Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 6)

July 21st, 2010, Promulgated by b a


This is the last installment of the “Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics” series.  This is the longest clip (15 min.).  You can also listen to (or download) the session in its entirety near the end of the post.  Let’s just get right to it.


Papal infallibility as it relates to Moral theology

  • David Reed, Papal infallibility is “Celebration of consensus”
  • Bishop McQuaid, did not vote on infallibility (not questioning his courage?)
  • This is somewhat on topic, somewhat not. As Sr. Pat says, we shouldn’t treat teachings that aren’t given papal infallibility as optional. And that is somewhat fitting because the “sure norm” CCC flies in the face of what Sr. Pat is proposing.

Polygamy question

  • Polygamy is bad for children (only reason it’s bad?)
  • Why can’t church stretch for African culture?

BDA’s question whether you could relate that to town of Corinth?

  • “Not familiar with struggles of Corinth”. Really? I find that hard to believe.
  • “Not sure a parallel can be drawn”
  • It’s not a perfect analogy, but analogies are never are. My point in bringing up Corinth was that the Church shouldn’t pander to the world, but instead should call the world to rise above its immorality. The idea that things are different now and we need a new perspective because Jesus didn’t anticipate the 21st century is just bogus.
  • Our honest friend says it’s different because of the religious connection. I disagree because I think everything is religious. And that’s one reason why “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual” doesn’t make sense. Religion encompasses everything and everything we do is about religion. Some people may say they don’t have a religion, but alas, they do. They just call it by a different name, like atheism, or hedonism, or materialism, or secular humanism.


does the Church continue to teach as she always has? yes
are people (trained theologians) questioning? yes

every 5 years bishops go to Rome and report on their problems
I’m assuming that the main questions are those about, “please change Church teaching

Really? I will offer another speculation. I would speculate that the majority of contact to Rome from the laity (whether funneled through a bishop or direct) is complaints about heterodox nonsense. But, of course, I have no evidence for that so it’s only speculation.

every church is questioning this stuff

no – not every one. Conservative Evangelicalism has stood strong. It’s only the mainline Protestant denoms that have liberalized. And just like the Catholic left is slowly dying away while the right is growing, so it is with Evangelicalism. This is the Evangelical Catholic Debt.

Jim Keenan, Theologian Jesuit Priest?

“another good topic? annulments.”  So topics that are good for discussion are ones in which people like to complain about Church teaching? How bout we talk about positive aspects (although I’m not conceding that TOB isn’t very positive), like Church history, the Saints, the Eucharist, living a prayerful and faithful life, etc.

And again, here’s the flyer I handed out. Notice that Neil Young’s Helpless is playing in the background. That’s a good way to describe Catholicism in the Diocese of Rochester until these progressivist ideas are put in the garbage where they belong. As the flyers are going around, you can faintly hear it from Sr. Pat’s own lips, “this is authentic Church teaching”.

The major rebuttal I have to Sr. Pat’s entire message is that Jesus calls us to conversion. This is not merely a recognition of his lordship, but it requires an aggressive act of the will. This conversion is not our own doing – the power comes from God. But we must allow him to work. If we put up our defenses and say, “I will not allow God to change me”, then we have no hope. Sr. Pat’s message is sad. It lacks the message of the Gospel. It lacks God’s offer of redemption because it refuses to admit the need to be redeemed. Jesus actual message is so obviously missing from Sr. Pat’s message. Here’s but one example. Read the Gospels for 15 minutes and you’ll find many more. This is the story of the rich man who couldn’t give up his great wealth to follow Jesus. I believe the common understanding is that we all have things we cling to that we must be willing to give up for God. Notice that Jesus does not run after the man saying, “no – don’t go. we’ll find a way to accommodate you.”

Mark 10

21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[e] to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

27Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

28Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29″I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

My personal favorite money quote from Sr. Pat. This, I believe, tells the whole story of what she believes:

Church is a long way away from recognizing the sacramentality of same-sex marriage

So you see, she is presuming that “same-sex marriages” are already sacramental, but that the Church just doesn’t recognize them. For those people that agree with her on this, I would just say, “fine, but go promote your ideas elsewhere. You are lying in that you are falsely advertising. If I urinate in a coke bottle and attempt to sell it as bona-fide coca cola, do you think that the Coca-Cola Company might have something to say about that?”

So, why does someone like Sr. Pat remain a Catholic? Why not be Anglican? Why even be a Christian? Allow me to speculate. There is in every person a desire to do good, to reach beyond oneself and work for a cause that is a greater good. People like Sr. Pat think that the greater good is to reform the Church. I’ve used the following passage before and I think it hits the nail on the head. It is from a recent novel, “The Death of a Pope”. What’s really scary about this character’s rant is that he sounds eerily similar to something you’d read in many of the mainstream “Catholic” circulars.

‘That is the tragedy of the Catholic Church. It could be – it could be – the most powerful, the most effective agency for bringing justice to the world, but always the charism of thousands is thwarted by the diktat of one or two old men.’… ‘the infallible interpreter of God’s will on matters as abstruse as the Immaculate Conception and as banal as condoms’

‘But we cannot escape the fact – those of us raised in the Catholic faith – that our Church has a huge influence in the world, for good or for evil, and that influence depends on the mentality of one old man who puts another old man in charge of the Holy Office and appoints other like-minded old men as cardinals who in turn will choose another old man who thinks like them to be the next pope! It is an unending cycle of senility and reaction that brings misery to the world!”

