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Should Catholic Schools Be Allowed to Discriminate?

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Holy Ghost Prep

Should Catholics be allowed to discriminate? The short answer: Of course they should.

Now, let me define what I mean by “discriminate.” In one sense, to discriminate means to note a difference between two things. When a Catholic school doesn’t hire an incompetent applicant, they discriminate between that applicant and a more qualified one (just as your taste buds discriminate between chocolate and sulfur). However, when most people think of discrimination, they think of unfair discrimination, or using an irrelevant difference in order to judge someone’s worth.

So what is the difference between fair discrimination and unfair discrimination?

I ask that question because in the last few years several Catholic schools have been accused of unfair discrimination. The complaints usually come when a school terminates an employee who broke his employment contract by engaging in behavior that violates the principles of the Catholic Faith.

A recent example came earlier this month when foreign language teacher Michael Griffin was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory High School in Pennsylvania (pictured above). Apparently, Mr. Griffin announced in an e-mail to administrators that he was going to be late to school because he was on his way to file for a license in order to marry his boyfriend.

Similar terminations at Catholic schools include a couple at a Massachusetts school who were fired for conceiving a child outside of marriage and an Indiana woman who was fired for trying to use the school’s health plan to pay for in vitro fertilization treatment.

Fair or Unfair Discrimination?

 
I think it’s clear that these are cases of fair discrimination because these teachers were not terminated for who they were. They were terminated for their actions.

Take the case of Mr. Griffin. The Huffington Post says, “[Mr.] Griffin was fired essentially for being gay,” and lists the story under the topic “fired for being gay.” But Mr. Griffin wasn’t fired for “being gay.”

If a school fired a teacher because it found out he attended Courage, a Catholic support group for people who experience same-sex attractions, then that would be a case of firing someone “for being gay.” Instead, Mr. Griffin was fired because he chose to publicly violate Church teaching and took steps to marry another man. This is also true in the other cases I listed where teachers violated their employment contracts by engaging in behaviors that violate what the Church teaches.

Critics of these schools have put forward several arguments for the view that these cases are unfair discrimination. Let’s examine some of those arguments:

1. Your employer has no right to tell you what you can and can’t do outside of work.

Depending on the state where a worker lives and the public or private nature of his work, it is true that employers generally cannot intrude into their employee’s private lives. However, if the employee’s off-duty actions reflect negatively on the company, then, in most cases, disciplinary action can be taken.

Because of the nature of their work, Catholic schoolteachers represent their schools both on and off work time. If a teacher were engaged in scandalous public behavior that violates the school’s mission, then it would make sense to let that teacher go. Furthermore, these teachers usually sign a contract with a “morality clause,” and breaking that contract can also be grounds for either termination or the decision to not renew the contract.

2. Morality clauses in contracts are illegal. Catholic schools shouldn’t force their employees to uphold Catholic values outside of work. As long as what these employees do is legal, then it is none of the Church’s business.

An employee can represent his employer in an unfavorable way even if he is engaged in something that is legal. An example might include being publicly associated with a porn company outside of office hours. Likewise, most companies don’t allow their employees to work for a competitor, even if such work is legal, because it creates a conflict of interest.

In addition, morality clauses are well known in the world of contracts. Lance Armstrong lost many of his sponsors precisely because his drug use violated the morality clause in his contract with those sponsors. Morality clauses protect companies from being harmed by employees who damage their reputations. A Catholic school that is unable to terminate a teacher who creates a scandal could be harmed when the parents of prospective students choose to not enroll their children in the school for that reason.

However, I think Catholic schools should carefully explain to their teachers (who themselves may not have been well-catechized) what does and does not violate a morality clause in an employment contract. This is especially the case with IVF and other medical practices that some good-hearted Catholics may mistakenly think are not immoral.

3. I bet these schools don’t fire teachers who use contraception or masturbate.

Just because some teachers might violate their contracts in a private and undetectable way does not mean teachers who violate their contracts in a public way cannot be disciplined.

4. Terminating employees for their religious beliefs, marital status, or pregnancies constitutes illegal discrimination under the 1964 and 1968 civil rights acts. Choosing to not hire someone based on these classes is also illegal.

It’s true that employers usually cannot base hiring or termination decisions on the fact that an employee belongs to a “protected class” of people (such as belonging to a certain race, religion, nationality, sex, etc.).  But there is an exception.

It has long been held in the United States that when it comes to hiring practices there is a “ministerial exception” for religious organizations. In order to protect freedom of religion, the government cannot tell churches who can and cannot be ministers. This is why radical supporters of female ordination cannot sue the Catholic Church for the “job” of priesthood.

In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the ministerial exception could also be applied to teachers in parochial schools, even if they primarily teach a nonreligious subject.

I think that makes perfect sense. In fact, more Catholic schools should view their teachers as “ministers of the gospel” along with being academic instructors. Theological topics can easily find their way into other subjects like art, English, literature, history, and science. The teaching of Romance languages like Spanish or French, which is what Mr. Griffin taught before he was terminated, could easily incorporate Catholic materials originally written in those languages.

Even if they teach a subject like calculus, Catholic schoolteachers are still respected by their students as role models. These teachers have ample opportunities to share their worldview with students before and after class, such as when the math students erupt into an impromptu discussion about the morning assembly presentation on chastity.

Genuinely Catholic

 
Pope John Paul II said during a 2004 visit to the U.S. bishops:

"It is of utmost importance, therefore, that the Church’s institutions be genuinely Catholic: Catholic in their self-understanding and Catholic in their identity. All those who share in the apostolates of such institutions, including those who are not of the faith, should show a sincere and respectful appreciation of that mission which is their inspiration and ultimate raison d’être."

Catholic schools have the right and the duty to protect their Catholic identity by retaining employees who, at the bare minimum, do not violate what the Church teaches. However, the ideal would be for those employees to not merely tolerate the Faith but to celebrate it and serve as a witness of it in their classrooms.
 
 
Originally posted at TrentHorn.com.
(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Trent Horn

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Trent Horn holds a Master’s degree in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and is currently an apologist and speaker for Catholic Answers. He specializes in training pro-lifers to intelligently and compassionately engage pro-choice advocates in genuine dialogue. He recently released his first book, titled Answering Atheism: How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity. Follow Trent at his blog, TrentHorn.com.

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  • Steven Dillon

    Well. Let's be honest. This is murky territory. My concern -- which may amount to nothing -- is why employees of these institutions who publically violate Catholic principles *deserve* to be terminated.

    Publically sinning is a public violation of Catholic principles, but if these institutions fired employees who sinned publically, they'd be out of business.

