Tuesday, July 14, 2015


This article is from Crux concerning Arcbishop Chaput's praise for the administration of a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia which fired a gay teacher who civilly married his gay partner.

Is there a connection between life and liturgy? I ask; you discuss:

PHILADELPHIA — The archbishop of Philadelphia said Monday that Roman Catholic school officials who fired a married gay teacher showed uncommon “character and common sense.”
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said the nuns and board members who run Waldron Mercy Academy are not seeking controversy, but simply are following Church teaching.
Chaput, in a statement, thanked school leaders “for taking the steps to ensure that the Catholic faith is presented … in accord with the teaching of the church. They’ve shown character and common sense at a moment when both seem to be uncommon.”
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The Church opposes gay marriage. Of gays and lesbians, Pope Francis has said: “Who am I to judge?”
Teacher Margie Winters recently told The Philadelphia Inquirer that she lost her job as religious instruction director last month even though she had told the school about her same-sex marriage when she was hired in 2007. She said she was told she could be open about her marriage with faculty, but not with parents at the school.
“So that’s what I’ve done,” Winters said. “I’ve never been open. And that’s been hard.”
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“In the Mercy spirit, many of us accept life choices that contradict current Church teachings,” Principal Nell Stetser said in a letter to parents, “but to continue as a Catholic school, Waldron Mercy must comply with those teachings.”
Many parents are upset by the dismissal, and Philadelphia’s Democratic nominee for mayor, Jim Kenney, a Catholic-school graduate, has criticized the firing.

Spokesman Ken Gavin said last week that the archdiocese “did not influence” Waldron’s decision at the non-diocesan elementary school.
However, Chaput on Monday weighed in with his statement.
“Schools describing themselves as Catholic take on the responsibility of teaching and witnessing the Catholic faith in a manner true to Catholic belief,” he wrote. “There’s nothing complicated or controversial in this. It’s a simple matter of honesty.”


Anonymous said...

WWFKD?(What Would Father Kavanaugh Do? I have never heard him make a comment about these situations. He might have, maybe I missed it. Please reiterate.

It's a hard spot to be in. But it's great to see some action being done, a lack of ambiguity, particularly in in the more liberal parts of the country. These show where we're supposed to stand even if it doesn't feel comfortable.

Rood Screen said...

Why can't they just keep their fruitless sexual commitments to themselves? Is this some kind of exhibitionism?

Anonymous said...

This Sunday at Holy Mass, the priest lamented the fact that the "Sisters" of Mercy stated they have no problem with gay marriage but that they had no choice. In other words they admitted they don't believe in Church teaching any more than the teacher does, or the majority of bishops for that matter, but they know who butters their bread....... at least for the present.

The bishops of this country will only give lip service to opposing gay "marriage" for a short time. After Francis' visit in Semptember when he will publicly state or do something scandalous with regards to gay "married" couples he will be giving his tacit approval to the bishops to remain silent and shut up on the issue, just like he has done.

A pope who has no problem with blasphemous representations of Christ crucified.........then presents the blasphemy to Christ's own mother as a gift isn't going to stand by bishops who uphold Church (Christ's) teaching on marriage.

Rood Screen said...

Pope Francis seems to believe in the effectiveness of gradual evangelization, and that this process is only hampered by our attempts to combat immorality among the unconverted. Therefore, he will likely continue to bless those living overtly immoral lives, but he will simultaneously work to convert them to Christ and the Church.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Is there a connection between life and liturgy?"

That's an easy one: "CCC 1068: For it is in the liturgy, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, that "the work of our redemption is accomplished," and it is through the liturgy especially that the faithful are enabled to express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church."

JusadBellum said...

"In the Mercy spirit, many of us accept life choices that contradict current Church teachings".

The "mercy spirit" is about accepting "life choices" that contradict Church teaching?

So what bedrock dogma is this "mercy spirit" rooted in if not "church teaching"?

We all know the answer: it's rooted in the spirit of the age, the world, flesh and devil...what ever is politically correct and praised by the New York Times.

Lefebvrian said...

Bishops have a grave responsibility to teach, rule, and sanctify those in their charge, which includes protecting them from those who seek to pervert the faith and morals within and without the Catholic Church. As we are reminded in today's Gospel reading for the Feast of St. Bonaventure: "He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven."

Anonymous said...

And while he's trying that gradual evangelization (which is what the Church has been trying since VII), what about the hemorrhage of Catholics from Mass during the same period?

Anonymous said...


