Calling Pope Francis to Lewistown, MT

Calling Pope Francis to Lewistown, MT September 19, 2014

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Paul Huff, 73, and Tom Wojtowick, 66, are lifelong Catholics. For the past eleven years they’ve worshipped at St. Leo the Great in Lewistown, Montana (population 6,000), where Tom is an organist, where he and Paul sing in the choir.

Paul is chairman of the local County Fair board, and a retired board member of the Lewistown Art Center on Main Street in downtown Lewistown. Tom, recently retired as executive director of the Fergus County Council on Aging, is chairman of the Lewistown Public Library Board of Trustees.

Lewiston is Tom’s hometown.

Paul and Tom have been life partners for over thirty years. For twenty years prior to moving to Lewistown the couple lived in Seattle, where, in May 2013, they were legally married.

At the beginning of last month St. Leo’s was assigned a new priest, the Rev. Samuel Spiering.

Four days after taking office, Rev. Spiering phoned Paul and Tom at their home.

“I heard a rumor that you two got married,” he said. When Paul confirmed it, Spiering asked him and Tom to come to his office the next day.

At that meeting Rev. Spiering told Paul and Tom that, due to their relationship, they could no longer receive the sacraments of the Catholic church, or be any part of St. Leo’s ministry. If they wished to regain full privileges within the church, Spiering informed them, then they must first get divorced, cease living together, and write a statement renouncing their marriage.

As you might imagine, the situation has caused considerable strife at St. Leo’s. So much so that tomorrow evening Bishop Warfel (in an affair he is striving keep strictly private) will address the church’s parishioners on the matter.

Though Warfel has told The Billings-Gazette [link removed because as far as I can tell the newspaper has taken offline its story on this matter?] that he knows Paul and Tom to be “good people,” he also said to the newspaper:

As a Catholic bishop I have a responsibility to uphold our teaching of marriage between one man and one woman. And I think there’s very solid scriptural teaching on it and our sacred tradition is very strong on it. Either I uphold what Catholic teachings are or, by ignoring it or permitting it, I’m saying I disagree with what I’m ordained to uphold … .There are certain convictions, beliefs or behaviors that are in direct contradiction to what we believe and teach, and this would be one of them.

So it’s safe to venture that things aren’t likely to exactly roll Tom and Paul’s way.

In July of last year, Pope Francis famously said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

It seems to me that a reasonable answer to that question is, “You are the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the servants of God, direct successor of St. Peter, who was appointed by Jesus to be the head of His church. You are the Pope, Francis. That’s who you are to judge.”

If the Pope, after all, is incapable of judging the difference between right and wrong, then what is the purpose of his position?

More to the point: by what authority does Pope Francis relinquish his moral authority? Surely not from Jesus, who was appointed by God to be the “the judge of the living.”

I like Pope Francis, a lot. But sooner or later he and the bishops who heed him are going to have to quit waffling on the gay issue.

In 1997, the American Catholic bishops published a pastoral letter about homosexuality, titled Always Our Children, in which they wrote:

God does not love someone any less simply because he or she is homosexual. God’s love is always and everywhere offered to those who are open to receiving it. … Church ministers must welcome homosexual persons into the faith community, and seek out those on the margins. Avoid stereotyping and condemning. Strive first to listen.

That’s some pretty fancy fence sittin’, right there.

What those words mean, of course, is “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Which means, of course, “Homosexuality is an abominable offense to God.”

Which is a morally reprehensible thing to say—especially, of course, to a gay person—and especially to a gay person who has given their life to honoring the very God they’re now being told—and being told by His authorities on earth, no less—finds them, purely by virtue of them being the person they were created to be, repugnant to Him.

Please, please join me in calling upon the good Pope Francis, in his role as defender of the weak and champion of the oppressed, to recognize the moral travesty being visited upon Paul Huff and Tom Wojtowick, of the tiny parish of St. Leo in Lewistown, MT, as an absolutely stupendous opportunity for the Catholic Church to once and for all come down unequivocally on the right and just side of the homosexual issue.

Come to Lewistown, Father. Look to your conscience, now, and judge.


I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • BarbaraR

    Perhaps Rev. Spierling could compile a list of sins in order of their grievousness.

    I for one would like to know if getting divorced is a more grievous sin than being gay, unless, of course, a priest directs you to get divorced. But a priest presumably cannot direct a couple to get a divorce because that goes against church teachings. So a priest directing a couple to get a divorce – is that a sin, and if so, is it worse than being gay, or is it slightly less of a sin than being gay & married?

    And where do contraception, impure thoughts, unconfessed mortal sins, and adultery lie on this scale? If a parishoner is seen coming out of a clinic or out of the office of a doctor known to dispense birth control, should she be interrogated and then told she can’t receive communion until she renounces it? Since Bishop Michael Warfel of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings said “his understanding is that Wojtowick and Huff did not publicize their marriage in the community. But once it became publicly known, it had to be dealt with publicly” (source: Billings-Gazette), then it’s only fair that anyone in the church who might have publicly sinned, or be rumored to have sinned, also be subject to the same treatment.

    /end rant

  • And a beautiful rant it was.

  • BarbaraR

    Thanks. I do my best.

  • So this priest, trying to establish a name for himself, and “wrest” control of his congregation right from the get go, waylays and attempts to bully an older couple who have been active participants and assets to their small congregation for quite awhile. The reason? They are married, and have been faithful to one another for decades. Oh, they are also two men. That tiny detail, has apparently caused Rev. Spierling to froth at the mouth in righteous outrage to the point of needing to end this travesty of sin that has caused the parish to steep themselves in debauchery.

    Or, he’s over reacted to the point of drawing some very unwelcome attention to himself and the church, showing how your bigotry can come and bite you on your frocked posterior. Good job there.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Oh, yes, we’ll allow you to remain in our super special club of which you’ve been members for a LONG FREAKING TIME and for which you’ve provided MANY VOLUNTEER HOURS TO ENHANCE OUR CLUB, but only if you dissolve your marriage, separate, and move out now that you’re retirement age, and commit yourselves to no longer being with your life loves as you get old.

    What do you mean you don’t want to be part of the club? Can’t you see how generous and loving we are being to you? How could you be so anti-God like this?

  • VeronicaB

    The state of affairs in the St. Leo’s parish have been a wreck for a very long time. It is exactly this kind of hypocrisy that drove me to leave 12 years ago. I got tired of the message “Love thy neighbor as yourself” being drilled into my head, throne seeing that message dashed to the wind by the very people speaking it. Father Dan never had issue with these two men. Father Dan’s successor never had issue as well. I honestly believe that there is a different area that would be a better fit for this new priest that has taken over. Lewistown is not that place. Having known these men since their return to Lewistown, let me say there are very few more Godly people in that town than they. This is a severe injustice and it needs attention from someone far more accepting of God’s children than the priest or the bishop.

  • Linda Johnson

    Rev. Samuel Spiering, Bishop Warfel, and the Pope are only men. God is the only one who can place judgment on us. It seems that lots of church goers think that they can judge people. When it comes down to judgment day it is God who will look at what the person has done and how they have helped their fellow man and only God will pass judgment. Not man!

  • Rob Smith

    You need to read Pope Francis’s comments in the context of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Catholic teaching on homosexuality is:

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    Pope Francis’s words should be read as saying “as long as you’re in conformance with Catholic teachings, I’m not going to judge your tendencies”. Father Spierling is acting in accordance with the Pope’s words and with Catholic teachings. One thing you need to understand is Father Spierling is not trying to punish the two men, he is trying to save them. Taking Communion while in a state of unrepentant sin is a grave sin itself. According to Catholic teaching, sin damages the soul and can prevent you from coming into the Beatific vision. You may not agree with Catholic teaching, but both the Pope and Father Spierling are following it.

  • BarbaraR

    “his understanding is that Wojtowick and Huff did not publicize their marriage in the community. But once it became publicly known, it had to be dealt with publicly”

    Apparently it is only when gay people who are legally married and it becomes public knowledge that it becomes an issue. Is that in accordance?

  • Mike

    Human reasoning leads us astray. Always. We can never trust what we think or feel about a matter. It’s only one thing that we can put our trust in – the Word of God. Yet, sadly, I didn’t see a single Scripture in the above article, nor in the comments.

    Now, using Scriptures to defend our position doesn’t necessarily mean we are right. The problem is that many people use the Bible to find Scriptures that support what they believe, or want to believe. But that’s the wrong approach. We have to approach the Word of God with humility, knowing that whatever we already believe might be wrong. And as we seek for Truth in God’s Word the Holy Spirit might open our eyes and show us the real Truth of a matter.

    The Word says, “The sum of Your word is truth” (Ps 119:160a). Therefore, picking and choosing Scriptures will often lead us astray and will never help us to find the full Truth. All Scriptures need to fit together, or else something is wrong with our interpretation of those Scriptures. Picking and choosing Scriptures almost always mean there are other Scriptures we have to ignore because they contradict the interpretation of the Scriptures we have picked. However, the Truth is in the sum, not in individual verses. There is nothing wrong in quoting individual Scriptures as we’re sharing spiritual truths with others, yet we do others and ourselves a great disservice if we do this while there are other Scriptures that are contrary to what we are saying. The Word of God will never contradict itself.

    There is much to say about the Catholic Church, but I will suffice with saying that they have strayed from the Truth, by adding and taking away from the Word of God (traditions of men etc, etc). Yet, what the new priest in Lewistown did was more or less correct because “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1Cor 5:6). If we allow sin in a congregation the whole congregation will be corrupted. Jesus
    instructed us how to deal with sin in a congregation:

    Step 1: “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother” (Mt 18:15).

    Step 2: “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed” (Mt 18:16).

    Step 3: “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Mt 18:17).

    Very clear instructions on how to cleanse a congregation from sin.

    What about judging? Isn’t it wrong to judge? When we judge others we are almost always in the wrong because it’s normally our flesh that’s doing the judging. It’s different if it’s Jesus in us that’s doing the judging (He has a right to judge), but that’s seldom the case. The three steps above are fairly gentle with the sinner and there’s ample of opportunity for him or her to repent; yet in the end (if there’s no repentance) he or she is judged and has to leave. This is done for the good of the congregation AND for the good of the sinner.

    One more thing about judging. We are NOT to judge those outside the Body of Christ (the Church): “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (1Cor 5:12-13). Our job is to preach the Gospel, the Good News, to the “outsiders”, not judge them.

    So, what about homosexuality? Is there anything wrong with that? Of course it is wrong. One really has to twist and turn the Word of God to make it say that homosexuality is okay. It’s very plain in the Scriptures that it’s wrong:

    “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (Rom 1:25-27).

    “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1Cor 6:9-10).

    If you believe that homosexuality is okay then you have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie”. Sadly, it’s very common today that Christians and denominations “exchange the truth of God for a lie”. They make their own god and their own Jesus. The sad part is that their god and their Jesus don’t resemble the God and Jesus of the Bible. The Israelites, coming out of Egypt, did exactly the same thing. They made a golden calf and called it Eloheem and Jehovah (Ex 32). You can talk about “Jesus” all the time, but if your Jesus is “another Jesus” (2Cor 11:4) then you’re simply worshipping an idol.

  • You’re right, of course. And I’m aware of it:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2012/08/the-catholic-churchs-shameful-gay-agenda/

    Along with what you’ve given us here (which I appreciate, btw), one need only peruse the pastoral letter “Always Our Children,” to which I linked in this post, to (also) know how toxic is the Catholic position on homosexuality.

