Rorate Caeli takes time out of their busy schedule…

Rorate Caeli takes time out of their busy schedule… June 25, 2012

to spit on the grave of a good man who served God with all his heart and to remind us, once again, that for many Reactionary Catholics, it is not enough that somebody who struggles with homosexual temptation is obedient to the Church, a faithful witness and a grateful and humble disciple of Jesus Christ and Our Lady. No matter how hard they try to be faithful, such same-sex attracted people must still be condemned and rejected, not for their sins, but for their temptations. In short, many Reactionary Catholics are, in the matter of homosexual temptation, functional Calvinists who reject the Church’s teaching on concupiscence. For those not familiar with that teaching, here it is:

1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.

1264 Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, “the tinder for sin” (fomes peccati); since concupiscence “is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.” Indeed, “an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

Perry Lorenzo, the dead man and faithful witness to Jesus Christ Rorate Caeli decided to spit on, provided a sterling example of a man who competed according to the rules, who strove to live chastely, and who bore faithful, grace-filled and beautiful witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, not only to other Catholics, but to a gay community in Seattle who imagined that all Catholics were, well, like the people at Rorate Caeli and bent on rejecting them whether they were obedient to the Church or not.

One of these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody opens the cause for Perry’s canonization. And when a thorough study is made of his life, I won’t be terribly surprised if they canonize him. No prophecies, just an educated guess based on my knowledge of the man and his dedication to the Catholic faith. And should that day come, the people at Rorate Caeli, who excuse concupiscence in themselves, but condemn it as sin in faithful, chaste, and saintly men like Perry Lorenzo will be remembered to history, if they are remembered at all, just as the Reverend Dr. C.M. Hyde is remembered. Happily for them, they will have a heavenly intercessor: Perry Lorenzo. God forgive them.

My suggestion for people who want to avoid the fate of Rev. Hyde, Rorate Caeli and similar mockers of good and holy men?: Listen to the wise counsel of Michael Voris:

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  • I’ve never read the entirety of Stevenson’s letter before, but what a brilliant piece of writing and such a testimony to a saint…a man who was not perfect, but who strove to love…and that is what a saint should be.

  • I disagree, Mark. I see it as an attack on Mark Shea’s thoughts on the disorder of homosexual desires.

    Your response seems to more of the type — “Shut up”, he explained. I’ve no idea if Rorate Caeli would benefit, but I bet Mark Shea would benefit by patiently explaining the differences between kleptomania and homosexual desires (maybe some third party observers might benefit too). Mark Shea seems like an honest guy. He could pull it off.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      I don’t think a distinction between kleptomania and homosexual desires needs to be made. If a person is a kleptomaniac and doesn’t actually steal anything, he is no more in sin than the chaste homosexual. Rorate Coeli, in an extremely mean spirit, assumes that the two are the same. The bloggers know they’re different; they’re not ignorant, just dishonest.

      • Ted Seeber

        In fact, unlike the homosexual who has a slight problem in taking back what he gives away, I would say that the “honest kleptomaniac” who can’t keep himself from stealing but makes efforts of heroic virtue to either pay back the value or return what he stole, is indeed worthy of becoming a saint. And I’ll admit right now to suffering from this sin- I am a pen kleptomaniac, because I believe that pens have so little value (and do in my regular life) that I have a hard time defining it as stealing; however I do make an honest attempt to return pens whenever I find I’ve absentmindedly taken one, and I ALWAYS return pens of sentimental value to the owner.

        Green like you move make the colors in the sky…

      • Peter M

        IMHO, there is an important distinction to be made between kleptomania and same-sex attraction, and it sinks Rorate’s attempt at satire. SSA is just that, an attraction; kleptomania is a compulsion. In kleptomania, a person has an impaired choice as to how they act on their feelings, wheras a person with SSA normally doesn’t. In kleptomania, the attraction leads more directly to the acting out than in SSA. Bottom line, a man’s being sexually attracted to another man does not necessarily mean that he is or was a sodomite; this, as Mark pointed out, is an idea that it seems was temporarily forgotten over at Rorate Caeli.

    • Mark Shea

      You mean, like in the various matters discussed here (scroll up from the bottom): I’m kind of busy, so I would hope that people who are thinking of spitting on a good man’s grave would do a search for related posts themselves rather than demand I re-write them.

      • The attack is on you and your feelings about Lorenzo. I certainly understand why you feel they’ve spit on Lorenzo’s grave.

        Mark, you’re free to beg off for whatever reasons you wish. You’re free to take your apologetics wherever you see the need, insofar as you feed your family and take of their needs first. Peace, Bob

  • rachel

    This is very disappointing. I read Rorate Caeli on issues concerning the Extraordinary form, etc since I consider myself a trad. They normally don’t involve themselves with stuff like this. Its very sad and uncharitable. I thought that your post about Lorenzo was beautiful. That is how we should be toward everyone, more love and less hate.

    • It’s the fruit of the constant mockery of others. You find it at Rorate, you find it at Fr. Z, you find it throughout the trad blogs: being uncharitable is a part of trad culture. I’m sure it’s the result of being spit on by the Church repeatedly since V2, but that doesn’t excuse it, especially now. I don’t find anything comparable at the non-trad Catholic blogs I read.

  • I think I’ve mentioned this a few times before, but I’m an MC at a Latin Mass and, by most people’s estimation, a traditionalist. I find Rorate unreadable. It’s the worst sort of self-righteous we’re-the-remnant Traditionalist Catholicism. That it’s the go-to website for trads tells one everything they need to know about the spiritual disease that is rampant in that community(or at least was until the motu proprio began spreading the TLM). I’m incredibly lucky that the Mass I serve is integrated into my parish: those kinds of thoughts and behaviors can only exist in the echo chamber. Read the comments to see what I mean.

    This article was vile. I understand someone objecting to your claim that two homosexual men living together doesn’t necessarily involve scandal(a claim I too find hard to accept, but willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on, since you knew them personally) but to write a piece – not of satire – but mockery, is classless and mean. It’s also incorrect, for reasons already stated in the combox.

