A Seattle deacon writes: “We are trying to live out the gospel…”

Deacon Roy Harrington, from Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Seattle, dropped me a line in response to this post and the comments it provoked.  I reprint his e-mail here with his permission.  Dcn. G.


Fr. Tim was ordained for the Archdiocese of Seattle after completing theology at the NAC in Rome. He was our parochial vicar at OLL back in the early 1980′s. He and Archbishop Sartain became good friends in Rome and they continue to be so today. After a few years of diocesan service, Fr. Tim became a Trappist in Oregon for 17 years–he’s one of the most mystically spiritual people I know–a real Thomas Merton for the 21st Century. But 9 years ago, he came back to serve in Seattle and has been our pastoral leader for 7 years. All that said, Fr. Tim is only concerned about drawing people back to the Church–making OLL a welcoming place for everyone.

25% of the families in our school are not Catholic but they know that they are welcome in our midst any time. We have kids in the school who have two moms or two dads–some Catholic, some not. We simply focus on serving these kids and families to the best of our ability. That’s why Fr. Tim decided that allowing the gathering of referendum signatures at the Church would be too divisive and disruptive. On Sunday he actually encouraged folks to sign the referendum request if that’s what their consciences led them to. He mentioned it briefly in his homily but then talked more about it during the announcements. The standing ovation was spontaneous and completely unexpected…..I looked at him and could tell he was immediately embarrassed and uncomfortable with the show of emotion.

He is not seeking approval or popularity–just following his conscience and instincts as a pastoral leader trying to bring people back, not wanting to push them away. At the same time, I admire both Fr. Tim & Archbishop Sartain as pastoral leaders. They are two of the most humble priests I’ve ever met. Thanks for reminding your readers what the AB actually told pastors.  Fr.Tim was neither disobeying the AB or encouraging disagreement with him. We are trying to live out the Gospel by example while not judging others–I think that’s what Jesus would have us do.


  1. I do not doubt the sincerity or goodwill of this deacon, nor his pastor, but I do think they have fallen into an all-too-common fallacy: that the most important virtue for a parish, and its members, is to be “welcoming.”

    The intention behind this is noble; Deacon Harrington himself says that it is to “draw…people back to the Church.” However, the elevation of being “welcoming” above all other virtues actually does the exact opposite: it drives many away, as they see you no different than the culture (for being “welcoming” translates into accepting, without comment, all that the culture of death promotes). So what is the point of getting up early on Sunday morning?

    If we truly study the life of Christ and the Saints, we will see that they were under no such illusions. Yes, they wanted to draw all into the Church, but they didn’t elevate being “welcoming” above all other virtues. Jesus drove out the moneychangers, he condemned hypocrites and he told public sinners to “sin no more.” Our history is full of saints who strongly and directly condemned sin and forcefully rebuked those who were opposed to the Church’s mission and teachings.

    The idea of being “welcoming” as the ultimate virtue is not Christian; it is American. We need to realize this fact, and fast, or else we are in danger of losing yet another generation to the secular culture.

  2. FrMichael says:

    “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8: 34-38)

    If a school one-quarter full of non-Catholics causes one to muzzle the Truth of the Catholic Faith, time to ask them to leave. If a school has gay and lesbian parents, which causes the parish priest to muzzle the Truth of the Catholic Faith for fear of offending them, time to ask the families to leave.

    “We simply focus on serving these kids and families to the best of our ability.” It’s apparently the wrong focus. How about serving the 3/4 of the kids and their parents who are Catholic in the wickedly secularized Northwest and don’t need a further diminution of the Catholic Faith?

    The deacon’s “defense” of his pastor is weak tea, at best. I read from the staff bios at the parochial website that “Roy is currently serving the Archdiocese as the Director for Deacons in the Office of the Vicar for Clergy.” Isn’t that just wonderful? Why is this Archbishop in charge of cleaning up the LCWR leadership when he has such problems at home?

  3. Thank you, Deacon Roy, for your words of clarification. It sounds indeed as if you, Fr. Tim, and the archbishop are trying to live out the gospel by example.
    As I read the first two comments on this thread, I wonder if we even read the same article. I’m not seeing that anyone is muzzling the truth or enabling the culture of death, and since when is “welcoming” a bad word? And it seems that Fr. Michael’s solution to people on the margins is that it’s “time to ask them to leave”.

