The Gay Mass – Inclusive, or Liturgical Apartheid?

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From the Brentwood Cathedral Facebook Page.

Brentwood Cathedral in Essex, UK is due to hold a Mass on March 13th 2016 specifically for gay, lesbian and transgender people and their families. The event has been billed as an outreach to the gay community as part of the year of mercy. But I am wondering if this really is the right approach?

I suppose if we are promoting the un-holy trinity of diversity, inclusion and equality, then the week after this they should really be singling out another group of sinners to invite to their own special mass. Will next week’s mass be specifically for thieves and their families? Liars and their families? Or those who have a problem with masturbation, and their families?! (I wonder what sort of a turnout you would get at that mass?! – not many I bet!)

The point I am trying to make is that sin is something we should naturally feel a healthy sense of shame for. This is why Confession is confidential. This Mass on the 13th is almost being presented like being affected by homosexuality is something to be celebrated – or at least normalised. And while I am a firm believer in accepting the sinner, not the sin, I do feel here that the emphasis of the whole day is way off the mark.

I spoke to my chaste catholic gay friend about this and asked his opinion:

“No. It’s wrong. It’s stupid. It’s like a voluntary liturgical apartheid.” He said. “I went to one of the gay masses one time when I lived in Chicago. The pews were 90% male. They took the kiss of peace literally: Partners kissed each other, on the lips, in front of the Blessed Sacrament on the altar. The homily? You’d never know you were at mass; The priest made no attempt to weave the readings or Gospel into a message specific to that particular flock. There were no calls to heroic sainthood amidst a decadent culture, etc. It was “just another mass.” Everyone (except me) went up for Communion.”

He went on to describe the culture that had sprung up around the so called ‘gay mass’:

“After that mass, many of the guys go to a local gay bar for ‘Show Tunes Night’ to get drunk, lust after other men, and try to hook-up. Right after mass. I’m still ‘friends’ with guys on Facebook who post about this. ‘Fabulous mass! Time for a martini bitches!’ So, yeah. I’m not a fan of the ‘gay masses’. You genuflect to the Church; the Church does NOT genuflect to you.”

I think his last sentence makes a really important point. Is it really the correct attitude of the church to bend over backwards to accommodate a particular group of sinners and make them feel special and elite? Is that really the way to a true conversion of heart? It seems to me that there is real danger in this approach as it could lead the sinner to believe that not just he is accepted by the church, but his lifestyle is accepted by the church. This eliminates the need for repentance and forgiveness. Is this mercy?

I can sort of understand the mind-set behind just getting them through the door, but it kinds seems like they are being invited there under false pretences. And I understand the one step at a time mentality, but one has to be extremely careful this doesn’t slip into the ugly guise of the dreaded Gradualism.

Should we reach out with mercy AND truth to those who have SSA? Absolutely. Should we create a ghetto for them? No. The church has never turned away repentant sinners, never. And it never will. I am worried that this gay mass, rather than leading people to repentance and forgiveness, is instead leading people to believe that the Year of Mercy is all about saying that certain sins are no longer sinful. In essence it is leading people to believe that the Year of Mercy is all about letting people off the hook.

My gay friend went on to tell me:

“A priest here who hosts a 1-hour call-in radio show makes the comparison: If we’re in the woods, and I see a bear come up behind you, BUT I don’t say anything to you, because I don’t want to upset or offend you, then the bear attacks you and you DIE, I am NOT being ‘merciful’! ”

I asked my friend what his approach would be instead?

“There IS an apostolate in the Church called Courage for homosexual men & women. There’s a branch here in Chicago, and their website shows 2 in London: https://couragerc.org/  I did not hear about Courage at the gay mass I attended in Chicago; I heard about it from a priest, in the confessional, at a parish that shines as a model of fidelity & obedience and doesn’t pander to the culture. Thanks be to God if your diocese offers that “gay mass” for the conversion of sinners, if they preach: “YOU are not a bad person, but your ACTIONS are evil, and God will grant you mercy IF you repent and sin no more,” but how often do we hear that?”

It seems pretty obvious to me. We are all sinners right? So why do the organisers of the Brentwood mass on the 13th seem to be promoting it as a celebration? My friend had an opinion on this also:

“I would probably say, it’s homosexuals or sodomite allies INSIDE the Church behind this, trying to subvert the faith from within, lasso-in their compatriots with a special mass, again, segregating them as ‘special’ and ‘elite’.”

I guess this though was in the back of all our minds right? I hope to God he is wrong on this, but as far as I can see it comes down to 1 of 2 possibilities:

Either the organisers of this mass are incredibly naïve in their approach to getting sinners to repent, or they have no intention of inviting them to repent and are instead treating the day as a celebration of “love” in all its forms.

Lord have mercy.

 

From Gay Pride to True Humility: Joe’s amazing conversion story.

Ash Wednesday marks four years since I rejected the “gay lifestyle” and came back to the Catholic Church. I didn’t have a singular moment of conversion like St. Paul. Rather, it was a slow drip, a series of gradual, often hesitant pivots towards the Church.

The first pivot came when Saint John Paul II died.

