24

Go and Sin No More

I have a handful of blogs that I look at each day.  The eponymous site of my co-blogger Darwin Catholic is one of them.  He has a very good post up currently entitled Hiding the Truth is Not Pastoral:

 

Mark Shea wades into the recent controversy about Cardinal Marx’s suggestion that perhaps the Church may in certain individual cases come up with some sort of blessing to be applied to same sex unions. (There’s some dispute as to what Cardinal Marx meant, with initial reports suggesting he proposed a standard approach to blessing such unions and clarification from his spokesmen suggesting that he was more ambiguous, but that ambiguity does not come into Shea’s piece so I won’t bring it up here further.)

Shea proposes nothing definite, but argues that the cardinal may be onto something because the presence of same sex marriages will be an established fact that the Church must deal with, and failure to do so will, he argues, result in rejection by many younger people who support same sex marriage in large numbers. It’s a long post, but I’ll try to quote the key sections below:

[H]ow do the people who are currently shouting denunciations at Cdl. Marx propose the Church proceed in a world where, like it or not, gay unions are here to stay? Put bluntly, if they do not want some kind of blessing on gay people, would they prefer the Church devise a curse for them?

My guess is no. Very well then, my question is this: what do we want to do, as Catholics committed to the evangelization of the entire world, including gay people? What concrete course of action do we propose for the Church to engage the here-to-stay, not going anywhere, immovable, staring-us-in-the-face sociological fact of a world which not only has gay unions, but has a rising generation of people, gay and straight, who have absolutely no problem with gay unions and who are increasingly alienated from a Church that does, in fact, appear to them to curse gay people? (We’re talking roughly 75% of Millennials here.)

If you say (as I suspect most of Cdl. Marx’s critics do) that the Church should simply do nothing, then at least be aware that “nothing” will, in fact, be read as rejection, not as nothing–by that 75% of Millennials. Mark you, I’m not talking about gay unions per se. I’m simply talking about the mere existence of gay people and the straight people who care about them.

If the message the Church is sending to every gay person on the planet–and to their straight Millennial friend–is “You are rejected” then it will be only the most extraordinary and motivated person who persists in seeking Jesus in the face of such rejection. And make no mistake, the most zealous and vocal Catholics are typically the ones sending just that message to gays and the straight people who love them. Indeed, they send it even to gay people who have committed to live in chastity and celibacy. I cannot count the number of times I have seen gay Catholics I know–faithful, chaste, celibate ones–spoken of as sinister fifth columnists within the Church and regarded with suspicion simply because they are open, frank, and honest that they are sexually attracted to people of the same sex.

I think the entire “burn heretics, not make converts” approach to the Catholic life is radically wrong and foreign to the mind of Christ. So I return to my question: what do we propose about evangelizing people in a world where gay unions–and an entire generation of people who do not even see a problem with them–are already an established sociological fact?

Jesus didn’t tell the centurion, “Get out of my sight, slaveowner!” He commended him for the progress in grace he had made. He didn’t tell the Samaritan woman to depart from him. He met her where she was and helped her take a step toward faith in him. At no point, does he order her to go home and break it off with her fifth husband.

I suspect something similar is where the Church will wind up with gay unions. Gay people, like everybody else, will come to the Church for spiritual help sooner or later because the Holy Spirit cannot be denied and gay humans, like all humans, hunger for God. And when they do, real shepherds are not going to slap their faces and send them away any more than Jesus slapped the centurion for daring to approach him while still owning other human beings. Shepherds are going to meet them where they are in all the complexity of their lives.

This will offend Puritans, whose first and last impulse is always to drive the impure away from Fortress Katolicus. But it seems to me that the Church is pretty much bound to take this route. It will not mean sacramentalizing gay unions. Rather, it will mean finding some way to help gay people take steps toward Jesus (who is the only one who can untangle the human heart) where they are.
[You can read the full post here.]

Now I think it’s important to say that Mark is right that there is a faction within the Church which is so suspicious of people who are gay (in the sense of being consistently sexually attracted to those of the same sex, regardless of whether they act sexually on those attractions) that they do indeed attack even faithful gay Catholic writers who write about ways for people who are gay to live chastely according to the Church’s teachings. This is a problem. Christ came to being salvation to all who are willing to follow Him, and that includes people who are gay. We must have a welcoming place within the Church for those who are living according to the Church’s teachings under difficult circumstances: those who are gay, those who are divorced, those who are unwillingly single, those who struggle to follow the Church’s teachings within their marriages.

Go here to read the rest.  When it comes to sin the trite observation that we are to love the sinner and hate the sin is completely accurate, and is a good summary of what Christ commands us.  To repentant sinners Christ was ever merciful, but that did not detract one iota from His condemnation of their sins.  Truly this is not rocket science and the Church has been doing it for twenty centuries.  Yet today we have people within the Church who seek to argue that condemnation of certain politically correct sins, almost always involving sex, is somehow condemnation of the sinner.  This is completely the reverse.  It is no mercy to a sinner not to condemn their sin, for that attitude abandons them to their sin and the price they pay for it in this world and the next.  What is merciful is to point out the sin and the mercy and love of Christ that can free them from their sins.  For all of us sinners the message of Christ is always the same:  Go and sin no more.  Something to remember this Lent and every day of the year.

