Saturday, May 24, 2014

DOES A TEACHER IN A CATHOLIC SCHOOL HAVE A RIGHT TO PROSELYTIZE OUR CHILDREN AWAY FROM THE MORAL TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?


Proselytizing can be defined as recruiting someone to join one's party, institution, or cause. There is a big difference between proselyting and evangelization in the Catholic Church. Proselytizing is a bit subversive with the intention to draw others away from their own affiliations be it religious, or otherwise.  

The mission of Catholic institutions, which is the mission of Christ, is to propagate the Catholic faith. Our schools, in particular, were founded in a time when there was rampant anti-Catholicism even secular schools and the Catholic Faith was denigrated. Thus the system of parochial and private Catholic schools developed nationally. 

Does an employee of our Catholic schools have a right to "proselytize" the children under the care of our Catholic school  to beliefs and practices that contradict the Catholic faith and her moral teachings  ? No! It would be grounds for dismissal, no matter how competent they are in their subject matter, no matter how nice they are and no matter what a good role model they are in other ways. 

Secularism that denigrates the Church's teachings on sexuality, marriage and the right to life have no room in a Catholic school. If a teacher in a Catholic school begins to live a lifestyle that is opposed to the Church's teachings and then makes public that lifestyle in a sanctioned legal contract, that person thus begins to proselytize their beliefs in a public way to our children in our Catholic schools thus diminishing the mission and purpose of our Catholic schools. 

If a Catholic teacher in one of our schools left the Catholic Church in a public way, joined a fundamentalist Church or another religion altogether and then began to influence our children in the direction of her beliefs that contradict the faith and morals of the Church, she would be dismissed and justly so, no matter how nice she was, how competent she was as a teacher and no matter how good a role model she was. 

Am I missing something?

44 comments:

Anon friend said...

No, you are not missing something, Father. But I add one more facet to this story. I personally know FOUR seriously Catholic college grads, two with Summa Cum Laude, one with Magna, one with advanced S.T.L. Summa, and all with ed certification, who have been under or unemployed for at least a year searching the country for teaching positions in catholic schools. They have all had to move home. The S.T.L. took part-time work as a nanny. A travesty, especially given the story in Macon this week. And yet our beloved Church supports dissidents of all types clerical, religious, lay--one can only weep, pray, and not give up hope.
Talk about martyrdom for the faith...these young adults deserve better...they would have given so much to have that job at MDS.

George said...

We will see this kind of thing (as with the teacher in Macon) play out in other places, at least in those places where the Catholic leadership takes the position that Church affiliated institutions and those employed by them must not by public example or advocacy promote any doctrine,lifestyle or position which is opposed to Church teaching.
Adherence to God's laws can never be contingent on human respect, public opinion or monetary subsidization. If we accommodate to those things in the world which conflict with God's laws are we not thereby abandoning God and compromising our faith in all that is true and holy? God.'s laws are unchanging. Man's laws rest on the shifting sands of human interpretation, consideration and deliberation and the on influence of false doctrines and philosophies.

Anonymous said...

One point that I feel has been missed is that if a heterosexual male/female had announced that they were living (unmarried) with their partner in an interview at MDS they would not have been hired in the first place. And, rightfully so. I feel he may have been given "special" accommodations because of his homosexuality. If the MDS contract still has a morality clause Held should have never hired him.
Many of us lay people do not fully understand the Church and Her teachings, and sometimes the Priests and Bishops do a poor job of communicating that it is out of LOVE that we should abstain from certain behaviors. It seems that the Priests are excellent at communicating what is wrong, just not how the behaviors hurt our relation ship with God and therefore the Church.
All that being said, many feel the decision was illegal and unfair because MDS posts their EOE message on their web-site. Maybe that should be modified to better fit the expectations of the school in terms of behavior.

Benjamin Land said...

