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Location: near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hope, More Hope, and then, the Hopeless.

The Gay-Marriage Amendment (and don't let anyone tell that it is about anything but gay marriage) debate continues on and the Catholic Church, and it's priests are right at the center of it all. I have two links that you should share with as many people as possible.

First, the Hope. Archbishop Dolan's "Herald of Hope" column from this past week.

Unlike many of the pastors in the pulpits this weekend, the bishops were unequivocal: Simply put, we bishops of Wisconsin have encouraged you to vote YES on the marriage amendment and NO on the death penalty referendum.

And now, More Hope. A friend share with me a link to the homily being given this weekend by what seems to be a promising young priest. Fr. Nathan Reesman has entitled simply "Election Homily".

Like the words of the Archbishop, I suggest that you share the words of Fr. Reedman far and wide. But more fundamentally, I urge you all to be fighters in the culture war in which we find ourselves. St. John the Baptist died to defend the marriage bond.

Now the Hopeless: the Alliance priests are going to be at it full force this weekend. Regular reader "MF" wrote an e-mail to a number of priests in the Alliance. For your edification, should you want those e-amil addresses to send messages to the renegade priests, the leadership of the Alliance is:

Dave Cooper, Chair, dcooper@stmatthias-milw.org
Bill Burkert, Co-chair, frbill@stromans.com
Dick Aiken, Secretary-Treasurer raiken@saintsebs.org
Steve Avella lisieux@att.net
Mike Barrett barrettm@archmil.org
Ken Mich michk@archmil.org
Philip Reifenberg reifenberg@archmil.org
Dick Schlenker richschlenker@netzeor.net

I would love to read ony responses that you might get.

To MF, Fr. Dave Cooper wrote back more about the war in Iraq than about the impact of gay lifestyles, and speaks of Fr. Massingale's ramblings as a "masterpiece of theology." Fr. Ken Mich seems to set up a juxtaposition between the Catechism and his own beliefs.

Let me know what responses you get.

Mike

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It pains me to see my pastor as co-chair....

Saturday, November 04, 2006 2:32:00 PM  
Anonymous keith said...

These are renegade priests and renegade bishops. How dare they PROFANE the Eucharistic liturgy with their political pandering.

At least Archbishop Dolan has the tact to put his words in print and leave them out of the worship space.

Saturday, November 04, 2006 7:16:00 PM  
Anonymous keith said...

And, Mike, I beg to differ that this amendment is about marriage. Marriage is already defined in Wisconsin law.

The only thing that will change with this amendment is the fact that there will be attorneys trying to sue to take away money and health and life from couples who are not married. And their mean-spirited efforts will now have the Constitution on their side.

The Church should not put herself in the position of choosing sides in this way.

An amendment has one sentence that is pro-marriage and another sentence that is anti-life. It's a Devil's bargain. The Church's vocal pandering is an embarrassment.

Saturday, November 04, 2006 7:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

"The Church should not put herself in the position of choosing sides in this way."

How absurd is that assertion? Abortion, Poverty, Death Penalty, War, etc., etc., etc.

Thank you Keith for showing that you really just want the Church to sit back and let the rest of the world slide into hedonism.

And leave it out of worship? What should we do...skip those Scriptural passages that make you uncomfortable? That you disagree with the real world direction of?

Keep that wall of seperation as high as possible, the faithless public square is probably more fun for you.

Mike

Saturday, November 04, 2006 8:17:00 PM  
Anonymous keith said...

CHURCH AND STATE

The wall of separation between Church and State is meant to protect the Church, not the other way around.

When we worship, we turn our voices to God and to God alone. Leave it to the Evangelical free-lancers to shake the political hands. We Catholics know better.

We are at our best when we challenge and prick and prod. Our best witness to the world is to be the wise old uncle who questions us when we do something stupid.

We are at our worst when we vent and rage, like the crazy aunt.

This silly amendment is a great case in point. And the contrast of bishops is important.

Archbishop Dolan has said his piece, and some of the vocal priests in the archdiocese have said theirs, most in proper venues like newspapers and the confessional. And the good people of Wisconsin have heard. At best, they think "Hmmmm. Catholics might be making some good points."