So, the Pope blesses immoral behavior? Some of his detractors say that. Should he actually do it, he could not be the Vicar of Christ now, could he? You would benefit from reading St. Paul's first letter to the Romans. Also, take a look at his letter to Timothy on what makes a good bishop. I do not see him recommending anywhere that bishops should to bless homosexual or other aberrant behaviors.


Michael (Quicumque Vult) said...

Any pope could feasibly "bless" immoral behavior, and be no less the Pope for it. Could he say, as a matter of Faith, that some form of immorality is moral? No. But as a person, each individual pope may or may not be moral, and this has no effect on his status as Vicar of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Why does Margie and the rest like her even want to teach in a Catholic school? I am sure she was waiting for this moment of infamy. I would no less want to teach in a Jewish school or a Quaker school as I do not believe in the tenets of those religions.

Anonymous said...

Is it any wonder that young people (& old ones as well) are becoming "nones"', considering all the judgement that takes place on this blog??? Oh how righteous you are all are,

Anonymous 2 said...

Much as I find it impossible to get my mind around sexual relations between same sex couples, especially men, I am not prepared to reduce a same sex marriage to sex any more than I am prepared to reduce a heterosexual marriage to sex and I suggest that it is grossly unfair to same sex married couples to do so. Similarly, I am not prepared to reduce a person to their sexual identity. So, yes, I think I can understand why someone who is in a same sex marriage would want to teach at a Catholic school. This is even more the case if that person is in fact Catholic (is Margie Catholic?).

As much as it may surprise some people, the Catholic Church and Catholic morality encompasses more than sex. (I always thought we left such narrowness to certain Protestant denominations, although perhaps I am being unfair to Protestants here =)). As matters stand, and despite all the gloomy prognostications about the designs of a Pope Francis inspired cabal on the upcoming synod on the family, it seems unlikely that same sex married couples are going to be able to call the Catholic Church their home in the foreseeable future, if ever. And this doubtless causes many gays and lesbians much heartache.

I am not suggesting that the teaching of the Church be changed, even if it could be (and it would hardly be my place to say), but I am suggesting that instead of dismissing same sex couples by reducing them to “fruitless sexual commitments,” some empathy may be in order. But this will not surprise anyone.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous at 9.22pm. What lesbian or homosexual is going to teach that the life they are living is immoral? That would be to go against everything they believe.

Bishop Chaput hit it on the button when he said "It’s a simple matter of honesty". It beggars belief that a Lesbian would ever apply at a Catholic school as religious instruction director. That to me is completely dishonest of her.

Perhaps we should have empathy with murderers and pedophiles because everyone has a story, don't they, a reason for doing the wrong thing - we all do - but it doesn't make it right and none of us sinner should expect empathy for our sins especially where the young and innocent are likely to be affected.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2: Straw man. While Catholic teaching on marriage of course involves procreation, where does that teaching limit the notion of marriage to sex, as you suggest?

Further, can a Catholic who accepts Church authority and doctrine (redundant, but stated that way to be clear) embrace his/her homosexuality to the point that s/he has contracted a same-sex marriage, consistently with that acceptance? Assuming that this is possible, can s/he then accept a public position within a Church-affiliated organization without giving scandal?

Anonymous 2 said...


No straw man; very real man/woman. I am not responding to Catholic teaching but to Dialogue’s comment towards the beginning of this thread: “Why can't they just keep their fruitless sexual commitments to themselves? Is this some kind of exhibitionism?”

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Jan:

We should not just pay lip service to empathy but actually demonstrate it. Many of the comments on this blog about gays and lesbians (not all of course) do not. That is my point.

Anonymous said...

Saw today the Little Sisters of the Poor lost some court judgment concerning contraceptive coverage (10th Circuit). I am too young to remember, but I think there was some book about the 1960s titled "The Unraveling of America." We need a sequel to that in light of the disastrous Supreme Court rulings a few weeks ago and the racial tension/polarization blowing up in the South over Confederate symbols, flags, streets---on point number 3 (the Confederate controversy), things are really spinning out of control....

Anonymous said...


Sorry, I remain unconvinced. Again (and here I'm responding to material in your post, not to your response to Dialogues), assuming it is even possible for a Catholic who accepts the Church's authority and doctrine to willingly enter a same-sex marriage (which I doubt), why would that person wish to teach at a Catholic school if s/he knew this would cause scandal (in the doctrinal/moral sense)?

On the other hand, a so-called Catholic who dissents from the Church's teachings on sexuality and chastity may have a strong motive to do so. But that's a different case, and to avoid the sin of scandal, the school should be willing to oppose that, at least within the bounds of the law.

