What You Need is a Little Truth for Once

Denver Student Responds To Archbishop: “I Am Catholic, And I Am Gay… I Do Not Need To Be ‘Healed'”

by

Johnny Hultzapple

posted on

January 30, 2019

OK, a couple of things hit me right off the bat here. First, it’s a mighty pompous title. We’re all fallen creatures, so we ALL need healing. And second? If this kid’s intent is on living the “gay lifestyle” he will almost certainly need some sort of physical as well as emotional and spiritual healing in the future. The stats are not with you, my young friend. You have fallen for the sales pitch and have completely forgotten to see if the “gay lifestyle” might possibly have any negatives.

 It is with a very enraged and dismal heart that I write this post today.

This past Saturday, the Archdiocese of Denver sponsored an anti-LGBTQ event at the John Paul II Center led by an anti-LGBTQ activist and proponent of conversion therapy named Andrew Comiskey.

Since this young man failed to actually elaborate on what the event was, I did some digging and think it’s this: https://desertstream.org/events/denvergendermatters/

There was a highly false and insulting banner hung on the fence of the John Paul II Center. It is important to note that a representative from the Archdiocese said that the Archdiocese themselves did not hang the banner although they sponsored this event. The banner is a quote from the leader of the event, Andrew Comiskey, and reads, “There is no such thing as a ‘gay’ person…. That is a popular myth.” “Satan delights in homosexual perversion.”

Last time I checked, God created them male and female. “Gay” is an inclination. We are not our inclinations. We are God’s children made in his image and likeness. And, yes, “Satan delights in homosexual perversion,” emphasis on perversion. Is this even up for debate? I mean, Satan certainly isn’t cheering for any of us to live chaste lives, straight or otherwise. I’m not entirely sure why this young man, a Catholic, has a problem with the teachings of the Church. And, yes, everything in that quote is in line with Church teaching. “Gay” isn’t even in the Catholic lexicon. As happens in most social constructs, it’s a made-up term.

As a young, gay male, I was infuriated when I read this sign and an article [in the Colorado Times Recorder]. Not only is the sign overtly offensive, it is so, so, so very wrong.

What’s Shapiro always say? Facts don’t care about your feelings. Please remember, this was a Catholic group, putting on a Catholic conference, for Catholics. It’s completely optional. Young Johnny Hultzapple was in no way required to attend. If it just doesn’t agree with your feelings, accept it and move on, Johnny. Some, on the other hand, actually wanted to attend the conference and did so. If the message wasn’t wanted, don’t you think the ministry would go bye-bye? Ironically, somebody just referred me to Andrew Comiskey yesterday.

I AM a gay person. I AM a homosexual; and there is absolutely nothing perverted about me. In Genesis 1:26, God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Based on Christian belief, humans are made in the likeness of God. I believe this includes STRAIGHT, GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, or QUEER individuals. LGBTQ people are made in the image and likeness of God.

Let’s just cut to the chase, Johnny. Do you believe there’s anything perverted about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer sexual practices? And, just to add a little clarity to your nice list, how about straight sex out-of-wedlock, porn, masturbation, etc.? Again, we are not our inclinations. God didn’t make us drug addicts, alcoholics, porn addicts, rapists, etc., etc., etc. You are confusing inclinations with the part where our body and soul mirror each other as we mirror God.

For 11 years of my life, I attended Catholic school right down the road from the JP II center. In fact, I used to run around the JP II center for cross country practice. My fond memories of catholic school are unfortunately tainted with dark and hurtful moments of bigotry–bigotry that will stay with me the rest of my life.

And here comes the newest member of the martyr brigade.

This bigotry is often promoted in the Catholic religion, although it is not promoted by all. The ironic part of this bigotry is that Catholicism is a religion centered on love: God’s love for his son, Jesus’ love for his people, and people’s love for Jesus shown by loving others.

And love sometimes means saying “No!” and that’s not to people just with your disordered inclinations but also to people who share my disordered inclinations. You want so desperately to see yourself as a martyr that you can’t see that the Church actually treats us all the same when it comes to our disordered inclinations.

Events like [the conference with Comiskey], which spread hatred and lies about the LGBTQ community, are not events that I believe are truly rooted in Catholic teaching. In John 15:12, Jesus exclaims, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Dude! Did you even go to the conference, so how would you know there was hatred spread? Andrew lived the life you’re in now, so you might want to realize that not everyone is you. I know that’s super hard in this narcissistic world, and at 17 you tend to be myopic anyway, but the reality is that the “gay lifestyle” hasn’t made everyone happy. In fact, just the opposite. That’s what happens when we accept our brokenness as our being instead of letting God’s mercy into our lives.