  4. Deacon Roy and Father Tim — I STAND and APPLAUD YOU.

  5. I happen to agree with this post.. The Catholic church and it’s people are supposed to be WELCOMING.. It doesn’t not matter what color you are, what sexual preference you have, if you are married or divorced, divorced and remarried.. We love EVERYONE and we WELCOME everyone and we minister to EVERYONE.. That does NOT mean we CONDONE the practices which our Holy Mother Church does not believe in BUT at the same time we MUST be a people of love, compassion and WELCOMING… We must live by what Jesus told his disciples “Love others as I have loved you”….I may not like your preferences, your politics your anything but as a Christian I must love you and care for you but that also means if you are in a situation that our faith does not condone then you must abide by what we believe in as well but that does not mean in any way that we TURN anyone away…. I agree with this parish in not getting involved in this issue in this particular way..

  6. Mark Greta says:

    Robyn, love the sinner but hate the sin. When you do not condone the sin, those who support gay marriage say you are not loving them as they are. The Bishop is trying to provide education to the Catholics to excercise their religious liberty to put this measure being forced on them to a simple vote of the people. This priest is saying no and his statement was a direct insult to the Bishop in hinting that his letter was not following the gospel. The letter was supporting the Church teaching. We do not support or condone gay marriage and fight it to protect one woman one man marriage as a non negotiable position as stated clearly by Pope Benedict.

    The Bishops are starting to do what they should have been doing for the last 40 years in fighting the grave evils that have been condoned. This priest is condoning gay marriage by his stance. Bloking petitions from being passed out on Church grounds sends a clear message he does not support Church teaching or his Bishop.

    What is being said here is indeed milk toast excuses by the Deacon to support his priest and to try to pacify this Bishop. Hopefully the Bishop, who has also been assigned by the Vatican to take care of the open long term dissent of the nuns in the other post by deacon below. Then this dissenting priest and deacon can be “shocked” as the nuns were that the Church leadership actually took action.

  7. I am a Pastoral Associate in the ‘wickedly secularized Northwest’.
    We are known as Christians by our actions…and FrMichael, if you are any kind of a priest, I am glad you are not in the PNW. Really? What a judgmental statement. And if you are going to quote Scripture, how about this one, ” And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40. Oh wait, if you really are a priest, you knew that…you just forgot that part of Scripture. Or are gay people not the ‘least brothers’?

  8. I honestly don’t believe this priest is blocking anything.. He said in his homily that anyone who wishes to sign can do so but he doesn’t feel it’s something that should be directly inside the parish for the reasons he stated.. Nowhere does it state that he is condoning gay marriage… What it does say is that he is administering to ALL Gods children… We can hate the sin but not the sinner which means if you someone you know is gay, would you make him feel unwelcomed in your home because you ‘know’ of his sexual preference? I have a VERY good friend who happens to be gay and while I do not agree with his choice I also do not condemn him for it..He has and always will be welcomed in my home.. Now would I suggest he go to Mass and go up to receive the Eucharist? Of course not.. If he asks my opinion on being gay would I be honest with him on how I feel and what I believe? Yes and I have.. I don’t like the things he does but I do love him and I believe that is what this priest is all about.. Where is that wrong?

  9. It turns out the hierarchy of the Church in America is more complex than it appears. There are 30-odd archbishops on paper, but the real pastoral and magisterium authority lies in the thousands of self-ordained overseers.
    We’ll call them “Arch-Arch-Bishops,” or perhaps “Uber Bishops.” Drawn from the ranks of the Religious Right Culture War Republican Guard, they and they alone possess the real Apostolic legacy and the final word on who’s a Real Catholic. With the Pope as his only official mortal upline, poor Sartain labors under the delusion that he is the Big Kahuna in his archdiocese. Turns out he’s more of a figurehead, an Ahmadinejad-like title that sounds impressive, but really he’s just a front man for the real dudes behind the scenes.
    His word is good just so long as he falls in line with The Program, and that goes for the Pope too. When an uber-bishop tells them to jump on gay marriage or abortion, they better bark “how high, sir”!, eyes front and center. That goes double for parish-level pastors. You answer to your diocesean bishop only so long as the uber-bishops have a green mark next to his name. If he doesn’t, and an uber-bishop anywhere in the country tells you to drop and give him 20, you’d better eat some dirt and keep that back straight as an ironing board!