As an alumnus of Mount de Sales (class of 2009), I don't quite understand the implication that any non-catholic person should be dismissed from a Catholic institution such as Mount de Sales. It is my understanding that Mount de Sales has many non-catholic faculty and a large number of non-catholic students. Additionally, in my time at MDS I took a required course on world religions, where we studied the beliefs of other cultures and religions. Are these people and policies not guilty of proselytizing just the same?

Anonymous said...

Can you more clearly describe the differences between proselytize and evangelize? You say they are different, but your explanation leaves me wondering how it is anything more than a shift in point of view. Could not a non-believer think that "evangelizing" is "proselytizing"?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I've deleted a couple of comments sent to me, which of course is my right, since this blog is my home, but the comments had to do with anti-Catholic remarks concerning the sanctity of marriage and the witness to it we require in our Catholic institutions. It was another form of proselytizing for a non Catholic agenda which this blog post is about.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Ben if someone in our Catholic school is proselytizing in order to convert then yes, the administration has an obligation to deal with that person privately and ask them to cease. In a course on other religions, which certainly can be taught in a Catholic school as well as ecumenism and interfaith relationships, that can certainly be taught, but the foundation of which is the Catholic Church is the true Church. These other religions should not be taught as though salvation can be encountered in them apart from Christ. That would be heresy.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Evangelize means handing on the Catholic Faith. In our own institutions it is required of course. If I am visiting my neighbor who isn't Catholic and they tell me they have been diagnosed with cancer, evangelizing would be asking if it would be okay to say a prayer with her. If she agrees, and only if she agrees, then the Catholic could pray with her. If he forced is prayer on her in her home then that is proselytizing.

Most Catholics in the south know what it is to be proselytized by Evangelical fundamentalists. They normally do it by denigrating the Catholic Faith.

Today secularists in the gay movement as it concerns gay marriage are trying to foist their "religion" onto Catholics even in our own institutional settings. That's proselytizing pure and simple, especially if they are doing it with our own kids in our own Catholic setting!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

"All that being said, many feel the decision was illegal and unfair because MDS posts their EOE message on their web-site. Maybe that should be modified to better fit the expectations of the school in terms of behavior."

Absolutely. However, as a Catholic institution the diocese has requirements in the areas of Catholic morals and requires moral clauses in our contracts.

Although the EOE statement is extremely broad and would permit a drag queen to teach in drag, the Bishop and diocesan policies of which MDS is under would trump a flawed EOE--of course I'm not a lawyer, but there are levels of authority in a Catholic diocese. No Catholic school even if it is an independent Catholic school is independent from the Bishop of the Diocese if they seek his endorsement as a Catholic school. His policies trump theirs.

Benjamin Land said...

I would say that is a good critique of the way the MDS administration handled the firing of Mr. Dollar. To the best of my knowledge there was no private attempt to reach an understanding, or no proselytizing agreement, with him before he was fired. While I understand and agree that his desire to marry his partner goes against the doctrine of the Catholic Church, I have trouble seeing how this situation is significantly different than a non-catholic faculty member whose status as a non-Catholic, or even non-christian, is publicly known. With this lack of understanding, to an external observer it appears that Mr. Dollar was fired purely as a result of discrimination, and that his lack of adherence to Catholic doctrine was more or less an excuse. MDS needs both integrity and consistency in its application of Catholic doctrine.

Anonymous said...


Have you seen MDS's morality clause in their contracts? It is not the one suggested by the diocese, and is in fact quite vague.

Christopher said...

In response to your last comment-

Please understand the LGBT community before slandering it. A drag queen(or king) would not teach in drag because drag is a performance, not a gender identity. A transgender make or female, however, might teach in clothing that is stereotypically "male" or "female."

The EOE statement is indeed broad, because it is intended to include all peoples, regardless of how they are identified. This is the same statement, if I'm not mistaken, that has been in place since the 90s. If Mount de Sales does not intend to uphold the standards set forth by the Equal Opportunity Employment Act, then it should not falsely claim them.
The Diocese does not claim the EOE. In the document that holds the standards of all schools under the Diocese of Savannah, which be found publicity via the Catholic Schools link, there is a clause that is similar to the EOE, but it omits anything about sexual orientation or gender identity. The language is not confusing here.

