No, It Is Not Clericalism

 

Christ the King IIIIn the document, Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to the People of God, the pope recently addressed the clerical sex scandal crisis.  One term that is found repeatedly in this letter is that of “clericalism.”  Pope Francis apparently feels that the present Church crisis is primarily due to clericalism, and the bishops in America and elsewhere are quickly following his lead.  As a result, one already finds the term “clericalism” in one episcopal statement after another.  Even the media has seized upon it.

I would agree that clericalism is a serious problem in the Church.  It always has been, and it probably always will be.  But what, exactly, is clericalism?

Clericalism is one manifestation of the capital sin of pride.  The glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines it in this way:

“Pride is undue self-esteem or self-love, which seeks attention and honor and sets oneself in competition with God.”

In other words, to be proud is to be full of yourself.  It is to have a disordered infatuation with one’s own qualities, achievements, status, and opinions and to crave or even demand praise from others.  We are all guilty of the sin of pride and we especially act on it according to our particular station in life.

Clericalism is that manifestation of pride that afflicts men of the cloth – popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, and deacons.  It takes many familiar forms: misplaced pomp in liturgical and other public appearances; excessive signs of external respect; emphasis placed on clerical opinions on Church matters, to the belittling of the opinions of lay people; an aloofness and air of superiority; a tendency to look upon the laity as personal servants, and to disregard lay concerns as unimportant.

Christ warned the Apostles about clericalism.  He said,

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt.  But it shall not be so among you.  Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.  Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:25–28).

The man who practices clericalism does just what Our Lord proscribes.  He makes his authority over others felt in oppressive ways.  He does not serve others, but insists that they serve him.  And he enjoys every bit of it.  Let me give one concrete example of clericalism.  Many years ago, when I was employed by the Church as an organist, I was socializing in a friary with the priests shortly before a Confirmation ceremony.  A priest who had just been ordained said to everyone present, “When I’m finally made a pastor, it’s going to be ball-and-chain.”  Everyone laughed.  From what I’ve heard about this priest, I’d say the prophecy has been fulfilled.

Now, let’s suppose that the pope and the bishops are correct in their assessment of what ails the modern Church, that it’s primarily clericalism.  If this is so, then I would expect to see some predictable forthcoming changes.  For example, let cardinals be addressed, not as “Your Eminence,” but more humbly as “Cardinal so-and-so.”  Let bishops be addressed, not as “Your Excellency,” but more meekly as, “Bishop so-and-so.”  Forsake the kissing of episcopal rings, and such expressions as the bishop’s “throne” and the bishop’s “palace,” wherever these practices are still in use.  And let’s simplify clerical and liturgical vestments as well, so that the pomp in Catholic liturgy is directed entirely to the glory of God, and not to man.  Such changes could be only the beginning of purging the Church of arcane signs of clericalism.

Does anyone really expect to see these changes?  If you do, then I’ve got a drawbridge I’d love to sell you.

The present crisis is not due to clericalism.  Clericalism does not make a normal heterosexual male want to sexually molest another male or a child!  Such a term only provides an easy escape for those unwilling to admit and confront the far more malevolent problem in the Church; namely, rampant homosexuality.  The liberal pro-gay media has escaped this admission by defining the crisis as one of pedophilia.  The ecclesiastical powers that be have done the same.  But the statistics prove otherwise.  Pedophilia consist of sexual relations between an adult and a child thirteen years old or younger.  There have been many such incidents in this crisis, that is for certain.  And one of the most disturbing aspects of this is the realization that men this sick, with such an extreme sexual-psychological disorder, have been ordained in droves, in spite of the various examinations candidates for the priesthood must pass.  Is this not suggestive of collusion?  However, the statistics reveal that approximately eighty percent of the sexual abuse in the Church has been committed against boys older than thirteen.  In other words, the present crisis is one of bishops and priests having homosexual sex with teenagers and seminarians, boys and young men.  That is the unpopular but well-documented fact.

The present crisis in the Church is not one of clericalism or pedophilia, but widespread homosexual activity, abuse, recruitment, and protection of the guilty.  This latter tendency has unfortunately been receiving all the attention, and it’s in this protecting of the guilty that there is the alleged clericalism.  But every ring of scoundrels protects its own, so there’s nothing unique about this.  The real issue is the behavior itself, the actual sin committed, which is then being concealed and denied.  And that sin is homosexual acts.  Until the pope and bishops can face this ugly truth, the Church will continue to be mired in scandals and to decline in her reputation and her ability to perform her God-given mission.

Although I do not have proof, I think it’s a safe presumption that many holy souls in the Church’s history – men and women from all periods and places – have been afflicted with homosexual desires.  These persons have perhaps suffered in silence, confessed their occasional falls, and striven to the utmost to avoid temptation, by the grace of God.  Perhaps heaven is full of such saints.  However, especially in light of our age’s omnipresent encouragement to indulge in all forms of sexual sin, I am strongly opposed to the ordaining of homosexual men.  This includes celibate homosexual men.  Again, such persons may live lives of extraordinary sanctity, but there is far more to the priestly ministry than only personal sanctity; there is also fidelity to Catholic teaching.

