Sunday, January 19, 2014

WHO KNEW THAT NEW PAGAN CHALLENGES EXISTED IN THE EARLY CHURCH AS WELL



One of the so-called new pastoral challenges for the Church today is the education of children who belong to so-called "same-sex" families. For female same-sex partners, the child could have been born naturally from one or the other through immoral means or they may have adopted or one or the other may have had a previous valid marriage and a child from that marriage. For male same sex partners, the same can be true or a "surrogate" mother is used who conceives through mechanical means apart from the natural order.

When these same sex partners are Catholic, they sometimes wish to have their children baptized and reared in the Church. They want to send their children to CCD classes or to our Catholic schools.

Should we refuse Catholic formation of   children of these same sex partners, thus punishing the children and turning them away from the Church? This is a pastoral question that some have answered by not allowing them to enroll in Catholic schools or asking them to leave if their parental situation becomes illicit (immoral). Of course there are many illicit situations of parents of children in our schools with same sex partnerships being one of many of these situations.

I tend, from a pastoral point of view, to favor children, no matter their parents or guardians' foibles , in allowing them to be in our Catholic schools or CCD programs as long as the children themselves are not be used by their parents/guardians  to make a political statement against the Church or to promote their lifestyle as a public flaunt to the Church. I know this is a difficult line to walk.

The ultra traditionalists blog Rorate Caeili has an interesting historical perspective on same sex "marriages" in Pagan times and I did not know this about the Roman Emperors Nero and Flagabalus:

...It is superficial to present the existence of non-traditional families as an absolute novelty: they were present in early Christian times, under the Roman Emperor and among the barbarian peoples, as they have been present in mission lands over the course of the centuries up until today (where polygamy has always been in use as well).


Even marriages between people of the same sex existed 2000 years ago for the imperial elite. Nero had two public marriages with men, once as wife and once as husband (according to Suetonius, he took the slave Sporus as his wife after having him castrated). Also the Emperor Elagabalus, according to Historia Augusta, married a man, becoming his wife.


Confronted with ancient customs, it does not appear that the apostles devised pastoral strategies for each and every situation and neither did they ask themselves “who am I to judge?”


On the contrary, Paul used very harsh words and put Christians on their guard against conforming to fashions and worldly culture. He wanted to know one thing only: “Christ crucified”, which was considered as “foolishness” by the pagan world...

My final comment: There is nothing new under the sun!

34 comments:

Anon friend said...

Wow, it has come to this... Flagrantly immoral unions want their kids in Catholic schools, and our priests are just going to roll over. Father, do you ask those parents why? Why Catholic schooling when the Church is so obviously against these "unions"? What good can come once these kids learn the truth? It's not that I don't care about the innocent victim-kids--I very much do care, enough to know that I can't undo what their "parents" have done to them. I will NOT lie to them about the truth that their parents' choices have been sinful and dysfunctional. Public schools are their option. Scripture is so clear about these unions.
One question, Father, I have to ask because I have supported YOUR support of him: has our new Pope Francis influenced you in this issue?

Gene said...

To accept these abnormal and aberrant families into Catholic schools is validating their relationships. But, I am sure it will be done because the Church is racing headlong into humanistic, egalitarian ideologies. Fr, if you believe otherwise you are as much in denial as anyone else. This foolishness has got to stop and until Priests and Bishops have the stones to say no, the Church will continue in free fall.Ha, ha...a Bishop with stones...now there's a true anomaly! LOL!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Then Gene, where do we stop? Do we expel children when their parents divorce and remarry outside of the church, or one is known to be a public adulterer or when children are conceived out of wedlock and maybe by artificial insemination or some other mechanical means? What if the mother of one of our children runs a brothel in town? And what about grandparents who heroically step in and do what is right for their grandchildren when their own children fail their grandchildren?

Gene said...

Fr, the sins you cite are still committed within normal man/woman relationships.There is a fundamental difference here...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

mortal sin is mortal sin, whether it is natural or unnatural. When mortal sin is enshrined in a particular lifestyle, be it an unnatural sexual relationship (which heterosexual couples often engage and in the same way as homosexuals, btw) do we take it out on the children too?

It goes against natural law for one to use artificial birth control I might add.

Gene said...

Suit yourself, Fr. The acceptance of these kinds of fundamentally abnormal relationships destroys the Church and the culture. These families would be welcomed at any Episcopal or Methodist church. Let them go there. Sometimes we have to make hard choices...I believe you told me that once...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My post makes clear that if the child is being used to either mock the church's teaching or for political advantage in promoting an immoral agenda, that would be taken into account if a child was not allowed to attend our school or ccd program. I have not encountered that scenario, but I have encountered good, practicing grandparents doing all they can do to help their grandchildren be Catholic in a variety of weird moral situations.

Anonymous said...

It really seems all you priests are living in a dream world. Do you not realize that we are in a battle against evil itself, the Devil. In the very near future it may become illegal for the fullness of the Catholic Faith to be taught. The homosexuals don't want the Faith taught to their children, they want to destroy the Faith. How do you not see that. Being charitable does not mean making people comfortable in their sins. And homosexual sex as well as heterosexual sex outside marriage is a sin, a grave sin. You don't make deals with it, you don't compromise with it, you fight it you drive filth from the house of God like Christ did. These people are abusing children by bringing them up to believe that sinfulness is love. It's wrong.

