What did you hear?

In the comments on my homily this weekend, someone asked:

Just curious, but I wonder how many Masses brought up Obama’s gay marriage declaration this week?

Good question.  Did anyone out there hear anything about this from the pulpit this Sunday?

If not, what did you hear?  (Amy Welborn asks that question a lot on her blog, so I’ll steal it and use it here :-) )


  1. ron chandonia says:

    Our parish voted overwhelmingly for President Obama, who remains very popular among our largely black and socially conscious congregation, so I suspected not a word would be said about the issue. But I was wrong. Our deacon preached at all the masses, and while he focused his message on our need to carry the love of Christ out into the world, he specifically cited the challenge of addressing the issue of gay marriage from a Christ-like perspective. How are we to show the love of God for every person, regardless of condition, while at the same time respecting the clear teaching of the Church that marriage is intended to be the union of one man and one woman? He suggested that a “love the sinner/hate the sin” approach was in order, never emphasizing the second part to the extent that we lose sight of the first. I’d say he beat around the bush more than necessary (it was a long homily), but the congregation seemed receptive to the message.

  2. Deacon Norb says:

    Not from my neck of the woods in the Midwest. Our pastor had the homily and he did a superb job focusing on the text of the Gospel message.

    Next Sunday is “Deacons-Preaching” Sunday in our town and since it is Ascension Sunday, I already have far too much to cover without that whole scene.

  3. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    One of the problems in preaching on a moral-social issue that has become a major political issue is that a majority of Catholics have been brainwashed to believe that doing such breaks down the alleged wall of separation between Church and State. Those against the Catholic or religious position almost always bring up this lie and try to make it look like Catholics or other religious people are being “un-American.”
    But that isn’t in the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the reason for the First Amendment was to protect religious believers from the power of the state and not the state from the power of voters advocating or voting their religious beliefs.

  4. Not a word was said about the President’s announcement.

  5. We did in the Parish we attended mass at this weekend! The issue was mentioned and dwelt on as an aside from the main topic.

  6. We heard about gay marriage today here in Central California. The priest/homilist was not the pastor and I don’t know what the pastor did today. The homily was strong but not incendiary. I checked, but didn’t see anybody walking out!

  7. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    FWIW: I gave serious thought to finding ways to tackle the gay marriage issue in my homily. But I wasn’t planning to preach this weekend, and wasn’t expecting to, so I didn’t throw myself into it. I actually ended up hastily cobbling together my homily Saturday night, just to have something in my back pocket on the off chance that my pastor might ask if I was prepared to preach, and I’d be able to say “Yes.” :-)

    As it happened, the pastor and his assistant ended up switching Masses, so when I showed up at 9:45 this morning, the assistant was vesting and said, “Since you here early anyway, feel like saying a few words? I’m a little out of it this morning.” (His mother has been seriously ill, so the fact that his mind was racing in a million different directions on Mother’s Day wasn’t surprising.) I happily agreed, so preached unexpectedly at the 10, then served at the 11:30 with the pastor.

    He used the homily to preach about some parish news: a new pastor will be arriving at the parish in June. It will be one of the new auxiliary bishops for the diocese. Though my pastor has just reached the mandatory retirement age of 75, he will stay on as administrator.

    His talk had nothing at all to do with the scripture, but people were generally receptive and it received a couple warm rounds of applause …

  8. Deacon John says:

    Our pastor preached on today’s Gospel, drawing a parallel between the love of God for us and the love of a mother for her children.
    It was well received.

  9. Our parochial vicar preached. He said nothing about gay marriage. He talked about the Gospel, and did so beautifully. He made mention of Mother’s Day during the greeting and at the beginning of his homily. One thing he threw in, after lauding mothers, was how can a mother kill her unborn child? Although I often wonder the same thing, I felt that today wasn’t the day for bringing that up. He did say we should pray for such women.

  10. Fiergenholt says:

    Deacon John:

    That may be true in Massachusetts.

    Our area of the country — usually strongly Republican — went for the Democratic candidate in 2008. Preaching focus had no bearing at all — the economy did.

    I’ve talked to enough folks during this current campaign to believe that everyday folks in our area are sharp enough to see the strengths and weaknesses of both presumed presidential candidates. I’m not all that sure that these everyday folks like either one of them.

    AND, oddly enough, that affirmation of “gay marriage” did not impact that opinion one bit. Those that detested either candidate were not swayed — those that admired either candidate were not swayed. It is too far away from the election proper to predict any conclusions yet. . .except that there are as many “anyone except Obama” folks as there are “anyone but Romney” folks.

  11. Ten Page says:

    In my suburban Baltimore parish, I don’t think our priest (not our pastor, the retired clergy in residence) talked about it. His homily was about friendship and the relationship between Christ and His disciples and also the relationship between Christ and each of us. It was a lovely homily.

