Archive for the ‘Archdiocese of Boston’ Category

Fr. Bryan Hehir, Archdiocese of Boston’s Secretary for Social Services–who has served on panels with partial-birth abortionists and gay/lesbian activists and who lectured for a Socialist, pro-Communist think-tank back in the 1980’s, now adds to his portfolio by participating in a panel discussion on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 with Rep. Barney Frank in Newton, MA.  Here’s the listing in the Boston Globe:

Frank talk During his long career, US Representative Barney Frank has been nothing if not outspoken. We imagine his impending exit from Washington won’t change that. See for yourself at Truth, Lies and Politics, a panel discussion featuring Frank, journalist Robert Kuttner, and Father J. Bryan Hehir. Author Leonard Fein moderates the program exploring the relationship (or lack thereof) between politicians and truth-telling. Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. $15, $12 students and seniors. Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center, 333 Nahanton St., Newton. 617-965-5226, www.bostonjcc.org

Robert Kuttner is the co-founder and current co-editor of The American Prospect, which was created in 1990 as “an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas.”    To give you a sense for Kuttner’s ideology, here’s a column he wrote in June 2010, “Gay-Marriage Envy.”

Sometimes I wish my personal overriding cause were gay rights. Then I could get up in the morning and feel that my side was making real progress.

It is thrilling to see how a movement for human decency has made immense gains. Executive leadership married to millions of acts of personal courage in a strong grass-roots movement can be transformative. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is the hero of the hour for using all his political skills to move just enough Republicans in the New York Legislature into the Yes column on same sex marriage.

It’s a joy to see progress on same-sex marriage and the broader acceptance of sexual difference, a fight that is far from over.

Barney Frank, openly gay, opposes Catholic Church positions on every moral issue under the sun–he supports gay marriage, is rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a solid pro-abortion voting record (he voted “no” on banning partial-birth abortion), and more.

Does anyone imagine for a second that Bryan Hehir’s going to use this as an opportunity to try and catechize Barney Frank and Mr. Kuttner and put forward Catholic teachings?  Not if the past is any indication.

The Bryan Hehir Exposed blog  told you in April 2010 how Bryan Hehir keynoted a Catholic conference along with a priest who advocated for “gay priests.”

On marriage and so-called “gay rights,” Fr. Hehir has never once said publicly that he opposes “gay marriage.”  But he did say in May of 2011 that he supported having children of openly gay/lesbian parents attend Catholic schools, and he did serve on a panel at Regis College with  lesbian feminist theologian, Mary Hunt, where he was quoted as follows:

…in twentieth-century Catholicism, teachings on sexuality have been “a chronically afflicted area,” and there are issues that need to be examined and re-examined…dissent is an expected part of the theological tradition of which we are a part…He ceded to Dr. Hunt discussion of any perception of the influence and role of women…

In 2010, Bryan Hehir also spoke at Boston College on a panel with a partial-birth abortionist about Catholic Conscience exemptions, and never even mentioned the word “abortion.”  Here’s what he said.

“If you think of the conscience clause protecting the professional, then you have to think about access to service on the part of clients of various kinds, patients, or clients of social service agencies.

 Just to be clear, this “access to service” described by Fr. Hehir meant abortion, but he never stated that.  Instead, this senior Archdiocesan official said Catholics should “have to think” about how the woman will get access to abortion services.

 Unless we choose well on this, we could harm the profession, the social system. And clearly, if we don’t choose well, we could harm the individual who needs precisely the service.

Once again, “service” meant abortions.  Was Fr. Hehir concerned about harming the woman who needs the abortion service to have her unborn baby killed?  Or was he concerned about harming the baby who needs the service to be aborted?  He emphasizes the possible harm to the profession, the pluralism of actors in the social system and the individual who needs the abortion service, but says nothing about the risk to the individual conscience of the medical professional.

Near the conclusion we got Fr. Hehir’s own redefinition of the conscience clause. A conclusion of a talk is usually what the speaker wants to drive home, to have the audience remember most.  His takeaway, summed up in the bottom line:

My basic position is, conscience clauses provide an essential political legal component to adjudicate deeply held convictions and positions in this pluralistic society.  I think the resolution requires defining the issues broadly.  You’ve got to pay attention to all the actors, their beliefs, their interests, and the duties involved and recognize that conscience clauses will limit the rights of others to some degree.

Then there’s Fr. Hehir’s past involvement with the Marxist-oriented, gay-agenda-supportive Washington, DC think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies.  Fr. Hehir gave multiple talks there in the 1980s, including speaking in their Washington School series, “Matthew, Marx, Luke, and John” in October of 1983.

As you’ll see by this content on Religious Left Exposed, during the 1980s, the IPS served as a base of operations for those opposed to President Ronald Reagan’s anti-communist foreign policy. It was dedicated to the establishment of revolutionary Marxist and anti-American regimes in Central and Latin America and elsewhere and describes itself as the nation’s oldest progressive multi-issue think-tank. A New York Times Magazine article from April of 2001 exposes IPS as founded on radical, revolutionary and Marxist principles, talking about one contingent described by the IPS director as coming almost completely from a Marxist or liberation basis. One IPS journal has featured “articles celebrating Communist victories in Laos and Angola.”

