Confronting the Gay Agenda
It is so confusing for our children these days as the gay agenda moves forward with unstoppable momentum and screaming "bigot!" as loud as possible at anyone who dares raise a voice of concern or disagreement. This strikes me particularly at the moment with the "Gay Marriage" thing being debated in Ireland as Bruvver Eccles alludes to here. The desperate reality strikes me as I lead forty young people in my parish toward Confirmation. Just their understanding of relationships reveals a quite shocking breakdown in any concept of what constitutes Marriage, let alone Catholic teaching; and these are good, normal, Catholic kids.
The plight of our children can only be made worse because the source of clear teaching on these matters, The Church, seems, in places, rather at odds with itself. Sadly, some priests prevaricate on this issue which can ultimately achieve nothing else but to lead their flocks into confusion and dismay. Or they say nothing, which leads parishioners to make up their own minds about what is right and wrong about this issue.
The latter usually ends up with Catholics—who tend to be ordered towards caring for their neighbour—consider that "as long as it isn't hurting anyone, what harm is it doing?" or, for many who contracept and live in contradiction to some major points of Church teaching already, they just add it to another one of the things the Church has got wrong. No one explains what the Church teaches or why, there is no discussion, there is no insistence on fidelity to Christ or His Church. They think it's a matter of conscience, they don't understand that conscience isn't autonomous but subject to the teaching of the Magisterium.
Either way, the authentic teaching of the Church dies. Apathy reigns, and the usual people bewail the lack of vocations and continue to manage the decline. Michael Lofton articulates the dilemma for educated Catholics & intellectual converts very well in this article:
I soon realized that the Catholicism of the Fathers — and even the Catholicism of the Catechism of the Catholic Church — is quite different from that of the local parish, at least in the majority of cases.With respect to the specific instances of the pervasive Gay agenda, a growing number consider this to be a huge part of this malaise, as the sinful contradiction between many priests and lay people's private lives and public profession corrupts their relationship with God and kills supernatural grace.
The consequences of tacit support for this lifestyle, the consequences we were told would never become a reality, are starting to come home to roost now however, as Idaho city’s ordinance tells pastors to marry gays or go to jail. It seems there are no First Amendment rights for those that oppose Gay "marriage", it appears that the persecution in America will begin in the courts, Christians will be forced to conform or go to gaol. We can see it coming here, heralded by events like Sarah Wollaston MP's recent slander of anyone who doesn't support so-called "equal marriage". This is only heading in one direction and without seemingly anyone brave enough to state the Church's case clearly, it has precious little intelligent opposition.
It could well be that priests and bishops who advocate a softly, softly approach to issues like gay marriage are doing so out of a concern for the care of persons with same-sex-attraction, which is important of course. SSA is not in and of itself, a sin, although it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. (cf. CDF Letter to Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons no. 3).
But, very sadly, I am becoming increasingly suspicious in my old age, and experience tells me that all too often there is personal sin behind a lack of clear teaching. Just look at the ex-bishop of Arundle and Brighton who attempted to justify his infidelity by drawing attention to the fact that he never taught in the matter and could therefore not be called a hypocrite.
My conspectus of Catholic teaching on the matter is that priests and bishops who do not call homosexual acts out as sinful are risking the eternal souls of their flock.
Meanwhile, there are a few places where Catholic teaching is still recognisable. The Bishop of Charlotte in the States, the Rt Rvd Peter Jugis, has cancelled a speaking event by Sister Jennine Gramick that was scheduled to take place at one of the parishes in his diocese.
Sister Gramick is the founder of New Ways Ministry, self-described as a “gay-positive ministry that advocates for justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, and for reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities.”
In announcing Bishop Jugis’ decision to cancel the event as soon as he was made aware of it, diocese spokesman David Hains noted that the Vatican has previously determined that Gramick and New Ways Ministry oppose the Catholic Church’s teaching that homosexual acts are sinful. “We are not going to have someone who opposes Catholic teaching to be teaching in a Catholic diocese,” Hains said. Good for him! See full article here.
In direct contradiction, Catholic religion teacher Patricia Jannuzzi was placed on “administrative leave” after she posted some comments on her personal Facebook page defending Catholic teaching on homosexual behavior and criticizing the arguments in favor of same-sex “marriage.” Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen then, incredibly, issued a public statement backing up the school’s decision, and saying that the Catholic theology teacher’s “comments were disturbing and do not reflect the Church’s teachings of acceptance." What?!!????
The same kind of attacks have seen levelled at Archbishop Cordileone in San Francisco over a similar holding of the line on Church teaching regarding this issue. Thankfully the support he has received from grateful Catholics is strong. And this does tend to follow when a Catholic leader stands up for authentic Catholic teaching; something we need more than ever right now!
With all these confused clerics and mixed messages from the Church, I worry so much for my children. Who is going to teach them about this stuff? Soon, in our Catholic schools, they will have to be taught that "gay marriage" is the same as traditional marriage, in sex ed classes, they will be taught...well, it's not good, let's just leave it at that.
It's all very well "meeting people where they are", but fundamentally, the Church teaches that Christ's call was to metanoia; to repentance and a change in our lives, a change that allows the grace of God to flood in. Without that change, we have no grace, we have no supernatural life in us. If we fail to teach our children to aspire to personal holiness, how on earth can we ever expect them to live a Catholic life? Let alone pour out their lives for others through the gift of vocation.
Pastors, especially those working in difficult areas where Marriage is no longer a thing understood by the community, must find themselves under tremendous pressure to capitulate to relativism. In vast swathes of our society today, single parent families have become the norm and fatherhood hardly exists as a social reality. How do you minister to a community where this is a reality?
It is far easier for this priest not to call out sins, because he fears he will be "condemning" the majority of his flock if he does so! In such communities, relationships are no longer consecrated but have become multiple forms of friendship that can break and reconfigure without too much emotional distress. I saw this last night at Confirmation class, when, in the context of a discussion about vocation, one young lady asked the priest what he would do if he met someone and fell in love with them. "What would you do if that happened to you and you were married already?" I asked. "Leave them and start a new relationship" she plainly answered. In such an environment, the idea of Marriage as a commitment, a loyalty at the deepest level of our being becomes even harder to sustain. That it is something we should aspire to is harder to explain if we reduce its meaning and value, relativising its importance.
Marriage is unique because it brings together in one institution a whole series of essential human activities: sex, reproduction, companionship, love, responsibility for the welfare and nurture of those we have brought into being, and responsibility for their education. When Marriage breaks down, as we are seeing before our very eyes right now, human bonds splinter and fragment into a myriad component parts, so that we can have sex without reproduction (birth control) and reproduction without sex (cloning, IVF, artificial insemination). We can have both without love, love without companionship, and children without responsibility for their nurture.
Each of these can be further fragmented, so that even basic biological facts of parenthood become a complex set of options: genetic mother, host mother, commissioning mother, genetic father, mother's partner, same-sex partners and so on. Ultimately this leads to a commodification of children, genetically designed to order.
Steven Evert's excellent Chastity Project has a useful post by Christopher West that states the case pretty clearly: