Don’t ask, don’t tell

Don’t ask, don’t tell

Here is a brief illustration of why some of us have such a difficult time trusting some bishops to tell the truth. This example comes from Bishop Joseph Adamec of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It is a letter sent in reply to a parishioner in his diocese. It is dated November 21, 2003. Note that date, it is important.

Please be assured that I have not knowingly ordained (nor do I intend to do so) an individual who is a homosexual.  I can appreciate your concern in regard to this matter but the Bishops that I know are very vigilant in this regard.  I do not know where you get the impression that this was a common practice.

Perhaps his correspondent got that impression from his own public statements. From a newspaper article dated May 2002:

Although some Roman Catholic dioceses screen out would-be priests because of gay sexual orientations, the eight-county Altoona-Johnstown Diocese does not, Bishop Joseph Adamec said Monday.

So which is it Bishop Adamec? Do you ordain homosexuals or not? Are you lying or did you forget? Or perhaps you have not “knowingly” ordained a homosexual, but you don’t bother to ask because you don’t want to know. Sort of an episcopal “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Correction: I had earlier stated that the news article referenced above was posted on the diocesan web site. It was not. It is a site dedicated to observing what’s going in that diocese. I’ve since changed the text to correct the error.

  • Thanks for details, Alena. Still I’ll stand by my comments about the ethnic identity of theparish. Generally I’m opposed to the idea of ethnic parishes because it reinforces artificial divisions. If we are truly a “catholic” Church that universality should overcome barriers of national origin. We should be able to worship side by side. I’m not saying that having a culture-based ministry in a parish is a bad thing, but it should always have the aim of assimilation, not ghetto-ization.

    After all, as you say, most of the Lithuanians of the parish seem to have assimilated quite well, intermarrying with those of other ethnicities, just like the Italians, Irish, Polish, and everyone else.

    By the way, this could be an argument against vernacular Masses. If we all prayed in Latin, we wouldn’t need language-specific Masses, although the homily is still an issue.

    As for the distance between parishes, I think we in Boston are a bit spoiled. In the majority of the US and the vast majority of the world, Catholics don’t have the luxury of parishes they can walk to easily. In the little village of Buena Vista, Bolivia, for example, one parish serves about 30 surrounding villages, where the people can only have Mass once per month, usually not even on Sunday. I just don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who have to go a little further out of their way. As for the elderly people, perhaps there are some young folks with cars who’d like to give them a ride.

  • The other parishes in Southie still have a recognizably Irish cast (always rankling a bit with the large population of Italian descent)—clearly not Gaelic Masses, since the Irish speak English, but culturally (remember the ubiquitous St. Patrick’s Day shows?  And a trip to Ireland offered as a prize in the raffle in the annual fair?).

    And some of us in Boston are apparently more spoiled than others:  this leaves the traditionally more prosperous “lace curtain” end of Southie with two churches less than a mile apart, and the end with D Street project with nothing. And it seems an awful waste to close St. Peter’s after the expense of the recent renovations, which even included air-conditioning in the lower church/hall (they put in movable partitions around the altar, so it could be used as both)—it draws a lot people in the summer.  I agree that the national element is expendable (except to the extent people want to arrange their annual fairs that way), but St. Peter’s used to have three regular parishes surrounding it; now it has none.  I do agree—and always have—about the Latin Mass, though. (I saw something a year or two ago about a parish somewhere with rising rivalry between the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking factions.)

    Personally, I have a lot of sympathy for the aged and infirm who may not be able to make it to church.

  • Dear Dom,

    I went to the website you linked, and its webmaster states that iit is not affiliated with the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

    A little digging, though, makes it seem that no ministry is set up by the diocese to minister to this population.  An oversight?  I do not know, as no search bar exists on the website.

    Courage has no chapter within the boundaries of the diocese.

  • The official site of The Diocese of Altoona – Johnstown is:

    Personally I often question the conclusions, veracity, and charity of those in the cabal that operate their little anti-Adamec site. 

    That being said, the linked article appears to be merely a reprint of an article from the “Centre Daily Times” newspaper in State college, PA, so it appears to be legitimate. 

    Unfortunately Bishop Adamec is not quoted in the article (at least in the linked version), so I am not certain whether the author is interpreting what he thinks Bishop Adamec said, or if is trying to convey the actual words of Bishop Adamec. 

    The first two paragraphs seem to convey that it is in the realm of possibility that a homosexual man could be considered for ordination by Bishop Adamec, but also that this would only be possible if the potential seminarian demonstrated the prospect of maintaining his vow of celibacy once ordained.

    Assuming this is indeed the mind of Bishop Adamec, it appears to me to be little more than a theoretical idea.  Should a man, believing he is called by God to the priesthood, having demonstrated he is capable of living a celibate life, be automatically denied the opportunity to pursue this potential vocation?  How would this position mesh with CCC 2358 “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided?  These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”?  Whatever one’s personal opinions on this question may be, it is a question that deserves careful thought and prudence. 

    On the actual website for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown one can find a pastoral statement by Bishop Adamec titled “Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church”. Reasonable people will find it to be quite orthodox.


    I take comfort in Bishop Adamec’s letter.  He seems to be stating, in his own hand, that he has decided that the answer to the above theoretical question on denying ordination is ‘yes’, and that a man suffering from same sex attraction would not be knowingly ordained by him.  Unfortunately we do not have his thoughts on why he has come to this conclusion.

    Then again, perhaps the letter is referencing ordaining practicing or active homosexuals. We are not privy to the content of the letter sent to him by “Martha”, so it is somewhat unclear to what he his responding.  If this is the case then it is certainly clear that Bishop Adamec is faithful to the Church teachings that homosexual acts are objectively disordered, and that certainly any man engaging in such abhorrent behavior should never be considered for ordination.

    -I see no reason to believe that Bishop Adamec is ordaining active homosexuals.  If anything, these writings would lead one to believe he is not.  If one is making this charge, they better have strong evidence to back it up, or else they are committing the mortal sin of calumny. 

    Furthermore, Woe to those in this cabal, who with their grotesque innuendo, continues to attempt to usurp the bishop’s authority and sow dissention among the faithful.  I am reminded of Canon 1373:  A person who publicly incites his or her subjects to hatred or animosity against the Apostolic See or the Ordinary because of some act of ecclesiastical authority or ministry, or who provokes the subjects to disobedience against them, is to be punished by interdict or other just penalties.

    Our Lady of the Alleghenies, protect us from evil.

  • TSamuel,

    The priesthood is not a right.  It is an honor and a vocation.  God gives it as he wishes and no one has the right to demand it.

    Therefore, screening people for moral/psychological problems and responsibly screening the troubled out is not an act of “discrimination.”  It’s an act of wisdom and faithfulness.

    We need to trust in God more.  We will never be so desperate for priests that we have to resort to ordaining the psychologically and morally unfit.  To ordain such a man is worse than ordaining no one. 

    Look at Boston—the carnage, the destruction, the expense.  All because proper judgment was not used in staffing parishes.  We cannot afford to be cavalier about this.

  • I agree with you, Dominic.  I have a problem with listening to people who want to talk about how they like their sex in public.  That’s warped—a psychological quirk if I’ve ever heard one.  Indeed, there are a lot of nuts out there whose points of view I don’t want to hear—including people to love farm animals, eat human flesh, blow up public buildings in NY, etc. etc.  I don’t think I have to listen to them or take their points of view seriously at all except in an adversarial way to protect myself from harm.  You have to draw the line somewhere, and you might as well start at the line that demarcates pathology—this militaristic gay thing is it.

