At WYD a bishop rewrites the biblical story of Sodom

Pope Francis has shown particular favor toward Bp. Nunzio Galantino, of Cassano all’Jonio making him even General Secretary to the Italian Bishops Conference. I’ve mentioned him before HERE and HERE.

At World Youth Day in Poland, Bp. Galantino made some odd remarks to Italian young people in attendance.  HERE  He spoke about the “bargaining” dialogue that Abraham had with God over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18.

You remember the scene:  God knows that Abraham is going to Sodom. Because God knows that He is going to destroy Sodom, and because He has future plans for Abraham, God tells Abraham of Sodom’s sin, which means destruction. So, Abraham starts this “bargaining” with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of a few innocent people who might be destroyed with the wicked. God agrees and it seems that the cities are “safe”. Of course God knew better than Abraham what was about to happen. Thus endeth Genesis 18.

Then there followeth Genesis 19.

Lot has guests in his house and he is responsible for their protection. The people of Sodom want Lot to turn them over so they can rape them.  Abraham had implored God not to destroy Sodom if there are even a few innocent people in the city.  As it turns out, there weren’t. God destroys both Sodom and Gomorrah.  It is salutary to read the description to see what happens when God means business and we defy Him:

And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.  And he destroyed these cities, and all the country about, all the inhabitants of the cities, and all things that spring from the earth. … And Abraham got up early in the morning and in the place where he had stood before with the Lord,  He looked towards Sodom and Gomorrha, and the whole land of that country: and he saw the ashes rise up from the earth as the smoke of a furnace.

So much for God’s opinion about unnatural sex.

You will recall that a certain despicable mortal sin, as well as a whole range of unnatural sex, is named after Sodom.

Here entereth, stage left, Bp. Galantino.  He tells the young people, because of Abraham, Sodom was “safe… saved”.  That’s fine if you end the story at the end of Genesis 18.  But there follows Genesis 19 and the rest of the story which everyone now knows!  What God knew, and what Abraham didn’t, is that there weren’t even 10 good men there.  God, being faithful to what He told Abraham, wiped out the cities.  But that’s not the impression that Bp. Galantino gives.

Read it and decide for yourselves. (Not my translation – HERE – but with my emphases and comments.)

“The intense dialogue between God and Abraham in the first reading tell us about prayer. And it’s about prayer that Jesus is asked in the Gospel. A prayer which is not an escape from troubles and responsibility, but a live experience made of listening and answering, through which God creates an authentic relationship and pushes us to be daring. As daring as Abraham’s intercession prayer in favor of Sodom. A city upon which nobody would have bet a dime. His intercession prayer and his will to dare save Sodom. The city is saved because some righteous ones are there, even though a few of them. [La città è salva perché ci sono i giusti, anche se pochi…] But the city is saved [ma la città è salva] above all because Abraham, a man of prayer, is not a relentless accuser, he doesn’t speak against but in favor. Abraham, man of prayer, doesn’t point to the misdeeds, but he announces the possibility for something new. Abraham, man of prayer, announces and invites to look at the positive possibilities. Abraham, man of prayer, is a tireless searcher for sign of hopes to present to the Lord for Him to give them value.”

Ummm… “la città è salva”?!?  And yet, turning to the very next page in the Old Testament’s account, Sodom and Gomorrah wind up heaps of smoking ashes, utterly destroyed.  No?

God would have left Sodom be, if there had been even a few righteous men.  The city was potentially saved, or safe, in the sense that IF there had been a few good people in it, THEN Abraham’s plea would have worked. But there weren’t and the sins they committed were so bad that God burnt them and their folk and their fields to a flaming crackly crisp.  God knew what Abraham did not.

So, what’s with that sermon by Galantino?

Forget about catechism and knowledge of the Bible for a second.  EVERYONE who has a minimal cultural literacy at all knows that Sodom and Gomorrah were obliterated and – wait for it – that the term sodomy comes from Sodom.

So, what’s his game here?  Is it to put into the empty heads of these young people that God did NOT destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (i.e., rewrite the Bible) because He does not abominate the “sin of Sodom”?

Sure, Bp. Galantino underscores Abraham’s intervention.  Fine.  It’s great to underscore what Abraham tried to do, but NOT at the expense of the truth about what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah!  As good and as positive as Abraham was, it didn’t work, except for poor Lot.  Moreover, when Abraham asked God to spare the cities because there might be good people in them, he is in no way condoning what the evil people did!  Abraham seems to be fine with destruction of the wicked.  He doesn’t want the innocent to be destroyed because of and together with the wicked.

