Bp. Tobin of Providence reacts to passage of same-sex “marriage” legislation

His Excellency Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence has issued a pastoral letter to the people of the diocese entrusted to him.  He reacts to the passage of same-sex “marriage” legislation for Rhode Island… a state which once had a very high percentage of Catholics.

He, first, invites people to pray.   He speaks about our “post-Christian” era.  He says that we have challenges but also opportunities.  God will judge our actions.

Here is the letter from the site of the Diocese of Providence:

Letter to Catholics on the Approval of “Same-Sex Marriage” in RI

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Since the legislative approval of “same-sex marriage” in Rhode Island, a number of people have requested that I offer some guidance on this development. It is for that purpose that I write at this time. In particular I wish to invite members of the Catholic Church in Rhode Island to a moment of prayer and reflection as we respond to this new challenge of the post-Christian era into which, clearly, we have now entered.

First, like many others, I am profoundly disappointed that Rhode Island has approved legislation that seeks to legitimize “same-sex marriage.” The Catholic Church has fought very hard to oppose this immoral and unnecessary proposition, and we are most grateful to all those who have courageously joined us in this effort. When all is said and done, however, we know that God will be the final judge of our actions. [And of those who passed the legislation.  In the meantime, can. 915 comes to mind.]

As I have emphasized consistently in the past, the Catholic Church has respect, love and pastoral concern for our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction. I sincerely pray for God’s blessings upon them, that they will enjoy much health, happiness and peace. We also offer our prayerful support to families, especially parents, who often struggle with this issue when it occurs in their own homes.

Our respect and pastoral care, however, does not mean that we are free to endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior, whenever or however it occurs. Indeed, as St. Paul urges us, we are required to “speak the truth in love.” (Eph 4:15)

At this moment of cultural change, it is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful. And because “same-sex marriages” are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others. [I am glad that he mentions scandal.  This is a concept to which people should be reintroduced.  It may be that the meaning of the word has be emptied under the onslaught of the MSM reporting "scandals" about starlets and pop-tarts and athletes.]

Despite this serious regression in the public morality of our state we need to recognize that there are other major issues that demand our attention. We must continue to engage our culture, remembering that Jesus called us to be “the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” (Mt 5:13-14) Be assured, therefore, that the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Providence will continue its mission of preaching the Gospel, advocating for what is right and just, and serving the needs of our community to the very best of our ability.

Without a doubt this is a time of challenge, even disappointment for many of us, but it is also an opportunity to be steadfast and courageous, and to renew our commitment to Christ and His Church. As our Lord Jesus Christ told us, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (Jn 16:33)

Dear brothers and sisters, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, may God be with you as you continue your journey of faith, and may He bless you and your families with His finest gifts, now and always.

Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Tobin.

I just finished reading a book by Russell Shaw called American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America.  He traces how, over many decades, the drive to assimilate so completely into the worldly aspects of American life has gutted our Catholic identity, has eroded our “plausibility structures” and destroyed our Catholic subculture.  He offers a few ideas for rebuilding, but the climb will be steep.

We are seeing the effects of the loss of our Catholic identity.

To rebuild our Catholic identity, however, we have to build our Catholic liturgical worship.  This is the sine qua non for any other undertaking.

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39 Responses to Bp. Tobin of Providence reacts to passage of same-sex “marriage” legislation

  1. The Masked Chicken says:

    Whatever happened to sin, sigh.

    The Chicken

  2. Pingback: Fri. Update on Marriage & Same-Sex Attraction | Big Pulpit

  3. djc says:

    I remember Bp Tobin from the Youngstown Diocese (in Ohio) and he was an upstanding, straight forward guy. His leadership and clear teaching of church doctrine is really not surprising at all.

  4. BaedaBenedictus says:

    One wonders what percentage of the Catholics in the RI State House voted for this monstrosity. His Excellency is in a position to respond, and actions will speak much more loudly than words.

