Couple tells Pope about welcoming homosexual “couples” in parishes. Fr. Z muses.

You can expect that those who support Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried will find eager allies in those who support the homosexualist agenda.  The former are willing (or want) to detach the sexual act from marriage.  The latter want to detach the sexual act from procreation.

Thus, Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) is all over a story from CNS reporting that:

A married couple told Pope Francis and the Synod of Bishops on the family that Catholic parishes should welcome same-sex couples, following the example of parents who invite their son and his male partner to their home for Christmas.

I don’t want to shift any blame onto the couple who spoke at the Synod, of course. It is the sensationalizing of the reportage that is troublesome.

That said, I wonder just how it is that parishes should welcome homosexual “couples”?  What would that look like?  What do we mean by “couples”?  Civilly married “couples”?

Here’s the deal.

Part of the problem of homosexual “couples” (and perhaps also civilly remarried couples) involves the corruption of friendship.

Say a man and woman are in an irregular situation.  One, a Catholic, is divorced from the previous spouse.  No decree of nullity.  Civil marriage follows to another Catholic.  They cannot receive Communion as is.  However, it could be possible for them to receive Communion (provided that they avoid scandal) were they willing to live in a “Josephite” marriage or a “brother and sister” situation.   As you can imagine, it could happen that once in a while they might slip, as it were.  In that case, they go to confession and start again, resolved to do better.

Say a man and a man, who are great friends, determine to live together, share expenses, take care of each other when ill, etc.  They are heterosexual and they don’t have any attraction to each other.  They are simply great friends, like Capt. Aubrey and Dr. Maturin, Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock, Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, Porthos, Athos and Aramis… okay, that’s three.   Jesus and the Apostles.   No problems here.

Say a man and a man, who are great friends, determine to live together, share expenses, take care of each other when ill, etc.  They, however, are homosexuals and they do have an attraction to each other.  However, they have determined to live chastely, because they know that homosexual acts are sinful.  As you can imagine, it might happen that they slip once in a while.  They go to confession – like any other sinners do – and they renew their resolve to live chastely.   That is not very different from the situation in which the divorced and remarried couple find themselves in.

You might bring up the point that they have placed themselves in an occasion of sin, because the proximity of the other person is too tempting.  This would apply to the man and woman living like “brother and sister” and to the homosexuals.

I respond in two ways.  First, human beings are not brute animals which have no control over their appetites.  Second, say they have separate dwellings.  There is nothing to stop them from getting into the car at any time of the day or night.  Separation in separate dwellings isn’t a guarantee of anything, in this highly mobile world we live in.

Yes, there are some less thoughtful reactionaries who will jump all over this like a trampoline, because they hold that, if you are attracted to another person, you should avoid even seeing that person.  Sure, that is one approach.  I don’t recall that it’s in the Bible. It isn’t de fide.  It is one way to counsel a person, depending on the circumstances.

That said, those who want divorced and civilly remarried couples to receive Communion without any commitment to living chastely, while continuing to have marital relations whenever, are, in effect, separating the sexual act from its proper locus, valid marriage.  Homosexualists, homosexual activists, will find this goal parallel to their own.  If they can disconnect the sexual act from its primary end, procreation, they score a victory.

 

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69 Responses to Couple tells Pope about welcoming homosexual “couples” in parishes. Fr. Z muses.

  1. MaryofSharon says:

    What does it mean to “welcome” a same -sex “couple” into a parish? There is a distinction between welcoming two individuals (or two friends who come together) and welcoming a “couple”? I would say it’s a matter of welcoming the persons, but not welcoming their “coupleness”, acknowledging any goodness that might exist in their friendship, but not acknowledging the legitimacy of a romantic/sexual dimension in the relationship.

    Parents of a child with same sex attraction may, after careful discernment, choose to welcome their child’s same-sex “partner”, as a friend, to visit at Christmas, but set parameters that acknowledge the person and the friendship, but not the romantic/sexual dimension of the relationship. For example, as difficult as such a conversation might be, the parents may insist that there be no public display of affection and that if the “friend” will be spending the night, he will stay in a separate room.

    There is a local parish at which there is a pair of young men who kiss on the lips at the Sign of Peace. That is not the kind of welcome that same-sex “couples” should be given; it causes scandal and, contrary to the inevitable charges of “homophobia,” very naturally disturbs many. Those young men should be pulled aside by the pastor for a conversation not unlike that of the parents I’ve described might have had: welcome the persons, acknowledge the friendship, but not acknowledge the “couple” as a couple, and ask them to refrain from “couple-like” behavior. Of course, a pastor ought to also do the best he can to explain the wisdom and beauty of the Church’s position with compelling reason and even joy. Then it is up to the two persons to decide if they want to be there enough to be willing to abide by “house rules.” To take the moral dimension out of it, what considerate Gentile guest would eat ham in front of the family in a a Kosher Jewish home?

    (The parallels to the divorced and remarried are challenging here. Similar principles should apply, and if they don’t, the same-sex pair really does have grounds to say that it’s not fair. )

  2. jacobi says:

    Fr.,
    Once again we see in this couple, behind the double talk, this obsession – and I use the word advisedly – with receiving Holy Communion. [Did they say that the couple had to be admitted to Holy Communion?] The receipt of Holy Communion nowadays has little to do with receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ , and more and more to do the with social acceptance of sinful and anti-Catholic practice.

    Anyone in a state of grievous sin, that is any of the seven deadly sins and many more, should attend Mass and pray for a resolution of their difficulties, but they cannot receive Holy Communion.

    We really have to get away from this idea that Mass is nothing but an opportunity to go up to the altar rails and receive, an what is more important, be seen to receive, by all and sundry.

    The Church requires us to receive Holy Communion once a year and to do so we must be in a state of grace, have observed the stipulated fast and be otherwise properly disposed.

    The quicker we get back to the pre-Vat II position of circa 60/70 % remaining in the pews, the better.

  3. idelsan says:

    About living together. You are right father, but just in theory. I am not an animal, but I would not live in the same house with a young swimsuit model, it would be irresponsible (and scandalous, even if I tell everyone that we live like brother and sister).

  4. MaryofSharon says:

    @idelsan: I completely understand your rationale, but the challenge with your position is that there is then no one who a person who is attracted to the same sex may live with. Isn’t it enough to propose (short of a deliverance from their attractions) that they will never be sexually active, nor ever indulge in romance, but must they live completely alone? No one else is asked to live that way. What alternative can one put forward? Very perplexing and necessitating sober self-knowledge and a very wise spiritual director.

  5. mrshopey says:

    Although they do seem similar, there is one aspect that is different in that those divorced/remarried outside the Church could get to a point where they could marry again in the eyes of God. Spouses die, freeing the person to marry again. Also, appeals sometimes come back stating first marriage was null.
    Compare to the s/s couple, who wants to me welcomed, as a couple, nothing could happen (annulment/death) to make that union, as they want to be seen, as holy.
    We have a lesbian couple where we are and one dresses like a man(ish). They are active in the parish. They, when their niece visits, want to be referred to as aunt/aunt. Does it matter to others in the parish? Yes, especially with the young children who are now young adults. This is how it matter, because they have seen, first hand, that there is nothing “wrong” with them, (they are nice), they now do not understand why the Church is so backwards to them and won’t allow them to marry. It affects people. It can never be reconciled either, their union, unlike the others which one day could.
    We are required to receive communion once year during Easter time. If you look at it, we are being asked very little. They know some of us can get into situations caused by ourselves where we should not present ourselves for communion.
    If they keep doing this, without the warning that if we receive unworthily it is worse on US , it seems worse for the pastors because they should know better.
    I wish they would stop insisting people go up and change how that is done too.

