Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Sex’

Church must better explain teaching on sexuality, pope tells US bishops

March 9th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie

From Catholic News Service

…Concentrating his remarks on the need to promote and explain church teaching on sexuality, the pope said the church’s key concern is “the good of children, who have a fundamental right to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships.”…

…The moral virtues espoused in the church’s teaching on sexuality are “the key to human fulfillment,” he said, because they promote sexuality as “a source of genuine freedom, happiness and the fulfillment of our fundamental and innate human vocation to love.”

“The richness of this vision is more sound and appealing than the permissive ideologies exalted in some quarters,” which are “powerful and destructive,” he said…

…The church itself “must acknowledge deficiencies in the catechesis of recent decades, which failed at times to communicate the rich heritage of Catholic teaching on marriage as a natural institution elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament, the vocation of Christian spouses in society and in the church, and the practice of marital chastity,” he said…

Read full story

Belmont Abbey Sues For Religious Liberty

November 11th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic institution of higher learning in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC, has sued the United States government in what is being called a “test case” in the debate about religious institutions (of any denomination) being compelled to break the mandates of their faith(s) and distribute condoms and other contraceptives to the students and faculty. The National Catholic Register has more on this story:

BELMONT, N.C. — Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, charging that its new rule mandating the inclusion of contraceptive services in employee health insurance violates the school’s religious freedom.

The interim federal rule, which requires private employer-provided health benefits to include the full range of “preventive services” for women, is part of the new health bill.

“We believe it will be a test case. This is the firstlawsuit to challenge the HHS rule mandating contraception, sterilization and other ‘preventive services,’” said Lori Windham, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit public interest law firm that filed the lawsuit on behalf of the college.

The filing asks for a court order to free the college from the federal mandate. The government is required to respond to the complaint within 60 days. Windham said she could not comment on whether other Catholic institutions or dioceses had contacted the Becket Fund to explore legal challenges to the federal rule.

At present, the controversial federal regulation, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides a narrow exemption for religious institutions engaged in work with others of the same faith. Those that serve people of other faiths or no faith will likely not be allowed to opt out of the mandate, which requires the provision of sterilization and abortifacients — such as Plan B and Ella.

“The issue is the right of Belmont Abbey College, which has always publicly identified itself and functioned as a Catholic college, to freely exercise the constitutional right to operate in accord with the public and authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church,” said Benectine Abbot Placid Solari, of Belmont Abbey and the ex officio chancellor of the college.

“It is a matter of the fundamental rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution and it is time that someone stood up for these fundamental rights.”

“No employee or student of Belmont Abbey College is being coerced into accepting the faith or moral beliefs of the Catholic Church. The college, however, will be required by the federal government to act contrary to its own faith convictions,” said the abbot.

Belmont Abbey College is no stranger to such disputes. It has already been under investigation by the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) for refusing to cover contraception in its employee health plan. The EEOC continues to investigate this dispute.

In a statement issued Nov. 10, the Becket Fund noted that while “the government has already provided thousands of waivers for a variety of special interest groups, including McDonald’s and teachers’ unions, often for reasons of commercial convenience, it refused to accommodate religious organizations.

“Instead, the government permitted a religious exemption so narrowly defined that it prompted the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to note that even Jesus’ ministry would not qualify.”

Windham contends that the new regulation “is riddled with exceptions. It’s a violation of the Constitution when you make exceptions for secular purposes, but not for religious conscience.”

She notes that the controversial rule not only requires the provision of services that violate Catholic moral teaching, it also mandates “counseling” for these services. “Catholic institutions are being asked to fund speech that is contrary to their beliefs,” she charged.

Windham reports that more than 100,000 respondents signaled their opposition to the HHS rule, after being invited to do so by the government. Sept. 30 was the last date for providing comment, and HHS has not confirmed when it will issue a final ruling that might result in a broadened religious exemption.

Richard Doerflinger, the chief lobbyist on life issues for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, confirmed in a previous interview that HHS has signaled it will probably broaden the exemption, but not to the satisfaction of the conference.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the USCCB, said the conference is “waiting to see if and when the exemption is changed before we take any steps.”

HHS has established August 2012 as the formal deadline for providing services mandated by the new health bill.

Asked how much lead time Catholics institutions would need to respond to an unacceptable final rule, Sister Mary Ann said she did not know, but it appeared that the bishops were at least not publicly discussing back-up plans “when the rules might change.”

But if the U.S. bishops’ conference has yet to issue a formal legal challenge to the HHS regulation, the bishops have been marshaling their forces to oppose what they perceive as an increasingly aggressive federal effort to impinge on the First Amendment rights of Catholic institutions.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the USCCB president, has already moved to establish a newad hoc committee on religious liberty, appointing Bishop Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. to head that initiative.

Yesterday, Bishop Loriannouncedthat a number of high-profile Church leaders would join the committee, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis; Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington.

The committee’s brain trust includes Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus, Richard Garnett, associate dean and professor of law and political science, University of Notre Dame Law School, John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, and Mary Ann Glendon at Harvard Law School.

The Bishop of Charlotte, NC, Peter Jugis, has spoken out against other similar issues. The video below pertains to gay “marriage,” and demonstrates the orthodoxy of this particular shepherd. It is truly inspiring to see a Bishop defend (and prompt his diocesan brothers and sisters to defend) the teaching of the Church, and to do so publicly and without fear.

I wonder when St. Bernard’s will offer such a public witness?