  5. Rellis says:

    Bishop Tobin has a history of using Can. 915, to his credit. He used it with former Cong. Patrick Kennedy a few years ago. We only know it because Kennedy himself told the media (the bishop wanted to keep it discreet and private for pastoral reasons).

    I have no doubt conversations have started with these local officials, too. I also have no doubt that we won’t know about them unless the official decides to grandstand like Kennedy did.

  6. Katylamb says:

    Whatever happened to sin? It’s in there: “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful. And because “same-sex marriages” are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful…”

    I wish someone would give some hints how we’re supposed to act when faced with dealing with “married” same sex couples as well. Something practical.

  7. John Fannon says:

    The Catechism on the Vatican website terms says that basing itself on Sacred Scripture, homosexual acts are presented as an act of grave depravity, and tradition has always declared that the homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.

    To describe this act as one of grave depravity is an expression a much stronger than describing it as intrinsically disordered.

    Are they equivalent?

  8. Bastiat Fan says:

    As a gay man and a practicing Catholic (a CONVERT, actually), I struggle with this every day. I remain chaste through no strength of my own, but through prayer, struggle and the intercession of the saints from whom I ask for help. I applaud the bishop’s clear, straightforward (and LOVING) response to the latest same sex “marriage” nonsense. There is no compromise with sin. (As an aside, I welcome prayers on my behalf from the readers who comment—and those who don’t!— here. I derive great strength from my daily “check in” with Fr. Z.)

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  9. PostCatholic says:

    Well, I agree with the good bishop on one of his points, viz. that there is a “post-Christian era into which, clearly, we have now entered.”

  10. Blaine says:

    I was confirmed by Bishop Tobin in the Diocese of Youngstown in 10th grade, and met him a few times at my high school. Even though I was pretty lukewarm about my faith (mea maxima culpa!) I remember him as having an impressive presence – not arrogant or pompous at all, but you knew to respect him.

    I truly wish I’d of listened more to him back then – I’d of saved myself a lot of trouble! But of course i knew all the answers back then. He writes some fantastic things on his blog, which I browse through every once in a while.

  11. chantgirl says:

    Bastiat Fan- Know that you are loved and prayed for. In my own struggle for chastity, three things have been especially helpful- frequent confession, devotion to the Holy Family, and daily prayer (rosary, divine mercy chaplet etc. ). I have found Saint Joseph to be an excellent help in this area since he offered his continence as a sacrifice to God. I will offer my rosary for you, as the struggle against lust is particularly difficult in our culture.

  12. mamajen says:

    @Bastiat Fan

    God bless you. A chaste gay man AND a convert. Wow. You, sir, are a hero.

    I hope that we as a Church will learn to better convey love and support for people like you, as we are meant to do. I agree that the bishop did a good job. I will pray for you.

  13. Joe in Canada says:

    Looking for a silver lining, the Church is free once again to make the case on grounds of revelation as well as reason. Good letter, Bishop!

  14. Bastiat Fan says:

    Gosh….thanks so much for the kind words and prayers, chantgirl and mamajen. I am deeply humbled. You’ll like this chantgirl: I am blessed to be a member of a parish where our priest (God bless you, Fr. Harris!) is a huge proponent of CONFESSION, and makes himself available for it an amazing number of hour per week. I am delighted to say that I make frequent use of it, and you (and Fr. Z) are right about what a powerful sacrament it is. Regarding the rosary, how’s THIS for a traditional guy? I taught myself to pray it in LATIN. If you’re up for the homework, I recommend it highly. It takes on a whole new quality when you pray it in Latin. (If you’re interested, you can purchase a CD of the rosary in Latin from ProMultis Media. That’s how I started, so I could get the pronunciation right.)

    Thanks again so much for your prayers and support!

  15. Janol says:

    Bishop Tobin having said
    “At this moment of cultural change, it is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful. And because “same-sex marriages” are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful…”
    I really do not understand how he can go on to say that
    “Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.”
    Everyone must seek knowledge and form and guide their consciences by objective standards, and in the case of Catholics that is found in the authoritative teaching of the Church. Catholic consciences are bound. How is it then that this passage seems to indicate that knowing what the Church clearly teaches as regards same-sex relationships and marriage one may then justly consider not acting on that teaching. (Shades of the birth control scandal.)??

