Pastor Iuventus on the appalling Met “Gay-la”

From the UK’s best Catholic weekly the Catholic Herald comes a commentary on the Met “Gay-la”.   Yes, we are still talking about that horrid blotch on the Church’s reputation, lest we forget.  My emphases and comments:

Pastor Iuventus: ?In today’s Church, satire is becoming impossible

There is a comic novel by AN Wilson called Kindly Light in which Norman Shotover, a priest from the fictional Catholic Institute of Alfonso (CIA), wants to leave his order, but fears it is so powerful and controlling that it won’t release him. So he devises schemes he hopes will result in disgrace and expulsion. They all backfire, bringing him instead fame and celebrity. In desperation he contemplates appearing on a Sunday night religious broadcast and dropping his trousers, but reflects ruefully that someone would be bound to construe this as a deeply meaningful statement about human alienation, sexual politics or the crisis of faith. One day, having forgotten to prepare anything for a keynote preaching engagement, he plagiarises one of Father Faber’s sermons on the Precious Blood. The old-fashioned theology results in his summary expulsion. [That sounds about right.]

Increasingly Catholic life is starting to imitate art, [Instead of, as she always did, produce it, faith having logical priority (once upon a time).] and the continuing defence of the frankly indefensible leaves me with something of Shotover’s frustration that anything is now “meaningful”, unless you dare to assert that the cultural values of the pre-Vatican II Church retain religious significance.

Let us muse on the fact that the Vatican decided it was a good idea to lend vestments and precious items in some cases worn by saints to an exhibition entitled “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. “Heavenly Bodies?” Given that this wasn’t an astronomy exhibition, did no one think to question what lay concealed in plain sight in that blatant innuendo? And then there’s the oxymoronic “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. The object of fashion is by definition the beautification and enhanced desirability of the wearer of its products. I would love to ask those who decided to lend these exhibits what in the name of all that is holy they thought they were doing. But if your definition of holiness doesn’t already include the idea that some things are set apart for the specific worship of the Almighty by the spiritual end for which they were created and by their function and proximity to the sacramental mysteries, I am not sure where one might begin a dialogue.

The fashion designer’s art stems from an entirely different aesthetic to that of sacred art. The beauty of fashion is not intended to point beyond itself. Fashion seeks no other meaning than the appearance of the appearance, so to speak. Its world of images “does not surpass the bounds of sense”, as Joseph Ratzinger would express it. We used to speak of faith baptising culture. A few mocking imitations of sacred vestments and clerical attire are not evidence that secular culture wishes to dialogue with the sacred or has engaged with the Catholic imagination. Satanists, after all, admire Catholic culture to the point of imitating it. It’s what you need if you want to subvert goodness as much as possible. When Satanists ape Catholic ritual, objects and vestments, should we see this as an endorsement of Catholic imagination?

A Catholic imagination in sacred art is not directed towards the creation of beautiful objects to glorify the wearer. The jewelled pectoral crosses of former ages, for example, were not “bling” for the bishop. They were jewelled because the cross is the most precious and beautiful sign of God’s love in the created universe. Any image must do justice to the spiritual reality of what it points to, its metaphysical rather than decorative value.

Sacred art always points to something beyond itself, because the beauty of the created world points beyond itself – to the Creator Spiritus poured out on creation and to the Incarnation of Him who is the firstborn of all creation. Sacred art, says Ratzinger, “Stands art beneath the imperative stated in the second epistle to the Corinthians: gazing at the Lord we are ‘Changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.’ ” Catholic art is a form of contemplating the divine. It is the antithesis of fashion. The Catholic imagination is not just another imaginative world created by designers, like a fashion brand; it is the direction of the creative endeavour towards the greater glory of God. If there is no longer any sacred meaning in the Vatican-lent exhibits worth protecting beyond that of appearance, then there is no meaning in the faith that inspired them.

Pastor Iuventus is a Catholic priest in London

Fr. Z kudos.  Well said.

I suggest that Pastor Iuventus doesn’t have “SJ” after his name.