I am only 17-years old, but I can see that events like Andrew Comiskey’s do not spread the type of love that Jesus loves his people with. Jesus’ love was never judgmental, it was never exclusive, and it definitely was never hateful. The God I know loves everyone, and everyone means anyone who lives and breathes, regardless of sexuality, gender, or any other identity.

Again, did you go to the conference? Did you see what Andrew had to say? Have you even bothered to watch a video of Andrew’s. If you are familiar with him, I’m pretty sure it would be hard to say he isn’t loving.  He may say things that don’t please you but “hateful and bigoted?” Put the facts down in your article. Quote him a bit. Link to his videos and show him spewing hate. Oh, wait, you can’t? Maybe it’s because he tries very hard to show what love actually is rather than the pile of manure you’ve been sold. You’re probably still at the stage in life where you think love is a “feeling”, which is a load of hooey. Love is a choice you make to will the best for another. Period. And, yes, this sometimes means we have to suffer greatly for those we love by making the hard choices in their regard. I seem to remember something about a Cross and a guy who suffered greatly because He loved us, but yeah, love is about feeling happy, right? Blech. How in the world do people miss this? It’s all, “Me, me, me, me” and we can’t figure out why the world is a mess. What if we lived in a world where everyone willed the best (AKA everlasting life with God) for everyone instead of their own self-gratification? Well, sadly, Original Sin will never allow that, but you can imagine a world without loneliness even if everyone’s physical self-gratifications weren’t met. Self-gratification is what it is. It doesn’t will the good of another. It’s always looking inward, not willing the best for others. Self-gratification and love are just about as polar opposite as you can get. Sadly, Johnny hasn’t been told that. He has been told “You, you and only you” which will make his life incredibly lonely.

At the event, Andrew Comiskey stated, “The enemy is intent on sowing seeds of deception in really bright and really colorful and really fragile people, and that what the whole LGBT juggernaut is.”

Wait! Did you actually go? Where’s the lie in that statement? Do you believe in satan? And seriously, yes, the fragile people are the ones who give in to their inclinations. They aren’t, as much as they’d like to think, the Christ who was inclined not to suffer but who still died on the Cross for us. THAT is love. Dying to oneself and one’s inclinations.

Now, I’m sure you’re now going to start whining about how this is just all aimed against people suffering from same-sex attraction. Please. Yeah, the rest of the world don’t have to die to themselves and their inclinations. Just you. Really?!?! I’m sure my husband would rather sleep in and then sit on a mountain top, but he gets up every morning, day after day, year after year, and goes to a job to materially support his wife and brood. To top it off, he also gets up on one of his precious days off from that grind to worship God. Other days, he gives up sleeping in to help his kids, Church, the unborn, etc., etc., etc. THAT is love. He wills the best for others despite his inclination against it. That’s carrying the Cross he’s been given.

“But, but, but…the Church approves him having sex!” young Johnny thinks to himself. And you can too, Johnny, in the same and equal context as my husband and me: with a person of the opposite sex that he has joined with in Holy Matrimony. “But, but, but…I love men!” To which I’d again have to remind you that sex is not love. Love is a choice you make to will the best for another. When that is your focus, you can choose to ignore your inclinations and make that choice. This is what Andrew Comiskey is trying to say. Is it an easy choice? Of course not. Neither is the choice my husband has made to come home to the same family day in and day out when we sometimes forget how awesome it is that he does that. He’s got his Cross, I’ve got mine, and you’ve got yours. Accepting it will truly bring you happiness and integrity.

While I whole-heartedly agree that the LGBTQ community and I are really bright and really colorful, I know that we are not fragile. We are a STRONG community. I am a strong person. The LGBTQ community fights to overcome bigotry every. single. day. With each day that passes, we are becoming a hell of a lot stronger. We will overcome, just as we have in the past.

I’m going to guess you’re all for living the lifestyle. I notice that while secular LGTB-whatevers are just fine to admit it, Catholic self-professed LGBT-whatevers never quite mention that little aspect. Let me be a little more honest than they will be. We’re talking sodomy and masturbation. Now that we got that out of the way, yes, Johnny, you are fragile. The thought of living the chaste and celibate lifestyle is just too hard. Never mind that millions do it every day. It’s just too hard for you. You are called to the exact same life of chastity and abstinence that we are all called to, yet somehow that’s bigoted. We are all called to resist our disordered inclinations no matter what they are, but you? It’s just too hard. We should cut you some slack. This isn’t exactly the definition of strong, Johnny. It’s the definition of weak and fragile.

Individuals who attended the event told the crowd that Comiskey’s events and organization lead them to ‘convert’ from homosexuality to heterosexuality. As the article describes, “conversion therapy programs like Comiskey’s have been widely discredited, and are opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association…. and many other medical organizations.” In fact, conversion therapy programs were just outlawed in the city of Denver. In addition, with a passing of a bill in the state legislature, conversion therapy will hopefully be outlawed in all of Colorado this year.

