Episcopalian “Bishop” has hissy fit over Catholic doctrine on homosexual acts

If we treated their “doctrine” like they treated ours… imagine the high dudgeon!

Here is a story from CNA with my emphases and comments:

San Francisco, Calif., Oct 4, 2012 / 12:25 am (CNA).- The Episcopal bishop of California Marc Andrus has written a letter to his diocese in which he characterized Catholic Church teaching on marriage as “oppression.”

The letter dated Oct. 1 concerns the installation of Salvatore Cordileone as Archbishop of San Francisco, which will occur Thursday, Oct. 4.

The letter focuses on Archbishop Cordileone’s support for the Catholic understanding of marriage and for California’s Proposition 8, the voter-approved measure that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Bishop Andrus said that “despite this difference of opinion and support” he looks forward to working with Archbishop Cordileone in the “building of the Reign of God.”

He noted that though he differed on Proposition 8 with Archbishop Niederauer, Cordileone’s predecessor in San Francisco, they cooperated on reducing poverty. The Episcopal bishop also recognized common ground with Archbishop Cordileone regarding immigration policy and poverty. [And the ways pretty much part after that.]

Bishop Andrus characterized Episcopalian teaching on lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgendered persons as the “proclamation of God’s inclusion.” He claimed that Catholic teaching on sexuality is an attempt to “suppress the rights of others who, too, have been created in God’s image.”  [What a load of B as in B, S as in S.]

“The recognition of the dignity and rights, within civil society and the Church of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered people, and of women are as core to our proclamation of the Gospel as our solidarity with the poor, with victims of violence and political oppression, and with the Earth,” he stated.  [An Episcopalian church in San Francisco.  Imagine that.  What’s next? Approval of sex with dogs?]

However, Bishop Andrus’ position ignores the respect for their human dignity that Catholic teaching does afford to persons with same-sex attraction. “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  [What this Episcopalian hissy fit is probably really about is approval of homosexual acts.  Smart people know what the Church teaches about people with same-sex attraction. He’s playing to where the money comes from.]

“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,” the catechism adds.  [REMINDER:  This is not a civil rights issue.]

Claiming that the appointment of Archbishop Cordileone was met with mixed reactions by San Franciscans of “all or no faith tradition,” Bishop Andrus invited Catholics “less at home” with their new bishop to “come to The Episcopal Church.”  [And we invite those same Catholics to accept their invitation.  PLEASE.  They need to issue Romanorum coetibus.]

Bishop Andrus is head of the Episcopal Diocese of California, which covers the greater San Francisco Bay area.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone will be installed on Oct. 4 at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco.

So apparently you can just change perennial Christian doctrine according to the wishes of your homosexual donors.

Perhaps in anticipation of the week of prayer for Christian Unity, they can issue Romanum coetibus.

So why are we in dialogue with them again?  If we made statements about them when they install their “bishops”, do you think they might react?   But it seems to be just fine to bash Catholics when we have our bishops installed.

Let them bash and distort Catholic doctrine about homosexuality. We can remind them that they aren’t really priests (cf. Apostolicae curae) and that they don’t have a real Church (cf. Dominus Iesus).  And we can do this all day long.

I hope Archbp. Cordileone declines the first opportunity to share a worship space with this guy.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Sissy says:

    Exhibit 978 of why I left TEO (The Episcopal Organization). And, yet, I have relatives who STILL persist in the delusion that they can “fix” it from the inside. Bless their hearts.

  2. lelnet says:

    “So apparently you can just change doctrine according to the wishes of your homosexual donors.”

    Would you really expect strong consistency of doctrine from a church whose doctrines were formed in the first place by clergy more eager to please their randy monarch than to preserve his soul (or their own)?

    I pray for the conversion of more otherwise-faithful members of Anglican churches to the fullness of Truth. And I pray that God grant my fellow sinners the fortitude to resist their temptations, whether those temptations are ones which plague me also, or ones entirely unappealing even to my basest desires. (And also that He never let me forget that mortal sin is mortal sin…whether it’s one I’m personally tempted by or one that repulses me.)

  3. pfreddys says:

    Every time I read something like this about the Episcopalians, I always have to ask myself: have they EVER read St. Paul?!?!?

  4. Warren says:

    “An Episcopalian church in San Francisco. Imagine that. What’s next? Approval of sex with dogs?”

    Fr. Z. et al, be glad you don’t live here in British Columbia, land of the LGBTQetc.

    This headline from the National Post should be a cautionary tale for you, dear American cousins:

    Any ostrich with their head in the sand might do well to consider the sophistry and newspeak being employed:

    “In online writings, Cutteridge (a.k.a., dog’s best friend) has expressed the view that laws that oppose zoophilia, or sex between humans and animals, are logically incoherent and therefore inherently unjust and that it doesn’t cause harm to animals.”

    The same arguments used to gain approval for the LGBTQ agenda are being used by Cutteridge and his ilk.

    Slippery slope, folks.

    Cutteridge has written a paper promoting tolerance of bestiality, titled For the Love of Dog: On the Legal Prohibition of Zoophilia in Canada and the United States.

  5. TradCathPhilProf says:


    They’re beneath consideration (I used to be one of them). Nobody cares what they say, and they’ll be completely gone in 50 years.