  6. Mike says:

    Many who struggle with chastity seek pastoral care under the mantle of the Church’s truth through avenues like the Courage Apostolate, yet are impeded by their dioceses’ active resistance to such ministries. One doubts that a media campaign on behalf of these sufferers will be forthcoming.

  7. mrshopey says:

    And to answer the couple who are speaking at the Synod, we had to do the hard job of telling family members that they could not bring their “partner” over to gatherings. They could come as friends, but that is NOT what they wanted to do. It is because what they are doing is wrong and because they are family why we are doing this. Also, because it affects us all, especially the younger ones, who could turn against Christ’s teachings. It is hard, they will still be family, but it must be done.

  8. Traductora says:

    jacobi has a very good point, I think. People just assume that going to Communion is virtually a requirement. I don’t know if anybody else has ever been to a big Sunday mass where the ushers move people out row by row and make it virtually impossible for someone to remain behind and not go to Communion. I’m old enough to remember when most people didn’t go to Communion – not that this is the ideal, but it was up to the individual INFORMED conscience, and if you felt you shouldn’t go, or even had broken the fast or whatever, you didn’t go, and nobody stared at you or nudged you to get up and go. You knew the consequences of going to Communion unworthily.

    We were also told to make a spiritual communion if we couldn’t go up to the altar rail, a concept I don’t think is even taught anymore.

    I think a big part of it is that people see Communion only as the concrete expression of being “part of the community” and therefore they feel they have to go if they want to be part of it. Divorced and remarried couples not living properly or homosexuals or whatever thus regard themselves as being socially excluded, but that’s simply because they have no understanding of Communion (and no understanding of the Church as the Body of Christ, either).

    BTW, the analysis of people just living together (without considering or portraying it as marriage or involving a sexual component) is very good, because we certainly don’t want to get into to sitting around and speculating about the personal lives of people in the parish just because we know they live with somebody of the same sex . However, if they show up claiming they’re “married” or wearing pro-gay tee-shirts or smooching in the pews, obviously, that’s a different matter. But still, the crucial problem is when these people present themselves for Communion, automatically along with everybody else who is doing so automatically. Behavior in church or clothing or something else should be handled by the priest, speaking to these people and telling them that what they’re doing is inappropriate, telling them not to do it, and inviting them to go to Confession. But when they turn up for Communion, it’s a direct challenge and I think many priests just simply don’t have the courage to deny it to them because it would make them feel “excluded from the community.” So in a lot of ways, the problem is a modern misunderstanding of Communion.

  9. iPadre says:

    In this whole “debate,” I find that those who are pushing for allowing people in civil marriages to receive forget about the former spouse. Does anyone care about the wife, who came home to find her husband in bed with her best friend? Best friend and former spouse marry without an annulment should be admitted to Holy Communion. Not only are they living in mortal sin, but there is a wound against the former spouse. This whole conversation is backwards. No concern for the two Sacramental victims – Our Lord hidden in the Sacred Host and the former spouse, who is always presumed to be in a valid Sacramental union until proven to the contrary.

  10. Scott W. says:

    No concern for the two Sacramental victims

    Outstanding point.

  11. Sonshine135 says:

    Here again, Fishwrap and CNS begins with a faulty premise. Namely, they identify a person with their sexual orientation. I find it amazing that in a day when we are all fighting for “equality” we continue to categorize people. That is all part of the con game.

    That being said, I welcome all who want to follow Christ and humble themselves to His will. I think this couple is suggesting; however that we welcome openly homosexual couples into church, and ignore that they are living in an openly homosexual relationship. They also ignore men and women with homosexual tendencies who try to live a virtuous life. People like this are ignored and stepped on constantly by the very people who should be welcoming them.

  12. Fr Z’s analysis is right on, particularly about same-sex-attracted friends living together (note I didn’t say couple). One of the key things SSA’d individuals need to live chastely is real friendship and the right kind of intimacy that flows from it. Of course that can come from heterosexuals, but we all understand how it can be easier to share your struggles with those in the same boat. It’s case by case.

  13. greenlight says:

    In this hypothetical ‘Josephite’ marriage or s/s chaste friendship, aren’t their actions very public? Would we be required to assume that all divorced and remarried couples receiving communion are in fact in a chaste relationship? That would seem to do away with the whole notion of public scandal.

  14. mpmaron says:

    Traductora is right and the only conclusion is someone needs to explain to unrepentant sinners that going to communion is a bad idea.

  15. Gretchen says:

    It is a rejection of the sense of sin in modern life. People enter and exit marriage without a thought for its sacredness. Children suffer terribly the results of broken marriages. They are sacrificed on the altar of personal happiness. People today enter and exit sexual relationships outside of marriage with little thought for the harm they are doing to their immortal souls. Yet I think, on a spiritual level, many people (heterosexual and homosexual) are cognizant of the mortal wounds they inflict upon themselves; hence the drive to having the Church regularize their relationships. The natural law is writ large upon our hearts and modern man is not as divorced from divine truth as he would like. The key is to reconcile that spiritual sense with the outward behavior. That is where the Church can/should be our help. I have my doubts, however.

  16. robtbrown says:

    A very difficult situation for the parents. Perhaps St Augustine’s life could be the model. When he was living with a woman, St Monica would not allow him in her home, but she would meet with him elsewhere.

    So perhaps the best strategy would be to welcome her son for Christmas but not his “buddy”.

  17. paladin says:

    MaryofSharon wrote, in reply to idelsan:

    I completely understand your rationale, but the challenge with your position is that there is then no one who a person who is attracted to the same sex may live with. Isn’t it enough to propose (short of a deliverance from their attractions) that they will never be sexually active, nor ever indulge in romance, but must they live completely alone? No one else is asked to live that way.

    I hear you, and I feel for your point… but speaking as one who has struggled both with addiction and with food allergies, I can say (and I don’t think I’m the only one on earth to be in this position) that I *do* need to avoid things in which other people can partake/indulge. Would I like to be able to eat that bag of chips safely, or take that piece of cake at the wedding of dear friends, or enter (without risk or worry) that particular establishment at which friends of mine hang out regularly? Of course… but I can’t. Avoiding near occasions of sin is not just a pious bit of fluff, or an optional recommended platitude; it’s a moral obligation, on pain of sin–or, if you prefer, it’s an element without which we’ll always be spiritually sick (a bit like one’s health, if one never drank enough healthy fluids). Believe me, I understand the emotion which storms up and says, “But it’s not *fair*!! Why should I suffer this way, when it isn’t my fault? Can’t I have even a little of what other (“normal”) people have??” But the answer is “no”… and it’s a wrestling match with the age-old question of suffering. In my flesh, I fill up what’s lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of His Body, the Church (Col 1:24). Yes, it’s painful; yes, I feel (perhaps more than some, because of my similar situations) for those who share that (seemingly) unfair and very real burden. But no, I don’t give the green light to obvious sources of danger, simply because the person is pining for what he craves. I’ve been there, and I’ve tried indulging it, and I’ve tried “abstaining while staying close to it”… and it was a disaster. And again: I don’t think I’m a complete odd-ball, in that regard.

