Posts Tagged ‘fr john unni’

The Missionary Society of St. James does pretty good work with the poor in Latin America. So, it’s kind of a shame that they’re putting their credibility on the line by continuing their plans to honor Fr. John Unni, of St. Cecilia’s “Gay Pride Mass” fame at their Boston Banquet in October.  Some readers complained that I haven’t taken up the subject. You’ve now gotten your wish.

Here’s their July 2001 newsletter. It probably went to press before the big public flap over the “Gay Pride Mass.” Here’s the notice about honoring Fr. Unni:

I wrote to the St. James Society to complain about this.

from: Joe Sacerdo
to: ReverendRodney_Copp@rcab.org, info@socstjames.com
date: Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 10:57 PM
subject: Fr. Unni being honored by St. James Society?

Fr. Copp and Fr. Hays,

I notice that the St. James Society plans to honor Fr. John Unni of St. Cecilia’s in Boston on Sunday, October 23 at Boston College High School. As I’m sure you know, he has brought shame upon the archdiocese for plans to celebrate a Mass commemorating Gay Pride last month, and his parish has sponsored speakers in recent years who support gay marriage and worked against the Catholic Church on gay marriage.


Were you both aware of this?  In consideration of what has happened over the past 4-5 weeks, is the plan still to honor him?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Here’s the response I received back:

To: Reverend Rodney Copp (CC), Mr. Joe Sacerdo
From: Rev. Kevin Hays
RE: Cardinal Cushing Award

Mr. Sacerdo. Thank you for your communication regarding this year’s recipients of the Cardinal Cushing Award.

The Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle has existed for the last 53 years as a missionary group in the poorest areas of Latin America. For many years now Fr. John Unni and people associated with St. Cecilia’s parish have done missionary and humanitarian relief work in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. He was chosen to receive this award for the work that he does with God’s poorest of the poor. The Society of St. James the Apostle will make no comment on the events of the last number of weeks, given that the Archdiocese has already done so.

With every best wish,
Rev. Kevin Hays

Is it just me, or is kind of a problem to award someone for their work serving the physical needs of the “poorest of the poor” in Haiti, and then look the other way when you know they’ve created public scandal by planning a “Gay Pride Mass,” and you know they’re sponsoring a “Rainbow Ministry” at their parish that tells sexually confused teens they should “come out” to get new life and energy, they’re  sponsoring speakers in support of “gay marriage” who lead poor souls away from holiness and salvation, and they’re failing to serve the needs of the spiritually poor in his own parish by failing to lead them towards God’s plan for salavation?

If you’d like to write to the two people in charge of the St. James Society here in Boston and let them know what you think, here are their email addresses:

Fr. Rodney Copp: ReverendRodney_Copp@rcab.org
Fr. Kevin Hays: info@socstjames.com

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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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The scandal at St. Cecilia’s in Boston just keeps getting worse and worse as we hear more about what Fr. Unni said during and after the July 11 Mass and hear more about what his “Rainbow Ministry” is up to.

Here’s an article about the festivities at St. Cecilia’s that ran in the The Rainbow Times.  It’s called, “Gay Catholics feel pride at Mass.” We’re only allowed to excerpt from the article, but you should read the whole thing to get the full impression of what’s going on there.

Gay Catholics feel pride at Mass

By Chuck Colbert /TRT Reporter
July 17, 2011

A message of acceptance and inclusion rang out loud and clear on Sunday, July 10, from the opening hymn to the pastor’s homily to the prayers of the faithful: All are welcome at St. Cecilia’s Church.

The regularly scheduled 11:00 am Mass, led by the parish’s Rainbow Ministry, drew a large standing-room-only crowd to the Back Bay Catholic parish, a gathering estimated at 700 people by the Boston Globe.

The Rainbow Ministry is an explicit outreach to gay and lesbian Catholics.

During his homily and afterwards, the Rev. John J. Unni left little doubt about the need for continued pastoral care and support of LGBT Catholics who seek a safe sanctuary to worship and pray in community, but who also feel they have been ostracized by society and the Church.

“I want today to be not only a celebration of love and acceptance, but also to go further,” said Unni, explaining, “Jesus said all are welcome: Come to me all of you who are wrapped in shame: the outcasts and marginalized.”