The Cross Stands while the NCR Whines

April 11th, 2011, Promulgated by Abaccio

Remember this post last week about the wonderful pastoral letter by Bishop Sheehan on Cohabitation?  Suppose I told you that the NCR (Non-Catholic Reporter) would whine and moan about it, would you believe me?  Notice how she attacks the Church, misrepresents Our Lord, ignores important aspects of the Faith, and of course, tries to use half-truths and feelings to convince others that she is right and that the Church is wrong.  Below is an article from the NCR today that complains about Bishop Sheehan’s letter, with my emphasis and [commentary] .  Of course, the NCR is most proudly displayed at Beckett Hall, home of our Diocesan discerners.  This scandal-inducing rag is what the Diocese likes to use for its news and views.  Surprise, Surprise.  Please, if you see fit, write Fr. Coffas at Beckett Hall and ask that this trash be removed from the discernment house.  Without further ado,

Archbishop Sheehan: How to lose Catholics and alienate people

by Jamie L Manson on Apr. 11, 2011

One of my earliest memories of church is watching my mother being forced to abstain from the Eucharist during my First Holy Communion. The scene is still vivid for me.  [Do you see what’s coming?  She’s going to appeal to feelings instead of the Truth.]

I sat in the third pew, squirming in the frilly, miniature bridal gown and veil that we were required [the priest is a dictator!] to wear. When I returned from my first taste of the host and sacramental wine, I turned around to watch my family receive communion. [Rather than praying or giving thanks…]

I saw my mother kneeling alone in a pew, looking at turns sad and embarrassed. [Fr. Mean Jerk hurt her feelings…] The pews around her had been vacated by Catholics worthy of receiving communion. My mother kneeled in that empty pew. She was the only parent of a new communicant who didn’t receive Eucharist that day. [“She wasn’t part of the Community! She was excluded! Jesus didn’t exclude!  Anyhow, mom is a good person!” Watch as she gives these same, tired, nonsensical half-truths]

I wasn’t surprised [So, she did this every week for years? And every week she was sad and embarassed, and did not get to receive the Blessed Sacrament…and didn’t do anything about it?  Watch what happens next.] to see my mother there. Five years earlier, she divorced my father. Two years after that she remarried. Not having the several thousand dollars [Read: Fr. Mean Jerk doesn’t care about the poor.] she was told the annulment process would cost, her second marriage took place with a justice of the peace.  [She was willing to ignore the counsel given her before her invalid marriage, and despite being told she was doing something gravely wrong, did it anyway.  Non Serviam!] When I was in sacramental preparation, my mother met with the pastor of our Long Island parish to ask if she could receive communion at my ceremony.

“Absolutely not,” he immediately replied, “you are excommunicated.” [She has options: 1) seek an annulment and valid marriage now, years later, after saving up some money or asking for monetary help.  2) Go to confession and live as brother and sister with her pseudo-husband until this is resolved  She does not want to accept the possibility that she may be wrong, nor does she want to actually accept the consequences for her actions.]

My formal introduction to Holy Communion was defined by this image of my mother’s excommunication. Sometimes I wonder whether this moment didn’t give birth to my vocation as an outspoken, progressive Catholic. [Sorry, nobody is called to dissent from the doctrines of the Church.]

Reading Archbishop Michael Sheehan’s recent letter of admonishment [Not “pastoral teaching”]to divorcees and cohabitating couples immediately brought me back to that pew. Sheehan, who is the archbishop of Santa Fe, offers a lamentation on “three groups of people who are living contrary to the Gospel teaching on marriage: those who cohabit; those who have a merely civil union with no previous marriage; and those who have a civil union who were married before.”

If you belong to any of these groups, Sheehan would like to remind you that you are in “great spiritual danger.” [The Church teaches that they are.] And, as a result, you “are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion.” You should also abstain from being a Eucharistic minister and from taking on the role of godparent. When it comes to your participating in other parish activities or organizations, the pastor should be consulted for a final judgment.

But, Sheehan counsels, “Prudence is needed, avoiding all occasions of scandal.” [Watch while she twists His Excellency’s meaning]

Throughout Sheehan’s letter, the archbishop appeals to the “teachings of the gospels” to support his enforcement of the church’s teachings on marriage and divorce. In fact, there is only one passage in one of the gospels on marriage, in Matthew 19: 1-12. [This is a blatant lie. Mark 10: 2-12, Matthew 5: 31-32, and Luke 16:18 all speak of divorce/marriage.  So does the story of the Woman at the Well in John.  Lies, lies, and more lies.] Sadly, the rest of Jesus’ teachings in the four gospels seem lost on Sheehan. [Note how she is essentially lamenting that +Sheehan is not ignoring the DIRECT WORDS OF CHRIST]

If Jesus believed that anyone he met was in “great spiritual danger,” the first thing he would do would be to invite that person to his table. Jesus would want to learn the individual’s story. Jesus would invite that person into community and remind her that she is God’s beloved. Jesus also might have called the religious authorities hypocrites, as he does in Matthew 23:13, 28, for “locking people out of the kingdom of heaven” and for being like “white washed tombs . . . full of hypocrisy and lawlessness inside.” [Matthew 23:28 says, “So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”  Just saying.]

For five years after my communion, my mother continued to abstain from the Eucharist. Around the time that I was preparing for Confirmation, a group of Franciscans came to our parish to offer a mission week. By this time, she had divorced her second husband (on grounds that would have quickly earned her an annulment, if she had applied for one). [She’s not too good at this marriage thing]

Something about the Franciscans’ message resonated with my mother, so she made her confession to one of their priests. She explained to the priest the reasons why she didn’t take communion, but expressed her desire to be able to receive at my confirmation Mass. The priest listened to her story. And he strongly encouraged her to start receiving the Eucharist again. [Now that she was not objectively in a state of mortal sin and had made a good confession.  She could have done this 5 years before]

This priest understood that the table of the Eucharist was established by Jesus and, ultimately, belongs to God alone, not to any human being or institution. [Or, alternatively, she was RECONCILED WITH THE CHURCH!]

Years later my mother and I moved to a new parish. They put out a call for Eucharistic ministers. My mother was eager to serve, but feared that the pastor would ban once he learned of her divorces. To my mother’s joy, the pastor welcomed her. [Again, there is nothing inherently sinful about a failed marriage, it is the invalid 2nd “marriages”, and adulterous relationships that are a problem!  Her circumstance, post-confession, is very very different.  She is no longer publicly guilty of scandalous behavior!]

