Maybe the Only Honorable Place for a Catholic to be is Under the Bus

Maybe the Only Honorable Place for a Catholic to be is Under the Bus April 10, 2014


Fear God, and you will have no need of being afraid of mortal man. What can anyone do against you by his words and injuries? He rather hurts himself than you, nor can he escape the judgement of God, whoever he be. Keep God before your eyes. Thomas a Kempis

It’s getting crowded under the bus.

I would imagine that it’s also lonely and a bit shattering for the people who are under there.

First, we’ve got Mozilla, throwing their founder and the inventor of JavaScript under that old bus because he made a political donation six years ago in favor of Prop 8, or, to put it more simply, in support of traditional marriage.

Next, we’ve got Sister Jane Dominic Laurel who committed the “crime” of using sociological studies that the gay marriage/gay rights people claim are bogus in a presentation to high school students. Evidently, she said nothing, nothing, that was against Church teaching. The only half-way legitimate criticism that anyone can dig up is that parents  weren’t “informed” of the talk beforehand. Informing the parents beforehand sounds to me like the administrative responsibility of the school, not Sister Jane.

I’ll toss in one more. Father Marcel Guarnizo says he was removed from ministry for refusing communion to a woman who had informed him she was living in a sexual relationship with another woman.

Meanwhile, this priest (who is a Jesuit, so has different superiors, but the principle is the same) is supporting open defiance against Church teachings and writing about it in national Catholic magazines.

I wonder how many others are out there lying under buses for standing for what the Church has taught us we should stand for?

The forced resignation of Brandon Eich from Mozilla is different because the people who abandoned him were not bishops of the Church. I am not in any way abrogating their responsibility for acceding to an egregious and unconscionable attack on the principles of civil liberties which have allowed us to all live together in peace in this country for over 200 years.

I am saying that when a bishop of the Church throws people under the bus for following Church teaching, it … well … it gets too ripe to breathe.

When the zeitgeist turns, it sometimes turns ugly. You can get ugly mobs at your Catholic high schools, demanding the head of a nun. Situations like that are the ones that let true leaders shine. They are also the situations that lead the weak links to tarnish themselves and shame the rest of us.

A bishop who is a good leader must be a great follower. He must be a follower of Christ before anything else. A bishop who follows Jesus and lets the Holy Spirit work through him, will be able to deal with mobs without running away and abandoning his people. But bishops who decide that being a bishop is all about them, will not stand in the tough times.

Such is our fallen state. Jesus Himself told us that the tares would grow up alongside the wheat and not be separated out until Judgement Day. We, meaning you and I, have the task of remaining faithful to Our Lord, even if we have to do it alone, even if our priests and bishops abandon us, even if it makes social martyrs of us.

Make no mistake about it, those who destroy people’s careers and push them to the sidelines for supporting traditional marriage are making martyrs of them. I include bishops who do not stand by them among the martyr-makers.

The suffering of a Brandon Eich who had the corporation he founded and his life’s work stolen from him in what can only be described as an act of malice and spite, must be exquisite. Imagine what it is like to be Sister Jane or Father Guarnizo, who have given their lives to the Church, to have that Church cashier them as a matter of convenience for a bishop who won’t make a stand? Meanwhile those who ignore the Church’s teachings, or even deride them, are riding high.

So long as individual Catholics, ranging from priests, to nuns, to laity, can not rely on their bishops to stand by them when the angry mobs of the zeitgeist come at them for standing for Christ, the only honorable and faithful place for Jesus loving, Jesus following Catholics may very well be under the bus.

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31 responses to “Maybe the Only Honorable Place for a Catholic to be is Under the Bus”

  1. That’s true Ken. We had a lot of people from many Christian denominations who gave their lives working against the Nazis. I wasn’t speaking just of the Catholic Church, btw. It’s just a fact that some of the churches allowed themselves to be co-opted. And some church leaders failed their calling. This is something that always happens when times get tough. Some people grow stronger in Christ than they ever knew they could. Others turn out the be far weaker than anyone thought possible.

    That part of the post has been bothering me all morning Ken. I went back and edited it out. The subject is far too complex to discuss it in a short take like that. Thanks as always for your thinking and comments.

  2. Thanks Ken.

    I read The Hiding Place long long after my initial conversion. It was an important book for me because I never knew that Christians had risked their lives and even suffered the same fate as the Jews did under the Nazis, in an effort to protect and same the Jews.

    I understand how you feel Ken. These events with Sister Jane have affected me, as well. I feel profoundly impacted by what has happened and by one comment I received which never appeared on this blog.

  3. “I am not in any way abrogating their responsibility for acceding to an egregious and unconscionable attack on the principles of civil liberties which have allowed us to all live together in peace in this country for over 200 years.”