    • Jack

      Steven I concur with you completely, I LOVE the Tradtional Mass and would dearly love to be able to get to it everyday, but most of the Trads I come into contact with resmble (at least from where I’m standing) whitewashed sephulcres filled with dead men’s bones.

      With an attitude like that I’m not supprised that many ‘conservative’ (for want of a better term) Catholics hate us.

      • We don’t hate you, we just cringe whenever you open your mouth (present company excepted) and say/do something that drives those on the edges of the Church or already separated from the Church further away from Christ. Because that *should be* our focus, bringing those on the outside in, and those on the inside further in (and further up!) – see Great Commission at the end of Matthew.

      • My – very conservative – parish chose to start saying the TLM out of a desire to explore its spirituality, and it has produced much fruit in only a few years. We didn’t start saying it because we wanted to maintain a righteous attitude about the “errors” of the Church, but just to be faithful to its heritage.

        Weird fact: my priest had to run out the sedes. He told me that when we first started to say the Mass he noticed things like people going downstairs when he mentioned Vatican 2 or any post-conciliar things, like the theology of the body. He also noticed that, on the rare occasion he didn’t consecrate enough hosts, they would refuse to receive communion from the tabernacle. Lastly a few people would ask him very specific liturgical questions about his ordination(to determine whether he was a “real” priest). It was enough of a problem in the first 6 months that he made sure to mention V2 or something about the post-conciliar popes and their teachings at every Mass. He kept going until they either left or repudiated sedevecantism.

        It’s not that there are a lot of these people, but they are, like all fanatics, willing to travel long distances and be extremely vocal. They choke out the growing community like weeds.

        The other problem I’ve found is an obsessive nitpickiness about the liturgy. I remember asking a new visitor what they thought of our Mass, and they proceeded to recite a list of all the things we did wrong, followed up by a “but other than that it was very good.” Nobody that’s actually involved in the liturgy wants to hear that. If it’s an honest error let us know, otherwise charitably keep it to yourself.

        I’ve been too negative. Our community is a healthy one that is integrated into the parish and the diocese. Most parishioners prefer to attend at an earlier time, but they show up in large numbers at solemnities or when an event is scheduled right before or right after Mass. There’s no hostility except from a few LCWR-type holdouts that don’t even fit well into our parish community but hang around because it was their parents’ parish. The gifts have really been immense, and I recommend any conservative parish begin adding either the TLM in whole, or TLM-like elements(such as chant) into its normal Sunday liturgy.

        • ivan_the_mad

          My parish is similar in that Masses according to both the EF and OF are told. Mutually enriching, in my opinion. Generally I go to one of the OFs (often the Latin one, they have a small schola) but every now and again I go to an EF. I love them both.

        • Mark Shea

          The greatest enemies of liturgical reform the Church faces are Rorate Caeli-style Traditionalists who champion liturgical reform. If they are what it means to be Catholic, no normal person would touch such a repulsive cell group of misanthropes, paranoids, and sociopaths with a barge pole. People like you, Steve, have to be vocal and visible or the Traditionalist movement is doomed to be represented by these bitter crazies.

          • Unfortunately this kind of thing comes from the top, at least in spirit. I was discerning the priesthood several years ago and met with representatives of a traditionalist order that shall remain nameless, and came away disgusted with their pharisaical opinions and general arrogance. I now refuse to attend parishes under their control. On the other hand I met a man from that same order who may very well be a saint.

            • Mark Shea

              I hear you. It’s an amazingly mixed bag. I know Traditionalists who are extremely saintly. Lovely, wonderful people who sandals I am not worthy to untie. One of them, by the way, was Perry Lorenzo, whose taste in liturgy ran to the extremely High Mass and who could have instructed Rorate Caeli on the super fine points of same. On the web, not so much. Easily the most consistently repellent representatives of the Church I meet online are self-proclaimed Traditionalists.

              • When I first became involved with the TLM I became an obnoxious trad, I’m sad to say. It lasted maybe a year. There’s a spell cast by the TLM: when done correctly it hypnotizes you. You wonder why the Church threw out something so beautiful, you wonder why your fellow parishioners don’t appreciate its beauty, and most of all you begin wondering what’s going on in the minds of others that _are_ bewitched by the Mass. I know you’ll understand what I’m going to say here, but others will likely be upset: the TLM becomes an idol. The service to bring forth God becomes more important than the bringing forth of God in the consecration. Hence the obsession with exacting observance of the ritual and of ignoring the manifest faults of those whose support of the TLM is strong (e.g. the Holocaust-denying SSPX bishop). You get the strange dissonance of those whose commitment to the Mass is strong and whose commitment to the Gospel virtues is weak. They become Pharisees.

                Visiting with the aforementioned community broke the spell. I’m glad the Lord allowed me to have that experience. That dissonance was made clear: I saw beautiful Masses and heard things I found profoundly objectionable. Once the spell is broken it never gets recast.

                The only solution I can think of is the gradual re-integration of the TLM alongside the reform of the Novus Ordo. The TLM has to be de-fetishized and animated instead with the spirit of faithful Gospel obedience to the Church, the real church with all its failings and successes.

        • Ted Seeber

          Heck, I go to an entirely NO parish- and as Grand Knight of a new Knights of Columbus Council, I’ve gotten that attitude from the LCWR hangers on who still think the Franciscians run our parish (one of these days I’m going to find a good book on what St. Francis really taught about heterodoxy).

  • jeff

    i call myself a trad but i’m ashamed of this postat rorate. God knows, there’s enough chaste (and not-so chaste) gays in trad communities.

    • Yes, the Society of St. John comes to mind.
      And in England, most of the traditional vestment peddlers are “gay.” They are often drawn to antiquarianism.

      The FSSP does a good job screening them out but they still get a lot of applicants. Ditto for the SSPX but everyone wants to kill that messenger hence the tragedy that happened with the Society of St. John prior to them fleeing to Paraguay. And, you could throw conservative novus ordo groups like the Legionaries, Opus Dei and Acton in if you want. No one is immune.

