Assumptions on the Assumption by Sr. Carolyn

Our Lady is awesome and, right after one of her feast days, I feel the need to thump one lady’s notions. No, Mary doesn’t need my defense, and she really doesn’t need Sister Carolyn’s, but I feel compelled to defend Truth, which isn’t found anywhere in her lame video. Please feel free to check the link because it’s not worth my time to alter the HTML code to embed the video. The pseudo-transcription is courtesy of the YouTube transcript I found. Before anyone goes on a justifiable rant on women doing the homily, she’s not.  She just wishes she could, so she makes videos instead.

The Feast of the Assumption means that Mary is just as good as the guys.

What in the what?!?!?! I think Mary is a bit better, I’d say! I think Sr. Carolyn was probably going for the “Women are equal, gosh darn it!” message, but sadly she goes on to actually downplay all things Mary. The liberals just never quite know what to do with Mary and this bi-polar piece nails that. “She’s the same as the guys, but if she had been a prostitute then she’d REALLY be something special!” is kind of where they usually end up.  She’s a BIG inconvenience to them.

There’s Jesus, of course, and we tend to talk about his Ascension and Mary’s Assumption as if he did it on his own and she needed some help.

Oh yeah, there’s Him. Ho-hum. Thanks, Sister! What would we do without your astute insight??? Unbelievably, people paid money to have this lady teach them. I’d be looking for a refund right about now. As for the rest of the sentence, I’m pretty sure there’s a wee bit of heresy in there, and Fr. Martin unsurprisingly just gave that a plug. I actually tripped over this via Fr. Martin’s Facebook page.

Yes, Sister, there actually is a difference between the Assumption of Mary and the Ascension of Christ. Does this really need to be said?  I guess so. Maybe read a few more bible verses and, oh, maybe some Church documents?

Christ said he would ascend.  This is in the Creed, for heaven’s sake. “He ascended into Heaven” It’s not “He was assumed into Heaven.” I don’t know. Maybe you don’t say this one because there are too many gender specific pronouns to sub? Sigh. Can you stop playing “Wheel of Heresy” for just a second, Sister? Honestly, I’m pretty sure her little “homily” contains more than a few. My smart readers will have to start naming them for me.

So let’s look at your lack of bible verses and church docs, shall we?

John 3:13 And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.

John 6:62 If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

John 20:17 Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.

And then there’s the dogma of the Assumption:

http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-xii_apc_19501101_munificentissimus-deus.html

That’s apparently not good enough for Sister Carolyn, though:

But if you look carefully at a good translation of the story of Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1:9 you’ll see that he too was lifted up and received into heaven on a cloud.

And this is why Catholics don’t believe in private interpretation of Scripture. I realize you think you have some magical authority to set cherry picked bible verses against Church teaching, but you don’t.

But Jesus and Mary are by no means the first to have been thought to go up into this, out of this life – to somewhere up there where God is. You will of course remember Elijah and his fiery chariot in 2 Kings 11 but even before him Enoch was taken up by God and seen no more as Genesis 5.

OK, I’m not going to quibble about the fact that they had some sort of special exit, but to say we know exactly where they went and how it happened? This has never been said by the Church and has been mulled over by many. Also, again, you misquote. It’s actually “taken by God” not taken up. Then there’s Elijah who was taken up to “heaven” but did that just mean the sky?  Who the heck knows? Not Sister Carolyn. Not the Church Fathers. No definitive teaching on that, and since the gates of Heaven were closed until “Jesus, of course,” the Church Fathers leaned heavily toward the Limbo of the Fathers. Regardless, none of this at all changes the differences of the Ascension of Christ and Assumption of Mary. Mary did “need help” with that. She wasn’t God after all. Maybe you’re the reason Protestants think we worship Mary?

But it’s not only biblical figures who were believed to be taken up to heaven. Livy reported this of Romulus one of the mythic founders of Rome. Roman emperors were depicted being taken up that way, Augustus Titus and Constantine among them. Emperor Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina are depicted heading for heaven held up by a nude adult male winged figure, with fig leaf added in the Renaissance, on a massive column base in the garden of the Vatican Museum and it’s still there. Even one imperial woman got her own depiction of being conveyed to heaven, Sabina, the wife of the Emperor Hadrian.

Now we’re talking about the Assumption in the same breath as mythical characters? Kind of telling, don’t you think, Sister? I’m kind of surprised you didn’t throw a little Greek mythology in there, too. Just an FYI, Christians looked kindly on the few good Roman emperors who cared for their people. What a shocker. I’m quite sure people hoped for Heaven for them.

So the Ascension of Jesus the Assumption of Mary are by no means unique rather they conveyed a message to their world. Jesus and Mary rate with the great ones.

Jesus and Mary simply rate with the great ones like, say, Romulus?! Oh my. You really got a winner there, Fr. Martin! Yes, sister.

The tradition of including Mary is surprisingly early possibly late fourth or for sure early fifth century.

Maybe as early as the time she was assumed into Heaven? Sigh. By the way, she’s wrong.  It appeared in Transitus Mariae in the second or third century. That said, that’s not when the “tradition started.”  Sister is trying to get people to believe this is just a nice little mythological tradition with no real importance. WRONG! And the “it suddenly became a belief when…” is really what Protestants say. Again, rather telling about Sister Carolyn’s beliefs.

We might be tempted to think of a feast like this as quiet and peaceful, a time for calm, rejoicing.  maybe the image in your mind is the Assumption of Mary by Murillo. Oh, a very common one. Mary quietly joins her hands and looks upward blue mantle flying while a bunch of chubby little angels push her cloud heavenward.

I don’t know.  Going to heaven sounds pretty peaceful and a reason to rejoice to me.  Yes, there are many depictions of the Assumption, Murillo’s is one of them, but many look rejoicing and rather victorious.

But no, our readings for the Feast suggest something different. Being with the great ones isn’t peaceful. It means struggle. In our first reading from revelation the dragon threatens the life of the child. His mother must flee to protect him like so many immigrant and refugee mothers whose children are not rescued at the last minute as this one is. It’s a struggle for survival for this woman and her child a reflection of the struggle that continues age after age in our world.

Oh my gosh!  She just had to find a way to work the border thing in there, didn’t she? Let’s just get this straight, in this day and age EVERY bible verse is about Trump and the border.  Is she saying that this is what Heaven is like?  Kind of a weird reading of Revelation.  The part of Revelation that addresses Heaven is:

And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men: and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people: and God himself with them shall be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more. Nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. Rev 21:2-4

But you can’t really make a reference to the border with that one.

Yes, of course this feast day is a reason to celebrate and rejoice! I’m not sure which “great ones” she’s referring to, but it’s not those in Heaven with the angels and the saints experiencing the beatific vision. More specifically, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Sister Carolyn might want to crack that one open every once in a while) says this of Heaven:

II. HEAVEN

1023 Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face:598

By virtue of our apostolic authority, we define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints . . . and other faithful who died after receiving Christ’s holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification when they died, . . . or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death, . . .) already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment – and this since the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into heaven – have been, are and will be in heaven, in the heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature.599

1024 This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.”

Seems pretty peaceful and with a lack of struggling to me.

1025 To live in heaven is “to be with Christ.” The elect live “in Christ,”600 but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name.601

For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.602

1026 By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has “opened” heaven to us. The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ.

1027 This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father’s house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”603

1028 Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man’s immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory “the beatific vision”:

How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God’s friends.604

1029 In the glory of heaven the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God’s will in relation to other men and to all creation. Already they reign with Christ; with him “they shall reign for ever and ever.”605

Why she doesn’t embrace this view is beyond me. Sign. Me. Up. (Well, after I’ve had much time to do penance, please.)

The familiar Gospel reading from Luke portrays Mary as she journeys to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth and the encounter of the two expectant mothers and their, as yet, unborn sons. Mary’s response is the ecstatic song that we usually call the Magnificat. Those who pray evening prayer regularly recite this canticle and perhaps familiarity makes us numb to its promises and its threats. Mary’s song is not peaceful, rather, it’s unsettling it proclaims the upheaval of quiet lives. The proud will be scattered, the mighty will be cast down from their Thrones and the lowly, and the connotation of the word in Greek (insert Greek because the translation didn’t) means pressed down or oppressed, not those who practice the virtue of humility, they will be raised up and the hungry will be filled with good things. So look out those who sit on thrones of worldly power!

Who’s she gunning for with that one? Trump? The all-male clergy? Conservatives? So many possibilities!

I’ve never heard anyone talk about the Magnificat as a threat. I see it more as the truth of what happens when we trust in God, follow him and keep his Commandments or we don’t. The choice is ours. It’s not about the power we hold or where we sit, rich, poor, powerful or weak. It’s about the choices WE make, not the ones made for us. The most peace I get (and I fail this one often as a mom) is to do what I THINK God wants me to do, pray and trust. Mary is the model of this for us.

Let’s actually look at the prayer from Vespers:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

And, interestingly enough, the antiphon for the day was:

Ant. Today the Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven; rejoice, for she reigns with Christ for ever.

Completely peaceful for those who put their trust in Christ and do his will. Oh, and those who practice the virtue of humility, which actually helps with trusting in Christ and doing his will.  Not sure why Sister Carolyn is down on the virtue. Maybe she’s not into striving for that one. It’s so tiring to see “people who are leaders are bad” and “only poor, oppressed people go to Heaven.” Both groups can fail at gaining Heaven without practicing virtue, and both groups can succeed when their focus is on God. The “rich bad/poor good” is a literalist interpretation the Church does not hold.

Now the problem with this is that in Luke’s Gospel it’s all in the past tense as if it has already happened. A quick look around our world today prompts the wonderment. What? Let’s leave that question for a moment and go to the second reading which I skipped earlier because I think it’s better to deal with it last.

Luke, your gospel has problems, man.  You need to run these things by Sister Carolyn. New Testament scholar. Umm, could it be because it actually had happened in the past? Mary was saved in a special way by God at the moment of her conception.

