A final comment on Perry Lorenzo

As I expected, my remarks on Perry Lorenzo have stirred up both hornets and butterflies. Some of the commentary is quite beautiful (particularly from people who knew and remember Perry for the wonderful guy he was). Brings back memories.

Other commentary has been more negative (sometimes due to my inexact wording, sometimes due to good questions and concerns (many of which I cannot answer since I am not a confessor or spiritual director, so I would refer you here for some good solid Dominican common sense), sometimes due to people making unwarranted assumptions, and sometimes due to to people being abusive jerks who hate me, or gays, or both).

I want to address briefly the inexact wording (my bad) and the unwarranted assumptions, since they are related. The main thing I want to point out is that when I describe Perry as a gay man, I am using the common English word as a descriptor of his orientation (which I know) not his behavior (about which I knew nothing since, you know, Not. My. Business). Some people are assuming a huge amount here. Here’s all I know (which I only learned after his death):

Paul Hearn of Seattle, Mr. Lorenzo’s longtime companion, said they met when Mr. Lorenzo gave a lecture at the University of Washington 13 years ago. Though Hearn was not Catholic, their first date was to St. James, he said.

Hearn said Mr. Lorenzo brought him to the Catholic Church and broadened his appreciation of opera.

The two would pray together and do morning liturgies. “We were monks in love,” he said.

For this reason, my assumption is that the relationship was chaste, though I wouldn’t really know since, you know, Not My Business.

My point was not really to comment on the details of Perry’s private life, but to say that given what I knew of his love of Christ and the Church, I had and have absolutely no reason to think that his sexual orientation was determinative of his life as a disciple of Jesus. All I saw of the man was abundant fruits of the Spirit. That he struggled with sin as we all do is a no brainer (but, by the same token, I have no idea if his orientation was regarded by him as among his struggles. I have problems which are, for me subjectively, annoyances but not huge trials which are, for others, all-consuming battles of the spirit. It may be, for all I know, that his orientation was not much of a trial for him. Not everybody is obsessed with sex and can embrace chastity with relative ease.)

It will be noted that the article says nothing of living arrangements, nothing of anything except, well, here was a man whose first act of love to another human being was to bring them to the altar of Jesus Christ. That was typical of him.

Some people are writing me, assuming all sorts of things about him “giving scandal”. I see nothing scandalous. He loved somebody chastely as far as I can tell. Others are telling me I had a duty to “confront” him. Um, I didn’t know he had a companion till after his death and I have no idea what I should have confronted him about if I had known. Was I to bark, “Stop loving him”? Demand to know the details of their relationship? It’s one thing for somebody to *give* scandal. It’s rather another to go around poking one’s nose into somebody’s life in order to work hard at *taking* scandal. Seems rather at odds with the gospel. Should I have told him, “Random self-appointed inquisitors in my comboxes are scandalized by what they salaciously imagine your private life might be, so, um, you need to do something about that.” I’m frankly much more scandalized by such random comboxers and their dimestore Inquisitions.

When I say I have no idea if Perry was an active homosexual, I mean exactly that. No idea. That doesn’t mean “He probably was, but I don’t care.” It means “I assume, given all I know of him and his dedication to the Church’s teaching and his beautiful love of Jesus Christ, that he wasn’t.” But, people being weak flesh, I also recognize it is possible that he might have stumbled on his pilgrimage, as we all do. That he stumbled in *some* way is a given. So do we all. That he stumbled in *this* way I have absolutely no knowledge. If so, that was between him and his confessor because, you know, Not. My. Business. Of his relationship with his companion neither I nor any mortal flesh is qualified to render judgment. Given Perry’s immense capacity for love, I am not going to tell God that He could not be present in their love for each other. That is because, paradoxically, I absolutely reject the tendency of our culture (often led by the militant advocates of homosexual sin) to reduce all love to sex. If two chaste people present their love to God as a gift, who died and made me judge of that offering? I’ve got my own sins to worry about and don’t need to borrow trouble by inventing sins and attributing them to somebody whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He was a great and good man, that’s enough for me. i pray for his soul and ask his prayers.

  • http://faithonthehighwire.blogspot.com Kathy Vestermark

    Mark,

    Lauding an openly gay man, about whose activities in the lifestyle you know nothing about because they are, you know, Not. Your. Business, lends itself, if not to scandal, then at least to misunderstandings of the teachings of the faith regarding relationships, marriage, chastity, purity, etc. I would have hesitated to present him the way you have without knowing all the facts. Humble opinion.

    • Mark Shea

      He was not openly gay. He was openly SSA. Can you not read?

      • http://faithonthehighwire.blogspot.com Kathy Vestermark

        Wow — sorry. I guess you’re allowed to make mistakes in wording but, others are not. Thanks.

        • Mark Shea

          Not at all. If that’s not what you meant to say, I accept that. But since everything in your comment turns on the meaning of that, it’s rather important. If he was merely SSA and living a holy life, I see no reason not to praise him for it. As a previous reader says, it’s impossible to know everything about anybody.

      • Steve

        Seems Like the Church has a lot of teaching about unmarried hetrosexual couples living together even if celibate giving scandal.

        • Mark Shea

          Could you document that for me? Thanks.

      • Eileen

        If he was not openly gay why do you label him a “gay man” and off his cause for canonization? God did not create heterosexual and homosexual. He did not create us Opposite Sex Attracted and Same Sex Attracted. He created us man and woman. You are the one who labeled him gay then speculate about his chastity (after his obituary called him a “monk in love”), then want everyone to jump on board the Acceptance Train. Sorry, Mark, I’m not buying a ticket for that ride. If you had presented him as a deeply spiritual man who did wonderful work for the Body of Christ, then mentioned that he struggled with sin as we all do – that would be one thing, but this it just wrong and scandalous.

        • Mark Shea

          Actually, my whole point is that I don’t speculate about his chastity. Given what I know of him, I assume his chastity. It is you who speculate. Indeed, you even seem to feel empowered to declare what he could and could not feel. Me: I know feelings have no moral content. Only actions do. And his actions make clear he was devoted to the teaching of the Church. Given that, I charitably assume he was chaste. You should too. Particular since the only thing you are being asked to accept is him, not a sin since, you know, there is no evidence he committed one. Your tacit assumption that there is tells me a lot about you, but nothing about him.

