Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Christian Sexuality?

November 23rd, 2011, Promulgated by b a

This insert is found in last week’s bulletin of Blessed Sacrament parish in Elmira:

“Would you like to gather to share thoughts and feelings about the Church teachings about sexual orientation? People of all sexual orientations, genders, and faiths are invited to gather in a safe space to share experiences and feelings about the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality and transgendered persons. This group focuses on sharing in positive ways that help us heal, cope, and support each other.


Please join us in our initial gathering on Wednesday, November 30th, at 7:00 p.m in the Living Room of the Parish Office building at 304 Demarest Parkway. Feel free to bring friends: people of any faith (they don’t have to be Catholic !), including Lesbian.,Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) persons, friends and family of LGBT persons, and straight allies are all welcome! Contract Laurie A. Garner for more information.”

While this insert doesn’t unambiguously state whether objections to Church teaching will be sympathized with in a way to seems to go against Church teaching or not, given the state of our diocese one could rightfully be skeptical.  Before you go getting all upset that I’m highlighting this, please understand that I have no problem with presenting church teaching in a very gentle and pastoral way and meeting people where they are.  The desire to reach out to those outside the Church is a very good thing, but it must never come at the cost of distorting the truth (and again, we don’t know for sure whether or not the truth will be distorted, but I am skeptical).

REMINDER: Priests, prominent lay people, and organizations that support the homosexual agenda in this diocese remain unchallenged by our bishop (and thus probably passively encouraged) while groups that simply regurgitate Church teaching are suppressed and punished.

In the same bulletin, you’ll find a program advertising Call-To-Action supporter Jack Jezreel:

Join Us For An Advent Program on the Social Mission of the Parish St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry and Catholic Charities invite you to two presentations on the social mission of the parish by Jack Jezreel, founder of the nationally-acclaimed JustFaith Program, Wednesday, November 30, at 2 and 7PM at Catholic Charities (215 E. Church Street, Elmira). Presentations will be live at St. Bernard’s and video-conferenced live to Catholic Charities. Come to one or both. No cost. Diocesan Continuing Ed credits are available for staff. Register: Kathy Dubel 734-9784 x 2135.


14 Responses to “Christian Sexuality?”

  1. Dr. K says:

    Shouldn’t be a shocker that the pastor of this parish signed the infamous homosexual petition:

    “Richard T. Farrell – St. Mary’s, Elmira”

  2. brother of penance says:

    Thanks for the post, Ben.

    Years ago I spoke with a lay leader in Diocesan ministry to people with same-sex attraction. Politely I reminded her of the need to encourage chastity. She did reply with the realization that the “Chastity piece” needs to be included in that ministry.

    All of us, no matter our state in life, are called to chastitiy. May God give us the grace to be faithful to that call. And thanks be to God for the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ when we fail.

    If the “LOCAL CLERGY (who)WILL ALSO BE PRESENT TO SHARE THE CHURCH’S PERSPECTIVE ON SEXUALITY AS A GOD-GIVEN GIFT” call the same-sex attraction a God-given gift, I sense the “feelings about Church teachings about sexual orientation” will reflect something less than what the Church “feels” about the subject.

    What and who are “straight allies”?

  3. Scott W. says:

    What and who are “straight allies”?

    Good catch brother! I missed that and frankly, I think it gives the game away as to what kind of character this event will have. It reminds me of those dreadful “safe zones” that cropped up in college campuses across the country in the late nineties. Sounded nice until you read the fine print and read the safe-zone manual that invented silly terms like “heterosexism” (the belief that, gasp!, heterosexuality is superior to anything else.)

    Any chance someone could invite and fly-in Fr. Rodriguez from El Paso City? (well, formerly from El Paso City before his bishop banished him to the styx). I’d hope someone was available to filibuster with authentic Catholic teaching.

  4. Richard Thomas says:

    Knowing THIS diocese I am betting the farm this discussion is only another session praising and defending homosexuality.

  5. Sassy says:

    I have to agree that the “straight allies” piece caught my attention too. Sounds more like a pep rally than a conversation. It’s inserts that these that 1) keep me from wanting to attend a mass in the DOR and 2) make me pray all the more that the Holy Father sends you a good and faithful bishop next year.

    Hope everyone had a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. annonymouse says:

    I would like to think that the pastor would attend in order to call all the “LGBT” persons in attendance to repentance and to turn from their objectively sinful behavior and lifestyle. Indeed, during this Advent season we are ALL sinners called to repent of our sins, as today’s first reading makes clear.

    For this meeting to take place with no discussion of the grave sinfulness of this behavior would be unconscionable. Alas, I think the use of the word “allies” makes clear that no such discussion is contemplated.