In 1st Corinthians 15, Paul is grappling with his attempt to explain the mystery of the Resurrection to people, who apparently, were pretty skeptical about the idea. Paul too speaks of a struggle. In the end he says Christ will hand over everything to God his father once he has put all enemies under his feet an allusion to Psalm 110;1 which was already considered to refer to the Messiah. But says Paul the last enemy to be destroyed is death. The resurrection of Christ has begun to put that defeat of death in motion. We’re not there yet and that’s why Luke’s Mary and her Magnificat can see from the same perspective that Paul sees here. That last enemy will be destroyed. And when that happens, that’s when we can say that all God’s promises have been accomplished so why celebrate the Assumption of Mary? Because of what it promises.

Why? Well, the Church told us why in Munificentissimus Deus:

42. We, who have placed our pontificate under the special patronage of the most holy Virgin, to whom we have had recourse so often in times of grave trouble, we who have consecrated the entire human race to her Immaculate Heart in public ceremonies, and who have time and time again experienced her powerful protection, are confident that this solemn proclamation and definition of the Assumption will contribute in no small way to the advantage of human society, since it redounds to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, to which the Blessed Mother of God is bound by such singular bonds. It is to be hoped that all the faithful will be stirred up to a stronger piety toward their heavenly Mother, and that the souls of all those who glory in the Christian name may be moved by the desire of sharing in the unity of Jesus Christ’s Mystical Body and of increasing their love for her who shows her motherly heart to all the members of this august body. And so we may hope that those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers us may be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father’s will and to bringing good to others. Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined. Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.

Back to Sr. Carolyn:

Mary too is caught up in this great process of realizing the effects of the resurrection. It’s not a promise of peace during the course of the process rather it’s a promise of tension and struggle. We live in time and we touch eternity.

I have no idea where she’s going with this one.  Kind of rambling, but if she’s saying “God is outside of time”, “The battle has already been won”, and “We need to carry our cross”, then I can agree. If she’s saying Mary’s Assumption (you know the thing this is supposed to be about) is somehow stressful to Mary, uh… Her Assumption is just what the Church said it was. It’s an example of the “lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined.”

I have a favorite poem that speaks to me of all of this. GK Chesterton’s Regina Angelorum written in 1925. It’s about the Assumption of Mary. I share it with you the last two verses only because Mary is in heaven she is exploring her new place.

She quotes it a little poorly, but the emphasis on her big and likely purposeful change is all mine.

But ever she walked till away in the last high places,
One great light shone
From the pillared throne of the king of all the country
Who sat thereon;
And she cried aloud as she cried under the gibbet
For she saw her son.

Our Lady wears a crown in a strange country,
The crown he gave,
But she has not forgotten to call to her old companions
To call and crave;
And to hear her calling ONE might arise and thunder
On the doors of the grave.

I just can’t believe these old biddies are so jealous of men that they have to “translate” their favorite poems for us. That “one” should “a man.” I’m not offended at Chesterton’s use, are you? Why anyone would change literature to suit their ridiculous agenda is beyond me. Kind of shocked any oppressive male pronouns actually made it into her translation at all.

This woman doesn’t represent me. She represents dissent. If she and her ilk spent more time focusing on virtue and getting to Heaven instead of championing priestesses (a colossal waste of time), this Church would be a better place. She’s just an embarrassment to my sex.

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Because There are Consequences for Actions, Fr. Martin!

Over on Twitter and Facebook, Fr. James Martin, SJ, is beating the same old dissenting drum. Well, he is when he’s not mourning the death of over-sexualized, sometimes pornographic author, Toni Morrison.

The Archbishop of Indianapolis has denied a Jesuit high school’s request to hold their traditional “Mass of the Holy Spirit” to start the school year. Why? Because the school refused to fire a gay teacher who was legally married.

Why? Might it be because it would totally be scandalous to have a school allowed to hold Masses when they have lost their Catholic identity? James Martin, SJ, is conveniently forgetting to include that inconvenient little piece of information. For those who missed it, the short story is that Archbishop Thompson removed their Catholic identity after they refused to obey him. Over across the diocese, another school in the same situation is being allowed to carry on as normal because the leaders of that school actually obeyed the bishop.

Anyone else here find the qualification “legally married” a bit weird coming from a priest? You should. This isn’t a secular institution. This is supposed to be a CATHOLIC institution where “legal” has little to do with it unless we’re talking Canon Law. “Legally married” is just a euphemism for saying “sodomizing couple.” Let that sink in. When teachers make known that they are in a sexual relationship that is contrary to the Catholic faith sexual relationship known, do we really think that high schoolers don’t know what’s going on? Could we maybe give them a little more credit? “Legally married men” aren’t sitting home knitting on a Friday night. (Apply brain bleach here.)

In other words, the Archbishop is denying the Eucharist to high school students at that school at the beginning of their school year. In other words, he is preventing priests in good standing from celebrating a Mass for young people. Brebeuf Jesuit Prep is appealing to the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education.

That would be your words, Fr. Martin.  In reality, the archbishop is protecting the youth and the Eucharist from grave scandal – like the soul-killing kind. Wouldn’t it be nice if you did that for people? Instead, you’re encouraging people to read Toni Morrison trash, often mention Game of Thrones, and tell us how vibrant a group “Out @ St. Paul” is.  What’s next? The Handmaid’s Tale? So, yeah, I’m going to profusely thank Archbishop Thompson for probably being one of the few adults around to truly care about their souls. It’s certainly not the “legally married” guys. In fact, nobody seems to care for their souls either at Brebeuf.

To put it in context, the Archdiocese said earlier that both the private and professional lives of school employees must “convey” and “support” Catholic teaching. But they do not require schools to fire Catholics who are divorced and remarried without annulments, who use birth control, who use IVF, or who do not attend Mass every Sunday (all against Catholic teaching). Nor do they require schools to fire Protestant, Jewish, or agnostic employees (whose lives also don’t “support” Catholic teaching). Nor do they ask them to fire teachers who do not give to the poor (against the Gospel, which is the heart of Catholic teaching).

Thanks for giving us your desired context. A couple of things. One, how do you know for what past teachers have been fired? Two, it’s pretty easy to tell who is in a same-sex marriage (especially when they’ve made it public), but how would you know who is divorced and remarried? Using birth-control? Engaging in IVF? Don’t attend Mass on Sunday? And why would we expect a non-Catholic teacher to be an example of Catholicism? Etc., etc.? I asked Fr. Martin before how I would know someone’s private sins simply by looking at them. He didn’t respond.  Now, as I’ve said before, for two dudes wearing wedding bands and making out, the sin is obvious. Two dudes who post their wedding pic to Facebook and Instagram? Even more obvious. Should a teacher put a picture of their preferred birth-control method on-line, I would hope they would be fired, too. Catholic teachers do that how often, though?

What Fr. Martin doesn’t want you to understand is that there are sinners who champion their sins and then there’s the rest of us in the Body of Christ who struggle daily with our faults. We know they are sins, we admit they are sins, and we try our hardest to overcome them. That is not the Brebeuf teacher. He’s flaunting it and the school is letting him. As usual, the Jesuits don’t let us down in the area of letting us down. Very consistent.

The only employees whose lives are placed under a moral microscope are LGBT people. This is clearly discriminatory. Denying the Eucharist to schoolchildren for this reason only makes it worse.

More often than not, the only employees who flaunt their sins on Facebook are the “LGBT” teachers and/or raging feminists. Deal. So, will there be a higher percentage of them fired? Absolutely. Don’t want to get fired, don’t flaunt your sins. It’s super easy. Not sure why Fr. Martin is missing this one. He, himself, tries super hard to maintain plausible deniability. He just slips up every once in a while. He wants martyrs for his various causes. He’s just not willing to be that martyr. So, he will remain ever ambiguous.

The “worse” in this scenario is the scandal of school children caused by a man who publicly lives his life in contradiction to the truth of the Church yet is still allowed to teach in a school pretending to be Catholic. The “worse” is the students being taught that it’s just fine to dissent against Catholic teaching. The “worse” is having students being taught dualism. The “worse” is definitely NOT Archbishop Thompson protecting the students from scandal and the Eucharist from sacrilege. I’d be worried about millstones if I was opposing him.

Statement from William Verbryke, SJ, the school’s president: https://brebeuf.org/update-from-brebeuf-jesuit-president-f…/

NB: The Archbishop permits the 7:45 AM Daily Mass to be celebrated (typically, in high schools for a smaller number of children, though all students and faculty are invited) but not for the traditional “Mass of the Holy Spirit,” where the entire student body and faculty attends. Which makes the rationale all the more inexplicable.

Excuse me while I chuckle a bit. I went on-line and looked for pics of the Brebeuf chapel. I found a total of one that may or may not be it, and I consider myself pretty proficient at Googling.  Couldn’t even find one on their web page. So, forgive me if I wonder if the students would even know where to find the chapel, and I can’t help but doubt the multitudes that would show up early for school to attend. This Mass is most definitely for the Jesuit community. It’s kind of reminiscent of the old sanctions on the SSPX.  They were allowed to have Mass for those that lived in their community day and night. The Jesuits still retain their priesthood even at Brebeuf. The school has just lost its Catholic identity. When you lose that, there are consequences for all involved. I’d be a bit more worried about millstones. Just saying.

Be obstinate. Be proud. Be lost. Or truly be free!

Before I start, I’d like to thank James Martin, SJ for providing the transcript for me. I hate having to find it on Youtube and hoping the transcription in there. Next, I’d like to say I love the beard your sporting these days. Good look on you, Fr. Martin. Now onto the not-quite-so-nice.

Homily for the LGBT Community | World Pride NYC 2019

Be tough. Be free. Be hopeful.

Homily: Pre-Pride Mass, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, June 29, 2019

Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21; Gal 5:1, 13-18; Lk 9:51-62)

What does it mean to be a disciple? What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it mean to be free? What might it mean to be all these things as a Catholic, as an LGBT Catholic, or as the family member or friend or ally of an LGBT Catholic?

While you don’t answer these questions in clear terms, Galatians totally does.  It’s like you went from Kings to Luke and didn’t look at the true slavery defined in Galatians.

At first glance, you might not think that these readings would have much to say to us. After all, the First Book of Kings, was written in roughly 550 BC, when the Hebrew people were in exile in Babylon; St. Paul’s Letter the Galatians was written around AD 55; and the Gospel of Luke, the most “recent” of our readings, was written around AD 85. You might not think they would have much to say to contemporary Catholics, and maybe even less to LGBT people, but of course they do. The Bible is the Living Word of God and, if we are open to it, God’s voice will always be revealed when we read or hear these readings, no matter how ancient.