  12. The pastor noted (after mentioning the Catholic VP) that he was “amused” that “Bishop Nancy Pelosi” of “The People’s Republic of San Francisco” declared that Catholicism required the acceptance of same-sex pseudo-marriage.

  13. We give financial support to the Philippines diocese which is the home of our parish administrator. Today’s homily was a letter from the bishop there. They are trying to raise $11,000 for the rest of the broadcasting equipment that they need to send up a Catholic TV station in their diocese.

  14. In fact, the reason for the First Amendment was to protect religious believers from the power of the state and not the state from the power of voters advocating or voting their religious beliefs.

    The above quote makes no sense and strips the 1st Amendment of all meaning. By advocating that religious belief become state policy, for example arguing against gay marriage on religious grounds, you are seeking to impose your religious belief on others. Unless the first amendment protects others from being forced to follow your religious beliefs, how long before you are forced to follow a religious belief of others with which you disagree?

  15. Not in my parish (Upper East Side Manhattan).

  16. Bishop Jenky gave the homily at my parish–he was in the news a few weeks ago for talking about the resilience of the Church when facing opposing social trends. He didn’t mention the President’s statements directly, but he made it clear that we are called to live in a manner that is contrary to the cultural messages we receive about sex, money and power. He did not narrow in onsexual orientation but stated that the Christian view of sex and marriage stands in opposition to social messages.

  17. Joanne K McPortland says:

    Our pastor preached on motherhood as an embodiment of the self-giving love spoken of in the Gospel and the reading from 1 John. He used the Pieta as the symbol, and it was a very good homily. I wouldn’t expect him to mention the President’s announcement–he’s a Vatican II-era priest and it’s our young associate who preaches on doctrinal and social issues–but he did throw in a personal note on a controversial issue. Not gay marriage–the new missal! He noted that it has been 6 months since we began using the new texts, and though the transition has gone fairly smoothly he does miss the sense of God’s immanence that was lost from the prayers in the pendulum swing to focus solely on God’s transcendence. He noted that the way Jesus talks about his Father in the passage from John is a good balance of both God’s closeness and God’s awesomeness. Food for thought.

  18. Nothing at the parish I attended today. Love one another. Then again, I realized what I did 6 years ago on this day (liturgically) and wandered to those happy memories.

  19. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Michael–The emancipation movement against slavery was basically a religious movement in which Quakers were a prime moving force.
    . The modern Civil Rights movement was basically a religious movement led by a Protestant minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., ( and which successfully sought to put its values into law.)
    The Prohibition Movement was primarily a mainstream Protestant creation.
    The American Revolution was nurtured and spread from Congregational pulpits (Sam Adams was a Church deacon and Patrick Henry a church vestryman as was George Washington.)
    Utah was not allowed into the union until it outlawed polygamy.
    The anti-VietNam war movement was primarily religious in inspiration with such Catholics as the Berrigan Brothers and Dorothy Day leading the way.
    These movements or policies were rooted in religious belief and in the past people primarily voted for or against ideas and programs based on whether they thought the ideas were good or bad not whether they were dreamed up and nurtured in some church basements. When people thought Prohibition was a good idea and would work, they voted for it. When people saw it as a failure, they voted against it. Because some idea or policy is of religious inspiration doesn’t mean it has to be automatically “walled out” of consideration as some falsely claim today. This whole idea about the inherent illegitimacy of political ideas born in the religious realm and thus must be barred from the public square is a modern fantasy (sometimes ignorantly throwing around the word “theocracy”)- a fantasy that stands the First Amendment on its head.

  20. Our Assistant Pastor spoke on the 95th Anniversary of Fatima.

  21. I preached on the Scripture for the day, but at the end of Mass I announced I would be leading two opportunities next month for parish discussion on the issue of marriage and the Church’s ministry to men and women with same-sex attractions. The bishops in Minnesota are strongly encouraging all parishes to do this not just because of the President’s comments but also because of the upcoming Marriage Protection Amendment on the ballot in MN this fall.

  22. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    A few months ago I gave a homily–which was very, very well received– on the right of Catholics to use their Catholic Faith and values to decide who to vote for in elections or how to vote in a referenda. I also, strongly criticized the movement to shut Catholics and other Christians up and be driven from debates in the “public square.” We are not second-class citizens whose ideas and values must be stifled while non-religious groups–such as Planned Parenthood– can push anything they want to —and even get our tax money to help them promote their agenda.
    I did not point to any specific issues such as Gay “marriage” or abortion, but mentioned general principles (like the sacredness of innocent human life). I also made it a point to tie what I was saying into the day’s scriptural readings (one of which was about having courage in the face of opposition and persecution.)
    According to polls, Catholics who go to church regularly on Sunday overwhelmingly agree with the Church on most specific issues that are being debated in the “public square.” If we can just get those regularly in the pews to bring their faith into the polling booth and not be intimidated by those trying to silence us, we can have a greater effect than we have had at times in the past.