  16. Janol says:

    @Bastiat Fan
    Your two posts today have given much joy to my heart! God bless you!

  17. wmeyer says:

    Well done, Bastiat Fan, and I shall pray for your continued success!

  18. maryh says:

    @Janol
    I really do not understand how he can go on to say that
    “Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.”

    My first thought when I read that was just that we should be aware that we might give scandal if we recognize people in same-sex relationships as couples, or attend same-sex ceremonies. “Endorse” was maybe not a good word to use.

    We really are in a very difficult time here. If you have a relative or close friend who is having a same-sex ceremony, do you stay away because it’s wrong, or do you attend because they are a friend or relative, still making sure they know you disapprove? Does attending automatically mean you are approving or automatically cause scandal? What if you stay away from the ceremony but go to the reception? Is that okay? Is it okay to visit the household? You don’t want to cut the person out of your life. How do you deal with the very practical problems without causing scandal or increasing the likelihood that they and others will be confirmed in their sin?

    And here’s another one. What if one of the bosses where you were work is in a same-sex relationship / marriage? This actually happened to me, and I’m not sure I handled it correctly. When they bring their partner to a company event, you can’t be rude and ignore them. Where’s the line between simple politeness and endorsing a same-sex relationship?

    Anyway, those are the kinds of questions I was thinking of when Bishop Tobin used those terms.

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    “When they bring their partner to a company event, you can’t be rude and ignore them. Where’s the line between simple politeness and endorsing a same-sex relationship?”

    I once had a discussion with my spiritual director after I quit working at a temp job because the paid for abortions. During the discussion, I mentioned that they used to have the right idea about evil – drive it to the edge of town and throw it out. I am neither sympathetic nor particularly polite to people who are engaging in sin, knowing or at least being able to reason to the conclusion that it is wrong. Their engagement in sin darkens the world and is a form of attack against the Good and the Holy. It is a part of the subversion of the modern mind that one would even think to be polite to someone flaunting such sin (evil tendencies and disorders not acted on do not count as this is meritorious behavior).

    If one cannot call out and correct the evil when it manifests itself without fear of reprisal, unless the situation calls for an heroic refutation of the evil, the general theology of fraternal correction teaches that one is dispensed fom the attempt. Thus, smile and ignore them, unless you must speak, then speak as if you are looking through them. That might just creep them out, for, surely, unless they can feel how trapped they are by the Devil, all will be lost.

    My prose is a little 19-th century-ish, it seems, but, basically, I mean to say that I agree with Edmund Burke and Plato:

    “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

    “The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

    The Chicken

  20. Janol says:

    @maryh: I cannot see a Catholic in good conscience “endorsing same-sex relationships” or “attending same-sex ceremonies” for whatever reason. I am not speaking of friendly relations with homosexual couples nor of visiting them in their household but of “endorsing” and “attending ceremonies” celebrating their union which is what the Bishop is speaking of.

  21. albizzi says:

    “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”
    Too soft!
    “homosexual acts are an abomination” (the Bible)

  22. mplangley says:

    @maryh

    Not to pick on you in particular but I think your thoughts show why our side is loosing this fight. We are making the simple complex and fail to see and understand what should be obvious.

    Your questions are not difficult to answer:

    “If you have a relative or close friend who is having a same-sex ceremony, do you stay away because it’s wrong,” – absolutely. You stay away.

    “or do you attend because they are a friend or relative, still making sure they know you disapprove?” – Would someone who really understood how wicked homosexual acts are attend such an event which itself is an attack on civilized society? Would you attend a ceremony honoring thieves on the basis that you let your thief friend or relative know how much you disapproved of theft?

    “Does attending automatically mean you are approving or automatically cause scandal?” Whatever it means it is wrong.

