping humans instead of their creator. And I don’t care if this human is the pope or not. He was created just like the rest of us and unfortunately, Jesus is ignored even by the pope. If Jesus, with a BIG Halo, was walking in St. Peter’s Square while ANY pope is doing his round, people will still be cheering for the pope and ignore Jesus. I bet my life on it.

  • I rarely comment despite the growing hatred and vitriol so common on almost every online news outlet. I did not expect to find the same entrenched intolerance in reading a Catholic publication. Obviously I disagree with most of you. Kim Davis is breaking the law. If her principles and conscientious objection are more important than her $80,000+ a year salary, then she should quit. It is not her right or job to adjudicate who may love and who may marry.

    Like millions of others who claim rich faith in God, Davis is usurping His right to make judgement. Reading many of these comments, it seems you think God applauds intolerance, hatred, and judgement. That concept goes against everything I was taught as a Catholic, including that He loves all of his children. I simply cannot fathom why so many of those who profess abiding conviction in God’s plan and wisdom, do not trust his Judgement. It is, or should be, at the core of our faith.

  • Err…whatever JPIV…and in more important news, I received this letter from RTL this afternoon…

    Good morning all,
    I am speaking at RTLA Conference tomorrow.
    However at the last minute yesterday Peter Dutton cancelled the visa of the keynote speaker Troy Newman due to pressure from the far left pro- abortion lobby lead by opposition leader Penny Wong.
    Troy Newman is the President of Operation Rescue who have exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted foetal tissue.
    Troy Newman landed at Melbourne Airport at 7am this morning and is currently being questioned in immigration. RTLA have sent a lawyer and many people are lobbying Peter Dutton to reverse his decision.
    Please pray that righteousness, truth and wisdom will prevail and no weapon formed against Troy and his wife Mellissa (and their family in the US) will prevail.
    Thank you so much.
    Kind regards,

    * Penny Wong is a left-leaning federal politician in opposition. She is also alesbian with two children conceived via IVF through a donor.

    Lois

  • Sorry to bombard Donald- but this is also happening currently in Australia – if anyone is interested.

    Perhaps the effort in micro-analysing PF could be put in fighting and defending our own Catholic communities.

    “As you may have heard, Archbishop Julian Porteous is being taken to the Anti-discrimination board in Tassie, (Tasmania, Australia), by the greens representative, for distributing the “Don’t Mess with Marriage” pastoral letter to parents at Catholic schools and also to Catholic parishes. Aside from the great power of prayer, this petition is another active way to support the Archbishop and to join your voice in support of marriage:

    http://standwithporteous.com

  • “to adjudicate who may love and who may marry.”

    Nan, do you realize just how ridiculous you sound? Throughout all of recorded history marriage has been between men and women, and that remains the teaching of the Catholic Church. You act shocked and outraged because many of us do not agree that same sex marriage is marriage. This is an innovation of the past quarter century, still opposed by most of the globe, and imposed upon most of the nation this year solely by judicial fiat, and you act as if gay marriage was handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. How utterly bizarre.

  • “Is Bergoglio embarrassed to be Catholic?” Well yes, of course, when it comes to certain issues that all his well educated friends in high places are against. God bless him for the meeting, but the lack of openness about it sends the message loud and clear. I was instantly reminded of the scene from Blazing Saddles when out of gratitude an old woman brings the black sheriff a fresh baked pie and asks him if he has the decency not to mention it to anyone. After all, appearances you know.

  • Comment of the week F7. Take ‘er away Sam!

  • Congratulations to Pope Francis for his mysteriously stealth support of Kim Davis and against SSM. Let us hope he comes out again , openly and frequently, in support of Catholic doctrine. When he does this he is most impressive and worthy of attention.

  • “This is an innovation of the past quarter century, still opposed by most of the globe, and imposed upon most of the nation this year solely by judicial fiat, and you act as if gay marriage was handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. How utterly bizarre”.

    Amen.

  • Nan –
    your trigger-word program needs work. When claiming to respond to comments, it helps if the topic you’re commenting on was actually MENTIONED in the comments; two dozen comments into a thread, they’re all about figuring out the Pope, and your “oh I OF COURSE am always here” comment is about…. a totally unrelated subject.
    Not just name-calling and lying, but doing a bad job of it. Dang.

  • “Big underground success”!
    Just maybe the last Our Father of the rosary said by the faithful for the intention of the pope and other prayers for him are being heard.

  • Foxfier:

    The anti-death penalty movement effectively exploiting the Church hierarchy and using it as a wedge between pro-lifers to advance their anti-life agenda (yes the anti-death penalty movement is anti-life at its core) has long proved the whole “find common ground tactic” a failure. It seems to me even St John Paul II started to realize that taking sides on capital punishment was a mistake. When Cardinal Ratzinger sent that letter to Cardinal McCarrick stating that Catholics enjoy a “legitimate diversity of opinion” with regard to capital punishment, he acting not merely on his own personal behalf, but in his official capacity as head of the CDF. To my knowledge, he said nothing publicly about the death penalty as Pope Benedict XVI. I searched in vain to find any statements to that effect. And now Pope Francis not only digs up the whole anti-death penalty nonsense, he ups the ante with his opposition to life sentences.

  • Greg-
    I don’t disagree on how effective it is, at least in the US, but it is still something a person can reasonably disagree on…especially when they are charismatic.
    ***
    Given that the Pope obviously doesn’t trust organizations to have power– even while he thinks they MUST have that power– supporting life in prison over death penalty makes sense. (Do YOU trust Iran’s use of the death penalty?!) Same way his view of capitalism makes sense if he thinks crony capitalism is normal.

  • Foxfier:

    First of all, Pope Francis opposes life sentences. He calls it a “hidden” death penalty. Do I trust Iran’s use of the death penalty? I don’t trust Iran. It has nothing to do with the death penalty per se. Our very judicious use of capital punishment is in no way comparable to the way it is used in totalitarian hell holes like Iran, China, North Korea etc. The pope surely knows that. If he doesn’t, his ignorance is scandalous. We don’t execute people for expressing political disagreement or engaging in homosexual acts, or the like. I think the fact of the matter is this pope is more concerned with advancing an ideological agenda than he is the mission of the Church.

  • It doesn’t matter if he knows it’s different in degree, if he’s bought into things like the Innocence Project’s stories that it’s not different in kind.

    GIGO.
    Same reason it’s not good for the Church to jump into scientific situations, it confuses folks about her authority; a simple and LOUD lay-out of the principles involved– without their preferred course of action even mentioned— would be nice, but… yeah, I’ll take a pony, too…..

  • I think the very low key, later leaked meetings with the Little Sisters of the Poor and Davis (well, in Davis’s case, as I understand it, the Vatican didn’t even leak it; an American made the claim and the Vatican didn’t deny it, was how the story first broke) show a distinct difference.

    America has probably more people who would be attracted to a guy who talks about conscience rights and freedom of religion than people who are attracted to a guy who talks about the evilsi of air conditioning.

    The only way making one message loud and clear, and the other muted and unadvertised, is so that he can emphasize one, and leave a bread crumb for orthodox Catholics who want to think that the pope identifies with them too.

    But the idea that this is a good evangelical strategy is not convincing. 1 because the Good News himself probably priorities life issues and the freedom to worship him above air conditioning, and 2 because, this guy has never made Jesus the focal point of his public life. Yeah, he talks about him, but proclamation of Jn3:16 sounding concepts is not a priority with this guy when we are honest with ourselves.

    Priorities. What are yours?

  • Autocorrect apparently wet crazy on the above, apple culpa.

  • I don’t care if he “identifies with” Snips on My Little Pony– and, frankly, that’s the kind of thing that does actually matter, immensely, to the sort of folks that he’d be trying to reach if my theory is correct.

  • “…if he bought I to the Innocence Project”

    Maybe the Church hierarchy will buy into common sense. I’m not holding out too much hope of that happening anytime soon.

  • Re local DC FOX news this a.m. – Kim Davis’ lawyers say she and her husband met with PF for 15 min in private. The Vatican says PF met with a group of people inclluding Davis at the Vatican embassy before leaving for NYC. That he did meet in private with someone, but it was not Kim.

    Well someone is lying. What a mess.

  • To CAM. I guess it was too good to last. Since they are getting flak from their gay constituents the Vatican is walking back, the now infamous (apparently to them), Kim Davis episode. What a bunch of mealy mouthed creeps. Disgusting. Let us hope the news report on this was incorrect.

  • I am disgusted again: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/vatican-publishes-clarification-on-pope-s-meeting-with-kim-davis
    .
    Maybe we should start paying attention to our local parish briest and our local diocesan bishop. And if we don’t have a good parish priest, then maybe we should change parishes until we find one. Maybe in the end it is best if we pay no heed to what comes out of the Vatican – it is just too darn depressing.

  • What in the world? The Vatican’s comment on the meeting with Davis…( Pope Francis: ” Stay strong”) now says the meeting should “not be considered as support for her position.” Apparently the Vatican sees Francis’ words …stay strong…as possibly an exhortation to do push ups and sit ups every day. The translation of English into further English continues.
    Seriously this could have one legitimate nuance if a moral theologian from a Rome university called the Vatican and said that in his opinion the cooperation of a County Clerk was remote material cooperation with a homosexual marriage …somewhat like a Catholic fuel truck driver delivering heating oil to an abortion clinic….bad looking but permissable. If that type of cooperation in sin technicality motivated the Vatican, they should have revealed that and given a lesson in moral theology according to the opinion they are favoring while other moral theologians might take a stricter view and see it as sinful cooperation. But by the Vatican not explaining their comment, it sends a signal to active gays like those at NCR combox that change…repealing Romans chapter one….is possible.
    Was this motivated by a moral theologian phone call or was this motivated by a gay sympathetic Vatican worker.

  • “Was this motivated by a moral theologian phone call or was this motivated by a gay sympathetic Vatican worker?”
    .
    I dunno probably the latter: lavender mafia. I have no familiarity with moral theologians. I imagine it’s very hard work making up stuff both about God and about morality. My reaction to the news that Pope Who had met with the brave woman was, “A stopped clock is correct twice each 24 hours.” And now they screwed up that.

  • Greg Mockeridge,.
    You like Pope Benedict probably for other reasons but he publicly as Pope called for the elimination of the death penalty unfortunately. What is bizarre is that all three of these last three Popes did not look at figures for those regions of the world which have millions of poor people which is where deterrence becomes obvious….China murder rate 1 per 100,000/ non death penalty Brazil and Mexico 24/20 respectively….per 100,000. Links to Benedict calling for its end follow:

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-benedict-end-the-death-penalty

    http://ccky.org/2011/11/pope-benedict-xvi-praises-efforts-to-ban-the-death-penalty/

  • Paul W Primavera-
    hold the disgust, and remember that’s from the guy who is careful with his words.
    Looking at what they’re careful to label the full statement, here:
    http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/10/02/_statement_on_popes_meeting_with_kim_davis/1176270
    it jumps that he’s dancing around something by being very, very specific… I would guess that the Pope didn’t give anybody a heads up about this.

When a Kiss Is Not Just a Kiss

Thursday, July 9, AD 2015

lesbians_(1)Hattip to commenter Phillip. Further proof that there are some very sick puppies among the powers that be currently at the Vatican:

In a bizarre sequence of events, the German edition of Vatican Radio published a cover photo of two lesbians kissing, with the caption: “Church’s sexual morality is in motion,” only to be removed, then reposted, then removed again.

Veteran Vatican reporter Edward Pentin, who spotted the picture, tweeted that Vatican Radio had opted for a “remarkable choice of photo” in posting the two women kissing.

The Canadian Voxcantoris site, a conservative Catholic blog that follows Church abuses, managed to capture a screen shot of the image before it was taken down, and noted that a year ago a German Bishop, Stephen Ackermann, made comments on Vatican Radio that were similarly accompanied by a photo of two homosexual men kissing in front of a rainbow flag.

The German edition of Vatican Radio is reputed to be among the more heterodox of the language editions, following the trends among the German episcopal hierarchy.

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21 Responses to When a Kiss Is Not Just a Kiss

  • Even under the previous pontificates, the matter would have simmered for two years before anyone was given a pink slip. Recall Auxillary Bp. Reginald Cawcutt (whose ordinary defended him). Now, of course, nothing will happen. Deep corruption.

  • . Item one for the Pope when before Congress soon should be protection for Christian businesses and justices of the peace that refuse cooperation in gay marriage. He should talk at length on that as primary. No….I know some of you think open borders and warning of the excessive marketing of air conditioners should come first. Try emigrating to the Pope’s Hotel with ten children who whine for air conditioning. Deportation, an intrinsic evil now in Splendor of the Truth sect.80, will reappear in a hurry. As the ex bouncer watches y’all get bounced from the hotel, yell back….” how, Pope Francis, is this in continuity with section 80?”. ” Continuity…schmontinuity”, he’ll yell, ” but I will accompany you twelve to the border of Vatican City on your way out.”
    Seriously….protection of free speech vis a vis the gay wave should be primary. If he makes immigration primary, someone should ask him from Congress why Latin American Catholic countries were for years being deserted by millions for this most capitalists of countries….and at the 80% risk of being raped in transit in Mexico according to Ann Coulter and a Mexican pundit on the issue.

  • Souls are under threat of complete devastation and we hear this:

    Pope Francis: “Who am I to judge?”
    Cardinal Dolan: “Bravo!”
    Fr. Barron: “We just need to engage them in winsome discussions.”

    Within the Church is a true apostasy. And moral decadence.

  • What is going on? Recall the report given to PF which had been commissioned during the papacy of Benedict which covered the lavender mafia issue. Recall a couple years ago when PF referenced a gay lobby within the Curia (which seems to be a constant target of PF). Recall more recently his appointment of Bishop Barros in Chile which many in Chile considered scandalous. Recall his appointment of an open homosexual, Msgr Ricca, to the Vatican Bank. I’m not sure I want to try to make sense of all this. Perhaps it’s caused by global warming.

  • And I forgot….the appointment of Timothy Radcliffe to the Pope’s council for peace and justice. This is nuts.

  • I just pray that I’m not on the same elevator as so many of these “Church leaders.”

  • I am very sorry. I need to assign a portion of the culpability to Pope Benedict for quitting and so allowing evil to advance.

  • My wager is that Francis will use allegations of sexual misconduct to humiliate and remove people impeding his agenda. I refuse to believe he is at all concerned with the issue per se.

  • Back to that field hospital mentioned – the doctors on staff may be upending the part about doing no harm or they are using as anesthesia a practice of desensitizing of the faithful .

  • I don’t care what lesbians and sodomites do so long as they do it in private in the closet out of public view and away from my children.

  • Sodomites cannot belong in the Catholic Church.

  • I am so horrified of the descent of the modern world into decadence that I hope God does something soon. I look forward to God’s intervention, even punishment if that is what it will take for the world to change…………………….God help us.

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  • Alan,
    God’s perspective is in centuries. He allowed the Jews to be slaves 400 years and allowed the Canaanites to commit awful sins for 400 years plus after He spoke to Abraham:
    Gen. 15:13
    * Then the LORD said to Abram: Know for certain that your descendants will reside as aliens in a land not their own, where they shall be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years.f
    14
    But I will bring judgment on the nation they must serve, and after this they will go out with great wealth.
    15
    You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace; you will be buried at a ripe old age.
    16
    In the fourth generation* your descendants will return here, for the wickedness of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

    When their sin was complete, God brought the herem massacres against them….so awful to Pope Benedict that he argued against God really having done it in sect.42 of Verbum Domini. Benedict was wrong as he was on the death penalty change which will get thousands killed going forward in the name of “mercy.”…once again….that word.

  • It is time for massive cleansing of the Vatican. Catholics from all countries should organize a March to Rome and throw this clique of pink prelates in the Tiber.

  • Please dear Jesus put a end to all this craziness. I am so sorry for the way your treated and the fact that so many people don’t respect your word. I will continue to devote my life to you and only you.

  • The headline is more shocking than the photo: “Church’s morality is in motion.” IOW, changing. Clearly these sort of things are being planted and dropped here and there, first in the most receptive audiences, as a lead up to the Synod and the CHANGE in DOCTRINE.

    The Pope himself asked for prayers for the Synod so that God a could bring good out of “something scandalous and impure.” Why is this pope so sympathetic to homosexuals? Homosexuals are not particularly sympathetic to the Church.

    Seeing that “homosexual ORIENTATION” (something foreign heretofore to Church teaching, and still undetermined by science, medicine or psychology) is now on the agenda, it’s almost a done deal. The use of the word “orientation” is radical, folks, do you see that? A few Synods down the road will have homosexual “BEHAVIOR” and so on. The Church is following the same course as society, and has since WAY BEFORE the spuriously blamed Vatican II.

  • Marriage is a Sacrament designed by GOD and given to Jesus Christ, (Genesis 2-24) For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh. So marriage has always been and always will be the union of one man and one women in a holy sacramental bond. This is the way God has designed what marriage is and no one and I mean no one has the right to change it. Man and a women are the only ones who can co-create human life. Two men can not make a baby together nor can two women make a baby together God said One Man and One Women. THE Catholic church the priest, bishops and Pope better get their act together and do it fast or they will be losing a lot of faithful followers and a lot of money from your weekly collections and Bishop Appeals and other collection you take up.

  • “… headline is more shocking than the photo: “Church’s morality is in motion.” I’ve been thinking the same thing CaroleJ. And the different teaching that goes on in different parts of the world under different groups of bishops. What about being ONE.

  • What about being ONE.
    Anzlyne, the trend forming, in HQ not defending what Jesus taught plainly to clear up these headlines etc., is a kind of betrayal that will result in a convenient and diversionary class of ‘conservative Catholics’ to become the focus as pesky to provide relief to promoters of rampant heresy.

  • CaroleJ, Homosexual orientation is a condition of being a human being. Homosexual behavior, especially sodomy, is a free will act of the individual. Homosexual orientation may be attributed to our Creator. Homosexual behavior, especially sodomy is a free will choice to act against one’s best interest, against one’s immortal soul. Atheists believe that the immortal human soul dies with the human body. This is true of animals. Human souls are immortal and live forever after creation by God instantaneously at the time of procreation. The devil is not an atheist. The devil has a relationship with God. A relationship with God is called religion. Religious freedom must be preserved for the time when the atheist finds the TRUTH. Sodomy is not sexual intercourse. Sodomy does not constitute marriage but is assault and battery of the partner. No crime may be given consent without dire consequences. The secular world says that sodomy is sexual intercourse and constitutes marriage. The Catholic world says that sodomy is not sexual intercourse and therefore is not sinful. Sodomy is unnatural and precludes any constitutional posterity. Sodomy is abuse of the human body.

Catholic and SSA

Tuesday, August 13, AD 2013

Joseph Prever, who has blogged under the pseudonym Steve Gershom, (and who is Simcha Fisher’s brother), has written a rather intimate post discussing being homosexual and a practicing Catholic. You should read the whole thing, but here’s the key point:

You probably know this already, but I’m celibate, because I’m Catholic. You will not hear me talking about When Oh When Will The Church Get With The Times, because that kind of talk is boring nonsense. Guys, the whole point of having the Church is having one thing, just one!, that you can depend on to always be the same. Thank God for that.

If you want a church that constantly changes to fit in with whatever’s fashionable this decade, there are a bazillion options, and you’re bound to find one that is custom-tailored to your particular set of prejudices. Happy shopping.

It’s actually harder to come out as celibate than to come out as gay. Various people have pitied me, or tried to convince me that my life is vewwy vewwy sad, or tried to talk me out of it, or even surreptitiously tried to set me up with their gay friends. If you do this shit, I will not spin-kick you in the face, but I will very badly want to.

Now as is typical for the Catholic blogopshere, while many if not most have been supportive of Joseph, there is a rather vocal undercurrent that is more critical. Some of the more vitriolic, and frankly unhinged comments are simply not worth the time to respond to. There are a couple of more rational criticisms, expressed in many circles, that are worth addressing.

That Joseph uses the word “gay” to describe himself has bothered many. You’ll hear this complaint on many topics related to same sex attraction, particularly if you ever use the term “gay marriage.” There is some merit to this objection, as words do have significant connotations. Even Prever himself is uncomfortable with the word, and says so himself:

Some people have a problem with the word “gay”. That’s okay; I get it. I have a problem with it too. I’ve written a little about that. It’s not a perfect word, but words are like that. You have to know the context. My life is the context. Get to know me first, and then we can argue about it.

Unlike most who have read this paragraph I gather, I bothered to look at the link Prever provided, and it opened to his about page where he writes this:

So are you gay, or what?

You could say that, if you wanted to, although I don’t like the term and don’t identify with it. I’m attracted primarily and almost exclusively to men, and have been since I was about fourteen; but I don’t date men or have sex with them, so where does that leave me? I’m a faithful Catholic, so a romantic relationship with another man literally doesn’t fit into the way I see the world. I don’t see myself as different in any essential way from heterosexual men, so describing myself as “gay” doesn’t seem to fit.

On the other hand, “homosexual” sounds clinical, “queer” certainly isn’t me, and “man who’s attracted to other men” is cumbersome. So, “gay” is a useful sort of shorthand, and I’ll use it from time to time until a better word comes along. SSA (same-sex attraction) is a useful term too, as in “He has SSA” rather than “He is SSA.”

Okay, but can’t you please use some other word besides “gay”? People are going to get the wrong idea.

People have made the point that, by using the same terminology used by those who hold the view that homosexuality is a normal, natural, healthy, super-wonderful sexual variant of human behavior, I’m implicitly legitimizing that view.

This is a valid point. Over and against this point, however, I weigh the fact that the word “gay” is immediately recognizable. If anyone cares enough to read what I’ve written on the blog, they’ll find out what I think about it. And — let’s be honest — “gay” is much better for SEO purposes.

Scandal! Well, not really. This is an eminently reasonable argument. If you want to quibble, feel free, but to me it seems rather pedantic, and I’m not about to cast Mr. Prever into the hellfire for using the term.

The more serious criticism is basically this: it is wrong for Prever to identify as gay (or homosexual or SSA) publicly, as he is giving tacit support for the lifestyle. Essentially, his public profession gives scandal.

This is wrongheaded for a number of reasons. As he makes abundantly clear, he lives a chaste life. No one who reads what he has written could claim with any level of intellectual honesty that he has given tacit support for the homosexual lifestyle, or that his admission of being gay somehow implies that identifies as gay above being Catholic, or that it is his sole defining identification. I would like to believe that this audience is familiar enough with the Catechism to understand that nothing that Prever wrote contradicts in any way the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.

More importantly, the calls for Mr. Prever to, for lack of a better term, stay in the closet strikes me as stupefyingly boneheaded. We live in a culture where homosexual behavior is not only accepted, it is largely celebrated. Here we have an amazing testimony that goes profoundly against the grain. Here we have a gay man (sorry, homosexual) who proudly testifies to the truth of Holy Scripture, affirms the magisterial teaching of the Holy Church, and conforms his life to these teachings. And he should shut up? This magnificent sign of contradiction shouldn’t evangelize to the truth? Are you kidding me?

It seems that so often we Catholics strive diligently to be our own worst enemies. We do our best to shout down the very people who are the greatest testimonies to the awesome love  of our Lord.

I understand to a point the almost reflexive anger demonstrated by some Catholics when it comes to homosexuality. We feel we’re banging our heads collectively against a wall, battling a culture that seems (and is) outright hostile to our values. The Gestapo-like tactics employed against those who oppose this cultural transformation sickens us all. But can we just take a minute before becoming the caricatures we’re portrayed to be? Can we display that love of Christ here on Earth and embrace those who are the very exemplars of courage and sacrifice? Or would we rather obsesses over semantics and condemn to hell the very people who most need our support?

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29 Responses to Catholic and SSA

  • Good post, Paul; and bravo to Mr. Prever.

  • He is a better man than I am.

  • I don’t read anything in Mr Prever’s post that should draw any ire, at least from a serious Catholic. His choice to live a chaste life without recourse to reparative therapy is a perfectly legitimate one.

    I am one of those who disagree with the use of the word gay, simply because the meaning of the word has nothing to do with sexual orientation one was or the other. This part and parcel of how the left has been able to affect culture through use of euphemisms. As the late moral theologian Msgr. William B Smith used to say “All social engineering begins with verbal engineering.” This is something our side has yet to understand for the most part.

  • It’s actually harder to come out as celibate than to come out as gay.

    I know I got harassed (by other straight females) as a celibate female; I’ve seen how guys get pushed to have sex. I have trouble imagining what it must be like for those with the niche identity issue…..

    I kind of like the way he’s using the term– it only causes scandal if we accept the claim that “gay” is an objective term which requires sexual activity, rather than a popular shorthand for what group one is interested in sexually.

  • I guess I’m a bit out of touch because when I saw the headline of this story, “Catholic and SSA” I thought it was going to be about the Social Security Administration.

  • I offer best wishes and prayers to Mr. Prever and others with SSA. However I do not support the “coming out as gay” inclination that he and other Catholics with SSA seem to have. Courage, the fine Catholic Apostolate , which ministers to those with SSA, specifically recommends against usage of the term “gay”.
    Our Lord created us with a human identity; as male or female. There is no third hybrid option. One is male or female, and will live out that identity as a celibate, or in marriage. To Mr Prever others I would respectfully say that you are a man, and your identity comes as a man, whether you live out your life as a single man, or in marriage. To self identify as “gay” seems to be quite self limiting. How much better to embrace manhood as the essential part of your human identity? Labeling yourself as “gay” adds nothing to your humanity, and in effect stigmatizes yourself.
    Our diseased culture, often with the witting or unwitting help of Catholics, has turned sex into an idol, which as much as anything explains the obsession with all things Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender; even to the point where Christians who refuse to validate the GLBT lifestyle are stigmatized and increasingly facing official state sanctioned persecution.
    And as an aside, if a faithful Catholic is right to publicy self identify as “gay” how about as a bisexual, or transgender? Since, no doubt they would say that is exactly who they are, why should they not “come out” as Bi, or Transgender Catholics? When they do, will that be a good thing, or will it confuse the essential message of The Faith, as contained in scripture and the CCC, wherein we acknowledge that God created us, male and female; our essential sexual identify as human beings, and called us to live chaste lives always, both within marriage and without. Identifying with a disordered lifestyle, which use of the word “gay” in my opinion does; as with the words “lesbian”, “bisexual”, or “transgender”, places ones feelings, passions,and inclinations far too much front and center; in a place where the Lord our God should be.
    That all said, I affirm that those who have SSA, whether they self identify as “gay” or not deserve, along with all human beings, our love in Christ.

  • I will register a dissent. It is neither necessary nor proper for him to make a public point of this, or, really, much of anything particularly personal.

  • I saw criticism of Joseph Prever / Steve Gershom by a Catholic blogger on Facebook. I was unaware of the facts. Thank you, Paul Zummo, for an enlightening post.

  • That’s a really interesting blog. Thanks for linking to it.

    I read a few of the entries, and I didn’t see anything morally objectionable, and there was plenty that I’m really going to be thinking about. He should be lauded for providing insight to the world about his personal struggles with sexuality, something that’s problematic even for the saints.

    As for the use of the word “gay”, I guess it leads to misconceptions, but so do a lot of other words. I’m tired of semantic arguments over “schismatic” versus “independent”, “libertarian” versus “free market”, and any of the other debates that could go on forever. I was just trying to explain this to a “pro-choicer” who was offended at the term “pro-lifer”. Yes, words have baggage, but the reason we use words next to each other is to flesh out an idea. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t read a blog of a “gay Catholic”, but I’m glad I read this.