A priest with a homosexual attraction will be surrounded by temptation for his entire life.  The Church prudently and wisely teaches that, in order to effectively avoid sin, we must avoid the near occasions of sin, those circumstances which cause us the most potent types and degrees of temptation, those to which we are most likely to fall, based on our personal history.  A homosexual man in the priesthood, having even the purest and noblest intentions, would nevertheless be contradicting the Church’s counsel to avoid the near occasions of sin.

An equally prudent and wise teaching of the Church warns, “Do not trust thyself.”  Do not ever place faith in yourself, in the confidence that you will not fall to a temptation.  Instead, presume that you will fall, and so, avoid the temptation.  Saint Augustine once advised his fellow priests and bishops, “Don’t ever leave me alone with a woman.”   A homosexual priest would again contradict this invaluable counsel of the Church, recklessly trust himself, and frequently be alone with one man after another.  This is a reliable recipe for the commission of many sins.

There is another reason that I’m opposed to the ordaining of homosexual men to the priesthood, and it concerns teaching the faithful.  To make an extreme understatement – the current state of biblical and catechetical teaching in the Catholic Church is deplorable, and it has been so for over half a century.  There is a consistently narrow selection of Christian themes that are repeated over and over again, ad nauseam, wherever the Church teaches.  Sometimes I feel as if every homily is the same as every other homily, except that the order of words has been rearranged.   And we all know the themes: love, mercy, tolerance, acceptance, blah-blah-blah.  It sounds like a campaign speech from Bernie Sanders.  We hear and read this drivel week after week and decade after decade.  But these themes, as much as they are somewhat biblical, are not accurately presented as Holy Scripture presents them.  They appear to be, not strengths and virtues, but weaknesses and vices.  For example: love, the most over-used and abused word in the modern homiletic vocabulary.  Properly understood, Jesus Christ did not teach about love; He did not say one thing about it, except to warn us about it.  Instead, Christ taught about the virtue of charity, which is about as far from the emotion of love as you can get.

The Catechism defines charity in the following way:

“Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God” (CCC 1822).

Charity is God-centered, transcendent, and exceedingly holy.  And if it is genuine, then it results in the acceptance of all that God has revealed through Scripture and Tradition, and the conformity of one’s actions to the divine moral law.  But this is light years above the rubbish that is repeated day and night in the sanctuaries, halls, and classrooms of the Church today.  Instead, we hear about love, love, love, without any clarifications that would distinguish Gospel love –  charity – from worldly love – desire, often of the most disordered kind.  After all, rock musicians sing about love all the time.  Is that Gospel love?  Absolutely not!  So then, let our pastors and preachers teach us about the vast differences between charity and love.

I could carry on regarding the other redundant themes that we constantly hear and read about in the modern Church, but I’ll stop with charity.  In my opinion, the above-mentioned narrow selection of Christian themes amounts to a new gospel, a false gospel; it amounts to an effeminate gospel.  The teachings that are presented to us week after week and decade after decade are the by-product of an effete character.  I dare say, it is all that a homosexual clergy, or a homosexual-influenced clergy, is willing to preach and teach.  It is their system of belief, not God’s.  It is the gay gospel of the world, rather than the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For this reason, it is especially weak in the area of sexual morality.

This is not to imply that all or most priests and bishops are homosexual.  Realistic estimates place the number at an average of about forty percent.  But as with the rest of the population, in which homosexuals amount to only about two percent, the political, social, and cultural influence this population has is astounding.  It’s a testimony to the effect a committed and uncompromising group of people can have on others.  If only the Church would get the message.

My favorite spiritual writer – Dominican theologian Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange – once penned a passage that struck me from the first and has remained a personal guiding principle ever since.  In a footnote, he wrote, ‘The greatest thing a man can do is nothing.’  This is pithy Thomistic wisdom at its best.  The greatest thing a man can do is NOTHING!  What on earth does this mean?

It is the common view that the manly man is the character that is quick to curse, quick to punch, and has half-a-dozen women hanging all over him.  He’s the handsome stud who’s sleeping with all the beauts.  But this is exactly backwards.  It takes no strength to indulge in one’s desires.  It requires no heroism to surrender to temptation, vice, and sin.  There’s simply nothing manly about falling.  On the contrary, the strong man is the one who fights his sinful desires and wins.  The Christian hero confronts his temptations like a soldier of Christ, defeats them by the grace of God, and retains his holiness.  In the face of sin, the true man of God stands strong and does…nothing!  That is, he does not act on his temptations, but resists them.  Through the spiritual gift of self-mastery, he overcomes his most potent foe: himself.

This is precisely what the homosexual life style contradicts.  It gives in to grave sin, it surrenders to extreme temptation, and it celebrates these mortal falls as victories in the name of a perverse liberty.  But such a so-called liberty, such libertinism, is actually a dreadful form of bondage.  As Our Lord said,

“Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin” (Jn. 8:34).

In my opinion, the presentation of Catholic teaching and preaching has been deplorable for so long because homosexualism – an actual ideology, meaning a philosophy, world view, culture, and religion all based on the homosexual fixation – has dominated the Church on all levels.  The fragmentary gospel that we nearly everywhere encounter in the modern Church is a gay false gospel that has surrendered to grave sin.

Until the Church ceases to ordain homosexual men, the gay false gospel will be the only Gospel we hear.  May God Almighty give our pope, bishops, priests, and deacons the manly courage to confront this evil and reform His Holy Catholic Church.