          • Eileen

            I’m not assuming or speculating about anything. I’m just measuring the consequences of your characterizations with what was said in his obituary. Again, you are the one who chose to title your post “A Gay Man I Consider a Saint” which is titillating, judgmental (that he was in fact gay, SSA, or whatever) and that is all cause for serious concern. For the sake of his eternal soul I pray that he was in fact chaste and virtuous in every possible way, but comments from his obituary give legitimate reason to believe that he was not avoiding the near occasion of sin (going on dates with men, allowing himself to fall in love with one and keep that man as his lifelong companion) and that should not be praised. Some, maybe many confused souls will look on this and conclude that he must have been giving in to his feelings and use that to legitimate their own similar actions. In many cases those souls might not be strong enough to avoid the near occasion of sin and fall into depravity. Mark, it just wasn’t a prudent approach and I wish you could see that. I just can’t understand why you didn’t focus on how devoted he was to the Church and extol that instead of leading with the Gay thing? It’s just so sad and disrespectful that you would characterize him by his temptation and association with that which is gravely sinful (gay man) instead of calling him what he was – a man. I certainly wouldn’t want my name in my own obituary to be lead with a series of adjectives of the sins that I struggle with, or have them mentioned at all. How humiliating. How disrespectful to the sum of the man. How sad.

            • Eileen

              God created us to be man or woman, not heterosexual man, lesbian woman, bisexual man, transgendered man, etc. etc. etc. Those divisions come from the Prince of Lies. I imagine you would bristle at the thought of your obituary being entitled “Mark Shea, Heterosexual Man and Influentual Catholic Blogger.” If not, I would on your behalf. Why would you reduce Mr. Perry to that? Is it a sin to be gay and live a chaste life? Of course not, but if you are living a chaste life according to God’s holy law, why would you call yourself a gay man? Aren’t you just a man? Do you need to be anything more that what Almighty God created – a man? Why call him a gay man when God created “man”?

              • Mark Shea

                I cannot communicate with the dead, so I can only guess why Perry and his companion were public about their relationship. I do know that he often bore witness to his Catholic faith to other members of the Seattle gay community–and frequently left them amazed with how beautiful the faith was when all they heard elsewhere was that it was their enemy. My guess is that he was therefore public about it in order to bear witness to non-Christian homosexuals that it was possible to be gay, chaste and fulfilled as a Catholic. That seems to me to be a feature, not a bug.

            • Mark Shea

              In other words, it’s not enough for you that he was, in fact, obedient to the Church. You insist on judging him and tying up heavy burdens that Holy Church herself does not ask for.

              • Eileen

                But, he was not obedient to the Church. That is the problem. He was not avoiding the near occasion of sin and was therefore according to the Baltimore Catechism “not rightly disposed for confession.”

                The Baltimore Catechism clearly deals with this so I will quote directly.
                Q. 772. Why are we bound to avoid occasions of sin?
                A. We are bound to avoid occasions of sin because Our Lord has said: “He who loves the danger will perish in it”; and as we are bound to avoid the loss of our souls, so we are bound to avoid the danger of their loss. The occasion is the cause of sin, and you cannot take away the evil without removing its cause.
                Q. 773. Is a person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, rightly disposed for confession?
                A. A person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, is not rightly disposed for confession, and he will not be absolved if he makes known to the priest the true state of his conscience.
                Q. 774. How many kinds of occasions of sin are there?
                A. There are four kinds of occasions of sin:
                Near occasions, through which we always fall;
                Remote occasions, through which we sometimes fall;
                Voluntary occasions or those we can avoid; and
                Involuntary occasions or those we cannot avoid. A person who lives in a near and voluntary occasion of sin need not expect forgiveness while he continues in that state.

                A man would voluntarily endanger his soul in a near occasion of sin by going on a first date with another man. Going on a “first date” implies that there might be a second date and the only reason for a Catholic to go on dates is to discern the vocation of marriage. The only reason for a Catholic to marry is to consummate the marriage. Two men cannot marry. Two men cannot consummate so this is clearly a near occasion of sin. People who are not physically attracted to each other do not go on dates with each other and fall in love (monks or otherwise). They meet up for lunch, grab a bite, have a lunch date, but not a *first* date. The fact that they ended up “monks in love” shows that there was an attraction which should have been avoided. Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins share a Christ-centered love for each other, I am sure, but they are clearly not “in love.” It’s an important distinction.
                Please let me state once again, I DO NOT JUDGE THIS SOUL. That belongs to Almighty God. I am only bringing to the attention of those who are not properly catechized that this NOT an example which should be emulated.
                God has shown mercy on his soul. I am confident of that. If he brought souls closer to the Truth then I celebrate that, but I will not pretend that the facts that have been presented about his situation are OK, because they are not OK. The Church does hold us to a heavy burden, but it is a necessary one for the sake of our eternal souls. Saint Padre Pio said, ‘God has the devil chained up like a dog, he can only bite you if you try to pet him.’ Let us not pet him and avoid those near occasions of sin!

                • Mark Shea

                  Of course you judge his soul. The fact is, you don’t know what constituted a near ocassion of sin for him. You simply assume you do. You have no idea what he discussed with his confessor or spiritual director, no clue of the nature of his relationship with his companion except that all the indications are that it was a chaste one. You. Don’t. Know. But you are ready to condemn him as disobedient to the Church anyway. The Church holds homosexuals to forego homosex. This they evidently did. Yet that’s not good for you. You tie up a heavy burden and lay it on their shoulders and then pretend that you speak for the Church, which does not require of them what you require–and charge them with sin when the Church does not.

                  • Eileen

                    I need to clarify and correct my approach. In considering this situation and am basing my conclusions on the facts that were presented. In writing my responses I have used “he” a lot which would easily lead you and everyone else to believe that I am judging him. Please be assured that in my soul I am not. The circumstances that are presented – men going on first dates, falling in love, etc. are very disconcerting. As I previously said, the only reason for dating is to discern marriage. If you are not called to that life you shouldn’t be dating. Women should not be allowed to enter the Seminary to study for the priesthood with men because they cannot be ordained to the priesthood. Married people should not take friends of the opposite sex into confidence, go on dates, and fall in love with them (even if the relationship is chaste). These paths are spiritually dangerous – allowing the individual to come in close proximity to the near occasion of sin. It’s just not worth the risk. Peace.

      • Catholic Dad

        Openly SSA people don’t have “partners” that they are “in love” with of the same sex unless they are “gay.” BTW, when are you going to answer Bob? http://www.catholicintl.com/index.php/latest-news/871-mark-shea-coming-out-of-the-theological-closet

        • Mark Shea

          Really? You know for a fact that gay people cannot love each other chastely and it must always be expressed sexually? And here I thought the Church’s teaching was that love is much more than merely sex and that we in fact should not reduce all love merely to sex. I also thought the Church urged gay people to live chastely, but you seem to believe the Church is urging them to do the impossible. If you want to say you believe the Church’s teaching for gay people is impossible you should just come out (pardon the pun) and do that. Personally, I think it is possible and I presume that this is what they did, based on everything I know of them. If you have proof that they did not, let’s hear it.