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20 Responses to Pastor Iuventus on the appalling Met “Gay-la”

  1. Benedict Joseph says:

    That tragedy appears old and innocent in the face of this morning’s headline at Drudge. “Pope Shock: OK to be Gay “God made you like this.”
    Yes, there a million way to contextualize, excuse and mitigate, but do we still swallow any of them after all we have endured?

  2. nine man morris says:

    Can this really be shocking of a church who’s head says God makes people gay? And what about all the other statements contrary to the Gospel he’s made? The gay party is most decidedly not shocking.

    [For “the head of the Church” see Colossians 1:18.]

  3. nine man morris says:

    @Benedict Joseph you beat me to it! His comment is flying around the globe, just like the no hell comment. It’s obvious the pope is post-Christian.

  4. Benedict Joseph says:

    You’re a kind man nine man.

  5. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Please, please, my friends, the alleged remark by the Pope doesn’t come from a reliable source, but is unverified hearsay by an interested witness. A Mr. Cruz, a man with SSA and active in the lifestyle, recounts that the Pope made the remark to him, and Mr. Cruz reported what he heard to the media outlets. The Pope may not have said quite that to Mr. Cruz, but this is what Mr. Cruz undoubtedly believes he heard. People – nearly all people – hear what they want to hear.* And many people active – and suffering – in this lifestyle are dying to hear someone in authority tell them, “what you’re doing is all right! No worries.” Which, of course, it isn’t. So sad. Please pray for Mr. Cruz. And please keep praying for our Holy Father the Pope. Thank you.
    *This is not to imply that people are liars or stupid – far from it. People in certain highly emotionally charged or pressurized situations sometimes hear things wrong. Ever wonder why the guys on submarines always repeat back every order given to them? This is why.

  6. Amerikaner says:

    A good Catholic journalist should dig into the names of the persons who approved this. Time to shine a spotlight on those folks.

  7. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Pastor Iuventus is a discerning writer who grasps the crisis of the Church with a keen intellect. I don’t think he needs to be anonymous, with a nome de plume. He has nothing to be ashamed of, and he cannot be silenced unless he lives in North Korea or Cuba.

  8. Joy65 says:

    Just got to keep praying God have mercy on us and on the whole world.

    PRAY UNCEASINGLY for all Priests, Religious Brothers and Sisters, Deacons, Seminarians, our Pope, Bishops, Cardinals and all discerning vocations to the Priesthood and religious life.

  9. VP says:

    Immediate blunt force or imperceptible injection of slow-acting poison – it doesn’t matter. As long as the work gets done. The globalists must be thrilled at how easy Francis is making it look.

  10. JustaSinner says:

    Did Francis say this? Right now we only have the word of the gay man he allegedly made th comment to. As my Mother would have said, “How convenient…”

  11. Kathleen10 says:

    Oh the Met gala profanation is SO last week! Today’s Blasphemy is that God made homosexuals just the way they are and so today the Theology of Lady Gaga has been affirmed in Rome. And since the pope has no problem with it and the homosexuals should like themselves “just the way they are” (more groupthink buzzwords for all the right people) then I expect NOT to hear from one more victim of the predatory behavior of priests sexually molesting little boys and young men. After all, it’s just natural behavior, how can there be a crime? Why should anyone listen to these victim whiners, it’s all good. Has anyone told them the new teaching? They need to get enlightened and I’m sure all their pain and confusion over grown up hairy men who represent God touching them when they were innocent boys will all just faaade away.
    He has just given their pain a wink-wink. These victims might now be homosexuals because they were molested by someone of the same sex. This is often how it happens as victims often become perpetrators and this is part of why this crime is particularly damaging and evil. It’s self-perpetuating and malignant. I don’t see any word on that topic, of the evil done to them and how egregious that was. Could the man condemn any part of what happened to these men as vulnerable boys? No.
    And if the pope didn’t say that we would already know it. Puhleeze, when he wants something clarified it’s takes him a dang nanosecond to do it. When he agrees it’s nothing but crickets.
    Look, this man is going to cause a crisis of faith for many, many people. We need either a lightning bolt or a bishop or Cardinal with zeal for God and the faith. If he goes on too long like this, it’s going to come down to questioning did we get it wrong for 2000 years? We can intellectualize we didn’t, but if we didn’t, then why does this go on.