On the contrary!  I think they say quite a bit to anyone struggling with sin and the temptations of this world. It’s kind of interesting that they fall in “pride” month, but that relatively lost on you.

Please read all three passages, but pay particular attention to Galatians, which James Martin, SJ, skipped almost completely. They all go together quite nicely and show how the “pride” movement leads people into slavery, not away from it.

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;[c] only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence,[d] but through love become slaves to one another. 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

The Works of the Flesh

16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.”

And for good measure and definition of what you so woefully try to keep from the faithful, let’s just throw in the next two verses which are rather inconvenient for you, Fr. Martin. What exactly are those works of the flesh that are opposed to the Spirit?

19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy,[e] drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The highlighted ones epitomize the “pride” movement. Now, lest Fr. Martin point how I don’t equally apply these verses to heterosexual people, I do. I apply them to you and me and everyone in between, but he’s the one always suggesting “loopholes” apply to one class because the teachings offend them or they are somehow not equally applied in his mind.

Let’s start with the Gospel, where Jesus confronts, head on, the demands of his ministry.

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, where he will meet his destiny—his passion, death and resurrection. Even before he gets there, he’s facing opposition, and he knows it. He has just passed through Samaria, where the people have rejected him. “They would not welcome him,” says Luke. Why? For religious reasons: the Samaritans had very different idea of what good Israelite was, and didn’t even recognize the Jerusalem Temple as the seat of God’s presence. In response to their rejection, his disciples want to punish the people of Samaria, but Jesus says no. He’s not going to punish them, but he’s also not going to be dissuaded.

Meh, not exactly.  In the first verses, Christ had already told them what to do if the people wouldn’t listen.  He told them to “shake the dust”, which is a rather big slam in that region even today.

5 Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

Fr. Martin goes on:

Then Jesus turns his attention to the demands of discipleship. And he is extremely blunt with the disciples. He fully understands the costs of discipleship and wants them to as well. “I’ll follow you,’ says one. “Really?” says Jesus. “You’re not going to have anywhere to sleep if you follow me.” Now, not all his disciples followed Jesus along the road—some stayed at home, like Martha and Mary—but many were indeed, like him, itinerant. That’s part of the deal, he’s saying. Two other disciples offer excuses based on family responsibilities: “I have to bury my father,” says one. “I have to say goodbye to my parents,” says another.

But Jesus sweeps these excuses aside. Now, does he really expect that dead people will bury dead people. No, he doesn’t. But he is not above using hyperbole to make a point. If you’re going to follow me, you’re going to have to be tough. And if you’re going to follow me, you can’t look back.

More like you’re going to have to set aside your temptations and proclivities and pick up your cross. It was a serious opportunity to teach, but a huge swing and a miss by Fr. Martin. Missed is generous. I can’t even say overlooked. It’s more like very purposely avoided because he can’t talk about denying oneself.

Jesus goes even further than the Old Testament prophets. In the First Book of Kings, we see Elijah anointing Elisha as a prophet, by throwing his cloak over him. But first Elisha says he needs to care for his father and mother. Once he does so, he follows Elijah.

Jesus goes beyond that. No, he says, no using your family as an excuse. Nothing comes before following me, not even duties to your family. Jesus makes that point elsewhere in the Gospel, when his family comes from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee to confront him. We don’t talk about that episode very much because it shocks many Christians. But the Gospel of Mark reports that his family thinks that Jesus, who has just started his public ministry, is “out of his mind.” So his extended family travels all the way from Nazareth to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, where he is living, to “restrain” or “arrest” him. But when Jesus is told that his mother and brother and sisters are waiting outside his house, he says, “Who are my mother and brothers and sisters? Those who do the will of God.” Ties to God are more important than ties to the family.

(In my greatest TV narrator voice) Also starring in the role of “extended family”, Father James Martin, SJ. And yet he seems to have missed that.

Finally, to drive his point home, Jesus uses an image that people in this agrarian society would have known well: once you put your hand to the plow don’t look back. Because what happens if you take your eyes from the team of oxen? They will plow in the wrong direction. Stay focused.

Riiiigggghhhhhttt!  You, however, Fr. Martin, are the one who is distracting. One of my readers very well described Fr. Martin’s tactics as “whataboutisms.” “Look over there! And over there! And over there!” Look anywhere but to your own sins and shortcomings which is where we should all be focusing.

Now, each of these readings, though ancient, has a great deal to say to all of us today, especially LGBT Catholics. Let me suggest three things.

I would like to point out, once again, that he’s just about completely ignored Galatians.

1) Be tough. The last few years have seen many positive steps for LGBT Catholics. And there are two big trends. The first can be summarized by two words: “Pope Francis.” His five most famous words are still, “Who am I to judge?,” which was first a response to the question of gay priests and then expanded to LGBT people. Francis is the first pope ever to use the word “gay.” He has LGBT friends. And he’s appointed many LGBT-supportive cardinals, archbishops and bishops. Another trend is that as more and more Catholics are coming out and being open about their gender identity, they and their families are bringing their hopes and desires into their parishes, and slowly the culture of the church is being changed.

I would consider that quote as infamous, not famous. Regardless, it seems interviews and quotes are only highlighted if they promote the “pride” agenda. The pope compares gender ideology to a nuclear weapon and we get crickets.  Martin?  Martin?  Bueller? Anyone?

Yet it’s also a hard time to be an LGBT Catholic. Catholic schools are still firing LGBT employees who are civilly married when many other straight church employees, who are also not following various church teachings, have no problem keeping their jobs. Church leaders publish documents, issue statements and offer quotes to the media that betray not the slightest evidence that they have listened to the experience of LGBT people or their families. And of course on the local level, we still find in some places homophobic pastors, pastoral workers and parishioners.

Insert the eye-roll of a professional teenager. Hey, I’m all for cracking down on anyone who publicly flaunts their sins against the Church teachings on morality. GO. FOR. IT.  Not that I really think that’s what Fr. Martin is going for, but hey, I’d agree to that. Fr. Martin would have you believe that every sinner posts it on social media. I’d have to think most don’t. Privacy means something to most people. Yes, there are the twits who want to tell you exactly what’s going on in their bedrooms, but I have many secular friends and they don’t all run up to me to tell me what birth control they are using. (Thank goodness.) If they did, I’d probably suggest they not be allowed to teach in a Catholic school either.

All the more reason to be like Jesus: that is, tough. And to, first of all, claim your rightful place in your church. Look, if you are a baptized Catholic and you are LGBT or are an LGBT parent or family member, you are as much a part of the church as the Pope, your local bishop, your pastor, or me. Root yourself in your baptism and claim your place in your church.

Enter god-complex. The difference between us and Christ is that he was God. (I know Fr. Martin sometimes has issues with this but, I promise, it’s true.) We are sinners. He is God. “Our place” in the Church is kind of irrelevant. Anyone else think of James and John who were worried about where they should sit?! Every time I hear Fr. Martin say, “claim your place,” I think of this. Ironically, Christ’s response was the same as it is in the Sunday readings at the heart of the homily. Be a slave to everyone else and don’t let your sins enslave you by rejecting the cross.

But make no mistake, Jesus is telling us: sometimes it’s going to be hard. Sometimes your family may misunderstand you, as Jesus’s family did. Sometimes you’ll feel unwelcome in places, as Jesus did in Samaria. Sometimes it won’t feel like you have a home, like Jesus felt when he had to sleep by the side of the road. Sometimes you’ll find that your friends disagree with you, as Jesus did when he told the disciples that revenge was not his way. But it’s all part of the journey. It’s part of being with him.

Question: If we’re all struggling to do as Christ demanded – denying ourselves, refusing to be enslaved by sin, and taking up our cross – why would anyone feel these things?  Answer: It’s our sin that is enslaving us. Our freedom is in our rejection of sin. You, sadly, are not encouraging that. You’re just whining about those who get away with sin as if it somehow excuses those who are not. It’s, well, sick.

Throughout all this, Jesus invites you to be tough. Claim your place in your church. Be rooted in your baptism. Know that you are fully Catholic. You know, lately I’ve been hearing that it’s not enough for the Catholic church to be “welcoming” and “affirming” and “inclusive.” And I agree. Because those are the minimum. Instead, LGBT people should fully expect to participate in all the ministries in the church. Not just being welcomed and affirmed and included, but leading. But to do that you have to keep your hand to the plow and you have to be tough.

What EXACTLY do you mean by welcomed, affirmed and included, Father? I think you’ve been ambiguous enough.  SPELL. IT. OUT. Do you think we should affirm, welcome and include peoples’ sins? No, thank you, and the first one that does that for me and my sins should be proverbially shot.

2) Be free. A second lesson from today’s Gospel is Jesus’s supreme freedom. Look again at what the Gospels say about Samaria: “They would not welcome him.” But Jesus doesn’t care if Samaria rejects him. Certainly, he would like the Samaritan people to hear his word. We know this because, in the Gospel of John, he speaks at length to a woman from Samaria, the famous “woman at the well,” and she later shares their encounter with the people of Samaria. But if the Samaritans don’t want to welcome him, fine. He’s free. He moves on.

Uh, Jesus’s supreme freedom? That’s what He gives, not what He gets. He’s God. That’s found in carrying our cross and being a slave to others. It’s not fine for us to reject Him and have Him move on. It’s our complete and utter destruction.

Jesus is free from the need to be loved, liked or approved of. He is free from the need to be loved by the Samaritans. He is free of the need to be liked by the disciples, as when he rebukes James and John. And he is free of the need to be approved of by his family, who early on think he’s crazy. He is supremely free. And what is he free to do? To follow the Father’s will.

Many people in the LGBT community feel unwelcome, like Jesus felt, as well as excluded, rejected and sometimes, as Jesus was, persecuted. It can be painful and enraging. And it’s okay to feel those things. It’s human and it’s natural, and sometimes those feelings should stir you to action on behalf of people and groups who are being persecuted! But, ultimately, Jesus asks us to be free of the need to be loved, liked or approved of. And to be confident in who you are.