          Meanwhile, you have Sungenis trying to remove motes from eyes while walking around with the log of paranoid Jew hatred in his own, and you say nothing to him about that. Why do you suppose that is?

      • NMB

        Mark,
        You seem to be a little rude in your comments. How about a little more gentleness? This is a touchy topic. You are a popular apologist, so you may be confusing unaware Catholics.

    • Bryan

      Seriously, if Mark had lauded a known liar, adulterer, murderer and rotten father (you know, King David of Israel), would you be this wound up about it? There was no misunderstanding, particularly when Mark expounded on it later in the combox. By now, anyone who is seeing this as scandal is being deliberately obtuse about it.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Really? Because apparently this bears repeating: the Church teaches that homosexuality itself is not a sin, but the act is. Another thing the Church teaches: Judgement is reserved to God alone.

      Learn to read. Then learn to not draw false conclusions. Google Books has made available an excellent classic on logic and reasoning by Fr. Richard Clarke, SJ. Check it out. Then stop making stupendously stupid statements.

  • http://blog.archny.org/steppingout/ Ed Mechmann

    I know it’s a pretty radical suggestion, but perhaps people should take a look in the Catechism every so often, at least before pontificating in comboxes about the moral faults of others:
    2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:
    - of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
    - of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
    - of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them
    2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: “Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.”

  • thomas tucker

    Bu Ed- if we actually acted on those principles in the Catechism, the world would cease to exist as we know it.
    And that would be a good thing.

  • Gary Keith Chesterton

    Oh, good Lord. When I read posts like this, and the comments, it reminds me why I don’t have a blog. Hang in there, Mark.

  • ivan_the_mad

    “I would have hesitated to present him the way you have without knowing all the facts.”

    There’s only One Person Who knows all of the facts. I guess you don’t get to present him the way you did, either. “Humble opinion.”

  • http://redcardigan.blogspot.com/ Erin Manning

    Mark, I’m glad you posted on this again, because it give me the chance to thank Father Philip for engaging my questions (we ran out of reply buttons, so I couldn’t thank him below). I had honestly been under the impression that a penitent aware that he or she was doing something the Church finds gravely sinful but denying that he or she was sinning (e.g., rejection of important Church teaching) couldn’t even go to Confession without being objectively guilty of sacrilege until or unless he or she was willing to see the grave sin as, you know, gravely sinful and confess it. Father Philip’s explanation of how rare it is for confessors to withhold absolution and to remain hopeful that the dawning conscience would eventually lead the penitent to reject the grave sin is in line with the section that commenter Ben posted from various Church documents in the second (I think) thread on this topic, and taken together these things have been truly enlightening to me.

    Perhaps this is off-topic, but I think there is something of a need for a new book on the Sacrament of Penance–or perhaps such a book exists but I’m not aware of it, which is quite possible. :) The reason I say this is that having been raised in the “nothing but murder is gravely sinful” era of catechesis on sin and confession, my resources to try to learn about confession have tended to be pre-Conciliar, but those have some problems of their own (I recall a gentleman posting on a different blog to the effect that if one’s ten-year-old son disobeys by, perhaps, eating a snack before dinner he is guilty of mortal sin and must not be allowed to receive Communion until his parents have taken him to Confession–this gentleman was also using pre-Conciliar reference materials to back up his viewpoint). Perhaps a book outlining some of the points that both Father Philip and Ben (and others) have raised would help draw people back to this sacrament…

    • Irenist

      Such a reference on Reconciliation would indeed be quite helpful.

  • Mark Gordon

    Thanks for these posts, Mark. I empathize with the flak you’ve taken from all sides over this. From where I sit you have not only carefully and correctly limned the Church’s formal teaching on these matters, but you have modeled the spirit of that teaching, as well.

  • http://faithonthehighwire.blogspot.com Kathy Vestermark

    You know, I wasn’t “wound up” until now. I just thought I wouldn’t have offered the praise until I knew all the facts. Or, I would have at least looked at it from a different angle.

    • Mark Shea

      You will never know all the facts about anybody. Ever.

      • http://estquodest.com Pauli

        yes, that is true.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    That’s better. This clears it up, and is a far better finishing touch than the earlier last word. It was the wording in that initial post that threw me for a loop, as most people could probably imagine. But at this point, it looks like Mark has cleared it up, and it makes more sense at this point. My apologies if my obsession over one word took away from the other points that were trying to be made.

  • Joe

    Mark,
    Could you please write about the contracepting Catholic saints next. Please. Yes, even contracepting Catholics can become saints.

    • Mark Shea

      There no such thing as “contraceptive orientation”. There is only the contraceptive act, which is a sin, just as homosex is a sin. Sins can be repented, just as concupiscence can be resisted. David did the former, Perry the latter. Catholics can repent of contracepting–or their culpability can be mitigated by ignorance or other factors. So yes, contracpting Catholics can become saint, just as murdering and adulterous kings can.

      You do believe in the forgiveness of sin, right?

      • Joe

        In essence, Mark, there is really no such thing as a gay or straight person. There is simply a human with a properly ordered relationship. It is the Church through her Liturgy that shows us most profoundly this order of relationship. Any person who claims to have expertise in this area will know this. This is no judgement on anyone. But mortal sin is so serious that there can be no “opening of the door” that allows for any bit of comfort when in the state of mortal sin. Gay or not, you are not the person that calls someone a saint. That is not your role. You have no authority in this area. Many gay catholics, I am sure, read your blog and you may have cause scandal, no matter however so slightly. They are now more comfortable with their sin because of what you wrote. Our culture is cozy with mortal sin. Sure, Christ can forgive even the worst mortal sin, but the Church still maintains that there are two types of sin no matter that Christ can just as easily forgive both. Let the Church canonize her saints. Let the Church militant admonish the sinner.

        • Mark Shea

          Please. Obviously, I’m not saying I have the power to canonize anybody. Nor am I opening the door to any sin here. You, however, are opening the door to rash judgment of somebody you know nothing about.

    • Mary

      Only if they repent of their contracepting……that is case with all sinners….REPENTANCE.

      I think this column though well intended was a mistake. I’m sorry, Mark, but I see it as using poor judgment. Once again, I’ll say there was absolutely no need to identify the Perry Lorenzo as gay. Would you start any column with saying, Jane Doe, a heterosexual? Of course not. I think writing about all the wonderful things he did was good and it could have been left at that. But connecting being gay or SSA (which is how you identify it) with Sainthood was in my opinion a mistake. It created a great deal of controversy and confusion.