  • Obviously I am not Foxfier, but it seems to me that Susan has a fixation for genital titillation, whether hetero or homosexual. How typical of today’s neo-pagan, post modern hedonists who insist that they are dedicated to reason, logic and science, but just can’t wait to titillate with the irresponsible abandon of the simians from which they think they evolved (or is that devolved?).

  • I have deleted Susan’s comments, and she will no longer be welcome to comment here.

  • If we are to live in the world, we have to use words that mean something to the people we are trying to evangelize too. We aren’t creating a closed society. So I think using the term “gay” and perhaps expanding or changing the definition to include those who have SSA but don’t act on it is a good way to reach beyond the Catholic fold. SSA is a temptation, like any other. I think it’s perfectly appropriate for us to talk about how we overcome and avoid those temptations that tug at our hearts.

  • Thanks, both Pauls.

    I will admit I got a startled laugh out of it because I was knee deep in kids when I read it. 🙂

  • I would like to add that “same sex attraction” is ambiguous in a way that is destructive. The end of the attraction is not specified, only the object of the attraction. All people should have some level of same sex attraction because we need relationships with people of the same sex.The question is the end and effect of that attraction, not the object. Without this distinction it can be very damaging. For example, when I was subject to these therapies an unhealthy scrutiny and suspicion developed of all of my attractions which only made matters worse. Ergo, drop SSA it is more hurtful than helpful.

  • My objection (which may be wrong) is that using the term “gay” seems to imply that there is a biologic determinism. “I am what I am.” Perhaps. This is even indirectly argued by Mr. Prever in that he notes that he has been attracted to men since age 14. Clearly alcoholism and schizophrenia have biologic (genetic) factors. Others like anxiety are a mix of genetic and environmental factors.

    As far as homosexuality (clinical yes, but accurate) is concerned, the argument for a genetic factor is still extremely weak. The best that some have come up with is that there is some genetic factor but it is not clear how much it contributes to the overall expression of homosexuality. Therefore, much of SSA (better?) seems to be environmentally influenced.

    That being the case, identifying oneself by one’s sexual drives seems misguided. Something more extrinsic rather than intrinsic to the person.

  • Thank you Paul for shedding light on your personal issue. It made me realize that the term SSA is preferable, and that you made a personal decision based on SSA and live with it in the context of our Church! You are to be applauded! We are all children of God, and you obviously listen to Him!

  • suzanne,

    The post was not written about me, but rather another blogger, though your sentiments are spot on.

  • Since alcoholics were mentioned in a previous comment, I personally like what the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says about sex on pages 68 through 70 in chapter 5, “How It Works.” This discussion is given at the tail end of the instructions for performing a written Fourth Step: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” It is reprinted below.

    I realize that the following is written from a secular perspective and my beliefs are decidedly from a Christian perspective, but remember the Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith designed the AA Program based in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 1st Corinthians 13 and the Epistle of St. James. We know this from the other books that Bill Wilson wrote. And remember also when reading this that ultimately sexual relations (e.g., adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc.) outside the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony fail Bill Wilson’s acid test in being possessed of selfishness, dishonesty and inconsiderateness. Sadly, that sometimes happens within marriage, too. 

    Now about sex. Many of needed an overhauling there. But above all, we tried to be sensible on this question. It’s so easy to get way off the track. Here we find human opinions running to extremes-absurd extremes, perhaps. One set of voices cry that sex is a lust of our lower nature, a base necessity of procreation. Then we have the voices who cry for sex and more sex; who bewail the institution of marriage; who think that most of the troubles of the race are traceable to sex causes. They think we do not have enough of it, or that it isn’t the right kind. They see its significance everywhere. One school would allow man no flavor for his fare and the other would have us all on a straight pepper diet. We want to stay out of this controversy. We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s sex conduct. We all have sex problems. We’d hardly be human if we didn’t. What can we do about them?

    We reviewed our own conduct over the years past. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead? We got this all down on paper and looked at it.

    In this way we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life. We subjected each relation to this test-was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them. We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.

    Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it. We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing. In other words, we treat sex as we would any other problem. In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it.

    God alone can judge our sex situation. Counsel with persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge. We realize that some people are as fanatical about sex as others are loose. We avoid hysterical thinking or advice.

    Suppose we fall short of the chosen ideal and stumble? Does this mean we are going to get drunk. Some people tell us so. But this is only a half-truth. It depends on us and on our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts out of our experience.

    To sum up about sex: We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing. If sex is very troublesome, we throw ourselves the harder into helping others. We think of their needs and work for them. This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache.

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  • I really don’t care that Mr. Prever calls himself gay because the more important fact is that he correctly strives to live a chaste life. I wish more Catholics who struggle with same sex attraction but who are also striving to live chaste lives would speak up!! Please speak up!! They are the lights in the darkness that can help save the souls of the misguided Catholics out there who think using contraceptives is okay (which is sexually deviant) but that gay “marriage” is wrong. Most Catholics have been a complete disaster in the face of the onslaught we are seeing from the “gay” activists simply because they have no clue what it means to live a chaste life…married or not! I would love to see more people like Mr. Prever speak up and stand along side the rest of us “straight” Catholics who are also striving to live chaste lives…I would welome that partnership in trying to help turn our culture around!!

  • “I would like to believe that this audience is familiar enough with the Catechism to understand that nothing that Prever wrote contradicts in any way the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.”

    This calls for our support, not our condemnation, and should serve as the basis for any conversation about what he has written.

  • That Joseph uses the word “gay” to describe himself has bothered many. You’ll hear this complaint on many topics related to same sex attraction, particularly if you ever use the term “gay marriage.”
    –Paul Zummo

    I too wish that Joseph Prever didn’t use the word “gay” in such ways but the burden of cleaning up the English language falls not on him but on all the rest of us who omitted making loud objections when a militant political movement and its media minions hijacked the word. So I realize that my wish doesn’t matter much today and won’t ever come to pass unless all the rest of us begin schooling the wider public that “gay” is a politics, “homosexual” is a lifestyle, and “same sex attraction” (or “same sex sexual attraction”, to answer Aaron Harburgh) is a source of temptation, something that by our God-given free will one can choose to give into or choose to turn away from.

    I kind of like the way he’s using the term– it only causes scandal if we accept the claim that “gay” is an objective term which requires sexual activity, rather than a popular shorthand for what group one is interested in sexually.
    Foxfier

    Yes, if only the distinction was always made so clearly in the popular media. What I see, though, is that many media mouthpieces are eager to eliminate the distinction between the personal and the political in order to advance the gay political agenda or curry favor with its partisans.

    It’s actually harder to come out as celibate than to come out as gay.

    I know I got harassed (by other straight females) as a celibate female; I’ve seen how guys get pushed to have sex.
    Foxfier

    I’ve seen it too. And I’ve seen how violent-crazy some straight females become when their sexual advances are refused by a young man trying to hold fast to his chastity. (That could be a topic for another time.)

  • Michel Foucault has, rather drolly described the change that took place in the 19th century: “Sodomy, that of the old civil or canon laws, was a category of forbidden acts. Their perpetrator was nothing more than the juridical subject of them. The nineteenth-century homosexual became a personage: a past, a case history, and a childhood, in addition to being a character, a life-style and a morphology, with an over-inquisitive anatomy and, possibly, a mysterious physiology. Nothing that he was, escaped his sexuality… It was consubstantial with him, less as a habitual sin than as a singular nature…. The sodomite had been a lapse; the homosexual was now a species.” [My translation]

    From being a sinful action to be repented, or a vice to be overcome, “homosexuality” became a condition to be treated. Now, of course, for many, it is an identity to be validated.

  • “From being a sinful action to be repented, or a vice to be overcome, “homosexuality” became a condition to be treated. Now, of course, for many, it is an identity to be validated.”

    Actually, it has become an identity to be lauded and extolled. Sadly, Romans 1:32 applies and I wish that were not the case:

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%201:32&version=NRSVCE

  • I wish more Catholics who struggle with same sex attraction but who are also striving to live chaste lives would speak up!! Please speak up!!

    Kim, it’s my privilege, notwithstanding my SSA, to strive for chastity as witness to my desire to live fully in Christ and to share His message with others. In this I am eternally thankful for the Courage apostolate (mentioned elsewhere) and for the brave priests, religious and lay folk who support it in the face of a rising tsunami of persecution of chastity. Your plea supports our cause, and I thank you for it.

  • Michael Foucault wrote on the history of sexual discourse in the West. He says that sexual identities didn’t exist until Victorian doctors sought to understand and medicalize different sexualities. Prior to that, it would never have occurred to someone to slap a sexual label on someone such as straight or gay. Today, we identify people in terms of their sexuality, and we get all sorts of labels, yet they notably break down as is the case with bi-curious. This reflects the reality we learn from Scripture, that people are subject to a sinful nature and may or may not act according to passions. It is an anthropological matter of great importance.

  • Jon

    It is no accident that Foucault is, perhaps, best known for his social history of madness, such as « Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique – Folie et déraison » (Paris: Plon, 1961) translated as “Madness & Civilisation” and « Naissance de la clinique – une archéologie du regard médical» (Paris: PUF, 1963) – “Birth of the Clinic – an Archaeology of Medical Perception.” Again, he describes the same process of medicalisation.

    I am far from agreeing with Foucault about most things, but he is an historian of prodigious and often obscure, learning and he does produce some remarkably good insights. There is a place in philosophy for the « enfant terrible »

  • (This is adapted from something I wrote to a friend. It seemed appropriate here, although so many of you said more briefly some very good things.)

    Recognizing that we all have desires and appetites that we strive to satisfy, we also must admit that everyone of us also has disordered appetites that when out of control or not understood can lead us and our behavior astray. It becomes especially difficult to handle if a want, often tied to real needs, becomes a psychological fixation that brings on strong physical (sensual) reactions in our bodies. Self-mastery over our habits of thought and actions, virtue and a truthful moral compass are the answer, but these require constant vigilance.
    I would not be surprised if every person ever, except two, had to struggle with some kind of unhealthy sexual attraction because I believe Satan most easily takes advantage of perverting this strong, God-given drive. Even with married couples it can be a real challenge keeping sexual relations from self-seeking satisfaction and even if only in the mind, some perversity. In one way, concentrating on the act and not the person. Giving of ourselves selflessly and completely embracing the wholeness of another during sexual intercourse does not come easy in our sinful state.
    What does it mean when one person looks at another, or at their anatomy, and thinks, “I want a piece of that!” The attraction here is not based on “love” but a desire for a sexual “piece of meat” – of wanting to devour it or making it completely mine. It really has little to do with another person, rather it is about oneself and one’s own body parts. When you consider pornography, where there is only an image not even a person, this is even more obvious. In many ways I think masturbation is the training ground for this kind of sexual fixation focused on a body part and not on a person. That is, other than wanting to absorb and completely own your infatuated perception of other person.
    As a heterosexual person do I identify myself as Opposite Sex Attraction? What if I were tempted to , or should I say “oriented to” animals, teens or simply myself? Myself Sex Attraction? Or perhaps I have a myriad of sexual attractions, not just bisexual but “I’m MSA, Multi Sex Attraction?” My point here is, and I do finally get to the thread of this conversation, is that identifications like “I’m gay” fatalistically reduce a human person to being a behavior and not a whole person, who by the way has countless other behaviors and desires we could arbitrarily identify by. I think, for example, it is better to have the self- image as a person with an alcohol addiction rather than an alcoholic, although all these terms make for easy classification.
    As to “opening the closet” to share with the world just one of many attractions, “I’m oriented to only having sex with other men, but I live a chaste life” perhaps can be helpful in giving hope to others struggling with the same temptations. However, although I think it even courageous it could also be very damaging if it promotes the “doom” that identifies as “I am gay”, “I was born this way”, “this is who I am” and “I’ll do my best fighting it.” Whereas St. Paul is abundantly aware of his own temptations and failures, he does not make them his identity but finds himself in Christ and consequently, is “reoriented.”
    I have two brothers who claim to be “gay.” They say “they always felt different” and “knew from an early time” and fall back on the “being born this way” as a reason they cannot do anything about it. This is what I mean by being “doomed.” Instead of recognizing that we all develop “orientations” that need to be “re-oriented” they have given into letting this appetite devour them. And by no means do I mean to underestimate how hard that particular struggle can be as I humbly admit there are appetites that might have devoured me. Which brings me to my closing comment: While the homosexual agenda is a relentless attack on the truth of human sexuality and the human person, people we know and love don’t see, or want to see it this way. We are in great need of witnesses, probably martyrs, to speak convincingly and compassionately about the truth of human sexuality and the meaning of marriage instead of just knowing it ourselves. If this Joe can add his voice effectively, his witness is applauded by me.
    As an aside: I just heard that Gov. Christe is going to sign a bill pushed by the “gay lobby” to prohibit therapies for reorienting young homosexuals. He displayed such compassion and wisdom in telling us that he believed we are born this way and that it is not a sin. The funny thing is I have only seen newborns or young toddlers born male or female and not particularly sexually oriented anywhere yet. Perhaps he can also share with us his support for contraception, masturbation and being born multi-sexual, bestial or whatever? And while he’s at it, why not abolish the idea of sin altogether?

  • Kevin

    Aristotle, as usual, has something good to say on this, if one takes the trouble to tease it out.

    In the Nicomachean Ethics, he observes that some states or conditions “arise as a result of disease (or, in some cases, of madness, as with the man who sacrificed and ate his mother, or with the slave who ate the liver of his fellow), and others are morbid states (C) resulting from custom, e.g. the habit of plucking out the hair or of gnawing the nails, or even coals or earth, and in addition to these, sexual intercourse with males [τῶν ἀφροδισίων τοῖς ἄρρεσιν – tōn aphrodisiōn tois arresin]; for these arise in some by nature and in others, as in those who have been the victims of lust from childhood, from habit.” (Nicomachean Ethics Book 7:5; Arist Eth Nic 1148b 27-30)

    (Note that some English versions translate τῶν ἀφροδισίων τοῖς ἄρρεσιν as paederasty, why I don’t know: Ἀφροδισιάζω means to have sexual intercourse and ἄρσην means male; ἄρρεσιν is the dative plural. Had he meant paederasty, there is a perfectly good Greek word for it, παιδεραστία – paederasty, as it happens]

    With his rather bizarre examples of hair-twisting and nail-biting, I believe Aristotle is making an important point that runs all through his ethical thinking. The good choice, “This – being such – is to be done,” is intelligible, because intelligent; the bad choice is, ultimately unintelligible. True enough, we can often trace its causes to instinctive or dispositional factors, but it remains logically incoherent. Such behaviours have causes, not reasons.

New York Catholic High School Okays Gay Couple to Attend Prom

Tuesday, April 2, AD 2013

Three guesses as to what order runs the high school. The first two don’t count.

The administrator of a Catholic high school in New York wrote to his students’ parents this week to explain why a gay couple at the all-boys school is being allowed to attend the junior prom together.

Father Edward Salmon, president of McQuaid Jesuit High School in Brighton, explained that the boys “will be welcomed” as a couple, even though he insisted the gesture of acceptance is not meant to condone homosexuality or go against church law in any way. His full letter, sent Wednesday, was published Thursday by local news website rochesterhomepage.net.

For Salmon, the acceptance represents the success of a student-driven campaign to allow the boys to attend their junior prom together. The school’s administrator described the emotions that campaign generated as “darkness and heavy clouds,” leading to the spread of “misinformation, fear, misunderstanding, and even anger.”

There’s more at the Deacon’s Bench, including the letter from Father Salmon. For those who feared that Pope Francis’s washing of women’s feet would embolden liberal Catholics, you severely underestimate how easily liberal Catholics can twist any words and actions of the Pontiff to suit their particular cause. Witness the beginning of Father Salmon’s letter:

Our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, in the homily for his Inaugural Mass, had encouraging and inviting words: “Today amid so much darkness we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation and to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope, it is to let a ray of light break through heavy clouds.”

And if you don’t interpret Pope Francis’s words to mean that it’s okay to allow a gay couple to attend a prom at a Catholic high school, then clearly you just want more darkness.

Most of the rest of the letter is a bizarre stream of consciousness that uses the imagery of light and darkness to ironic affect – ironic because it just muddies the waters and thereby darkens everyone’s understanding of the faith. He closes with this:

With this decision I am not contradicting the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church with regard to human sexuality; I am not encouraging nor am I condoning homosexual activity just as I do not encourage or condone heterosexual activity at a dance. I am not contradicting the Church’s opposition to the redefinition of marriage. With this decision I invite and encourage us all, as Pope Francis does, to exercise care, protection, goodness which calls for a certain tenderness “which is not a virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness.”

You see he’s not contradicting Church teaching because, well, he says so. And light and darkness. And Pope Francis.

There. Don’t you feel much better now?

Father Salmon selectively quotes the Catechism to defend his position. Perhaps Father Salmon should familiarize himself with the concept of scandal.

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54 Responses to New York Catholic High School Okays Gay Couple to Attend Prom

  • I am honestly shocked. Mind you, it’s not that this is happening at a
    Jesuit school– that was only to be expected, as Mr. Zummo suggested
    in his opening sentence. No, what’s shocking is the poor quality of
    Fr. Salmon’s weaseling and misdirection. I’ve grown accustomed to
    Jesuits who could engage in high-level sophistry and manipulation, with
    flights of fancy that could almost make an art form out of heresy. And
    now we have Fr. Salmon SJ phoning it in with a letter that is just plain
    dumb. I’d expected better (that is, worse) from the Jesuits. Evidently
    they’re still a decadent order, only now they’re also boring.

  • The only mild relief I felt is when, after seeing that it was a New York high school, it turned out not to be my alma mater. But, give them time.

  • ” I am not contradicting the Church’s opposition to the redefinition of marriage.” Like the guy asking for money in the supermarket parking lot who says he isn’t panhandling.

    Just as they used Vatican II to justify their liberal interpretation of doctrine, they now do the same with the new Pope’s words and actions. I do hope Francis will in some way discourage them from doing so further.

  • Love the sinner. Hate the sin.

    Stuff like this is the reason I stopped telling myself, “Now, I’ve seen everything.”

    N.B. it’s a jesuit high school, not a Catholic High School.

    Where in NY is Brighton? I never heard of it.

    I am a bad person. I keep thinking S.J. means “society of judas.”

  • Originally I thought this was Brooklyn, T Shaw, but that’s Brighton Beach. Evidently this is near Rochester, which also explains much.

  • “You see he’s not contradicting Church teaching because, well, he says so. And light and darkness. And Pope Francis.”

    Scratch most Jesuits these days and you will find a sophist, and not even a smart sophist. I bet many of the parents sacrificing to pay the tuition, over eleven grand a year, at the dump he runs are so gratified to be paying through the nose to help destroy the faith of their kids. Public schools will at least do it for free.

  • Evidently this is near Rochester, which also explains much.

    McQuaid High is/was the biggest rival of my alma mater, Aquinas High School. I have cousins and nephews who attended McQuaid. I wonder how they feel about this. I’m almost afraid to ask.

  • Bp. Clark is now retired and the diocese is under the supervision of Bp. Cunningham of Syracuse. However, he was in charge for 33 years and rainbow flags were one of his pet projects, so this sort of rancid mess is embedded in the local culture of the church. If Rochester manages to acquire a capable and faithful bishop, he will really have to power wash the place.

  • Scratch most Jesuits these days and you will find a sophist, and not even a smart sophist.

    About 10 years ago, Fr. Paul Mankowski, SJ penned a reflection on what had happened to the priesthood after 1960. In the course of it he offered an estimate that somewhere around 55-60% of the novices with whom he had entered Jesuit formation in 1974 had no true interest in matters religious; they were homosexuals “hiding in the tall grass”.

  • What Went Wrong?

    by Father Paul Mankowski, S.J.

    An Address to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy – July 15, 2003

    What went wrong, and why?

    Everyone in the room will rightly understand the question to refer to The Crisis, the daily revelation over the past eighteen months of numberless instances of priestly turpitude, episcopal mendacity, and the resultant bewilderment and fury of the laity.

    My own take on the problem, which I offer for your consideration, is that the Crisis is chiefly surprising in how unsurprising it is.

    No one who has been fighting the culture wars within the Church over the past twenty years can fail to recognize his own struggles with a hostile bureaucracy and conflicted hierarchy in the struggles of those pleading for relief from sexual abuse — notwithstanding the disparity in the attendant journalistic drama.

    In fact, I’d contend that the single important difference in the Church’s failure regarding abusive clergy and the failures regarding liturgy, catechesis, pro-life politics, doctrinal dissent and biblical translation is this: that in the case of the sex abuse scandal we’ve been allowed a look over the bishops’ shoulders at their own memos.

    Deviant sexual assault has accomplished what liturgical abuse never could: it has generated secular media pressure and secular legal constraints so overwhelming that the apparat was forced to make its files public.

    What we read in those files was shocking, true, but to most of us, I suspect, it was shocking in its sense of daja vu.

    The housewife who complained that Father skipped the Creed at mass and the housewife who complained that Father groped her son had remarkably similar experiences of:
    •being made to feel that they themselves were somehow in the wrong;
    •that they had impugned the honor of virtuous men;
    •that their complaints were an unwelcome interruption of more important business; – – that the true situation was fully known to the chancery and completely under control;
    •that the wider and more complete knowledge of higher ecclesiastics justified their apparent inaction;
    •that to criticize the curate was to criticize the pastor was to criticize the regional vicar was to criticize the bishop;
    •that to publicize one’s dissatisfaction was to give scandal and
    •would positively harm discreet efforts at remedying the ills;
    •that one’s duty was to keep silence and trust that those officially charged with the pertinent responsibilities would execute them in their own time;
    •that delayed correction of problems was sometimes necessary for the universal good of the Church.

    This picture was meant to describe the faithful’s dealing with the normally operating bureaucracy, in which the higher-ups are largely insulated.

    Occasionally someone manages to break through the insulation and deal with the responsible churchman himself. In this case another maneuver is typically employed, one I tried to sketch eight years ago in an essay called “Tames in Clerical Life”:

    In one-on-one situations, tames in positions of authority will rarely flatly deny the validity of a complaint of corruption lodged by a subordinate. More often they will admit the reality and seriousness of the problem raised, and then pretend to take the appellant into their confidence, assuring him that those in charge are fully aware of the crisis and that steps are being taken, quietly, behind the scenes, to remedy it.

    Thus the burden of discretion is shifted onto the subordinate in the name of concern for the good of the institution and personal loyalty to the administrator: a tame must not go public with his evidence of malfeasance lest he disrupt the process — invariably hidden from view — by which it is being put right.

    This ruse has been called the Secret Santa maneuver: “There are no presents underneath the tree for you, but that’s because Daddy is down in the basement making you something special. It is supposed to be a surprise, so don’t breathe a word or you’ll spoil everything. And, of course, Christmas never comes.

    Perhaps most of the well-intentioned efforts for reform in the past quarter century have been tabled indefinitely by high-ranking tames using this ploy to buy their way out of tough situations for which they are temperamentally unsuited.

    What I’ve put before you are two scenarios in which complaints of abuses are brought to those in authority and in which they seem to vanish — the complaints, I mean, not the abuses. One hoped that something was being done behind the scenes, of course, but whatever happened always remained behind the scenes.

    As the weeks went by without observable changes in the abuse and without feedback from the bureaucracy, one was torn between two contradictory surmises: that one’s complain had been passed upstairs to so high a level that even the bishop (or superior) was forbidden to discuss it; alternatively, that once one’s silence had been secured and the problem of unwelcome publicity was past, nothing whatsoever was being done.

    Now the remarkable thing about The Crisis is how fully it confirmed the second suspicion.

    In thousands and thousands of pages of records one scarcely, if ever, is edified by a pleasant surprise, by discovering that a bishop’s or superior’s concern for the victim or for the Faith was greater than that known to the public, that the engines of justice were geared up and running at full throttle, but in a manner invisible to those outside the circle of discretion. Didn’t happen.

    I think this goes far to explain the fact that when the scandals broke it was the conservative Catholics who were the first and the most vociferous in calling for episcopal resignations, and only later did the left-liberals manage to find their voices.

    Part of our outrage concerned the staggering insouciance of bishops toward the abuse itself, but part, I would argue, was the exasperation attendant on the realization that, for the same reasons, all our efforts in the culture wars on behalf of Catholic positions had gone up in the same bureaucratic smoke.

    I take issue, then, with commentators who refer to the Crisis as an ecclesial “meltdown” or “the Church’s 9-11” or who use some similarly cataclysmic metaphor. Whatever there was to melt down had already done so for years, and that across the board, not just in priestly misconduct.

    Therefore, in addressing the question, “what went wrong, and why?” I need to try explain not simply the sex-abuse scandals but the larger ecclesial failure as well, weaknesses that existed even before the Second Vatican Council.

    Paradoxically, one of the major factors in the corruption of clerical life at the end of the 20th century was its strength at the beginning of it. Here I quote from James Hitchcock:

    A gloomy fact about clerical life is that, with the possible exception of the very early centuries, there was no time in the Church’s history when such life was idyllic. The Middle Ages had their share of misbehaving priests, and the ordinary parish clergy were uneducated and part of a peasant culture which was in some ways still pagan. The Counter-Reformation made strenuous efforts to improve the state of the clergy, not least through the establishment of that institution which ought to have been obvious but for some reason had not been — the seminary. Even despite these efforts, clerical scandals and various kinds of clerical incompetence long continued, amidst occasional saintly priests and many others of solid piety and zeal. In the United States the period cl900-l960 can be considered a golden age of the priesthood, not merely in modern times but throughout all the Catholic centuries. (This golden age was not confined to America but existed in other countries as well.) While priests of that era certainly had their faults, by all measurable standards there was less ignorance, less immorality, less neglect of duty, and less disobedience than at almost any time in the history of the Church. More positively, priests of that era were generally pious and zealous, and those who were not at least had to pretend to be.

    Not only was the reality of priestly character in good shape, but the reputation of Catholic clergymen was likewise high. This brought with it several problems.

    First, being an honorable station in life, the clerical life provided high grass in which many villains and disturbed individuals could seek cover. I would estimate that between 50 and 60% of the men who entered religious life with me in the mid-70s were homosexuals who had no particular interest in the Church, but who were using the celibacy requirement of the priesthood as a way of camouflaging the real reason for the fact that they would never marry.

    It should be noted in this connection that the military has its own smaller but irreducible share of crypto-gays, as do roughnecks on offshore drilling rigs and merchant mariners (“I never got married because I move around so much it wouldn’t be fair on the girl…”). Perhaps a certain percentage of homosexuals in these professions can never be eliminated.

    I further believe that the most convincing explanation of the disproportionately high number of pedophiles in the priesthood is not the famous Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers Theory, but its reverse, proposed to me by a correctional officer at a Canadian prison.

    He suggested that, in years past, Catholic men who recognized the pederastic tendency in themselves and hated it would try to put it to death by entering a seminary or a monastery, where they naively believed the sexual dimension of life simply disappeared. It doesn’t disappear, and many of these men became active pedophiles.

    This suggestion has the advantage of accounting for the fact that most priests who are true pedophiles appear to be men in their 60s and older, and would belong to a generation of Catholics with, on the one hand, a strong sense of sexual mortal sin and, on the other, strong convictions about the asceticism and sexual integrity of priestly life.

    To homosexuals and pedophiles I would add a third group, those I call “tames,” who are men incapable of facing the normally unpleasant situations presented by adulthood and who find refuge, and indeed success, in a system that rewards:
    1.concern for appearance,
    2.distaste for conflict, and
    3.fondness for the advantageous lie.

    In sum, the social prestige and high reputation that attached to the post-WW2 priesthood made it attractive to men of low character and provided them with excellent cover.

    A second key factor in the present corruption is loss of the bishops’ ability for self-correction. This problem has institutional and personal dimensions.

