What was he doing there?

What was he doing there?

The chancellor of the Springfield, Illinois, diocese was found on Tuesday night beaten and unconscious in a park. He is in critical condition in the hospital. Of course, he has my prayers for a swift and complete recovery.

But the question remains: What was he doing in the park late at night?

Over the years, Douglas Park has developed a reputation as being a meeting spot for gay men. Police in past years have conducted special patrols there in response to complaints of inappropriate sexual behavior.

However, the park also is the site of many high-profile community events, including weekly Springfield Municipal Band concerts in the summer and large family picnics. The park also has a disc golf course that is popular in warmer months.

I am sure he was just getting there early for a mid-December picnic.

  • That sentence starting “However,” is a strange thing to add to the article since at 10.30pm there are no such activities taking place in the park.

    One thing that I find remarkable—here and in the child porn case I blogged today—is that the risk of being caught is so high and the consequences so devastating.

    I think they are not merely perverted but also addicted to “living on the edge”.

  • The article did note that he was found 2-3 hours later, so he was there around 7 or 8:30, not 10:30pm.  From Patrick’s comment above, I think we need to separate the issues of homosexuality from pornography or pedophilia.  95% of convicted child offenders are heterosexual, and 5% are homosexual.  But that’s not a fair statistic either, because only ~5% of the population are homosexual.  So proportionally, sexual orientation is independent of pedophilia.

    Anyway, about gay priests hiring male prostitutes, perhaps this means that instead of promoting celibacy, the Church should be supportive of gays who also choose to behave gay, by first encouraging them to abstain from sex, then getting them to meet the right same-sex person at Church social events (instead of sleazy bars or shady parks), and then encouraging them to get married to each other to start a committed relationship and adopt kids who were otherwise thrown away.  We’d solve a lot of problems at once: spiritual violence against gays, promiscuity, and unwanted minority babies.

    Check out this article:

  • Peter,

    For one thing, quoting Andrew Sullivan on the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is like asking Madonna about the teaching on chastity.

    Your agenda is clearly showing.

    For another thing, whatever the incidence of sex abuse in the population, the vast majority of abuse in the Church is homosexual in nature, i.e. adult males having sex with post-pubescent males. The John Jay study put it as more than 80 percent.

    Your theories have been fully discussed and discredited on this blog over the past four years. I suggest you search the archives and read all about it.

    Next, the Church is not and should not be in the business of encouraging homosexuals in anything but chastity and leaving their disorder behind. Nevermind the child abuse that the Church has described in allowing children to raised by homosexual or lesbian parents.

    Oh, and so what if he was beat up at 7 or 8:30. It would have been dark there for at least three hours before then, plenty of time for shady goings on. Or perhaps he was getting ready for a round of winter-time disc golf. Yeah, I bet that was it.

  • If Andrew Sullivan were someone else, would you be more open-minded?  After all, the Church is asking people to adhere tightly to its authority on many issues including sexual matters, despite its poor handling of sex abusers in its ranks.  But you don’t see me dismissing everything the Church teaches.  I’m just using the Church as an example, but you can insert the name of anyone who is not impeccable.

    Anyway, my theory about why sex abuse amongst priests is predominantly male-male is that homosexuals are specifically called to a life of celibacy, and so in trying to be good Catholics, they choose a vocation that requires and enforces that—priesthood.  But if instead the Church were to encourage homosexuals to be involved in committed homosexual adult relationships, then they wouldn’t try to hide themselves in the priesthood and end up molesting male children they think they can control, and the Church wouldn’t have such a problem with sex scandals.

    One final thing, it would be great if you could discuss controversial issues without sounding dismissive or condescending.  It’s not very Christ-like at all.

  • You’re coming into my “home” and telling me how to behave. I don’t think Miss Manners would approve.

    My attitude is not condescending, but it is dismissive because I’ve heard the same argument for years and it’s just as unconvincing. Sorry, but this isn’t a debating club. Think of it more like the corner pub. You don’t like the tone, you don’t have to join the conversation.

    Oh, and I’m just getting a wee bit tired of people running around telling everybody else that their standards of behavior are or are not Christ-like. Jesus called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers,” among other things. He wasn’t the milquetoast people to think he was.

  • “perhaps this means that instead of promoting celibacy, the Church should be supportive of gays who also choose to behave gay” : aren’t we talking about priests here, men who have taken vows? Why is it that vows are not supposed to restrict the behavior of “gays” as they do the behavior of others? Where did this above the law “the rules don’t apply to gays” attitude come from? Doesn’t that bespeak a dishonesty that is extreming troubling?

