Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


No Civil “Right” to do “Wrong” — Part #3

June 14th, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris
In this Part #3, we continue reprinting from the July 2010 issue of It Really Matters, beginning with St. Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans.  It is not the only place in the bible where the unacceptability of homosexual activity is recounted, but certainly it is dramatic and clear.  One argument (and there are very few others) that you will hear about not believing anything Paul says against the gay lifestyle is an argument that he approved slavery too, so things change with time and such things changed.  Paul didn’t create or approve or perpetuate slavery, but he also didn’t jump into a social justice cape and do battle on the subject.  Instead, he did what he was called to do by God.  He went about proclaiming Jesus (to free and slave alike) to save their souls, not to crusade against the laws of the Roman Empire.  An argument to ignore Paul (especially Chapter 1 of Romans) is not an argument at all.  
A more meaningful question would be whether or not we have any evidence that Jesus in any way approved a sinner continuing in any sexual sin.  No, for when He absolves, He says “Go and sin no more.”  Do we have any evidence of His choosing any such person for His Ministry?  Again, no.  Is there any evidence of a Church-wide acceptance of homosexual lifestyle in its first 2000 years?  Or in the 5000 years of Jewish history, from which Christianity emerged?  No.
Church teaching has never been based on a renegade or rebel bishop or some priests outside the fence of orthodoxy, trying to justify themselves or anything they have done, so exceptions can never be a fair argument.  Just like the weasel-wording responses from priestess wannabees on women’s ordination (well, he didn’t condemn it while sitting on the right chair, etc.) the gasping last-breaths of disobedience always try to find a way to argue that the Pope didn’t say what he said.  Or, if he did say what he said, that he didn’t really mean it!  So too, are false arguments and disobedience against the clarity of His Holiness’s words on homosexual priests and bishops.
From the Vatican 
The Vatican has confirmed many times that men with homosexual sexual orientations should not be ordained.  The 1961 document from the Sacred Congregation for Religious prohibits the admission of homosexuals to the diocesan priesthood and religious orders.   The document states: “Those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination,” because priestly ministry would place such persons in ‘grave danger’.”  
In March 2002, Pope John Paul II’s spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in an interview with the New York Times, “People with these inclinations just cannot be ordained.”  Dr. Navarro-Valls continued, “That does not imply a final judgment on people with homosexuality,” and added, “But you cannot be in this field.” 
Navarro-Valls compared the situation of a man with homosexual inclinations who becomes a priest to that of a man with the same affliction who marries a woman unaware of his condition. Just as such a marriage can be annulled, considered invalid from the first, the ordination might similarly be invalid, he said.  The threat of invalidity of holy orders is the most fearsome threat of all.  It would weaken the entire infrastructure of the Church, and risk great loss of souls.
The December 2002 bulletin of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments contained a letter stating that ordaining such men would be imprudent and “very risky.”  
Against the Vatican Teaching?
 In January 2004, 35 priests of the Rochester Diocese compiled a letter  allegedly without the Bishop’s express permission, advocating certain gay rights or changes in pastoral treatment.  The petition was presented to the priests of DoR by three priests who identified themselves “As members of the Catholic Gay & Lesbian Family Ministry (CG&LFM)”: 
Fr. Bob Kennedy, Blessed Sacrament parish
Fr. Joe Marcoux, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Fr. Gary Tyman, Holy Rosary and Most Precious Blood parishes