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II had been the only pope I’d ever known up to that time. My childhood parish had a painting of him on the altar next to the tabernacle. I’m from Chicago, so naturally I have Polish ancestry, and a Polish pope was a point of pride when other kids called me a dumb Polak or a Commie. I was a toddler when Pope John Paul II was elected, so I had never experienced a conclave before. A German? They’re calling him “God’s Rottweiler” and he was in the Hitler Youth?

Despite my secular, sinful life, I’d always had a soft spot and sympathy for Holy Mother Church, even during the explosion of the priest sex abuse scandal. I was willing to give Benedict XVI the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to know more about him. Some of the news coverage cited his pre-conclave homily as sealing the deal for the cardinal electors. Then Cardinal Ratzinger declared, “We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything for certain and which has as its highest goals one’s own ego and one’s own desires.” That hit me right between the eyes. So I started, occasionally, visiting Catholic websites, learning more about what this “relativism” is. There are some incredible resources out there.

It’s unclear how much of it was sentimentalism and how much was the pursuit of truth. I knew in my heart that my way of living was wrong. But I didn’t change my life. I was Catholic in name only. I hadn’t attended mass in years, despite a parish a block away from my apartment. The weekend gay bar hopping, binge drinking, pornography consumption, and casual hook-ups went on and on. I was young and “you only live once.” Nevertheless, a seed was planted.

The second pivot came when I found an old prayer book.

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An elderly relative had died, and I was helping family clean out their house. I found a copy of “My Prayer Book” by Father F. X. Lasance in a drawer and snuck it into my backpack. For whatever reason, I was too embarrassed to tell anyone I wanted it, or ask if I could take it. Surely they’d have said yes. The book was at least a half-century old and barely used. Most of the pages stuck together. Over the course of several months, I read it cover to cover. It was astounding.

Immersed in that culture that “has as its highest goals one’s own ego and one’s own desires,” in that book I encountered beautiful reflections on self-denial, on forgiveness, even “The Blessing of Pain and Grief.” It catechized me in a way that 12 years of Catholic schools and an ostensibly Catholic family failed to do. A few years later when I lost it, I was able to order a replacement online from Fraternity Publications. I highly recommend it.

The third pivot came after overhearing a conversation at work about the Real Presence.

The Priest says: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”

I’m not sure how they happened onto the topic, but the office secretary was talking to another employee about Roman Catholics, and she said, “We believe that the Eucharist is the body of Christ.” 

“We do?” I thought? Like, THE body of Christ? Huh? No, it’s just a symbol. What was she talking about? I’d never heard that before, and I’m Catholic. Whatever.

Some online research confirmed what she said. It felt like a punch in the stomach. Again, after 12 years of Catholic schools and Catholic parents I did not even know such a fundamental doctrine of the faith? How was that possible? Had I ever received worthily, validly? If one needs to be in a state of grace to approach for communion, why did everybody go up? Why didn’t my mother go to confession? How come she’d never encouraged us kids to regularly confess? The more I read about the Real Presence, the more ashamed I felt, even betrayed.

The fourth pivot came after reading an article on “the Latin Mass” on the front page of the Chicago Tribune.

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The article preceded Pope Benedict’s moto proprio Summorum Pontificum. Several Chicago parishes offered the mass. “Fans” quoted in the article gushed over how transcendent the Latin Mass was, how it was so beautiful they wanted to cry. I’d always enjoyed history, and I knew this was the mass my parents grew up with. So one Sunday, I visited one of the parishes.

I expected to witness the mass I grew up with, only in a different language, with nice(r) music, and with the priest facing the other way. What I encountered was baffling and frustrating. I had no idea what was going on. For long periods, nothing happened. The priest just stood there, facing the tabernacle. He wasn’t talking at all, much less in Latin, from what I could tell. But a realization hit me, seeing the priest there before the tabernacle: This is what mass is all about: the Eucharist!

The night and day difference between the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form sent me back to the Internet. I found some podcasts on iTunes by Dr. James Dobbins that dove into the history of the Extraordinary Form, about how much traces back to the Temple in Jerusalem, the symbolism of ad orientum, and so on. It was like finding buried treasure. I returned to that parish several times, window shopping as it were.

The fifth pivot came when someone asked me to be their child’s godfather.

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For one thing, I never expected that parent to ask me. We weren’t particularly close. For another, I knew this was a serious, sacred obligation I was entering into. It wasn’t merely an honorific title. For the first time in 15, maybe 20 years, I went to confession.

The Lord blessed me with a gentle and patient priest behind the confessional screen. He counselled me that my same sex attraction was, alas, a heavy cross to bear. But he didn’t make me feel dirty, or like a pervert. After he lead me through making an act of contrition, I left the confessional absolved, attended the holy sacrifice of the mass, and approached the communion rail in a state of grace for the first time since I was a child. I slid back into my sinful ways pretty quickly. But I’d poke my head out of the sewer now and then, to listen to Father John Corapi (good preacher, pray for him, sad situation) on Relevant Radio, a Catholic radio station in Chicago, or to attend Holy Week services.

Finally, two years after my God-child’s baptism, I found myself waking up Sunday mornings with my conscience telling me, “You should go to mass.” I’d trek to the “Latin Rite” church and sit in a pew near the back, watching the priest from afar, knowing more now about what was going on. My head knew what was true, but my heart was lukewarm. Sin continued.