    The souls of the sheep are entrusted to the pastor – pray for him.

  7. Raymond F. Rice says:


    You have already judged them!! Maybe some are living chaste lives and you are bunching them all together. Not all the people in AA are alcoholics either but concerned parties learning about them!! Not all the people in the confession line are there for mortal sins!! Do you have an inside track on who is guilty or innocent and what ones should receive the riot act????

  8. annathule says:

    (Bet this WON’T show up if you find it in your spam folder, bet it won’t show up at all! I’ll be watching for it, but I doubt this group can take such a dressing down from a poor sinner saved by Grace like me. You being all sooo “perfect” and all.)

    You all can jump right OFF the back of Rev. Farrell! When he was a deacon in our church I was a member of his RCIA class. I was no saint – far from it. God probably had to turn and look away from me I was so sinful and wretched. But Fr. Farrell met me where *I* was, listened to me gently and in the course of that class, turned me away from my evil, sinful, wantonly sexual ways! Now yes, I’m a female and it wasn’t lesbian sex, but he didn’t judge me! (Certainly NOT like the priest of that church did, he came right out and said I was a nut! It’s been so long ago now – some 30 years – that I can’t remember that priest’s name or I’d name him for all the world to see!)

    FR. FARRELL was the reason I saw the error of my ways, but he didn’t beat me over the head with my sins and “ewww, that’s terrible!!!” in such prejudicial ways like you flapdoodles would have done! He didn’t run me off and once again prove to me how horridly and insufferably intolerant most churches are. I’m sure glad none of YOU self-righteous punks were my first breath of my Catholic and Christian path! I would have walked away the minute you started in on me…juuuuust like everyone else…..

    If he’s doing this, he’s doing it as Christ would do it – not like how the Pharisees and “oh so pious” Jews treated Christ for supping w/ the publicans and the whores. Just how Jesus reached out to THEM, nobody else did! He even blessed the Samarian woman and the well and told her to “go, her sins were forgiven her.” Bet YOU “oh so pious” ninnyninks would have spit on her and not even spoken to her. Fr. Farrell puts every one of you Pharisees to shame!

    You go, Fr. Farrell, I hope those poor, hurting souls will find the peace they are seeking, just as I did. (And *I* mended my ways in part because of him – who says they won’t also?) This crud is insufferable. How can you consider yourselves representatives of Christ on earth? Do you think JESUS automatically assumed the worst about folks, no matter WHO they were? YOU need to confess YOUR sins of pride and arrogance and probably a few others I can’t think of right now! More so than the folks both running and attending this little conference of theirs. (And yeah I know I’m writing this like about 2 months later, but I live in MD and I just now read all this bull pucky!)

  9. militia says:

    Shout Out to Fr. Farrell — are you happy with these fruits? Could you offer a word of counsel to your former “pupil” writing in this way? Is he/she consistent with your teaching, or not? Just wondering. It sounds like you were really able to reach him/her and maybe you could do the same again, in a better way than the rest of us trying to respond? Hope you might reply here. God bless.

  10. annathule says:

    Well, maybe I was mad a bit over the top, but really – what some of you wrote was just as snarky and mean. Not ALL of you, (dang few) but a goodly number posting here.

    I can’t be consistent w/ his teaching down to the letter of the law – the Catholic Church, in effect, excommunicated me for not having the thousands and thousands of dollars needed to get one annulment, (much less the second one, which baffles me to no end – you “recognize” it enough that I need an annulment, but yet you don’t recognize it enough to give me communion and the Rites of the Church??) Nor would I wait for 15 years or more, like a friend I knew in my church went through. For all I know, that poor man is STILL waiting to get married again! “His pupil” (me) is not allowed to be considered “in a state of grace” because y’all are worse than a greedy lawyer and a bitterly contentious soon-to-be-ex-spouse all rolled into one! Money! Witnesses by the dozen! Large stacks of forms everyone and his brother’s uncle need to fill out! Time gone by too long.

    However, I have found a church, been “born again” (*gasp!*) and I feel that I and my Lord commune together just fine, thank you kindly. And you can’t fuss me for leaving the Church – I surely DIDN’T, the Church left me! If the Church would just say “Hey, ya know? This poor lady left a particularly vicious fellow for the safety, protection, love and family for her children, as another man’s wife to whom she would like to live with, in a Christian way, as man and wife.” (My third husband and I have *adored* each other, and lived in the peace called for in the Bible, for 17 years!) None of this “fornication” as I was doing, before I met Fr. Farrell. THAT he can be as proud of as anything I’ve known someone to help me with! I would say God would approve of that – the Church is all bureaucracy and “man made law”, just as the Bible warns us against, substituting the laws of man for the laws of God. None of these lawyers, layers of paperwork and demanding to talk to “witnesses” that I cannot find 20-25 years later. There weren’t any w/ my second ex, because he abused me so badly, mentally and emotionally, the first one just beat the heck outta me and shoved guns in my face for trying to keep up w/ my Church duties, not to mention any one of another million reasons why! The second ex wouldn’t let me talk even to my family! Where am I getting “witnesses” there, when that man – outwardly – could charm the birdies right down out of the trees? People thought I was SOOO lucky to have him! Yeah, lucky like a mentally abused hostage! Patty Hearst had nothing on me, baby.

    So yeah, maybe the “snark” was a little on the thick side in my previous comment, but you are impugning the character of a man I know to be gentle, gracious, willing to withhold judgement as Christ certainly did on earth, and not all pompous, judging other people for things that y’all have done *mighty* worse! If you want to know what I mean by that, just think of the word “lawsuit”, that ought to jog y’all’s memories. What these gay people do certainly can’t be any worse than what some of your priests have done to folks, and esp. small children! “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” And hey, I’m part of the REALLY loony Right Wing – we hate sodomy worse than y’all do! (As is evidenced by the troubles you all have keeping things “above board” between yourselves!!)

    So, what’s worse, showing a sinner the gentle face of Christ, as Fr. Farrell showed to me, his “pupil”, (and will go on showing to lost souls), or the face of the devil as many of you have, when you feel up all these little children? Eh? Answer me that, oh high and mighty potentates! You seem to know so much, where are your answers there?

    Hey, I’m a Momma Bear when it comes to defending my friends right on through to my family! I got claws and I use them! I won’t apologize for that. And I consider him a friend of the highest accord, though we haven’t talked for 29 years. The claws came out when you all are so judgmental of him and they’ll STAY out until you all look to the beams in your own eyes, before you go looking for specks in his eyes, and the eyes of a gracious and accepting church and her people! One does NOT need to endorse the sin to meet that sinner where they are NOW, not trying to find them once they stand before their Maker and have to answer HIS questions. What help will you be then?? They are not obligated to answer to YOU at ALL. Y’all got a few sins to answer for yourselves, and I’d be working mighty hard on getting THAT right before you go taking off on others.

    So. Can he be proud of what he’s done for my life and my relationship with God? You better believe he can be! Try it yourselves for once, it might change a few of YOUR souls!

  11. Dr. K says:

    But Fr. Farrell met me where *I* was, listened to me gently and in the course of that class, turned me away from my evil, sinful, wantonly sexual ways!

    However, I have found a church, been “born again” (*gasp!*) and I feel that I and my Lord commune together just fine, thank you kindly. And you can’t fuss me for leaving the Church – I surely DIDN’T, the Church left me!

    The priest was so successful reaching out to you that he drove you into the arms of a born again church?

    Do you realize that you have just made an argument against the efficacy of his approach?

  12. annathule says:

    Not HIS approach, I was an extremely happy and socially (justice) active Catholic for 20 years. It was the Church ITSELF that ran me off – for them being so hung up on a SECOND annulment, when they hadn’t even recognized my second marriage because they didn’t believe the first was ever broken!! And the THOUSANDS and thousands of dollars they wanted, and “witnesses” from years gone so far by I couldn’t even FIND them and then “witnesses” for the second marriage they didn’t even recognize when I explained to them, repeatedly, how he had kept me away from even my own family and had mentally and emotionally broken me! Just exactly who “saw” enough reasons to satisfy God only knows who when even MY OWN FAMILY COULD NOT SEE ME??

    It’s YOU guys that have kicked me out, just like you kick out gays and the dirty, unwashed masses just looking for a little succor in their lives! You hold your noses ever so daintily and decide who’s worthy of your faith and who isn’t. If we’re not “up to snuff” why you stand in the front of your churches and say, out loud, in front of the whole congregation that, “I will NEVER give you communion, no matter how many times you come up here to get it” like the priest did in Waynesboro PA in 1992, the last time I entered a Catholic Church. Where was Fr. Farrell then? Well look it up, he was firmly in the Diocese of Rochester and had been for years. How could HE run me off?? That priest humiliated me in front of a packed church, he turned me away, empty handed. Do you see yourselves as representatives of Christ on earth? Do YOU think Christ would do that? I see where He’s a “Just God” as well, no doubt, and there are rules to follow but, from Isaiah 29:13: “The Lord says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” Well! Sounds mighty like the Catholic Church to me!! I NEVER expected the CHURCH to turn on me that way, that’s what made it even MORE humiliating!