Among the specific dissent expressed in


  • ” we have become increasingly disturbed by the tone and, in some cases, content of documents and statements from the Vatican, bishops’ conferences and individual bishops on issues categorized under the heading of “homosexual” or “gay/lesbian”….” 
  • “we find particularly troubling the increase in the use of violent and abusive language directed at any human person.  Such language is inappropriate. This is especially so when addressing members of the community of the faithful.”
  • “In the recent past, individual bishops, bishops’ conferences and the Vatican have assumed a tone of such violence and abusiveness toward these sons and daughters of the Church, we can no longer remain silent. Has any other group of people within the Body of Christ been so assaulted and violated by such mean-spirited language?”  Why, yes, I do think so.  Ask the Christian Martyrs — one every 5 minutes in today’s world.  Ask the Christians fleeing their homelands in the Mid-East.  Hey, just ask those who are standing up today against gay so-called “marriage” how they are being treated!
  • “Examples from the most recent Vatican document show all too clearly the demonization of these children of God, referring to homosexuality as a “troubling moral and social phenomenon,” “a serious depravity,” “the spread of the phenomenon,” “approval or legalization of evil,” “grave detriment to the common good,” “harmful to the proper development of human society,” “intrinsically disordered.” …”Does anyone consider this vile and toxic language invitational?”  Isn’t this very language by the petitioning priests (demonization, vile, toxic, etc.  actually bullying language itself?)
  • The priests go on to speak of  “the personal integration of sexuality and spirituality…. Condemnations …are inappropriate and pastorally destructive.  We affirm the goodness of all homosexual persons…. For many gay and lesbian Catholics, this most recent series of attacks has forced them, out of self-respect and self-love, to withdraw from active participation in the Church and question how they can remain members of a Church they experience as abusive.   It is not possible to minister to and with the needs of our homosexual brothers and sisters with language of this tone as a foundation.” What seems to be missing is any acknowledgement of the sins being committed, or the specific concern to save souls.  Instead, most of the petition seemed focused on “welcoming”.  The absence of truth, however, can never be “welcoming.”
  • “We encourage a new atmosphere of openness to dialogue which includes the lived experience of many Catholic members.  We recognize the blessings of countless homosexuals in a variety of relationships. We believe their experiences must be listened to respectfully.”  Just try re-reading all their words but inserting “drug dealers,” “arsonists” or “embezzlers” in the same context.  At the core of this petition seems to be the simple reality of not being able to call a sin “sin” or to be interventionist in calling for repentance and celibacy.  No wonder Fortunate Families sprouted up in Rochester.

That letter made the national press, further attracting priests from outside the Rochester Diocese potentially to see Rochester as an oasis for their cause.  The language hurled at the Vatican documents itself was judgmental and very divisive.  You can read those documents here, and I don’t think most people would see it fitting the description used by the petitioning priests:            (The document is entitled:  CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS, and although issued on March 28, 2003 during the Papacy of John Paul II, and approved by him, the document was issued over the signature of then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

Reporters mentioned that two points of objection were to 1) Vatican teaching against same sex marriages, further calling Catholic legislators to vote against such laws, and 2) Vatican discouragement of adoptions by same-sex couples.  Yet this is the very teaching of our Church.  Failure to support Church teaching in these two areas in particular, and the public rift even of priests from the hierarchy, is what has paved the way for the current crisis in NYS and elsewhere.  No wonder Rochester suffers from some of the issues which it does.  The D&C published the names and then-parishes of the signatories (see footnote below).  Although the priests’ petition appeared in January 2004, and was seen by many as a personal attack on Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith).  God answered back a little over a year later, in his infinite wisdom and humor, with the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as the next pope.   

In the summer of 2005 it was widely rumored that another pronouncement and clarification would be coming from Rome.  It is believed that drafts were widely circulated to at least some bishops.  In any event, when it was released in  late November 2005, it was not a surprise.  It simply articulated and reinforced the prior Church Teaching.  What was a big surprise is that just before it was to be promulgated, Bishop Clark published his “Rumors can be misleading” column, seemingly in defiance of what was just about to be promulgated, and of what had long been Church teaching.  In that column he quotes himself from about 10 years earlier regarding first a priest who came from another diocese (it isn’t clear if he is a priest in DoR who came here from another diocese, or if he is a priest still in another diocese) “coming out” to his parents, and then he writes about two more diocesan priests, about whom the Bishop seems proud that they “came out” to him.  In this climate, which Bishop Clark seems to be admitting he created, at least in part by his encouragement, is the particular homosexual aura in DoR today.  
What was actually promulgated by the Vatican?    Cardinal Grocholewski explained that the new Instruction takes up again the distinction presented by the Catechism of the Catholic Church between “homosexual acts” and “homosexual tendencies.”  He confirmed that it is not possible to admit to the priesthood men “who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.'” “Homosexual acts are… grave sins, contrary to the natural law,” the cardinal said. “Therefore, these acts can never be approved.” ….”This homosexual tendency is considered in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an objectively disordered inclination,” he added.  “Why?” asked the Cardinal.  “… an inclination as such is not a sin, but it is a more or less strong tendency toward an intrinsically evil conduct from the moral point of view.”  “we are profoundly convinced that it is an obstacle for a correct relationship with men and women, with negative consequences for the Church’s pastoral development.”
In Pope Benedict’s interview with Seewald (in Light of the World, 2010) he AGAIN addresses this issue, with the words:  “Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation.  Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don’t want to get married anyway,” the Pope said.  The Pope cited a 2005 Vatican document that drew a sharp line against priestly ordination of homosexuals.  He said the document emphasized that homosexual candidates cannot become priests because their sexual orientation interferes with “the proper sense of paternity” that belongs to the priesthood.  The pope said it was important to select priestly candidates very carefully, “to head off a situation where the celibacy of priests would practically end up being identified with the tendency to homosexuality.” 
The Teaching of the Catholic Church is clear.  Those trying to squeak out different interpretations, to parse words, or splice their own wishes into the text are pursuing dissent, at the risk not only of their souls, but the souls of others they lead astray. 
Page 4 of the July 2010 issue of It Really Matters is shown below, and ends with mentioning yet another invitation by Bishop Clark for gay men to inquire about the priesthood in Rochester.  No wonder there has been such a lack of vocations.  Rather than overwhelm this post (which I may already have done), I’ll leave the Fr. Curran and Fr. Radcliffe references for discussion next time.