The final pivot came came that Lent.

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My conscience had been gnawing at me. “You’re a hypocrite. You can’t call yourself Catholic but live this way.” So I challenged myself: Lent is only about 40 days, right? Six weeks? This year’s Lent, let’s try to do everything the Church teaches, especially as it pertains to purity. No more porn. No more hours wasted on gay hook-up websites. No more lusting. Complete celibacy and chastity. Mass every Sunday. Regular confession.

I did it.

The first two weeks were rough, don’t get me wrong. Whether it was through grace, or the intercession of Our Lady, the saints, somehow I did it.

What’s more, I liked it! It was liberating. I was free of the weight, the rules, the oppressive expectations that the gay lifestyle places on you. Style your hair a certain way. Dress a certain way. Decorate your home a certain way. Think a certain way. Listen to certain music, watch certain television shows. Conform.

My friends’ first hint that I’d “changed” came from seeing my “likes” of Catholic posts on Facebook and from my decision to sit out the gay pride parade despite living so close to the parade route. My social circle has shrunk considerably. My best friend cut me off after I declined to attend his “wedding.” Other friends accuse me of being a “self-loathing homosexual.” Another friend, who I’m still close to, has told me to my face, with all sincerity, that he is worried about my mental health.

Ultimately though, this is not about me being happy or freed or spiritually fed/fulfilled/whatever you want to call it. My conversion was about understanding my role vis-a-vis God, that I was made to know, love, and serve Him in this life –not myself or my ego or its desires– and be happy with Him in the next.

I cannot quite explain why I so readily accept the Church’s teachings on same-sex attraction. It’s all perfectly logical and rationale to me. I’d lived that lifestyle and knew how ugly it was, what a lie it was. If I wanted to follow Christ, I would have to take up a cross. There was no “conversion” in that regard.

In a culture that says it’s all about Me, I realized that no, it’s not, and humility and sacrifice must be part and parcel of my life from now on. He must increase, I must decrease. Perhaps that’s why the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite played such a vital role in my conversion and continued efforts to life out the Faith. The Extraordinary Form is not about me. On that account, one might argue, its silence is deafening. I would not have reverted back to the faith without the Extraordinary Form. It has helped me strengthen my faith, grow in charity, battle my pride, and strive for purity in a way the Ordinary Form, as commonly offered, could not.

I’ve remained celibate since that Ash Wednesday in 2011. I’ve struggled with impure thoughts and actions, but am light years from who I used to be. With frequently confession and the graces flowing from that sacrament and the sacrament of the Eucharist, and His most merciful Sacred Heart, I soldier on in the Church Militant. Oh yeah, I think Our Lady’s on my side too!

Since I was invited to write this story for a family oriented blog, my advice to Catholic parents would be this: Teach your children obedience. Teach them obedience to you as mothers and fathers, and obedience to God and the Church. Model that obedience to them. It will require struggle, humility, and sacrifice, potentially the ultimate sacrifice. Never forget that your role isn’t to be their friend, or to give them the happy or comfortable childhood you never had. Your role is to get them to heaven. Trust in Jesus.

May God bless us all this Lent.

Joe.

Galway S.V.P. donates €45k to LGBT Group

The-Connacht-Sentinel

The Catholic Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Galway has donated €45,000 to local gay rights group AMACH!. The money donated came from the Maureen O’Connell fund. Ms Nula Ward from AMACH! says she is thrilled about receiving such a large amount of money from “such an esteemed organisation”: “We are delighted to announce solid support from SVP Maureen O’Connell Fund in the form of a grant! €45,000 over three years has been awarded to AMACH! towards the AMACH! LGBT Resource Centre project.”

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Chair and Vice chair of AMACH! John Corcoran & Nuala Ward pictured here signing the contract at the SVP, Maureen O’Connell fund office.

In 2007, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Galway received a bequest of €7.8m from the late Maureen O’Connell, following the sale of her landmark Galway property “O’Connell’s” public house. The St. Augustine Conference is managing the spending of the bequest according to the terms of the Will, which states that “…funds should be used for the work of the SVP in Galway City and County.” The Conference is comprised of members of local SVP Conferences from throughout Galway.

Priorities of the Fund
In accordance with the aims and mission of the Society, the Maureen O’Connell Fund aims to tackle poverty in all its forms through the provision of practical assistance to those in need, specifically addressing poverty and isolation among older people, family poverty, child poverty, educational needs of disadvantaged children, young people and adults and homelessness. It will support innovative projects which complement the activities of SVP
Conferences which add value to existing services or fill gaps in existing services for the most disadvantaged groups.
Peter Quinlan, Acting President of St Augustine’s Conference, emphasises that “St. Augustine’s Conference is particularly anxious to help individuals or groups in need who have fallen through the cracks in the system and are not being helped or are being inadequately helped by other agencies.”
In September 2009 St Augustine’s Conference appointed a Project Manager, Annalisa Murphy, to manage the administration of the Maureen O’Connell Fund.