So, people wish not to live the “gay lifestyle”, but you insist they must? Please. I’m sorry the AMA and APA don’t like “conversion therapy.” If they want to title Andrew’s program as such, they can go ahead, but that doesn’t change the fact that Catholics can Catholic. You might want to give Article 6 in the Catholic Catechism a little read, Johnny, and tell me where Andrew differs from it. I think you might have been cheated out of, well, the Faith:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

(For those who don’t like following links)
“* I. “MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM . . .”

2331 “God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image . . .. God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion.”115

“God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them”;116 He blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply”;117 “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.”118

2332 Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.

2333 Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.

2334 “In creating men ‘male and female,’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity.”119 “Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God.”120

2335 Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”121 All human generations proceed from this union.122

2336 Jesus came to restore creation to the purity of its origins. In the Sermon on the Mount, he interprets God’s plan strictly: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”123 What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.124

The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality.

  1. THE VOCATION TO CHASTITY

2337 Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.

The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.

The integrity of the person

2338 The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.125

2339 Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.126 “Man’s dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end.”127


What? The Church has our happiness in mind??? Mind blown yet, Johnny? Have you EVER even heard this before???

“2340 Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascesis adapted to the situations that confront him, obedience to God’s commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer. “Indeed it is through chastity that we are gathered together and led back to the unity from which we were fragmented into multiplicity.”128

2341 The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.

2342 Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life.129 The effort required can be more intense in certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence.”

Amen! We all need to struggle together in this.

“2343 Chastity has laws of growth which progress through stages marked by imperfection and too often by sin. “Man . . . day by day builds himself up through his many free decisions; and so he knows, loves, and accomplishes moral good by stages of growth.”130

2344 Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is “an interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society.”131 Chastity presupposes respect for the rights of the person, in particular the right to receive information and an education that respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life.”

 

The #MeToo and “LGTBSJ” movements have totally missed this.

2345 Chastity is a moral virtue. It is also a gift from God, a grace, a fruit of spiritual effort.132 The Holy Spirit enables one whom the water of Baptism has regenerated to imitate the purity of Christ.133

The integrality of the gift of self

2346 Charity is the form of all the virtues. Under its influence, chastity appears as a school of the gift of the person. Self-mastery is ordered to the gift of self. Chastity leads him who practices it to become a witness to his neighbor of God’s fidelity and loving kindness.

See? Denying one’s inclinations isn’t mean, it’s kind, or so says YOUR Church, Johnny.

2347 The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends,134 who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality.

Immortality. Epic! Johnny doesn’t even realize he’s tossing away immortality with God for 80ish years here on earth. He’s almost ¼ of the way toward eternal life or death, and again, as stats show, probably even further if he continues on with the “gay lifestyle.” He doesn’t get that the Catholic Church, nor Andrew Comiskey, nor I for that matter, want this for him.

Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one’s neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion.

The various forms of chastity

2348 All the baptized are called to chastity. The Christian has “put on Christ,”135 the model for all chastity. All Christ’s faithful are called to lead a chaste life in keeping with their particular states of life. At the moment of his Baptism, the Christian is pledged to lead his affective life in chastity.

2349 “People should cultivate [chastity] in the way that is suited to their state of life. Some profess virginity or consecrated celibacy which enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner. Others live in the way prescribed for all by the moral law, whether they are married or single.”136 Married people are called to live conjugal chastity; others practice chastity in continence:

There are three forms of the virtue of chastity: the first is that of spouses, the second that of widows, and the third that of virgins. We do not praise any one of them to the exclusion of the others. . . . This is what makes for the richness of the discipline of the Church.137

2350 Those who are engaged to marry are called to live chastity in continence. They should see in this time of testing a discovery of mutual respect, an apprenticeship in fidelity, and the hope of receiving one another from God. They should reserve for marriage the expressions of affection that belong to married love. They will help each other grow in chastity.

Offenses against chastity

2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.

2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.”138 “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.”139

To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.

2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.

2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

2355 Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. The one who pays sins gravely against himself: he violates the chastity to which his Baptism pledged him and defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.140 Prostitution is a social scourge. It usually involves women, but also men, children, and adolescents (The latter two cases involve the added sin of scandal.). While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the imputability of the offense can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or social pressure.

2356 Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. 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.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Note that the offenses against chastity are committed by almost all of us. While the “homosexuality” section is set off, it’s just different and something that needed to be addressed as an emerging problem at the time of the last edition. People constantly suggest that people suffering with same-sex attraction are singled out. Psh. Read the entire section.

Unfortunately, the Archdiocese of Denver is continuing to promote these events.