  • Eric, that’s precisely backwards.  You don’t sympathize with someone who sins.  It gives them an excuse to keep on sinning.  It relieves their conscience for another round.

    Look at Scripture.  After Christ had saved the woman caught in adultery, he didn’t listen to her excuses.  He said simply, “Go and sin no more.” 

  • I don’t have a car myself and can’t afford one now (I also hate driving).  Of course, that may be why I’m sympathetic to those who don’t have transportation.

  • Adamec is quoted in the article on the subject: “What needs to happen, according to me, is that we need to talk with that individual and determine whether that person is celibate or not. In other words, we either have heterosexual tendencies or homosexual tendencies. If the person is able to live a celibate life, in other words the orientation is one thing but acting it out and living it is another, then I think that we would need to take that into consideration.”

    He’s saying that a celibate homosexual can be a priest which contradicts his later letter in which he says that he will not and had not ordained a homosexual. He makes no distinction between celibate and non-celibate.

    Besides, the priesthood is not a right and any man can be denied it if the bishop decides the man is not suited for it for whatever reason. It is not unjust discrimination; it is just discrimination. It is just to conclude, according to a bishop’s own judgment, that someone suffering from homosexuality would not be capable of living the life of the priesthood.

    As for whether we can criticize a bishop or not, and your defense of Adamec, if we had been following your attitude, Paul Shanley and John Geoghan and hundreds, if not thousands, of other child-molesting priests would still be plying their sick trade today.

  • Homosexuality is a disorder. 

    Why ordain a man with a compulsive disorder which will predispose him to multiple occasions of sin? 

    Why ordain a man who will be so busy dealing with his compulsions that he cannot grow properly and normally spiritually?

    Growth in holiness is supposed to be a development from less spriritual health to more spiritual health. 

    A person can’t give what they don’t have.

  • I don’t think Cardinal George was referring to listening to people recount their depravities.  I think he was talking about listening to how they feel and their perceived injustices. 

    I said nothing about “sympathizing”, I said they should listen, because first of all, as I said, no one was ever converted by someone who refused to listen to them, and second of all, a good judge listens to both sides before passing judgment.  Just because you listen doesn’t mean you have to sympathize.  And just because you sympathize, doesn’t mean you are giving them an excuse to keep on sinning.

    But, if you want to argue your point, what do you make of Hebrews 4:15: ” For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we areked his opinion.  Was he sinning?  Yes, he was.  This has the best line, I think, in Scripture: “Jesus looked at him, and loved him.”  (Mark 10:21)  Do you think Jesus was therefore giving him an excuse to keep on sinning?

    Therefore, in my judgment, criticizing Cardinal George for saying we should listen to sinners does not seem consonant with the Gospels.

    If you maintain that we should cut sinners off, how exactly do you propose that they repent and be converted?

    Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner!


  • What you said, michigancatholic.  It’s long past time (several thousand homosexually molested boys past) to dequeerize the priesthood.

  • Michigancatholic,

    Got a question for you.

    Think of a situation in your life when you vehemently disagreed with someone who did not listen to you or treat you with respect.

    Were you ever persuaded to embrace their position?

    If so, was it because of, or in spite of, the fact that they did not listen to you or treat you with respect?

    I don’t know about you, but my instinctive reaction in such a situation is to more firmly entrench myself and resist being convinced.


  • Nope.  I make my decisions on the basis of reasoning, not emotion.  I hold my beliefs on the basis of revelation.  That’s why I’m a convert to Catholicism.

    Progressives loved seein’ us coming because we had to go thru RCIA and all it’s crap.  But there’s one thing they forgot.  Coverts are good at looking things up.  NOW you have to deal with us. 

    Bon chance, bunkie.

  • So, when you’ve been wrong, you’ve never had the slightest bit of difficulty realizing it and adopting the truth?  You’ve never felt the need to save face, and never held your ground in the face of logical contradiction?

  • Eric,

    Being caught in adultery is saying something.  It’s the same kind of speech used by gays when they wear sashes and disrupt Mass.  Non-verbal, loud and clear.
    “I will have my pleasure; I will not obey”—that’s what it says.

    On the Young Man, from Scripture:

    “19You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[4]  ” 20″Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
      21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    Let’s not proof-text here, pick up the whole passage, my friend.  This passage is about Christ’s desire that we not only don’t sin, but that we give more than what is necessary for His sake.

    Don’t tell me gay activity is giving the last mile—I’ll puke.  It’s not even obeying the law, not in the remotest sense.  Not by Church teaching, not in any sense.  It’s a mortal sin.

  • Dom,
    I get what you are saying about the universality of the Catholic faith, and you have mentioned this many time in reference to this issue. 

    However, I guess I’d be a little more patient with these parishes, particularly the ethnic parishes.  The East Coast is generally not like the mid-west, in that we tend to be more “mutts” and your area has many more off-the-boat ethnicities.  It has to be a source of comfort to attend Mass in a way and language that you are familiar with. Think if you went to Germany to live, would you not seek out an English speaking parish?

    The other thing that I guess I’d give many of these people a break when it comes to “my parish” kind of thinking.  Let’s say you had a large family, everyone left the house, and the relatives said “Well, you are coming here to live now”.  Would you not feel sadness over leaving your home, your bedroom, the familiarity, the smells, the views…We are a universal church, and I do think this move is fine, but it is painful and very challenging to move into another parish when you’ve grown up with all of the ways, people, smells and bells of your particular parish. We have parishes so that Christ’s message reaches us on a personal level.  Rome can’t oversee all of us individually, it is given to the Bishops who are assisted by the Pastors of parishes to see to the day to day needs of the faithful.

    This will be a difficult transition for everyone.  It would be great if those whose parishes are not closing could be compassionate and welcoming to those who are displaced. 

  • Eric, you are assuming that in every discussion I am the one who is wrong.  Your logic is bad, my friend. 

    Hidden premises are a fault.  They can be very serious in some peoples’ thinking. 

    May I suggest that you diagram the argument.  Use a thought map.  Make sure you get complete logical chains and don’t leave anything out.  You will find that you are making some false assumptions, my friend.

  • You will also find it helpful, I think, to label some of the links of the logical chains with their proper designation—ie. which are church teachings, which are from scripture, which are your opinions, and which are your interpretations.  Be willing to be surprised.  You might find some interesting patterns.

  • Did I ever argue that the passage was not about Christ’s desire that we not only don’t sin, but that we give more than what is necessary for His sake?  There is no question of that.  My point is that Jesus had a conversation with this guy, something you seem to be unwilling to grant to sinners today.

    I’m not sure what you mean by your last comment and how it relates to what I said.  Nor do I understand what you mean by saying “Being caught in adultery is saying something”. 

    My argument is that if you want to lead people to repentance, treating them disrespectfully and categorically refusing to listen to anything they have to say—and I am not referring to listening to disgusting stories or tolerating sin, I am talking about ordinary conversation—will not accomplish it.

  • MC,

    Please try to get all your thoughts into one comment at a time rather than writing successive comments, one after the other. Every time you post a comment I and every one else who have posted to the thread, get yet another email and at high volumes it can seem like spam. I don’t want to spam people.