  • Dudley, I meant that if the Church were to support gay relationships instead of telling gays to be celibate, it wouldn’t drive many gay men into priesthood if that wasn’t really their calling.  Obviously, gay or straight, vows are still vows, and if even in an environment that permits gay relationships and gay marriage, someone gay or straight still wishes to become a priest and vow to be celibate then he should be true to his vows.  I’m just saying that the motivation to become priests by men who happen to be gay is not completely genuine, understandably because of the current climate on gay relationships.

    Dom, true, this website is your “home.”  By analogy, if you invite guests to your home, of course you still have the prerogative to be rude to them, but that would be a strange privilege to invoke.  Also, only Jesus is allowed to be judgmental, lose His temper, be harsh with words, etc., because he’s God.  But clearly in Matthew 7:1 we shouldn’t judge.

  • Peter writes that he was “just saying that the motivation to become priests by men who happen to be gay is not completely genuine, understandably because of the current climate on gay relationships.”
    First of all, I’m certain that down through the centuries, thousands upon thousands of men with homosexual orientations had genuine vocations to which they responded genuinely. Of course, they saw themselves as more than gonads. Secondly, the “current” climate has been THE climate since the beginning in the Jewish and Christian understandings of God’s will. What is “current” is a politicized self-identification as “gay”. Thirdly, why is it possible for others with “crosses” and difficulties to bear the load but it is not even conceivable to do so for men who think of themselves as “gay”? Maybe it is thinking of themselves as “gay” that is the problem, not the consistent understanding of the Church of order and disorder. 

  • Peter:

    Why should the Church support “gay relationships” (read: sodomy) any more than She should support, say, adulterous unions?  Or contraception?  Or abortion?

    Homosexual acts are intrinsically immoral.  Period.

  • Peter, please pick up the John Jay study of 10,600 cases and use its numbers to get an understanding of how the scandal is connected to the over-representation of homosexuals in the priesthood: there are 5 to 10 times as many homosexual priests as there are in the general adult male population.

    From a 64/36 male/female victim ratio 50 years ago it rose to 86/14 in the 1990’s.  From the ordination class of 1970, one in ten of those priests was accused of homosexual sexual abuse.

    After $500 million already paid out, 3 dioceses in bankruptcy, another estimated $500 million yet to be paid eventually, our concern is saving the Church in the United States from being destroyed by these homosexual assaults (86%) and heterosexual assaults (14%) and the resulting cover-ups.

  • Patrick, it seems like the John Jay study you’re citing from actually supports my theory.  Only relatively recently has the Church been outspoken in its disapproval on homosexuality, which might then have driven homosexuals into the priesthood (to hide from the social expectation to marry heterosexually) and thus this might have led to a gradual increase in male victims relative to females.

    Matt, I disagree that homosexual acts and abortion and contraception are intrinsically immoral.  If that were so plainly clear then Jesus Christ would have talked about them in the Gospel.  Granted contraception and abortion are products of modern technology so Jesus might not have commented on them, but gay sex was not an anachronistic subject.  Anyway, if these were intrinsically immoral, at the very least the Pope would have declared it so ex cathedra.  But he hasn’t.

    JoeS, asking homosexuals to bear the burden of being celibate is like asking heterosexuals to be celibate.  Some can do it, but they are few and far between.  Otherwise, don’t you think there wouldn’t be such a big shortage of priests in general?

  • Peter.  Gay sex is a mortal sin.  Period.  It says so in Scripture.  Or do you ignore that like you ignore the John Jay study?

    Moreover, the seduction and rape of boys is a crime and a travesty.  It’s against the law.  It’s also causes psychological damage in the victims.  It ruins lives and has caused many suicides.  I hope you are not advocating that too. 

    You have an agenda, and as Dom said, it is showing. 

  • Peter, excuse me, I missed it before that you were pulling our collective leg; in your last post it is clear that you are joking.
    When you say it is only relatively recently that the Church has seen disorder in homosexual acts: ha, ha, ha. That’s a good one. And that part about abortion being a part of modern technology: there you go again with the funnies. You know that abortion was condemned in the Didache (and you know what the Didache is) but you thought we didn’t; what a stitch! Merry Christmas to you, too!

  • Michigancatholic, there is no “Period” in regard to matters of homosexuality (or abortion or contraception).  I already mentioned how if it were so, the Pope would have declared it ex cathedra on all these matters, and they would have been mentioned by Christ Himself.  Anyway, about homosexuality in particular, and what the Bible says, the issue is so not clear-cut that there is certainly disagreement on the issue.  Helminiak’s writings, for example.  Besides, if we were to take the Bible literally in its present translation (“It says so in the Scripture”) , we should put to death any woman who is not a virgin who wants to get married, for example, just because it says so in the Bible.  Is this something we should really do?
    By the way, I totally agree that pedophilia is a crime.  I’m not sure why you think I would be advocating that just because I disagree on issues such as homosexuality. 