  • Michael Wittmann

    You seem to have missed the point: The target of this parody is not Lorenzo; it is yourself.

    • Mark Shea

      No. The target was my esteem for a good man who happened to be a chaste gay. They could have simply written about their loathing of me. Heaven knows there’s plenty to loathe. And that good Christian loathing certainly comes out in the comboxes and doesn’t take a genius to see. What they chose to write about was not me, but their loathing of my esteem for Perry Lorenzo. And the way they did it makes clear they chose to conflate concupiscence with sin in his special case. Had they simply said, “We can’t stand Shea” I wouldn’t bother replying (and in fact didn’t bother replying to that, though it was obvious that was a huge factor in their writing). They can think what they like about me. De gustibus. It’s that they chose to spit on Perry’s memory that prompted my response. They should take the piece down, apologize, and go to confession for spitting on the memory of a good and faithful Catholic and encouraging such scandalous behavior among their readers.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      As long as we’re mean-spirited and uncharitable to just the right people, we’re okay, right?

      • It’s not a sin to be mean and uncharitable to Mark Shea. He asks for it so consistently that God created a special exemption. 😉

        (And let me clarify that this is a weak attempt at a joke poking fun at Mark, who is known to have a bit of a serrated edge and needs the occasional ribbing from his friends and admirers.)

        • Andy, Bad Person

          It’s true. “Love your neighbor. Except Mark Shea. That guy’s a toilet.”

          • Mark Shea

            To be fair, the folks at RC seem to deeply hate a lot of people besides me. When you are Truly Deeply Catholic, you get to do that, apparently. It’s one of the perks for liturgical correctness.

            • Andy, Bad Person

              I’ve always heard it’s a big Church. Lots of people to hate.

  • Thos. Collins

    For once I find myself in complete agreement with Voris.
    I suspect Christians who spend their time harping on the evils of homosexuals have no idea of the temptations gays suffer, esp. those trying to be chaste.
    We straights might better pulling the beams out of our own eyes; fornication, adultery, porn addiction, contraception, &c. instead of “Lord, I thank You I am not like that gay guy.”
    As for the “sin that cries out to Heaven” when is the last time these people worried about workmen of their wages?

    • Gordon Zaft

      I couldn’t agree more. A wise priest once reminded me that we as Americans get very wrapped up in sins of the flesh and ignore many others. He pointed out that many (not all!) sins against purity are wrapped up in weakness and God views them as such — whereas so many other since (hardness of heart, gossip, slander, etc.) involve real malice and pride.

  • Gravitas

    Mr. Shea, this is Satire. Rorate’s target isn’t the homo, it’s you. Not so deft, eh?

    • Chris M

      Talk about proving someone’s point for them.. sheesh.

    • Rob

      Speaking of deft, that particular diversion has been answered, what, like 100 times in this very combox.

    • Ted Seeber

      For me, he failed to hit his target. I think I’m go back to his blog and post what I posted above.

  • Gravitas

    Answered just because you say it’s so? Wow, the left sure has lost the intellectual firepower that it once had, that would at least disguise it’s lack of true faith.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      And there you go calling Mark a leftist. No credibility whatsoever.

      • Chris M

        Maybe if Mark’s blog was in Latin, he’d have been able to comprehend?

  • Your blog is a better witness Mark, to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Their unacknowledged spiritual envy has allowed the devil to use them, in order to attack you.

    Pray a rosary for them, they need one. Heck, we all do.

  • Dear Mark,
    I was sorry to read this attack on you, misappropriating your words honouring your friend. Not all traditional Catholics do things like that, and I’m embarrassed that some do. For what its worth, I once lived with two male housemates, both of whom were what is now called “straight.” I’m female and “straight.” There wasn’t a Catholic I knew who raised an eyebrow, and there wasn’t any need.

    I imagine it is as possible as two men with SSA to live together chastely as it is for an ordinary man and woman to live together chastely, as happens again and again in housemate situations. Such people are usually called “friends,” if they are not blood relations.

  • Athanasius

    Trads do know there is a difference between homosexual acts and stealing. Both are sins, but homo acts are sins that cry out for vengeance, the worst kind.

    • Beadgirl

      Funny how the sins other people commit are so much worse than the sins we commit.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Do trads know that imputing sin to someone when there is no evidence of such is called calumny?

      It is more than implicit in their “satire” that they think the klepto guilty of stealing, which translates to (one of) the object(s) of the satire as “guilty of homosexual acts”. Of which they have not one shred of proof.

      Maybe the trads and the progressive dissenting Catholics can get together and have a catechesis party.

      “homo acts are sins that cry out for vengeance, the worst kind” And just as forgiveable as all the rest. Also, I’m curious, could you cite where the Church teaches that these are the “worst” sins, even worse than, say, sins against the Holy Spirit? Because it would be a bad rad trad to be asserting something to be the case that the Church does not teach.

      • Rosemarie


        St Thomas Aquinas said that Pride is the most grievous sin.

        Whether pride is the most grievous of sins? (Summa theologica II,II Q.162 art.6)

        He specifically argues that it is even worse than sins of the flesh since God sometimes allows people to fall into the latter in order to cure them of Pride.

        • ivan_the_mad

          Very rewarding read! Thanks for that, Rosemarie 🙂

          • Rosemarie


            You’re welcome. 🙂

      • Scott W.

        Pardon the quibble, but imputing sins without evidence would be rash judgement. Calumny is when you flat-out lie about someone else.

        • Mark Shea

          So if a person calumnies somebody as a sodomite when they have not committed the sin, does the calumniator deserve the punishment of the sodomite? I wonder if Rorate Caeli will take up that burning question in their effort to confront the burning issue smearing the innocent dead?

    • Mark Shea

      What is the vengeance for rash judgment and for charging homosexual acts to somebody who did not commit such acts? If a homosexual act cries out for vengeance, does falsely charging somebody with such an act deserve the punishment you are so eager to see meted out to the homosexual?

    • Zzedar

      “Vengeance”. Interesting choice of words.