 

 

Share With Friends
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    1
    Share

Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

24 Comments

  1. “and gay humans, like all humans, hunger for God”
    – an attraction does not define a person..

    “then at least be aware that “nothing” will, in fact, be read as rejection, not as nothing–by that 75% of Millennials…”
    Ah, but if there had been a stand against the intrinsic evil of contraception, we would not have gay marriage, and it’s no surprise now there is an unwillingness to take a stand now. If one truly loves a person with a same sex attraction, you should not want them to follow the road of a gay lifestyle.

  2. (H)ow do the people who are currently shouting denunciations at Cdl. Marx propose the Church proceed in a world where, like it or not, gay unions are here to stay?
    .
    I won’t pretend I am as up on history as Don M., but I know this statement is incorrect, and Shea does as well. Or should, if he knows anything at all about Church history, which I assume he does.
    .
    Everything the Church faces now, She faced when Christ founded his Church-divorce, remarriage, sex slavery, contraception, infanticide, abuse, homosexual activity, incest, and everything else. Ok, maybe Christ didn’t have to contend with the MSM, Facebook, and Twitter, but I am sure the population did have other mind numbing pursuits and distractions.
    .
    Somehow, the Church managed to overcome the moral mess and make converts.
    .
    She will again, but only when her hierarchy starts telling the Truth and feeding Christ’s lambs.

  3. Mark Shea suggests that we want to burn heretics and not make converts when we state that Scripture and Tradition proscribe homosexual hehavior. He asks, “…who are increasingly alienated from a Church that does, in fact, appear to curse gay peole.?”

    Well, St. Paul did turn over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh that sex pervert in 1st Corinthians chapter 5 who was living with his father’s wife. And St. Paul also turned over to Satan Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1st Timithy chapter 1 for blaspheming. And Jesus Himself in Revelation 2:20-23 said that He would cast Jezebel onto her sick bed and kill her children for teaching the people at the Church in Thyatira to eat food sacrficed to idols and to fornicate (read cohabitate – lots of that nowadays in Catholic parishes). And in Acts chapter 5 St. Paul presided over the judgment given to Ananias and Sapphira for lying about how much they donated to the Church. The Holy Spirit struck them dead where they stood.

    So yes, let the publicly defiant homosexuals be anathema and cast out until they repent and amend their ways. The same is true of publicly unrepentent adulterers and fornicators. There is Biblical Precedence for this. It is done as medicine to cause them to feel shame at their godless perverted behavior and return to Christ’s love without reserve.

    But one last note: there are sick people trying to recover from homosexuality and who slip and make mistakes. There are divorced and remarried people who are trying to live in contiinence and celibacy who likewise make mistakes. And there are boyfriends and girlfriends who may in the heat of the moment surrender to temptation. Yes, in those cases the Church is a field hospital for them. Those are different circumstances than the sodomite pervert who parades his disgusting practice around, and the so-called apologist like Mark Shea who is willing to condone it on the speciious pretext that since we cannot do anything about it, we must accept it. Horse manure! Get out of the Church till you repent!

  4. Excellent post. That will be validated by the demonic drones’ attacks on it.

    For decades, I heard, from sinners (Let’s face it.), similar fake arguments. For example, millions of young people were engaging in free/premarital sexual relations and living together (adultery) without Matrimony. The Church was losing them. So, the Church needed to change.

    Now, they added, “The Ten Commandments and 2,000+ years of Church Teaching are “divisive” and “hurtful.”

    In fact, they want “fundamental transformation.” In my book that means becoming something other than Holy, Apostolic.

    Charity, unity, and spiritual health are found in the Spiritual Works: one of which is, “Admonish the sinner.” Eternal damnation is far more divisive hurtful than sinners’ feelings in this valley of tears.

    Re: Mark-who? and Marx (coincidence?). They seem to be promoting the Tabernacle of Social Justice not Holy Mother Church.

    Over at Instapundit I often see posted, “Millennials Ruin Everything.” They could be on to something.