The fact that such a thing might take place at a World Youth Day is dreadful.  Also, I think it is a stinging condemnation of the catechetical and biblical preparation of young people today, that anyone would think that he could get away with this.

Finally, I’ll add the old adage that if God doesn’t strike our society soon, then He’ll owe Sodom and Gomorrah and apology.  If I – Abraham-like – could bargain with God, I’d take a different tack and offer up for divine retribution, first, the present White House administration, and if God didn’t go for that, then the DCCC.  If that wasn’t enough, perhaps the whole Democrat Party with its appalling platform.  After that I have a little list… written on Fishwrap  But I digress.

Seriously, friends, we had better wake up.  God cannot be deceived.

Pray for our nations.  Pray that God will avert His wrath.  Pray and do penance for sins of sacrilege and blasphemy and those committed against nature.

The moderation queue is ON.

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  1. Maltese says:

    The appearance of good in Evil makes it seem like a virtue. What is not to love about “love”? Surely this Bishop knows his bible well enough to know that turning from Ch. 18 to 19 leads to the conclusion of the story. So, my take is that he really is trying to pull a snow job on these youth, and give them the impression that love-is-love, no matter its variety, and we should all go home and rest easily that God will forever forgive any transgression (even unconfessed transgression) until the end of time. But I think God has another thing in store for us soon, as the third message of Akita alludes to.

  2. Agathon says:

    That’s a new one to me.

    I am used to hearing — as I’m sure many of us are — the claim that the sin in question was really, and only, one of not caring for the poor. (As though one could not read Genesis, Ezekiel, and Jude as all complementing and adding to one another on this account.) And thus the tale in Genesis is really a condemnation of meanie political conservatives who do not love a “generous” welfare state, and who merely expose their own bigotry by suggesting the story seems to include unnatural sexual acts in its condemnation of sin.

  3. TitanTom says:

    Reminds me of the sermon I heard a few years ago at my parish. The “three immigrants” that appeared to Abraham. The priest made the claim that “Since it is unclear who these three visitors were, we can learn, and have a duty to follow Abraham’s example and welcome immigrants to America.” Who cares if the very next chapter declares them angels, and many Christians think one of the angels was actually Christ. That doesn’t fit the social justice narrative of the “three immigrants.”

  4. Peyton says:

    My goodness, what a painting!

    Re: the teaching: Am I still in the Episcopal church? Will I wake up?

  5. bombcar says:

    And it was confirmed that the fire was eternal in the Letter of Jude:

    As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.

  6. Peter Stuart says:

    After a rotten week fighting temptations of the flesh, this struggling-to-be-faithful SSA sure would like some answers from the people that let this kind of thing happen. Of course after people like me were left out in the cold at the Synods, I guess I couldn’t have expected anything else.

    Thanks to everyone who does give a damn, including you, Fr. Z.

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    We’ve seen and heard enough, and certainly at this point feel we know what these men are trying to accomplish, but out of respect for you, Fr. Z., I won’t say it here.
    I have read that the pope also told these impressionable young people “Make chaos all through the night” and, “God prefers you when you are sinful and weak”.
    Personally, I am now creeped out by all the priests, bishops, and Cardinals flocking to World Youth Day. I mean, why. I’ve also seen footage of what these kids are encouraged to do, and it looks extremely secular and worldly, nothing much Catholic in it, unless you count what appears to be “Adoration” where there is loud talking, laughing, and dancing. I purposefully didn’t see much of WYD, but it appears awful. Michael Matt on the Remnant had a good article on it, and he rightly said to parents, if you don’t get why I am criticizing it, it’s too late for you. I think he’s right in many cases. People just aren’t paying attention and they don’t get it.
    I would love to have the true poll results showing the fruit of these Churchy-WYD-Spectacles, or, what I call them, Pagan Put-Ons. But if your goal is indoctrinating Catholic youth into NewChurch ideas, disseminating anti-Catholic cr-p, encouraging young people to adopt secular values and taking them further away from authentic worship, you could hardly do better than this corny church hootenanny. In my opinion, as soon as kids are old enough to move into the adult secular world, they will realize how empty and corny this stuff is, and leave it and Catholicism far behind. I’m middle-aged and I think it’s lame! How long will it take them!
    What should happen is just what you have done here Fr. Z. Lies, false teaching, blasphemy, should be called out as soon as it appears. Someone needs to try to protect these poor young people from the ravenous wolves. Thank you for doing it.

  8. benedetta says:

    Not sure really. Kind of hard to follow. Sounds sort of echo-chambery you know, like he’s having a conversation with people who are not there or in his head or something. Who knows how some higher ups get a platform, or not, as the case may be. God only knows how all of that goes along. It’s not for us to pass judgement I guess. His point forbidding anyone from making any sorts of accusation is very well taken, however. It’s a little late in the game for some, but hey.