      • Zzedar

        And yes, I know the quote. But you’re not God.

  • Athanasius

    Beadgirl trying picking up a pre concilliar teaching of the Church if you’ve never heard of the sins that cry out for vengeance — the worst sins possible. This is the teaching if the Church. Yes, some sins are worse than others.

    • ivan_the_mad

      But you didn’t say say “some are worse than others”, a comparative, above. You said that “sins that cry out for vengeance [are] the worst kind”. That’s a superlative, indicating an extreme degree, that there is nothing worse. I’m still waiting for a citation on that point.

      • Athanasius

        If you need a citation on this as a Catholic, then I will pray for you

        • ivan_the_mad

          Hahaha! Nope. Don’t hide behind that if you can’t back up your claim.

          • Athanasius

            Oh I can, but not wasting one more second of my time with my children on my day off .

            • Hezekiah Garret

              Thank God the real Athanasius was educated, careful in his claims, and extremely charitable.

              That you don’t know the difference between bad, worse, and worst says nothing about you as a person.

              That’d you’d hector folks about their faith over your own extraordinary ignorance of such matters speaks volumes.

        • Rosemarie


          While the sin of Sodòm is definitely a grievous sin that cries to heaven for vengeance, it is not the most grievous sin of all. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that bèstiality is the most grievous sin against nature, with sodòmy in second place:

          “Reply to Objection 4. Gravity of a sin depends more on the abuse of a thing than on the omission of the right use. Wherefore among sins against nature, the lowest place belongs to the sin of uncleanness, which consists in the mere omission of còpulation with another. While the most grievous is the sin of bèstiality, because use of the due species is not observed. Hence a gloss on Genesis 37:2, “He accused his brethren of a most wicked crime,” says that “they còpulated with cattle.” After this comes the sin of sodòmy, because use of the right šèx is not observed. Lastly comes the sin of not observing the right manner of còpulation, which is more grievous if the abuse regards the “vas” than if it affects the manner of còpulation in respect of other circumstances. ” (Summa theologica II,II Q.154 art.12; see here: )

          Though sins against nature are the worst sins among the species of lüst, St. Thomas Aquinas further argues that Pride is an even worse sin than lüst. See the link in my post above for that. So no, the sin of Sodòm is not the worst sin of all.

          (Sorry for the funny little umlauts and such. I’m trying to bypass the “spammy” thing.)

          • Rob

            St Thomas: so unfamiliar with preconciliar teaching! Poor guy.

  • Athanasius

    The Bible mentions only four sins which cry out to God for vengeance. Considering the source and the emphasis, we have little choice but to examine our consciences on these points. A cursory examination will not do; we must cast off our cultural preconceptions to see beyond the obvious.


    And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” (Gn 4:10) It is hardly suprising that Cain’s murder of Abel provides the first instance of one of these sins that cries out for Divine vengeance. While all sins disrupt the natural order in some way, those enumerated as crying out to God appear to be chosen because they strike at nature’s root.

    It is easy to see how murder fits into this category. The unjust termination of the life of another is a profound violation of “how things should be” precisely because our very nature compels us to regard our own lives as precious. To take a person’s life is to terminate in another what we instinctively regard as our own highest good.

    Sadly, the ease with which we understand the foulness of murder may be conditioned more by our culture than by Divine Revelation. We must take care that we do not find it abhorrent only insofar as we are creatures of society, rather than creatures of God. Abortion is a case in point.


    Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me.” (Gn 18:20-21) The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of homosexual activity. So far gone were they in this vice that the men of the town would not even accept heterosexual license with Lot’s daughters, both virgins, as a means of sating their lust (see 19:8-9).

    Here we have another case in point for cultural conditioning. It is far more difficult for our contraceptive culture to see how contrary to nature homosexuality is. Those of us who instinctively feel its deep unnaturalness rightly react to homosexual activity with disgust, but logical arguments are unlikely to produce the same reaction in those whose instincts are damaged, blunted or rationalized away.

    It is precisely in such situations that Divine Revelation is so very useful, for we cannot trust our feelings when they run counter to reality. We require a better guide. Sodomy strikes at the root of human nature because of its perversion of the procreative impulse, without which the race must die. But in case we don’t see it, God does.

    Oppression of Widows and Orphans

    “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you do afflict them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.” (Ex 21-23) There is a deep truth in this passage about the relationships of husbands to wives, and of parents to children, and about how vulnerable wives and children become when their natural protection is removed.

    Very probably all of us can see that it would be gravely sinful to take advantage of the weakness and vulnerability of either a widow or an orphan, and we can readily imagine the financial burdens and solicitation of “favors” with which either can be afflicted. It is much easier in every way to abuse a boy or girl who has no father and to intimidate a woman who has no husband.

    Once again, however, we must remove our social blinders to see the great evil in our culture which turns so many into widows and orphans in the first place. The grave sin of divorce, by which natural protection is ripped away from women and children, surely tops the list of horrors under this heading.

    Cheating Laborers of Their Due

    “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brethren or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns; you shall give him his hire on the day he earns it, before the sun goes down (for he is poor, and sets his heart upon it); lest he cry against you to the Lord, and it be a sin in you.” (Dt 24:14-15) Here we come to a principle of sound social order: those in positions of authority and wealth have serious obligations to those who depend on their decisions for their well-being. Fortunately, we live in a very wealthy society.

    But does our very wealth cause this sin to appear irrelevant? Free enterprise is an excellent system, but too often it carries the completely unnecessary baggage of a callous attitude toward employees, regarding them as commodities. The social teachings of the Church have attempted to address this concern (without pointing at all toward socialism) for over a century.

    Yet the latest trend, at least in the United States, is constant mergers and buyouts which throw hundreds of thousands out of work while enriching an elite few. Even temporary unemployment is both a bank-breaker and a heart-breaker. Working under an abusive or negligent boss can be a living nightmare. And most of us are well-shielded from adults who must work for a minimal wage. The Israelites were urged to remember their days in Egypt, and treat others accordingly.