  6. asperges says:

    Nice to think that after all these decades of ‘ecumenism’ at great price to ourselves, we now understand each other so much better than before….

  7. Joseph-Mary says:

    “proclamation of God’s inclusion.” He claimed that Catholic teaching on sexuality is an attempt to “suppress the rights of others who, too, have been created in God’s image.”

    Riiighht: “God’s inclusion”….since when does it include intrinsic evil and moral sin? Oh, sin is not popular; we don’t accept that anymore. We write our own gospel now. Ok, I get it.

  8. Why are we in dialogue with them, and no longer with the SSPX?

    Somebody had to ask it.

  9. dep says:

    @Sissy, et al., me, too. Though what drove me across the Tiber, besides the abandonment of the Book of Common Prayer (the 1928 version is possibly the most beautiful English ever written), and besides the transformation of the Episcopal “faith tradition” (to use the Bishop’s odious construction) into a lefty political outfit, was the sense that we went on Sunday to tell God what we expected of Him (Her, It, Them), not to ask God what He expected from us, as illustrated in the quote from the instant drivel, “building of the Reign of God.” As I understand it, God reigns, and there’s not a thing in the world we can do about it, to build it or to knock it down — except, in the Church, to be devoted to Him and thanking and loving him for having created us and reigning so lovingly over us. I do think that there was a time when Episcopalianism touched on this, but it hasn’t been anytime in the last half century.

  10. bigmikensc says:

    There are according to Rocco at Whispers over 500,000 members of the Archdiocese and about 27,00 members in the Episcopal Diocese of California. Do the math. There are that many people in just one Catholic parish! When the fire sale starts we should buy Grace Cathedral its better looking than Our Lady of Maytag…

  11. David Zampino says:

    Sadly, this is not the first Episcopal bishop of California to be a problem. Anyone remember James Pike?

  12. jacobi says:

    I never cease to wonder at the logic of people like “bishop” Andrus as they try to adapt their beliefs to the passing fashions of secular society.

    It’s all quite simple really. Sex outside of valid marriage between a man and a woman is (grievously) sinful, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual. Implicit in this is that homosexuals have a particular cross to bear, but then if I remember from my school apologetics classes, we all have crosses in some way that we have to “take up”!

    But I agree with the “bishop” on one thing. If so-called Catholics want to take his advice and become Episcopalians – whatever that is nowadays – then by all means let them do so. That is their choice!

    As far as I am aware, Christ never called anyone back!

  13. dominic1955 says:

    Good ol’ Jimmy Pike, the apostate Epo anti-Sheen. That’s a sad story, God have mercy on him.

    As to the current “bishop” of California, he’s just a leftist shill. Of course everyone gets all up in arms about when our bishops get installed because everyone knows (even if they don’t want to admit it) that we’re the only real game in town.

  14. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    CCC 2358 (“unjust discrimination” distinguished from “recte tractantem verbum veritatis” [2 Tim. 2:15])

    “I hope Archbp. Cordileone declines the first opportunity to share a worship space with this guy.”
    And every opportunity (barring clear repentence)? This is problematical – presumably Dr. Williams is still in communion with Marc Andrus (while the Primates of other Anglican Provinces are not) – ought the Holy Father have liturgically “shared the worship space” of Westminster Abbey with him (for example)? But (for another) with which unsanctioned outspoken pro-abortion lesbian nuns is he (formally?) ‘in communion’?

  15. Johnno says:

    Remember Catholics! Be Civil and Nice!
    Civil and Nice!
    Civil and Nice!
    Civil and Nice!
    Civil and Nice!
    Civil and Nice!
    Civil and Nice!

  16. boko fittleworth says:

    Andrus recognizes common ground with Archbishop Cordileone regarding immigration policy and poverty? Time for the archbishop to reexamine his stances on immigration and poverty. The bishops have been lying to us about immigration for years, using our money to subvert our country. I suggest a policy of: If Andrus is for it, I’m agin it!

  17. frjim4321 says:

    So apparently you can just change perennial Christian doctrine according to the wishes of your homosexual donors.

    I don’t know about that but I can understand why some people find it curious that most traditions within Christianity hold that homosexual behavior is one of the most serious breaches of morality, yet in the Gospels its seem that Jesus himself had nothing really to say about it. Or eating shellfish for that matter.

    I’ve never heard a plausible explanation as to why the Gospels are silent on this matter.

    Of course this on its own does not mean that the tradition of the church in this regard is not formidable, important and relevant.

  18. Sissy says:

    “There are that many people in just one Catholic parish!”

    Bingo. TEO has been burying more parishioners than it baptizes for years. How does performing “marriages” for gay couples solve this problem? A poster above predicted they would be extinct in 50 years; according to their own record-keeping, I give them 20, tops. TEO has turned itself into a fringe group way out on the farthest edge of quasi-Christian communities. They are going the way of the Shakers.

  19. Sissy says:

    “I’ve never heard a plausible explanation as to why the Gospels are silent on this matter.”

    Yeah, Father Jim, I’ve often wondered why Jesus is silent on child molestation, spousal abuse, identity theft, torture, rape, arson, throwing acid on in a girl’s face, and car theft. I guess that means he was in favor in those things?

