It’s as simple as that.
Gossip that demeans someone and makes them an outsider in their community is, as the Holy Father says, a form of social murder. When it occurs in a church, it kills a person’s relationships and place in the community of Christ. It isolates, alienates and sets them apart from other believers.
It can drive people out of their parish or even out of the Church. In extreme cases, it can maim their relationship with God.
Gossip is not the same thing as venting to a spouse or someone equally close. Gossip is talking to this one and that one and everyone who will lend an ear, cutting a person down and creating a wedge between that person and their fellows. When that happens, it goes beyond venting and becomes a weapon used to punish a person.
Oftentimes, gossip is a cowardly way to attack someone else when they haven’t done anything wrong, not even to the person who spreads the gossip.
Perhaps the most damaging gossip in a Catholic parish would be gossip that comes from the priest. Priests carry great authority. Their office embues them with a charisma that they would never have as a lawyer or a dentist.
Catholics place their priests on pedestals. They honestly believe that the priest is closer to God and has a higher knowledge of right, wrong, and what God desires than other people. They think their priests are holy. They trust their priests deeply. I’ve seen people go to their pastor for comfort like small children fleeing to their mothers more times than I can count.
A priest who gossips critically about a parishioner to other parishioners can destroy that person’s ability to live out their walk with Christ in that parish. A priest who gossips about a parishioner to other priests can spread that disability throughout a diocese.
Gossip wounds people. It destroys relationships. When it happens in churches, it can scapegoat and forever damage a person’s ability to be part of that community.
It’s getting awful crowded under that bus.
Another Catholic high school has apologized to “outraged” parents for a speaker who spoke on Catholic morality. The lucky winner this time is Prout School in Rhode Island.
It’s the same old, same old song once again. According to an article in Catholic Culture Father Francis “Rocky” Hoffman, who is the executive director of Relevant Radio, gave a talk to a group of high school students whose parents were subsequently “outraged” by its content.
Outraged parent, Kathleen Schlenz, says that the talk was “offensive regarding divorce, homosexuality, and even adoption.”
Just like the proverbial slot machine, David Carradini, principal of the Prout School apologized, saying that Father Hoffman’s answers to student questions “were not entirely representative of the full breadth of Church teaching on a number of complex and sensitive issues.” Dan Ferris, the Providence diocesan school superintendent, followed up with a statement proclaiming that the remarks were “disappointing and pastorally insensitive to Church teachings.”
In an interesting twist, Father Hoffman’s presentation was recorded so that it could be aired on Relevant network. Parents at Proust School said that the address should not be aired.
If this keeps up, we’re going to need a whole fleet of buses.
From Catholic Culture:
For the 2nd time in recent weeks, parents of students at a Catholic high school are protesting that a speaker’s presentation on Catholic morality was harsh and insensitive.
Parents of students at the Prout School in Rhode Island have expressed outrage over an appearance by Father Francis (“Rocky”) Hoffman, the executive director of Relevant Radio, a network of 33 Catholic stations. Kathleen Schlenz, whose daughter attends the school and heard the lecture, said that the presentation was offensive “regarding divorce, homosexuality, and even adoption.”
Father Hoffman, who was on retreat, was unavailable to comment. But David Carradini, the principal of the Prout School, apologized for the presentation and said that Father Hoffman’s answers to students’ questions “were not entirely representative of the full breadth of Church teaching on a number of complex and sensitive issues.” The Providence diocesan school superintendent, Dan Ferris, also issued a statement, saying that the priest’s remarks were “disappointing and pastorally insensitive to Church teachings.”
Do you believe this was “inadvertent?”
ABC News evidently ran a video of Westboro Baptist Church — complete with inflammatory signs about homosexuals — as they were reporting the story of Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla.
Mr Eich resigned from his position with Mozilla, a company he founded, after being attacked for a $1,000 donation he had made to the Prop 8 campaign in 2008.
ABC later apologized, labeling the stunt, which appeared on Good Morning America, “inadvertent.”
I am not convinced by the “inadvertent” claim. The entire piece is smirky and biased, even without the video. I don’t know, of course, but I think the use of the video was deliberate.