Gene said...

Well, if the grandparents are taking them out of the abnormal situation and trying to salvage them, that is different. But, the basic issue remains. There is just nothing else to say about it.

Henry said...

Gene and Fr. McDonald: May I respectfully suggest that you've both taken your eyes in this discussion? I think the questions--to which I claim no clear answers--deal not with different levels of sin (whether natural or unnatural), but of questions of scandal.

Just as in the question of holy communion for publicly scandalous sinners, the primary question is not that of their own souls, but of others who may be misled into sin by scandal.

George said...

"mortal sin is mortal sin, whether it is natural or unnatural"
You are correct Father. We are not however talking about a distinction without a difference(at least in many cases). The parents of a child attending parochial may be using artificial contraception. They may be engaging in sexual acts outside the bounds of what is permitted in marriage. One of them might be committing adultery. In many of these cases what one of the other or both of the married couple is doing is not publicly known. The children themselves do not know.
This is not true of same-sex couples where it is out in the open for everyone to see and know about.
These are difficult situations which we must pray about. We should be very careful about sanctioning (or seeming to)what amounts to public scandal.
Educating the children of these relationships in Catholic schools will eventually create tension and disruption when what that are taught from Catholic teaching runs up against the kind of relationship the parents are in. Indeed this is true for the child's fellow classmates when they find out about the relationship. Although I will have to say that too many of us have become so accustomed or accepting of immorality in the world that things are changing to where people are not scandalized anymore and that in itself is dismaying and disconcerting.
A solution to this problem can hopefully be found that serves the Body of Christ without doing more harm to it.

Anonymous said...

You priests are ridiculous. But compromising the Faith you are pulling the carpet right out from under yourselves and you don't even realize it. Why should I listen to you, why should I help to put a roof over your head and food on your table if you aren't going to teach the fullness of the Catholic Faith. What good are you. Why should you be called Father and shown any special respect. You are no better than anybody else, but your probably worse because you are using your position to cause scandal and drive those nails deeper into our Lord's hands. He didn't die on that cross so you could live a comfortable life and compromise the truth. What have all of you priests become. My god you are all a disgrace.

Anon friend said...

George, well said. That was the point I was trying to make in my first post, but you did a better job. (Frankly I was blown away, and knew I needed to say something fast or risk punching a wall!) These children can be gravely hurt by being at the center of giving scandal. Now, if the issue is about good-hearted grandparents (you didn't say that in your original post, Father), wouldn't they and the child be better served by quiet pastoral involvement in their lives rather than public scandal? Love them, yes absolutely! Give the victim-child every opportunity to ask questions about Gramma's faith and religion. Ask good Catholic people to surround them with care. But do NOT think you are doing them any favors by thinking you can walk a tightrope of ignoring or hiding the scandal. The other children in these classes and their parents must be considered as well.
The Church's mission is not to conform to the world and it's increasingly-raunchy values, but to herald the truth.

rcg said...

Are the children accepted to the school with the intent of teaching the Catholic doctrine and growth in the Faith? The only reason for a Ctholic school is that in addition to high academic standards it is going to teach the children to be strong Catholics. If the Church school wants to provide strong education for the community at large they should set up a charity to fund a few slots in the local schools.

Anonymous 2 said...

This is a good discussion that brings out many of the complexities involved, even including the way the situation can trigger hyperbolic reactions. There is much to think about here.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone doubt that tomorrow Pope Francis will be praising the nun who gave birth to a baby boy named Francis. I predict she will ask the pope to baptize the baby and he will of course say yes and do it in the most public way possible. I also predict he will allow her and her baby to live rent free in the vacated papal apartments. Sorry if this is to hyperbolic Father, I mean Anonymous 2. Keep those rose colored glasses firmly in place. Amazing!

Anonymous 2 said...

Well, Anonymous, I don’t quite know what to make of your post at 7:33 p.m. Perhaps I am mistaken, but you seem to be suggesting I may be a priest. If so, then_you_are mistaken. But perhaps you are just suggesting that I sound like one. And perhaps this is because some of my comments defend our pope and priests.

Anyway, your attacks on our pope and priests are certainly “hyperbolic” in my opinion (I assume you are the same Anonymous who posted at 11:52 a.m.). According to you, our priests are “ridiculous” and “all a disgrace.” Readers can judge for themselves whether this language is hyperbolic or not.

Let me challenge one illustrative statement (it seems that I have not given up challenging you after all -- perhaps it is your continued vitriol against our priests that accounts for this). You say “Why should I listen to you, why should I help to put a roof over your head and food on your table if you aren't going to teach the fullness of the Catholic Faith. . .” Please give us, then, one instance in which Father McDonald, Pater Ignotus, or any other priest posting here has failed to teach or taken a position contrary to the CCC, which, I hope you will agree, “teach[es] the fullness of the Catholic Faith.”

