Saturday, November 3, 2007

Gay Catholic Parishes

As Providence would have it, the local Catholic parish in my town has a "gay and lesbian ministry" and considers itself to be "gay friendly." They proclaim this: "committed to an attitude of welcome and firmly opposed to discrimination in all its forms, we declare our support for gay and lesbian Catholics..." I didn't know "welcome" was an attitude. I have the highest doubt that they oppose discrimination "in all its forms." I'm sure that they have a definite opinion of the policies of Bob Jones University, for instance, and of people who choose to go there.

There's a thoughtful program to make sure that children between the ages of 14 and 18 feel comfortable expressing their desire to be identified as homosexual. We should make sure that those enduring the process of puberty feel that their inclinations are welcomed.

They even have photos on the Parish website from the 2006 Gay Pride Day.

What's one to do? Pride over practicing what their Church calls a sin? How about Incest Pride Day! Masturbation Pride Day! Bestiality Pride Day! Or, closer to home for many perhaps, Affair Pride Day! Perhaps this "ministry" invites to communion those with homosexual desires but who are not practicing their homosexuality. Those-Inclined-To-Have-Affairs Pride Day?

This makes it very hard to take Catholicism's teaching seriously. Perhaps the new Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore will make the Catholic Church's teaching more evident.

UPDATE: And lest you think that this is all happening under the Bishop's radar, this was in a recent Bishop's Report from Bishop Rozanski, "I wish to commend the community for your inclusion of Gay and Lesbian Catholics into the life of the community, including specific ministries in this area—Beginnings, Reclaim and Gay and Lesbian Ministries." One may be excommunicated for having doubts about indulgences, but another is 'incommunicated' as a Gay or Lesbian Catholic...

13 comments:

Chad Toney said...

It seems like the ladies there have some kind of strict dress code...polo shirts and short hair?

Thos said...

Perhaps they discriminate against lesbian Catholics with long hair and dresses? Seriously though, 14 year old's having homosexual curiousity fostered? I wouldn't put up with my public school having such a support group; why does the Bishop commend such a "ministry" in one of his parishes?

This is not the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. This is a parish whose acts are commended by a Bishop of the Premier See of America! Is it scandal, or should I reconfigure my view of Catholicism based on the old adage lex orandi, lex credendi???

Peace in Christ,
Thos.

Matt said...

Ugh...some people just have to ruin everything for the rest of us.

But no, you don't have to recalibrate your understanding of Catholicism. This is a scandal and it will get dealt with, if not here then in the next world.

The objectivity of Catholicism is not marred by the lack of understanding or action on the part of any particular segment of the Church. Even if that attitude were to extend to the Vatican (God forbid).

The fact of the matter is that this group of people (and even their Bishop in condoning it) stand in direct opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church. That, in my mind, is what separates it from every other group.

If Anglicans rally enough votes, they can have gay clergy, and that becomes the official teaching of the Anglican community. Catholics cannot and never will. If the OPC can get enough elders to agree, they can approve of contraception or divorce, and that becomes the official teaching of the OPC. This is not a possibility in Catholicism.

No matter how many Bishops approve of something contrary to the ancient teaching of the Church, they cannot overrule it. That's the difference. The teachings of the Catholic Church are outside of the realm of opinion or mutability, they are what they are and if you stand in opposition to them, so be it, but you will not change them.

At any rate, I would not be surprised to see this get dealt with, but that usually happens slowly, to ensure equity, and quietly, to try to avoid airing our dirty laundry to the rest of the world.

In Pax Christi,

Matt

Anonymous said...

Boys,

This is NOT the same incident as the SOPI in San Francisco. So, lighten up! Gays, Lesbians and all those "in-between" have every right to pastoral care by the Church. The Eucharist is not a reward for being good and therefore no one is ever worthy to approach the Eucharist. Also, please refer to statement of the USCCB concerning the pastoral care of homosexual persons. EWTN and Mother Angelica isn't the magisterium. So, if you're a Catholic living in the U.S., then submit yourself to your Bishop as any GOOD Catholic should and would. "Where the bishop appears, let the people assemble, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." - Ignatius of Antioch.

Secondly, you nor I have no idea whether or not these people are "practicing" or celibate gays, or what is in their hearts for that matter. That is something between their conscience and God. So, unless you're a priest (or God) you should stay out of people's bedrooms. There are names for people like that.

And, finally, instead of blogging, try praying. A rosary? A novena? Or, maybe just some time before the Blessed Sacrament, asking God to convert harden hearts. Starting with your own.

Pax et Bonum

Thos said...

Matt,

Thank you for your well articulated thoughts. I appreciate especially your point that embracing Catholicism (or remaining with it, in your case) does not depend on a Bishop or Pope being a particularly worthy adherent to the Church's teaching, but depends rather on those unchanging teachings themselves.

Anonymous,

I don't know what the SOPI incident is. I don't know what you mean by "lighten up". I have never said nor thought that Mother Angelica or EWTN constitute the Catholic Church's magisterium. Regarding any statement by the USCCB regarding ministering to homosexuals, one ought not to be confused. A parish expressing gay pride is a far cry from helping those struggling with sinful ideations. Your comments in reply to my post fail to address my analogy to "Adultery Pride."