Anonymous 2 said...


Fair enough. Why don’t you ask them?

By the same token, why would a divorced Catholic who remarries outside the Church want to teach at a Catholic school? Or, let’s make it really personal, why would someone like my mother who married my non-Catholic father outside the Church in 1947 want to teach at a Catholic school (she didn’t because there weren’t many such teaching options open in Britain when I was growing up but I can well see that she might have wanted to; one of her professions was as German language teacher). You see, Anonymous, it all looks a bit different once you start putting names and faces on the abstract category “gay” or “lesbian,” “divorced and remarried” or “married outside the Church.” And as far as I can see this, more than anything, is the main premise behind Pope Francis’s ministry. It’s all to do with developing certain “sensibilities” about real people as opposed to focusing on abstract moral rules. And notice, none of this is necessarily to suggest that Church teaching or Church policy should be changed. As I said, that is not for me to say.

Footnote: As I have explained elsewhere, my parents’ marriage was blessed thirty years later when my father became Catholic (as did I at about the same time). Then my mother was finally able to take communion again. (By the way, my parents, being very conservative people, would probably have both been horrified to see the development of same-sex marriage and it would probably have been quite difficult for them to develop empathy for gays and lesbians marrying, even though they were quite kind and empathetic towards single gay people in our circle of friends and acquaintances.)

Anonymous said...


Point 1: One reason that occurs to me why someone would want to do this is based in concupiscence. We've done something wrong, we know we've done something wrong, but we want forgiveness anyway. This is an extension of the fact that each of us sins every day yet still remains Catholic. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Another reason is a more extreme extension of the first. Something in the person in issue knows the Church and her teachings to be the Truth, and that deviating from the Truth jeopardizes one's soul. Yet something else about the person--for instance, sexual desire and/or illicit gratification thereof--has a very strong hold on him/her. it is a besetting sin or habitual sin, maybe venial, maybe mortal. Something in this person, due to his/her fallen nature, wants to have it both ways--to engage in this behavior without jeopardizing his soul. So s/he figures that if s/he can just get the Church to agree with or condone the behavior, s/he can have her cake and eat it too. And the way to do this is to agitate, campaign, be activist, as if doctrine is nothing more than policy.

Point 2: So, if someone wishes/seeks/claims to be Catholic and yet in a same-sex marriage, how should we treat this pastorally? If it is true that according to doctrine this is no marriage, and it is unchaste, and it is endangering the soul of the participants, do we do this person any favor at all in pretending, for pastoral purposes, that this is not the case? Is not the purpose of the shepherd to shepherd the sheep where it must be on order to be safe? I'm not suggesting that the priest/bishop/Church foam at the mouth and scream about hellfire and damnation. But if a mortal sin is involved--and even if it's a venial sin due to compromise of free will due to twisted sexual impulses--then hellfire and damnation _are_ involved, are they not? Do we really want that for the person in question? Should we not show more care for their souls than qui tacet consentire videtur?

To be continued . . .

Anonymous said...

Continued . . .

Point 3: So if we agree that souls are at least potentially (and probably actually) at stake here, if the Church, rather than mere silence, seems to be tacitly approving at least quasi-public and ongoing behavior that could lead to the damnation of souls, does that not raise the danger of scandal--of confusing other Catholics into believing that such behavior is morally acceptable (viz., not endangering one's soul)? Which leads me to . .

Point 4: You seem to me to have been getting a touch mean-spirited on this blog recently. Your most recent post is an example. "Let me give that homophobe an example that will show him he's calling my mother names." Maybe that's not how you meant the post, but that's how it came across. I'm not a gay-basher and am not stereotypically looking forward to laughing while these gays fry in hell. In fact, for reasons I won't get into here, I am keenly sensitive and empathetic to those with same-sex attraction. At the same time, I can see no wiggle-room at all in the doctrine and theology of marriage as developed by the Magisterium. What is the point of dialogue if in the end the Church--for the good of souls--is unable to change the teaching on marriage?

Point 5: If same-sex married couples cannot call the Catholic Church their home, that is not the fault of the Catholic Church. Were the Church to say that such a relationship is not sinful, then in contradicting herself she would no longer be the Catholic Church. Of course, the couple is free to attend Mass, but wouldn't they be inviting damnation by receiving Communion? Unless we want to say that sexual desire so compromises free will that no sexual sin meets the definition of mortal. Or they could get a civil divorce, go to confession, and live chastely as brother and brother or sister and sister or move out (i.e. live a legitimately Catholic lifestyle) and be in full communion with the Church. But you seem to be awfully close, in your lament about same-sex couples not being at home in the Church, to trying to serve two masters. Either such behavior is OK or it isn't, and doctrine is clear on which it is.