  20. Sissy says:

    Here you go, Father Jim. Because I like you, here is a link (you can follow the links from the article) that will help you understand why shellfish has nothing whatsoever to do with homosexuality being a sin. You’re welcome.

  21. Johnno says:

    frjim4321: “yet in the Gospels its seem that Jesus himself had nothing really to say about it. Or eating shellfish for that matter.”

    Seriously? This old herring? Hey! Jesus never said anything about sex with children or abuse either… Hey! Neither did the Old Testament! It must be good!

    frjim4321: “I’ve never heard a plausible explanation as to why the Gospels are silent on this matter.”

    Yeah, it’s like the Old Testament and remainder of the New testament or the constant teachings of the Church don’t matter…

    frjim4321, are you sure you wouldn’t mind taking up Bishop Andrus’ kind invitation to you? Jesus never said anything about not joining another ‘Church’ in the Gospels! This could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for!

  22. “Why are we in dialogue with them, and no longer with the SSPX?”

    Two reasons, really very simple:

    Because they admit, indeed proclaim, that they are NOT Roman Catholics.

    The SSPX claims not only to be Roman Catholics, but also that “Modernist Rome” (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church) is not Catholic.

    At least the Episcopalians know who the Catholics are.

  23. Fr Jim:

    Seriously? Okay here you go…

    Our Lord Jesus Christ, being both God and man, is familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures both as the one inspiring them and as a student of them. Surely you do not dispute this?

    Our Lord would then seem to have been thoroughly imbued with the content of the Hebrew Scriptures. Any doubt about that in your mind?

    So…what the Hebrew Scriptures had to say about sexuality was clear enough. Yes?

    Matthew describes a sermon from the Lord–widely known as the “Sermon on the Mount”–and a frequent theme is, “You have heard it said…but I say.” Repeatedly, our Lord comments on, and in many cases, revises, what was taught by Moses and the traditions surrounding it. There was ample opportunity to comment on matters of sexual morality. What did our Lord say?

    Well, he did say that adultery begins in the heart. And he famously gave a much tougher teaching on marriage than anyone expected. When the apostles said, if this be the case, it is better not to marry. To which our Lord gave, it seems to me, a verbal shrug.

    So he did choose to address questions of love and sex and marriage.

    Now, it’s true there is nothing from him, in the Gospels, directly on homosexual behavior. But there is in the Old Testament. I hope you are not creating a “canon within the canon”?

    But why? Well, one explanation leaps to mind: because he saw no reason to alter it! There is quite a lot else in the Mosaic covenant that our Lord left uncommented upon. Is all that up for grabs as well?

    I might point out that insofar as he addressed marriage–which he surely did–he slammed the door shut on what marriage is. A man and a woman. For life. No room there for either polygamy (simultaneous or consecutive) or same-sex unions. Door slammed and locked.

    Then, of course, one can read the words of Saint Paul. Again, why is this not sufficient to settle the matter? If the apostles cannot be taken to reflect, accurately, what the Lord taught, then the entire enterprise totters. Because virtually all we have about our Lord comes mediated by the Apostolic generation. If they aren’t faithful witnesses, then what difference does a mention in the Gospel make?

    Finally, I will make this point. Even if the Gospels make no mention of same-sex attraction (and there are lots of other variations of sexual attraction that merit no mention), I think it is surely a stretch to suggest that the message of the Gospels about chastity and self-denial are in doubt.

    Really, what part of “if you would be my disciple, take up your cross and follow me” is unclear?

    It seems hard to imagine that our Lord–on the way to the Cross (y’all come!)–would have paused and said, “hmm, you may have a point about men feeling a need to express their love for each other genitally; I may need to be more pastoral about that.”

  24. edwardswyco says:

    One of the major reasons why I left… The same thing happened in NJ in response to Archbishop Myers’ recent letter on marriage. “Bishop” Mark Beckwith of the Episcopal diocese of Newark criticized Archbishop Myers’ comments as “unfounded threats” to families. He also said, “Marginalizing people has never been a pathway to community stability” and said that poverty and unemployment are greater threats to families than homosexual “marriage”. Several comments on the Episcopal New Service blog contained much praise for the “bishop”. No wonder they are predicting the extinction of that denomination. Glad we have the Ordinariate before what’s good about it is gone forever.

  25. MKR says:

    The Anglican/Episcopal “Church” was founded by Henry VIII’s reproductive system. Of *course* its “doctrine” is utterly contingent on the sexual preferences of its members.

  26. bigmikensc says:

    What is so amazing is that this guy, Andrus, actually had the chutzpah to show up at the Cathedral for the installation after what he wrote to his “Dear Ones.” That phrase sounds like a line from a song in the Musical “The Kiss of the Spider Woman.” Hmmmm, maybe there is something going on here.

  27. Southern Catholic says:

    FrJim, perhaps you should become an Episcopalian if you are so against the teachings of the Church. I’m sure you and Andrus would get along well.

  28. AnAmericanMother says:


    As I’ve said before, what you say generally sounds so much like an Episcopal “priest” talking that it’s a little bit creepy. That oh-so-disingenuous argument is where the Episcopalians started out, some 25 years ago.

    You see where it’s gotten them — empty pews and an echo chamber where the few remaining people living on their predecessors’ endowments spend all their time congratulating each other on their ‘compassion’ and attacking those who disagree. Never mind that their ‘compassion’ is false and traps many people in a lifestyle from which they long to escape.

