Catholic Homophobia: Patheos or Pathetic?

Patheos!  What in the name of all that is good have you been smoking?  This might be the most laughable article I’ve read on the subject, and I’ve seen many.  I mean, don’t you people read the articles before you approve them?  Some of your people are great but then there’s some horrible and awful ones.  Let me tear this one to shreds in 5 minutes or less.  Seriously!  It’s so bad, that’s all it will take.  It’s like I’m Tom Servo reading an article worthy of the MST3K treatment.  (Oh yes, I did just reveal how cool I am! If you don’t know MST3K, Google.  I can’t help you.)

Father Longenecker’s most recent post talks about the release of two different Catholic books on homosexuality (Fr. James Martin and Dan Mattson both put out titles this month). Longenecker basically lays out a very familiar approach to dealing with the problems raised by LGBTQ people with regard to the Church’s teaching on sexuality:

a) The Church’s teaching is simple and clear.

b) The Church’s teaching applies equally to everyone and is difficult for almost everybody.

c) There are plenty of straight people who can’t get married and they are expected to be celibate also.

Wait, before you talk about what it’s missing, where in the heck did it go wrong? Let’s not gloss over this one. It doesn’t really matter what’s missing or what’s not missing. What’s wrong about it?  It seems like you’ve got the Martin talking points about “unjust discrimination” down pat, as shown here:

This straightforward approach misses one really important aspect of the problem: straight people and their sexual sins are not treated the same way as gay people and their sexual sins. It doesn’t matter how often Catholics state and restate the fact that the Catechism is pretty much equal-opportunity in its condemnation of most people’s sexual behavior, because the actual Church on the ground is not equal-opportunity in terms of tolerating the fact that almost nobody really accepts the teaching in practice.

So, what you’re saying is that Canon 915 should be applied to ALL public obstinate sinners? I agree. Oh, that’s not what you’re saying?  Of course not. What you are suggesting is exactly what Fr. Martin has been suggesting: We all sin, so why don’t we just drop the whole sin thing?

Is it just me or does everyone run around their parishes telling everyone every intimate detail of what they do in the bedroom?  “I put on this piece of latex. I use this spermicide.  I’ve chemically altered my fertility for years!”  Give me a break.  I’ve attended Mass with a whole lot of people, and I really don’t ask and they really don’t tell.  Who in the H-E-double hockey sticks wants to know what everyone does when they are participating in the marital embrace?  No, thank you.

Also, let’s stop and think about something as we end this “Pride Week.”  We have “Pride Week.”  Do we have “Marital Infidelity Week?”  How about “Artificial Birth Control Week?”  “Pornography Week,” maybe?  If we do, please don’t tell me.  I’m happy in the sanity bubble.  So, is it really the Catholic Church that is treating those embracing the “gay lifestyle” differently, or is the reality that those “embracing the gay lifestyle” are really demanding to be treated differently than any other sinner?

I recently wrote specifically about the problem of homophobic firings within Catholic and Christian institutions. I also wrote about the fact that the Catholic media-sphere tends to get way more up-in-arms about portrayals of homosexuality than about unmarried heterosexual behaviour. I could add the fact that except in a very small minority of hyper-Catholic communities you can be twice married, sterilized and/or living with your opposite-sex partner and nobody will bat an eye. Nobody will say anything. Nobody will make uncomfortable comments in your presence. Nobody will question whether you should be involved in ministry to the youth. And you probably won’t hear anything about it from the pulpit.

OK, because you didn’t link, it’s going to take me longer than 10 minutes to put this one to bed.  Nevermind.  I’m just going to assume some teachers were found out to be in a same-sex marriage and got themselves fired because they a) didn’t repent, and then b) fell into public obstinate sin providing scandal to the faithful.  Or was it maybe the math teacher that came out as transgendered?  Wait, I don’t think she got fired, so probably not.  Regardless, MANIFEST sinner.  You need to learn the difference between “manifest sinners” and those who don’t shove their sins in other peoples’ faces.

Seriously, most of us don’t run around telling each other things we’re doing that are considered mortal sins.  My plan of action is usually to run to the nearest confessional line.  I’ve got this crazy fear of not getting to Heaven.  Silly me.

In the many years that I’ve worked as a Catholic writer, I’ve met a number of married people who work for the Church or teach in Catholic schools who haven’t felt the slightest need to conceal their use of contraception. In some cases these are folks who I’ve met exactly once…yet I know that they don’t follow the teaching of Humanae Vitae. That’s how not worried they are that if anyone ever finds out they will lose their jobs. Why? Because everybody knows that if the Church suddenly fired everyone who uses contraception we would face a Catholic schoolteacher crisis, a finance officer crisis, a music-director crisis, a children’s liturgist crisis, and a parish secretary crisis to go along with the oft-lamented vocations crisis.

Umm, can we go over the “why” they don’t worry about getting fired again?  They don’t give it a second thought about concealing their contraception because A) they’re tacky and B) because they don’t have a fear of getting fired by the liberal powers that be.  Duh.  If their boss was an educated and/or faithful Catholic, they might possibly think twice about 1) sinning and 2) getting their butts fired!  Take a look around, Melinda.  Is the list of institutions who care about souls of sinners and protecting the laity from scandal small or large in our country?  There’s no wholesale fear that they are going to get fired because their sin is of the same-sex attraction kind.  There’s no fear because the bulk of these institutions aren’t going to fire any manifest sinners – SSA, heterosexual, or otherwise.  The only places this is going to happen is where the bishop is a true shepherd of souls.  I mean, seriously, the Cupiches and McElroys of the world are basically fine with telling people to have at it and going on a lovely vacation with their friends.

Thankfully, there are still places that dismiss teachers who cause public scandal for their students.  While you’re going to insist that this only happens on the same-sex highway, you’d be wrong.  Here’s just a few for you:
This one’s from Germany but the Church is universal, so:

And there are MANY other similar stories out there.  What makes these people different from all of the people who didn’t get fired?!  They had shepherds who cared for their flock enough to get serious with the issue. There was no repentance, and so THEIR SIN BECAME MANIFEST!

LGBTQ employees of Catholic institutions, on the other hand, do know that they have to stay in the closet or risk losing their jobs, because LGBTQ people do routinely get laid off because of their sexual choices – or in some cases, just because of their sexual orientation.

Can we at least qualify that with “authentically Catholic institutions?”   Or do you really believe this to be true for all “Catholic” institutions?  Personally, I think it should be true, but sadly it’s rare.  Case in point…  Please.  You know for every transgender, homosexual, or openly birth-controlling teacher who gets fired, there are a whole bunch that do not.  Tell me you honestly think Cardinal Cupich, Bishop McElroy, Bishop Joseph Tobin, etc., are going to pull that trigger. Sorry.  Ain’t going to happen.  I live in California. Do you know how many SSA teachers I’ve had/seen over the years?  Nobody was quaking in fear, because they worked for people who were just fine with it in the first place.

Now, it’s true that the Church’s teaching is consistent.

How nice of you to notice!

So far as I can make out that’s pretty much how it’s always been done, at least going back as far as the formal institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Folks who have sufficient sexual self-control to actually put the teaching into practice are about as common as folks who perfectly exercise justice towards the poor, folks who never covet their neighbour’s goods, and folks who literally pray without ceasing. We all know we’re commanded to do these things, and mostly we all know that we stand more in need of mercy than of plaudits.

Joel Robinson:  Anyone think she missed something in Catholicism for Dummies?
Tom Servo: It wasn’t the dummy part!

Patheos peeps have a really, really big problem with writing about things they know nothing about (and she should know about Catholicism, because she claims Catholic).  First of all, God is the “insanely demanding” one.  Would you like to tell Christ, who was crucified on the cross after being scourged, that celibacy/chastity is insanely demanding?  They must have missed that whole CROSS thing.  I mean, Melinda mentions a cross, but it’s right up there with talking about “gay pride.”  They have no clue as to what that truly means.  It’s just a nice little Catholic colloquialism.  That whole “take up your cross” thing just means skipping meat on Fridays during Lent, right? Get. A. Clue.

Which is why pretty much everyone deals with the demands of Catholic sexual morality by either ignoring it, or being unaware of it, or using the “frequent recourse to the Confessional” method of fidelity to the teaching.

Really?  Everyone?  Yep, not one of us struggles with the sins of the flesh.  I am soooooo sad for you and anyone who buys this load of hooey. No, seriously, I’m so sorry that somehow you missed the beauty of our struggle with the Cross and the reward for doing so.  It’s simply all about sex with you.  Her claim is that she “speaks directly to every Christian who has experienced same-sex attraction.”  That might be so, but she doesn’t necessarily speak for them.   You do not speak for Thomas here (The Catholic Church Thinks We Deserve Better), and you don’t speak for the rest of us who do not fear people who suffer from SSA but who fear for them.  Our goal is to struggle on with them to Heaven. 