  12. tho says:

    The church is suffering under Pope Francis, just as America suffered under Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama. And we should all remember that Jimmy “I’ll never lie to you” Carter, a Democrat, gave Iran to the Ayatollahs through downright naïve stupidity.
    No president can create a Heaven on earth, but The Donald at least makes us able to hold our heads high. He is far from perfect, but at last we have a leader that appreciates Western Civilization. A civilization built by the Catholic Church.

  13. jhayes says:

    Benedict Joseph. Here is an article pointing out that what Francis is quoted as saying (as far as it goes) doesn’t differ from Church teaching.

    What I fear is being missed here though, is the fact that what the Pope said doesn’t really contradict the church’s teaching in any way. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (a summary of official church teaching and doctrines, the latest of which was compiled by Pope John Paul II in 1992), does acknowledge that the “number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible”, advocating that they “be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (Catechism 2358). 

    From that perspective then, Pope Francis hasn’t said anything all that radical.

    There is of course a good deal more about homosexuality in the catechism that was not referenced by Pope Francis in his exchange with Cruz, perhaps understandably….

    HERE

  14. Fr. Kelly says:

    Fr. Sotelo says:
    I don’t think he needs to be anonymous, with a nome de plume. He has nothing to be ashamed of, and he cannot be silenced unless he lives in North Korea or Cuba.

    We have the fairly recent example of Henry Sire and the Knights of Malta.
    Don’t be so quick to push Pater Iuventus to expose himself.

  15. acardnal says:

    jhayes, in fairness let’s quote the Catechism in full regarding homosexuality :

    Chastity and homosexuality

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

  16. Benedict Joseph says:

    jhayes: Can anyone imagine his statement being attributed to any other Pope in history and finding it believable? In the face of being so grossly “misunderstood” one would have anticipated a corrective being issued last week when the remarks initially became public. There has been no restatement of the perennial Magisterium in the face of being “misquoted.”
    This is typical. Plant the ambiguity and let it flourish. The list is growing long.
    No informed adult Catholic is unfamiliar with the content of the Catechism which states the truth. No informed adult Catholic is unfamiliar with the tactic of splitting hairs to make the unacceptable look entirely acceptable. It is a form of deception. The statement under scrutiny went way too far. It unmasks, so even the venerable James Martin SJ was forced to employ the rationalization sited you do.
    The fact of the matter is that there is no known genetic factor in homosexual disorientation. It is therefore poor science to attribute to the “will” of God an evil. That God permits evil cannot be denied. That He wills it is false. One references a false god to say so.
    Finally I would put forth that Mr. Cruz who recounted his conversation with the Holy Father does not come across in any manner as a liar or a hysteric. His comportment is quite stable. He stands as a contrast to a number of other figures in the awkward endless narrative of “what the does the Pope say.”

  17. maternalView says:

    The Church would not teach SSA is disordered if people were “made that way”. Spend sometime reading the blogs of SSA people and you will see many many of the same cultural and social issues that people are starting to connect to the school shooters (as Fr. Z mentions in another post). In fact it’s rampant in the SSA “community”. Many do choose the lifestyle–because they think it explains the hole in their hearts and souls. They are no more made that way than any of us were made to be adulterers or gluttonous.

    As for the slew of questionable comments of the Pope, did the previous two popes have this constant misunderstanding of their comments causing people to wonder at their loyalty to the faith?

  18. jhayes says:

    Benedict Joseph, the 1994 Catechism issued by John-Paul II introduced a clear distinction between homosexual inclination and homosexual acts. There was only one Pope (Benedict) between JPII and Francis.