I do know that if something like this happens again, the “inadvertent” excuse will be gone.
From The Blaze:
Newsbusters’ Scott Whitlock has more background on the ABC story:Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was fired earlier this month when it was revealed that he donated $1000 in 2008 to Proposition 8.
As Good Morning America reporter Linzie Janis explained the story on April 4, footage of the completely unrelated Westboro protesters holding “soldiers died 4 f*g marriage” signs appeared onscreen.
ABC News later posted the following editor’s note at the bottom of a story about Eich:The segment as originally aired on Good Morning America on April 4, 2014, and included on this page, has been updated to correct an error. Video of a demonstration by the Westboro Baptist Church, which is not connected to this story, was inadvertently used in the original segment. We apologize for the error and have removed that video.Instead of the Westboro protesters, the ABCNews.com video now features supporters of Proposition 8.
The network reportedly told the website that similar footage will not be used again in the future.Watch the video as it originally aired on ABC via Newsbusters here.
Officials in China’s Communist government are denying that they are engaging in a campaign of systematic destruction of Christian churches.
They make this claim despite the fact that they have ordered the destruction of approximately a dozen churches. Churches in the Zhejiang province are reportedly facing either destruction or government-ordered removal of their crosses.
Christians who live in the province have responded courageously. They have formed human chains around the churches to prevent their destruction.
Even though officials deny a demolition campaign, the Communist Party’s provincial official in charge of religious affairs said publicly that the growth of Christianity was “too excessive and too haphazard.”
The interesting thing to me is how completely these government officials misunderstand the mustard seed of faith that is Christianity. It’s not now and never has been about church buildings. Christ grows in people’s hearts, not buildings.
They can tear down every church, and it will only serve to spread the Gospel further and faster.
From The Telegraph:
Communist officials in China have denied waging a “demolition campaign” against churches in the country’s most Christian regions, after reportedly ordering a dozen to be destroyed.
The churches – in the eastern province of Zhejiang – are currently facing demolition or having their crosses removed, activists claim. Other churches are said to have been ordered to make themselves “less conspicuous” by turning their lights off at night.
Local preachers accuse Party officials in Zhejiang, a wealthy coastal province, of “gross interference” in Church affairs and have urged them to abandon what they believe is an orchestrated campaign.
Last week, Christians flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou – a rich port city known as the “Jerusalem of the East” because of its large Christian community – after its demolition was announced.
Officials denied launching a church demolition movement.
In a touching comment, the Holy Father said that he felt “called to personally take on the evil which some priests … have done.”
Although this is not as widely reported, Pope Francis also said that every child has a right to grow up in a family with “a mother and a father,” and called for protections for the right of parents “to decide the moral religious education of their children,” and for an end to “educational experimentation with children and young people,” pushing “a dictatorship of one form of thinking” on them “in the name of a pretended “modernity.”
From Vatican Radio:
(Vatican Radio) “I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children.
The Church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the Church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children”.This was Pope Francis’ clear message to members of BICE [International Catholic Child Bureau] whom he received Friday in audience at the Vatican. Emer McCarthy reports Listen:
BICE is a Catholic NGO that works to protect the rights and dignity of the child worldwide. Speaking to them, Pope Francis also spoke about the need to reaffirm the rights of parents to decide “the moral and religious education of their children” and reject all forms of “educational experimentation with children and young people”.
He said that it is every child’s right to grow up in a family “with a father and a mother” capable of creating “a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity”. The Pope also called for an end to what he termed as “educational experiments” with children and young people, pushing a “dictatorship of one form of thinking” on them in the name of a pretended “modernity”.
The Pope noted that the “horrors of the manipulation of education that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared; they have retained a current relevance under various guises and proposals”.
To counter this he urged the BICE members to foster a true anthropological formation of the child respectful of the reality of the person, to enable children and young people to respond to the problems and challenges posed by contemporary culture and widespread mentality propagated by the mass media.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — or someone — has pre-announced that she’s going to announce her resignation from President Obama’s cabinet.
One story I read said that Secretary Sebelius asked the president if she could step down about a month ago. The speculation about her reasons for doing this are all about the bumpy start-up of Obamacare.