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Furious Righteous Anger

Who can stomach it any longer?  Priests, bishops, and cardinals; Roman collars, pectoral crosses, and purple piping; clergy from the rank-and-file to the high and mighty, having run like maniacal hedonists through the Holy Church of Jesus Christ, molesting, desecrating, and corrupting to degrees and depths it would be hard to fathom even in a secular institution.  It is like a nightmare from which we cannot wake, with media report after media report disclosing behaviors one would expect only from a satanic cult.  And it has been going on for years and years.

Thus far, the bishops have calmly managed the sex scandal crisis and have seemingly believed that the fallout would just go away, that we, the outraged faithful of Christ, would sooner or later forget about it and go back to sleep. The princes of the Church have held their press conferences and sat confidently at their tables and microphones, sipping their little bottles of Poland Spring water and reassuring us in a hundred different ways that the crisis is past, that they’ve established new guidelines, that things are so much better now.  And it has been going on for years and years.

Pardon me, but I’ve been watching this scripted travesty of indignation for far too long – this dainty aristocratic curtsy more properly called “damage control” – and it disgusts me.  Why?  For one, because of the absence of genuine manly anger – even holy fury, such as inspired Our Lord to cast out of the Temple with a whip the money changers.  Yes, if there’s one quality that is lacking in the awesomely up-to-date and totally cool Catholic Church, it’s the virtue of manliness.  Effeminacy is everywhere.  I noticed this when I was in Catholic high school.  It was made still more apparent to me when I was considering a religious vocation and visiting monasteries.  I was even propositioned by a priest in the confessional, a character I later learned was charged with two cases of sexual abuse.  At the end of it all, I decided I would not spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder, for fear that some prowling pervert was trying to get into my bed at night.

I dare say, we don’t need any more males in the priesthood.  No – what we need from now on are men.

When the sex scandals first came to light so many years ago, I remember the initial reaction of Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, a man I’ve always greatly respected.   He said, when he first learned about them, that his immediate reaction was to think of…”a bat and a gun.”  That’s all; a bat and a gun.  It was the gut reaction of a man of God who loved God, the faith, and the faithful, and who, when he first heard of the scandals, wanted to respond to the crooks and their crimes with a bat and a gun.  His reaction gave me hope that the scandals would be swiftly and courageously confronted, and that we could trust the leaders of the Church to take care of the problem once and for all.

Nope.  Not by a long shot.

I have not seen a Bishop Bruskewitz for a long long time.  I have not heard of a “bat and gun” reaction from the ecclesiastical powers that be for a long long time.  Instead, I see and hear reactions that are disturbingly measured and calm, and it sickens me.  I wonder to myself, “How can they take this so evenly, as if they’re cleaning up a little spilled milk on the kitchen floor?  Do they not see what we see?  Do they not love what we love?  Or else, are they all a part of it?”

When I finally see a pope, cardinal, or bishop publically lose his temper, pound his fist with anger, send his water bottle tumbling, and demand that the guilty sexual deviants in the clergy do public penance and jail time, then I’ll know that a new breeze is at last blowing through the Church.  When I see substantial numbers of bishops being removed from their pompous stations, then I’ll believe that we truly have a reforming pontiff.  But until then, it will be the same old game with the same old actors and the same old jargon, and a fully merited mistrust and disgust from the laity.

I’ve heard our leaders say countless times that the Church needs “healing,” and I’m still hearing it.  This is absolute nonsense.  No, the Church doesn’t need healing, Your Excellencies.  The Church didn’t sprain her ankle or stub her toe.  She’s not limping just a bit.  On the contrary, if we must use imagery, she’s lying flat on her face in a pool of feces, and the world is triumphantly laughing and walking all over her back.  But the Church hasn’t been injured, Your Excellencies.  No, she’s been betrayed by sexually deviant apostate clergy and cowardly colluding overseers.  So please keep your insulting “healing” comments to yourselves, because they make it sound as if we’re the problem, as if we the laity are the disturbed ones that need the healing.  What the Church needs, following decades of your systematic highly collaborated abuse and neglect, is nothing less than repentance and reform.  Repentance and reform are the only proper Christian responses to grave sin, in case you’ve forgotten your catechism, Your Excellencies.

The fact is, the clergy on a mass scale abandoned the faith and abused the faithful; they molested our children with their bodies and corrupted our minds with their heresies; they drove away our vocations, cried that there was a vocations shortage, and then declared that the only solution was to ordain married men and women; and they desecrated our Catholic institutions with that most disgusting sin that cries to heaven for vengeance, and will one day receive it.   But the problem wasn’t pedophilia, as the liberals would have us strategically believe; the sexual abuse didn’t primarily concern boys thirteen years old or younger, because these amounted to minority of the number of cases.  No, the vast majority of cases involved homosexuality – unnatural sexual relations between older men and young men fourteen years old or older – teenagers and seminarians.  Homosexuality has been the primary problem in the Church for a full seventy years, and it remains the problem today.  Until the bureaucracy of sodomites has been broken by outraged and courageous men of God, the Catholic Church will continue to be the devil’s favorite joke and an effective tool in the promotion of his filth.

Men who have the homosexual disorder must be removed from their influential positions in the Church and barred from ordination.  Unless these reforms are enacted and enforced, we will be living in a professionally managed scandal-ridden Church into the distant future.