The years that she has served as a Eucharistic minister have been the most meaningful time that she ever spent in church. She is honored to be able to offer Jesus to others, and always tears up whenever she looks into the eyes of those who came to her to receive communion. [Point?  Watch while she explains her mother’s qualifications to be an EMHC next.  This is rich in silliness, and bereft of use.]

There are few people more able to offer the broken body of Jesus to a hungry people than those who themselves who have been broken by loss, abusive relationships, or shattered love. [Yes, she is called to use her experiences and circumstances to spread the Gospel, and to promote the Church.  Yes, she can preach Christ crucified, and the healing power of the Resurrection.  Yes, she should probably speak to couples in pre-cana about what NOT to do.  That does not mean she’s uniquely qualified to be an EMHC.  That’s just stupid.] It’s hard to imagine a better image of the resurrected Jesus than a wounded human being offering the bread of life to another vulnerable human being. [A priest, apparently, does not qualify as “another vulnerable human being.”]

Sheehan’s letter leaves no place for God’s grace to work in this way within the institutional church. [As opposed to the non-institutional, SBNR Church.] The sacraments are meant to work in people’s lives to deepen our communion with God and others, to heal wounds, and to offer meaning and consolation. They are not a prize awarded only to those who follow doctrine and church law to the letter. [Right.  Because nobody is sinless.  In fact, the Sacraments of Confession, Baptism, and Extreme Unction remit sin.  One can, with venial sins on his soul, receive the other Sacraments.  That does not dismiss the sin of sacrilege, however, which is committed when one receives the Blessed Sacrament in a state of mortal sin.  I’m sorry to inform you that HELL EXISTS, and SIN EXISTS, and that’s the ENTIRE REASON that Our Lord was made incarnate and eventually was nailed to a tree.  If there is no Hell from which to save us, what need have we for a savior?]

Few cohabitating Catholics will endure processes like annulment or change their living arrangements in order to be welcomed back into church and its sacraments. [Which is a problem!] The institutional Church simply does not hold this kind of power over the lives of Catholics anymore. [Why not? Because they don’t believe in sin, and don’t believe that they could go to Hell, and don’t believe the power of the Sacraments, AND, in many cases, do not believe in God Himself.  See why this is BAD?]

Words like Sheehan’s only create feelings of judgment and shame and, therefore, only further sever a Catholic’s ties to the institution. [Their sins do not cut them off from God, but only the big, evil institution?] Once again, the hierarchy fails to understand that it has a far better chance of communicating the teachings of Jesus and the meaning and power of the sacraments [“The actions of the Church are against the will of God Himself.”]by welcoming Catholics into the church as ministers or godparents, regardless of their married state and living situation. [Read: Pretend that there is no consequence for sin, and people will be much happier]

There is little doubt that Sheehan’s reassertion of the church’s doctrine of marriage is one small prelude to the Catholic institution’s forthcoming symphony of anti-gay marriage movements, [It’s all political to these people.  Jesus would have supported people living sinfully, see.  He’d have told them to keep on keepin’ on, and not to change their behavior.  Except, you know, He didn’t.  He called sinners to repent.] composed, no doubt, to coincide with the 2012 elections. The hierarchy’s deepening involvement in politics is symptomatic of religious leadership scrambling for power in reaction to a loss of influence and moral authority over its flock. [Would it not be easier to have power and popularity if one ignored the Truth, and just taught Moralistic Therapeutic Deism that changed with the culture?  Notice: those teachings with which she agrees, she supports as truly Christian.  Those with which she disagrees are power plays by big meanies. Instead of conforming her life to the Gospel, she is conforming the Gospel to her life.]

How tragic that the church is willing to cut off so many of its faithful [Uh, They cut themselves off by being UNFAITHFUL] from the sacraments in order achieve the conformity it needs to achieve its political goals. How many more eight-year-olds [“You’re hurting kids!] will not have their parents join them the first time they approach Jesus’ table?

Though Sheehan delivered this letter in the middle of Lent, he signs it, “Sincerely yours in the Risen Lord.” For reasons far deeper than the liturgical calendar, it might have been more apt to have signed it “yours in the crucified Lord.” [She thinks she’s clever…but fails to see the actual truth in her statement.  John 12:24-25 states, “Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, Itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal.”  Christ must first die to rise again.  She seems to think that one can be taken in a vacuum without the other.]

For in his words and actions, he has only further fractured the body of Christ. [No.  Sin fractures the Body of Christ.  Pride fractures the Body of Christ.  The Obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth of the faith (“heresy”) fractures the Body of Christ.  Jesus Christ is the Truth.  The Truth does not fracture itself.]


Update on Fr. Panepinto Suspension

March 28th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

A couple local media outlets have sat down with the diocese in order to acquire more information about the suspension of Fr. Vincent Panepinto from performing priestly ministries following allegations of sexual abuse which date back to the 1960s. News 10 NBC reports that after the diocese was contacted by the alleged victim, a private investigator looked into the situation, as well as the diocese’s review board which is comprised of mental health professionals and members of law enforcement. The review board decided that the accusation is credible, and the bishop contacted Fr. Panepinto on Friday to inform him that he was going to be placed on leave.

As part of this suspension, Fr. Panepinto will no longer be permitted to wear clerical attire, offer Mass, live on church property (though I don’t believe he was living in a rectory prior to his suspension), or identify himself as a Catholic priest. He will, however, be permitted to receive his pension and health insurance. I am glad to hear that the diocese will not deprive Father of his retirement money after Father Panepinto’s many years of service to the Church. He has been told that he should look for other employment.

It does not appear that criminal charges can or will be filed since this case is well beyond the statue of limitations.

Local news coverage pertaining to this story is available on the NBC and YNN websites.

According to YNN, this is the 25th priest to be placed on leave by the Diocese of Rochester since 2002. In 2001, the diocese had 308 priests. 25 priestly suspensions comes to a little more than 8% of this 2001 priest total. As time goes on, sad to say, the percentage may grow even higher.

Please pray for our priests and for victims of sexual abuse. May God’s loving mercy be on them all.