Here’s the Washington School series he spoke in (see p. 2).

Matthew, Marx, Luke and John: Theology of the Oppressed

Worldwide poverty and exploitation have brought religious ideological support for conservatism to a crisis.  Liberation theologies—particularly black, feminist and Latin American—provide an ideological counterthrust on behalf of the insurgent resistance.  This course, while focusing on the present through the prism of Vatican II, will discuss ancient and medieval precedents of peasant insurgency and rebellion, together with the practical and ideological leadership provided by priests and lay Christians who, basing themselves in the Bible, defined and ideology for the oppression, not the oppressors.  Topics will include:

  • …ancient and medieval theology: practice and theory
  • parallels in feminist and Latin American theology
  • the Catholic Bishops’ Letter on War and Peace
  • the future of the Christian alliance with Marxism

For attending that series, participants got a free pass to their series on liberation theology. Among the other speakers in the 1983 series was the radical lesbian feminist theologian, Mary Hunt.  This wasn’t just a one-off talk; Fr. Hehir spoke at the IPS more than once. He also received their Letelier-Moffitt award, named after a Marxist-Leninist. Here is a short  IPS slide presentation from Religious Left Exposed that highlights a number of troubling revelations we barely have time to share. There’s more–in 1984 they hosted “Sister Boom-Boom” of the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” a group of “Queer Nuns” who mocked the Catholic Church.  The history of the IPS on their website proudly conveys how “Rita Mae Brown wrote and published her path-breaking lesbian coming-of-age novel Rubyfruit Jungle while on the staff in the 1970s.”

When I complained and others complained about Bryan Hehir in 2010, eventually, the result was that the Vicar General at the time scolded us for criticizing his friend, Bryan Hehir.   I’m sure they’ll just go ahead and let him speak on the panel with Barney Frank and Mr. Kuttner and have this senior archdiocesan official and “trusted advisor” to Cardinal O’Malley give credibility to the speakers and their agenda.  No problema.

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The Vatican is investigating the gay ministry in the Northern Mexico diocese of Saltillo. Maybe there’s hope they will still investigate the Rainbow Ministry at St. Cecilia’s in Boston.  A lot of what’s going on with the Saltillo gay ministry sounds vaguely familiar.

From LifeSiteNews: Mexican bishop under Vatican investigation for supporting homosexualist organization:

SALTILLO, Mexico, July 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Raul Vera, the Catholic bishop of Saltillo, Mexico, is under investigation by the Vatican over his sponsorship of an organization that condones sodomy, according to Mexican press sources.

The Saint Aelred group, which professes to be Catholic, teaches members that they may engage in homosexual relations, but encourages them to do so with a single partner.  It also holds film festivals featuring productions that condone homosexual behavior.

Bishop Vera has publicly affiliated his diocese with the group and has promoted its activities, including sponsoring its film festivals, according to reports in the Mexican media. The organization is also involved in a number of diocesan parishes.

From Catholic News Agency: Mexican bishop confirms Vatican inquiry into his support for homosexual group:

Lima, Peru, Jul 28, 2011 / 06:04 pm (CNA).- Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of Saltillo, Mexico has told a Mexican newspaper he has received “a series of questions” from the Vatican about his support for the San Elredo community, which holds positions on homosexuality that are contrary to Church teaching.

“There has been a call from the Vatican and I am ready to clear things up … I have to respond to a series of questions that Vatican City has sent me about my work with homosexuals,” Bishop Vera told the newspaper Zocalo.

Bishop Vera told the newspaper, “In the Diocese of Saltillo, we have very clear objectives. We work with (the gay community) to help them recover their human dignity, which is frequently attacked at home and in society…”

“I am not against the magisterium of the Church, nor do I promote dishonesty. It would go against my principles to promote depravity and immorality,” he said.

In March of this year, Bishop Vera published a statement on the diocesan website expressing support for the “sexual, family and religious diversity forum.” The event was aimed at “eradicating what some sectors of the Church believe about homosexuality” — especially the belief “that homosexual actions are contrary to God.”

Father Robert Coogan, the American priest who founded San Elredo, maintained that the group’s work is not contrary to the teachings of the Church.  He added: “How can a person with same-sex attraction have a fulfilling life? And the only answer the Catechism gives is to tell them to be celibate, and that is not enough.”

From Hispanically Speaking News: Mexican Diocese’s Gay Ministry Comes Under Vatican Scrutiny:

The bishop defended the diocesan ministry, saying it was based in the Gospel and meant to promote expanded human rights protection while helping gay people develop a sense of belonging especially because they are not always made to feel welcome by the church as a whole.

The ministry, he explained, “is based in personal attention, in spiritual attention … to see that they have a place in the church, that they’re treated as dignified people.”

The group sponsors a monthly Mass and has promoted a film festival, sexual diversity forum and lobbied for a same-sex civil partnership law, which was approved in the state of Coahuila, where Saltillo is located, in 2007.

There’s a lot here that sounds familiar from St. Cecilias and their Rainbow Ministry.