      • Mark Shea

        I will remember to never mention that King David was a murderer and adulterer. It has nothing to do with the story of his relationship with God.

        • Mary

          Very cheap shot

          • Mary

            and……….King David repented. It’s part of the story of grace, repentance and reconciliation. What did Perry Lorenzo’s orientation have to do with his relationship with God? You somehow made the decision that it did.

            • Mark Shea

              …and, Perry never did anything to repent of, that I am aware of.

              His orientation was part of who he was, and he handled it with grace. When his first date with his companion was to attend Mass, i’d say his orientation had something to do with his relationship with God.

              • Mary

                Don’t you think you are grasping at straws? His sexual orientation has nothing to do with this. Would you say heterosexuals having a first date at Mass is because of their sexual orientation?

                • Mark Shea

                  If you want to pretend that a relationship which his partner called “monks in love” centered around the liturgy had nothing to do with his sexual orientation, knock yourself out. But I think you are the one grasping at straws her. Obviously God and his companion were the two most important relationships in his life.

                • Clara

                  So, Mary, none of us is allowed same-sex friendships? If I were not maried I would be sharing a home with a female friend. I have many close, inimate female friends. Our friendship would then be judged and misconstrued.

              • Kristen

                Mark, I have absolutely loved reading these posts and your comments. They demonstrate an incredible gesture of love for both Christ and humanity (on both your part and his) which I find incredibly refreshing. I will only make one disenting point in the spirit of enlightment (hopefully for me as well).

                I take a little issue with associating any kind of disordered thought as “part of who we are” even if we’ve done a holy job of fighting it. Yes we all have hangups that if we give over to them, will lead us away from God. Not giving ourselves over to those thoughts is commendable, but I do think there’s something more. Maybe all that’s needed is a distintion between being a saint with a lower case ‘s’ vs. a Saint with an uppercase ‘S.’ If you mean that you think Lorenzo is the first kind, I sure hope so too! Dying free of sin is absolutely something to be commended, and living a life so full of love for God is something that you absolutely have a right to praise (especially since so many of us fail at even that, myself included…so far).

                But I think what has gotten a few folks here upset (and beleive me I am not upset so much as interestetd in the conversation)… is well, for me anyway, I think that to be a Saint with a capital S requires something more. Something that recognizes that the sinful nature is not the nature we were meant to have, abandonment of all these preconceived definitions of “self” (including things like SSA or an addictive nature, which I think far to many people take as a given) to become an empty vessel, that God can work his magic in. I don’t think that level of Saint is possible while clinging to any earthly identifier/label. Do I fault him for it, gosh no! God willing, I’ll make it half as far as he did.But I do understand people’s resistance to compromising our ideals for what Sainthood (with a capital S) can and should look like.

                • Mark Shea

                  I agree that our disorders and sins do not name us. And in fact, I think its a huge mistake to think that Perry felt his disordered attraction named him. But it was part of his life and I think it’s not wrong to face that fact. Bottom line: everything points to the fact that he put Jesus and the Faith first in his life and offered himself to God as fully as he knew how, lock, stock and barrel.

              • Eileen

                IF he had such an ordered relationship with God, why was he going on first dates with men? Seriously. Why?

                • Mark Shea

                  Probably because they liked each other and needed human companionship like everybody else. Which is, you know, not a sin.

                  You should really bone up on rash judgment.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    Why do priests who do premarital counselling with heterosexual couples who are living together, ask those couples to live apart before conferring on each other the Sacrament of Matrimony? Even if the couples say that they are living together chastely.

    Even if. . . even if. . . even if . . .

    It’s public honesty. It’s occasion of sin. You don’t share the same living quarters with someone you cannot legitimately engage in sexual relations with if you know that and / or the world at large knows that the intimate living arrangements are likely to provide fuel to a fire that is already smoldering in your hearts. A fire that may burst into a conflagration at any moment.

    An ethical attorney does not comingle funds, that is, he does not deposit a sum of money he has been entrusted to hold on behalf of a client into his own personal bank account. An ethical attorney will from the moment those funds are turned over to him, go to a bank different from his own and set up a separate account and deposit the client’s funds into that. Even if the attorney is the only signatory on the account. Even if the attorney is honest and reputable and means well. It doesn’t matter. Even if. An ethical attorney doesn’t comingle funds. Because comingling a client’s funds with your own could represent the start down a road that no reputable attorney ever wants to go down. That’s why comingling itself is a violation of ethics. Even if there was no intention on the attorney’s part to defraud. Even if the attorney was holding the funds for only twenty-four hours, and it seemed a waste to open a new account for so short a time. Even if, even if, even if. It’s a violation of ethics.

    Similarly, no Christian truly devoted to chastity will suffer himself or herself to live comingled with temptation to commit mortal sin, by sharing living quarters with someone to whom they are or to whom they well know they may become sexually attracted, but to whom they are not either married.

    Any given individual may indeed be living chastely with someone to whom they are not married but whose day-in and day-out proximity can only represent a challenge to the already difficult living out of the virtue of chastity. A needless challenge. A foolish challenge. What soldier struggling on knees and elbows up a hill under enemy fire wants to glance over and see his buddy also struggling up, with a bale of wet hay strapped to his back? “What the hell do you have that bale of hay on your back for? Are you crazy?” And the buddy replies, “I can make it up this hill as well as you can! I know what I’m doing! How dare you judge me?”

    Well, it’s not a question of “judging”; it’s a question of common sense. Maybe the fellow with the bale of hay strapped to his back does make it to the top of the hill under fire. But his example is not, repeat not, one that the brass back home would hold up as worthy of praise or of imitation.

    Similarly, it is not to judge a Christian living chastely but scandalously. But such a life is, in that regard, not worthy of praise or of imitation. And the delict is a serious one.

    • Blackrep

      I am in awe of this comment. Just what my heart was calling out for and full of wisdom. Thank you! You are a wonderful writer.

    • Telemachus

      I agree with Blackrep. This should be the focus of any reasonable objection that could be made to Mark’s original post, namely that Perry Lorenzo’s living arrangement was worthy of criticism.

      Mr. Lorenzo’s living arrangement would have led anybody to wonder “Wait… these two are practicing Catholics, admittedly same-sex attracted, they say they are in love, and they are living together?” Repeating “Not.My.Business” doesn’t make this go away. Comparing it to the situations in Acts and in St. Paul’s letters concerning eating meat sacrificed to gods, this looks like a textbook case of giving scandal. “Maybe its alright to worship other gods and be a practicing Christian.” “Maybe its alright to be a practicing homosexual and a practicing Catholic.” It doesn’t matter what people’s ACTUAL intentions are. Appearances matter, and if appearances can be controlled, they should be. Mr. Lorenzo gave improper appearances.