Signatories to the 2004 Petition (with misspellings, as reported in the D&C):   Parishioners would do well to understand the specific dissent expressed by the signatories to the teachings of the Catholic Church:

Robert S. Bourcy – St. Patricks, Macedon
James Boyle – St. John of Rochester, Fairport
Peter C. Clifford – St. Michael’s, Newark
Otto Vogt – St. Thomas More, Rochester
Doug Della Pietra – Church of Good Shepherd, Henrietta
Richard T. Farrell – St. Mary’s, Elmira
Raymond H. Fleming – Emanuel Church of the Deaf, Rochester
Robert Gaudio – Catholic Community of St. Anne & St. Gregory, Palmyra
Msgr. William H Shannon – Nazareth College
Richard Shatzel – St. Mary’s, Bath
Dennis Shaw – Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Holy Redeemer and St. Fancis Xavier, Rochester
Roy Kiggins – Roman Catholic Community, Geneva
Don McCarthy, C.S.B. – Basilian Community, Fairport Road (previously assigned to Rochester H.S.)
Daniel McMullen – St. Mary’s Geneseo
Tim Niven – Our Lady of the Lakes, Penn Yan
John J. Phillips – St. John of Rochester, Fairport
Paul J. Ryan – St. Elizabeth Seton, Hamlin NY
William V. Spilly – St. John the Evangelist, Rochester
Larry Tracy – Holy Redeemer, Rochester
Robert Werth – R.C. Community of the 19th Ward at St. Monica’s, St. Augustine, Our Lady of Good Counsel
Michael Bausch – Transfiguration, Pittsford
Alexander Bradshaw – Mother of Sorrows, Rochester
Lee Chase – St. Thomas More, Rochester
Patrick Connor – St. Peter and Paul, Elmira
Brian Cool – Newman Center at University of Rochester
Stan Kacprzak – St. Paul’s, Webster
Jim Lawlor – St. Catherine of Sienna, Mendon
Francis McNamara, S.J. – McQuaid Jesuit H.S.
William Mihatek – Holy Trinity, Webster
Ed Polumbos – Assumption, Fairport
James Schwartz – St. Louis, Pittsford
John T. Walsh – Our Lady Queen of Peace, Brighton
Gary Tyman – Holy Rosary & Precious Blood, Rochester
Robert Kennedy – Blessed Sacrament, Rochester
Joseph Marcoux – Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester

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15 Responses to “No Civil “Right” to do “Wrong” — Part #3”

  1. avatar Anonymous II says:

    All ordinations of priests and consecrations of bishops who are homosexual, or have these inclinations, should be considered illicit and invalid. Any condition that is intrinsically disordered certainly eliminates you psychologically from giving the appearance of being Christ-like!! Resembling Christ both physically and psychologically is the essence of the priesthood.
    What damage this has done.

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    Not many priests go to heaven. THEY are unfortunately punching their ticket to the “Southern Hemisphere”!

    I don’t think we know this.

  3. Sexual abuse of boys, girls, women, or men is such a horrible thing, but that it happens from a priest, seems more horrendous. Someone told me years ago, (upset), that Fr. Robert Kennedy condones men having sexual relationships with boys. I think they were probably referring to his answer to the question if pedophilia was a sin during “A Day of Reflection” on Oct.26th, 1996. He simply responded that he did not know of any church teaching which states that pedophilia is a sin. I think it is a peculiar response to that question.
    I hope Fr. Kennedy does not think pedophilia is okay because there is no church teaching against it. It is odd that reportedly, he left the issue there and added nothing further. By doing so, he conveyed to many people that he was in favor of pedophilia.
    Church teaching as a whole, teaches right from wrong. Whether the Catholic Church, Orthodox Churches, or Protestant Churches, or any of the major faiths for that matter, pedophilia is considered immoral and sinful.
    Fr. Kennedy supports homosexuality and does not believe the Bible forbids it. However, pedophilia is way out of the ball park!