  10. Michele, “gay people” (as you put it) are hardly these days “the least brothers” among us. Certainly not in places like Washington state, or New York, or California or Massachusetts … or Hollywood, the District of Columbia or Manhattan. Few of them raise children, and thus they have more disposable income than, say, a couple raising 3 or more kids, especially when there is a stay-at-home mother. They have a lot more money to spend on themselves and to fund their political agenda. Where I’m from, “gay” is the “new chic.”

    And, yes, we should be a “welcoming Church” that, above all else, “welcomes” the truth handed on apostolically across two millenia.

  11. I applaud you Robyn and Greta, Deacon Roy and Father Tim! Bravissimo!

  12. With all respect to Dcn. Roy, I have to agree with Francis about the exaltation of “welcoming” as the chief virtue in the minds of some Catholics, even over and against Church faith and morals. Of course, the Church welcomes us as we are. But, it is not the Church’s mission to leave us as we are, but to transform us with the grace of God to better reflect the will of God. It sounds as if Fr. Tim and Dcn. Roy are allowing the members of their parish to transform the gospel, rather than the other way around. If I recall correctly, Blessed John Paul the Great exhorted us that, when there is a conflict between the gospel and the culture, you don’t change the gospel message; rather, you challenge the culture. When Jesus said that only those who eat His Body and drink His Blood will have eternal life, many disciples turned away. You didn’t hear him calling after them, explaining Himself, and telling them that it was perfectly fine if they disagreed, but that they should stay, because it was more important that everybody get along and hang together than that we hold to the truth, which is really a matter of opinion, anyway, right? I mean, “What is truth?”

    Finally, I still don’t see why Fr. Tim had to make a big announcement of the fact that he was not going to offer the opportunity to sign the referendum, in his homily, during the announcements, and in a written message to his parishioners. Maybe he wasn’t trying to call attention to himself, but he sure did, and he sure took the opportunity to put himself at odds with Abp. Sartain, criticise the Abp. for the position he took, and explain why he was the one truly following the example of Jesus.

  13. Robyn, this is my view as well. I would just mention, again, that the organization circulating the petition is a national secular group, not the local bishop or the diocese.

  14. People being welcomed to attend Mass at any time should never be an issue. However, it very much does matter if there are parents who are the same sex if they are participating in the Sacraments. The same holds true if people are divorced and remarried outside of the Church. You cannot lump people of different color with people who are the same sex and say it is the same thing in terms of participating in the Sacraments. If the individuals are attending Mass, I have no issue but if all are “welcome” to participate in the Sacraments “as is” then I do have a problem.

  15. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Mark Greta…

    Just because this pastor (and deacon) is not doing what you would do does not mean he is “dissenting.” And I suspect the archbishop would respect this pastor’s choice in this matter.

    I see nothing posted here that conflicts with Catholic teaching.

    Dcn. G.

  16. Father Tim is deeply confused about what conscience actually is. Newman defined it best, and his view of conscience is the same one reflected in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. It is not one’s opinion. It is not one’s feelings. It is the voice of God within oneself. But because of the Fall, man’s conscience is horrifically-deformed (Hitler would be a fine example of one who was following his conscience – a deformed one at that). All human beings have deformed consciences – there is not one among us who does not. The Church was provided to help reform what has been mutilated. Therefore, our consciences must be formed by Church teaching, or they are not authentic consciences, but merely our own flawed opinions.

    The sensus fidelium, also something Newman spoke about, is only exercised by the faithful, not the laity. The “faithful” can include faithful laity and ordained Catholics. Faithful implies obeying and abiding by all Church teaching. For this issue, those who uphold what the Church has always taught on marriage are exercising the sensus fidelium. Those who reject Church teaching are simply not.

    Father Tim, if you had a well-formed conscience based upon Church teaching, you would have no problem A.) supporting your bishop and B.) preaching the Truth to those who need to hear it most. But, alas, it seems that you have given into your own fallen opinions and have caused massive scandal. For that, shame on you.