    But wouldn’t it be nice of Francis changed Catholic “teaching” on this matter?

  • Rob Smith

    I’m not sure how Father Spierling could be expected to act on something he didn’t have knowledge of.

  • Rob Smith

    Pope Francis doesn’t have the authority to change Catholic teaching on homosexuality, or divorce, or abortion, or euthanasia; the teaching comes from God. If the Church is right about these issues, how does it profit it’s members for the Church to start approving of heretical teachings that puts them at risk of condemnation?

  • Bones

    Are you saying the Magisterium is God?

    Given that the Catholic Church doesn’t recognise the priesthood of all believers eg women then you’re going to be waiting a darn long time for the church to change it’s teaching on anything.

    Same goes with celebacy is better than heterosexual marriage and hasn’t that worked out well. Yet my brother is a married Catholic priest with 6 children. Go figure!

    These are rules put in place by single men not God.

    Mind you they do change rules when it suits them, I can remember being denied communion at RC churches, now my mother’s funeral (a Protestant) was in one.

  • Bones

    Do you think having women/married priests is a heretical teaching which puts people at the risk of condemnation?

  • Bones

    Your Jesus seems to be Paul.

    I wonder if Paul ever read the gospels?

    edit – given that they were written after the destruction of the Temple in 70CE, probably not.

  • Rob Smith

    No, if the “Magisterium” was God, then Pope Francis, as the head of the Magisterium, could change the doctrine, but he can’t, so clearly that’s not what I said.
    Married priests are a bit more complicated, and beyond my ability to give a comprehensive answer. The short answer is married men are able to enter the priesthood if they were previously priests within the Anglican communion who later joined the Church, and I believe widowers are also able to enter the priesthood. For a more comprehensive answer I suggest you hit the “Ask an Apologist” forums at Catholic Answers ( catholic.com ).

  • Rob Smith

    Married priests and the ordination of women are two different subjects. Under certain specific conditions, married men are allowed to enter the priesthood.

  • Bones

    Don’t need to ask an apologist, my brother is one.

    The Pope does have power to issue changes to church teachings such as Pope Pius IX on the Immaculate Conception of Mary and Pope Pius XI on the Assumption of Mary which were later on to be proclaimed as infallible proclamations.

    Pope John XXIII (the good Pope) began reforms starting with Vatican II which resulted in changes to how Catholicism dialogues with the world including Latin Mass etc..

    Now if the Pope makes a proclamation ex cathedra then he is infallible. Why not make a statement supporting married and women priests and gay people.

    Would have more relevance to the world then more pronouncements on Mary which are coming up.

    The fact is most of the Catholic laity support change.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “The Word of God will never contradict itself.” If, by Word of God, you are referring to the sum of verses in the Bible, it already does contradict itself.

  • Bones

    I know. If they are Episcopalian priests and married they can remain married.

    Isn’t that odd to Catholics? That they can’t be married priests?

    So do you think having women/married priests is a heretical teaching which puts people at the risk of condemnation?

  • Ah. Annnnnnd … now we know you.

  • Bones

    “If the Church is right….”

    What if they are wrong?

  • Jeff Preuss

    I think the point is that these guys were obviously together and involved in the church for over a decade in this town of roughly 6000 people, and the likelihood that anyone didn’t know of them being a couple is close to nil. It fairly clearly appears Spierling is deciding to take a stand on the marriage issue, with this couple as the casualty. Their relationship (according to another commenter on here who attended St. Leo’s) was not considered a problem before.

    So, why the change now?

  • Rob Smith

    I’m not sure why it should be odd to Catholics, it’s been that way for near one thousand years. It’s not like it’s some kind of new fangled contraption. Quite honestly, it was a debate within the Church for a few centuries before a final decision was made. I suspect they gave it some fairly serious consideration.

    And yes, the ordination of women is a heretical teaching and it could put people at risk. Note, I’m not saying that all non-Catholics or even non-Christians are going to Hell, but heretical teaching does put them at risk.

  • It is interesting that the *word of god” is so ambiguois on the topic of same sex marriage. In fact it is never once mentioned anywhere in scripture. Marriage between close relatives, women marrying a series of brothers after the latest one dies, men marrying and keeping harem’s or sleeping with slaves. Women forced to marry their rapist or the person who murdered her family in am act of war. Men marrying both sisters who are also cousins. Its all there. We don’t do these things, considering g them wrong and immoral.

    Two men or two women marrying is absent in scripture and yet you consider that immoral to the point of writing a sermon, which people will tune out as soon as they see the phrase “word of God”. Why? Because of what you have to ignore in scripture in your attempt to prove your opinion.

    It doesn’t add up. Which is why we reject it.

  • Rob Smith

    I’m nut sure most of the laity do support the change. It’s probably fair to say most of the US laity support the change, but the US is only a very small part of the Universal Church. In any case, the Church isn’t governed by opinion polls.

  • Bones

    So having a woman minister puts you in danger of going to hell???

    Well there’s not much chance of the Church changing its teaching on homosexuals when it bans half the human race by merit of sex (intercourse and gender) from positions of leadership then makes pronouncements for women and families.

  • How is an ordained woman going to put people at risk? At risk of what?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Definitively declaring the ordination of women to be heretical and risking Hell is a painfully misogynstic wrongheaded statement to make. You’ve dug in your heels and are placing “church” teachings on a pedestal. Therefore no reasoning to be had with you.

    You’ll be popular here.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Duh. Hell.

  • Rob Smith

    I’ll guess we’ll all find out one day.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I’ll go back to church with Mom this Sunday and tell her rector Susan how she’s placing everyone at risk for Hell with her church. That will sit well with her.

  • Bones

    No its governed by single men who were appointed by single men and those at the top are appointed because they are conservative single men.

    Do you not see the trouble the Catholic Church is in and how and why it has come about?

  • Rob Smith

    Maybe it will cause her to reflect on the damage she’s doing to Christ’s Church and repent and come into Communion with the True Church. Stranger things have happened.

  • Bones

    Now you’re sounding like a Fundamentalist.

  • Which makes no sense. How is a woman giving a homily or hearing confession a hellbound risk? Are Catholic men that afraid of us or deem us succubi?

  • What damage?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Ah, but the only one actually doing damage to Christ’s Church in the equation is you.

  • Rob Smith

    Father Spierling had only held the office for 4 days before he called the couple. It seems he was new to the parish.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I’m sorry, before we can continue to speak on the subject, I must ask, “Is your head covered?”

  • With my hair and a pair of sunglasses…. So yes

  • Jeff Preuss

    😀 Y’know, sometimes I’d love to invite Mother Susan into these conversations (or my Mom, for that matter) – they would be SO much better than I at standing up to these jerks who pass out ” Heretic” like it’s Tootsie Rolls at Halloween.

  • Exactly. So before he’s held his first mass, he goes power trip and wreaks upheavel on his new parish before he’s even met them. Now his parish is risking a split because he was so callous and disrespectful to his new flock

  • Bones

    Yes. That whole ‘the Church knows best’ has caused great harm to women and children. I’d have thought more damage was being done to the Catholic Church by those who molest children and their protectors than by your rector, Susan.

  • Tootsie rolls the last thing consumed, because noone likes them

  • Rob Smith

    If your interested in Catholic doctrine on the subject, I could suggest a few sites. You appear to be fairly uninformed on the matter. I don’t say that to be unkind, but to make an honest observation.

    ““There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    — Bishop Fulton Sheen

  • Jeff Preuss

    So, clearly, a HUMAN man is interpreting differently than the previous human man. He’s basically marking his territory upon coming in by attempting to destroy the lives of these faithful men.

    Seems godly to me.

  • I have Catholic family members and am fairly knowledgeable on their teachinlgs. More so on their history. So I’m good

    You also didnt answer the question

  • Bones

    I don’t hate the Catholic Church. Most of the time I have to defend it from Reformed nutters and Fundamentalists.

    That doesn’t mean your church is perfect and from what we have seen over the past decade and longer it is far from it.

  • Bones

    I considered putting myself up for Catholic ordination once but the celibacy thing killed it.

    I liked girls too much.

  • Jeff Preuss

    For some reason “Single Ladies” just popped into my head. I need to do more tree choppin’ to balance it out.

    Have fun with “True Church” Troll, kids. I’ll be back later.

  • Rob Smith

    One of my RCIA teachers went to Seminary for several years before determining he wasn’t called to vocation. There’s nothing wrong with that, not every one can make the commitment. I know I couldn’t. But then, he recognized that he wouldn’t be a good priest, he didn’t try to change the priesthood to accommodate him.

  • Bones

    Btw my heroes are Catholics – Romero, St Francis, Dom Helder Camara

  • Bones

    So did our Prime Minister.

    He should have stayed a priest.

  • Bones

    Do you have to leave us alone with him?

  • Rob Smith

    Not to excuse the Church, but molestation goes on in public schools between teachers and students than it does in Catholic Churches. For that matter, it goes on in Protestant churches, where ministers are allowed to marry. The problem with the Catholic Church isn’t celibacy, it’s that it’s members, including the clergy, are sinners just like everybody else. Unfortunately, there’s no way to fix that.

  • Bones

    Dude I’m a teacher in the public school system. I know very few instances of teachers molesting students. In fact any allegations (no matter how trivial) go before a Criminal Tribunal.

    Not saying it doesn’t happen but nowhere near in proportion to the Catholic Church.

    And its global.

  • Bones

    Btw Pope Benedict retired suddenly after a report into the Vatican. Not all is well.

  • Actually, when it comes to sexual assault of children and women, there is a way to fix it. Stop hiding and protecting the rapists because that is what they are, make it easier to arrest and prosecute them, and to not cover things up and move them elsewhere. Both the Catholic and Protestant church is guilty of harboring rapists and shuffling blame on the victims. They both can do a hell of a lot better.

    In the caseif schools they seem to do a betterjob of prosecuting and banning rapist teachers, doing the she to students has abway to go.

    Also the church needs to change its views and teaching about women. Those things help perpetuate the problem

  • Rob Smith

    According to a report from the US Council of Bishops, there were less than 100 credible accusations from 2005 to 2013. To put that in context, there were over 65,000 reported cases of child sex abuse in the US in 2010 alone.

    http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/2011-annual-report.pdf

  • Bones

    Well we’ve had 326 upheld complaints in one state in Australia since 1996. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-18/child-sex-abuse-inquiry-catholic-church-melbourne-response/5677378

  • Jeff Preuss

    Given how the bishops have reason to cover up and downplay instances of abuse and child pornography (like here in KC) you’ll understand if we scoff a bit at their determination of “credible.”

  • Rob Smith

    In Victoria, Australia, from 2012 alone, there where 3231 sex crimes (non-rape) against juveniles. That means the Church is responsible for something like 0.5% of all child sex abuse cases in Victoria. That’s not to say that child sex abuse in the Church isn’t a problem, but to say that the Church isn’t the only places it’s going on, and the Church isn’t close to the biggest offender. That certainly calls into question that celibacy plays a significant role.

    http://www.police.vic.gov.au/crimestats/ebooks/1213/index.html#/13/

  • Rob Smith

    You certainly can’t tell that from the arguments you’re making. What’s your source for knowledge on Church history? I mean, there’s a lot of anti-Catholic propaganda out there, which is why I referred to Bishop Sheen’s quote.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Tootsie Rolls do suck, don’t they? I remember someone saying, “Yay! Chocolate!” and me thinking, “You idiot! THIS IS NOT CHOCOLATE.”