However Mount de Sales has confused that language and at this point, have not held up their end of the Equal Opportunity Employment Act, and if that is their stance on the matter, should remove the language from their hiring process.

That is where people are upset about the EOE.

rcg said...

What if the teacher had been a polygamist? Would the MdS ,lumina here feel the same way?

Benjamin Land said...

If the teacher had been a polygamist who was hired without deception as to his beliefs, and then later, after years of devoted service in support of the school, was fired for choosing to marry his nth partner, were that legal and protected under the EOE statements of the school, then yes I would feel the same way. I am not arguing over whose beliefs are right or wrong here, simply that the school's course of action appears far more discriminatory than faith based given their purported stance on these matters.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Benjamin you are speaking in legal jargon which is fine but not the point of this post. If this case is judged purely on legal terms then certainly discuss it at a law blog for in that case this is a fascinating study. I am speaking of the Church's mission and expectations that the Magisterium of the Church has about those who work for us that does not diminish our sacramental system or moral teachings. If an institution of the Church has policies that could lead them to have their Catholic identity removed by the bishop they must make a course correction. This is what my post is about.

rcg said...

Benjamin, the purpose of my question was this: the Church has allowed that people can sincerely disagree on many points that are articles of our Faith. Yet we reach a point where tolerance changes to foolish consistency and we are allowing the minds we are responsible to form to the Faith to be confused by contrary example. Our example is to allow for the sincere difference of understanding, that keeps the door to salvation open for those folks you read about in the World Religions class, and to defend the Faith and proselytize through example and guidance. The teacher may have struggled with his nature at some point. But he has evidently decided to adamantly reject Catholic teaching, a teaching that is Natural Law, and raises serious questions about his ability and even his intent to avoid contradicting Church teachings in a Catholic school.

I would have to ask him how he could remain silent on the Church teaching, even by example, if he truly thought what he was doing was acceptable. I think in honesty he would have to disclose a desire to instruct contrary example. I could respect that much more than if he was just willing to support an environment contrary to his core beliefs for money.

Benjamin Land said...

My point in all of this is that Mount de Sales has not fired its non-Catholic or non-Christian faculty, rather it has fired one man, who is a self professed Christian, for being gay and choosing to marry his partner. If we are to believe that this was a faith based judgement of his fitness to serve in a Catholic institution and preserve the institution's Catholic identity, then the same strict adherence to Catholic teaching should be expected from all faculty.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Catholics who divorce and remarry outside the Church are dismissed from Catholic institutions . Same sex marriage goes against natural law as well as scripture and tradition. Lobbying for it even if in a passive aggressive way in the Employment of the Church is the issue.

rcg said...

So, Benjamin you would prefer sweeping condemnation in order to be consistent or you would prefer that there is no limit that a Law can be broken? More than likely you have had to end a friendship because someone mistook your charity for weakness and lack of dedication, hypocrisy, to your values. The Church is at that point today and it is a sin that we both declined to live up to our Faith and that we misled others about it. But it is worse to continue the sin than to stop it.

Benjamin Land said...

rcg, allow me to sidestep this false dichotomy with a question: if an institution has a policy that when carried out can be described "sweeping condemnation," to use your words, do you perhaps think that this policy should be reexamined? If the policy of a Catholic institution is to dismiss employees who violate catholic doctrine, I do expect them to enforce that policy in a consistent way to avoid discriminatory practices and maintain integrity. It is the choice of the policy makers (i.e. not myself) to decide what the policy is.

Stephen said...

I graduated from MDS the same year as Ben, and while I can't speak for him I understand his frustration with this whole event (as well as many others in my class). We all knew that MDS was and still is a catholic school. We all took enough religion classes to be aware of Catholic policies. We knew the Catholic faith did not approve of gay relations. While my class was not there when Mr. Dollar was teaching, we also knew that many of the faculty we considered family were non-catholic, divorced, or otherwise lived a life counter to catholic philosophy. To us he was family just as much as anyone else at MDS.