    • Ted Seeber

      And of those four, neither Perry Lorenzo nor Barry Vincenzo committed any of them. Perry because though he had same sex attraction, was Chaste. And Barry, because while he had kleptomania, did not, as far as we can tell, cheat the laborer of his wages (for that is what stealing really does, and kleptomania isn’t premeditated, it’s more a form of absentmindedness).

      • Athanasius

        And Rorate never claimed he did. This post was about Mr. Shea.

        • Mark Shea

          No. This post was about my admiration for a chaste gay guy. I’ve written about a lot of things. They chose to focus on this.

          • Gravitas

            The problem Mark is that you said you didn’t care if he committed sodomy,mthat it wasn’t your business. That’s tacit approval of the gravest of sins. And, frankly, it can be seen as a public signal to your readers that you approve of that sinful lifestyle.

            • Andy, Bad Person

              That’s tacit approval of the gravest of sins.

              Um, no it isn’t. The man certainly wasn’t publicly sinning, so it’s not Mark’s or anyone else’s business to pry into his life. It’s worrying about the plank in your own eye before removing the speck from someone else’s. Some smart guy recommended that once upon a time.

            • Mark Shea

              No. I did not say I didn’t care. I said it was not my business what he did in private, because it’s not. I have no reason whatever to think he did anything sinful in private. It is you who assume he did. I assume he didn’t. The reason I assume that is because everything about his life was deeply Godward and passionately the life of a Catholic disciple and I have zero evidence that he ever committed a homosexual sin. So, by the way, do you. If he failed at times, which I don’t know and I don’t know that his failures ever included homosexual ones, then I regard such failures as I regard your private failures: they are between the sinner and his God. Not mine to judge.

              In short, don’t be a dumbshit, gravitas. You have to be smart enough to know I did not mean homosex was fine by me. But your malice blinds you to even trying to bother to find out what I did mean. Others could understand me. Why can’t you be bothered to try? Here. Since you’ve appointed yourself my Inquisitor, you should at least familiarize yourself with everything I wrote about Perry instead of just one piece that you choose to wilfully misconstrue in your good Christian malice: Only a bleeding idiot could derive from my blog that I approve of an active homosexual lifestyle. You, sir, are a bleeding idiot if that’s what you take away from my blog.

              And don’t kid yourself that that piece at RC was not about Perry. It emphatically was. True, it was suffused with malice directed at me. Any fool can see that. But I’ve written a lot of stuff that the Pharisees at RC despise me for, judging from the bile in the comboxes. However, they didn’t choose to attack me for any of that stuff. Instead, they carefully choose to spit on Perry’s memory because (heh, heh!) check out the queer that Shea thinks so highly of. Called him a saint. But *we* know he was just a queer. Let’s hit Shea with the dead queer. That’ll *really* smear him because everybody knows a queer is no saint. Perry was, in short, used as a thing–a device for some anonymous coward’s petty little vendetta against me (and, by the way, I don’t think I’ve ever so much as mentioned Rorate Caeli here). It is, indeed, spitting on the grave of a good man when you dig up his corpse just so you can leave it on the front step of somebody you dislike with a sign reading “Queer” around his neck. You and the crowd that think highly of that RC piece should repent and go to confession. You have disgraced yourselves. I’m embarrassed for you.

              • Athanasius

                Mark, you knew exactly what you were doing when you wrote that piece: preying on liberal Catholics prone to calling all trads Pharisees and embracing all pervertd lifestyles out of a desire to be PC and nonjudgmental.

                You don’t know if he sinned? Let’s say there was no sex, which would be amazing for homos, whose whole relationship is based on perversion and not love. Even if they weren’t, they were sill cohabitating, which is is sin. And, he talked about it publicly and may have led others to scandal and sin, which is a sin. Even if his public act didn’t lead others to sin, it was still sinful, because it could have.

                But you know all this, who are you kidding? Stop the swearing, the phony outrage, the attacks on trads and just man up and put your heresy on the table for all to see.

                • ivan_the_mad

                  “Let’s say there was no sex, which would be amazing for homos, whose whole relationship is based on perversion and not love.” I think you’re projecting here.

                  • Athanasius

                    My wife and four children would disagree.

                    • thomas tucker

                      Wow. Are these Traddies willfully blind, or can they just not see 20/20 because of the beam in their eye? Mark has consisently made it clear that he supports Chruch teaching 100%, if not more than that. Are these guys the spiritual heirs of the Inquisition?

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      We don’t know that. You could just be saying that. It’s entirely possible that you could be sinning in that regard. Since we must assume the sin as you’ve done, you’re sinning.

                      I see that you’re online. It’s entirely possible that you could be stealing your internet. Since we must assume the sin, you’ve committed theft.

                      “Mark, you knew exactly what you were doing when you wrote that piece: preying on liberal Catholics prone to calling all trads Pharisees and embracing all pervertd lifestyles out of a desire to be PC and nonjudgmental.” But what your assertion is false? That would be calumny. Since we must assume the sin, you’ve committed calumny. Same goes for all the stuff you’re saying about Lorenzo. Now you’ve committed even more calumny.

                      Does all this seem absurd and ridiculous to you? Good. Now you know how your posts accusing people of sin look.

  • Mark, I agree with you that the Rorate Coeli piece is vile.

    That said, I’d like to be honest about something. I’m troubled by calls for Instant Internet Canonization of recently deceased people regardless of their sexual orientations, vocations, lives etc. Many of us have known someone we were certain was a living saint in terms of his or her fidelity to the Church, prayer life, ministry, sacrificial nature, fruits of his/her vocation, etc.–and many of us have found out later that what we saw, the outward appearance, was not the inward reality. The most grave example of this I can think of was the late Fr. Maciel, who fooled many people into believing so greatly in his sanctity that there are still a few misguided souls waiting for the Church to declare that all that stuff about his public sins was a big mistake, and that his cause is being opened.

    I’m not saying in any way, shape, or form that this is true of Mr. Lorenzo, whom I never met–but it has been true of many people, and when we rush to say, “This person was so good that his cause for sainthood may be opened soon!” we may unwittingly be depriving a soul in Purgatory of his greatest need, for the solidarity of our fervent daily prayers. This is why the unfortunate tendency at Catholic funerals to speak of the deceased as if he or she were already in Heaven is so gravely misguided and wrong.