    Just because it has a cocoa component does not make it chocolate. As far as I am concerned, Tootsie Rolls are the devil’s chocolate (markedly different from devil’s food cake).

  • Nancyak

    You need not judge mr. Smith. We all will be soon enough. In the Catholic Church we are called to live chastely, married single, religious and gay. Be gay or straight and carry the cross of chastity.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “You need not judge mr. Smith. We all will be soon enough. In the Catholic Church we are called to live chastely, married single, religious and gay. Be gay or straight and carry the cross of chastity.”

    Well, then could you kindly tell him not to judge my mother’s church rector while you’re busy telling me not to judge him? For him to declare she’s risking Hell for her congregation is prime inappropriate judging.

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by “married single.”

  • Nicholas Kr.

    I wonder what would happen if some Pontiff with a very high view of papal infallibility and a very low view of tradition decided to drop a bombshell and proclaim a change in one of these teachings (using some linguistic trickery to pretend that this isn’t a change, just a “re-interpretation” or what have you). The resulting schism will be… interesting to view from the outside.

    Not that it’s going to happen anytime soon, of course!

  • Nicholas Kr.

    Why would Francis ever want to do that? He’s a conservative Catholic. The change between him and his predecessor is one of emphasis and flavour, not of substance.

  • Jacob Rubio

    The traditions of men that you speak of that the Catholic Church uses to stray from the truth are biblical traditions spoken by the Apostles. Most of the New Testament was not written by the Apostles but by the people who listened to them speak. Is in not St. Paul who said to the Thessalonians in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 ” So then brethren stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter “. He congratulated the Corinthians because they ” maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you “. ( 1 Cor. 11:2 )

  • Jacob Rubio

    Read the book of Leviticus. Man shall not lay with man as with woman for it is an abomination

  • BarbaraR

    we are called to live chastely, married single, religious and gay

    Huh?

  • Jacob Rubio

    Every time people want to prove that there is something wrong or immoral in the world they bring up the word of God or start searching the Bible. How about people we just use our heads. As a devout Catholic I agree with this priest. I’m sure that these two men are great people as most gay people are. I worked as a bouncer at a gay club in Cambridge Massachusetts and it was the best decision I ever made. Met some great people and made good friends. But that doesn’t mean that I have to agree with the gay lifestyle. I agree that they should not be allowed to take Communion because ” whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup in an unworthy manner is responsible for the body and blood of Christ “. You can not say you love God and love Jesus but at the same time live a homosexual lifestyle. I personally believe that having homosexual feelings is not the sin. Acting on them is. I can’t even imagine what a person who has these feelings goes through knowing they are wrong and fighting every day with it. I’ve known people like this and I’ve prayed with and for them. That’s where we as a Catholic community need to come in. We , the Church, the body and family of Christ need to help these people because most of them want to change they just don’t have anyone to help them fight. My friends we need to fight with them and for them. I know that we can help those that are seeking it. The Sacraments are a gift from Christ and the Church. Let’s help those that want and need help so that someday they can share in these gifts with us. I know some people won’t agree with me and I truly hope that I didn’t offend anyone.

  • Jacob Rubio

    Absolutely not. This is not a man made law that the Pope can just say he feels like changing. We as Catholics are following divine law.

  • Jacob Rubio

    Women will absolutely never put people at risk. When Jesus chose his 12 apostles they were men. Women have always played a very big part in the Catholic Church and they always will. I’m sorry but the position of priest belongs to men.

  • Rob Smith

    Given the number of people who’d love to tear down the Catholic Church, I’d be surprised if the USCB didn’t err on the side of caution. Proof of another cover-up would be devastating to the Church.

  • Rob Smith

    Pope Benedict is an elderly man in poor health. I suspect his perception that he was unable to fulfill the requirements of the office was the reason for his retirement, especially in the wake of JPII’s final years and his obvious ill health during those years.

  • Jeff Preuss

    So, when exactly do they err on the side of caution? This story from here in KC was only brought to police in May 2011:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/12/shawn-ratigan-child-porn-priest-sentenced_n_3916434.html

    Did Bishop Finn exercise caution when not reporting child pornography to the police for five months after being made aware of it?

    Your tendency to back the bishops since you are presumably Catholic is understandable to a point, but a healthy skepticism is natural for those of on the outside of Catholicism. My statement still stands that a Council of Bishops being completely objective about what constitutes a “credible” child abuse claim does not appear likely.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I love God. I love Jesus. I took Communion last Sunday.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Can of worms, open!

  • Jacob Rubio

    Why do you say I am opening up a can of worms ?

  • Jacob Rubio

    So what are you saying ? That you’re a homosexual living the life ?

  • Jeff Preuss

    “living the life?”
    Setting aside any assumptions you are making about my “lifestyle,” I am a Christian, I am gay, and I have a partner/husband of 18 years.
    I love Jesus and God, and I take Communion. And, I do so with no shame because I shouldn’t be ashamed.

  • Jacob Rubio

    If you read what I wrote then you know that I have friends that are gay. You don’t have to explain yourself to me for it is none of my business what you do. If you’re taking communion while committing a mortal sin my thoughts should be the least of your concerns. Like I explained before, this is just my opinion. God gave man freewill which is what seperates us from animals. If you feel that you are not doing anything wrong then nothing that I say will change your mind. I used to be very homophobic but working in that club in Cambridge worked wonders for me. I learned that we are all just people and we are all sinners. I am not judging you and if I came across that way then please accept my apologies. I already know that we’re not going to come to any sort of agreement as far as the Sacrament of Communion. You have your opinion and I have mine. And mine is in accordance with Church law. I studied theology for 4 years and I’m still learning. I think you and I can have a great conversation about all this.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Not if you keep using terms like “living the life” and “lifestyle” and leading off with calling my life a “mortal sin” we cannot.

    The reality of my life is not the buzzwords attached to the stereotype, and whether or not you have gay friends, so blithely tossing off “mortal sin” to describe my monogamous 18-year relationship simply ignores the realities of human sexuality for “Church law.” God’s law is simply higher.

  • Jacob Rubio

    Never did I once call your life a mortal sin. And sorry but my own gay friends call it living the life. I did not mean this in any offensive way what so ever and I’m sorry if I offended you. I will not say mortal sin anymore. Like I said you have your opinion about it and I have mine

  • Jeff Preuss

    Are you kidding me?

    “If you’re taking communion while committing a mortal sin”

  • Snooterpoot

    Why don’t you just say what you really mean instead of dancing around it? You’re really asking Jeff if he’s a sexually active gay man, aren’t you?

  • Jacob Rubio

    No I am not.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Sorry, I thought I replied, but it disappeared. I am guessing you really don’t get the general gist of this blog. Check some of the links to John’s other posts, and you might see what I mean.

  • Jacob Rubio

    Since God’s law is higher you’re telling me that God is okay with homosexuality ? If you’re going to bring up God’s law then wasn’t it God who gave the law to Israel in the old testament ? If you agree with that then the book of Levitt us is clear as far as the law goes.

  • Snooterpoot

    Then kindly explain exactly what you mean by “living the life,” and the “gay lifestyle.” Please do be specific, if you dare.

  • Jacob Rubio

    If I dare ? Are you expecting me to come out and say something bigoted or violent ? If that’s what you want you came to the wrong person. Like I said before I’m simply using a term my gay friends used. It simply means that the gay lifestyle is different than a straight person. For God sakes my gay friends used to call me a breeder. Lol !!!

  • Your line of questioning is inappropriate and rude. We are a group that recognizes and welcomes the LGBT community as equals as humans as well as parts of the body of Christ is they happen to be Christians. John has written extensively on the topic as well as many of the rest of us.

    If you cannot respect the diversity and individuals here, then this is not the place for you

  • I could give you a list of possible interpretation of that verse that is as applicable today as stoning rebellious children or whatkond of goat to sacrifice, but I don’t do other people’s homework for them.

    Respect that we believe there is more than your views that can be also valid

  • Jacob Rubio

    Oh please. That verse has one interpretation. And I don’t need anyone to do my research. I came here to have a friendly conversation and not insult anyone because I respect everyone’s opinion and I value everyone’s opinion. But I see that the feeling is not mutual. Jeff, John and Snooterpoot, I’m sorry if my words were taken out of context. I didn’t mean to offend anyone. All I wanted was to have an intelligent conversation. Please accept my apologies

  • BarbaraR

    That verse has one interpretation.

    Let me guess: yours.

  • BarbaraR

    We , the Church, the body and family of Christ need to help these people because most of them want to change

    If that isn’t insulting, I don’t know what is. Or perhaps it’s simple ignorance.

  • Jacob Rubio

    Forgive me if my words were taken out of context Jeff. I did not come here to start a fight just to have an intelligent conversation with intelligent people. Obviously some people here don’t like my opinion and I’m sorry for that. Have a good day

  • Jacob Rubio

    Take it anyway you want. I did not mean it in a negative way but people with one mindset will twist everything to their liking

  • BarbaraR

    All of the gay people I know are very happy exactly as God made them and have no desire to change. If there’s anything they could change, it would be the fundie notion that they want to change.

  • BarbaraR

    Throwing phrases like “gay lifestyle” around and then evading the question, “What do you mean by that?” isn’t a conversation.

  • Jacob Rubio

    I’m speaking from experience Barbara. It’s not a notion. I’ve talked and prayed with people who are gay and fighting to change. I’m sorry if you don’t like that idea but it’s true. And God is not to blame. I understand that people feel that way but acting on those feelings is still a choice.

  • Jacob Rubio

    I have already explained that. Keep reading. You’ll find it. Not answering it again. What’s the big deal anyway ? I don’t understand

  • BarbaraR

    “God is not to blame” – no, because God MADE them gay. I have known gay people who in the past felt God hated them and that they needed to change – until they realized they were fine the way they are. Once they learned to love themselves, they realized they’re beautiful and complete.

    “Acting on those feelings” – what an absurd thing to say. They are gay. They aren’t destined to be pariahs or celibate – they have all the rights of any other person that God made.

  • Jacob Rubio

    They are absolutely not pariahs and anyone who treats them so is in the wrong. Are you going to tell me that you’ve never met gay people who changed ? I’ve met many and that’s why I say the things I say. I absolutely do not treat guys like pariahs !!! Some of the greatest people I’ve ever met are gay. We should all have the same rights. I have no problem at all with gay marriage. I just don’t agree it should be in a Church. That’s just my opinion

  • BarbaraR

    I am going to tell you I have never met a gay person who changed.

  • BarbaraR

    It simply means that the gay lifestyle is different than a straight person.

    Spell it out.

    What’s the big deal anyway ? I don’t understand

    BS. You understand perfectly well.

  • Bones

    No it wasn’t God who gave us ‘God’s Law’.

    Is your wife unclean or did God change His mind?

    Crabbie Patties anyone?

  • Jacob Rubio

    Okay. I believe you. I swear to you Barbara that I have. It’s not easy at all. They didn’t change for anyone but themselves. I’m not here to fight with you or anyone else. From living in New York and Boston I’ve seen a lot.

  • BarbaraR

    I lived in San Francisco and New York and saw plenty too.