I’m not really sure how many times I can say this. He is God. We are not. Rejection of our sinful acts is not persecution. It’s love. Once again you are trying to confuse the rejection of sin and the rejection of the sinner. It’s still not the same no matter how many times you say it. 

Notice that Jesus is also free of the need to punish. James and John wanted to “call down fire from heaven” to destroy the Samaritans who rejected Jesus. But Jesus “rebukes” his disciples for this. That’s not his way. He is free of the need for revenge. So be like Jesus. Be free.

Are you really suggesting that no punishment is coming for those who reject the teachings of Christ? Again, that’s not revenge. The question is, do we want to suffer here on earth or do we want to suffer for eternity.

3) Finally, be hopeful. The life of Christian discipleship is not simply a hard row to plow, it’s not simply tough, it’s not simply a chore. As St. Paul says in today’s reading, “For freedom Christ set us free.” Isn’t that beautiful? The Christian life is not some terribly burden or “yoke” as St. Paul says, echoing the plow imagery of Jesus. No, it’s an invitation to live in freedom. Just as Elijah covered Elisha with his cloak, so all of us, LGBT or straight, who accept Jesus’s invitation are wrapped under what the theologian Barbara Reid calls the “protective cloak of his spirit.” We live in freedom. And in joy!

Your definition of “freedom” doesn’t resemble what St. Paul said. You might have noticed it if you actually bothered to quote it.

And in hope too! It’s tempting for LGBT Catholics and their families to look at the present reality of the church and say, “This will never change.” Or “I feel unwelcome.” Or “I have no place here.” But that is not the only place Jesus wants us to dwell. The future will be so much fuller than the present, and Jesus knows this. We keep our hands to the plow not only so that we don’t lose our way, but so that we don’t take our eyes off the horizon.

To my SSA friends, please note that you are welcome in the Church, and I would love to struggle along with you in overcoming our sins. Please see Fr. Martin’s babbling as what he intends it to be – discouraging and divisive. Our true happiness will come from overcoming temptation. Let’s do it together and don’t let anyone tell you that it is impossible or that the Church wants less for you than everlasting life.

“Sometimes LGBT Catholics say that they’re done with the church, with the faith and with God. Yet when looking for Christ in the church often they’re only seeing the present. But suffering and death are not the only things that Jesus experiences in Jerusalem. They’re not even the most important things. The most important thing is the Resurrection. And the Good News of the Resurrection is that hope is stronger than despair, suffering is never the last word, and love always triumphs over hate. Love always wins. So be hopeful!”

Fr. Martin, I know you like to downplay this, but none of us can get to the Resurrection without first taking up our crosses. I mean, for heaven’s sake, look up the verse that you halfheartedly referred to.

You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

That’s the problem. You don’t ever explain what “drinking the cup” means. You’re leading people to believe that it’s freely indulging in sin. That is so wrong.

These readings, so ancient, so different, so seemingly far away, are actually tailor made for us today, for all of us who are called to encounter God. In these readings we hear God say to us: Be tough, be free, be hopeful. Be proud to be Catholic. And for my LGBT brothers and sister and siblings, be the LGBT Catholic whom you are called to be by Jesus Christ himself.

You’re giving them stones when they ask for bread. Hopefully they will come to feast, despite your best efforts. #pridebeforethefall

Rejected!

I completely reject the ideas expressed in these two tweets. Why? Because they’re completely designed to shut us up. And, quite frankly, they are both complete lies. If this was going to increase Sr. Joan’s presence, Fr. Martin wouldn’t be whining about it. He knows that, good-hearted Catholics, well-catechized or not, will listen to their cardinals, bishops and priests and that terrifies him when his idols get smacked down.

JoanChittesterJoanChittister1

“It’s just going to increase her crowds,” “The Church doesn’t want you thinking for yourself,” or “You’re immature!” is like having that little devil sitting on your shoulder trying to dissuade people from doing right.  It’s akin to Satan trying to tempt Christ. Trying to create doubt to silence people or prevent them from taking action is a HUGE tool in Satan’s tool belt and Fr. Martin uses them often. Nice try. 

As a woman, the comparison between St. Hildegard or St. Catherine and Joan Chittister is OFFENSIVE. These woman are my idols and Sr. Joan is the polar opposite of them.  They embraced wholeheartedly the truths of the Church and defended them. Sr. Joan? Not even close. She quite often rails against them, downplays them, or tries to drag them into the really big tent with things that are not truths of the Church.

Anyone who encourages people to dissent from Catholics teachings shouldn’t be given a platform, especially priests and religious. We have the world for that.  We don’t need people wearing the uniform (Just kidding, she rejects that) or bearing the title trying their best to confuse the faithful. It’s ridiculous to suggest that the Church should give them a stage. It’s like suggesting that Coke should let Pepsi advertise in their commercials.

Can we talk about the lame accusation that those opposed to Sr. Joan are somehow immature?  Well, I would be in very good company. How about every pope who has affirmed the all-male priesthood? Those silly little popes. Who’s immature one, Fr. Martin? “You’re immature because you disagree with me and my peeps!” doesn’t fly with most of the world, Fr. Martin and it’s intellectually dishonest. It’s simply an ad hominem attack with zero back up to quiet the masses.

Lastly, I’ll mention again his other argument that cancelling Sr. Joan will encourage bigger crowds. First of all, he knows that’s likely not true but let’s say for fun that it is? When, exactly, did the Church base anything on popularity? Christ lost followers speaking the truth. That’s the example we should follow. The Church’s goal should never be to do the popular or avoid the unpopular.  The Church’s goal should be do to what’s right to protect the faithful. Mission accomplished in this instance. Our Church hierarchy should have the same reaction to Sr. Joan as Nancy “I’m a Catholic” Pelosi.  Neither should be given any credence because they don’t actually agree or embrace many Church teachings. They just both self-aggrandizing babes. They promote bitterness against and rejection of Church teachings. They are about as necessary to the faith as, say, Madonna. They might be popular among the old feminist crowd but they are useless to faithful Catholics trying to get to heaven. They’re goals are to rule here on earth and they’re actually the ones that lack the maturity to see the big picture.

 

The Jesuit Identity Crisis

Gotta admit, it’s been entertaining watching some Jesuits spontaneously combust over this. Thankfully, there are still some Jesuits applauding the archbishop. I still hold out hope that the Society of Jesus ship will be righted someday.

Indianapolis archbishop revokes Jesuit prep school’s Catholic identity

Can we just say most of the Jesuits willfully turned in their Catholic identity a while ago?  I realize they still want the advertising perk of claiming to be Catholic, but really, those who don’t twist “primacy of conscience” are few and far between They can’t stand it when people point out the obvious, and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis did that in a big way.

Indianapolis, Ind., Jun 20, 2019 / 01:49 pm (CNA).- The Archdiocese of Indianapolis announced Thursday that a local Jesuit high school will no longer be recognized as a Catholic school, due to a disagreement about the employment of a teacher who attempted to contract a same-sex marriage.

Let’s be a little clearer. This teacher didn’t just enter into a same-sex marriage. He made it public on social media. The reality is that he flaunted and made his sin of sodomy public (probably with Jesuit encouragement) and expected Archbishop Thompson to sit on his hands like a good little boy. Thankfully, Archbishop Thompson showed some true fatherhood and held Brebeuf accountable for 1) never bothering to tell the teacher his immortal soul was in danger and 2) scandalizing the students by acting like there wasn’t a HUGE moral problem with his same-sex marriage.

‘All those who minister in Catholic educational institutions carry out an important ministry in communicating the fullness of Catholic teaching to students both by word and action inside and outside the classroom, the archdiocese said in a statement Thursday.

And before the whining ensues (too late, Fr. Martin’s been ranting on social media already), let’s be clear this wasn’t the Church “going into this teacher’s bedroom.” This was the teacher telling all on social media that he is sinning and dang proud of it. As you will see later, the “we’re all sinners” mantra will be tossed out. That’s totally true but some of us aren’t stupid enough to say that we’re not sinning or to purposely make it public. This is the difference.8` We embrace the teachings even when we fall short of them because we know they are truth. We pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, get in line for confession and continue struggling against our foolish selves.

‘In the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, every archdiocesan Catholic school and private Catholic school has been instructed to clearly state in its contracts and ministerial job descriptions that all ministers must convey and be supportive of all teachings of the Catholic Church.

Teachers, the archdiocese said, are classified as ‘ministers’ because ‘it is their duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. To effectively bear witness to Christ, whether they teach religion or not, all ministers in their professional and private lives must convey and be supportive of Catholic Church teaching.’

Regrettably, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School has freely chosen not to enter into such agreements that protect the important ministry of communicating the fullness of Catholic teaching to students. Therefore, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School will no longer be recognized as a Catholic institution by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.’

BAM! This is what EVERY bishop in the U.S. should be doing to protect the faithful from scandal. Are the Jesuits going to listen?Clearly not, but dioceses should still make it darn clear that this is completely inconsistent with Catholic teaching and therefore they are not considered Catholic.

School leaders said that despite the archdiocesan decision, ‘our identity as a Catholic Jesuit institution remains unchanged,’ in a June 20 statement to the school community.

Notice how they have to throw in Jesuit in there? They can’t simply say Catholic, because it’s in no way the same. I do have some news for them. Their Catholic identity is gone and was probably gone a long time ago. 

The conflict between the school and the archdiocese began with an archdiocesan request that the contract of a teacher who is in a same-sex marriage not be renewed.

The school became aware of the teacher’s same-sex marriage in the summer of 2017, according to a June 20 statement from Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ, head of the Jesuits’ Midwest Province.

Paulson said the archdiocese requested ‘two years ago that Brebeuf Jesuit not renew this teacher’s contract because this teacher’s marital status does not conform to church doctrine.’

Before we go on, can we look at several of the canons surrounding Catholic education?  I’m sure Brebeuf would like you to believe that it doesn’t matter, but it does.

Can. 798 Parents are to send their children to those schools which will provide for their catholic education. If they cannot do this, they are bound to ensure the proper catholic education of their children outside the school.

So, while the Jesuits are mostly a bunch of narcissists, not everything is about them. WE, as parents, have a duty to ensure our children’s proper Catholic education, and the archbishop has a duty to make it clear that it won’t be found at Brebeuf.