    I just wonder how he squares his exegesis of that particular Old Testament text with this: “progenies viperarum quomodo potestis bona loqui cum sitis mali ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur…”

  9. The Astronomer says:

    I once asked a traditionalist priest what God had in store for the United States because of the ‘normalization’ of sodomy. I made the observation that in 1914 Holy Mother Church, at the time led by future Saint Pius X, was in an arguably stronger position regarding its positive influence on society. However, it was not long afterwards that World War One began, with the introduction of industrial-scale slaughter and Our Lady of Fatima’s admonition that “wars are a punishment for mans’ sinfulness.”

    If God saw fit to visit WW1 on humanity back in 1914 with a future saint on the throne of Peter, what are we storing up for ourselves now!?!?! He replied, that the “survivors would envy the dead…”

  10. robtbrown says:

    I read that the Pope had Cardinal Bagnasco poll the Italian bishops over their choice for Secretary of the Italian Bishops Conference. Bp Galantino received the fewest votes, and the pope then named him Sec Gen. It was likely a tactic to neutralize the influence of the Italian episcopacy in the Vatican.

  11. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    But Father, But Father….your posted image should needs have been William Bouguereau’s Dante & Virgil, perhaps the best off the cuff image of Sodom that exists.

    [I know the painting, in the Musée d’Orsay, which is horrific in its depiction, and I know what you are driving at, which is more horrible yet: what is truly occurring in the twisting of what otherwise could be friendship. However, that painting is about those who commit fraud, in the 8th Circle. One is Gianni Schichi (yes, of Puccini’s homonymous operatic fame) and the other… I don’t recall. The sodomites, such as Ser Brunetto, about whom Dante the traveler utters the poignant, “Siete voi qui, ser Brunetto?”, are at the lowest ring of the 7th Circle, of the violent, including the sins of murder, suicide, blasphemy, sodomy, and, interestingly enough, usury. The idea is that the sodomites violate nature even more than murderers and suicides (who violate the lives of neighbors and of self), because they, in their sterile sex, damn another who is willing and they have no posterity, which is violence against those never to be born because of the misuse of procreative potential. As an aside, usury is in the grouping because work should produce wealth. Wealth that produces wealth through money-lending was considered a violation of the natural order of things, of nature. Thus, these types of violent sinners are consigned eternally to the plain of burning sands. Back to the painting. The image is so violent, so ghastly in its intensity, that I can see why you associated it with sodomy rather than with fraud. Dante covers his mouth in horror at the sight of Schicchi ripping, vampire-like another man’s throat open with his teeth, his other hand tearing his victim’s flesh with his nails.]

  12. Mike of Arkansas says:

    Perhaps there’s more than a little truth to the ancient Protestant bromide that “Catholics do not read the Bible”.

  13. sirlouis says:

    In an otherwise very average sermon, the celebrant made the excellent point that it is the Church that is saved. We are saved in community. It is vitally important to be in the community.

  14. lmgilbert says:

    Well, this partially answers the question of what else can we do to push people out of the Church. One can only imagine what the evangelicals in Italy will make of this biblical illiteracy on the part of a bishop. It also buttresses my view that it makes no sense to speak of the New Evangelization until we bring the Old De-evangelization to a crashing halt.

    One other thing, why is this not sufficient grounds for asking the pope to withdraw Bp. Galantino’s faculties to preach, and say, putting him charge nothing more than the sacristy at St. Peter’s?

  15. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I can’t help thinking naming “the wicked” (‘impius’) three times in the first three verses of his speaking constitutes ‘pointing to the misdeeds’ of those wicked, on the part of St. Abraham. And the whole passage surely testifies to his “relentless” acknowledgement of the justice of the Lord Himself being the “accuser” of these “wicked” inhabitants. If “he announces the possibility for something new” I suspect it is of one, new last opportunity of the wicked to repent and turn from their ways which he glimpses in the Lord’s choice of words, “I will go down and see whether they have done according to the cry that is come to me: or whether it be not so, that I may know.” If there are not only his four just family members, his nephew, St. Lot, with his presumably just wife and two daughters, but six penitent converts among the inhabitants (two more people than the inhabitants of the ark in the time of St. Noah) – including any who repent even now in the presence of the angelic visitors – that is a leaven of righteousness that can go on working there in the hope of bringing more to repentance. (Perhaps that explains the success of St. Lot (19:18-23) in respect to Segor/Zoar: that it is such “a little one” that four is leaven enough – or even three as it soon sadly becomes (vv. 24-26)?)