“Shame eats people away,” Unni added. “Jesus breaks down the shame with his interactions with people. He did it at the [communion] table.”

A remedy for shame, Unni suggested, is compassion, the ability to “stand in awe of what someone else carries through life without judgment,” he said.

Unni said Jesus’ message expressed in the Gospel was that those who don’t understand the importance of compassion and inclusion —even of “prostitutes and tax collectors in his time” — “just don’t get it.”  You can read more here.

That’s what was reported of the homily.  The article says that after Mass, reporters asked Unni about Catholic teaching on other issues of sexuality, “for example, contraception, masturbation, co-habitation, same-sex activity, among other practices the church considers to be sexual sins.”  Here’s how the article says Unni responded:

“That is not what this gathering is about,” Unni said.

While not minimizing sexual mistakes, he said that the Mass was about creating a place where all were welcome and that the church had made clear that exclusion of gay people was at odds with Christ’s message.

The Rainbow Ministry was asked what’s next for them. They said:

We are in the process of reaching out to Waltham House,” a center for homeless gay and lesbian youth, said Charles Petit, a parishioner, adding, “We got a letter from them, asking us to come out and talk about why this church is different from other Catholic churches. We’re thinking about having a barbeque.”

The article closes with the reporter asking the question, “Meanwhile, what may account for conservative Catholic vitriol over St. Cecilia’s ministry with gay and lesbian Catholics?”  He asked a local psychotherapist, who has publicly worked toward gay marriage.  The response:

“What this entire experience has taught is about the venom that comes from these ‘Catholic’ bloggers towards gay people,” said Charles Martel, a licensed clinical social worker in private practice.

“From a psychological perspective, their level of anger and rage reflects that the issue of homosexuality seems to be something that they have unresolved personal conflicts about, and clearly are struggling with,” he added.

Click here for the entire article.

Taking this report along with the previous report on Fr. Unni’s homily at The Tenth Crusade and the NECN video footage of Fr. Unni gives a pretty clear picture of the “pastoral malpractice” going on at St. Cecilia’s. A few examples right off the top of my head:

  • I don’t know which Gospel Fr. Unni is reading or referring to and I’m honestly not sure where in the Gospel Jesus said: those who don’t understand the importance of compassion and inclusion —even of “prostitutes and tax collectors in his time” — “just don’t get it.”  We all know Jesus ate with prostitutes and tax collectors and had compassion on sinners.  Nobody has any problem with welcoming sinners and having compassion on them.  I and every sinner need compassion and mercy.  The issue with Fr. Unni’s preaching and teaching is he never leads people further beyond the welcome to a place where they are called to repentance for their sins and turning away from sin to chastity and the life of holiness that goes along with that.
  • Why the Rainbow ministry?  Unni said he was simply trying to follow Jesus’ message of compassion and caring.  Where’s Jesus message of “go and sin no more”?  Oops, that message has no place with Fr. Unni at St. Cecilia’s. He repeatedly shows himself committing “pastoral malpractice” by failing to utter the words.
  • What about Catholic teaching on other issues of sexuality, like contraception, masturbation, co-habitation, same-sex activity, among other practices the church considers to be sexual sins? Unni said that’s not what Mass is about–it’s only about welcoming everyone. Since when is the purpose of Mass “welcoming everyone”?  You can have a reception in the church hall to “welcome everyone.”  Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross. According to the Catechism, “The purposes for which the Mass is offered are: first, to adore God as our Creator and Lord; second, to thank God for His many favors; third, to ask God to bestow His blessings on all men; fourth, to satisfy the justice of God for the sins committed against Him. Where and when does Unni talk about issues of sin? When and where does he teach about sexual morality?  Nowhere that anyone can find–not in the bulletin, not in homilies. Nowhere.
  • What’s next for the Rainbow Ministry? Reaching out to Waltham House, a non-religious center for homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) youth ages 14-18. whose approach with gay and lesbian teens has nothing to do with Catholic Church teachings. The Rainbow Ministry is going to go out and talk about why St. Cecilia’s is different from other Catholic churches.  Duh.  That’s the problem–they are different from other Catholic churches–because they don’t teach what the Catholic Church teaches about sexual morality and chastity.
  • Then there’s the quote from Charles Martel, the psychotherapist who worked in favor of “gay marriage” as reported here a few weeks ago. (See Pro-”Gay Marriage” Speakers at Boston Catholic Church). My father used to say to me, always consider the source.  Is someone who worked against the Catholic church on marriage really in any position to judge Catholics bloggers critical of the GLBT ministry and planned Gay Pride Mass at St. Cecilias?