  • St. Cecilia’s sponsored speakers who worked against the Catholic Church and supported legalizing “gay marriage”
  • There’s no evidence that St. Cecilia’s Rainbow Ministry teaches that homosexual activity is immoral
  • St. Cecilia’s Rainbow Ministry promoted a Mass to “celebrate Boston Pride Month,” rescheduled and rebranded as a Mass showing St. Cecilia’s was a place of welcome to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transsexual (GLBT) community
  • St. Cecilia’s Rainbow Ministry sponsors trips to see the Gay Mens Chorus
  •  A leader of St. Cecilia’s Rainbow Ministry publicly encouraged teens confused about their sexual identity to “come out” to get new energy and life.
  • St. Cecilia’s Rainbow Ministry has financially supported the Waltham House, a home for “GLBT youth” aged 14-18 confused about their sexual identity. St. Cecilia’s Rainbow Ministry plans to continue working with the house, which offers services including: “Mentoring relationships, tutoring and vocational training with GLBT adults, Opportunites to connect GLBTQ youth with each other in the community, and Transgender education/support.”  Waltham House is a private entity that receives some state funding. They do not have any affiliation with the Catholic Church and there’s no indication they teach anything remotely related to Catholic teachings on sexual morality such as abstinence and chastity for those who have same-sex attractions.

I’ll post more about the Waltham House in the very near future.  With this news that the Vatican is investigating the gay ministry in Saltillo, Mexico, we’ll probably need to give the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Bishops a little prod again shortly to remind them they should also investigate St. Cecilia’s in Boston.

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This column by internationally recognized author and lecturer, Dale O’Leary, appeared in The Boston Pilot on Friday. She is author of The Gender Agenda and  One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to Defending Marriage.  Cardinal Sean O’Malley described Dale in an August 2008 blog post about a Courage event  as “always so good.”  Here is an excellent piece by Dale about Catholic Schools that she wrote in May 2010.

This one’s equally excellent. You’ll never hear these words come from Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Hennessey, Fr. Bryan Hehir, or Fr. John Unni at St. Cecilia’s in Boston, or from John Kelly and the members of the St. Cecilia Rainbow Ministry.

True Compassion

Dale O’Leary, Posted: 7/22/2011

The Church, by which I mean hierarchy, clergy, religious, and laity, must step up and face the challenge posed by the militant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer activists — the GLBTQ coalition. It is simply not enough to defend marriage; we have to explain to the people in the pews, to our children, and to world why the Church does not — cannot — accept sexual relations between two persons of the same sex. We must do so with love and compassion, but without sacrificing the truth.

First, while many people sincerely believe that individuals are born with same-sex attraction (SSA) and gender identity disorders (GID) and can’t change, there is no replicated scientific evidence to support that belief. There is overwhelming evidence SSA and GID are not genetic or biological conditions. If they were, then identical twins would virtually always have the same pattern of sexual attraction and this is not the case.

That does not mean that SSA and GID are a choice. Nor is there a single explanation for all SSA. Each person with SSA has his or her own unique personal history. A number of therapists are convinced that some babies are born more vulnerable to the anxiety. This vulnerability combined with early negative experiences can affect the babies’ ability to identify with their same-sex parent or peers. The child grows up trying to find the love and acceptance missed as a baby and this need becomes interpreted as sexual desire. Because these negative experiences occur during the first two years of life before memory, GLBTQ persons may honestly say they always felt different and were born that way.

Although persons with GID and SSA have free will and can choose not to act on their feelings, the inner forces driving them to engage in sexual behavior with persons of the same sex are very strong and their struggle and suffering should not be underestimated. There are, however, numerous reports of change of sexual attraction — both spontaneous and through therapy. The more we understand about the origins of SSA, the greater the potential for prevention.

Therapists who work with people who want to be free of SSA and GID have made real progress in understanding the early childhood traumas and deficits which put a person on the path to GID and SSA. I strongly recommend “Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy” by Joseph J. Nicolosi and “The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction: A Comprehensive Counseling Resource” by Janelle M. Hallman.

There is growing understanding of the part failure to attach plays in many psychological disorders. According to attachment theory, in order to achieve psychological wholeness a person needs to successfully negotiate several stages in early childhood: attachment to the mother, separation from the mother, identification with the same-sex parent or peers. Failure to negotiate the first stage, makes it more difficult to negotiate the second, and third. While a history of failure to securely attach, separate, and identify probably accounts for many instances of SSA and GID, there are other less common reasons. When the individual histories of persons with SSA and GID are probed, the reasons for their patterns of thought can usually be discerned.

As Catholic Christians we have an obligation to treat every person as a fellow sinner in need of grace. We can thank God that we do not have these particular temptations, while at the same time making sure that therapy, counseling, support groups (like Courage), and understanding priests in the confessional are available. If the problem is never mentioned from the pulpit, if support and counseling are not easily accessible, if the priest in the confessional has no practical direction to offer, those who suffer from such temptations will rightly feel alone and abandoned. They will be tempted by the world which says “Come out. Join the gay community. Be proud.”