Fr. Vincent Panepinto Suspended Following Sexual Abuse Allegation

March 27th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Fr. Vincent Panepinto

Fr. Vincent Panepinto (“Fr. Vinny”), a priest  serving as  Sacramental Minister in the Northeast Rochester parish of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, has been suspended by Bishop Matthew Clark following an allegation of sexual abuse. The abuse allegation is from the late 1960s, according to the Diocese of Rochester press release. Fr. Panepinto has served in a number of assignments including St. Philip Neri, St. Anthony (Elmira), St. Michael (Rochester), and various prison ministries.  Father also oversaw the consolidation of Corpus Christi/St. Francis Xavier/Our Lady of Mt. Carmel a few years ago into  “Our Lady of the Americas.”  Being near 70, he is close to retirement.

I am familiar with Fr. Panepinto. Though I would probably classify him as a somewhat progressive priest, it has been my impression that he has a jovial personality and that he is loved and respected by his parishioners. Fr. Panepinto is bilingual and has ministered to the Spanish-speaking Catholics of this diocese for several years. It is going to be interesting to see how the diocese replaces him, since we have so few Spanish-speaking priests and this parish needs two of them.

As was the case when Fr. Shaw was accused, I beg our readers to demonstrate decency in the comment box and to offer their prayers for Fr. Panepinto and the alleged victim. If he is innocent, may he return to ministry with a clean name. If he is guilty, may the victim receive peace and justice for their suffering.

Info Re: Fr. Corapi

March 25th, 2011, Promulgated by Hopefull

Statement of Santa Cruz Media, Inc.
Relative to Fr. Corapi’s Suspension

Santa Cruz Media, Inc. is the owner of all of Fr. John Corapi’s intellectual property and the DVDs, CDs, and books that flow from it. We are a secular corporation and not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way. As such, we are not under the jurisdiction of any bishop or other official in the Catholic Church, although we have the utmost respect for Church authority.

We fully support Rev. John Corapi in this terrible trial, not surprisingly having begun on Ash Wednesday. Through the sacrifice and struggle of the desert and all of the dark moments that this entails, we are confident that the glory of the risen Lord will shine forth from the power of the Resurrection and Easter.

We have consulted with a number of canon lawyers. They have assured us that the actions of the Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas are, on several points of canon law, illicit. It is our fervent hope that The Dallas Charter will be changed because of false accusations like this. There is no evidence at this time that Fr. Corapi did anything wrong, only the unsubstantiated rant of a former employee, who, after losing her job with this office, physically assaulted me and another employee and promised to “destroy” Father Corapi. We all continue to pray for this person, and we ask you to do the same.

We sincerely believe that the work Fr. Corapi has done is of greatest value to the Church, hence hated by the devil. We fully intend to make Fr. Corapi’s material available as a service to the Church and the world for as long as we possibly can.

The Church provides no financial support to Fr. Corapi. He has to pay for his own legal representation, medical costs, food, housing, etc. We have never accepted donations or charitable contributions of any kind. We are supporting Father’s efforts to defend himself. Your purchase of products from Santa Cruz Media helps provide the funding for Father’s continued work as well as the legal expenses he continues to incur as a result of these malicious allegations.

Father Corapi and all of us here at Santa Cruz Media, Inc. greatly appreciate your kindness, support, and prayers. Please continue to pray for Father Corapi and his accuser, as well as all priests who find themselves in this unfortunate situation.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Bobbi Ruffatto
Vice President of Operations
Santa Cruz Media, Inc

Twenty-One Priests Removed in Philly

March 8th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

From the Archdiocese of Philadelphia website:

“Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, today announced that he has placed 21 priests on administrative leave. The action follows an initial examination of files looking at both the substance of allegations and the process by which those allegations were reviewed. In each case the next step is a thorough independent investigation.

Cardinal Rigali said, “These have been difficult weeks since the release of the Grand Jury Report: difficult most of all for victims of sexual abuse, but also for all Catholics and for everyone in our community.

“As we strive to move forward today,” Cardinal Rigali added, “I wish to express again my sorrow for the sexual abuse of minors committed by any members of the Church, especially clergy. I am truly sorry for the harm done to the victims of sexual abuse, as well as to the members of our community who suffer as a result of this great evil and crime.”

The Grand Jury Report identified 37 cases of concern. In addition to the 21 announced today, three priests were placed on administrative leave after the report was released in February. Five others would have been subject to administrative leave. However, one who was already on leave and two who are incapacitated have not been in active ministry. Two others no longer serve in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and, as both are members of a Religious Order, the Archdiocese has notified the Superiors of their Religious Orders and the Bishops of the Dioceses where they are residing.

The remaining eight priests will not be subject to administrative leave. The initial independent examination of these cases found no further investigation is warranted.”

It is good to see bishops deal with this problem, even if it came as a result of external prodding from the legal system. The filth masquerading as Catholic priests do not deserve to remain in their roles. May this sex abuse crisis soon come to an end as we remove all the perverted priests from our parishes.

Condoms in Schools Sparks Conversation

February 5th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

YNN Reports (there’s video if you follow the link)

Teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and increasing HIV rates are prompting a conversation in schools and the community about the effectiveness of teaching abstinence. A plan to make condoms available in Rochester high schools is causing some disagreement among parents. It’s a long debated issue that’s front and center once again.

The Catholic Diocese of Rochester did not want to comment on the issue before studying the proposal. [wow! just wow! Resorting to the crickets again.]


Before You Run Out and Buy a Box of Condoms

November 20th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

The liberal media and progressive blogs are drooling over an interestingly selected excerpt printed in L’Osservatore Romano from Pope Benedict’s upcoming book, Light of the World. As a result of this excerpt where the Holy Father speaks about condoms, the progressives are jumping up and down thinking that the Pope has somehow permitted birth control, or that the Church is going to change its teaching on the matter. Don’t run for the condom store just yet, folks. Jimmy Akin and Catholic World Report have both written very good clarifications about the Pope’s comments, including putting them into context. This is something the liberal media has failed to do… again.

Hurrah for Saint Paul!

