Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Mark Hare’s Latest Column

January 8th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

Mark Hare’s latest column, linked here, is a wonderful example of why Rochester’s Catholic population is decreasing.  The better majority of “Catholics” just don’t get it.

When Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata’s son Jim told them in 1983 that he is gay, the coming-out turned their world upside down. They never wavered in their love for Jim, 19 at the time, or in their love for and devotion to the Catholic Church.

For Casey, the question was, “Can Jim be Catholic and gay?” For Mary Ellen, the challenge of Jim’s revelation was about love. “There was no doubt in my mind that he was a good person and that God loved him,” she says.

While it is true that God loves everyone, no matter what, and it is our choice to turn away from Him, souls are not saved simply by “God loves me.”  Being “a good person” is not going to get you to heaven.  As Rich Leonardi points out, the Baltimore Catechism (a very useful book indeed) states that “To save our souls we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.”

At least Mark Hare has some of his facts straight:

The church … teaches that homosexuality, which is not a choice but an orientation, is not sinful. Only homosexual relations, which, like any sexual activity outside marriage, is sinful.

This much is true.  Really straightforward, right?  Makes total sense to me.  Homosexual relationships are not valid because they do not fit the definition of marriage, which is a union between one man and one woman.

But Casey says it’s not that simple. The church also teaches that celibacy is a gift. Not everyone has it; must all gays live celibate lives if they do not have the gift? The church, he says, also teaches that no one is obliged to do what is impossible for them.

Celibacy isn’t impossible.  Plenty of men go on to become priests, and plenty of women to become sisters and nuns–in any diocese but this one, at least.  The gift is not inherent in all people, it must be prayed for and worked towards–much like humility, compassion, and love.  By the logic stated in the article, teenagers should be able to sleep around, because celibacy outside of marriage would qualify as “what is impossible for them.”  Gifts such as this must be acquired with God’s help, since Luke reminds us: “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Lk 1:37, RSV-CE).

My biggest problem with this column, however, is this:

Churches need to be pushed and prodded, and yes, loved, into acceptance. Change will come, Casey says. It always does.

The Church is not some social club, made exclusive by its inane and ungrounded rules.  It does not change simply because some selfish person thinks that it should fit his or her agenda.  The homosexual act is a sin, and is just as deplorable as abortion, murder, or prostitution.  It is, of course, as old an act as abortion, murder, and prostitution:  Saint Paul even condemned it in his letter to the Romans.

…”and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Rom 1:27, RSV-CE).

The Catholic Church is an institution, founded by Jesus Himself.  Its laws are divinely inspired, not determined by democracy, majority rule, and the fickle population of humanity.  Spelled out, quite bluntly: it ain’t gonna happen, Mark Hare.  Learn your Church teachings, and if you don’t like them… well, they won’t be what has to change.

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24 Responses to “Mark Hare’s Latest Column”

  1. avatar Gretchen says:

    The job of the Church isn’t to make everyone feel warm, fuzzy, and accepted. The job of the Church is to point us to Christ so that we reach Heaven as our ultimate destination.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    Excellent, Ink!

    With regard to Hare’s tacit assertion that chastity is impossible for some, I would also point to St. Paul’s bold assertion: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

  3. avatar Louis E. says:

    The cure for “being gay” is as simple as admitting that same-sex attraction is not fit to be acted upon.And those who treat homosexuals as too foolish or blind to realize this are not their true friends.

  4. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    well said, Ink. One thing, I think, many people (like the Lopatas) have is a subjective mentality that they are entitled to superiority on the subject since they are the parents. “You don’t understand because you haven’t dealt directly w/ it.” Sorry I just don’t buy that. Morality is objective.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    And to think the Lopata’s are in positions of leadership in the DOR! The world has turned upside down.

  6. avatar Nerina says:

    I would suggest that the Lopata’s personal experience with their son actually clouds their discernment when it comes to homosexual behavior and its inherent disorderedness. What parent wants to think of their child as disordered? That’s why turning to the Church in these cases is crucial for everyone involved. It’s similar to a complaint that I often hear about priest offering marital counsel – “He’s not even married, how can he possibly know or understand?” Well, he can’t. But the Church in Her experience and wisdom CAN and it should be that counsel that a priest imparts. The same with any behavior contrary to the dignity of the human person.