Can. 801 Religious institutes which have education as their mission are to keep faithfully to this mission and earnestly strive to devote themselves to catholic education, providing this also through their own schools which, with the consent of the diocesan Bishop, they have established.

They no longer have the bishop’s consent, because they clearly devote themselves to a Jesuit education, not a Catholic one.

Can. 803 §1 A catholic school is understood to be one which is under the control of the competent ecclesiastical authority or of a public ecclesiastical juridical person, or one which in a written document is acknowledged as catholic by the ecclesiastical authority.

  • 2 Formation and education in a catholic school must be based on the principles of catholic doctrine, and the teachers must be outstanding in true doctrine and uprightness of life.

 Ouch!  That has got to hurt.

§3 No school, even if it is in fact catholic, may bear the title ‘catholic school’ except by the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Of course, forgetting all other canons, this will be what the Jesuits try their hardest to hang their hat on. “We’re Jesuits and are therefore under our guy, not the local bishop.”  Clearly Archbishop Thompson sees it differently. They better hope they’re right (and the odds of them being right are slim and none) because there’s a wee bit of a problem with “rejecting the legitimate governing authority of the local bishop exercised in accord with the universal law” as Ed Condin hilariously points out here.

Can. 804 §1 The formation and education in the catholic religion provided in any school, and through various means of social communication is subject to the authority of the Church. It is for the Episcopal Conference to issue general norms concerning this field of activity and for the diocesan Bishop to regulate and watch over it.

  • 2 The local Ordinary is to be careful that those who are appointed as teachers of religion in schools, even non-catholic ones, are outstanding in true doctrine, in the witness of their christian life, and in their teaching ability.

Can. 805 In his own diocese, the local Ordinary has the right to appoint or to approve teachers of religion and, if religious or moral considerations require it, the right to remove them or to demand that they be removed.

Oh, did I mention that Archbishop Charles C. Thompson is a canon lawyer? Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ, is not. So, yeah.

The school leaders wrote that “After long and prayerful consideration, we determined that following the Archdiocese’s directive would not only violate our informed conscience on this particular matter, but also set a concerning precedent for future interference in the school’s operations and other governance matters that Brebeuf Jesuit leadership has historically had the sole right and privilege to address and decide.

More like “deformed conscience”, but whatever.

Paulson stated that Brebeuf Jesuit ‘respects the primacy of an informed conscience of members of its community when making moral decisions.’

Wrong. Cardinal Arinze has trashed this false notion, as I have written before.  rimacy of Conscience doesn’t trump objective evil. Please see Cardinal Arinze’s complete schooling here: https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/primacy-of-conscience-the-arinze-smackdown-of-the-false-notions/  I realize the Jesuits absolutely need to twist the teaching of “Primacy of Conscience,” but they do it at their own peril and at the peril of those who follow.

‘We recognize that at times some people who are associated with our mission make personal moral decisions at variance with Church doctrine; we do our best to help them grow in holiness, all of us being loved sinners who desire to follow Jesus.’

Wait, what?! Really?! When was the last time you did this? The teacher entered into a same-sex marriage. How did you help him grow in holiness? Did you mention that was a sin or did you simply say “Welllllllllll, that’s “at variance with Church doctrine.’ Carry on!” Please. Does ANYONE buy this? And what’s with “loved sinner?” A little ambiguous. We’re not loved because we are sinners. We’re loved despite the fact. And does everyone really desire to follow Jesus? Or do many desire to follow their temptations?

He added that this problem ‘cuts to the very heart of what it means to be a Jesuit institution with responsibilities to both the local and universal church, as well as for the pastoral care we extend to all members of our Catholic community.’

Can you possibly tell me what it means to be a Jesuit institution these days? AMDG is pretty much gone, replaced by AMSJG.

‘I recognize this request by Archbishop Charles Thompson to be his prudential judgment of the application of canon law recognizing his responsibility for oversight of faith and morals as well as Catholic education in his archdiocese,’ the priest wrote. ‘I disagree with the necessity and prudence of this decision.’

So, the non-canon lawyer thinks he knows more about canon law than the canon lawyer.  Why does that not surprise anyone? You recognized the request and told him to shove it! Remember Ed Condon’s comments, Father. Are you really just disagreeing because he gave a command and you ignored. And, hey, you just might want to go with the archbishop who is a canon lawyer instead of your own silly notions.

The Jesuits maintain that their school’s internal administrative matters should be made by their own leaders, rather than the local Church.

Of course they do.

While the Code of Canon Law establishes that religious orders, like the Jesuits, ‘retain their autonomy in the internal management of their schools,’ it also says that the diocesan bishop has ‘the right to issue directives concerning the general regulation of Catholic schools’ including those administered by religious orders.

Well, somebody finally quotes the Code of Canon Law but it isn’t the Jesuits.

Can. 806 §1 The diocesan Bishop has the right to watch over and inspect the catholic schools situated in his territory, even those established or directed by members of religious institutes. He has also the right to issue directives concerning the general regulation of catholic schools these directives apply also to schools conducted by members of a religious institute, although they retain their autonomy in the internal management of their schools.

Canon law also says that the diocesan bishop “is to be careful that those who are appointed as teachers of religion in schools, even non-Catholic ones, are outstanding in true doctrine, in the witness of their Christian life, and in their teaching ability.

The Church’s law adds that the diocesan bishop “has the right to appoint or to approve teachers of religion and, if religious or moral considerations require it, the right to remove them or to demand that they be removed.”

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis policy, which says that all school teachers and administrators have a responsibility to teach the Catholic faith, is a common interpretation of those norms in U.S. Catholic dioceses.

Imagine that! A policy based on canon law. Silly Archdiocese! Who does that?! Not the Jesuits.

The archdiocesan June 20 statement notes that the archdiocese ‘recognizes all teachers, guidance counselors and administrators as ministers.’ The 2012 Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC Supreme Court decision established that religious institutions are free to require those it recognizes as ministers to uphold religious teachings as a condition of employment.

The school’s leaders claim that ‘the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ direct insertion into an employment matter of a school governed by a religious order is unprecedented.’

PROVE IT! I know it’s super helpful to your cause to throw these fantasies out there, but can you actually back it up?  And can you cite a canon to prove your point?  As usual, nope.

Fr. Paulson framed the problem as one of “the governance autonomy regarding employment decisions of institutions sponsored by the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus.

‘Our disagreement is over what we believe is the proper governance autonomy regarding employment decisions which should be afforded a school sponsored by a religious order. In this particular case, we disagree regarding the prudential decision about how the marital status of a valued employee should affect this teacher’s ongoing employment at Brebeuf Jesuit.’

Your disagreement is with the Code of Canon Law and Catholic doctrine, which is par for the course for Jesuits these days. I love the way you try to make this about “marital status” instead of objective evil.  That’s so you.

The school’s leaders added that failing to renew the teacher’s contract would cause ‘harm’ to ‘our highly capable and qualified teachers and staff.’

Are you trying to tell me that there are no outstanding teachers out there who actually follow the teachings of the Church? I realize that’s not high on your priority list, but it is in the mission for Catholic education.

‘Our intent has been to do the right thing by the people we employ while preserving our authority as an independent, Catholic Jesuit school.’

Your intent has been to thumb your nose at the teachings of the Church, plain and simple. Your whining about authority means pretty much zip.

The leaders noted that they ‘are prayerfully discerning how best to proceed with the process of appealing the Archdiocese’s directive.’

Fr. Paulson said the province will appeal the decision, first through the archbishop ‘and, if necessary, [pursuing] hierarchical recourse to the Vatican.’

Appeal away, while I continue to pray for high turnover at the Vatican. And while all that’s going on, I hope parents will listen to what the Archbishop is saying and protect their children from a disastrous school like yours. So, I hope your enrollment will plummet until you get your Catholic identity back.

Canon law establishes that ‘no school, even if it is in fact Catholic, may bear the title ‘Catholic school’ except by the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority,’ in this case, the Archbishop of Indianapolis.

Brebeuf was founded in 1962 by the Society of Jesus. Its 2019 enrollment is 795 students, and tuition at the school is $18,300.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has previously addressed similar issues.

In August 2018, Shelley Fitzgerald, a guidance counselor at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, was placed on paid administrative leave. An employee of an archdiocesan school, Fitzgerald had attempted to contract a same-sex marriage in 2014.

At that time, Archbishop Thompson wrote that ‘the archdiocese’s Catholic schools are ministries of the Church. School administrators, teachers and guidance counselors are ministers of the faith who are called to share in the mission of the Church. No one has a right to a ministerial position, but once they are called to serve in a ministerial role they must lead by word and example. As ministers, they must convey and be supportive of the teachings of the Catholic Church. These expectations are clearly spelled out in school ministerial job descriptions and contracts, so everyone understands their obligations.’

He added that ‘When a person is not fulfilling their obligations as a minister of the faith within a school, Church and school leadership address the situation by working with the person to find a path of accompaniment that will lead to a resolution in accordance with Church teaching.’

The archbishop concluded: ‘Let us pray that everyone will respect and defend the dignity of all persons as well as the truth about marriage according to God’s plan and laws.’

Yes, let’s all pray for this. I’m skeptical that the Jesuits involved are actually going to do that but I will hope.

Thank you, Archbishop Thompson, for your courageous leadership. I hope and pray that all bishops in our Church will stop allowing morality to be trounced in our schools and that they, too, will take their duty under canon law seriously.

Martin’s Twitter Manifesto

Fr. Martin is now using Twitter to post his latest book.  Honestly, by using 15 tweets to get his latest message of dissent across, he’s kind of violating the spirit of Tweeting, don’t you think?  If you can’t get your point across in 280 characters, move onto another platform.

Fr. Martin has apparently decided the crisis is so huge that he can move into full Saul Alinsky mode. 

Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. ~Saul Alinsky

Of course Rahm Emmanuel made this tactic a little clearer when he said:

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before. 

The radicals’ modus operandi has always been to exploit the victims of a crisis and, in fact, even cause a crisis to advance their agenda.  Good old Fr. Martin is just another in a long list of dissenters who embraces this idea, as shown in his string of tweets found here: https://twitter.com/JamesMartinSJ/status/1036280808724733952

For those who abhor Twitter and social media, here are all his tweets nicely copied and pasted for you with my comments in between. 