  5. This is my two cents, FWIW. Sometimes I think we have already yielded a part of the fight when we refer to people as ‘gay’ in the first place. I do it, so it’s not finger pointing. It’s just that it seems there was a time when gay was something you did, not a particular type of human being you were. If you hadn’t done it, you weren’t gay. People might have assumed, or whispered, but you were off the hook as long as you didn’t actually do anything. It was the action, not the identity. I have no clue when this identity idea developed. I do remember growing up in the 70s when the argument seemed to rest more on the idea that ‘who is to say what is normal?’. That was sex ed middle school health class style. A person is gay because who is to say what’s right or wrong, normal or not? Though it still seemed to be that he or she was only gay because they actually engaged in the physical part of it all. The idea of ‘born this way’ picked up steam when AIDS hit, because I do remember a backlash against accepting gay rights, the reasoning being if something seems to lead to death, perhaps it shouldn’t be tolerated. By the time I went to college, I noticed a growing emphasis on being gay as some physical identifier, rather than a description of what one did. I think as long as we go that way, we’ve already conceded the battle and gone to the defensive. Perhaps it’s the way it is, and that’s what we have to do. I just notice since going that direction, it seems to create all manner of problems if we say something that is the result of how a person is made is inherently sinful if acted upon, and yet still an identity for that person even if not acted upon. I’m not sure there is another specific sin where we attribute it to ‘born this way, but still sin.’ Even a person born with a propensity for gluttony or alcoholism isn’t one unless he actually does what it takes to be a glutton or an alcoholic. Again, I’m no expert, just something I’ve kicked around. .

  6. All I can add is “Amen” to all four of the preceding comments. Well stated. Mark Shea needs a lot of prayers. Almost as many as those publicly flaunting their mortally sinful behavior and claiming that God approves.

  7. Make it five previous comments. Dave Griffey’s got posted while I was writing mine. Amen to his, too! 🙂

  8. Homosexuals don’t deserve special antagonism, but this post smacks too much of the current “accompaniment”. Where is the conversion for the homosexual or the 75% of millennials?

  9. Now I think it’s important to say that Mark is right that there is a faction within the Church which is so suspicious of people who are gay (in the sense of being consistently sexually attracted to those of the same sex, regardless of whether they act sexually on those attractions) that they do indeed attack even faithful gay Catholic writers who write about ways for people who are gay to live chastely according to the Church’s teachings. This is a problem.

    No, Austin Ruse putting Joshua Gonnerman et al in their place is not a problem. Those people are sketchy characters and not to be trusted.

  10. Silly me . . .thanks forsetting me straight . . .I thought Jorge B had said the correct translation is “Go and sin on more.” I doubt, dubiously, he could have said that – or am I confused? Guy McClung, Texas

    Ps: I know: the Virgin Mary probably told the boy Jesus: “Nobody likes a smartdonkey.”

  11. I can’t remember who said it, but it applies here:
    “It can be uplifting to be a member of a Church that is proudly 2000 years behind the times, but embarrassing to be a member of a church that is a few years behind, and huffing and puffing trying to catch up.”

  12. To repentant sinners Christ was ever merciful, but that did not detract one iota from His condemnation of their sins. Truly this is not rocket science and the Church has been doing it for twenty centuries. Yet today we have people within the Church who seek to argue that condemnation of certain politically correct sins, almost always involving sex, is somehow condemnation of the sinner.

    I think that’s because it’s become acceptable to define people by their sexuality– heck, look at the slurs aimed at those who don’t do the “acceptable” thing for having kids; “breeders.” Oh, horror of horrors… (Had that thrown at me in person, once. They got angry when I asked if they were familiar with evolutionary theory.)

    But it circles back around to defining people by sexual actions. In the words of my generation: for realz?

  13. Something really wrong has been going on with Mark Shea. Fifteen years or so ago he was a different, and much better, person, but he and Bishop Milingo both became … unreliable … at about the same time. Shea’s blog deserves the same attention as Milingo’s homilies: none.

  14. Anselm’s nasty stink-bomb of a comment is way over the line and should be deleted.

    I agree with Mark that there are some Catholics for whom homosexual conduct is the most mortal of sins and receives their disproportionate focus. A friend of mine who is a faithful member of Courage has been the recipient of some pretty nasty hatred from “conservative” Catholics. So, yes, that is a sad reality that needs to be repented of. And we do need to develop a coherent pastoral care of homosexual persons which is in line with genuine church teaching (and not what Jim Martin and his fellow wreckers pick and choose to “receive” as authentic).

    But that’s pretty much where my agreement with Mark’s piece ends. As I said over at Darwin’s, focusing on what one Western generation thinks is myopic and wrong-headed. Given the relaxed attitude of millenials toward all consensual sex that is not adultery, the same argument would compel similar “pastoral care” towards hook-ups and “friends with benefits.”

    There are only so many moral cues you can take from the chaotic madness that is the post-Christian West.

  15. DAVE GRIFFEY: “It was the action, not the identity.” Homosexuality or same sex attraction is a condition sometimes caused by nature, sometimes caused by indoctrination. Addiction to sodomy or the vice of lust is an act of the free will of man and a violation of man’s free will, scandal to innocent children and a sin. Our legacy to our innocent constitutional Posterity, the standard of Justice, must be more than addiction to sodomy. Take back our rainbow, the promise of forgiveness from God to the repentant but not to the contumacious sinner.

  16. Dave Griffey: “The idea of ‘born this way’ picked up steam when AIDS hit.” Blaming God while denying God is the atheist’s idea. Blaming God for an individual’s action begot the idea that man was God but he still refused the responsibility for his own action thus deny the gift of God-given free will. Now, you see the American gulag forming.

Comments are closed.