    If Perry Lorenzo is indeed in Heaven, having died in so complete a state of grace as not even to necessitate the smallest bit of Purgatory owing to temporal punishment due to sins long since forgiven in Confession (and I speak of any sins, such as we all commit daily), such a thing would be a great joy–but it’s not something we can know or should assume. We should pray for the repose of his soul and those of all the faithful departed. If he is in Heaven he will smile at our prayers as God puts them to good use elsewhere–but if we do not pray, and he waits in Purgatory for such prayers, we are doing him the gravest possible injustice to assume he does not need them.

    • Ted Seeber

      I resemble this remark. While I believe that purgatory exists almost as outside of our space-time as heaven and hell do- it DOES exist and IS Subjectively Temporal for the soul going through it.

      Thus, I think skipping the canonization process of the Church is unwise in the extreme. I’m even a bit uncomfortable with the John Paul II and Benedict XVI rule changes recently implemented to reduce the miracles down to one per step (though I’d personally like to see the inclusion of subjective as well as objective miracles in testimony. the church is slow to proclaim Saints for a reason- and that has NOTHING to do with whether or not somebody is in Heaven yet).

    • Mark Shea

      I don’t expect anybody who did not know Perry to accept my private opinion that he is a saint. It’s just my private opinion.

      • freddy

        …which you have made public. Albeit privately, as in “outside the bounds of the Church.” Which you are fully entitled to do, except… maybe not such a great idea.
        I’d have to agree with Erin Manning; holding a belief that a deceased friend is a saint is just a little bit imprudent. It’s just a bit presumptuous, and deprives you of the comfort of praying for the soul of the deceased, and may lead others to do the same, and leads you to neglect the duty you have to pray for the soul of your friend.
        Yeah, I’m probably nit-picking. (English majors are really good at nit-picking!) Saying someone you know is “saintly,” “holy,” “virtuous,” “courageous,” or “a really great example of Christianity” is one thing; saying “I believe my friend is a saint” is something else again.

        • Mark Shea

          No. The obituary made it public. And I suspect it was already public, just not to me. And yes. You are nit-picking. As I say, I make it clear it’s my private opinion. So: do you plan to denounce all those people who shouted “Santo subito” at JPII’s funeral for their arrogance?

          I think what’s *really* not a good idea is spitting on the grave of a man who, so far as Rorate Caeli knows, was guilty of no sin who died in the bosom of the Church. I do pray for Perry. RC chose to prey on him. And as several of their emissaries have made it clear right in these comboxes, they did so for the noble purpose of slamming me. I would prefer they simply muster the testicular fortitude to slam me *without* spitting on the grave of a very good and holy man.

          • enness

            They’re not spitting on anyone’s grave, Mark. For crying out loud. If you want to argue that the piece was over-the-top, go right ahead, but it *is* about you and your ill-considered use of the word ‘saint,’ and to that extent, I agree.

            • enness

              I might add that, except for the one- or two-word substitution, they have otherwise left your text intact. I don’t see how you can entirely criticize without coming back to your own words eventually.

            • Mark Shea

              Yes. They are spitting on Perry’s grave. They assume, based on nothing, that he was guilty of sin. Then they use that presumption in order to get at their real target: me. Spitting on the memory of a good man in order to attack somebody is, first, spitting on the memory of a good man.

          • freddy

            You said, “No. The obituary made it public.”
            I suspect I’m misunderstanding something here. Thank you for your patience. What I meant is that you made public your opinion that your friend is a saint. If others in his obituary did as well, fine, but my point still stands. I believe it is imprudent and against charity publicly to state that someone is a saint, rather than “saintly” in that it deprives the deceased our prayers which, unless the Church says otherwise, we owe them — whether they need them or not.

            Regarding the cry, “Santo Subito!” Do you really see that as a cry of belief rather than a hope for the Church to follow her own rules for determining sainthood? I honestly never thought about it that way, and offer prayers for the soul of the late Pope while hoping someday he will be recognized as a saint of the Church.

            And I never meant my comment as any sort of denunciation of you. Please forgive me for sounding that way! I certainly never thought that my (I thought rather mild) agreement with Erin Manning and worry about imprudence would be so hurtful to you. I didn’t read the RC article: I’ve never read RC and have no plans to do so. They’ve never seemed like the type of folk I’d care to associate with, other than to pray for.

            God bless you.

            • Mark Shea

              Ah. I get it. Well, yes. I did. But I honestly don’t see why that’s really much of a big deal. People talk that way all the time and it does no harm. “My wife is a saint” is colloquial English. And private opinions like mine are, as near as I can tell, identical to “Santo subito” or the ordinary acclamation of sainthood in the first thousand years of the Church. Sure, there can be a danger if somebody lets their private opinion trump reality or the Church’s teaching. So, for instance, if it were shown that Perry was, in fact, habitually sinning then yeah, I’m wrong. But my experience of the man was that he had strongly cultivated habits of virtue, so I express my (emphatically private) opinion, not binding on anybody, that he was a saint.

              Please accept my apology for my sharp tongue in my previous reply, by the way. It starts feeling like there’s just a wall of humanity coming at you sometimes in controversies like this and I tend to simply swing the broadsword rather than make fine distinctions between one person and another. I recognize now that you were writing in charity and I appreciate it. Thanks for being a good guy.

              • freddy

                Oh, Mark, God bless you! Thanks again for your patience; you really are one of the good guys!
                I’ve come to realize that my minor quibble is likely no more than a cultural/age/neck of the woods habit-of-speech kind of thing. ‘Round here, I just never hear folks calling other folks saints unless they’ve got their own illustrated page in Butler’s. But you’ve made it obvious that what you mean is perfectly in accord with what our Church teaches, so no worries!
                Anyway, prayers for you as you fight the good fight, one com-box at a time!