Dear friends: Like you, I am sick about what is happening in our church. Like you, I’ve prayed about how best to move ahead. Our church will survive. The “gates of hell” will not prevail against it, as Jesus Christ himself promised us.

We stood against you this long, Fr. Martin.  We’re quite sure of Christ’s promise.  I’m pretty sure your world is about to turn upside-down, though.

But Christ, through the Holy Spirit, urges us to act: to rebuild the church and help his holy and faithful people.  Without certain steps, people will flow out of the church, never to return, like water from the side of the Crucified One on Good Friday.

What the what?!  Fr. Martin is comparing water flowing from the side of Christ to people leaving the Church???  I know he’s fond of saying “I’m not a theologian!” but how awful is that comparison?  The water from the side of Christ was a fulfillment of prophecy and had so much good symbolism for our Church. Martin’s comparison turns that on its head.  Here’s something for you to read if you don’t believe me: https://catholicexchange.com/the-meaning-of-his-piercing

As happened when Christ spoke the Truth, some left and some will still leave.  This is never a reason to downplay or distort the truth. 

Some of you may not agree with each step,

I’d take that bet in a heartbeat! 

but I believe that each one is essential for us to rebuild the church. This list is by no means complete or exhaustive.  With a focus on the US church, and in order of immediacy, they are as follows:

I’m glad you admit it is incomplete, because it lacks any sort of spiritual dimension to fight the battle ahead.  While cardinals and bishops across the country – and indeed the world – are suggesting prayer, penance, sacrifice, spiritual reparation, prayer to St. Michael after all Masses, etc., what it the world are you suggesting?  Oh, yes, removing anything that causes us the slightest bit of inconvenience or hardship.

First, while journalists have discredited large sections of the Vigano “testimony,” and while many charges have been shown to be baseless, one answer that journalists will not be able to uncover is Pope Francis’s knowledge and actions regarding the McCarrick case.

If wishes were ponies, Fr. Martin!  You won’t even address the charges.  With a wave of your hand, you try using Jedi mind tricks.  “These are not the charges you are looking for!”  Let me clue you in.  You are not Sir Alec Guinness by any stretch of the imagination.  Your delivery causes a HUGE chunk of the Church to chuckle.  It’s such a desperate, desperate attempt.

The faithful are exceedingly confused about this one question; a short and simple answer from the Pope, or from the Vatican, on that specific issue will help us move us ahead.

Isn’t it curious that you think you get to dictate the questions we find credible and worthy of answering?  The Pope answering yes or no to a single question is never going to move us ahead.  By the way, the only response we’ve gotten in the entire disastrous crisis is, “No comment, you hateful people!”.  I’m hoping and praying that will change, but I seriously doubt it.

Second, dioceses and religious orders should open their abuse files to the public, rather than waiting until they are forced to. Otherwise, the church will face years of civic authorities uncovering our crimes and sins. Confession is not about just what you’re forced to reveal

So, let me get this right.  The dioceses and religious orders should open their files, but the Vatican should not have to, as you and your buddy, Austen, think? 

ceoquote

Your idea is just to have the Holy Father give us a yes or no and go with it?  When there are documents that could answer the charges? (Although I’m betting a whole lot of shredding has been going on in various places in the Church hierarchy, it’s only a guess.  That’s OK, Vigano probably still has a copy of all of it.)

Third, lay leaders should investigate the McCarrick case. More importantly, lay leaders should be placed in charge of all review boards in both dioceses and religious orders, if they are not already in charge. The system has shown that it cannot police itself.

Why?  It’s a simple question.  It would seem you’ve said on more than one occasion the unscrupulous live in my world, too. Weren’t the guys at the Vatican bank members of the laity? That didn’t work out too well, did it?  What is the benefit of simply having the laity investigate when we can be just as wicked?  I’d be a little worried if we were talking about putting Jesuits in charge, but I’m quite comfortable with Church investigating the Church.  Oh, and I’m definitely not comfortable with anyone who reads the National catholic Reporter going anywhere near the Church files. That’s for sure.  They’re gullible or agenda driven.  How about I just pick who gets to investigate?  I’m reasonably sure I could do a good job.

Fourth, bishops found guilty of abuse, or of covering up the crimes, must be removed from their posts as soon as possible. Perhaps just as important, when bishops resign, the Vatican must be clear about the actual reasons for their resignations.

Really?  YOU want to go there?  I’d have to think we’d be pulling out a lot more of your friends than mine, but hey, I’m willing to give it a try.  That said, why limit it to bishops?  How about priests? How about cardinals?

Fifth, demonization within the church must end. It is a stumbling block to healing and a desolation to all. Social media has played a malign role. The stereotyping of whole groups (gays, celibates, bishops, conservatives, liberals) must end. Personal vilification must stop.

You’re a uniter, not a divider, huh, Fr. Martin?  This is a classic liberal tactic.  Wreak havoc and then put yourself in there as the healer, Messiah, etc., etc., etc.  You are very, very guilty of demonization.  The “holier than though” ploy doesn’t work here, Father. You revel in ad hominems with zero back-up so save it. 

Sixth, public acts of penance from the hierarchy must take place. Letters and statements are, as we have seen, insufficient. The laity should decide what form these ritual acts should take. Symbols, as well as practical action, matter as well here.

What in THE heck are you talking about here?  Does this mean you think sack cloths and ashes will make everything OK.  I might remind you that private acts of The many bishops who have weighed in on Vigano’s claims have talked of penance and reparations on behalf of the abusers and those that covered it up, and they’re not even the guilty ones.   We want a spiritual and moral cleansing in our Church.  We’re fine with a thorough investigation here and at the Vatican.  The only people trying to thwart any of these is in your club.

Seventh, both married men and women must be included in all levels of decision-making in the church—including heading Vatican congregations, helping to select bishops, reforming the Curia, etc.

We’re now in our second decade of you trying to put the laity in charge of the Church, yet you never seem to explain why a Church that has survived 2,000 years without that has to do this.  Methinks you’re just hoping to get your cast of same-sex attracted, feminists, and dissenters into these positions.  I’m just guessing your whole attitude would change if, say, Janet Smith was put in charge. Janet! Janet!

Married men and women must also be included in all levels of leadership—including leadership in the church’s liturgical life, something of immense symbolic importance. Married priests and women deacons are a start.

Boom!  And the laundry list is complete. Please note the use of “are a start.”  Pray-tell, where would we go from there, Fr. Martin?  Could it be priestesses?  Could it be active homosexual priests?  Lesbian priestesses?  I can’t even imagine all the nightmares running around in your hopes and dreams.

Eighth, a thoroughgoing review of seminary and religious formation, especially regarding education in human sexuality, must happen—again.  There are still seminaries and religious orders where candidates are incapable of, or prevented from, discussing their own sexuality.

OK, again, I’m going to suggest Janet Smith also be put in charge of that.  Whaaaattt?!  Not what you had in mind? What could the problem be?   I’m going to quote myself for a change:

I don’t want to hear about “gay priests.”  I don’t want to hear about “straight priests.”  I don’t want to hear about any priests who spend time focusing on their “sexual identity.”  I want priests who focus on serving God and who focus on leading his people to Heaven.  Anyone doing less than that shouldn’t be a priest.  So, if your focus is on you and your sexual inclinations, please leave.

Your “identity” was already given to you by God.  It reflects your body.  Your inclinations, that’s a whole other ballgame.

Ninth, clericalism must die. The system that privileges the word and status of bishops and priests over those of lay people (and parents); that insists on an exaggerated deference for clergy and bishops, and that has functioned as a closed world, must be dismantled.

Uh, there’s no system of “privileges.”  If by privilege you mean giving up and dying to oneself in order to serve God’s people, I will never give up considering my priests privileged.  I respect them as priests of God, which is simply a better status.  Now if you mean privileged as in your cronies who attend gala after gala and are regaled upon, I’d agree. Let’s see?  Who does that again?  Does the Met Gala ring a bell to the priest all excited about being called “sexy?”

Our priests should live as humble servants of Christ, honored and loved by their flocks as a family honors and loves their father.  I realize being a humble servant isn’t in your wheelhouse, but it is to faithful priests.  This, as I’ve said before, isn’t wholesale clericalism.  It’s the clericalism of priests trying to normalize the same-sex attraction, like you, Father Martin.

Finally, despair about this situation must be resisted. Despair does not come from God. The Holy Spirit is with us, and will help us through even the most difficult of times. We must never forget Jesus’s words to his disciples: “Fear not!”

Oh, I don’t despair.  In fact, I have more hope than I had yesterday about the direction of the Church. When you’ve hit rock bottom, you can only go up.  A full and complete investigation of the Truth is what will bring beauty and glory back to the Church.  That’s what we want, and we want it now.  Any suggestion from you that we should investigate all claims of whatever will be smacked down and thrown back at you as the obfuscator you are.

On that note, I’d like to let my readers know that I got into Catholic activism in 2002 because of this ongoing abuse scandal. Before that, I spent my time happily focusing on my kids.  Sadly, the liberals in my diocese who worship Fr. James Martin, SJ, decided to co-opt the victims’ pain to promote a liberal agenda which had nothing to do with priests abusing children, and they continued to cover-up for their buddies who had done things like getting arrested in a public restroom for indecent activity and propositioning an undercover officer.  If you think their focus is the victims, think again.

I will tell you this, don’t think you’re helpless because you don’t have a doctorate in theology.  A bunch of nothing special laity affected great change in our diocese and Church, and you can too.  Despite the calls for more involvement from the laity, the Fr. Martins of the world are scared by the laity being on fire more than anything else. If you think you can’t do undercover work, write, be a thorn for the diocesan dissenter, affect change, etc., I’m here to tell you if I can do it, anyone can. No special talent needed, just a lot of prayers to the Holy Spirit and hope.  Those who have been through the worst of the worst brought all this crud to light and so can you.

Stephen Herried had a very poignant tweet.

 

Stephen Herreid

While I don’t have a problem with sophisticates and I learn tons from them, it’s going to take far more of us than that.  Activists are simply people who are active.   This needs to be all of us.