    The model of episcopal collegiality in place since the Council has not increased the mutual good-will of the bishops, but has, paradoxically, made the appearance of good-will obligatory in nearly all situations.

    Once more I turn to James Hitchcock. Speaking of the Church’s necessary recourse to diplomacy in dealing with militarily superior nation-states, Hitchcock says:

    It is ironic and discouraging that in the modern democratic era, when the Church enjoys the blessings of complete independence from political control, diplomacy still seems necessary, now often concentrated on internal ecclesiastical matters.

    It appears, for example, that the Pope is not free simply to appoint bishops as he sees fit, but that an elaborate process of consultation, of checks and balances, takes place, after which successful candidates are often people who have no highly placed enemies.

    The Holy See now appears to treat national episcopal conferences, and the numerous religious orders, almost as foreign powers. Scrupulous correctness is observed at all times, formal verbiage masks barely hidden disagreements, and above all potential “incidents” are avoided. … This endemic practice of diplomacy within the Church has yielded small results. Abuses have been tolerated not for the sake of unity but merely for the “appearance” of unity, which itself soon becomes an over-riding concern.

    Because what matters most in this mindset is perception, the appearance of unity, it has become virtually impossible to remove a bad bishop without prior public scandal — “public” here meaning notorious in the secular sphere, through the mass media.

    When the scandal is sexual or financial, it seems the Holy See can move quickly to remove the offender. When the scandal is in the arena of heresy or administrative irregularity or liturgical abuse, there is almost never enough secular interest generated to force the Holy See’s hand. Bishops Milingo and Ziemann and Roddy Wright have many brethren; Bishop Gaillot has few.

    Intermediate reform measures like seminary visitations are doomed to failure for the same reason; there simply is no possibility in the present disposition for a hostile inspection, where the visitators try to “get behind” the administration and find the facts for themselves. To do such a thing would be to imply lack of trust in the administration and hence in the bishop responsible for it, and such an imputation is utterly impossible.

    The same is true in bishops’ dealing with universities, learned societies and religious congregations. The only permissible inspections are friendly inspections, where the visitators ask the institution under scrutiny for a self-evaluation, which, of course, will be overwhelmingly positive and which will render the chances of reform almost nil.

    A priest official in a Vatican dicastery whom I trust told me that the needed reforms will never take place unless the Church undoes Pope Paul VI’s restructuring of the Vatican curia, whereby the Secretariate of State has become a kind of super-bureaucracy — no longer charged simply with the Holy See’s relations to other nations but with de facto control over the relations of the Vatican dicasteries to one another of the Holy See to its own bishops.

    In practice the Secretariate of State not only sets the tone for the Holy See’s dealings but often sets the agenda as well, ensuring that the diplomatic concern for appearances will prevail over the need for reforms involving unpleasantness, and exercising indirect influence over the selection of bishops, characteristically men of diplomatic demeanor if not experience.

    This profile goes far to explain why telling the truth is a problem for a large number of bishops, many of whom seem baffled and hurt when their falsehoods are not taken at face value.

    All embassies, moreover, have a high number of homosexuals in their staffs, and the Vatican diplomatic corps in no exception. The combination of the physical comforts attendant on diplomatic service, the skill at bureaucratic manipulation and oblique methods of pressure, the undercurrent of homosexual decadence, and the alacrity with which truth is sacrificed to expediency do not make an environment conducive to reform.

    The dominion exercised by the Secretariate of State means that many good-willed attempts to clean house go nowhere, and will continue to go nowhere in the future, being lost in its corridors or disfigured beyond recognition.

    A third answer to “What Went Wrong?” concerns a factor that is at once a result of earlier failures and a cause of many subsequent ones: I mean sexual blackmail.

    Most of the men who are bishops and superiors today were in the seminary or graduate school in the 1960s and 1970s. In most countries of the Western world these places were in a kind of disciplinary free-fall for ten or fifteen years. A very high percentage of churchmen who are now in positions of authority were sexually compromised during that period.

    Perhaps they had a homosexual encounter with a fellow seminarian; perhaps they had a brief heterosexual affair with a fellow theology student. Provided they did not cause grave scandal, such men were frequently promoted, according to their talents and ambition.

    Many are competent administrators, but they have time-bomb in their past, and they have very little appetite for reform measures of any sort — even doctrinal reforms — and they have zero appetite for reform proposals that entail cleaning up sexual mischief. In some cases perhaps, there is out-and-out blackmail, where a bishop moves to discipline a priest and priest threatens to report the bishop’s homosexual affair in the seminary to the Nuncio or to the press, and so the bishop backs off.

    More often I suspect the blackmail is indirect. No overt threat is made by anyone, but the responsible ecclesiastic is troubled by the ghost of his past and has no stomach for taking a hard line. Even if personally uneasy with homosexuality, he will not impede the admission and promotion of gays.

    He will almost always treat sexuality in psychological terms, as a matter of human maturation, and is charity of the language of morality and asceticism. He will act only when it is impossible not to act, as when a case of a priest’s or seminarian’s sexual misconduct is known to the police or the media. He will characteristically require of the offender no discipline but will send him to counseling, usually for as brief a period as possible, and will restore him to the best position that diocesan procedures and public opinion will allow him to.

    Note: sexual blackmail operates far beyond the arena of sexual misconduct. When your Aunt Margaret complains about the pro-abortion teachers at the Catholic high school, or the Sisters of St. Jude worshiping the Eight Winds, or Father’s home-made eucharistic prayer, and nothing is done, it is eminently likely that the bishop’s reluctance to intervene stems from the consciousness that he is living on borrowed time.

    In short, many bishops and superiors, lacking integrity, lack moral courage. Lacking moral courage, they can never be reformers, can never uproot a problem, but can only plead for tolerance and healing and reconciliation.

    I am here sketching only the best-case scenario, where the bishop’s adventures were brief, without issue, and twenty years in his past. In cases where the man continues his sexual exploits as a bishop, he is of course wholly compromised and the blackmail proportionately disastrous.

    A fourth element in the present corruption is the strange separation of the Church from blue-collar working people.

    Before the Council every Catholic community could point to families that lived on hourly wages and who were unapologetically pious, in some cases praying a daily family rosary and attending daily mass. Such families were a major source of religious vocations and provided the Church will many priests as well.

    These families were good for the Church, calling forth bishops and priests who were able to speak to their spiritual needs and to work to protect them from social and political harms. Devout working class families characteristically inclined to a somewhat sugary piety, but they also characteristically required “manly” priests to communicate it to them: that was the culture that gave us the big-shouldered baritone in a lace surplice.

    Except for newly-arrived immigrants from Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines, the devout working class family has disappeared in the U.S. and in western Europe. The beneficial symbiosis between the clerical culture and the working class has disappeared as well.

    In most parishes of which I’m aware the priests know how to talk to the professionals and the professionals know how to talk to the priests, but the welders and roofers and sheet-metal workers, if they come to church at all, seem more and more out of the picture.

    I think this affects the Church in two ways: on the one hand, the Catholic seminary and university culture has been freed of any responsibility to explain itself to the working class, and notions of scriptural inspiration and sexual propriety have become progressively detached from the terms in which they would be comprehensible by ordinary people; on the other hand, few priests if any really depend on working people for their support.

    In a mixed parish, they are supported by the professionals; in a totally working class parish, they’re supported by the diocese — i.e., by professionals who live elsewhere. That means not only does Father not have to account for his bizarre view of the Johannine community, but he doesn’t have to account for the three evenings a week he spends in lay clothes away from the parish.

    A related but distinct factor contributing to the Crisis is money. The clergy as a whole is enormously more prosperous than it was a century ago. That means the clergyman is independent of the disapproval of the faithful in a way his predecessors were not, and it also means he has the opportunities and the wherewithal to sin, and sin boldly, very often without detection.

    Unless he makes unusual efforts to the contrary, a priest today finds himself part of a culture of pleasure-seeking bachelordom, and the way he recreates and entertains himself overlaps to a great extent that of the young professional bronco. Too often, regrettably, the overlap is total.

    But even when a priest is chaste, by collecting boy-toys and living the good life he finds himself somewhat compromised. He may suspect a brother priest is up to no good by his frequent escapes to a time-share condo, but if he feels uneasy about his own indulgences he is unlikely to phone his brother to remonstrate with him.

    My own experience of religious life is that community discussion of “poverty issues” is exceptionlessly ugly, partly because almost everyone feels vulnerable to criticism in some aspect or other, partly because there’s an unspoken recognition that poverty and chastity issues are not entirely unrelated. As a consequence, only the most trivial and cosmetic adjustments are made, and the integrity of community life continues to worsen.

    One more point, perhaps more fanciful than the others. I believe that one of the worst things to happen to the Church and one of the most important factors in the current corruption of the clergy is the Mertonization of monastic life.

    I may be unfair to Thomas Merton in laying the blame at his feet and I don’t insist on the name, but I think you all can recognize what I mean: the sea change in the model of contemplative life, once aimed at mortification — a death to self through asceticism – now aimed at self-actualization, the Self has taken center stage.

    This change is important because, in spite of 50-plus years of propaganda to the contrary, the monastic ideal remains a potent ikon in any priest’s self-understanding.
    1.Simplicity of life,
    2.fidelity to prayer, and
    3.obedience

    all have different orientations in the case of
    1.a canon,
    2.a friar, and
    3.a diocesan priest, obviously,

    but they are all monastic in transmission and all essential to the clerical life.

    Where monastic life is healthy, it builds up even non-monastic parts of the Church, including and in particular the lives of priests in the active apostolate. Where the monastic life is corrupt or lax, the loss extends to the larger Church as well — it’s as if a railing is missing one side of a balcony.

    When I was preparing for priesthood my teachers lamented what they called the “monastic” character of pre-conciliar seminaries and houses of formation (fixed times for common prayer, silence, reading at meals, etc) complaining that such disciplines were ill-suited to their lives because they were destined not to be monks but pastors, missionaries and scholars.

    But looking at the lives of my contemporaries one of the things most obviously lacking is an appetite for prayer fed by good habits of prayer, habits which are usually the product of a discipline we never had.

    The same is true of asceticism and self-denial generally. When laypeople enter priests’ living quarters today, they rarely seem to be impressed by how sparse and severe our living arrangement are. They rarely walk away with the impression that the man who lives here is good at saying no to himself. Yet monks are, or used to be, our masters at saying no to the self. Something went wrong.

    Putting the same idea in another perspective, it’s wryly amusing to read commentators on the sexual abuse problem recommend that priests be sent to a monastery for penance. What penance? Is there a single monastic house in the United States where the abbot would have the authority, much less the inclination, to keep a man at hard labor for twenty months or on bread and water for twenty days?

    Let me sum up.

    I believe the sexual abuse crisis represents no isolated phenomenon and no new failure, but rather illustrates a state of slowly worsening clerical and episcopal corruption with its roots well back into the 1940s. Its principal tributaries include
    1.a critical mass of morally depraved and psychologically defective clergymen who entered the service of Church seeking emoluments and advantages unrelated to her spiritual mission, in addition to
    2.leaders constitutionally unsuited to the exercise of the virtues of truthfulness and fortitude.

    The old-fashioned vices of lust, pride, and sloth have erected an administrative apparatus effective at transmitting the consolations of the Faith but powerless at correction and problem-solving.

    The result is a situation unamenable to reform, wherein the leaders continue to project an upbeat and positive message of ecclesial well-being to an overwhelmingly good-willed laity, a message which both speaker and hearer find more gratifying than convincing.

    I believe that the Crisis will deepen, though undramatically, in the foreseeable future; I believe that the policies suggested to remedy the situation will help only tangentially, and that the whole idea of an administrative programmatic approach — a “software solution” if I may put it that way — is an example of the disease for which it purports to be the cure.

    I believe that reform will come, though in a future generation, and that the reformers whom God raises up will spill their blood in imitation of Christ.

    In short, to pilfer a line of Wilfrid Sheed, I find absolutely no grounds for optimism, and I have every reason for hope.

  • Mr. McClarey, thanks for posting Fr. Mankowski’s speech– every syllable
    of it has the ring of truth.

  • Your message, Mr. McClarey, didn’t exactly make my day, but it needs to be said nonetheless. How many souls will be lost, how many disillusioned Catholics will abandon the Church, before genuine reform finally happens?

  • Mac, I agree with Clinton.

    I initially thought, “What is this ‘War and Peace’.”

    In fact, every word of it has value.

    I was going to bring up this comment for the post on the new pope’s alleged liturgical abuse in the washing of feet (on many levels way out in left field).

    My real-life experience with an abusing priest involved his ad libbing prayers in the Mass. I also had evidence in his hearing of my Confession, which, at the time, went “right over my head.” That priest had been transferred from my parents’ parish. They didn’t think much of him, either. We were all correct.

    Our pastor was devastated, but carried on as we stayed with him.

    We need warrior priests and bishops, not “Dr. Phil” wannabes.

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  • I truly liked War and Peace, but rarely have the time for that kind of reading anymore. However, I concur with those who said every word of Mankowski’s analysis rang true. I would add that through these same years marriage and family have been shamefully abandoned, and what we call “Marriage Prep” wouldn’t pass for kindergarden training in most places. (Regardless of Pope JPII’s excellent writing on both subjects.)
    But actually I intended to respond to the Jesuit school and Fr. Ed Salmon. I worked with Fr. Ed Salmon some years back at a Jesuit school. Although I am not surprised by his position, which is wholly unrelated to our new pope’s words, it is outrageous that this decision should stand. We have too long put up with this kind of “in your face” moral corruption so damaging to us all.

  • Thank you for the copy of Fr. Mankowski’s speech. Like every other essay of his that I have read, it rings true in all details!

  • So what is Father Salmon’s point? He’s against homosexuality but he’s inviting two guys to the prom to be nice to them anyway? That’s all I can take away from this.

  • LarryD,

    You went to high school?

  • Thanks for the Fr Mankowski speech transcription. That was TLDR: Too Long, Definitely Read.

    LarryD, I did not know you were a Rochester product. For a person of your fidelity, that clearly explains your, er, crankiness 🙂

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  • As Pascal said of the Jesuits, “Know then that their object is not the corruption of manners- that is not their design. But as little is it their sole aim to reform them that would be bad policy. Their idea is briefly this: They have such a good opinion of themselves as to believe that it is useful, and in some sort essentially necessary to the good of religion, that their influence should extend everywhere, and that they should govern all consciences. And the Evangelical or severe maxims being best fitted for managing some sorts of people, they avail themselves of these when they find them favourable to their purpose. But as these maxims do not suit the views of the great bulk of the people, they waive them in the case of such persons, in order to keep on good terms with all the world.”

    Little has changed in 350 years.

  • LarryD, I did not know you were a Rochester product.

    Rich Leonardi too. Your truly had no contact with Catholic institutions as a youngster but is native.

  • If I lived in or near New York City, on the night of the prom I would outside the “Catholic” high school protesting with signs and prayer.

  • The school in question is in Rochester, some 300 miles away.

  • If I lived in or near Rochester, on the night of the prom I would outside the “Catholic” high school protesting with signs and prayer!

  • It seems the trend in most schools and colleges now is toward acceptance of homosexuality. A sentiment that originiated in society and swept the public schools has now caught on in private ones.

  • If I lived in or near New York City, on the night of the prom I would [stand] outside the “Catholic” high school protesting with signs and prayer.

    The gay lobbies and news organizations would be delighted with that – just imagine all the headlines you’d generate. You’d be an answer to their prayers, so to speak. In fact, if you angle it the right way, they might chip in for your travel costs, and a per diem.

  • First, thank you Donald for the article. Much to digest.
    Secondly to HA-
    Since when do we cower to lifestyles that are directly opposed to Church teaching…especially when the abuse is to take place in a “catholic school.”
    Rethink your position HA.
    The students grounded in Love for neighbor could of gathered in Peaceful protest and have had a constructive teaching moment to point out True Love. Love of neighbor is not complacency, silence and apathy. It’s explanation on why the Church teaches that the sexual union is intrinsicly evil could of carefully taken place before the Prom event.
    Silence in matters of the faith can lead to grave sin.

    4unborn-
    I disagree with night of the prom protest.
    The prayer protest, in my opinion, could of served the student body better by having it prior to the event with pamphlets giving reasons why our Holy Church professes the teachings that are in union with Christ and the Gospels.
    Welcome the media! Just be prepared to give good reason for the Hope of Eternal Life not cheaply bought, but rather extremely painfully purchased by the Son of God.
    Grace is Not Cheap, neither is Heaven.

  • Public protests seldom achieve anything other than assuaging the feelings of the protestors and provoking the derision of the uncommitted.

    To have real influence, Bl John HenryNewman’s approach is far better, “if he has ever told you what you knew about yourselves, or what you did not know; has read to you your wants or feelings, and comforted you by the very reading; has made you feel that there was a higher life than this daily one, and a brighter world than that you see; or encouraged you, or sobered you, or opened a way to the inquiring, or soothed the perplexed; if what he has said or done has ever made you take interest in him, and feel well inclined towards him…” More difficult, of course, but much more effective.

  • Actually MPS public protest has often proved quite effective in this country, and I would encourage people to protest this if they are so enclined.

  • “The gay lobbies and news organizations would be delighted with that – just imagine all the headlines you’d generate.”

    Yeah and if there are no protests they will say, “See, even the Catholics are accepting this!”. No, better to do a protest, assume that your enemies will attempt to twist what you are doing, and send a message to the Jesuit powers that be at the school that ordinary Catholics are paying attention to their attempt to pretend that evil is good.

  • LarryD,

    You went to high school?

    Best six years of my life.

    LarryD, I did not know you were a Rochester product. For a person of your fidelity, that clearly explains your, er, crankiness

    I’m looking forward to getting older so I can be “curmudgeonly” like Donald!

  • “so I can be “curmudgeonly” like Donald!”

    Age and 30 years at the bar are necessary to attain my degree of curmudgeoniliness!

  • To have real influence, Bl John HenryNewman’s approach is far better,

    Thanks for your input, Michael, but it’s the Diocese of Rochester. The only people with influence are

    1. The intramural cliques which gathered ’round Bp. Clark.

    2. People who can cut big checks, like Danny Wegman and Thomas Golisano.

    Bp. Cunningham is not plugged into this and it is possible (not holding my breath) that he could exercise whatever authority he has with regard to Jesuit institutions within the boundary of the two dioceses, so the situation is not as hopeless as it might usually be. However, you can wager that this insipid character made a careful actuarial calculation about what the authoritative response from Bp. Cunningham. Rich Leonardi’s concise description of the methods of termites in the Church: ‘try every door’ (and find the one that’s unlocked).

  • That’s a pretty fine line interpreting what Pope Francis said. I personally am against it. The two males should go stag and just go as to “buddies” who are going to the prom together without giving the appearance that it is same sex attraction.

  • About the public protest question: silence can be taken as acquiescence.

  • Anzlyne-

    Amen!

  • Since when do we cower to lifestyles that are directly opposed to Church teaching?

    Who said anything about cowering to them? The position I would rethink is your strategy of giving them exactly what they’re looking for.

  • Most of the Jesuits I have read about or heard from in the time period from about 70 years ago to today are nauseating. Reading things like this makes me support a new suppression of the Jesuits.

    This “event” also shows, yet again, what happens when a totally incompetent or criminally negligent bishop runs a diocese. I have never been to Rochester but I know Bishop Clark was terrible, a Roger Mahony in New York State.

    The nuttiness in the Liturgy is a clear indicator of what Fr. Mankowski speaks.

    Rorate Caeli had a post similar to Fr. Mankowski a few months ago.

  • I’m curious…what is the Jesuits’ reason for existence? What do they want to accomplish? Is it as sinister as conspiracy theorists would have it? Or is it far milder—a kind of liberal Chrsitinaity? Can anyone speak to this? Thanks.

  • Ha-
    Advocating “goodness” and “tenderness” in your sarcasm?

    If you find it difficult to defend the teachings of Our Church them please seek a Adult Faith Formation program in your Catholic parish.

    Maybe your afraid to defend the teachings, however I have stood in multiple protests with Jr. High School children that lovingly defend the Faith in the public square and they are helping to witness to the between media is that paint huge signs reading; “God hates Fags””

  • ….the media that views Christians as the Fla. Group that had the awful signs, God hates fags. We have to work even stronger to voice the truth, but never run from adversity.

    I was editing my post when the send accidentally was pressed…sorry.

    Ha- We can’t afford to teach our children to be silenced by culture differences, especially in Catholic schools. We most certainly don’t want them to follow the way of the Fla. pastor.

    Be not afraid!

  • If you find it difficult to defend the teachings of Our Church…

    Demonstrating with signs outside a high school is not the only way to defend the teachings of the Church – and for the 3rd time now, I submit that those ways which give the opposing side exactly what they want violate the Gospel instruction to marry our innocence with serpentine cunning.

    You presume a lot about me – you question whether I have difficulty defending the teachings of the church, and you presume that my admonition to your personal cardboard-on-stick sidewalk crusade somehow extends to the other demonstrations in which you have so participated so proudly. Such ineptitude when it comes to assessing the motives of those on your side, let alone the opposition, would further hamper your ability to persuade others, and would be another reason to consider broadening your arsenal.

  • Jon

    What the Jesuit want to accomplish is precisely what Pascal described 350 years ago. I quoted him in my post of 4 April at 5.55 am, but here it is again:_

    “Know then that their object is not the corruption of manners- that is not their design. But as little is it their sole aim to reform them that would be bad policy. Their idea is briefly this: They have such a good opinion of themselves as to believe that it is useful, and in some sort essentially necessary to the good of religion, that their influence should extend everywhere, and that they should govern all consciences. And the Evangelical or severe maxims being best fitted for managing some sorts of people, they avail themselves of these when they find them favourable to their purpose. But as these maxims do not suit the views of the great bulk of the people, they waive them in the case of such persons, in order to keep on good terms with all the world.”

  • HA-
    Just imagine all the headlines you would generate….

    You keep your imagination.
    It’s beautiful.
    It seeks the status quo.
    It’s comfortable there.
    HA. You could set up the rainbow banners and petition the school board to have a homosexual awareness and support center in all of New York , oh noooo, that was my imagination.

    If we don’t stand up for Christian principles in our own Christian schools, then expect the next fashionable lifestyle choice of the moment to be sitting across from your dining room table telling you, “there is no harm in my choice daddy, just Love.” You better pray that Jr’s choice is a socially accepted lifestyle….question is what will that be in ten years?

    Can you imagine?

  • HA-
    For presuming any trait that is unwarranted I do owe you an apology.
    I apologize.

    To offer no other means to teach the truth in this prom debate is what’s lacking.
    4unborn is offering a plan.
    You discourage it.
    Okay.

    What would you offer?

  • Apology accepted. As far as other alternatives, I think asking around, which you have just done, is the most important first step. I am far from an expert, but I would offer some of these approaches. Admittedly, they are far less triumphalist than demonstrations – and again, I am not saying that carefully targeted demonstrations don’t have their place, especially when it comes to getting rid of abortions – but they may have a more salutary effect: 1) Sackcloth and ashes, given Catholics’ own dismal collective record (on the part of both clergy and laity) when it comes to living out what we profess to believe regarding homosexuality. 2) Fasting and prayer, given that for some kinds of dark presences, Jesus tells us that these are a necessary part of the cure. 3) Following the Biblical admonition to first address the offending priest privately, rather than beginning by going public with your disapproval.

    Finally, consider the homosexuals’ own record with regard to demonstrations. It could be argued that gay pride parades and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence actually set back gay “rights” for decades, as long as that was what people thought of first when they thought of “gay agenda”. Sure, they let off some steam, and helped a lot of gay men to vent their irrepressible inner drama queens, but as far as actually helping, that’s doubtful. It is only when gay people broadened their efforts to more sophisticated and subtle methods involving media manipulation (lobbies, movies, affectionately quirky gay sitcom characters, etc.) that they began to make headway.

    I believe that the primary reason the gay marriage has leapfrogged other distortions of Christian marriage (e.g. polygamy, incest, … all of which are the next dominoes to fall once gay marriage is fully established), is simply a matter of power. As people have stopped looking to churches and Bibles for their entertainment and cultural and spiritual connections, and instead have turned to TV, movies, and the media (where gays are a force far in excess of their numerical presence within society as a whole), the gay agenda – in support with other secular anti-Christian movements – has come to the fore. Reversing that, if that’s even possible at this stage, will require Christians to be equally clever and compelling (or else, waiting till the whole structure burns down, and then grappling it out with Muslems again for what remains among the ruins, in which case fasting and prayer and the like may be our best solution for now). I don’t have an easy answer, but again, learning as much about the problem – and learning from the gays themselves – seems a pretty good way to start.

    Anyway, that’s my take. Father Groeschel (though I’ve only heard a little of him) seems to have far more substantive expertise on such matters. He might be worth looking up.

  • HA-
    Thank you for your suggestions.
    Fr. B.G. is a great offering.
    I will search his counsel in this topic.
    Blessings.

  • One other thing to consider before demonstrating: in the old days, every news organization that reported on gay demonstrations would focus on the most outrageous and most flamboyant members of the parade. These days, most media organizations are filled with so-called “gay-friendly” reporters and editors who know (perhaps subconsciously) that they must turn the camera away from the freaks with fishnet stockings and nuns’ wimples, and instead focus on adorable little Heathers in their strollers accompanied by her two mommies and other more wholesome fare.

    Conversely, any reporting on the “anti-gay” demonstrations is likewise almost certain to feature the Westboro Baptist types, or else, if the demonstrators are so superhumanly diligent that they have somehow managed to completely turn away their more extreme members, then the demonstration is likely to be relegated to page 20 of section ZZ. And so it goes…

    So, if you want to make demonstrations work again, you might have to wait until there are enough Christians in journalism and media (and who are able to resist the enormous ideological pressure within those organizations to conform to the liberal agenda) to make such activities work in our favor.

    I apologize if this sounds overly defeatist. Again, demonstrations do have their place, but speaking as a well-wisher, I do hope all Catholics keep that in mind.

  • Michael Patterson-Seymour, I read it when you first posted it. It merely tells us what we all know, that they employ hypocrisy and a kind of Machiavellianism. But what is the end in view? Do they have one?

  • . I appreciated your Pascal quote Michael as I had not read it before. I wonder what he would say today. Perhaps he would be more merciful in his comments! Remember Father Pacwa and plenty of others including jesuit martyrs from the time of Pascal to the 20th century.

  • Anzlyne

    It’s possible, though I doubt it – “By this policy they keep all their friends, and defend themselves against all their foes; for when charged with extreme laxity, they have nothing more to do than produce their austere directors, with some books which they have written on the severity of the Christian code of morals; and simple people, or those who never look below the surface of things, are quite satisfied with these proofs of the falsity of the accusation.”

    For Pascal, at the root of their laxity was their doctrine of grace – “You will then
    see the Christian virtues exhibited in such a strange aspect, so completely stripped of the charity which is the life and soul of them, you will see so many crimes palliated and irregularities tolerated that you will no longer be surprised at their maintaining that ‘all men have always enough of grace’ to lead a pious life, in the sense of which they understand piety. Their morality being entirely Pagan,
    nature is quite competent to its observance. When we maintain the necessity of efficacious grace, we assign it another sort of virtue for its object.”

  • Mr. Paterson-Seymour-
    St. Theresa of Avila was the rescue of the Carmelite order.
    With much prayer, could we entertain the hope that Pope Francis could be the reformer for the Society of Jesus?

The Marriage Debate: Lessons and Prospects

Monday, August 13, AD 2012

A scene from the “Hunky Jesus” contest, held annually during Easter in San Francisco. Dozens of homosexuals dress up as Our Lord and engage in public homosexual acts for their amusement and the amusement of thousands of spectators. Its relevance for this post will become clear by the end of it.