Annalisa Murphy

Annalisa Murphy

Project Manager, Annalisa Murphy says:
“Listening to the needs of disadvantaged people is what SVP volunteers do best and the reason Maureen O’Connell bequeathed her funds to this organisation. It is critically important to develop systems and procedures to ensure the Fund is managed in a fair and transparent manner. Maureen O’Connell entrusted her funds to the Society because she believed in what the Society stands for and the work the volunteers do. We in turn owe it to Miss O’Connell to be one hundred per cent accountable in the stewardship of the Maureen O’Connell Fund.”

The question of course is would the late Maureen O’Connell approve of the way the funds are being used by this Catholic organisation. She left her money to SVP in good faith that it would be used to help the poor and needy of Galway. I have difficulty understanding how a resource centre for the gay community falls into this category.

If SVP wants to support the gay community then why didn’t it use the €45,000 to set up a local branch of the amazing Catholic group ‘Courage’ who offer support, education and understanding of people who experience same sex attraction and also want to remain faithful to the Catholic Church? What an opportunity missed.

Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway has written to Galway SVP regarding this issue and is awaiting their reply.

Sources –

https://www.svp.ie/Files/GALWAY-MAUREEN-O-CONNELL-FUND.aspx

http://www.svp.ie/About-Us.aspx

http://www.amachlgbt.com/latest-news/a-galway-resource-centre-one-step-closer/

http://couragerc.org/courage/about/

Catholic School Organises Trip to Gay Pride March

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As you can see from the above message, St. Paul’s Catholic high school, county Armagh, Northern Ireland invited it’s pupils to represent the school at the 2014 Newry Gay Pride march.

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Gay pride

The pupils attended in full school uniform and were accompanied by members of staff. Here they are pictured at the march meeting the Northern Ireland education minister Sinn Féin politician John O’Dowd. The invitation was widely publicised by the school via its website, Facebook and Twitter pages. 

School Principal Jarlath Burns claims to be committed to the schools Catholic ethos. But when questioned about this on Twitter he reveals the fact that he either does not know the church teaching on sex and marriage, or he is just completely disregarding it:

“Our pastoral care policy is light on dogma and heavy on compassion and celebration of diversity.” – Jarlath Burns ‏

Principle Jarlath Burns

Principal Jarlath Burns

He claims he would “die for Catholic education” but also that on the issue of Homosexuality he says “This is one area of Church teaching where I part company completely with the Church.” I wonder what pupils who support the Catholic teaching on marriage felt when called to attend this event. Not very ‘included’ I would say. What is he doing to support them? Or how about those incredibly brave individuals who struggle with same sex attraction and who wish to remain celibate out of love for our Lord? Has Burns considered them in his ‘celebration of diversity’? Does he even know the Catholic view on homosexuality? 

Here’s what the Youcat (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church) has to say about the topic of homosexuality:

Youcat CoverThe Church believes that, in the order of creation, man and woman are designed to need each other’s complementary traits and to enter into a mutual relationship so as to give life to children. That is why homosexual practices cannot be approved by the Church. Christians owe all persons respect and love, however, regardless of their sexual orientation, because all people are respected and loved by God.

“There is no man on earth who is not descended from a union of a mother and a father. Therefore it is a painful experience for many homosexually oriented people that they do not feel erotically attracted to the opposite sex and necessarily miss out on the physical fruitfulness of the union between man and woman according to human nature and the divine order of creation. Nevertheless, God often leads souls to himself along unusual paths: a lack, a loss, or a wound – if accepted and affirmed ­– can become a springboard for throwing oneself into the arms of God: the God who brings good out of everything and whose greatness can be discovered in redemption even more than in creation. (Youcat, 65)

God created man as male and female and destined them for each other in a bodily way as well. The Church accepts without reservation those who experience homosexual feelings. They (persons who experience homosexual feelings) should not be unjustly discriminated against because of that. At the same time, the Church declares that all homosexual relations in any form are contrary to the order of creation. (Youcat, 415)

The twitter debate continues:

“I’ve a feeling @jburns834 (Burns) thinks ‘Catholic ethos’ means whatever he says it does. Compassion is part of CC teaching. So is marriage. A conception of marriage that Pride events want to redefine & re-conceptualise. Sending pupils in their uniforms looks like using them to make a statement. And a statement that compromises Catholic schools, the one place where Catholic teaching ought to be respected & defended.”

“What Burns does in his own time is no bodies business but he has no right 2 hijack a school 2 push his own agenda. He can support what he wants but he should leave the school out of it. All girls as well. The boys must have told him 2 stuff it.”

“He (Burns) supports redefining marriage & seems to think it’s ok to use the school & its pupils to make a statement about that. Even posting images of the pupils on his Twitter.”

“After the child abuse scandal the leaders r now 2 spineless 2 stand up 4 their own teachings. Has allowed chancer’s like Burns 2 push agenda.”

“I hope @stpaulsbbrook clarify their position on marriage & whether the school will be used for more events where promotion of Same Sex Marriage is one of the main purposes.”

“I thought as a teacher you had to subscribe to church teachings?”

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“…it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted abusive and harmful.” ~Peter Tatchell, main speaker at Newry Gay Pride 2014.

There was plenty of anti Catholic agenda at the march. But it gets worse. It seems that the main speaker at Newry Pride 2014 was none other that Peter Tatchell:

“All just “dogma”. Peter Thatchell is the person Catholic schools want to listen to? He was at Newry Pride. I wonder does @jburns834 endorse his extreme views on age of consent? If they don’t know Peter Tatchell, they should have informed themselves of his extreme views b4 sending pupils along.”