    I am. For the past 40 years, there has been an attack on those principles of civil liberties. This is just the latest round, and Brandon Eich’s attackers are largely made up of the people who are afraid of similar attacks. This essay made it all clear to me:

  4. God sends us what we need, Ken. There will always be faithful people, and those faithful will have to deal with the unfaithful. Wheat and tares, together until the harvest.

  5. Beautiful and full frontal exposition of the attacks now so well underway. I can take– because I expect — attacks on the faithful from without. “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” What stresses me and saddens me and surprises me are the ones that come from within. When Catholics who have caved in and been seduced by the siren call of secular left fundamentalism start undermining those who stand for Christ’s truth — even going so far as to question whether it’s the truth, or get caught up in the moral relativism that PB16 called a dictatorship– then I really think of the house divided against itself not being able to stand. (Jesus and Abraham Lincoln both called on that imagery, I think.)

    I guess you are right that these trials bring out the strength and the weaknesses, the wheat and the weeds. I desperately long to hear these current events, and the HHS issue before SCOTUS, and all the battles being fought by brave and increasingly martyred Christians, discussed from the pulpit. We have got to be shaken our of our complacent slumber!! We’ve had it too easy in this country for too long and like his disciples falling asleep in the garden

  6. Broken families , fatherless children, ….fathers who procreate but do not care about their children….. lead us to low self -esteem, misunderstanding of own body.

  7. There are a lot of things that one can say that are not in conflict with church teaching. One can say that young men are more likely to be gay if they come from a single parent home and lack a father figure. But that doesn’t mean one should say it. Who knows the garbage that nun spewed out at that assembly? Sure, none of that was against church teaching but that didn’t make it right. And even if it is right, it shouldn’t have been said in that venue. It was hurtful and inappropriate.

  8. Yes, agreed. It’s so painfully easy to be on the wrong side of the cultural fascists, If you’re not in any danger of being under the bus, you’re simply doing something wrong.

    And +100 to the comment on the wheat and tares. Whatever awfulness takes place in chanceries and rectories, no one should for one second consider leaving this Ark of Salvation. In the scheme of history, there’s been plenty of near-death experiences for the Church, but God loves His Bride and will not let her be conquered by some weak-willed mortals. But that doesn’t exempt the Church from being chastised by her Spouse, because she has failed greatly in fulfilling her duty to bring forth children in the faith. And as a member of this body, I have to look first to myself and figure out how I’m impeding the mission given to us by Christ.

  9. Were you there to hear what she said? The text was not posted, that I have found. So, unless you were there, how can you deride her presentation as “hurtful and inappropriate”?

    Sr. Jane has an excellent reputation and has been a popular speaker for a number of years. She didn’t get that reputation by “spewing garbage”.

    Fr. Kauth – the school’s chaplain – has a good explanation about what actually happened:: – well-worth reading, beyond just this incident!

  10. Who knows the garbage Bill S spewed out at that assembly?

    Try again, Bill S. Next time, be honest please.

  11. With all due respect, and with agreement to the premise of the article, the article is off on the issue of Bishop Jugis and Sr. Jane Dominic. Bishop Jugis and the Diocese of Charlotte did not ask Sr. Jane to quit speaking in the diocese or uninvite her. Her mother superior did. I just wanted to put that fact out there from someone in the diocese. I, for one, am grateful for Bishop Jugis.

  12. That’s not the real story. I can’t share what I know, but I will say that Sister Jane was not betrayed in any way by her community. I will also say that the “outraged” citizens in this went way beyond anything resembling legitimate protest.

  13. I wasn’t there either, but in defense of Bill S, I want to mention a comment in another thread on this subject, written by someone who was there. That writer said that the Sister was promulgating some alarming statistics about the horrifyingly extreme promiscuity prevalent among homosexuals. These are statistics that are often referred to by critics of same-sex marriage and homosexual acts. Hundreds, even thousands, of sex-partners. I think we’ve all seen them, and some of us may even have used them ourselves.

    The problem is that many people find these numbers incredible, and inflammatory. And actually, the numbers are not sound. If one sets the rates of promiscuity of straight and gay men side by side, the numbers stay within a few percentage points of eachother until you get to the small percentage of men who are extremely promiscuous. There, indeed, gay men go off the charts, while highly promiscuous straight men merely have sex with a few hundred women. But the great majority of gay men have about the same number of sex partners as straight men, in a lifetime. (My source for this portrait is an academic priest, by the way. I’ll see if I can dig up the link, and post it if I’m successful.)

    Anyway, it seems that the objections to the Sister’s talk had a lot to do with the highly (and properly) contentious “science” she used to support her views. I assume she did not know she was promulgating falsehoods that constitute a grave slander, but apparently she was, and the audience objected.