It is impossible to imagine what life must be like for holy and faithful priests and bishops, for those heroes of our era who have not succumbed to the moral and intellectual diseases of our age, who fulfill their duties as Our Lord would have them, and yet, who must endure the daily soiling of the priestly image by their disgraced brothers and fathers.  We must always keep these men in our prayers, for they are suffering at least as much as we are.

At this point, I have lost all hope in the cast of characters presently running the Church into the ground.  I have faith in none of them, except perhaps five.  Signs of hope will appear when the old faces pass away and new ones replace them, and not until.  There are two possibilities for such change: either mass resignations or the grave.  I would be happy with either, for God’s Church and her mission are far more important than the reckless reigns of these pompous potentates.

From now on, I will assess the clergy – from pope to deacon – by one clear indicator: furious righteous anger.  Either they have it, or they lack it.  If they lack it, then they are definitely a part of the problem.

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Wherever the Holy Spirit dwells, there is hope. We who possess the virtue of faith know that God will never abandon His Bride.  And yet, in spite of the much-misunderstood promise of Our Lord that the powers of hell will never prevail against His Church, history demonstrates that He allows her to sink to deplorable depths of corruption.  Yet, even when she forsakes Him, He refuses to forsake her.  In fact, in the midst of appalling circumstances, such as those we presently face, God always raises up saints necessary to the challenges of the times.  And I believe He will do so in these circumstances as well.  God will purify, strengthen, and restore His Church with holy men and women, with saintly preachers and prophets formed for the times by the Hand of God.

The only infidels among us are those who give up on God and declare the devil the winner.  No – we must never rest, quit, or surrender in the spiritual battle.  As long as we’re still fighting by the light and strength of God, we’re winning.

Response to an Irish Atheist

Fetus IIThe following piece is part of an online exchange I recently had with an Irish atheist who claims to be a medical doctor and enthusiastically voted for abortion.  He obviously feels that Ireland has gradually emerged from its Catholic darkness, with the outcome of the referendum of May 25 being only the latest proof.  I do expend a lot of time and effort responding to such people, with the expectation that I will probably not be given a response from them.  Regardless, my comments are there for others to read, so it’s worth the effort.

I’m posting this exchange because I think it offers a useful example of the manner in which a Catholic should respond to such charges made by an opponent of this nature.  I do not believe in the milk toast, saccharin, hyper-sensitive, coddle-them-like-little-babes approach that is common today.  If such an approach were effective, then the Church would be filled to overflowing with converts, since everyone in the Church has been using it for decades – popes, bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people.  The fact is, such an approach was not used by Our Lord when confronting His staunch opponents, nor by the Apostles, nor by the great apologists and evangelists of the Church.  It has the effect of misrepresenting the Christian religion as an ideology for the timid and effeminate, so I do not use it.  At all times, Christian charity – absolutely – but charity often requires firmness and directness, as every parent knows.  Treat people like adults, and they just might behave like them.  Treat them like babies, and babies you’ll have.

The atheist’s comments have been altered for obvious reasons, but the substance is exactly the same.  I’ve also given him a new name which I think is appropriate, in reference to Herod the Great, that maniac responsible for the slaughter of the Innocents.  His taunting comments are typical anti-Catholic rubbish such as we hear all the time, which is the reason I’ve decided to post them, along with my response.

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Doctor McHerod’s Comments:

I’m thrilled to know that you admit Ireland is no longer a Catholic country!  Catholicism is a rancid wicked body of beliefs that I had the misery of enduring for a long time.   But now the pedophile priests have had their day and I’m very happy about it.

The Catholic Church bears the responsibility for the happy outcome of the abortion referendum.  You folks have driven away the good and enlightened people of Ireland, so that they can’t get far enough away from you.   But I noticed in your previous comments that you enthusiastically encouraged people to vote against the introduction of abortion in Ireland.   Well, where were you during the pedophile rampage?!  I couldn’t find your enthusiastic posts denouncing such crimes.

The Catholic religion is so filled with flaws, as are all religions.  There are 7,000 supposed gods, and none of them exist, just like your god.   And that’s the reason you don’t stand a chance.

The Irish today are an especially well-educated people that can easily perceive your deception.   But you can’t, so you are doomed!  They have voted for divorce, contraception, gay marriage, and now abortion.  And you still don’t understand it all; you haven’t gotten the message.

The Irish people are finally awake, and they no longer want you around.  So, GOOD BYE FOREVER!!!  CHEERS!!!

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My Response:

Doctor McHerod,

Let me answer your questions directly.  I live in the United States.  When it was discovered that perverted priests and bishops were molesting people here and elsewhere, I was immediately screaming about it more angrily than you are now, – online, in the classroom, and on the radio, and at some risk to myself in my own diocese.  So please spare me the self-righteous finger-pointing.

I noticed that you twice referred to “pedophile” priests.  Nice dodge.  The vast majority of sexual crimes committed by priests – approximately 90% in the US – were not between men and very young children, but between men and boys and men and young men.  That’s not pedophilia, that’s homosexuality, so call it what it is.  The Catholic Church was, and still is, a rat’s nest of homosexual clergy.  As a man who went to seminary for one year and almost entered a religious order, who’s been Catholic since 1990 and worked in the Church all that time, I can tell you this firsthand.