But, as I suggest, it is important to think about why certain issues such as those surrounding homosexuality trigger such passionate reactions, including hyperbolic ones.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous: As for the idea that Pope Francis may baptize the nun’s baby, perhaps he will, now that you have suggested it. =)

Gene said...

Anon 2 believes that no one could possibly take a strong stand about anything so it must be hyperbole….LOL!

qwikness said...

Children of Gay parents should be allowed. It might be the only time they hear the other sides beliefs. When I was in public elementary school, I had never once heard that abortion was bad. Even my mother was pro-Choice. Only when I went to Catholic high school did I hear it was murder. This might happen but only if the schools are honest and orthodox and never soften the message in fear of hurting feelings.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The shrill comments here hurled at the same sex parents fail to take into account the most important person of my post, the innocent child and how Catholic school could be the most important formation this child might have which would be totally lacking if this child was expelled for his parents' sins and ideologies or prevented from enrolling outright. Also the child's Catholic education could spur the parent's conversion or reconversion and a repudiation of non Catholic ideologies or what is clearly immoral behavior. Also we must take into account the scandal given to those whose focus is on the child and the child himself if the Catholic school expels that child because of the parent's scandal. Two scandals don't negate either scandal!

cpttom said...

Father, it is important that the Child gets baptised, and educated in the Faith. We are called to help preserve and defend that child's soul. I agree with you the child should be enrolled in the school. However, I think you are minimizing what are real concerns: how will those truths of marriage and family be taught? Are they going to be soft soaped (eg. marriage is between a man and a women) out of "pastoral" sensitivities or being "nice."
So what happens when that child hears in class that the Church teaches that marriage is supposed to be a man and a women and a family, as envisioned by God is a mother, father and child(ren)? Or how will the questions of the other equally innocent children be answered when they realize this other student has two mothers? How is that going to be answered so that those children are taught what the Church teaches, and that their innocence is preserved?
The problem goes beyond just the first child of the same-sex couple...what about the rest of the children? Don't their souls deserve the same level of consideration?

Anon friend said...

Yes, cpttom, exactly so. Thank you for your reasoned response. This is not a simple "sign 'em up". The CCD and/or parochial school teachers cannot be left holding the bag on this open-door policy; if such policy is what the priest wants, fine and good, but he better be prepared for a lot of personal pastoral work.

Anonymous 2 said...

No, Gene, I do not believe that. You are exaggerating. =). Taking a strong stand is different from hyperbole.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2 please, I beg you, stop trying so hard to sound intelligent and actually have an original thought. One word about your responses - predictable. You never have an original thought you just respond to someone who obviously challenges your liberal views. You never come up with anything to say until someone else says something. Try and have your own thoughts.

Anonymous #1', now and forever.

P.S. Pope Francis is a liberal

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous 1:

You are sounding desperate again. And here is a word for you to conjure with: Projection. Think about it.

And perhaps you should also think about how people often try to avoid having to deal with challenges to their thinking by sticking “labels” on others. It is so much easier to dismiss me, Pope Francis, or even Father McDonald for goodness sake, by attaching the rather meaningless label “liberal,” isn’t it?

Thus, I notice that you have still not given us one instance in which Father McDonald, Pater Ignotus, or any other priest posting here has failed to teach or taken a position contrary to the CCC (assuming you are the relevant Anonymous, which I am pretty sure you are).

Gene said...

Anon 2, Any Priest can walk around CCC and play the game of orthodoxy. Quit being so naive...

Anonymous said...

...but Gene can read minds and souls......

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: Anonymous (#1) said: “Why should I listen to you, why should I help to put a roof over your head and food on your table if you aren't going to teach the fullness of the Catholic Faith. . .” I asked him for one example, just one, where any priest on this Blog had failed to teach “the fullness of the Catholic faith” in the CCC, on the assumption that the CCC teaches this fullness. So far he has not responded, and I do not expect him to do so -- because he cannot find such an example and/or because he really doesn’t accept the CCC as teaching the fullness of the Catholic faith.

I’m sorry, Gene, in my world people cannot go around making sweeping assertions and claims without support. I know it is common nowadays because so many people don’t give a hoot about the truth or facts. While accepting that there is a legitimate place for epideictic rhetoric sometimes, I will continue to push back on what seem to me to be illegitimate inaccurate or hyperbolic assertions and claims.

I am not naïve. Instead, you are changing the subject. I called Anonymous (#1) out (again) and neither of you likes it.


Gene said...

I don't care who you "call out," Anon 2…although the gunslinger language is laughable coming from you. My point is that there are many apostate Priests running around paying lip service to CCC and living their heresy quietly within their Bishop's sanction.
Anonymous certainly does not need me to defend him or speak for him. He's doing just fine.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: Is your one track commentary on the use of that expression my me another example of an obsession with guns?

Gene said...

So, who has an obsession with guns other than libs?

Anonymous 2 said...

People who feel the need to make snarky comments about gunslingers when others use an expression like “call out.”

Gene said...

That is not an obsession with guns; that is disgust with dangerously naive and socialist leaning academics.