    I’d also gently propose that “living together in one domicile” is not the sine qua non of any relationship; the person suffering with Same-Sex Attraction Disorder (SSAD) is free to live across the street from (or even next-door to) someone of the same sex, IMHO… and the idea that the possibility of “sneaking over to have sex on the sly” would be equally scandalous doesn’t make much sense to me; the fact that I have my own bed in which to go back to sleep, at night, does have implications (both real and perceived) that “sharing a bed with an attractive potential sex partner” doesn’t. Yes, I could also theoretically be buying a plane ticket to Bangkok every month without any of my friends being aware, and spending a week in sexual debauchery which would make Caligula cringe; but the average observer would be forgiven, I think, for finding it easier to assume sin on my part if (as idelsan pointed out quite well) I’m simply “sharing room and board” with “Miss October” (merely to save on expenses, of course!).

    What alternative can one put forward?

    Sleeping alone, and making a point of nurturing as many healthy, Godly friendships and support systems as humanly possible, would be one. (Again: one can have meals and quality time and avocations together with someone, even to the extent of “being joined at the hip” and spending almost every waking moment together, without sharing a sleeping domicile or room or bed.)

    Moving in with a 90-year-old relative as their caretaker might be another. :)

  18. Papabile says:

    FWIW, I think it’s valuable to have the actual testimony to see what was said.

    Testimonianza dei coniugi Ron (Romano) e Mavis Pirola (Sydney, Australia)

    Fifty-seven years ago, I looked across a room and saw a beautiful young woman. We came to know each other over time and eventually took the huge step of committing ourselves to each other in marriage. We soon found that living our new life together was extraordinarily complex. Like all marriages, we have had wonderful times together and also times of anger, frustration and tears and the nagging fear of a failed marriage. Yet here we are, 55 years married and still in love. It certainly is a mystery.

    That attraction that we first felt and the continued bonding force between us was basically sexual. The little things we did for each other, the telephone calls and love notes, the way we planned our day around each other and the things we shared were outward expressions of our longing to be intimate with each other.

    As each of our four children arrived, it was an exhilarating joy for which we still thank the Lord daily. Of course, the complexities of parenting had great rewards and challenges. There were nights when we would lie awake wondering where we had gone wrong.

    Our faith in Jesus was important to us. We went to Mass together and looked to the Church for guidance. Occasionally we looked at Church documents but they seemed to be from another planet with difficult language1 and not terribly relevant to our own experiences.

    In our life’s journey together, we were primarily influenced through involvement with other married couples and some priests, mainly in lay spirituality movements, particularly Équipes Notre Dame and Worldwide Marriage Encounter.2 The process was one of prayerful listening to each others’ stories and of being accepted and affirmed in the context of Church teaching. There was not much discussion about natural law but for us they were examples of what Pope John Paul would later refer to as one of the Church’s major resources for evangelization.3

    Gradually we came to see that the only feature that distinguishes our sacramental relationship from that of any other good Christ-centred relationship is sexual intimacy and that marriage is a sexual sacrament with its fullest expression in sexual intercourse. We believe that until married couples come to reverence sexual union as an essential part of their spirituality it is extremely hard to appreciate the beauty of teachings such as those of Humanae Vitae. We need new ways and relatable language to touch peoples’ hearts.

    As the Instrumentum laboris suggests, the domestic church has much to offer the wider Church in its evangelizing role.4 For example, the Church constantly faces the tension of upholding the truth while expressing compassion and mercy. Families face this tension all the time.

    Take homosexuality as an example. Friends of ours were planning their Christmas family gathering when their gay son said he wanted to bring his partner home too. They fully believed in the Church’s teachings and they knew their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family. Their response could be summed up in three words, ‘He is our son’.

    What a model of evangelization for parishes as they respond to similar situations in their neghbourhood! It is a practical example of what the Instrumentum laboris says concerning the Church’s teaching role and its main mission to let the world know of God’s love.5

    In our experience, families, the domestic churches, are often the natural models of the open doors for churches of which Gaudium Evangelii speaks.6

    A divorced friend of ours says that sometimes she doesn’t feel fully accepted in her parish. However, she turns up to Mass regularly and uncomplainingly with her children. For the rest of her parish she should be a model of courage and commitment in the face of adversity. From people like her we learn to recognize that we all carry an element of brokenness in our lives. Appreciating our own brokenness helps enormously to reduce our tendency to be judgemental of others which is such a block for evangelisation.

    We know an elderly widow who lives with her only son. He is in his forties and has Down syndrome and schizophrenia. She cares for him inspiringly and her only expressed fear is who will care for him when she is no longer able.

    Our lives are touched by many such families. These families have a basic understanding of what the Church teaches. They could always benefit from better teaching and programs. However, more than anything they need to be accompanied on their journey, welcomed, have their stories listened to, and, above all, affirmed.7

    The Instrumentum laboris notes that the beauty of human love mirrors the divine love as recorded in biblical tradition in the prophets. But their family lives were chaotic and full of messy dramas. Yes, family life is ‘messy’. But so is parish, which is the ‘family of families’.

    The Instrumentum laboris questions how ‘the clergy [could] be better prepared … in … presenting the documents of the Church on marriage and the family’.8 Again, one way could be by learning from the domestic church. As Pope Benedict XVI said, ‘This demands a change in mindset, particularly concerning lay people. They must no longer be viewed as “collaborators” of the clergy but truly recognized as “co-responsible”, for the Church’s being and action’.9 That would also require a major attitudinal change for laity.

    We have eight wonderful, unique grandchildren. We pray for them by name daily because daily they are exposed to the distorted messages of modern society, even as they walk down the street to school such messages are on billboards or appear on their smartphones.

    A high respect for authority, parental, religious or secular, has long gone. So their parents learn to enter into the lives of their children, to share their values and hopes for them and also to learn from them in turn. This process of entering into the lives of our other persons and learning from them as well as sharing with them is at the heart of evangelization. As Pope Paul VI wrote in Evangelii Nuntiandi, ‘The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them.’10 That has certainly been our experience.

    In fact, we resonate with the suggestion of one of our daughters regarding the development of what she calls a nuptial paradigm11 for Christian spirituality, one that applies to all people, whether single, celibate or married but which would make matrimony the starting point for understanding mission. It would have a solid biblical and anthropological basis and would highlight the vocational instinct for generativity and intimacy experienced by each person. It would remind us that each of us is created for relationship12 and that baptism in Christ means belonging to his Body, leading us towards an eternity with God who is a Trinitarian communion of love.

    ____________________

    1 It amazes us that in any pharmacy we can buy tablets in a packet that contains a detailed pamphlet that explains complex scientific aspects of the medicine in simple lay language and which will withstand possible litigation in court. There is an urgent need for a comparable approach to the documents of the Magisterium. A practical example of how this might be done was given by Prof Jane Adolphe at the XXI Genreal Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family (PCF), Oct 23-25, 2013. The PCF’s Charter of the Rights of the Family is a beautiful Church document, complete with extensive Church references. Hence, it is generally viewed as a ‘Church document’ and rarely quoted in secular circles. Prof Adolph has re-drafted the document, making the same points with entirely secular references, thus making it a document likely to be quoted by secular organizations such as the UN and therefore much more likely to be read in the public domain.

    2 We were deeply influenced also by contact with, or involvement in, other lay spirituality organizations and movements such as Charismatic Renewal, the Pastoral and Matrimonial Renewal Centre, the Antioch Youth Movement and Focolare.

    3 Pope John Paul II, “the family is one of the Church’s most effective agents of evangelisation and not simply the object of the Church’s pastoral care’, 1999, Ecclesia in Asia, 46.