    Matt, I’m as much a practicing Catholic as Catholics who are divorced, for example, or Catholics in their 50s still having sex when the wife is postmenopausal.  (Also, I’ve visited catholic.com before.  I’m really uncomfortable that a religious website is selling things.  They’re pretty immodest about it.  Just remember the part in the Gospel where Jesus actually lost his temper and destroyed property.)  As to why I’m reading this weblog, I guess I’m just fascinated by orthodox Catholicism.  I used to be very orthodox myself.  I’m just not sure that’s what Jesus expects of me, keeping track of all these rules to inherit the Kingdom of God.  He said so in Mark 12 to just love God and to follow the Golden Rule.

  • Peter, you are so insistently ignorant of Catholic doctrine and your tone is so whiney that I think you ARE Andrew Sullivan. Andy honey, are you playing a Christmas prank?
    Well, on the slight and frightening chance that there is more than one teared up ignoramus, then, “Peter”, when you say
    ” the Church is asking people to adhere tightly to its authority on many issues including sexual matters…But you don4-12-23 23:26:21
    2004-12-24 03:26:21
    JoeS, Catholics can’t divorce and remarry and be considered “practicing” Catholics can they?  As for the postmenopausal remark, the Church teaches that homosexual acts are never approved because they are sexual acts without the intent of procreation.  The 50+ couple having sex when the wife is postmenopausal and thus enable to ovulate and conceive would be essentially commiting sexual acts without the same intention of procreation.  Of course I don’t seriously believe in these restrictions; I’m just pointing out what would happen if we apply the same standards to everyone like that which are imposed on homosexuals.

    Please don’t resort to name calling, thank you.

  • Peter,

    You’re joking, right? 

    The objective sinfulness of homosexual acts is made very clear many times in scripture.  There is no “wiggle room” at all.  You are telling yourself (and unfortunately us) what you want to hear, for whatever reason.  This stuff you are spouting is not Christianity—it’s of your own making.

    Peter, if you’re fascinated with orthodox Christianity, that’s cool.  But, the degree to which you will get anything out of orthodoxy is the degree to which you will actually listen to it.  You are busy telling people all kinds of stuff, but you AREN’T listening. 

    That’s assuming you really are here for the orthodox talk that tends to go on here. 

  • And Peter, a married man and woman are a married couple, making their relations licit and moral, 50+ or not.

    An unmarried man and woman,  no matter what their ages are, having sex, commit mortal sin because of sex outside marriage.

    A married person, having sex with anyone except their spouse, commits a mortal sin also.  Sexual intercourse, or other intense sexual activity, outside marriage is ALWAYS sinful.

    Any other combination of human beings having sex commit at least one mortal sin, and often others as well.  This includes homosexual sex.

  • “Please donone who had confided in him that he was homosexual. Helminiak wanted to know what it was like, decided he liked it and started looking for justifications. He thinks he sees mistranslations that have been overlooked for 2,000 years. Naturally, people look for excuses and scapegoats to ease their guilty consciences; his are preposterous.
    The Didache, by the way, also known as “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” is ancient –  compiled, some say, around 100 A.D. It is clearly opposed to fornication (which is sex outside of the marriage of a man and woman), pederasty, abortion etc. – all the teachings that have come down to us from the people who wrote the New Testament and are not recent issues. You might read the Didache rather than something by someone who has boasted of deliberately committing what he regarded as mortal sins. 

  • “A woman who is postmenopausal becomes sterile by nature and design, and for consistencyinclude its members whether it’s politicians, gays, parents, etc.) is inaccurate at best.  Sitting squarely on one side of the fence of an issue does not make it True. 

    As for licitness of sex between postmenopausal women and their husbands, I’m merely applying the Church’s rationale of why homosexual acts are not permitted—because it closes the door to procreation.  As the reasoning currently stands, a double standard applies here.  (Speaking of double standards, I have an opinion about how women should be ordained as priests too, but that is another big debate.) 

    Anyway, I am fascinated by orthodoxy, but don’t take that to mean I must buy into it automatically.  The way I was raised Catholic, faith can only grow stronger if you question it.  I would say that even on lesser issues (meaning those that do not define Catholicism) that should be true as well.  Thanks for the references.