  • Bones

    How you going with:

    Leviticus 11:10

    10 But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you,11 and they shall be [c]abhorrent to you; you may not eat of their flesh, and their carcasses you shall detest. 12 Whatever in the water does not have fins and scales is[d]abhorrent to you.

    Leviticus 15:19

    “‘When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.

    Leviticus 24: 16

    Whoever utters the name of the Lord must be put to death. The whole community must stone him whether alien or native. If he utters the name, he must be put to death.

    Leviticus 19:19

    ‘You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.

    Leviticus 19:27

    27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard.28 You shall not make any cuts in your [f]body for the [g]dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.

    Seems God changed His mind on some things.

  • Bones

    Gay people are fighting to change because they’re being told they’re going to hell because they’re gay..

    Well done!

    But it’s like telling a black person they’re going to hell because they’re black.

  • Bones

    Women were presbyters (ie priests) in the early Church.

    The world has no need of misogynist rules. Why would God care what sex a priest is? So much for the priesthood of all believers.

  • Bones

    The Catholic Church is being torn down from within.

    Do you expect anyone to listen to what the Catholic hierarchy has to say about morality?

    In the ongoing Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse in Australia, the Catholic Archbishop made the staggering comment that it was impossible to defrock a priest for child sex abuse before 2006.

    Yet leftist priests like Leonardo Boff, Dom Helder Camara and Jon Sobrino have been defrocked or disciplined.

  • Bones

    Catholic priests make up far less than 0.5% of the population.

    It’s staggering that you are in denial.

  • Rob Smith

    What do you know about me? Other than I’m a Catholic who takes Catholic doctrine seriously, what do you know?

  • Rob Smith

    Why didn’t Christ choose any female Apostles? If sex wasn’t important, you’d expect him to have chosen a few.

  • Rob Smith

    Pointing out that she’s teaching heretical doctrine isn’t judging, it’s pointing out that she’s teaching heretical doctrine. [Anti-Muslim and anti-Mormon bigoted statement deleted]

  • Rob Smith

    In 2014, so far, there have been 325 teachers and school employees arrested for sexual misconduct with a student ( http://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=news&id=1417 ), as many as in Victoria over almost 20 years. Data indicates that 10% of children are sexually abused in US schools ( http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2012/02/is_sexual_abuse_in_schools_very_common_.html ). I’m not sure I’m the one in denial here.

  • Bones

    Oh dear. We are talking about a patriarchal society aren’t we. Why didn’t he choose any gentiles?

    By that logic only Jews could be Catholic priests.

  • Bones

    • Phoebe, the deacon, was praised by St. Paul for her leadership of the church of Cenchreae. (Romans 16:1-2)

    • Mary, the mother of John Mark, led a congregation. (Acts 12:12)

    • In Romans 16:7 St. Paul identifies Junia as a senior in the faith to himself and labels Junia and her husband, Andronicus, as “outstanding apostles”. It is the only time that Paul refers to anyone other than The Twelve or himself as apostles. (St John Chrysostom, 4th century bishop, recognized Junia as a member of the apostolic circle. (The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Nicene
    and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, 11:555 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956)

    • The Louvre possesses the mummy tag of an Egyptian woman, Artemidora, a Christian living between approximately 250 and 350 AD. The tag describes her as a “presbyter,” that is, priest. For photo, see Irvin, Calendars.

    • A burial site for Epikto, on a Greek island, Thera, from the third or fourth century calls her a “presbytis” which means “priest or presbyter”. (Eisen, pp. 123-4)

    • In the Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome, the fresco “Fractio Panis” shows a group of women “conducting a Eucharistic banquet”. Catholic theologian, Dorothy Irvin
    believes that the red background and location of this fresco indicates a date close to 100 A. D.

    http://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/RCWP_Resource.pdf

  • Bones

    What exactly is her heretical doctrine given you know nothing about her?

    You guys never tired from heresy witchhunts.

    Better to defrock a priest because they espouse liberation theology than if they molest kids.

  • Bones

    Wow the US is so behind. And that you have to try to hide behind secular organisations says a lot.

    Of course the only reason the RC has acted on this is the age old problem of money. In Australia, the RC capped its payouts to victims at a very generous $50 000. I notice in the US they are multi-million dollar payouts.

    It’s sad that we have to have our own dedicated clergy abuse police strike force (Strike Force Lantle) which has laid more than 170 abuse charges.

    What’s happening around the world.

    Austria[edit]

    In November 2010, an independent group in Austria[59] that operates a hotline to help people exit the Catholic Church released a report documenting physical, sexual, and emotional abuse perpetrated by Austrian priests, nuns, and other religious officials. The report is based on hotline calls from 91 women (28%) and 234 men (72%), who named 422 perpetrators of both sexes, 63% of whom were ordained priests.[60][non-primary source needed]

    Belgium[edit]

    Main article: Belgian pedophile priests scandal

    In June 2010, Belgian police raided the Belgian Catholic Church headquarters in Brussels, seizing a computer and records of a Church commission investigating allegations of child abuse, as part of an investigation into hundreds of claims that had been raised about alleged child sexual abuse committed by Belgian clergy. The claims emerged after Roger Vangheluwe, who had been the Bishop of Bruges, resigned after admitting that he was guilty of sexual molestation.[61] The Vatican protested against the raids.[62] In September 2010, an appeals court ruled that the raids were illegal.[63]

    Good to see the Vatican protested about something.

    Ireland (Republic)[edit]

    Main article: Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Ireland

    In the Republic of Ireland, starting in the 1990s, a series of criminal cases and government enquiries covered allegations that priests had abused hundreds of minors over previous decades. State-ordered investigations documented “tens of thousands of children from the 1940s to the 1990s” who suffered abuse including sexual abuse at the hands of priests, nuns, and church staff in three diocese.[68]

    In many cases the abusing priests had been moved by senior clergy to other parishes. By 2010, a number of in-depth judicial reports had been published, but with relatively few prosecutions. The abuse was occasionally made known to staff at the Department of Education, the police, and other government bodies, who have said that prosecuting clergy was extremely difficult given the “Catholic ethos” of the Irish Republic.

    United States

    In the United States the 2004 John Jay Report commissioned and funded by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was based on volunteer surveys completed by the Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States. The 2004 John Jay Report was based on a study of 10,667 allegations against 4,392 priests accused of engaging in sexual abuse of a minor between 1950 and 2002.[96]

    The surveys filtered provided information from diocesan files on each priest accused of sexual abuse and on each of the priest’s victims to the research team, in a format which did not disclose the names of the accused priests or the dioceses where they worked. The dioceses were encouraged to issue reports of their own based on the surveys that they had completed.

    The report stated there were approximately 10,667 reported victims (younger than 18 years) of clergy sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002:

    Around 81% of these victims were male.

    Female victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests tended to be younger than the males. Data analyzed by John Jay researchers, shows that the number and proportion of sexual misconduct directed at girls under 8 years old was higher than that experienced by boys the same age.[97]

    22.6% were age 10 or younger, 51% were between the ages of 11 and 14, and 27% were between the ages to 15 to 17 years.[98][99][100]

    A substantial number (almost 2000) of very young children were victimized by priests during this time period.

    9,281 victim surveys had information about an investigation. In 6,696 (72%) cases, an investigation of the allegation was carried out. Of these, 4,570 (80%) were substantiated; 1,028 (18%) were unsubstantiated; 83 (1.5%) were found to be false. In 56 cases, priests were reported to deny the allegations.

    More than 10 percent of these allegations were characterized as not substantiated because diocese or order could not determine whether the alleged abuse actually took place.

    For approximately 20 percent of the allegations, the priest was deceased or inactive at the time of the receipt of the allegation and typically no investigation was conducted in these circumstances.

    In 38.4% of allegations, the abuse is alleged to have occurred within a single year, in 21.8% the alleged abuse lasted more than a year but less than 2 years, in 28% between 2 and 4 years, in 10.2% between 5 and 9 years and, in under 1%, 10 or more years.

    The 4,392 priests who were accused amount to approximately 4% of the 109,694 priests in active ministry during that time. Of these 4,392, approximately:

    56 percent had one reported allegation against them; 27 percent had two or three allegations against them; nearly 14 percent had four to nine allegations against them; 3 percent (149 priests) had 10 or more allegations against them. These 149 priests were responsible for almost 3,000 victims, or 27 percent of the allegations.[98]

    The allegations were substantiated for 1,872 priests and unsubstantiated for 824 priests. They were thought to be credible for 1,671 priests and not credible for 345 priests. 298 priests and deacons who had been completely exonerated are not included in the study.

    50 percent were 35 years of age or younger at the time of the first instance of alleged abuse.[98]

    Almost 70 percent were ordained before 1970.[98]

    Fewer than 7 percent were reported to have themselves been victims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse as children. Although 19 percent had alcohol or substance abuse problems, 9 percent were reported to have been using drugs or alcohol during the instances of abuse.[98]

    Many of the reported acts of sexual abuse involved fondling or unspecified abuse. There was also a number of allegations of forced acts of oral sex and intercourse. Detailed information on the nature of the abuse was not reported for 26.6% of the reported allegations. 27.3% of the allegations involved the cleric performing oral sex on the victim. 25.1% of the allegations involved penile penetration or attempted penetration.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases

  • Bones

    I’m surprised you haven’t blamed the victims yet.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Declaring women in spiritual leadership roles to be counter to “True Church” teaching and insisting it is heretical is extremely judgmental. Nice try though.

  • Bones

    You gals make us men unclean.

  • Rob Smith

    “Spiritual Leadership” roles and Ordination are entirely different things. Nice try to you as well.

  • Rob Smith

    Not sure what point you’re trying to make here. Are you saying we should ignore non-Catholic Priest child sex abuse? Or that child sex abuse is only significant when it can be blamed on the Catholic Church? I’m glad you don’t hate the Church. I shudder to think what you might say about it if you did.

  • Bones

    What happened here?

    During the communist era in Czechoslovakia, Catholic religious orders were banned, and most existing clergy were jailed, sent to labor camps, or forced into military service. Some were even murdered. It was in this climate that some church leaders decided to ordain a few remaining qualified individuals–including some women–to be priests.

    The ordination of Ludmila Javorova was a secret hidden not only from the communist government in Czechoslovakia but also from other members of the remnant Catholic Church. Her ordination stirred controversy even among the members of the Koinotes, or hidden church. Bishop Felix Maria Davidek, a member of this underground group, decided to ordain her against their wishes.

    Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Catholic/2001/05/Ludmilas-Story.aspx#KrIsgLXezrEuEOxV.99

    I’m amazed the sky didn’t fall.

  • Bones

    Its more in response to you behaving like an arse. Most Catholics aren’t like you.

    So the RC church doesn’t have a problem with molesting kids cos everyone else does it.

    Good thinking there.

  • Bones

    Well I’m confused because the Church accepted married priests for a thousand years but they were wrong and the Church is infallible.

    Wtf!

  • Bones

    What’s her heretical teaching again?

    That she’s a woman?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Then you’re knowingly playing a semantic game. Amend my statement to say “ordination” and you are still being judgmental and hiding yourself under the umbrella of “church law.”

  • Rob Smith

    Does it bother you when public school teacher molest kids? Or Protestant ministers? Or married, female Protestant ministers? Or anybody else? I ask because from your posts it seems that you only care about it when it can be blamed on a Catholic priest.