    It is indeed bizarre that Bishop Galantino does not acknowledge that Sodom (and most of the other cities of the plain) are not saved because no-one repented at this last acceptable hour (not even the betrothed sons in law: v. 14), and so there were too few righteous ones to do anything but save them out of there.

    Alas, the source you link for the translation quotes John Allen quoting Bishop Galantino as saying in May 2014, “My wish for the Italian Church is that it is able to listen without any taboo to the arguments in favor of […] homosexuality” (!).

  16. Monica says:

    Father Z, I’m glad to see you address Bishop Galantino’s address. At this stage I don’t shock easily but to hear a Bishop publicly address young Catholics with this ‘interpretation’ of Scripture actually did shock me. Usually there is more subtlety involved. I know 10 year-old Baptist kids who could help Bishop Galantino understand…if he wanted to understand, that is.
    I must strongly disagree that the present White House administration should be first in line for our imprecatory prayers. Obama, Jarrett, and all other figures therein (except for VP Biden, who doubly proves the point) were not raised by Christian parents. They had none of the advantages of Bishop Galantino, a man graced with the apostolic succession and with no excuse whatsoever for speaking as he did.
    And of course, he will ‘get away’ with presenting this perversion of Scripture to the WYD audience (the children of very foolish, very naive parents). The catechetical and Biblical preparation of our youth were never in the hands of pagans like those in ‘the present White House administration.’ They were in the hands of bishops and Popes. And, now, will Pope Francis offer a corrective exegesis of Genesis 18-19? Will Greg Burke? Will Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI?
    It is another disgrace, another scandal which will never be addressed by the hierarchy. The least we can do is be honest about the source(s) of this humiliation. This is the fault of a Catholic bishop and his silent hierarchical superiors, not of secular politicians however pitiable and blind they may be (until our prayers convert them, please Lord.)

  17. TNCath says:

    As an old nun told me a long time ago, “Eventually people interpret truth to suit themselves. The man pulled over for speeding will claim that the cop who caught him was illegally hiding behind a bush.” This the world in which we live. Until we have some leadership that insists otherwise, we are in big trouble.

  18. graytown says:

    I’ve heard some weird interpretations concerning these passages.
    One popular take is that Sodom was punished not for sexual sins but for the sin of being inhospitable.
    Wow !
    God torches 2 cities for not serving guests coffee and doughnuts.
    I guess that explains the popularity of this after Mass activity.

  19. jhayes says:

    Sodom and Gomorrha were two of the five “cities of the valley.” Four were destroyed, but Zoar was saved after the angels found four righteous people in Sodom (Lot, his wife and two daughters) – or 6, if the sons-in-law who stayed behind are included. Lot had to renegotiate the details of the deal but, as Genesis 19 says, “God remembered Abraham.”

    18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords; 19 behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me, and I die. 20 Behold, yonder city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!”

    21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Make haste, escape there; for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zo?ar. 23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zo?ar….

    29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.

  20. JabbaPapa says:

    I’ll try and be careful about some other current goings-on concerning this area of Catholic Dogma and proper Christian instruction, though I’d understand completely if this post were not approved.

    July 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Three international life-and-family leaders who have defended Catholic teaching on marriage, sexuality, and life for decades have called the Vatican’s newly released sex-ed program for teens “thoroughly immoral,” “entirely inappropriate,” and “quite tragic.”

    “I find it monstrous that an official arm of the Church would not only create a sexual education program for teens but one that bypasses parents as the primary educator of their children,” said Dr. Thomas Ward, Founder and President of the National Association of Catholic Families as well as a Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

    KRAKOW, Poland, July 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The head of the Polish bishops conference says that in a private meeting this week Pope Francis held with the country’s bishops, he spoke of allowing local bishops conferences to make decisions about the controversial practice of giving Communion to those who are divorced and remarried.

    “The Holy Father says that general laws are very hard to enforce in each country, and so he speaks about decentralization,” Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki told reporters after a July 27 closed-door meeting with the Pope in Krakow. The pope had traveled to Poland for World Youth Day.

    The pope related that in a decentralized Church, bishops’ conferences “might on their own initiative not only interpret papal encyclicals, but also looking at their own cultural situation, might approach some specific issues in an appropriate manner,” Gadecki said.

    It was October 2015 that Pope Francis called for a more decentralized Church where bishops conferences could be given authority, even on doctrinal matters. Critics saw the move as contrary to the apostolic creed in which Catholics profess belief in a Church that is “one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic.”


