Archbp. Carlson responds to protests in St. Louis

From CNA with my emphases and comments:

St. Louis Archbishop responds to gay rights protest outside cathedral

St. Louis, Mo., Nov 30, 2009 / 06:17 pm (CNA).- In a statement Monday, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis responded to a demonstration held outside the city’s cathedral by a gay rights group protesting the use of archdiocesan funds to defend traditional marriage in Maine. [Imagine the effrontery!  The Catholic Church daring to be involved in a moral issue!  Imagine, a Catholic bishop chosing to defend… wait for it… marriage.  OH the humanity!] Catholics have an obligation to “carry out Christ’s teachings, whether in the privacy of our own home or in the public square,” stated the prelate on the Archdiocese of St. Louis website.  [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

On Sunday, gay rights organization Show Me No Hate [The Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage is not a demonstration of "hate" toward anyone.  Undermining God’s design, however, is not charity toward anyone.] protested the donation of $10,000 that the Archdiocese of St. Louis made to the “Yes on 1” campaign in Portland, Maine earlier this year.  The initiative, which supported traditional marriage between a man and a woman, was voted on and passed during the mid-term elections. 

According to The Vital Voice, Show Me No Hate has accused the Archdiocese of St. Louis of misusing the funds, saying the Church has neglected the poor, sick and homeless in the city by donating the money to a campaign against gay “marriage.”  [Hey wait… that sounds familiar: "Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: ‘Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?’ Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein" ( John 12:4-6).] The organization plans to rally outside the cathedral every Sunday for the duration of the season of Advent.  [Too bad it doesn’t get very cold there.]

“Following Christ’s teaching on marriage does not mean we neglect the poor,” stated Archbishop Carlson in response to the accusations. [How tedious it must be to have to explain that sort of obvious point.] “In fact, no other private institution in the world does as much for the sick and poor as the Catholic Church.”

Archbishop Carlson explained that the funds used for the “Yes on 1” campaign were discretionary, provided by private gifts and sent in response to the request of the Archdiocese of Maine. The  archbishop also mentioned that “Yes on 1” succeeded despite the fact that same-sex “marriage” supporters had outraised the campaign by almost $2 million. [Nice touch.]

The Church “always tries to follow the teachings of Jesus in welcoming all people,” and “does not believe in discrimination” said the archbishop in his statement on Monday.  He then made reference to the fact that the Archdiocese of St. Louis is currently the largest private contributor to Doorways, an organization that provides services for those living with HIV/AIDS[I wonder if the protesters will protest that too?]

The archbishop explained, however, that this “does not mean we can change Christ’s teaching on the nature of marriage[Because Catholics are not so arrogant as to think they can edit the Word of God or distort God’s will.  We don’t claim such authority] and added that Catholics have the obligation to “carry out Christ’s teachings, whether in the privacy of our own home or in the public square.”  [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

“Separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor a particular faith,” continued the prelate. “It does not mean that faith-filled people lose their right to speak out publicly and engage in the political process.”  [Do I hear another "Amen!"?  Well done.]

When it comes to serving the poor and supporting traditional marriage, Archbishop Carlson added that “it’s not an either/or choice when it comes to Christ’s teachings. As Catholics, we are called to live and teach them all.


"… live and teach them all."

There really is no such thing as a picking and choosing "cafeteria Catholic", is there.  Catholics embrace all of it.  If you don’t… then you have real questions of identity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity, SESSIUNCULA, The Drill and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. wanda says:

    Oooh and the Church answers ‘Amen! and ‘Amen’! Maybe there will be a sudden, un-seasonably cold stretch of cold weather. God bless Archbishop Carlson.

  2. Yubbly says:

    For better or worse, the loudest voices win in today’s world, especially America.

    The problem is…we Catholics are so damn meek and deferent with our own leaders.

    Though the tone of the discourse may have become uncharitable as Fr Z lamented, I think the letter-writing campaign to the bishop of Calgary represents a new wave that could be a good thing.

    It’s always been the liberals who have made their voices heard to the bishops in the past. No wonder the liturgy is in the state it is in. So often you hear stories where one middle aged “piranha woman” who works as “pastoral assistant” holds the whole parish back even though people want more traditional liturgy etc. It’s a serious Collective Action Problem.

    Decry it as “democratization” if you must…but traditional Catholics have to start being willing to do things like protest outside Cathedrals (or, perhaps more appropriately, hold something like a Rosary Vigil) for, say, the end of communion on the hand, or the restoration of the old liturgy.