What? A Catholic diocese being Catholic again? The shock and horror of it all. Sigh.

I am Catholic, and I am gay. I am not ‘deceived’; Satan does not ‘delight in my sexuality’; I do not need to be ‘converted’ to heterosexuality; I do not need to be ‘healed’. I am far from perfect, but this is not because of my sexual orientation.

God made me gay, and I know that God wants me to use my voice to spread love and acceptance to not only the LGBTQ community, but to ALL people, regardless of identity. I will work my hardest to ensure that this hatred is not continued in my community. I will work hard to ensure that other kids in Catholic school will not have to suffer the bigotry I had to.

Sorry, Johnny. Saying it doesn’t make it so. Your body and your soul were carefully created by God in harmony. They are one. They are not in conflict. What’s at conflict are your inclinations and proclivities, and it’s not bigoted to say so any more than it is to say that some have the inclination and proclivity to cheat on their spouse, abuse alcohol, engage in porn, etc., etc., etc. You want to be treated differently than the rest of us and yet we are somehow bigoted. We’re the ones willing to accept that we do indeed need to allow God’s mercy to fix us in whatever our disordered tendency. You refuse to even accept that you have a disordered tendency.

My big, Catholic family loves and accepts me for who I am; they know that God made me gay and loves me just the same. I am lucky and grateful to have this system of support around me, but others are not so lucky.

Well, since we were all raised in same confused and lied-to era of the Catholic Church, I really can see why the big Catholic family would encourage the lifestyle. If they were taught to accept the “gay lifestyle”, then they were never truly taught how to love, either. We’ve all been cheated for far too long. That said, we need to seek out the truth and the bishops need to show it to us, which is exactly what Archbishop Aquila is doing there with Andrew Comiskey’s conferences. Bravo to him for being a true father who truly loves us and wills the best for us. He certainly has picked his Cross.

So, if you have continued reading thus far, I ask you to please share my post (gay or straight, religious or not) to share the articles with your community, to let people know that this is happening. Have a discussion at your dinner table, have a discussion in your class, have a discussion with your friends.

Well, I have kids and I work with youth, so you betcha we’ll have discussions. Sadly, yours is a cautionary tale and not the story of a martyr that you wish. It’s all too easy for us all to fall into the same trap you have. I’m sorry the Church has failed you in so many ways. I’m sorry the Fr. Martins of the world don’t care about your mental, physical, and especially your spiritual health, but I do, as do many others.

And, most of all, I ask you to please give love to all of your LGBTQ friends and family members, especially ones that are in communities full of hatred.

In the end, it is love that will unite us all, despite our differences.

Johnny Hultzapple is a student at South High School in Denver.

Isn’t it always the same. “Accept my lifestyle no matter how harmful it may be for me, or you hate me.” It’s beautifully framed to tug at the heartstrings, but when my children are headed the wrong way, I don’t give them the thumbs up. I don’t tell people to follow their disordered tendency. I will the best for them as I hope they do for me, and I make that choice every day, no matter how a big of a Cross it might be.

If you’re not quite understanding why people just don’t rubber-stamp the gay lifestyle, here’s a few things you should read. You might at least try to understand the mind of those you consider the “enemy.” This is not an exhaustive list but are some of my favorites. Despite what you may think, we don’t live in a bubble. Most of us have friends, family and coworkers who suffer from SSA and we love them.

http://couragegulfcoast.wixsite.com/blog#!

https://couragerc.org/

http://andrewcomiskey.com/about-andrew/

https://www.amazon.com/Made-Love-Same-Sex-Attraction-Catholic/dp/1621642194

https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/the-catholic-church-thinks-we-deserve-better/

 

 

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Not to Beat an Annoying Drum but…

Fellow Catholic parents, you might as well tell your kids now to expect nothing from the Catholic hierarchy and let them be pleasantly surprised if the bishops somehow do as they ought. The main victims of the hierarchy’s errors almost always seem to be our youth. Because of that, nobody should be shocked that Covington High School’s bishop threw the youth under the bus almost immediately. You could see the rush to disavow from a mile away, or at least you should have. It’s like they have to keep following the same script of the same awful play.

We’re not children. We know very well by now what “fake news” is and that we need to verify before making condemnations. I will say, though, from day one I had to remind many of my Catholic friends that the nicely cut video gave us ZERO knowledge of what actually happened. Honestly, from the clip, I had no idea if the Covington boys did as CNN said or if they actually kept their cool. (It turned out it was the latter unless you’ve got an agenda to push.)  Could have gone either way and that should have been obvious. More of the story leaked out hour by hour as become the status quo with most supposedly salacious new stories. Why are we still falling for this? We need to get it out of our heads that people are basically decent. We’re not in Kansas or the latter part of the 20th century anymore. People have absolutely no qualms about lying through their teeth. And, in addition to lying through their teeth, people also have no problems making threats at quite innocent people. Nobody should be throwing out condemnations these days because you are probably also condemning them to death threats, bombing threats, vile threats and a wholesale denial of reality even when it’s played for them in a two-hour video.