  • >>>Also, only Jesus is allowed to be judgmental, lose His temper, be harsh with words, etc., because he Even if you do not agree with them based on natural law arguments or whatever, you are bound by the Church to give free religious assent to them.  I suggest that you read Lumen Gentium 25, which goes into this somewhat indepth and footnotes other documents that have also discussed it.

    Before you dissent on Church teaching you need to understand what the Church’s teaching on dissent is, i.e. what is legitimate dissent.  Avery Cardinal Dulles has written on this in First Things (I don’t have time to search for the reference on their web site, but you can if you’re really interested), and I’m like 98% sure that the Holy Father wrote about it in Veritatis Splendor also.  You may claim that “in order to disagree with the Church you have to agree with the Church’s standard for legitimate disagreement” is circular, but utlimately it comes down to the issue of authority.  All of us struggle with this from time to time, which is why all of us need to always pray for greater faith.

  • To clarify the last post, there are not different degrees of fallibility or infallibility.  Something is fallible or infallible, there isn’t an inbetween.  What I mean to say is that fallibility applies to certain types of teachings, and infallibility to others. 

  • Peter,
    I’m not sure that you will be able to hear this, but I share it all the same.

    Simply because you agree or disagree with something does not make it true or not true.  Truth simply is.  Our agreement with it matters little to Truth, though it matters greatly to our salvation.

    There are folks who still debate if Christ was Divine-does this mean since it is being called into question we need to re-declate it to be an official teaching of the Church?  Pick any topic: The Trinity, The Real Presence, Mary’s Immaculate Conception-all things that people still question and debate.

    Simply because they question them does not make them untrue.  As I said before, our believing or not believing something does not make it Truth or not Truth.

    Truth simply is.  And we can know it through Divine Revelation, and through the teaching office of the Magesterium and Tradition handed down to us from the time of Christ.

    Peter, I share with you that I once questioned EVERYTHING about our faith-and all the biggies: Mary, Contraception, women priests, the Pope-I mean I had my answers for all of what I thought were inaccuaracies within the Catholic Church.

    It was only when I was graced with the ability to have intellectual honesty that I was open to learning exactly what it was that the Catholic Church was teaching.  And I do say “graced” because it was not something I was able to bring about on my own-it involved my participation, but Ifirmly believe my small agreement with God gave that Grace a way to drench my intellect, and my will and as my mind was changed I literally could sense my heart changing as well.

    Today, following the teachings of the Church I don’t feel like laws and rules govern my life, but that the Church is the Way to Freedom, to real happiness, that deep down joy.  Her teachings are of Christ:  The Way, the Truth and the Life and I revel in this blissfully.

    Keep reading, keep searching! Keep praying as well, keep asking God to guide you towards His Truth.  He who seeks finds.  And not because we are all challenging you but because you genuinely seek it. 

    What we have in the Church is real.  Have our leaders muked up the practice of it? yep.  Have we muked it up in our own little ways with our sin? yep.  But the joy and beauty of the Church is that it’s objective truth teachings save us from our subjective ridiculousness.  Thank God I can lean on and rely on the bulwark that is the Church when I so ungraciously mess up.  I wouldn’t be a Protestant for a 100 millions dollars, not with the safety and security that we have with Christ and his Bride-and ALL of her teachings, whether you believe in them or not-The Church.

    God bless, Have A Merry Christmas.

  • Peter –

    You say:  “If an issue is obvious, then no ex cathedra statement needs to be made.  But if something is called into question, then something should be declared ex cathedra.  Homosexuality and abortion are big debates of our time, and to say these issues are held consistently by the whole Church…is inaccurate at best.”

    Your first sentence is essentially true, and most orthodox Catholics would agree with it.  But then you indicate that, if “something” is “called into question”, then “something should be declared ex cathedra”.  Nice to see that an open-minded inquirer such as you has taken upon himself the mantle of determining what should and should not be taught ex cathedra. 

    Another issue is whether a teaching has been “called into question”, as you say.  Well, what are the standards of “questioning” that would call for an ex cathedra teaching?  To say that the Church’s teachings on abortion and homosexuality are anything but obvious, infallible teachings doesn’t even pass the laugh test.  And how, exactly, do you think the Church would benefit by an ex cathedra teaching on abortion and / or homosexuality, considering all of the authoritative and binding teachings on these subjects with which we have been blessed over the centuries?  Considering your self-contradictory statement that “Sitting squarely on one side of the fence of an issue does not make it True”, it doesn’t seem like you’d have high expectations for the results of ex cathedra teachings on homosexuality or abortion.  So why bring it up at all?

    To the issue of conjugal acts between postmenopausal women and their husbands:  What rationale, exactly, are you misreading from the Church on this issue?  Let’s zero right in on Part 2, Section 11 of Humanae Vitae, under the heading “Resect for the Nature and Finality of the Conjugal Act.”  It states:  “But the Church, which interprets natural law through its unchanging doctrine, reminds men and women that the teachings based on natural law must be obeyed [observandis] and teaches that it is necessary that each conjugal act [matrimonii usus] remain ordained in itself [per se destinatus] to the procreating of human life.”  Note that the issue is not whether the conjugal act is ever closed to procreation.  It is whether the act is “ordained in itself” to the procreating of human life. 

    Section 15 of the same Section states that “The Church, moreover, does allow the use of medical treatment necessary for curing diseases of the body although this treatment may thwart one’s ability to procreate.  Such treatment is permissible even if the reduction of fertility is foreseen, as long as the infertility is not directly intended for any reason whatsoever.”  So, if licit medical treatment that results in infertility is allowed, and post-treatment intercourse is permissible, why should post-menopausal intercourse be held to a more restrictive standard?

    Let your fascination open your mind, Peter.  You’re way farther down the road to the Truth than so many others are.  Don’t waste the effort you’ve already spent to get this far.

  • Bryan, the Church used to teach that slavery was okay—and teach continuously at that—but that doesn’t make it right.  And unfortunately the burden of proof does lie with dissenters, and how unfortunate for Galileo to pay such a price, for example.  Thank you for clarifying on the issue of infallibility; I was going to point out that there is no such thing as degrees of infallibility (just fallibility).  Having said that, the Catechism is not infallible.  The Catechism defines the conditions that constitute infallibility.  But it is not infallible in itself. 

    Also, I do agree that the argument on what dissent is legitimate is circular.  Someone should come to believe in something not because they are told “just because.”  It’s just not genuine and it does not make them a believer.

    Jen, thank you for your wonderful comments.  I definitely agree that there are Truths out there.  My question is, how do we know it when we see it.  I bring up the unconscionable subject of slavery—unconscionable by today’s standards—as an example.  It used to be a tradition, a way of life, from the ancient life to the relatively recent founding of our country.  It was even approved in the Didache.  Was it Truth though?  Think about how slavery just simply was, imagine living in those times, and wonder how one can possibly know.

    Definitely there are some things that are debated such as the Trinity, Jesus Christ as Savior and God, etc. that are Truth; in fact they define the Catholic religion and Christianity in general.  One may debate and disagree with these, but then one would by definition not be Christian.  Does women priesthood define our faith in God?  Does homosexuality?

  • Peter,

    Before you go making pronouncements you really need to get more educated about what the Church really teaches. The Catechism is infallible insofar as it is the teaching of the extraordinary and ordinary magisterium of the Church. I suggest you read the Holy Father’s Apostolic Constitution on the Catechism contained in every copy.

    As for your last question, Yes, the free assent of our will to the Truth as revealed by God through His Church defines our faith. To reject the Truth is to reject God Himself.

    We know Truth because it is revealed by the Church, which Jesus Christ Himself guaranteed would safeguard His teaching through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    The slavery bit is specious misdirection. The Church never taught what you says it does. I don’t have the time or patience to go into it. Maybe someone else does. Or maybe you could have the initiative to look it up yourself.

  • Peter, I think one of the problems is that you are questioning the wrong things.  Rather than questioning what the Church has very clearly taught on, esp. recently (i.e. abortion and homosexual acts), it seems that you should be questioning your own assumptions, i.e. regarding slavery, et al.  You seem to have a certain bias which automatically sets you at odds with anything the Church proposes that hasn’t been defined ex cathedra.  But you’ve yet to show any of us where the Church teaches that anything that hasn’t been defined ex cathedra is fair game.

    Instead of quoting from questionable sources for all of your arguments (i.e. Andrew Sullivan and Bp. Gumbleton), why don’t you revertimini ad fontes, go back to the sources, read what the Church actually has said and not what the latest commentator is proposing.  E.g. Veritatis Splendor, Lumen Gentium, Humanae Vitae, Casti Conubii, etc. 

    That said, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

  • Dom, I and many others disagree.  Here are some links:
    http://whybecatholic.blogspot.com/ (I did not write this, but I feel similar.)
    The Catholic Encyclopedia at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm notes that the ordinary magisterium can be neglected for practical purposes about infallibility.
    And according to the Superior General at http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Archbishop-Lefebvre/The-New-Catechism.htm, the Catechism is not infallible by virtue of the ordinary magisterium, when there is deviation in doctrines.  Take birth control for example.  The rhythm method is a recent concession, whereas before there was not such an exception.  That’s a deviation.  Doctrine is ever-evolving.