    To positively disobey, like the SSPX, is taking things too far. Though, if we’re being honest, even I wont deny that, on a practical level, their actions probably are what saved the Old Liturgy and got us Summorum Pontificum and such. No matter how much the “official” party line has to be “no, the Pope was responding to those traditionalists who suffered within the institutional structures of the church”…

    But we need to start being as assertive as the liberals. It’s worked for them, it could work for us. As Fr Z’s recent post said, you can’t antagonize these bishops, because they are prideful and will just become stubborn…but at the same time, that same pride means there is nothing they respond to better than group pressure, than offers of popularity and acceptance.

    Especially young people. If we got like 100 trads under the age of 35 praying rosaries outside the Cathedral in a major city for an end to communion on the hand…wouldnt the bishop want to seem “cool” with the young people? For better or worse, many would.

  3. Deimater says:

    It depends what one means by “it” when one affirms that Catholics embrace “all of it”. Yes, in the dogmatic realm, the deposit of faith must be adhered to if one wishes to remain Catholic. I believe marriage must fall within this category.

    However, in the moral realm, nothing is de fide, according to the very nature of morality, which is arrived at through reason, not revelation, and there subjet to modification. Moral acts require discernment. To follow blindly every moral criterion that issues forth from the Vatican is unCatholic. It denies the role of reason and conscience (enlightened, necessarily), thereby gutting the essence of morality and reducing man to robot status.

  4. TNCath says:

    Let’s hear it for another bishop of Missouri!

    Well, in time these protesters shall also go away.

  5. ghp95134 says:

    …Show Me No Hate has accused the Archdiocese of St. Louis of misusing the funds….

    But of course, had the archdiocese donated the $10k to “Show Me No Hate” or other pro-homosexual causes, Show Me No Hate would not think of the donation as misuse of funds … or church “dabbling” in politics.

    Why cannot homosexuals conceive (sorry!) the idea that opposition to their lifestyle is NOT a sign of hatred.


  6. mjtanton says:

    What is this “follow blindly every moral criterion”? The Magisterium (I assume that’s what you mean by the the Vatican) never gives a thing to be followed blindly. We follow in Faith those things because they are not only true and just but also reasonable. This issue (the unnaturalness of homosexual unions) is very plainly evident to anyone with a good sense of natural law. We shouldn’t need to be told it, it’s obvious.

    Additionally, we are followers of Christ, not Mills nor Kant. Though morals can be found in the realm of reason, they also belong to the realm of revelation, for both are ways to know the Will of God, revelation being more emininently so. Morals come from aligning ourselves with the Will of God. Or would you say that “Thou shalt not kill” is overstepping the bounds of revelation and morals should only be based on reasoning?

    License does not make a man less a robot. License makes a man a storm, with no control and focus. A robot would be a welcome change. A robot follows its impulses out of a lack of free will. A robot cannot choose the greater thing. Man can choose the greater thing, that which he does not desire in his body. Thus in conforming to God’s will, man transcends robotic action. The sad man on earth who gives in to his flesh at all times, he is the true robot, following only his instinct and feeling. He has no reason. The obedient man surpasses him.

  7. Finally…something postive coming out of a bishop in North America!

    +Tobin, +Carlson, care to move to the Great White North?

  8. zgietl says:

    As a university student in STL, I can say for certain that I would not want to be outside for a prolonged period of time. While it is not as cold as some other regions, it certainly is not pleasant.

  9. pberginjr says:

    This kind of story makes me wish I still lived in St. Louis. Don’t get me wrong, our Bishop is great here. It’s good to know my family has an Archbishop with a backbone equal to that of Archbishop Emeritus Burke.

  10. God Bless Bishop Carlson!

    I suspect the “Show Me No Haters” aren’t nearly as concerned about the $1 Million the USCCB agreed to pay the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to tell us that men that act on their sexual attraction to adolescent, post-pubescent boys by molesting them don’t necessarily have a homosexual identity. Now that was money well spent, right?

    Oh the hypocrisy.

  11. It is postings like these that make me so proud to live in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. God Bless Archbishop Robert Carlson!!

    On a second note, it can get quite cold this time of year, it’s 10PM here, and it’s right around 25 degrees. During the day, it gets up into the low 40s, but I would not want to be outside very long without dressing very warm.

    Let’s hope that Archbishop Carlson continues to demonstrate this wonderful leadership as he has shown in this letter.

    John P.

  12. Marius2k4 says:

    You people up in St. Louis have it made, at least episcopally. Many of us would give quite a lot to have such a fine prelate (or series thereof).

    I heartily offer thanks and praise to God for the positive actions of various members (and recently former members) of the American episcopacy. It really gives me indescribable joy to know that the Church Militant is acting… well… a bit more militantly.

    Deo Gratias Pro Archiepiscopo Carlson Sancti Ludovici!

  13. Scott W. says:

    According to The Vital Voice, Show Me No Hate has accused the Archdiocese of St. Louis of misusing the funds, saying the Church has neglected the poor, sick and homeless in the city by donating the money to a campaign against gay “marriage.”