A lot of this talk has been about the EOE and while it was dismissed for being too legal, but we bring it up because it represents fairness. Legal fairness but fairness none the less. A fairness in our minds the School didn't have with this case. MDS adapted the EOE and we expect it to honor it. If they school did not want this kind of person then they should not have had the EOE. If he was fired for being gay after being hired with this knowledge in the open then anyone would feel that's unfair. If the church trumps the EOE and that's why he was fired then that's just as unfair as long as teachers who got divorced or activity practice their own faiths are not.

For us the church was always taught to be a pillar of tradition. Something steadfast, unchanging, and consistent. None of us are mad that church is practicing what they preach. The results of these events many of us are upset with is the lack of consistency. This is less about homosexuality than it is about watching a member of our MDS family hurt because of a perceived unfairness.

rcg said...

The fellow was not dismissed for violating Catholic Doctrine, he was dismissed for intolerable behavior within a Catholic organization. It would only be harsh if he had not chosen to behave that way on his own. There is no punishment for not being Catholic, as testified by the other non-Catholic employees. I suppose, I hope, that the other Christians in the school are denied communion if they attend a Mass. That is not a punishment, but it is the rules for the Catholics. The Catholic people who oversee the school are the ones who had to make the call; they are the ones required to follow Church Law. Finally, there is judgement to be used, extenuating circumstances. If we assume the fellow was unable to control the urges then he is due some leeway. The actions he took to get married either means he is committed to his disagreement with Catholic teaching and will act against it, or he is unable to control himself and can't be relied on to respect the institution that employs him.

Anonymous 2 said...

I have been out of town most of last week, so I came rather late to the matter involving Mount de Sales Academy upon my return. I will leave it up to Father McDonald whether or not to post this comment. I have no desire to cause further divisiveness and contention over the employment of those who have entered same sex marriages. Rather, my goal is to offer a constructive solution to help improve matters, promote healing, and reduce divisiveness and contention. My premise is that it is impossible to prevent the legal recognition of same sex marriages, eventually throughout the entire country, and that this is simply a reality that the Church will have to accept.

I appreciate very much the quality of the discussion on this thread and the next thread as well. And I agree with rcg’s comment on the next thread (at 3:25 p.m.) that the question regarding the nature, purpose, and operation of a Catholic School “deserves very serious contemplation.” I am definitely mindful of the momentous interests and values at stake here. This adds to the trepidation with which I submit this comment.

As a Catholic, I can certainly understand the need to maintain the Catholic identity of a Catholic School and the desire not to send conflicting messages to its students. As someone with several homosexual friends and colleagues, some of whom are in same sex marriages, however, I can also understand the desire of same sex couples to live together in a fully committed and legally recognized relationship without suffering employment discrimination by any institution, religious or otherwise.

It is my experience that trying to explain to a person with an inborn homosexual orientation that religious believers may be opposed to same sex marriage for good reasons and are not necessarily homophobic bigots can provoke a strong reaction. One may well be told that it has been very painful and traumatic for many homosexuals to be denied the same rights as heterosexuals to enter a loving, committed relationship that is accorded legal recognition by the state, and that this denial has continually chipped away at their sense of self-worth and dignity. Consequently, they may be unable to understand this continued denial in the name of religion as anything other than the result of religious bigotry. This is surely part of the reason why the Catechism speaks of their condition as a “trial” [CCC section 2358]. On this point, I still hope and pray for a greater mutual understanding between Catholics and those many homosexuals who want to marry.

It will be difficult enough for homosexuals who are Catholic to have to accept that they will never be permitted to marry the person they love with the approval of the Church [CCC section 2359]. Will this ever change? I doubt it. And, of course, should they choose to marry the person they love, one assumes that they can no longer be Catholics in good standing, let alone be employed by a Catholic institution. But it must be even more difficult for non-Catholic homosexuals to understand, at both an emotional and an intellectual level, why they too should suffer disadvantage at the hands of the Church, for they are not familiar with (and indeed even if they were would likely be unable to accept) the arguments based in scripture, tradition, and natural law, that inform the Church’s position on the issue.