    Pope Pius VI, Auctorem Fidei

    85. The proposition stating that any knowledge whatsoever of ecclesiastical history is sufficient to allow anyone to assert that the convocation of a national council is one of the canonical ways by which controversies in regard to religion may be ended in the Church of the respective nations; if understood to mean that controversies in regard to faith or morals which have arisen in a Church can be ended by an irrefutable decision made in a national council; as if freedom from error in questions of faith and morals belonged to a national council,– schismatic, heretical.

  21. gracie says:

    God doesn’t owe us anything. I think we assume that He does. Big error.

  22. Pingback: MONDAY EDITION | Big Pulpit

  23. reygo72 says:

    Hi Fr. Z

    Last week I heard at mass a priest saying that Sodom was not punished by God because of grave sins (he said that this was a misconception) but for not welcoming foreigners. Is this a popular opinion among priests?

  24. VexillaRegis says:

    Protestants often accuse Catholics of not knowing the Bible. Welll….

  25. S.Armaticus says:

    It really is a different religion.

  26. jflare says:

    Sadly, the whole “negotiation” piece on the part of Abraham with God is not new. I recall hearing essentially the same thing from our pastor about 25, maybe 28 years ago. In that particular sermon, Fr praised Abraham, but from a context of challenging us to ask God for whatever we might wish to ask of Him. Well taken, in a sense, but Fr did still leave the impression that Sodom was saved because of Abraham’s “intercession”.
    I do not recall having heard about sodomy until months afterward and I do not recall that I ever considered homosexual acts OK. Even so, it took some years before I realized that Fr’s sermon likely did not provoke people to repent of sins and seek salvation. If anything, Fr’s sermon gave the impression that we might succeed in bargaining away our sins, if only we negotiated for enough time or very earnestly.
    …And my generation has shown the results. OUCH!!

  27. Rob83 says:

    The situation of today recalls the closing chapters of Chronicles, specifically 2 Chron 36:14-16:

    All the leading priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations; and they polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place; but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets, till the wrath of the LORD rose against his people, till there was no remedy.

    The world seems awfully close to that spiritual Rubicon beyond which wrath is unavoidable, and yet it’s still barreling what seems ever faster toward that line.

  28. Clinton R. says:

    Sad to say, but this is not unusual. The bishops, charged with the spiritual welfare of the faithful have been direlict in their duty. Diluting the account of wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and their ensuing destruction fails to inculcate the grave consequences of sin. Especially the most foul sin the Sodomites became infamous for.

    In the San Jose, CA diocese, Bp. Patrick McGrath has given his imprimatur to a guide for dealing with LGBT Catholics. Notably the guide “…makes no mention of Church teaching on homosexual acts “as acts of grave depravity,” “intrinsically disordered,” and “contrary to the natural law.”

    Is not a bishop’s job to lead men’s souls to salvation? If he were to see a man in danger of falling into a pit, shouldn’t he lead him away from it? Likewise, if the faithful are not warned of mortal sins that lead the soul into hell, then the bishop has failed miserably. We don’t need a warm and fuzzy version of Holy Scripture. We need the truth. Our souls depend on it. I am thankful for those bishops and priests who care deeply for our spiritual well being.

  29. Benedict Joseph says:

    I have been avoiding all news from Poland, and this report exhibits exactly why. In my self-imposed ignorance of what was transpiring I hoped my worst fears were not realized.
    Such a presentation doesn’t even make sense when you make every attempt to accommodate it. It is indicative of deficiencies beyond poor scriptural analysis. To give deference to that which exhibits no reason is to assent to the irrational. Expositions such as this engender poor reasoning in young minds and are a disservice pedagogically, let alone a fraudulent scriptural perspective which will ultimately – if not immediately – undermine the credibility of the bishop and what he represents. It is pitiful. And for what purpose are such vacuous poetics employed? To make people “feel good.” Such a motivation will not armor the young for the lives that lie ahead of them, and indeed will only undermine them and the Church which should be their firm support.

  30. snoozie says:

    Thank you Father. That was….outstanding.

  31. PapalCount says:

    Excellent post Father Z. The bishop picks and chooses his scripture to drive his agenda. “Cafeteria-style Biblical Scholarship”. Its false and dangerous. This puts souls at great risk and is shameful teaching. “I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish,” wrote St. John Chrysostom, Extract from St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12.
    And St Anthanasius wrote, “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” [Someone said that, but it wasn’t St. Athanasius.]
    Lord help us in this hour.

  32. SanSan says:

    I’m utterly shocked and scandaled that a Bishop would infer such a lie to so many young people. Maybe he is telling us to pray, pray, pray that Our God will not look at our Godless, profane, and depraved world–and somehow He will spare us from what we have brought on ourselves?

