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Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Always Our Priests.

And a Merry Fiskmas to you, too.

Recently, 21 Chicago priests complained in an open letter about "violent" and "abusive" Catholic teaching. They also pledged their loyalty to the teaching authority of the Church, without actually citing any of it in the process. Especially that book the Reporter finds so musty and unaffirming.

There's a pattern developing here...


About which 21 Chicago priests formed in the Sixties know waaaay more than you.

As Catholic pastors,

The evidence for the claimed status being sadly lacking, to the extent it can be seen from this public tantrum.

we have become increasingly disturbed by the tone

It's the content.

and, in some cases, content

Thank you!

of documents and statements from the Vatican, bishops' conferences and individual bishops on issues categorized under the heading of 'homosexual' or 'gay/lesbian.' We respect the teaching authority of the Church.

In reading the last line, I'm reminded of the cough-filled response of the Deltas to the evidence offered during the Double Secret Probation hearing.

For some reason.

Because of this, we find particularly troubling the increase in the use of violent and abusive language directed at any human person. Such language is inappropriate. This is especially so when addressing members of the community of the faithful. These divisive and exclusionary statements from the Church are contrary to sound pastoral practice.

Josh the Palestinian Tolerance Mascot™ is in the hiz-ouse. Josh is Jesus reimagined for spiritual 21st Century Americans who don't want to give up anything enjoyable. Josh is not big on rules, or judging or really anything that's a downer. He's a very pastoral guy (or would be, if he weren't safely dead) who doesn't say much other than "Go for it!"

For example, he'd never say anything judgmental like "go and sin no more," or do anything exclusionary like kick an unrepentant sinner out of his "community". Nope, he's not that kind of guy.

While we're at it, let's tone down the rhetoric ourselves, gentlemen: what happened to Mary Stachowicz was "violent" and "abusive" (I trust you sent your heartfelt condolences to her family and friends). The Thomistic language employed in the latest stilted Vatican statements is hardly the stuff of mob violence.

Unless I missed that part of the trial for the evil thugs who killed Matthew Shepard where witnesses indicated the lynchers were screaming "objectively disordered!"

The life journey in faith is unique and sacred, including the personal integration of sexuality and spirituality.

As we all know, there's nothing more enjoyable than personally integrating sexuality and spirituality with as many folks as possible. Oh, my, yes....

Condemnations leveled at sincere Catholics attempting to make sense out of their journey are inappropriate and pastorally destructive.

Very pastoral, these gents. Although I have to be rude and point out that it's hard to "journey" without directions. Without them, you could end up stranded in a very unpleasant location.

OTOH, "the journey makes us one," as the liturgical ditty goes.

As priests and pastors we are speaking out to make clear that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are all members of God's family, brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus and deserving of the same dignity and respect owed any human being.

Fine--nothing to argue with here. Too often, orthodox Catholics tend to confuse the sin with the sinner, with all of the harm that causes.

Mea culpa. The point can't be overemphasized.

But, as always, it doesn't end here.

Recognition of the inalienable dignity of the human person is the only path toward justice and reconciliation.

Yay! A reference to the Sacrament of Penance!

OK, OK, too much to hope for.

Actually, recognition of our fallen sinfulness and the need for the Lord Jesus, brandished totem-style in the previous sentence, is the only path.

But since that way lies some painful questions about ourselves, the Pastoral Blackjackers aren't about to head in that direction. Very damaging to the self-esteem, don't you know?

We affirm the goodness of all homosexual persons.

Personal and original sin went out with Vatican II.

We root ourselves in the U.S. Bishops' statement 'Always Our Children.'

"Root ourselves," yes--a handy nonsense phrase if there ever was one. Actually read and apply it? Nooooo.
Come on: it says icky things like this:

First, it is God's plan that sexual intercourse occur only within marriage between a man and a woman. Second, every act of intercourse must be open to the possible creation of human life. Homosexual intercourse cannot fulfill these two conditions. Therefore, the Church teaches that homogenital behavior is objectively immoral, while making the important distinction between this behavior and a homosexual orientation, which is not immoral in itself. It is also important to recognize that neither a homosexual orientation, nor a heterosexual one, leads inevitably to sexual activity. One's total personhood is not reducible to sexual orientation or behavior.

Additionally, we re-affirm the understanding of the goodness of the human person as put forth throughout the papacy of Pope John Paul II.

Not that we've read any of his crap, though--especially "The Berry Tart is Splendid", or whatever the hell that long boring essay that contradicted fundamental option theory is called.

Oh, Lord no!

But he is a handy charm to wave against accusations of heresy and disloyalty, and helps keep the residually orthodox members of our flocks in their place and ponying up at the offertory.

Further, we want to state clearly that ministering to and with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters is mutually beneficial, as is all ministerial activity.


"All ministerial activity" except with those who take Catholic moral teaching and scripture seriously. Then it's tedious and we just have to tell the offenders to shut the hell up.

Pre-judging where any believer's journey will take them is inappropriate.

Except for the orthodox. They're going straight to hell.

If there is one.

Walking with them, as we do with our heterosexual brothers and sisters, is the appropriate Christian response.

Except, of course, where that walk is going to take you over a cliff. Then it's the behavior of a Lemming Pastor, not a Christian priest.