    4 Instrumentum laboris, III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the topic: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization, Vatican City, 2014. No.4. ‘… the Church, in order to fully understand her mystery, looks to the Christian family, which manifests her in a real way.’

    5 Instrumentum laboris, III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the topic: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization, Vatican City, 2014. Preface, para 2. ‘[The Synod] is called to reflect on the path to follow to communicate to everyone the truth about conjugal love and the family and respond to its many challenges (cf. EG, 66). The family is an inexhaustible resource and font of life in the Church’s pastoral activity. Therefore, the primary task of the Church is to proclaim the beauty of the vocation to love which holds great potential for society and the Church.’

    6 Pope Francis, 2013, Evangelii Gaudium, 46.

    7 When people are affirmed for the good they do, they do it better. Hence the value of St Pope John Paul II’s statement, ‘Family, become what you are!’ (FC, 17).

    8 Instrumentum laboris, III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the topic: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization, Vatican City, 2014. No.12. ‘that the clergy be better prepared and exercise a sense of responsibility in explaining the Word of God and presenting the documents of the Church on marriage and the family.

    9 Pope Benedict XVI, 26 May 2009, Address at Rome Diocese pastoral convention on the theme “Church Membership and Pastoral Co-responsibility”, as reported in Zenit, Vatican City, 4 June 2009.

    10 Pope Paul VI, 1975, EN 71.

    11 Teresa Pirola, ‘Family life in a post-conciliar pastoral agenda’, Aust eJournal of Theology, 2012, 19:2.

    12 St Pope John Paul II, Wednesday General Audience, ‘The nuptial meaning of the body’, 8 Jan 1980.
    [03008-02.01] [Original text: English]

  19. dans0622 says:

    When we “welcome” whomever into our home, that doesn’t mean that we give them license to act however they please when they are in the house. Don’t kick the dog. Don’t insult the other guests or your hosts. Don’t trash the place, etc… If you do such and such, you’ll be asked to leave. Likewise, any an all are “welcome” in the Church and, at the same time, are to be expected to abide by the rules of the house (of God). These days, though, we seem unable/unwilling to make any demands regarding sexual morality.

  20. Unwilling says:

    Parents have a special relationship with their own children. It is one that helps constitute the family. The bond between parent and child is unbreakable — in this respect like the marital bond, but even death does not end it. Parents cannot disown their children any more than spouses can effectively eradicate their marriage. A parent has parental responsibility to teach the truth to their children — actively or implicitly — in a timely manner. While the child must always be loved, it may not be possible to love the child’s acts. This distinction should be explained to the child — better late than never. [We must calmly clarify this, when a child blackmails “If you do not love my loving my lover, then you do not love me!” Nor may we: “If you do not end the relationship with that person, then I will not speak to/see/love/own you.”] The parent always has the obligation to educate and guide and to seek the present and eternal happiness of their own children. Guiding and being responsible for guiding another person is no small thing. More by example than by precept etc. Always with the love of unshakeable commitment.

    A spouse, by deliberately and persistently abusive acts, may conditionally and temporarily lose the right to exercise one or more of the conjugal privileges: bed, board, etc. Likewise, a child, by deliberately and persistently demonstrating a determined will to scandalous immoral behaviour, may lose the right to invitations or permissions from his parents to participate in family events, according to the parental judgement. Likewise again, a parishioner, by flaunting scandalous behaviour, may rightly be told by the pastor to cease either from the scandal or from communion and even from attendance.

    The marriage is never extinguished. The parental tie is never broken. The Sacraments always await reformation.

  21. Sam Schmitt says:

    So if it’s OK for two SSA men (or women) to live together, is it also OK for unmarried man and woman to live together – provided they do their best not to be sexually active? How is this that different from a man and woman living alone in the same house? No one can know for sure whether they are sexually active, but is this something one would counsel for ones own son or daughter?

    I was always taught that one should avoid all serious (“proximate”) occasions of mortal sin – i.e. those circumstances where there is good reason to believe one will fall, unless there are serious reasons involved. It is hard to see how one could live on an intimate level with another person to whom on is sexually attracted without there being a serious occasion of sin.

    Yes, people are not animals and they do have control over their appetites, and yes, they could live apart and still sin. But in my experience it is foolhardy to trust too much in one own self-control. And this doesn’t even touch upon the issue of scandal.

    I ask this in all sincerity since I have known two men with SSA who presented themselves (for all intents and purposes) as a couple at church, came every Sunday, and who were very loyal and active in the parish. I got to know them, but it was very difficult for me after visiting their house and realizing they lived together to square this with the teaching of the Church. The “cognitive dissonance” was really troubling for me.

  22. jhayes says:

    CNS commented on only one point out of the presentation by the Australian couple (Ron and Mavis Pirola). It’s worth reading the full text of their presentation in the transcript of the Synod.

    HERE

  23. KateD says:

    The primary difference between the man and woman cohabitating outside of sacramental marriage and a man and a man cohabitating is children.

    Two people who are sexually attracted to one another but have no right to the conjugal act are indeed living in the near occasion of sin and causing scandal. An in-love couple who are dating and Catholics married civilly cannot cohabitate. Period. The End. Amen.

    Except……

    When there are natural children born of the union of the man and the woman. The rights of the natural child(ren) to be raised by and live with both their natural mother and father under one roof come into play and carry a great weight.

    This is the circumstance where the Joesphite marriage/”living as brother and sister” (there is no term “living as brother and brother”, nor should there be. I AM is pretty emphatic about this.) is appropriate, and only through consultation with the couples’ parish priest.

    The Church’s job is to help the sinner amend his or her life and live it in the fullest community with her as is possible. The Church, however, does not have the authority to countermand Jesus. If this synod should determine that couples may openly cohabitate in a union outside of sacramental marriage and yet remain in communion with the Church, then the synod will have gone well beyond it’s authority and will have begun to not only usurp but also act against the authority of God. This is the territory of the fallen.

    This epidemic in the Church is caused by poor catechesis. The solution then is not to label the (eternal) life threatening symptoms as benign, because they are not, but to cure the illness…..through proper catechesis.

  24. Kathleen10 says:

    What many don’t seem to grasp about the issue of homosexuality in the parish and what would that look like and what conditions can be put on homosexuals so that little Susie in the parish doesn’t notice…etc….is that they are marching, steadily, ever steadily, into the house of God in order to, if not outright destroy it, to render it unidentifiable for everyone else.
    They make great progress. Even to have the discussion is great progress. The fact that at a Synod it was publicly stated is superb progress, and it must now be a foregone conclusion the battle is over and they have the victory. That makes it a sweet week, on top of the US Supreme Court handing them a superb victory, so, we are in the end stages of all this blather on a civil level. By refusing to do their job and settle such a contentious issue they have settled it, in favor of gay “marriage” in all the states.

