The Crackerbarrel Inquisition Arrives!

Due to the sudden uptick in comboxers who are unfamiliar to me, demanding to know if I think homosexual appetites gravely disordered and launching into arguments for the prosecution like this:

May Mr.Lorenzo rest in peace.  Now for you Mr.Shea, are you a proponent of same sex marriage and gay adoption?  How about  sex ed classes teaching our children about homosexuality?  Childrens books with titles like Heather Has Two Mommies?  Gay Pride parades , really it’s all become too much in your face for a lot of us.

…I can reasonably infer that some aggregator like Pew Sitter has ordered the Pitchfork Wavers and Crackerbarrel Inquisitor to work themselves into a 15 minute hate and come lynch me, rather like these people lynched Pope Benedict in cyber-effigy a while back for his grave sin of extending charity to imperfect efforts at penitence by homosexuals.

Before undertaking that useful course of action, however, it might be advisable to, you know, not make a fool of yourself first.  So, for instance, there’s this cool thing called “Google” that allows you to find out many answers to your questions *before* you ask something that is simultaneously filled with malice, presumption of guilt and embarrassing ignorance.  Turning to this marvelous piece of technology and typing in, say, “Mark Shea gay marriage” for instance would yield an abundant number of comments from me on the topic (hint: I oppose it).  Similarly, “Mark Shea Gay Brownshirts” reveals something of my opinion of a great deal of gay agitprop in the media.  Or again, “Mark Shea Gay disordered appetite” would yield you information that would keep you from writing arch, ridiculous, opening lines like “Now for you Mr. Shea” as though you are now going to pin me with a sword and force the confession of my enthusiasm for homosex and my contempt for Church teaching from me.

Clues for the clueless: I completely accept the Church’s teaching on sexual morality.  I also accept the Church’s teaching on rash judgment.  However, since the behavior of a number of you in the Crackerbarrel Inquisition is making it clear that you don’t, let me refamiliarize you with it:

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 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;279

- 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.280

2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

If you choose to ignore this basic teaching of Holy Church in your conviction that God Almighty has anointed you Prosecuting Attorney of the Kingdom o Heaven (the biblical word for such a figure–who turns up in the begnning of Job–is where we get the name “Satan” from, by the way), you might wind up making a complete jackass of yourself like this comboxer:

Fr. Levi, as the your point #2 above, you seem disposed to assume that the author, Mr Shea, should be taken at face value for stating that the late Mr Lorenzo, may he rest in peace, taught a great number of people the Catholic faith “in its fullness.” Perhaps he did, but what the author cited in support was Mr Lorenzo’s blog which he was kind enough to link to. Please examine it carefully before forming an opinion. I invite you to read the comments to each of the articles posted. Or fair warning, Don’t. Not unless you are interested in viagra, cialis, or any number of adds for pornographic websites and browsing. There was absolutely NOTHING posted in any comment of any article that was in any way Catholic, or Holy, or worthy of anything of Christ. If the writing on this blog; the only thing the author referred us to, is any indication, Mr Lorenzo’s inspiring words were totally lost on his readership. So therefore on what basis are we to conclude that, as the author would have us believe he inspired many in The One, True Faith of Our Lord?

Um, Perry has been dead since 2009 and the blog has just been sitting there, exposed to spambots because nobody is running it.  Spambots dump advertising into comboxes and if you don’t have a filter there’s nothing to stop them.  The garbage you see in the comboxes is due to spambots.  Please learn something about how the internet works before making such an embarrassingly ignorant rash judgement in public again.

Sheesh!

  • Max Lindenman

    Another point: Lorenzo’s blog is pretty highbrow. The 99.9% of the world who knows or cares nothing about opera (except for Looney Tunes spoofs) can’t do much more beyond picking its nose and wiping its finger thoughtfully on the screen. This includes me.

  • http://stevenadunn.wordpress.com Steven Dunn

    I think you have a topic for your next book.