Anonymous 2 said...


Thank you for your thoughtful reply. You make some very good points. But one of the most important from my perspective is when you say “I am keenly sensitive and empathetic to those with same-sex attraction.” That is all I have been looking for from those commenting here. Indeed, in my view, without such empathy and sensitivity we will never succeed in persuading people with same sex attractions to accept the legitimacy of the Church’s teaching.

I am sorry if I am coming across as mean-spirited recently. Specifically, it certainly was not my intent to suggest that you were calling my mother names. And I would hope you can understand why I feel this sort of issue so personally. My mother was estranged from the Catholic Church for thirty years. Why? Because she married outside the Church and, in the eyes of the Church therefore, was not in a valid marriage but perhaps living in a state of mortal sin (although the elements of duress that prevented her from being able to enter a Catholic marriage arguably rendered in venial I suppose). Although I do not recall us ever talking much about it (in part because I could not understand given the state of my knowledge at the relevant times), I can only imagine now the anguish that this must have caused her—and this was on top of suffering undiagnosed PTSS after being bombed and shot at by the “Allies” in the Second World War. Moreover, because of her estrangement, I grew up un-churched. It is only through the grace of God, then, that we all eventually found our way (or in her case her way back) to the Church. So, I analogize from this to those in a same-sex marriage (despite the obvious difference that my parents’ marriage being heterosexual was always potentially acceptable in the eyes of the Church) and conclude that those in violation of the Church’s rules on marriage may nevertheless still find Catholicism a beautiful faith as my mother always did. That’s it; no more and no less.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anon.2 we all have family who are in the same situation as your mother was and we pray for them. At the time your mother was teaching, mainly nuns did that role and, sad and all thought it may have been, I doubt that your mother would have been employed at a Catholic school if she was not married in the Church and I am sure she wouldn't have wanted to put herself in that position either good woman that she obviously was.

The particular problem with homosexuality is that Church actually teaches that it is one of the sins, along with murder, abortion and defrauding people of their wages, that cries out to God for justice. So you can see why employing a practising homosexual, a murderer an abortionist, a person defrauding people of their wages in a Catholic school would, as Anonymous at 9.22 points out, cause scandal. It would also be contradictory to the values that the school professes to uphold and actually hypocritical to employ people living lives openly contrary to Church teaching.


George said...

In the teachings and precepts of the Church there is the fullness of the Truth which has been revealed and comes down to us from God. There are some of these true teachings which some in our time find difficult. One of these is the teaching that all sexual acts outside of marriage are sinful and therefore an offense against God. Would God Who knows all and is the embodiment of love tell us what we can and cannot do if it were not for our good? There were times when we were a child that our father or mother would tell us what we couldn’t do or have and we did not understand why (or we were obstinate and didn’t really care why). As we got older we came to understand why they would tell us that we couldn’t have or do certain things. God is a Merciful God but He is also a Holy God and He cannot approve of those things which go against His Holy nature. His Holy Church on earth being guided by the Holy Spirit, likewise also cannot do so. We are all sinners so the Church has open arms for all who wish to enter int a true and holy relationship with God. This can be a long struggle and journey for some and in our time that would include those with for instance, a homosexual inclination. The Church's conditional accommodation to the reality of homosexuality for instance, is rooted not only in God’s Mercy and Love, but also His Justice. Though the homosexual inclination is not evil in itself ( being disordered, it is part of man's Fallen nature), the Church's mission to have all benefit from her sacramental life and to have a right and proper relationship with God requires the homosexual person to refrain from the sinful act itself, that act being a grave evil. This is no different from what it requires of any unmarried person. In fact, even when the person is married, the sexual act must be open to the creation of new life and if it is not, then such an act is also sinful. This is why same-sex marriage can never be valid in the eyes of the Church, because the sexual act of a homosexual union is never open to the creation of life and is always sinful. All single individuals, while in they are that state are called to be celibate. Difficult? It can be, but always keep in mind that with God all things are possible. Pray. Discipline yourself. Turn away from those things that are leading you into sin. Have recourse confession and to the Blessed Virgin and the saints.Ask for the prayers of others. Always persevere and never give up. For those who encounter difficulty in maintaining a celibate lifestyle, then they should abstain from receiving communion until they come to the realization that what they are doing is sinful and repent and confess their sins. God will reward those who persevere with a sincere dedicated effort to reform their lives.
God is not only a Just and Holy God but a Merciful God..