  • Bones

    Dude you’re the one here proclaiming to belong to the one True Church and calling others heretical.

    Worked with Episcopal priests one of whom is in jail for child sex abuse and helped bring down Australia’s Governor General who was previously the Archbishop of Brisbane. He turned a blind eye to this abusive priest as well.

    You don’t seem to think this is an issue which is what the hierarchy thought until the costs for lawsuits came pouring in.

    Can you provide the statistics for the number of children abused by married female Protestant clergy v single male Catholic ones please?

    I would be interested in that.

  • BarbaraR

    And we’re good at it.

  • That one priest would rape a child is abhorrent. If he was the only rapist, tthenhe church should have worked with police to have this person arrested and prosecuted as well as defrocked and reached out to help the victims.

    Yet that hasn’t happened. Yes the criminal priests are a small minority of the priesthood, but they were hidden a d protected for decades.

    Yes rape is a huge problem, but what example is the churches set about fixing it? Terrible.

    But rapists in the priesthood is not the topic, a priest who usedy bigotry a.d overuse of power is. i hope his new parish insists on his removal

  • Bones

    Sorry, this has a woman on it.

  • Dandhman

    Jacob Rubio, it is too hard. As a gay Catholic kid and very religious one at that. I also said with great conviction “having homosexual feelings is not the sin. Acting on them is.” I was going to beat this homosexuality thing with the help of the sacraments. I was going to be a priest since I would’ve been celibate anyways.
    As I grew God-given hormones made the sacraments into a black pit of despair. I was suicidal. Thank goodness I had a secular therapist who pulled me back from the brink.
    I’m agnostic now. I’m here to perhaps solve this dilemma and find a way that Christianity could work for me.
    Jacob Rubio: what do you do when you can no longer honestly say in the confessional that you “firmly intend to sin no more & avoid what leads me to sin?” It is too hard, it is too hard, it is too hard.

  • Andy

    You sound like those people who say “I’m not racist; I have black friends!”

    There is a right way and a wrong way to express your opinions when they are contrary to the principles on which this community was founded. This is not the right way, and will not be tolerated.

  • Andy

    They sure do! 🙂

  • Andy

    Probably omitted a comma between “married” and “single”.

  • Andy

    I don’t know how they do it.

  • Andy

    Funny, out of all the people that have studied theology, I doubt there are 2 of them that agree on everything.

  • Andy

    Oh, you mean the book that was written for the Levites? Why should we assume that anything in there was meant to apply to anyone else ever?

  • Dandhman, it is too hard because I firmly believe God has no intention of forcing you to accept the falsehood that who and what you are right now is anything but natural, beautiful and right.

  • Damned straight

  • Bones

    Maybe they think you’ll do a homily in a bikini.

    You obviously haven’t been blessed with the one prime requirement to make you a minister of God.

    A penis.

  • The Interrogator

    [John Shore, I think I love you!]

  • The Interrogator

    [John Shore, you are the smartest man in the world!]

  • The Interrogator

    [John Shore, I think I might be gay. And that’s okay!]

  • The Interrogator

    [John Shore, I think I might be in love with you!]

  • There is a very ancient Tradition (so ancient, it is actually in Scripture) where the Church decided something against the teachings of Scripture (and Tradition up until that time), because it was going to keep folks who otherwise would gladly come to Christ away from his table. The issue wasn’t homosexuality, unfortunately. But fortunate for several of us, it was male circumcision. Scriptural, it most definitely was (Genesis 17) and since everybody up to that time, all the Righteous males had the circumcision. Abraham had it. Moses had it. King David had it. Even Jesus.

    This whole discussion regarding circumcision could be found in Acts 15. Peter himself reasoned that the Holy Spirit was baptized into Cornelius’s household, and we all know that they were Roman and not circumcised. The proof of God’s approval lies not in the circumcision. It lies in the fact that the Spirit of Christ lives within them.

    If we see that homosexuals are living spiritual lives, then perhaps God is showing us that He approves. I think this issue needs to be reexamined. Why can’t we have a Church council that will revisit this issue of homosexuality. Quite frankly, the Church might just be keeping God’s children away from the table the Lord invites all of us to. Yes, it is Scripture and Tradition that we forbid our gay, lesbian and transgender folk from coming to the table, but surely that doesn’t mean we have to keep it, otherwise every single male in here would have the marks of the circumcision and everyone who can read knows it.

  • So kicking a long attending couple out of the church, a couple one has never laid eyes on before and refusing them communion or participation ONLY because they are two married men is not treating them like pariahs?

  • Dandhman

    I think we’re missing a critical point here that is generally not understood by non-Catholics. Despite all of the impressive titles held by the pontiff, he’s trying to manage a very difficult balancing act.
    Every Catholic Parish, that I’ve been in, contains parishoners who dream of the day that women can be ordained, Priests can marry, and the gay community may be affirmed. These MUST share pews with Catholics who are angry over Vatican II, believe girls Should NEVER have been allowed to be altar-servers, And wish women still had to go veiled into Church.
    This is completely different from the Protestant experience (as I understand it). I’ve been asked so many times when I’ve moved somewhere new “whether I’ve chosen a Church yet”.
    Causing a breach in the church is abhorrent when that church views itself to be Catholic (that is: universal). For Pope Francis that is a no better than a mutiliation of the Body of Christ on earth. He has to thread a needle when trying to reform.
    I must, however, admit that even my patience is wearing thin.

  • Dandhman

    Interrogator, you do know that John is straight and married, right?

  • We shouldn’t ignore child abuse, not matter who commits the act. We shouldn’t cover it up, blame the victim, move the perpetrator to a different location, lie about the actions.The fall out from such actions ends up being far worse then arresting the bastard as soon as we are made aware that they are rapists.

    for the record, the vast majority of child sex abusers are family members. the abusers are predominately male, and almost always heterosexual. Educators make up a small percentage of abusers, and they are the most likely to be caught and prosecuted. Clergy of all faiths, are also a small percentage, they are less likely to be prosecuted, and are often protected, because of their “positions of authority”.

    Whoever does it….its far too many children having their innocence stolen because of the power , terror and domination forced upon them by an adult.

  • BarbaraR

    Hi Dandhman. That was some editing necessary to make a blatantly proselytizing and unhelpful comment into a much less offensive comment. You might see similar editing here from time to time.

  • Some good points. Francis is a reformer and I’ve been delighted with some of his reforms. It is possible he’d go further, but to push things too far would cause push back that would be more harmful than good.

    Just think, a few years ago, a gay couple being treated like the one in the story, would haven’t raise a ripple in the public conscious, yet today we are talking about this, and for most, at least in the conversations I’ve participated in, have sided with the couple, as has a fair percentage of the couple’s church family. That to me is quite heartening.

  • The Interrogator

    [Dickish comment deleted]

  • The Interrogator

    [Insanely dickish comment deleted]

  • The Interrogator

    [Fire-and-brimstone comment deleted]

  • Jacob Rubio

    I agree with you 100 %. That’s why I wrote that I can’t even imagine what you go through. I’ve seen people fight and I’ve seen win and lose. I lived a life of crime for many years. I was a leader in one of the largest and most powerful gangs in this country. I swore that it was my life and that’s who I am. God made me that way. I met my wife 13 years ago and I quit doing drugs cold turkey. When our first son was born he was clinically dead for 18 minutes. I swore that all my sins were coming back to get me. For the first time in years I fell to my knees and prayed that God would take me and leave my son. He is 9 years old now and after everything he went through at birth he has anxiety. It has been and blessing to me because his birth is what brought me back to God. I’m not saying that everyone will have the same results I did. I’m not perfect and nobody should look at what I say and think that the results will all be the same. I will pray for you and for many like you because we are all God’s children and deserve his blessing. May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you

  • The Interrogator

    [More fire-and-brimstoneness deleted]

  • The Interrogator

    That is a VERY personal thing, and why would anybody speak to anyone else of that, unless they were a family member.

  • BarbaraR

    You are done here.

  • Jacob Rubio

    That’s why I put the Scriptures there. I believe in the Bible 100%

  • Dandhman

    “May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you”
    “And with your spirit” Jacob Rubio
    Thank you for your sympathy, and congratulations on finding peace. You say that you cant imagine what I’ve gone through, but what I cannot imagine is what Jeff Preuss and the couple in this article must go through to stay in the Church which I left. I admire them for holding their heads high and even contributing in the way they did to parish life.
    For the Priest to say ‘Your contributions are no longer acceptable since you live in sin. You must leave your spouse’ shocks and appalls many of us here.
    My Boyfriend’s father lost his faith in the Catholic Church after his wife delivered a blue baby with severe brain damage. Horrified at the thought that God would do this to an innocent child, he consulted his priest. “Well George what do you expect for marrying outside the faith? you deserve it” was the response he got. The advice he received was the same too “Your marriage is not valid you must leave your wife and stop living in sin.” granted this was the 60’s and of course George stopped going to church that day
    I have seen a good friend die, and his family eject his partner of 20 years from their home. He wasn’t even allowed to come to the Catholic funeral.
    We don’t want to get married just for poops and giggles, Jacob Rubio

  • BarbaraR

    OMG. I can’t believe anyone could be so callous. Well, actually, yes, I can believe it. And I would react the same as your BF’s father did. I am so sorry he was treated like that.

  • Hey Bones, what I’m wondering is that if God created everything, then He must have created shrimp, yet shrimp is bad, it is unclean? Certainly not in my taste buds! My mouth says that God created shrimp and shrimp is really, really good! Especially fried while wrapped up in bacon! Delicious!

  • I wish I could believe that no one would dare be so callous, but I just can’t. I’ve seen too many people hurt by placing dogma over compassion, staid cultural norms against love, and self righteous entitlement over generosity.

    My hope, my prayer is that some day, such stories are a part of the past, that we’ve learned somewhere along the way how to really get loving our neighbor, and to put it into practice in the church, in the community, in the home, and all around the globe.

    Did I also mention that I am one of those whose optimism springs eternal?

  • Dandhman

    Hear hear, Jack Douglas. Not to mention the Medieval prohibition on Christians lending money with interest. I’ve never heard of Fundies attacking the sin of “Usery”

  • I think the problem here is that we think we have a choice in the matter of who we truly love intimately and commit to for a lifetime. I don’t have that choice. Mine was simply “instinctive” for a lack of a better word. I am what people call, “straight.” But did I ever once choose to be heterosexual? No. There never was a time I made a conscious decision to be with a woman. It just happened to work out that way. Honestly, I cannot even imagine what it would be like to have this relationship with another guy. Who am I to say that it is any different for a gay or a lesbian child of God? Looking at how life dealt me with my orientation, how can I dispute the same validity for those with “an other” orientation?

  • Me neither, come to think of it, they actually support the notion… it’s the way of life in the capitalistic Western society!

  • Jacob Rubio

    That has to be the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard. The fact that a priest would say that to me is utterly disgusting !! When my wife and I got married I was not Catholic and she was. We were married in Hawaii and it was after my sons birth that I decided to join the Church. I have found peace but it’s still a struggle every day. When things are not going good financially it takes everything in my being to not pick up the phone and go back to my previous life. Money and power are like a drug and I had a lot of both. All you can do is live your life the best way that you can and hope for the best in the end. I will continue to pray for you and everyone here. I just pray that people don’t get the wrong impression of me. I have been through a lot in life as far as jail time and seen a lot of good people die. I live with these memories every day and I feel that God has called me to help and talk to people about my life. Especially kids so that they don’t do the things I did. Thank you all for hearing me out and I hope we can keep talking. May God bless you and your family

  • Dandhman

    Like I said “in all fairness this happened in the early 60’s” when protestants were still emphatically “heretics”. The Church is better on that now. I am truly happy that you escaped that gang.