So, Catholic bishops, willing to try to cover their own behinds and so willing to throw high school students to the wolves to do so, are disgusting. Yes, this mistake was made by so many other Catholics but most of those good Catholics have apologized to the hilt for the rush to judgment. Bishop Foys? He’s ordered a third-party investigation versus just simply watching a two-hour video which even changed Jake Tapper’s mind for heaven’s sake. How about you exercise a bit of due diligence, Bishop Foys? I mean, when Jake Tapper gets it and you’re still wrestling with an apology, you’ve got problems.

It seems someone is suggesting that these students skip their confirmation to protest Bishop Foys. Please don’t. When you let bishops keep you from the sacraments for their bad behavior, you lose, not them. The graces from the sacraments help sustain our faith. Nobody should turn their back on those graces for any reason. I’m here to tell you that you can still receive graces from the sacrament no matter how bad a prelate is. I’m sure my old bishop might regret to this day ever confirming me. That’s a warning to some bishops. Careful who you confirm. Might come back to bite you.

And let me explain this to our dear bishops. I know some get this but you all need to know most Catholic moms will defend their children when they are harmed. In fact, most moms will defend any child being harmed. We take that millstone thing very seriously. My children, of various ages and sexes, are out at events like the March for Life quite frequently. We will continue to do so. We will continue to stand in the public square for whatever just reason we can find. If the bishops ever did this to one of my children, I would, first, have to explain to my kids that this is something that can happen when one follows Christ. I mean, Christ Himself was denied by his apostle and almost all the rest ran away. Why should we expect less than that treatment? Next, I would make sure the hierarchy in question knew of the mistake they had just made whether it be the school, the bishop, or the entire USCCB. They wouldn’t get to treat my children that way without hearing a little bit from me. I’d be parked at the chancery office every day until the situation was rectified truthfully. His excellency might have wanted to run the possible outcomes to these boys through his head before disavowing them. No matter the pain to him, he should have been a shepherd to those in his care. Heck, even if the “fake news” wasn’t fake, their faith should have come first. While it shouldn’t be the case, the reality is that many lose their faith over things like this. Here’s hoping these boys’ faith and resolve to save the unborn are deepened by their suffering and persecution. If not, the father of lies wins.

Cupich Wants a Retro New Ecclesial Season – Been There, Done That!

I set this letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich aside a few days ago. Kinda wish I had set it aside indefinitely. Just a waste of ink with the endless spin to tell us how much “they” care. 

The bishops’ retreat and a new ecclesial season

January 9, 2019

I am writing this as the retreat held for the Catholic bishops of the United States at our seminary in Mundelein concludes. The weeklong retreat was the idea of Pope Francis.

He recognized that the crisis of clerical sexual abuse had created a great deal of anger and confusion in our church and among the bishops. It is in such moments, he observed in his letter to us before the retreat, that “we need to be attentive and discerning, to free our hearts of compromises and false certainties, in order to hear what the Lord asks of us in the mission he has given us.”

I never had a problem with the retreat. That said, I think being locked in a room with a bunch of super angry parents would have made more of an impact, but that’s just me. I do have to focus on the message from the Holy Father I highlighted. Are they just now doing this??? I would think that this would have popped into their heads long before one is made a bishop.

Again, while I never had a problem with a retreat per se, the timing on this one smacks more of a pause on dealing with this issue hoping people will forget about it than a thoughtful way forward. Seriously, the “Let’s just wait to deal with this until we can have a retreat to contemplate something we somehow woefully missed before” really doesn’t cut it with the vast majority of people, or at the very least people with children.

The Holy Father sent us his personal preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa. The 84-year-old priest told us that he had received lots of letters telling him what he should say to the bishops. While respecting the wisdom of the voice of the people, he agreed with the pope that in moments like this we need to discern what God is saying to us.

“What God is saying to us???” Seriously? I would think “Stop being perverts, protecting perverts, recruiting perverts, etc.” would be a no brainer. But, I suppose, since it’s been missed so far, the good friar might be right about going back to kindergarten on this.

Cantalamessa’s talks were both inspiring and encyclopedic. His grasp of Scripture and the rich tradition of the church allowed the bishops to hear truths we have long held but in a fresh way. I am pleased we have the texts to review in the days and months ahead, but I also carry with me a number of images he offered, which I want to reflect on.