“That b the same Tatchell who endorses adult child relationships. I don’t think 2 many ppl realise Tatchell’s support 4 child adult ‘consensual’ sex.”

“Yep. There’s no way pupils should have been at an event where he was the main speaker. I wonder were parents of @stpaulsbbrook pupils informed that P Tatchell was the speaker & what his views are? Schools are for learning, not for political campaigning. And Catholic schools like @stpaulsbbrook send their pupils to listen to P Tatchell! who @stpaulsbbrook thinks pupils should be listening to as anti-Catholic as any public figure out there.”

“Tatchell believes St Pauls has no right 2 exist. So much 4 diversity.”

“Any political campaigning or marching is not a matter for school endorsement. Particularly when that campaign (redefining marriage) goes agst CC teachings. And particularly when the guest speaker says the CC ‘blights the lives of millions’. Grandstanding of that type cannot be dressed up as compassion. All the hallmarks of political exploitation and faux compassion.”

For those who don’t know Peter Tatchell’s views, here is a little snippet:

“The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.” – Peter Tatchell

You can read more about Peter Tatchell’s views on child/adult sexual relationships by clicking here.

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A man dressed up as a Catholic Cardinal at Newry Gay Pride.

Is it really possible that Jarlath Burns does not know Peter Tatchell’s views? Or does he agree with them? Does he think it appropriate that his school pupils should be at an event in their school uniform where this man is the key speaker? Did he inform their parents Peter Tatchell would be there? What is the real agenda here?

Would the school put as much effort into encouraging pupils to attend a pro-life event in full school uniform? I think not. It seems to me that Jarlath Burns is a man who is more concerned with popularity, forwarding his careerer and making a name for himself as a ‘progressive’ than actually fulfilling his responsibilities as a Catholic Headteacher. 

As a Principal of a Catholic School, Jarlath Burns has a duty to remain faithful to Catholic teaching. UK Statutory legislation makes provision for schools with a religious character to maintain their relevant religious ethos. Section 60 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 makes the following provision:

(4) In connection with the appointment of a person to be headteacher of the school (whether foundation or voluntary controlled) regard may be had to that person’s ability and fitness to preserve and develop the religious character of the school.

(5) If the school is a voluntary aided school – (a) preference may be given, in connection with the appointment, remuneration or promotion of teachers at the school, to persons:

(i) whose religious opinions are in accordance with the tenets of the religion or religious denomination specified in relation to the school under section 69(4), or 

(ii) who attend religious worship in accordance with those tenets, or 

(iii) who give, or are willing to give, religious education at the school in accordance with those tenets; and 

(b) regard may be had, in connection with the termination of the employment of any teacher at the school, to any conduct on his part which is incompatible with the precepts, or with the upholding of the tenets, of the religion or religious denomination so specified.

In short I believe that through either ignorance or disobedience, Principal Jarlath Burns has clearly demonstrated that he is not in line with the Catholic Church in his personal or professional views and he should get the sack. He is failing the children in his care.

The time has come for you to make a decision Mr. Jarlath Burns: Will you choose the Rainbow flag or the Cross? I’m afraid you can’t have both in the Catholic Church. And if you really can’t choose between the two, i’m sure there are plenty of Protestant churches who would welcome you with open arms.

I have written to Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Eamon Martin (both at admin@aracoeli.com) to express my disgust at Jarlath Burns’s actions and very much suggest you do the same. 

Bert and Ernie Gay Ridiculous Cake Court Threat.

From the TELEGRAPH:

A Christian-run bakery is facing legal action from a Government agency for refusing to produce a cake carrying a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan “support gay marriage”.

Ashers Baking Co, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, cancelled an order for a novelty cake with a picture of the puppets arm in arm printed onto the icing saying that it went against the directors’ religious beliefs.

They believe that producing the cake with the slogan and the logo of QueerSpace, a gay rights group the would-be customer supports, would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of gay marriage in the province, and go against their religious convictions.

But the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has now written to the firm claiming that it is breaking the law.

A letter signed by the legal office orders the firm to “remedy your illegal discrimination” within seven days or be taken to court by the commission.

It claimed that refusing to print the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation against the man who placed the order.

The Christian institute, which is supporting the bakery, says it is not discriminatory for managers to refuse to endorse a political campaign.

Gay marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK in which it is not on the statute book.

Colin Hart, chief executive of the Christian Institute, said: “This is a sign of things to come exactly as we predicted.

“The Government repeatedly failed to listen to members of the public, lawyers, constitutional experts even its own MPs when they called for safeguards to protect those who back traditional marriage, especially those who work in the public sector.

“Now this nonsense, more usually associated with the public sector, is being applied to the private sector.

“This means millions of ordinary people who do not agree with gay marriage, face intimidation and the real threat of legal action from the forces of political correctness if they, out of conscience, decline to provide good or services to campaign groups they do not agree with or support.

“It establishes a dangerous precedent about the power of the state over an individual, or business to force them to go against their deeply held beliefs.”

The customer was unable to comment.