    If you read the quoted words from Francis as reassuring Cruz that he is loved by God and by the Pope even though he has homosexual inclination, the statement is consistent with the 1994 Catechism,

    The USCCB Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care contains this section which I believe is consistent with the quotation from Francis:

    Homosexual Inclination Is Not Itself a Sin

    While the Church teaches that homosexual acts are immoral, she does distinguish between engaging in homosexual acts and having a homosexual inclination. While the former is always objectively sinful, the latter is not. To the extent that a homosexual tendency or inclination is not subject to one’s free will, one is not morally culpable for that tendency. Although one would be morally culpable if one were voluntarily to entertain homosexual temptations or to choose to act on them, simply having the tendency is not a sin. Consequently, the Church does not teach that the experience of homosexual attraction is in itself sinful.

    The homosexual inclination is objectively disordered, i.e., it is an inclination that predisposes one toward what is truly not good for the human person. Of course, heterosexual persons not uncommonly have disordered sexual inclinations as well. It is not enough for a sexual inclination to be heterosexual for it to be properly ordered. For example, any tendency toward sexual pleasure that is not subordinated to the greater goods of love and marriage is disordered, in that it inclines a person towards a use of sexuality that does not accord with the divine plan for creation. There is the intrinsic disorder of what is directed toward that which is evil in all cases (contra naturam). There is also the accidental disorder of what is not properly ordered by right reason, what fails to attain the proper measure of virtue (contra rationem).

    It is crucially important to understand that saying a person has a particular inclination that is disordered is not to say that the person as a whole is disordered. Nor does it mean that one has been rejected by God or the Church.Sometimes the Church is misinterpreted or misrepresented as teaching that persons with homosexual inclinations are objectively disordered, as if everything about them were disordered or rendered morally defective by this inclination. Rather, the disorder is in that particular inclination, which is not ordered toward the fulfillment of the natural ends of human sexuality. Because of this, acting in accord with such an inclination simply cannot contribute to the true good of the human person. Nevertheless, while the particular inclination to homosexual acts is disordered, the person retains his or her intrinsic human dignity and value.

    Furthermore, it is not only sexual inclinations that can be disordered within a human person. Other inclinations can likewise be disordered, such as those that lead to envy, malice, or greed. We are all damaged by the effects of sin, which causes desires to become disordered. Simply possessing such inclinations does not constitute a sin, at least to the extent that they are beyond one’s control. Acting on such inclinations, however, is always wrong.

    Many in our culture have difficulty understanding Catholic moral teaching because they do not understand that morality has an objective basis. Some hold that moral norms are nothing more than guidelines for behavior that happen to be widely accepted by people of a particular culture at a particular time. Catholic tradition, however, holds that the basis of morality is found in the natural order established by the Creator, an order that is not destroyed but rather elevated by the transforming power of the grace that comes to us through Jesus Christ. Good actions are in accord with that order. By acting in this way, persons fulfill their authentic humanity, and this constitutes their ultimate happiness. Immoral actions, actions that are not in accord with the natural order of things, are incapable of contributing to true human fulfillment and happiness. In fact, immoral actions are destructive of the human person because they degrade and undermine the human dignity given us by God.

    http://www.usccb.org/about/doctrine/publications/homosexual-inclination-guidelines-general-principles.cfm

    II introduced a clear distinction between homosexual inclination and homosexual acts. There was only one Pope (Benedict) between JPII and Francis.

    The USCCB Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care contains this section which I believe is consistent with the quotation from Francis:

    Homosexual Inclination Is Not Itself a Sin

    While the Church teaches that homosexual acts are immoral, she does distinguish between engaging in homosexual acts and having a homosexual inclination. While the former is always objectively sinful, the latter is not. To the extent that a homosexual tendency or inclination is not subject to one’s free will, one is not morally culpable for that tendency. Although one would be morally culpable if one were voluntarily to entertain homosexual temptations or to choose to act on them, simply having the tendency is not a sin. Consequently, the Church does not teach that the experience of homosexual attraction is in itself sinful.

