16 August 2010

The Intersection of Faith and Persecution

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.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Timman:

I encourage you (and your readers) to read the recent column from the new Bishop of Springfield, IL. Bishop Paprocki does an excellent job discussing the necessity of upholding marriage as that between a man and woman only. One of the best columns I've read on the subject, and definitely the best I've read from a Bishop. Here's a link:

http://ct.dio.org/bishops-column/item/1689-shining-example-of-putting-god’s-truth-into-practice.html

- YoungCatholicSTL

Athelstane said...

Well said, Timman. As always.

Fenian said...

Well said.

I do fear that some social services provided by Catholic organizations will eventually cease to exist, such as adoption, because of the conflict between society and the teachings of the Church.

In regard to employment, many religious organizations and charities are still equal opportunity employers, while reserving certain positions, such as president, for those that are practicing members of that religion. One thing that could happen though, is that public and private funders will refuse to fund organizations that do not adhere to the PC concept of 'tolerance'.

Finally, the position in question is a volunteer position on a board, not a paid position, so it might not fall under any sort of 'discrimination' legislation, present or future.

Anonymous said...

Sorry! Can't pick your dying body up off the street and take you to a place where you can die with dignity. That would be illegal. Maybe next time.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with much of what is written on this blog week after week, but I want to commend you for something good that you wrote this week--specifically, the following:

"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."

In all sincerity, I appreciate the effort you've made here to recognize the good in someone with whom you disagree. I appreciate your effort to recognize and praise the Christ-like qualities that you do see in this person. They are indeed there. And those qualities are not insignificant.

Anonymous said...

So, I take it that you predicting Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 will be overturned. Timeline?

Anonymous said...

Terrific blog post! Thank you and others for standing up for our beloved Church and what is right and moral. I couldn't agree more that this man would not be a good candidate.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this column! However, dare I say there goes 1/3 (active gay) if not 1/2 of priests/brothers, and women religious.

What? You can't be (active) gay and be a president of a local charity, but you can be and work for and in the rest of the archdiocese as priests, men and women religious and other lay staff?

That friends is laughable.

Great move by the Archbishop, but really...His own offices need some attention to. That is, if one is serious.

You may have just opened a huge can of worms.

MB

thetimman said...

Anonymous at 5:58: Thank you, and I thank you for your considerate comment, too.

MB, I agree with you to a certain extent, but remember that I am only addressing public acts in contradiction of Catholic teaching. Any priest, bishop or religious who is committing those types of acts is of course unfit to continue in ministry. I don't want to apply a different standard.

But the personal beliefs of people, whether charity presidents or priests, are not always known. And some may obey the Church despite private doubts. Those situations are not the subject of this post, nor do I make any comment about them. That is a subject for another day.

Sister Rosalind Moss said...

God has blessed you, dear Timman, with a deep love for Christ and His Church and an ability to see, and to help others to see, through the fog of distorted reasoning that too often compromises our faith. Thank you for your support of Archbishop Carlson who, in all things, has acted as a true and faithful shepherd, upholding the faith and protecting the sheep who are in constant danger of the enemy's schemes.

There is one statement made by Mr. Goldone with which I agree, though not for the reason for which it was written. The Dispatch article reads:
"His petition argues that it is 'inexcusable' that he was allowed to serve as vice president and in other roles, yet be denied the chance to serve as board president because of his lifestyle."

I agree that appointing Mr. Goldone to those posts was, and is, inexcusable. It gives a confusing, if not damaging, message to one who is living a life-style utterly opposed to the teachings of the organization (which are the teachings of the Church) he claims to serve.

Faith is a gift; we can judge no one who does not believe, anymore than we can take credit for the grace that has enabled our belief. But we do those great disservice whom we invite to serve in an organization whose founder (our Lord Jesus) condemns the very lifestyle they espouse.

It is never charity to give approval to sin, to a lifestyle that opposes the faith, brings scandal to the faithful, harm to the soul of the individual in question, and dishonor to the Lord who died for love of Mr. Goldone and every one of us in order that we might not perish but have everlasting life.

Please pray for our holy Archbishop and for Mr. Goldone, that God's grace would permeate his soul to see and embrace the truth that alone can set us free.

Anonymous said...