And, can I just say, from the heterosexual point of view of struggle, ours is every bit as real.  Have you ever known a heterosexual couple who has lost a child?  You think that celibacy is “the more onerous cross?” Wow!  I’m not sure the person who buries their child will ever agree with you.  Be they right or be they wrong, comparing crosses is a losing battle. It’s how you carry the cross that matters.  And, more importantly, it’s how we help others to carry the cross that matters.

So far as I can make out that’s pretty much how it’s always been done, at least going back as far as the formal institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Folks who have sufficient sexual self-control to actually put the teaching into practice are about as common as folks who perfectly exercise justice towards the poor, folks who never covet their neighbour’s goods, and folks who literally pray without ceasing. We all know we’re commanded to do these things, and mostly we all know that we stand more in need of mercy than of plaudits.

There’s a little part about “firmly resolving to sin not more and to avoid the near occasion of sin” that she missed somewhere in her catechesis.  I’m sure it’s not her fault.  She was probably taught by the likes of Fr. Martin.

But when it comes to homosexuality, suddenly that’s no longer okay. If you’re gay you can expect to subjected to an inquisition by random internet trolls with handles like SuperApologeticsMan or CatholicusMaximus or SledgehammerOfGod. You may be called upon at any time to publicly endorse the most harshly worded phrases from random Vatican documents concerning your sexuality. You might be literally asked to sign a document confirming your acceptance of the Church’s teaching before you can rent space in the parish hall.

What a great idea!  That might have prevented the little debacle in the Los Angeles Archdiocese where a pro-abort organization rented their property. I’m all for signing a statement of faith.  I’m all for diocesan speakers bureaus which vet the Catholicity of the speaker.  I’m all for teachers’ handbooks.  I think you can see how well that went over. People don’t want to be called out on the carpet, which really isn’t the intent at all.  It’s to protect souls, dummy!

Can I also point out her “harshly worded phrases” comment? Hello! It’s just the Catechism of the Catholic Church you’re talking about.  You say “harshly worded” but a lot of us say “reality.” 

If you’re gay, the usual ways that Catholics deal with sexual desire are no longer sufficient: you must be constantly on guard against every vestige of homosexuality, and your sole purpose in life must be the crucifixion of same-sex Eros. Anything less and you’re a heretic who is probably being paid by George Soros to advance the gay agenda.

What are you talking about?!  You’re supposed to be constantly on guard for near occasions of sin.  Sorry it’s inconvenient to you but that IS how it works for ALL of us.  My temptations may be different from yours. And?  The temptations can be different between any two people you meet on the street.  You’re so incredibly focused on your sin that you cannot see the forest through the trees.

I’m not saying that this is how Longenecker sees things (he mentions that most people struggle, and points out that Confession is an option.) Rather, I’m saying that the simple fact that LGBTQ people do consistently meet with this kind of toxic double-standard in Catholic culture has to be taken into account. It’s not enough to say that this is a “one-size fits all” teaching when the truth is that the teaching being given out to straight folks is made out of super-stretchy material and nobody says anything when it really doesn’t fit, while the one being given out to gay people is a hairshirt adorned with spikes and chains.

Honey, I’m sure if you talk to the nearest person who is extolling their cozy sin of abortion, birth control, in vitro fertilization, infidelity, pornography, sodomy, etc., you will find the same martyr complex.   Nobody wants to feel uncomfortable.  They want everyone to bow down to their sin like it’s something special. It ain’t.  It is what it is: sin.  Some are more egregious TO GOD than others, but they all lead to sickness and death of the soul (and sometimes body) if we don’t struggle against them.  Get over yourself and move on with us in the struggle.

Rather than adopt the liberal “let’s call the whole sin with guilt thing off” attitude, how about we get a dose of reality before we get hit by the proverbial bus?  Stop whining about the martyrdom of this group or that group and get thyself right with God and jump into the confessional with the firm resolution to sin no more.

17 thoughts on “Catholic Homophobia: Patheos or Pathetic?