    • Steven, thanks for the comment. The Church (and the Bible) make an important distinction between repentant sinners who publicly sin (i.e., all Catholics) and those who live in unrepentant public sin. The latter typically a) don't even consider their actions sinful, even if they violate God's moral teaching, or b) do believe they are sinful, but don't care to repent.

      The Church has always welcomed repentant sinners joyfully, for God never tires of forgiving. But those who publicly ignore or reject the Church's teachings should not be invited to uphold and promote them.

      Thus your last sentence is a bit misguided since the question here is not whether "these institutions [should fire] employees who sinned publically [sic]". The question is how to deal with employees who intentionally and unrepentantly sin publicly, clearly rejecting the Church's teaching.

      • Steven Dillon

        Thanks Brandon. It wasn't clear to me that these institutions had that distinction in mind, such as in the Lawrence Catholic Academy example. But, given that the employees are unrepentant, I don't think the institution is under any obligation to employ them.

      • Slocum Moe

        I'm thinking of a well known bishop in the upper Midwest who is well known for his gluttony and sloth, very sedentary and has literally doubled in size in the last several years. A chain smoker and alcoholic he recently broke his leg while stumbling down a public walkway after a convention luncheon. He is completely unrepentant about his behavior and does not consider himself a sinner in any way. He will no doubt die this way. Why is the admitted non chaste homosexual a target of vilification by and ostracization from the church community, while the bishop remains secure in his position and frequently lionized as an upstanding "man of God"?

        • picklefactory

          Because the authoritarian nature of the church makes it easy to kick down.

        • Slocum, thanks for the comment. I'm not sure who you're referring to, so I can't comment on anything specific. However, I will say your comment seems loaded with many exaggerations. For example, I highly doubt the person in question "does not consider himself a sinner in any way." I challenge you to provide evidence for that extraordinary claim.

          Also, with things like smoking and alcohol, there are many variable. For instance, we don't know whether he is actually repentant and trying to quit. I have a few friends who were former alcoholics and even when they were in the midst of their addiction, they would be the first to note its sinfulness--they just didn't have the power to quit. The bishops' interior orientation is an important factor in determining whether a particular act is sinful.

          Finally, Catholic teaching features a hierarchy of moral truths. For example, murder is far more severe than stealing a quarter or telling a white-lie (I'm assuming you would agree). In that hierarchy, some sins like adultery or same-sex activity are simply more severe than eating or drinking too much, both because of their personal effects and the ways they affect society. Most of secular society would agree with this point, too. For example, when we discover another person arrested for rape, we don't say, "Why is the law so obsessed with rapists? Why don't police pull over more jaywalkers or litterers?" We intuitively understand that rape is a more significant crime to which we should devote more of our limited energies.

        • Jonathan Brumley

          Personally, I would not fire someone for enjoying food and drink, gaining weight, serious weight gain, or even stumbling down the stairs. Would you?

          There is a difference in the gravity of actions which cause moral offense. Gluttony, sloth, and alcoholism are habits that _can_ cause serious harm to a person (and those around him), but any act of eating, smoking, or drinking by itself is a matter of prudence.

          When gluttony, sloth, or alcoholism gets truly serious, there are serious consequences as a result - drinking and driving, failure to fast on prescribed days, failure to attend work, missing appointments, etc. These are the kind of things that cause serious harm and cause serious scandal in the case of a bishop.

          That being said, we should all try to maintain temperance in what we eat and drink. It would be great if all our bishops were perfect examples of temperance.

  • David Nickol

    A year or two after I graduated from high school, a Christian Brothers school, one of the lay teachers was arrested in a local park for indecent exposure. (His explanation was that he was drunk and happened to be seen urinating. The woman who had him arrested told quite a different story.) The Christian Brothers quietly transferred him to another school. Should they have fired him? I have no doubt they would have fired him had he been arrested for some homosexual act.

    I have no problem with religious schools (Catholic or otherwise) hiring and firing for religious reasons, particularly if the teachers and other employees have signed a contract that makes it clear what is expected of them. What I think people may not know is that since the government doesn't want to get involved in religious disputes, "ministerial employees" have no legal protection from any discrimination. If a "ministerial employee" is fired because his boss thinks he is too old for the job, or if a teacher is fired because she has a disability, or if a religious organization discriminates on the basis of race, employees or potential employees have no legal recourse as long as the religious organizations claim they have a religious reason for their actions. So those taking "ministerial" jobs with religious organizations should be aware that they do not have the same protections from discrimination that other employees have.

    • jakael02

      Yea school teachers have a special role not to create scandel. Sounds like your Christian Brother created scandel by his public sin. Christians need to pray these schools make good decisions and recognize their need for continuous reform. I'm totally with you David that any institution, including Catholic, can & will make bad & bias decisions. On the flip side, looking to "big brother" for protection against discrimination, in my humble opinion, is pretty scary.

      • Andre Boillot

        "On the flip side, looking to "big brother" for protection against discrimination, in my humble opinion, is pretty scary."

        Who would you suggest minorities turn to for protection, if not the legal system?

  • Slocum Moe

    Seems to me that even Catholic parents whose children attend these schools when "heretical" teachers are fired, often object. Do strict orthodox, traditionalists, maybe even what might be termed reactionary cranks and extremists, exclusively represent "real" Catholic culture?

    Should these same traditionalist, orthodox Catholics, themselves be barred from service in publicly funded institutions? Most agree that they are misogynists, homophobes and enablers of serial sodomite rapists among the priesthood.

  • David Nickol

    I think it’s clear that these are cases of fair discrimination because
    these teachers were not terminated for who they were. They were
    terminated for their actions.

    I don't think this distinction holds up under scrutiny. If I am an employer and claim I don't discriminate against Catholics, but nevertheless I refuse to hire anyone who goes to Mass on Sundays, I can't claim I discriminate only against actions.

    If a school fired a teacher because it found out he attended Courage, a Catholic support group for people who experience same-sex attractions, then that would be a case of firing someone “for being gay.”

    It is Catholic teaching that in certain circumstances, sexual orientation alone may be used as a basis for "just" discrimination. Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons says the following:

    10. “Sexual orientation” does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these,
    homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf. Letter, no. 3) and
    evokes moral concern.

    11. There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual
    orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption
    or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military
    recruitment.

    If someone sees the most virtuous gay person, deeply committed to celibacy, attending a meeting of Courage, the Catholic Church teaches that that person can be justly discriminated against. He can be fired if he is a teacher or a coach in a Catholic school. The Catholic Church would consider him ineligible for the military.

    And it should be noted that the Catholic Church excludes men from the priesthood based on orientation alone.