……………

This is the exact reason i closed my 9 year cake business in January this year. I could see this sort of thing coming: 

http://faithinourfamilies.com/2013/05/22/why-equal-marriage-law-will-destroy-my-wedding-cake-business-and-free-speech/

What the Government is saying is that this cake company has no right to refuse a customer. The article makes no mention of the sexuality of the customer and it certainly is not saying that the cake company is refusing to serve them because they are or might be gay. I’m sure if a gay person walked in and ordered a Thomas the Tank Engine cake they would have no problem in being served. 

Would it be a matter of discrimination then if i walked in to the bakery and told them to make me a cake with the slogan “God does not exist” and they refused on religious grounds? Would that be discriminating against atheists? 

What about if i wanted them to make a cake with the slogan “pro choice” and they refused on religious grounds? Would that be discriminating against women who choose to have an abortion?

It’s funny isn’t it – that this issue of social acceptance bullying does not seem to raise its ugly head in any other community other than the gay community. It’s almost as if they want to pick a fight…

I’m just sayin’.

Sources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10952494/Bert-and-Ernie-gay-marriage-cake-leaves-Christian-bakery-facing-court-threat.html

Catholic family branded ‘bigoted’ by social workers for not wanting their children to be adopted by gay couple.

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Two Slovakian parents have failed to block the adoption of two of their sons by a same sex couple in Kent.

The Catholic couple, who are of Roma origin, argued their two young children would grow up alienated from their family and community. Taking the case to the High Court, they accused the local authority of social engineering by attempting to turn the children white and middle class. An earlier hearing heard evidence they had neglected their children.

In the Matter of J and S concerned two boys, ‘J’, aged four, and ‘S’, who will turn two in July. Their ‘Roma’ parents come from the Slovak Republic. They were brought to West Yorkshire by traffickers and initially lived in “cramped” bed and breakfast accommodation. They later moved to a larger home with help from Hope for Justice, a charity based in Manchester which works with victims of trafficking.

Social services became involved and eventually their five youngest children were made the subject of care proceedings. The local authority applied for care orders for the four youngest, plus an order which would place for the oldest, aged 15, under its supervision for 12 months. In addition, they sought ‘placement orders’ for the two youngest, J and S, putting them in the care of prospective adopters.

The orders were granted by Mrs Justice Theis at a hearing in May last year. The parents then applied for permission to oppose the planned adoptions, making an unsuccessful bid to the European Court of Human Rights. In due course the case came before Sir James Munby at the High Court in London. A scheduled hearing earlier this month was adjourned after scheduled interpreters failed to show up. Their parents’ counsel was acting pro bono. The President said: “This is a very sad case”. Nevertheless, he rejected the parents’ application for leave to oppose the adoption order, under section 47 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. This deals with ‘conditions for making adoption orders’. The President said the fact that J and S had been placed for adoption with a same sex couple did not constitute a sufficient change in circumstances to justify an objection by the parents under the Act.

In their witness statement, the parents had declared:

“Our family is a Slovak Roma family and we are practising Catholics and a homosexual couple as potential adopters is very different from what Mrs Justice Theis had in mind in her judgment as this will not promote the children’s Roma heritage or their Catholic faith … Whilst we have no doubt that the prospective adopters have been properly assessed by the Local Authority, they are a homosexual couple and as such their lifestyle goes against our Roma culture and lifestyle. The children will not be able to be brought up in the Catholic faith because of the conflicts between Catholicism and homosexuality. They would not be able to maintain their Catholic faith if they are adopted by this couple and even if it was promised that they would attend church the children would at some stage be taught or learn of the attitude of the church to same sex couples. This would undoubtedly be upsetting to them and cause them to be in conflict between their religion and home life. Slovakia still does not recognise same sex couples and so their Slovak roots and values will not be maintained. In 2013 the Catholic Bishops in Slovakia condemned same sex marriage.”

Mr Justice Munby responded:

“I do not see how this can be described as a change in circumstances. There is nothing in all the material I have seen to suggest that the children’s placement with the prospective adopters was inappropriate or wrong, let alone irrational or unlawful, having regard to the principles that the local authority had to apply…Nor… has it been demonstrated that the placement was of a kind not contemplated by Theis J. On the contrary, Theis J expressly held, as we have seen, that the children’s welfare needs “outweigh” the impact that adoption would have on their Roma identity.”

The President continued:

“Of course, any judge should have a decent respect to the opinions of those who come here from a foreign land, particularly if they have come from another country within the European Union….But the fact is, the law is, that, at the end of the day, I have to judge matters according to the law of England and by reference to the standards of reasonable men and women in contemporary English society. The parents’ views, whether religious, cultural, secular or social, are entitled to respect but cannot be determinative. They have made their life in this country and cannot impose their own views either on the local authority or on the court.”

Sir James Munby also said ‘It was, in my view, unfortunate that the local authority should have referred at one stage in the proceedings to the parents’ views on homosexuality in such a way as to suggest that they are bigoted. The label is unnecessary and hurtful.’ Judge: Yesterday, the country’s most senior family judge, Sir James Munby, upheld the adoption plan, but criticised the social workers for the way they condemned the parents because of their views. His criticism is understood to follow a report submitted to the court by social workers which said: ‘The attitude of the parents could be perceived as bigoted.’ 