    We were sixth-generation Episcopalians and watched with horror as the political liberals and homosexual activists trashed the place. We managed to escape and don’t understand why anyone would want to turn around and head for Sodom and Gomorrah, or try to drag Holy Mother Church into that deathtrap.

  29. William Tighe says:

    Now they are saying it was all a mistake:

    “Interfaith tensions over the marriage issue threatened to mar the Cordileone’s day. The Rev. Marc Andrus, the Episcopal bishop for Northern California and a strong same-sex marriage supporter, reported that he was snubbed when he showed up for the cathedral service, which came three days after Andrus had written an open letter offering a spiritual home to any Catholics who felt disowned by the archbishop’s views.

    Andrus said he was taken to a basement room with other invited guests, then left waiting as ushers showed everyone but him to their seats in the sanctuary, Joseph Mathews, an Episcopal spokesman said. He was still waiting when the mass had started, so he left, Mathews said.

    San Francisco Archdiocese spokesman George Wesolek chalked it up to a misunderstanding. Andrus had arrived late and missed the procession of interfaith clergy who were to be seated up front. Church staff were looking for an opportunity to bring the bishop in without disrupting the service, according to Wesolek. When they went to retrieve him, he had already left.
    ‘We had no intention of excluding him at all,’ Wesolek said. ‘If he felt like because of the wait that was insulting to him, we certainly will apologize.'”

    How sad; instead of apologizing for it, they should give thanks to God for the “happy Providence” of it all, by which the local leader of the modern equivalent of a libertine Gnostic sect received his due requital for his serpentine words.

  30. frjim4321 says:

    FrJim, perhaps you should become an Episcopalian if you are so against the teachings of the Church. I’m sure you and Andrus would get along well.

    That’s kind of like asking somebody to go and find another family.

  31. Denise says:

    Maybe Nancy Pelosi will take Bishop Andrus up on his invitation. One can only hope!

  32. RichR says:

    via media——-> via nihil

  33. CatholicMD says:

    No Fr Jim, it’s called being intellectually honest. As you well know, those received in to the Church make a profession of faith stating that they believe all the truths the Catholic Church teaches to be revealed by God. Could you make that profession of faith?

  34. Joe in Canada says:

    I was going to lament that he would be invited to a high place, then I saw the “snub” and thought “great”, then I saw the apology. We should stop inviting non-Catholics to the installations of new bishops. Don’t hinder them from coming, but give the front seats to the ladies who have been cleaning the cathedral for decades (I presume the priests are in the sanctuary)

  35. Matt R says:

    There’s a difference between being frank to a priest who errs, and then there’s being uncharitable. It is a very fine line. Let’s not continue to cross it. Fr Jim took a position that is wildly incorrect, and it needs to be corrected frankly, without any hint of grey areas on the issue he raised (not that there were any to begin with, in the context of the Catholic interpretation of Scripture). But, some of the replies didn’t actually correct him, and were just sarcastic cheap shots at him. Fr Fox’s reply was the most useful reply…I suppose Sissy’s links are useful as well.

  36. Maria says:

    Dear frjim4321,

    I did not read any postings of yours that is affirming or positive about the Catholic Church teachings or maybe I just did not read it, my apologies then.

    “That’s kind of like asking somebody to go and find another family.” – I believe that this is your next recourse of action. To be in the family and to argue once in awhile is I would say healthy debate but if you continually wound the family, the best thing to do is either to listen and learn from the side or find another family. Your views will be very much welcome by all protestant churches and I bid you good luck and have a happy journey. (Matt 12:30: Anyone who is not for me is really against me; anyone who does not help me gather is really scattering).

    The call of Pope Benedict XVI in the New Evangelization is for us, Catholics, to enrich each other to a deeper faith and to call and to invite those (cafeteria Catholics) to renew and to re-encounter our faith again. What you are doing here is the opposite.

    By writing this, I am not being charitable and patient (PBXVI always remind us to be charitable and patient – thank you Lord I am not priest) but at the same time, the Catholic church is so bruised, derided, and ridiculed. I always pray, daily, that our good Lord send us courageous and holy bishops and priests. If our good Lord send us but I do not support the salvation process through our bishops and priests, what is the purpose of my prayers then? Archbp. Cordileone happens to be courageous and holy. We should support him and pray for him instead of … and stand as a Catholic for what we believe.

    There are a lot of things that I do not understand but I believe at the same time praying fervently that the good Lord will help me understand so that I may appreciate more the beauty of being Catholic.

    God’s blessings of peace & joy!


  37. Christopher Johnson says:

    It’s worse than you think, Z. Andrus is even more of a rude, disrespectful tool than I thought he was.

  38. AnAmericanMother says:


    We did find another family. Our real family.

    Perhaps we were exchanged in our cradles by the fairies?

  39. frjim4321 says:

    Of course this on its own does not mean that the tradition of the church in this regard is not formidable, important and relevant.

    Alright, I included in my comment that indeed the tradition of the church is formidable, important an relevant. Hence, I was not disputing the tradition and its teaching on this matter. However the silence of the Gospels on the topic is indeed a valid question and my asking it does not make me a heretic.