    Homosexuals and their rabid champions are told to “go forth”, just like the Apostles were told. Go forth into the schools, the churches, the synagogues, the business world, the supermarkets, the preschools, the newspapers, everywhere, and just BE SEEN and BE HEARD. Demand your place at the table! Explain to others how “backward” they are, how “advanced” homosexualists are.
    When your son Bill brings home Ted, accept them! Don’t be a narrow-minded homophobe (oooh), no no, be tolerant and show the world what a progressive hipster you are, over 50 and you accept your son and his gay lover. Few can resist that siren call, and it can be understood that one would very much want a relationship with their own child. I know I would. Unfortunately, that has meant that Mom and Dad not only accept Bill and Ted, they are now compelled to explain to others how wonderful it is to see Bill and Ted and their love, and look, by virtue of surrogate women we have grandchildren. What was sin is now virtue, and this pattern has been repeated many, many times. Who can tell Marge and Fred that Bill and Ted are living a disordered life and they are in danger of going to Hell because God cannot sanction a homosexual couple? No one.
    Sad to say, that has worked wonderfully well. There are many people who could not hold up under that kind of emotional headlock, and who want to be seen as a progressive, if not a hipster.
    So bottom line, all this helps to muddy the water, and the homosexualists are doing what they were told to you, get out there in churches and make sure to be seen doing great, altruistic things, make nice with your pew mates so they can see you are just a regular person, you are not a demon with a forked tail. You are NICE, and they can see you kiss each other sweetly and how normal and family-like you all look. This breaks down their resistance, and makes the homosexualist program just a little bit closer. Closer! It’s in the house!
    I am not saying there are not sincere gay Catholics living chastely. I’m sure there are and they are as noble as any heterosexual living chastely, maybe more noble since sex is part and parcel of the gay life, so it is more difficult to live chastely. But people need to realize that the gay agenda includes getting out there, being vocal, being an advocate, being a champion, coming to comboxes and making gentle, persuasive points, just asking mind you, to break down defenses and make it more likely that in the future, you, me, Pope Francis, and everyone will say something like “Well, it seems to have been decided. I need to stop resisting homosexuality and embrace it as part of God’s great and mysterious plan.”
    Insidious.
    This is all according to plan my friends, and it’s going swimmingly.

  25. JesusFreak84 says:

    In the East, it’s still pretty common for butts to remain in pews. At my parish, the most frequent receivers of Communion are the Roman rite Catholics. (For me, personally, my entire week goes out of gear if I don’t receive that Grace.)

  26. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    In the western suburbs of Boston, there is a parish where two well-known “married” men and their adopted children are prominent members. They are pictured in the parish directory. They have contributed to a renovation and have their names on plaque. They have been featured on Oprah as a real-life Modern Family. In gay publications, they write about their experience as Catholic and gay in a “welcoming” parish — to which they are major contributors. Some time back, the pastor posted this couple’s “Open Letter to the Pope” in his parish blog. They are praised from the pulpit.

    Needless to say, there is very little sense of sin in this wealthy town.

  27. mrshopey says:

    I guess I am curious how they will measure there success rate of “welcoming” people in these circumstances. Will the goal be conversion (getting them to heaven-even if it means them separating or not presenting themselves as couples) or just a warm, friendly place for now?
    Who will determine it a success if a lot regret what is said, and walk away?

  28. CrimsonCatholic says:

    I thought the Synod was closed to the media?

  29. MGL says:

    Sam Schmitt makes a good point: the appropriate comparison is between cohabiting same-sex couples and cohabiting opposite-sex couples, not between cohabiting same-sex couples and civilly remarried opposite-sex couples. To be sure, these are all potentially irregular unions, but remarried couples often have understandable reasons for deciding to remain under the same roof.

    But it would, under most circumstances, be inappropriate for me to live with a single woman around the same age as me, and that would go double if one or both of us were attracted to the other. I’d clearly be placing myself in the near occasion of sin–a situation which may even be heightened by the kind of “mutual support” pact that Father alludes to! And of course, there’d be the constant risk of scandal.

    Of course there are exceptional situations. But prudentially, we usually don’t condone cohabitation by opposite-sex couples, so I’m not sure why we’d think same-sex collaboration is OK.

  30. Titus says:

    The primary difference between the man and woman cohabitating outside of sacramental marriage and a man and a man cohabitating is children.

    Two people who are sexually attracted to one another but have no right to the conjugal act are indeed living in the near occasion of sin and causing scandal. An in-love couple who are dating and Catholics married civilly cannot cohabitate. Period. The End. Amen.

    That goes to what Fr. Z mentioned, but didn’t expand upon, the decline of friendship: because everyone knows what Men and Women do, the assumption is that a Man and a Woman who live together do those things. Thus, the scandal of people of the opposite sex living together (irrespective of whether or not they are attracted to each other, which may not be known to others).

    But the widespread acceptance of homosexuality expands that perception. Now, if a Man and a Man live together, nobody knows whether they’re roommates or “roommates.” It’s become impossible to have normal human relationships and to do the things incident to them, because the pervasiveness of open and accepted homosexual conduct has poisoned the public perception of human interactions.

    I thought the Synod was closed to the media?

    Well, that’s the kicker, isn’t it? If you close the meetings to the media, then the media only gets to hear the Official Line, or the Line from the tolerated leak. Sealing the discussions was not a move to prevent a media circus, it was a move to control the circus in a particular manner. Witness the manner.

  31. StephenGolay says:

    I just think it odd – or something – that the first media event from The Event was about homosexuality.

    Maybe it’s telling – or something. I know there’s fur a-flying about the “issue” of divorce & remarriage, but maybe there’s something other growling underneath.

    I nominate Queer Theory – as it is subtly (Machiavellian-ly) used by all those hooded birds of prey who descended upon Rome and the periphery of Vatican City this week. Periphery?

    The post, nicely put. Yet, still, the heterosexual couple on their occasion of sin – the act of it, I suppose – retains (however “irregular”, stained by sin) the character of properly ordered sex as given in Creation. Their act rebels. The homosexual “couple”, in their occasion of sin, does not. Their sexual act not only not only disobeys the sexual covenant of Creation, it mocks & parodies the Sexual Covenant of Creation in a way the sinning heterosexual couple does not. The heterosexual couple disobeys the Covenant, the homosexual “couple” disobeys both the Covenant and disordered the sex with its mockery and parody.

  32. donboyle says:

    Is it cynical to question whether these testifying couples are being chosen truly at random or whether their testimonies are not reviewed ahead of time? Or whether their testimonies are revised in the daily summaries to highlight certain points?

  33. HeatherPA says:

    As a mother who (in union with husband after intense direction from priest) closed the family home to a cherished daughter who is obstinately and openly living outside the sacraments with a “boyfriend”, I can at least attest to the difficult spiritual and daily struggle it is to do so in 2014 society.
    I honestly am unsure if we could be this strong without priestly support.
    We have two grandchildren we are unable to see because of our “horrible, judgmental” stance.

  34. The Masked Chicken says:

    “This epidemic in the Church is caused by poor catechesis. The solution then is not to label the (eternal) life threatening symptoms as benign, because they are not, but to cure the illness…..through proper catechesis.”

    What they are doing, here, is equivalent to calling the Ebola virus a useful germ. The ignorance of basic doctrine (moral hygiene?) among modern Catholics is appalling. One begins to think that Jay Leno’s segment on his Jay Walking interviews where he asked people how many Commandments there were was not made up :(

    I suppose the synod Fathers will not be asking why the state of Catholic education in the world is so screwed-up, but that would be a good place to start to heal the problems in the modern family. That, and clearly explain what ecumenism is not. It does not mean that Protestant doctrines are every bit as good as catholic doctrines.

    The Chicken

  35. The Masked Chicken says:

    Good points, Paladin.

    The Chicken

  36. Mary Jane says:

    It is extremely rare that I find myself disagreeing with anything Fr Z says, but this appears to be one of those rare occasions (unless I misunderstood his point).