      Thus, it is certainly a problem when someone lauds him without hard caveats. But what I see in Mark’s original post is this: Perry Lorenzo was a model same-sex attracted Catholic in every way… except he deliberately lived in circumstances that would tempt any normal SSA person to the extreme… and one would reasonably left wondering whether or not this was a chaste relationship. The prudence of the OP is questionable.

      God bless,
      Tele

      • Mark Shea

        I don’t know his living arrangement. How do you know it?

        • Telemachus

          Mark,

          I’m having trouble discerning if people are just not good at communicating with you or if you are being deliberately obtuse. I don’t mean that as an insult, just a remark on my confusion.

          “Living arrangement” means exactly what I said: two SSA men living together, saying they are in love (I don’t know how else to interpret “monks in love”), and remaining practicing Catholics. I in no way mean to make a determination of Mr. Lorenzo’s chastity. What I am criticizing is the example he set and the appearances he gave. I don’t know how to say it any more clear than Marion has said above, so I’m not going to try.

          God bless,
          Tele

          • Mark Shea

            I don’t know if they lived together. I think the example they set for the gay community in Seattle was that you could be chaste, gay, and completely committed Catholics. Isn’t that exactly what the Church says gay people should do?

            • Telemachus

              Mark,

              Yes, absolutely. I am not questioning the man’s chasteness. My issue is with the example that he set, and perhaps you should have been more hesitant to laud the man’s life without acknowledging that his living arrangements were not proper. That’s all. Marion explained it very well in her post. If he was NOT in fact living with the man he was in love with, then there is no issue.

              Just for clarity, I’ll summarize my post again:

              (a) He wasn’t setting a good example for other SSA men and women by living with a man he was in love with, for the same reason that a man and a woman who are in love should not live together before being married even if they are not being intimate: it’s not a good example for others.

              (b) He was known to be living in such circumstances while also being a practicing Catholic. It doesn’t matter if he and his roommate were living chastely. The impression that any but the most thoughtful observer would get is “It’s alright to be a practicing homosexual and a practicing Catholic.” I’m not saying that this is the right conclusion, but this is the conclusion most people would reach, and that matters for the sake of their souls and a proper understanding of the faith. St. Paul and the Church fathers and the Council of Jerusalem thought appearances were important enough to write about. Out of charity for others, Mr. Lorenzo should not have been living with the man he was known to be in love with.

              Anyways, I think I’m going to sign-off. I noticed that Blackrep got kicked-off, and I’d rather not push it. I’ve made my point, and I’ve tried to do it in the most polite way possible.

              As an sign of peace, I think you are right about Michael Voris, although I still hold out some hope for him. But there’s just too much scandal surrounding him now, and I’m going to start warning my friends.

              God bless,
              Tele

              • Mark Shea

                You’re asking reasonable questions. Blackrep and Occum’s Razor and various others are on a crusade to condemn.

        • Telemachus

          Wait, were they or were they not living together? I, like Marion, thought they were living together. Looking back, I don’t know where that came from except from this in your original post:

          “b) merely living with his partner (and, by the way, I don’t even know if they lived together) is not proof of anything anyway, either about his relationship with his partner, nor about his relationship with God.”

          Why did you even mention this? Have people said they were living together?

          God bless,
          Tele

          • Mark Shea

            If memory serves, whoever wrote me may have thought so. I don’t know. I have no evidence they did.

    • Eileen

      Amen, Marion. Amen.

  • Blackrep

    It would also “tempt any normal SSA person to the extreme” to go on a “date” (as described by Mr. Hearn). I also was weirded out when Hearn said, “We were monks in love.” In love with…? Each other? Why would he be so provocatively ambiguous?

    It’s not just the living arrangement. It is even the way the relationship is spoken about in public that gives scandal.

    • Mark Shea

      Of course with each other. The key word, though, is “monks”. In other words, they were chaste. So what business is it of yours or mine?

      • Blackrep

        Seriously dude? Chaste monks usually speak about being in love with each other?

        What men do in public (live with other men when they proclaim they are SSA) or say in public (that they are in love, or that they go on dates) is absolutely my business, because they have made it my business. You have made it everyone’s business. Please do not imply that people are prurient or inappropriate in any way if they discuss these matters.

        I would really love for you to respond to Marion’s comment.

        • Mark Shea

          Sigh. No. But men with same sex attraction who fall in love and then choose to live chastely in obedience to the Church do. Apparently, obedience to the Church is not good enough for you, though. You insist on tying up heavy burdens on men’s backs that the Church does not ask of them. You know, like the Pharisees. You also are so busy looking for the mote in the eyes of chaste people that you do not see the log of rash judgment in your own. There is, like it or not, no sin in them loving each other or going places together. Just in homosex, which they evidently foreswore. You are effectively saying that a homosexual cannot love somebody of the same sex. Could you give me your background in spiritual direction that renders you an expert on this?

          • Blackrep

            Do I have to be an expert in spiritual direction to say that it is a scandal to proclaim that you are in love with another man, and live with him, and declare that you go out on “dates’ (which are romantic) with him? How is that Pharisaical?

            The Church bids us to stay away from near occasions of sin. If you really love your sin, it is very hard. If you detach yourself from your sin, it becomes easier.

            Again, I would love for you to address Marion’s argument. It is the best and most cogent one yet, cutting right to the heart of the matter. Your comments only seem to dispense SSA people from striving to stay away from near occasions of sin.

            • Mark Shea

              How do you know their chaste relationship was a near occasion of sin for them? How do you know they lived together? It is not a scandal when somebody does something you don’t like. It’s a scandal when somebody does something that tempts you to violate your conscience. They did nothing to tempt anybody to violate their conscience that I can see, since they lived chastely (which is not exactly the mainstream message of the gay community). So yeah: you are a Pharisee and guilty of rash judgment, demanding things the Church herself does not demand under the delusion that you know what was temptation for them.

              • Blackrep

                That’s all I need to know about how open you are to a real discussion.

                • Mark Shea

                  Eye roll. Right. I won’t capitulate to your insistence that an innocent and good man is guilty of sins you attribute to him on the basis of your own hangups and not on the basis of the Church’s teaching, so I’m “closed to real discussion.”

                  • Blackrep

                    Is or is not two SSA guys living together a near occasion of sin? Just give me a straight answer without the name-calling.

                    I only learned that they were living together from your blog.

                    • Mark Shea

                      As I have repeatedly said, I have no idea if they were living together. I also have no idea if, had they lived together, it would have been a near ocassion of sin for them. I am not their confessor or spiritual director. I only discovered he had a partner after his death. That partner describes their relationship as chaste. Given then, that they appear to have lived chastely, what business is it of yours to sit in judgment of them?