    • Andre Boillot

      "The Catholic Church would consider him ineligible for the military."

      To be fair, I think this is no longer accurate.

      • David Nickol

        To be fair, I think this is no longer accurate.

        What makes you think that? I cited an official Church document issued in 1992. Can you cite anything at all issued since then that indicates the Church's position has changed in any way?

        The Church still teaches it is legitimate to take orientation alone into consideration in some cases, and of course the priesthood is one of them. The Church also opposes any anti-discrimination legislation that explicitly protects the rights of gay people no matter how basic.

        • Andre Boillot

          I just mean that, in 1992, the Church and the US military had the same position on openly gay members. This is no longer the case.

          • David Nickol

            True, but it is the US military that has changed, not the Church. In 2010, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services in the United States, opposed the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," likening homosexuality to alcoholism:

            'For years, those struggling with alcoholism have benefitted from
            Alcoholics Anonymous. Like homosexuality, there is rarely a cure.
            There is a control through a process, which is guarded by absolute
            secrecy. It is an equivalent to "Don't ask don't tell". The process
            has worked well for some time without the charge that it is
            discriminatory.'

            The position of the Catholic Church on discrimination against gay people is that there should be no problem as long as "homosexual persons" refrain from all sexual behavior and keep their orientation secret:

            12. Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons
            including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their
            personal dignity (cf. no. 10). Among other rights, all persons have the right to
            work, to housing, etc. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be
            legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is
            sometimes not only licit but obligatory. This would obtain moreover not only in
            the case of culpable behavior but even in the case of actions of the physically
            or mentally ill. Thus it is accepted that the state may restrict the exercise of
            rights, for example, in the case of contagious or mentally ill persons, in order
            to protect the common good.

            Entering into a legal same-sex marriage would be "objectively disordered external conduct."

          • Andre Boillot

            David, I agree - it's the US military that has adopted a different stance. I'm just saying that your phrase that I took exception to, which was in reference (I think) to this:

            11. There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption
            or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military
            recruitment.

            is no longer relevant, as the Church can't point to the US military as another area where discrimination based on sexual orientation is permitted.

          • David Nickol

            The document I referred to was from the Vatican, not the US Church, so I am not sure what the change in policy in the US military has to do with the Vatican statement. And of course the Vatican can advocate "just" discrimination based on sexual orientation alone even if the US military (and the military of every country in the world) ignores the Church.

            If your point is that regarding the US military, the Church's advocacy of discrimination on the basis of orientation is a moot point, then I agree. The Church backed the losing side and now its position is largely irrelevant to US military policy.

          • Andre Boillot

            Ah, my mistake, for some reason I had it in my head that this was a US-specific thing.

  • Andre Boillot

    This is an interesting question. I suppose one of my first thoughts is: how even-handed are Catholic institutions in this regard? Are [what I would guess as] the more common offences tolerated (eg. how are divorced employees treated?), or are Catholic employers only targeting 'hot button' topics like homosexuality or reproductive issues? Also, given the examples listed, it's not clear what constitutes 'publicly' - is telling an administrator why you're having to take sick days really a public rejection of Church teaching that's likely to harm the students?

    • Kevin Aldrich

      In my experience, Catholic employers only "target" people when they are forced to against their will. No Catholic employer I have ever met wanted to fire anyone for a "hot topic" reason because it is a total mess for the employee, the employer, and the institution.

      • Andre Boillot

        I'm not sure what you mean by institutions being forced to fire employees against their will. Who's will is being done here, if not the employers?

        • Kevin Aldrich

          Haven't you ever had a responsibility to do something you'd rather not do? That is what "against their will" means in this context.

          • Andre Boillot

            So these institutions would prefer to not have to fire women who've disclosed IVF treatments, but they have a responsibility to do so because ________? Would they feel the same responsibility if it was learned that an employee initiated a divorce?

            Edit: punctuation

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Yes. Unless they are inconsistent.

  • Octavo

    Does this apply to employees of Catholic hospitals, many of whom begin employment before the hospital was absorbed by the Church?

    ~Jesse Webster

    • Jesse, I don't believe so. See my reply to your earlier, similar comment above.

  • Danny Getchell

    Using homosexuality as the "case study" here only reinforces the idea that sexual sins are the sins with which the Church is disproportionally obsessed.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      The Church isn't obsessed with homosexuality.

      Our culture is.

      • Andre Boillot

        The two aren't mutually exclusive. As I wondered aloud earlier, I wonder what the percentage of terminations for sexual orientation are vs. divorce.

        • Kevin Aldrich

          I don't think anyone keeps these kinds of stats.

          The issue usually isn't the civil divorce of a Catholic employee but an attempt by him or her to remarry.

          • Andre Boillot

            If nobody is keeping these sorts of stats, on what basis do you make this assertion?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Which assertion do you mean?

          • Andre Boillot

            That the issue with divorce usually isn't the divorce but the remarrying. How would you know this?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I was a Catholic school principal and head of school, studied school employment law and ethics, and interacted with other principals and pastors who had to deal with these kinds of issues.

          • Andre Boillot

            Now we're getting somewhere! I don't know how comfortable you would be answering these questions, but would you say the termination rate for re-married divorcee's was similar to that of employees who had same-sex marriages? What about employees who were initiated divorces?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            There were no terminations for SSM until the last few years because they did not exit. Even now they are pretty rare, just from following the news media.

            There are a whole lot of serious moral reasons for which an employee might be terminated or not have his or her contract renewed.

          • Andre Boillot

            Thanks for the response Kevin. I won't press this issue again if you're not comfortable answering, but just wondering if you care to comment of % of terminations for re-married divorcee's (not annulments) vs. same-sex married vs. initiated divorces?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I don't know, Andre, but given the number of hetrosexuals vs. homosexuals in the population, it is very likely that the number of terminations for remarriage is much, much higher.

          • Andre Boillot

            Kevin, thanks again for your response. No worries about not knowing - though just to be clear, I've been talking % all along, not #.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            In the case of remarriage, there is a chance that the party obtained an annulment of the prior marriage. So you can't presume it's illegitimate. But SSM is always illegitimate. That's one difference.

            A better comparison might be a Catholic who obtained a civil marriage outside the Church.

          • Andre Boillot

            "In the case of remarriage, there is a chance that the party obtained an annulment of the prior marriage. So you can't presume it's illegitimate."

            I made it clear I wasn't talking about cases involving annulments.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            My point is that, given the possibility of annulment, I think a Catholic employer would _presume_ that a remarriage is valid, until shown otherwise.