    Two homosexuals who choose to live together knowing they have an attraction for one another are purposely placing themselves in an occasion of sin. Living separately but having the ability (and free will) to get into a car at any time of day or night is a LOT different than living together and having the ability (and free will) to “slip up” at practically at any time. In that situation the occasion is practically always there, always convenient, always at their disposal…it’s harder to resist that sort of temptation.

    Here’s an analogy: one alcoholic trying to get over his addiction has cleaned his house of all alcohol but he slips up and buys a bottle of wine. Another alcoholic trying to get over his addiction actually keeps the alcohol in his house all the while saying to himself, “I just won’t drink it.”

  37. Athelstan says:

    Mrshopey,

    Will the goal be conversion?

    You’re assuming that that they even understand what conversion is and what it entails.

    Based on the remarks the couple made, I don’t think we can assume that. Any more than we can assume that they actually understand that homosexual acts are grave sins.

  38. Martlet says:

    Homosexuals, heterosexuals — for the first time in my Catholic life (64 years) I am seriously worried after reading this in LifeSite: Synod hears explosive proposals to drop ‘disordered,’ ‘living in sin’ etc.

    Fr. Rosica explained what he believed to be “one of the salient interventions” of the day, noting that according to the presenter, “language such as ‘living in sin’, ‘intrinsically disordered’, or ‘contraceptive mentality’ are not necessarily words that invite people to draw closer to Christ and the Church.”

    “There is a great desire that our language has to change in order to meet the concrete situations,” he added.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-synod-hears-explosive-proposals-to-drop-disordered-living-in-sin-e

    Anyone know any more about it? I just felt the rug being pulled from under every serious Catholic parent and teacher.

  39. Imrahil says:

    Whatever we ought to think about it, it is a fact at any rate that theologian authorities of the 17th and 18th century taught that a man who had committed adultery with his maidservant could not be absolved before dismissing her (on account of the occasion principle).

    That they would have considered the brother-sister-relationship solution to the divorced-and-remarried issue such is thus beyond doubt. (Leaving aside that it’s not realistic in the great majority of cases. Not because the appetites weren’t controllable, they are, but because it requires two people to at the same time come to and accept the conclusion that they must not sleep with each other.)

    On the other hand, in the Middle Ages the prostitutes went to their Easter Confession (on the grounds of “I admit my resolve to not sin any-more is very very weak, but it’s not entirely absent – after all, I know it’s a sin and I hate offending God”), and then went to Communion together (receiving It as the last ones).

  40. thomas tucker says:

    What alternative can be put forward?
    Suffering. In union with Christ on the Cross.
    But that’s something we avoid at all costs these days.

  41. DisturbedMary says:

    If the Church didn’t have so many homosexually sympathetic men in the priesthood, would we be having this synod discussion of moving the goal line from where Christ put it to a relative place where everyone can score? I’m thinking the next synod should be on homosexuality.

  42. Joel says:

    Paladin, If we were to vote for the Gold Star, which we don’t, you would get my vote. I think you nailed it and would encourage anyone after me to be sure to read your comments.

    Too your point I would add; We all have our particular crosses to bear. Who is to say that my cross or your cross is heavier or more difficult? We all have the same rules to abide by and the same recourse, (sacraments and graces), to help us through.

  43. Alanmac says:

    According to the US Center for Disease Control 1.7% of the American population is gay or lesbian.
    The Catholic Church in the US represents 5% of the total RCC.
    This is the end of the tail wagging the dog.

  44. Imrahil says:

    Dear Sam Schmitt,

    it must be said, though, that “what am I to suppose to think in interpretation of facts about others”, and “what do I choose to do myself or counsel my children to do” are entirely different questions. Coincidentally, even the two halves of the latter are rather different questions.

    It would be wrong to say “let’s move together to harden ourselves in resistance against temptation”. As for everything else, since occasion is rather subjective, I’d hesitate to apply that to others. And even we ourselves are to be humble and realistic, but not, I’d venture to say, intimidated.

    Now what actually is a proximate occasion of sin? According to Fr McNabb, a situation that requires heroic virtue to refrain from sin – and, we might add, that can be fled without “leaving the world”, i. e. I’d assume we are not required to flee (but must of course not give in to) what temptations are common to general life (which is why I disagree with Fr McNabb’s application that a Christian is forbidden today to live in cities).

    And since I by the way don’t think caresses are sinful in an engaged couple*, and as we are not monks but laymen, others ought in my view not to be reproached for being solus cum sola.

    [*It’s not necessary to say, but I do of course not say this about actually sexual activity, even if it is not what in marriage is the marriage act.]

  45. dominic1955 says:

    “I respond in two ways. First, human beings are not brutal animals who have no control over their appetites. Second, say they have separate dwellings. There is nothing to stop them from getting into the car at any time of the day or night. Separation in separate dwellings isn’t a guarantee of anything, in this highly mobile world we live in. Yes, there are some less thoughtful reactionaries who will jump all over this like a trampoline, because they hold that, if you are attracted to another person, you should avoid even seeing that person. Sure, that is one approach. I don’t recall that it’s in the bible. It isn’t de fide. It is one way to counsel a person, depending on the circumstances.”

    Amen, a thousand times, amen. While we all must avoid near occasions of sin we must also remember that those are not objective for everyone. We also must jettison an obsolete notion of “scandal”. Absolutely, “living together” outside of marriage, even if everything was platonic and on the up and up back 100 or 200 years ago would be scandalous. Today, I doubt its scandal causing abilities, at least in being something “absolute”. I would not suggest actively seeking out a room mate of the opposite sex and I certainly would not council anybody to move in with their significant other. However, the room mate situation must be judged on its merits and I would not say that someone who is living in a cohabitation situation is so tainted and unclean that I no longer can have anything to do with them. These days, shunning them or trying impose rules outside of your own house will do nothing but alienate them.

    Pope Francis talked about shepherds having the smell of the sheep on them, i.e. rolling up their sleeves and entering into people’s lives where they are at. So have the other popes, so have the saints. Jesus ate with sinners of all types-tax collectors and pharisees.

    I go over to the place of friends and family that are “shacking up”. Do I think I’m causing scandal? Nope. Let’s be perfectly honest, for better or worse, that quit being scandalous years ago. That is simply the reality of today. They know I don’t aprove and yet the only way I or anyone else is ever going to have any sort of influence on getting them on the straight and narrow is holding the communication lines open. They are already quite comfortable with not caring about religion, the punishment of our own little purity laws (often made up in our own heads, mind you) are not going to change their minds.

    I guess the question I ask myself now is this, do we want people to have a conversion of heart or do we want to feel satisfied in our observation of every tithe of mint and rue and herb?

  46. MaryofSharon says:

    Dan Mattson, a Catholic man who experiences same-sex attraction, and has done a lot of writing in prominent Catholic publications and has been a featured guest on a number of Catholic television and radio shows, has some very interesting articles on the phenomenon of loneliness and homosexuality: http://letterstochristopher.wordpress.com/tag/loneliness/ He has some very good stuff on the kinds of friendship he should and should not have: http://letterstochristopher.wordpress.com/tag/spiritual-friendship/ and http://letterstochristopher.wordpress.com/tag/disinterested-friendship/. Very, very wise. He has a profound understanding of the meaning of the expression “disinterested friendship”.

  47. jhayes says:

    Athelstan. Ron and Mavis Pirola (the quoted couple) are co-Chairs of the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council, an advisory body of the Australian Conference of Bishops.

