Thursday, February 11, 2010

Father Robert Bruso of Saint Anthony's Parish in Fitchburg and false compassion

"Behind the metaphysic of murder lies the metaphysic of hatred of the created order." - Fr. Vincent P. Miceli, The Taproot of Violence.

As I explained in a previous post, "Pope Saint Pius X, in his 1910 Catechism, teaches us that sodomy ranks second in gravity to voluntary homicide, among the sins that 'cry out to God for vengeance.' According to this Catechism, these sins 'are said to cry out to God because the Holy Spirit says so and because their iniquity is so grave and manifest that it provokes God to punish with more severe chastisements.'

The Catechism of the Catholic Church published by the Vatican in 1994 teaches clearly that homosexuality is contrary to nature and that homosexual acts are among the 'sins gravely contrary to chastity.' (CCC, 2396). This Catechism teaches that homosexual acts are 'intrinsically disordered,' 'contrary to the natural law,' and that 'under no circumstances can they be approved.' (CCC, 2357)....Now while it is true that everything must be done to help sinners, this cannot include helping them to sin or to remain in sin. Because of human frailty, every sinner deserves both pity and compassion. However, vice and sin must be excluded from this compassion. This because sin can never be the proper object of compassion. (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, a.1, ad 1).

It is a false compassion which supplies the sinner with the means to remain attached to sin. Such 'compassion' provides an assistance (whether material or moral) which actually enables the sinner to remain firmly attached to his evil ways. By contrast, true compassion leads the sinner away from vice and back to virtue. As Thomas Aquinas explains:

"We love sinners out of charity, not so as to will what they will, or to rejoice in what gives them joy, but so as to make them will what we will, and rejoice in what rejoices us. Hence it is written: 'They shall be turned to thee, and thou shalt not be turned to them.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 25, a.6, ad 4, citing Jeremiah 15:19).

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that the sentiment of compassion only becomes a virtue when it is guided by reason, since "it is essential to human virtue that the movements of the soul should be regulated by reason." (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, c.3). Without such regulation, compassion is merely a passion. A false compassion is a compassion not regulated and tempered by reason and is, therefore, a potentially dangerous inclination. This because it is subject to favoring not only that which is good but also that which is evil (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, a.1, ad 3).

An authentic compassion always stems from charity. True compassion is an effect of charity (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, a.3, ad 3). But it must be remembered that the object of this virtue is God, whose love extends to His creatures. (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 25, a.3). Therefore, the virtue of compassion seeks to bring God to the one who suffers so that he may thereby participate in the infinite love of God. As St. Augustine explains:

"'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' Now, you love yourself suitably when you love God better than yourself. What, then, you aim at in yourself you must aim at in your neighbor, namely, that he may love God with a perfect affection." (St. Augustine, Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, No. 49, which may be found here.

Father Robert Bruso of Saint Anthony Parish in Fitchburg, Massacusetts, was among many area Catholics who signed a May 14, 2004 statement which read: "On May 17th the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will begin issuing civil marriage licenses to same sex couples. This has provoked considerable controversy. Many in our state are opposed and many are in favor. As members of the Catholic community and people of faith, we are reminded of the pastoral message the United States bishops issued to parents of homosexual children, "always our children," and recall the guidance they offered with reference to a previous Vatican document:

'Respect for the God-given dignity of all persons means the recognition of human rights and responsibilities. The teachings of the church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them.' (cf. the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, No. 10).

But, as this article makes clear, the controversial document "Always Our Children" was issued on October 1, 1997, without following the bishops' normal review procedures. It was subsequently revised in June 1998 after a firestorm of criticism erupted over its theological flaws, including its advice to parents to adopt a 'wait and see' approach toward adolescent children suspected of experimenting with homosexual behavior. The admonition has since been eliminated from the document, amidst other modifications made following protests by Father John Harvey, founder of Courage, a Catholic group that helps people struggling with homosexuality live chastely, and other concerned Catholics."

The theologically-flawed document was co-authored by Father James Schexnayder, the founder of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries, a radical organization* which has been unapologetic in its support of the homosexual "lifestyle" and same-sex "marriage."

Among the others who signed the statement with Father Bruso were Father Richard Lewandowski (who was removed from any and all pastoral duties), Deacon Ben Nogueira of the Newman Center at Fitchburg State College and Professor James Nickoloff of Holy Cross College, a former Jesuit priest who has admitted that he is personally engaged in homosexuality and is "married" to another man.