  • Bacon wrapped shrimp. …..now I’m lusting! Drat

  • Hal Watts

    If Heaven has a PR department, they must be slapping their foreheads in disbelief at this despicable act by the priest and the bishop.

  • vj

    In ancient Israel, King Hezekiah [a descendent of David] called the nation to gather to celebrate the Passover (i.e. Communion). According to the OT Law (“God’s Law”, as you call it), there were a lot of regulations governing the ‘proper’ celebration/administration of the Passover (much like the Catholic dogma surrounding Communion). The thing is, a lot of the Israelites didn’t actually “qualify” to participate, according to the rules… Guess what happened:

    “Although most of the many people who came from [distant parts of Israel] had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God – the Lord, the God of his fathers – even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. ”
    2 Chronicles 30 vv 18-20.

    Who is anyone to think that they have the right to prevent someone “who sets his heart on seeking God” [even if they are not “clean according to the rules of the sanctuary”] from participating in the sacrament of remembering the Passover (which is what the Last Supper was)? Even Judas ate of the bread and drank of the wine that was consecrated by Jesus Himself…

  • Jill

    I find it interesting how my GLBTQ friends just happen to live their lives, while some presumably straight people label their lives “lifestyles”.

    I know gay clubs, I know straight clubs. Not a marked difference. Everyone knows how to hook up.

  • Jill

    I love to read your words, Jeff. You make everything clearer.

  • Jacob Rubio

    I only called it a lifestyle because that’s what my gay friends in Boston called it. I didn’t mean it as an insult of any kind and I’m truly sorry if I offended anyone in any way. It was not my intention

  • The term ‘lifestyle” bothers me as well. It makes this silly assumption that a gay person’s life is vastly different than a straight person. I have yet to see it.

  • I have yet to hear a gay person that I’ve known personally call being gay a lifestyle. They may have used the term with you, because they understood you would relate to it. But I seriously doubt they felt all that different in how they conducted their lives from anyone else in the greater Boston area. Which is the point, being gay is as much of a lifestyle as possessing perfect pitch. One reacts to certain things differently than most, but that’s it. EVERYTHING else is how pretty much average people live.

  • Jill

    Now there you go, bringing logic and reason into the thing! What’d you go and do that for?

  • FrJesusGaylord

    I’ve met lots of gay people who claim to have changed. They love to have quick, anonymous sex with guys after church.

  • ^This^ needs the like gatlin gun treatment

  • Bones

    Do you enjoy your heterosexual lifestyle?

  • Bones

    How’s the hetero lifestyle going?

  • Bones

    Yeah he’s better than Benedict the Hound and Inquisitor of leftists.

  • Jill

    Eh. Fairly boring I’d dare say… but that’s a whole other conversation.

    I must not be living the life right.

  • Bones

    Must be part of my lifestyle.

  • Jill

    I can’t help but say that if our measuring stick is better than Benedict, it doesn’t bode well. Now how about Pope John
    XXIII, huh—the guy who called the Second Vatican Council? Now he was quite the early riser, wasn’t he?

  • Its like like most homosexual’s I suspect. Hit the damned snooze alarm one time too many, stumble into the kitchen to make coffee, get ready for work, kiss the darling goodbye as we both fly out the door, go to work, come home kiss the darling hello, fix, eat dinner, watch a bit of tv, while we snuggle on the couch, go to bed, fall asleep…wash, rinse, repeat.

    On weekends a bit of time with extended family, chores, maybe order a pizza for supper, and a nap after Sunday worship while the darling snoozes to the golf channel.
    It’s exhilerating.

  • DanHalen

    Capitalism is in most ways in direct contradiction with Christianity.

  • Bones

    Aaah Pope John XXIII, there’s a reason he was called the ‘Good Pope’. If only he had lived for another 5 years.

  • DanHalen

    Then why do you deny communion to gays and lesbians yet you still feel you are worthy of it? You know, there’s a term for that. . . . .

  • DanHalen

    Jacob, are you aware that the abomination of comsuming shell fish is mentioned four times more in the Bible than homosexuality? http://www.godhatesshrimp.com

  • Thanks for sharing VJ. I learned something because of it. Though I have read the passage (2 Chronicles) before, I missed looking at it the way you have until just now. Truly something, because yes, Sacramental churches (Roman Catholic, Free Catholic — which is where I am, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal/Anglican) celebrates the Eucharist (aka Mass, Communion or Last Supper) like Passover except on a weekly basis (Protestants sometimes do but most vary on that) instead of an annual one. Great eye!

  • “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” ~ Jesus Christ (Matthew 9.13).

    He was quoting Hosea. Now, I’m not saying homosexuality is a sin. But, even if I were, clearly, says Jesus, being judgmental towards others is definitely a “no, no.” Turning people away from Christ. Even if I were to view such person as a gross sinner, not worthy of God’s love, Christ puts me in my place. No amount of sacrifice could atone for that. In fact, showing mercy to the worst of us, extending communion to them, is FAR more important than taking the bread and wine myself.

    I know this seems weird to a lot of Christians, and it is true that Jesus often times spoke in hyperbole to prove a point. What is Jesus really saying here? Don’t get in the way of Divine Providence. How do I know this? Because at the time Jesus quoted Hosea, people had a problem with Levi (aka Matthew) being called to be a disciple of Christ because he was a “tax collector.”

  • It is not just Catholics, it is most of The Christian Church. Granted that it was the Catholic Church that decided to create a book and gall it God’s infallible word. Granted that that book, the Bible has been an effective tool of division and strife among those who call themselves Christians.

    I am gay, but the false idea that the Bible is God’s Word or infallible is the real issue. Even the Bible offers evidence that Jesus did not intend His teaching to become a Institutional thing.

  • Nicholas

    A great post as usual John. You invite our participation urging, “Please, please join me in calling upon the good Pope Francis…” How? How can I call upon the good Pope?

  • Jacob Rubio

    Why do I deny communion to gays and lesbians ? Did I make the rules ? I never knew that I had that much power. There are many progressive Protestant churches that allow communion to gays and lesbians. I’m not denying anything to anyone so why don’t you just ask me what you truly want to ask me instead of beating around the bush ?

  • Andy

    YES HE DID BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT SUITS MY AGENDA BEST

  • Jacob Rubio

    Go and learn what this means ? I guess I need a teacher and you’re just the man. Jesus was looking for the sinners but he was also looking for the sinners to not sin. While on the cross he took all the sins of the world into him . He died so that our sins may be forgiven. I do believe homosexuality to be a sin and that’s my opinion. I am a sinner as is everyone on this blog. My criminal sins were different than others but I admitted mine and still fight every day to not go back to it. Now if you don’t believe homosexuality is a sin then that’s your opinion. I don’t have to agree with it but I respect you for it. In order to receive communion we must confess our sins first to be forgiven of them.

  • Jacob Rubio

    You’re probably right and like I said I didn’t mean to offend you or anyone else

  • Jill

    The Charlie Brown agenda? What, anyone who gives rocks for Trick or Treat gets eternal damnation? 😉

  • BarbaraR

    Candy Corn puts you in limbo for a couple of thousand years.

  • Jill

    That should be written in the canon somewhere… sheesh! Candy corn… or pennies!

  • Jill

    But this blog is not an ‘agree to disagree’ space on the relative sin level of sexual identity and expression. It simply cannot be, for the simple fact that doctrine you espouse has murdered too many people on its cross of religious superiority.

    That doctrine assumes heterosexuality is primary, superior and of God’s will. To the expressed, as well as implied, exclusion of everyone who does not fit into that narrow description. The “otherness” of LGBTQ people has claimed enough lives from suicide, homelessness, poverty.

    I feel comfortable in saying that this blog is done with that remedial level of discussion. If you want to debate the sinfulness of innate sexuality, you’ll have to find another space to do so. If you want to skirt that line, the wise moderators here will gladly resolve any confusion.

  • Or as already mentioned Tootsie Rolls. The candy that looks like what you think it does.
    I only buy reese cups, and mini bags of plain m&ms

  • BarbaraR

    That reminds me, I need to buy a test bag of candy, just to make sure it’s up to standards.

  • We had one kid last year. Because they all load up in cars and go to the rich neighborhoods, or to the 250 trunk or treats at the churches in a five mile radius.

  • BarbaraR

    Well put, Jill.

  • BarbaraR

    In case you haven’t noticed, this is an LGBTQ-affirming blog. This is a safe space for such people to come and express themselves without having to listen to such tripe as they’ve been fed all their lives, i.e. ” You can not say you love God and love Jesus but at the same time live a homosexual lifestyle.” This is the kind of dogma that leads to suicides, self-harm, rejection, and estrangement from all religion to the point of unrestrained animosity and hostility.

    “My criminal sins were different than others but I admitted mine and still fight every day to not go back to it” Well, that’s nice. But gays are not sinning and they have no reason to “admit” it or “fight every day to not go back to it.”

    This point has been gone over ad nauseum with you and you will not be changing anyone’s opinion here by continuing to fling around words like “gay lifestyle” and “you’re a homosexual living the life.” That shows a complete lack of understanding and smug superiority.

    There are numerous forums which support your viewpoint and it might be time for you to find one to post in.

  • Guy Norred

    Perfect pitch! Now that is a lifestyle I wish I could choose.

  • Snooterpoot

    I seriously doubt that your lifestyle is very much different from my own, and that of most GLBT people. Here ya’ go.

    I am a 62 year old woman who works full time. I try to be a good neighbor. I support my community (and I don’t mean the gay community, I mean the community where my wife and I live) with both my time and financially.

    I take care of my elderly mother’s finances, and I make sure all of her needs are met, even though she lives 500 miles away. I am an adoring aunt of several nieces and nephews, and of ons grandniece and two grandnephews. I spoil them shamelessly, just as I spoiled their parents.

    I enjoy music, photography, fine dining (and bologna sandwiches as well) and a good glass of wine.

    I fulfill all of the same obligations of citizenship as required. I vote in every election – local, state and national.

    I am faithful to, respectful of and devoted to my wife.

    So, @jacob_rubio:disqus, you want to tell me how my “gay lifestyle” is any different from yours?

    The “gay lifestyle” is a pejorative phrase created by Jerry Falwell back in the 1980s. Its inference is that all GLBT people are promiscuous, abuse tobacco, alcohol and drugs, are unable to maintain faithful relationships and whose love isn’t real. It is offensive to every GLBT person I know, and to the people who love us.

    That, Jacob, is why I challenge the phrase every time it is used. In case you didn’t get it the first time, it is deeply offensive and should not be used by anyone, much less by someone who “has gay friends.”

  • “Go and learn what this means,” is something Jesus said to those who had a problem with a tax collector being a part of their group. I wasn’t saying that to be condescending. If it came out that way, it was strictly unintentional. I was merely giving the full quote of the verse.

    “I do believe homosexuality to be a sin and that’s my opinion.”