    “What if you stay away from the ceremony but go to the reception? Is that okay?” No. That is not ok.

    “Is it okay to visit the household?” No – not really. Would you have dinner with a thief knowing he was a thief – an unrepentant one at that?

    ” You don’t want to cut the person out of your life.” Actually you probably should “cut the person out of your life – in one way or another if you can. Certainly you can never be true “friends” as the word is commonly understood. You can pray for them etc but why would you want somone so steeped in perversion to be part of your life? Why is this even a question? There are very few actions, if any, that as immoral as they one to which they are habituated.

    I think many good people would not be asking these types of questions if they really considered or understood just how bad a crime against nature homosexual acts are.

    There are few if any crimes/sins worse than this one and so when you are dealing with a person who sees no problem with their absolutely perverse actions your sensibilities and responses should be the very same as if you were dealing with an other unrepentant and boastful criminal.

    Their actions are a crime whether the state recognizes the fact or not and their “marriage” ceremonies are a farce and an attack on the whole civilized order of the universe! Your level of repulsion should not be based upon what the state says is legal or illegal, moral or immoral.

    If we are repulsed and revolted by any single thing their particular type of sin is that Thing. Its a crime so wicked we shouldnt even be talking about it as a matter of fact.

    How low have we fallen?

    Nuf said?

  23. Johnno says:

    “Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others. ”

    A pointless statement. Cafeteria Catholics and Catholic politicians have been happily ‘struggling with their consciences’ all this time and have decided ultimately that homosexuality and homosexual marriages are morally grand and worth putting more effort and money into supporting than they do proclaiming the Gospel. The same goes for abortion. To them these things don’t harm ones relationship with God nor cause scandal. This ‘examining consciences’ vague pleasantry needs to go away. No point examining an uninformed conscience. One can rewrite their conscience to make hell seem like a perfectly desirable thing.

    Catholics should be forbidden by their leaders from doing anything whatsoever that lends support to homosexuality. Just tell us what we ought to do. Leaving it up to our consciences opens the doorway to justify sin so long as the other Jimminy Crickets out there play hardball messages that sinning is good and desirable… or else! God never gave us any laws saying “Thou shalt examine your conscience as to whether to follow my law or not.” Discerning how best to address or approach the homosexual circumstances around you with the intention of bringing to others the clear truth is a different matter.

  24. mamajen says:

    I have a childhood friend who I found out in recent years was homosexual. I haven’t actually seen him in quite some time, but I’m in contact with him via Facebook. Unfortunately he decided to “marry” another man. I didn’t acknowledge the event in any way, and I still don’t. That said, I am still okay with being his friend (more like acquaintance, really), and we find other normal things to talk about, like the weather, politics, cars and childhood memories. He knows very well where I stand as far as religion and politics are concerned (in his case he never was Catholic, but is surprisingly conservative). If he happens to say something incorrect about Catholics or conservatives, I have no qualms about speaking up and correcting him. There have been other people who I’ve not been able to maintain a friendship with because they don’t want to think or be questioned, but this guy is an exception.

    I’ve noticed with people who are on the wrong path that friendship can mean an awful lot–they stop and think “Wait a minute, everyone tells me that this type of person is supposed to be mean and hateful toward me, but she isn’t. Hmmm.” I like to confuse people in that manner :)

    I can’t think of a circumstance under which I would decide to attend a same sex “wedding” or anything of the sort. I am very careful not to endorse sin, whether it’s active homosexuality, a heterosexual couple shacking up, out of wedlock babies, or whatever. But I try to be the biggest cheerleader for those people when they make an effort to turn things around, and I can’t do that if I’ve shunned them altogether. You never know what an impression your kindness and example (in combination with steadfast belief) might make.

  25. frjim4321 says:

    “As I have emphasized consistently in the past, the Catholic Church has respect, love and pastoral concern for our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction. ”

    Here, Tobin buys into a nomenclature that is not found anywhere in the Catechism of the Catholic Church nor in the bishop’s document “Always Our Children.” A sexual orientation is not like having a cold, the flu, heart disease or cancer. It is a fundamental aspect of one’s personality, whether or not he/she chooses to act upon it.