  • Nate

    If I were to meet this fellow that wrote the piece, I’d ask him, “Look, we can argue doctrine and tradition and moral law. Let’s do that. But as for your post, why do you have to be such a dick?”
    Because, really, that’s what it boils down to.

    By the way, not that it matters anyway, but how in God’s green earth is Shea a leftie?

  • thomas tucker

    The comments boxes at Rorate are like an anthill of fire ants and if you step into one, you’re liable to end up with many bites. The comments over there about this post would be unintentionally hilarious if they weren’t so hateful and smug.
    It’s also a place that is, unfortunately, a near of occasion of sin for many. It’s better to simply stay away. I had thought that their posts, unlike their comments boxes, were different, but now I see that they aren’t. That’s a pity. But it does seem to be a common “thread” amongst Internet lovers of the TLM for some reason. One can’t help but think of Our Lord’s condemneation of the Pharisees, and, as a matter of fact, today’s Gospel reading is very apropos. It would be useful for someone to study why these problems seem so prevalent on TLM-oriented websites.

  • Papalotry: Shouting Santo Subito before the corpse is cold.
    Catholic: Praying earnestly for departed loved ones.

  • iBookworm

    Mark, I think what Rorate found disturbing to was that you were effectively canonizing Perry. And it did sound, from your post, as if you didn’t think it was important if he was chaste or not. I think I understand what you meant, but it did sound weird, as if you did not think it mattered, as long as he was a good member of the community. Which does raise the hackles of trads, since the emphasis on community instead of sanctity is one problem they see as having sprung from the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II.”

    The the other thing, of course, is that rather than canonizing someone, especially someone that we know had a great cross and struggle, it is far more useful to urge people to pray for him. When I die, I think I’d get rather annoyed at anyone who declared me a saint (not that there is any danger of that!).

    • Mark Shea

      I get that. What bugs me is that I talked about all that in subsequent posts, which they simply ignored so they could spit on a good man’s grave. Repellent people. Nobody is a greater enemy of Benedict’s attempt at reform than Traditionalists like RC.

      • Sal

        Have never read RC and have no opinion on their post. Their lack of charity is their own responsibility.
        My concern is that it was obvious from the start in the comments of your original post that many people of good will found it unclear and confusing. Enough, in fact, that had it been something I’d written, I might have withdrawn it with an explanation that it obviously needed work and then tried again later, taking into account the questions raised by the comments.
        Now, you try did this in a way, with subsequent posts, but that didn’t really seem to make things much clearer. If that much explanation is called for, it’s likely the fault is not with the readers, but with the original post.

      • iBookworm

        They were not making any statement about Perry, Mark. At worst, it was a personal attack on you. But they were certainly not trying to spit on Perry’s grave. Saying that that was their intention actually makes you look a bit less credible, as if you are presenting a righteous anger about Perry but are really only upset for your own sake.

        Messed up situation. But overreactions and lack of charity go both ways. You can hardly put all trads in the Williamson, elitist, uncharitable camp any more than trads can put all mainstream Catholics in the LCWR camp. Rorate, for the record, is totally for a reconciliation of the SSPX and Rome, to the point of locking people out of their comboxes who are trying to sew discord.

        • Mark Shea

          Ahem. From the Judge of Souls Athanasius, in this very thread:

          You don’t know if he sinned? Let’s say there was no sex, which would be amazing for homos, whose whole relationship is based on perversion and not love. Even if they weren’t, they were sill cohabitating, which is is sin. And, he talked about it publicly and may have led others to scandal and sin, which is a sin. Even if his public act didn’t lead others to sin, it was still sinful, because it could have.

          Yes. Of course I was the principal target. So was Jesus when they brought him the adulterous woman. She, like Perry, was simply a tool to be used by their malice in order to destroy him. So was Perry, which was my point. Only with Perry, they didn’t actually have somebody caught “in the very act” of anything because he was chaste. So they simply assumed him to be guilty (as Athanasius does here). And that, again, is my point. If they were real men, they’d simply have written about how much they loathe me (for a lot of different reasons, judging from the comboxes). Instead, though, they chose to use Perry because it seemed self-evident to them that somebody who is tempted by homosexuality is ipso facto guilty of homosex. He was, in their minds, a useful tool, not a person and certainly not a good person. Sin, in short, made them stupid.

          • iBookworm

            Am I missing something? Is Athanasius writing for Rorate?

            Anyway, my reading of Rorate’s parody was not that they were assuming anything about Perry, but that they were pointing out how odd your original post actually sounds, by repeating it with a substitution. You did sound a bit like . . . well, I hate to say this, but like the LCWR “sister” I work with. 🙂

            • ivan_the_mad

              One of your many cues is at the bottom of the “parody”, where they have in brackets something like “oh well, at least kleptomania isn’t a sin that cries out to heaven …”. If this “parody” had nothing to do with Perry Lorenzo, there’d have been no need to put that in there.

  • Edward De Vita

    I find it very odd when people say that we shouldn’t canonize anyone prematurely. The fact of the matter is that for most of the history of the Church, saints were simply recognized as such by the faithful. There was no canonization process that gave us St. Basil, St. Gregory, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, etc…. Moreover, now that we do have a canonization procedure, we do not thereby dismiss the sense of the faithful. It is precisely because the faithful believe certain individuals to be saints that their causes are pursued with any degree of seriousness. Meanwhile, of course, we continue to pray for the souls of such individuals. So, for Mark Shea to state that he believes Perry Lorenzo to be a saint is hardly something un-Catholic or an attempt to speak before the Church has spoken. It is rather the statement of an opinion which, if shared by many others who knew Mr. Lorenzo, might lead to the official recognition of his sanctity by the Church.


    • Mark Shea

      Finally! Common sense! Thank you.

    • Chris M

      but.. but.. RULES AND REGULATIONS!! You MUST know that the cause for canonization isn’t official until the proper forms are filled out and signed in triplicate! That’s .. somewhere in some Latin codex somewhere in the Archives I’m sure. To declare otherwise is to be infected by the SPIRIT OF VATICAN TWO (TWO..two.. two.. two..)