October 16th, 2010, Promulgated by Ink

In an attempt to make myself better-acquainted with some of our Church documents, I decided to start with the New Testament epistles.  Saint Paul has made me smile, since I’m sure he is looking down on our world right now and saying, “HEY, THAT’S WRONG!”  Emphasis mine.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

Source: Romans 1:18-32, Revised Standard Version.

Food for thought.

How Low Can the D&C Go?

August 12th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

How about peddling pornography in today’s paper?

Here is an actual snippet from the article:

“While some models may draw the line at posing nude, Paige said she doesn’t have a problem with it. “Everybody’s got the same thing. It just looks a little different,” she says with a laugh.”

It is truly sad that our society has fallen so low that it is now a “human interest story” that a local woman will be posing naked in a magazine.

God help us.

3 things you find at Buffalo TOTs vs Rochester

August 5th, 2010, Promulgated by b a

I got this email from a friend today

1) “I love latin mass” + “Pro life” bumper stickers

2) Lots of young adults (90+ I’d say), standing room only (for a talk on theology of the body)

3) A Priest as the main speaker

3 Special TOB Presentations this Week in Rochester

August 3rd, 2010, Promulgated by b a

The Station of the Cross will be offering three presentations on Pope John Paul ll’s Theology of the Body with Theology of the Body expert Fr. Thomas Loya this Thursday and Friday. The Theology of the Body has been changing lives and relationships all over the world and we are pleased to bring this message for the first time to Rochester NY. The events are as follows:

1. “Theology of the Body and the Contraceptive Worldview” – Open Event
Thursday August 5th 7:00 – 9:30PM
Christ the King Church 445 Kings Highway South Irondequoit, NY

2. “Theology of the Body: Straight from the Pulpit” – Ministry Event (Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, Lay Ministry Leaders)
Thursday August 5th 10:00AM – 12:00PM
@ St. John of Rochester 8 Wickford Way in Fairport

3.“Theology of the Body:  Who Man is for Woman & Who Woman is for Man” – Open Event
Friday August 6th 7:00 – 9:30PM
@ Harold J. Coleman Chapel St. John Fisher College

All events are FREE, a free will collection will be taken

For more information visit our website or call 877-711-8500

Please spread the word!

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:


Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 5)

July 16th, 2010, Promulgated by b a


WARNING: Don’t listen to this if you’re about to go to bed or drive a motorized vehicle. Make sure you leave yourself some time for an activity to get your mind off of the nunsense you’re about to hear.

And now onto Sr. Pat on interpreting scripture. Remember, folks, this isn’t just some random lady off the street. This is the president of St. Bernard’s – the person responsible for training many of our parish leaders – your CMA dollars hard at work. If you’re reading this and you think I’m being too much of a stickler please let me know. As I’ve said many time, my theological viewpoint is simply catholic. If I am saying anything out of line with Church teaching, I’d like to know.

If your interpretation of scripture is, this is absolutely and directly to me God’s word I don’t think there’s any question beyond that … There are those interpreters of scripture though that say the Hebrew Bible is a collection of books as is the new testament a collection of books with certain agenda in mind, and so the interpretation of those 6 passages has become one of the points of discussion in this conversation

quoting Casey Lopata, “Had the knowledge been available to the writers (of the Bible)….we didn’t choose a sexual orientation….we just are….” “if they had known what contemporary theology and contemporary psychology would have known…”

update: Casey Lopata is a key member of Fortunate Families. On the face of it, this seems like it could be a truly commendable ministry. People who either have SSA themselves or who have a close family member with SSA should certainly have a place to turn. However, from looking through the Fortunate Families website, it seems they take it a step further and condone the homosexual lifestyle. This is a free country and people are free to do that. Once you start doing that, you must be honest and realize that you’d have to repudiate your Catholic faith. Catholicism and the homosexual lifestyle are mutually exclusive. As with all people, we Catholics believe that our sexuality is so ingrained into who we are and that it is so beautiful that it can only be truly expressed in marriage. The close relationship between the diocese and organizations like this is very suspect.

I do not hold that God wrote the books of the Bible Bible.

BDA is getting a little fired up, “That’s a fundamental denial of the Catholic faith”
Before we get too crazy with this quote (as BDA did), let’s admit that in a certain sense we agree. We don’t believe that God dropped the books of scripture out of the sky and I think that’s what she’s getting at here. However, given the context of the rest of her statements, I do get the sense that she means this in a more literal way than would be acceptable for a Catholic

BDA still fired up and perhaps reaching a little when he says, “that’s not Catholic”.  Perhaps her literal words would be considered acceptable Church teaching – I don’t have time to grapple with that.  But there are things that she seems to be implying that aren’t inline with Catholicism:

  • she seems to be implying that she doesn’t believe in Biblical inerrancy
  • she seems to be implying that Paul did not write the epistles traditionally ascribed to him
  • she seems to be implying that individuals are free to interpret scripture apart from Magisterial teaching authority

I’ll comment more on these points as we go.

Next we really slide into biblical relativism

another commenter, “I feel bad for Lot’s wife”

and the typical “head coverings” text often quoted by non-Christians to prove that we’re not consistent with Scripture.  Of course, there are answers to all of these questions.

Someone in the crowd mentions Dei Verbum.  The church doesn’t provide interpretations of everything in the Bible.   “That’s not a Catholic way of viewing Scripture.”

They’re starting to attack a straw man here because that’s not really what I was saying.  Let me be clear that quoting Dei Verbum is a good thing.  However, Dei Verbum does not say that we can interpret scriptures however we want.  The Catholic Church teaches biblical inerrancy. This doesn’t mean we take a literalist view of scripture, but we do believe that we must hold to a literal interpretation. We hold that the original intent of the author is the infallible word of God. Sometimes this “original intent” is disputed. For example, perhaps the authors of Jonah and/or Job originally meant it to be a fictional tale. The creation story also may have been  meant to be taken figuratively. This doesn’t mean, though, that the Bible contains mistakes, it simply means that we have to take into account many factors when reading scripture. We need to understand the context and the author’s original intent.  When an epistle of the New Testament starts off with “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus,” it’s pretty clear that the author is claiming to be Paul (not a community of believers).  When Paul says something like “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body”, it’s pretty clear what he means. So, if Paul did not write the epistles attributed to him and he put certain restrictions on sexuality that are no longer valid, I don’t know how you can square that with Church teaching. Even if you were free to step out of bounds of Church teaching and say that Paul didn’t write the epistles, most liberal scholars admit to at least 7 of the Pauline Epistles as being authentic.