  4. In regard to all the discussion of priests-I saw one movie years ago which was very moving and depicted an excellent example of the Roman Catholic priesthood. (I rented the movie). Alfred Hitchcock wanted to make a movie as a tribute to his Catholic Faith. It was not one of his popular movies. Those who were not very church-minded people did not understand or appreciate this movie; however, those who were church-minded people thought it was his best movie.
    The movie is “I Confess” by Alfred Hitchcock (1953). Basic plot-a young parish priest is implicated in a murder of which he is innocent. The murderer who has set the priest up also confesses the murder to him in the confessional. The priest is put on trial. He will not divulge the identity of the real killer and violate the confessional even if it means he will be judged guilty and sentenced. In his trial, information from his past is misconstrued to put him in a poor light. The priest is held in contempt by parishioners and the public who mistreat him. In the midst of his trials, he continues to manifest the love of God.
    I would think you could watch this movie via YouTube.

  5. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    “I Confess” is on Netflix instant. I just watched it a few weeks ago. It is excellent.

  6. avatar Nerina says:

    “I Confess” is no longer instant :(, but I added it to my DVD queue. Thanks for the suggestion, Christian 1954.

  7. avatar Giovanni says:

    So no priests should be ordained if they have homosexual tendencies no matter how small? This is a temptation only lay people should have to deal with… but not our priests?

    shouldn’t we be seeking Priests who never stop in their seeking to be more christlike.

    Just because a preist is attracted to men doesn’t make him less capable of being a good priest than one who is attracted to women. What we need is preists who remain celibate and strive to be perect…

  8. avatar JLo says:

    Giovanni: The CCC describes homosexual lifestyles as “disordered”. Seems clear to me that the Church wouldn’t want “disordered” men in the priesthood, even if they never cave to the tendency. Lots of men could be said to live lives of dedication and righteousness and life-long service, but they’re fathers and uncles and brothers. Lots of wonderful vocational calls, for sure; and a tendency toward the unnatural (homosexuality) is probably a good call by the Church that such men do not have vocations to the priesthood. +JMJ

  9. avatar JLo says:

    This (and others) are so long, you probably should just write a book, Diane! But thank you for all the effort you put into your messages. +JMJ

  10. I appreciate your fine posts, Diane and all the fine posts by all of the wonderful Cleansing Fire writers.

    Interesting information: “I Confess” was filmed in Quebec. I read that the Diocese of Quebec was involved with the movie – looked over the script and made suggestions for the writing of the script, particularly the ending. The Diocese of Quebec allowed Alfred Hitchcock to film in their churches/cathedrals at no charge. Montgomery Clift, a method actor, was deeply concerned with projecting a good and sincere image of a Catholic priest. He chose to stay at church and live in the church rectory, studying priests and also sought to deepen his spirituality and understanding of the existence of God.

    The scenes of the movie, especially the church and the church rectory, will be nostalgic for many. High altar where mass is celebrated, altar rails, and the church open around the clock for people to drop in and pray. The confessional (booth) is the normal venue for confession. Priests dressed in cassocks and multiple priests living in a rectory.

  11. avatar Dr. K says:

    Just because a preist is attracted to men doesn’t make him less capable of being a good priest than one who is attracted to women.

    How about priests attracted to children but who do not act on that attraction?

  12. avatar AnonymousII says:

    Dear Anonymous 190145; Please check the copywrite date on your souces. They sound about 1946.

  13. A friend from work several years ago who was a Seventh Day Adventist told me there were some similarities to the conditions of ordained ministers and ordained priests. In their denomination and many denominations, a man already has to be married before he is ordained. If a man is single when he is ordained, he has to remain single. They want an ordained minister settled in their state of life. If an ordained minister’s wife dies, he cannot remarry. Bottom Line – A man cannot be an ordained a minister and go around dating and/or looking for a wife. They want him committed to his parish/congregation without the distractions of looking for a woman, especially among those in the church where he serves.
    They do not want anything like that detracting from his ministry.The position of permanent deacon in the Roman Catholic Church was not known back then, but I believe those same stipulations pertain to Permanent Deacons for the same reasons.

    Those priests who are rallying for homosexuality and conveying there’s nothing against pedophilia in church teaching-Are they doing so for themselves? Ordained priests have to live in celibacy,and/ or in the state of Fr. Scott Caton and other ordained married priests, in chastity. Not only is pedophilia immoral and sinful, and against the law, but (in my reading), adults who are pedophiles have difficulty or cannot make easy and meaningful contact and relationships with other adults. They target children because they do not pose the same threat. That condition certainly points to a developmental disorder whether the target is boys, girls, or both. That condition, even if Fr. Robert Kennedy states there is no Church Teaching against it, renders a candidate for priesthood invalid. Also, aside from being immoral and sinful, and a victimization of children; would lead to the continual arrest of priests,(and lawsuits), because pedophilia is a considered a heinous crime in of innocent children in this country (and elsewhere). Fr. Robert Kennedy appears to be referencing a pagan Roman culture.