  • Charlotte

    But I love Crackerbarrel! They’d never have an Inquisition.

    • kmk

      Hahahahaha! Thanks for that–I needed a good laugh!

    • Will

      I didn’t expect the Crackerbarrel Inquisition!

      • sjay

        Nobody expects . . .

    • lethargic

      Dittoes to Charlotte … Crackerbarrel has yummy down-home food and breakfast all day … how can you link them with any kind of inquisition, Mr. Shea? Oh, the humanity …

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    Beautiful!

    Right on!

    You assume the best about others, and if you know differently, you keep it to yourself. If you refuse to do that, you yourself are liable to be falling into sin.

    “Objectively valid reason” for disclosing another’s fault or weakness is a key qualifer – and that would usually have to do with the necessity of disclosing this information to prevent harm to one’s own or to another’s physical, psychological, or spiritual well-being, but to limit the disclosure precisely to those individuals and precisely in such a manner as is warranted to prevent that harm.

    Also, if someone is hurting, annoying, or aggravating you (to a minor degree), and you need to talk about it, it may be best either to talk over your problem with a third party but without disclosing the identity of the one causing you grief, or to share your problem with someone who doesn’t know and will never know the one causing you grief.

    • kmk

      Amen–and Mark, thanks for the CCC citing.

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

    Didn’t you mean to call it the “Crackpot-barrel Inquisition”? More apt, really.

  • Telemachus

    LOL “Crackerbarrel Inquisitors.” ‘Nuff said.

  • B.E. Ward

    I’m pretty sure this all started with your blatant rejection of the Jolly Pride movement.

    • Charlotte

      Well…that could make the folks at Crackerbarrel mad.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    We’ve devolved to criticizing a man because of the spam in his comment boxes? Really?

    Hoo boy, I hope these people never get a hold of my email spam box.

  • Rosemarie

    +J.M.J+

    This is horrible. It’s one thing to charitably disagree with someone, it’s quite another to assume the worse of someone you know absolutely nothing about and subject them to such treatment. I’m sorry to hear that you are going through this, Mark. What ever happened to the virtue of charity?

    “Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” – I Cor. 13:4-7 DR

    • Mark Shea

      It’s revealing, I’ll give you that. These people aren’t interested in the possibility of a chaste gay man. They’re out for blood, that’s all.

  • Michaelus

    Maybe it wood be better to stop referring to people as “gay” altogether. I do not refer to people I know in this manner any more than I refer to the people I know who have stolen money in the past as my “thief” friends or those who have had abortions as my “murderer” friends – or my friends who routinely miss Holy Mass as my “hypocrite” friends. These labels are of no value. If Lorenzo lived with his friend why on earth not assume that he simply lived with his friend? Labels are Calvinism.

    • Mark Shea

      As I have said umpteen times, I have no idea if he lived with his friend. There is no thief, murderer, or hypocrite orientation. There is a same sex attractoin orientation, commonly referred to as “gay” in English.

      • Michaelus

        Of course there is a thief orientation. We are all subject to the test in various ways – thievery and sodomy are just two variations – right?

      • Will

        What about kleptomaniacs? Don’t they deserve respect?

        (In case anyone misses it, that was a joke.)

    • http://thecuriouscatholic.blogspot.com/ theCuriousCatholic

      Except being gay isn’t a sin, as in thieving and using the term isn’t pejorative and judgmental as in “hypocrite.”

      But I agree with you in that we don’t need to identify every person at every place and time by gender preference. Just as we don’t by race, height or whether they prefer the OF to the EF.

  • Harry

    Mark, trying to correct silly people on the internet is a task akin to attempting to knock down the Great Wall of China with a chocolate hammer.

    • Will

      I fully intend to steal that remark.

  • mecee

    Mark, take heart. They haven’t discussed you at California Catholic Daily. Toxic Catholicism at it worst.

    • Mark Shea

      Give it time.