            For Catholics, there is a public record that can be obtained from the parish - but a school would need to ask for this information from the employee in order to get it. It's most likely to come up when adding the spouse to an insurance plan. The school _might_ notice an anomaly if the employee is Catholic but doesn't have a Catholic marriage certificate, and then inquire for additional information.

            But if the spouse isn't added to insurance, and the employee doesn't volunteer any information to the contrary, I think a Catholic employer would presume that an annulment had been obtained and that the (re)marriage is valid.

            Assume the best, in other words.

          • Andre Boillot

            1) It's my impression that annulments are fairly rare, why would a Catholic employer assume the remarriage was valid?

            2) Again, not talking about cases of annulment - talking about cases where it's known the employee sought a divorce, or remarried after a divorce.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            Well, here's one report of a principal who was terminated for remarriage without an annulment.

            http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/catholic-school-principal-sacked-for-getting-married/2006/04/15/1144521541555.html

            I've never heard of civil divorce being grounds to terminate an employee. That would be a very unfortunate misunderstanding of Church teaching - adultery, addiction, and spousal abuse happen, and sometimes civil divorce is the only way an injured spouse can protect herself.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            Here's two more terminations because of remarriage without annulment.

            http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/09/28/loc_oh-teacherfired28.html

          • Jonathan Brumley

            There seem to be many instances of someone being fired for remarriage without an annulment. I'll stop posting links because you can google it yourself. (You'll have to scroll past the gay marriage links, which seem to be more popular on google). In any case, termination for remarriage (without annulment) seems to be standard practice for Catholic schools.

          • Andre Boillot

            I don't doubt there are many instances of these things happening, it's the whole reason why I asked Kevin if he had knowledge of the termination rates in the different cases I outlined.

        • Andre, you seem to be significantly confused. We're talking here about sexual behavior, not sexual orientation. It is not necessarily sinful to be attracted to someone of the opposite gender.

          Likewise, civil divorce is not necessarily a sin (although divorcing and remarrying, without an admission of annulment, would be sinful for that would be to contract two simultaneous marriages in the eyes of God.)

          I fail to see why a Catholic parish or school would fire anyone for their orientation or simply because they've been civilly divorced. I'm also not aware of this happening anywhere.

          • Andre Boillot

            Brandon,

            Not "significantly confused", just imprecise, and it's a shame the holidays have not left you more charitable (especially given this slip of yours: "It is not necessarily sinful to be attracted to someone of the opposite gender"). Perhaps I should have said something like 'what the percentage of terminations for issues involving sexual orientation are vs. involving divorce', or if you want to be a stickler about it 'publicly acknowledging non-approved sexual behavior vs. publicly acknowledging initiating a divorce or remarrying after a divorce'.

            PS. Strange that you accuse me of being significantly confused due to phrasing the issue as 'sexual orientation' while having to state "[i]t is not necessarily sinful to be attracted to someone of the [same] gender". Under what scenario would it be sinful to simply be attracted to somebody of same gender?

          • Andre, thanks for reply. A few things in response:

            First, thanks for correcting my typo. I'm confident you understood what I meant, however, given the context.

            Second, I said you were "significantly confused" because you displayed confusion in your comment about the Church's teaching, and it was significant. I didn't mean it to be uncharitable and I'm sorry if you took it that way. I was genuinely pointing out a confusion and trying to correct it. I would expect nothing less from any of my own friends.

            Third, the reason I think you were confused is because it seemed to me--and correct me if I'm wrong--that your original comment meant to suggest that more Catholics might be terminated from Catholic schools because of their sexual orientation than for divorce. My response was that *no* Catholics are terminated for either reason, since neither divorce or same-sex orientation is inherently sinful.

            What I *think* you meant to ask, therefore, is how many Catholics are terminated for attempting to marry someone of the same genders vs. how many are fired for divorcing and remarrying. Your language made me thinking you confused the first two scenarios with the latter two scenarios, yet they are significantly different.

            Finally, regarding your PS, wholly self-generated attraction could possibly be sinful, just as it would be sinful for me to create my own lustful temptations. Temptations from without are not sinful, but those generated from within may be.

          • Andre Boillot

            "Third, the reason I think you were confused is because it seemed to me--and correct me if I'm wrong--that your original comment meant to suggest that more Catholics might be terminated from Catholic schools because of their sexual orientation than for divorce."

            It was not my intent to suggest this, and I think I cleared that up in my response:

            if you want to be a stickler about it 'publicly acknowledging non-approved sexual behavior vs. publicly acknowledging initiating a divorce or remarrying after a divorce'.

          • David Nickol

            I fail to see why a Catholic parish or school would fire anyone for their orientation or simply because they've been civilly divorced. I'm also not aware of this happening anywhere.

            I can think of something considerably worse. Two children were barred from returning to Sacred Heart of Jesus elementary school in Boulder, Colorado, because their parents were a lesbian couple. Archbishop Charles Chaput, very popular among Catholic conservatives, was the authority in charge.

            His actions do not represent the entire Catholic Church. But he is an important and influential figure in the American Church.

            So in some places in the Church, people can be discriminated against not because of their own sexual orientation, but for that of their parents.

          • Moussa Taouk

            Now there's an interesting point! I'd love to know the Archbishop's reasoning for that decision. If I venture to put myself in that difficult position there would be two thoughts that pull at me:

            1st thought - the children need to be educated. Their parents' lifestyle is wrong. But the children mustn't be denied an education because of that.

            2nd thought - the parents are in charge of the children's education. If they choose to publicly violate the teachings of the Catholic Church, then they can equally choose to educate their children in other non-Catholic schools who have no problems with such a lifestyle. It is essential as a Catholic to make a stand against sexual public deviance, and as such I discriminate not against the children themselves, but rather against the parent(s?) who are responsible for the Children.

            Given that the children are under the age of responsibility, I would think the 2nd though is a valid argument. Actually I think I sympathise more with the 2nd thought.

      • David Nickol

        The Church isn't obsessed with homosexuality.

        Our culture is.

        It might be more accurate to say our culture is obsessed with sexuality. People who feel the culture is obsessed with homosexuality are generally straight people who often seem oblivious to the heterosexually saturated culture because they tune it out like background noise. A man and a woman kissing on television or in the movies doesn't register as sex. Two men or two women kissing causes a sensation. Heterosexual "fornication" is depicted routinely in the movies and on television so frequently that it is not even considered "adult" entertainment.

        The Big Bang Theory (a show which I find very funny, although I think it is in decline) is rated TV PG-D. Here is the meaning of the rating PG and the letters D, L, S, and V when appended:

        This program contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children. Many parents may want to watch it with their younger children.The theme itself may call for parental guidance and/or the program may contain one or more of the following: some suggestive dialogue (D), infrequent coarse language (L), some sexual situations (S), or moderate violence (V).