Did she ask the president if she could step down? Or did the president ask her?
We probably won’t know until the tell-all books come out.
In the meantime, from The Wall Street Journal:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will step down from her post, days after the formal end of the rollout of the Obama administration’s signature health law, a person familiar with the matter said.
She will be replaced by Sylvia Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the person said.
Mrs. Sebelius’s departure came after months of speculation that she would resign over the rocky implementation of the law, which included a wave of technical problems plaguing the HealthCare.gov website.
“No individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of his public employment.”
That comes from a 2011 opinion of the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals decision on a lawsuit filed by Dr Mike Adams. Dr Adams is a professor in criminology at the University of North Caroline-Wilmington.
He filed suit when university officials refused him a promotion to a full professorship. The suit claimed that this was due to his change of personal beliefs after conversion from atheism to Christianity.
When the university hired Dr Adams in 1993, he was an atheist. He received accolades from his colleagues and was promoted to associate professor 1998.
Dr Adams converted to Christianity in 2000, which affected his views on political and social issues. According to CharismaNews, “the university subjected Adams to a campaign of academic persecution that culminated in the denial of his promotion to full professorship, despite an award-winning record of teaching, research and service.”
Now a federal court has ordered the University of North Caroline-Wilmington to promote Dr Adams to the rank of full professor and pay him $50,000 in back pay.
Christian converts who come from more politicized environments often experience painful changes in the way they are treated by colleagues. Christian conversion can lead to the loss of old friendships and promotions, even here in the USA.
The court’s decision is an important one that hopefully will curb the harassment of people in public life who express opinions that run contrary to politically correct cant.
Now, if we can only develop First Amendment protections for those in the corporate environment.
Note: Public Catholic reader Peggy-O found this link to Dr Adams’ personal response to a bit of what he was subjected to. It’s well worth a read.
Fear God, and you will have no need of being afraid of mortal man. What can anyone do against you by his words and injuries? He rather hurts himself than you, nor can he escape the judgement of God, whoever he be. Keep God before your eyes. Thomas a Kempis
It’s getting crowded under the bus.
I would imagine that it’s also lonely and a bit shattering for the people who are under there.
Next, we’ve got Sister Jane Dominic Laurel who committed the “crime” of using sociological studies that the gay marriage/gay rights people claim are bogus in a presentation to high school students. Evidently, she said nothing, nothing, that was against Church teaching. The only half-way legitimate criticism that anyone can dig up is that parents weren’t “informed” of the talk beforehand. Informing the parents beforehand sounds to me like the administrative responsibility of the school, not Sister Jane.
I’ll toss in one more. Father Marcel Guarnizo says he was removed from ministry for refusing communion to a woman who had informed him she was living in a sexual relationship with another woman.
Meanwhile, this priest (who is a Jesuit, so has different superiors, but the principle is the same) is supporting open defiance against Church teachings and writing about it in national Catholic magazines.
I wonder how many others are out there lying under buses for standing for what the Church has taught us we should stand for?
The forced resignation of Brandon Eich from Mozilla is different because the people who abandoned him were not bishops of the Church. I am not in any way abrogating their responsibility for acceding to an egregious and unconscionable attack on the principles of civil liberties which have allowed us to all live together in peace in this country for over 200 years.
I am saying that when a bishop of the Church throws people under the bus for following Church teaching, it … well … it gets too ripe to breathe.
When the zeitgeist turns, it sometimes turns ugly. You can get ugly mobs at your Catholic high schools, demanding the head of a nun. Situations like that are the ones that let true leaders shine. They are also the situations that lead the weak links to tarnish themselves and shame the rest of us.
A bishop who is a good leader must be a great follower. He must be a follower of Christ before anything else. A bishop who follows Jesus and lets the Holy Spirit work through him, will be able to deal with mobs without running away and abandoning his people. But bishops who decide that being a bishop is all about them, will not stand in the tough times.
Such is our fallen state. Jesus Himself told us that the tares would grow up alongside the wheat and not be separated out until Judgement Day. We, meaning you and I, have the task of remaining faithful to Our Lord, even if we have to do it alone, even if our priests and bishops abandon us, even if it makes social martyrs of us.
