Joe Fitzgerald, a columnist at the Boston Herald, had a great column in yesterday’s paper. This is the only column I’ve seen in the mainstream media that says it like it really is, and it deserves a wide reading audience.
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Without further ado, here’s Joe Fitzgerald’s column.
Church refuses to sacrifice principles
Celebrity comes pretty cheaply these days, especially in the Catholic Church, where all a priest has to do to achieve public acclaim is appear to repudiate elements of the Gospel he was called to uphold.
Nowhere is this truer than in the incendiary issue of homosexuality, which this culture wants us to believe is no big deal to the Creator.
Thankfully, there are those, beleaguered clergy among them, who continue to dig in their heels, steadfast in the gales of trendy mores, adamant in their conviction that the commandments of God are not negotiable.
Today they’re called haters.
“I have a theory,” Father Frank Garrity, the long retired pastor of St. Bartholomew Church in Needham, said a few years ago. “Kids don’t like to be told no. Well, neither do adults, and the Catholic Church is one of the few voices we hear today saying, ‘No, this is wrong.’ And you see the reaction we get.”
Indeed, so when an articulate young priest such as the Rev. John Unni appears to distance himself from the teachings of the Church, which got him a standing ovation at St. Cecilia’s last Sunday, he immediately becomes the darling of anarchists and malcontents who want the Church to shut up and butt out, allowing them to reshape their faith so that it will accommodate every whim and wayward desire.
“As a Catholic, my only agenda — just like Jesus — is to love and accept one another,” Father John reasoned, assuring his politically correct congregation that all walks of life were welcome to worship there.
True enough, but the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would have said, was that He also reminded them of what they were, ending His conversations with a reassuring, “Go, and sin no more.”
In other words, He made it clear that unconditional love does not mean anything goes.
But that’s what our culture wants us to believe, presenting a great challenge to people of faith today.
Can you remain true to what you believe even while the world is mocking those beliefs? Can you stand up for what you believe, even when it feels as if you’re standing all alone?
Father John missed an opportunity to declare with equal fervor that it is not hateful to be unfashionable, especially when you know there is no hate in your heart.
The priest who tinkers with the Gospel he vowed to preach is not unlike the judge who tinkers with the law he or she vowed to uphold.
In both cases, we are poorly served.
“I have wondered,” Ronald Reagan once mused, “what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.”
They probably would have sounded like what we’re hearing from too many pulpits today.