[continued]

Anonymous 2 said...

Must such non-Catholics, then, forever have to choose between marrying the person they love and being employed by a Catholic institution? Or is there a way for them, and for other non-Catholics who may be unable to accept the teaching of the Catholic Church on some matter of faith or morals, to be offered employment nevertheless? Can a Catholic institution still employ the Jew, who does not accept Jesus Christ as we do, without “mocking” the sacrament of Baptism? Can it still employ the Baptist or the Methodist, who does not accept the Real Presence as we do, without “mocking” the sacrament of the Eucharist? And can it still employ the homosexual who has entered a same sex marriage, and who does not accept the same norms of marriage as we do, without “mocking” the sacrament of Holy Matrimony or the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality? These are excellent and challenging questions raised by the comments in this thread and the next.

I propose below some language for a hypothetical employment policy that is intended to enable a Catholic institution to employ such persons without compromising its essential identity. This policy would be made known to the families with students enrolled at the institution, and to the students themselves in an appropriate manner. It could also be combined with a “morals clause” prohibiting active proselytizing contrary to the teachings of the Church. Perhaps I am wrong to propose this. It may be a bad idea. Perhaps some will even regard it as a betrayal of the Faith. If so, I ask for forgiveness, for that is not my intent. Even if I am not wrong to make the proposal, and it is not a bad idea in principle, perhaps the effort is futile because continued conflict (including potential protracted political and legal conflict) over these issues may be unavoidable. But I believe it is good to seek to avoid conflict whenever possible, and only to engage in it when absolutely necessary. Besides, I am somewhat quixotic by nature anyway. =)


Here is the text of the proposed employment policy. Where it says “this institution” one would insert the name of the institution in question. Doubtless the wording can be improved and would require proper legal vetting but I hope you get the general idea:

This institution recognizes the inherent and inestimable worth and dignity of all human beings as children of God who are made in His image and likeness. As a Catholic institution we understand this worth and dignity to be reflected in and safeguarded by the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. Accordingly, this institution strives to give witness to these teachings in all its activities.

This institution is also committed to the principles of equal employment opportunities to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, gender, ancestry, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, or sexual orientation. Catholic employees are expected to accept the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. In addition, this institution may also employ non-Catholics who do not accept certain of these teachings. However, the employment of such persons should in no way be construed as an endorsement of such dissent from Catholic teaching. It should be seen rather as a loving invitation to join an inclusive community that seeks to be further conformed to the image and likeness of God, and to share in its struggle to live the Truth of the Gospel as embodied in the teachings of the Church.



Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Stephen, the Church isn't just an ideological institution or a social organization like the Kiwanis Club.
We aren't just a philosophy or a doctrine. We are the means by which God offers the world His salvation. What is at stake here is salvation. To reject Scripture, to reject Tradition (the means by which Scripture is handed on by God) and to reject natural law as it concerns sex and marriage isn't just rejecting doctrine, it is rejecting God and thus choosing hell.
The damnable thing about this whole affair is that it was allowed to fester as long as it did and that an ideology opposed to God's truth and natural law was made to be normal. Being nice isn't what gets us to heaven. That would be Pelegianism. God leads us to heave but we have to choose that path and yes we can reject it.
To lead our children astray with a political agenda that opposes the God's truths especially in natural law would be a sin and those who allowed it in the Church would be choosing damnation by allowing this to be propagated in our institutions.
Many mistakes were made in this case that has led to heartache, but mistakes must be corrected and for us those mistakes must be corrected so that our teachings are not denigrated or thrown out the window in our very own institutions. Not all is equal and often Christianity over the centuries has to take a counter-cultural position or sometime go underground. Sometimes government sets us its own version of the Catholic Church such as in China, but there is a thriving underground Church that hangs on tenaciously to the truth.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A2--the lobby for the gay agenda in society and promoting that agenda is what is going on--don't be a fool about this. Our administrators and the employment statements of a Catholic institution cannot allow an anti-Catholic ideology or lobby to enter our institutions and lead our children to think that the ideology is okay. It isn't. We cannot allow ideologies opposed to Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law to be promoted passively, actively, intentionally or unintentionally.
This is ecumenism gone made and one of the reasons why we have reactionary groups in the Church such as SSPX. In this case, they have a point!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I should have written "this is ecumenism gone MAD! not made.