    “Same Sex Attraction” (“SSA”) is a pseudo psychological term which exists nowhere in the established medical or psychological literature. It has been invented and embraced over the past 10 or so years by quack psychologists like Dick FitzGibbons who fleece desperate parents hundreds of dollar to “fix” their gay sons via Skype. It is profoundly demeaning to persons with a homosexual orientation. But it makes a lot of money for quack malpracticing psychologists.

    Unfortunately for all the possible good that this particular bishop may have done, he cut his own legs off by (1) using crude and unprofessional nomenclature, and (2) displaying his ignorance in this regard thereby undermining any possible moral authority he might have otherwise had.

    Don’t get me wrong. I fully expect any bishop to oppose marriage rights legislation. But I would expect him to do it in an intelligent and pastorally sound manner. This prelate failed on both counts. [For the record, in case people missed it, frjim thinks Bp. Tobin's letter is stupid and un-pastoral.]

  26. maryh says:

    @frjim4321
    It is profoundly demeaning to persons with a homosexual orientation.
    Not to all of them. And it directly challenges the assumption that a homosexual inclination has an ontological status different than any other major disorder.

    At the blog of some gay/same sex attracted people that I follow, one compared it to Down’s Syndrome. Yes, it has a huge impact on one’s life, but it is not something that defines you as a person. In heaven, the person with Down’s Syndrome will be cured, because all illness and disorder will be removed.

    As many gay, or same sex attracted people do, I use the terms interchangeably, because yes, it is not a term that is used much outside the traditional Christian community. I prefer to speak so I can be heard. And there is no doubt that many, if not most gay people who disagree with the Church’s teaching find it offensive, because they find the whole idea that their sexual orientation is disordered to be offensive.

    I use the term same-sex-attracted among traditionalists because I believe it more accurately reflects the fact that homosexuality is a disorder and does not define a person.

    As for it not existing “in the established medical or psychological literature”, the existing medical and psychological literature doesn’t even think homosexuality is a disorder. And we could talk about why that might be, but that would probably open up a rabbit hole.

  27. Katylamb says:

    I really do not understand how he can go on to say that
    “Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.”

    My conscience would not allow me to endorse same-sex relationships or to attend one of their ceremonies. However, it is a matter of conscience. Where does the catechism say we should shun sinners? If we do shun sinners, we would have to shun everyone, including ourselves. Not very easy to do. I do not shun sinners such as divorced and remarried people, or people shacking up, etc. I do not shun unmarried mothers either. I do not want to shun “same-sex married” couples. We are supposed to try to get these people into the Church, and I believe that will never happen if we shun them completely- even if that were possible. I would turn down an invitation to such a “wedding” and would briefly and honestly explain why too. However, if I were in a social situation with these people I would treat them kindly. It is THEIR sin, not mine. Some people might feel that way about even attending one of the ceremonies. Suppose someone’s job is in jeopardy because their boss is having one of those ceremonies? They have a family to support. Yes, they may have to give up that job or risk being fired. However, they need to examine their own conscience to decide which road to take. They have that right. The catechism does not tell us that it’s a mortal sin to attend such things. It does not say, “don’t attend a same-sex “wedding.” We have to use our informed conscience and decide these things for ourselves.

  28. Johnno says:

    frjim4321 said:

    “Here, Tobin buys into a nomenclature that is not found anywhere in the Catechism of the Catholic Church nor in the bishop’s document “Always Our Children.” A sexual orientation is not like having a cold, the flu, heart disease or cancer. It is a fundamental aspect of one’s personality, whether or not he/she chooses to act upon it. ”

    - Here frjim4321 buys into the notion that because one has an ingrained disposition they are not responsible for that therefore they are unable to control their actions.

    ““Same Sex Attraction” (“SSA”) is a pseudo psychological term which exists nowhere in the established medical or psychological literature.”