A good and honest question from Christopher, “I’m just confused how do “we interpret the Bible”, I just thought the Church was there to help us interpret the Bible because the Bible says that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of Truth” and the protestants hold a different viewpoint on that…..?

Don’t take up James Hanigan’s book (previously he was a good standing Catholic)… Don’t even look at the scripture, just keep on looking at the teachings…

I’ve heard this take on “turn the other cheek before” and I would agree that is is very enlightening. However, that applies to one particular quote of Jesus. You can’t jump to the conclusion that because one quote of Jesus is often misinterpreted that I can now interpret any other passage of scripture however I want.

Some people say the Bible is still being interpreted by the people of God… ya’ll have a different.. and that’s fine

I appreciate the inclusivity she offers. However, we are Catholics. We have boundaries on what we’re allowed to hold to (and especially teach to others). Sr. Pat has overstepped those bounds and more importantly presented official church teaching incompletely and in a very negative light.

let’s keep looking at scripture and uncovering what’s there

I’d agree in the sense that we should continually delve into scripture so as to drill deeper and deeper and make it a part of our everyday lives. But that’s a significantly different thing than saying we should stare at scripture until our vision blurs and we can make the words say whatever we want them to.

Some other random articles I found while researching this topic:

For the youngins trying to rationalize having sex:

For those trying to present the case that you can be both Catholic and supportive of the homosexual lifestyle:

Doctrine vs Discipline
The Slippery Slope of Sexual Sin
What Is Biblical Criticism—and Should We Trust It?

Biblical Criticism

Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 4)

July 14th, 2010, Promulgated by b a


I’ll not comment as much before this clip as the discussion w/in the actual session is starting to liven up. We start with a question from Christopher, who is an active commenter to the blog and forum.

I don’t know much about Charles Curran except that he’s a dissenter and that I prayed for him on Sunday. Perhaps someone in the comments can enlighten us or provide a link.

Other interesting notes from a friend who helped me transcribe this series

30:00 – Sr. Pat looks around for other questions but BDA (bull-dog-apologist) is only one holding hand up, “Question from someone else who hasn’t spoken?” LOL

If you’re still depressed, go pray a decade of the Sorrowful Mysteries and remember that our suffering is minor compared to that of Our Lady and Our Lord!

Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 3)

July 12th, 2010, Promulgated by b a


So far in this series, we’ve gotten some great insights and discussions in the comments. I thank all the comment contributors for that and hope that you keep it up. I’m no expert theologian or anything. I’m just a guy who has read a few Church documents and scratch my head when I hear Church leaders teach something to the contrary. I think Gen mentioned somewhere, “don’t shoot the messenger, people, we’re only regurgitating what YOUR Church teaches.”

I’ll also note that we don’t claim to be any holier than anyone else (Sr. Pat, Bishop Clark, etc). Often times here at CF, we get accused of having a holier-than-thou attitude. Actually, I believe it’s quite the contrary. An analogy used by Catholic Answers Patrick Coffin (I think first proposed by Frank Sheed) when Protestants say Catholicism isn’t true because they personally know some Catholics who aren’t very Christian, “don’t judge the medicine by the people who don’t take it.” Extending this medical analogy a little further, I’d say that we here at CF are simply people who are acknowledging that we are sick. We are in need of a doctor. We have taken the medicine and it is good. We can attest to the change the good doctor has brought about in our lives and we wish to share that medicine with the world. This is the paradox of Christianity. More than any other religion, Christianity recognizes that man has been mortally wounded. GK Chesterton says that original sin is the only provable Christian doctrine. The story, however, doesn’t end there. God has offered us His son and by accepting his saving grace we have the opportunity of allowing Him to transform us into His likeness. This grace is not merely imputed as Luther believed, but it is infused into our very nature. This transformation starts while we are here on earth. So the paradox is that Christ calls us to what seems like the impossible:

Mark 8:31-38
34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life[c] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

but He always gives us the grace to follow His will:

Matthew 11:29-30
29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

A few more random observations before we jump into the audio… I’ve been pondering how the Gospel changes if one were to concede to the world on moral issues and cower away from tasks that might seem difficult on the outside. I offer you a few analogies. You can make up your mind whether these might relate or not.

Blind Man: “Sir, I cannot see”
Jesus: “Stand up, walk, and hold your head up high for you have no need of sight. You are just fine the way you are.”

The apostles response to the Holy Spirit at Pentecost:
“No, Holy Spirit, we can’t possibly do what you’re suggesting. That sounds much too difficult. Have you really thought this through?”

Here’s a clip from the 2nd hour of the 07/02 show of CA Live I thought relevant:

One of the ways I feed myself spiritually is by listening to the mass readings via podcast. Each day (especially today) as I’m listening I think, “wow! this is so fitting to our situation here in Rochester.” Isn’t it funny how scripture, when taken as a whole, can really illuminate everything?

Forgive me for going on and on. As both anon and Richard mentioned, it’s like “shooting fish in a barrel”. We could spend all day pointing out her errors, but alas, onto the next clip. Don’t forget as you listen to this that this is your CMA money hard at work and that this is the president of St. Bernard’s, the person responsible for educating many of our diocesan leaders.

questions not just w/in the Catholic church, but also the anglican church, the presbyterian church, the methodist church…

Everyone else is doing it, so why don’t we? I’ll also note that splits in these churches is the Catholic Church’s glory. Jesus prayed that they all may be one. The more they split, the more convincing the Catholic Church becomes.

sexually mature at 13

Just because you can means you should?

maybe fornication is ok if it’s between two people who intend to get married

“Far graver is it to corrupt the faith that is the life of the soul than to counterfeit the money that sustains temporal life.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

more talented adults go to grad school and so on

I think it’s debatable whether the more talented people go on to grad school or whether those people aren’t ready to start life 🙂 Ok – that’s a gross over-generalization, but I think our society too often gives credence to people with long titles.