The parents are appealing to the European Court of Human Rights, although it is likely it will take months before their case is heard.

Lucie Boddington, from Děti Patří Rodičům – or Children Belong to Parents – a Slovakian charity which has been supporting the couple, said she hoped the Slovak government would request the case be heard more quickly. She told the BBC the parents were “desperate” and had cried openly when they heard the judge’s decision. “This is I think in some way a cultural misunderstanding,” she said. “In Slovakia, they were a model family – very different from the way some Roma live. The father is hard-working, well-educated; he wanted the best for his children.”

This comes at a time when social workers are under pressure from the Government to abandon rules which have meant that adopted children can be placed only with new families of the same ethnic or cultural background. The doctrine has been blamed for preventing ethnic minority children from being adopted by a stable family, because there are two few people from ethnic minorities are willing to adopt.

Mairead Macneil - Director of Specialist Children's Services at Kent county council.

Mairead Macneil – Director of Specialist Children’s Services at Kent county council.

“We are absolutely committed to improving the quality of service and we need to have social workers who are progressive, enthusiastic, enabling, empowering, practical and frankly just able to do the job well,” says Mairead MacNeil, director of specialist children’s services at Kent county council. “I believe we have got a good core of social workers who can; we just need to build on that.”

A recent Ofsted report following an inspection rated the council’s looked after children services as “adequate”, with “good” capacity to improve. In 2010, the same services had been judged “inadequate”.

In June 2013 Kent County Council Came under criticism in a report by the Local Government Ombudsman, after it failed to provide proper support to an abandoned boy.

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Sir James Munby

According to ‘Pink News’ The head of the High Court’s Family Division, Lord Justice James Munby, is a strong supporter of equality for gay people.

In November 2013 he gave a shocking address in which he said happily judges no longer promote virtue and morality or discourage vice and immorality’. In particular Judge Munby publicly repudiates Christianity and Christian morality, and welcomes the legalisation of abortion, gay sex and adultery.

In a speech in London, Sir James Munby said judges ‘happily’ no longer had a role in enforcing morality, unlike in the past when they  routinely condemned homosexuality, adultery and promoted Victorian social attitudes. ‘Once upon a time, the perceived function of the judges was to promote virtue and discourage vice and immorality,’ he said. ‘I doubt one would now hear that from the judicial bench. Today, surely, the judicial task is to assess matters by the standards of reasonable men and women in 2013 – not by the standards of their parents in 1970.’

Sir James said that Victorian judges promoted ‘virtue and morality’ while  discouraging ‘vice and immorality’ with a ‘very narrow view of sexual morality’. He cited laws banning gay sex and abortion and rulings that condemned women for adultery. He added that the influence of Christian churches in the courts had also disappeared in recent years.

He said: ‘Happily for us, the days are  past when the business of judges was  the enforcement of morals or religious beliefs.’ He said that modern-day judges had rightly abandoned any claim to be ‘guardians of public morality’, just as Christian clerics no longer claimed to speak as the ‘defining voices of morality and of the law of marriage and the family. Today, we live in a largely secular society which, insofar as it remains religious at all, is now increasingly diverse in religious affiliation.’ he said. ‘Although, historically, this country is part of the Christian West and although it has an established church which is Christian, we sit as secular judges serving a multi-cultural community of many faiths, sworn to do justice “to all manner of people”. We live in this country in a democratic and pluralistic society, in a secular state not a theocracy. All are entitled to respect, so long as they are “legally and socially acceptable” and not “immoral or socially obnoxious” or “pernicious”.’ he said.

He also said courts would overrule parents’ religious beliefs if it was in their child’s best interests, such as if a child of Jehovah’s Witnesses needed a blood transfusion. ‘We live in a largely secular society which, insofar as it remains religious at all, is now increasingly diverse in religious affiliation,’ he added.

He said a believer’s faith was not the ‘business of government or of the secular courts’, ‘although, of course, the courts will pay every respect to the individual’s or family’s religious principles’.

In 2007  he was the presiding judge at a landmark case that ruled that a Christian couple should be banned from fostering children because of their views on homosexuality.  At the time, making his judgement he said: “The equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence over religious beliefs”.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27552716

http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/2014/05/23/family-law-court-rejects-romani-parents-bid-to-return-children/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2637725/Catholic-family-branded-bigoted-social-workers-not-wanting-children-adopted-gay-couple.html#ixzz32dfazoJe 

http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2013/sep/06/career-opportunities-social-workers

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/story/2013-06-04/council-fails-abandoned-child/

http://protectthepope.com/?p=9004

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/12/21/uk-new-head-of-the-high-courts-family-division-is-a-strong-supporter-of-gay-equality/

 

Priests – why don’t you ever give homilies on sex?

Dear Priests,

I love you. You know I love you dearly. I pray and fast for you every single day. But why don’t you ever give homilies on sex?

It’s a good question!

I am 34 years old and I have never, ever, not once, heard a priest talk about sex – either in or out of the pulpit. My mum is in her 70’s and she cannot recall ever hearing sex mentioned in church AT ALL throughout her entire life.

I have been thinking about why this could be:

1. This is Britain, and we don’t talk about that sort of thing.
2. Priests are celibate and don’t feel confident talking about sex.
3. There could be children in the congregation.
4. It’s embarrassing.
5. Telling people that artificial contraception is bad would be a very unpopular homily.