    I appreciate Fr. Fox’s reply, but I don’t know if you can call Jesus awareness of the O.T. (including presumably Leviticus 18:22) is of itself a tacit endorsement of a fundamentally literal interpretation of everything that is found there. Does Jesus for instance endorse an understanding of Genesis 1 as seven days of 24 earth hours?

    Anyway . . . no I have no intention of “changing families” for goodness sake.

  40. jbosco88 says:

    Where to begin?!

  41. Scott W. says:

    I can’t believe the utterly fallacious “God Hates Shellfish” argument was invoked.

  42. Augustin57 says:

    Fr. Jim,

    I think it’s important to consider that the Bible shouldn’t be divided between “Old Testament (Oh, we’re done with that and can ignore it because it was “replaced” by the New Testament) and New Testament” approach like many Protestants. All of the Bible is the written transmitted Word of God. It all has, as it’s Divine Author, God. All of it. Yes? But even more strictly speaking, the Word of God is not a book (the Bible). It is a Person. Jesus Christ, Himself, of Whom St. John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (He was speaking of Jesus!) And He came to earth and taught what? Himself! Maybe the human writers of the Gospel didn’t see a need to repeat what was already written in Leviticus, etc., because it was so well understood then? John says that not everything Jesus did and said is in the Bible (see John 21:25) Yet, He commanded the Apostles (and their successors) to go forth and teach “all” that He had commanded them (Matt. 28:20).

    At the end of the day, I will pray for you, and ask, humbly, that you do the same for me! We’re on the same team, right? God bless! :)

  43. Bryan Boyle says:

    On some level…other than in Christian concern for their souls…why do we even care what the Episcopalians think? I mean…they’re becoming (became) a parody of themselves a long time ago…those who hear the call swim the Tiber, those who hear the other call stay on their side. It’s true that God calls all to truth, but, in the exercise of free will, mankind is entirely free to choose to follow a lie or cleave to the truth.

    I’m trying to not sound harsh…but, since when did we take our cues about what or how we should express our teachings from those outside our Faith?

  44. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Why was Marc Andrus invited in the first place?

    In the context of Lumen gentium 15 and the hermeneutic of continuity, how are which ‘Anglicans’ regarded? Presumably (in light of Apostolicae Curae), none as “in propriis Ecclesiis […] epscopatu gaudent, Sacram Eucharistiam celebrant”. But surely ‘just discrimination’ should be made between and/or within ‘Anglican’ “communitatibus ecclesiasticis” with respect to “multi, qui sacram Scripturam ut normam credendi at vivendi in honore habent” and those (many or few) who distinctly do not, among the latter of whom I do not see how one can fail to number Marc Andrus (even on the basis of his letter alone).

    And I am sure those in TEC “qui sacram Scripturam ut normam credendi at vivendi in honore habent” be they an oppressed majority or (by now) an oppressed minority, no more think Marc Andrus et suis spreak for “the Episcopal Church” or enunciate “Episcopalian teaching” than a fourth-century Arian See-occupier spoke for the Catholic Church – rather, they are analogous to “the Magisterium of Nuns”.

  45. dominic1955 says:

    This is a hoot, now with Mr. Andrus leaving the installation Mass in a tizzy for being “insulted”. First he fires off a pontificating passive-aggressive unsolicited note to the real bishop, chiding him for not being a secular liberal and trying to steal our people. Then, he has the gumption to get all butthurt when, being his fault, showed up late and they didn’t bend over backwards to accomodate him. Good job showing that great tradition of Anglican catty-ness for all to see…

    Being involved in a number of pontifical liturgies myself, if you don’t get there on time, do not be suprised that the whole thing doesn’t come to a screeching halt when you decide to waltz in. Actually, we shouldn’t give these people any sort of honor in liturgies. The leader of the Episcopalian organization isn’t a real bishop, none of his “clergy” are real (unless they are Catholic or Orthodox defectors) and the group is a dying group of leftist heretics. Try to win them over to the True Faith by all means, but don’t act like all these non-Catholics are actually clergy. It gives them the wrong idea.

  46. Fr Jim:

    Well, one reason our Lord may not have addressed overly “literal” (I so dislike the misuse of that word, but I’ll go along for now) interpretations is because he didn’t see a burning need to do so. Our Lord referred to David in connection with one of the psalms. Did David actually write it? Did Jesus not know this? I don’t know; but there is a much simpler explanation: the people to whom he was speaking associated David with the psalm, and his point was equally valid, whether he attributed the psalm to David, or an unnamed writer assuming David’s persona. Same with the reference to Jonah. So why go into those weeds? Our Lord did not come to discuss documentary hypotheses, but to save souls.

    So how would it have assisted the salvation of souls to address a so-called, overly “literal” reading of creation?

    And in any case, what does any of that have to do with the question you raised?

    Now, let’s talk about the misuse of “literal.”

    I rely on Raymond Brown, the Biblical scholar so closely associated with the Jerome Biblical Commentary. I realize not everyone would think fondly of him, but I think his explanation on this subject makes a lot of sense. He argued that true Catholic interpretation of Scripture always presupposes taking Scripture “literally,” and building on it. However, he explained “taking it literally” as taking it according to the meaning that the author intended–to the extent that can be determined. This, of course, leads exactly where Brown, and others in his school of thought, wanted to go: to analyzing the literary form of particular passages. Is this poetry? Parable? A letter? Apocalyptic literature? Some other literary form?