Tom Hoopes at CatholicVote.org recently posted his assessment of what lessons the  “gay marriage” debate has taught those of us on the pro-tradition side. I was going to write about this myself, but I’ll go ahead and examine his four lessons as a starting point. My intention is be constructive, because as Hoopes correctly points out in his opening lines, the pro-equality side of this debate has been very successful at defining the parameters and central issues of the debate thus far. We need to assess and regroup. If Mr. Hoopes would like to reply to this, I would certainly welcome it.

1. We learned that being grossed out by homosexuality hurts us.”

Hoopes recalls a discussion with someone raised by homosexual parents:

“What people like my mom see in the religious right is people who say, ‘Ooo, this is icky and disgusting and horrible,’ reflexively, without explaining why,” he told me. “Then my mom and her friend look at their own lives, at their sacrifice and friendship and generosity and say, ‘Well, these people are just hate-mongers.’”

Hoopes concludes:

“There is no reason we should feel special disgust at homosexual acts compared to any other sexual sin. And there is no reason we can’t appreciate the mutual friendship and authentic love in a long-term homosexual couple. If we know what marriage is, a thousand such couples shouldn’t in any way threaten us.”

“Disgust” is a very peculiar phenomenon in that it is neither irrational nor easily expressed with words. Animals in nature have the physical senses to warn them of potential dangers; human beings in society have certain social senses to ward of certain dangers as well. I can’t explain why rotting garbage smells “bad” (even if I can offer a scientific account of why it smells the way it does); I affix the label “bad” to it because it is something I want to avoid, and I want to avoid it because I have an involuntary gag reflex that triggers when I inhale the odor.

Homosexual behavior is repulsive to us because it is harmful to society (more on that later), and we are social beings. The comforting narrative that homosexual activists have developed – that any aversion to homosexuality on the part of a heterosexual is a sign of repressed homosexual desires – is a way of making their positions and lifestyles unfalsifable. If you accept them, great. If you don’t, it is a sign that you secretly do. There can be no legitimate opposition. If you think gay is gross, you probably are gay. A fascinating self-defense mechanism, but one not supported by a shred of serious evidence.

Next, homosexuals aren’t averse to displaying their hearty disgust with heterosexuality (their derogatory name for us is “breeder”) when it suits their own desires and interests. They also go out of their way to provoke anger and disgust with their unjustifiably obscene public marches through major cities, which I consider to be acts of violent ideological aggression against Western Christian civilization. So I’ll take their complaints about our disgust seriously when that word is publicly denounced and banished from their lexicon, and when they aren’t actively trying to provoke disgust in society at large. To imagine that you can deliberately dress, speak and act in ways that you fully know and intend to make people uncomfortable and offended and then complain about people’s discomfort and offense has a proper label: sociopathy. To acquiesce to it is a sinful act of cowardice.

One other thing is required: an acknowledgement that the pro-tradition side has developed rational, secular arguments in favor of its position, instead of a default assumption that it is all either based on “eww gross” or decontextualized passages from the Pentateuch.

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54 Responses to The Marriage Debate: Lessons and Prospects

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  • I believe that to introduce the morality of homosexual acts into a debate about civil marriage is a distraction. The argument is a simple one: (1) Mandatory civil marriage, makes the institution a pillar of the secular Republic, standing clear of the religious sacrament (2) The institution of republican marriage is inconceivable, absent the idea of filiation – the rule that the child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father – enshrined, not in Church dogma, but in the Civil Code (3) The sex difference is central to filiation..

    The state has a legitimate interest in marriage and it is important to note what precisely that is. Mandatory civil marriage originated in France on 9th November 1791 and was a product of the same Revolution that had just turned 10 million tenant farmers into heritable proprietors. This was no coincidence.

    The Code of 1804 contained no formal definition of marriage, but jurists have always found a functional definition in the provision that “The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father,” which mirrors the doctrine of the Roman jurist, Paulus, “.pater vero is est, quem nuptiae demonstrant.” (Marriage points out the father) [Dig. 2, 4, 5; 1].

    This was the opinion of the four most authoritative commentators on the Civil Code, Demolombe (1804–1887), Guillouard (1845-1925). Gaudemet (1908-2001) and Carbonnier (1908–2003), covering the period from the introduction of mandatory civil marriage down to our own day and long before the question of same-sex marriage was agitated. In 1998, a colloquium of 154 Professors of Civil Law, including Philippe Malaurie, Alain Sériaux, and Catherine Labrusse-Riou unanimously endorsed this interpretation of the Civil Code. This led to the introduction of civil unions (PACS) for same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike in the following year. Given this background, it is no wonder that, in the Bègles case, the attempt to establish the right to SSM on equality grounds was rejected by every court that heard it – the Tribunal of Grand Instance, the Court of Appeal in Bordeaux, the Court of Cassation, the Constitutional Council and the European Court of Human Rights.

    No one will deny that the state has a clear interest in the filiation of children being clear, certain and incontestable. It is central to its concern for the upbringing and welfare of the child, for protecting rights and enforcing obligations between family members and to the orderly succession to property. To date, no better, simpler, less intrusive means than marriage have been found for ensuring, as far as possible, that the legal, biological and social realities of paternity coincide. And that is no small thing.

    It is significant that, in a country so committed to the principle of laïcité as France, no one has suggested that the opinion of the jurists, or of the courts which have endorsed it, are either the result of religious convictions or an attempt to import them into their interpretation of the Code.

  • What… what are you talking about? What does this have to do with anything I wrote?

    I really think you need your own blog with your own audience.

  • Bonchamps

    It was intended to demonstrate that defence of traditional marriage need not concern itself with the morality or otherwise of homosexual behaviour. It is, after all, a juridical question and not a moral one.

    Claims to SSM on equality grounds have been successfully defeated by concentrating on the simple question of how marriage differs from other forms of life for couples and the state’s interest in marriage as a legal institution, alongside, but different from these other forms.

    Otherwise, civil unions for smae-sex couples will be regarded as “marriage-lite” and civil unions for opposite-sex couples, which are proving very popular in every country that has introduced them, are unintelligible.

  • Bonchamps,

    What Mr.Paterson-Seymour wrote has plenty to do with what you wrote. His argument, as I understand it, is that Christians confuse the immorality of the act that we are forbidden from doing by Christ’s law with the actions of the state to secure peace and public order.

    These “gay rights” groups exploit this confusion full hilt by making the issue entwine the legal, social and ethical aspects of marriage in a way to normalize sodomy.

    How are we to argue FOR a secular marriage (which the state provides) as a pillar of society between a man and woman if we can’t speak with clarity on what a secular marriage pertains and what the state’s interest in such a marriage is.

    I agree with Mr.Paterson-Seymour that it confuses the audience of our times to combine the immorality of the Sodomic act with the legal and social aspects of marriage- which relies on a patrimony that is not possible by redefining marriage to include same sex couples. There is a reason why same-sex marriage (at least in the United States) started out as something pushed by the American Hard Left 60s activists, the SDS. The purpose, as it has always been, is to destroy the last vestiges of patriarchy and the traditional Western family. Forgive me for the long quote but it’s better to quote the essay, “The Emergence of Gay Liberation” by Estelle Fredman and John D’Emilio found within the textbook: A History of Our Time: Readings on Post-War America Forth Edition Edited by William H. Chafe and Harvard Sitkoff:

    Appearing as it did at the end of the 1960s, gay liberation adopted much of the revolutionary rhetoric of the new Left. GLF’s [Gay Liberation Front] statement of purpose announced that “we are a revolutionary homosexual group of men and women formed with the realization that complete sexual liberation of all people cannot come about unless existing social institutions are abolished. We reject society’s attempt to impose sexual roles and definitions of our nature…Babylon has forced us to commit ourselves to one thing…revolution!” Rather than fight the ban on homosexuals in the military, radical gays urged resistance to the Vietnam War. They marched in solidarity with groups such as the Black Panther party, and saw themselves as an integral part of the larger movement of oppressed minorities seeking the overthrow of a destructive social order.

    In articulating a critque of America’s sexual mores, gay liberation borrowed heavily from the new literature of radical feminists. It argued that the oppression of the homosexuals stemmed from a rigidly enforced system of heterosexual supremacy that supported the primacy of the nuclear family and the dichotomous sex roles within it. Sex was just one more vehicle used to enforce subordination and keep the system functioning. For some, gayness itself symbolized an act of political resistance to conventional roles. “We are women and men who, from the time of our earliest memories, have been in revolt against the sex-role structure and nuclear family structure,” wrote Martha Shelley of GLF. Rather than being abnormal, homosexuality was seen as a natural capacity in everyone, suppressed by family and society. Gay liberation promised an end to all that. “Gay is good for all of us, ” proclaimed Allen Young, a former SDS member who joined GLF in 1970:

    The artificial categories “heterosexual and homosexual” have been laid on us by a sexist society….As gays, we demand an end to the gender programming which starts when we are born…The family…is the primary means by which this restricted sexuality is created and enforced…[O]ur understanding of sexism is premised on the idea that in a free society everyone will be gay.”

    (Any highlighted parts were the work of this writer:)

    This is clearly the political fight we are facing, and the integralist-Catholic position shouldn’t concede by placing the ethics of the Church into the fight as well.

  • God thinks the moral dimension of SSM (or rather, the lack of one) is of greatest importance, and it is God’s opinion, not the State’s, that ultimate counts.

    Personally, I don’t care how homosexual behavior is removed from the public square, so long as it is.

  • Paul W Primavera

    Traditional marriage can be defended on its own terms as the legal institution that establishes the legal bond between fathers and their children. It is, thus, irrelevant to same-sex couples. In other words, there is different legal treatment of same-sex and opposite-sex couples, because their situation is not analogous. Surely, this is something on which unprejudiced people of good-will can agree.

    Why cloud the issue by arguing about the morality of homosexual relationships? How does that advance the case?

  • Michael, everybody knows marriage can be defended on its own terms. The point is, we are not in a DEBATE about whether we should allow gay marriage in addition to traditional marriage. We are quite literally in a battle over the imposition of gay marriage by people who don’t give a damn about your well crafted arguments because they are too busy engaging in lewd public acts with the express purpose of offending people with small children and then using the opportunity to shame them into acceptance by calling them disgusting, breeder homophobes.

  • Chris-2-4

    Obviously, whatever one says will make no impact on partisan gay activists, but what the example of France shows is that such arguments can prevail with opinion-formers.

    Virtually every professor of Civil Law took part in the 1998 Colloquium and they were unanimous in their opposition to SSM, although a majority approved of civil unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike, as an alternative, not to marriage, but to unregulated cohabitation.

    This, in turn, convinced the courts, which always take their cue from the jurists and even convinced that bastion of liberalism, the European Court of Human Rights.

    That was the debate worth winning and it was won decisively.

    In the US, by contrast, the supporters of traditional marriage have used arguments that allowed them to be cast as motivated by irrational animus or religious dogma. In France, such a charge would have been palpably absurd and no one ventured to make it,

  • This is my problem.

    You aren’t addressing a single thing I said. I never said a thing about religious dogma or the morality of sodomy. I have always made secular, rational arguments against “marriage equality”, but that wasn’t the point of this piece. So again, this is really a separate topic you’re bringing up. I agree with you. It’s irrelevant.

  • If you just want to sound off on something, write your own blog post. If you are saying it is related to what I wrote, please quote something I wrote and explain how. Otherwise I will consider your post off-topic and I may remove it. Again, not because I disagree (I don’t disagree), but because I’d like to actually discuss what I actually wrote for a change.

  • Bonchamps

    I would simply endorse what Hmmm says above

  • Great. Well the same warning applies to him.

  • Well, “We learned that being grossed out by homosexuality hurts us.” is Hoopes’s complaint and I think it is well-founded.

    You, in turn, seek to justify expressions of disgust – “Homosexual behavior is repulsive to us because it is harmful to society (more on that later), and we are social beings.” This may well be so, but prudence would suggest that we should not allow ourselves to be drawn on the topic. Rather, we should make clear our opposition to SSM is based on its absurdity.

  • I’m not saying that expressions of disgust belong in our official, programmatic response to the radical gay activists.

    But I refuse to accept the notion that disgust with homosexual behavior – especially when it is deliberately provocative – is a moral failing, or something that needs to be thought-controlled at all times.

  • Rather, we ought to do exactly what they do – turn it back on them. Expose the ways in which they actively seek to disgust people, so that they can no longer attempt to use hetero disgust as a moral weapon against us in the battle for public empathy.

  • One other thing is required: an acknowledgement that the pro-tradition side has developed rational, secular arguments in favor of its position, instead of a default assumption that it is all either based on “eww gross” or decontextualized passages from the Pentateuch.

    I don’t know. Perhaps someone read the above and thought it was saying “we need to develop these rational, secular arguments”.

    But Michael, if you read that, it clearly asserts that Bonchomps knows there are rational secular arguments like the ones you’re making and calls upon the activists to acknowledge their existence.

    I don’t think Bonchamps was looking for a discussion of “Hey let’s come up with all the best rational, secular arguments in this post that we can use to win this culture war.”

  • Chris-2-4

    I still maintain that the two issues have been unnecessarily linked by the champions of traditional marriage in their discussion of the issue.

    I do not suggest that “disgust with homosexual behavior – especially when it is deliberately provocative – is a moral failing, or something that needs to be thought-controlled at all times,” any more than my dislike of Crème de menthe is a moral failing/ But, I should not mention it in a discussion of the liquor licencing laws.

  • “2. Being okay with heterosexual sexual sin hurts us.”

    OK, this is a fair point. Does anyone think that Newt would have received as many votes as he did if he’d had two dudes in his past? I think this is even more of a problem among evangelicals, who emphasize fidelity to one’s *current* spouse but ignore past marriages.

  • MPS.

    For the love of all that is holy, we are not discussing the law here. We are discussing the battle for public sympathy and support. These are radically different things. The radical gay activists have made disgust an issue. We have no choice but to address it.

    I mean, you don’t seem to grasp this concept in your own posts. When people make accusations, you can ignore them for a little while, but if they keep making them and you’ve still said nothing, then you just look guilty. Full disclosure is how you retain public support. People with nothing to hide about their views are more acceptable than people who are obviously avoiding issues.

    Except, it appears, in blog com-boxes.

  • I hope that we can defeat the militant homosexual movement at the election booth and in the court of public opinion. I also hope that those homosexuals who are trying to live chaste and celibate lives will not be discriminated against, harrassed or subject to persecution on the basis of their same-sex attraction or any other basis, for that matter.

    However, when God was faced with militant homosexuality, He destroyed it with fire and brimestone. Yes, that was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah (contrary to liberal revisionist history and liberal theology). Of course, I do not advocate the first use of force against militant homosexuals any more than I advocate first use of force against the militant abortionists of Planned Parenthood. But the Democrats will give up neither homosexuality nor abortion without a fight. The Democrats proved this in the 1800s with slavery and it took a bloody civil war to put them down that time.

    Now call me a pessimist and perhaps I am. But these evil, wicked, diabolical people will hold onto their sexual depravity and child-murdering in the same way that the people of Judah held onto theirs in spite of the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah. And let’s remember this one little thing: God does NOT change. If He was willing to prune the branches of the tree that was Israel, then He will do the same to us grafted in Gentiles exactly as St. Paul describes it in Romans chapter 11. Whether He does that by an asteroid strike on an evil nation (perhaps that was the fire and brimestone rained on Sodom and Gommorah), or He does that by allowing another bloody civil war is open to debate. I don’t want either of those alternatives and am praying for mercy, but unless we repent as a nation, then we can, must and should expect exactly one of those alternatives: natural disaster or war. We deserve no less, and indeed, because we have put up with “luv, tolerance and nice-nice-ness” these freaking godless sex-perverts, we are no better than the children of Israel who intermarried with the pagan Canaanites.

    Cancer must be excised lest the patient die, and the excision is long overdue. We better repent before the Surgeon’s knife of eternal justice approaches.

  • “– that any aversion to homosexuality on the part of a heterosexual is a sign of repressed homosexual desires – is a way of making their positions and lifestyles unfalsifable. If you accept them, great. If you don’t, it is a sign that you secretly do. There can be no legitimate opposition. If you think gay is gross, you probably are gay. A fascinating self-defense mechanism, but one not supported by a shred of serious evidence.” “There can be no legitimate opposition”

    On the contrary: ” I DO NOT DO THAT”. “I WILL NOT DO THAT” “I VALUE MY IMMORTAL SOUL” “I AM GREATLY DISTRESSED FOR YOUR IMMORTAL SOUL” Pray with your body

  • Using the persona of Jesus Christ, claiming “in persona Christi” is a lie by the homosexual practitioners. Jesus Christ crucified is the only expression of Jesus Christ’s love for mankind allowable. Jesus Christ did not do the things these homosexual practitioners say He did. Therefore, they are kidnapping the Person of Christ to forward their position without Jesus Christ’s permission. It is like me saying that Proctor and Gamble makes Colgate toothpaste. It is a lie, like uttering a bad check, plagiarism, or perjury in a court of law. Make them put up or shut up, and stop using Jesus Christ’s name to further their own business until they bring forth evidence that Jesus Christ gave them permission to use HIS HOLY NAME. Holy Orders.

  • “In articulating a critque of America’s sexual mores, gay liberation borrowed heavily from the new literature of radical feminists.”
    Actually, it is the radical feminists who have prevented the maturation of the males amongs us. It is called emasculation. Homosexuality was, at one time, diagnosed as ‘arrested development’ by the American Psychiatric Association. The change to ‘normal’ was forced and demanded by the homosexuals themselves, kind of like practicing psychiatry and self-diagnosing oneself without a license. Now, I think I will elect myself president. Oh, Napoleon already has the job. It is late

  • Mary De Voe,

    One cannot reason with or apply reason to baboons whose sole aim and goal is the publicly sanctioned – even glorification – of the titillation of their genitals. These people are without conscience and have demonstrated themselves to be less than sentient. There is a cure for such rabidness, and God visited that cure on Sodom and Gommorah. I pray that doesn’t have to happen again.

  • Paul W. Primavera: And this in San Francisco waiting for the big earthquake. Except what you say is true. The homosexual will be shaking his fist at God while he goes down into the inferno. The Catholic Church is the only person authorized to act “in persona Christi” and like Mary who escaped into Egypt to protect baby Jesus, the Catholic Church can ask the court to cease and desist using the NAME of Jesus Christ on the grounds that these individuals are not ordained to do so. Real people have just as much right to be in the public street as anybody else. A procession with the crucifix will do.

    One touch is assault and battery. Make my day.

    It is not freedom of speech to utter another person’s name without the other person’s authorization. In legalese, it is called power of attorney. The Catholic Church has the authorization. Now, the homosexual agenda has to prove that they, too, have the authorization, or power of attorney to speak for Jesus Christ. It appears that the homosexual agenda does not have power of attorney to speak for Jesus Christ and a cease and desist order from the court is in order.

    Paul, these people do not even know what “titillation of their genitals” is, having coarsened themselves into oblivion. That is the trouble with addiction.

  • As Jesus would say: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s (civil marriage, including gay marriage), and unto God the things that are God’s (religious marriage).”

  • Bonchamps

    “For the love of all that is holy, we are not discussing the law here. We are discussing the battle for public sympathy and support.”

    But public sympathy and support for what? For a change in the law. To achieve this, activists have had some success in persuading the courts that laws restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples have no rational basis. They also seek to persuade the electorate and legislators that the law can be changed without affecting the public, legal purpose of marriage.

    Peter

    The distinction between “civil marriage” and “religious marriage” does not hold water.

    Marriage in its origin is a contract of natural law; it may exist between two individuals of different sexes although no third person existed in the world. In civil society, it becomes a civil contract regulated and prescribed by law and endowed with civil consequences. In most civilized countries, acting under a sense of the force of sacred obligations, it has had the sanctions of religion superadded; it then becomes a religious, as well a natural and civil, contract; for it is a great mistake to suppose that because it is the one, therefore it may not likewise be the other. But marriage remains one and the same for all that.

    It is, perhaps, worth noting that, although the Mosaic law prescribes many ritual provisions for various offices and transactions of life, there is no ceremony prescribed for the celebration of marriage.

  • MPS,

    There’s a difference between the battle and the merits of the objective. If you don’t get that, then I guess you just don’t get that.

  • Bonchamps

    You wrote, “There’s a difference between the battle and the merits of the objective”

    And the battle will only be won by convincing those who have the power to shape public policy, in the courts and in the legislature of those merits. We will not do that, if our objections appear to be the rationalisation of anti-gay animus, or an attempt to impose religious values by law.

  • MPS,

    It is a good thing that my objections are nothing of the sort. Aggressively pointing out the dishonesty, hypocrisy, and sociopathy of the gay cultural and political movement is not part of the argument against “marriage equality”, but rather a defense of our collective character, which ALSO matters in any appeal we make.

    You’re picking a fight that doesn’t exist. We don’t disagree. So I feel like you’re just purposely not hearing me, not acknowledging me, and it kinda pisses me off to be honest.

  • I’ve never once argued that our case ought to be based on religious values or anti-gay hostility. If you keep suggesting that I am arguing this, then you are fundamentally incapable of reading what I write, or are just off in some kind of weird, inexplicable alternate reality that I can’t access and can’t communicate about. It’s just really frustrating.

  • I certainly did not intend my remarks to have any personal application

  • Bonchamps,

    Not everyone who is against sodomy is “grossed out” by what is considered homosexual actions. (I include myself in that category.) The irrationality of act and how they define themselves is much more bothersome to me quite frankly. I don’t believe I’m too inured from having such a reaction but it may be the case. And that case, whether habituated or natural, is felt by an equal number of humans who don’t share your disgust for these actions. As I understand it, any argument (especially in modern-liberal milieu we exist in) that is premised on one’s disgusts isn’t go to go very far for this reason: People’s disgusts and reactions are predicated in a complex and not fully understood manner and when everyone is sovereign, there is no reason for me to entertain your disgusts more seriously than my own or any Joe and Jane American. From there, it is very easy to entertain the liberal’s propaganda that since his anthropology is uncertain; his ideas incorporate the universal (and natural) actions of all men as good or useful and makes no outcasts of those who agree to tolerate all differences despite anyone’s conventional and “small-minded” thinking. The “universal man” has no time for such the unsophisticated and petty reactions that arises from disgusts. And the majority of people, tepid in thought and action, would surely side with this for fear that they may find their habits and lives questioned for inducing a similar revulsion in one group or another down the line.

  • To portray or characterize Jesus Christ as virgin, innocent, as the TRUTH and perfect charity is true. Judas Iscariot hung himself and he burst open. Judas Iscariot literally “spilled his guts” for betraying Jesus Christ with a kiss. We have four witnesses to the TRUTH, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The bible tells us to add or subtract nothing from the TRUTH. Jesus says that Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of our hearts, as “it was not so from the beginning”.
    When Jesus defined the relationship between the sexes “from the beginning”, Jesus defined human sexual behavior to eternity. When Adam knew Eve and Eve brought forth Cain, Abel and Seth, Eve was of the age of informed sexual consent. Both Adam and Eve were adults. Violating the law of God is known as “adultery” that is, not behaving as an adult would behave, but faking it.
    Any sitting judge, who cannot discern the good from the evil or the TRUTH from the fake needs to be impeached, which simply means that the judge would be sent to live with his own ignorance or sin.
    Now, these individuals claiming to portray Jesus Christ are liars and perjurers, or show me where in the Holy Scripture, the story of Jesus Christ’s life, does Jesus bless and approve such behavior. Jesus only denounces any sexual behavior outside of the bond between male and female, from the beginning unto eternity.

  • If I may intrude on Bon and MP-S here, the traditional marriage crowd does have legal arguments, along with cultural, moral, and Biblical arguments. There’s also the visceral argument: the feeling that a lot of people get in their gut when they see homosexual acts. Everyone has a different personality, and that means that different arguments will reach different people. I don’t find Michael’s argument persuasive at all, but that’s just me. There isn’t going to be one argument that wins the day, I’ll bet.

    Maybe I’m wrong. The natural law argument seems irrefutable. But that’s just me. I think a lot of people need some intellectual framework so they can say that their opposition to gay marriage isn’t just based on discrimination. For the past several decades, we’ve been retraining ourselves as a culture not to react to individuals outside our comfort zone. That’s a good thing, but it’s made us unable to trust our guts on gay marriage.

    To a Catholic or an evangelical, the Biblical argument suffices. But it can always be rebutted by pointing to O.T. laws that no longer apply. Because the evangelical doesn’t understand ecclesiology, he can’t reply to that. The Catholic can, but he’s got to explain ecclesiology first, and a lot of people won’t bother to listen. An evangelical can bring up St. Paul’s writings, but then that degenerates into an argument about whether Paul was an apostle, the authenticity of the Bible, translation from the Greek, et cetera.

    Anyway, my point is, we need to get all our arguments in a line, and know how to respond to the rebuttals. Even with all that, some people are still going to assume that we’re motivated by bigotry. The comparison to the pro-life movement is apt – but remember, we’ve only really begun that fight, and on our best day 45% of the population still disagrees with us.

  • The reason we feel disgust at Homosexual acts is because the are against the natural law and are unnatural. By definition these acts go against nature and are perverted.

    Homosexual acts are not the same as Heterosexual acts. When a man fornicates with a woman, there is nothing disgusting about the act itself. Sex between a man and a woman is natural and normal. There is nothing unnatural or perverted about it. The problem is not the sexual act, but that the act was outside of marriage and is the sin of fornication. Sodomy and other Homosexual acts are always intrinsic evils and unnatural.

  • If it is from God it will continue. If it is not of God it will die of itself. The homosexual does not being forth offspring which pretty much assures that the homosexual will die out. What is so outrageous is that the homosexual agenda is being enforced through the courts as legal, being taught in school as real. It is not real. A fake husband and a fake wife, a fake mother or a fake father is not real. No court ruling can make it real. There have been homosexuals since Sodom and Gomorrah but only now has homosexual behavior been codified as real. (In Sodom and Gomorrah the homosexuals had the upper hand, but that did not change the law of God) Here in America, homosexual behvior, abortion and prayer ban have become the law of the land. It is wrong to force a lie on anybody with a rational soul, especially someone who constitutes government and pays for government through taxes. The homosexual will argue that he pays taxes but like the atheist, the homosexual must have something to come home to and that is the truth.

    MPS; ” or an attempt to impose religious values by law.” All religious values are imposed by law, leaving only vices on the outside. That is why they are called outlaws. “Render unto Caesar” Caesar belongs to God. Or do you think that Caesar created himself?

  • Hmmm: ” From there, it is very easy to entertain the liberal’s propaganda that since his anthropology is uncertain; his ideas incorporate the universal (and natural) actions of all men as good or useful and makes no outcasts of those who agree to tolerate all differences despite anyone’s conventional and “small-minded” thinking. The “universal man” has no time for such the unsophisticated and petty reactions that arises from disgusts. And the majority of people, tepid in thought and action, would surely side with this for fear that they may find their habits and lives questioned for inducing a similar revulsion in one group or another down the line.”

    The “universal man” has a rational and immortal soul and a destiny in eternity. The man is composed of human body and rational soul. Homosexual behavior ignores the transcendence of man, the evil to avoid and the holiness that must be pursued.

    Our founding principles are grounded in Divine Providence and our unalienable rights are endowed by “their Creator”. Without God, man has only himself, as you stated. But with God,”their Creator” man has been guaranteed FREEDOM,TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY.

  • Hmmm,

    I believe we can give rational expression to our disgust. We must, because it is a topic that will continue to come up. And it is a fact that these gay “pride” marches and other similar events are intended to provoke disgust. It is worth pointing out the hypocrisy – the sociopathy, really – of those who intend to disgust then complaining about disgust.