It’s a shame because it is becoming more and more obvious that the Catholic teaching on sex is one of THE biggest tools of evangelization in the modern age. The Catholic teaching on chastity, sex and marriage is completely and utterly counter-cultural. It teaches life in our ‘culture of death’. It is so radical that even you, the Priests don’t want to talk about it. (BTW, please don’t use ridiculous terms like ‘nuptial union’ and ‘conjugal act’!!! Instead use terms such as ‘make love’ and ‘have sex’, or if there are lots of children present say ‘be together’ or ‘be intimate’.)

conjugal acts

From my own limited observations, I am confident to say that most people inside and outside of the church have absolutely no idea what the Catholic teaching on sex actually is. The vast majority have never read, or even heard of Humanae Vitae or Theology of the Body. They don’t know about NFP, Billings, Creighton or Napro technology which offers a natural alternative to IVF. They have no clue as to the damage artificial contraception is having on their bodies, their relationships or their souls. Because of this (and I use this word respectfully)… ignorance, they cannot understand why the church opposes gay marriage.

There is call now from liberal Catholics and dissident groups such as ‘A Call To Action’ to publish the results from the recent Vatican survey. They are of course hoping to highlight the fact that most Catholics ignore the church teaching on artificial contraception – and then get the teaching on sex officially ‘modernised’.

It is time for you, Priests, to start teaching your congregations what sex and marriage IS not just what it isn’t. Because if you don’t speak about it, who will?
I’ll tell you… the extremely vocal gay lobby. The sex saturated media. The secularist lefty politicians. The money-making contraception and abortion industry (yes, it is an industry, with sales targets and bonuses and advertising campaigns.)

Please, Priests, do us a favour… learn Theology of the Body and Humanae Vitae like your life depends on it. Give it to us, your congregations in bite sized chunks each week. Trust me, the second you mention the word sex, you will have every eye and ear in the whole place focused on you. No one will be reading the newsletter or checking their Facebook status through that homily!

Visit 1flesh.org and catholicmarriagecentre.org.uk and the Couple to Couple League for tons of info. Explain the awful truth about the history of artificial contraception and its links to eugenics from people like  Marie Stopes and Margaret Sanger. Find out who your local NFP teacher is and invite them to your parish.  Start the conversation within your own parish and keep it going. Because if you don’t preach the beauty of Gods design on sex and marriage, no one will. Please don’t leave us to fight this battle on our own…

Humanae Vitae full version – 

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html

Theology of the Body full version – 

http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2TBIND.HTM

Be a little Pebble against the Liberal Goliaths.

Ok I admit it. Occasionally, I fail.
I allow myself the self-indulgence of becoming overwhelmed with the wrongs of the world. From midnight tonight in the UK, the very first gay ‘marriages’ will legally be allowed to take place. It seems that we have lost the legal fight for the time being. We shouted and protested and wrote letters to our MP’s, and regularly acquired new nick-names such as ‘bigot’ ‘homophobe’ ‘religious fanatic’ and my personal favorite – ‘repressed dinosaur’!
But it is not just the secular world that is wrong at the moment. Even more upsetting has been the recent outspoken views of the German bishops regarding marriage within the church, and the slack criteria for being able to receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
We have also recently seen one particular UK liberal Bishop use his power to silence a faithful and traditional Catholic Deacon blogger for the reason that he was criticizing liberal Bishops! Now it seems we can not even oppose those who disagree with what the church teaches – because they happen to be the ones in power.

What are we supposed to do?
Answer: Be a little pebble.

We each are members of Gods holy church, and we each have a responsibility to ensure that the beautiful truths it teaches are protected from attack – whether that be from the outside world, or from inside the church itself.

Be a little pebble when people no longer listen to your shouting or allow you to protest.
Be a little pebble when bishops campaign for the right of their flock to be able to receive our Lord whilst being in a state of mortal sin. 
Be a little pebble when people in your own parish try to suppress and destroy any initiatives you have to correctly evangelize people, using beautiful true and faithful church teachings based on Holy scripture, the CCC, Youcat and Papal documents because it challenges their flimsy liberal personal opinions.
With faith as your catapult, launch yourself out of your comfort zone and into the stratosphere of radical holiness. Let go of your own ideas and entrust yourself to God’s  strategy and plan. Use Holy Eucharist, Confession, Prayer from the heart (daily Rosary), Holy Scripture and Fasting as your propulsion. Decide today for radical holiness. Pray! Pray! Pray! Put God in the FIRST place in your life and let our Lord and His Mother guide your trajectory.
You see, if the little pebble is aimed correctly, it can slay a Goliath with one hit. One hit. 
But what happens if we all start becoming little pebbles? With all of us together we would become a tsunami of pebbles endlessly flowing towards the liberal falsities that surround us. No Goliath could possibly withstand this massive tidal wave of truth.
With lots of little pebbles under its feet, that Goliath will fall. (Have you ever tried to stand up in a child’s ball pond?! It’s impossible!!).

Be a little pebble. Be truth and beauty. Do not be afraid.

“In the end, my immaculate heart will triumph.” – Our Lady of Fatima