Bishop Morlino has abused his position and made the pulpit into a bully pulpit. The good people of Wisconsin shake their heads, "There go those obnoxious Catholics again. Their image of a healthy gay relationship is screwing altar boys. No wonder they don't want gay folk to get married, it might make them question the comfortable closet like that preacherman in Colorado."

When we mix Church and State, it is the Church that ends up looking foolish, not the State.

Saturday, November 04, 2006 9:35:00 PM  
Anonymous keith said...

ABORTION

I contrast the Church's lame response to gay and lesbian people with the Church's excellent history on the abortion issue.

The Church is quick to condemn gay folks and to rob their families of any shred of legal protection. Yet the Church offers little alternative for gay families. Can't take communion. Can't go to seminary. Can't visit your loved ones in the hospital. Oops. Might as well curl up and die.

On the other hand, the Church is also quick to condemn women and their doctors when unborn children are taken. HOWEVER... The condemnation can be met with respect, because the Church has offered great things to these same women: support in keeping thei children, adoption services if this is their choice, and welcome in worship and sacrament.

Essentially, the time and effort the Church expends in love and care for women in tough situations pays off. We are credible. We are respected. Even when the State disagrees with us, people admire us for our conviction because they know our hearts are in the right place.

Likewise with capital punishment. Centuries of prison ministry and social service have shown that the Church is serious about loving criminals. We are respected for our work.

But the Church has blown it with gay and lesbian people. There are a few shining stars, a few dioceses that have clear and consistent ministries for gay and lesbian families. But those shining stars are few, and there are none in Wisconsin.

So when the Church gets "preachy" (pejorative sense of the word) about this amendment, we speak with ZERO authority.

Saturday, November 04, 2006 9:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

First of all, even though I first mentioned it, the notion of a "wall of separation", as any good historian will tell you is a rhetorical fiction that was never intended by the framers (as opposed to the one who wrote those words after the fact) of the Constitution.

Second, talk about venting rage.

Third, you seem to be willing to concede the pulpit on the abortion and death penalty issues, just not on the issues surrounding homosexuality. You are being selective in your thinking, and risking being selective in your lived faith.

Certainly we can debate method and style, but your desired style of expecting the priests and bishops to be quiet, know their place, and let the rest of us (preferably you) run things, neither bodes well for society in general, nor for any individual Catholic in the pews.

You propose that "respect" in the seclar arena would come from this model, but I fear it would be more media patronizing than real respect. We would be seen as good players because we don't really challenge anything. I contend that true respect ultimately, comes from displaying first compassion and care, but then there must be consistency, rationality, and conviction. With deep faith, these would seem to be good hallmarks for, oh say, a church.

Mike

Sunday, November 05, 2006 5:07:00 AM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

Keith:

In a prior post's comments, you asserted that the bishops did not address the second sentence. You used this as evidence for allegations, such as that they were in the pocket of some pressure group. I pointed out the bishops' explanation of their position supporting the amendment as a whole, in which they specifically address its second sentence. You're still throwing around these allegations even though what you claimed as the basis for them has been shown to be untrue.

Sunday, November 05, 2006 6:01:00 AM  
Anonymous keith said...

THE BISHOPS AND THE SECOND SENTENCE

I followed the link, Terrence, and you are correct that the bishops MENTION the second sentence. From there, they simply say "Don't worry, it doesn't mean anything, it's just legalize."

But almost every group of attorneys and others involved in the details tell a different story.

Look at Ohio. The Alliance Legal Defense folks swooped in an invalidated domestic violence protections, based on a similarly worded second sentence.

Look at Michigan. The Alliance Legal Defense folks sue to take away health insurance from thousands of non-married folks.

The bishops, if they are going to dive into politics, need to do their homework. Especially when it comes to things (like health care and domestic violence) that fall right into the ministry of the Church.

Sunday, November 05, 2006 7:00:00 AM  
Anonymous keith said...

HOMOSEXUALITY AND ALTERNATIVES

My point, Mike, about abortion and the death penalty vs gay families is simple.

The Church can speak with authority on abortion, because She can answer the pro-choice person's question: "Well what else can a pregnant woman do?" The Church is involved with adoption, domestic violence protection, health care, welfare, etc. In the public arena the Church can say:

There are plenty of solutions that don't involve killing the unborn.

