Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 7)

July 15th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

A reader who recently listened to the Sr. Pat Theology on Tap session (which I reported on about a year ago) transcribed the entire audio source. This was done for a research project on teachings that undermine the Catholic Church and Faith from “within” and an exercise in writing commentary. This reader graciously sent this transcription to me so that I could post it here. In full disclosure, I will let you know that the voice of m1 is yours truly. Please remember that my remarks (as well as those of others) were off the cuff and in a somewhat heated environment.   There were certainly things I wish I had said differently. Nevertheless, it’s not difficult to clearly see the clashing of 2 distinct world views.  Click the link below to see the entire transcript or just read what I’ve snipped below (which are the more egregious statements).  [my comments in red]

Transcript of Recorded Theology on Tap, July 7, 2010, Sheridan’s Irish Pub, Rochester
Sr. Patricia Schoelles, President of St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, on Sexual Morality

Charles Curran, a priest from our diocese. Now he’s lost his job a couple times, but the Bishop of Rochester has endorsed him as a priest, so he’s still a Catholic and a practicing priest. But he thinks we have to change, the Church should teach, change its teaching on seven [???] Divorce and remarriage is one of them, homosexuality is one, masturbation. Masturbation is seen as an intrinsically evil act still, because again it, its you know, thwarting the intention of the sexual faculty. So that’s one. What’s another one? Divorce & remarriage, sterilization, artificial contraception.

there are three passages in the New Testament, three passages in the New Testament that do the same thing. Jesus isn’t quoted as having said anything about homosexuality but Paul did in 3 catalogues of sins. So, and that’s right. If your interpretation of Scripture is, this is, you know this is absolutely and directly to me God’s word, I don’t think there’s any question beyond that. You know. There are those interpreters of Scripture though who would say the Hebrew Bible is a collection of books as is the New Testament a collection of books written by communities with certain agenda in mind. And so the interpretation of those six passages has become, you know, one of the points of discussion in this conversation. One teacher I heard, one guy who was talking on this by the name of Casey Lapata who’s a local guy actually, and he said, ‘had the knowledge been available to the writers of the New or the Old Testament that we all possess a sexual orientation, we didn’t choose it, and we can’t change it.
You know in the Old Testament it says you can stone your… you know if your neighbor [???] yea you should do this you should smite your neighbor if they work on the Sabbath. The Scripture has to be interpreted. [And as Catholics whose job is it to interpret the Scriptures?  I believe that would be the teaching authority of the Church.  And when the Church interprets Scripture and provides teachings for us, what are the protocols for deciding not to accept that teaching?  When the Bible says something we don’t like, is a Ph.D allowed to interpret it in a way more satisfactory to their liking?]

But people are trying to make the case that
perhaps gay sex is acceptable in some circumstances. Maybe masturbation’s not always intrinsically evil maybe, all this kind of stuff. But I don’t shy away from the conversation.I think that at least in an academic setting those sort of conversations ought to go on because it helps us understand things better.

Reading this transcript brought to mind a January 2011 article in First Things.

The Ruins of Discontinuity: Looking for answers to the fragmentation of Catholic theology in America.
by Reinhard Hütter

(I don’t really know what’s up with First Things articles online, but I couldn’t actually get the text of the article online, so I typed the below snippet from the print edition. It’s certainly possible that there are typos).

Ultimately, what is at stake – as Augustine realized during his own lengthy struggle with the trendy theologies of his day – is our heart’s desire. We will not find what we seek in Jesus Christ unless we put ourselves under the tutelage of teh “church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth,” for “great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion” (1 Timothy 3:15-16). As Newman reminds us again and again, “private judgment” cannot reliably interpret the Holy Spirit’s work in Christ’s Body.

And so Catholic theology cannot establish itself as a de facto counter-magisterium, remaining in splendid isolation from the Church. Nor should it seek to win a lasting standing in the secular academy that offers it a career path like that of any other academic profession. Nor, finally, will Catholic theology flourish if it is transmuted into “religious studies” to marked its remnants in a post-Christian society. Whatever one thinks about the best way to give coherent and even sophisticated shape to Catholic theology, we must acknowledge that the Church herself gives us our theological task: to assist the bishops in communicating, explaining, defending, and understanding the faith that comes form the apostles. As Henri de Lubac emphasized already in 1971, we embrace the gospel not as isolated individuals ensconced in the competitions of the academy but under the tutelage of what de Lubac called “La maternité de l’Église,” the motherhood of the Church.

For those critics who said I was stretching the truth by attempting to make a connection between the progressive bent in the Diocese of Rochester and the recent passing of contrary-to-nature unions in New York State, remember this was ONE YEAR AGO (not 13).  No action has been taken.  Sr. Pat Schoelles remains the president of St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry. This is the school that trains nearly ALL of our deacons and lay leaders

Also of interest – as I was googling while writing this post, I came across this essay by James Likoudis:
Rochester’ Dissenter Sr. Patricia Schoelles, CSJ

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14 Responses to “Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 7)”

  1. avatar Mike says:


    As far as Fr. Curran is concerned, there is no sexual act which can be said to be morally wrong under any and all circumstances. Everything is relative and needs to be judged in the light of personal experience.