How does sexuality relate to this desire to change the entire direction of the Catholic Church? See Mike’s comment in the part 1.

What we’re up against is not benign, but malignant. The Bishop makes very ambiguous statements to the public (scroll down that page for some very well written responses). Many people read his words and think, “there’s nothing wrong with that – he’s so loving”, and there’s certainly truth in that. But many don’t realize what is going on behind the scenes. I hope to have presented some of that to you and “raised awareness” about heretical teachings. I hope that I’ve also provided enough resources for encouragement. The Catholic Church isn’t simply saying NO to promiscuous sex, it’s saying YES to God. That YES is true happiness. Yes, it’s pretty depressing when you think how bad things have gotten here in Rochester, but keep praying because the winds are changing. Many areas of the country are witnessing a revival of orthodox Catholicism. In just a few short years, we might be able to look back and say that we’ve turned the corner.

Want to know why Catholicism has been plummeting in the area? Watch Archbishop Dolan’s press conference. Many, many excuses, “the culture is different. People used to go to mass on Sundays and now they don’t”. Granted external cultural forces have been strong and certainly contributed to declining attendance, but teaching secular humanism and calling it Catholicism isn’t going to make anyone wake up early on Sunday. If I were an honest young person looking for some guidance and I went to this TOT where I heard nothing about God, prayer, fasting, Eucharist, or Church and instead only heard people proposing that any lifestyle is acceptable, then I would not go back to TOT. I might go back to the bar, but not with the same intentions. Try preaching the Gospel instead – it’ll work wonders!

I’d also encourage those that are able to show up at diocesen events like TOT. Let’s not just sit back and complain. Let’s meet these heresies head on. And now for a WWCS (what-would-chesterton-say) moment:

In short, the rational human faith must armor itself with prejudice in an age of prejudices, just as it armoured itself with logic in an age of logic. But the difference between the two mental methods is marked and unmistakable. The essential of the difference is this: that prejudices are divergent, whereas creeds are always in collision. Believers bump into each other; whereas bigots keep out of each other’s way. A creed is a collective thing, and even its sins are sociable. A prejudice is a private thing, and even its tolerance is misanthropic. So it is with our existing divisions. They keep out of each other’s way; the Tory paper and the Radical paper do not answer each other; they ignore each other. Genuine controversy, fair cut and thrust before a common audience, has become in our special epoch very rare. For the sincere controversialist is above all things a good listener. The really burning enthusiast never interrupts; he listens to the enemy’s arguments as eagerly as a spy would listen to the enemy’s arrangements. But if you attempt an actual argument with a modern paper of opposite politics, you will find that no medium is admitted between violence and evasion. You will have no answer except slanging or silence. A modern editor must not have that eager ear that goes with the honest tongue. He may be deaf and silent; and that is called dignity. Or he may be deaf and noisy; and that is called slashing journalism. In neither case is there any controversy; for the whole object of modern party combatants is to charge out of earshot.

<<fr loya>>” width=”347″ height=”864″ /><br />
Want to know more about Theology of the Body? Don’t miss one of these events!</p>
<p>The Church’s authentic teaching on human sexuality is a hidden treasue. It is not something to be ashamed of, but rather when embraced and lived out daily, helps us to be the people God created us to be.</p>
<p>“When you decide to firmly live a clean life. Chastity will not be a burden on you; It will be a crown of triumph.” – St. Josemaria Escriva</p>
<p><strong>Audio</strong><br />
<a href= (search for “chastity”)

If You Really Loved Me: 100 Questions on Dating, Relationships, and Sexual Purity by Jason Evert

Sex Au Naturel: What It Is And Why It’s Good For Your Marriage by Patrick Coffin

Good News About Sex and Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teaching by Christopher West

Theology of the Body by John Paul the Great

Web Sites (search for “chastity”)

And finally the session in its entirety:


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4 Responses to “Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 6)”

  1. Bernie says:

    Ben, this has been an excellent series (excellent reporting and commentary)!

  2. RochChaCha says:


    I enjoyed the final installment of Sr. Pat’s TOT and the analogy of Corinth raised some very good questions and really helped to understand the positions that people were taking. There was a young ladies voice at some point during the discussion who was trying to say that you cannot compare the cultures of Corinth with the issues that the Church is facing today. Sounds like the self proclaimed ‘moral theologians’ like Sr. Pat want to spread misinformation that the moral issues that the Church dealt with 2,000 years ago are really not applicable to those we deal with today and that perhaps the Church should just come around and change and be ‘relevant’.

    By the way, at the end when you were talking about the Theology of the Body discussion that it going to be presented by Tabor Life (Fr. Loya), I heard you say that people should come to this to hear authentic Catholic teaching and then I thought I heard Sr. Pat or someone poke at you for saying to go elsewhere for the authentic Catholic teaching. Can you describe what took place at that point?

  3. Dr. K says:

    Loved every minute of your defense of Church teaching, loathed every minute of her speech.

    Good work, Ben!

  4. benanderson says:

    @RochChaCha – I don’t think Sr. Pat liked my phrase :-), but she actually helped pass out my flyers, “there’s some people over here who didn’t get any” and yes, she repeated “for AUTHENTIC Church teaching”. I think she was being sarcastic, but nonetheless I appreciate her honesty and helpfulness.

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