    But I don’t suggest that disgust ought to be the basis of public policy. If that emerged in my writings, I didn’t mean for it to.

  • Pinky,

    In my view, our primary argument ought to be that gay individuals already have all of the same rights as heterosexual individuals, and that the primary purpose of “marriage equality” is not to achieve legal equality, but rather to impose social equality and criminalize religious institutions that refuse to recognize homosexuality as morally valid.

  • Mary De Voe wrote MPS; ” or an attempt to impose religious values by law.” All religious values are imposed by law, leaving only vices on the outside.

    But that is simply not true. When the Code Napoléon was adopted in most of Europe, it expressly abolished offences against religion, notably blasphemy, sodomy and witchcraft. This was in accordance with the Roman principle, deorum injuria diis cura – offences against the gods are the gods’ business. If they are food citizens in this world, the magistrate need not concern himself with their destination in the next.

  • “…but rather to impose social equality and criminalize religious institutions that refuse to recognize homosexuality as morally valid”. Marriage is an act of God. Militant homosexuality intends to impose the state over the will of God among the people of God, destroying the knowledge of the human being as composed of body and soul and the state as servant of the people of God. Same thought, dfifferent words.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour:

    Again, religion is man’s response to the gift of Faith from God. The Triune God is Three Divine Persons in one God. It is the Person of God in man’s human, rational, immortal soul, WHO gives man his sovereign personhood and all endowed unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    It is the Supreme Sovereign Being WHO gives the human being existence. God is existence; which begs the question: “If the atheist rejects God, Existence Himself, does the atheist exist?” Hmmm, being fallible has its perks. (Isn’t this why the devil himself acknowledges almighty God, refuses to obey, but, the devil himself knows God)

    Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.

    The Supreme Sovereign Being is perfect Generosity, perfect Charity and perfect LOVE. God is VIRTUE, all VIRTUE, no vice. God created man in original innocence with sovereign personhood. Man constituted government for the purposes inscribed in our founding principles, acknowledging “their Creator”, “unalienable rights”, “Divine Providence”, “to secure the blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our (constitutional) posterity” among other rights. The right to the TRUTH, the whole truth and nothing but the TRUTH is every man’s right expressed in a court of Justice. Man as a sovereign person, as a human being with body and soul, has a right to the TRUTH. The TRUTH is found only in virtue. The TRUTH is never found in vice.

    FREEDOM is granted by God. Would one impose Rousseau’s, Napoleon’s or Roman FREEDOM on man to bless the human race, or God’s FREEDOM?

    Sorry, Michael Paterson-Seymour, I espouse the perfect FREEDOM granted by God in all virtue without vice, and as far as the imposition of Divine Providence on the American citizen, it has already been done in the Declaration of Independence.

  • People, you are missing the point. The objective is not to convince the homosexual activists. The objective is to convince the society at large, that may not share our religious values. They have to be convinced using secular arguments.

  • Nardia: “People, you are missing the point. The objective is not to convince the homosexual activists. The objective is to convince the society at large, that may not share our religious values. They have to be convinced using secular arguments.”

    How secular are the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution or even the Emancipation Proclamation, and/or the Gettysburg Address?

  • Plato: Gorgias: “the passive homosexual” as ridiculous, loathsome, disgraceful, shameful, and wretched.

    Plato’s writings contain numerous condemnations of homosexual intercourse. See Laws 636c. Plato, speaking through the character of the Athenian stranger, rejects homosexual behavior as “unnatural” (para physin), describes it as an “enormity” or “crime” (tolmema), and explains that it derives from being enslaved to pleasure. Plato, and other great pre-Christian thinkers, rejected homosexual acts on moral grounds.

    Gay marriage is solely about those getting “married.” This narcissism is the main difference with valid marriage.

    Sodomy is solely for and about those engaging in it (mutual masturbation). It is illicit, sterile, and separated from God. It denies God as Creator. It denies the purpose of God’s creation and His participation with us in the Creation of children. To put forth this foul abomination as equivalent to marriage denies the barrenness of sodomy, which is the goal of all this bloody nonsense.

  • T Shaw

    Aristotle’s comments are interesting.

    “Others arise as a result of disease [??????] (or, in some cases, of madness, as with the man who sacrificed and ate his mother, or with the slave who ate the liver of his fellow), and others are morbid states resulting from custom, e.g. the habit of plucking out the hair or of gnawing the nails, or even coals or earth, and in addition to these sex with men [?????????? ???? ???????]; for these arise in some by nature and in others, as in those who have been the victims of lust from childhood, from habit.” [Nicomachean Ethics Book 7:5] [Arist Eth Nic 1148b 27-30]

    His equation of sodomy with nail-biting or eating coal may seem fanciful, but what they have in common is their essential futility. I am sure that Aristotle intended these rather bizarre illustrations to emphasise the main point: that there are no “reasons” for bad choices- just causes.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour:

    Thank you.

    I never dreamt I could say the following, “Apparently, Aristotle, Plato, and I have something in common.”

    It seems liberals think they are smarter than Aristotle, Newton, Plato; not to mention God Almighty.

  • T Shaw

    You can add St Thomas Aquinas to your list

    St Thomas obviously had the passage I cited in mind, when he says

    “It happens that something which is not natural to man, either in regard to reason, or in regard to the preservation of the body, becomes connatural to this individual man, on account of there being some corruption of nature in him. And this corruption may be either on the part of the body — from some ailment; thus to a man suffering from fever, sweet things seem bitter, and vice versa — or from an evil temperament; thus some take pleasure in eating earth and coals and the like; or on the part of the soul; thus from custom some take pleasure in cannibalism or in the unnatural intercourse of man and beast, or other such things, which are not in accord with human nature.” (S.T. I-II, Q. 31, Art. 7, cor.)

    The bestiality bit is St Thomas’s own, perhaps from a mistranslation of Aristotle’s ????????, which occurs in the previous passage, where Aristotle discusses cannibalism at some length – what the word actually means is anyone’s guess (brutish, animal-like or something of that sort; goodness knows what St Thomas’s Latin version said and he misses out plucking the hair and biting one’s nails, which are two of Aristotle’s illustrations. I do, however, like St Thomas’s point about sweet things seeming bitter &c.

    It all emphasises that there is no reason, no rational motive, for such behaviour, just instinctive or dispositional causes This, by the by, is what I take “intrinsically disordered” to mean.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour:

    Thank you.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour and T. Shaw. Thank you both for these very interesting informative posts. They are a joy to read.

  • The homosexual practitioner is not denied his homosexuality, nor is the homosexual practitioner denied his marriage. The homosexual practitioner’s God is the devil himself, and therefore, the homosexual practitioner is demanding from almighty God what he cannot get from the devil himself, and that is love and affection.
    When the homosexual practitioner leaves his demands for love and affection, and begins reverencing God, loving and cherishing human beings, the homosexual practitioner will be given love and affection packed down, spilling over.

Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism

Wednesday, October 5, AD 2011

An Article by Melinda Selmys, author of the book Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism.

Twelve years ago, I converted to Catholicism and began a long dialogue with my own sexuality. At the time, I was involved in a lesbian relationship that had been going on for a little over six years. I had, in the course of researching the Catholic position  with  a  view  to  refuting  it,  encountered  the  Church’s  teachings  on homosexual relationships before, so when I decided to embrace the Church as my mother, I knew that meant giving up my lesbian partner. I called her that night and explained my decision.

At the time, I thought that I was signing up for a life of celibacy. I was okay with that:  before I became a Catholic I was a hard rationalist, and it wasn’t a long stretch to port my idealistic devotion to rational self-possession into an iron-clad commitment to  Catholic sexual teaching. I would simply apply my will to the problem, subsume my passions to the rule of Reason, and everything would be fine. Right?

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25 Responses to Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism

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  • Interesting.

    Is there a meaningful distinction between “gay identity” and “queer personality”? Should there be? A gay identity seems no more contrary to Church teaching than a female identity. If that’s the case, it would make sense to encourage a gay identity within the Church rather than making Catholics choose between the two.

  • Honest self-examination and self- knowledge are essential if we’re going to make any headway in achieving chastity, in or out of marriage

    Amen to that. She seems to be doing a marvelous job at it, and it is wonderful that she is willing to share so much. Her advice is not only helpful for the LBGTQ community, but for “straights” as well. We all face temptations, and self-mastery is difficult for the best of us (just ask St. Paul). It is particularly difficult in a society that constantly encourages us to give in to our passions rather than rule them.

  • I don’t have anything to add, but thanks for posting this.

  • This is one of the most honest, intelligent pieces on the subject I have ever read. This will better help me relate to some of my friends who are gay and lesbian and has enlightened my understanding and insight. Thank you for writing this and for your transparency.
    God bless!

  • Paul, kind of the opposite. From their website: “By developing an interior life of chastity, which is the universal call to all Christians, one can move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity to a more complete one in Christ.”

    What’s wrong with a homosexual identity? I remember reading something critical of the organization you linked to. I can’t remember where I read it. I think it was a blog by a chaste gay orthodox Catholic. The criticism was related to the issue I pointed out. Instead of creating a welcoming environment for the “gay and Catholic,” they seem to be saying “don’t be gay, be Catholic.”

  • RR,

    I wouldn’t consider “gay” identity to be equivalent to “male” identity or “female” identity as you suggested. Rather, “gay” identity would be more like “alcoholic” identity or “addict” identity.

    “Male” and “female” identities are normal. A “gay” identity, while real, is no more normal than an “alcoholic” identity or an “addict” identity. The Church needs a creation of a “gay” identity no more than it needs a creation of an “alcoholic” or “addict” identity. But the sympathizers of the gay community and the gay community itself insist on normalizing a “gay” identity as something natural like a “male” or “female” identity, and that simply isn’t the case. Being gay, like being alcoholic may have a genetic pre-disposition factor to it, but it still isn’t natural. It’s abberant (did I spell that correctly?)

    Now that doesn’t mean that we persecute and harrass gay people any more than we persecute and harrass alcoholic people. We all have our own special demons to taunt us. But let’s not normalize the abnormal; let’s not legitimatize the illegimate.

  • I thought again about RR’s idea of a separate identity for gays in the Church. Galatians 3:27-28 bears upon this:

    27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

  • As Paul W Primavera says, or alludes to, our primary personality should be that of Christ. In that context, we do not develop an alcoholic personality, nor a wrathful personality, nor a lecherous personality, nor a “much afraid” personality. Those are disorders, and we don’t embrace them as fundamental to our nature or our being. Someone who is prone to these things is called to work on letting Christ heal them. That does not happen by socializing oneself into them. An alcoholic who is letting Christ heal him acknowledges that he is an alcoholic, but I don’t think that is the same as saying he has an alcoholic personality.

    As the Canadian bishops said in their guideline to ministry with young people with same-sex attractions, Catholic theology does not use the word ‘gay’. Any adjective on the word ‘personality’ is too limiting – the important factor is the human person, created in the image and likeness of God, and beloved of Him.

  • Thank you very much for your witnessing.

  • Good on her.

    The description of attraction that she mentions jives with my personal experience– attraction to someone’s appearance often boils down to reading character traits into their appearance. (For example, I can’t remember a time I thought that Tom Cruise was attractive, but I also can’t remember a time I didn’t know he was a jerk.)
    Possibly an aspect of SSA is the way that all sexual attraction gets flanderized? I’m quite straight (TYVM) but I’m far from attracted to men in general, and I can see how admiration based attraction or friendship-attraction could very easily be interpreted as sexual, with the right base assumptions. It would just be another influence, but if the deck is stacked enough….

    (Side note: quickly scanning things can be bad for your mental health. I saw this was a post by Tito in my reader, scanned quick and saw the phrase “I was in a lesbian relationship;” serious confusion.)

  • Amazing article and an amazing personality….a sort of Catholic existentialist in her stress on choice over inclination.

  • Paul, the Galatians passage isn’t entirely relevant since there’s no problem with a female identity or American identity within the Church.

    I’ve thought about the “homosexuality as a disease” perspective and I’m not sure it matters. There are no sober alcoholics who feel that they need to be recognized as a distinct group. If they exist in some bizzaro world, then I don’t see any problem with it. It seems like some are confusing the fact that separate identities don’t exist in other analogous situations with the idea that they shouldn’t exist.

  • We are called to respect the inherent dignity of all persons as we live in relationship as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, not to view one another as objects of sexual desire, but as persons who have been created equal in dignity while being complementary as male and female, made in the Image of God to live in a communion of authentic Love.

  • RR said,

    “There are no sober alcoholics who feel that they need to be recognized as a distinct group.”

    So why do gays (or at least some gays and their straight liberal supporters) feel they rate special recognition? There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, straight or gay – to paraphase a verse of Scripture.

    I think that some people want gays to have special recognition because that would serve to legitimatize the deviancy of their sexual actions. People need to stop being gay just as people need to stop being drunken addicts. Having a homo-erotic impulse is no different than having a compulsion to drink.

    We’re powerless and our lives are unmanageable (1st step)
    Only a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity (2nd Step)
    We have to make a decision to turn our will and lives over to His care (3rd Step).

    And that’s exactly how this whole thing ought to be treated (not forgetting of course steps 4 through 12). One can recover – as this post on which we are commenting so elegantly demonstrates.

    But one other thing is important: we are NEVER recover-ED. Alcoholics who say that usually go out drinking again – it’s called arrogance and pride, the first to come in a slip (Sobriety Loses Its Priority). Rather, we are recover-ING (steps 10, 11 and 12). Whether it’s sobriety from a drinking complusion or sobriety from homo-erotic impulses, it’s still a DAILY reprieve contingent on one’s spiritual well-being. Giving special recognition to a gay identity or an alcoholic identity only serves to inflame the ego which inevitably leads to a slip (whether from homo-eroticism or drinking).

    But some people – even straights out of some perverse sense of tolerance – WANT homosexual filth to be declared as normal and would rather gays go to hell than gays find happiness in Jesus Christ. Sad.

  • Paul, sure we’re all God’s children but there are Jews and Greeks, slave and free, straight and gay.

    “So why do gays (or at least some gays and their straight liberal supporters) feel they rate special recognition?”

    Read the blog post!

    “Sexual identity is not just about sexual desire. A lot of the time people embrace a gay or lesbian identity because of real, genuinely foundational elements of personality that seem “queer” to other people. The LGBTQ community becomes a safety zone, and a gay identity becomes a security blanket, that protects the elements of personality that are under attack from mainstream culture. Anyone who is leaving a gay identity behind needs to find other ways of protecting those elements of personality, otherwise we just end up retreating back into the village when we come under fire.”

    “I think that some people want gays to have special recognition because that would serve to legitimatize the deviancy of their sexual actions.”

    It’s worth repeating:

    “Sexual identity is not just about sexual desire. A lot of the time people embrace a gay or lesbian identity because of real, genuinely foundational elements of personality that seem “queer” to other people. The LGBTQ community becomes a safety zone, and a gay identity becomes a security blanket, that protects the elements of personality that are under attack from mainstream culture. Anyone who is leaving a gay identity behind needs to find other ways of protecting those elements of personality, otherwise we just end up retreating back into the village when we come under fire.”

  • RR, I still don’t think gays rate special identity any more than alcoholics do. You disagree.

  • Foxfier, I made the same mistake about Tito. I thought maybe Tito was a woman until it registered. Anyway, Jesus and St. Paul are abundantly clear that the single life is a calling. Categories such as straight and queer are not biblical ones. These emerge from a culture of sexual politics. Sexuality is here seen to be defining in a way that Scripture never suggested.

  • I’m glad my kids were all napping when I had time to read this entire article, because it reduced me to tears. The author and I share a common experience of homosexual behavior. When I was a young woman, who had survived some childhood trauma within the family, I had an incredible amount of difficulty forming stable relationships with men. A well-meaning counselor (because counseling can solve any problem, right?) suggested that my difficulties were caused by suppressed homosexuality. I was twenty, it was 1991, and this seemed perfectly reasonable to me. Seven years later, I began to realize that her advice had been incredibly destructive. With the prayers, love, and support of my closest friends and a priest who is the finest example of his vocation I have ever known, I ended the relationship. It took me five years and exacted a physical, emotional, and financial toll that I’d rather not describe in detail.

    The difference between Mrs. Selmys’s story and my own is that I was never “gay.” I’m not terribly attracted to men aside from my husband (and father of our four children) and Jim Cantore (okay, you can laugh), but I think that’s more a function of love than anything else. I can see a good-looking man and think that he’s good-looking, and the same with a lovely woman, but there’s no sexual component to it.

    I am terribly, terribly grateful to Mrs. Selmys for sharing her tale and her experience. I know several other people who share the experience of living in a homosexual relationship and then choosing to live a chaste life, and the temporal conseuences have been terrible for most, if not all, of us. That said, the freedom I (and my friends) have found in following His will is a greater joy than any roll in the hay could ever provide.

    Thanks for listening.

  • Thank you so much for this. I struggle with SSA every single day and have been experimenting with other men recently. It’s been very emotionally draining and it just sucks the life out of my faith. This article was very encouraging for me as I struggle daily to be a half-way decent Catholic.

  • I have just said a prayer for you Freddy. Keep the Faith! God is stronger than any sin.

  • I hope it is an encouragement, Freddy. And I like-wise just said a prayer for you.

    God give you strength.

  • Freddy, may God bless you and keep you. You’ll be in my prayers always, and you have my love and respect.

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What is Harvey Milk Day?

Monday, May 23, AD 2011

Save California has released an informational video explaining all of the details conveniently left out by the Kulturkampf Jihadists otherwise known as Liberals/Progressives and ACLU in celebrating high-risk sex by exposing it to innocent five year old children in California’s public schools.

For the Save California website click here.

Hat Tip: Cal Catholic Daily

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44 Responses to What is Harvey Milk Day?

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  • I heard or read recently that semen neutralizes the environment of the woman’s vagina so that it will be more receptive to the implantation of the new life. I have not taken the time to investigate this phenomena but at first sense this would seem to be true. When males are exposed to this neutralizing effect of semen, is it any wonder that all sorts of maladies would be the end effect?

    God forgives always
    Man forgives sometimes
    Mother Nature never forgives.

  • In America today, children are safer in the care of a homosexual couple than in the womb of their own heterosexual mother.

  • Kurt,

    You have any evidence to back it up outside of your own personal feelings based nothing on except… *feelings*.

  • Tito,

    If you can’t do the math on that in your own head, you have no understanding of the evil of abortion. I’m sorry for that.

  • Kurt,

    When you leave a cryptic comment, expect the type of comment to that response.

    In the meantime, brush up on your charity.

  • In America today, children are safer in the care of a homosexual couple than in the womb of their own heterosexual mother.

    Perfectly irrelevant unless you posit that the alternative in policy to turning children over to homosexuals is to slaughter them.

  • Kurt,
    I suspect that you are probably correct, but honestly one cannot easily know. One cannot simply compare the number of abortions to the number abuses at the hands of same-sex homosexual parents because the number of pregnant women and the number of such parents are not comparable. But it seems intuitively correct to me that what you say is almost certainly true. But I would hope that you would agree that your statement is best understood as an indictment of abortion rather than as a brief for same sex homosexual parenting.

  • Perfectly irrelevant unless you posit that the alternative in policy to turning children over to homosexuals is to slaughter them.

    Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.

    Anyway, more children are harmed in the womb of their heterosexual mother than in the care of a homosexual couple.

  • Kurt,
    I suspect that you are probably correct, but … I would hope that you would agree that your statement is best understood as an indictment of abortion…

    Without a doubt.

  • Given that about 24% of pregnancies nationwide end in abortion, even fighting in the trenches of World War One was safer than being an unborn child in modern America. I’m not sure that the comparison is a hugely useful one.

    That kind of reasoning would convince one that playing Russian Roulette is a good idea.

  • @Kurt

    > “Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.”

    As far as I know, there is a _line_ of adults wanting to adopt children. Just-born babies are specially coveted.

    Abortions are not caused by “lack of adoption”. If you ask “Planned Parenthood”, they explicitly say that killing the baby is better then putting up for adoption. Those feminists simply do not want babies to be born.

    You could allow adoption to homosexuals, alcoholic bachelors, or whoever, and abortion would not go down.

    So why did you make this comparison? This can easily be used for dishonest homosexual propaganda.

  • Ignoring the pseudo-science in the video, if we can teach little kids to honor a genocidal maniac (Columbus), slaveowners, and a radical socialist (Helen Keller), why not Harvey Milk?

    “When males are exposed to this neutralizing effect of semen, is it any wonder that all sorts of maladies would be the end effect?”

    What in the world?

  • > “Ignoring the pseudo-science in the video”

    What “pseudo-science”?

    >”, if we can teach little kids to honor a genocidal maniac (Columbus), slaveowners, and a radical socialist (Helen Keller)”

    Don’t mix completely different things. When people respect slave-owners, they generally forgive them for holding a position that were very entrenched at their times. It may be quite difficult to think outside the cultural box, and we may forgive slave-owners who do (in this regard) what their parents and everyone around them taught them to do. None of this applies to Harvey Milk.

    Second, if you don’t like slave-owners or Helen Keller to be revered in schools, then argue against them; it makes no logical sense to say “because slave-owners are honored, perverts must be honored too”. What kind of logic is that?

    >”, why not Harvey Milk?”

    Besides what I have said above, there is the fact the making _children_ honor a _child predator_ is pretty much unbelievable. What next? Will we make Jews honor Hitler?

  • “Don’t mix completely different things. When people respect slave-owners, they generally forgive them for holding a position that were very entrenched at their times. It may be quite difficult to think outside the cultural box, and we may forgive slave-owners who do (in this regard) what their parents and everyone around them taught them to do. None of this applies to Harvey Milk.”

    I think all of that applies to Harvey Milk.

    “Second, if you don’t like slave-owners or Helen Keller to be revered in schools, then argue against them”

    I think they should all be taught as heroic but flawed figures, Harvey Milk included.

  • It’s sick out there and getting sicker.

  • @RR
    > “I think they should all be taught as heroic but flawed figures, Harvey Milk included.”

    For _children_? Really?

    One thing is for an adult to study academically the non-evil work of a guy who also did evil. For example, last year I studied the work of a logician who was also a Nazi. It was OK, because I am an adult, and also because we were only studying his work – and not _honoring_ the man.

    But

    1) small children
    2) honoring
    3) a child predator

    ? Really? How can this even be considered?

  • Small children honoring a slaveowner? Maybe you leave out the bad parts until they’re a bit older. I think that’s how most are taught and I’m sure that’s how Harvey Milk is taught.

  • RR,
    Referring to Columbus as a genocidal maniac is an unsupportable stupid slur.

  • I think they should all be taught as heroic but flawed figures, Harvey Milk included.

    He was a camera merchant who served a brief term as a municipal councillor in San Francisco. He was a bachelor all his life and never had any children. He is well-known because he made a public point of his sexual perversions and he was regrettably in the wrong place at the wrong time on a November day in 1978. He was none too scrupulous. I respect people who go into business for themselves and are willing to take on the time-consuming mess of municipal budgets, legislation, and constituent service. I cannot see what is heroic about him. My township supervisor compares favorably to Harvey Milk, but the New York state legislature will never insist that a day be devoted to his life and works in the state’s schools.

  • Milk is celebrated by the powers that be in California for only one thing: he was one of the first elected officials in that state who was an open homosexual. This is all about identity politics and the promotion of the homosexual agenda, and to pretend otherwise is as foolish as it is mendacious.

  • I guess teaching Sally Ride is promoting the feminist agenda and teaching Jackie Robinson is promoting the Black Panther agenda?

  • They actually accomplished something RR. All Mr. Milk accomplished was being badly ensnared in a politically correct sin.

  • He was a camera merchant who served a brief term as a municipal councillor in San Francisco. He was a bachelor all his life and never had any children. He is well-known because he made a public point of his sexual perversions and he was regrettably in the wrong place at the wrong time on a November day in 1978.

    Bingo.

  • I guess teaching Sally Ride is promoting the feminist agenda and teaching Jackie Robinson is promoting the Black Panther agenda?

    1. Personally, I do not think that the life and works of either of these individuals merits more than passing mention in the sort of historical survey courses which are offered to elementary and secondary students.

    2. If there is a ‘Sally Ride Day’ or a ‘Jackie Robinson Day’ prescribed by any state legislature, can you tell us which one?

    3. Dr. Ride is an astrophysicist who did two things very few people do: completing the terminal degree in the hardest of hard sciences and traveling in space.

    4. I doubt Stokely Carmichael or H. Rap Brown took, during their years as public figures, more than a passing interest in Jackie Robinson.

    5. Discussion of the life of both can be framed in a way that is politically sectarian and distortive (and thus inadvisable).

  • Let’s also not forget Milk’s unwavering public support for the atheist, communist, bisexual rapist and mass murderer Jim Jones. Quite a hero, that Harvey Milk..

  • Milk was the first openly-gay politician in California. That coupled with the assassination is why we’re talking about him and not your local township supervisor. Milk is historically significant.

  • Another thing. Harvey Milk Day doesn’t mandate the teaching of anything. Teachers could teach or not teach kids about him with or without the day.

  • “Personally, I do not think that the life and works of either of these individuals merits more than passing mention in the sort of historical survey courses which are offered to elementary and secondary students.”

    I agree. Though they can be taught as part of a larger lesson on women’s history or black history. But I doubt opponents of Harvey Milk Day would approve of even a passing mention of him in classrooms.

  • Milk was the first openly-gay politician in California.

    And what people are saying is that this is not an “achievement” which needs to be discussed extensively with elementary school kids.

  • @Kurt

    > “Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.”

    As far as I know, there is a _line_ of adults wanting to adopt children. Just-born babies are specially coveted.

    You could allow adoption to homosexuals, alcoholic bachelors, or whoever, and abortion would not go down.

    So why did you make this comparison? This can easily be used for dishonest homosexual propaganda.

    I noted two particular situations I am aware of and you responsed to my comment. Therefore I can say that you are wrong and your views promote abortion and the destruction of the unborn.

    Without violating anyone’s privacy, I can tell you in both cases it was a matter of the gentlemen personally interacting with the mothers. I think the gentlemen’s actions were heroic. If you want to assert that it is not possible for some gay guys to have been heroic in these circumstances, I’ll continue the discussion. Otherwise, I’ll take your silence as a retraction.

  • @Kurt

    “Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.”

    As far as I know, there is a _line_ of adults wanting to adopt children. Just-born babies are specially coveted.

    You could allow adoption to homosexuals, alcoholic bachelors, or whoever, and abortion would not go down.

    So why did you make this comparison? This can easily be used for dishonest homosexual propaganda.

    I noted two particular situations I am aware of and you responsed to my comment. Therefore I can say that you are wrong and your views promote abortion and the destruction of the unborn.

    Without violating anyone’s privacy, I can tell you in both cases it was a matter of the gentlemen personally interacting with the mothers. I think the gentlemen’s actions were heroic. If you want to assert that it is not possible for some gay guys to have been heroic in these circumstances, I’ll continue the discussion. Otherwise, I’ll take your silence as a retraction.

  • That coupled with the assassination is why we’re talking about him and not your local township supervisor. Milk is historically significant

    No. he. isn’t. Except as a study in aspects of political culture. And he was not assassinated. He happened to be in the hallway when Dan White was on a rampage.

  • But I doubt opponents of Harvey Milk Day would approve of even a passing mention of him in classrooms.

    It’s not like the teachers do not have other things to discuss.

  • Milk wasn’t actually the first openly gay politician in California. In fact, when Milk finally did win elected office, his main opponent was another openly gay man (Richard Stokes) who had been “out” longer than Milk.

  • @Kurt
    > “I noted two particular situations I am aware of and you responsed to my comment. Therefore I can say that you are wrong and your views promote abortion and the destruction of the unborn.”

    What? What is the logic here?