    “Married 53 years. Ron & Mavis have four children and eight grandchildren. Ron is a Gastroenterologist and a Professor in the Medical Schools of the University of NSW and Notre Dame University (Sydney). Mavis is a former secondary school teacher. They were awarded Papal and Australian Honours (KSG/DSG, OAM) for introducing many family movements and programs into Australia. Ron and Mavis were founding members of the Pontifical Council for the Family, on which they served for over twenty five years (1983 – 2009) They currently chair the ACMFC.”

    http://www.acmfc.org.au/council-members/

  48. Pingback: Synod on the Family: October 7 Update - BigPulpit.com

  49. WesleyD says:

    Both the liberal Catholic media and Rorate Caeli have focused almost entirely on this couple’s brief reference to what some friends of their did with regard to their gay son. But in fact, if you read their entire speech, they say nothing about whether parishes should “welcome” gay people. Their anecdote had to do with some friends of theirs who allowed their son and his boyfriend to attend Christmas celebration at their house.

    And nobody is paying attention to this couple’s wonderful advocacy of Humanae Vitae, and their begging the bishops to explain the Church’s teaching more widely, in terms that people can understand:

    Occasionally we looked at Church documents but they seemed to be from another planet with difficult language and not terribly relevant to our own experiences. In our life’s journey together, we were primarily influenced through involvement with other married couples and some priests, mainly in lay spirituality movements, particularly Équipes Notre Dame and Worldwide Marriage Encounter….

    ….We believe that until married couples come to reverence sexual union as an essential part of their spirituality it is extremely hard to appreciate the beauty of teachings such as those of Humanae Vitae. We need new ways and relatable language to touch peoples’ hearts.

  50. Martlet says:

    Just listened to the English part of today’s press conference. https://www.youtube.com/embed/y4HPtseZDEw?autoplay=1

    The English part starts around 17 mins in.

  51. robtbrown says:

    I wonder what happen if the friend was not homosexual but a well known drug dealer. Would he be welcome at Christmas?

  52. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Traductora says:
    7 October 2014 at 4:41 am
    I don’t know if anybody else has ever been to a big Sunday mass where the ushers move people out row by row and make it virtually impossible for someone to remain behind and not go to Communion.

    That is a very common practice. In fact, it’s a near-universal practice, in my experience.

    I haven’t the citation, but the relevant authority in Rome issued a condemnation of this practice back in the 1940s, precisely on the grounds that it creates maximum social pressure on people to receive Communion unworthily. IIRC, it was stated that Communion should be a time of “maximum confusion,” precisely so as to minimize such social pressure.

  53. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says: row by row and make it virtually impossible for someone to remain behind and not go to Communion

    Exactly. I have been clamoring for the end to row by row Communion for years, precisely because of the psychological pressure it creates for those who know they shouldn’t go forward.

    It would help to restore the 3 hour Eucharistic fast.

  54. Giuseppe says:

    From an usher at a church I used to attend: I know all of those with mortal sin. They are the ones who don’t receive Communion. Otherwise, they’d receive.
    Me: What about the sin of receiving Communion unworthily?
    Usher: What’s that?

    This is what Communion has become in some churches.

    My grandfather suggested communion after mass. Dismiss the congregation, and those who choose to remain might be better disposed.

    Finally, a friend insisted on receive communion every week because it was easy to just keep walking to the church entrance and to get a head start to the parking lot while the mass was winding down.

  55. The Masked Chicken says:

    “We need new ways and relatable language to touch peoples’ hearts.”

    No. We need better reading comprehension. Most catechisms are not that difficult to parse. What, by the way, does touching people’s heart even mean? Move them emotionally? Since when have emotions been the determiner of truth? One could put lyrical string music to Apolcalypse, Now and make killing seem emotionally appealing. Emotions are a poor guide to doing what is right. If people would do there own darn homework, the Church wouldn’t have to pander to their spiritual laziness.

    The Chicken

  56. Martlet says:

    Chicken – How right you are. Well my heart is touched and I want to cry, not because of “relatable language” but because I am concerned that such language will further obscure the teachings of the Church.

  57. cdet1997 says:

    My wife and I are trying to raise our children to trust Christ’s promise that His Church will never be led to an erroneous teaching, one that she would later have to “adjust”.

    Can we can an audience with the Holy Father to explain that the public comments by a certain cardinal make our job as Catholic parents more difficult?

  58. deLettis says:

    These are official news…

    Sexuality and more inclusive language on Synod agenda
    http://www.news.va/en/news/sexuality-and-more-inclusive-language-on-synod-age

    “Language such as ‘living in sin,’ ‘intrinsically disordered,’ or ‘contraceptive mentality’ are not necessarily words that invite people to draw closer to Christ and the Church”

    “married couples share details of their relationships, including the pivotal role that sex plays in the life of most married couples”

    ” much more honest and down-to-earth discussion than most bishops have experienced here in the Vatican over recent decades. ”

    “important elements of truth and holiness also exist in other churches and faith communities. In a similar way, he said, valid and important elements of true love and holiness can also exist in a relationship that does not conform to the full vision of an ideal Catholic marriage.”

  59. Mary Jane:

    Re: two SSA men living together always an occasion of sin….

    I just don’t agree with your always, and I don’t know how you can be so categorical. Do any two combinations of heterosexual men and women create automatic attraction? Obviously not. That’s why I said, “case by case.”

    I am not naive, and I am not being theoretical, I am speaking from people I have known and pastoral experience.

    For people who are trying to be chaste and celibate (which includes more than SSA folks), a critical need is for non-sexual intimacy, and friendship. And for many, loneliness and living alone make it very hard to remain chaste, particularly in the era of omnipresent porn.

  60. chuckharold says:

    I read Fr. Z’s article and all the comments. Now I know why people, especially under 24 years old, are leaving the church in droves. [First, I deny your premise. Second, whom are you trying to kid? You base your newly gained knowledge about who may or may not be leaving the Church on my blog and the combox? B as in B. S as in S. That’s just a disguise for your pre-determined agenda.] They find the church so counter cultural as to foster hate for other people. Especially young people cannot understand why the church can’t accept people for whom they are. Is there really a parish priest today that would deny communion to a couple who had been divorced and then married to someone else? Is there really a parish priest today that would deny communion to two men/women partners living together? Is there really a parish priest today that would deny communion to a young unmarried couple living together? Really? [Fail. You are setting yourself over and against the Church’s Magisterium. You need to stop being so judgmental!]

  61. sirlouis says:

    I’ve been unhappy for some time about people going up to receive a blessing instead of the Holy Communion. But in the context of ushers making it difficult to remain in the pew, it has the advantage of allowing the person who is pressured to join in a discrete way of, after all, not receiving.

    By the way, quite some years ago the then-bishop of Fort Worth directed that ushers are not to invite people to go up to receive Communion. This has not resulted in the kind of general pell-mell in which a person’s remaining in the pew becomes unnoticeable, but at least it doesn’t discourage it.

  62. eulogos says:

    I am not saying this is right, but this sort of thing is leaving me nauseated with disorientation and fear. I thought there was absolutely no chance the Church could ever cave to the world on these issues. Even during the height of the liturgical craziness in the late 70s and early 80s, it was not the Church doing that but this priest or that priest. If the Church actually accedes to saying a parish should accept a homosexual twosome as a married couple, or just as if they were, or ceases to assert the indissolubility of marriage by its actions, if it repudiates the accurate language of disordered acts, of living in sin, is it the Church? If it is not, there is not one, and I am not able to believe in Christ without a Church. No one should think that these are superficial issues. They are theological issues because they are about what man is, if his telos ( his purpose, meaning,goal, or end)is self determined or inherent in him as he is made by his creator.