  1. The push for acceptance of sinful behavior as not sinful within the Church seems like a daily event. It is depressing to read, especially the lack of firm unified response from our leaders. We say we are one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, but in reality that is not true. We are more like all those 35,000 Protestant denominations worldwide with their own takes on the Bible. Outside of the Church is the same thing. Based on what we believe or not believe re Church teaching is reflected in our political persuasions, our acceptance of pop culture, and how we treat things as diverse as social justice issues, workplace mission statements, and facebook choices. We are in a tug of war between the true Church and Modernism. The least we can do is pray, adhere to the Sacraments, and make an effort to learn the Faith and apply.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I couldn’t agree more with your response to the Patheos article…….I feel so purged after reading it. I needed that.
      Thank you…thank you…thank you!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As Bishop Paprocki has stated nicely the RC faith Opposes ALL living in Sin-period, no exceptions . Marrying your Pet, Your sister, Incest ,Pedophilia, Polyandry and Bigamy- Polygamy are Sexual orientations condemned by the church as well as Homosexual sodomy perversion. Rc . Faithful hate None of them who are engaging in living in sin. Repent and sin no more as Jesus said to adulterous woman he saved from stoning death. ……. What part of that does Alleged Father Martin, theologians like Lakeland of Ct. and McQuire of Wisc. etc., NOT Understand period????.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No one disputes the validity of “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Nope, they vomit forth paeans about how beautiful it is and “how wonderful it would be if everyone did that, [sigh..]” But do they do it? Nope. They have a list of exceptions as to why it doesn’t apply to this “neighbor.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. They have a point.

    We are reaping the whirlwind for our extreme laxity concerning many types of grave public sin. The Church decided sometime back to stop imposing much, if any, discipline on its membership. That led inexorably to this point: if you are lax about other forms of public sin like adultery (in the form of “remarriage”) or fornication (in the form of “cohabitation”) to the point that you won’t even call these things by their names anymore for fear of offending the sinner (these are now called “irregular unions”), then how DO you justify treating public, unrepentant sodomites differently than public, unrepentant adulterers and fornicators? We look like hypocrites. Maybe we are.

    But the answer is not take one more step down the path on the path of abandonment of all standards. The answer is to take the faith seriously and impose the same discipline on all grave public sinners who cause scandal – exclusion from communion – for their own good and for the good of the community. See, 2 Corinthians 5. I am convinced that the “communion for the divorced and remarried” thing was and is ultimately about “communion for openly practicing homosexuals.” That was and is the end-game for those who have been promoting this practice. The logic of one leads inevitably to the other, and we all know it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re awesome, OMM! You are so refreshing to read. I especially enjoy how you point out that life is not all about sex and that attaining heaven and being a good Catholic require difficulty. Some just want everything to be about easy living and pleasure. Kind of like Eve thought after her talk with the serpent.

    And congrats! I see you’ve made the “big time” by being linked on Big Pulpit. Good job!

    God bless you and keep doing what you do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I am very thankful to Big Pulpit and via them, National Catholic Register for including me from time to time the last month or two. So many people have been kind!


  5. Thank you for your article. People are coming out of the woodwork, it seems now to push their evil agendas. They rationalize their sins like a disobedient spoiled child on the playground who complains about being lectured when Johnny over there did much worse stuff and he got away with it. Sadly, we actually had a child in the neighborhood who did that, but it was because his parents spoiled him and let him get away with it. Their favored child could do very little wrong in their eyes. (However, when he came to our house and yard, he was made to behave even in front of his doting mother, to her rightly deserved embarrassment.)

    Sadly, because all of these dissident sisters, priests, bishops, and cardinals are allowed to boldly proclaim their evil, heretical nonsense without any repercussions or disciplinary measures, then the other evil ones become emboldened and start oozing out from the sewer or netherworld with their loud mouthed complaints against the Catholic Church. Pathetically, many in the hierarchy seem to be silent regarding many of these dissidents and their evil deeds/words. Silence implies consent or condoning of the evil. Sins of omission can merit hell.

    Thankfully, there are a few solid ones who speak up for the truth and admonish the sinners. Thank God for the ones who listen and heed God’s word and do God’s will, despite the push back from the evil ones. We need to support the Holy ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent post and fully agree. I would however caution you with use of SSA and homosexuals, etc. We must remember there are plenty of chaste people who suffer from SSA, quietly and usually under spiritual direction and frequent reception of the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist. They do have the same struggles as ALL of us with regard to ANY of the mortal/deadly sins, so Fr. Longenecker’s three points are correct. (And trust me, I have stopped following him, as I have found him to be too liberal). But other than that, I believe your commentary to be spot on, and I too have found that Patheos to be leaning closer to the Reporter.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Most “straight” people I know really care much less about gays and their activities than the gays think they do. On the other hand, most also are getting a bit tired of the whining and outwardly offensive attitudes of some in the gay community. As an English Lady was reputed to have said in the 19th century when informed of the predilections of Oscar Wilde ” as long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.”

    Liked by 1 person

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