    I can’t imagine what it must be like for the Lopatas or their son especially when the argument of “I was born this way” or “God made me this way” is so prevalent in our culture. Again, who wants to argue against that? Would we say an alcoholic is “made that way” and then allow the person to persist in destructive behavior? How about drug addicts? Sex addicts? Compulsive gamblers? You get the idea (and I can hear the protests, “but *those* are different from homosexuality”). With these conditions there is actually some scientific proof that they are rooted in genetics and familial “tendencies.” I know of no such proof regarding homosexuality, yet society seems willing to just throw in the towel regarding this destructive, yes destructive, lifestyle. Finally, why would any parent support a lifestyle that studies have shown greatly affect average life span, particularly among gay men? (see here:http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2008/apr/08042101) Our culture is absolutely devoted to stopping people from smoking which statistically reduces a person’s lifespan from 1-10 years. Yet we publicly support and agitate for a homosexual lifestyle which can reduce a person’s lifestyle by 8-20 years? I would say that Christ certainly doesn’t want anyone to participate in such a life-denying and life-destroying activity.

  7. avatar Zoomer says:

    I read this story with great interest as I am quite familiar with the goals of Fortunate Families. I do not espouse their teaching or rhetoric. Sadly, though, I have family members who have bought into their theology hook, line and sinker. What truly bothers me is how LGBT people are identified by their sexual orientation as the primary characteristic of their personhood. I think it is another facet of our hypersexualized society.

  8. avatar Ink says:

    Zoomer, I agree completely. It bothers me so much that people claim to “love them as they are” but they still can’t get over that. I have a few friends who identify as such, and my primary character traits for them, when I think about them, have nothing to do with their sexual orientation.

  9. avatar Choirloft says:

    Zoomer, well said, well said. First and foremost, we should identify ourselves as children of God; not as sexual being who happen to be heterosexual or homosexual. The LGBT agenda seems to stop at the sexual identity.

    I would be interested in hearing more about your encounters with Fortunate Families, Zoomer.

  10. avatar Anonymous says:

    New York, Rochester – “Zoar” – in solidarity with Courage Call: Tom (585) 729-1757, E-mail: tomjtrip@rochester.rr.com

  11. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I’ve often wondered about how close the connection between Fortunate Families and the DOR is. I wonder if they get any CMA funding?

  12. avatar Zoomer says:

    Choirloft, my husband’s family are actively involved in FF and are friends of the Lopatas. For the record, we do not endorse anything thar FF stands for and are somewhat considered outcasts for that.

    My MIL is a financial supporter and envelope stuffer for them. My deceased FIL wrote 2 articles to the D&C supporting the gay agenda. My husband and I were furious, as the event never took place, we were not present, and the article in no way expressed our views. Much to my dismay, a memorial fund was established in my FIL’s name by FF, allowing them to send their materials to those who couldn’t afford to purchase them.

    I’m not sure what CMA funding is, as we live in a very orthodox archdiocese in a neighboring state.

    Please feel free to ask further questions that I have not answered.

    Off to adoration to pray for vocations.

    Peace and blessings.

  13. avatar SisterBrockport says:

    Wow Zoomer, that sounds scary. My prayers are with you, and with your husband for his conversion. I wouldn’t want that in my family! Forgive me for asking, but I am confused though, what event are you talking about in the D&C?

  14. avatar Zoomer says:

    There were 2 editorials written and submitted to the newspaper. This was back in 1988, I believe, but they are indexed on the FF website and published in a book they wrote about Catholic families with GLBT children.

    My husband is positively sick over this. He prays for his dad’s soul (we don’t know if he repented before his death). Actually we pray for both his folks (dad is deceased but mom is living). She tries to normalize gay partnerships, which puts us in a real bind as we prepare our son for the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. Amen that my dear husband is truly in accord with Catholic doctrine. He’s an inspiration.

  15. avatar Zoomer says:

    If you go to the Fortunate Families website and look under stories, you’ll see the articles about 3/4 of the way down. They will not be listed as NEW articles.

  16. avatar Nerina says:

    Zoomer,

    Thank you for your comments and your witness. Frankly, I can’t imagine how difficult this situation is for you. I will pray for you and all those struggling with this issue in their families.