Eventually this session opens up with to some questions. I’ll be discussing some of these questions and comments as we move along. To make it easier to write out, I’ll assign names to a couple of the voices in the crowd. The voice of the “are we ever?” response as to when are we psychologically and economically ready to get married, we’ll call BDA (bull-dog-apologist) for short. His wife can attest to the truth in the “are we ever?” comment.

marriages used to only last 15 years. Now they are lasting much longer

Let no man put asunder. The God-man creator of the universe couldn’t have anticipated this.

we all recognize marriages break down

Marriages don’t break down. People break down. There are a million and one resources out there now to build up marriages. I’ve included a video below of just one of these. Marriage can be difficult (I know), but God can help. He always does!

I teach from a book now….’Reason in search of faith” Richard Buller

I couldn’t find the man or his book with a quick google and amazon search. Anyone familiar?

the church has always taken as its primary source of human reason (natural law), but in the last 40 years the Church had to say, “moral theologians you ought to get a Bible and read it once in a while

Two falsehoods in one statement! The primary source of the Church is human reason? And she endorses the anti-Catholic myth that prior to V2 Catholics were discouraged to read the Bible. This is quit comical. Her theology is based on the fashions of the times and on an APA decision that was highly politicized, but since she’s trying to claim that the “old theology” was only based on natural law (and not the Bible), she tries to claim that the Bible was discouraged prior to 40 years ago. This is just getting pathetic.

BDA: Are you familiar with the theology of the body?

A little bit. Rooted in natural law and mainly in the physicality of sex.

No, actually JP2 drills much deeper than that. Get the book!

3 times now she’s mentioned the APA. I’m beginning to think perhaps she does believe in divine revelation – just from a different source.


Suggested Campfire Kindling: “Reason in search of faith” Richard Buller (sp?)

Teaching Sexual Ethics Can Get You Fired

July 12th, 2010, Promulgated by Nerina

Given Ben’s recent posts on Sr. Schoelles’ “Sexual Ethics” presentation at a recent “Theology on Tap,”  I found the following situation concerning.  It appears that a professor was fired, according to the Alliance Defense Fund, for teaching the position of the Roman Catholic Church regarding sexual behavior to students in an “Introduction to Catholicism” class.  You read that right.

The ADF states:

Dr. Kenneth Howell, who had been teaching at the university since 2001, was relieved of his duties based in part on an anonymous complaint sent via e-mail to university officials. The e-mail was sent by the friend of an anonymous student who claimed to be “offended” by a May 4 email Howell sent to students elaborating on a class discussion on Catholic beliefs about sexual behavior. The May 4 e-mail from Howell addressed a May 3 lecture in which he explained how the Roman Catholic Church distinguishes between same-sex attraction and homosexual conduct. He properly stated the church’s teaching that homosexual conduct is morally wrong, framing the issue in the context of natural moral law.

The name Kenneth Howell rang a bell, so I Googled him.  He is a convert to Catholicism and a former Presbyterian minister.  He is also the author of numerous books about the Catholic faith.  One of the “hits” from my Google search lead me here (warning: I believe this paper is oriented to the homosexual lifestyle), which presents a more complete picture of the situation.  While this article deserves a fisking all its own, it was interesting to note that the e-mail that prompted Mr. Howell’s firing was from a person who was not even in the class.  This person’s complaint said, “The courses at this institution should be geared to contribute to the public discourse and promote independent thought; not limit one’s worldview and ostracize people of a certain sexual orientation.”  In other words, don’t say anything against gay people or as Catholic blog writer Mark Shea is fond of saying regarding the homosexual agenda, “tolerance is not enough, YOU MUST ACCEPT!”

This type of complaint is common place now and tiresome.  Dr. Howell presented Church teaching which apparently offended some sensitive person and now he is accused of “ostracizing people of  a certain sexual orientation.”  And that is the rub for so many people.  It appears that Dr. Howell went to great pains to say that the orientation, in an of itself, is not sinful, but, according to Natural Law,  the ACTS associated with a gay orientation ARE.

The attitude toward this professor and what he said is deeply ingrained in our own diocese (see Ben’s previous posts).  When a professor who is teaching an introductory course to Catholicism can’t articulate authentic Catholic teaching without being accused of “ostracizing” or discouraging “public discourse,” we are in serious trouble.

Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 2)

July 10th, 2010, Promulgated by b a


Picking up “after midnight”, we remember Sr. Pat having described in full the Church’s teaching (and their sources) on sexuality in less than 15 min and with no mention of God’s revelation, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the fact that these issues (masturbation, homosexuality, and contraception) are not new and have been around since the beginning of time, or the teaching of Pope John Paul the Great.  She’s now about to egg on the crowd to have her speak to the “questions” that naturally arise.  Before we continue, I have a few comments.

In the previous post, and intermittently throughout this series, we’ll hear Sr. Pat mention her desire that everyone attend St. Bernard’s.  I would highly discourage anyone from doing so or participating in any other educational programs endorsed by the DOR.

On a somewhat related topic, I’m sure many of us have read Bishop Clark’s latest Along the Way column in the Catholic Courier.  In the spirit of openness and dialogue which is supposedly promoted by the DOR and by Sr. Pat, I made this comment on the Catholic Courier’s facebook page.

I believe the Bishop’s statement is somewhat (purposefully?) ambiguous and that he should clarify exactly what he means.  If he means that we should love homosexuals while not condoning their lifestyle, then he should explicitly say so.  I think we’re all a little confused, though, when one of his most prominent leaders (the president of St. Bernard’s seminary) clearly teaches things that aren’t in line with Church teaching
<<inserted link to Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 1)>>

The above quote is paraphrased based on my memory as they quickly deleted my comment.  I guess they’re not as open to dialogue as they claim they are.  Perhaps I will try next to leave a comment on the Catholic Courier’s main site.  Perhaps others will try to do so as well.

update: When I originally posted this I missed the fact that there are comments questioning the bishops column on the Catholic Courier’s site. This was pointed out by Nerina in the comments below. My apologies for overlooking this.