How about reflecting on the image of a person abused by a priest, bishop, or cardinal? Seems like that might be the central image to focus on. Yes, the spiritual lives of a good chunk of these bishops and cardinals seem wanting, but this is ridiculous. If we have to go back to what should have been taught day one in seminary, then you’d think Cardinal Cupich might get a clue that the formation has been lacking for a long, long time in most areas of the country. Somehow I don’t think this is going to be his take away.

One was the difference between moving over water in a rowboat and a sailboat. The rowboat requires our effort, as we pull against the inertia of the water, relying on our own power and devices to steer the direction ahead. But believers are called to trust in the Holy Spirit to move us forward, much like the wind is needed for moving the sailboat forward.

With that image our retreat director asked us to reflect on our approach to challenges, not only this one, but in all cases. Do we see ourselves in a rowboat that makes everything depend on us, or are we attentive to the prompting of the Spirit to chart a pathway ahead? I can honestly say I am not satisfied by how I answer that question some days.

I will keep in mind what Cantalamessa said: “The wind is caught by the sail of prayer.”

Uh, I’d have to say many of you are not piloting a sailboat or even a rowboat. You’re more like the drug runner on a luxury yacht with someone else doing the “hard work” of ruining souls while you socialize with the elite and try to keep your hands clean. So, honestly, we’re not satisfied, either. We’d like you to be on the Barque of Peter. That, however, seems a little too much to ask.

 

He then shared another image to further develop this point. A professor lecturing on time management conducted a small experiment for his students. Taking a large glass jar, he placed tennis-ball-sized rocks in it until there was no room in the jar. “Is it full?” he asked. “Yes,” the students replied.

But, then he began pouring in small pebbles, rattling the jar until they settled in vacant spaces between the rocks. “Now is it full?” he asked again. “No,” they replied. Agreeing with them he then poured sand into the jar, filling up the spaces between the stones and the pebbles. Yet again, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?” Without hesitation, the students replied in unison, “NO!” “Correct,” replied the professor.

So he poured water into the jar until it was absolutely full. Then the professor explained. “What we learn from this experiment is that if we don’t put the larger stones in the jar first, we will never be able to fit all of them later.”

Cantalamessa’s point was simple. Our prayer life, our turning to God to discern where he is leading us, has to be the priority. For if we do not prioritize the discernment of God’s will, other concerns and voices will absorb our attention and render our decision-making impoverished and partial, especially in a moment of crisis.

I’m thinking the stories of the saints, Church teachings, etc. might have been a little more pertinent than time management stories from Facebook, but that might just be me. The problem is, some of you can’t seem to figure out what the big stones are even if they hit you in the head. If you’re going with Facebook memes, you might want to go with a simple flow chart of decision making. Some of you can’t get past the first branch correctly and probably should rethink your career (and I’m very intentionally using career because it seems more like that than a vocation for many of you)!

flow chart

 

His reflections also underscore our commitment to the protection of children and the healing of victims, which grounds all our responses to the crisis. We must make sure nothing ever crowds out that priority.

You and many other bishops and cardinals already blew that one! Let’s just remember you were the one that said there was more important things to worry about like “climate change.” The fact that you had to have that “underscored” just shows how completely out of touch you are with, well, Catholicism.

It is clear, however, that the Holy Father’s intentions in calling us to make this retreat expand well beyond this particular moment or challenge facing us bishops. Pope Francis wants us to see that we are in “a new ecclesial season,” as he calls it, that will require a new approach to our ministry.

I’m sorry, but the public relations tactic of a “new” anything is ridiculous. This is an abuse crisis of epic proportions. This isn’t time for a new buzzword or ad campaign for the Church. It’s time for repentance and reform. This is “old”, not new. The problem is, you guys spend so much time on spin and rebranding that you can’t just do what needs to be done. Sure, not all of you are doing that, but many are and the many are hampering the rest of us.

We cannot be “mere administrators,” but must take up the task of teaching those we serve “how to discern God’s presence in the history of his people.” As he remarked in his letter to us: “Amid the upset and confusion experienced by our communities, our primary duty is to foster a shared spirit of discernment, rather than to seek the relative calm resulting from compromise or from a democratic vote where some emerge as ‘winners’ and others not.”

Oh. My. Gosh! We’ve already discerned the immorality which led to abuse which led to the cover-ups is evil. Duh. Enough said. You’re the one who’s been trying to avoid it from day one. The US Bishops wanted to address the reality, but you and your cronies, Cardinal Cupich, managed to get it put on hold. I don’t care if it takes a democratic vote to clean up this mess. The only ones who do care are you and your buds who were going to be the losers because you are the ambassadors of evil and immorality. There most certainly should be a winner and loser. The winner should be GOOD and the loser should be EVIL. You want so badly to move your agendas forward that you are all willing to throw victims under the bus. We’ve had enough!