Sr. Moss,

Would you agree that Mr. Goldone has done much good in his service to the poor, and that we, his fellow Christians, should try to emulate him in that?

Let us remember that Jesus did not only condemn sexual sin. He did indeed do that (not just for people who are gay, of course, but for every human being who crosses the line into lust). However, Christ put the poor front and center in our Christian calling. I believe you in your ministry try to serve the poor. I commend you for your service to the poor. I hope you can acknowledge that Mr. Goldone, who also loves Christ, has done a good deal (according to long-time St. Louisan Zip Repezzpa) to serve the poor. I hope you are celebrating Mr. Goldone's service to "the least" of Christ's brothers, rather than just condemning him for his sexuality or the sexuality of his life parter of 20 years.

Peggy said...

Well done, Timman.

I predict this to be the end of any fawning press over Abp. Carlson as a "bridge builder." Honeymoon over. I share your legal concerns. It is already happening in the area of adoption in the US and UK.

I was given a Fr. LeJoly bio of Bl. Mother Teresa, circa 1980s. Mother & Fr. LeJoly were both rather clear that helping the poor could not be divorced from their faith in Christ and living a holy life. The sisters daily attended mass, regularly attended adoration (daily I think), conferences by priest advisors, personal spiritual direction, confession, etc. There was no way to separate the mission of Christ from Christ Himself. Indeed, the spiritual (and physical) nourishment of the sisters was vital to their ability to keep on day after day helping the poor, sick, dying. They needed Jesus as much as their mission did. A Catholic apostolate must be led by living, believing, faithful Catholics.

I think there's only so much energy to do good in some one not grounded in faith or motivated by their faith to do that good.

I have no idea how a man actively gay can feel at ease considering himself a believing faithful Catholic. Is there not some internal conflict eating a way at such a man who wants to see himself as a faithful Catholic, but his lifestyle is in contradiction to the commandments?

Patrick Kinsale said...

Why is it so scandalous to believe that only practicing Catholics should he allowed to run Catholic organizations, whether it be a Catholic hospital, a Catholic university or a Catholic charity?

thetimman said...

Sister,

I had heard you were back in St. Louis. Glad to hear from you. Don't be a stranger at the Oratory-- I'll be glad to spring for coffee and donuts.

just wondering said...

as a lay Vincentian myself i am in complete agreement with the archbishop. if i have not love i am a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. it is commendable to love Christ in our fellow man,but as Christians we are called not just to love Christ in one another, we are called to love Christ. what do i possibly posess that would be of any use, or enrich in any way Almighty God? nothing. but... i can give to God my love through my obedience. if this person were to put aside his own desires for Christ, renounce his lifestyle in spite of his own desires, now that would be true love of Christ. a love that would change the world. For God so loved the world that He gave up His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life. i think we could all do with a little "giving up" for love of God.

StGuyFawkes said...

I note that the PD's Bogan and Townsend keep conflating the existential state of "being gay" with the choice of living in a sinful homosexual relationship. This is a bit like confusing the
recovering alcoholic who attends "12 step meetings" for well, well...... someone like Christopher Hitchens.

It's what Mr. Goldone does that has excluded Mr. Goldone, not what he is.

The comedian Richard Pryor, once asked by Barbara Walters about his struggles with alcohol, blurted out, "Barbara, Barbara, I am a 'practicing' alcoholic. Practicing."

You see, it's the "practice" of a vice that matters, not the weakness that prompts it.

The Church recognizes that we all struggle with sin and weakness. The question is whether we avail ourselves of the grace to fight sin.

Mr. Goldone has chosen not to fight his inclinations and has made that decision public.

THus, he doesn't get to lead an organization that requires its members to fight sin. It's pretty simple.

If the role of SVDP President means so much to Mr. Goldone then he should choose between the service of his paramour and service to the poor.

If the poor come first to Jesus, as one of our Anons opines, then it should be nothing for Mr. Goldone to renounce his catamite on behalf of Catholicism.

After all, even Wilde gave up physical contact with Lord Alfred Douglas after prison.

Wilde pointed the way; despite his failures and returns to vice he ended in the hands of Fr. Cuthbert Dunn and the Church.

Where we all should hope to end, sinners all.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post StGuy; I was just reading about Mr. Wilde's life the other day on that most reliable of sites, wikipedia.