    I never expected that from a Church I had served so faithfully! I have been a lector, a choir member for years on end, a recognized teacher and coordinator of the CCD classes at my church, until I moved. I INVENTED a system that the CCD depended on in that old church where classes were in separate buildings. That was what received me the most recognition. I worked in the 5-day-a-week soup kitchen, The Lord’s Table and fought tooth and nail for it, in a church and a town full of NIMBY’s who feared it “might collect too many dirty people, distasteful people”. The same kind of people you posters here don’t want to have to deal with, what with all your lace and dainty manners. (And I DON’T mean that kindly!)

    Obviously Fr. Farrell has had or still is in prison work, and his church, from what I’ve read in their bulletins, are quite open to people that would make your carefully coiffed hairs curl! I was in that church 6 days out of every 7, because we also had meeting of the social concerns committee and we coordinated more programs than the lot of you fancy nancies could think of in about 4 hours! We not only ran that soup kitchen, we worked w/ a clothing bank, had a food bank at the church, accompanied shy beat-down folks, or foreign folks, to deal with these big bureaucratic agencies to get their proper papers and/or benefits and we had people in that effort that spoke more languages than I can remember by now! We partnered with the local bus system to get tokens for the people in several shelters in the DC area to be able to come and eat and then get them home again, or for medical reasons. We worked closely with homeless shelters, drug rehabs and homes for abused women and we had a couple ladies that knew, I don’t know how, a bed that was about to come open, or one that was just taken, and then how many were left where. They sure didn’t mind helping folks no matter their state of being in this life! They didn’t “vett” folks to see if “they deserved God’s love”, they just took care of them. I was more than happy to be a part of that great work!

    BUT>>> During all of this, Fr. Farrell was up in Rochester while all this was going on. How could HE have made me leave the church?? What did he teach me except all that I just listed above? Only the true love of an accepting God. I moved away, alas and to my broken heart, to a church, St. Anne’s in Hagerstown MD who strutted about and patted themselves on the back for “giving $250 to the Baltimore rent fund”. Really? And this meeting is over now just exactly WHY??? What else have you done? You’re a rich church, I came from a rich church and you guys think that giving a measly $250 to the Baltimore rent fund – a large, very poor city that needs all the help it can get – and you think you’re *all that*??? Gimme a break! And then they built themselves the shiniest, biggest, most “whited-sepulchre” church God ever had the misfortune to have to lay his eyes on! And ohhhhh, how they got mad when I laughed at them when the roof leaked and the foundation settled wrong! You don’t MOCK God and shun His precious poor folk! So much for pretension and facade.

    Just like you losers here have – you’re ALL whited sepulchres and you may say “Lord, Lord” and you’ll hear, (from Mat 7:21-23) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, **but only he who does the will of my Father** who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ You see, you have to get your dainty little fingers just a tad bit dirty if you want to do God’s REAL work!!

    I think it would break Fr. Farrell’s heart to know that I left, and even worse, that I was driven OUT of, the Catholic Church and that I had to search for God elsewhere, but if I never knew before this week, I know it now, there are God’s faithful servants in the Catholic Church and God will welcome them to heaven, like Fr. Farrell, and there will be folks who should be jacking their dainty little noses down about 90 degrees, sticking ’em in a REAL Bible and be doing some SERIOUS studying before you all are called to account. I have found more God in a “born-again” church, than I found anywhere else but in my first church. You snot-nosed elitest, prejudiced, homophobic, sons-of-unmarried-mothers are my perfect truth, and proof, why the Catholic church is shrinking or barely holding on and Protestant churches, ESPECIALLY the (ewww!) “born-again ones”, are spreading like wildfire. Huh, like the “wildfire” that fell upon the heads of Peter and the 3,000. I think he’s probably up in heaven shaking his head in the deepest sorrow at how far his church that he built upon a rock has strayed from God and towards the desires and greeds of man.

    I will NOT discuss if Fr. Farrell should be considered the “fault” of my leaving, or that his “teachings” drove me away from the Church. The man met me where I was at the time, showed me God’s Perfect Love and left me in the very capable hands of a church God will be proud to welcome into heaven. YOU folks are the kind that run off good Catholics, good Christians and poor folks just searching for a little love, comfort and the salvation God promised all of us. It’s YOUR judgmental ways, your pure prejudice (defined as “unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group” and it is aimed at me as much as you were ever aiming it at those poor gay folks Fr. Farrell has sinned so mightily by trying to reach for God.) It’s a most UGLY trait you show so freely in here and no doubt every day of your pampered lives, which are what drive folks away and into the arms of a church that says “God loves ALL people”, even if most churches, at least of the stripe I attend, would agree with you about GLBT folks, they still SHOW God’s love by accepting the sinner with an eye to having God work that sin out of them.