Anonymous 2 said...

Father McDonald:

I do understand your point that “[o]ur administrators and the employment statements of a Catholic institution cannot allow an anti-Catholic ideology or lobby to enter our institutions and lead our children to think that the ideology is okay. It isn't. We cannot allow ideologies opposed to Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law to be promoted passively, actively, intentionally or unintentionally.”

The conditions I propose are designed to prevent this from happening. First, the proposed employment policy makes clear the disapproval of any dissenting position by a non-Catholic. This policy would be made known to the employee and to the students’ families, as well as to the children themselves as and when appropriate and in an appropriate manner. Second, the employee in question would be required to sign a morals clause that prohibits active proselytizing contrary to the teachings of the Church. This could even include the employee making known the fact of the same sex marriage to the children. Should the marriage become known in other ways, however, it could certainly provide an important occasion to instruct or remind the children what the Catholic Church teaches regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage, and to demonstrate that one can still love the person and invite them into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ while disapproving of their sinful actions or views.

I seriously doubt that many homosexuals who enter same sex marriages would be interested in working for a Catholic institution under such conditions. There will be exceptions, however, and I suspect that the young man at Mt. de Sales may be one of them, so great seems to be his love of and commitment to the school.

A similar approach applies to the examples I gave of the Jew and the Baptist or Methodist. Again, should their differences with the Catholic Church become known, it would present a similar teaching moment, as it surely must already do in the case of the Jew (how many children in a Catholic middle or high school do not know that Jewish people do not accept Jesus as Lord and Savior?).

Here is my basic worry: Just how far down this road are we going to go? Will a Catholic School end up only employing Catholics, and perhaps only having Catholic children attending? What about Catholic colleges or universities? Will the same apply to them? Are we destined to become a fortress Church that pulls up the drawbridge and hides within its four walls? Or can we still provide a campus (which in the original Latin meant the field of battle) that prepares students to meet the challenges of living in a pluralistic world (there simply is no choice about having to live in a pluralistic world) in a manner that bears effective witness to the values of the Faith? More generally, then, should we make distinctions between different types of Catholic educational institutions – elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities? Should the employment policies be stricter at the earlier stages of the educational continuum and more flexible at the later stages, depending on how impressionable the students are at these different stages?

[continued]

Anonymous 2 said...

Has the Catholic Church already worked out and articulated an official Church position on the question of employment policies of Catholic institutions or of different types of Catholic institutions (different types of schools, colleges and universities)? Or are incidents such as the one at Mount de Sales part of the working out that is still taking place?

As lay Catholics, we must of course accept and defer to the decisions of the proper Church authorities. I have been assuming, however, that the position is still in the process of being worked out and that it is appropriate to raise questions and concerns that may be relevant to that process. Please correct me if I am wrong about that.

Finally, I have no desire to help spread the “smoke of Satan” within the Catholic Church. In fact, I tend to see that smoke in many places that are not often talked about, because the “Father of Lies” can take many forms. As that evil title suggests, dishonesty (of all kinds) and the related worshiping of false idols is the hallmark. I hope the Church will be as vigilant and vocal about all these other forms, also in teaching our children, as it is about same sex marriages.

Anonymous said...