When they do so, they will join a community where psychological disorders, suicidal ideation, substance abuse problems, relationship instability, domestic violence, STDS, HIV, cancer and other health problems are far more common. They will cut themselves off from the source of grace and often become angry at God.

Compassion requires that we do not, like the priest and the Levite, pass by the man who fell among thieves, but offer real help.

Dale O’Leary is an internationally recognized lecturer and author of “The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality.”

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To Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Hennessey, Fr. Unni, and Terry Donilon: did you read this?  Dale says that the Church–namely you guys–hierarchy, clergy, and laity–must step up and face the challenge posed by the militant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer activists — the GLBTQ coalition. It’s simply not enough to defend marriage (which we’ve done meekly at best lately)–we have to explain to the people in the pews, to our children, and to world why the Church does not — cannot — accept sexual relations between two persons of the same sex. We must do so with love and compassion, but without sacrificing the truth.

Fr. Roger Landry stepped up with 3 powerful, personally-written columns in the Fall River diocesan newspaper. What exactly have Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Hennessey, and Fr. Unni done to step up with their own names on it  and actions behind it?  We got a couple of ambiguously worded, often conflicting statements from the archdiocese, and a barely-noticed piece by the editors of The Boston Pilot, “A teachable moment,” that reprinted excerpts from the USCCB’s 2006 document. But those do nothing to actually address what’s happening at St. Cecilia’s and in other Catholic parishes and schools under the nose or acquiescent eye of our bishops. Fr. Unni has continued to say nothing about Church teachings on sexual morality and chastity for homosexuals. His Rainbow Ministry was thrilled to finally get their Mass, and they’re now off spreading their philosophy that gay youth should “come out” to get “new energy and life” to confused youth at risk at the Waltham House.

We’ll be back with more in the next two posts.

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Quick break today from the “gay Mass” scandal at St. Cecilia in Boston for this excellent column by George Weigel about the appointment of Archbishop Charles Chaput as the new Archbishop of Philadelphia.

I was hoping we might have gotten Archbishop Chaput for Boston, to deal with the problem of “Catholic Lite” that Bryan Hehir and Cardinal Sean O’Malley have promulgated here in the past 7 years and continue promulgating. The scandal at St. Cecilia is a good example of that. Weigel refers to Boston’s problem with “Catholic Lite” near the end of his column. Let’s hope Chaput is in line for a red hat in the future!

Rise of the Evangelical Catholic Bishops

Gospel without compromise, joyfully lived, replaces Catholic Lite.

When Pope Benedict XVI appointed the archbishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M.Cap., as the new archbishop of Philadelphia on July 19, the usual suspects were trotted out to say the usual things that the usual suspects say.

Thus David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, continued his nine-year rant against the Catholic Church by pronouncing Chaput’s record on abuse (which virtually everyone else finds admirable) “dismal.” But then David Clohessy would likely have found St. John Chrysostom, St. Charles Borromeo, or Chaput’s 19th-century predecessor in Philadelphia, St. John Neumann, “dismal,” because if you’re the New York Times’s go-to guy for anti-Catholic-hierarchy sexual-abuse soundbites, that’s what you say. As for Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., the former editor of America magazine made his own priorities rather clear in fretting to the Philadelphia Inquirer that Chaput would “be a real pain in the neck for the Democratic Party.” (Bob Casey the Less, you have been warned!)

Just about every story on the Chaput appointment identified the archbishop as a “conservative” (because he believes and teaches as true what the Catholic Church believes and teaches to be true); just about every story claimed that Chaput was a tough guy when it came to holding Catholic politicians accountable for their votes on abortion and the nature of marriage (while completely missing the fact that Chaput had consistently made genuinely public arguments, not uniquely Catholic theological claims, about the inalienable right to life and marriage rightly understood); and of course every story emphasized abuse, abuse, abuse (as if this were the only reality of Catholic life in America).

All of this is tiresome, if wholly predictable; both its tediousness and its predictability help explain why it’s the rare discerning reader who turns to the mainstream media for serious reportage about and analysis of the Catholic Church. In this case, however, the same-old-same-old also obscured what is truly important about the Chaput appointment — which is not the archbishop’s Potawatomi ancestry (interesting as that is) but his place as one of the most vigorous exponents of what might be called Evangelical Catholicism.

Archbishop Chaput put it best himself in an exclusive interview with Catholic News Agency: “The biggest challenge, not just in Philadelphia but everywhere, is to preach the Gospel. . . . We need to have confidence in the Gospel, we have to live it faithfully, and to live it without compromise and with great joy.”

That formulation — the Gospel without compromise, joyfully lived — captures the essence of the Evangelical Catholicism that is slowly but steadily replacing Counter-Reformation Catholicism in the United States. The usual suspects are living in an old Catholic paradigm: They’re stuck in the Counter-Reformation Church of institutional maintenance; they simply want an institution they can run with looser rules, closely aligned with the Democratic party on the political left — which is precisely why they’re of interest to their media megaphones. Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, and other rising leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States are operating out of a very different paradigm — and in doing so, they’re the true heirs of both the Second Vatican Council and Pope John Paul II.