And by the way, what’s so bad about men sodomizing children?   The only aspect your side really objects to is the forced nature of the act, that it was rape.  Well, I couldn’t agree with your side more on that point, but I would go much further with my outrage.  The evil in these sexual attacks is not only that they were forced on others, but in the very nature of the act itself: sodomy.  Whether it’s forced or consensual, whether it’s between a man and a child, a man and another man, or a man and a woman, sodomy is a disgusting, unnatural, perverse, and damnable act.  Do you agree with this?  I don’t know; let’s hear from you.  But if you do disagree, as the radical left does, then the only thing that actually upsets you in these scandals is the forced nature of the acts, and not the acts themselves; which means that, if only they had been consensual acts of sodomy, you would have been fine with them.  And that is disgusting.  But again, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for now and let you answer for yourself.  But that’s the social, cultural, political left – crying out with indignation over the sex scandals in the Catholic Church, while promoting and defending sodomy far and wide, night and day, as just another intimate expression of affection.

Now go ahead and say it: “You should be ashamed to still be a Catholic.  You’re directly supporting and condoning an institution of rapists.  If you were truly opposed to it all, you would have left the Church years ago.”

No, Doctor McHerod, I’m directly condoning and supporting an institution of truth and grace that helps people of every type to grow in wisdom, sanctity, and the love of God, and to attain the end for which they were made – salvation.  But are there rotten apples in the Church?   To answer in the affirmative would be an understatement.  There are rotten orchards in the Church – whole hillsides of stinking decaying fruit!  But all such rot is the antithesis of Catholicism.  If you want to know what genuine Catholicism produces, look to the saints, not the unrepentant sinners.  Saints are the by-products of authentic Catholicism, while unrepentant sinners and scandal-mongers of all types are the result of the rejection of it.  So, to heap the whole Catholic Church into one mass of guilt is to make an entirely emotional judgment, not a rational one.  It is to accuse the numberless innocent Catholics – both clergy and laity – of guilt by association.  Well, in that case, we are all guilty because we are all associated with corruption – both that of others, as well as our own.

I know how to support the good in the Church, but avoid the evil, how to condone the Gospel, the virtues, and the sacraments, but condemn whatever is contrary to them.  I direct my resources and support very carefully and attend only the best of churches.  Any Catholic who cared enough could do the same.  If I see something contrary to goodness in the Church, then I withhold my support from it.

How about yourself?  Do you support evil of any type, in any way?  Yes, you do.  You just supported it with your pro-abortion vote.  You are part and parcel of a movement that kills many millions of innocent human beings in the womb.  They will die for the “crime” of being young and defenseless in a society with no heart for them.  In order to pacify your consciences, you redefine them as non-persons.

And do these “non-persons” feel pain?  Why don’t you watch a video of an abortion, and see for yourself whether that tiny victim embraces the abortionist’s deadly instruments, or desperately tries to escape them.  No pro-life propaganda in that approach, but just the demonstrable facts.

Instead of looking to these pre-born children with any sense of humaneness, you take from them their right to live, and concern yourself only with their mothers, whom you care for by allowing them to become the murderers of their own flesh and blood.   In taking from one the most fundamental right of life, you give to another the invented liberty to kill the innocent.

And apparently, this is motivated by your hatred for the Catholic Church and religion in general?  Killing babies in the womb – babies who aren’t even Catholic – is a strange way of getting back at the Church.  In fact, it’s a complete miss that strikes dead a perfectly innocent party.

But let’s take another approach.  By any chance, do you pay federal taxes?  Is your government in any way corrupt?  Have any of your officials committed crimes, been bribed by donors, or failed to fulfill their campaign promises?  Has your government ever supported unjust violence or war any place in the world?  Those were rhetorical questions, of course.  But do you at all give financial support to your government?

Did you ever attend a public school or a college?  Our public schools are filled with sex scandals.  There are now countless instances of female teachers having sex with very young male students.  The latest involves a thirty-two-year-old Ohio woman who had sex in her classroom with a fourteen-year-old boy, and who told him to lie about it to the principal.  The pictures of middle-aged women accused of rape have become a semi-regular feature in the news these days.  Out of a consistent indignation, should we not, therefore, denounce the public school system as a whole?  Should we not withhold all taxes that will be used to support it, and withdraw our children from it?

And what about Hollywood and its decades-long practices of systematic widespread abuse, harassment, and rape of countless girls and boys and women and men?  You know, those rich and famous Hollywood elites who live in mansions or gated communities, who are outspoken anti-gun activists, and yet, make a living shooting guns and glamorizing violence on the big screen?   Surely you’ve heard about Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein, Oliver Stone, Kevin Spacey, and most recently Morgan Freeman – that darling of the left?  Except for Harvey, who interestingly has a knack for distributing anti-Catholic films through his company Miramax, all of these people are still out free and enjoying life.  I’ll stop there with the names, but the list goes on and on.

Now are you still supporting the horribly corrupt institution of Hollywood by watching its movies, or have you been too busy taking part in anti-Hollywood protests?  And can you point me to your outrage online?   By your own reasoning, you should be publically denouncing and permanently boycotting Hollywood by refusing to enjoy any of its movies.