  33. JabbaPapa says:

    reygo72 :

    Last week I heard at mass a priest saying that Sodom was not punished by God because of grave sins (he said that this was a misconception) but for not welcoming foreigners. Is this a popular opinion among priests?

    I’ve only rarely heard anything more ludicrous — Angels from God are not “foreigners”.

  34. tcreek says:

    Three steps to note the falsification as regard to homosexual sin in the notes to the New American Bible at the USCCB.

    >>> First go to Genesis, verse 20 at the USCCB website.
    20 – So the LORD said: The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave,* that I must go down to see whether or not their actions are as bad as the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.
    >>> Second, follow the asterisk above in the notes at the USCCB website.
    * [18:20] The immorality of the cities was already hinted at in 13:13, when Lot made his choice to live there. The “outcry” comes from the victims of the injustice and violence rampant in the city, which will shortly be illustrated in the treatment of the visitors. The outcry of the Hebrews under the harsh treatment of Pharaoh (Ex 3:7) came up to God who reacts in anger at mistreatment of the poor (cf. Ex 22:21–23; Is 5:7). Sodom and Gomorrah became types of sinful cities in biblical literature. Is 1:9–10; 3:9 sees their sin as lack of social justice, Ez 16:46–51, as disregard for the poor, and Jer 23:14, as general immorality. In the Genesis story, the sin is violation of the sacred duty of hospitality by the threatened rape of Lot’s guests.
    >>> Third. Now see the verses from Isaiah 1:9-10, Isaiah 3:9, Ezekiel 16:46-51 and Jeremiah 23:14 noted in the note above. See if you can discover that the prophets taught that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was primarily about social justice and the poor and not about homosexual sin.

    Is 1:9–10
    If the LORD of hosts had not left us a small remnant, we would have become as Sodom, would have resembled Gomorrah. Hear the word of the LORD, princes of Sodom! Listen to the instruction of our God, people of Gomorrah!

    Is 3:9
    Their very look bears witness against them; they boast of their sin like Sodom, They do not hide it. Woe to them! They deal out evil to themselves.

    Ez 16:46–51
    Your elder sister was Samaria with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister was Sodom and her daughters, south of you. Not only did you walk in their ways and act as abominably as they did, but in a very short time you became more corrupt in all your ways than they were. As I live—oracle of the Lord GOD—I swear that your sister Sodom with her daughters have not done the things you and your daughters have done! Now look at the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were proud, sated with food, complacent in prosperity. They did not give any help to the poor and needy. Instead, they became arrogant and committed abominations before me; then, as you have seen, I removed them. Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more abominable things than they did. You even made your sisters look righteous, with all the abominations you have done.

    Jer 23:14
    But among Jerusalem’s prophets I saw something more shocking: Adultery, walking in deception, strengthening the power of the wicked, so that no one turns from evil; To me they are all like Sodom, its inhabitants like Gomorrah.

  35. Lisieux says:

    In fact, the problem doesn’t just lie with one particular bishop, or even with the general state of catechesis. I was reading at Mass the Sunday before last, and the OT reading was that precise passage…which stops exactly where Bishop Galantino stopped. In other words, the people responsible for letting Catholics believe that Sodom was just fine, thank you very much, are those who established the cycle of readings in the Novus Ordo way, way back.

  36. Chris Rawlings says:

    It was Dante who made the observation about bishops’ skulls. [Ummm…. where?] It is a position I am grateful to not have to hold, being a bishop. Pray and sacrifice for yours. In fact, for every criticism or complaint you have about a bishop, consider the image of bishops’ skulls in hell and kindly offer several more prayers and mortifications for them.

  37. un-ionized says:

    reygo72, that is the most common modern interpretation in the mainstream Protestant groups. It is based on a supposed reading of the text in terms of culture.

  38. benedetta says:

    OK. Got it. This Bp Nunzio, he is articulating, for the WYD attendees and for all, the uniquely beautiful proclamation of the Gospel of Life. That mortal men should not be in the official and commercial business of reckoning about how many lives God wishes spared or not. Right?

  39. benedetta says:

    The other thing is, and you hear this fairly frequently in some places — it’s not nice but it is a thing — that some who wouldn’t ordinarily touch sacred scripture and particularly the OT with a ten foot pole for fear of the spiritual cooties or whatever it may be will throw out, in connection with this apparently fascinating passage — to remember “Lot’s wife” at you, you know, a a threat. If only they were more “live and let live” in the first place, they wouldn’t have to be issuing a lot of veiled threats and the like. You know? I’m all for contemplating scripture, but let’s have the full Gospel and not just self select in a narcissistic, results-oriented, or worse, manner.

