The title of this post is intentionally dramatic, but I want to point to what I think is to be the next escalation of the tensions in Church/State/society relations as a result of the animosity of the homosexual political lobby when combined with the already hostile press and the unrestrained usurpation of judicial power.
The Post-Dispatch has run a story about the decision of Archbishop Carlson to not allow a man in a long-term, public, homosexual relationship to stand for President of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Archbishop Carlson deserves a ton of credit in upholding the integrity of the Church's charitable institutions by upholding the totality of Catholic teaching and refusing to de-couple Charity from Truth. Of course, this is his duty, and a friend of mine likes to often say a person shouldn't get credit for performing his duty. I disagree in certain circumstances, and this is one of them. Archbishop Carlson has no chance of getting fair treatment on this issue. All of the public attention on this will be hostile, and the opposition has easy recourse to the most facile of superficially-pleasing arguments, namely, "Why does a person's lifestyle have anything to do with his ability to help the poor?"
This question is a no-brainer for the so-called progressive Catholic, as he has already de-coupled faith from charity (which he calls "justice"). To him, the St. Vincent de Paul Society is merely one of many non-profit organizations that conducts canned food drives, helps poor people fill out forms for the government dole, and gives the basics of life to its clients.
To the faithful Catholic, however, the question itself is misleading. To him, the St. Vincent de Paul Society is one apostolate of the Catholic Church, whose first and primary mission is to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those it serves. This entails preaching the Gospel truth to them, including the truth about the primary end of the procreative act, the duty to give alms to the poor, and all of the rest to boot. The Church is not a local, or even a national, arm of the HHS. A President of the St. Vincent de Paul Society who publicly and unapologetically lives a lifestyle of sodomy is a living contradiction to the mission of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and more importantly gives the opposite message of the one Christ Himself proclaimed. It says, fear not Him who can cast body and soul into Gehenna, but rather fear him that can kill the body only.
It is entirely laudable that this person has done so much good for the poor. His dedication is also to be praised. He may be a great President of the United Way. But this is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded. Her mission is not hers to alter or deny.
I think the next playing field on which we as Catholics will fight the "long defeat" will be in the Courts of law and of public opinion, as homosexuals sue the Church over employment decisions like this. And as these suits go against the Church, as I fear is likely, she will choose from two lousy alternatives, only one of which is possible: either change her doctrine, which she cannot, or else shut down the particular charitable institution. St. Vincent de Paul Society: gone. Hospitals: gone. Catholic Charities: gone. Catholic schools: gone.
This diminution of the influence of the Catholic Church on souls is exactly what is desired by the enemies of the Church. It is no less than an intentional persecution of the Church.
And then, like the Church in 16th Century England after the tyrant King Henry VIII took away the means of charity and the institutions of charity from the realm of the Church and usurped them to the crown, thus tearing away the poor from their mother and protectress, the body politic will find it expedient to destroy the Church for whom they no longer feel they have need. And in the end, all will be left to the mercy of the Church's enemies, temporal and spiritual.
I am grateful for the Archbishop's steadfastness and pray that he be continually strengthened in the fight to come.