    As for slavery, you are correct in saying that the Church never taught _me_ specifically what I say it does.  But it has throughout history, in the name of Tradition no less.  Check out this link on the timeline: http://www.womenpriests.org/teaching/slavery1.asp

    Finally I want to point out to Michigancatholic that gay sex is not a mortal sin because it does not concern a grave matter specified by the Ten Commandments (according to the Catechism).  The gravity of homosexual acts, in the Church’s viewpoint, is on the level of masturbation and even heterosexual sodomy, because in these cases the reasoning is similar (closing the door to procreation, according to Catechism).  I pointed out the fallacy of this logic alone when a couple has a barren or sterile partner.  Anyway, I know we’re going to disagree on this all over again, but since many here are so familiar with Catholic teachinig, I wonder why no one picked up on the mortal sin mis-statement. 

  • Peter, everyone knows that being *raised Catholic* doesn’t guarantee anything anymore.  The biggest idiots in the Roman rite were *raised Catholic.*  Catechesis has been so bad for years that the teachings Catholic kids got were often worse than nothing.  Those “teachings” served to immunize the kids from actually learning the faith.  It’s very common that this happens.  Very very common.

    Peter, there’s nothing tautological about laying out every possible case.  It is a commonly used method in logic to write a definition which has several cases. 

    Truths are interesting things, like nothing else.  You can write them backwards and they say the same thing as frontwards—did you know that?

    4=2+2 is the same as 2+2=4.

    An unmarried man = a bachelor; a bachelor = an unmarried man.  To use an old logic book example.  =)

    Truths are not contingent.  The little arrow doesn’t go just one way.  =)  Truths are categorical.  The little arrow goes both ways.  =) 

    Sometimes people play fast and loose with induction and get the idea that contingencies can be truths.  Not so.  They can only approach truth, but never reach it.  This is because contingencies have the form “If this, then that.”  They do not have the form “This, period.”

    When you’re calculating costs to the nearest penny, close enough is good enough.  When you’re trying to cut up wood to uniform pieces, close enough is good enough.  But when you’re trying to understand a truth, truth being the thing that it is, you only get a portion of the truth if you settle for “good enough.”  Half-truths, as you know, can be lies.  In fact they often are.

    The Chruch doesn’t teach half-truths as the deposit of faith.  When the Church proclaims a truth (a “this, period” statement about something that just is) you can’t defeat it with induction, my friend.  Not possible.  The knowledge of faith is an entirely different matter than the knowledge of science, business, etc.

    There’s another very interesting thing about truth.  If something is indeed true, then it is true no matter what anyone thinks of it.  A truth claim either is true or it isn’t, and a truth is.  And it’s just that simple.  No matter how much peoples’ ideas change, no matter what is allowed or said, or how nice about this people get, if it’s wrong and by that I mean false, then it’s false.  Period.  It just is.

  • Example:  It is possible to question one’s own existence (brains in a vat and all that nonsense).  It’s quite impossible to prove, you know.  It can be knocked around psychologically, emotionally and even mentally more or less indefinitely.  You can relativise it and de-relativise it to your heart’s content.  You can play with it til hell freezes over.  But does that mean you aren’t here anymore???

    Heh.  Not. 

    Just stub your toe, and you KNOW you’re here.  Ontology makes truth claims about what is.  Try to avoid it and you won’t be able to.  =)

    If it were as easy to make truths change as you seem to think, Peter, you could just talk yourself from this world to the next, without ever having to go through the messy ordeal of actually dying.  No one wants to do that—can’t we just approximate it and go on?  Close enough, don’t you think?

    I don’t think that’s how it works.  smile

  • Peter –

    You say:

    “Finally I want to point out to Michigancatholic that gay sex is not a mortal sin because it does not concern a grave matter specified by the Ten Commandments (according to the Catechism).  The gravity of homosexual acts, in the Church’s viewpoint, is on the level of masturbation and even heterosexual sodomy, because in these cases the reasoning is similar (closing the door to procreation, according to Catechism).”

    Umm…someone’s not paying attention.  Or at least not reading all of his Catechism.  Let me direct you to CCC 2336, which states:  “The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality.”  And, let me direct you to Matthew 5: 27-28 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” 

    Each of these casts a pretty wide net around the collection of proscribed sexual activities, and puts them into the category of violations of the sixth commandment – which would make them mortal sins.  One is very well advised to treat acts such as homosexual activities (among many others) as ones that represent violation of the sixth commandment. 

    The Gospels show us that Jesus did not have much patience for legalistic hair-splitting.  When dealing with clear, consistent Church teachings, it’s best to act on the side of compliance rather than to exploit perceived loopholes.