  • “Consider the case of the rich young man.  Did Jesus listen to him?  Yes, in fact he asked his opinion.  Was he sinning?  Yes, he was.  This has the best line, I think, in Scripture: “Jesus looked at him, and loved him.” (Mark 10:21) Do you think Jesus was therefore giving him an excuse to keep on sinning? “

    He asked the man if he kept all the commandments. The man said yes. Christ, then, looked on him and loved him.
    Christ asks that we all keep the moral law. Those obstinate homosexuals who continue to sin gravely and say it is not a sin are beyond contempt.  They lead others into sin. We all know what Christ said about those who lead others to sin.

    I can’t understand the call to “listen” to those that preach sin and death of the soul. What are we to listen about? The teachings by Christ about homosexual conduct are well known. It is more than easy for anyone to learn them. It is my opinion that most of those who continue to reject the Truth, do so because to accept the Truth would mean they would have to change the way the lead their lives.

    Finally, Christ gave the apostles a command to go and preach the Truth to all nations. He did not say go and compromise the Truth, or dialogue with those who lead others into sin.


  • Eric, you are grasping at straws here.  Jesus talked to a lot of people.  This man did not sin—there is no comparison between him and a man who is dead set on sodomizing somebody and getting the stamp of approval for it.  That’s what this is all about.

    Being caught with one’s pants down outside marriage says something.  Otherwise it would not be a problem to find one’s spouse in the sack with the mailman, eh?  Hey, I don’t mind, he didn’t mean anything by it….yaah, right.

    My argument is that if you allow people to wear sashes that say “I disobey church law and sin grievously and I don’t care” in the communion line, you have said you don’t care either.

    My argument is that you don’t convince anyone by being an amoral marshmallow.

    My argument is that the church teaches that homosexual behavior, indeed ALL sexual behavior outside sacramntal marriage is horribly, criminally sinful.  And we don’t condone it.

    People who engage in it need to STOP and STOP NOW.  Or they risk their immortal souls.  It is not negotiable.

  • Oh yes, Jen, I do of course have sympathy for people whose parishes are closing. If my parish was closing I’d be sad too. Where my sympathy wanes is when it comes to the unwarranted anger, the lack of understanding of what the Church really is, the specious accusations and conspiracy theories.

    And I do agree that if I moved to another country, I’d certainly start by going to a Mass in English, but if I were emigrating, I’d want to eventually transition (sooner rather than later) to a Mass in the native language, so that I could begin the process of assimilation. If I am a visitor in Rome, I will probably seek out the American parish, but if I am a new citizen hoping to make my home there, I want to become a member of the community as soon as possible.

    I think we’ve lost the idea of the melting pot in this country over the past 30 years, not just in the Church, but everywhere.

  • Indeed, if you think trying to persuade is so efficient, don’t go to work today.  Go down to the bank and convince them to give you a million dollars.  I’m waiting.  If it works for you, you can get me a million too.

  • Uhh, don’t use any weapons though.  I don’t want to be an accessory to that EITHER.

    Sorry, Dominic, I just read your post above.  I’ll behave now.

  • At some point we are going to have to get over the sentimentality attached to church buildings and focus on whatmes a little clueless too.

  • I’d argue that the rich man did sin, otherwise Jesus would not have said that he was not saved.  He sinned in two ways: First, he tried to justify himself before Jesus.  Second, he was too attached to worldly things to follow Jesus.

    I don’t understand why people are bringing up “compromising” the Truth, or being an “amoral marshmallow”.  No one ever said anything about “compromising” the truth.  No one is talking about negotiating anything.  The whole point of what I am saying is to effectively proclaim the Truth.  You can’t proclaim the truth to sinners without talking with them, which you two don’t seem to want to do because you hold them in such contempt.  The ideal is to listen to them, then you apply the truth on the basis of what you hear.  No respectable doctor would write a prescription without interviewing a patient, even if he already knows the diagnosis.

    Never mind the fact that it is darn hard to love someone you refuse to talk to.

    You seem to think that it’s so simple—“Stop sinning”.  As if that is enough to solve the problem!  YES, they should stop sinning, but have you bothered to explain to them how?  Have you bothered to consider that they may be addicted and need to freed from addiction?  Who will assist them in overcoming sin?  Did it occur to you that they will need help and advice and yes, a friend who loves them to break free from enslavement to sin?  Will a person they perceive as self-righteous who refuses to talk them, only yelling at them from a distance with a megaphone, accomplish these things?

    I will have better luck talking to the bank and convincing them to give me a million dollars than you will if you tell all your sympathetic friends you need a million dollars and wait for the bank to send you a check.

  • Jesus didn’t say the man wasn’t saved.  Read it carefully.  The man didn’t advocate a sin to Christ.  EVER.  He was asking what he could do to insure his salvation in the old paradigm of Judaism.  Christ was telling him that not only obeying the law to the letter is necessary, but more than that—loving Christ enough to follow him! 

    On the other hand, we have the gay rights folks, who don’t want to even obey the law, but they want to use the story to pervert sacramental theology to their own gain.  A total disconnect.  Reading comprehension zero.

    It doesn’t fly, Eric.  Gay sex is a sin.  It’s not going the extra mile.  Heck, it’s not even managing to avoid the most basic of mortal sins—sex outside sacramental marriage.

    It’s always hard for everyone to stop sinning, Eric.  Not only sexual sinners.  But meaning to stop is not stopping.  Talking about stopping is not stopping.  Sinful acts can send a person to hell.  Period.  This is serious.

    Did it ever dawn on you that we didn’t go out and recruit people to wear political sashes in our masses?  We didn’t go looking for them; we didn’t invite them to come with their sashes; we didn’t **make** them come.  They came to disrupt peaceful Masses with political posturing, cameras, advance notification in the news, etc. etc.  The newspapers in Chicago was the source of the warning they were coming!  Think about that, my friend.

    This whole thing boggles my mind.  Suppose I formed a political foundation based on how I like sex and then went to mass with a sash that said THIS IS HOW I LIKE IT!

    And you thought Madonna (the singer) wore her underwear on the outside!!!

  • Eric, where do you get the idea that man sinned? He kept the commandments and Jesus loved him.

    The homosexualist agenda is not about accepting Christ. It is about spreading error. Sure, individual priests need to counsel. No one denies that. But, if you are arguing that the Church needs to sit down with some homosexual lobby and talk, then I am confused. Do you mean they need to talk to them to show them where they are in error and ask then to accept the Truth and repent?

  • Now, I’m confused too, hardhead.  How can it be that they don’t know what the problem is?  We’ve been very clear about it.  Church teaching has been very clear about it for 2000 years.  Scripture is even very clear about it.

    Maybe it will help if I state it then: 

    Homosexual sex is disordered and mortally sinful.  God considers it an abomination (Leviticus 18:22).  Don’t blame me, blame scripture.

    So…..The problem is political force being used during Mass in an attempt to make us accept it even though it contradicts scripture and the Faith of Catholics.

    It wouldl not be possible for the Catholic Church to change this, even if we wanted to.  I can’t imagine that these gay groups could have the sheer hubris to think it might change something so foundational on their account……It’s divine revelation, for Pete’s sake.

    Just shows you how really catholic they’re NOT.  I think they’re just looking for approval for their particular pathology.  It’s really pathetic.

  • There are really only two ways to explain this, now that it’s come to this point:

    1) Perhaps it’s psychiatric.  Persons with disorders can lack insight into their conditions, to the degree that they exhibit their problems frantically.  Maybe our culture has gotten so soft in the head that we are just treating desperate people with pity, like dophins or baby whales or something.

    2) Perhaps it’s just the political insistence for a perversion and we really have gone off the rails.  Perhaps the culture has just gotten so full of itself that people in the culture think they can say things and make them true or untrue just like that.  Makes one wonder what they will declare next.