  17. I think the true test is whether Father Tim and his band of merry deacons would be willing to stand up in front of their congregation and in front of the homosexual “parents” are articulate, clearly and unapologetically, Church teaching on homosexual acts.

    If they can’t do this, they are not fit to be priests nor deacons.

    [Bruce you're engaging in rash judgment and near-slander, deciding someone's fitness for holy orders based on speculation and a hypothetical. Cease and desist. Thank you. Dcn. G.]

  18. Do you reject Christ’s teaching on marriage and homosexuality? Remember, Christ speaks and teaches through His Body, the Church.

    If you reject Church teaching on marriage and homosexuality, you reject Christ.

  19. Wow, how anti-Catholic of you. Ever read Newman? Obedience to the Pope is part of being Catholic. So is obedience to bishops as well.

    But, then again, I imagine your catechetical formation to have been as thorough as a coloring book.

  20. All who are supportive of this parish’s decision, I am curious how you would answer this question:

    I’m assuming you give assent to the Church’s teaching concerning human sexuality. How would this parish look any different in practice than it does now if you dissented from the Church’s teaching? Would there be any difference in the way your parish handles the gay couples in the parish or school?

  21. Well send and with much compassion and love. I agree that our church here in the US has focused on being so “welcoming” instead of being the “truth” about the gospels. Pope Benedict XVI has instituted “The Year of Faith” this coming advent season and calls for the “new evangelization” of our church and people. As I understand that to teach and proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ and the Gospels…with great love to draw all to Him. All our energy and mission should be truly Christ-centered and Gospel-truth.

  22. naturgesetz says:

    I regard this as a tempest in a teapot, and one that reflects no credit on the people who are stirring up that tempest. The diocesan bishop gives parishes an option to decide whether or not to circulate a petition within the parish, and some people, in an amazing flight of illogic, scream that those who exercise that option by not circulating the petition are disobedient to the bishop. And they go further and baselessly suggest that the priests and administrators are dissenting from Church teaching when there have been no statements of dissent.

    As for “welcoming,” let me repeat the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, at No. 2357: “They [homosexuals] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” How respectful, how compassionate, how sensitive are the broadside fulminations from the pulpit that you’d like to hear (and might stand and applaud)?

  23. I think there is a difference between welcoming people and accepting their behavior. We are called to love others as God does. We are called to love others as they are which doesn’t mean that they are called to necessarily stay where they are.We are all called to continued growth in holiness.

  24. You welcome people but they cannot sit at the Lord’s table. Ok, I guess.

  25. Holly in Nebraska says:

    –”We have kids in the school who have two moms or two dads–some Catholic, some not. We simply focus on serving these kids and families to the best of our ability. That’s why Fr. Tim decided that allowing the gathering of referendum signatures at the Church would be too divisive and disruptive.”–

    Why would be it be divisive and disruptive? Are the teachings of the church divisive and disruptive? Is the truth divisive and disruptive? I guess the answer is yes. Jesus said he came with the sword to divide fathers from sons and mothers from daughters (Mat 10:34). The truth often divides us because it is uncompromising. Choosing Jesus means rejecting sin. It’s difficult for all of us. But the Church teaches us to face the fact of our sin or we will never be able to fight it. The standing ovation suggests that many in the parish don’t want to face the fact that some lifestyles are sinful. It’s really hard to get around that impression and the deacons words don’t dispel it.

  26. You’re not seeing that I’m taking a dig at guys like you and ultra-conservative Catholics in general, not advocating disobedience. You guys profess to be the most obedient and reverent Catholics in the planet, yet when it comes down to it, you treat the Pope and his bishops and certainly the ground-level priests as probies or your household servants. The reactions in this column are full of pronouncements that this or that priest or bishop is not fit to serve God or not doing their job. The basis of this sweeping judgment is not something that derives from any competent Church authority or forum. It’s people having a snit because these men didn’t live up to your personal standards of political stridency. They’re not dancing fast enough to YOUR fiddle for your taste, so they’re “dissenting.” To be fair, I’m not an obedient Catholic either. In fact, I’m a flat-out apostate. But my disobedience is honest. I never professed obedience to the Pope or bishops while at the same time making it conditional upon their “obedience” to me!