      Seriously, people. I love the Tridentine Mass. I was married in the old form. My daughter was baptized in it. Get a grip and stop being such arrogant prigs. (Don’t stand.. don’t stand.. )

  • Iota Unum

    First a couple remarks about this old controversy: Mark, ‘not my business’ is, in a latitudinarian liberal society, very very easy to read as ‘i don’t care, after all do I pry into what color sheets my neighbor buys?’ ‘Not my place to inquire, ESPECIALLY because the preponderance of the evidence is quite against it’ isn’t terribly catchy, but it is less likely to be taken wrong.

    And there is something misleading in saying here that even if he sinned from time to time, sin can be forgiven. Naturally. But what is the moral probability that a saint, one of God’s masterpieces, fell from time to time into what is objectively a textbook mortal sin? If there emerged evidence that Lorenzo fell in this way any time recently, even if he repented promptly and sincerely, the fact should be shocking and alter your judgment. It doesn’t exclude his being a saint (for God alone can know what acts in fact distance us from His glory, accounting for our weaknesses) but it emphatically makes a difference.

    And yet… Rorate utterly disgraced itself. If Mark is to be blamed, it is for imprudent language that seemed to ignore the seriousness of both sodomy and scandal. If Lorenzo is to be blamed, it is for being imprudent about himself giving scandal. These errors, if errors they be, are compatible with the heroic virtue of both men, and does not deprive them of the protection of common respect. Rorate of course has a moral right to criticize on the debatable points, but their mockery trades on the unjust assumption that a chaste open homosexual is a contradiction in terms… and therefore any Catholic who warmly praises an open homosexual is a knave or a fool. Mark is right to invite them to wonder what they look like before heaven if they are wrong about Lorenzo. Nevermind if he is a saint. If he was just a good man and good Catholic, it is loathesome to casually treat him this way.

  • Athanasius

    Which brings me back to this point that Mark has yet to rely:

    Mark, you knew exactly what you were doing when you wrote that piece: preying on liberal Catholics prone to calling all trads Pharisees and embracing all pervered lifestyles out of a desire to be PC and nonjudgmental.

    You don’t know if he sinned? Let’s say there was no sex, which would be amazing for homos, whose whole relationship is based on perversion and not love. Even if they weren’t, they were sill cohabitating, which is is sin. And, he talked about it publicly and may have led others to scandal and sin, which is a sin. Even if his public act didn’t lead others to sin, it was still sinful, because it could have.

    But you know all this, who are you kidding? Stop the swearing, the phony outrage, the attacks on trads and just man up and put your heresy on the table for all to see.

    • Mark Shea

      Wow. Most un-self-aware Inquisitor yet.

    • Ted Seeber

      400,000 Catholic priests are living lives without sex. How is it amazing to think that a lay person could?

      • Rosemarie


        Not to mention all the nuns and brothers. With God’s grace all things are possible.

  • Athanasius

    And, Iota, I read Rorate all the time and know for a fact that piece had nothing to do with Lorenzo and everything to do with Mark’s real agenda.

    Don’t let Mark spin it the other way. This was all about him.

    • Mark Shea

      My “real agenda”. And they say Reactionaries are paranoid.

  • thomas tucker

    Mark’s real agenda?
    My, my.
    Now, the secret invisible antennae are fully erect from the Inquisitor’s head, and he sees the grand conspiracy as it truly is.
    Hoo boy.

    • Chris M

      I’m sure Saint Athanasius is facepalming in heaven right now.

      • ivan_the_mad

        This strengthens my conviction that it is in poor taste to assume as an internet handle the name of a revered and holy person.

  • Robert

    I just wanted to respond to the Voris clip. He’s probably very well-intentioned. But if we put ourselves in the shoes of a man or woman with same-sex sexual attractions, does being told that you are a “victim soul” and being reminded of how very, very different and more difficult your cross is really help? Is it encouraging? Is it empowering? Is it affirming? As a man with this particular cross, I would say no. What I need is not pity, but love — just like every other member of the Church, no matter what their cross. Yes, I need understanding. But if you don’t fully understand me as a Christian man with all the responsibilties, challenges, and opportunities common to all Christian men, you won’t get me. I understand that “victim soul” is a theological concept. But the last thing I need is to be treated like a victim. I need to be affirmed as a man and expected to act like one. Men and women with every kind and degree of sexual brokeness, i.e. everyone but Jesus and Mary, need love, support, and encouragement. We also need to be told that Christ brings the fullness of life to us, too.

  • Sal

    Thank you, Robert, for expressing so well and from real experience what it was that bothered me about the Voris video and subsequent responses in praise of it.

  • Mark, the sheer vileness of Rorate Caeli’s piece notwithstanding, two thoughts come to mind-

    The first is that its authors might perhaps pray to be spared temptation.
    The second is that old RLS and I have something in common, both being SFL’s (Scottish Former Lawyers, although he has been more former than me for some time now). I have the book in my bedroom, and I could go and get it, but as Bilbo Baggins might put it, the sofa is comfortable and warm, and the house is quiet, and blogging and reading blogs is much more fun than reading 20 year old textbooks on Private International Law; however, it might interest you to know that, if my memory serves me correctly, the Reverend C.M. Hyde plays his own part in that topic. He was English, and the LDS honcho in Hawaii – when he returned to Emgland, he abandoned Mormonism and attempted to divorce his wife. It was in relation to his case that I first heard the expression ‘the scales fell from his eyes’.

  • I think I might have struck out with the Hyde speculation, Mark – I checked the book (old habits, etc.), and that Hyde left Hawaii in 1856, before becoming ‘minister of a dissenting chapel in Derby’ in 1857. The House of Lords heard his uncontested divorce case in 1866, at which time he would have been 35, having joined the LDS in London in 1847 aged 16. If it were the same guy – after all, many ministers named ‘Hyde’ lived in Hawaii in the 19th Century, for goodness’s sake – it would be a remarkable coincidence if it was the same guy, and RLS’s 1890 letter would be within an acceptable mortality timescale.