    Unfortunately, that opinion held by many others have gotten innocent people killed, maimed, raped, beaten up, robbed, mugged, etc, etc. Funny how people can become so violent (which obviously is sin) when dealing with homosexuality, which is more in line with the “ritual purity laws” of a world and culture long gone…

    Though communion is sacred to me, it is not mine to decide who comes and who doesn’t. That is between the individual and Christ. I completely trust the Holy Spirit to do His assigned function of the Godhead to convict. Since I am not privvy to that private conversation, I have ultimately no say in that, but can only speak for myself.

    In short, I simply worry about what I am doing. Am I doing what God wills for me to do? What is God’s will? I am to express God’s love and God loves everybody. It is as simple and complicated as that…

  • Jacob Rubio

    Any person that harms another whether physically or mentally because they have different beliefs or because their sexual orientation is different and do it in the name of God has serious problems and should be done to them as they have done to others. Barbara I am not here to change anyone and neither do I think that anyone here needs any changing. All you can do in this world is live your life the best way you can. God knows what is in each persons heart and I believe that’s the most important thing. My opinion is what it is but I’m not here to hurt anyone nor would I ever hope that someone would commit suicide over other people’s beliefs. All I ask is since I completely respect everyone’s opinions I ask that mine be respected without people wanting to kick me out of here. If you truly want me to go I will just know that I never intended anyone any harm and I just wanted to have an intellectual conversation with people that I knew had a different opinion than me but we’re also very open minded and intelligent. Forgive me if I offended anyone and if I have to change the way my point comes across then I will pray that the Lord helps me choose my words better. I will leave it up to you guys to let me know if you think I need to leave.

  • BarbaraR

    This is awesome. You rock.

  • Jacob Rubio

    I’m sorry Jack. I took your words out of context and that was my fault. I gave my opinion with no intention of harming or causing harm to anyone. I believe you all to be great and intelligent people. And I absolutely do not think myself better than anyone here. Some day I will have to answer for the harm I have caused other people in my past. I do not wish to add to my past sins by harming anyone here in any way. Barbara, Jill and Jack, I swear to you that I never meant anything that I said to be harmful or to sound like I have a superiority complex

  • BarbaraR

    Gay people commit suicide and practice self-harm every day due to teachings from earliest childhood that they are condemned, perverted, unworthy, child molesters, etc. These kinds of things are preached in churches of every denomination. When you are taught how filthy you are and how God hates you, what’s left?

    You may mean well but I am not seeing anything that indicates a willingness to examine everything you’ve been taught in church and about what the Bible says or doesn’t say.

  • Sylvie, thanks for bringing that up! Yeah, a decade or two ago, no one would have bat an eye. Look at us now! There is always hope…. And one thing does lead to another, so if things happen to run slow, I’m glad that it is still running. Eventually, we’ll get there!

  • Dandhman

    I’ve argued in the face of missionaries & fundies (who’ve made my faith or lack of faith an issue) that the doctrine of ‘Scriptural Literalism’ slanders the good name of God. “Yes,” I say “An omnipotent god can, by definition, create the universe over 6 days some 6,000 years ago and cover up the fact. But what does that say about the nature of God?” If a rational inquiry into creation is designed to lead us to perdition then creation cannot be good, and it says in Genesis that He looked on creation and saw that it was good.
    They seem to give up after that. If not I bring up the Death of the Firstborn Egyptian children. “How happy I am to be free of a dogma that insists that God ‘hardened Pharaoh’s heart’ and as a result God murdered innocent children.
    It makes them really uncomfortable. For me its the nuclear option. (use sparingly)

  • Jacob Rubio

    Well Barbara what is it that you want me to examine as far as what I’ve been taught or what the Bible says ? If you ask me something specifically I’ll do my best to answer it

  • sapoverde

    Gay marriage cannot exist, it is according to Catholic teaching a reality that is not possible, much like saying a married bachelor. How can they oppose what to them does not exist?

  • sapoverde

    Also, does not the priest’s actions presume he is without sin? He may judge their sinful lifestyle correctly but by condemning and excluding them, or judging them, he brings condemnation and exclusion upon himself. Matthew 7:1-5

  • vj

    Thanks Jack! Things like this are why I think it is still ‘profitable’ to read the entirety of the Bible (although I’m still waiting to find some deep insight in Numbers…) – I noticed this for the first time last year, and it has become one of my all-time favorite pieces of Scripture. Even under OT law, God really just wanted people to turn towards Him, rather than rigidly adhere to a set of statutes (even when those statutes were ordained by God)…

  • Bones

    Or a married priest.

    Oh wait….

  • Bones

    I seem to recall when according to the Catholic Church, heliocentricity didn’t exist ie the Sun orbited the Earth. That simply did not exist.

    How did that go?

  • Bones

    It makes more sense to read the Pentateuch as part legend, part revised nationalism and part ancient Holiness Code. I consider very little of it factual.

  • vj

    Each to their own, I guess.

  • BarbaraR

    *Sigh*

    Here is the thing: many of us here were just like you at one time. I certainly was. I believed everything I was told in church by the pastor or the deacons. They’ve been Christians a long time! They’ve studied this stuff! They have all the answers! So I parroted everything I was told to say – hate the sin, love the sinner! Say it on command and they threw me a fish.

    And then the cracks started appearing. I wasn’t the smartest person in the world but I knew when something was BS.
    “Will all those tribes in Africa go to hell because they never heard of Jesus?”
    “Yes.”
    “But that’s not fair! How can they be sent to hell if they never heard of Jesus?”
    “They will have heard the gospel.”
    “How?”
    (Primly)”They will have.” Boom. Case closed. This is not up for discussion any more.

    There was an incident where I live back about 1975 where two young couples were camping together and were attacked by a man with a knife. It was all over the news. In church the following Sunday: “The real sin was not that these young people were attacked, but that they were unchaperoned.” WTF?

    From there the light started getting in through the cracks. Questions started popping up that I was unsatisfied with the regulation answers given – for instance, How is it possible that all these different denominations claim that theirs is the only one with full understanding of what God wants? Isn’t that what every church claims? Are they all right? Are they all wrong? Are some wrong and some right, or partly wrong and partly right? If God wants us to go to heaven, why did He only reveal himself to a very small group of people in one specific way 2000 or so years ago? How many people died without ever hearing about him and will go to hell? What kind of God would set up a system in which people could be rotten bastards but as long as they’re saved, get into heaven, while kind, generous Buddhists are doomed? Why are my non-Christian friends so much nicer than the people in church?

    There are people who blindly accept the party line when it comes to their sect/denomination/affiliation. They never question anything – and if they do, they’re shut down very fast by the intense power structure within the church body.The people that frequent this blog question these teachings and traditional interpretations, and I think it’s fair to say none of us believes we are in a settled place. Once a person’s stopped seeking and are simply accepting what they’re fed, they’ve become intellectually inert and spiritually stagnant. They’re marionettes.

  • You pretty much parroted my thoughts.

  • Jacob Rubio

    I completely understand what you’re saying Barbara. Believe it or not before I became Catholic I was one of the most homophobic people you could ever meet. There was no talking to me about it or trying to reason with me. Now I’m going to say something on this blog that I rarely speak about and I’m probably going to be crying while I write but here we go. When I was about 5 or 6 years old a cousin of mine came to visit from Honduras. He molested me and raped me for about 6 months. All I wanted to do was to go outside and play games with him. Being a little boy what else would I want. He made me perform sexual favors for him and vice versa. I didn’t know what was going on and he told me that it was OK and that we weren’t doing anything wrong. My sister walked in on us one day and that was the end of that. I was so full of hatred for so many years. About 15 years ago he died of AiDS. I was so happy that he was dead and I hoped that it was very painful for him. My belief on homosexuality and pedophilia was that it was all one thing. Of course now I know that not to be true.
    When I worked at a gay club in Cambridge it was the best time of my life. I met great people and it truly changed my way of thinking towards gays. Believe it or not I was actually told by some lesbian women that I knew who went to the club that as a group they were very sad to see me go because not only did they feel safe while I was working there but they liked me because I treated them with respect and kindness. Same from the gay men who frequented the club. They new what my beliefs were and we talked about it all the time but I never in any way made them feel like I was better than them.
    Before becoming Catholic I studied a lot and did a lot of research on religion. I had to because I was raised a Jehovahs witness. Now those people are worse than any Catholic towards gays. After the Protestant Reformation there was such a huge split in Christianity . First the Lutherans had it right. Then the Calvinists. If not them how about the Pentecostal Church ? No wait it’s gotta be the Presbyterian Church. And so on and so on. The Catholic Church after more than 2000 years is the only one that never changed it’s original beliefs. Vatican 2 had changes but they were theological not from the Magisterium of the Church. As any religion the Catholic Church makes mistakes and some priests were very harsh towards gays and so were Catholics in general. As human beings we make mistakes. All I’m asking for is a chance to talk to people with different ideas then mine. I’m not here to try and change anyone. I believe that you are all great people. I know that I need to choose my words a little bit differently some times and I truly apologize how things came out before. But like I said before if I’m not wanted here then I understand

  • Jacob Rubio

    I have only one question. Did these men get kicked out of the Church ?

  • BarbaraR

    I am so sorry that all happened to you. What a terrible thing to visit upon a child.

    We aren’t here to favor one religion/ church/ denomination/ belief system over another. We do step up when any set of beliefs hurts or discriminates against anyone – including people of different nationalities, races, sexual identities, marriage status, abilities, and so forth. While anyone can believe whatever they want, when those beliefs turn into action that is hurtful to such people (including but not limited to spoken or written words, creeds, laws, actions, and discrimination) then we believe we are responsible to come forward and speak up. As Anne Lamott said, “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” . Every denomination has committed such things toward any number of people who are unable to defend themselves – LGBTQ, women, the disabled, the poor, minorities – and we abhor these kinds of things done in the name of Jesus and “justified” by scripture.

    I think you are trying to understand what it is we’re about here. I hope you are.

  • BarbaraR

    They were told they cannot receive communion and “they would no longer be allowed to participate in fundamental Catholic religious observances or ministry programs… Huff formerly served as an organist and cantor in the St. Leo’s church choir….To restore their position within the Catholic Church, Huff and Wojtowick must obtain a divorce, discontinue living together, and write a restoration statement defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Wojtowick and Huff have thus far declined to do so.” (Great Falls MT Tribune)

  • Jacob Rubio

    If you read verse 17 in 2 Chronicles 30: for many in the assembly had not sanctified themselves and the Levites were in charge of slaughtering the Passover victims for all who were unclean and therefore could NOT consecrate them to the Lord. So yes they ate the Passover meal but it was not consecrated because of their uncleanness. Hezekiah prayed for them and the Lord spared the people because they were seeking God but like verse 17 said it was still not a consecrated meal. It’s the same idea in the Catholic Church. We confess our sins before taking communion. I personally believe everyone should be welcomed in church but as far as the Sacraments go the Church just like the Jews in ancient Israel has it’s rules and beliefs based on scripture. I truly believe that God gives grace to everyone who seeks him

  • vj

    My whole purpose in sharing that story from Chronicles was to show that it is *not* important to *God* that we follow the letter of the law, but that our hearts are turned towards Him. Jesus did not die so that we could follow rules!!

    Do you think that rigid observance of the rules of the Catholic Church is more important to God than the hearts of the people in the Catholic Church? I appreciate that the leaders of any organization are entitled to make up and enforce their own rules (and perhaps that is your point about this couple’s eligibility for Communion specifically in a Catholic Church), but one of the problems with large religious organizations is that they so easily become more focused on ensuring observance of their particular niche regulations than on turning the hearts of the people towards God, which is basically God’s own highest priority!