    The historical-critical approach takes a lot of hits, for good reason, but these insights just mentioned are, I think, perfectly valid and very useful. Recognizing the particular literary qualities of a book such as Jonah solves almost every problem that arises from it. And it leads to properly taking the book “literally”–i.e., meaning, reading it as the sort of literature the author intended. The story of Jonah uses very obvious exaggeration and wild contrast of big and small, in order to teach some very powerful lessons. I do not believe the author of Jonah was trying to make points about fish or sea mammals. That is called “missing the point.”

  47. Scott W. says:

    On some level…other than in Christian concern for their souls…why do we even care what the Episcopalians think? I mean…they’re becoming (became) a parody of themselves a long time ago

    Boyle is right. There is such a thing as false ecumenicism that is just as deadly as any internal heresy. The juggernaut of society-approved sexual perversion is swallowing mainstream denominations one by one, and while we still have a duty to plead with them not to deliberately throw themselves over the cliff, we also have a duty to cut any tether to them if they do.

  48. LisaP. says:

    The Church is not a family. It is the body of Christ. It is the bride of Christ. There are a number of metaphors that apply historically. The idea that the Roman Catholic Church is a family is to gag.

    Mankind is a family. No one is suggesting that anyone leave that family.

    I share a frustration here, I don’t mind disagreement or diversity of opinion. What torques my jaws is when the person I am conversing with insists upon using rhetorical dishonest in order to win a fight by misdirection or through the ignorance of those he opposes. Our common goal here and in every other sincere venue should be to find the truth. When “debates” instead become about your side winning and the other losing, no matter whether this is through the exposition of truth or through some sophistry, those debates are, among many other more serious things, simply no fun.

    Certainly a person may believe Jesus did not address homesexual activity because he found it guiltless. But to discount the very obvious — that he was infinitely more likely to have not addressed it because it was universally known as evil (like incest, etc.), to ignore that obvious fact when it is laboriously brought up, to divert to a “you hurt my feelings” argument — these are all signs of dirty pool. It’s cheating, and it’s habitual.

    Folks who take this turn inhabit most venues of our society, and it’s a serious problem in a pluralistic community that values openness of discourse. Debate on issues and ideas is predicated on honesty and a mutual desire for enlightenment and understanding.

    I have run across many places where, for example, an expression of Christianity is met by an individual or group wanting to express something hostile to Christianity — e.g. if you can put a Scripture verse next to your avatar, I should be able to put a quote deriding the Pope next to mine; if you have a forum section for discussions on Jesus on your site for young people, I have the right to a section on Satanism. These folks realize it’s hard to address this, it seems “unfair” not to let all sides run, and then on this false equivalency is built a continuing bullying and dishonesty and dirty tricks campaign that eventually drives the Christianity from the forum. Of course, that’s not going to be the case here, but it’s a tactic and an extremely effective one — use the good morals of the people you wish to destroy to attack them. There’s no easy answer, because we certainly can’t abandon our ethics and morals in order to take them away from our opponents as weapons. I imagine we simply have to endure it, and realize there is no victory here.

    But I feel the need to occasionally say — I know what you’re up to!

  49. Paul Lemmen says:

    frjim4321: “I’ve never heard a plausible explanation as to why the Gospels are silent on this matter.” The Gospels are also silent on drinking and driving, viewing pornography on computers and cheating on high school tests. These things are in our societal milieu, not Christ’s at the time of the Gospels. The sin of homosexual acts (homosexual urges are not sin) has been with us always. How we overcome and control our baser urges, how we accept and internalize the teaching of Christ and His Church determine our heavenly rewards (or punishments).

  50. robtbrown says:


    1. Christ made it clear that he came to fulfill the law, not destroy it. In moral matters his presence (and teaching) is ordered toward the perfection of the Old Law, not its contradiction. Thus the Old Law concerns temporal life, and the exterior aspect of human acts. The New Law (of grace) concerns orienting the temporal life to eternal life–the interior component emerges.

    The OL and the NL (and for that matter, the Old and New Covenants) are qualitatively different.

    There is a long history of attempts to emphasize the NL’s interior component (intention) of human acts to the point of usurping the OL’s exterior aspect. It goes back to Abelard and has reared its head again with the likes of Rahner (Fundamental Option) and, IMHO, with the Proportionalists.

    NB: Christ says to love our enemies. He doesn’t say: “OK, from now on you have to consider your enemies to be frie

    2. I’m not sure what you mean by literal interpretation of Genesis. If you are referring to the notion that after the 7th day of creation, the creation was 7 days old, I would say that the text nowhere makes such a claim. And so it is possible that between each “day” there were millions of years.

    If you are referring to “light”, then it is obvious in the text that it is used metaphorically. Any attempt to interpret it only literally, therefore, contradicts the text itself.

  51. robtbrown says:

    The Gospels don’t mention homosexuality (although St Paul does). There is also no mention of stock fraud and wife beating.

  52. Scott W. says:

    The Gospels don’t mention homosexuality (although St Paul does). There is also no mention of stock fraud and wife beating.