  • @Darwin, is being the first black MLB player an “achievement”? At the very least, the election of Harvey Milk is a significant milestone.

    I also didn’t say anything about “extensive” discussion.

    Reading the California Education Code, there are lots of holidays that most likely go uncelebrated in schools. California Poppy Day? It looks like they designated a day for every minority and picked a representative to put a face on the day. Blacks (Crispus Attucks) , Asians (Fred Korematsu), Hispanics (Cesar Chavez), women (Susan B Anthony), environmentalists (John Muir), and Republicans (Ronald Reagan). Native Americans get a day but no name.

  • “The only evils these people recognize are having to endure hunger, disease, and murder. It is as though man’s greatest good were to have everything good, except himself.” St. Augustine, The City of God

  • “And he was not assassinated. He happened to be in the hallway when Dan White was on a rampage.”

    Are you serious? How widespread is this misinformation? I guess, properly teaching Harvey Milk is even more important than I thought.

  • “… properly teaching Harvey Milk …”?

    Good grief! Really?

  • Given the time limits in history classrooms, “properly teaching” everyone’s trail-blazing icon is a zero-sum game. Whom do we exclude as a result?

  • Pogo: “We have met the enemy. And, he is us!”

  • Are you serious? How widespread is this misinformation?

    White was at city hall to meet with Mayor George Moscone. His encounter with Milk was happenstance.

    There was prior to Milk’s election an explicit homosexual in the Minnesota legislature and one in the Massachusetts legislature.

  • A few minutes after White was admitted to the mayor’s office, the secretary heard the sound of his raised voice and then several dull thuds. White then exited the mayor’s office, reloaded his gun while making sure he was not observed, and ran to the area of the building housing the supervisors’ offices and used his key to enter. There, Supervisor Feinstein called to him, but White said to her, “I have to do something first,” and asked to meet with Supervisor Milk. Promptly, within 15 seconds of entering Milk’s office, White shot Milk once through his mid-section, then twice more into his chest. When Milk fell to the ground, White shot him through the back of the head splattering the office with blood. Then White put the muzzle of his gun against Harvey Milk’s skull and blew out the remainder of his brains. White confessed that he was upset about losing his job and that he had killed Milk because he had thought that Milk had plotted to have him removed. White’s aide testified that she had driven White to City Hall that day, and that White had told her in the car (while he was armed with his concealed weapon and extra bullets, unbeknownst to her) that he was planning to see both Moscone and Milk. In his confession, White claimed he didn’t know why he brought his gun and ten extra bullets to City Hall that day.

    According to Happenstance Theory, it was happenstance that White went to City Hall that day, happenstance that he brought a gun with him plus ten extra bullets, happenstance that Moscone was shot, happenstance that White then reloaded his gun with the extra bullets he happened to have brought with him that day, happenstance that he specifically then asked to see Milk, happenstance that he then promptly shot Milk, not once, but over and over again, happenstance that White confessed that he killed Milk because he had thought Milk had plotted against him, and happenstance that after having shot the two people he reportedly had planned to see that day, he didn’t again reload his gun like he did before requesting to see Milk but instead left for the day. And happenstance that White wrote befote his suicide in 1985 that “I shot [Moscone] five times, then reloaded and went down the hall to do the same thing to Harvey… [Moscone] decided for me.” Happenstance that “If I had won, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with Harvey.” “Down the hall to Harvey’s office. His aide let me in. I shut the door, pulled out the gun, and wiped the smirk off Harvey’s face with five more bullets.”

    According to Happenstance Theory, everything, including every murder, every election, everything, is happenstance, for if the murderer’s life had been different, if George Moscone had said White could have his job back, if a butterfly somewhere over the Amazon had flapped its wings just a little faster, things woulda coulda have happened otherwise. But instead, we had a “Crash Moment”, as Oprah might call it, and now we have Harvey Milk Day. All happenstance.

Homosexuals in the Military: O Brave New World!

Sunday, December 19, AD 2010

 

“You all remember,” said the Controller, in his strong deep voice, “you all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford’s: History is bunk. History,” he repeated slowly, “is bunk.”

             
 He waved his hand; and it was as though, with an invisible feather wisk, he had brushed away a little dust, and the dust was Harappa, was Ur of the Chaldees; some spider-webs, and they were Thebes and Babylon and Cnossos and Mycenae. Whisk. Whisk–and where was Odysseus, where was Job, where were Jupiter and Gotama and Jesus? Whisk–and those specks of antique dirt called Athens and Rome, Jerusalem and the Middle Kingdom–all were gone. Whisk–the place where Italy had been was empty. Whisk, the cathedrals; whisk, whisk, King Lear and the Thoughts of Pascal. Whisk, Passion; whisk, Requiem; whisk, Symphony; whisk …
 

 
 
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

 

As a parting “gift” to the nation, the lame duck Democrat controlled 111th Congress passed legislation yesterday repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and now homosexuals may serve openly in the military.  The interesting secret about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is that it tended to be an escape mechanism out of the military for homosexuals, and those claiming to be homosexuals.  In recent years about 500 individuals have on average been discharged annually with about 80% announcing their homosexuality in order to be released from service.  I quote Melissa, a lesbian and a former medic, on how “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has worked in practice:

Many people used the “Im gay” tactic to get out of BCT (Basic Combat Training), or AIT (Advanced Individual Training) when I first enlisted. If the dont ask dont tell policy is repealed, this will help to stop “cowards” from enlisting. DADT was a cop out beyond recognition that people used to escape the military life, pre-deployment/assignment, and post-deployment.

 I assume that the number of homosexuals in the military is relatively small, probably as a fraction of the military less than the percentage of the adult population that is homosexual.  The impact of the change in policy is difficult to say since no militaries that actually fight wars, as opposed to the militaries of most European powers that are now largely ceremonial in nature, have long track records of homosexuals openly serving. 

I fear that the military will now come under pressure to make  the military a “welcoming environment” for homosexuals, and that troops who hold to a moral code that regards homosexual conduct as morally abhorent, the overwhelming consensus in Western culture from the triumph of Christianity until around 1970, will find themselves under increasing pressure to conform to the belief that, in Jerry Seinfeld’s phrase, “there is nothing wrong with that” in regard to homosexuality. 

 Of course that is the whole purpose for this farce, just as with “gay marriage”:  to put the imprimatur of the State on the idea that homosexuality and heterosexuality are morally equivalent and that only benighted bigots think otherwise.  This of course is directly contrary to the teaching of the Church as clearly pointed out by then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1986:

 

7. The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and live-giving union of men and women in the sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally.

To chose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator’s sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.

As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.

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28 Responses to Homosexuals in the Military: O Brave New World!

  • I am glad to see DADT go. It was a typically cynical Clintonian compromise that never made a whole lot of sense. I don’t know of many other workplaces in the United States where a person can be fired for self-identifying as a homosexual, and I see very little upside in making life more difficult for people with petty restrictions on speech. More broadly, I am against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. If, in fact, it was primarily used as an easy out from the military, it makes the policy all that much more preposterous.

  • Just a thank you note to obama catholics:

    Thanks for ruining my country!

  • Just another win-win: it either weakens the military really obviously, or gives them another “victory” like the integration of women. (Which, I’m sorry to tell any folks who hold fond beliefs about it– didn’t work so very well.)

  • Even though I’m relatively ambivalent about the change, I find the comparison to the workplace to be inappropriate. In what other workplace are the “workers” expected to spends months and months in close quarters under extraordinarily stressful circumstances? Serving in the military ain’t exactly sitting in a cubicle everyday.

    I also agree with Donald that it’s slimy to do this in a lameduck session. Congress had two years to do this, and now they’re doing at the 11th hour when many members have been booted out of office.

  • Thank you for beating me to it Paul. Men in combat units are together in frequently appalling conditions for 24-7 in wartime for very lenthy periods. There are also precious few jobs in the civilian world where unit integrity and morale often means the difference between coming home alive and coming home in a body bag. The ironic thing is that most of the proponents of this change would never dream of spending a day in the military. The harm that this exercise in “let’s pretend” causes may be cushioned by that fact.

  • Any diversity hurts unit cohesion. But it seems to me that all the reasons opponents give for why the military is unlike other work environments (e.g., close quarters) are exactly the reasons why the negative effects will be less, not more.

  • Only if you assume that bunking men and women in the same room will decrease issues with unit cohesion and completion of duties.

  • This is a non-event. What exactly does being “openly gay” in the military mean, anyway? Looking fabulous while dying in immoral, costly and impossible-to-win wars? Putting a few more parades on the calendar?

    Fact is our armed service men (and, unfortunately, women) should be judged by their actions, not their inclinations. Frankly, I’m surprised this hasn’t come sooner in order to meet recruitment goals. Heck, aren’t felons even at times granted waivers to enter the armed services?

    This issue is the least of the problems surrounding how America sees and utilizes her military forces.

  • Thank you for beating me to it Paul. Men in combat units are together in frequently appalling conditions for 24-7 in wartime for very lenthy periods. There are also precious few jobs in the civilian world where unit integrity and morale often means the difference between coming home alive and coming home in a body bag. The ironic thing is that most of the proponents of this change would never dream of spending a day in the military.

    Even granting that 1) military employment is different than other employment; 2) that integrity and morale are important; and 3) that most proponents would never dream of spending a day in the military, does it follow that banning homosexuals from self-identifying is a good policy? Does that help morale or promote integrity (it seems to me it promotes the opposite)?

  • Frankly, I’m surprised this hasn’t come sooner in order to meet recruitment goals.

    Because anyone with nodding familiarity with the military knows it’ll work the opposite way?

    Military: overwhelmingly conservative, socially.
    Homosexuals who are not willing to serve without being “open”: tiny fraction.
    Yeah, let’s spit in the face of the overwhelming number of folks who are willing to fight and die for chicken feed so we can help recruitment….

    Face facts, we all know what’s going to happen. They’ll talk and talk about how any harassment by homosexuals will be stepped on hard, but those who are harassed and speak out about it will be the ones stepped on. I already lived that with lesbians in the service.

    Worked with some homosexual guys. The willingness to put in the tiny fraction of effort required not to “tell” made a big difference in everyone’s behavior.

    And yes, DADT was also a safety valve to get folks who are really desperate to get out a way to do so without throwing themselves down a stairwell. Better french-kissing a civilian in front of the entire chain of command at the squadron picnic, or getting “caught” making out halfway through bootcamp by the chief on his rounds than killing yourself or getting someone else hurt trying to save your tail. (Both examples that I know of first hand– female and male, respectively.)

  • I haven’t been in the military myself, but an acquaintance of mine is a Navy veteran from the late 1980s, before DADT. He did have some difficulties with a fellow sailor/officer who was later discharged for being gay and he has been firmly opposed to the notion of gays in the military ever since. At that time, I believe, sodomy was still a crime in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (and it may still be for all I know, although that is going to have to change under the new policy, of course).

    As for DADT being used as a cop out by cowards wanting out of their enlistment, well, what were these people doing enlisting in the first place? Trying to get educational and other veteran’s benefits, most likely, but it seems to me that anyone with an IQ above a houseplant realizes that it’s not exactly peacetime anymore, and enlisting in either active duty or Guard/Reserve service means you are more likely than not to end up in a combat zone sometime in the next 4 years. The days when enlisting in the National Guard was a virtual guarantee you would NEVER see combat ended with Desert Storm 20 years ago.

    I could perhaps see repeal of DADT being justified if there were a draft in effect and vast numbers of prospective draftees were claiming to be gay so they would be rejected. However, that is not the current situation.

    If the idea is to encourage more people to enlist, I fear it will end up having the opposite effect — especially among the more socially conservative and religiously observant young men (and women) who tend to see military service in a positive light and as an honorable calling. It will almost certainly make the already acute shortage of Catholic chaplains in the military even worse.

  • The folks whose motives for getting out I’m familiar with weren’t worried about combat. It was simply that the military was nothing like what they’d expected, and they couldn’t manage it. When you think of how few folks have been in (less than one in ten for the total US population) and consider that the movies are usually way off, the TV shows are bass-ackwards, their teachers, role models, public figures and relatives who served more recently than WWII are likely to be either quiet or anti-military activists, and each of the services has become a punchline for most folks, there’s going to be folks who join and have no idea what they’re getting into.

    Oh, and the Sodomy one is Article 125; defined as “unnatural carnal copulation.” The ‘solution’ is obvious, as it will be when some loon who married his dog is an officer.

  • More broadly, I am against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

    Just out of curiosity, why is that?

  • St. Augustine wrote that we should love sinnners with Christian charity for as long as they live, they may come to virtue, i.e., repent, confess, do penance, amend our lives, and through good works glorify Almighty God.

    How will sinners come to virtue if the Church fails to try to save them, and is that charitable?

    With this enactment, if a Chaplain that tries to save a gay’s soul, will he be court-martialed?

    What has the Church done to answer the secular sanctification of sodomy?

    One will not get into Heaven if ones commits sodomy or votes democrat.

  • “It was simply that the military was nothing like what they’d expected, and they couldn’t manage it.”

    Foxfier, back in the Seventies this “motivational speech” (extreme content advisory!) from Full Metal Jacket was fairly accurate as to the first difficult days of military service.

  • Remember the major plot point in that movie that comes of not handling it?

    Either way, in the kinder, gentler, integrated forces I’ve seen– nope. (Marine training is still different I hear, in part because they don’t integrate at that point.)

  • “Remember the major plot point in that movie that comes of not handling it?”

    Vividly, although the actor R. Lee Ermey was an actual Marine Drill Instructor who made it through his career without being shot by either enemies or “friendlies”.

  • Best commercial ever by a former Marine DI

  • He also, last time I checked, always ran his roles through the Marines before he’d accept them. (Which also let him wear a real uniform.)

  • As a Navy veteran, raised to believe that homosexuality is a sin and the type of behavior that is detrimental to unit cohesion and espirit de corps, I remain convinced that repeal of DADT is a major blunder.

    Homosexuality is not compatible with military discipline and order. This is not about civil rights but about not meeting reasonable well-established criteria in place for decades.

    Robert Reilly, in an article titled the “Culture of Vice,” stated it well:

    “Since only the act of sodomy differentiates an active homosexual from a heterosexual, homosexuals want “government and society” to affirm that sodomy is morally equivalent to the marital act. “Coming out of the closet” can only mean an assent on the level of moral principle to what would otherwise be considered morally disordered.

    “And so it must be. If you are going to center your public life on the private act of sodomy, you had better transform sodomy into a highly moral act. If sodomy is a moral disorder, it cannot be legitimately advanced on the legal or civil level. On the other hand, if it is a highly moral act, it should serve as the basis for marriage, family (adoption), and community. As a moral act, sodomy should be normative. If it is normative, it should be taught in our schools as a standard. In fact, homosexuality should be hieratic: active homosexuals should be ordained as priests. All of this is happening. It was predictable. The homosexual cause moved naturally from a plea for tolerance to cultural conquest. How successful that conquest has been can be seen in the poverty of the rhetoric of its opponents. In supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, the best one congressman could do was to say, “America is not yet ready for homosexual marriage,” as if we simply need a decent interval to adjust ourselves to its inevitable arrival.

    “The homosexual rationalization is so successful that even the campaign against AIDS is part of it, with its message that “everyone is at risk.” If everyone is at risk, the disease cannot be related to specific behavior. Yet homosexual acts are the single greatest risk factor in catching AIDS. This unpleasant fact invites unwelcome attention to the nature of homosexual acts, so it must be ignored.”

  • Does that help morale or promote integrity (it seems to me it promotes the opposite)?

    Since when does integrity require self-disclosure?

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  • I have no objection to a member of the armed services having either homosexual inclinations or desires, provided that person has the self-control to deal with that. If that was all stopping DADT would do, I doubt many people would object.

    However, what is objectionable is the forcing of the change in culture, values, standards, practices, and beliefs that will necessarily follow. Terrible social engineering will be the inevitable consequence in our present climate.

    For example, the unit’s dining out or dining in events (of whatever name) will now present the quandry of allowing everyone’s “date” or excluding everyone’s. So here you will have to acknowledge the validity of the relationship in a rather public way.

    Further, once open homosexuals are OK, this makes it rather difficult to hold a position against “spousel” benefits for these individuals.

    Then there is the housing/living issue. Do we force the homosexuals and heterosexuals to share quarters? Do you allow homosexuals to bunk together? How can you justify seperate gender facilities after this? It will be nearly impossible for rules regarding fraternization to be enforced when dealing with same-sex relations, so therefore all the rules on that will have to go eventually.

    This complete revolution in values will not happen instantly, it will take time. However, it will happen.

    The worst is, I am willing to predict it will end with needless death. Be it a lover spurned, or a homosexual that can’t abide the beliefs of his fellows, or a fundamentalist that condemns homosexuals, someone is going to wind up either fragging or simply allowing the death of someone over this. Needless to say if there is even slight suspicion involving a homosexual being unfarely put in danger by a heterosexual it will be investigate, but any other such scenario will just be ignored.

  • Anthony wrote: “What exactly does being “openly gay” in the military mean, anyway?”

    That’s the problem…defining terms. What does “openly” mean?

    In a sense it can even be related to the workplace. Men and women can’t walk around the workplace being “openly heterosexual” either in the sense that they are there to do a job, not discuss the details of or seek new relationships in their private lives.

    To the extent that they do the latter more than the former, they compromise their ability to do their job well…not something you need on a battlefield where lives are at stake.

  • Stacy…like a judge once said about pornography, can’t define it but I know it when I see it…same with gay behavior and demeanor…To the observant eye it’s detectable. There are obvious overt examples, which lend themselves to parodies in movies and TV (limp wrist, speech), as well as body language that are clear giveaways. Male homosexuality is easier to spot than lesbian behavior which is much more subtle. For the most telling examples, see gay parades vs. St. Patrick’s parade for stark contrasts in behavior. Sexuality is the major component of the former (depraved dress, kissing, hand-holding, etc.), while in the latter, the celebration has nothing to do with sexuality.

    Of course, now someone will play the homophobe card and accused me of stereotyping, which comes about because stereotypes and cliches survive because they are closer to the truth than fabrications and euphemisms.

  • I agree that we must love our neighbors but in loving our neighbors we need not embrase their sin. We must look at the effects of homosexuality and why Christianity condemns the practice. I think it is important to look as to why homosexuality is not just a “life style choice”. Below are some facts about homosexuality:
    – Domestic violence is 2x more likely in homosexual couples than hetrosexual couples;
    – Homosexuals are 100x more likely to be murders;
    – Homosexuals are 25x more likely to commit suicide;
    – Homosexuals have an “unhealthy” lifestyle: 78% have STD, etc.:
    – Male homosexuals live to an average age of 42 and female homosexuals 45; and
    – 25-33% of homosexuals are alcoholics.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1502263/posts
    and
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Homosexuality_Statistics

    These effects translate into policy and taxation issues: need to overstaff to meet increase in sick days, increase in military and VA funding for increase in medical costs, etc.

  • The repeal of DADT means that homosexuals have been given the “civil right” of bunking with and showering with those they are sexually attracted to. I’m surprised they haven’t made it a “civil right” for heterosexual males to bunk with and shower with females.

  • “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition” (#2358)

    #2359, for example, the Catechism says that gays and lesbians who live chastely “can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”

    “The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God” (#1700)

Roundup of Catholic Blogosphere Reaction to Pope’s Condom Comments

Monday, November 22, AD 2010

The Pope’s comments in an unauthorized excerpt release from Peter Seewald’s latest book, “Light of the World, The Pope, The Church and The Signs of the Times”, has caused quite a stir.

Basically he said, as an extreme example, if a male prostitute was to use a condom during sex, it was a step towards a better morality.

Pope Benedict wasn’t speaking ex-cathedra.

Nonetheless, the secular media, like clockwork, has declared that condoms are now allowed by all fornicators (not like dissident Catholics were following the teachings of the Church anyways).

So here is a short roundup of the better informed among us:

Pope Approves Restricted Use of Condoms? – M.J. Andrew, TAC

Understanding Pope’s Dilemma on Condoms – Jimmy Akin, NCRgstr

Condoms, Consistency, (mis)Communication – Thomas Peters, AmP

Pope Changed Church Condoms Teaching? – Q. de la Bedoyere, CH

A Vatican Condom Conversion? – Mollie, Get Religion

Pope: Condoms, Sex Abuse, Resignation & Movie Nights – John Allen

What The Pope Really Said About Condoms in New Book? – Janet Smith

Ginger Factor: Pope Approves of Condoms! – Jeff Miller, The Crt Jstr

The Pope and Condoms – Steve Kellmeyer, The Fifth Column

Condoms May Be ‘First Step’ In Moralization of Sexuality – Cth Herald

Pope Did Not Endorse the Use of Condoms – Fr. Zuhlsdorf, WDTPRS?

Did Pope Change Teaching About Condoms? – Brett Salkeld, Vox Nova

(Hat tips:  The Pulpit & Henry Karlson)

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15 Responses to Roundup of Catholic Blogosphere Reaction to Pope’s Condom Comments

Culture War

Thursday, August 5, AD 2010

People justly tire of the term “culture war” and find themselves asking, like the philosopher Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”

And yet watching the disparate reactions to yesterday’s Federal Court ruling overturning California’s Proposition 8 (for now) it struck me that the culture war terminology is quite apt. What is termed the culture was is essentially a zero sum game over which of two roughly equally numerous groups will be allowed to define the dominant understandings of culture and society in our country. by taking this to the federal level, same sex marriage advocates have made it clear that no degree of regional acceptance is satisfactory — their understanding of the nature of marriage must be the single dominant understanding enforced throughout the country, and those with a traditional understanding of marriage must be the ones who find themselves aliens within their country. And, presumably, is same sex marriage advocates lose, they will in turn consider themselves aliens within the country. Given that it is the most basic units and purposes of society which are in dispute, it seems hard to see how it can be any other way. And while the dispute is to an extent regional, it is much more so philosophical and ideological, making the culture war more resemble the Spanish Civil War than the American. Every city and region has representatives of both sides.

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19 Responses to Culture War

  • To your point about it being impossible to make the traditionalist case: I thought Frank Beckwith’s following comment over at What’s Wrong With the World was spot on:

    Political liberalism was invented in the mid-1980s in order to provide a theoretical foundation that can exclude religiously-informed policy proposals while seeming to defend religious liberty and citizen participation. There had, of course, always been many liberalisms, including the Lockean, Kantian, Millean, Hobbsean, and Roussean varieties. But each suffered from the same problem: each presupposed a particular philosophical anthropology as the correct account of humanity. This was a problem because popular liberalism suggested neutrality on matters of worldview. So, you could not very well say that the state should be neutral on such matters while requiring it to embrace a particular one. Social conservatives understood this since the mid-1950s, as seen in what Bill Buckley called “the great liberal dilemma.” But with the ascendancy of the religious right and its insistence that “liberalism” is not as neutral as its proponents claim–that it too tries to answer the same questions that traditional religions answer–folks like Rawls needed a new way to defend liberalism in a pluralistic society that was both morally required but did not depend on a particular metaphysics. Presto, we get “political liberalism,” and with its numerous defenders including Rawls, Gaus (who is more of a libertarian), Nagel, and to a certain extent Dworkin.

    So, instead of explicitly defending metaphysical liberalism, we get political liberalism with allegedly none of the metaphysical commitments. But, strangely, on every issue about which metaphysical liberalism would take a stand–e.g., abortion, affirmative action, same-sex marriage, etc.–political liberalism gets the exact same results. Wow, what a coincidence! But the benefit of political liberalism is you can rule your opponents’ views as a priori violations of political liberalism while saying that their views are still “rational.” This means you get to sound like you respect pluralism, diversity, and the rationality of your opponents’ point of view while shutting them out of the debate on “principled grounds.”

    This is why on the issue of homosexual conduct, those that are critical of it for moral reasons cannot be considered reasonable actors who simply disagree with others on the issue. They must be irrational. For if they are rational–that is, if there views are not unreasonable to hold–then the state cannot, according to the canons of liberalism, force these citizens to acquiesce in their public and private lives. But this means that same-sex unions would not be treated equally, since political liberalism would grant the legitimacy of those who think homosexual acts are immoral. Consequently, the bigot charge is so fierce and not well-argued. It is meant to intimidate and silence, not persuade or convince. For, again, to suggest the position is arguable is to grant it legitimacy, and that simply cannot be allowed.

    So, despite Rawls’ wonderful intention to provide a theoretical grounding on which people with differing points of view on worldview matters can dialogue in a climate of mutual respect and understanding, he failed miserably. For what he in fact did was give to either side in the culture war, the ultimate weapon: declare the other side “unreasonable,” for once that sticks the game is over and there is no need to treat the other with respect or equal regard.

  • Well, apparently the history standards used in CA are even worse than I thought if Judge Walker can say with a straight face that historically there were no restrictions on marriage based on gender and that marriage was traditionally a matter of mutual consent. Heck in many parts of the world today, mutual consent STILL has nothing to do with marriage. I bet he would die before giving the Catholic Church credit with introducing consent as a feature of marriage.

    And since when does marriage have nothing to do with procreation? Many states require blood tests for Ruebella, which has everything to do with preventing birth defects in the future children of the marriage. (They don’t excuse you from the blood test just because you say you don’t plan on having children.)

    Also, inheritance law is very much intertwined with marriage both now and historically. But hey, with after death conceptions now due to IVF technology, maybe our culture should just declare children chattel and stop trying to pretend everything that the adults want magically is good for the children. We can just declare it so and move on with clear consciences!

  • Why should they (gays) be happy? They may as well be miserable like the rest fo us. Farce/OFF

    Did the judge rule YOU cannot have religious morailty in LAW? I like that part. Get the welfare (Catholic Social Justice) state off our backs.

    To your point: J. M. Barrie, “God gave us memory so that we could have roses in December.”

  • The following comment of mine was censored by the Huffington Post and taken off the site. It stated, “This comment was removed in accordance with HuffPost’s moderation guidelines.” I was totally taken aback. My words were neither offensive or in bad taste in anyway. Here is what I wrote:

    When anyone is vocal against gay marriage and homosexuality, supporters of gay rights like to label them as intolerant, prejudice and ignorant. I don’t consider myself any of the three. I was taught that we are all part of the human race and, therefore, no one is better than anyone else, regardless of race, class or religion. I feel I have always been on the right side, fighting for the poor, the minority, etc. But being gay is a desire and not a right.
    Whatever people do in the privacy of their homes is their business. It is not anyone’s place on this earth to judge others’ actions and desires. I know people who are gay, and I treat them no differently, than I do anybody else. Everyone should be free from ridicule and attack, but to go so far as to give rights to an abnormal desire that contradicts nature since the beginning of time is wrong and can only lead to an untested and precarious road. You don’t have to be religious or a moralist to know that what isn’t natural shouldn’t be. Gay people should neither be attacked nor encouraged, but helped and prayed for. This ruling is misguided because the law has no place in sanctioning unnatural and defective desires and acts.

  • Well now you’ve said several offensive things. Calling homosexuality a “desire” and not a “right”. Calling it an “abnormal desire that contradicts nature” and labelling it “wrong.” Finally you call for us to “pray” for them. You are engaging in hate speech you know.

  • by taking this to the federal level, same sex marriage advocates have made it clear that no degree of regional acceptance is satisfactory — their understanding of the nature of marriage must be the single dominant understanding enforced throughout the country, and those with a traditional understanding of marriage must be the ones who find themselves aliens within their country

    well, obviously that was the goal all along. But they would not have gone the federal route if they could have won state by state. when the people are asked, they emphatically say no.

    Today, gender is not
    relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage under California law.

    where the hell does he come up with this?

    It is not anyone’s place on this earth to judge others’ actions and desires.