    Regarding the Lord’s Supper, the Bible says that anyone who eats the bread or drinks the wine in an unworthy manner brings condemnation upon *themselves* (i.e. it is not up to someone else, even the Pope, to decide who is worthy). What do you think would be an ‘unworthy’ manner? I think the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector at the temple tells us what kind of attitude of heart earns God’s approval – the humility of the tax collector to acknowledge his own failings, rather then the hubris of the Pharisee to think himself morally superior. (Luke 18 vv 9-14).

    In this particular case in Lewistown, who is the Pharisee and who is the tax collector? If we have Biblical evidence that God welcomes people even when they don’t follow the letter of the law, it seems like an injustice that two men who have demonstrated, for decades, their commitment to God and to serving in their community (“by their fruits shall you know them”, “know those who labor among you”) are being denied the right to participate in something that presumably is very meaningful to them in their individual walks with God. I have for many years wondered why people would even want to be part of an organization that clearly doesn’t want them, but I have also learned that it is not up to me to stand in the way of anyone who wants to be a part of what God is doing, and for a great many people that means joining a church with a long history.

  • Andy
  • Andy

    This is hilarious, but if I change my avatar again it will confuse people, so I’ll clarify. At the time of this comment, my avatar was Charlie Brown.

  • Snooterpoot

    Thank you.

  • Snooterpoot

    I don’t think I took your words out of context. That sounds like a politician who did or said something really stupid but won’t own what he or she did.

    I thought you’d reply when I described my lesbian “lifestyle” to you, and I told you why that term is offensive, but you didn’t. So, Jacob, I think you came to this site with an agenda, not to simply have an intelligent conversation.

  • Snooterpoot

    How callous of you to suggest that GLBT people should live our lives without any physical intimacy with the people we love. You should be ashamed for saying that.

  • Snooterpoot

    Jacob, I’ve been living openly and without shame as a lesbian for 40 years. During that time I have met hundreds of GLBT people. Many of us tried to change; it was a futile effort. Even the “pray away the gay” organizations have admitted that they were wrong, that sexual orientation cannot be changed, apologized for the misery they caused and shut their doors.

    The only choice I ever made was to accept myself as the woman God intended for me to be.

  • Guy Norred

    There aren’t enough “like” buttons for this.

  • no, but we do have this…

  • Guy Norred

    saved for future use 🙂

  • Jacob Rubio

    I absolutely did not come here with an agenda. But believe what you want. I won’t bother you again

  • Jacob Rubio

    Now I come to find out that the man named Paul was once married to a woman and has children. I’m sure that God is very happy with him abandoning his family for another man

  • Bones

    No more than a man who leaves his wife for another woman?

  • Bones

    So are you still here for discussion? Or what?

  • Andy

    How do you afford your rock’n’roll lifestyle?

  • Paul who?

  • BarbaraR

    He must mean Paul Huff in the story above.

    Jacob, I had thought you were interested in intelligent conversation, but the statement, ” I’m sure that God is very happy with him abandoning his family for another man” is extremely judgmental.

  • Snooterpoot

    And still no response to my description of my lesbian “lifestyle,” even though I gave you another chance to respond. I thought you might comment on why “gay lifestyle” is offensive, but, again, you didn’t.

    Is the problem that you have nothing to say, or are you just trying to avoid continuing the discussion after I have shared these things with you?

  • Falken

    I suppose you may have a point. It is hard to be happy even with oneself when you abandon a family you falsely started to hide who you are. When you realize you helped bring children into the world. Of course, this is going off of a smidge of information.

    However, where’s the judgment for the men who leave their families not for men but for other women? Or for younger women? Or for wife, after wife, after wife? What about the ones who stay but don’t value their family? Perhaps some judgment for those who abuse their family? Maybe even some pretend anger for those who neglect their family?

    Or does one’s pseudo-outraged, judgmental, narrowminded, elitist, heteronormative, backwards, egotistical, hypocritical, “love the sinner, hate the sin”, toxic, blindly dogmatic view only see it as bad form when it allows them to wax on passive aggressively when it comes to us?

    I apologize dearly that you don’t believe women deserve to be loved by men who can hold actual affection and attraction to them. I apologize dearly that you don’t believe a relationship should be designed so that both people are truly happy and can truly feel as one. And I apologize so dearly that your understanding of love for your neighbor is merely lip service.

  • Jacob Rubio

    You seem to be apologizing a lot. I truly believe that any that bandons his family for any reason Is not a man especially if children are involved.

  • Falken

    Right. Yet your condemnation seems reserved only for those who do it to finally be with someone who they can actually be attracted to. I’m not sorry that you’re narrowminded.

  • Jacob Rubio

    Narrow minded ? I just said any man not any gay man. You’re just like any other self indulgent holier than thou liberal. Any one who might disagree with you in the slightest is treated as an enemy. I’m not your enemy. I just simply have an opinion that’s different then yours so I’m reduced to being attacked and called names. But it doesn’t surprise me. Everybody else that I have spoken to on this blog is intelligent and open to discussion. You on the other hand are the narrow minded mental simpleton of the group. Unfortunately for you I won’t take the bait. Have fun.

  • Jacob Rubio

    You have a point Bones but name one religion that has opened more universities then the Catholic Church. Many years ago there was disagreement between science and every religion. Times change though. But you did make a good point. And you’re absolutely correct. A man who leaves his wife for another woman is in my opinion held in the same regard. I didn’t make that statement just because he left her for another man. It did come out wrong and I regret that. I understand and in the most part agree with many things that different people have said to me here. The only thing that I have to stick to my guns with is that I would not agree with these two gentlemen taking Communion. That’s just my opinion.

  • Jacob Rubio

    I agree with that comment to an extent. It was Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation that coined the term Sola Scritura. Scripture alone is what people need. The Catholic Church of course believes that the Bible is God’s word but we also have tradition

  • Falken

    Lovely. Hi pot, it’s kettle, you’re black. From your statement you already took the “bait”. Of course, your labeling me as a liberal already means you’re clearly a fundamentalist hack, incapable of independent thought without consulting to old traditions that don’t really hurt you but help you remain in power. You honestly haven’t the faintest idea what it is to be my enemy nor are you worth that sort of effort, so do get over yourself.

  • BarbaraR

    Mod here, or as you put it, “self indulgent holier than thou liberal.”

    You’re on thin ice here.

  • Bones

    Times certainly do change and the
    Catholic Church is normally left behind and running to catch up.

    Are liars able to take communion? What about people who think about having sex with others? Can masturbators take communion? Can racists or bigots take communion? Heck even genocidal maniacs have been able to receive communion. See also Catholic support for Pinochet, Catholic Ante Pavolic and the Ustase who unleashed genocide throughout Croatia etc etc. But yeah gays and divorced people can’t.

    I find it bizarre that the Catholic Church blocked the beatification of Oscar Romero becasue he had Marxist ideals. He’s one of the leaders to give your organisation credit. Same with Dom Halder.

  • Jacob Rubio

    You make a good point. I am a sinner just like everyone in this world. I go to confession because I believe it works but I also believe that we have a forgiving and merciful God that we have to answer to in the end. If people are taking Communion in a state of mortal sin then it’s not a priest that they have to answer to but God. Why do you feel that the Catholic Church lags behind ? As far as what ?

  • Jacob Rubio

    I am and he’s not ? It’s okay for someone to insult and attack me but I can’t defend myself ?

  • BarbaraR

    I’m sure that God is very happy with him abandoning his family for another man

    It’s been explained to you multiple times that this site is LGBTQ-affirming, yet it hasn’t made a difference in your posts since you are continuing your anti-gay streak. Your initial statement stands in all its ugliness; only when called on it did you attempt to make it seem less nasty.

    I just simply have an opinion that’s different then yours

    That’s passive-aggressive-speak for “gay people should be held to a different standard than straight people because God told me so.” When opinion crosses into speaking for God because you believe God agrees with you, your opinion is unwelcome. It may not have crossed your mind, but the majority of posters and mods here are self-indulgent holier than thou liberals.

  • Jacob Rubio

    Passive aggressive ? That is so pathetic !!! Not once have I attacked or degraded anyone. It’s so typical of people like you that the minute someone has an opinion that’s a little different than yours you get defensive like someone is out to get you. I have a right to my opinion just like you and everyone else here. Just because I’m not 100% in agreement with you I’m on thin ice ? I’ve never seen such hypocrisy. But I guess it’s to be expected. You want me out I’m out. I’ve been kicked out of better places. Believe me

  • BarbaraR

    You want, it you got it.

  • Bones

    Prohibition of birth control, divorce, celibate and male clergy, attitudes to homosexuality.

  • Dandhman

    There are many ways that the institutional church fails the faithful. I personally believe that every theology has its strong points and ways that it fails.
    On the plus side for Catholicism: confession. I know that this creeps a lot of Protestants out (fair enough). At least there is someone there to prevent people from glossing-over their own flaws. For Catholics who confess that they stole somthing the Priest WILL remind them that if they expect forgiveness then they must return what they stole and have to take the legal consequences.
    The downside, if you read the Catechism (official church dogma) it clearly equates homosexuality (a gravely morally disordered act) with that of masturbation and contraception. No one has been asked to leave their church position because they couldn’t keep their hands off themselves. No boy would ever undergo the sacrament of Confirmation if this was honestly enforced.

  • Bones

    Yeah confession has a lot going for it. Don’t know why it creeps people out. Even the Episcopal general confession helps you reflect on your flaws and what you’ve done wrong.

  • Bones

    Catholic church must listen to beat of this age, Pope Francis tells bishops

    “But since his election last March, the reform-minded Argentinian pope has repeatedly made clear his irritation with priests and prelates who focus on “small-minded rules” at the expense of human beings grappling with real-life dilemmas. He has even warned that unless the church finds a new balance between adherence to doctrine and pastoral care, “the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards”.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/05/catholic-church-listen-pope-francis

  • Bones

    The Pope got rolled by his conservative bishops. Must be difficult leading a church that you know is discriminatory and bigoted.

    Pope Francis the loser as hardline bishops veto gay-friendly statements

    Final report of Roman Catholic extraordinary synod on the family removes talk of ‘welcoming’ gay people

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/18/catholic-bishops-backtrack-on-gay-welcome

  • Bones

    An Irish Catholic priest received a standing ovation from his congregation when he revealed he was gay and then declared his support for same-sex marriage from the pulpit, according to reports.

    Father Martin Dolan, who has been a priest at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra in Francis Street, Dublin for 15 years, made the unexpected comments during mass.

    The priest, who was unavailable for comment and is reported to be on holiday, urged his congregation to back same-sex marriage in the forthcoming Irish referendum.

    Parishioners are understood to have applauded when Dolan announced “I’m gay myself” last Saturday.

    Speaking to the Irish Sun, community youth worker Liz O’Connor said: “We are all very proud of Father Martin. Because he has admitted that he is gay he doesn’t change the person that he was before it.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/10/dublin-priest-gay-congregation-ovation

  • Steve Lacava

    i’m a roman catholic, nam veteran…i worked for paul huff….it was an honor and privilege…what a good human being as well…..now i remember why i stay away from church…God bless paul…

  • Steve Lacava

    however they are still loved by God…he didn’t leave moses any rules on that tablet about gay…nothing…