Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


A good end?

June 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

An anonymous reader just left a comment pointing to a Your News Now story published last Wednesday. That story attributes a stunning quote to Bishop Matthew Clark (my emphasis) …

Religion plays a role in many people’s decision-making when it comes to how they feel about gay marriage.

Bishop Matthew Clark says the Catholic Diocese of Rochester remains opposed to gay marriage. He says the church’s position is based on the belief that marriage is a sacrament, celebrated between a man and a woman.

It just seems inappropriate to me and a lot of people that it should be redefined to reach a good end, but an end that could be achieved in other ways,” said Clark.

Clark says the Diocese has lobbied state lawmakers, trying to convince them to vote “no” on same sex marriage.

The bishop says the church’s position shouldn’t be seen as discrimination against homosexuals.

A good end, Your Excellency? How is it possible for a Catholic bishop to say that any action whose purpose is to promote sexual intimacy outside of real marriage is oriented toward a good end?

I just don’t get it.

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36 Responses to “A good end?”

  1. avatar Dr. K says:

    I can picture him doing a victory dance when the gay marriage bill passed the Senate.

  2. I don’t understand what part of his statement regarding “a good end” points to sexual intimacy outside of marriage. Could someone explain it?

  3. What’s particularly galling is that he’s had months if not years to prepare a coherent thought on this topic, given the coverage of the issue. And that’s what he came up with.

    In a more civilized age, the man would have been deposed and exiled to a far-away monastery, where his only harm would be in annoying his cellmates.

  4. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Dr. K, your comment is uncalled for. I acknowledge that the Bishop’s “good end”
    comment is confusing. Perhaps our ordinary is concerned about offending people and
    is trying hard to say something that appeals to everyone. Unfortunately,we have become accustomed in this Diocese to less than strong, assertive leadership that boldly proclaims Christ, His Gospel, His Sacred Tradition, and His Church. It is one thing to be discouraged about that, it is another to make unwarranted, insulting comments. You are being rebuked. Please consider a public apology on this website to Bishop Clark. Otherwise, I petition this website’s managers to consider a stern reprimand to the point of banning you from participation. Please remember you are obliged to love. If your comment reflects Christian charity, I challenge you to demonstrate your comment’s love for Bishop Clark in a convincing way.

  5. You are being rebuked. Please consider a public apology on this website to Bishop Clark. Otherwise, I petition this website’s managers to consider a stern reprimand to the point of banning you from participation.

    First, get over yourself. Second, anyone who has paid attention to Clark’s record knows that he has been a cheerleader of the out ‘n proud homosexual community in Rochester. Witness his winking at the blessing of homosexual unions at Corpus Christi (which only ended when the Holy See intervened and forced his hand), his widely circulated dissentient homily at a rainbow Mass in the nineties, and his persecution of priests who speak in defense of Church teaching on human sexuality.

  6. avatar Nerina says:

    Wait. Let me get this straight. The person (Anon 133122)who threatened to go into his or her VBS and promote the “appropriateness” of gay marriage without the consent of parents or church leadership is calling a CF contributor a “bully?” That’s rich.

    As for Dominick’s comment, I’m going to assume he hasn’t been around in the diocese that long, or he hasn’t been paying close attention to Bishop Clark’s past treatment of homosexuality in the diocese. Based solely on Bishop Clark’s past ambiguous statements and overtures made toward the homosexual community (not to mention how he has banned orthodox, faith groups like the Catholic Medical Association and Courage from his diocese), it is not unreasonable to assume he is supportive of this development.

    I remind readers of the following statement made by Bishop Clark at a New Ways Ministry gathering in 1997:

    I do think with growing conviction, based on my own pastoral experience that the Church really needs to engage in an intentional, corporate and systemic reflection on human sexuality.