  27. naturgesetz says:

    RomCath —

    I agree that welcoming people does not require condoning their behavior. But Perhaps we should think about the word you used, “accepting.” There is a slight overtone to it that suggests that we are in a position to control their behavior. Perhaps you didn’t mean that, but whether or not you did is not my point. My point is that we have to realize in the first place that we can’t force people to behave properly, and in the second place we are not responsible for their misbehavior.

    Sinners of all kinds are called to move away from their sins and to grow in holiness. Since every practicing homosexual who attends Mass knows that the Church teaches that his conduct is sinful, he lives in a tension which we pray will be a channel for the Holy Spirit to bring him to conversion and repentance. He does not need to be told that the Church says homosexual conduct is sinful, but he does need to hear that we are all called to grow in holiness and to pray for guidance.

  28. Wow, so you admitted your an apostate. How very sad you are. Get right or get burned.

  29. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    He does not need to be told that the Church says homosexual conduct is sinful, but he does need to hear that we are all called to grow in holiness and to pray for guidance.

    Let us pray that this message is being conveyed at this parish, and that hearts — gay, straight, whatever — are being changed.

    You never know how the Holy Spirit will work. But His work is infinitely more difficult when the priest is preaching to empty pews.

    If the parish is creating an environment in which people feel welcome to hear the message being preached, and feel encouraged to draw closer to The Truth, souls may well be saved.

    Dcn. G.

  30. Zeal for the faith is often offensive and surprising to those who lack it. I’m not apologizing. If this priest and deacon combo does not believe and profess Church teaching on sexuality, they have NO BUSINESS BEING CLERGY.

    Rash judgment my butt. This is a judgment of acts, perfectly licit, and I suggest you do the same before you wind up wailing and grinding your teeth outside the gate, Gregory.

  31. Compassion, respect, and sensitivity means loving homosexuals enough to want them to go to Heaven, not burn in Hell forever.

    Compassion, respect, and sensitivity means telling homosexuals the TRUTH: No sex outside of marriage (1 man + 1 woman). Anything else is gravely sinful. They are to be chaste, and supported in their chastity, or else seek therapy to change.

    It is not loving to say, “its okay that you continue to gravely sin.” Go and sin no more!

  32. Did Christ not have rules? The whole “narrow way” thing? Quit making the Divine Savior into some sort of mealy-mouthed libtard.

  33. This is silly 1970′s horse manure. People want truth, not fuzzy feelings. You want to be welcoming and fuzzy? Join the protestants down the street with the rainbow flag on their building.

    You want Truth and the path to heaven, come to the Catholic Church…specifically parishes not afraid to preach the Truth in charity. Homosexual acts are gravely sinful and are never to be approved. Homosexuals themselves are to be treated with respect, and if they live chastely, are to be celebrated. But those who unrepentantly continue sodomy have already made their choice. NO amount of “welcoming” will change that.

    Preach the Truth, Greg, not fuzzy feelings and warm lies.

  34. The Catholicism on this blog is not Catholicism at all. It is protestantism, private judgment, and sentimentalism masquerading as Catholicism.

    Seriously, get over “feelings” and “sensitivity.” Get with the Truth. The reason why the Church pews are empty in protestant Catholic parishes, with guitars, fuzzy sweaters, and “welcoming” atmospheres is because they are no longer Catholic. Despite what St. Augustine and Newman said, they fear giving offense and hide the truth.

    Shame on you. All of you who support this garbage. It is the path to Hell. Repent.

  35. Careful, there! Bearded boomers in fuzzy sweaters will accuse you of rash judgment, being mean, and hurting feelings with all that “truth” stuff.

    Its better to ignore and deny sin, that way no one gets hurt until they die.

    Wanna sing “kumbaya”? Here is a marshmallow for your stick.

  36. Deacon Greg:
    I respect your views and often agree with your thoughtful comments. But I think the Seattle deacon’s comments raise a much more important issue that you are perhaps minimizing. The Church should always be welcoming, inviting and open to receive sinners–we are all sinners and that is what Jesus did-he came to call sinners. However, I share the concern expressed by others that the concept of “welcoming” sometimesis allowed to trump the importance of clarity on Church teaching on such important issues as marriage, sexuality, abortion, etc. If same sex couples are treated as if there is nothing amiss, e.g., admitted to the sacraments, etc., which I sense is the case at some parishes in Washington state and elsewhere, then the resposible priests and bishops are letting all of us down. There is a big distinction, as taught by Jesus and the magesterium, between judging objectively sinful conduct such as homosexual acts and relationships, the acts of abortion, etc., and judging another’s soul. Blessed JP II and now Cardinal Dolan are courageous models for us when it comes to articulating Church teaching–never whimp out on the truth but always present it with charity. I don’t think that either one would fail to articulate the truth about homosexual “marriage” because the truth might offend some who act counter to that truth.