    Either way this is playing with fire.  I wonder how many people really suppose that deep truth itself can be changed on today’s whim?

  • “He assume such to be the case, but we should and must be very, very suspicious in general, given what has occurred.

  • I should revise an earlier post of mine—it should really say,

    “You seem to think that it’s so simple—tell them to stop sinning.  As if telling them is enough to solve the problem!  YES, we should tell them to stop sinning, but have you bothered to explain to them how?”


    I am sorry if I came across as if you were wrong in every discussion.  That was not my point.  My point was to invite you to think about those few times you have been wrong, and what convinced you to change your mind.  I’m willing to bet that being treated disrespectfully and ignored did not convince you.

    I am not sure what your point is about logical chains.  I get the impression that you are assuming I’m a dissenter or wishy-washy on the truth, but that is not the case.  Fat lot of good it is to have the truth if sinners won’t listen to you.  You have not succeeded in proclaiming the truth simply because you throw some gaywad out of a church or excommunicated a politician.  Yes, you’ve made a statement; and in many cases such statements bear witness to the truth.  But you can’t dust off your hands, congratulate yourself, and go your merry way convinced you’ve successfully fulfilled your obligation to proclaim the Gospel, am I not right?

    With respect to all your comments about the gay sash people, I am speaking in general about people who disagree with church teaching, not specifically the radical activists who disrupt Mass.

    Why do I think the rich man went away unsaved?

    First, the whole discussion is about what he must do to be saved.  How does the discussion end?  Jesus says, “One more thing you lack: Go and sell all you have and give it to the poor.”  The man went away saddened, that is, he turned away from Christ, unwilling to give up his riches.  To underscore the point, Jesus said, “How hard it is for a rich man to be saved!  It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”  We see no evidence that the man sold his riches and went on to follow Christ.  This is why I think he was a sinner.

    You wrote:

    But, if you are arguing that the Church needs to sit down with some homosexual lobby and talk, then I am confused. Do you mean they need to talk to them to show them where they are in error and ask then to accept the Truth and repent?

    Yes, that’s essentially what I am saying, though you really need to speak to them as individuals rather than as a lobbying organization.  You can’t expect anything to happen if you talk a single spokesman.


  • “You have to draw the line somewhere, and you might as well start at the line that demarcates pathology—this militaristic gay thing is it. “

    When you draw no lines, there won’t be any.  That’s how we ended up with hundreds of priests homosexually molesting teenage boys.  The leaders of our Church are so, so afraid to draw any lines – and so, of course, there are practically none.  They are poor shepherds, who do not care enough for their sheep to keep them from going over cliffs.

  • “My argument is that if you want to lead people to repentance, treating them disrespectfully and categorically refusing to listen to anything they have to sayo it.”  The wrong thing to say is: “Hey there, we are (sorta, somewhere, somehow against, you know, homosexual acts), but we would never make a thing about it, and we’d never oppose your promoting that sin in Church, in front of children, and above all, we don’t want to offend you.”  The first is truly loving; the second is not.

  • Eric, this thread is precisely about the sash people.  Read the beginning of the thread.

    By the time they get the sash on, get the newspaper notified and barge in, these folks are so implicated that you’re not going to talk them out of anything, Eric.  They’re dead set on doing what they want to do.  Only pulling them up against the truth will do it, BECAUSE they are not going to change til they see the truth for the truth.  We’re not talking tea party table manners here.  This is hardball they’re playing.  It matters to them because they think they have lost something and it’s got to be somebody’s fault.

    You may not know what I mean by logical chains.  They don’t teach much logical reasoning in schools these days.  It interferes with the political goals.  A person hasn’t really thought about something if they’re just repeating what they’ve heard—you know that?

    And people don’t really change as a result of repeating what they’ve heard.  That’s why the sash people aren’t really going to listen to you.  They have to crash up against the truth, and actually think to get the idea.  No one is going to do that unless they are confronted with the truth.

    It doesn’t matter who it comes from, but they have to hear the truth.  You can’t change the Chruch because it doesn’t suit somebody’s perverted sexual desires.  Period.

    The case of the young man simply doesn’t apply here—that was and is my point.  The two situations (the young man and the sash people) are completely different.  The young man has not sinned.  He is asking if not sinning is enough to get him to heaven.  Christ says he must also love and follow Him as salvation is not a machine.  The sash people are insisting on something entirely different.  They are insisting that salvation is not related to sin at all—that they can rut all day and it doesn’t matter because they should be allowed anything they want because they’re *special.* Well, they’re not *special.*  Sex outside male/female marriage is sex outside male/female marriage.  Read some scripture.

    If a person has a problem with their own homosexuality and they struggle, no one is saying we have to go find them and torture them…on the contrary.  But that’s NOT what this thread is about.

    Sinner, yes, I agree with you.  But we’ve begged, wheedled and explained ourselves blue in the face.  No one in this culture could possibly claim that they don’t know that Christians/Scriptures/Catholics don’t approve of homosexuality.  THEY KNOW THAT.  They don’t believe it because we don’t act as though we believe it either!  We’re not willing to stand up to it.  Our bishops are afraid to do it.  Too many lay people are afraid to do it…..

  • Eric, this thread is precisely about the sash people.  Look up at the top of the page.  If a person has a problem with homosexuality, I am not suggesting that we hunt them up and give them hell…on the contrary.  They need help if they are willing to accept it, which will be when they have confronted the truth and are willing to consider it.

    Eric, there is one other very large hidden premise in what you write.  I used to think, when I was young, that everyone always does the best they can.  I believed that no one would will evil for the sake of evil.  I was pretty naive.  But you know what? Some people don’t think evil is so bad, especially if they can get away with it.  They sort of purvey in it, you know?  It’s why you lock up your house, keep track of your wallet, have passwords, etc.  You know what I mean?  No one breaks into your house by accident…LOL.  Well, not unless they meant to rob your neighbor instead and missed.  wink

    Anyway, some people who do evil will stop it, if and only if, they get slammed hard enough with the truth and realize that it is not negotiable.  The aha moment.  wink  But even that doesn’t phase some people.  We’ve all seen this kind of thing—you don’t need an example, do you?

    Talk all you want, but they ALL know Catholics oppose homosexual behavior, otherwise they wouldn’t go through all the trouble to scandalize us, call the paper, put on the sissy sash, get stared at… I need to go on?

    Oh, and BTW, this is not trivial to them.  They think they’ve been robbed of something that is central to their lives.  They think it’s our fault because we adhere to scripture, tradition, Catholic teaching.  Silly us.  Well, we can’t just change it all—it’s Divine Revelation.  That is the truth.

  • MIC,

    The Cardinal did not say, “The Rainbow Sash people should be treated with respect,” etc., he said, “Those who disagree with the Churchinto my Church during Mass and openly promotes sodomy to my children.  Similarly, I do not respect someone who is promoting child molestation, or adultery or theft or any other sin.  I do not respect men who march down our main streets in thongs engaged in simulated anal intercourse and insist that they are ‘proud’ of such.  I do not respect those who glorify and promote abortion.  I believe I should reach out to such people, and speak to them cordially and courteously and charitably.  But why must I respect them?  I don’t.

  • I am aware of Brian and the Diocese Report, and no he does not have information of which I am unaware.  (At least any that has been placed on the website.) 