    He also said the following when asked about homosexual “blessings”:

    My concern with the practice is not so much a concern with the practice, but the practice as it communicates to the wider community, that that issue is settled, that it is in exactly the same place as the Sacrament of Marriage is in the faith and understanding of the people at large. And I simply ask that any practice of blessing or validation, whatever it is called – and I know it’s called different things in different places -my concern is that it’s carried out in such a fashion that there is visible equation made to the Sacrament of Marriage in the sense that I just described, as that is understood and commonly held by the Christian assembly. (see the book AmChurch Comes Out, p. 55-66 by Paul Likoudis)

  7. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I don’t understand what part of his statement regarding “a good end” points to sexual intimacy outside of marriage. Could someone explain it?

    I believe he’s alluding to the red herring of equality – that somehow homosexuals don’t get all the benefits that married people do (eg hospital visits). One of the senators mentioned something like 1900 benefits that married people get (I haven’t heard of any other ones besides hospital visits). I don’t necessarily disagree w/ allowing homosexuals the right to choose who can visit them in the hospital, but I do believe it’s a red herring. This issue was not about that. It was about forcing everyone to accept a lifestyle and pretend that same sex relationships are no different than 1 man, 1 woman marriages.

  8. avatar annonymouse says:

    The sad thing is that if our shepherd were to teach with courage and clarity that which the Church teaches, the Catholic Church would draw many Protestants disaffected by the lukewarm faith taught in their own congregations. Unfortunatly, they look to the Catholic Church and see no difference. They see the same tepid rejection / implicit embrace of same-gender marriage that they see with abortion.

    I am personally apalled by this “good end” comment. If not for my own devotion to Holy Mother Church in the form Christ gave us, I wuold be looking around.

  9. avatar Nerina says:

    Oh and Nerina it’s not a threat but rather a promise!

    Then shame on you, Anon. Shame on you. I’ll add you to the list of people (since you suffer under the delusion we have some “list”) who should NOT receive Holy Communion while you persist in supporting the idea of homosexual “marriage.” By receiving Communion, a person not only says “Yes, I believe this is the body of Christ,” but also says “I believe in all that the Church teaches.” Of course, that’s between you and God.

    Again, to readers who may witness influential people (e.g. catechists, directors of religious ed or anyone with a pulpit, so to speak) in their own churches espousing the view that homosexual “marriage” is to be accepted and celebrated, confront them. Don’t allow them to poison your children’s minds with ideas that are antithetical to the faith. If we truly desire the best for our fellow man (and by best, I mean an eternity with God), then we don’t allow people to persist in sinful behavior regardless of what the state may sanction.

  10. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Anonymous-190145 wrote: “And let’s not forget the physical violence done by homosexuals to elderly people who were simply making their opinions known in California.”

    I hadn’t read that but I Googled and found this: “”

    It is the very thing that points to the way we are going, and is the fruit of Bishop Clark’s activism. Gay Activists do not simply want human rights, as we know. They want to oppress, suppress, outlaw and be the thought-police for anyone not willing to embrace their thought. And they may well succeed with their gang mentality and their disinterest in truth. Our faith could be outlawed. We or our children could very well be martrys over this issue.

    Thanks for the help, Bishop Clark.

  11. avatar Scott W. says:

    I’m actually inclide to cut Bp. Clark a little slack on this part. Granted, his statement is wimpy cover-your-behind corporationspeak, but this, and his signing of the bishop’s statement, may indicate that although he may have nudged and winked in the past, he may be starting to realize that gay “marriage” isn’t about equality, but a zero-sum game in which if the homosexual lobby wins, then Christians (and the very concept of chastity itself) lose.

    I’m much less hopeful that he will do anything stronger than this. The Catholic politicians who supported this under his jurisdiction need to be disciplined. He can no more ignore it than a manager can ignore an employee who deliberately set the store on fire.

  12. avatar Anchor says:

    What a fine bishop we have for our children to minimize the abomination of sexual perversity and refraining from sheparding them away from danger, away from Hell.

  13. avatar annonymouse says:

    181109 – you say it is a teaching of the ordinary magisterium. I say it is in HOLY SCRIPTURE – Romans 1:26-27. PLEASE, now that you’re back from your weekend, tell me how St. Paul is preaching anything other than a CONDEMNATION of homosexual behavior. PLEASE!