        Frequently the show is largely about sex, or as Sheldon would say, coitus. Yet it is difficult to imagine anyone but prudes being disturbed by it. The on-again-off again "fornication" of Leonard and Penny, the crude attitudes and remarks of Howard about pursuing women (until he married Bernadette), and the unlucky-at-sex-and-love travails of Koothrapoli are staples of the show.

        Heterosexual sex in entertainment, on television commercials, during spring break, in beauty pageants, in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and basically everywhere the eye turns is just background. But if the sex is homosexual, then "our culture" is obsessed by homosexuality.

        • Kevin Aldrich

          I'm saying that SS sex is our *current* obsession. I agree with you that our culture is obsessed with sex in general.

      • If our culture is obsessed with homosexuality, it's because the Church and others who oppose homosexuality work hard to take away our rights and to prevent gays and lesbians from living our lives openly and without fear of reprisal.

        • David Nickol

          It's like saying the United States was "obsessed with race" during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

          • Vasco Gama

            « the Church and others who oppose homosexuality work hard to take away our rights and to prevent gays and lesbians from living our lives openly and without fear of reprisal»

            That is ridiculous.

            The Church has the right to think that homosexuality is wrong and to express its opinion and to disagree with you (and that is about all the Church can do about homosexuality or any other issue, that is the right to have an opinion, but then you might think that that should be inconstitutional). As far as I know the Church has no power to constrain the rights of any particular type of people.

            It is delusional to defend that the Church should bless any arbitrary absurdity that anyone could choose for himself.

          • David Nickol

            That is ridiculous.

            While I don't necessarily disagree with the quote responded to, you seem to be attributing it to me, although I didn't say it.

            While I am not particularly interested in arguing against your point that the Church has a right to do what it is doing, it is simply false that the Church has no power. It has has considerable power in the United States and even more in some other countries, and it often wields that power to oppose anti-discrimination laws and the legalization of same-sex marriage, among other things. It also uses its power to try to get its religious organizations exempted from the laws it does not like.

            If the Church had no power, then it would be foolish to complain about the stances it takes. But the Church does have real power.

          • Vasco Gama

            Sorry David, that was meant for Rob.

            The Church as no formal power. Its only power consits on his credibility among people. And its power only exists as long as people respect its opinions.

          • picklefactory

            The Church spent 180 billion dollars in 2011, and is supported in some countries by revenue generated from taxes. It owns north of 150 million acres of land across the world. And this is an institution with no power?

          • Vasco Gama

            I have to repeat myself, the only power that the Church might have derives from the opinion of those that show agreement with the Church teatchings and doctrine. In democratic regimes, while the Church takes no part in the legislative and executive powers, and has no power per se, the opinion of those that agree with the Church must be respected as they are citizens and voters.

            Altough you are free to think that they shouldn't vote, or that their vote is less valuable than that of other people. Then I would adise you to contribute to perfect your society.

          • picklefactory

            If I had 180 billion dollars to spend and owned a million acres of land, would I have no power?

          • Vasco Gama

            You would have the power to spend it as you saw fit. However the possession of a large sum of money doesn't provide any power per se.

          • Vasco, mere possession of a large sum of money may not provide any power per se (though I doubt you're right) but the ability to USE that money does provide great power.

          • Vasco Gama

            As you disagree with the Church you consider that its views showld be of no consequence.

          • I don't see how it follows that if I disagree with someone then their views are of no consequence. If we all believed that as a general principle, there would be no reason for this site to exist.

            More specifically, on the issue of homosexuality, why on earth would I consider the Church's views to be of no consequence when it's poured enormous time and work and money into taking away my marriage rights?

          • The Church does play a role in the political process. It simply does. The Church's money is one of the big reasons Prop 8 passed in California.

          • Altough you are free to think that they shouldn't vote, or that their vote is less valuable than that of other people.

            Where did you get this? You're repeatedly misunderstanding us. You keep replying to statements that haven't been made here.

          • The power to allocate enormous sums of money is an enormous power.

          • Vasco Gama

            It maybe the case that all that money serves to cover a lot of responsabilities, and to the best of my knowledge that money was voluntarily donated to the Church.

            Are suggesting that the Church showld have no money?

          • Are suggesting that the Church showld have no money?

            You're killing me here! I said the Church has power, you said it's power comes only from its credibility, and I replied that having the power to allocate enormous sums of money is enormous power. That's it.

            How you get from that to "Are suggesting that the Church showld have no money?" is a mystery to me.

            And by the way, the fact that this money was donated voluntarily does rebut my point about the power it gives the Church. If anything, it reinforces it, because the power to raise enormous sums of money through voluntary donations also give the Church enormous power.

          • Vasco Gama

            OK, the Church as power, but that derives only from the people who value its opinion.

          • David Nickol

            OK, the Church as power, but that derives only from the people who value its opinion.

            This is true of almost all power. If everyone decided tomorrow that they would ignore the rulings of the Supreme Court, it would have no power. If everyone in government decided to ignore Obama, he could do nothing. In many states and localities, you can't get elected if you are opposed by the National Rifle Association. They have no formal power at all, but they can decide elections and prevent bills from passing.

          • Vasco Gama

            I am not a citizen of the US. In my country (which is an European secular democracy that I suppose it is not dramatically distinct from the US) the power of the Church is dependent credibility of their views and on the adherence of the people that vote in the elections. In my country in no way (even imaginary) the Church determines elections, so what you say is slightly absurd for me.

          • David Nickol

            In my country in no way (even imaginary) the Church determines elections, so what you say is slightly absurd for me.

            I did not say the Church determines elections in the United States or anywhere else.

            Of course, the Church in the United States has spent considerable amounts of money waging campaigns against same-sex marriage referendums. If the Church feels it cannot influence the outcome, why would it waste money on campaigning? Surely when the Church takes a stand on a public issue that is to be determined by a vote, it hopes to influence the vote so that its side wins. It would be rather pointless of the Church to wage campaigns if it felt it had no chance of influencing the outcome.

          • Vasco Gama

            I suppose the Church can comunicate with the believers, if it sees something as wrong it has the duty of providing its teachings (even if you disagree with them).

          • JohnC

            And that respect, insofar as it is cured in trust, seems to be declining...http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/12/18/in-religous-leaders-we-dont-trust/

          • Paul Boillot

            "And its power only exists as long as people respect its opinions."

            What an odd observation to make as if it only applies to the Church's lack of secularly-recognized authority.

            All power only exists as long as people think it does.