    I believe (unless I’m thinking of someone else) that Penn State is his alma mater, so I am certain he takes the shenanigans that go on up there personally.  Like all major universities Penn State is a cesspool of liberalism, which is exactly why the campus Catholic community needs to be vigilant defenders of the Catholic Faith.  Sadly I have seen no evidence of this. 

    The statements made in this article by Father Honeygosky and the Renew founders seem outrageous in my book.  Bishop Joseph might as well disband the university Catholic community if this is the best fruit it can produce.  That he will most likely do nothing of a bold nature about this is an example why I said earlier that he is not ‘conservative’ enough for my liking on many issues.  (I find it interesting that Fr Honeygosky is a Benedictine priest, and now my mind is swimming with a few different questions.)

    Sinner, I have no complaint with what you have said.  It is sad that we must be very suspicious in general of the bishops, but they sowed this cause for suspicion themselves.  I am sure I am quick as anyone to believe the worst of a .48.158
    2004-06-09 17:03:51
    2004-06-09 21:03:51
    ing indictment, Phyllis Schlafly exposes the courtsd by the West got us nowhere. Instead it was strength of will backed up by readiness to act along with good humor and wit that allowed us to defeat the evil empire.

    I’m not saying we should hate the sinner or act rudely, but don’t you think we’ve been perhaps a little too nice to people personal predilections to certain kinds of sin? It’s one thing to respect the person, but if they never get the sense from you that you really think there’s anything wrong from their sinfulness, then why should they change?

    As for criticizing the cardinal, for one thing, I did praise him when the original mention of this came out. But I am getting a little tired of being expected to praise bishops for doing the minimum required. None of this should be extraordinary action. And neither should bishops require praise from their flocks to do the right thing. They should be doing the right thing anyway.

    I hate to be so blunt, but this “hapless bench of bishops” is not the best the Church can do. We can do better.

  • Definitions of “respect” differ, of course.  To me it starts with being cordial, courteous, and charitable, and considerate as well.  It also means treating them with the dignity that all children of God deserve, looking at them with the eyes of Jesus Christ, not demonizing them but recognizing them as worthwhile individuals, and treating them the way we would want to be treated.

    It doesn’t mean we hold them in special regard.  It doesn’t mean we honor them for what they’ve done.  It doesn’t mean we can’t be angry, though it does mean that we need to control our anger when interacting with them.

    Perhaps what I have in mind is best exemplified by the bishop in Les Miserables.  The main character, Jean Valjean, has just been released from prison on parole after 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread.  His identity papers mark him as an ex-con, and no one will have anything to do with him—they treat him like a dog.  He can’t even find a place to stay for the night until someone points him to the bishop’s home.  The bishop welcomes him in, gives him food to eat, and a place to stay for the night.  That’s the kind of respect I have in mind.  I’ll skip the rest but in the end Valjean is so moved by the kindness of the bishop who treated him as a human being that he resolves to live for God.

    I think we have to be careful about becoming self-righteous and considering ourselves so far above “those despicable sinners” that we fail to recognize ourselves as sinners as well.  Do we look down upon sinners as far inferior to ourselves?  Do we congratulate ourselves on what faithful Catholics we are, and thank the Lord that we are “not like these sinners” (Luke 18:9-14)?  Do we say to ourselves, “Tsk, tsk, I would never do that!”?  “Let he who stands firm, take heed, lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12)

  • Eric,

    Pardon me, but it is disingenuous to say we are placing ourselves above the sinners and not acting with authentic charity. It is those bishops who continue to use secular ideas of charity in relating the truth to obstinate sinners that are cuasing the problem.

    I am all for teaching, but it is counter productive to “dialogue” with any group that refuses to accept the moral truth.

  • I reject the idea that it is counterproductive to dialogue with any individual who refuses to accept the moral truth.  Sure, it is possible that dialoguing with certain obstinate or contumacious individuals may be counterproductive for a time, but if you dismiss all individuals who “refuse to accept the moral truth” as beyond redemption and not worth evangelizing (and in my mind, the point of dialogue here is evangelization), you’ve missed the point of the Gospel.

    Did Dr. Bernard Nathanson refuse to accept the moral truth when he was an abortionist?  Yes, he did.  But he had a conversion.  Someone got through to him.  And now he’s Catholic.  Did Fr. John Corapi refuse to accept the moral truth when he was sowing his wild oats?  Yes, he did, but again, he had a conversion, and now he’s a priest.  What about Bl/St. Alessandro Whatshisfaceo, who killed St. Maria Goretti?  As long as people are alive, there is time for repentance, and if there is time for repentance, there is room for dialogue (genuine dialogue, not moral negotiation).

    Even if you are exceedingly cynical and don’t believe these folks can be converted, as I pointed out, there is still value in dialogue, because it disarms your enemy and deprives them of their energy to fight.  It’s much easier to rage against a faceless enemy you’ve never met than to fight someone who’s listened to you respectfully and showed you love you can recognize.

    So by “secular ideas of charity in relating the truth” are you referring to being “nice” and non-confrontational but never really challenging them to follow the truth?

  • Eric,


    This thread is NOT about individual homosexuals who are struggling in good faith. 

    This thread is precisely and specifically about the Rainbow Sash protests that occurred just recently in Chicago.

    GOT IT?

    This thread is about a forceful disruption of Holy Mass by a bunch of politicized exhibitionist perverts. We did not make them come.  They barged in because they wanted to be in-our-faces on the evening news.  They pre-publicized it in the Chicago papers to cause a scene, for Pete’s sake.  Talk about BRUTE FORCE!!!!

    This is not communication.  We are under no obligation to bargain with TERRORISTS.  They should be removed from the building, by force if necessary.

    These groups THREATEN and ABUSE other Catholics.  We do not have to put up with it.


  • “As long as people are alive, there is time for repentance, and if there is time for repentance, there is room for dialogue (genuine dialogue, not moral negotiation).”

    Well said, Eric.  As long as the Cardinal calls them to moral truth, and to repentance, there’s nothing wrong with his speaking to them – and indeed he should – for his mission, as a mirror of Christ’s (and our mission also) is to save souls as an outpouring of God’s love.

    “So by or worse, condone it).  I do agree with the others above that McCarrick seems to have a strong ‘let’s get along’ bent – a fear of confrontation to which he seems to be tempted and with which he will likely lose souls.  Again, I pray and hope that in talking with these unrepentant sinners,  he is able to convert some or all of them.  But if he is to do so, he will have to be strong enough to proclaim God’s truth through Christ unabashedly and lovingly and faithfully.


  • Hey michigancatholic –

    You’re right.  What these guys did was true evil – for they sought to promote sin, and to convert others into accepting and promoting sin, and they caused scandal in the Masses they disrupted by causing moral confusion among parishioners and children.  In addition, they were highly uncharitable in the way they did this.  (And I think it was atrocious that they were allowed to do what they did.)  But nevertheless, any Christian is called to call sinners to repentance.  These sashists are grave sinners for sure.  But we are called to love every single person on this green earth as a brother or sister.  That means that the Cardinal should seek to bring them to an understanding of what God and Christ have to offer (true happiness and joy and freedom from sin and eternal life), and try to lead them to repentance, and that we should never ‘give up’ on them.  That is the Cardinal’s job – his prime directive.  For the angels in heaven sing when even one sinner is brought back to God’s embrace.  I agree with you that we should not ‘bargain’ with these people – and I do not ever want to see their sort of twisted display in my (or any other Catholic) church, but again, it is for such lost souls that Christ came to this earth.  As long as McCarrick presents to them God’s truth and love unabashedly and correctly, he will be doing his true job.  Where I am afraid for McCarrick is that is seems not to have the gutsoids to take the inevitable persecution that comes with his job description.  We should pray for him (and for the sashists too).