Other than those minor points, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

For all of the public flap and platitudes by Cardinal Sean O’Malley about this scandalous situation, Fr. Unni and the Rainbow Ministry are obviously largely unaffected by the uproar, and are continuing down their merry path. Now that we have a fuller sense for what happened on July 11th, we can again step-up the petition campaign to Rome. I’ll have more on that in the next post.

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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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Fr. Roger Landry, a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, has just published the second in what’s shaping up to be a brilliant 3-part series on the controversy at St. Cecilia’s in Boston and the pastoral care of homosexuals.  Once again, it’s “must-reading” by every Catholic and Catholic priest who cares about ministering to homosexuals and leading them to a life of holiness.

(For anyone attending the 11am Mass at St. Cecilia’s this morning, please remember this is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, regardless of what else is happening around it. All sinners are called to conversion and we hope and pray that message is delivered today, especially in view of the Gospel reading for today. Mayor Tom Menino will be there, and with all of the advance publicity, this could be somewhat of a media circus. Please be careful to not turn it into any more of a media circus than may already be in store).

Now, without further ado, here is Fr. Landry’s column:

Loving in the Truth Those Involved in the Gay Lifestyle

Fr. Roger J. Landry
The Anchor
July 8, 2011

Last week we began a look at the controversy at St. Cecilia’s Church in Boston over the scheduling of a Mass originally advertised to celebrate “gay pride” and then after criticism postponed and relabeled to a “welcoming Mass,” which while perhaps no longer explicitly extolling gay pride still seems poised to give no-questions-asked hospitality to those who believe that gay pride should be glorified, including within the context of a Catholic Mass.

We noted that the controversy raises several concerns that extend beyond a particular parish or archdiocese with regard to the authentic pastoral care the Church owes those immersed in a gay lifestyle or in any lifestyle that exalts practices that are incompatible with the Gospel. The only adequate Christian response to anyone is love, but this love can never remain a shallow hospitality that fails to help the person recognize and respond to the rather conspicuous ways Christ is challenging him to turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel. Particularly with those ensconced in a gay lifestyle — which is a way of life built on regarding several basic truths of anthropology, sexual morality, marriage, Scriptural inspiration, and magisterial authority as antiquated and repressive “hang-ups”  from which people need to be liberated — the Church’s charity must always be bound to the compassionate, clear and compelling presentation of the fullness of the truth that alone can set them free (Jn 8:32). The stakes of the Church’s failure to carry out this service to the truth are huge, not only for those presently involved in a gay lifestyle, but also for the conscience formation of all in the Church and society. As we recently witnessed in New York and are well aware of in Massachusetts, people are being barraged by an aggressive, well-financed gay campaign, assisted by the media and educational establishments, to get people to adopt the anthropological and moral categories of the gay movement and anathamatize those of the Church. If the Church remains silent in the face of the moral heresies of the gay movement today, it could prove to be as injurious to her mission for the salvation of souls as if she had remained silent before the Christological heresies of the fourth and fifth centuries.

With that in mind, we will examine three common falsehoods that have come to the surface in the St. Cecilia’s controversy to which the Church must respond with the truth.

The first is the facile citation of “What would Jesus do?” that was repeatedly employed by supporters of the “gay pride Mass” against criticism of the Mass. They implied that Jesus would never do anything other than embrace those in the gay movement and that the critics were therefore nothing other than modern Pharisees against whose hypocrisy Jesus reserved his most pungent castigations. The irony of this reference to what Jesus would do is that it suggests that just as Jesus never turned his back on sinners, neither would he turn his back on gays and lesbians; while absolutely true, it goes against one of the fundamental premises of the gay movement, that gays and lesbians are doing nothing sinful. Thinking about what Jesus would or would not do as a standard for morality, nevertheless, is helpful. It deserves to be asked: Would those defending gay pride by citing WWJD think that Jesus would want to associate with, not to mention participate in, a gay pride parade like the one held in downtown Boston last month, in which men dressed in religious drag as the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” shamelessly simulated acts of sodomy on parade floats, and passed out free sex paraphernalia and sadomasochistic literature to passers-by? We see a relevant example of what Jesus would do in his interaction with the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:2-11). He first defended her against those who sought to kill her, by reminding her accusers that they were not innocent enough to throw stones at anyone else. But after assuring her that he didn’t condemn her, he told her to go and sin no more. The Church likewise seeks to protect and defend those engaged in same-sex conduct from hatred and violence, but, like her Founder, lovingly insists they leave the gay lifestyle behind.