    As for Eich, yes, that appears to be a shameful travesty. With his firing, a non-religious public corporation seems to claim the same privilege to censor it’s employees’ rights of free speech and association that religious organizations enjoy. Mozilla should be ashamed for aspiring to have such control over people. I hope he sues them and wins.

  14. If you honestly believe that claims that gay men are off the charts promiscuous are defamatory and untrue, then you don’t know many gay men.

    There are exceptions. I’m not denying that. But this faux outrage when someone says that gay men are promiscuous is just flat-out dishonest.

  15. Has he issued a new statement? Do you have a link that you can share? All that I see on the Catholic Herald web site is the statement he issued earlier this week. If he’s issued a statement supporting Sister Jane, I would be thrilled to hear about it and post it here.

  16. I love the title!…white martyrs all, are those under the bus. I would much rather be with those under the bus than with those ‘on the bus’!

  17. No outrage here about the assertion that SOME gay men are extremely promiscuous. My comments were largely informed by a paper by one Tim Fisher, @Christian .net. (The lengthy title is: “A Response to David Glesne Regarding Promiscuity Statistics in the Context of His Book “Understanding Homosexuality”) I recommend the paper for its even-handed and non-partisan consideration of the study of homosexual promiscuity. It really does look like the 28% of homosexual men that are very promiscuous are very, very promiscuous. What I found interesting was the assessment of the other 70% of the population, his discussion of the sampling techniques that tend to yield high numbers, and the over-all sane and professional approach to the work of crunching statistics.

    The interesting thing about the 70 % of the homosexual male population that doesn’t spin off into the realm of hundreds and hundreds of partners is that it seems to track the rates of male heterosexuals very closely. And among heterosexual men there is also a significant percentage who are extremely promiscuous, though their numbers fall short of their gay counterparts.

    I’m not saying 28% is a trivial number. I believe it’s around the percentage of African American men that go to prison at one point or another. But to say that that percentage is typical of the whole class does seem to be, at least by one fair reading, erroneous. Is it unsurprising that making such assertions will cause outrage, or at least emphatic disagreement, among people who know gay men leading less extreme lifestyles? Yes, there is probably faux outrage out there too. Dogma does that to people. It’s a shame.

    All the best.

  18. Unfortunately, a spineless hierarchy is nothing new …. how else do you suppose Henry VIII was able to get himself made Supreme Head of the Church in England? By the time Elizabeth friend to re-instate Henry’s claim, the hierarchy had developed some backbone and stood up to her.

  19. I’m probably more inclined to get the secular view of that incident than you are. It was a debacle.

  20. What she said was repeated by those who attended. I didn’t have to be there. Read secular reports of the incident before you draw any conclusions.

  21. I’ve known a fair number of gay men, and some of them indeed were and are very promiscuous. Extreme promiscuity is, undeniably, characteristic of a portion of the gay male population.

    I found the paper I referred to above: “A response to David Glesne, regarding promiscuity statistics in the context of his book ‘Understanding Homosexuality'” by Tim Fisher@ take-away from Fisher’s study of statistics on male promiscuity is that the numbers of sexual partners for heterosexual and homosexual men are nearly the same across seventy percent of the population, but diverge at the more promiscuous end of the spectrum, with the most promiscuous homosexual men being much more active than the most promiscuous heterosexual men. Fisher makes a very good case for this assessment, and seems more motivated by a sober and professional interest in the mechanics and conclusions of polls and studies than in ideological combat. Of course, opinions on that matter may vary.

    I’m inclined to guess that at least some of the outrage expressed has to do with the assertion that what is true of a portion of a population is true for all members of the population. This is conjecture, but one might suppose that the families of children in Catholic schools would be more likely acquainted with and related to gay men who’s lives were not so taken up with having sex.

    By way of analogy, I’ll note that the percentage of African American men convicted of crimes is comparatively high, (also, I think, around thirty percent) but that many would consider it untrue and inflammatory to say that all African American men were criminals.

    As a matter for further reflection, I’d note that the generations of homosexual men who are the subjects of these studies occupy a particular historical moment. A few decades ago they were all criminals, and the subjects of general contempt and frequent abuse. I find it unsurprising, and typical of human nature generally, that many of them have responded to unfamiliar freedoms as they have. By analogy, I think of the hazards and temptations youths face upon coming of age. For many, it is an awkward time, plagued with excesses. I suspect that as the freedom becomes more familiar, and solidly entrenched in our culture, it will not be so urgently celebrated. Although, if St. Patrick’s Day is any indication, the parades will probably continue for a long time.

  22. Ms. Hamilton:
    This is an excellent article! Thank you for writing it. I’ve read others of yours, and I found them all very thoughtful and well-reasoned.

  23. Even if the extreme promiscuity is only within a small percentage of the gay community, it still, in fact, exists. Should we never warn young people of the potential danger ahead, to protect them from serious harm, because doing so would be “hurtful”???