    Horse manure. Had the bishop given the money to Voice of the Faithful as opposed to the poor, we wouldn’t have heard a peep out of these guys. There was protest for one reason only: the bishop defended traditional marriage.

  14. Agnes says:

    The effrontery of the archdiocese to use its own funds to (gasp) defend its own teachings! For shame!


  15. jdskyles says:

    I propose a simple counterprotest.

    If their campaign is against hate, then they have chosen the wrong target. Simply and silently carry signs that say “God loves you. His Church loves you.”

  16. I was at Mass there and saw the protestors. Most of the signs were printed, but one was hand-lettered and said “Tax the Church”.

  17. patrick_f says:

    When he first came to St Louis, I have to admit I had my doubts. I mean, considering WHO he follows, ABP Burke is a hard act to follow, but it seems that ABP carlson is filling the role quite nicely. I would rather have an unpopular bishop that TEACHES, then a schmuck who even I could teach better then

    GOD BLESS +Carlson . Long may he be here in STL

  18. Rev. Philip-Michael says:

    You know it all boils down to the fact that people just can’t accept the fact that the Church teaches what it does. The Church is against allowing gay “marriages” if people would just accept that fact than they wouldn’t be so surprised when the Church acts in ways that follow this concept.

  19. Hugh says:

    “There really is no such thing as a picking and choosing “cafeteria Catholic”, is there.”

    Indeed, and thanks for the inspiration!

    My next coffee mug inscription:

    Intra cafeteriam nulla salus.

  20. Scott W. says:

    Most of the signs were printed, but one was hand-lettered and said “Tax the Church”.

    Yes, for some reason the usual suspects think that threatening to pull the Church’s tax-exempt status will muzzle the Church. Actually, on further thought, perhaps they know it won’t silence the Church and instead think it is just a stepping stone to more extra-constitutional measures.

  21. Bressani56 says:

    I’ve heard really good things about Carlson.

  22. “Intra cafeteriam nulla salus.”

    What does that literally translate to in English? Fr. Z and others, is there a good translation to Latin of the English phrase: “There really is no such thing as a cafeteria Catholic”?

    I’d be interested in finding out.

  23. Carlson, Tobin, etc. are examples of the bishops we have been getting and should be getting in the future here in America. With Burke involved in the “bishop-picking” process now, I think we’ll be happy for the mostpart with all our future bishops for the foreseeable future, as long as there isn’t a closet-liberal hiding in conservative-clothing in order to try and get a bishop assignment in the American Church.

  24. MrsHall says:

    Abp. Carlson was formerly the Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI. Our children’s godparents live there and were grieved to see him go to St. Louis—“good for the Church but sad for us,” as they said. He was (and is) a true champion of the unborn and traditional marriage. It is great to see him a place where his voice is more likely to be heard, his stand more likely to be noticed, just being a faithful shepherd. God bless you, Abp. Carlson!

  25. Shmikey says:

    So why doesn’t anyone point out that these groups could use their money to serve the poor rather than shoving their agenda down the throats of people who cannot stomach their agenda. Catholics who fall for this sort of argument really demonstrate their ignorance of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, since to teach the ignorant is as great a Christian duty as to feed the poor!

  26. The Cobbler says:

    Justin, it’s a direct parody of “Outside the Church there is no salvation:” “Inside the cafeteria there is no salvation.” (Whether there’s a good way to say more literally “there’s no such thing as a cafeteria Catholic” I don’t know, as I’m not actually a Latin expert like the good Fr. here, just familiar with a lot of such phrases as “lex orandi…” “extra ecclesiam…” et cetera.)

    “I propose a simple counterprotest.

    If their campaign is against hate, then they have chosen the wrong target. Simply and silently carry signs that say “God loves you. His Church loves you.” ”

    This is brilliant, jdskyles! Why waste our breath trying to explain that admonishing the sinner is an act of love and not hate, considering that people stop listening when they hear “admonishing”, when we could make them pay attention by putting the love part first all the while maintaining the rest as flowing from it? Then they can’t coherently object to it without asking how preaching morals is loving, and so our explanation will be answering a question rather than telling them something unasked for. (Plus people pay more attention to you when they at least think you’re talking about love. Not many people read Deus Caritas Est, but many at least took note that “God’s Rottweiler” had said something about God and Love.) Might make a good internet campaign as well — something along the lines of a bumpersticker to put on blogs for those of us with no on-the-ground protests in the area.

  27. irishgirl says:

    Bravo to the Archbishop!

    Boo to the protestors!

    Yeah, I’m with you, Yubbly-sometimes we Catholics can be TOO MEEK!

    What are we, ‘the Church Miliitant’, or ‘the Church Weenie’?

    Where’s St. Louis when we need him?