The task before us is to work together to find a way to embrace “the present situation, one that, most important, can protect those in our care from losing hope and feeling spiritually abandoned.”

If that was truly your goal you would have jumped on this long ago. All the psycho-spin you’ve spilled here does NOTHING to help those you’ve betrayed. We embraced the present situation about 17 years ago. Where have you been?

“This will enable us to be fully immersed in reality, seeking to appreciate and hear it from within, without being held hostage to it.”

If you haven’t been “fully immersed in reality” by now, you’ve missed whatever boat you’re supposedly on all together! The TRUTH which you seem to want to keep everyone from is freedom, not a hostage situation. You, Cardinal Cupich, are the one seeking to take hostages. You’ve been trying forever to make people a slave to their sins and you’ve been perfectly happy to keep the victims of abuse slaves to their captors. I’m pretty sure you’re hoping for full blown Stockholm Syndrome at this point. Sorry, we’re not falling for it. We will do everything possible to escape your trap.

We are not leaving this retreat with all the answers to the important questions facing the church in these days, but we are leaving with a renewed sense that it is time to turn in our rowboats for sailboats, and take our cue from the guidance of Christ’s spirit rather than our own efforts.

Well, let’s avoid YOUR efforts for sure.

We also come away reminded that we will need to keep our priorities straight. One other blessing from our days together is that it drew us closer to each other and to the Holy Father. One bishop told me, “Pope Francis was right to call us to take a retreat and it shows that he cares deeply about our ministry and the church in this country.”

Do you know how I know this was a complete waste of time? It’s because you have not mentioned sin once. You didn’t leave this retreat with anything. I’m sure those bishops and cardinals who truly long to guide Christ’s people are still longing for this, but you are just looking to get off the hook. You are simply looking for some good PR and are hoping words like “discerning” and “mission” are going to assuage the faithful. Wrong. These are the same things we heard almost two decades ago. You’re really, really counting on us being that stupid?

I have no doubt that just as the early church relied on Peter’s unique ministry to meet the challenges of the day, so we will draw strength and insight from our unity with his successor.

Ah, and there it is. If we are angry with you, somehow we are removing unity with Peter’s successor? Yeah, sorry. You can keep pushing this line but it’s not going to keep us from holding you accountable.

It doesn’t get said enough, but a huge thank you to the bishops and cardinals who are really trying to bring healing to the victims and to the Church. We’re praying you succeed. Please stay the course. #USCCB #DontMakeSameMistake

 

The “Gotcha Game” Played by Fr. Martin

OK, OK, I’m back from my little vacation time full of family. I gotta thank those who sent me nice little notes wishing me Merry Christmas, wondering if I was OK, or downright chewing me out for disappearing for a few weeks. I appreciate them all, but I simply have to take a little break this time of year. It’s the only way to keep the muck from dragging me down. It’s also an injection of energy, because, make no mistake, I’m doing this for my kids,  future grand-kids, and the rest of my future lineage first and foremost.

So I’ve spent the last few days scanning the blogosphere to get a pulse. After spinning the wheel of immorality and dissent, I’ve landed on this. https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/01/08/opus-dei-paid-settle-sexual-misconduct-claim-against-prominent-catholic-priest/ I don’t have a critique of this article, per se, seemed pretty straightforward, but I do have some comments on the response to the situation.

First of all, a disclaimer: I am not a member of Opus Dei. I don’t have a problem with them and I’ve known several of their priests, members, and cooperators. Just not my thing, even though some of them are peachy. I’m not sure why the fangs come out whenever they are mentioned, but I just thought I’d cut down on the “you’ve been brainwashed” flogging I’ll probably get. Honestly, I’ve yet to experience the perfect order. I will say this, though, they ain’t Jesuits or anything close to them.

The main reason I’m writing about this is because of responses like our good ol’ friend James Martin, LGBTSJ. I mean, the guy seems positively giddy. Can you just imagine him pumping his fist and saying, “They caught a conservative, heterosexual abuser! Woot!”?

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Really, Fr. Martin? Is it that tragic to you? Methinks you are pretty darn pleased. What IS tragic is your “I got one!” attitude. First, while abuse is very systemic in the Jesuit order, it is not in the Opus Dei order. And, you’re still wrong. It is still very much a homosexual problem. 80% so. Msgr. Pope already schooled you on your cruddy logic in this area.  An outlier does not an argument make.
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I don’t think anyone has ever said there hasn’t been abuse in many different orders and dioceses or that it’s all homosexual priests. This is a constant red-herring Fr. Martin uses. His usual tactic is to take an argument not made and debate it.  What has been said is that it’s been an overwhelming problem of homosexuality. I think we’re up to 80% of the cases that we know of. Does that mean that there are some priests who don’t suffer from other deep-seated disorders? Of course not! This is an argument which has never been made. So, please. Do not let Fr. Martin’s ridiculous apologetics for the LGBTSJ crowd fool you. When homosexual priests who are supposedly in the minority are the majority of the problem, they are the majority of the problem.