    The homosexual inclination is objectively disordered, i.e., it is an inclination that predisposes one toward what is truly not good for the human person. Of course, heterosexual persons not uncommonly have disordered sexual inclinations as well. It is not enough for a sexual inclination to be heterosexual for it to be properly ordered. For example, any tendency toward sexual pleasure that is not subordinated to the greater goods of love and marriage is disordered, in that it inclines a person towards a use of sexuality that does not accord with the divine plan for creation. There is the intrinsic disorder of what is directed toward that which is evil in all cases (contra naturam). There is also the accidental disorder of what is not properly ordered by right reason, what fails to attain the proper measure of virtue (contra rationem).

    It is crucially important to understand that saying a person has a particular inclination that is disordered is not to say that the person as a whole is disordered. Nor does it mean that one has been rejected by God or the Church.Sometimes the Church is misinterpreted or misrepresented as teaching that persons with homosexual inclinations are objectively disordered, as if everything about them were disordered or rendered morally defective by this inclination. Rather, the disorder is in that particular inclination, which is not ordered toward the fulfillment of the natural ends of human sexuality. Because of this, acting in accord with such an inclination simply cannot contribute to the true good of the human person. Nevertheless, while the particular inclination to homosexual acts is disordered, the person retains his or her intrinsic human dignity and value.

    Furthermore, it is not only sexual inclinations that can be disordered within a human person. Other inclinations can likewise be disordered, such as those that lead to envy, malice, or greed. We are all damaged by the effects of sin, which causes desires to become disordered. Simply possessing such inclinations does not constitute a sin, at least to the extent that they are beyond one’s control. Acting on such inclinations, however, is always wrong.

    Many in our culture have difficulty understanding Catholic moral teaching because they do not understand that morality has an objective basis. Some hold that moral norms are nothing more than guidelines for behavior that happen to be widely accepted by people of a particular culture at a particular time. Catholic tradition, however, holds that the basis of morality is found in the natural order established by the Creator, an order that is not destroyed but rather elevated by the transforming power of the grace that comes to us through Jesus Christ. Good actions are in accord with that order. By acting in this way, persons fulfill their authentic humanity, and this constitutes their ultimate happiness. Immoral actions, actions that are not in accord with the natural order of things, are incapable of contributing to true human fulfillment and happiness. In fact, immoral actions are destructive of the human person because they degrade and undermine the human dignity given us by God.

    http://www.usccb.org/about/doctrine/publications/homosexual-inclination-guidelines-general-principles.cfm

  19. maternalView says:

    I know people with this disordered inclination. They are waiting for the church to change. They don’t see this inclination as something to fight against and overcome. They see efforts by Catholics to “validate” them as persons as a recognition of their identity as “gay”. And even if they don’t engage in the behavior currently they promote it. They don’t see it as a sin or behavior to avoid.

    I’ve heard way more lectures from Catholics about loving and accepting “gays” than I’ve ever heard about the sin of this disordered inclination. They are to be accepted (of course) but no coresponding obligation to go and sin no more is ever laid on them.

    A lot of people in the church on stuck on “ok you’re gay just don’t do the behavior” way of thinking. That’s not helpful. Finally there’s getting to be a recognition that transgender is a made up thing that can be reversed. Same thing holds for all the other various “gay” identities. The Church needs to tell people they can get help.

    I guess that would be offensive though.

  20. jhayes says:

    MaternalView, the USCCB policy statement points out that objectively disordered inclinations are not limited to homosexual persons.

    The homosexual inclination is objectively disordered, i.e., it is an inclination that predisposes one toward what is truly not good for the human person. Of course, heterosexual persons not uncommonly have disordered sexual inclinations as well. It is not enough for a sexual inclination to be heterosexual for it to be properly ordered. For example, any tendency toward sexual pleasure that is not subordinated to the greater goods of love and marriage is disordered…

    Furthermore, it is not only sexual inclinations that can be disordered within a human person. Other inclinations can likewise be disordered, such as those that lead to envy, malice, or greed. We are all damaged by the effects of sin, which causes desires to become disordered. Simply possessing such inclinations does not constitute a sin, at least to the extent that they are beyond one’s control. Acting on such inclinations, however, is always wrong.

    http://www.usccb.org/about/doctrine/publications/homosexual-inclination-guidelines-general-principles.cfm