Regarding your second numbered paragraph, I made no comment about what any particular people ("these people") do in their bedroom or elsewhere. My post was not about whether or not there are practicing gay people at that parish. I can even assume that all of those being ministered to at that parish are celibate. That does not justify expressing "pride" in the inclinations that are being repressed. You said there is are "names for people like that." I have no idea what you mean. Anonymous, don't hold your punches - make your judgmental comment about me if you want, but don't be veiled. Believe me, I can take it.

Regarding your third comment, you have set up the famous false dichotomy - blog OR pray. I do both, or more of the latter than the former, despite your judgment of me. You said I need to pray that God would soften my hardened heart. In what way is my heart hard? In what way do I need to be more open? Should I accept that homosexual genital acts are not sinful? Should I come to believe that they are appropriate expressions of Christian love? I think a minsitry to encourage people to fight their sinful desires is a graceful (grace-filled) thing. I hope we can all attain to sainthood. There are leaps and bounds between taking pride in a lifestyle centered on sinful conduct, and encouraging one another to confront and bravely wrsetle with our sinful desires. I look forward to hearing your thoughts fleshed out a little more. If you are from this parish and live local to me, I'd be happy to meet. Maybe you can help me appreciate how this parish's presentment is in conformity with the Church's Catechism.

Peace in Christ,
Thos.

TheGodFearinFiddler said...

The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bad bishops. Just remember, there was a time when the Bishops of the Catholic Church were predominantly followers of Arianism - yet no hint of Arianism ever permeated the dogma of the Church just as this shameful heresy will never be accepted by the magisterium. That's why we have the Pope.

The Catholic Church (especially in California) is in pretty bad shape right now. The Church moves slow - seems like too slow sometimes.

Principium unitatis said...

Thos,

I can fully understand welcoming persons struggling with homosexual dispositions/desires. But disordered desires and disordered dispositions should never be celebrated. To do so is to deny that those dispositions/desires are in fact disordered. The impression given by the parish website is that the dispositions/desires are being celebrated and embraced, even if continence is being affirmed. Virtue and continence are not the same thing. Virtue includes rightly ordered desires/dispositions. The continent person, by contrast, *does* the right thing, but struggles with disordered dispositions/desires. So it is important for the Church to celebrate virtue, not give the impression that it is celebrating disordered dispositions/desires. I suggest that you write a polite letter to Archbishop O'Brien, explaining to him what you are saying here.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Thos said...

GFF,

You are not easily flustered by abberant behavior. Good on you!

Bryan,

Thank you for your clear-headed articulation of the problem in this case. I will take you up on your suggestion that I should write to Archbishop O'Brien. I feel a special affinity to him because of his time in the military as a Chaplain.

Peace in Christ,
Thos.

Tim A. Troutman said...

Thos - Looks like your diocese is a regular battlefield and the new arch bishop means business.

Exciting stuff.

Anonymous said...

As a gay minister in another denomination, you have convinced me that the Catholic Church is full of hateful bigots like yourselves who cannot tolerate real human diversity.

Glad I'm not one of you. Jesus himself could not pass your tests.

Thos said...

Anonymous,

Yours is a strong comment.

"the Catholic Church is full of hateful bigots like yourselves who cannot tolerate real human diversity."

1) I am not in the Catholic Church. I am in the PCA, a denomination that also follows the Bible's teachings on homosexuality, that it is a disorder and sin to be avoided.

2) If you wish to engage in a discussion to seek toward the truth on this matter, to soften my view perhaps, I'm more than happy to engage. But it is my opinion that one calling me a hateful bigot hardly helps us all become better Christ-bearers. I do not believe I feel hate toward anyone. I feel just as prepared to love a homosexual as anyone else.

3) I am prepared to tolerate a great deal of diversity. The word "tolerate" has traditionaly meant to bear or put up (though our recently more tolerant society has expanded the meaning of the word). I tolerate diversity. I do not tolerate, in any sense of the word, people lacking integrity. And it is my opinion that people who profess to believe all that Church X teaches, but then refuse Church X's teaching Y lack intellectual integrity. So please see that the point of my post was the terrible inconsistency and hypocrisy involved in calling yourself "Catholic" and then taking "pride" in a disposition that church calls sin (or disorder).

"Glad I'm not one of you. Jesus himself could not pass your tests."

4) Which test of mine would Jesus fail? I believe he is God made flesh, the Son of God, the Word (i.e., All Truth) Incarnate. Maybe you would be willing to get to know me. We could share our views and try to come to a better understanding of the Truth? Life is short. That's an open offer, if you're ever in the D.C. area.

Peace in Christ,
Thos.

Principium unitatis said...

Thos,

Here's a related story regarding the archbishop in Minneapolis.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Thos said...

Bryan,

Thank you for providing the link to that article - interesting.

It's interesting how our fellow citizens react to people who clearly articulate their beliefs, or who sincerely subscribe to their church's teachings.

Peace in Christ,
Thos.