Come to think of it, are any of our famously outspoken social justice warriors presently boycotting Hollywood and all its movies?  Hmph, I can’t think of even one that is.

What about the medical field?  Have you ever considered the barbaric practices of medicine in recent centuries, including the horrific mental institutions and state hospitals from the twentieth century which used, for example, electro-shock therapy?  Have you considered the countless doctors in all fields of medicine who have groped women during examinations, or neglected or misdiagnosed patients who then went to early deaths?  How about the countless surgical errors that have resulted in the mistaken removal of healthy limbs or organs, or the errors on the operating table that resulted in worse health crises than the patients had when being prepped?

Doctor McHerod, have you been busily denouncing your own field of medicine and all its personnel for their intolerable cruelties to the innocent?  Or rather, do you save all your indignation and righteous anger exclusively for the Catholic Church, or for religion in general, which you personally dislike?  I see a double-standard of righteous anger here.

We could play this game all day and all night, moving on to such fields as science, the military, the police, and the media.  I hope by now you’ve gotten my point.

The fact is, if you want to play the indignation game and be consistent about it, then you need to withdraw from all institutions and society as a whole to the innocent woods, where you can live in peace with your sensitive social conscience and high standard of social justice.  Until you’ve done so, please spare me the selective indignation directed only at the Catholic Church.  It’s old-fashioned calculated bigotry of the most obvious kind.

The truth is, you’re perfectly fine with corruption and injustice.  The proof is in the fact that last week you voted for the most corrupt and unjust act imaginable – the slaughter of the innocent in the womb.  The abused, the molested, and the raped have a second chance.  With counseling and the compassion and support of others, they have the hope of recovery and a new beginning.  But for the aborted there can be no such hope, but only a voter-approved agonizing end to their brief little lives.

May the God that you reject move you to repentance with His grace, restore your empathy and understanding, and have mercy on your soul before the Day of days when the opportunities for repentance will be past.  I am praying for you, Doctor McHerod.

Addendum:

If anyone would like to propose atheism as a solution to the problems of religion turned rotten, please consider the following atheistic regimes casualty numbers:

  • Jozef Stalin (USSR 1932-39 only): 15,000,000 people murdered
  • Pol Pot (Cambodia, 1975-79): 1,700,000 people murdered
  • Kim II Sung (North Korea 1948-94): 1.6 million people murdered
  • Tito (Yugoslavia 1945-1987): 570,000 people murdered
  • Suharto (Communists 1967-66): 500,000 people murdered
  • Ante Pavelic (Croatia 1941-45): 359,000 people murdered
  • Ho Chi Min (Vietnam 1953-56): 200,000 people murdered
  • Vladimir Ilich Lenin (USSR, 1917-20): 30,000 people murdered
  • Adolf Hitler (Germany 1939-1945): 12,000,000 people murdered
  • Mao Ze-Dong (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69, Tibet 1949-50): 49-78,000,000 people murdered

Dwarfing these numbers is the casualty count of abortions in America since 1973: 61,000,000 babies murdered.  The present US rate is about three thousand per day.

According to the CDC, the deaths of women due to abortion is a matter of voluntary reporting by abortion clinics.  Chillingly, the number is therefore unknown.

The Catechism on Homosexuality

Temptations of St. Thomas Aquinas

What does the Catholic Church teach about homosexuality?  Finding an answer to such a simple question should be an easy matter, but in this era of catastrophic confusion, nothing is simple or easy.  And why is this so?  Why does it require a minor miracle to receive an accurate and complete answer to fundamental questions about the faith – and in this case, about homosexuality?  It is because either our Church leaders are ignorant of Catholic teaching, and therefore cannot give a correct answer, or because they know Catholic teaching but personally reject it, and therefore will not give  a correct answer, or else, because they fear men rather than God, and therefore dare not give a correct answer.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches the following on homosexuality:

Chastity and Homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Homosexuality itself is a disorder, and every homosexual act is, objectively speaking, a grave sin.  Persons with this disorder deserve our sympathy and compassion.  Homosexuals are to be treated with charity and are not to be denied basic human rights.  A person with this affliction is not guilty by virtue of having such desires, but only if they act on such desires.  This means that a homosexual man or woman could certainly be holy and pleasing to God, for having resisted their temptations.  However, giving in to such unnatural temptations with a person of the same gender – as is the case with a person who gives into unnatural temptations with a person of the opposite gender – is to surrender to grave sin.  It is to lay down one’s will at the feet of lust and to be conquered by it.  On the contrary, every single human person must fight this fight or lose their soul to the preternatural tempter.

Mercy, charity, and honesty require that we give this complete answer.  Homosexual acts are gravely sinful.  It is the truth and we cannot lie about it without being guilty ourselves.  To do so is the antithesis of mercy, charity, and honesty.  What is true homophobia and actual hate speech directed against homosexuals?  It is silence regarding the morality of homosexual acts.  That is the vice of cowardice or neglect disguised as the virtue of tolerance.

Chastity is the proper use of one’s sexual faculties in accord with the divine moral law and one’s station in life.  Every human person is called to chastity.  This means that the single person must abstain from all sexual acts.  So, too, must the divorced person and the widow, not to mention the priest and the professed religious.  Even the married person must remain chaste.  This means that they may have sexual relations only with their spouse, and in accord with the willingness of their spouse.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Married persons must also abstain from all unnatural sexual acts.  In other words, the married state does not entitle spouses to sexual license.  If a husband and wife perform the same unnatural acts as homosexuals perform, those acts do not become natural, simply because they were performed by a husband and wife.  God forbid!  Holy Matrimony cannot make pure that which is impure by nature.