#Resign #NoMoreSilence #Investigate

Martin’s Cozy with Proximate Occasions of Sin

Let me say this, I am a mom of a multitude of kids and have spent their lives trying to ensure their safety and well-being.  I have THE biggest stake with what’s been going on in the Church for decades.  Fr. James Martin totally and utterly ignores my kids as well as yours in his quest to legitimize his pet proclivities.  It’s sickening and he needs to stop. I hope the mothers of the world will let him have it!

The witch hunt for gay priests

James Martin, S.J.

August 30, 2018

I object to the title in so many ways.  First of all, I don’t want to hear about “gay priests.”  I don’t want to hear about “straight priests.”  I don’t want to hear about any priests who spend time focusing on their “sexual identity.”  I want priests who focus on serving God and who focus on leading his people to Heaven.  Anyone doing less than that shouldn’t be a priest.  So, if your focus is on you and your sexual inclinations, please leave.

I’ve probably told this story before, but  under our old regime with one of Cardinal Mahony’s buddies, we once had a priest luncheon in our diocese to “support gay priests.”  A few faithful priests, befuddled, went just to see what it was all about.  One of them courageously stood up and asked, “Why in the world would you want to be known as a ‘gay priest?’  I just want to be known as a Catholic priest.”  Amen, Father!  Amen!  I have no idea if this priest would be attracted to men or attracted to women, because his focus was on God as it should be. 

This is the biggest problem with any priest who wants to be considered a “gay priest.”  The focus is on them.  The focus is on normalizing “gay.” The focus is on undermining Church teaching to normalize “gay.”  This is why they are so hostile to the catechism’s use of “disordered.”  Rather than helping people to deal with this particular disorder like they would any other – drug use, alcoholism, etc. – they want to simply call it something else.

I was just talking to a priest friend the other day about this.  I’m quite sure there are some priests, who if they sat around and focused on it, could conclude they were same-sex attracted.  But they don’t.  They focus on Our Lord, Our Lady, and the Holy Eucharist.  That’s their whole-hearted attraction.  They’re focus is quite vertical.  I have ZERO problem with them, because their world is about getting to Heaven and about getting others to Heaven. They are in love and attracted to God.  Who could have a problem with that?  These priests are usually infectious and help us overcome all of our disordered tendencies no matter what they are: SSA, infidelity, drug/alcohol use, etc., etc., etc.  They’re not same-sex attracted because their attraction is, again, completely vertical.  This is what I want in a priest. 

So, any priest who has slapped one of the “identity” titles on themselves has already failed their ordained mission.

The next thing I’d like to point out is purely practical.  We don’t house our priests with our sisters.  My gosh.  For this same reason, people who identify as same-sex attracted should not be in the priesthood for their own good as well as ours.  Talk about putting yourself in a near occasion of sin!  The sin with that lies not in acting on the attraction but in putting yourself in an occasion to act on it.  Again, why would I want a priest who is willing to put his hand on the hot stove??? Duh.  If they are doing it, how can they possibly tell their flock not to?  Do they tell the alcoholic to go hang out in a bar?  Do they tell the guy prone to watching porn to go play pool in a strip club?  I’m sure some these days too because they’re hardly ones to talk!  How is it that Fr. Martin is going to keep promoting the idea that this should be done???  It’s got to be one of the most uncharitable things I’ve seen.

It is not surprising that Catholics are furious about the latest sex abuse crisis, which began, most recently, with accusations of abuse and harassment against the former cardinal-archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick; deepened with the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing 70 years of abuse in the Commonwealth; and intensified with the former Vatican nuncio to the United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s 11-page “testimony” accusing many high-ranking clerics, including Pope Francis, with covering up the crimes.

Catholics have a right to be angry at abusive clergy, at bishops who covered up their crimes and at the sclerotic clerical system that allowed the crimes and cover-ups to go unpunished for decades.


Oh, gag, Father Martin.  Thank you SO MUCH for giving us your permission to be angry at abusive clergymen. It also seems like you realized the “shoot the messenger” tactic was a bust.  How about you now give us permission to be angry at the circumstances that got them there?  

But the intensity of hate and level of anger directed at gay priests are unprecedented in my memory.

What I mean by “gay priests” is ordained priests with a homosexual orientation who are living their promises of celibacy (and in religious orders, their vows of chastity). That it is necessary even to define the term “gay priest” points out the widespread misinformation about what has become perhaps the most incendiary topic in the current discussion. A few commentators have even declared that the term “gay” implies that a priest must be sexually active. As I use the term, a “gay priest” simply means an ordained priest who has a homosexual orientation.

This is about occasions of sin, Father.  I’m sure you’re aware that there are proximate and remote occasions of sin, even though, as you like to put it, you are not a theologian.  This is Catholic 101.

Theologians distinguish between the proximate and the remote occasion. They are not altogether at one as to the precise value to be attributed to the terms. De Lugo defines proximate occasion (De poenit. disp. 14, n. 149) as one in which men of like calibre for the most part fall into mortal sin, or one in which experience points to the same result from the special weakness of a particular person. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11196a.htm

Certainly a same-sex attracted man willfully putting himself in a living situation with other men is a proximate occasion of sin. And, in many of our seminaries today, they’re also very willfully putting themselves in living situations with other people with same-sex attractions.  Sounds like a grand plan for a chaste life! I’d think you’d be appalled at male and female religious being housed together.  Why are you so obstinate that anyone who has an attraction to men shouldn’t be housed with them? Can you say double-standard? This is one big duh! Do you use any form of the Act of Contrition, Father?  Geez.

The long-simmering rage against gay priests and the supposed “homosexual subculture” or “Lavender Mafia” has been fanned into a fire that threatens to engulf not only faithful gay priests but also, more broadly, L.G.B.T. people.

OK, let’s talk about a homosexual subculture. Does McCarrick ring a bell?!?!  You want to call it clericalism and some want to call it a homosexual problem.  I think I have the balanced name for it.  This shall henceforth be known as “Clericalism of priests trying to normalize the same-sex attraction.” These guys cannot admit their sacred cow is not so sacred and so they try to keep it under wraps.  They’re willing to protect their agendas more than the victims.  As you admit later with the “hundreds of gay priests you know” comment, that subculture is there.  I know priests who have been run out of their seminaries because they weren’t willing to condone the sexual depravity going on around them.  I mean, before it was reformed recently, everyone knew that you couldn’t go to our local seminary if you were a faithful Catholic.  You’d never make through without being thrown or driven out. Almost all those who bought into all the teachings of the Church, especially in the area of homosexuality, had to attend seminary out-of-state. Thankfully our seminary has been fast-tracked for rehabilitation.

While the contempt directed at gay clergy is coming from just a handful of cardinals, bishops and priests, as well as a subset of Catholic commentators, it is as intense as it is dangerous. “It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord,” wrote Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wis. A Swiss bishop, Marian Eleganti, declared that the “networks” of gay priests in the church must be investigated before the “great purification” can begin. A bishop in Kazakhstan, Athanasius Schneider, listing remedies for clergy abuse, began with this: “cleanse uncompromisingly the Roman Curia and the episcopate from homosexual cliques and networks.” Cardinal Raymond Burke, the influential former archbishop of St. Louis, said, “There is a homosexual culture, not only among the clergy but even within the hierarchy, which needs to be purified at the root.”

This isn’t contempt.  It’s a reality.  It’s compassionate to the priests who consider themselves”gay” as well as to those who might be victims from abusing priests and many of those are people who simply couldn’t handle the proximate occasion of sin!  Homosexual abusers are 80% of the problem. Stop burying your head in the sand.

Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, takes this to its inevitable conclusion, telling the Associated Press that what is needed is “a complete and thoroughgoing removal of all homosexual clergymen in the church.”

I dare anyone to read the first 300-pages of the Pennsylvania grand jury report and tell me that it’s the best start we could make, but surely more needs to be done, because there are some heterosexual abusers, too.  That said, this first step would eliminate 80% of the problem as quickly as possible.

In the last few days I have seen more homophobic comments on my social media accounts than ever before. The rise in vitriol is not surprising, especially after such comments from church leaders and Catholic commentators or after headlines like these: “Pope Blames Sex Abuse on Clericalism, Leaves Out Homosexuality”; “Sex Abuse Crisis in Church is about Homosexuality Not Pedophilia”; “Homosexual Predators, not Pedophile Priests, Are Church’s Deadly Cancer. 

What’s vitriolic about any of these?  Pedophilia is an outlier in the grand scheme of numbers.  Homosexuality isn’t.  I’m wondering if you would say that a someone suffering from pedophilia should be allowed to continue on or enter into the priesthood as long as they remain celibate?  After all, a pedophile is one who’s attracted to children (pre-pubescent).  It doesn’t necessarily mean acting on it. I dare you to say that’s just peachy.  If you can’t, then you are a hypocrite.  Either way, you lose.

Archbishop Viganò’s “testimony” was also rife with this same kind of language: “These homosexual networks, which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc., act under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles, and strangle innocent victims and priestly vocations, and are strangling the entire Church.” (Full disclosure: both Archbishop Viganò in his “testimony” and Cardinal Burke in a recent interview have mentioned me by name.) 

And there it is. It’s all about you. They mentioned you by name because, well, you are kind of a jerk.  You put aside all reality for your pet proclivities.  You lead souls astray and you encourage people to “be themselves” (i.e., to act on their proclivities).  You try to normalize the disordered.  Etc., etc., etc. You’re nothing new.  You are just another in a long list (and the most notable today) and look where it’s gotten us?

It is important to say that the majority (but not all) of the clerical abuse crimes were cases of priests preying on male adolescents and boys. Also, the majority (but not all) of the sexual harassment cases were men harassing other men or young men. Prescinding from the complex psychological questions of how much a person’s sexuality has to do with abuse, how much differentials in power do and how much proximity does, we should state clearly: Many priests abusers had a homosexual orientation. That is undeniable.

Funny you should mention proximity.  Sorry, Father, but putting oneself in a proximate occasion of sin goes against everything the Church teaches.  You remember Christ’s words in Matthew 18:8?