  • Loving them means letting them discover the truth, even if it means they get thrown in the street and have to think it over hard.

    Not loving them is to let them delude themselves into hell. 

    Not loving God is to allow evil to flourish so we don’t loose our warm and cuddly feelings about our riches and our comfort.

  • You may never find out which it is, Dominic.  =)  Maybe it depends on who one knows?

    Yes, sinner, I agree with you.  Law should be in jail, but then a lot of them should be in jail.  Maybe if they’re quick they can build one around the USCCB meeting this month and get em all at once.

    Do you know that if a public school teacher fails to report a rumor or symtom of abuse by a child’s own parent and it turns out to be real, the teacher can be held liable and jailed?  That could be, for instance, a plain old english teacher with one rumor which the teacher doesn’t even know is true or false.

    Kind of puts it into perspective, doesn’t it?

  • MIC, I am not talking about homosexuals struggling in good faith.  While I am not speaking primarily about the radical and violent fringe—and contrary to your assertion, I feel I should be able to speak on closely related topics and not strictly on the Rainbow Sash people—what I have to say applies to them as well. 

    No one is talking about bargaining with terrorists.  We are talking about evangelizing them, loving them, and achieving their conversion.  While they should be forcibly removed from Mass, this isn’t going to accomplish their conversion one whit.

    I strongly disagree with your position that “loving them means letting them discover the truth.”  Loving them includes, but is not limited to, teaching them the truth.  Your position is that they should be thrown out on the street to learn on their own.  God threw us out of Paradise, and we did not learn on our own, not even after 4,000 years.  He had to send his Son into our midst to teach us, to love us (and not simply by lecturing us with the truth), and to serve us.  Unless we go to them and listen to them and engage them then they will continue to delude themselves.

    Love for sinners does not consist strictly in lecturing them, or in expelling them.  (How convinced were you of your parents’ love for you when they lectured you?  How well did this elicit a genuine change of heart?)  Love means making sure we are intending to seek their good and not fulfilling any self-righteous pretensions on our own part, or merely protecting the church, or placating our anger, or defending God (as if he needed defending).  Love means being compassionate (NO, this is not synonymous with lecturing them), understanding, and, yes, even sympathetic, if possible.  It means treating them as human beings.  And, of course, need I add that love necessarily means not hating.  Now, this is not to say that I don’t think there is a place for excommunication and other forms of “tough love”, but these are last resorts after you’ve made a good faith effort to reach them through other forms of love. 

    As far as I can tell, all you want to do is lecture and extirpate them.  To me that is not love, because in my mind that will not convert them, that will not prevent evil from flourishing, that will not dispel their delusion.
    I do not sense the love of Christ in your approach.  You are angry, and redefining your anger as love.  I don’t buy it.

  • No one is saying they should not be treated as humans. What I am saying is that to intentionally confuse the situation by claiming some type of false dialogue may very well lead others off the road to salvation.

    Our bishops have failed us for several decades now. They will continue to fail us unless they act as Shepherds and not like politicians.

    Let us define our terms. If by dialogue you mean to state openly Christ asks obedience in all things, then yes, dialogue, by all means. But, for too long, dialogue has meant a compromising of the truth. It has meant telling a sinner that the Church will change some today and allow sin. It has meant a wink and a nod to perversion.

    Dialogue is used as a guise to promote an illict agenda that misleads much of the faithful. What we need today is the Truth proclaimed in season and out of season.

    Our world is sickening in its tolerence. We need more intolerence. Intolerence toward evil!

  • Let’s get back to the original point: Cardinal George said that no matter what someone’s disagreement with Church teaching, whether it’s homosexuality, pedophilia, necrophilia, fanatical jihadism, etc., “should be treated with great respect, listened to, instructed as possible, loved in all cases.”

    As I said, yes, love the sinner, hate the sin, but don’t ask me to respect a child abuser. Don’t ask me to treat him nicely. Don’t expect me to sit down and hear a lecture on why sodomizing a 12-year-old boy is a good thing. Yes, in general, one can discuss points of disagreement, such as discussing with a Protestant the role of Scripture in determining the will of God. But “any other subject”? No, there are some points of view so heinous that they do not deserve even a little respect.

    My problem is the wide-ranging nature of the cardinal’s comment that doesn’t even hint at moral categories, but sets up a situation so broad as to be meaningless and allows everyone who holds a morally objectionable viewpoint a valid seat at the table.

  • Hardhead,

    Well, no, no one has exactly said they should not be treated as humans, but I see shades of demonization going on, as people speak about how “EVIL, PATHOLOGICAL and TWISTED” they are, calling them terrorists, and start comparing them to the worst possible sinners anyone can come up with: child molesters and pedophiles.  MIC wants to throw them out on the street, calls them a “THREAT”, calls them abusive, refers to their “severe mental problems”, and so forth.  Technically, yes, these are all humans, but MIC seems to see no good in them, no redeeming value.  I fear he’s demonizing them.  Even his reference to people with “severe mental problems” seemed to be dripping with disgust for people with mental disorders.  Now I am not going to argue that all of these descriptions are totally off the mark, but is this the language of love?

    I agree that there has been a lot of false dialogue.  The term has become synonymous with compromise, which is definitely not our goal.  Nothing I’ve said brooks any compromise.  I agree that the bishops have been acting like politicians and not as shepherds.  I just think being a shepherd means more than yelling at the sheep at a distance that he’d better make it back to the flock pronto, and forsaking them when they don’t respond.

    You say, “What we need today is the Truth proclaimed in season and out of season.”  I’d qualify that by saying “effectively proclaimed”, but let me ask you a question:  What exactly do you think needs to be proclaimed to these particular individuals that they don’t already know, and how do you propose proclaiming it to them?


    I pose a similar question to you:  To make sure we are on the same page, let’s start with the premise, which I hope is correct, that both of us desire the conversion of these sinners.  MIC, what then is your specific plan or proposal for effectively bringing about their conversion?


    I’ll ask you the same question.  How do you propose converting that child abuser?

    By the way I think you made an error in your post.  You said “there are some points of view that deserve no respect.”  Who has ever said that the perspectives deserve respect?  It is the sinner we should respect.  It is the sinner we should love, not the sin. 

    If you still believe we should not respect the sinner either, what do you think about the definition of “respect” I proposed in an earlier comment?  Which of those points do you agree with, and which do you disagree with?

  • Many walked away from Christ when He gave hard teachings. He did not chase them and dialogue. There comes a time for excommunication. When you publicly dissent from Christ and teach others to sin, then it is time to separate them until they repent.

    We are in a war. A war for souls. Our bishops have failed us and for the most part, and continue to fail us. We need to petition them to speak the Truth.

    You mentioned the Truth needs to be proclaimed effectively. That is a modifier that the dissenters would like to hear. Do you mean not to mentioned all that mean old nasty stuff like hell? As Christ did, twice as often as heaven, btw. If people do not respect God or fear hell, then I fear they are so far from the Truth that only prayer and fasting may convert them.

    Should we answer their questions? Yes. Should we be charitable toward them? Yes. Do we need to pretend they are some special class that deserves speacial handling? No.

    Part of the homosexual disorder is the need to be a victim. They want everyone to think they are unjustly persecuted. They have an agenda. That agenda is opposed to Christ. We have been to weak and too brainwashed and emasculated to stand up and speak the Truth.