  • http://www.frenchcookingmama.wordpress.com frenchcookingmama

    But aren’t Truly True Faithful Conservative Catholic bloggers known for compassion and charity for their fellow humans?
    *cough cough*

    • Carbon Monoxide

      2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 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;279

      - 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.280

      2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

  • Observer

    What if you spoke of Mary Magdalene being a chaste sinner (of course knowing what she did) who lived with men (i.e. the Apostles)? Now, wouldn’t the same people having the discussion in the same arena around Lorenzo (similarily to Mary Magdalene) be compelling us to believe the Gnostic Gospels? I guess you’ve inspired the Gospel of Mark Shea. Great, we’ve got another heretical misfit group on the lose through the blogosphere.

    Next, say a thousand years from now, the Gospel will be picked up by some pour unfortunate soul who will read about the CrackerBarrel council circa 2012 A.D. Sadly and worse, he will likely fall into believing the past comments, said by persons who have no authority at all, to be true. Again you will have another shallow, silly, and dirt smearing group which will be called the Cracked-Barrel Schism.

  • http://soundcloud.com/evan-cogswell Evan

    Nobody expects the Crackbarrel Inquisition. Mark, you are accused of heresy on three counts: heresy by thought, heresy by word, heresy by deed, and heresy by action. As punishment, you must sit in the comfy chair until you repent. You will be allowed one cup of tea. That is all.

    • Noah D

      Get…the Soft Cushion!

  • Noah D

    Now for you Mr.Shea,

    I cannot help but read this, and everything after, in Blofeld’s voice. Which is probably what it deserves.

  • Andy s

    Keeping speaking the truth…there will always be persecutors…but you will have your supporters who need to keep hearing from you.

  • Zac

    That ‘rash judgement’ stuff is gold, Mark. Thanks for posting it!

  • Jack

    Whatever anyone says, if it references homosex morality, the hate hive bursts out with stingers poking at anything in sight. It’s a blind fury that strikes out mindless and reckless when it’s dark cocoon is ruptured or upset.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      And frankly, I sort of understand this. There is a militant wing of homosexuals in this country and around the world who are openly at war with the Church. This whole incident should put us on guard, however, so that we don’t do exactly what you describe: lash out blindly. We need to remember that we’re all sinners and looking for the truth.

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

    It’s interesting. I had posted that little bit from the Catechism back during the heated days of political discussion. I thought it was worth remembering then.

    As for homosexuality, again, the problem is that it stands unique. Try to get another ‘sin’ and compare it. You just can’t. Basically the Church has said that, apart from actually physically consummating one’s homosexuality, there is no reason that homosexuals can’t enter into a relationship based on it, even if it is, itself, a disordered appetite. I’m not sure what that means. I’ve tried to think of a comparison, but I can’t. Hence the problems I think we’re having with it. All in all, it’s not too far off from where mainline Protestant denominations were a few decades ago. So I don’t know if that bodes altogether well or not. But I do know the issue of homosexuality stands in a unique light nowadays, so I can understand the frustration and confusion that folks have on both sides of the issue, as well as those trying to stay within the center of the extremes.

    • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com Crude

      I think one imperfect but close comparison would be: sustaining a friendship with a woman a married man or single priest feels a sexual attraction to. The sexual aspect is the disordered appetite in the homosexual case, and something comparable in the married/vow’d case. The relationship, not necessarily.

    • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com Crude

      Really, I think you’re correct that homosexuality is ‘unique’, but it’s for a different reason, and a cultural one: it’s really the only ‘sin’ that has such a modern identity aspect to it, and a culture to go with it. There’s plenty of people who have affairs, plenty of people who engage in all kinds of sexual activity, but nothing at all compares to the sheer LGBSA culture, identity, political landscape, etc. Incidentally, the spam detector on this site absolutely sucks. I had to split this comment into two paragraphs to get past it.

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

        I got spammed, too. I had to cut out references to homosexuality and replace it with ‘it’ in order to post it. Go figure.