In a very real way, the entrance of Planned Parenthood into Fitchburg was prepared by Christians who had already rebelled against Catholic truth. In his essay entitled "The Taproot of Violence," Fr. Vincent P. Miceli, S.J., writes, "What is the taproot, which is causing such growth in the delirium for violence, which is rampant today? It is the attack against God. It is hatred of the truth. Behind the metaphysic of murder lies the metaphysic of hatred of the created order. "I refuse to accept this order of things. I will not serve, therefore I am." Refusal to serve God was the cry under which Satan brought violence and rebellion among the angels as they stood trial in the vestibule of heaven. Christ told his apostles: 'I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven.' Elsewhere, we read: 'Satan and his wicked demons were drawn down by infernal ropes into the depths of hell.' Christ himself testified that this 'father of lies was a murderer from the beginning,' thus making the connection between hatred of the truth and the lust for violence. He warned the Pharisees that men who reject God's plan for their salvation will imitate Satan's deeds."

Long before Planned Parenthood announced its plans to open an office in Fitchburg, the seeds of rebellion were already being sown. And now they are bearing fruit. Father Bruso has been quoted as having said, "President Obama's book is called The Audacity of Hope." Abortion is the abandonment of hope. When a person chooses abortion they are saying they don't have hope for the future, not for their child or for themselves." And I couldn't agree more. But if hope has been abandoned, it is only the logical consequence of having first rebelled from the truth.

* In a special report for The Wanderer, the full text of which may be found here, a veteran reporter covered a 2005 NACDLGM conference which was held at the San Jose Hilton in California. This reporter writes, "For the most part, participants were unashamedly 'out and proud,' with some priests freely admitting their homosexuality and attendees railing against upcoming seminary visits and the impending approval by Pope Benedict XVI of a document banning homosexuals from the priesthood. One participant was overheard by this reporter calling the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, 'a big queen'...Copies of OutNow, a Bay Area homosexual news magazine containing advertisements for bathhouses and XXX 'gay' videos were free for the taking at the registration table..."


Ellen Wironken said...

From Les Femmes (an orthodox Catholic organization for women):

"The chapter on Always Our Children, the flawed USCC committee document promoting homosexuality reveals the influence of gay activists in formulating policies developed by the USCC. Fr. James Schexnayder, founder of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries (NACDLGM) and a long-time Dignity chaplain in San Francisco with connections to New Ways Ministry, was a consultant for the document. Likoudis traces Schexnayder's history of promoting the gay lifestyle particularly among teenagers in the Catholic schools. The revelations are so shocking one can hardly believe any bishop would support him. But he was a darling of the Oakland Diocese and credits his success in advancing the gay agenda to his bishop, John Cummins. Likoudis describes Bishop Cummins boasting of "how he and the other California bishops 'worked behind the scenes' to pass the 'consenting adults' a meeting coordinated by Fr. Schexnayder's homosexual outreach ministry" It legalized "adulterous cohabitation, oral sex, and sodomy between consenting adults." Cummins headed the California Catholic Conference at the time which "was reeling from a number of high profile sex scandals."

Eric Levan said...

We have nothing against the homosexual person here. THEY must be accepted and treated with respect. But the decision to engage in homosexual ACTS also represents an abandonment of hope. Too bad Father Bruso cannot see that.

Michael Cole said...

The CDF reminds us, "Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil." (Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition To Unions Between Homosexual Persons, No. 5).

Father Bruso and the others who signed that statement were obviously not committed toward presenting the whole moral truth regarding homosexuality.

John Ansley said...

The Newman Center website (Fitchburg) links directly to NACDLGM. Isn't it funny how the same people who cannot accept you Paul - because of your orthodoxy and fidelity to the Magisterium - have no problem whatsoever with individuals who mock Catholic teaching and the Holy Father?


Marie Tremblay said...

Some Catholics mistakingly believe that there is really nothing wrong with the homosexual inclination or orientation. But they are wrong. In the CDF document "Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Dscrimination of Homosexual Persons," the Church teaches that, "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not"

Fr. Bruso and the other dissidents who signed the 2004 statement did not provide this teaching and were implying that homosexual activity IS acceptable - and even same-sex "marriage."

Cleghornboy said...

A favorite tactic of the intellectually dishonest (and this includes, sadly, even many Catholics) is to accuse Catholics who expose error as being "negative." This cheap tactic is unworthy of one who professes to be a Christian. It has been leveled against me at times by sophmoric individuals who are not really interested in meeting the demands of truth.

As Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand explains: "Perhaps never before has there been as much intellectual fraud as there is today. In the mass media - and even in discussions on university campuses - this intellectual fraud appears chiefly as the manipulation of slogans designed to bluff the hearer or reader, and prevent him from thinking clearly. For a typical example, let us consider how the terms positive and negative are now most often used to discredit the refutation of pernicious errors and to give credit to the most shallow speculations. The intellectual swindlers who play such an important role in public discussions will often denominate as 'positive' propositions and attitudes they favor. They thereby seek to forestall questions of truth and value by enveloping their prejudices in a vague suggestion of 'creativity,' 'originality,' 'openness,' 'unaggressiveness.' This is the device of the cuttlefish. The moment one tries to grasp it, it emits a murky substance to confuse and deceive.

In reality, the popular slogan usages of positive and negative is a distortion of the genuine meanings of the terms. In proper usage they can refer to existence and nonexistence or to value and disvalue. They can refer to desirability and undesirability, or to answers to questions and demands, or to results of tests and inquiries. But when these terms are applied to attitudes of mind or to theses - by way of suggesting an evaluation - an intellectual fraud is committed; for they are then being used to evoke vague associations that distract from the question that alone matters - namely: Is this attitude objectively called for? Or: Is this thesis true?...It is the nature of truth to exclude every contradiction of itself. Thus, the rejection of errors and falsehoods can never be separated from the affirmation of truth. The one implies the other...

To give the impression that affirmations are 'positive' and denials 'negative' is to misrepresent completely the nature of judgments and propositions. This abuse of the language transforms the terms positive and negative into deceptive slogans and thus amounts to an intellectual swindle..." (The Charitable Anathema, pp. 45-47).

The rejection of errors and falsehoods can never be separated from the affirmation of truth. The one implies the other - let us pray for those spiritually immature and intellectually cramped characters who do not understand this.

Cleghornboy said...

Or as St. Augustine so eloquently put it: "interficere errorem, diligere errantem" - kill the error, love the one who errs.

John Ansley said...

Marie, the same Vatican document states clearly that, "There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account.."

And one of those areas is marriage.

Thomas Coolberth said...

"A favorite tactic of the intellectually dishonest (and this includes, sadly, even many Catholics) is to accuse Catholics who expose error as being "negative."

Another example: issuing prohibitions against violence on the eve of homosexual "marriage".

Also, called a "canard" , a sort of pre-emptive accusation.

They still haven't cleaned up the Newman Center at FSU? Time to go in there with a 5,000 gallons of holy oil and a pile of holy salt.

Cleghornboy said...

I cannot help but wonder if Father Bruso and others who were so concerned about "violence" being directed against homosexual persons on the eve of same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts were troubled when violence was directed against Christian and Mormon churches over Proposition 8 in California.

The same people who have made Matthew Shepard a martyr usually have nothing to say about Mary Stachowitz. Evidence of fanaticism.

Michelle said...

FSC's Newman Center website still has the link to NACDLGM, the group that openly defies Church teaching on homosexuality and promotes homosexual "marriage." Does Father Bruso not have a problem with this? How about the "gay" pornography which they distribute at their conferences? Does pornography bring hope Father?

George Perkins said...

Rome, Italy, Feb 8, 2010
(CNA).- The celebrated philosopher and theologian Monsignor Michel Schooyans has published his thoughts on the contemporary misuse of the concept of "compassion." According to Msgr. Schooyans, the Vatican newspaper and the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, are complicit in promoting "pseudo-compassion."

Msgr. Schooyans, professor emeritus of theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium and an expert in bioethics and demography, outlined the "bogus" employment of the concept of compassion in contemporary society by way of his recent work "The Pitfalls of Compassion." The essay features Msgr. Schooyans' analysis of certain acts that serve to undermine the real meaning of “compassion” and its practice.

In the paper, Msgr. Schooyans defined "compassion" as "a matter of understanding (the suffering person), 'sympathizing' with him, sharing in his distress and bearing it with him." He said that it "also suggests the notion of psychologically and emotionally sharing in suffering, especially suffering beyond medical or other control...

"Ultimately, pseudo-compassion could lead to a situation in which the Church's doctrine and natural morality would be the outcome of a procedure of consensus based on compromise," he warned.

In response to those who might say that the Church is too strict on these matters, the Belgian priest offered the unequivocal words presented in the Code of Canon Law that "those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

However, Msgr. Schooyans wrote, by knowing "the bogus and violent nature of pseudo-compassion," the severity of this sentence is only in appearance, "it is actually a high expression of charity."

"It is an urgent call to a change of life," he declared."

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