    - Here frjim4321 is unaware that the term ‘homosexuality’ is also an entire made up term that didn’t exist in psychologicy until it was recently made up with the express purpose of making it appear relatable to heterosexuality. There is no actual ‘sex’ in homosexual acts any more than there is actual ‘eating’ between a man chewing plain air and imagining its a sandwich. Thus why the term ‘homosexual’ has never existed in the long world’s history of dealing with such people until our present age. Oh no, Same Sex Attraction means homosexuals are sexuall attracted to persons of teh same sex… what a confusing notion!

    “It is profoundly demeaning to persons with a homosexual orientation. But it makes a lot of money for quack malpracticing psychologists.”

    - Here frjim4321 exposes his ignorance and discrimination against many SSA people who have successfully learned to deal with their issues and follow moral Christian doctrines. He demeans a whole group of people to whom he would uncharitably deny appropriate treatment and recourse. frjim4321 therefore wants to eliminate the proper distinctions used by both the Church and the homosexual community that choose their terminology to either focus on an identity or on a particular circumstance about a person. frjim4321 denies persons with SSA the ability to stand up in front of him and declare that one aspect of their life doesn’t define who they are as people and therefore reject the identity frjim4321 wants to tyranically impose upon them. If Jesus Christ Himself were to appear before a SSA person and promise to cure him simply by reaching out and touching him and saying, “Be healed and sin no more”, a recourse to which many helping those with SSA recommend by turning their lives towards Christ and letting Him heal them and carry their cross beside Him, here frjim4321 woul classify our Lord as a quack who is operating outside of Obama’s federally approved Health Administration without the proper qualifications and correct usage of medical nomenclature and pastorability because he read that in an online article somewhere and it sounded mightily impressive.

    “Unfortunately for all the possible good that this particular bishop may have done, he cut his own legs off by (1) using crude and unprofessional nomenclature, and (2) displaying his ignorance in this regard thereby undermining any possible moral authority he might have otherwise had.”

    - Here frjim4321 decides for us what is crude and unprofessional and demands we adhere to his personal feelings about the matter even though he has in no way refuted as to whether anything the good bishop said was wrong. frjim4321 cannot and knows it and therefore is making an emotional argument devoid of rationale merely meant as an appeal to feelings about words rather than facts. frjim4321 would rather hijack the topic to be a discussion about definitions and minutiae and ignore the heart of the matter that regardless of whatever you wish to call it it whatever terminology is most pleasing to your ears, it means the same thing and it is an abomination before the Lord and a sin that cries out for vengeance that endangers souls to hell.

    “Don’t get me wrong. I fully expect any bishop to oppose marriage rights legislation. But I would expect him to do it in an intelligent and pastorally sound manner. This prelate failed on both counts.”

    - Here frjim4321 will fail to provide an example text of how to be ‘pastoral’ or even ‘intelligent’ in this scenario. But isn’t it nice how we can just ‘say things…’

  29. chantgirl says:

    frjim4321- On the contrary, I would expect every bishop to support “marriage rights legislation”, but if you are referring to people attempting to marry those of the same gender, there is no such thing as a right to an impossibility. There can be no right to gay marriage because it simply does not exist.