    And since when are preachers prohibited from preaching anything apart from infallible dogma???

    And, when you’re done with that, please tell me the last time you heard preached anything about abortion. Or is that ordinary magisterium also.

    And finally, WHERE are you learning this stuff?

  14. avatar Mike says:


    The teaching of the Ordinary Magisterium can be infallible.

    From Lumen Gentium §25 (i.e., the letter – as opposed to the ‘spirit’ – of Vatican II) …

    Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held.

    In nearly 2000 years of Church history I don’t think it’s possible to find a single Catholic bishop who has ever claimed that marriage is anything other than the union of a man and a woman or who has ever ‘married’ a same-sex couple. Two millennia of universal, consistent praxis surely puts this teaching into the infallible category.

  15. avatar annonymouse says:

    181109 – Why do you refuse to answer my question –

    Read Romans 1:26-27 – how is that not a crystal clear condemnation (in Sacred Scripture) of homosexual behavior?

    And when you’re done refuting me, please refute specifically what Mike just said. You can’t so you won’t try. You seem to believe that Catholics can believe anything they please as long as it’s not been declared infallible. In which case, there would only be like TWO things we’d need to believe. Right? No.

    Oh, and by the way, the Church isn’t “they” – the Church is “we.”

  16. avatar annonymouse says:

    181109 – no offense, but that is the absolute stupidest thing I have ever heard. Bar none.

    Where, even in our diocese, do you learn such things? Or in what book do you read such things? Did it ever occur to you to challenge the author’s bias, to consider what end the author is trying to achieve? Do you question the things you read or hear?

    Please provide a cite, so that we can all see what your cite’s trying to prove.

    No rational, thinking person could read that explanation and not laugh out loud at the preposterous, obvious bias. Oh my gosh, that’s a howler! How gullible are you? Can you not think for yourself? That’s so implausible, it’s actually funny!

  17. avatar annonymouse says:

    181109 – by the way, teachings of the Ordinary, Universal Magisterium are considered infallible.

  18. avatar annonymouse says:

    181109/1710 – There is no way that a rational, thinking person can plausibly read the words “the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another” as anything other than a condemnation of such implicitly unnatural relations. To think otherwise is to be more dishonest than Bill Clinton – “depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

    You seem fine with this completely ridiculous explanation, gleaned from a website that I cannot even link due to profanity in its title (http://www.F__kyeahLGBT…) from a book written by someone whose academic credentials cannot be found with a google search, over and above the 2000-year teaching of our Church.

    Based on the fact that you know something (albeit not much) about historical-critical interpretation, my fear is that you are either a priest or deacon or pastoral administrator type or somebody in training to be one or the other, and that you have, or will have, access to a pulpit from which to spew such filth.

    Do better, 181109. Or seriously, entertain the Episcopal Church, which would seem to be a more welcoming home to such pseudo-intellectual mind games. Seriously – why would you want to stay?

  19. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    Considering whether the ordinary magisterium is fallible or not, I was wondering when the Pontiff is signing the documents for a beatification, he uses his baptismal name but when he is signing for a canonization, he uses his pontifical name as supreme pontiff???

  20. avatar StillCatholic says:

    I was posting as Anon 1710. I’m a Roman Catholic because the teachings of the Sacred Magisterium are true Divine revelation. I could never go to a church that didn’t believe that the Eucharist was the true Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe in the foundation of Roman Catholicism. But I do remain skeptical of things the Church admits are not infallible if they seem wrong.

  21. avatar StillCatholic says:

    Oh, and I didn’t copy it from that website, they must have also copied it from the original place. Sorry to disappoint.

  22. avatar Nerina says:

    For StillCatholic and Annonymouse,

    I find the following excerpt from the CDF document, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexuals, valuable:

    6. Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other.

    In Genesis 3, we find that this truth about persons being an image of God has been obscured by original sin. There inevitably follows a loss of awareness of the covenantal character of the union these persons had with God and with each other. The human body retains its “spousal significance” but this is now clouded by sin. Thus, in Genesis 19:1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made there against homosexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion.