                    • Blackrep

                      Then you need to assure single heterosexual couples who are in love with each other that they are not in near occasions of sin if they live together, and suspend your judgement upon their wisdom and common sense as well. Since you are so beautifully tolerant and merciful. You shall be an example to us all.

                    • Mark Shea

                      No. I don’t. Because I don’t know any heterosexual couples for whom I am responsible who are co-habiting. Indeed, despite your prosecutorial stance, I still have no evidence that these guys were co-habiting. Or are you suggesting I go house to house, ferretting out co-habitants and demanding that everybody in my neighborhood stop co-habiting?

                      You’re being ridiculous. First you assume these guys co-habited, then you assume this means I approve of all co-habitation. Then you seem to assume that it is somehow my duty to run around ferretting out who, of all my acquaintances is co-habiting and deliver stern condemnations to them?

                      Reality: I didn’t even know this companion existed till after Perry’s death. So much for flagrant public sin. All I can infer of their relationship is that Perry was a devoted Catholic, that they loved each other chastely, and that his companion became a Catholic. All I can infer from your drive to accuse is that your Phariseeism is as repellent as Perry’s faith was attractive. There’s still no sin here on Perry’s part that I can see. No evidence of co-habitation. No evidence of homosex. Plenty of evidence of deep faith in Jesus and commitment to his Church. No disobedience to the Church that I can see at all.

                      Just your rash judgment. There’s nothing for me to tolerate or be merciful about since he did not do anything wrong that I can see. I do pray God will be merciful to you though. I fear you will need it.

                    • Blackrep

                      Thank you for your passive aggressive prayers for me. Nothing is as repellent as expressing hated in the guise of spiritual concern.

                    • Mark Shea

                      Please. My prayers are quite sincere and I don’t hate you. I do find your rash judgment and will to accuse repellent though.

                      Seriously, dude. You’ve got nothing. No evidence whatsoever of anything but a commitment to chastity and a decision to abide by the Church’s teaching on their part, which you insist is somehow not enough to satisfy you. Sorry, but nobody died and made you prosecuting attorney of a good man’s life. You don’t want prayers for you to repent your repellent behavior? Then repent your rash judgment and ask for mercy from God. You want confrontation of evil and admonishing the sinner? You got it. Your behavior on this thread is evil. Stop. Or leave. Or be made to leave.

                    • Blackrep

                      You’ve done nothing in your responses to me but call me names, when I am simply trying to talk about SSA and near occasions of sin. It is utterly disproportionate.

                    • Mark Shea

                      Bunk. You are trying to find a way to accuse an innocent man of sins for which you have no evidence whatsoever, and I have patiently answered these repeated baseless accusations. As I say, you want confrontation of evil and admonishment of the sinner? You got it. Repent your rash judgement.

                    • Blackrep

                      I think you’re really having some kind of arguement with yourself.

                    • Mark Shea

                      I assure you, my argument is with you.

                    • Blackrep

                      Let me ask you this, since you have been so patient with me. What if you found out that Perry’s “partner” ( as described in his obituary) was a live-in? You know, it’s okay to love someone who does that. It need not detract from your love. You don’t have to twist yourself in knots creating an imaginary person it is “okay” love.

                    • Mark Shea

                      Let me ask you: since there is no evidence whatsoever that this good and holy man was living with his companion and there is also no evidence that they were sexually active, why are you bent on creating hypothetical scenarios accusing them of these things? What is your purpose?

                    • Blackrep

                      Sorry, “to love.”

                    • Blackrep

                      Mark, they describe themselves as “partners.” What might you think that means?

                    • Mark Shea

                      Actually, his companion was described as a “companion” in the obit. Perry didn’t describe anything. His companion described their relationship as “monks in love” (in other words, “chaste gay men”) with a relationship centered around the liturgy. So, as I have repeatedly said, I think it means they were chaste and everything I know of Perry leads me to think they were. So, as I am now repeating again, you have nothing–nothing whatsoever–but rash judgment behind your urgent will to condemn him. Repent. This is your last warning. If your next reply is anything other than something along the lines of “I’m sorry. I have no basis for my insistence that he was committing homosex or even giving scandal” you’re done here. I don’t have all day to waste on a self-appointed Inquisitor bent on destroying the memory of a good man.

                    • Blackrep

                      Please read the press release from the Seattle Opera. He is described as a “partner” by those dear to him. Maybe you knew him better?

                      http://www.docstoc.com/docs/24348041/IN-MEMORIAM-PERRY-LORENZO

                      Again, what do you think gays mean when they say “partner?”

                    • Mark Shea

                      The word can mean several things. In their case, I think it means they were chaste gay men in love. But you, on the basis of nothing, rashly assume it means they were sexually active and obstinately persist in doing so despite repeated pleas that you repent and demonstrate charity.

                      So now you are gone. Bye.

              • http://quidmihiettibiest.blogspot.com Christopher M. P. Tomaszewski

                You proceeded to rash judgment yourself, here.

                • Mark Shea

                  No. I didn’t.

  • Esther

    Sigh.

    Do you know that when you now google “Perry Lorenzo,” two of the top four results are blog posts speculating about his sex life and eternal destiny in relationship to that sex life?

    I’m sure his family is thrilled.

    Good job, Mark.

    Mark, I really think you should do an examination of conscience about this whole series of posts. They weren’t about Mr. Lorenzo. They were about you, and some bizarre desire to present your views on another person’s private and spiritual life matter as if the world should care what you think. In matters like these, I try to put myself in another person’s place. If my Mom died tonight, what would I think of a popular blogger taking her life and death, making them the center of several posts without my permission, and inviting the world to contemplate her flaws and sins for days on end?

    Finally: it is not a Catholic thing to do to speculate on a person’s eternal destiny. It strikes me, actually, as a very Protestant thing – “Are you saved?” “If you died tonight….” To focus in on the congregation in front of you, picking out the saints and the sinners. If you reflect on the witness of the saints and great spiritual teachers, you don’t see that happening. That is not the language, nor the discourse. After a person dies, in particular, it’s not the Catholic Way to speculate in anyway on a person’s eternal destiny – it is the Catholic Way to pray for them, in hope. Period.

    I know you are being hailed for this post far and wide, but I think it was a terrible, puzzling and even scandalous mistake, and an invasion of a deceased man’s privacy – not to speak of the privacy of the living, including his partner.