The second falsity is about the “acceptance” of those with same-sex attractions. Many of those speaking to the media during the St. Cecilia’s controversy expressed their desire to be accepted and allowed to worship God “as they are.”  This is a sincere and noble desire. Those in the gay movement, however, generally have two profound errors about what this acceptance should entail.

One error flows from the fact that those in the gay movement generally have too shallow and reductive an understanding of what it means to “accept” them. They want others to acknowledge their attractions for people of the same-sex, not condemn them for having them, and not try to get them to change them. The Church, however, can’t stop there, at the level of their attractions, because their sexual desires are neither co-extensive with “who they are” nor constitute the fundamental basis of their identity and dignity. True acceptance also involves recognizing that at the deepest level of their being, those with same-sex attractions are made in God’s image and likeness, and ordered ontologically as male or female toward sexual complementarity (Gen 1:27). Those with same-sex attractions need to accept this fundamental truth about who they are, even though it’s obvious that they faultlessly do not experience these natural attractions. This is one reason why the Church teaches that that those with same-sex attractions experience an “affective disorder,” a misalignment between their nature as a male or female and their sexual feelings (CCC 2357). This fuller truth about who they are can’t be ignored or rejected when they ask for, and we give, acceptance. Just as we must go beyond a shallow welcoming that fails to help them in turn welcome the fullness of the Gospel, so we must also go beyond a superficial acceptance that fails to help them accept the full truth of how God made them.

Another error over “acceptance” occurs when those in the gay movement suggest that by accepting them we must accept their same-sex activity, as if their actions, like their attractions, are something over which they have no control. Cardinal Sean O’Malley responded to this demand with clarity and courage back in 2004: “Sometimes we are told, ‘If you do not accept my behavior, you do not love me,’ In reality we must communicate the exact opposite: ‘Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior.’” True love means, obviously, that we don’t condemn them for the behavior that disfigures their identity, but it does mean that we try to help them to change their behavior to align it with the love of God and true love of others.

The third falsehood relates to the common calumny that any opposition to the gay agenda, or any criticism of a “gay pride Mass,” comes exclusively from “homophobia” or “hatred” for those with same-sex attractions, as a few members of St. Cecilia’s alleged in interviews with the media. While there’s no dispute that, sadly, in some places real homophobia does exist, ministers to the gay community have a duty not only not to abet this confusion but to disabuse those entrusted to their care from thinking the Church’s teachings on same-sex activities are based on hatred rather than love grounded in truth; they also have the responsibility to remind them that judging others or mendaciously bullying others with epithets about their character are grave sins that those with same-sex attractions are not exempt from committing.

These false accusations, however, lead to a larger point about how much the tide has turned with regard to the direction of bullying between those with same-sex attractions and others in society. Whereas in the past, those with same sex attractions were often subject to ill-treatment and ridicule on account of their attractions, including sadly by those who claimed to be Christian, now it’s Christians who are often subjected to ridicule and, in a growing number of cases, discrimination. If anyone doubts this point, they should just ponder what Constance Cervone of Jamaica Plain said in a June 28 Boston Globe article on St. Cecilia’s: “It was harder for me … to come out as a Catholic than as a gay person.” This is an indication that, at least for her, “Christianophobia” is presently more menacing than “homophobia.” The Church as a whole, and those who minister to the gay community in particular, must have the courage to address this.

Next week we will finish this three-part series on the full pastoral care of those with same-sex attractions in the truth by focusing the Church’s responsibility to call them and everyone in the Church to true love, which is always and exclusively chaste love.

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