  17. avatar Zoomer says:

    And I thank you for your prayers and support.

    God’s blessings to you all.

  18. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Zoomer said, “What truly bothers me is how LGBT people are identified by their sexual orientation as the primary characteristic of their personhood. I think it is another facet of our hypersexualized society.”

    I completely agree with this. I have a good friend I really care about who several years ago decided she was Lesbian and is very avidly politically active now for gay pride (which I sort of anticipated, as she’s always gone all-out in whatever she does). She has been on my mind a lot lately. Yes, this identification by sexual orientation is one of the things that bothers me, too, Zoomer And if you have any reccommended reading on this whole subject I’d like to know about it.

    In my mind “Sue” is just “Sue” – this unique person I’ve known for years I really care about. This whole Lesbian thing, I see as just a phase, frankly, part of the evolving, changing person named “Sue”, though I know she doesn’t see it that way (now). Phase or not, she is “Sue the unique person”, not “Sue the Lesbian”, in my eyes.

    I have been thinking about contacting her since she had me on her email Christmas Card list this year (which was another opportunity to get her agenda out there!) I want her to know I still care for her even though I’m truly Catholic because I love her for the person she is even while not agreeing with her agenda I feel like it would be good to let her know that, as that is how Jesus loves her. I am wondering if I do get together with her to visit if I am going to get into a gay-pride argument, and in such an argument I would anticipate her NOT being open to hearing what the Church has to say, because she “already knows” – and knows its “narrow-minded, unevolved”, etc

    This friend has had quite an interesting, accomplished life. In one of her phases of spirituality, she once was Catholic, and she had a special love for Mary, and also St Bernadette, and Our Lady of Lourdes. At one point of her life my friend was in the hospital and she nearly died, and when she came to there was a strong, unexplainable scent of roses, and she had the distinct impression that Our Lady was there with her I was still Protestant at this time and thought this was curious and interesting, but now it means much more to me. So I keep praying for her, at every Mass and usually she is on my everyday-list, and I trust that Our Lady has a particular, special love for her. She would be a great Catholic, as she is a fearless and tireless advocate for what she thinks is right (which at this time is the Gay Pride agenda…).

  19. avatar Louis E. says:

    It’s sad to see people treat their weakness for a bad habit as “who they are” rather than something they can rise above!
    And there’s nothing wrong with attacking the development of any “GLBTQ [or anagram-synonym thereof] community”,which exists solely to reiniforce the tendencies of its members toward misbehavior,and dissuade them from taking responsibility to avoid it.

  20. avatar Zoomer says:

    Eliza10, if you Google “Notre Dame Belgau”, you’ll find a nice article that he wrote for Notre Dame Magazine. I loved your Marian story. I had a similar experience about 10 years ago. I will keep your friend in my daily prayers. I hope she realizes what a good friend you are.

  21. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    This fella claims it’s one more here he left the Catholic Church – see here

  22. avatar Zoomer says:

    Ben, I’m confused. Can you clarify what you meant in your last post?

  23. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Zoomer,
    The link I posted in my comment (click the last word “here”) takes you to another blog (I’ve never read anything except that specific article) quoting the same article Ink wrote about here. The person that posted it claims it’s “one more reason they left the Catholic Church” – the abuse of the “social gospel” here in Rochester.

  24. avatar Zoomer says:

    Gotcha–I went back and read it more carefully. I have to admit that I never felt comfy going to Mass in the DoR. It was too untraditional for my liking. Also, it was clear that Bishop Clark, a friend of my in-laws, supported their version of the LGBT agenda (God made them that way and it is not fair that the Church does not accept them for who they are…meaning the Church will not approve their sexual lifestyle.

    Any attempts on our part to change their attitude was met with extreme anger and the accusation that we didn’t accept the family member with SSA. It wasn’t until after my FIL’s death that I did a Google search and found the FF website. At the time, they claimed that FF was grounded in the Catholic tradition. I actually called the DoR to express my concern–that organization is anything but grounded in the Catholic tradition.

    I feel for those parents who feel their children have been rejected by society. However, trying to define these people by their SSA is losing sight of their dignity as a person and defining them according to their sexual inclination. I pray for those in the DoR that you may be soon granted a Shepard who will guide his flock towards God, and not away.


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