    • Mark Shea

      Esther:

      No. The post was not about me. It was about demonstrating that there are people in the gay community who can and do faithful lives as Catholics and how I think brother and sister Catholics should regard them. The information about Perry and his companion was publically available–and totally indicative of a chaste relationship. it was in his obituary, for Pete’s sake. And none of it points to a single sinful act. You’ll need to tell the shouting throngs of people who cried “Santo Subito” at JPII’s funeral that It’s Not the Catholic Way to regard somebody who lived an exemplary life as a saint. I did not invite anybody to contemplate Perry’s flaws and sins for the very excellent reason that I don’t know of any. That’s why I think he was a saint. When you stop projecting, let me know.

    • L Daily

      Excellent comment Esther. I think we ALL need to shut up some, focus on our own faith journeys, stop analyzing others, and stop reading Catholic blogs, which are dividing the Church. Prayer, silent reflection, reconciliation, and presuming the best rather than the worst about others would go a long way.

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    I apologize, Mark, for having sounded critical of a man you admire, Mr. Lorenzo, a man I never knew, and about the details of whose life I know nothing. On earlier threads there had been allusions to whether or not Mr. Lorenzo and his partner had been living together, and the assumption that they had done so (based on my hastily jumping to conclusions I had no business jumping to) were the starting point for my remarks above.

    I need to learn to read more carefully before commenting. Thank you.

    • Mark Shea

      No sweat. I love what you write. Always thoughtful and prayerful.

      • Marion

        Thank you, Mark. That’s what I think of your writing, too.

        And, often inspired and laugh-out-loud funny.

  • http://abbey-roads.blogspot.com/ terry nelson

    I just discovered your update via Deacon’s blog. Very good clarification Mark. Thanks.

  • Occum’s Razor

    So… is a homosexual predisposition a gravely disordered state or not?

    • Mark Shea

      Yes.

      Seriously, dude. I’m guessing you are here from elsewhere and know absolutely nothing about me but this one post. Familiarize yourself. I completely agree with the Church’s teaching on sexual morality.

  • Occum’s Razor

    Seriously, “dude” I wasn’t asking about you. I was asking about the morality of a homosexual predisposition. But hey, since you agree with the Church’s teaching on sexual morality, perhaps you can riddle me how an “openly gay” man can be in an “openly” disordered state of grave depravity (not to mention mortal sin) and somehow be a …. saint?

    • Mark Shea

      By living chastely, which charity and my knowledge of his dedication to the Church’s teaching teaches me to presume he did–and which you would know if you actually read what I have said over the past couple of days instead of marching in here imagining you are ordained by God Almighty to condemn people of whom you know nothing. It is the homosexual act, not the orientation which is a sin.

      Read this. Then, go to confession.

  • Eileen

    Mark, you really need to take off the rose colored glasses. The fact that you refer to him as gay, then speculate that he was chaste because you have no evidence to the contrary is really problematic. Identifying with a lifestyle (remember, you are the one who named him a gay man) which is gravely sinful is nothing short of spiritually treacherous. Aren’t we to avoid the near occasion of sin? How on God’s good earth are “two monks in love” supposed to be shining example of chastity?
    I don’t condemn this man. I didn’t even know he existed before today, but it is wrong to canonize someone under these circumstance. Instead of asking for his prayers perhaps you should be offering yours for his eternal soul.

    • Mark Shea

      The fact that you refer to him as gay, then speculate that he was chaste because you have no evidence to the contrary is really problematic.

      The fact that I extend charity to somebody based on the fact of their known devotion to Christ is really problematic?

      How on God’s good earth are “two monks in love” supposed to be shining example of chastity?

      Because they were chaste?

      You are, in effect, saying that chastity is not enough. They are to be condemned for their feelings. Personally, I think they offer a witness to the Seattle gay community that it is possible to be same-sex attracted and faithful Catholics fully obedient to the Church. I sort of thought that’s what the Church wanted from gay people. But it’s becoming apparent that not a few Catholics believe that there is effectively *no* place for same sex attracted Catholics, no matter how obedient they are to the Church.

  • Soon to be Father

    I actually got a headache reading this thread! I found myself actually yelling at the screen “we don’t assume the worst about people!” It is not a sin to be gay. It is not a sin to love. If his partner said he was chaste, then we take that on face value, we accept that. The church is not in the condemning business. This is one of the big issues of our time – what the role and place of those with SSA is in the Church. They belong in the Church just as much as anyone else. Sin is sin. I struggle with sin, I shouldn’t be judged and condemned. Nether too should this man. No one is perfect. Mark – Thank you for putting this out there for us to think about. We all need it. Thank you for so beautifully defending the truth.

    And yes – I believe everything the Church teaches. I accept it all. We need to find a pastoral approach that brings people to the Church, not pushes them away.

    In a fews weeks I will be ordained a priest and will be able to hear confessions. If a man came to me and confessed being in a chaste relationship with another man I could not absolve him. There is no sin to absolve. I would encourage him to continue on living chastely – like Holy Mother Church asks all of us to according to our role and vocation in this life.

    • Eileen

      Soon to be Father, if you do encounter that man in the Confessional I would hope that you would encourage that man to avoid the occasion of sin. There is a reason why AA meetings are not held at the local bar during happy hour. Temptations are difficult enough to resist when they come on their own. Why put yourself in close proximity to it? My husband wouldn’t appreciate if I socialized at single clubs. Priests should exercise great care in protecting the chastity of their vocation. Why should people with SSA be any different?

  • Suzanne

    Mark, you are so entirely correct! I had two “bachelor great-uncles” whom several people say were obviously gay” because our culture has taught them that life without physical sexual expression isn’t merely nuts–it’s impossible. By all family accounts, these brothers were devout and prayerful men who lacked no love, only sex. I don’t think this a case of denial, other than a denial that for some laypeople,the love of God is enough.

  • Suzanne

    I should have added that no one knows the sexual orientation of these two chaste men in my family (it was the early 20th century). And frankly, I don’t need to know where their desires leaned in order to find them as admirable as they were remarkable.

  • Hugh Embriaco

    As a former seminarian, I had many friends who were afflicted with same-sex attractions. The many men I knew who were trying to live their lives according to the Church’s teaching would never, in a million years, have self-identified themselves as gay. You’d have to know them pretty well to know about their particular affliction.

    There’s a big difference between someone like that and someone who self-identifies as gay: which means he is proud of being gay, is proud of being afflicted with same-sex attractions, and believes such attractions to be normal and God-given.

    The latter type of person should not be referred to as a saint. He may not be a moral reprobate, and, I agree with Shea that it is none of his business or ours to find out if Perry was a morally depraved individual; however, such as person IS a heretic — meaning he is spreading a false teaching about Catholic morality through his pride regarding being gay. Such a person should not be given Christian burial, much less referred to as a saint.