    Against the background of this exposition of theocratic law, an eschatological perspective is developed by St. Paul when, in I Cor 6:9, he proposes the same doctrine and lists those who behave in a homosexual fashion among those who shall not enter the Kingdom of God.

    In Romans 1:18-32, still building on the moral traditions of his forebears, but in the new context of the confrontation between Christianity and the pagan society of his day, Paul uses homosexual behaviour as an example of the blindness which has overcome humankind. Instead of the original harmony between Creator and creatures, the acute distortion of idolatry has led to all kinds of moral excess. Paul is at a loss to find a clearer example of this disharmony than homosexual relations. Finally, 1 Tim. 1, in full continuity with the Biblical position, singles out those who spread wrong doctrine and in v. 10 explicitly names as sinners those who engage in homosexual acts.

    Biblical exegesis written by, then, Cardinal Ratzinger.

    This is actually an informative and thoughtful letter that got bad press from the “usual suspects.” I think many people would benefit from reading it (especially those advocating that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is somehow fungible).

    Letter can be found here:

  23. avatar annonymouse says:

    As a Catholic, even the teachings of the Church that aren’t “infallible” demand your religious assent and respect.

    Or do you question everything in your life?

    Let me ask you this – how exactly do you form an informed conscience? Is it whatever you feel like? Where/how do you weigh Holy Mother Church’s consistent teaching in your conscience-forming?

    Just because there is the POSSIBILITY that the sacred teachers of the Church may be wrong, do you immediately dismiss everything they say and teach? How do you pick and choose?

    Do you think the interpretation of Romans by some wack-job writing a book for homosexuals trumps 2000 years of consistent Church teaching? Can you find a similar interpretation written by a Catholic biblical scholar?

    You’re the one questioning the Magisterial teaching – Please support it by something more convincing than the “source” you’ve provided. You’ve indicated why you might NOT support a teaching – how do you positively decide what is right and wrong?

  24. avatar annonymouse says:

    Nerina – unless Cardinal Ratzinger’s teaching is INFALLIBLE, StillCatholic is going to refuse to adhere to it. “Might be wrong – don’t have to believe it.” In such people’s worlds, there is no objective truth. Or at least Holy Mother Church is not respected as the arbiter of such truth.

    If Benedict proclaimed it ex Cathedra tomorrow, he/she would still find a way to ignore it.

  25. avatar Nerina says:

    Regarding C. Ann Shepherd – she is certainly not an unbiased source. Also, her interpretation of the Romans chapter (found at: relies on some interpretive parsing of the Greek. Her argument illustrates the necessity of relying on the Church and Her Tradition for interpreting Scripture as a whole and not reading into it what we want it to say.

  26. avatar StillCatholic says:

    As long as we all seem to agree the Church’s teachings on Homosexuality are not infallible I’m satisfied. And no, I do not dismiss everything they teach because it might not be infallible, most of it I agree with. But nor am I going to be blind and just accept everything as if it were infallible. Even the Church does not go that far.

    But there are topics where honest disagreement over interpretation exist, new evidence is discovered, and new ways of approaching a topic are discussed. Also, I do keep in mind the history of Church teachings and recognize that there was so much that was found to be in error or reversed. So that leads me to think, why not this as well. I think its important to weigh in the motives of those who support the Church’s position, such as the human traits of intolerance, bigotry, and prejudice. Those arguments, and how they are presented, also allow me to judge the righteousness of the teaching. Most of the anti-SSM positions on this blog are very informative in that regard, and have very little in common with the words of Christ himself.

  27. avatar Nerina says:

    If Benedict proclaimed it ex Cathedra tomorrow, he/she would still find a way to ignore it.

    I’m afraid you’re right, Annonymouse. I think you ask a great question: how does StillCatholic decide which teachings to adhere to? I mean, there are many things we believe as Catholics that have not been declared “ex Cathedra.” The trinitarian nature of God, the Divinity of Christ, the Resurrection of Christ (although, sadly, there are influential Catholics who suggest the Resurrection is not a historical reality), the necessity of baptism, etc…

  28. avatar Nerina says:

    Hi StillCatholic,

    I certainly didn’t concede that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is fallible. It think it takes a certain type of obstinance not to see what is plainly before your face.