  • Umm, hardhead, effectively means effectively, i.e., in such a way that elicits acceptance of the truth.  The alternative is ineffectively, that is, they go to hell.  Why do you think I mean not to mention things such as Hell?  Seems to me you folks are so paranoid about covert liberalism lurking behind every word that can’t even accurately understand what I’m saying.

    People do need to know about the reality of Hell, and the danger of going there.  They also need to be convinced that it exists.

    However—not to minimize the important of preaching about the reality of Hell—I’m not sure where your data comes from; here are my counts from the Gospels from [url=][/url] (NIV translation, sorry, they have no Catholic translation):

    Hell – 13 results (2 of which are “Hades” which doesn’t count)
    Heaven – 139 results
    Kingdom of Heaven – 31 results
    Kingdom of God – 51 results
    condemn [and variants] – 22 results
    save [and variants] – 39 results
    eternal fire – 2 results

    Of the references to Hell, they seem to be in four distinct discourses (collapsing parallel versions and treating multiple references in one sermon as one).

    Now you may not deem every reference to heaven as worthy of counting, but looking at them, there certainly should be well more than 11 of them that count.

    I am glad though to hear someone acknowledge that we should listen to them to answer their questions.  I don’t think they should be treated as a special class that deserves special handling, either on the positive side or on the negative side; I think they should be treated like everyone else.  (I am speaking interpersonally; that is not to preclude prudential discrimination for the sake of protecting others.)

    Some people Jesus did not chase, that is true.  However, he did chase Zaccheus, and Jesus was well-known for being in the company of sinners and spending time with them.  He gave the parable of the lost sheep and lost coin, which certainly suggests going out and making an effort to reach out to sinners.  He dialogued with the woman at the well.  As I mentioned he dialogued with the Pharisees.  Finally, the whole purpose of the Incarnation was to “chase” man and reconcile him to the Father.


  • I agree that we have been too weak and too brainwashed and emasculated to stand up and speak the truth.  The truth needs to be spoken, in love and without fear. 

    But let me make this challenge to you:  We believe that contraception is wrong, no?  March right now into your co-worker’s cube, or your neighbor’s house, or to a family member, and proclaim the truth to them.  Don’t worry about being effective, don’t dialogue with them, just courageously lay it on the line, and tell them they are going to hell unless they stop using contraceptives.  (You have to mention Hell, because as you said, dissenters love it when we don’t mention Hell.)  While you are at it, tell them that oral sex and pre-marital sex is immoral, too.  Just for dramatic effect, tell them how painful the sufferings of Hell are.  Read Dante’s Inferno for inspiration.  No one preaches that anymore.  Post a few Far Side cartoons on their walls just as a helpful reminder of their perfidy. 

    Also round up your Protestant friends (whom you haven’t already nailed for contracepting) and tell them there is No Salvation Outside of the Church, and that they are going to Hell, too.  See, telling them they are going to Hell is the most effective motivation for bringing them into the Church. 

    Now, wait as your fearless proclamation of The Truth(TM) brings a stream of converts to your door.  Let me know the final count.

    Remember, “What we need today is the Truth proclaimed in season and out of season.  Our world is sickening in its tolerence. We need more intolerence. Intolerence toward evil!”

    Do it now!  Make a difference!  Don’t tolerate your neighbor’s sin! Souls are being lost!

  • I do preach against contraception. Your analogy is flawed. Contraceptors, usually, do not publicly dissent. They do not wear a banner saying they contracept and demand communion. If they did, then I would have the same things to say to them as I do the sodomites. In fact, contraception is the root cause of much of society’s ills today.

    I can’t convert anyone, only God can. Yes, zeal is a good thing. Immortal souls are being lost and too many take your position . At Fatima the children saw souls falling into hell like leaves from a tree. Today, we laugh at such quaint notions.

    My quote about tolernce was from Bishop Sheen. You scoff because you value the Catholic lite set. A little of this, a little of that. Kumbaya.

  • Eric,

    As I read through your last post it occurred to me that your view and tone is exactly why the Church has ended up in such a sorry state over the past 40 years.

    The arrogance, capitulation to the secular, false charity, anger at the Truth. The Truth being a person, not an abstract thing. You can’t imagine that a Christian can be strong and charitable. Are you a cardinal or bishop?

    Failure to speak the truth is exactly why we have sodomites wearing sashes and demanding communion. Your “dialogue” is not authentic dialogue, but rather an excuse to hide your faith.

  • “Do it now!  Make a difference!  Dont_author_email>
    2004-06-09 22:19:59
    2004-06-10 02:19:59
    EXCEPT ERIC, how many times do I have to remind you that this thread is precisely and specifically about the RAINBOW SASH PEOPLE???

    You cannot win an argument by watering it down beyond recognition.  Arguing about other situations changes the argument, you see.  STAY ON TOPIC. 

    OR, my friend, you have not made your point and you are plainly wrong.

  • Hardhead:

    The arrogance, capitulation to the secular, false charity, anger at the Truth. The Truth being a person, not an abstract thing. You can>
    2004-06-09 23:02:26
    2004-06-10 03:02:26

    I am not making fun of proclaiming God’s truth to one’s neighbor.  I am making fun of the simplistic point of view that if we tell individuals they are going to Hell without listening to them, that will elicit conversions. (By all means teach about Hell, homosexuality, and mortal sin in catechism, preach it from the pulpit, and tell it to those you have a relationship with who need to hear it.)

    I actually don’t agree that souls are always saved by proclaiming the truth.  I can think of many truths that I learned later in the course of my conversion that, if I had heard them earlier, I would have fled screaming in mortal terror (and would not have been converted).  I learned truth is a powerful elixir.  It can only be taken in small doses.  I am very thankful that the people responsible for my conversion did not tell me all the truths at once, because I would not be following the faith today.

    I don’t think you folks seem to understand the process that happens in a sinner’s heart, especially when it comes to emotional obstacles.  A plant does not grow overnight.  You can’t dump 60 days’ worth of water and sun on it in one sitting and expect it to live.  A baby takes nine months to develop.  If what you said were true, we should just mail copies of the Bible, the Catechism, and Denzinger-Schoemetzer to people and they would be converted.  It took time for me to be converted.  I had a lot of crap to overcome.  It took people who loved me, not only by proclaiming the truth to me, but by inviting me over for dinner, listening to me, spending time with me, giving me rides, helping me out, moving me in and out of my dorm.  If they had told me at the beginning I was going to Hell, I would not have given them a second chance.

    But then, when I was ready, one of them challenged me, and told me what I had to do.  I obeyed him, because I loved him and respected him, and here I am today.

  • MIC

    <scripture is wrong as well?  Or maybe God is wrong?  Or maybe the Church has been wrong for 2000 years and Judaism for thousands of years before that (because thaty out of the Church.

    I reject your false characterizations, your scoffing and your lukewarm attitude toward evalgelization.

    If we want to be instruments of God in helping to convert folks we need to true followers of Christ. Christ was not a push-over that He has come to be seen as through pop culture brainwashing and elitist left wing homosexualists.

    He is mercy and justice.

  • Sinner,

    You are absolutely right about catechesis.  We have to present the unvarnished truth in RCIA and CCD.  Truths such as the sacrificial character of Christ’s death, the inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures, the infallibility of the Church, the reality of Satan and the demons, the existence of Hell, the immorality of premarital sex, masturbation, contraception, and so forth must be clearly articulated in catechesis.  I am also ashamed of the cowardice of the leaders of our church in preaching the truth.  My hero is Fr. John Corapi, and if you know anything about him, he’s one of the bluntest, most straight-shooting priests you’ve ever met.