  30. Kathleen10 says:

    The APA (American Psychiatric Association), hope I am getting that right, considered homosexuality a disorder until fairly recently, maybe, 20 years ago? How quickly we forget. But of course, since the APA has decided it is not a disorder, then, to many of us apparently, it is not. So easily we fall in line with medical professionals! They clearly have the last word on what is and what is not, disordered. We would do better to use Scripture as our guidepost.
    Perhaps the Catholic Church has actually give a bit “too much” respect to homosexuals. The rest of us have pretty much been forgotten in this mess! Oh I’ve heard many a homily on avoiding judgment of others and compassion, inclusion and (groan) diversity! But how about the plain old run of the mill heterosexual sinner like myself! We need respect, love, and pastoral concern too! In fact, right now we need MORE perhaps, because we are fighing a huge battle for our culture, and it is only just beginning!
    Fr. Jim. I don’t mean to corner you. I really don’t. But personally I wish more priests and all clergy would give the rest of us the same pastoral concern homosexuals seem to get from some quarters.
    With all, all sincerity, our homosexual brothers and sisters are deserving of our care and love. But homosexuality is often base. I mean, truth be told about the homosexual lifestyle, is it flat out ugly. Depravity is the kindest word you can call men who prowl truck stops for anonymous sex with strangers, or bathhouses. In a nearby town the woods are full of men meeting others they don’t know there and immediately engaging in sexual activities, where the could be seen by bystanders and/or children.
    Children are now being encouraged to experiment with homosexuality in our public schools, and parents are either too cowardly, too uneducated, too politically correct, too fearful, too something, to forcefully say they will not stand for it, or remove their children from these sick “indoctrination camps”. But priests such as yourself, continue to either stay silent, or constantly criticize or chastise those who try to say or do something about it. Therefore, we are in a cultural and spiritual MESS, with so much fear and confusion, people are afraid to say the truth for fear of the bullying and backlash, not to mention the real retribution gay activists have brought upon people just trying to follow their conscience. I don’t mean to be fresh. I respect your vocation so much. But I would ask you to please keep in mind how demeaning the homosexual lifestyle is for people, and that it is not at all in their best interests in any way to live in it.
    I appreciate Bishop Tobin’s courage and clarity. I don’t care how he said it. He is going to be profoundly vilified for it, and it astounds me that at this time we would dicker over semantics or vocabulary, and not support the intent.
    And Bastiat Fan, I too admire your spirit and your intention. On attraction and lust we all are tempted at various times. I pray that God helps you, and I know He will reward you.
    I also love your suggestion about the Rosary in Latin and will contact that company. Great idea and I believe I would prefer it.

  31. Southern Catholic says:

    @Katylamb, the good Bishop never says anywhere in his letter that you should shun anyone.

    I don’t quite understand your second point, how can someone be forced to attend these “ceremonies”?

  32. Cafea Fruor says:

    Katylamb, the very act of attempting same-sex “marriage” is a sin in and of itself, so absenting yourself from the ceremony is shunning the sin, not the sinner.

    You say you wouldn’t go to one but that it’s a matter of conscience, but I can’t see what could possibly make the conscience OK with attending such a ceremony. You give the example of someone perhaps attending a ceremony out of conscience because their boss is getting “married”, and their not attending would put their job at risk. OK. For the sake of argument, let’s look at another example: Let’s say a woman’s boss demands her presence while he rapes another employee in front of her, and he threatens to fire her if she doesn’t witness the act. So the woman stays because she needs the job to feed her kids. Maybe she makes it known to her boss that she disapproves, but she stays anyway. That employee, as a witness doing nothing to stop the deed, would probably be at least raked through the coals for not doing something beyond expressing disapproval, if not viewed as something of an accomplice. Having a family to feed would be no real excuse in a court; it might lessen her culpability, but not remove it entirely. Now, both a same-sex attempt at “marriage” and a rape are objectively mortally sinful. So, if we’d never say it’s OK for an employee to just sit there and witness her boss raping her coworker out of fear of losing her job, why would anyone say that it could sometimes be OK to attend one of these same-sex “marriage” ceremonies? I suspect that, because being invited to a same-sex “marriage” is a more likely to happen to any of us than my hypothetical one, and because such a ceremony involves people we know and expresses some amount of love, albeit severely distortedly, it’s less recognizable as a downright horrendous act than rape, murder, etc., and we have a harder time separating the people from the heinousness of the act.

    There has to be a point when we say, “X is a mortal sin, darn it, and I absolutely refuse to be present at X because X is a mortal sin,” no matter what specific form X takes, and even we love the people committing X or if we have to suffer personal loss because of being absent from X. And I think there has to be a point when we realize that the true shunning is done by those who insist we set aside our beliefs and do violence to our character by attending something we can’t in good conscience attend.