Fr., you said, "if someone in our Catholic school is proselytizing in order to convert then yes, the administration has an obligation to deal with that person privately and ask them to cease. "

Is this the case with the incident at MDS? Do you believe the band director was proselytizing to his students?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I do not know in this particular case. It might be intentional or unintentional, active or passive. Obviously there is a very, very active gay lobby that wants to promote that agenda everywhere and malign any religion especially the Catholic Church if that religion stands in the way of their agenda. This is very serious and what Pope Francis was in fact judging if there was a "gay lobby" in the Vatican. Lobbies that oppose the Church are wrong. Those protesting MDS's now are using children's emotions concerning a teacher the like to support same sex marriage and in a Catholic facility which must support the Church's teaching on marriage.
People are free to leave the Catholic Church or our Catholic School's if they disagree with the Church and have in fact converted to a secular ideology. I hate seeing anyone descend into hell by rejecting the true Church and working actively against her. As Pope Francis has repeatedly said, you can't be a Christian without the Church and anyone that does not worship Jesus worships the devil!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I would say yes we need practicing Catholics who will witness to their Catholic faith at home! Work and the public square being the majority in our Catholic school's, that's a no brainier. When we hire non Catholics they have to understand that Catholic School's are precisely meant to hand on the Faith and morals of the Catholic Church and they must understand they cannot in anyway interfere with our mission. That has happened over the years with many wonderful Protestant teachers who never stand in the way of our mission. Catholic school's can lose their Catholic identity if they forget why Catholic school's were established! Protestants who use our schools if there is room for them must understand that our primary purpose is to hand on the Catholic Faith in an educational setting where all subjects are taught with Catholic sensibilities.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A2, what other areas are we failing to promote? Many Catholics are becoming enabling Catholics when it comes to public sin and they call this love and label those who challenge them as hate mongers. Is this what you mean, thinking love means enabling a person to choose the path to hell?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A2 we go to the world and infiltrate it with everything that is of the Church. This isn't circling the wagon . But when we lose our Catholic identity and mission even in our institutions that we have become like salt that has gone flat and a light put under a bushel basket! That is what is happening in our Catholic institutions not circling the wagons. Catholic politicians and other lay Catholics who don't witness to the Church on the sanctity of life and true marriage are salt gone flat and cooked in the crockpot of current American political secularism.

Gene said...

Wow, Fr. Right on!!!

Anon friend said...

Amen, Father, most especially to your 5:31 post!
A-2 I really supported you in a recent post that took on Pater concerning "Versus Populum". Fascinating interchange, that, and STILL ongoing with over 75 posts. (Y'all should check it out!). But I have to say that your reasoning fails you in this current topic, most especially in the areas Father McD explains here very well.
I too have homosexual friends and even a nephew. But in dealing with them, I would never consider softening the strong stance of Church teaching. Had the American Church put on Her armour and resisted the whole Roe v Wade debacle immediately and strongly, we might not have over 80 million dead children. Make no mistake, we WILL, all of us, be held accountable for all our lukewarm ("white-washed tombs") Catholicism, even if done in the name of love, tolerance, or for whatever reason. We have lost so much over the past 50 years. It IS a battle, A-2, and you are just kidding yourself if you think it is not.
Thank you.

Anon friend said...

Oo, so sorry, A-2, I erred in my last post to you. It was not you involved in that long, still-ongoing post with Pater concerning Versus Populum. That was "Catholic" and now "John Nolan". Again, sorry--my "aged p-brain" as adult kids refer to it!

Anonymous 2 said...

Father McDonald:

Thank you for your replies of 5:24 a.m. and 5:31 a.m. yesterday. I have three responses to them. This is the first one.

I appreciate the sentiment behind your replies but they do not seem to address many of the questions I posed. That’s fine, in particular because I suspect you are inundated these days and cannot spend much time in detailed exchanges. Perhaps there will be opportunity when things calm down. By the way, I am praying for you and for others involved in the administration of the school and the diocese. Indeed, Deacon Don Coates asked us to do this in his excellent homily on Sunday.