    Please, Peter…point us to excerpts from authoritative teachings to prove us wrong.  Don’t appeal to the rantings of schismatic nutcases like the St. Pius X folks, or the heretical agitprop spewed out by the priestess Quixotes. 

  • Peter –

    “Take birth control for example.he Church is officially a dissenter or a schismatic.  That’s not a really fair label though.  This is what’s been happening:
    1.  It is just because.  Don’t question it.
    2.  Well, I disagree…
    3.  No questioning!  Heretic!

    Can you tell me anyone who disagrees who is not a dissenter?  I look at what people say who disagree with Church teaching because that is dialogue.  I’m sure God would think that our faith in Him would be more meaningful if there is dialogue.  Otherwise doctrine on many issues would not have evolved (such as Vatican II).

  • “Young people…they speak when they should listen.”

    Don Corleone, to Virgil Sallozzo, after Don Corleone’s son Santino spoke out of turn during a business meeting.

    “The Godfather”

    Peter –

    This quote is an imperfect analogue to what’s been discussed above, for several reasons.  First, none of us but you knows how old you are.  Second, this isn’t a business meeting.  Third, the stakes in what we are discussing are far higher than those that were discussed during the meeting in this “Godfather” scene.

    Nevertheless, I’d strongly recommend you spend a bit more time listening to those who post on these pages before you proceed with sharing what is often your misinformed opinion about Church teachings. 

    At the risk of speaking incorrectly on behalf our distinguished host, inoffensive opinions that are well thought-through are always welcome here.  This is a lesson I need to re-learn sometimes, as other readers and posters here will attest.  So you can take the advice from one who also needs to practice it. 

    I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from people on this site who are far wiser than I…and I thought I was a reasonably well-informed Catholic when I first found Bettnet.com!  And don’t necessarily listen to MY opinions.  I’m most often a cynical, cantankerous blowhard who speaks when I should listen. 

    Even so, I encourage you to spend a bit more time listening, and reading more authoratative source material, before getting into such topics as whether homosexual sex is or is not proscribed by Church teaching on the Sixth Commandment. 

  • Can you tell me anyone who disagrees who is not a dissenter?ere’s a difference between, “I don’t understand the teaching, but I will accept it while seeking to understand it,” and “I don’t accept the teaching, the Church is wrong … unless she can prove otherwise.”

    As for someone who disagrees who is a not a dissenter: Anyone who disagrees with a doctrine of the Church is a dissenter. Who appointed us the arbiters of Truth? No one.

    But I’ll give an example of legitimate disagreement. The Church teaches that capital punishment is allowable under certain circumstances, but the Pope says those circumstances are non-existent in the US. I could disagree with him, and believe those conditions do exist, and not be a dissenter.

    Or the Pope could say that the current fiscal policy of the Federal Reserve does not help the poor. I could disagree with him on whether the Federal Reserve’s policy hurts the poor, as long as I agree that we should help the poor.

    Or the big one: There are certain conditions laid down in Church teaching to determine whether a war is just. The Pope could say that the war in Iraq is bad, but the Church’s teaching says that it is up to legitimate political authority to determine if the just war conditions apply. It should give weight to the Pope’s advice, but it is not dissent to disagree on whether those conditions apply. Again, I agree to the teaching and apply it within the bounds that the Church has defined.

    Oh and you’re right and wrong about natural family planning (what you and others have been calling the rhythm method, which is an incorrect term for it.) You’re right that if the couple’s intent is to prevent children all together, i.e. a form of contraception, then that would be wrong. However, NFP can be used for the spacing of children and because it is not a barrier method, like condoms or the pill, God can still bring about a child.

    Also, because the husband and wife are not denying the total self-giving involved in marital relations, they are not necessarily contracepting.

    And you were wrong that the only end of marriage is procreation. There are two ends of marriage: the procreative and the unitive. While the procreative is the primary end, the unity of husband and wife in love is not unimportant. Yet both are intertwined and cannot be separated from each other.

    Finally, Steve was right. Any sex outside the bonds of marriage is adulterous in the sense intended in Exodus, because sex is reserved for your spouse, present or future. And it’s not tautological for gays: They can marry, if they are healed from their dis-orientation and marry the opposite sex. Or they can choose to stay single.

    In either case, a gay couple or a lesbian couple can marry no more than I can become a mother, no matter how unfair any of us proclaim it. Just claiming it to be so doesn’t make it so.

    Okay that really is the last word from me.

  • Peter, we really know what the Church teaches through divine revelation.  If you don’t accept divine revelation, you’re not Catholic, my friend.  That’s where this stuff comes from.