    That his opinion flies in the face of nearly 2000 years of Tradition doesn’t seem to bother him – or his supporters – one bit. The Vincetian Canon

    Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all. That is truly and properly ‘Catholic,’ as is shown by the very force and meaning of the word, which comprehends everything almost universally. We shall hold to this rule if we follow universality [i.e. oecumenicity], antiquity, and consent. We shall follow universality if we acknowledge that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed; consent, if in antiquity itself we keep following the definitions and opinions of all, or certainly nearly all, bishops and doctors alike.

    … which played no small part in bringing people like Blessed Cardinal Newman into the Church, is, to them, just another piece of antiquated baggage that we enlightened moderns need to jettison.

    That he remains “endorsed … as a priest” by Bishop Clark is simply a scandal.

    BTW, that First Things article is here.

  2. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    That is so obvious. The cornerstone of dissent in the DOR is to take fragments of documents, and even single sentences and construct a whole theology of false truths.

    Why they have the upper hand, at least now is that the Bully pulpit belongs to them.

    I do not know one episode where faithful Catholics were able to “save the day”. And all those souls lost to this terrible conduct. I wonder how the millstone will fit around their necks?

  3. avatar Sassy says:

    And Casey Lopata, “who’s a local guy actually,” is one of the founders of Fortunate Families. If I’m reading this correctly, was Sister saying he’s one of the Scripture authorities? If so, who granted him such authority? I think I know the answer, sad but true.

  4. avatar Bernie says:

    Richard Thomas: “The cornerstone of dissent in the DOR is to take fragments of documents, and even single sentences and construct a whole theology of false truths.”

    You stated it exactly. They do the same when it comes to justifying liturgical abuses,as well.

  5. avatar Richard Thomas says:


    That’s why they never dialogue with their critics. They blow tremendous “Hot Air” concerning dialogue, ie Bishop Clarks infamous diatribe that has been mentioned several times on this site, but since they are so disingenuous in their efforts, they cannot afford to be exposed as liars and userpers, so they never discuss topics unless they have complete control of the forum and prescreen questions.

    Just like Jesus, right! I ama sarcastic. And that is why their herest will fall through the toilet. You can confuse some people all of the time and all, some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time.

  6. avatar Gretchen from SOP says:


    A very illuminating series. I listened to five of the six audio clips. Had enough of Sr. Pat’s theology. I wanted to jump in on the discussion–very frustrating! Thank you for all your work on this topic. And, you’ve convinced me to get reading Theology of the Body.

  7. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    If only someone could go to these sessions and hand out “Good material” to the unsuspected listeners.

  8. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    That’s what I did at this session. I passed out this flyer. It would be good to have counter resources at all of these things. I’ll tell you, though, that these sessions aren’t all the popular. The attendance was pretty pathetic at this one (maybe 15 people). Contrast that with this Buffalo TOT (90+ people).

  9. avatar Choir says:

    At least in Buffalo, they will often have some relatively orthodox priests leading the sessions and in Rochester it’s all the heretical priest/priestess crowd. People go where the truth (read orthodoxy) is. Heterodoxy is such a waste of the precious time God has given us.

  10. avatar Richard Thomas says:


    Did you get a good reception?

    It warms my heart when truth overcomes falsehood.

  11. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Did you get a good reception?

    People took them. Sr. Pat even helped pass them out 🙂

  12. avatar Richard Thomas says:


    I can’t believe she was helping you. Is she aware that “Theology of the Body is different from what she teaches?

  13. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Oh yes, she was aware. She was somewhat snidely murmuring “authentic Church teaching” because that’s how I described my flyer – implying her talk wasn’t.

  14. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Mike wrote: “As far as Fr. Curran is concerned, there is no sexual act which can be said to be morally wrong under any and all circumstances. Everything is relative and needs to be judged in the light of personal experience.

    Completely opposite of the truth. And this is who Schoelles holds up as a theologian.

    And also: “That he remains “endorsed … as a priest” by Bishop Clark is simply a scandal.”

    Yes, it is a scandal. But Sr. Schoelles is so clever with her words. She protects Clark by saying Curran is endorsed “as a priest” rather than as a theologian, or a teacher – which is of obviously what she is exulting Curran for, not his priesthood! Bishop Clark in the same way is very clever about expressing his favor for teaching that is in opposition of our Church – he is able to do so just carefully enough to avoid losing his “job”.

    Sr. Pat Schoelles theology is pitiable at best. She has nothing to offer as a teacher, let alone as president, of a Catholic theology school. She is a terrific speaker on Catholic dissidence. Why don’t these gay activists start there own colleges and theology schools with their own money? It would be more honest, more straight-forward, and so opposite the hypocritical Sr. Pat Shoelles, who is funded by DoR Catholics but teaches theology in opposition to Catholicism. Its so wrong.

    She doesn’t love the Church’s teaching, she loves the gay agenda more than anything in my opinion. She knows the Church teaching, and tells it with rote reluctance, and her real fire comes out when she talks about questions and teachings that challenge the Catechism.

    The only good I can see is that she is SO BAD that the new bishop can’t possibly keep her.

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