As for the question of witness on the sanctity of life and true marriage, I think the precise mode and manner of witness has to depend on the circumstances. This is another instance in which practical wisdom is called for. The kind of witness currently demonstrated by yourself and many contributors on this Blog is fine for the Blog, at church, in RCIA classes, or teaching at a Catholic school. Then one is preaching to the choir in an explicitly Catholic context. But it would be totally unsuccessful and counterproductive in my context, which is the real world in which I have to work and live. I am convinced that if I were to speak in such terms to many of my friends, colleagues, students, and even family members, I would immediately lose any chance I have of reaching them and of being able to communicate about the Catholic faith and its teachings. In their minds it would immediately confirm all kinds of negative views they have about Catholics. It might all be horribly unjustified but that is the reality. They simply would be unable to “hear” what I had to say.

To my knowledge I have never once denied any part of the Faith in conversation with any of them. And I try always to remember my identity as a Catholic and my vocation to live out my faith in the world. But I am very careful about the manner in which I communicate about things. Some of those with whom I live and work are of different faiths and some of them are of no faith. Some of them are already highly suspicious of the Catholic Church (the priest sex abuse scandal really has not helped those of us who must live and work in non-Catholic settings you know; that’s just a fact), some of them less so.

I do not regard it as “enabling” to be careful not to alienate other people so that communication remains open and people can still “hear” anything I might have to say. And so I adapt what I say, and how I say it, to the person with whom I am conversing, without denying or “softening” the Faith (as Anon. Friend puts it). This is an art that is a lot more difficult than one might think and I am sure I could do a better job of it, which is why I have sought your guidance and others’ guidance about it in a later thread (although I am still waiting for a response).

Does any of this make any difference to anyone with whom I interact? Have I really been able effectively to witness to them? Indeed, am I wrong in this approach? Does it in fact “enable” sin, so that a different approach would have greater beneficial effect? I have no idea even how to begin to answer these questions with any certainty or how to “measure” any influence one way or the other. All I can do is to follow my instincts. Perhaps that is all for the best.

I am sure that many readers will readily relate to what I am saying. Perhaps some of them will also be willing to share their own experience regarding what seems to work and what doesn’t.

[continued]

Anonymous 2 said...

I expected to be faulted for writing what I did, also by you, just as I have sometimes provoked a negative reaction when I have tried to defend or explain the Catholic position and other religious positions on these sorts of matters in conversation with others, even using my approach. That is what happens when one tries to mediate and promote mutual understanding between entrenched positions where passions run high. It goes with the territory.

One final point: If anyone wants to get a sense of what I am talking about, try assigning and then teaching about Humanae Vitae to a group of non-Catholic resistant law students.

Anonymous 2 said...

My second response to your two comments is that this evening I conducted a search of Southern Orders using the search term “civil unions.” I think I read about fifteen posts by yourself and many comments in those threads, including several by you. Much of this material seems to reflect the same spirit in which I have written my comments here and displays great understanding and compassion. Has something changed? Am I missing something? Here is the link:

http://southernorderspage.blogspot.com/search?q=civil+unions

Anonymous 2 said...

My third response is an answer to your question “What are we failing to promote?” In my comments I expressed the hope that the Church would be as vigilant and as vocal in teaching about certain other matters as it is about same sex marriage. This expression of hope reflects Pope Benedict’s discussion of idol worship in his homily at Notre Dame in Paris on September 8, 2009 and the entire letter and spirit of Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium and should not be controversial. Thus Pope Francis admonishes the Church to maintain balance and not to minimize other aspects due to an obsession with matters such as same sex marriage.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene and Anon. Friend:

Please see my responses to Father McDonald above.

No need to apologize, Anon. Friend. I sympathize. Before posting all of the above on this thread tonight I posted it on the wrong thread.

Gene said...

Anon2, I saw your posts and responses and have nothing to say…you, and others like you, are a part of the problem.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

Thank you for reading my posts. Now can you please respond to my posts at 1:33 and 1:38 a.m. on May 27 in the thread “The World, the Flesh, and the Devil.”? I seek your advice and guidance there. So far you have not responded, unless of course your comment here is intended to be a response to them as well. And if indeed you have nothing to say in response to those posts, then I suggest that you do not even understand what the problem is and/or are taking the easy way out. But I am hoping for more.

I appreciated George’s response on that thread. At least he is_trying_to help.