  • Michigancatholic, revelation is the direct communication from God to a person through supernatural means.  Still, the subtleties of such a definition are hotly contested.  In any event, not all Church teachings are the result of revelation (thank God, especially about the embarrassing teachings on slavery!).

    Dom, your whole discussion about marriage is still tautological, but I guess we’ll simply have to agree that we disagree. 

    As for “legitimate” dissent, remember, even the Apostle Thomas doubted that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, the very foundation and definition and Catholic (and Christian) faith.  But you know what, Thomas, who is a saint, still went to heaven.  This essentially makes the concept of “legitimate dissent” null and void, because Thomas doubted the Resurrection of Christ Himself, the biggest dissent of all.  Our discussion also reminds me of the parable that Jesus taught once, about different vineyard workers who worked different amounts of time.  Some guys were given work for the whole day since the morning, some guys for about half a day or so, and some guys towards the end of the day, even up to the last hour.  They all got paid the same, and the first guys who worked the whole day were really pissed off, feeling that their reward should have been even greater than everyone else’s because they worked the longest.  Anyway, they ended up getting scolded, being told that they should be happy with what they got, instead of deriving their happiness from what others got compared to them.

    We all end up coming to God in our own way.  For some the path is relatively straight-forward right from the start, for others it’s a bit more circuitous (and contentious I might add), still for others it comes down to the last hour of the day.  Instead of telling others who’s deserving to be called a Catholic or not, or essentially who’s going to heaven or not, we should just be happy with the paths we take, even if the reward ends up being the same, and everyone gets to heaven in their own way.  Personally, I don’t think something like ordination of women priests or even homosexuality are going to be dealbreakers in the eyes of God.  These things are really not in the commandments or the Golden Rule, and just as some here have accused me of being too broad or liberal with the reading of some passages in the Bible, I guess the feeling’s mutual in regards to how I feel adultery is read into homosexual behavior, for example.  (I always thought adultery is cheating on an actual wife or husband, not cheating on a future/potential/theoretical wife or husband.)  But again, this goes back to our disagreeing on so many things, and back to the parable of the vineyards and finally, even to Jesus Christ Himself who said don’t bother worrying about which commandment is the most important to follow, just remember the Golden Rule.

    Anyway, I hope everyone’s been enjoying their Christmas.  People are already starting to say Happy New Year, but I still say to everyone Merry Christmas, or more accurately, Happy Birthday Jesus, He who was sent forth!

  • Peter, there is no such thing as “legitimate dissent.”

    Also, revelation is closed—has been since the end of the apostolic era.  New “revelation” is not a private matter, ever.  All revelation has come through the church, in accord with the Church.  You cannot be a religion unto yourself and still be Catholic.  That’s religion 101, my friend. 

    I don’t know where you’ve gotten all this bunk, but you really need to study some.  You’ve picked up a lot of errant nonsense along the way somewhere.

  • Wow, what I got for Christmas, a lengthy explication of the totally wrong mind set of many american catholics today. Thanks Dom!

  • Michigancatholic, about legitimate dissent, I agree there is no such thing, something you should tell to Bryan Jerabek, an above poster.  Dissent is dissent in my opinion.  As for the definition of revelation, check out [url=http://www.newadvent.org’s]http://www.newadvent.org’s[/url] Catholic Encyclopedia.  But next thing you know, you’ll be telling me that website is heretical.

    Hmm, I didn’t realize that Jesus’s parables and words out of His very own mouth from the Gospel are nonsense.

  • “Matt, I disagree that homosexual acts and abortion and contraception are intrinsically immoral.  If that were so plainly clear then Jesus Christ would have talked about them in the Gospel.”

    By that reasoning, slavery and torture must be OK, since Jesus never talked about them, either.  (Or to be precise, He never condemned them.  One of His parables spoke approvingly of having a malefactor handed over the torturers until he had paid the uttermost farthing.)

    (I know I shouldn’t feed the trolls, but that comment of Peter’s was just too obviously fallacious to let pass.)

  • Seamus, about torture, Jesus didn’t need to speak about it.  Just having Christ Himself suffering from it when He was carrying the cross is enough of a statement about the immorality of it.  As for slavery, not only is it not discussed in the Gospel, but it is even condoned in other parts of the Bible.  In fact, Catholic popes in the past have supported slavery on these grounds.  This goes back to my earlier posts here about how contradictory Church teachings have been and how doctrines must evolve.  But if we really look at Christ’s teachings, we need only apply the Golden Rule—unless you yourself want to be a slave, then you shouldn’t want someone else to be your slave.