        But it is unique. I mean, try to imagine another disordered appetite that for all other purposes, is not disordered. Gluttony doesn’t work, for I have to eat. I can’t not eat. So gluttony is not eating per se, but an abuse. I have to do it, but in moderation. I can’t have affairs either. I tried to imagine a case where I wanted to have sex with another woman and moved in with her with my wife’s permission because I had come to genuinely love the woman other than my wife I originally wanted to have sex with. But that doesn’t really work either, because for one thing I can’t imagine my wife allowing it! So there just isn’t another case that matches it, which is why it’s easy to see so many confused by something that is disordered and yet no problem, as long as it isn’t physically consummated. Because there’s nothing else to go with, confusion is bound to result.

        • Peggy R

          Well, I tend to see homosexual attraction as similar to alcoholism. No one really knows in either whether a person is born homosexual or alcoholic. Oftentimes, we can point to environmental/childhood experiences that may have led a person down that road. But, on the surface, it is not disordered to enjoy a beer or glass of wine. When I read what homosexuals say, like “God made me this way. I am living honestly,” I think how would that work for an alcoholic. He’s attracted to booze as the gay man is attracted to men. Is the alcoholic living honestly, just doing what God created him to do, when he drinks to excess?

          To recover, an alcoholic has to abstain from drinking altogether (presuming you believe the AA approach). The typical alcoholic can’t drink just one and stop. He wouldn’t be an alcoholic then. Similarly, the homosexual who wants to live morally cannot act on those attractions. He must abstain to be chaste. Both have to refrain completely from the disordered interest they have. They have to live it one day at a time. It is no accident that the Courage movement was based on AA’s 12 Steps I believe.

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

            But yet there is no similarity in saying that there is nothing disordered about living out an alcoholic life. You either drink. Or you don’t. And likewise, as an alcoholic, it is advised not to do certain things (like hang out in bars, get a job at a liquor store). While once again, with homosexuality, aside from physically consummating the attraction, there is really nothing seen as bad or disordered – one can live a chaste homosexual relationship, one can live in any way and in any situation despite it, there is nothing seen as wrong or problematic with it – or at least that’s what I’m picking up. A disorder that is not disordered as long as it isn’t acted upon. That’s the unique nature. Alcoholism is considered disordered even if the person doesn’t drink, and a list of cautions and prohibitions on behavior accompany it. See the difference?

            • Peggy R

              I sense you’re speaking circularly or I am not that bright…don’t answer, be gracious…!

              In any case, the Church says that same-sex attraction is disordered, even if the person doesn’t act on the attraction. You said, and I agree, that alcoholism is disordered even if the person doesn’t drink. Both persons with same-sex attraction and alcoholism have to be prudent and cautious about avoiding their respective temptations.

          • Robert

            “Well, I tend to see…attraction as similar to alcoholism.”

            This is illogical. The attraction can be present as soon as any such attraction can be present in a human being. One does not need to engage in coitus to realize he has those feelings. I know this from experience. I realized I was gay at a young age and I had no relations with anyone to form this attraction.

            One may be more disposed to becoming an alcoholic, but no one becomes an alcoholic except for by choice. Period. Alcoholism is the chemical dependency on alcohol that is only tractable by abstinence from drinking, yes. I know men who have reached their middle-aged years and have never had sex with ansyone but are still as gay as they were when they first realized it when they were young. I don’t understand how anyone can possibly deduce by means of abstract thought that alcoholism and this attraction are comparable at all. I don’t say this to little you or anyone else. I simply don’t understand it. Sorry.

            • Peggy R

              You probably do not understand alcoholism…I have met folks obsessed w/alcohol who’ve feared its consequences and never touch a drop. Often family history experience (whether biological or not) plays a part in those obsessions. They often find refuge in AA to help dispel the obsession, whether they drank or not. No one mocks them or pushes them out.

              On another point a reader below notes that homosexual relationships displace true friendships. This is a very important point. Gotta go….