Why do I go into all this?  In order to put homosexuality in context.  It is often claimed that the requirement of the Catholic Church that homosexuals abstain from all homosexual acts is cruel and unusual treatment.  But there is nothing special, nothing more extreme, required of homosexuals than God and His Church require of non-homosexuals.  It is the same for everyone; it is holy chastity that is asked of all of us.

We can follow the way of light, or we can follow the way of darkness.  We can follow the high road, or we can follow the low road.  In either case, we will inescapably arrive at the destination we have chosen by our free human acts, forever and ever.

“Enter by the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who enter that way.  How narrow the gate and close the way that leads to life.  And few there are who find it” (Mt. 7:13-14).

 

A Question on Homosexuality

The following is the substance of a question I received on-line, and my response:

Q. I’m aware that the Catholic Church teaches homosexuality is wrong, but I don’t understand why. After all, homosexuality has existed since the dawn of time. Isn’t it just a physical condition? And if homosexuals shouldn’t marry simply because God hasn’t enabled two persons of the same gender to conceive a child, then aren’t infertile male/female couples in the same situation? Shouldn’t their marriages be considered contrary to God’s will as well?

A. I would strongly agree with you that the Church’s teachings on homosexuality are poorly explained and defended.  But that could also be said about many of her teachings today.  We live in an era of theological and moral confusion…but that’s another topic.  Let me say this, though: there is one outstanding cause of confusion on the topic of homosexuality, and that is the ubiquitous program to lambaste the Church over her moral teachings.  Charges of “homophobia” and “hate speech” and even threats of litigation every time a Catholic tries to speak on this topic hardly make for a wholesome environment in which to explain Catholic thought.  Speaking about the moral issue of homosexuality, even simply quoting biblical passages on the topic, can result in various countries in legal action taken against the speaker.  To the glee of the gay rights movement, the Church’s teachings on homosexuality are gradually becoming illegal.  We are losing the freedom to think and speak according to our consciences.  So, it’s no wonder there’s confusion on this subject.  There’s a widespread campaign to create it.

Let me state these two primary principles of Catholic sexual morality. First, all sexual activity belongs within the context of marriage, between one man and one woman, one husband and one wife.  This means not merely that two men and two women may not ever have sexual relations.  To dwell exclusively on homosexual situations and hardships, as constantly happens today, is to be prejudiced. According to Church teaching, every person who is “single” must abstain from sexual relations. This includes the unmarried, the divorced, and the widowed; it includes as well priests and professed religious who have promised or vowed celibacy for the kingdom of God. Even married persons must abstain from sexual relations with persons other than their spouses. In other words, the Church in no way requires one moral standard for homosexuals but another moral standard for non-homosexuals. Chastity, which refers to sexual purity in accord with one’s state in life, is for everyone.

Second, the homosexual inclination itself, though disordered, does not immediately put one in a sinful state.  In other words, one cannot be called “guilty” simply because of one’s sinful desires – whatever they may be.  In fact, we all have disordered desires of some type. But guilt requires that one either act on sinful desires or at least enjoy the thought of them, since one can sin in the heart without the participation of the body.  Therefore, a man or woman who resisted homosexual desires could be a very holy person.  This is true for all sinful desires, since the resistance of temptation in general is a meritorious act; that is, it is an act made possible by divine grace that pleases God and merits reward from Him.

The scandal of the so-called gay rights movement is that all such resistance is discouraged. It is not merely concerned with guarding the legitimate civil rights of homosexuals (in accord, by the way, with Church teaching). Rather, the gay rights movement is determined to encourage homosexuals to engage in sinful homosexual behavior. This is where the gay rights movement and the Catholic Church are simply irreconcilable.

Now to your two comments or questions.

1)  Why is homosexuality wrong, since it seems to be a physical condition present since the dawn of time?

Indeed, homosexuality has nearly always existed, and it has been especially acceptable among pagan peoples.  In other words, for some reason Jews and Christians have historically condemned and resisted it, while others have freely indulged in it.  That one can find many exceptions to this among Jews and Christians is obvious, but this is because individuals fall from grace, contrary to their own sincere or insincere religious profession.  Hence, the priestly sex scandals within the Church.  My point is, something other than coincidence has bound traditional Jews and Christians to a similar belief and practice regarding homosexuality.

At the very heart of the Jewish and Christian religions is the notion of divine revelation.  God, being supremely intelligent, created intelligent creatures – human beings.  Thus, God and human beings were meant to communicate with each other, and the two have indeed done so. One familiar type of communication is called prayer; another type is called divine revelation in which God communicates His will for humanity to humanity. The written record of this latter communication is called the Bible – including both the Old and New Testaments.

Now, within both the Old and New Testaments, homosexual acts are described as being profoundly contrary to God’s will.  Why?  I would answer in the same way regarding all sins: because they are harmful to human well-being – physically, psychologically, morally, and spiritually.  God does not cruelly or arbitrarily create laws.  He does not randomly invent moral precepts, merely as a means of making our lives miserable and difficult. Rather, He does so because some behaviors are truly good, and others are truly bad, and bad behaviors have bad consequences – both here and hereafter.

