Saturday, May 22, 2010

Does Cardinal O'Malley condone such violence toward children?

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its document entitled Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition To Unions Between Homosexual Persons, had this to say, "As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case." (No. 7).

But in the controversy which has erupted in the wake of Cardinal O'Malley's decision to help find a Catholic school for the ward of the lesbian parents who was initially denied admission on the basis of their illicit relationship, Cardinal O'Malley has not only advanced a false notion of compassion, but he has failed to address the violence which is done to children when they are placed in "an environment that is not conducive to their full human development." Why is this? Does Cardinal O'Malley condone this violence to children? If not, should he be finding a Catholic school for the ward of lesbian parents? Is this not tacit approval of an illicit relationship and the environment to which an innocent child is being exposed?

Is Cardinal O'Malley crippled by lukewarmness? Last year, when many faithful Catholics were scandalized over Senator Ted Kennedy's very public funeral liturgy, His Eminence responded by asserting that, "At times, even in the Church, zeal can lead people to issue harsh judgments and impute the worst motives to one another." How true. But, as Father Bede Jarrett, O.P., has reminded us, "Not only may I sin by being angry when I should not, but I may sin by not being angry when I should be. If my reason tells me that it is right to be angry, then I disobey God when I refuse to give place to wrath; for, as the New Testament teaches, it is possible to 'be angry and sin not.' (Eph 4:26). Our Lord Himself, when need arose, roped together a bundle of cords and drove from the Temple those who trafficked in the House of Prayer, and down the front steps He flung the tables of the money-changers. Perhaps for most of us, the fault is not that we are too angry, but that we are not angry enough. Think of all the evils that are in the world, that are known to all, admitted to exist by public press and on public platform. Would they have survived thus far, had folk all shown the indignant anger of Christ? Hypocrisy, cant, and the whole blatant injustice that stalks naked and unashamed in national life - may not our own weakness and silence have helped to render impotent all efforts to reduce these terrible things?" (Classic Catholic Meditations, p. 168, Sophia Institute Press).

Yes, zeal can sometimes lead to excess. But when James and John displayed an excess of zeal, asking our Lord to rain down destruction on those who wouldn't accept Him, He gave them evidence of his admiration for their zeal as he gave them the name Boanerges: Sons of Thunder. But, as Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer reminded us, we must "Fight against that weakness which makes you lazy and careless in your spiritual life. Remember that it might well be the beginning of lukewarmness...and, in the words of the Scripture*, God will vomit the lukewarm out of his mouth."

Lukewarmness in the Church has brought us nothing but disaster. Can we not see it? Yes, zeal must be tempered by the Cardinal Virtues of prudence and temperance. But God hates the lukewarm. It is a lukewarm Church which fails to deliver the Gospel with courage, with fortitude. The faithful are looking for shepherds, not for leaders who are crippled by lukewarmness and moral cowardice.

* Rev 3:16.


Michelle said...

I get your point. I might say that I'm opposed to a person's alcoholism. But if I give that person money to drink at the local bar, I am not really opposing that person's alcoholism. I'm enabling.

Good point.

Anonymous said...


I'm really glad you brought this up and was considering asking you about this if you hadn't. What form should our anger take? I assume you mean for us to act, but how? We are faced with sinners all the time, how do we know which ones to minister to and which ones to turn a deaf ear to?

I ask this because there are people in my life that are gay and I don't know what I should do. I'm conflicted as to if I should try to save them or if I should cut them off. WWJD?

Jonathan said...

In Boston, whenever Church teaching and the culture collide or come in conflict, it seems like it's almost always Church teaching which is compromised, which gets the short end of the stick.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Sudarta, as Father William Breslin, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Boulder, Colorado said, "It is not about punishing the child for the sins of his or her parents. It is simply that the lesbian couple is saying that their relationship is a good one that should be accepted by everyone; and the Church cannot agree to that."

As I said in a previous post, "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)."

The lesbian parents want everyone to accept their illicit relationship. This the Church cannot do. The Church's teaching regarding homosexual unions is clear. They cannot be approved. To approve homosexual unions (whether openly or implicitly) is
something the Church cannot do.

It's not a question of the Church "turning a deaf ear" to sinners. It's a matter of sinners who turn a deaf ear to the Church's teaching. Even Jesus said something about shaking the dust off one's "sandals" and moving on when encountering such resistance to the Gospel.

And anyway, when we pray for such people, can we really be said to be "turning a deaf ear" to them?

Ellen Wironken said...

In the Denver, Colorado case, the Archdiocese of Denver issued a statement saying in part:

"Parents living in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their actions to disqualify their children from enrollment"...To allow children in these circumstances to continue in our school would be a cause of confusion for the student in that what they are being taught in school conflicts with what they experience in the home."

The responsibility here lies with the parents.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm looking more for guidelines for my own behavior when dealing with homosexuals. Specifically, I have a cookout to go to soon; should I stay home, should I ignore the person in question, or should I just behave as though I don't know and treat them as I would everyone else at the party?

I don't want to seem like I am encouraging the behavior, but I also don't want to overstep myself. What is appropriate?

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

I would go to the cookout if you want to Sudarta. If there is a homosexual person there who insists upon thrusting the fact of his or her lifestyle on you while at the same time demanding that you accept them as a friend, what they are really demanding is that you affirm them in their illicit lifestyle. This would provide them with a sense of being justified. And this you cannot in good conscience do.
Authentic love for the homosexual person (and for the demands of truth)would require you to challenge the lifestyle of the homosexual person as often as they confront you with it.

It is possible to have a civil discourse with a homosexual person. Perhaps you could find other topics to discuss, things which you might share an interest in.

Anonymous said...

That's great advice Paul, thank you so much.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

God bless Sudarta.

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