    We don’t even have to propose futuristic things like stock fraud. The OT condemns bestiality and homosexual acts and Our Lord doesn’t mention bestiality. I hesitate to mention it because it is only a matter of time before “zoophiles” get around to arguing in its favor from the “silence” on it in the NT, and the usual suspects running cover for it.

  53. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Jesus came to fulfill the law. He didn’t mention homosexuality or a whole host of other things that everybody already knew were wrong.

  54. catholicmidwest says:

    Shrug. They’re Episcopalians. What do you expect from Episcopalians?

  55. catholicmidwest says:

    I’m always really amazed by the number of Christians that seem to not know what the Scriptures say. Can they not read?

  56. Sissy says:

    frjim4321 said: “I don’t know if you can call Jesus awareness of the O.T. (including presumably Leviticus 18:22) is of itself a tacit endorsement of a fundamentally literal interpretation of everything that is found there.”

    This question seems to imply that either A) you don’t consider the Bible to be the inspired Word of God or B) you don’t consider Jesus to be the Word, the second person of the Trinity. In what sense could Jesus be the Word and yet only be “aware” of the OT, not it’s author? I’m taken aback that you think it’s possible Jesus didn’t “endorse” all of the Bible. In what sort of alternate theology would Jesus “endorse” some of the Bible, but not all?

  57. CatholicMD says:

    Fr Jim – Saying that the Church’s perennial teaching is “formidable, important and relevant” is not the same thing as saying it’s true. Do you believe it’s true? If not, what other truths of the Faith do you deny? Do you teach this to your parishoners?

  58. Bryan Boyle says:

    Scott W: there are already some psychologists and other deviants who are angling for a change in bestiality laws to eliminate the penalties.

    Seriously. “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it rule your life”

  59. Johnno says:


    The Tradition of the Church is truth, not just something ‘formidable and relevant’, which might infer that it can topple or become irrelevant with the times, rather it is formidable and relevant because it is true; and it will continue to be formidable and relevant because the truth does not change. It is grounded immovable factual truth, not perceived ‘truth’ which is no truth at all, but merely opinionated interpretation. Which is what much of science has become.

    Your asking questions about the Gospel isn’t wrong, but your ‘argument from silence’ is misplaced given that the entirety of Scripture establishes it firmly, hence it is not silent because the Gospels must be taken and read alongside everything else. You do not pick up a trilogy of novels like Lord of the Rings, strictly read the second book, the Two Towers, then go about proclaiming it is silent about events dictated in the Fellowship and Return of the King and deem the first and third books irrelevant where only the contents of the second book matter! Nor would you ignore other books like the Hobbit or Similarion and then proceed to interpret how the entire world and ‘history’ Tolkein created is only from the sole contents of the Two Towers! Tolkien fans would rightly call you foolish! Besides, as a priest, you should know better!

    And Christ did literally endorse the OT. And unlike some here who have bought into compromising their faith with atheist evolution fairytales and modernist interpretations, Christ believed in Adam and Eve as real people (also a defined dogma of the Church btw), and said they were created at the BEGINNING of Creation! (Not billions of years later).

    So yes, a 7 Day Creation is factual and Genesis dictates certain facts that Christ upheld which are
    1)Recent young creation
    2)The Flood of Noah

    Something modernists don’t acknowledge this despite that there is no scientific evidence to support biological nor cosmological evolution, and that Genesis can be demonstrated from the Hebrew to be of the literal historical genre, which does not exclude the poetic symbolism inherent in the method and order of God’s creative acts. The Crucifixion was a real event that is also filled with so much Symbolism. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen the way the Gospels say it did!

    The same goes for the historicity of Noah’s flood. Virtually everywhere on Earth, other religions and faiths down to aboriginal tribes maintain a story of a global flood. The so called ‘fossil explosion’ is demonstratably the result of a worldwide castrophe that was sudden and violent to the point that you even find fossils of marine creature on high mountain ranges! This is also demonstratable in many geographic features such as the Grand Canyon. Modernist scientists readily dismiss the idea of a global flood on Earth to explain this, but oddly enough use the idea of a global flood to explain the exact topography found on Mars! Which is why they’re hell bent on looking for signs of water there! But for some reason it couldn’t happen on our planet where the majority of the surface IS water??? The hoops people jump through to avoid Biblical truth is astounding!

    Christ didn’t need to reiterate on the length of the creation days nor their precise scientific order for the same reasons he (probably) didn’t have to reiterate the laws concerning homosexuality, because the Jews already accepted them and didn’t question them and also likely didn’t care for scientific accuracy like we do today. Homosexuality was also regarded as contrary to heterosexual marriage by the entire ancient world even if they tolerated homosexual acts.

    You say the Gospels are silent on Jesus speaking about homosexuality? I say the Gospels are silent on Jesus NOT speaking about homosexuality! Who are you to say Christ didn’t speak out against homosexuality? Were you there? Do you imagine that the Gospels contain EVERYTHING there was to know about what Christ did and taught? Even the end of the Gospel of John spells it out that there was so much more Christ said and did that cannot be contained in all the books on Earth! And believe me, books at the time were downright rare and ‘paper’ and ink was expensive. They didn’t have dollar marts. So your view of the Gospels is something very akin to the errors of Protestantism.