  28. Ferde Rombola says:

    “The archbishop also mentioned that “Yes on 1” succeeded despite the fact that same-sex “marriage” supporters had outraised the campaign by almost $2 million.”

    The Archbishop might have added, “…much of that amount coming from outside the State of Maine.”

  29. Ferde Rombola says:

    And he might have added to the addition, “…amy amount of which could have been given to the poor.”

  30. New Sister says:

    Without bothering to verify, I can predict the Archbishop of my home diocese, Portland Oregon, would never have sent money to support traditional marriage in Maine.

    My Christmas home, 2006-2007: I wrote Bishop Vlazney after a visit to my home state, where in one week I encountered liturgical abuses (e.g., spiritual dancers on the altar after Holy Communion) and errant teachings (e.g., stating with certainty a recently departed member is in heaven) in every single parish I visited. I entered one parish which posted photos of homosexual couples together as “families” on the parish bulletin board. My hometown parish, Corvallis Oregon, published in its directory a flamboyant couple of “gay” men as a family unit, aligning their professionally-taken portrait along side natural family units…then I found out one of these men not only leads the parish’s “praise and worship committee,” but that he is a counselor to whom the parish refers couples for pastoral marriage counseling!

    I wrote to Bishop Vlazney about all of this and more – about the over-blown focus on the choirs that are always applauded upon the final benediction, the hide-and-go-seek I often had to play to locate tabernacles in his church buildings, and the sad state they were in once I found them. (Some were just plain ugly/cheaply done – always off to the side.) I went into an abbey of nuns at Mt Angel Oregon that operated a bookstore, in which I found plenty of books on feminism and sexuality, but not a single publication by Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.

    My letter back from the bishop only said he would let the pastors know of my “concern” (even though I had mentioned in my letter that the pastor in Corvallis had rebuked my family and others who complained about the gay couple’s prominent portrait), and told me it is very sad that I would refer to a tabernacle as a “shabby box”.

    Father – I find it very hard to pray for Bishop Vlazney’s conversion. I rather pray that he and his ilk will just die off and leave us alone to heal from the damage he has wrought, by his action and inaction. Please rebuke me if I am wrong… Thank you.

  31. newtrad says:

    I suggest we all send a contribution to Bishop Carlson in support of the good use of the money, as opposed to Human Developmnt Fund usage.I’m just saying….

  32. Deimater says:


    Let me thank you for your comments. I appreciate them.

    Ethics, unlike faith, is seldom “obvious”, unfortunately. That is why we must discern. You give the example of “thou shalt not kill” as an example of revealed morality. Of course, this is not the case. Man did not need the Ten Commandments to know that killing is immoral. Reason suffices. Revelation tells us things that reason would not perceive unaided (although revelation is never unreasonable). To return to your example, discernment is needed, first, to know when an act is killing and when an act is, say, capital punishment. Second, if it is determined that something is indeed killing, sometimes it may be the correct moral choice. Would it have been moral to kill Hitler in order to avoid the Second World War? The conscience must decide.

    The opposite of blindly (and blithely) following moral criteria is not, as you suppose, licence; it is responsibility. Robots act according to their programming: they do what others tell them to do. Human beings discern: they have the right and the obligation to use their (enlightened) conscience to pose moral acts. This is at the very core of Catholic moral teaching.

  33. Marcin says:

    Just think of it. Bishops of the mold of His Eminence don’t do anything extraordinary – they simply do what they were established for: defending the Faith and teaching. And this is an awesome task. It remained me of what St. Cosmas of Aetolia once said about his preacher bench:

    “I, by the Grace of God, have neither bag, nor a wardrobe, or a home, and no other raso than the one I wear. And the stool I do have is not mine, but I have it because of You. Some call it a stool and others a throne. It is not as they call it. If they really want to know what it is, it is my grave for me and I am the deceased inside it who speaks to you. This tomb has the authority to teach kings and patriarchs, archbishops, priests, men and women, children and young maidens, young and old, and all the world. Blessed be the Name of the Lord, from now unto the ages. Amen.”

  34. mjtanton says:

    I gave the example of “Thou shalt not kill” as an example not of something we need revelation to know, but rather as something that revelation teaches that is also obvious to the mind. It was simply an example of revelation and reason coinciding. But I again point out, we are not Kantian, we are Christian.

    I recommend you read “on conscience” by Cardinal Ratzinger.

    You seem to think that one cannot follow without following blindly. I argue that it is exactly so, one can follow without following blindly. You have not explained what “following blindly” is, but I suppose you mean following the teachings of the Church. What is responsibility? Is one responsible to form a malformed conscience? I know a man who is anti-social. He has no conscience. Morality seems unreasonable to him. Should he follow this?

    But alas, you already pushed Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies, ergo you lose. Internet discussion is over.

Comments are closed.