  14. Clarification: I think Fr. Robert Kennedy of the Diocese of Rochester, presently at Blessed Sacrament Church, in my opinion, appears to be referencing Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece when he states there is no Church Teaching against Pedophilia. In Ancient Greece, both Pedophilia and Pederasty were practiced by men. It was characteristic of the Archaic and Classical Periods. A Man having sexual intercourse with a Boy was considered an initiation ritual, particularly in the Rites of Passage on Crete for entrance into military service and the religion of Zeus. A Man was also allowed to take a Boy under his mentorship for sexual intercourse as well as academic studies. These practices were very prevalent and considered the basis for the culture of free men at that time. Pedophilia and Pederasty were also very prevalent in Ancient Rome. Emperors were the most noted to practice pedophilia. The man who was older (even if a young man), assumed the active, dominant role over the boy who was younger in age (even if a teen) who assumed the passive role. In doing so, the man was deemed to be of a higher status over the boy who he had dominated, and the boy was given a lower, demeaning status. In both Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, Pedophilia and Pederasty were regarded as Homosexual Practices. In Rome, Homosexuality reached its “zenith” under the Hellenophile emperor Hadrian. It was common for officers in the military who preferred “strong-type men” to rape soldiers who served under them. Important factors to note: In Athenian Law, age and consent did not factor in homosexual relations. In Ancient Rome (and probably Ancient Greece) a man was not defined by his gender selection and there was indifference to homosexuality.—This whole topic is very horrific and depressing but it is important to know where these “new thinkers” advocating or condoning homosexuality, inparticular pedophilia, are coming from.
    I suggest reading Ancient Pedophilia by James Gentry, a Senior Thesis, Ohio State University, written in May 2009. The thesis /pdf. can be Googled. The writer (who certainly is not in favor of pedophilia) gives insight into the Homosexual Movement, and particularly the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) and the arguments and sources they cite. He did a lot of research and cites reputable references. He also goes into detail to depict the typical profile and mindset of a pedophile, which is certainly “disordered.” Note: Pedophilia is not only the sexual attraction and/or activity of boys by men, although it is more prevalent. Men can be sexually attracted boys or girls, or just girls. Women can be pedophiles also, but it is rarer.

  15. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Thank you for this posting, Diane. It is such a troubling thing. All these DoR priests who signed that document showing that ignorance of the mind of the Church, the mind of Christ, Whom they bring us Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity every Mass. They don’t know His thought! How can it be?

    But it is so; you can go to most DoR Masses and hear homilies that do NOT tell us the mind of Christ. Just as I normally find that the pleasant and flowery words of Bishop Clark tell us little to nothing of the mind of Christ.

    One of the many sadnesses of the fruit of Bishop Clark’s tenure as Bishop of Rochester is that in spite of having a very large homosexual community in Rochester, we have NO voices of experience from chaste homosexuals. This witness should be SO STRONG, because where sin abounds so does Grace. Where is the powerful homosexual witness of chasity and faith? Nowhere! Its shamefully missing, and the responsibility for that goes to Bishop Clark.

    But there is no Courage support group here – Bishop Clark has disallowed it! It sickens me. I feel sorry for those gay in Rochester. No witnesses who have walked their path, no light of hope for another way. I realize that many gays want no light, and want no other way. But with so many, there are some who want a way out – but the DoR has actively and systematically made sure they do not get one. Shame, shame on the DoR.

    We can say the DoR wants in some perverted way to be fair, and not just withhold Catholic teaching on the calling to chastity for gays. In the spirit of equality, they also withhold all of the Church’s teaching on chastity. No teaching on chastity to teens. No teaching on chastity to singles. None for married couples. No instruction from the pulpit on birth control and rarely if ever any word on abortion. No instruction from the pulpit on divorce and remarriage. All I learned about the lofty virtue of chastity I learned from the Protestant pulpits, or, after conversion, I found the rich, rich teaching of the Church and the rich witness of the Saints on the subject through reading or on EWTN – but not in the DoR pulpit. [except by those one or two I know who are willing to suffer who-knows-what to go against the widely imposed agenda of Bishop Clark and ilk.]

    The DoR promulgates by silence a policy of equal-opportunity unchastity for gays and straights.

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