    But I’ll tell you who was there! The Apostles! And went they went out from Jewish society, where homosexuality was already an accepted abomination by all Jews, to the pagan world (where homosexuality was either tolerated or celebrated by some), they strongly denounced it! Because it was more relevant there! Were Jesus incarnated and raised in Greece and made it his mission there to establish the Church and die for us, then you might bet He would’ve been talking an awful lot about homosexuality and the Gospels would have likely recorded it!

  60. TomG says:

    To play one part of the canon of Holy Scripture off against another part is, for a believer, fundamentally dishonest.

  61. acardnal says:

    Calling good evil and evil good is the work of the devil.

    Now that homosexual acts and “marriage” are considered normal, groups are already at work promoting the normative behavior of pedophilia, pederasty, and soon bestiality. Can another Sodom and Gomorrah result be far behind in this century?



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  63. schmenz says:

    What is very troubling in this episode, at least to me, is this rather odd term, “same sex attraction”, and the fact that the Church (or at least the current regime) is apparently going to accept this vague, psychological term as a substitute for mortal sin. One doesn’t have an adulterous attraction or a murderous attraction or a felonious attraction; one commits mortal sins by giving in to the temptation to do so. We were all taught as children that one can sin in thought, word and/or deed. Though of varying degrees of seriousness all three are still sinful. For the Church leaders to eliminate sinning by thought and word and substituting nebulous terms like “same sex attraction” actually shows the average “Joe” in the pews that maybe their poor homosexual relative may just have some mere psychological problems rather than being complicit in a sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance.

    Are we priests or are we psychologists? If a penitent in the confessional says he is bothered by buggerious desires then any priest worth his salt should be guiding him away from such horrors while at the same time reminding him that even these thoughts and desires are sins, venial at least but ones that could quickly become mortal.

    The Church has made some serious, harmful compromises with the world of late, and accepting such ideas as “same sex attraction” or “sexual orientation” are two examples. Enough of this vagueness. Rome must, and quickly, get back to fundamentals regarding such matters and to start reminding their penitents that if they are thinking about robbing a bank they are already on a sinful road and need penance and absolution for such thoughts. Maybe that little penance will make the sinner stop right there before going on to the next level of sinfulness, planning the theft, or the next level after that, committing it. Thought, word and deed, as the catechism said.

  64. LisaP. says:


    I have always understood (and taught my children) that an occurring thought or temptation is not a sin. Entertaining it or acting on it or inviting it are all sins of one kind or another. Entertaining sinful thoughts will make them more likely to pop into your head, but it’s not the popping that’s the sin, it’s the fact that your action (entertaining) made the popping easier to happen.

    Christ himself had the devil whisper temptations to him. He put the temptations away. He never sinned.

    I realize that making this distinction can give people wiggle room if they choose to misunderstand the nuances, but that can’t be helped. It’s not just the undue burden of guilt a person will feel if they are tempted and resist but believe the temptation itself makes him guilty. It’s that if the Church teaches that we can be culpable for that which we actively choose against, for things done “to” us instead of “by” us (and I do believe temptations can befall us through outside persons), it teaches heterodoxy and it makes God arbitrary, unjust, and merciless.

    I don’t know if feeling an attraction to a person of your own gender is a psychological condition or a product of disordered choices alone. I think the Church is right not to pretend that determination is within its purview.

  65. Augustin57 says:


    I think the rubber meets the road with regard to thoughts and temptation, when one merely consents to the thought. Example: A young man sees a beautiful woman in a bikini on the beach and has an impure thought pop into his head. He has two choices: 1) reject the thought. “No, I’d never do that! That’s sinful!” or 2) consent to the thought. “Yeah, boy, if I get half a chance, I’m gonna…” Even if nothing happens past that point, he needs to go to Sacramental Confession.

    At least that’s my understanding.

  66. LisaP. says:

    Augustin, I agree, consent is a much better word than “entertain”, which almost implies soliciting.

    Basically, for myself, I have found when a tempting thought pops into my mind I must be in the habit of immediately rejecting it and directing my mind elsewhere. If I am not in the habit (a habit which you must choose to form), I will find myself slipping into allowing myself to continuing thinking that thought, and though that’s not willful I think it is culpable. If I stop and realize, “I’m thinking that, it’s wrong” and then continue purposefully anyway, that’s gravely sinful.

    So I sympathize with schmenz in that in the real world, there’s rarely a true occasion with no guilt at all, but it could theoretically happen and I think our words have to reflect the distinctions.

  67. Schmenz:

    Honestly, what seems odd is your reaction to what is simply the fruit of observation. There is, for reasons that are not easily deduced, an observable sexual orientation in many, many people. Do you seriously mean to dispute this? Most people have a heterosexual orientation, and they aren’t much tempted by homosexual behavior; and the reverse seems to be true for people who report having same-sex attraction. It floors me that you dismiss all this.

    And who said any of this is a “substitute for mortal sin?” That’s mixing apples and airplanes. It is an attempt to understand what’s going on in people’s heads, not excuse moral failure.

    There are folks who struggle with homosexual feelings–who desperately want to have heterosexual feelings–and who go through terrible trials. A lot of them are young people, and some of them take their own lives. Your response–oh, there is no such thing as same-sex attraction, and stop thinking those things–seems incredibly tone-deaf.

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