    • Mark Shea

      Unless, of course, he self-identified as gay in order to say to the gay community that you could live a chaste fulfilled life as a same sex attracted man who fully believed all that the Church taught, including what she teaches about sexuality. This, he actually seems to have done. It’s amazing how many people are more demanding than the Church and more condemning than the devil.

      • Eileen

        I politely disagree, Mark. It is never prudent to self-identify with sin.

        • Mark Shea

          So would you likewise condemn an AA participant for saying, “Hi! I’m Joe and I’m an alcoholic as “self-identifying with sin”.

          Why is it not enough for you that he was chaste?

          • Eileen

            It seems like a minute point, but it’s an important clarification. IT is not a sin to be an alcoholic. It is a sin to get drunk. It would be self-identifying with the sin to say “Hi, I’m Joe and I’m a drunk” (because in today’s parlance “alcoholic” has the understanding that the person is recovering). Similarly, I would not question the integrity of someone who said “Hi, I’m Joe and I struggle with SSA.” However, saying “Hi, I’m Joe and I’m a homosexual (or gay)” is problematic because it today’s parlance it is understood that homosexuals are not chaste (really, it’s understood that no one is, but that’s another matter). It would be also wrong to say “Hi, I’m Joe and I’m a lech/sloth/greedy, etc.” and so forth. It does not respect the Image in which we all are created. I really hope you see what I”m trying to get at here. I’m seriously tired at the moment. Perhaps we should agree to disagree on this. I tend to error on the side of caution and encourage others to take the next bus out of town when the Near Occasion of Sin is lurking. You can at least appreciate that, can’t you?

            • Eileen

              It IS enough for someone who struggles w/ SSA to be chaste. In order to protect that chastity we must avoid those occasions of sin. I just wish that would be acknowledged.
              From what very little I know of him it appears that Perry did not identify with the gay culture. I think you said yourself that you didn’t even know that SSA was an issue for him. Maybe the affections of his companion were not reciprocated. Who knows? My primary concern is that the particulars (men going on dates, monks in love, lifelong companions) are not the best examples of how to live a Catholic life as someone with SSA. I fear most people with SSA would not resist those occasions of sin (assuming they are – they would be for most of us) as well as Perry did, please God. Peace.

              • Mark Shea

                And I’m not saying anything about anybody *but* Perry. Near ocassions of sin vary depending on the person.

      • DaveCal

        Mark,

        Thank you for speaking so eloquently about this topic. With all the nasty comments, I dare say I would not have held up as well as you in keeping my cool. You have the patience of Job.

        God bless you.

  • Suzanne

    Amazing how many people are more demanding than the Church and more condemning than the devil? Mmmm…not really, I’m afraid. “Faux-liness” is one of Satan’s most successful ruses among devout believers; it appeals to our sense of justice and feeds off the Hall Monitor in our nature. I have to constantly be on the lookout.

  • Fr. David Abernethy, C.O.

    Mark,

    If nothing was known about living arrangements, that the article said nothing of anything, then why personally canonize the man and use him as an example other than to be provocative (for the sake of being provocative) and emotionally and intellectually manipulate your readers. It seems you could have written something far more clear and helpful without using this man’s personal life to do so. Things such as scandal and avoiding near occasions of sin do make details about a living arrangements pretty important in my eyes – whether one is speaking about heterosexuals or homosexuals. You used the ambiguity of the situation and the lack of specific knowledge to your own advantage for the sake of making a moral argument.

    • Mark Shea

      Because I knew the man and he was a very good man who proclaimed the Catholic faith without editing it and was obviously dedicated to being a disciple of Jesus. I had and have no reason to think him unchaste.

  • Fr. David Abernethy, C.O.

    Mark,

    You are missing the point. I have no reason to think him unchaste either. I’m saying that what you wrote and how you wrote it was unnecessarily provocative (perhaps not intentionally so) precisely because the circumstances are so ambiguous and the specific details unknown. You are making a personal judgment (which of course is your right and may indeed be absolutely true) about someone and their sanctity that no one else knows certain specifics about that would have a bearing on the moral realities being discussed and their ability to make such a judgment or share your judgment. I find that, as I said, a bit emotionally and intellectually manipulative of your readers and puts you in the position of striking down their concerns or objections from a personal vantage point in which they cannot possibly share. I believe everything discussed in the posts is important and necessary. It is in this case your approach that I take umbrage with for the above reasons. As a priest I certainly talk to and counsel a lot of people where orientation and gender identity issues are central and being able to explore them openly and honestly in light of their spiritual life and pursuit of holiness is very important and as someone psychoanalytically trained I think I realize the complexity and delicacy necessary in doing so. Perhaps that made me sensitive to the apparent indelicacy of your public spiritual and moral “case” study.

  • SRG

    Mark,

    You wrote in your first piece:

    “…who am I to judge?”

    Right. Then why did you go ahead and “canonize” the man? I mean, why did you make such grandiose claims about the man’s sanctity when admittedly you don’t know anything about the man’s personal moral life? Doesn’t it stand to reason that it would have been better to refrain from commenting on something you actually don’t know anything about (i.e., whether he was a real saint or an active sinner) and just leave the comments to what we can actually access in charity (his kindness, dedication to his art, his manifest love for the Church etc.)? I think where people got confused was where you call one one man “a saint…an ornament of the Church”, and another person claims knowledge of his supposedly sinful lifestyle, and you retort with something like, “none of my business, I don’t care, I believe he’s a saint!” Well… in order to make any kind of meaningful judgment in the area of sanctity, you really do need to have had some sort of experience of what the man’s personal moral life was like. Otherwise, you come cross as saying that the man is holy despite possibly living in sin – which is of course a contradiction, and would naturally stir confusion as to what your real views on the issue are.

    And yes, I do know and acknowledge that you are in complete agreement on with the Church.

  • Darlene

    Hi
    Mark, I didn’t even bother to read the other comments because from experience I
    know that reading comments can be close to putting yourself “in the occasion of
    sin”. (Joking of course!) But, I want to thank you for being *Catholic* and
    expressing exactly what the Church teaches about same-sex attracted persons and
    how to love them. I am considered crazy orthodox (traditionalist by some who
    don’t know me well) and I was touched by these articles. If more people love
    their neighbors (including those who know they are sinners) like this we might
    see more true conversions and less condemnation towards Catholics. Its not about
    “what I want,” but rather “what does God want for me?” Those who work to live in
    Him and in His love may fall to concupiscence, but we can pick ourselves up
    and thank God for his mercy and forgiveness. If not, all of us who haven’t yet
    “earned our halos” are lost without hope! You may have expressed yourself
    without the perfection of terms that has gotten you in trouble with some
    nit-pickers, but thank you for putting yourself out there to share the truth all
    the same! God bless!


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