    I am not there yet, but I do find this tremendously unsettling and upsetting.
    Susan Peterson

  63. Mary Jane says:

    Fr Fox, I appreciate your taking the time to address my comment. I do see and understand your points. Just to clarify, however, I did make the distinction that I was talking about two homosexuals who know they have an attraction for one another. Here is what I said: “Two homosexuals who choose to live together knowing they have an attraction for one another are purposely placing themselves in an occasion of sin.”

  64. Mary Jane — my apology, I didn’t attend closely enough to your point.

  65. The Cobbler says:

    I think Fr. Z makes a very good point, albeit one that the world is unlikely to listen to because it’s not the sort of worldly agreement that people want to hear.

    Some other various thoughts of mine…

    “Scandal” in Catholic terminology doesn’t mean what it means in everyday modern parlance, “being shocking”. It means, rather, “setting a bad example” or, more precisely though more broadly, “giving others the impression that it is ok to sin.”

    If the synod gets weird suggestions from the world, at least the bishops will know the state of catechesis out here.

    The food allergy analogy is interesting, but is mostly pertinent to occassions of sin in general and not to what things are occassions of sin. For example, homosexual attraction doesn’t necessarily mean being more inclined to sin so much as it means that a different specific (though related) sin is the one being inclined towards (and that real marriage is not inclined towards at all, unless we’re talking about bisexual attraction). Like if just one out of all the fellows at the bar, all bound on pain of sin to drink only in moderation but most not required to abstain from all drink to avoid that sin, didn’t find beer suits him as much as whiskey. (This analogy doesn’t hold up for other reasons — specifically, if having a drink is like a close friendship, having several drinks is like moving in with another, and actually getting drunk is having sex, the analogy has no place for an alcoholic equivalent to marriage where sex is a good thing, but that can only apply to [in this randomly picked example] beer and not whiskey.) All that being said, the original analogy is a good one for occassions of sin in general. Then again, I am a complete oddball in regard to the analogy — a few years ago, I developed a rather unusual type of allergy to one of my favorite foods, but between the severe pain of the allergy being worse than the enjoyment of the food and the simple fact that I’m not so much envious of what other people get to eat as I am fond of the goodness of food I tend to react to the site of this food more along the lines of, “Man, that stuff is good! I remember when I could eat that; I miss that. Oh well. Somebody had better be enjoying this since I can’t.” For better or for worse I realize this isn’t a normal reaction among humans.

    Homosexuality did not corrupt our sense of friendship. Our sense of friendship was corrupted by the sexual revolution before homosexuality became a thing in mainstream culture. It was only a matter of time before that extended to all friendships and resulted in the popular view that it’s evilly unfair to discriminate between potentially sexual friendships based on the sex of the friends involved.

    It’s pointless to tell the world “Marriage is a lifelong bond formed by irrevocable promises of love between a man and a woman to share not only their belongings but their very selves with each other with the intention of raising any children that may come from such union,” but not because people are suddenly too stupid to understand anything after the word “is”. Rather, they’ve been trained to believe marriage is something other than that, so when you say marriage is that, they say, “That’s not what marriage is,” and you can’t have any further discussion with no agreement on the definition of the thing being discussed. This whole issue may, however, be able to be sidestepped simply by talking about everything that marriage is without saying “Marriage is…” Call it, say, the Bond of Eve (after “flesh of my flesh” and all that; or we could pick some more appropriate patron saint of matrimony if there is one) and introduce it as though it were some radical but benevolent movement you and your spouse believe in, and then explain all the same things about the sacred bond and the total self-giving in love, show the world that that love is not merely an infatuation but an unfathomable belief in the other’s goodness as a person, and show the world you’re prepared to fight to the death for each other and that goodness even if it’s the slow death decades away by ordinary natural causes. Let them figure out on their own that that used to be called “marriage” before the Puritans muddied the waters by misjudging most of it as a necessary evil and moderns rebounded by making “marriage” whatever they want it to be; they will sooner put the pieces together if they don’t stop listening before they are given the pieces. After all, it was the commonality of the pagan remark about Christians, “See what love they have for each other!” that led to the saying “They will know we are Christians by our love,” in the first place.

    On the other hand, a similar approach would be of significantly more limited usefulness if any at all for “offensive terminology/language”, inasmuch as the terminology is only offensive because the idea it expresses is itself disturbing to the sinful world. For instance, “living in sin” can be expressed in a thousand ways, but as long as the way it’s expressed is accurate it will imply sinfulness, and if that’s what people object to then dancing around the terminology won’t do anyone any good. The discussion doesn’t diverge at defining a term to refer to certain content, but at the content itself, so whatever solution there is won’t be about avoiding any particular term while trying to convey the same content, it will be about getting people to recognise that the content is correct/good.

  66. The Cobbler says:

    I think I may have figured out Cardinal Kasper. You know, he keeps insisting that he’s upholding indissolubility of marriage but wants to change the discipline surrounding divorce and remarriage to treat it as though the first marriage “failed”, right? What if he’s thinking of indissolubility the way Protestants think of grace? You know, a Catholic says, “I was baptised into Christ, but I have since sinned; I will go to Confession to be reconciled to Him,” but a Protestant says, “I thought I was saved, but I have since sinned; once saved, always saved, so I must not have been saved before like I thought and still need to be.” Could Cardinal Kasper be thinking something like, “Once married, always married, so if a couple breaks up they were obviously never really married, forget wasting time and effort on tribunals just to confirm the obvious”?

  67. robtbrown says:

    chuckharold says:

    I read Fr. Z’s article and all the comments. Now I know why people, especially under 24 years old, are leaving the church in droves.

    Maybe they leave the Church because they are honest with themselves and realize that rejecting Catholic teaching on Faith and Morals means they are rejecting the Church. They don’t want to be phonies.

    I encourage you to abandon your own assumptions and attend the nearest TLM mass. You will see that most who are there are young.

    They find the church so counter cultural as to foster hate for other people. Especially young people cannot understand why the church can’t accept people for whom they are.

    IMHO, the Church is transcultural, not counter cultural.

    And who put you in charge of speaking for “young people”? In fact, if you would examine seminaries and religious orders with vocations, they would be filled with “young people” who disagree with you about sexual morality, etc. I encourage you to visit Clear Creek Abbey in NE Oklahoma. It is full of “young people”.

    And what do you mean about not accepting people for who they are? What about someone who habitually engages in bestiality? Or crack and cocaine dealers? Or pedophiles? Or someone who’s having an affair with your wife or mother? Do you accept them?

    Is there really a parish priest today that would deny communion to a couple who had been divorced and then married to someone else? Is there really a parish priest today that would deny communion to two men/women partners living together? Is there really a parish priest today that would deny communion to a young unmarried couple living together? Really?

    I agree that there are probably few places where a priest would deny Communion to someone in those circumstances. And there are obviously few places that produce vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

  68. KateD says:

    The one consolation in all of this is Our Lord’s promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church. That and the knowledge that God can bring good out of anything. We will be praying for the Cardinals at the Synod.

  69. george says:

    KateD, we have His promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, but no guarantee that they will not prevail against any individual and against local Churches. Indeed, there are reports of parishes in the NY and Boston areas that are infiltrated with heretics who want to disregard consistent Church teaching. It seems that hell has prevailed there…

    Lots and lots of destruction has been raining down on the Church for the past century. She has not disappeared, but in many areas the limbs are dead…