    There’s no point in arguing with you anymore. At this point, all I’m doing is feeding a buncha trolls. As God says, “Away from me, you evildoers!” I’m outta here. Buh-bye!

  13. Dr. K says:

    You like quoting scripture, so I will quote as well:

    Re: Paragraph #1

    “He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” (Mat. 19 4-9)

    Re: paragraph #2

    “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor. 11:27–28)

    Re: Paragraphs #3 and 4 and your repeated gloating throughout the comment

    ““[But] take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them;a otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. ” (Mat. 6: 1-4)

    The following appears useful in general in supporting the truth that we (all of us) must convert from our sinful ways to God’s ways. We can not continue to live in sinfulness if we hope to have eternal life. Love the sinner, but never embrace the sin.

    “Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:9–10)

    These are man’s laws? More like God’s laws.

    Step down from the throne of Christ for one second and see what a hypocrite you are. You accuse us of being judgmental, yet every word you posted to this blog is a judgment against others. Meanwhile, you have gone out of your way to establish in exquisite detail what a wonderful Christian you are and how you have done innumerable good deeds. It is not the Church that has abandoned you, but you that have abandoned the Church.

  14. annathule says:

    Hmmm, Dr K, I said I wouldn’t answer any more posts but I like yours. Yes indeed, every verse is true and on target. Although I guess I DID sound like I was bragging about what *I* did for God, my aim was to show what I had been taught as a good Catholic. However, I accept that rebuke, it does seem like I’m doing exactly that.

    However, I must disagree w/ you on a vital point. No one here, (that has hit my response inbox email anyway), has been trying to show I was such a good Christian. They have been using ME to show that Fr. Farrell’s teachings had made me stray so far afield that HE should be censured for them! And that cannot be the case, because I haven’t talked to him in 29 years. What he said in the winter or 1982-83 was what I saw all around me in the Church I loved so well! I saw folks honoring their marriages, their cultures, their responsibility to their fellow human beings, as evidenced in Matt. 24. Folks were hungry, so they fed them, they were thirsty or naked and these folks provided for them. Those two Godly ladies had even gotten me to thinking of pursuing vital causes in ways I’d rather not subject to the titterings and the insults I’ve been getting from most here. But it would have been most surely in a way completely compatible w/ the Bible and the Church’s teachings.

    What I was trying to do, was to defend Fr. Farrell’s (and his church’s right) to meet with these gay folks ON THEIR OWN level and meet them “where they are in their lives today”, so that he might reach them for Christ and show them the error of their ways. I agree the Bible forbids homosexuality, it’s made plain in several places, even in the KJV! (I tend towards the NIV myself – the OLDER version, not the newer one – to study and understand, but there is a grand beauty in hearing the KJV read out loud and to be taught from it by a knowledgeable person.) I certainly don’t endorse that kind of behavior. But even if I KNEW a person I was witnessing to was gay, I wouldn’t point that out first thing and tell them they were going to hell, I’d try and show them God’s face and gently lead them towards the realization that such deeds are wrong. (Or lead them to someone who could do it much better than I! Such as this church, Blessed Assurance, I think it is.)

    It cannot be wrong to be so and remain celibate – you priests take the same vow, albeit for far different reasons, I realize! But if these men and women can overcome their desires to participate in such sinful actions then they should be praised, not vilified and pre-judged in the manner that I was reading here. Priests, of ALL people, should know that is a hard, long and difficult road. But someone must first show them the face of God, here one earth, not shoved away rudely and told that they’re filthy fornicators or what-not. And that can mean “in a manner such as that”, not just physically have it done to them. Why else did God create us, if not to be the face of Him, His hands, feet, eyes and tender heart? Jesus left us, but He did not leave us without comfort, he left us each other. And if someone is hurting, and searching, such as these folks had to have been to so much as step into a church that is on record as being virulently opposed to their very existence, then it is our duty to reach out to those people and gently lead them home. That’s all I ever meant and all I would ever expect from a man I knew AT THE TIME, to be of such a nature as to understand another’s pain and respond to it appropriately.

    Would any of you leave your friend(s) to be ripped to shreds and mocked as smugly and as ugly as most of the original posters were doing to Fr. Farrell here, along with the other signers of that letter and organizers of such encounters and group events, before I wrote my piece? I should hope the answer is a resounding “NO!” That’s all I was trying to do, but I have failed at that miserably, I guess. I thank you for being reasonable and Biblically grounded. You are a breath of fresh air in this musty and fetid room.

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