The Council put the Gospel and its proclamation at the center of Catholic life. John Paul II, in his apostolic letter published at the end of the Great Jubilee of 2000, challenged the entire Church to leave the stagnant shallows of institutional maintenance and put out into the deep waters of post-modernity, preaching Jesus Christ as the answer to the question that is every human life. In his 1991 encyclical Redemptoris Missio [The Mission of the Redeemer], John Paul insisted that the Church doesn’t have a mission, as if “mission” were one among a dozen things the Catholic Church does. No, John Paul taught, the Church is a mission, such that everything and everyone in the Church ought to be measured by what the management types would call mission-effectiveness.

The old warhorses of the post–Vatican II debates, on either end of the Catholic spectrum, don’t get this; they’re still mud-wrestling within the old paradigm. But Archbishop Charles Chaput gets it, big time. That, and the effective work of his predecessor, Cardinal James Francis Stafford, is what has made the archdiocese of Denver what is arguably the model Evangelical Catholic diocese in the country: a Church brimming with excitement over the adventure of the Gospel, a Church attracting some of the sharpest young Catholics in America to its services, a Church fully engaged in public life while making genuinely public arguments about the first principles of democracy.

This is the vision that Archbishop Chaput is bringing to Philadelphia, and it has virtually nothing to do with “agendas” as the usual suspects understand agendas. Of course that vision includes addressing serious problems of sexual abuse. The old clericalism that protected perpetrators in various dioceses created serious legal problems for the institutional Church; but it was also, and even more importantly from an evangelical point of view, a terrible impediment to preaching the Gospel and attracting people to friendship with Jesus Christ. It’s his palpable commitment to the latter — to the project of unapologetic evangelism — that will give Archbishop Chaput credibility in cleaning up what needs cleaning up and in healing what can be healed in Philadelphia.And this is something else the usual suspects miss. The usual suspects’ answer to clerical sexual abuse has been, is, and seems likely to remain the transformation of Catholicism into Catholic Lite. But in situation after situation — Phoenix and Denver being two prime examples — it’s been the Gospel without compromise, joyfully lived, that has turned abuse disaster areas into vibrant Catholic centers where public confidence in the Church’s credibility has been restored. Where Catholic Lite has been adopted as the solution to the problems Catholic Lite helped cause — as in Boston — the meltdown that began in 2002 continues.

With the appointment of Charles J. Chaput as archbishop of Philadelphia, the deep reform of the Catholic Church in the United States — the reform that is giving birth to Evangelical Catholicism even as it leaves the old post–Vatican II arguments fading into the rear-view mirror — has been accelerated.

— George Weigel is distinguished senior fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. His weekly column, “The Catholic Difference,” is syndicated by the archdiocese of Denver.

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Here’s the third in Fr. Roger Landry’s exceptional series on the issues that surfaced around St. Cecilia Church in Boston and their scandalous plan for a Mass to celebrate Gay Pride.

We apologize for the delay in editing the petition to the Vatican we thought would be updated by Thursday. Will have that to you all shortly. In the meantime, do share this with other like-minded friends, family members, any priests and pastors you know, and Boston archdiocesan officials.

The Gospel of Chastity

Fr. Roger J. Landry
The Anchor
July 15, 2011

For the last two weeks, we’ve been examining some of the larger issues that have been raised by the controversy over a Mass at St. Cecilia’s in Boston to welcome those who celebrate gay pride. We’ve mentioned that those with same-sex attractions deserve and need the full and authentic pastoral care of the Church. Those who are “gay” — meaning those who celebrate sexual activity and culture based on same-sex attractions —are in even greater need of the full teaching of the Catholic Church, since in addition to the normal need for pastoral accompaniment and assistance in resisting temptations they also are vulnerable to severe attacks against the faith, considering that gay orthodoxy involves the rejection of Biblical and magisterial teaching on sexual morality and marriage, and therefore the denial of the authority of Scripture and of the Church.

Central to the Church’s full and authentic pastoral care of those with same-sex attractions is the assistance to live a chaste life. When mention is made of this call to chastity, some in the gay movement shriek with exasperated incredulity, as if chastity were a death sentence to a loveless life or, worse, some type of medieval castration ceremony executed in subterranean Vatican dungeons. Chastity, however, is the precondition for any real love.

The reason why chastity is often looked at as a curse rather than a cure is because it is not often understood, lived or preached. Even among clergy, religious and catechists, chastity is regularly confused with continence (abstinence from sexual activity) or celibacy (the state of being unmarried). When the Catechism emphasizes that “all Christ’s faithful are called to lead a chaste life in keeping with their particular states of life,” and that “married people are called to live conjugal chastity,” many married couples are left scratching their heads, wondering how they can be both “chaste” and start a family. The reason for the confusion likely stems from the fact that when term “chastity” is most often used, it’s employed in the context of the sexual education of teenagers (who are called to continence in chastity) or in the description of the promises or vows professed by priests and religious (who are called to celibate continence in chastity). The confusion points to the urgency and importance for all in the Church to understand what chastity is and how all the baptized — married couples, singles, priests, religious, those with same-sex attractions and opposite-sex attractions —are called to it no matter what their state of life.