              • Robert

                No, I understand what alcoholism essentially is rather well. What you’re describing isn’t alcoholism. It’s a neurosis that stems from fear of becoming an alcoholic because of family history or whatever. They’re still not the same thing.
                As for the comments, below, they have nothing to do with what I said. I still can’t see your point.

        • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com Crude

          I think the problem here is that you’re failing to separate things that need to be separated when considering this topic. The specific problem with same-sex attraction, as far as Christian teaching goes, is the sexual acts and the desires for those acts. If you remove those, it’s not clear there’s very much left that’s objectionable even by the strictest Christian teaching on the matter.

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

            That’s my point. To put it bluntly, the Church is essentially saying that there is nothing disordered at all about homosexual attraction as long as it isn’t acted upon physically. Think that one through. But again, it is unique, and that’s my point. There simply isn’t any other sin that gets that treatment that I’m aware of, nor is there any other disordered appetite treated in the same way. I’m getting the feeling that the Church is more or less saying there isn’t anything at all wrong with homosexuality apart from it being a disordered appetite that only matters if the two are sexually active. And there’s some breakdown there that I can’t quite pinpoint, but common sense says there’s something amiss nonetheless.

            • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com Crude

              That seems flatly wrong. The Church is saying that there is something entirely disordered about the sexual desire in question whether or not it’s acted upon – it’s manifestly not the Church’s view that it’s acceptable/moral to entertain various fantasies, so long as you don’t act upon them. If you take a homosexual ‘relationship’ and strip out the sexual attraction, fantasy or intent, what’s left can’t rightly be called any more ‘homosexual’ than, say… and healthy and ordered friendship between two men, or two women.

            • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

              What Crude said.

              The problem is that the weeds of disordered sexual attraction are growing among the flowers of friendship and true brotherly/sisterly love. And sometimes (I said “sometimes”) to violently uproot the one would do serious damage to the other. The church would say the sexual desire is objectively disordered (not sinful per se, just disordered) but the friendship and philia is manifestly not disordered at all. So you gradually work on uprooting one while trying not to destroy the other. It’s a bit messy, but that’s people for you.

  • Andrew

    This idea that a Catholic same-sex attracted man can safely live with/be in a romantic relationship with another man is false, and it’s a shame Mr. Shea has allowed this confusion. How about occasion of sin? If an appetite is intrinsically disordered, it shouldn’t be indulged. Period. Instead cultivated good platonic friendships, friendships that can help you to *relate* with someone of the same sex in a healthy way.

    Thank God my confessor would never let me try try this “chaste gay romance” stuff. Not that I resist—I’ve tried it before and it never worked.

  • Andrew

    You see, Crude, it’s not all about sex, contrary to conventional wisdom. It’s about male and female and *relating* to people of the same sex in a healthy way. Where is the chastity line drawn in these “chaste gay romances”? Assuming oral/anal stuff is off limits, where is the line drawn? Is kissing all right? How about cuddling? At what extent in the indulgence of “intrinsically disordered” desires is Catholic teaching no longer being followed?

  • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com Crude

    It is first and foremost about sex. No, it’s not “all about” such, but mostly? Yes.

    Absolutely, ‘where to draw the line’ has to be discussed – but it is not at all clear that merely being around another person or having a friendship is crossing that line. The CCC (2357) specifies pretty boldly that what is “intrinsically disordered” are the sexual acts. Is a friendship, even a close friendship, where the potential for SSA exists between two people of the same sex ‘an indulgence of “intrinsically disordered” desires’?

  • http://manalivethemovie.com/ Joey Odendahl

    Hmmm. I don’t know, Mark. I’ve heard you talk an awful lot about a short film you once saw on a plane… Something about BANANAS?

    • Mark Shea

      You’re just…. nuts.

  • Greg

    Have you considered this as your new theme song?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q96-e042bk

  • sjay

    I’m puzzled by the several commenters over at the Anchoress’s who assert that you have been “respectful” of Dan Savage and not of Rick Santorum. I must have missed the particular posts here that established that.


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