  37. No I was being sincere as a new Catholic who went through a 2 year process to get my husband’s annulment in order that I could take communion this Easter Vigil. The concept of “welcoming” anybody into the church is stupid; there ARE rules and there’s nothing like communion and the real presence. There’s so much to the faith. The libtard “welcome” concept is pure BS. What IS the point? I agree with you.

  38. You cannot wander into a Catholic church and participate in the Lord’s supper until you are in full communion. To welcome those not in communion or not in full understanding of the Faith is folly.

  39. Welcome all interested people to join RCIA. Classes start in September. Now this is an invitation worth its weight in gold.

  40. Ronald King says:

    I read that Bruce wrote the “way is narrow”. Bruce, can you see that the way of Christ is narrow and do you believe that you are following the narrow path of Christ? Do you believe that you love as Christ loves? Can you honestly say that you love those who are homosexual just as much as you love those who are your friends? The way of Christ’s love is narrow and the way of fear is narrow. Which path do you walk?

  41. pagansister says:

    The attitude of the church in this article is what I would hope all Catholic Churches would be—welcoming of all who wish to enter. My former employer, a Catholic school also had a large percentage of non-Catholic students and several who came from 1 parent families, and 2 children that I know of were in a mother-mother family. As non-Catholic teacher I was not made to feel unwelcome when at Mass, or at the school. Hats off to Our Lady of the Lake.

  42. pagansister says:

    Joanc57: Having attended the school mass once a month for 10 years, and, of course, not receiving communion, I still felt loved and welcomed (even though I had to be there as their teacher) in spite of not receiving communion. When a couple of children asked me why I didn’t go up for communion, I told them it was because I wasn’t Catholic and that satisfied them. I taught in kindergarten, so they weren’t receiving communion yet either. So was it folly for me to be there? Forget it part of my job, but say I was attending because I wanted to be there. Also part of my job was teaching them, on their level, their prayers, etc. as well as their ABC’, math etc. A great job, I might add. 10 good years.

  43. Glad it worked for you Pagansister. But yes, it is folly. Come to RCIA and be in communion, or go to a non catholic christian church if being in communion isn’t important to you. Please join RCIA and learn about Catholicism because you are so obviously interested.

  44. Much better said than I. I tend to be a tornado in the junkyard. Thank you.

  45. By the way I attended mass for nearly 2 years unable to take communion. Now that I can I can tell you that the difference between being in communion, taking the body of Christ, the real presence ,and not, is literally night and day. It’s something I pray for all of my friends – to come to Christ through the Catholic Church and experience communion. Everybody should be invited to come to the faith in full communion. But if you’re not interested, and merely wish to feel welcome, I really recommend a good evangelical Baptist church.

  46. “Bruce, can you see that the way of Christ is narrow and do you believe that you are following the narrow path of Christ?”

    I know its narrow. I’m scared to death of ending up in Hell. I hope I’m on it, and by following and believing ALL the Church teaches, I think I’m doing as well as anyone. I fail everyday, and I go to confession and try like heck not to do it again. I don’t see a few groups doing or wanting the same, and I see certain priests and deacons giving them the “OK” in their ways. If I were them, I would be more scared than I am now.

    “Do you believe that you love as Christ loves?”

    When I tell sinners, and myself, the truth? Yes, I do.

    “Can you honestly say that you love those who are homosexual just as much as you love those who are your friends?”

    Considering I have friends and relatives who struggle with SSA, and are chaste, yes, I do. Chaste homosexuals are saints. Unrepentant homosexuals who act out their SSA, as well as contracepting couples and cohabitators are sinners in need of repentance.

    Fear of God is the start of faith. Do you fear, respect, and love Him enough to abide by what He has taught us?