  23. In church, where decorum does not permit any response from the captive audience, I do not think it at all appropriate for a homilist to delve into civil politics, with the wealth of other material upon which to preach. I attended Mass in Chicago during the last election when the homilist grievously crossed the line, stating that it was a sin for Catholics to vote for democrats, and I was heartened to hear the catcalls and boos that this elicited. However, I must say that a homily hitting on politics does not set a proper tone for communion which is to follow shortly.

    Years ago (in the ’70′s) , I commented along with my pregnant wife to the pastor that he should have mentioned Mother’s Day during the Mass – the words were never spoken. He said it was not an omission, Mother’s Day is a civil holiday. Years later when the new pastor continued this, people brought this to the parish council and insisted that both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day be mentioned, and they have been, since about 1985. For a pro-life faith, I am disappointed that in our clergy-centric church that there was so often a foot dragging if not begrudging recognition of parenthood. My sister tells me that Mother’s Day mentions only came after prodding by parishioners at her parish in Philadelphia.

  24. Deacon Steve says:

    I preached at two masses yesterday, and I did not mention this topic specifically, but I focused on the challenge of the commandment to love one another. I made the point that it is easy to love those who look like us and act like us, but the real challenge is to love those that we don’t like, even when they are in favor of something that is so against our core beliefs. We do not have to accept their behaviors or beliefs, nor do we have to agree with them, but we must love them because they too are children of God and possess inherent dignity because of that fact.
    It seemed to go over well at both masses, but more people seemed to be following at the 11:30 AM mass versus the 7:30 AM mass.

  25. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Re: Mother’s Day.

    It’s been a long-standing custom in my parish to offer blessings (from the Book of Blessings) to both mothers and fathers on their appropriate civil holidays. This comes at the end of Mass just before the final blessing.


  26. And for the last 7 years, I’ve been grateful to have this blessing from the priest while I’m standing with my husband and our now two little blessings.

  27. Katie Angel says:

    We had a retired priest serving at our mass on Saturday night and he did mention the gay-marriage comment, tangentially, during her homily. Father Ted tends to give very short homilies so he didn’t say much but he did exhort us to stand up against the winds of culture and remember the foundations of our faith.

  28. It is ridiculous that the Minnesota bishops are putting so much emphasis on amending the state constitution, when in fact same sex marriage does not affect them or the Catholic Church. Our bishops have all become giddy with the thought that they are all king makers in the civil political realm. Would that their own ecclesial houses were in order, disaster ridden and some bankrupt houses , houses that no matter how many petitions are submitted, the laity have no real voice.

  29. Whose polls? I have seen people walk out of church when the subject turns to civil politics. I do not want partisan comments minutes before communion, before a captive audience. Save those comments for voluntary meetings outside of the Holy Mass.

  30. My Deacon husband recently included in his homily something that had recently been in the news. It was the story of the Catholic School teacher who was fired at the parish because her pregnancy was a result of in vitro fertilization. He briefly talked about why in vitro fertilization was not in conformity with church teaching. A parishioner called the Rectory to complain about it. The Assistant Pastor responded to the caller that he admired the Deacon’s courage in speaking up about it. My husband and I chuckled that he was now in the “big leagues” since the Rectory received a phone call complaining about the content of his homily. I’m so proud of him! Some people may not want to hear the truth but clergy is responsible for articulating it.

  31. Marriage as a union of one man and one woman affects all of us, including the bishops and the entire Church. I have not spoken to any bishop who is “giddy” about this; rather, I find them understandably serious, as am I.

  32. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Drake–the trouble is that those politicians who disagree with the churches’ traditional Christian morality try to shut the Church and its preachers up by saying “Oh! THAT moral issue. We have declared that’s now a political issue–so shut up”
    Catholics are bombarded day and night with lies and distortions of Catholic teaching by those who would destroy the Christian Moral Tradition. And some of the worst liars are leading Catholic politicians.
    And the Church gets 8 minutes each Sunday to give its unadulterated version of its own teachings. Unfortunately, the only time the Church can reach, unfiltered, large numbers of Catholics is at Sunday Mass.

  33. Midwestlady says:

    No, thank goodness, we did not hear about Obama or gay clamoring this Sunday. What we did hear was the generic “love one another” sermon, a minor variation of which we hear pretty much every Sunday except Christmas and Easter, regardless of what the readings are. But at least we didn’t hear about Obama. Gag.

  34. Midwestlady says:

    Except it does affect us in some very real ways, Drake. And it will affect us even more when gay people show up with lawyers demanding to be “married” in our churches. Hiding in the basements, pretending we don’t know what they’re talking about, or pretending to marry them at the barrel of a legal gun probably will barely be options, but they may be all we have if it comes to that.


  1. [...] so it begins.  Yesterday, my friend Deacon Greg Kendra asked his readers whether they had heard anything in their Catholic parishes about Barack [...]

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