And let’s talk about why abuse is not a systemic problem with Opus Dei priests as it is with other orders, like, say, the Jesuits. One abuser out of 2,000+ is one too many, but it is far better than most orders/dioceses. First of all, they vet their seminarians as the Vatican directives mandate. So what happened with Fr. McCloskey? Could have been something for which he always had a weakness. Who knows? The fact that he is suffering from what’s been deemed advanced stage Alzheimer’s might be an issue, though.

If you’ve dealt with someone with that dementia, you learn a few things. Alzheimer’s is a catch-all for dementia. Sometimes it is actually Alzheimer’s, but many times it’s another type of dementia, and they cannot tell unless they autopsy the brain after death. I had a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but it was more than likely some other form of dementia because he lived WAY longer after the diagnosis than the typical patient and, in hindsight, the symptoms were present long before. People suffering from dementia lose a lot of their morality, personality, modesty, and sensibility, and they also do things they wouldn’t have thought of doing when they had all of their mental faculties. It also sneaks up on those who know them. Here’s hoping that was it. It’s really here nor there, but it’s an interesting turn of events and probably had zero bearing on how Opus Dei responded.

Next, Opus Dei only allows spiritual direction of women and minors in the confessional. In other words, they try to avoid causing scandal. Obviously, Fr. McCloskey didn’t follow that procedure and that was a problem, but I suspect that is one factor of why abuse is not a systemic problem with Opus Dei.

Lastly, Opus Dei acted swiftly. While they didn’t completely take Fr. McCloskey out of work, they did curtail it right away. We’ve heard of the main abuse victim, a second who was uncomfortable with his hugs, and third, thus far, unsubstantiated or detailed claim. Thankfully, whatever eye they kept on him before removing him completely from ministry seemed to protect women from further abuse. Compare this with the many, many other instances of abuse. Quite frankly, Opus Dei got it righter than anyone else. While they didn’t broadcast the news, they did help the woman, advised her to get help (legal and mental), and settled with her, which is why she’s apparently still Catholic and doesn’t seem to harbor ill-will, unlike the victims of the Jesuits and their ilk. In fact, in this CNA article she is quoted as saying that she is “very happy with how it’s being handled right now. They listened.” How many other victims have said the same about their response?!?!

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Uh, yeah. They’ve actually shown remorse for the whole situation unlike many orders and dioceses. She wanted them to go public and they did after already helping her. Maybe you should use them as a model, Fr. Martin, instead of trying to use them to further your cause.

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One last attempt to keep it in the spotlight. Again, Opus Dei’s formation and response should have been the model. To simply say “See! It’s not a homosexual problem at all! Heterosexual conservatives do it too!And it’s systematic across the entire priesthood!” is not even in the realm of reality. You should be looking at what they did right and why their percentages are so low compared with, oh, your order. It starts with the screening process and ends with a humble response instead of a massive cover-up of the problem. We’ve never said it was going to stem every possible evil scenario. Satan still finds a way, but it would certainly be a huge stumbling block for him. It starts with avoiding things that might cause scandal in the first place instead of running towards near occasions of sin like they are a playground to be enjoyed as long as one doesn’t pass the fictitious line they probably crossed long before they got there. This is the common sense the Jesuits lost long, long ago.

Say what you want about Opus Dei, but my guess is that other victims of abuse wish that the hierarchy of their abusers treated them with as much respect as the Opus Dei hierarchy treated these women. So many victims were treated horribly, disbelieved and lost their faith, but this approach would have helped them through the trauma. Thankfully, this woman was accompanied correctly. Their mission is to save souls, not to save their behinds.

Another thing, I know some are for defrocking abusers. Personally, I’m for holding them to a life of penance, reparation, and, hopefully, redemption. Defrocking is the easy way out. Quite frankly, jail is probably an easy way out, too. I don’t want them whiling away their days watching soap operas in the rec room. I want them to live an austere life of silent contemplation. Far more grueling.

Lastly, Fr. Martin, try as you may, you can’t make the reality go away that 80% of the abusers were homosexual. And before you whine for the umpteenth billion time that not all homosexual priests abuse, duh. Truth bomb – an overwhelming amount of them do. Time and again, popes have spelled out why homosexuality doesn’t work in the priesthood and shouldn’t be allowed, but you somehow think you know better. Deal with reality as it is, not how you wish it to be. And for heaven’s sake, stop cheering every time a female is victimized. It’s disgusting.