With gay families, the Church is largely mute in practice. To speak prophetically, we need to do a better job. If Bishop doesn't want Susan and Maria to shack up, his words would meet with more respect if he offered alternatives. I haven't heard any in this debate.

The Catechism and several other Church documents contain various condemnations of genital/homosexual habits. The same documents also contain exhortations that we are not to deprive gay and lesbian people and their families of human rights.

Will the Church make a big push for "ex gay" ministries like the Evangelicals? Probably not.

Will the Church do a better job of welcoming celibate gay folk? Should Susan and Maria become nuns?

Will Catholic Social Services help Susan and Maria to adopt children, if they promise to remain chaste in the bedroom at home?

Will the Church let them serve as acolytes or lectors, if every Saturday afternoon they make a good confession, if they happended to let their fingers get carried away in bed during the week before?

I am sure that all these sorts of arrangements exist somewhere in parishes. If bishops are going to call news conferences, they should have Susan and Maria up at the podium with them.

"See, here are what Orthodox Catholic gay people look like. They don't need to share health insurance or pensions or a mortage. They've got the ministry of the Church to support them."

The Church could speak more credibly.

Sunday, November 05, 2006 7:15:00 AM  
Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

Keith, You want something that is patently incredible as a stance for the Church in order to prove, to you at least, that the Church is credible on a matter.

You propose part of the answer yourself, but do not acknowledge it respectfully. The Church does offer alternatives. You may have snide opinions about the sacrament of reconciliation, the calls for chastity, and the expectation prayerful support of the community, but that does not make them snide or cynical at their core. The Church provides an array of means for homosexual persons to continue to be nourished by the Church and its sacraments. The bitter edge in your writing indicates that you just don't like what the Church offers or what is asked.

You seem to want everyone to stay in nice little boxes to the extent that it conforms to your desired worldview. This is an accusation you make against the Church, but are guilty of yourself.

Change the institution for a moment, would you apply your same vociferous language to impugn public school teachers who use their teacher's podium as a bully pulpit? I daresay that public school teachers are far worse in this aspect because such "preachy" actions could in no way be justified within their mandate. But, that does not stop many of them. Unlike activist public school teachers, the Church has the mandate of the Gospel to preach in ways that can, and must, have real world effects.

You say that "almost every group of attorneys" agrees with your postion. I suspect that you mean something narrower, almost every group of attorneys I have decided are credible... I can say the same thing for my position.

Thus, it comes down to the internal logic each position. For the Church it is to be a logic conforming to the Gospel. Like it or not, these priests and bishops are conveying more consistency, clearer logic, and more respect for the opposing argument than are the opponents of the amendment.

Mike

Sunday, November 05, 2006 7:54:00 AM  
Anonymous keith said...

Hmmmm, Mike.

My intention is not to get everyone to agree to my views! On the contrary, my "ministry" on blogs is mostly to ask questions and issue challenges. You first invited me to come to your blog, because you read some of my postings at Fair Wisconsin. On that blog, I do my best to challenge them, as I do to you.

It's not the ANSWERS that define us. It's the QUESTIONS we ask.

In the debate on this silly amendment, the only opinion I insist on proclaiming is the opinion that we need CONCRETE SOLUTIONS to CONCRETE PROBLEMS.

Voting YES and passing an amendment to the Constitution is not going to keep married couples together and faithful.

Voting NO and rejecting an amendment is not going to help gay and lesbian families get pensions and health insurance and mortgages.

My worry for the Church is that She is not being faithful to Herself, not that I am at risk of dissent.

Again, it comes back to the corporal works of mercy.

The Church is risking losing not only Her public persona, largely destroyed by the scandals already. She risks losing Her mission.

Mike, you speak well about the various things that the Church does to welcome gay people. It's true. There are many parishes and ministries that do.

But how on earth will amending the Constitution to take away people's health insurance and pensions and mortgages help the Church to continue this ministry?

Sunday, November 05, 2006 9:59:00 AM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

More bishops turned in more homework.

Sunday, November 05, 2006 11:52:00 AM  

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