  40. gracie says:

    My parish brings in a guest speaker whenever the story of Sodom appears in the liturgical cycle. This year it was an obstetrician asking us for money for Haiti. On the upside, it got me thinking about Hillary Clinton interfering with their election back in 2010 and also the amount of money the Clinton Foundation kept back from Haiti. So thanks doc – and our dear pastor – for giving me yet another reason to vote for Trump.

  41. Sonshine135 says:

    Sodom was saved by Abraham’s petition about as much as 2+2=5. It doesn’t and neither did Abraham save Sodom, but only in today’s world could either be possible.

  42. chantgirl says:

    I once had a pretty intense discussion with a Catholic on facebook who was supporting “gay marriage”. Since she was a Catholic, I presupposed that she would agree that God designed the human body and creates everyone who is born. I asked if God did not have a specific function in mind when He designed the human reproductive system, and if He might have a specific desire as to how humans employed their reproductive organs. I asked if He might be upset if we take the greatest physical power He has given us, to generate new life, and misused it. She could not understand how God could be so mean to not let people use their bodies however they wanted. If the Pope really wanted to write an encyclical about man’s pillaging of nature, he could have written about contraception, masturbation, cloning, and homosexual acts. This generation either doesn’t believe that God designed creation or it doesn’t believe that He should have any say as to what we do with it.

    When I read the story of Mary’s warning of the Irish potato famine as a child, I remember marveling that God would let so many people die because of taking the Lord’s name in vain and working on Sunday. Then, when I read about Fatima, and heard that WWII was a punishment for sin, I started to wonder about our own time. We have legal abortion, government condoned homosexual farce-marriages, human cloning, baby-part harvesting for research, and the rape of children broadcast the world over with internet pornography. I shudder to wonder what punishment the Blessed Mother is struggling to hold back from us.

  43. jhayes says:

    tcreek wrote; see the verses from Isaiah 1:9-10, Isaiah 3:9, Ezekiel 16:46-51 and Jeremiah 23:14 noted in the note above. See if you can discover that the prophets taught that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was primarily about social justice and the poor and not about homosexual sin.

    Well, copying from the quotes you give:

    Now look at the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were proud, sated with food, complacent in prosperity. They did not give any help to the poor and needy. Instead, they became arrogant and committed abominations before me; –Ez 16

    Adultery, walking in deception, strengthening the power of the wicked, so that no one turns from evil; To me they are all like Sodom, its inhabitants like Gomorrah. –Jer 23

    Those all sound like “social justice and the poor” issues. Don’t see “homosexual sin” mentioned at all although it could fall in the general category of “abominations.” Genesis, Leviticus and Deuteronomy (among others) have long lists of things said to be “abominations”, such as:

    “‘Cursed be the man who makes a graven or molten image, an abomination to the Lord, a thing made by the hands of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’

  44. Maltese says:

    Listen, friends, I’m not a “happy only when I’m sad” Traditional Catholic. I have a beautiful girlfriend, my son living with me after a long exile. I have a good job, and great friends. But there is a storm approaching, the likes of which humanity as never seen. Read James 4:2, sin leads to war. If sins were so bad before WWI, and people didn’t reprint, which led to WWII, what means there won’t be another world war? Our Lady of Akita said in 1973 that if man didn’t improve, “fire” would fall from the sky, wiping-out a great part of humanity, greater than the “great deluge.” Have we improved since 1973? Brace yourselves, friends. Read Ted Kopell’s book, Lights Out. He’s a Jewish Journalist (and a really fine man); I watched an interview with him, and he is storing food. Are you?

  45. bethv says:

    The only way Pope Francis and his cohorts can believe their own denials is by only reading and then remembering the parts of the Bible that do not upset them or put their delusions in danger of being uncovered. It is their mental “safe space” that is at stake and that is why they would attack Cardinal Sarah so quickly and viciously. I don’t find it a comfort to realize that they actually believe what they are teaching. How does one fight that kind of erroneous sincerity? How do I pray to God to help these people to even realize their sin before they can confess and receive absolution?

  46. Mariana2 says:

    I knew I was right not to send my 18-year old son to the Youth thingie in Poland!

    Also, this reminds me of a female Lutheran theology student aquaintance, almost ordained, only had to get through the Latin course where we met. She was astounded that I was able to translate a long text without much thought. I said ‘but it’s from the Acts of the Apostles’. She: ‘Hm. Maybe I ought to read the Acts.’ Maybe the bishop ought to read Genesis.