And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. 9And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Strange.  I don’t remember Christ saying “But if you’re homosexual, you get a pass on this. Go right ahead and move in with that near occasion of sin!”

But the next step is where the conversation can take a dangerous turn. That many abusers were gay priests does not mean that all or even most gay priests are abusers. It is a dangerous and unjust stereotype. Simply because a certain percentage of a group acts in a certain way does not mean the entire group or even most of the group acts in the same way.

Really?  You’re going to go with “The other guy did it too!”  Doesn’t fly with my kids and it doesn’t fly with you. TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT! If you were a victim of a homosexual predator, would you take comfort in knowing that some abusers weren’t homosexual???  You are completely deaf, Father Martin.  Yeah, let’s ignore 80% of the victims because 20% were victimized by a mix of heterosexual predators and pedophiles? 

Then why does it seem like so many gay priests are abusive?

Uh, because they’ve repeatedly put themselves in a proximate occasion of sin, perhaps?!

One reason is that there are no public examples of the healthy, celibate gay priests to counteract these stereotypes. Why not? Because gay priests are not willing to be as public about their identity as straight priests are. For example, in a community suffering from a spate of L.G.B.T. violence, there can be no references in a Sunday homily to knowing what it is like to be bullied for being gay. The presider cannot say, “As a boy, I was bullied, too, for being gay.”

As I’ve said before, Fr. Martin, you first. After that – no, no, no, and no!

My friends suffering from same-sex attraction and striving to live celibate lifestyles all say about the same thing.  They say their relationships with strong, heterosexual, chaste, God-oriented men are what help them to live a chaste lifestyle.

“Why do gay priests feel that they cannot be public? For several reasons. First, the fear of coming out in this increasingly poisonous environment. (Ask yourself if you would come out when even bishops are calling for a “cleansing” of men like you.) Second, bishops and religious order superiors fear that their men (again, celibate and chaste priests) could be targeted by the media or homophobic websites. Third, an underlying shame about their sexuality. Fourth, an innate desire for privacy about a personal aspect of one’s life. Fifth, the fear that in the absence of other “out” priests one might become the “poster boy” for the group.”

Or, here’s another few reasons.  They have a conscience that won’t let them do it. Or, maybe, just maybe, some of them are not obsessed with defining their sexuality and only want to be known as Catholic priests? I mean, this is ridiculous.  Nobody is complaining about the priests with vertical thinking here.  They are complaining about priests who obsess about their sexual identity.  The good ones sit around thinking about God and his Church, and that’s how they live every day.  They care about being fathers to all of us, homosexual or heterosexual (and anything else you want to throw in there).  They believe in living a life of self-mastery in their devotion to God, not out of some martyrdom complex. They admit they have struggles in life but they don’t have to wear their sins like a badge and they simply invite people to struggle along with them.

Such reasons mean that the example of the many hardworking, healthy and celibate gay priests (and chaste members of religious orders) is almost entirely absent from both the church’s consciousness and the public eye. There are exceptions, like the Rev. Gregory Greiten of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Rev. Fred Daley of the Diocese of Syracuse, priests who have come out publicly as gay. But Fathers Greiten and Daley are two of only a handful of clergy like this. And until bishops and religious superiors support gay priests in their desires to be more public about who they are, and gay priests are willing to pay the price of honesty, the situation is unlikely to change.

You have failed to you why “I’m out and proud” is necessary to accomplish this.   Shouldn’t they simply be known as hardworking and healthy priests?  Or, how about devout priests instead of agenda driven?  Why is it that any priest who keeps his vows and helps everyone toward Heaven isn’t good enough for you, Father Martin? 

Consequently, the stereotype of the “gay priest abuser” now predominates. To use another example, imagine if the only stories aired about members of an ethnic, social or religious group were of those who had committed crimes. Further, imagine that no positive stories about their law-abiding members were made public. Eventually, the negative stereotype would dominate: “All members of this group are criminals.” (Sadly, this is not a hard scenario to imagine: Many ethnic groups face the same kinds of stereotypes.)

Because, Father Martin, “priestly abusers who are ‘gay’” cause  over 80% of the problem!!!   You’re repeatedly asking us to close our eyes to this fact.  I’m sorry it happened to anyone at all, but unlike you, I’m not gleeful to hear that abusers are one class or another.  I mean, I’m sure you breathe a sigh of relief every time a heterosexual deviant is found. Me on the other hand?  I’m just disgusted all the way around.  Why?  Because I have children who are around many in the priesthood all of the time.  Yes, I think it totally right to first remove the group that’s in a proximate occasion of sin and then try to figure out who the other 20% are.  I’m reasonably sure that many of the 80% of victims wished the Church had followed her rule, too.  How could they not? 

This fear leads to a cycle of secrecy: Fewer celibate gay priests in the public eye means more stereotyping. More stereotyping leads to more fear. More fear leads to more secrecy.

I fail to understand why a priest following and embracing the teachings of the Church fosters secrecy.  It would seem to foster authentic Catholicism.  I’m a married female and the celibate priest is always going to be an example to me.  In your line of thinking, though, if I’m attracted to men and they’re attracted to men, they’re somehow a better example of how to follow the Church teaching for me?  Please.  I don’t need to know the sexual attraction of a priest for them to be an example to me.  In fact, there’s nobody in the priesthood like me and I’m all the better for it.  Who really is the one stereotyping here?

Other malign stereotypes are also being peddled, for example, the idea that homosexuality inevitably leads to abuse. This is contradicted by almost every study, including the John Jay Report, an exhaustive study of sex abuse in the Catholic Church between 1950 and 2010. Most abuse happens in families. And no one, as far as I know, suggests that heterosexuality promotes abuse.

Red-herring.  We’re not talking about the rest of the world.  We’re talking about our priesthood. That said, not following the teachings and disciplines of the Church is where the entire world gets into trouble. That should start with the priesthood.  If we don’t expect it in our priesthood, not really sure how we’d expect more from society.

Beyond these reasons is a perhaps more important explanation: the intense homophobia that still exists in some quarters of the church. And this must be named for what it is: hate. A few days ago, a gay priest texted me this astute observation: “We are so used to gay people being mistreated in the church that we can internalize the homophobic bigotry that we are now seeing, and that Viganò expressed in his testimony, and fail to call it out. It’s deeply hateful. And if he were making similar attacks against another ethnic or religious group, there would be a far different reaction—probably even from within the church. But because gay priests have been so conditioned to play the scapegoat we are too ashamed to speak out.

Or maybe it’s totally hateful of you to put your pet proclivities ahead of the mountain of victims and future victims!!!  And, by the way, I totally and utterly resent you telling me I hate anyone.  Just like you, I have many friends, relatives, and countrymen who suffer from same-sex attraction.  No, it’s not just your little circle of friends.  You’re insinuating that if we speak the truth about the abuse scandal, about active homosexual lifestyles, etc., that we are somehow hateful.  You can call me hateful all you like, but I even love you.  Don’t agree with you, like you, or respect you, get angry with you, but I love you.  Your constant insinuation that we have to agree with every action or thought or to accept either from a person to love them is totally and utterly ridiculous.  There are alcoholics, cohabiters, active homosexuals, etc., etc., etc., in my little world of family and friends, just like almost everyone else, and to say that I hate any of them is you playing politics. Stop.

Is there a “gay subculture” in the church? I have never worked in the Vatican, so I cannot comment on that workplace. But in my 30 years as a Jesuit, I have seen that gay priests in U.S. dioceses, as well as in religious orders, work well with their straight counterparts—as well as with straight lay people: pastoral associates, parish council members, parishioners, as well as principals, administrators and teachers. In religious life, they live peaceably with their straight brothers.

Goodie for you. Yeah, you’re apparently the only person on the planet who can do that, because you are the only one who truly loves their fellow-man. (Insert super sarcastic roley eyes here.)  Pompous much? I think you’ve been in the ivory tower a little too long.  I guarantee my world is far more real than yours.

 

More to the point, I know hundreds of gay priests, and I can say with honesty that all of them strive to keep their promises of celibacy and vows of chastity, none of them conspire with other gay priests, and yet many of them are demoralized by this increasingly hate-fueled witch hunt.

Do they conspire to thwart any of the teachings and disciplines of the Church?  Hmmmmmm? Gotcha there. I’m sure that many enter not thinking about whether they are gay or straight, but did any of them enter knowing the Church’s rule on homosexuality and the priesthood and knowing their inclination???  What you’re saying is they didn’t like the rule but they did it anyway?  That alone is a poor example.  It’s definitely “the Church needs to get with my proclivities” instead of the other way around.  Like it or not, that has been the rule and you are openly defying it.

“Where does this extreme hatred of gay priests come from? It comes from fear. Fear of the “other.” Fear of the person who is different. Sometimes fear of one’s own complicated sexuality. In frightening times, it can also feel empowering to blame and scapegoat the “other.” As the philosopher René Girard consistently points out, scapegoating unites us around a common enemy and encourages us to believe, falsely, that we have solved the problem.”

“Oh, the humanity!!!” Seriously, dude.  Stop the rhetoric.  I don’t fear homosexuals.  I fear sin.  I fear putting oneself repeatedly in a close proximity to temptation. I fear satan winning souls.  I don’t fear you.  I don’t fear my homosexual friends, priests, and neighbors.  I fear FOR them in the same way I fear for anyone who puts their inclinations and attractions ahead of the Church.

This hatred currently being whipped up by a few influential church leaders and commentators will, if unchecked, lead us to a place of great darkness, characterized by an increased hatred for innocent individuals, the condemnation of an entire group of people and a distraction from the real issues underlying this crisis of sexual abuse.

The only person whipping up hatred is you.  The rest of us are whipping up the truth about the situation because we don’t fear the truth.  It’s only a problem for you.

There are many things that need to be addressed when it comes to clergy sex abuse: the improper screening of candidates; the prevalence of clerical culture that privileges the word of priests over lay people (and parents); the poor seminary and religious formation, especially in areas of sexuality; the need for regulations that punish bishops who have covered up abuse and many other factors.

What is not needed is the demonization of gay priests. What is not needed is more hate.

There’s more of your usual “bridge building.” What we need is a little more of the faithful being obedient and a little less of you trying to undermine the teachings and disciplines of the Church at most turns.