          • Vasco Gama

            I understand your displeasure concerning the supposed power of the Church, I guess in your perspective the less it was it would still be excessive.

            I just wanted to you remind that in the past the Church also fiercely opposed to things like divorce, contraception or abortion, and moved all its influence, money, and immense power, anyway it was unable to prevent that those things were legalized.

            I imagine that on the occasion of these things being legalized the Church advanced with their battalions of priests, monastic secret societies, warrior monks and hordes of believers used all the available weapons of mass destructions it could get and slaughter the infidels as well as the innocent by standers and reduced them to dust. It even can be the case that you knew some of those who died during those famous battles or that those who were mutilated during those horrible assaults of the Church are among your personal relations.

          • Andre Boillot

            It's interesting that the Church is able to maintain it's tax-exempt status in spite of not-that-subtle attempts to influence legislation, and politics in general.

          • Vasco Gama

            If you don't agree with that status you should fight it. That is your right.

          • Andre Boillot

            Hey champ, thanks for the advice. I might just do that.

          • Vasco Gama

            You must do whatever you think is right.

          • It is delusional to defend that the Church should bless any arbitrary absurdity that anyone could choose for himself.

            Of course that would be delusional, but at no point did I suggest such a thing.

            Vasco, the Church has the right to think whatever it wants to and express those thoughts -- I never said otherwise. But it's baffling when you say "about all" the Church can do is express its opinion. First of all, that itself can be a way of fighting to take away my rights -- in fact, influential people speaking their minds is a key part of the political process.

            Meanwhile, the Church does quite a bit more than just speak its mind. It donates money to these political battles, going so far sometimes as to take up a second collection at Mass just to finance the battle against same-sex marriage.

            Furthermore, today's article is entirely about justifying the Church's right to take reprisals against gays who live their lives openly.

            Now you can argue that it's appropriate and right for the Church to do all these things to take away the rights of gays and lesbians and to prevent us from living our lives openly and without fear of reprisal -- but you can't seriously argue that it's "ridiculous" of me to point out that it happens.

          • Vasco Gama

            It seems rediculous as you seem to suggest that the Church should have no opinion if it was the case that it differs from yours.

            But maybe I just got you wrong then what should the Church do in this matter, be silent?

            What would be reasonable to expect?

          • Vasco, I have no idea why you're going down this route.

            1. I have not even implied that "the Church should have no opinion if it was the case that it differs from yours." That's pure invention.

            2. I have not even said the Church should be silent. In fact I said "the Church has the right to think whatever it wants to and express those thoughts."

            3. You ascribing to me to positions I have not advocated and I would like you to stop.

            4. I did say the Church does work hard to take away our rights and to prevent gays and lesbians from living our lives openly and without fear of reprisal.

            5. You called this "ridiculous," so I pointed instances in which it has done this

          • Vasco Gama

            Rob, you know we disagree on this issue.

            I just want to say that I think your judgement on the Church is unfair (which is normal as you disagree with the Church on this and on a variety of other subjects). And it makes no sense for us to go on with this discussion.

            What I stated as ridiculous was to ask or expect from the Church what the Church as not to give.

          • What I stated as ridiculous was to ask or expect from the Church what the Church has not to give.

            But that has nothing to do with my comment that you were replying to.

          • Vasco Gama

            OK.

            Then explain to me what do you think the Church should do, differently from what it does, considering that the Church sees homosexuality as an immoral behaviour (that is not good for people).

          • In this particular subthread I have not said the Church should do anything different, so I'm not sure why you're asking this question.

            Now, as it happens, I do believe the Church should take a new look at its teachings on homosexuality, but if you go back to the top of this thread, all I did there was point out what the Church is actually doing. When you called that statement ridiculous, I thought you were disputing the facts, when it turns out you thought I was saying the Church should not act on its beliefs, which is no where to found in the statement you called ridiculous.

          • Vasco Gama

            The Church is always refreshing his views on its teachings, homosexuality did not change nor did the views of the Church. So today the Church continues to state that homosexuality is wrong, as it was in the past, the fact that homosexuality is accepted by a larger number of people did not change anything (not the nature of homosexuality, nor the perspective of the Church). The Church is not seeking to please whatever people think it is reasonable its activity doesn’t seek popularity by itself. You know very well that the Church views on this subject and are very different from yours, that is no news, you disagree with the Church and that is respectful.

            The fact that you might think that the Church is wrong about something or about everything is irrelevant, as in the same way you are entitled to stand for your opinion the Church is entitled to stand for its opinion, and defended in the public square, just as you do.

            What is ridiculous is the thought that the Church might be somehow not allowed to have an opinion and defend it that is what you are apparently denying with your claim

            «the Church and others who oppose homosexuality work hard to take away our rights and to prevent gays and lesbians from living our lives openly and without fear of reprisal»

            Before I asked you what the Church should do about this, considering that in the Church understanding homosexuality is immoral, you failed to answer.

            If the Church sees homosexuality as damaging for humans it surely is expected that the Church tries to oppose to it.

            The Church doesn’t pretend to prevent people from choosing to be homosexual, on an individual basis the only thing that the Church can do is to insist that it is a wrong choice and that it may cause harm to those involved.

            The Church doesn’t pretend to counter gay rights or to prevent gay people from living together as couples. Just wants to prevent that they can have the same status under the law as straight couples and that they can, arbitrarily, be considered equal for the purpose of adoption. Again this is not strange considering the perspective of the Church on homosexual relationships, this is a matter of consequence with its teachings, the Church cannot be indifferent to it and look to the other side, as if nothing happened, or as if everything was OK, it is just not possible to admit this as it contradicts everything the Church teaches.

            Again the Church has the right to disagree with you. Gay people have the same rights as straight people (no more, no less). The recognition of the same-sex marriage is something that society can arbitrarily choose to impose on people, but people that don’t agree have the right to defend their opinion and oppose to it (the Church included).

            This is really no news, in the past the Church opposed to a variety of things, such as divorce, contraception, abortion, but, in spite of all the tremendous power of the Church and the astonishing amounts of money its possesses, all those things are legal.

            What is really ridiculous is the presumption that the Church shouldn’t be able to defend its beliefs (even if you call it a persecution of gay people, which is not the case).

          • What is ridiculous is the thought that the Church might be somehow not allowed to have an opinion and defend it that is what you are apparently denying with your claim

            I can't go with this. Not only did I never express or even imply this view that you insist on attributing to me, but I've actually said exactly the opposite in this very thread, to you personally, at least twice.

            I don't know why you insist on attributing to me views that are the opposite of what I've said, but I will not continue participating.