In the recent past, individual bishops,

Like our current Cardinal Archbishop.

bishops' conferences

Like the guys who wrote "Always Our Children"?

and the Vatican

Especially the Vatican. Most definitely including that Pope we were just gesturing with like an amulet.

have assumed a tone of such violence and abusiveness toward these sons and daughters of the Church, we can no longer remain silent.

I'm sure one of us sent something to the Stachowicz family. Maybe a phone call or card or something.

Has any other group of people within the Body of Christ been so assaulted and violated by such mean-spirited language?

Good point. Aside from Catholics living under the Arians, Iconoclasts, Albigensians, Tudors, Jacobins, Revolutionary Mexico, the Spanish Republic, Naziism, Communism, Islamic tyranny and the orthodox remnant at your parishes, I can't think of a one.

Nothing any Catholic has ever undergone compares to the following litany of terror.

Examples from the most recent Vatican document show all too clearly the demonization of these children of God, referring to homosexuality as a 'troubling moral and social phenomenon,'

"Troubling"? Oh, why doesn't that Nazi Ratzinger just have done with it and start burnings at the stake again?

'a serious depravity,'

Find that Stachowicz card yet?

'the spread of the phenomenon,'

A "phenomenon"?! O, will dawn never break?!?

'approval or legalization of evil,' 'grave detriment to the common good,' 'harmful to the proper development of human society,' 'intrinsically disordered.'

And so it goes. Context is a damnable thing. It's also lacking in the 21's litany. Stunning, I know.

Does anyone consider this vile and toxic language invitational?

For a batch of chaps bent on elevating the discourse, they sure have a funny way of going about it.

"Invitational" to what? Repentance? The recognition of the need for redemption? An awareness Jesus did more than make people feel good about themselves?

Are are their flocks not in need of such things? I guess not.

That would explain why they feel comfortable lecturing the Church Universal.

For many gay and lesbian Catholics, this most recent series of attacks has forced them, out of self-respect and self-love,

Can't over-emphasize the importance of those two indispensible virtues in today's society. T'would be unpastoral not to.

to withdraw from active participation in the Church and question how they can remain members of a Church they experience as abusive. It is not possible to minister to and with the needs of our homosexual brothers and sisters with language of this tone as a foundation.

Apparently the Pastoral 21, despite their clearly superior wisdom in such things, are nevertheless completely flummoxed by the task of adapting the language. Tis beyond their sensitive genius, despite the repeated invocations and claimed enjoyment of Always Our Children.


I suppose, then, the only option left was to posture before sympathetic media outlets and await the inevitable applause.

Inspiring. [Sound of golf clapping.]

The Catholic Church is most catholic when it is inclusive and embracing,

Read: Bowing to us.

and least reflective of the gospel of Jesus when it is exclusive and rigid.

Read: Having the gall to disagree with our superior wisdom.

For this reason, we also want to affirm the many pastoral and positive statements by certain bishops and bishops' conferences (e.g. 'Always Our Children').

Not that we're actually going to quote anything, of course. Wouldn't be pastoral. Might even be self-refuting....

The Church's theology, including her moral teaching, is always in dialogue with the broader lived experience of her members,

And is valid, in our view, only when it completely capitulates to that "lived experience."

which shapes and rearticulates the ancient deposit of faith.

Which stretches almost as far back as Gaudium Et Spes.

We encourage a new atmosphere of openness to dialogue which includes the lived experience of many Catholic members.

Said "dialogue" will end the same way Case Yellow ended in 1940, with traditional morality completely surrendering to the zeitgeist in a nice railcar outside Paris. The end of the "dialogue" will be followed by the proscription of foundational orthodoxy. See United States of America, Episcopal Church in the.

We recognize the blessings of countless homosexuals in a variety of relationships.

Remember how faithful we are to the teaching authority, and all that rot.

Wocka, wocka, wocka...

We believe their experiences must be listened to respectfully.

"Sign here. Your forces will cease fighting worldwide as of midnight, and you will pay for the quartering of our troops...."

While we do not know the reasons for the increasingly violent and abusive

We finally figured it out: We prayed for the conversion of the Stachowicz family. Very pastoral of us.

language, we deplore it as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ

"The New and Improved Gospel™: Now 100% Repentance-Free! (Note: Gospel™ void in Wisconsin and for orthodox Catholics and others the sponsors have consigned to the outer darkness)."

and ask that it stop immediately.

And if it doesn't, we'll inflict bad moral formation, insipid cloying liturgies, and heretical/pointless homilies on our flocks.

Oh, wait....

Furthermore, we request that all those in official positions of teaching authority in the Church refrain from any more statements directed AT the gay and lesbian members of the Body of Christ,

Because it would make Josh™ really, really sad. If he were still alive today, that is.

and instead begin an earnest dialogue WITH those same members of the Body of Christ.

"Also as of midnight, the Milice and local gendarmes will assist in the suppression of partisans and deportation of other undesirable elements...."

For our part, we pledge to treat all who seek to continue their faith journey with us with respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Unless they disagree with us. Then they can go "journey" elsewhere. Preferably straight to hell.

Assuming, hypothetically, that such a place exists.

We join the countless men and women, heterosexual and homosexual, who seek justice, mercy and compassion in and through the Catholic Church.

Subscribers to America and National Catholic Reporter, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your senior discount at Denny's!

We extend an invitation all who share our concern to duplicate this letter, sign it, and send it to their pastor, local bishop, National Bishop's Conference or the Vatican.

Don't just applaud--throw money!

FYI: It doesn't flush well. Especially avoid doing so if you have a septic tank.

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