    Do you, Ronald King, love homosexuals enough to tell them the truth – that the way to heaven is not through homosexual activity, but chastity? Let’s see you answer some questions for a change.

  47. All sinners are welcome, pagansister, yourself included.

    No one is immaculately conceived, save the Blessed Mother. You ain’t her and neither am I.

    We need the Church because we are rotten sinners in need of repentance and redemption.

  48. Your way seems so narrow that Christ himself wouldn’t have made the cut. You’d have had him flogged and tossed off the premises for a hippie and heretic! You’re very quick to pronounce judgment on who measures up to the “rules.” So was the Sanhedrin.

  49. I usually do not post comments on such topics, but I feel the need to do so here. Both Fr. Tim Clark and Archbishop Sartain were classmates of mine in Rome in the late 1970s. Archbishop Sartain is someone with whom I have kept in periodic contact over the years and I have always found him to be a man of great integrity, a huge pastoral heart and a man who ardently loves the Church. Fr. Tim is someone with whom I had lost contact for many years. My recollections of him are ones of respect and admiration for his concern for those around him, his spirituality and fidelity to Christ and the Church. While I cannot speak with direct knowledge to the situation Dc Greg has posted about, I believe Fr. Tim would not set himself in opposition to his bishop.

  50. naturgesetz says:

    Do you set yourself up as judge of the Catholicism of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says homosexuals must be accepted with “sensitivity,” as I quoted? Do you reject what it says and then have the temerity to denounce what’s on this blog as “not Catholicism at all?”

  51. Fr. Tim wrote: “We have kids in the school who have two moms or two dads–some Catholic, some not.”

    A small correction: you have kids in your school who are being raised by same-sex parenting partners. No Catholic should give in to the verbal engineering which claims that it is possible for a human being to have two “moms” or two “dads” without being clear that in fact, these children were not somehow conceived by two same-sex partners.

    And Fr. Tim’s attitude in this letter is one reason why I would never waste a dime sending my children to a Catholic school. I expect my Catholic children to receive a fully Catholic education, not to have “uncomfortable” truths muzzled so that the non-Catholics and the dissident Catholics (who are often big donors–such a coincidence!) won’t be made to feel the slightest bit uncomfortable. I grew up in that so-called “Catholic” school system, and by the grace of God and the diligence of my parents I did not lose my faith like so many of my generational counterparts.

    Deacon Greg, all due respect, but the God Who can create new sons of Abraham out of the very stones can work quite well with empty pews in a church where the truth is preached fearlessly in season and out. What happens in the nice, welcoming, Catholic Community Gathering Space of Saint Mushy Pablum is that the people looking for a Christianity that demands that they repent, reform their lives, and embrace the Cross leave and go elsewhere–and some of them end up leaving the Church altogether.

  52. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    The e-mail was not written by Fr. Tim. It was written by his deacon.

    Before deciding that the parish is “Saint Mushy Pablum,” you might want to check out the parish website and Fr. Tim’s Corner, which includes some of his homilies and bulletin reflections.

    Dcn. G.

  53. Sorry about the confusion; I was reading through all the comments before I commented. Fr. Tim’s deacon, then.

    I have checked out Fr. Tim’s Corner. It explains a lot. Alas, it could serve as a template for most homilies in America: God is really special! So, love God! And smile! Fine in its way, but one does get so dreadfully tired of it after four or five decades. I recall my children hearing a homily from a different sort of priest in which he discoursed first on the martyrdom of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions (with the sort of details one doesn’t usually hear in a suburban parish of a Sunday morning) and then drew a touching picture of St. Francis’ death, and his command to his brother monks that he be cast naked upon the ground, because even the weight of his habit was too much with the Glory dawning upon him. (His superior ordered him to be clothed). Thus St. Francis shows us the sort of radical detachment we’re supposed to be embracing as Christians, instead of making our own comforts our false gods; and St. Charles shows that even the most gruesome death is better than life that compromises with sin. When Father finished, my then-seven-year-old turned to me with wide eyes and said, “Now, that’s a homily!”

    Sigh. What good is a Christianity that never calls us to encounter the real Christ, who demands from us that we leave our comfort zones far behind, and take up our Crosses? What good is a Christianity that would rather not make people uncomfortable, and so never warns them that between God and grave sin there is enmity, and that for a Christian to fight and struggle and fall and rise is one thing, but for a Christian to champion the rights of people to form pretend “marriages” in order to make their chosen sins easier is a grotesque parody of the Gospel?