  47. amrc says:

    I’m not sure if this is a “rabbit hole” question, but since this Genesis story was Sunday’s Gospel, I don’t know how to respond to my daughter who asked angrily: “Weren’t there any children there? Weren’t they innocent?” (meaning among the 10 who should qualify as not being destroyed.) Any advice? Thank you.

  48. Fr. Reader says:

    “I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.”
    St. John Chrysostom, Extract from St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12.

    Googling a bit, nothing sure about the skulls, but this one is interesting.

  49. DJAR says:

    The Astronomer says: “I once asked a traditionalist priest what God had in store for the United States because of the ‘normalization’ of sodomy.”

    Rhoda Wise was a convert to Catholicism who lived in NE Ohio in the 19th and 20th centuries and is alleged to have been a mystic/visionary/stigmatic. She died in 1948. The future Mother Angelica was miraculously cured of an illness in her home. Many local people and local clergy at the time believed her to be an authentic mystic, and her cause for canonization has begun.

    One can read about her here:

    There is a statement that circulated many years ago that is alleged to have been made by Rhoda Wise concerning the future of the United States.

    It goes like this: “The United States will undergo a revolution so great that priests will be hung from the telephone poles.”

    I never forgot that haunting message, and I don’t think I ever will, especially after having seen photos of the Cristeros of Mexico hung in that manner by the Masonic forces.

    I used to wonder about whether that statement had any validity. I no longer do.

    The signs of an increasing persecution are everywhere.

  50. Gail F says:

    Wait, what???? Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t know that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed? What in the world did he mean by saying that?
    As far as “bargaining” goes, isn’t that the normal interpretation of the passage? It is the one I have always heard. I have my own interpretation but I would hardly consider anything but my own impression — one time when reading it in church I “heard” it (as it were) as Abraham thinking he was SOOOOO clever, pointing out to God that it wouldnt’ be fair of him to do this or that, and “heard” God as an exasperated/amused father telling him, “OF COURSE I won’t destroy Sodom if there are 50 good people left there… but there aren’t.” So I think of it more as being about how merciful God is – you don’t have to trick him into being merciful, He’s already more merciful than your little scheme. Again, jsut how I think of it. If there’s another way than those two I have never heard it (oh, and I have heard the “sin against hospitality” thing, which is pure bunk but which sounds pretty convincing to a modern person who wants to be “nice” and doesn’t know that people have been discussing this for 2000 years).

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  52. Filipino Catholic says:

    Does this fall under the millstone-earning category of “causing the little ones to stumble”? One wonders why there is no longer a sanction for preaching error, such as a monitum like the kind once placed on de Chardin’s work.

    On a Dantean note, I can imagine the light that clothes the soul of St. John Paul II changing to an indignant red at these goings-on in his native Poland (c.f. Paradiso XXVII)

  53. JonPatrick says:

    amrc, if the entire population had gone over to homosexuality (or even just all of the males) then it is entirely possible there were no children there below the age of reason.

    I would be curious to know how all those that explain away the story of Sodom and Gomorrah as social justice, etc. would explain Romans Chapter 1.

  54. Mike says:

    . . . except for VP Biden, who doubly proves the point . . .

    And who is chortling on Twitter over having officiated in his home over a wedding between two men. Unsurprisingly, deafening silence has ensued from his Ordinary and from the USCCB.

  55. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    I would echo JonPatrick, that the answer in this case is “it is entirely possible there were no children there below the age of reason.” I wonder, looking at St. Abram’s earlier rescue of “the Sodomites, and Gomorrhites” as well as “Lot also, the son of Abram’ s brother, who dwelt in Sodom” in chapter 14, how quickly (and even suddenly) the cities of the plain may have descended into their mass wickedness (chapters 16-17 indicate a passage of at least 23-24 years).

    Thinking of the Holy Innocents (St. Luke ch. 2), we see God does sometimes allow the innocent to suffer, but with Wisdom 3:1-9 in mind, we can realize such innocent suffering is not always what it may first seem to be – as is also seen in the recognition of the babies as Holy Innocents and martyrs.

    JonPatrick adds, “I would be curious to know how all those that explain away the story of Sodom and Gomorrah as social justice, etc. would explain Romans Chapter 1.”

    Following tcreek’s example regarding “Three steps to note the falsification as regard to homosexual sin in the notes to the New American Bible at the USCCB”, we find they simply ignore addressing the details! It is also instructive to follow the links in the Genesis 19 to 2 Peter 1 and Jude 7 and read the notes there, where ignoring addressing the details is the method as to the former and such explanations as “Unnatural vice: this refers to the desire for intimacies by human beings with angels” characterize the latter.

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