    I could maybe, maybe see the conscience thing coming into play when it’s a matter of a heterosexual couple attempting marriage invalidly, because at least a heterosexual relationship is a natural one, and there can be hope of the couple validating the union later on. But when it comes to same-sex “marriage”, it is entirely unnatural and can never be fixed, can never be validated. There is no hope of a sacramental marriage anywhere down the line.

    The only way I could really concede attending one of these ceremonies being OK is if you attend with the sole purpose of, when the minister (or more likely the JP) says, “If anyone knows of any reason why these two should not be joined…”, shouting out “Because it’s impossible!!”

  33. robtbrown says:

    FrJim4321 says,

    A sexual orientation is not like having a cold, the flu, heart disease or cancer. It is a fundamental aspect of one’s personality, whether or not he/she chooses to act upon it.

    That it can be considered a fundamental aspect of someone’s personality proves nothing. There are other fundamental aspects that you probably don’t approve of–tendencies toward rash boldness or toward cowardice, toward intemperance (excessive pleasure) or toward insensitivity (stoic rejection of pleasure), too solicitous of certain consequences or not solicitous enough.

  34. robtbrown says:

    Kathleen10 says,

    But personally I wish more priests and all clergy would give the rest of us the same pastoral concern homosexuals seem to get from some quarters.

    You have identified what IMHO is the cause of most of contemporary problems in the Church. There has been too much emphasis on those who have problems or are not Catholic at the expense of those who are. And so we have liturgy designed not to sanctify Catholics but rather to attract those who are not (some being virulently anti-Catholic).

    It is a case of losing the flock while pursuing lost lambs.

  35. mplangley says:

    @everybody

    Could we stop referring to it as an “orientation”? It (homosexuality) is a disorientation not an “orientation”.

    Frankly it would be nice to not have to talk about it at all.

  36. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Could we stop referring to it as an “orientation”? It (homosexuality) is a disorientation not an “orientation”.

    Technically, it is a disordered orientation. Suppose one has a map and a compass. If the compass has south where north should be, one still is oriented, just in the wrong direction. If the compass swung wildly in random directions, then one would be disoriented.

    One the other hand, perhaps some of these posts should come with a warning, lest innocent eyes should happen onto them. Little kids can learn a lot from this blog, but I know when I was a wee chick, I had never even heard about any of this stuff – by wee chick, I mean in graduate school :) Anyway, to me all humans pretty much look alike (except for the ones with bird seed – those are special.

    Just to lighten your day, here is a freeware cartoon from Nick Kim. His site is hilarious for people who like science cartoons. That link is the second one.

    http://www.lab-initio.com/screen_res/nz374.jpg

    http://www.lab-initio.com/index2.html

    Click on the master list link and enjoy. He has many cartoons of CHICKENS!

    The Chicken

  37. Blaine says:

    Janol,

    I really get the sense when His Excellency says we Catholics should examine our consciousnesses he is basically saying we “need to really think through what we’re about to do [because there is only one right answer, and any other has dire consequences].” I don’t think he’s saying there are multiple right options. It’s a very paternal phrasing. In fact when he says next you may be harming your relationship with God he’s saying you would be. My parents talked this way to me all the time, especially as a teenager. He’s not taking away the choice to do wrong (which God doesn’t do either (free will)), but he’s quite clearly delineating the right course and telling us to choose wisely.

  38. mplangley says:

    “Technically, it is a disordered orientation. Suppose one has a map and a compass. If the compass has south where north should be, one still is oriented, just in the wrong direction. If the compass swung wildly in random directions, then one would be disoriented”

    All very relatavisitc of you. If your compass has a west where the orient should be then your compass is disoriented as you would be were you to follow it. Your phrase “disordered orientation” is simply an oxymoron.

  39. wmeyer says:

    Whatever label may be applied, SSA calls for chastity. The alternative is gravely disordered and sinful. No semantic maneuvering or legislation can alter that reality.