    The topic is not about obstinate sinners who know the faith and reject it.  It’s about the protestors at the Mass.  I am personally rather doubtful that they really know the faith.  They might think they do, but I am not convinced they truly do.  If you disagree, then what is your evidence that they have been properly formed in the faith?

    The idea I made fun of your words because “they are accurate and hit too close to home” is frankly far from the truth.

    You reject my “lukewarm attitude toward evangelization”, but no one, including you, has answered my question about how specifically they would successfully evangelize these people.

  • “My hero is Fr. John Corapi, and if you know anything about him, het in their minds that they will never be able to get over.  Add that to horror over the loss of devotions and a few other things and they conclude that they cannot be catholic.

    We have lost far far fewer because we have failed to accommodate gays or whatever in their persistent sins. 

    Even if we were to stiffen up and get really strict about morals, we’d probably win more back than we’d lose.

  • I agree that we have lost literally millions of catholics because in the US we donree to contradict me, though.

    There have been some pretty remarkable conversions throughout the years.  Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore I think it would be wrong to write them off without any effort to reach out to them, and wrong to assert they will never listen to us.

    Telling a sinner how wrong they are is not an act of love if your goal is not their conversion; it’s just arrogance. 

    Yes, it has occurred to me that some of the Rainbow Sash people are not baptized.  You know what that means?  It means they are less culpable for their sin and more open to conversion!  Thanks be to God!

    Whether we are being used or not is immaterial.  They are sinners in need of conversion, period.

    For your last question, see my reply in post 3375, but here, let me quote Ezekiel 3:17-21:

    “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.  But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.  Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

  • Eric and MC, I don’t think either of you is reading the other closely enough because you’re both talking about two different things. Here is what I see you both saying:

    MC is talking about the cardinal giving the appearance of giving credence to the demands of a political pressure group that has publicly said it’s not looking for the truth, but that it’s the source of the truth. MC is saying that a bishop should not work for the conversion of sinners through such means.

    Eric is saying that the cardinal should be concerned about the conversion of sinners, even obstinate ones, something I agree with, and that he should work with them as individuals, also something I agree with.

    Let’s sum up here and see if you both can agree to this and stop going round and round to no resolution in this thread: It is good for the cardinal to seek the conversion of individual sinners, to teach them, even if they are obstinate. It is not good for the cardinal to defer to a lobbying group en masse as if they were teaching him the faith, as if they were a source of Revelation, rather than vice versa.

    Can we all agree to that and move on?

  • I am saying that working with a group such as the Rainbow Sash group as a whole, on their own terms, with the media narrating, will not obtain the conversion of sinners as a group.  This is because the conversion of sinners is NOT THEIR STATED GOAL in this matter.

    I agree fully that any homosexuals who really want to be Catholic need only to step into a confessional.  They have our blessings if they are willing to live according to the actual teachings of the Church.  Just like anybody else.

    I am only saying what the Catholic church has always taught on homosexuality.  Nothing new.

    Domenic, I agree that we should be concerned about the reconciliation of sinners to the teachings of the Church.  I agree that it is necessary to reach them personally.  I just don’t think bartering with the Rainbow Sash Coalition will accomplish that.

  • And no matter how wishy-washy Cardinal McCarrick is or not,  the Rainbow Sash Coalition is not going to give him a lesson in morals that is better than what the Catholic Church teaches and has taught for 2000 years. 

    If, and only if, they come to him in a spirit of freely being willing to accept the teachings of the Church, will the dialogue work.  But I simply don’t see that.  It is not, nor has it ever been, their stated purpose.

    If they intend to tutor the cardinal on the political necessities of gay rights, which I believe is their aim, they will get nowhere with most Catholics.  That is a travesty and deserves to be called what it is.

    If individual gays were willing to step into the confessional, instead of insisting on their own version of morals, then there would be no need for a strong-arm group like the Rainbow Sash Coalition. 

    May I remind you there are already support groups for gay people trying to live chastely and decently.  The Rainbow Sash Coalition is NOT one of them.

  • Dom,

    I apologize if I misunderstood anyone.  I fully agree with what you have presented.  I did say (I rechecked) that I meant speaking to them as individuals and not as a lobbying group, though perhaps I could have emphasized that more. 


    So I agree that working with the Rainbow Sash group as a whole, on their own terms, will not obtain the conversion of sinners.  As I said above, I was not arguing that he should engage them as a group.

    It’s not enough to let them come to us with their tails between their legs.  We have to reach out to them (as individuals), and woo them to Christ.

    Sure their aim is to tutor the Cardinal on the political necessities of gay rights.  Obviously he’s not going to listen.  But if that belief motivates them to meet with the Cardinal so that he can communicate the truth to him, then very well..

    Individual gays won’t be willing to step into the confessional until someone is willing to go to them and share the love of Christ and communicate the truth to them.  Why should they be willing to step into the confessional unless someone goes out to them and does what is necessary to lead them to the truth?

    Groups such as Courage that help those with same-sex attraction live their lives chastely are fine for those who are convinced of the Church’s teaching, but who is going to convince those who remain in sin?

    I am glad to hear you say that you think we should be concerned about the reconciliation of sinners, and that it is necessary to reach them personally.  I do think however it will take more than just letting them go to confession if they want.

  • Hey Eric,

    You said, “I did say (I rechecked) that I meant speaking to them as individuals and not as a lobbying group, though perhaps I could have emphasized that more.”

    I beg your pardon, Eric.  If you *meant* that, you didn’t *say* it.  You have been speaking of them as a group throughout the entire thread, and I have been insisting on speaking to them individually.  I’m thinking of your email too..heh.  So, I guess that’s been solved.  Good.

    Now, speaking to them individually means precisely that the cardinal will talk to these homosexuals individually as he can make meetings with each of them.  I can deal with that.  Maybe we finally agree.

    Pre-regularization meetings for the purpose of bringing them around to church teaching where the individual homosexual person can do that. 

    And if they can’t, they can’t, and they will not have been led on, and lied to about the fact that the Church’s teaching—scripture and all—can’t just be changed for them.

    BTW, I guarantee 1000% that the Rainbow Sash Alliance people won’t like this plan.  It’s not their stated purpose and it’s not what they’re after.

  • Sure their aim is to tutor the Cardinal on the political necessities of gay rights. well as English.

    There are no “tall fences” around the church—there is an old brick wall between the church and parking lot next door (where there used to be another St. Peter’s School—they had two).  The school is about a mile and a half away.  There is a fence around the schoolyard, much like other schoolyard fences.

    Of course, with the church being closed (after extensive recent renovations) and with St. Augustine’s being closed, the whole western half of South Boston has no Catholic church, St. Peter & Paul’s now being condos (I’m not quite sure when St. Vincent’s went).  For people with cars, not a real problem; for those too old, infirm or poor to drive . . .

    The great loss to the students of St. Peter’s is that the tuition was much lower than that charged by the other parish schools, which made it the popular choice among parents whose children used to be in St. Augustine’s School until that was closed last year.  (I heard that most parents are trying to get their children into St. Mary’s, the Polish parish.)  The other parishes are willing to take the students that they can fit in, but I haven’t heard that anyone gets a break on tuition.

    P.S.  There are lots of Lithuanians (some half-breeds, of course), including new arrivals, in South Boston