Blessed Pope John Paul II, both prior to and during his papacy, has provided the clearest, deepest, most practical and most enlightening articulation of what the virtue of chastity is. In his 1960 work, “Love and Responsibility,” he wrote that chastity is the moral habit that raises one’s attractions to another to the dignity of that person as a whole. There is a temptation — which we see in lust in general and in pornography in particular — to “reduce” another to the values of the body or, more specifically, to the erogenous zones. There is, moreover, the further temptation to “use” another — either intentionally in one’s mind or physically through his or her body — for one’s own sensual or emotional gratification; many people in our culture consensually use each other sexually in this way. This mutual utilitarianism, however, is not love, but the opposite of love. Harmonious egoisms or reciprocal narcissisms don’t lead to the formation of a loving “we,” but just two even-more-isolated egos. Love, rather, always seeks the true good of the other for the other’s sake. When a person loves genuinely, he is willing to sacrifice his pleasure or even his life for the one loved. Chastity makes this possible, because it is the virtue that trains a person’s vision as well as his will to keep his attraction to the other person up to the level of the person’s true good rather than “consume” the other to satisfy his sexual appetites.

In his papal catecheses on “Human Love in the Divine Plan,” popularly called the Theology of the Body, Pope John Paul II went even further in his teaching on chastity. He described that the virtue of chastity isn’t so much bound principally to the virtue of temperance — the virtue that helps us to master our appetites rather than be mastered by them — but to the virtue of piety. Piety is the habit that helps us to revere others according to their true dignity, according to the image of God in them. St. Paul wrote to husbands and wives, “Be subordinate to each other out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21, calling them to recognize and revere Christ in each other and mutually lay down their lives for each other out of love for the Lord they recognize dwelling in the other. Linked to piety, chastity helps us to see the other as sacred subject instead of a sexual object, to treat the other with reverence rather than randiness.

Blessed Pope John Paul II’s insights help us better to see why all of us in the Church, no matter our state of life, are called to chastity.

Husbands and wives are called to chastity in their marriage. This means that they reverence the other as a sacred gift, raise their attractions to the level of their spouse’s genuine good (including, obviously, the good of the soul) and see the other as created in God’s image, fully accepting the paternal meaning of a man’s masculinity or the maternal meaning of the woman’s femininity, In simple terms, their love is meant to be holy, not horny. Lusting after each other — what Jesus called “adultery in the heart” — is, therefore, a desecration of the other in one’s intentions. Sexual practices that treat one’s spouse as an actor in a pornographic film are likewise totally inconsistent with the love one’s spouse deserves. The use of contraception, which makes sexual pleasure — rather than true openness to God, to the other, and to the life-giving potential of love — the goal of spousal sexual union, corrodes rather than makes love, because using another for one’s own ends is contrary to sacrificing oneself for the other’s true good.

Likewise all those who are unmarried are called to chastity. Pornography, masturbation, fornication, oral sex and other practices are inconsistent with one’s or another’s genuine good, accepting the other in his or her totality, and treating oneself and others with the reverence befitting a temple of the Holy Spirit. Pornography or porno-vision is the opposite of chastity, abstracting a person’s sexual values from the person’s overall good. Fornication takes advantage of another to whom one has not made a total commitment for one’s pleasure. Same-sex activity rejects the meaning of the masculinity or femininity and the natural ordering toward the gift of life. When there’s no real openness to God and to life, when the other is treated as a sexual object rather than a sacred subject, when there’s no commitment to the total person and good of the other, there’s can be no real love in this type of “making love,” whether among people of the same sex or opposite sexes. Symbiotic self-indulgence is light years away from the expression in body language of the one-flesh union of mutual self-gifts brought about by God in the marriage of a man and one woman, which is the only proper moral context for love-making to be truly loving.

Can those with same-sex attractions truly love each other? Absolutely. The Church by no means is condemning those with same-sex attractions to a loveless life; the question is what practices will be consistent with genuine love and the objective good of the people involved. The Church teaches that those of the same-sex can clearly exercise the love of friendship (philia) in which the other becomes like a second self. The Church teaches that they certainly can — and are called to — have true Christian love (agape) toward each other, a willingness to sacrifice themselves and even die to themselves and their pleasures for the other’s true good. But the Church stresses that they need to ensure the romantic attractions (eros)  they have for each other do not damage the one they love by opposing or destroying the love of agape and philia. For this they need chastity, which helps them raise their romantic attractions up to the sacred dignity of the person, which is violated by same-sex sexual activity.

Why is this message of chastity for those with same-sex attractions and everyone else so seldom heard? Some priests seem reluctant to preach the message because, sadly, either they’re not living chastely themselves or they erroneously understand and experience chastity as a deprivation from which they desire to spare others. Many lay people are disinclined to call those with same-sex attractions to chastity because they’re not practicing it either and don’t want to seem hypocritical in calling others to live what they themselves aren’t living. Others, misunderstanding chastity, think that it will relegate those with same-sex attractions to a “loveless life,” rather than provide the conditions for the possibility of any true love through the integration of eros consistent with philia and agape. If, however, we’re ever going to help individuals learn how to love (agape) others as Christ has loved us and assist them to discover a love that saves and leads to true and lasting happiness, we need to rediscover and repropose with enthusiasm the virtue of chastity, and help them to live it.