  54. If you attend Mass regularly for years, and never hear the priest explain and re-state the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexulaity, even for a brief five minutes, then you might conclude that the priest disagrees with the teaching and is waiting for the Church to catch up with the secular world and change its teaching. If I were a practising homosexual, I and my partner might indeed feel welcomed at the church of such a priest. Would we have any qualms about receiving Communion? I think Bruce has a point: if anything goes, why be Catholic?

  55. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    The only two homilies I saw on the site were for Christmas and Easter.

    I don’t know of any priest or deacon who would preach the kind of homily you’re looking for on those two occasions.

  56. Do you reject that homosexual acts are gravely sinful and can never be condoned? What is unloving about telling someone the truth that may prevent them from enduring eternal damnation?

  57. Ronald King says:

    The truth is God is Love and whatever separates us from that love must be identified, that is if the person believes that God exists. What then does it mean to each of us that God is Love. How is that lived out or not lived out everyday of our lives. Each person has a life story which has brought them to a particular point in their lives. Only God and that person know the story of pain and truth can only be understood in terms of an empathic understanding of that pain.
    So you only love as Christ does when you tell sinners that they are sinners. I think there is more to the Mystery of Christ’s infinite love than that.
    Thank God.

  58. naturgesetz says:

    Stop evading. When you answer my question, I’ll answer yours.

  59. pagansister says:

    I disagree with you, Joanc57, that it is folly. I was raised a Methodist, so I have had communion in the past. Left that part of my life at 17. As to learning Catholicism? 10 years worth of lessons while I was teaching. :o)

  60. pagansister says:

    Bruce: Gee, you just blew all my illusions—with your statement that I wasn’t immaculately conceived! :o) As to being welcomed, thanks. As I mentioned above, I never felt unwelcome when I was teaching in the Catholic school.

  61. No Catholic should give in to the verbal engineering which claims that it is possible for a human being to have two “moms” or two “dads” without being clear that in fact, these children were not somehow conceived by two same-sex partners.

    Why? I’m not a supporter of gay marriage or of forcing Catholic institutions to allow adoption by same sex couples but the fact is that some people do have two parents who are of the same sex and not every “mom” or “dad” is the biological parent of the child who views them as mom or dad.

  62. pagansister says:

    Erin Manning: Just a comment about your comment saying that a child can’t have “2 moms or 2 dads”. Tell that to the children being raised with love by those parents. Those are their parents—-just like you and I assume your husband are to your children. No one chooses their parents—-so those who are from same gender parents have the same feelings towards their parents as I assume yours do to you and your husband.

  63. No Greg—-Fr. Tim posted a running series of homiles on his parish website. . . .at least when I looked at it.

  64. naturgesetz says:

    Tom —

    As I saw it there were a lot of brief items which were probably written just for the bulletin, under the heading “Fr. Tim’s Corner,” but very few homilies which could have been delivered at Mass.

  65. Ann T Gray says:

    Well said Deacon Thomas! And Bruce, I appreciate that you get that you are a “tornado in a junkyard” :)

  66. I agree with Holly: why should providing parishioners of a Catholic church with quick means of supporting Catholic teaching be divisive and disruptive? Are we not proud to be Catholic? Why is Catholic teaching being muzzled in a Catholic church? This seems to be another example of Church teaching wearing the smudge of secular culture.

  67. Language is frightfully important where social engineering is concerned. That’s why Catholics are pro-life, while Planned Parenthood are pro-choice. These days, when people tell me they are married, I really don’t know what they mean. Is it a true marriage or some other arrangement now granted legal status? These days, when a child says “my mom,” you can’t even be sure they are talking about a female.

  68. I think we should respect the child’s designation of who his mom is. Have you really encountered situations where a child is referring to a male as “mom”?

  69. To be truly Christ-centered and Gospel-truth would take an adjustment by the Catholic Church; Christ is secondary to the institution

  70. and I’m sorry I forgot to mention, what if we all just hung “Saints and sinners welcome” on our “welcoming” signs…..would that be acceptable to everyone on this blog?

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