          • Vasco Gama

            To be coherent with its teachings the Church can't agree with same-sex marriage or adoption. It is not the intention of the Church to oppose the rights of gay people. While considering the homosexuality as moraly wrong the Church as to oppose firmly to those things. Trying to claim that "the Church... work hard to take away our rights and to prevent gays and lesbians from living our lives openly and without fear of reprisal" is absurd as the Church doesn't agree with what you suppose are gay rights (for the Church what you state as rights, are not rights, but wrongs). Plus the Church doesn't pretend to complicate the life of gays or leasbians or to promote fear or any threats but wants to prevent what the Chuch sees as abuses on inocent persons (that were not called to have an opinion on the subject, such as children).

          • Ah, it's very different to say that I'm wrong to think of same-sex marriage rights as a right. That's not what you've been saying so far -- so far you've been insisting that I think the Church shouldn't be allowed to have or express an opinion, something of course that I have not said.

            Meanwhile, I will point out a few things.

            First, before Prop 8, same-sex couples had the legal right to marry in California, and the Church did work hard to take away that legal right. Also the Catholic Church does hold that governments have the right to criminalize same-sex sexual activity. And I'll also point out (again) that this whole article is saying that the Church should be allowed to make reprisals against gay people who live their lives openly. Whether we think it's appropriate for the Church to do that or not is irrelevant to this particular thread, which is simply whether or not the Church is doing it.

            So i'm afraid you're mistaken. There's nothing ridiculous in saying the Church has "work hard to take away our rights and to prevent gays and lesbians from living our lives openly and without fear of reprisal." That's simply a fact, and I offer Prop 8 and the case of Michael Griffin as evidence.

          • Vasco Gama

            Maybe I understood wrongly, I assumed that you were saying that the Church shouldn't oppose same-sex marriage and adoption (if that was not the case I am sorry for the confusion).

            This dialogue sometimes is strange as you might be referring to particular situations that I am not familiar with. I don’t know what Prop 8 and Michael Griffin cases (that you refer) are.

            And I guess you are wrong saying that "the Catholic Church does hold that governments have the right to criminalize same-sex sexual activity", at least I have never such a thing, plus it looks absurd.

            I read the article and as much I understood what is said I agree in some extent with it. In educational institutions, such as some Catholic schools there is a trust and that a good cooperation between the parents and the institution must be maintained, and this can include morality and religion besides strict formal educational constrains. My personal experience indicates that Catholics schools are not very consistent in relation to the teacher requirements concerning the religious positioning of the teachers, and I really have no information on the problems of sexual orientation of teachers. The problems referred in the article are slightly strange for me (I guess this is far more polarized in the US than elsewhere).

          • I think that the Church should not oppose same-sex civil marriage or adoption. I think the Church has a right to do so, however. Those are not contradictory positions.

            Michael Griffin is the subject of the original post. Prop 8 was a ballot measure that (temporarily) took away the right of same-sex couples to marry in California, and the Catholic Church was a big player in that election.

            I am not wrong in saying the Catholic Church holds that governments have the right to criminalize same-sex sexual activity. While the Vatican doesn't think we should face criminal penalties merely for being homosexual, it's always drawn a careful distinction between homosexual persons and homosexual acts. And when it comes to those acts, here's its response to a UN resolution on decriminalizing homosexuality:

            Second, for the purposes of human rights law, there is a critical difference between feelings and thoughts, on the one hand, and behavior, on the other. A state should never punish a person, or deprive a person of the enjoyment of any human right, based just on the person's feelings and thoughts, including sexual thoughts and feelings. But states can, and must, regulate behaviors, including various sexual behaviors.

            And the Holy See goes on to cite laws against acts of pedophilia and incest as clear precedents for such regulation, without explaining that connection, that offensive logical leap.

          • Vasco Gama

            The opposition of the Church to same sex marriage is not for any peculiar distaste or because the Church wants to be disagreeable with gay people, this opposition is mainly caused by the consequences of considering it similar to the heterosexual marriage, just by arbitrary force of law, considering that it is not relevant on the matter of adoption.

            Before this issue came into consideration, other institutions existed to frame (under the law) the union of people (regardless of sexual orientations) that choose to have a project of life together. As far as I know the Church didn't oppose to those unions (in spite of the Church disagreement with much of it).

            Nowhere I saw the Church proposing the defense of the penalization of homosexuality or anything remotely related with it. And frankly I fail to distinguish any indication (or suggestion) of that in the letter you quoted.

          • The Church doesn’t pretend to prevent people from choosing to be homosexual, on an individual basis the only thing that the Church can do is to insist that it is a wrong choice and that it may cause harm to those involved.

            Thank goodness. How could the Church try to prevent a choice that does not exist?

          • What is really ridiculous is the presumption that the Church shouldn’t be able to defend its beliefs

            I'm letting my frustration get the better of me. Please, for the sake of improved communication, point out to me the words I used that give you the false impression that I hold this presumption. Please don't give me summaries or interpretations, but provide quotes with the actual words I used.

          • Vasco Gama

            Rob,

            I don't pretend to defend everything that the persons that have responsabilities in Catholic schools (which are very diversified in relation to the religious orientation).

            However I guess those people must be responsible and act accordingly in relation to the parents that choose to trust those schools with the educational and formative of their children.

          • That's fine Vasco, but it doesn't have anything to do with what I've been saying, as I haven't even taken a position on whether the school should be allowed to do this kind of discrimination.

        • Kevin Aldrich

          So what is the difference between 2014 and 1914?

          • People began to realize that gays aren't sick, twisted, deviants incapable of love and dangerous to children. The successes of other civil right moments inspired gays and lesbians to stand up for their rights. Gays started coming out of the closet in larger numbers and their friends, family, neighbors and colleagues began to realize that gays are not some alien "other" but human beings deserving of rights and full citizenship instead of being blacklisted, jailed, institutionalized, and lobotomized.

          • picklefactory

            If I may make a prediction: "All those things are because people have incorrectly interpreted the Church's teachings."

          • picklefactory

            You know what else is different? There never would have been a student walkout because of the firing of a gay school administrator 100 years ago. Or even 10 years ago.

          • JohnC

            It would seem to me that the only group undermining its reputation by firing openly lgbt persons are the church. Additionally, has anyone seen that recent survey about the declining trust individuals have on priests and other religious figures? One wonders if the two are in some way related? :)

          • David Nickol

            So what is the difference between 2014 and 1914?

            One undeniably correct answer is 100.