Make no mistake about it, those who destroy people’s careers and push them to the sidelines for supporting traditional marriage are making martyrs of them. I include bishops who do not stand by them among the martyr-makers.
The suffering of a Brandon Eich who had the corporation he founded and his life’s work stolen from him in what can only be described as an act of malice and spite, must be exquisite. Imagine what it is like to be Sister Jane or Father Guarnizo, who have given their lives to the Church, to have that Church cashier them as a matter of convenience for a bishop who won’t make a stand? Meanwhile those who ignore the Church’s teachings, or even deride them, are riding high.
So long as individual Catholics, ranging from priests, to nuns, to laity, can not rely on their bishops to stand by them when the angry mobs of the zeitgeist come at them for standing for Christ, the only honorable and faithful place for Jesus loving, Jesus following Catholics may very well be under the bus.
Bishop Peter Jugis has finally issued his long-awaited statement concerning the trashing of Sister Jane Dominic Laurel at a meeting held in one of the Catholic schools in his diocese over a week ago.
I’m not sure why it took the bishop so long to issue this statement, since it says nothing. Here’s the gist of it:
The bishop is “shocked” at the “lack of charity and respect” at the meeting.
The bishop calls for “healing.”
The bishop assures us that Catholic schools will teach the Catholic faith “in its fullness and integrity,” and that the catechism is “accessible to all.”
The bishop stands by his priest.
The bishop leaves Sister Jane under the bus.
In a statement published in the local Charlotte press and then put on the diocesan news page, the author of the petition against Sister Jane announced that the petition was being shut down, adding:
“Thank you to everyone in the CCHS community who supported my petition. I have now removed it from change.org because I feel that its goal has been accomplished. I wanted to call attention to something I felt was wrong so that something similar would not happen in the future. Certainly enough attention has been brought to the issue, and I believe that our school system is working towards a meaningful change. The petition has served its purpose and can now be put to rest.
I appears that the petition was 100% successful. Hard to argue with that. In fact, it looks like the petitioners are running things.
I’m going to have to think about this for a little bit. But I do know that, so far as I’m concerned, everything I said in this post still stands. I am not surprised that Bishop Jugis punted. After a week of silence, any other course of action would have been a surprise.
Maybe we should follow the bishop’s advice and go buy copies of the catechism and be our own bishops to ourselves. Then, if anyone disagrees with us, we can start a petition, form an angry mob and take over.
I am afraid for our Church in these perilous times if this is our leadership.
Bishop Jugis’ full statement, issued April 9, follows:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The past few weeks have been very difficult for Charlotte Catholic High School. We have all experienced a great deal of pain. During this difficult time I want to express my support and encouragement for all the parents, students, staff and faculty at the high school. We must move forward toward healing with charity, the hallmark of our Christian life.
Different viewpoints regarding Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel’s presentation to students on March 21, 2014, have been discussed in a variety of venues.
At the parent meeting on April 2, 2014, many expressed concern about the lack of advanced communication with parents regarding the subject matter of the assembly. Apologies were made at the meeting for that lack of advanced communication.
The content of the Church’s moral teaching was not raised as a matter of contention at the parent meeting. All of our Catholic schools are committed to hold and teach the Catholic faith in its fullness and with integrity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains an explanation of our faith and is accessible to all.
During this difficult time I support the continued work of Fr. Matthew Kauth, the chaplain; Mrs. Angela Montague and Mr. Steve Carpenter, the assistant principals; and Mr. Randy Belk, the dean of students; and all they are doing for our Charlotte Catholic High School students. All of us are indebted to them.
I am shocked to hear the disturbing reports of a lack of charity and respect at the parents’ meeting, and outside the meeting in conversations and in social media. There simply is no room in the Catholic Church for such displays of uncharitableness and disrespect. If we have failed in this regard let us make amends to God and neighbor. Even when we disagree, that disagreement should be expressed respectfully in love.
We ask the Lord Jesus Christ for His mercy and His healing as we approach the celebrations of Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection. Please be assured of our continued dedication to the mission to teach and live the truth of the Catholic faith at our Charlotte Catholic High School.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis
Bishop of Charlotte