Enough hullabaloo, let’s cut to the chase.  This next snippet isn’t quite as long as the first as I’d like to dissect it a little more and allow for our readers to offer some more insightful comments.


note: The following quotes are all paraphrases. I don’t have the time to make sure they’re all 100% correct and since I have included the source, you can hear for yourself.

If you want me to, but I wouldn’t force this on you….Certain questions have arisen about that teaching…..from society and even from people within the church…and even from theologians and pastors…Maybe this ethic needs to be stretched a little

Oh, please, Sr. Pat, please don’t spare us from your wise and enlightening dissenting opinions.

aren’t you all in college, where life is happening?  Everything new is emerging?

There is nothing new under the sun

Doesn’t natural law dwell too much on physical, doesn’t attend to emotional.

There are answers to this in Theology of the Body.  Get the book. I would think a PhD moral theologian would be interested in in what her Holy Father has to say.

Notice that all of her dissenting questions are based on a false premise. Sr. Pat incompletely described why the Church teaches what she teaches thus it becomes much easier to present arguments for why the Church could be wrong.

grandparents wouldn’t receive counseling

huh?  Not sure where she’s going with this except that she’s trying to group together everything before 1973 as “bad”. Just to be clear, people who hold to traditional Christian morality are capable of incorporating newer techniques.

Let’s play golf, let’s have cocktails

Again, huh? I’m guessing again this is only said to imply that all people and ideas prior to the Vatican II were ignoramuses.

1973 American psych institute “Gay and lesbian people are as normal as straight people”

Yeah, so what? Even if that statement is true, it still doesn’t imply that the Church should change it’s teaching. It’s “normal” for me to be attracted to a clantily scad woman walking down the street, but that doesn’t mean I should give into my inhibitions.

Adds dimension that the church is not quite ready to handle

hmmm… “not ready to handle”. I’m getting tired of responding to these statements. Perhaps others can pick it up in the comments. I would say that this is somewhat falsely portraying Church teaching. Since saying people are “asking questions” is a good way to hide behind making allegations, I’ll ask a question… “when do such false statements become slanderous?” see: slander-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt

Sr. Pat on Sexual Ethics (part 1)

July 8th, 2010, Promulgated by b a


UPDATE: If you want to cut to the chase and listen to the full audio, here it is:
If you want a transcript, click here.

Last night I had the joy of attending my second Theology on Tap session. Although Sheridan’s Irish Pub was a good host, I must say that the content was not nearly as good as the one I attended last year. Instead of making this one long post which would probably take me weeks to do and bore you all to death, I’m going to follow Bernie’s lead and post it as a series.

In one discussion I had after the session ended, this person (with whom I enjoyed talking) mentioned to me that they were surprised that someone of my theological viewpoint would be found in a bar.  I assured them of my love for beer and in that spirit I am currently sipping a Genny Cream Ale as I write this.  That’s right folks – only the best for this CF blogger.  I should also note that my specific theological viewpoint is simply Catholic.

This Theology on Tap session featured as the speaker Sr. Patricia Schoelles, PhD, SSJ. Sr. Pat is the president of St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry.  Remember folks, your CMA dollars are hard at work here.  This is the person responsible for training many of our parish leaders.  From what I heard from Sr. Pat, it seems as though she does not see the Catholic Church as a holy institution created and sustained by an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God.  Instead, she presents it as a man-made institution as an end in and of itself.  If you’re skeptical of the assertion I’ve just made, rest assured that you will have the opportunity to come to your own conclusion as you listen for yourself.

My reason for attending this session was twofold; 1) to see if St. Bernard’s teaching is really as suspect as I’ve heard people say it is and  2) to share the positive impact that John Paul II’s Theology of the Body has had on my life. To accomplish the latter, I printed out 30 copies of this flyer.

Sr. Pat will say a few things that are problematic and don’t square with Church teaching.  I will address those things as we work through this series.  However, I think what’s much more problematic is not what she said, but what she didn’t say.  An analogy can be made to sins of commission versus sins of omission.  Consistent with most of the messages presented by this diocese, God is an afterthought.  In my life experience thus far I can tell you that when I take my eyes off of Jesus and focus only on the problem at hand I find myself faltering just as St. Peter did.  I’m as baffled now, as I was then, as to how a Catholic can give a talk on sexual ethics w/out even mentioning John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, but that’s exactly what Sr. Pat did. She presents Church teaching in about the most negative light you possibly could.

Without further ado, let’s get to it.  This introductory audio clip will probably be the longest in this series.  Sr. Pat has already begun talking before the audio recorder was turned on, but if I remember correctly I don’t believe we missed much.  At the end of the series, I’ll post the session in its entirety.  Don’t be turned off by the quality of the audio at the beginning.  It either gets better or your ears will adjust.


So there you have it, folks. The 70s called – they want their theology back. According to Sr. Pat, there are 2 sources for the Church’s teaching on human sexuality:

1) Order of the Entity.  (the good of society and economics)

2) Natural Law.  And of course this was an extremely primitive and medieval understanding of natural law unenlightened with the biological and psychological scientific data that we have available for our use today.

I assume most of us are educated enough to realize what’s missing here, but I’ll let you chew on it first.  Feel free to offer your opinions in the comments.  Here’s a hint to get us started.

You may also have noticed Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody to Love playing in the background:

When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joys within you dies
don’t you want somebody to love
don’t you need somebody to love
wouldn’t you love somebody to love
you better find somebody to love

Why, yes, I do want somebody to love and I’m sure glad He loved me first.  His name, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.  As I listen to this again, I find myself paying more attention to the background music.  Another very fitting message you’ll hear is from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Byrds’ rendition of Turn! Turn! Turn!.  Surely the hosts preplanned this music!