There is a group called Courage, founded in 1980 by New York Cardinal Terrence Cooke and Father John Harvey, which is dedicated to helping those with same sex attractions live chastely — through prayer and dedication, genuine Christian friendship and fellowship, mutual support and good example. Not only do we need more Courage chapters in every diocese, but the whole Church needs to have the courage and charity to become a worldwide Courage chapter to help those with same-sex attractions (and everyone else) purify and raise erotic attractions to the level of their loved one’s true good — out of reverence for God and for the image of God in others. Anything short of this is not worthy of the Church founded by Christ to lead us to holiness. Anything short of this full proclamation of the Gospel of chastity is not true pastoral care.

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Michael Voris at RealCatholicTV just came out with this outstanding video describing the situation at St. Cecilia’s in Boston.

Among the more memorable lines in the video is the following at the beginning:

Is there no end to the insanity in the church these days that is allowed, defended, and even promoted by so many dioceses bishops and chanceries.  Front and center is the horrific scandal and stench emanating from the Archdiocese of Boston.

The petition to Rome is being updated this evening. Anyone who signed previously should come back on Thursday to sign the new one, and if you haven’t signed previously, please do sign it Thursday.

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St. Cecilia’s Church promoted it originally as a Mass to “commemorate” and “celebrate” Boston (Gay) Pride month. Then it was postponed–not cancelled–and slightly repositioned in the bulletin notice as an “All are Welcome” Mass to welcome the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender community. It happened on Sunday, July 10, with approval of the Archdiocese of Boston, and the preaching and message were perhaps most noteworthy for what was NOT said.

1) Here’s a video from NECN (sorry, no pieces of the homily captured here, and we do not yet have a recording to post for you):

Note the buttons distributed which almost everyone in the video is wearing, that show the gay rights movement rainbow symbol superimposed on a cross.

The only recorded comment in the video from Fr. Unni is near the end, with him saying,

The Cardinal’s been supportive, he’s been very clear what the Church teaches and what it doesn’t, and he knows I have no other agenda there.  That’s not going to please everybody, but that’s the Gospel….My thing is, nobody gets excluded from the door, and nobody gets excluded from the table, and then from there, I’m just assuming we’re all trying to do the best that we can do.”

Hmm. Yes, we know the Cardinal’s been supportive.  That’s a big part of the problem.  He has been only somewhat clear on what the Church teaches and doesn’t teach by the mixed messages coming out from him and his spokesman.  If Fr. Unni has “no other agenda there,” then why has he sponsored speakers who have worked in favor of gay marriage talking in favor of gay marriage, in direct opposition to what the Catholic Church teaches?  Fr. Unni, Cardinal O’Malley, and Terry Donilon, can we get an answer to that question?  And “nobody gets excluded from the table”?  Does that mean that regardless of the level of mortal sin anyone might have committed, and an absence of repentance for that sin, they should still receive the Eucharist?

2) Here are pieces of the Boston Globe’s coverage, “Gays, lesbians draw comfort, support from Catholic Mass“:

The Rainbow Ministry of St. Cecilia’s Church opened its doors to nearly 700 people yesterday for a long-awaited Mass in support of gay and lesbian Catholics, capping a month of controversy over the Boston Archdiocese’s postponement of the service.

A standing-room-only crowd, larger than Easter Sunday’s, packed the pews to hear the Rev. John J. Unni’s characteristically fiery message of love, acceptance, and the forgiveness of sins.

Unni’s message, which encouraged the congregation to welcome outcasts as Jesus did 2,000 years ago, was similar to that of weeks past. The difference yesterday, parishioners said, was Unni’s courage to say those words during a Mass that has drawn so much vitriol as well as passionate support.

His words marked the fifth week of back and forth between the church and the archdiocese, which began when St. Cecilia’s announced in its bulletin an “All Are Welcome’’ Mass, scheduled during Gay Pride Month in support of a sizable gay and lesbian portion of the congregation. Many of those members came from the South End’s predominantly gay Jesuit Urban Center, which closed in 2007.

The announcement brought a storm of criticism from conservative Catholics and bloggers. The archdiocese canceled the service days later, saying the church could not appear to endorse homosexuality.

The day of the canceled Mass, parishioners from St. Cecilia’s Rainbow Ministry, which serves the church’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, held a sidewalk prayer service instead. But Rainbow Ministry members said that was no substitute for a clergy-led Mass inside the church. About three weeks ago, the archdiocese approved the Mass, which Unni said yesterday at 11 a.m.

Leading the processional, Rainbow Ministry president John Kelly walked into the nave in front of Unni, carrying a gold cross.

“I can’t believe this is happening,’’ Kelly later recalled thinking as he approached the altar. “I never thought I’d see this day.’’