    You mention “I do keep in mind the of Church teachings and recognize that there was so much that was found to be in error or reversed.” Can you give me specific examples? Were these issues of faith and morals or things like usury?

    Finally, if you’ll indulge me a bit longer, :), you say “Most of the anti-SSM positions on this blog are very informative in that regard, and have very little in common with the words of Christ himself.” Again, do you mind clarifying this comment. Thanks in advance.

  29. avatar Louis E. says:

    As a non-Catholic who nonetheless commends the Catholic Church for its forthright condemnation of homosexual activity and recognition that this is in the best interests of those wrongly attempting to justify engaging in such activity despite their accusations of “hatred”,”bigotry”,”intolerance”,”prejudice”,and the like,I wish those clinging to desperate rationalizations for same-sex sexual relationships and for their treatment as if unobjectionable would not claim that this is possible while remaining a faithful Catholic.

  30. avatar StillCatholic says:

    Nerina, so you claim the Church’s teachings on Homosexuality have been declared infallible?

    And I didn’t say that the teachings were fallible, I said they were not considered infallible by the church. And that distinction does leave room for the faithful to ponder even while following the teaching. You can follow a teaching even if you disagree with it.

    And please don’t speculate on whether or not I would do this or that if something or other did or didn’t happen. That’s just a childish way to try to dismiss and diminish me on this particular topic. Tsk,tsk.

  31. avatar annonymouse says:

    StillCatholic, why so dense? A teaching does not have to be DECLARED infallible in order to be infallible. If a teaching needed to be DECLARED infallible, then there would only be two infallible teachings, the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.

    I will not concede that the Church teaching on homosexuality is fallible either. It has been consistently taught for 2000 years and is consistently taught now by the entire Ordinary Universal magisterium in communion with the Pope. That is the very definition of an infallible teaching. Look it up.

    But look at it from a natural law perspective. Look at the way God created us. If God doesn’t care whom we ‘sleep’ with, then why did He make us male and female? Do you REALLY think it’s God’s plan for one man’s reproductive organs to be joined to another man’s alimentary system? Does God really bless such a relationship? Is that really love?

    It is simply not possible for two men, or two women, to be united sexually (unity of reproductive systems). God created our sexuality for two purposes (unless you want to dissent from this also) – unity and procreation. Two men, or two women, simply CANNOT procreate. That’s natural law. The state Senate cannot change that. That’s the foundation of 2000 years of (to me, at least) rather obvious teaching. That’s the foundation of marriage, and the foundation of civilization, and our “modern” society is rejecting it at our peril.

    In today’s first reading, we see what happened when an ancient civilization so rejected God’s ways.

  32. avatar Nerina says:


    I apologize for my speculation.

    Can you answer my questions?

  33. avatar Irondequoit Mom says:

    It makes me absolutely ill to hear SSM being equated/part of/a continuation of the Civil Rights movement. But that is the result of our oversexualized culture – having sex with something/someone you love is your civil right? This could only come from a completely immoral culture, and as much as I am counting the days with CF- Clark’s replacement is not going to be the means to the mending. It is the duty of each of us to speak out – against the immoral headlines/music/etc. In Wegmans, there is a CD of Katy Perry posing without clothes chest down on a cloud and it is being sold in the checkout line! When I said something to the checker, she just gave me this grin like, you old lady. But if we dont speak out- and cancel (cable, gossip/celebrity magazines, health magazines that teach yoga, cosmo, glamour, and the like) then we are culpable.

  34. avatar annonymouse says:

    84149 – do not despair! Do not lose heart! I cheated – I skipped to the last chapter and read the ending – GOD WINS! Not in our time, to be sure, but in God’s time. Meanwhile, like Irondquoit Mom says – we do what we can.

  35. avatar annonymouse says:

    StillCatholic appears to have fled.

  36. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    I am thankfull every day for those of you who know and use “spellcheck”. : )

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