    I would have to quibble with this. It is precisely our place to judge actions and desires. We do that all the time – it’s called enforcing the law. The judge himself did it in this case by judging that those whose actions/desires are that same sex couples should not be recognized as married are wrong.

    It is not our place to judge the eternal destination of someone’s soul because of those actions and desires.

  • The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household

    Great. So when does polygamy kick in? I chose a spouse in 2010, then I chose another spouse in 2011, then I chose another in 2012….

    Someone owes the Mormons a BIG time apology!

  • If those words were offensive, then most comments would be pulled, since I have seen a lot worse on the web. We have something in this country called freedom of speech. You may not agree with me, but I kept it clean. I guess they just thought my simple words would sway others.

  • I was being sarcastic. I actually agree with you.

  • But I suspect others would not be sarcastic if they said such to you. That’s why your post was pulled. Soon you may not be able to say it publicly.

  • Ruth,

    It’s pure and simple censorship.

    You are evil if you disagree with them. At least they are not planning to destroy you, yet.

  • Jess,

    …maybe our culture should just declare children chattel…

    Welcome to the Roman Republic circa 150 BC.

    Where children were actually described as property of the father (they were a strictly paternally driven society back then).

    So with that, progressives are advocating for a regression towards olde tyme Roman Law.

  • Dear Judge: repeat after me: The state did not create marriage. The state does not own marriage. The state receives marriage as a cultural institution. The state is not the culture, it serves the culture. The state is a servant obligated to respect and foster the culture’s pre-existing and more fundamental institutions. Marriage is a cultural institution constituting relations between a man and a woman, period.

  • Tony-
    Judge Walker would take your framework of thinking about marriage and say that homosexual unions are apart of the contemporary culture and that Prop 8 was the state trying to own marriage.

    But of course, I get what you are saying and you are correct: marriage is a pre-political, natural institution; the state has no competency to alter it.

    There is no chance for common ground on this issue: as Elizabeth Anscombe noted decades ago, this battle was lost when artificial contraception became normal.

    Time to get out your MacIntyre, reread it and weep.

  • Also, Frank Beckwith noted a key logical flaw in Walker’s opinion:

    “Oddly, the judge claims that the belief that heterosexual monogamy is better than homosexual unions cannot be one of the reasons. But in that case, the judge begs the question, since that is precisely why we should privilege male-female marriage. So, it turns out male-female marriage is unconstitutional become it is male-female marriage. That’s called begging the question.”

  • For the sake of a view from the other side, here’s a post by a Christian who voted against Prop 8 & now regrets it…good illustration of how constant media exposure can muddle thinking:

    http://www.elizabethesther.com/threes_a_crowd/2010/08/why-i-regret-voting-yes-on-prop-8.html#comment-6a00d83451d95b69e2013486109b9c970c

  • Fellow Catholics, we must beat on our own chests. Judge Walker’s reasoning is largely unassailable and may well be upheld by the Supreme Court, perhaps even with the votes of some Catholic justices. The case in favor of Prop 8 was prepared weakly, and the defendant (Gov. Schwarzenegger) didn’t really want to fight it. Both Schwarzenegger and the Attorney General of CA have since come out in support of same-sex marriage. Nobody saw that the issue shouldn’t be presented as about the nature of marriage but as about the nature of sex. It should have been built on “Male and female He created them” (Gen 1:26), by arguing that individuals (or, for Catholics, persons) by nature belong to one of two sexes and that there is no artificially chosen “gender”. Catholics appear to be about the only ones left who have an interest in pursuing the case. Will we even be strong enough to grasp the last and minute chance before the Supreme Court? Now or never. Unified and strong leadership by our bishops is necessary, as is support by our universities, media, and best legal minds.

  • Do any of you know anyone who is gay? Do any of you know any gay couples? There are many, many, gay couples in committed relationships who simply want the same benefits under the law. Spousal inheritance, survivor benefits, next of kin rights at the hospital, visitation rights. Have any of you read the science on homosexuality? It is not a choice, and it is natural. Homosexuality is present in nature in many different animal species. Homosexual people are physiologically different than straight people. 10% of all populations are historically gay, and not something people can control and not something you should discriminate against in civil law. It is the American Law we are talking about here. Now you can decide.. do you want to live in a Free country, where we are all able to pursue life, liberty and happiness, or would you rather your homosexual brothers and sisters just continue to commit suicide for fear of rejection by their families, be forced from their homes when their partners of sixty years pass away and their relatives come and take everything, or lose rights to children they raised in a break-up? Jesus Christ never spoke of homosexuality, and by the majority of theologians he was the radical liberal of his day. Learn to live and let live. The agreement two people have to each other under the law affects none but those two people. In a pluralistic, free society we have to learn that the law applies to EVERYONE, not just the majority. A man and a woman can still get married as they always could have so tell me how does this impact them? This is about equal protection under U.S. law for all families in this country. If you want the rule of religion to to be the basis of civil law in the country you live in, please go look at Muslim countries that run on Sharia law as an example of how backwards it could become. Separation of Church and state, as well as Freedom of Religion are a beautiful thing. Now, if you want to really focus on ridding the world of sexual deviance, take a look at your own “celibate”, child molesting priests and the Popes who shelter them.

  • David,

    There is an unselfconscious irony in someone showing up to demand tolerance, while loudly displaying his own intolerance of anyone with a view different from his own. A great deal of what you say is ignorant, or untrue, but what comes through very clearly is that you absolutely and unconditionally despise anyone who thinks different from you. How you expect this to be persuasive from those who differ from you because they have thought long and deeply about their beliefs is beyond me.

WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

A few short years ago the mere suggestion that the Son of God, His Apostles and Saints would face arrest for hate speech would have seemed absolutely ludicrous. However, events have spiraled out of control across the western world. In his opinion that strikes down California’s recently voter approved marriage law, Judge Vaughn Walker wrote that those who speak in the name of religion to put across their views that same sex marriage is wrong are “harmful to gays and lesbians.”

Across Europe and Canada, faithful Christians speaking out for traditional marriage face the threat of being hauled off to court for citing the teachings of the Catholic Church and various Evangelical Churches. Where will this all end? Some see a great persecution coming against the Christian faithful. Though possible, one need remember that the Christian faith always grew when persecuted.

The Catholic Church has long taught that some individuals have an inclination toward same sex attraction; they are to be loved as all people are to be loved. The Church teaches that these feelings are not to be acted upon. The Church goes on to teach that all individuals are given a cross to carry in this world and for those who are same sex attracted; this is their cross. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members.

Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors. She has chronicled her growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. For years the Catholic Church took some heat from some quarters of Christianity for not stating that anyone who is same sex attracted would be going to hell. The Church now is facing a maelstrom of vitriol from those who claim the Church hates homosexuals.

For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny not only what Christ said (Matthew 11:20-24,) but his Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)  In addition to the Apostles and saints, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. To say that the greatest minds of their respective eras were all wrong is simply breathtaking.

Many who disagree with the Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.

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4 Responses to WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

  • Great column as usual, Dave. It just blows my mind that our nation is no longer a republic of, for and by the people but an elite and arrogant oligarchy that is unleashing one perverted social experiment after another on us.

    The far left have the nerve to needle the conservatives for wanting to have less government yet have government restrict marriage. Quite the contrary, we want to be able to decide how our society should function, not have the government do so.

    It’s a shame that the voters in my state of California were robbed once again, but we can still hope for the Supreme Court to save the day. In the meantime, this should serve as a wakeup call for the voters, especially those in the 45 states who have kept marriage to one man and one woman, to vote the radicals out in the fall and make sure the Democrats never control government again as long as the militant secularists who are ruining this nation continue to call the shots for the party.

  • This is almost a grand slam!

    This is government hate speech against, and injurious to, Christians, Jews and Muslims.

    Oh, that’s okay!?

    Never mind.

    Thanks for voting for them dems.

  • Prepare for the worst. There is little doubt that in the near future Christians will be arrested and imprisoned by the American Socialist State if they continue to preach the gospel and traditional morality. The American politicians have created their long desired Atheistic State which will have no tolerance for believers. Prepare for the dark days of persecution but the good news is that it will separate the wheat from the shaff and the sheep from the goats.

  • But Jesus and the Apostles were arrested and even put to death for their speech.

    When DeGaulle was reproached for not taking more care against assassination, he replied: “It comes with the job”.

It's About the Children. Seriously.

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

I must confess that today’s judicial ruling out of California which overturned Proposition 8 has riled me up, suprisingly so. I heard about the ruling while listening to the livestream of a tech podcast in which one of the three podcasters is a lesbian (previously “married” in CA) and the other two (middle-aged married men) evidently supported the decision. The ease with which they threw out bromides (“finally, equality!”) bothered me, primarily because it revealed two things: 1. a group of intelligent people couldn’t grasp that there might be real objections to same sex “marriage”, and 2. as I’ve noted previously, too many (probably most) Americans simply don’t understand the essential nature of marriage. Simply put, the state’s interest isn’t strong feelings or commitment… it’s children. And — to state the obvious — a homosexual relationship isn’t structured towards procreation the way marriage is.

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29 Responses to It's About the Children. Seriously.

  • Well said.

  • Exactly. Americans, even conservative Protestants, have removed children from marriage. Without a procreative intent, admittedly, there is little reason to ban gay marriage. Or incest for that matter.

  • Americans?

    Westerners. America still has the highest birth rate in the Western world, and Utah has the highest birth rate out of all the states.

    Supposedly “family friendly” Europe cut children out of the picture a long time ago. All of the welfare provisions, reduced work weeks, paid maternity/paternity leave didn’t do a damned thing to reinforce families or birth rates.

    This is because Europe not only removed children from the marriage, but God from their lives and culture. Mormon Utah thrives for exactly the opposite reason. When will Catholics get it?

  • Actually, welfare did help increase the birth rate in Europe. The Scandinavian countries have the highest birth rates in Western Europe.

  • How would things look if marriage were dead? Out-of-wedlock births, acceptance of any cohabitation arrangement, the presumption that any relationship in non-binding…exactly what we have today. Marriage is dead as a norm in the West. There are only pockets and subcultures that preserve it.

    We talk about the “war on Christmas”. Christmas has been stripped of its old meaning and given a new purpose; a few of its traditions are unthinkingly continued. By the time the courts started enforcing “holiday pageants” in public schools, the war was long lost. That’s exactly what’s happened to marriage.

    Maybe my blood sugar is low or something, because even I am not usually this pessimistic. I’m just not seeing any reason to be encouraged.

  • Marriage is dead as a norm in the West.

    Yes, this is what I’ve been saying about the SSM debate all along. To those who ask, “How is SSM going to harm your (traditional) marriage?” I say, “It’s not — the damage has already been done. I just don’t see the reason to codify the death of marriage in law.”

  • Marriage is certainly in disrepair in the west. Many forces contributed to that, but the disentanglement of sex, children and marriage via modern birth control options is certainly a key part of it, resulting in the normalization of premarital sex, cohabitation, divorce, serial monogamy, etc. That said infidelity (i.e., extramarital sex) is still largely unaccepted in the US. Marriage may be in the ICU, but it is not dead yet.

  • Pingback: Supporting Gay Marriage: It’s Not About the Children. Seriously. « Agree to Disagree
  • The trolls are out.

  • restrainedradical wrote Thursday, August 5, 2010 A.D. at 8:29 am
    “Actually, welfare did help increase the birth rate in Europe. The Scandinavian countries have the highest birth rates in Western Europe”.

    The birth rate in Sweden is 1.67 children born/woman (2010 est.), i.e., less than replacement. Much of this is probably due to immigrant populations.

  • It seems to me that there is an assumption that the U.S. is a fine moral country.
    The opposite seems to be true. The number of child murders continues to increase.
    Poverty is widespread despite “Wars on Poverty” [because of?].
    The immigration question continues to fester. {On what moral basis can immigrants be denied entry?].
    The continued base treatment of Indians reeks to heaven.
    Justice Ginsberg speaks of “undesirable populations”.
    Multi-skillionaires give much money to killing babies in this country and abroad.
    Pornography becomes more and more widespread like a plague.
    Actors are treated as moral gurus, because their faces are familiar, not because they know how to behave.
    To put it succinctly: what is it in the U.S. which gives it any claim to be a light unto the nations?

  • I’m not sure I understand the argument. People who don’t procreate shouldn’t get married? Then where are the rallies against childless marriages? Why aren’t we banning people whose disabilities prevent them from having children from marrying? Or the elderly? Why aren’t we protecting the procreative institution of marriage from these barren impostors? And what about adoption? Since adoption by same-sex couples would challenge your argument, you must be against that, too. In which case, shouldn’t we stop straight couples from adopting, too? Those children may be in need of care, but of course the bigger need is for people to have their own babies. Please help me understand how we can include the disabled, the elderly, adoptive parents and those who are childless by choice into the Prop 8 campaign, because clearly we’re leaving a lot of people out.

  • Thanks for the comment, Maisha. You raise a common but good question with regard to our position, and it’s one that certainly seems to follow from my post. I somewhat oversimplified the argument last night, but in so doing left the door open for your objection. Let me see if I can offer at least a beginning of a response.

    Our position is that marriage is an institution in which a man and a woman come together with a desire to grow more deeply in love and with an openness to children, *even if children are for some reason impossible for them*. For us, the act of marital love — sexual union — is itself ordered towards procreation, even if in at any particular time procreation is impossible (perhaps due to infertility, because the woman is not in the fertile stage of her cycle, or whatever). So in the case of an elderly couple beyond childbearing years, the sexual union remains structurally oriented towards procreation.

    Such is obviously not the case for the same sex couple, however: same sexual acts of their nature cannot be procreative, while — all things being equal — heterosexual acts are always structurally procreative.

    That’s the beginning of a response… let me know where I’m unclear, and I’ll try to clarify.

  • When I comment on subjects like this my post is in danger of being deleted, which is ok, I have to answer to God for me, not whomever does the deleting.

    That being said:

    With the Catholic Church, the children are really just pawns. The real battle is keeping the pews full, I think for the power that gives the Church. I would like to think otherwise but I really do not, based upon personal experience.

    When divorce happens, the Church does and says nothing, to heal a marriage, when it is clear to the Church, as they have all the evidence they need in nullity cases, that a marriage has simply been abandoned and the abandoner has taken the spoils, including the children.

    Rather, should not individual priests and bishops in authority, address the situations, especially when these are presented to the Church for nullity investigations and work, tirelessly, pastorally and with canonical strictures, to restore marital union? Especially so when nullity is shown NOT to exist?

    No such thing happens, at all!

    No, Chris. I do not agree it is about the children. It is about power and control, although it should not be that way.

    If you must delete this, go ahead. I did not mean any disrespect by it. I just commented on my personal experience and from what I have heard from others, who have been through it.

    Regarding marriage, I believe, the chemical inability to make the sperm/egg do not invalidate, the inability to “perform the act” necessary for procreation, either physiologically or psychologically, is what validity and hence, real marriage, hinges on, provided the people are free of all other impediments.

  • If I’m following you correctly, Karl, two comments come to mind.

    First, there are programs present in the Church which try to heal broken/dying/weak marriages… Retrouvaille comes to mind.

    Second, I’m not sure what you think clerics can do to get two people back together who refuse to do so.

    Can you elaborate or clarify?

  • Going there would hijack the topic. I simply wanted to infuse my personal experience into my comment.

    I have never, once, seen the slightest concern for the scandal and abuse our five children have experienced by any of the priests or bishops who were supposed to pastor them. To this day the scandal is encouraged.

    Our acceptance of divorce has prepared the groundwork for this “dumbingdown” of marriage.

    It is about the children and their souls, that is clear, but I do not see the Catholic Church as having the moral high ground. Not over divorce, Chris.

    God is teaching his Church, if it will listen to spouses like myself and others who have seen its evil deeds, to repent and to LISTEN. Bur for twenty years, the ears of the Church have been sealed, in my personal experience.

    I hope, whatever it takes to break the back of the dead consciences of the Catholic intelligencia, lay and clerical, is done. They do not listen. They listen to “experts” they DONOT

  • LISTEN to their victims.

  • The Church must defend marriage, period, not selectively in the face of a homosexual challenge.

    It must cease allowing its teachers to stress the “benign” nature of divorce. It must do so with strong canonical sanctions. It must hold to account, with formal canonical sanctions those who abandon marriages, particularly when they do not seek counsel from the bishop or when they abuse those few specified canonically allowed circumstances when separation is allowed.
    Wrongful divorce must not be unaddressed, in public and those who refuse, without substantive, serious reasons, to work, endlessly if necessary, at reconciliation, especially if there are children involved, should be formally and very much in public, be admonished and in short order, formally excommunicated, if the refusal to work toward healing the marriage continues. All those who cooperate, formally, with the support of the unrepentant, should similarly be held to account, with more vigor if they are a religious or in any position of authority/importance in the Church.

    The Church has lost all credibiliy due to its generations of laxity regarding marriage. This is constantly used against the Church and justifiably so.

    Unless this is addressed and addressed, last year, the Church is the hypocrite it is so often accused of being.

    May God have mercy on His, very unfaithful Bride. It is those of us who are struggling to be faithful to both our spouses and our faith, who God requires
    His Bride to listen to. The Pope and the rest of the Catholic clergy need to understand how much harm they do each day our cries are left unanswered with almost anything but disdain, from those who should know better.

  • Karl,
    When you write that “the Church” has been moving in the direction of accepting divorce, I believe you should modify that by saying many [most?] priests and bishops have been moving in this direction. And it is, as you rightly note, part and parcel of the sexual scandals. Once start hedging – even in the smallest manner – on matters of Church teaching, the hedging simply grows.
    The hierarchy is mealy mouthed when it comes to the use of the pill. Most of the pills are abortifacient. All of them sterilize. How often do priests and bishops note this? How often do they remind the faithful that they are committing a mortal sin by the use of the pill?
    But I believe there is a mistaken notion that our bishops, as such, are a saintly lot. They are not. You have but to read a bit of the history of the episcopacy to realize that bishops do not contribute much to the list of saints, to those we are enjoined to emulate. They are for some reason a timid lot.

  • Unfortunately too true. We must remember that the priesthood and episcopacy are charisms, gifts for the good of the Church, and not holiness. A mother at home raising her children may have a far greater place in heaven than many a bishop.

  • How is SSM going to harm your (traditional) marriage?

    That is really the incorrect question – it should be “How is SSM going to strengthen marriage as an institution?”

    And the answer is, it is not. It will only further hide the now barely recognized fact that the proper end of intercourse is procreation.

  • I think there’s a real serious question whether ANY church in the USA takes marriage seriously–with (ironically) the possible exception of the Mormons. Among Catholics, even those who cannot remember the number of the commandments, let alone the content of the list, can tell you that when we want to divorce and remarry in church, we just get an annulment on some (frequently bogus) “psychological” ground. This happens no matter how long the supposedly invalid marriage has lasted or how many children it produced. This last point is especially important; the annulment regime now in force is saying that it is NOT important to stay married “for the children’s sake.”

  • ron chandonia, I agree that there have been serious abuses in Catholic Church annulments. But the idea of an annulment does not hinge on whether the apparent marriage lasted many years, nor on how many kids there are, nor on whether it is better for the kids’ sake to stay together. If a couple never did get married to begin with, despite appearances, then it means that they have been living an error for however long the apparent marriage has been going on, whether short or long. I accept that a long-lasting arrangement suggests that there must have been a real commitment to permanence, but there are other commitments needed for the marriage to have taken place to begin with.

    I know a couple who got married 20 years ago, and got an annulment 2 years ago: the guy had been a pornography addict and sexual deviant the entire period. He was incapable of a real commitment to marital fidelity at the time of the wedding, because he was addicted to porn.

    The Church usually states that if a couple has kids, they both have a deep, serious obligation to see to their welfare even if a divorce or annulment occurs. How can it be better for the kids for the Church and society to pretend that a marriage took place when it didn’t. I should think, generally, that a couple with young kids, who discover that they never did truly marry, ought to ask themselves whether they might have a moral obligation to actually make real the apparent marriage that they had been living in action, for the sake of the kids. But of course, nobody discovers this without a marital breakdown, and at that point it is often difficult to establish that it really would be better for the kids if their mom and dad got married even when they hate each other.

    Given that at least 30% of heterosexuals don’t seem to have a grave problem with the very idea of homosexual marriage, it is probable that many, many people don’t understand marriage enough to actually form a marriage bond with another person. Given that, it should not be surprising that many annulments are granted correctly.

  • May one not also ask what is the difference between gay “marriages” [sodomy] and marriages in which the female uses the pill to sterilize herself? Marriage is not even chiefly for procreation. Procreation is an added blessing. To reject that blessing is to reject the Almighty.

    Consider also the vow “until death”. As Harry Truman remarked “if a man will not keep his word to his wife, to whom will he keep it”? The Church does not prohibit divorce when it is but separation. It prohibits divorce – it points out the breaking of the vow – for “remarriage”.

  • Gabriel,
    It is my understanding that the Church does not so much prohibit divorce as simply not recognize it. Indeed, while legal separations may be favored over divorce as such, I believe that the Church understands that divorce under civil law is often necessary in order to ensure protection of the weak — usually but not always the wife or children. Consequently, what is not permitted is remarriage (absent an annulment of course), since the first (without an annulment) the marital sacrament remains in place and remarriage constitutes adultary.

    Thanks for the Truman quote. I was unaware of it.

  • How mislead and scandalous these comments are.

    How easily you have swallowed the Kool Aid of divorce to think that it is anything but condemned.

    Do you reacall it says…..God Hates Divorce. How easily man has rejected the expressed Will of God and searches for rationalizations for his sins.

    Watch and learn as society and the Catholic Church decay for their self-serving attitudes, especially towards marriage. The reconing will come.

  • Karl,
    Emoting about Kool Aid is not productive. While I’m hardly an advocate of divorce, and it is certainly true that the rate of broken marriages is scandalous, the fact is that obtaining a divorce in and of itself is not understood by the Church to be a sin. Indeed, the Church views a civil separation and a civil divorce indentically. Neither has any effect whatsoever on the marital Sacrament. The Church recognizes that the parties are not morally enjoined from selecting whichever legal route leads to greater justice under our civil law system. This is especially important in the case of serious abuse. Neither legal approach, however, permits “re-marriage” in the Christian sense, even if civil divorce does so under civil law. The sin occurs if a person bound by the marital sacrament to his spouse remarries or otherwise has relations with another regardless whether the married couple are separated, divorced, or neither. Note the important fact that the Church does not view civil divorce as disturbing the status of a Christian marriage.
    Of course, as I noted the rate of divorce is evidence of deep and disturbing problems within our society. The wounds, especially to children, are incalculable. But divorce is a symptom of sin, not the sin itself. This is pretty straightforward Church teaching.

  • Karl,
    Catechism 2383:
    “The Church teaches that the separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases. The Catechism states: “If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

    Which is to say “divorce” is a civil separation, not a breaking of the marriage vow.

Proposition 8 Struck Down, For The Time Being

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

By now I’m sure you all know that Proposition 8 was struck down by a federal judge. Who knows what will happen on appeal. There is much to be said, but I want to focus on one narrow and possibly tangential point. This phrase from the judge’s ruling, a phrase being reposted on facebook in many statuses:

“A private moral view that Same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples is not a proper basis for legislation.”

The absurdity of that sentence really struck me. There was nothing “private” about the view of the “superiority” of hetereosexual couples. It has been carried on through generations of communities and in the present day was represented by 52% of Californians. How a popular decision that represented thousands of years of ethical thinking and concern for the family became a private morality is baffling.

More troubling is the implication of the judge that a “moral view” is not a proper basis for legislation. Since when has this been the case? Our laws on pedophilia, minimum wage, health care, torture, human rights, etc. are based at least on part on “moral views,” views that in some respects may be just as if not more private than the ones the judge rejects today.

If morality is not a basis for legislation, what on earth is? Morality guides us in making decisions; without a moral or ethical compass (or perhaps even without a religious one) there is no basis for legislation to be made. Laws are supposed to help make society run better, but there is no way to make society run better unless you have a notion of what a “better society” looks like, and you don’t get to that notion without morality.

State recognition of homosexual marriage is one thing, but this ruling attacks the foundation of our government. Morality must have a place in the public sphere and must be one of the foremost foundations of legislation.

To be sure, the judge is simply smoke-screening for the fact that he is imposing his own standards of morality. But the fact that his statement rejecting a moral basis for legislation is being so celebrated should worry all Americans.

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6 Responses to Proposition 8 Struck Down, For The Time Being

  • I heard several commentators on the radio using this language today. We need to put a stop to this “inferior” vs. “superior” language altogether. It is irrelevant to the question at hand and just pulls on the emotional strings of those on the fence who are concerned about “equality.”

    Gay marriages are not some form of marriage which we think is an “inferior form” to the “superior form” between heterosexuals. Gay marriage quite simply isn’t a “form” of marriage at all. It doesn’t exist. To let the pro-gay-marriage crowd frame it in these emotional, egalatarian-based terms is to get off track and play into their hands.

  • From the ruling:

    “Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage….. Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage…”

    This passage from the ruling is the real core of this debate. Gender historically had and currently has nothing to do with the core of marriage? What an astonishingly bold and bald lie. That’s the level of unreality we are up against.

  • This is stupidity on afterburner. I’m actually ashamed of our judicial system; these judges are a joke. Between this and the “sweet mystery of life” passage, the rule of law is effectively dead. Pack up and go home.

    I suggest as a form of mass civil disobedience that all Christians commit a petty crime and use this decision and Casey as a defense. “The heart of liberty is to define one’s own concept of existence, and morality is no basis for legislation.” Our robed masters said so.

    There is no such thing as law free from morality; there is no metaphysically neutral politics. I have no sense for what greater good this progressive-liberal culture is aiming; what is its summum bonum? At least with Christianity, one knows where one stands. But where will this nonsense end? What moral outrage will we be forced to accept next year and the year after that?

    Not that I would do it, but I’m sort of starting to see why people burn American flags. I’m disgusted by this.

  • Really good article and pertinent to the points made here. I met the author, Thomas Messner, in my travels a few weeks ago, really smart with a law degree. Forgive me if it has already been discussed/posted here.

  • Given that the Dems control the Senate, is there any point to pushing for a removal from office of this judge? At this time the push would lose. Would that losing effort help or hurt the larger cultural war?

  • Depends on how strong a push you could mount. If anything, it should make those Senators up for re-election nervous to see the natives restless.

    The best push would be to push some of those Senators out (although I heard this guy was a Republican appointee).

Scouting in a Fractured American Culture

Tuesday, August 3, AD 2010

The New York Times runs an article about how the national leaders of the Boy Scouts of America are seeking to address concerns about shrinking membership as they celebrate 100 years of boy scouting in the US. The number of boy scouts has declined 42% since it’s peak in 1978, with 2.8 million boys currently in the Scouts.

To judge from the commentariat at the Times, you would think this is entirely the result of the BSA remaining firm in their ban of gay scout leaders and statement that “homosexual conduct is inconsistent with obligations in the Scout Oath.” Not to mention saying that boys who refuse to recite the Scout Oath because of its references to God and reverence may simply not have a place in the program. Commenters claiming to be Eagle Scouts line up one after another in the comments to announce that no son of theirs will ever be a member of the Scouts while it remains homophobic and theocratic.

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6 Responses to Scouting in a Fractured American Culture

  • After a year in scouts, I allowed my son to walk away. My girl is still in scouts. There are many, many factors involved. A lot of it is the parental leaders. The pool is small for those able to do it, and they are volunteers after all. Another factor is other activities. There is a lot more for children to do, and of course those activities are also run by adult volunteers. Then there are the not so good reasons like there being more entertainment available at home through electronics.