After growing up gay in South Boston, Kelly, 69, left Catholicism for more than 20 years before finding compassion and a diverse congregation at the Jesuit Urban Center.

“I went through hell,’’ Kelly said. “But today, I’ve never felt so blessed.’’

Many in the congregation wore “All Are Welcome’’ buttons showing a cross and a rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights movement.

“Thank you for saying, ‘This is who we are,’ ’’ Unni said to gay and lesbian parishioners at the end of Mass. “You are a beautiful and integral part of this parish.’’

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who attended the service, said he follows the teachings of the Catholic Church for most issues, but on social issues he goes with his heart. The Catholic Church accepts gay and lesbians as humans and Catholics, but considers homosexuality a sin, as it does with extramarital sex between a man and a woman, according to a 2005 letter written by Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley.

“Our church talks about coming home,’’ Menino said after the service. “I want to make sure that we welcome everyone.’’

In the hot afternoon sun outside the church, parishioners and visitors attended an alfresco reception and ate ribs, coleslaw, and cupcakes at round tables that dotted Belvidere Street.

“It didn’t make a difference that the Mass was on a different day,’’ said Joseph Sansivero, 67, of Andover, who wore a rainbow-pinstriped shirt. “The message is appreciated.’’

Richard Iandoli, vice chairman of the parish council, said Unni’s message bore special importance because his fearlessness in supporting gay parishioners, who sometimes feel shunned by other Catholics, may encourage other gay and lesbian Catholics to come back to the church.

“The message was the same, but the feel was different than it was in June,’’ said Iandoli, who was a driving force behind the service. “We know all are welcome here, but public affirmation goes a long way.’’

Here are three interesting comments on the Globe’s article:

It is always good to hear that sinners of any kind (all of us) draw support from the Mass. However, the image that is included with the story is unnerving. It seems to portray a man casually leaning on the baptismal fount as though it were a phone booth while two men dance around it. All of this while a priest or deacon looks on! This is definitely not in keeping with Roman Catholic practice and understanding of how sacred places and objects should be treated. I am embarrassed and scandalized to see this kind of thing labeled “Catholic.”

Just a simple question: Since when is Mass about celebrating one’s sexuality? OR welcoming one because of his/her sexuality?? The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was instituted by Christ at the Last Supper when he asked his apostles (and us since we are an apostolic Church) to “Do this in memory of Me.” I don’t recall Christ saying that certain groups were welcome or unwelcome. When we remember that the Mass’s ONLY focus should be Christ in the Eucharist then we won’t have issues of who is welcome or who isn’t. Hey, folks–it’s NOT about us!!! Put your pride in your pocket and realize the REAL reason we attend Mass!! If that’s not why you’re there, then it’s time to re-think your affiliations.

Just one more example of gays needing something “special” or “different” in order to call attention to themselves.  I’m a gay man and have been a practicing Catholic all my life. I’ve never NOT felt welcome at Mass or in any Catholic church — and I have never missed Mass in my life. The beauty of true Catholicism and the message of Christ is that it calls us out of ourselves, to be better than ourselves…a Mass such as this one simply calls attention to “ourselves” — “look at us, we’re gay.”  How pathetic, yet how predictable.  (And so now Mayor Menino’s theological insights make news?? Please…)

3) A report on the Mass from Catholic blogger, Carol McKinley of The Tenth Crusade is here. Here’s a small piece, but do read the whole thing:

Fr. Unni’s homily explained exactly whose souls are inadequately prepared to receive the Word – it’s the ‘hard liners’ and religious authorities who just ‘don’t get it’.  You see, Jesus opposed religious authority because He said stupid stuff like everyone was welcome, come to Him wracked with shame, whether you are gay or a prostitute or any other person on the margins. Religious authority and hard liners don’t get it. Remember that Nicodemus came through the roof.

Fortuitously, he read the Gospel of Matthew before and after the parable of the sower and you know what he found? That Christ said if he had gone to Sodom and did what He did for outcasts, they would have gotten it. Get it?  No?

He knew this was all going to be open for misinterpretation, but he is not giving the green light -no no – it’s about loving people taking care of other people.

Jesus said ‘these people’ are people who lay heavy burdens and rules upon you but if you come to Him, He will give you rest. Know who you are. God sees who you are and He will give you rest. Stand in your own strength.

Fr. Unni said he was not giving the green light? Well, if he’s not giving the “green light,” then where is the orange or red light?  How can promoting gay marriage at your parish not be seen by parishioners and anyone else as “giving the green light”?  And if “nobody gets excluded from the table and he assumes everyone is just doing the best they can, how can that not be seen as “giving the green light,” since Unni never preaches about a red light.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Bishop Robert Hennessey, and Fr. Unni are all abdicating their responsibility to teach the truths of the Catholic faith about sexual morality and the path to holiness and salvation to the “GLBT Community” at St. Cecilia’s.  It’s clear as day. Whatever little Cardinal O’Malley  published in his short statements and whatever The Pilot published that articulated church teaching in this area are clearly NOT being preached and taught at St. Cecilia Church.

When will the Pope, Congregation for Bishops, and Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith do something about this is another question?

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