Man is a moral creature by nature; he was designed by God to live a morally upright life, and such is his vocation and dignity.  But when he fails to do so, when he surrenders himself to sin, the consequences are deep and profound because he has contradicted his God-given nature.  Then he is a fish trying to fly or a bird trying to swim. It cannot go well in either case because fish were not meant to fly and birds were not meant to swim. Nor can it go well for the person who lives in sin because the human being was not meant to sin. That which is natural, normal, and healthy for the human being is defined by the One who created the human being, who gave the human being its nature and dignity.

We can deny and oppose these facts, but in doing so we will only hurt ourselves by rebelling against God’s will and our God-given nature.  If a man or woman lives in sin, he or she eventually suffers from it, because the human person was designed by God to be morally upright and holy.

Now regarding the popular claim that homosexuality is a “physical condition,” I’m not sure if you’re making a reference to the “gay gene” theory, or something else.   I’ve seen and heard many references to this alleged gene, but I haven’t seen much evidence for it.  How many individual studies have discovered it?  Have other studies replicated the identical findings?   Have they been scientifically and medically challenged? And how objective were the scientists or doctors who conducted the research? By any chance, were they externally pressured to “discover” such a gene, or might they have been even personally determined to do so? In other words, were the research and findings entirely objective and scientific, or were they influenced more by liberal politics? These are important questions, because our current militantly pro-homosexual climate is anything but favorable to objective research, just as it is anything but favorable to religious truth.  The fact is, a scientist or doctor whose findings contradicted the gay gene theory would certainly be taking an extreme career risk in making their findings public, not to mention the threats of litigation.

Let’s say that there is such a gay gene and it motivates all homosexual behavior.  Well, there would be nothing special about the homosexual’s circumstances.  All of humanity suffers from a sort of moral disorder, and it’s called fallen nature or concupiscence.  We all struggle with disordered passions and desires. So, again, there is nothing special about the homosexual situation. What homosexuals experience, in fact, we all experience, though in vastly different ways; and that is, temptation – the desire to do that which is morally wrong.

Regardless, certain actions are morally wrong, no matter how strong one’s desire may be to commit such actions.  A strong desire may in some circumstances lessen the guilt of the person involved, but it cannot change the moral quality of the actions that follow. For example, if I have uncontrollable temper tantrums, if every time I have a bad day I start breaking furniture and throwing around tools and pots and pans – and all this due to a physical or psychological disorder – then, even though I have a disposition or genetic tendency towards violent outbursts, still, such outbursts remain morally wrong.  If – God forbid – I have a tendency to beat my wife, then, regardless of all the genetic excuses I might have, beating my wife is still morally wrong in every single case.  Objectively speaking, an act is one moral aspect, while the actor is another moral aspect.  To give another example, killing an innocent person is, in all circumstances, gravely morally wrong.  However, the actual guilt of the killer can be mitigated by the circumstances.  In other words, if he or she was scared, upset, feeling threatened, or insane, then, although the act of killing an innocent persons always remains objectively gravely sinful, the person who commits the act may be subjectively guilty of less than a grave sin, due to circumstances.  They may be guilty only of a venial sin.

Homosexual apologists claim that, since homosexuality is (allegedly) the result of a gay gene, homosexual acts cannot be called sinful.  In other words, it’s God’s fault, so blame Him if you want to blame someone.  Again, human acts have a moral nature of their own.  Homosexual acts are always, by their very nature, objectively sinful.  As for the individuals who commit such acts, their guilt can be reduced by the circumstances, but the acts themselves still remain morally disordered.  So, if a gay gene was found to be the driving force behind homosexual acts, nevertheless, the moral nature of the homosexual acts themselves would remain unchanged. And if a violent gene was found to be the driving force behind murder, nevertheless, the moral nature of killing the innocent would remain the same: it would be murder.

2) Homosexuality goes against God’s plans for marriage, which is designed to produce children.  Yet, many couples cannot conceive, while others adopt.  Why are such barren couples allowed to marry, whereas homosexual couples should not?

This question gets at the heart of the moral nature of sexual acts, and which acts are natural and which unnatural.  According to the Church, that sexual act is morally licit which is conformed to one of the primary purposes of sex; namely, the creation of new human life.  Conception obviously requires the physical complimentary of a male and a female.  Yet, even with the most fertile couples, the act of intercourse often does not result in a conception.  So, according to Catholic reasoning, shouldn’t this mean the act is immoral?  After all, the intercourse didn’t fulfill the ultimate purpose of sexual acts.

As long as the sexual act could have, under different circumstances (fertility, etc.), produced a child, the act is moral and natural.  Only intercourse between a man and a woman is capable by design of producing a child.  Hence, those sexual acts which could not, by their very nature and under any circumstances, conceive a child are immoral and unnatural.  These would include sodomy and completed oral sex.  Such acts are barren by their very nature and could not, under any circumstances, conceive a child; thus, they are immoral and unnatural.  Their unnatural aspect can also be demonstrated by the harm they often cause the physical body.  But that is a topic for another time.

The questions you’ve asked are important and complicated.  If anything I’ve said seems unclear, please don’t hesitate to ask me about it.