    I always find the political explanations somewhat entertaining. In neither scouting group was their a vast amount of ideological diversity. For a den we’re talking 8-12 children. Politics and political issues don’t come up all that often and were it ever to come up, whatever instruction the kid had from the parent would generally be respected. Most people when they are off the Internet don’t look for excuses to beat other people over the head.

  • My sons are currently in scouting. My oldest son is 12 and in Scouts. My 8yr old is in Cubscouts. I am a den leader for the Cubscouts. I have been a leader for 6 years and being that I have a 2 year old will probably end up being a leader for about 15 years. I have found that in Cubscouts the focus is learning morals and some responsibility but also to have alot of fun with friends in your den and Pack but also to foster fun within the family. Parents are a key component to the success of the Scouts. The more you involve the parents the better chance that the boys will remain in Scouts and the better chance that they will get more out of the program.

    My goal has always been to get the boys to have fun at the den meetings, pack meetings and at home with the family. I enjoy seeing the boys mature in there confidence and there relationships with other members of the Pack and especially with there family. For me there is nothing more satisfying then getting the Cubscouts into Boyscouts where they will fully mature and learn life skills that are not taught today in the culture in general.

    Along with the factors you talked about another factor contributing to the loss of members in Scouting is the idea of sacrifice. I think that a culture that loses its connection with Christianity loses the idea of sacrifice. I think sometimes People are a little selfish with there time. They seem to feel that it is there time and they don’t have to share it with anyone. Now this is a small percentage that I am talking about but just wanted to add to the things that are affecting attendace.

    Scouts is one of the greatest organizations for boys to be involved with. Of course that is second to the Church.

  • “The number of boy scouts has declined 42% since it’s peak in 1978….”

    Umm, there’s an even easier and more straightforward reason for this decline. The Baby Boom. The number of boys born between 1946 and 1964 accounts for the peak number in 1978.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boom

  • Good point. Maybe simplier is more correct.

  • The population went through a sudden period of growth with the baby boom, but the population has continued to grow since that time. The absolute number of boys 8-18 is higher now than it was in 1978.

  • My husband is the scoutmaster of my son’s troop at our parish church. My son-15 is the oldest scout in the troop and hopefully will complete his Eagle project within the next year and a half. That being said, my son has told me repeatedly that it’s not “cool” to be in Scouts. He likes Scouts but doesn’t want it mentioned to anyone. I embarrassed him once by mentioning he was in Scouts to two girls he liked. In our troop, once the boys make Eagle or turn driving age, they drop out of the troop, leaving the troop pretty leaderless(as the troop is supposed to be self-led. we do have adult volunteers). Being a clean cut Scout is no longer appealing to a lot of teenage boys.

Firing of Dr. Kenneth Howell to be Reviewed By University of Illinois Committee

Wednesday, July 14, AD 2010

Last week I wrote here about the firing of Dr. Kenneth Howell who had the audacity, in a class about the Catholicism, to actually state Catholic doctrine about homosexuality.  There has been enough of a furor since that the University of Illinois is acting, according to this story in the Chicago Tribune:

A faculty group at the University of Illinois’ flagship campus will review the decision to fire an adjunct religion professor for saying he agreed with Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.

Urbana- Champaign campus Chancellor Robert Easter said Monday he hopes to have a decision on the firing of Kenneth Howell from the Faculty Senate’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure by the time fall classes start. The review is to determine whether Howell’s academic freedom was violated.

“We want to be able to reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here,” new university President Michael Hogan told members of the Faculty Senate on Monday. “This is a very, very important, not to mention a touchy and sensitive, issue. Did this cross the line somehow?”

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Anti-Catholic Bigotry Alive and Well at the University of Illinois

Friday, July 9, AD 2010

I am an alum of the U of I.  I obtained my BA in 79 and my JD in 82.  My wife is also an alum of the U of I, obtaining her MA in Spanish in 82.  Our eldest son will be entering the U of I as a freshman in August.  I therefore found the news that  Professor Kenneth Howell, an adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois, has been fired for teaching in a course about Catholicism  basic Catholic doctrine on homosexuality quite alarming:

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39 Responses to Anti-Catholic Bigotry Alive and Well at the University of Illinois

  • Looking at the e-mail from the student to the administration, and the original e-mail from Howell, two things seem clear:

    1. Neither the student nor his “friend” have a clear understanding of the purpose or content of Howell’s e-mail. They clearly cannot distinguish between advocacy and presentation of a fairly standard-issue argument in Catholic moral theology. I might expect this of high school students. College students should know better.

    2. This supposed college student’s grasp of standard English is most distressing. “Anyways”? Yikes!

    I am forced to question the Department Chair’s ability to notice the above.

  • In other words: Teach Catholicism, but don’t teach that it has anything to do with reason and reality. We must continue the lie that faith and reason are at odds, that the Church opposes gay marriage solely as a matter of religious faith, and that religion is purely a matter of private opinion, not public action.

    And this is supposed to “promote independent thought”? I’d wager that those students have never encountered any though quite so radical as Prof. Howell was exposing them to. He was doing exactly what they say they wanted.

  • Elena Kagan demonstrated how liberal pandering to any special interest group trumps your right to freedom to exercise your religion.

    Kagan on Whether Catholic Church Could Recruit at Harvard Law

    http://tinyurl.com/369nxwj

    This is precisely how Hitler took over Germany. It began with politically correct “thinking” which led to politically correct “law” and everything Hitler did was “legal”. This “judge” who never met a politically correct cause she didnn’t love and support (regardless of it’s standing the law) is about to take a seat on the highest court in the land.

    Yet she is touted for her “brilliance” and legal scholarship. They teach you all about the law in law school – they don’t teach you a thing about JUSTICE.

    ———————–
    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    ~ President John Adams

    “Authentic democracy is possible only in a state ruled by law, and on the basis of a correct conception of the human person. It requires that the necessary conditions be present for the advancement both of the individual through education and formation in true ideals, and of the “subjectivity” of society through the creation of structures of participation and shared responsibility. Nowadays there is a tendency to claim that agnosticism and skeptical relativism are the philosophy and the basic attitude which correspond to democratic forms of political life. Those who are convinced that they know the truth and firmly adhere to it are considered unreliable from a democratic point of view, since they do not accept that truth is determined by the majority, or that it is subject to variation according to different political trends. It must be observed in this regard that if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism.”

    ~ Pope John Paul II – Centesimus Annus

  • theory of Catholicism

    So now Catholicism is a theory and not a faith?

  • Just read the emails. I’m no natural law philosopher, but wasn’t the professor’s explanation of natural law a little weak? It was more about biology than teleology. Nor was his description of utilitarianism exactly correct.

    Still not grounds for dismissing him, however.

  • Does anyone else see the immediate bias by Kaler when saying “the theory of Catholicism.” This sums the issue up. Another situation of higher education punishing the religious guy.

  • I hope that it is starting to dawn on the “Catholic Church” that when you sleep with dogs you wake up with fleas. Amen!

  • TonyC,

    Are you referring to the U of I as dogs?

  • Do you think if he had taught what Islam tenets are in the Koran on morality and homosexuality and the handling of those of that orientation, he would have lost his post.

  • “When I joined the military it was against regulations to be homosexual, then it became optional. I’m getting out before it becomes mandatory.” GySgt Harry Berres, USMC

  • Guys, guys! Remember, you’re free to talk all you want about Catholicism, as long as you don’t believe it!

  • Very, very troubling indeed! May God have mercy on us. It is so hard for me to see the radical decay all around. May I work to be faithful, to pray for the Catholic Church and for men like this, punished harshly for speaking of their religious beliefs, that were once protected by the very Constitution that is now used to persecute them.

  • This is just awful. Kenneth Howell, in case you don’t know, is a former Presbyterian minister who converted to the Catholic faith — which of course, forced him to give up THAT job — and who has written several books on Catholic doctrine. He converted well BEFORE he took this job. He was hired by the U of I specifically to teach classes on Catholic doctrine, which have been offered, for credit, for decades. It should not surprise anyone that he agrees with Catholic teaching on homosexuality and other issues.

    What he said is not “hate speech” any more than, say, an observant Orthodox Jewish professor who teaches classes specifically on Judaism attempting to explain kosher dietary laws and having a student who raises hogs back home take offense at it.

  • Friend, huh? Might this ‘friend’ not be a student? Is it possible that someone just wants a politically correct elucidation of the theory of Catholicism without any of the truth of what the Church teaches?

    I am also curious, how does saying that sodomy is an unnatural act ostracize people with homosexualist proclivities? Any biologist would tell you that certain human orifices are for evacuation and not anything else, except in cases of medical testing. Should we outlaw the theory of biology?

    Apparently the school wants to teach the theory of Catholicism and disassociation themselves from what the Church actually teaches. Why? Does anyone really think the UI Religion Dept. is somehow associated with the Church or with Catholics in anyway? Why did his statement violate the ‘inclusivity’ policy? Was he banning homosexualists from his class? Did he tell them that Sodomites aren’t allowed to learn about the theory of Catholicism? Were they told they were not allowed to disagree with Natural Law? Since when does the Church or those who teach her truths believe that humans don’t have free will?

    Are we going to fire history teachers who teach the offensive act of killing Jews? How do you study Nazi Germany without addressing the wholesale slaughter of Jews, Catholics, etc.? You can’t. It is the truth. Nazis did kill Jews. It is offensive. It certainly isn’t inclusive. I seriously doubt that any history teacher worth their mettle thinks it is OK to kill Jews – but they teach it nonetheless, because that is what Nazis did and what they believed. No one has to agree with it. This is ridiculous.

    I wonder if its OK to teach about Nazism because most Nazis were Sodomites and not OK to teach about Catholicism because the Church teaches that Sodomy is not OK, despite the proclivities of a small number of her members – of course, we don’t talk about pederast priests, we talk about pedophile priests because if we addressed the real problem, we may have to indict Sodomy. Me thinks there is an agenda here and just like in the late Wiemar Republic it starts with the homosexualists.

  • I was tempted to say that this development would make Msgr. Edward Duncan, the VERY longtime U of I Newman Center chaplain (over 50 years, from the 1940s to the 1990s), “turn over in his grave”, but after doing a quick google search on his name it appears he’s still alive, or was as recently as 2008. Anyone know his status? I don’t doubt he would have a LOT to say about this.

  • They would never have pulled this Elaine if Duncan were still in charge of the Newman Center. He was a formidable presence on the campus and not a man to brook any insult against the Church, as I noted when I was at the U of I. Judging from the spineless reaction of the Newman Center to this outrage, I guess the University decided that Catholics would just take this slap in the face lying down. Time to prove them wrong.

  • Will they fire Muslims for taking the same position?

  • “spineless reaction of the Newman Center to this outrage”

    I just hopped over to Thomas Peters’ blog and read the actual letter from Dr. Howell himself, explaining his side of the story.

    After reading it, I’m almost as ticked off at the Newman Center and the Diocese of Peoria as I am at the university! It APPEARS that they told him “Sorry, can’t help you, and by the way, we no longer need your services either, so good luck and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.” What’s up with that?

  • Do I have this right? A man teaches the 2,000 year old teachings of Holy Mother Church in a U course on Catholicism and is terminated for hate speech.

    But Obama supporters call for murdering crackers and their babies; and that’s free speech.

    Go figure.

  • If the “Institute of Catholic Thought” for which Dr. Howell worked is structured in such a way that an instructor can no longer work for the Institute if they no longer work for the university, well, isn’t this living proof that the Newman Foundation and the Diocese had better do something about that? If they don’t, then I will have to take back all my past comments about the U of I being a more “Catholic” university (because of the quality of its Newman Center, and of the ICT classes) than some Catholic in name only schools are.

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  • As a no longer proud alum of U of I it shows me that the motto Learning and Labor has left the learning behind. Universities understand only one thing now and that is money. Don’t just write comments on blogs, write the president of U of I at [email protected] If you are an alumm tell him you won’t send them another dime until this is fixed. Send emails to all of your alumni friends. Post this on all of your blogs.

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  • Msgr. Duncan is still alive. His health isn’t so great anymore, but he occasionally makes appearances at St. Johns. I know he was there as recently as last fall for a special event.

  • This is simply further proof that the so-called Diversity Movement is about anything BUT diversity. It is about conformity to a set agenda with dogmas as entrenched as those of the Catholic Church with whom they are at war. Homosexuality and the praise thereof top the list of that agenda.

    I was particularly awed by the following excerpt taken from the email sent by the offended students “friend” and the mention of “independent thought” : “Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing,” the student wrote in the e-mail. “Declaring that homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another. The courses at this institution should be geared to contribute to the public discourse and promote independent thought; not limit one’s worldview and ostracize people of a certain sexual orientation.”

    Who is genuinely aware of the meaning of true public discourse here? Who is promoting genuinely independent thought? Who is being ostracized? It certainly isn’t the Diversity Movement, not is it the offended student, who is still a student, while the good Prof. is beating the streets looking for a job.

  • Food for thought received in an email from the Manhattan Declaration group:

    ” . . . may be one of the gravest, most insidious threats to religious freedom I’ve seen in my lifetime: What may be an attempt, at the very highest levels of government, to RE-DEFINE the very meaning of religious freedom, from “free exercise” to merely private worship.”

  • “Will they fire Muslims for taking the same position?”

    No, only anti-catholic bigotry is allowed.

  • Is there any anti-Buddhism, anti-Hinduism, anti-Islamic, anti-protestant? Why there is anti-Catholic Bigotry? If there is answer please answer me. Thanks!

  • GM: I think (bombs away!) that there is anti-Catholic bigotry because Holy Mother the Church (the minority that actually adheres to its precepts) is a major safeguard against secular humanist cultural/societal hegemony.

    And, if one believes (as a small minority of so-called Catholics believes) that we are IN this world, but not OF this world, one is less easily controlled and, thus, one is a threat to the statist, fascist far-left liberals intent on controlling aspects of our lives.

    And, because the majority of bishops, nearly all so-called catholic scholars, catholic university regimes, etc. have sold out to Obama and the socilaists. In this rounnd the bowl of pottage is full of human dignity, peace, social justice, etc.

    I could barf!

  • T. Shaw,

    Food for thought received in an email from the Manhattan Declaration group:

    ” . . . may be one of the gravest, most insidious threats to religious freedom I’ve seen in my lifetime: What may be an attempt, at the very highest levels of government, to RE-DEFINE the very meaning of religious freedom, from “free exercise” to merely private worship.”

    That is why the Obama administration and many liberals continue to say “Freedom of Worship” instead of “Freedom of Religion”.

    They want to eliminate faith completely from the public square by redefining certain precepts of the U.S. Constitution.

  • You can say that Catholic bigotry is alive at the University of Illinois, but your church is a most dangerous foe of civil and religious liberty. The Catholic Bishops descended on Congress and pressured our legislators to pass Obama’s health care bill, even though the nation could not afford it and is on the verge to ruin and bankruptcy. The Bishops have no respect whatsoever for the U.S. Constitution. All across the board the church is pushing its’ agenda, seeking to dominate and control. The papacy is battering down the walls of church-state separation every where she can. She is pushing to enforce Sunday observance upon all of Europe, and is pushing for Sunday enforcement in the U.S. also. The Founding Fathers enacted safeguards, but these are being dismantled. Persecution is returning as sure as day. The words of John Adams, our second president, are proving true, as liberty of conscience is more and more threatened, “I have long been decided in opinion that a free government and the Roman Catholic religion can never exist together in any nation or Country.” “Liberty and Popery cannot live together.”

  • Logan,

    The Catholic Bishops are U.S. citizens.

    You need to brush up on the constitution.

    The last time I read it we all have freedom of expression.

  • Actually Logan the Bishops opposed Obamacare due to fear of it funding abortion. However I have found that anti-Catholicism and rank ignorance tend to go together so I am unsurprised that you are misinformed.
    As to your comment about the Church attempting to enforce Sunday observance, that is a fantasy you either got from an anti-Catholic website or dreamed up in your fevered imagination.

  • Logan, if you are some sort of Christian, then you should prayerfully read John 8:32.

    If you aren’t Christian, then you should pray, “God, if you really exist, help me understand what you are telling me in this Scripture reading.” and then read John 8:32.

    God and His Church do not impose, He proposes – the rest is up to you. Know that your Father loves you, despite any feelings you have otherwise.

  • Logan,

    The wall of separation between Church and States is from a letter Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, a religious minority fearing that they would not be able to worship the way they were inclined and Jefferson was assuring them that the first amendment to the Constitution protected their religion from interference by the federal government.

    Jefferson was an adept diplomat and knowing his audience, Baptists, he wrote in terms they would understand. The wall of separation was drawn from a sermon by Roger Williams, whose sermons would have been known well among Baptists in 1802.

    The particular sermon is titled, “The Garden in the Wilderness” preached in 1644. He said, “When they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the Church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the candlestick, and made his garden a wilderness, as at this day. And that there fore if He will e’er please to restore His garden and paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world.”

    Clearly Jefferson was referring to the fact that the wall separated the Church (the garden) from the State (the wilderness of the world) to protect the Church from the corruption of the political power. He was not even intoning that the State had a right to be ‘protected’ from the Church. In Jefferson’s time, even though it followed the Enlightenment, people of faith knew that religion formed men in virtue and virtuous leaders, men of character, were what was required to govern the Republic.

    Twisting this wall of separation to mean that religion has no place in public life is an atheistic Communist ploy. Probably concocted by the Communist front – the ACLU. It is a lie and intelligent people using the gift of human reason wouldn’t employ such a tired and weak argument.

  • “Will they fire Muslims for taking the same position?”

    An excellent question! Are similar courses in Islam being taught there?

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Supreme Court Rules That Public Universities May Discriminate Against Christian Student Groups

Tuesday, June 29, AD 2010

Back in 1979 I was one of the founding members of the Christian Legal Society at the University of Illinois.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Hastings College of Law at the University of California was within its rights to deny recognition to the Christian Legal Society because the group requires that members agree, among other principles, that sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful, and that members must be Christians.  Hastings contended that these principles violated the open membership policy of the university, in that it would discriminate against prospective members on the grounds of religion and sexual orientation.  Go here to read the decision.

Justice Alito, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Scalia and Thomas, wrote a thought provoking dissent.

The proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.” United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U. S. 644, 654–655 (1929) (Holmes, J., dissenting). Today’s decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning.

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23 Responses to Supreme Court Rules That Public Universities May Discriminate Against Christian Student Groups

  • Kagan once said, it’s okay for the government to ban books because the gestapo would be ineffective at enforcing it.

    You have to scratch a liberal just a wee bit to get to the totalitarian essence under the uber-thin vineer of warm and fuzzy bu!!$hit.

    Isn’t there a right, somewhere in the US Constitution, to free association, in addition to the rights to abortion; gay privileges; being fed, clothed and housed by the taxpayer.

    The king denied the Colonists the right to meet. They met anyway – Committees of Correspondence. The king isn’t king of this country. We shall overcome.

  • The pairing of decisions yesterday reminds us that our constitutional rights are basically at the mercy of the whims of Justice Kennedy. It’s truly frightening. Though he seems to have re-discovered some measure of a backbone, on social issues he remains completely inept.

  • Has there ever been a less consequential decision? Gays aren’t going to get elected to leadership positions in CLS.

  • Question: If Hastings is a state institution, thus receiving government funds (from the tax payer), does that not mean it is essentially a politically-funded entity?

    And if so, should we not be surprised that what is politically correct weighs heavey on their policy choices?

  • Has there ever been a less consequential decision? Gays aren’t going to get elected to leadership positions in CLS.

    I think the issue is more that it makes it very difficult for CLS to assemble, hold activities, etc. on campus if theyr’e not recognized as a campus organization.

  • Darwin, CLS can, and probably will, amend its pledge banning gays and the club will continue with business as usual, i.e., without gays.

  • One of the things I find interesting is that the argument that a group should be allowed to keep out people they do not like is being argued by two different groups.

    First, CLS. They say they should be free to have a group which follows the principles they hold dear. Of course, if they were not on a campus, looking for funding and approval to use facilities on campus, I think no one would question such a right.

    However, the second group is the university itself. If CLS has a right to discriminate, why does a university not have that right? To argue in favor of CLS is to argue in favor of the university, as far as I see it. That, I think, is the paradox with this case.

    Can someone show me why CLS can discriminate and not the university? I am in favor of free associations, and I do think a university should encourage such free associations (the university’s policy is wrong), but I also do wonder how a university is not accorded such a right?

  • BTW, I would even agree the university is going against its claims of tolerance to discriminate in this way, however, the question is not whether or not the university is acting bad, but whether or not it is within their legal rights.

  • Eh, you might be right, RR. I guess as an old Boy Scout I figured the organization would stick to its guns and suffer the consequences. 🙂

  • I am not a huge Kennedy Basher but bioth the right and left are right at times he gets carried away with his verbiage. I am amazed that a Catholic Justice basically said that Creed like matters are like Loyalty Oaths

  • Has there ever been a less consequential decision?

    I disagree. Traditional morality is only tenuously tolerated. This further institutionalizes its banishment from the public sphere. It has very little to do with whether CLS admits gays or not; look beyond the legal ramifications to see the cultural narrative. A Christian group, along among others, is singled out for chastisement. This has everything to do with what metaphysical premises are acceptable in polite company.

    “Untenured” at WWWtW said it best (with respect to another story):

    Increasingly, we are seeing secularists posture as though their pet metaphysical and moral committments are some kind of reasonable “default” that everybody would naturally gravitate towards if only it weren’t for the malign influence of religious “indoctrination.” There is a very real movement to portray traditional morality as some kind of “pathology” that is okay to exercise coercion against. Witness, for example, the attempt to make moral objections against homosexuality appear as if they are *no different* from objections to interracial marriage. Even people with philosophical training who ought to know better, like to pretend that this line of reasoning is cogent out of some kind of weird “political solidarity” with “sexual minorities.” They don’t give a darn about intellectual honesty- they want to deny traditional moral beliefs a toehold in the space of reasons, and they will do so by any means necessary. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that we are soon going to see people arguing that there is *no difference* between a homeschooler being taught traditional morality and an underage bride at a Mormon polygamy compounds. Then some arguments, with the pretense of hand-wringing, about how reasonable people have no choice but to coerce these backwards homeschoolers out of existence. For the sake of the children, of course.

  • ” I would even agree the university is going against its claims of tolerance to discriminate in this way, however, the question is not whether or not the university is acting bad, but whether or not it is within their legal rights”

    Henry I think it is clear that the University cannot , as a general matter with exceptions of course) discriminate against viewpoint discrimination.

    Now I realize this is a complicated case and in hindsight I am willing to bet the Justices wised they never took up the case because they discovered it was such a procedural mess and the factual record was clouded.

    That being said while many are saying the Opinion is narrow ( focusing just on this odd unique all comers policy) I am not so sure if it that narrow at all. The comments by some of the Justices on how they got there are perhaps the most disturbing and I am hoping like Justice ALito this si an aberation

  • “Eh, you might be right, RR. I guess as an old Boy Scout I figured the organization would stick to its guns and suffer the consequences.”

    Well the case is not over. They still have a chance to prove that this “all comers” policy was a pretext for unlawful discrimination

  • “However, the second group is the university itself. If CLS has a right to discriminate, why does a university not have that right?”

    I would say that a private university should have that right, but a public university does not. Here we have a governmental institution, Hastings Law School, imposing membership criteria on a private entity, the Christian Legal Society. All Catholics, members of an organization that is looked upon with hatred by many of the elites in our society, should look with alarm at this decision. “The Catholics want to prevent women from being priests? Fine, we will pass a law dictating that no non-profit may have tax exemption unless they sign on to this non-discrimination policy.”

  • I would say that a private university should have that right, but a public university does not. Here we have a governmental institution, Hastings Law School, imposing membership criteria on a private entity, the Christian Legal Society.

    Actually, the problem is the university is saying that, as a public institution, it cannot accept a private society as a student body if it is going with such discrimination. In other words, their argument is if they support the society, they are supporting such discrimination as a public institution. They are not saying what CSL can or cannot do, just what they can or cannot do if they want to be a student group at Hastings. The court, of course, said something unusual, in that it said a university can engage in such rules, but does not have to. It’s really a messed up case, because on every level, there seems to be a kind of self-contradiction involved.

  • “Actually, the problem is the university is saying that, as a public institution, it cannot accept a private society as a student body if it is going with such discrimination.”

    That is a way of saying that the public entity will discriminate against a group based upon its membership policies, unless the private group has membership policies acceptable to the public entity. The implications for Newman Centers on public campuses are clear, along with any groups that are in official disfavor. The true absurdity of this policy of course is that almost all private groups, by definition, discriminate. A staunch Republican like me would not be wanted among College Democrats. If I join a Chess group on campus, I will be expected not to insist upon the group playing checkers. Why this absurd policy of no discrimination in admissions by private groups of course is being implemented on campuses is as a hammer to beat groups that do not sign on to the gay rights agenda. This is governmental action engaging in viewpoint discrimination in order to banish from campuses those groups engaging in heretical thoughts.

  • It’s really a messed up case, because on every level, there seems to be a kind of self-contradiction involved.

    I don’t think I agree or understand what you said before, but I agree with this sentence. Whenever one tries to enforce what SCOTUS said in this opinion is a “viewpoint-neutral” outlook, you run into problems once you have conflicting viewpoints. Instead of ditching the whole flawed approach, the majority here tried to argue “this form of discrimination isn’t really discrimination” by pointing out that CLS can exist off campus (which as a college student I can tell you is a waste of time; w/o events on campus and the funding to throw even small lunches, recruitment is difficult to impossible).

  • Says Kennedy, via the Washington Post: “A vibrant dialogue is not possible if students wall themselves off from opposing points of view.”

    Memo to Kennedy – as an American citizen, I have a right not to engage in dialogue. As an American citizen, I have the right to freely associate with whomever I choose. And the students on that campus, a public campus, have those rights as well.

    The right to associate and exclude on the basis of values may be the only thing that prevents radically different groups from going to war with each other. American governments and courts that think they can force everyone to “dialogue” are going to be in for a rude awakening. This isn’t Europe.

  • “A vibrant dialogue is not possible if students wall themselves off from opposing points of view.”

    Kennedy is always good for a bone-headed quote. This one is hilarious for two reasons.

    First, the clear intent of the Hastings Policy is to quash a point of view that the administration of the law school finds distateful by denying the Christian Legal Society recognition.

    Second, if there is any group more cloistered from opposing views than the federal judiciary, with lifetime appointments, I am unaware of it.

  • Henry Karlson wrote: “If CLS has a right to discriminate, why does a university not have that right? To argue in favor of CLS is to argue in favor of the university, as far as I see it. That, I think, is the paradox with this case.”

    This is exactly what my husband said when we discussed it. He’s pretty libertarian in outlook. His argument is that the university can make whatever rules it wants to for official clubs, that the students are still free to do what they want, but if they take the university’s money and free space, then they have to abide by the rules. He says it’s better for them to do so and believe what they want to.

    Things are coming to a head, and I’m afraid that anyone looking for tolerance anywhere is likely to be disappointed.

  • “His argument is that the university can make whatever rules it wants to for official clubs, that the students are still free to do what they want, but if they take the university’s money and free space, then they have to abide by the rules.”

    It should not be the role of any government entity to set the membership policies for private groups. It is of course especially ironic that this attempt to stifle a viewpoint is taking place at a university, a supposed citadel of intellectual liberty. Of course most universities in this country, as demonstrated by repeated attempts to impose speech codes on students, are as enamored of freedom of speech as they are of cutting their budgets to reduce the exorbitant tuition that they charge.

  • The libertarian outlook sees this case as yet another illustration of the need for separation of Schooling and State.

  • It’s really a messed up case, because on every level, there seems to be a kind of self-contradiction involved.-Henry Karlson

    Seems? (Hint: category error.)