            Perhaps another somewhat more controversial one is that in the past 100 years, advances have been made in understanding the repression of women, blacks and other racial minorities, non-Catholic religions, and LGBT people, and the Church has trailed behind society in general in its understanding, sometimes to the point where it stood squarely in opposition to progress for these groups.
            One example that sticks in my mind is that Archbishop Rummell of New Orleans is often regarded, not without reason, as a hero for racial justice and integration. However, he integrated the New Orleans Catholic schools the year after the public schools were integrated.

            I will spare people the excerpts, but I am very fond of reading the 1912 Online Catholic Encyclopedia for its comments on race, religious tolerance, and the rights of women, and posting the most egregiously embarrassing passages.

          • Yikes! Thanks for the referral.Some of the passages are howlers!

        • Jonathan Brumley

          There's nothing wrong with two men displaying friendship in public. If that's what you mean by "living our lives openly", then I'm with you.

          • Andre Boillot

            "If that's what you mean by "living our lives openly", then I'm with you."

            I doubt you could reasonably assume that's what he meant. I know I wouldn't view needing to refrain from kissing/hugging/holding hands with my fiance in public as 'living openly'.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            I guess in some parts of the country, PDA might cause scandal - as an indication of a homosexual relationship. But not so much here in Austin, Texas. We're all about "keeping it weird".

            In any case, I try not to assume a kiss is more than a kiss. "Greet each other with a holy kiss!" says St. Paul.

            Unless it's the kind of kissing and fondling intended to cause sexual arousal. That's when I would take the kids somewhere else, and might ask the couple to get a room.

          • Andre Boillot

            I like how the two scenarios for kissing you present are 1) what I imagine to be basically the continental-European handshake -- tapping of the cheeks together as accepted greeting (which in the US is reserved for fairly close F/F or F/M friends, and almost universally never happens between hetero men) -- and 2) all out foreplay.

            There's a middle ground here that you seem to avoid, which I think is by far the norm for PDAs between couples of all genders/orientations - I'm thinking arm around the shoulder / hand holding / occasional brief kisses on the lips. These are the types of PDA that signify to the public that you are more than friends; a couple. Anecdotes != data aside, I know of almost nobody who would find them distasteful when done by a hetero couple (and it's almost universally heart-melting when done by elderly couples), but apparently it's vulgar lust to you when same-sex couples engage in it.

            You're basically saying that, as long as you can't tell they're a couple, you're ok with them being openly gay. This is clearly not what was meant.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            Andre, there's no need to interpolate so much. What you call "middle ground", that's exactly what I was referring to when I wrote "PDA".

            I don't know Rob, but I have many gay male friends here in Austin. I don't spend my time agonizing about their lifestyle, but trying to find ways to love them. Sadly, I have seen many of my homosexual friends go from relationship to relationship. I have seen many relationships end in promiscuity, cheating, and bitterness. On top of this, most of these men are missing out on the joys of real marriage. They're missing out on the opportunity to live permanently and faithfully with a person of the opposite sex, someone who is complementary in a way another man can never be. They're missing out on a natural family, they're missing out on being fathers and grandfathers. Many of my homosexual male friends are kind and compassionate, and I think they would make great fathers, but, most likely, my friends will never have the chance to be present when a son or daughter is born. So I am sad for them, and this makes me love them more.

            What I hope for those men who have no hope of a natural marriage - I hope they will stay away from the gay bars which are filled with lust and abuse. I hope they will stay away from the diseases that come with a promiscuous lifestyle. I hope they will stay away from the bitterness of serial relationships. I hope they will stay away from men who want to use them for their bodies instead of loving their persons.

            I hope they will find life by finding ways to give themselves in love to the many people of this world who so need it - the sick, the homeless, the oppressed, the depressed. I hope they will find joy in creation and in creating. There is true beauty in this world in the giving of oneself for the good of another, in the providing for people who need help. I hope Rob and other homosexual men will find this good.

          • Why don't you simply hope they settle down with a man they love and live a long, happy, committed, fulfilling life together?

          • Jonathan Brumley

            If you're going to be lifelong loving friends, then be lifelong loving friends.

            But maybe you can explain this - why live a permanent relationship based on mutual masturbation? Why help each other masturbate for the rest of your lives? In my experience, when I was addicted to masturbation, it was simply an addiction; it was never good for me. The more I did it, the more I wanted it, and the more unsatisfying it became. As far as being "fulfilling", it was the opposite of that.

          • Oh my gosh.

            1. It's not "mutual masturbation."

            2. My relationship with my partner is not that of a "loving friend." He is my friend, and I love him, but I have loving friends and my relationship with my partner is qualitatively different.

            3. My relationship with my partner is not "based on" sex, whether you call it "mutual masturbation" or something more accurate.

            4. Sex with my partner is like sex for any other couple not trying to procreate. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it helps reach a state of personal communion, sometimes both.

            5. Your experience with masturbation has nothing to do with my sexual relationship with my partner. Your attempt to draw a parallel persuades me only that you know nothing of same-sex couples at all.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            It sounds like you're saying the description "mutual masturbation" is unfair because there is a communion of persons brought about, and that this communion has value in and of itself. I was trying to point out that, biologically, same sex acts are more like masturbation than the act of reproduction. But maybe I don't know what I'm talking about in this area.

            I don't disagree that there is a unitive aspect to same sex acts. Rather, I am trying to point out that _some_ aspects of marriage occur in same sex relationships, but many essential ingredients are left behind.

            All distortions of human sexuality separate the essential components of marriage.

            1. Fornication separates sex from the vows of marriage.
            2. Contraception decouples sex from its potential for fruitfulness.
            3. Same sex acts are like contraceptive acts, but removes the complementarity of man and woman and additionally decouple sex from the act of reproduction.
            4. Masturbation decouples the second person from sex, making it a solo act.

            Sex is a good thing in the context of marriage, but if you take away the complementarity of man and woman, decouple sex from the biological act of reproduction, and decouple sex from its potential for fruitfulness, do you still have a good thing? (On top of that, take away the vows of permanence and fidelity).

            Here's some things to consider when answering this question for yourself.

            a) Is the conjugal act more unitive than other sexual acts? (See my other reply) The answer in your opinion may be no, but the following questions are worth considering.

            b) Why is fruitfulness (the creation and care of children) important for the unitive relationship of marriage, and for society as a whole? What happens when you take other aspects of marriage and leave behind the fruitfulness?

            The studies seem to show a high correlation between the rate of contraception and the divorce rate. These rates have increased at the same time and over the same time period (see below for why). We also know what happens to population growth (decline) in countries where contraception has become the norm.

            c) Is complementarity important in the unitive relationship of marriage? How are men and women different, and what do they offer each other from that difference? What happens when there is no complementarity?

            I don't think we know a lot about this, but studies are starting to show some statistics on same-sex relationships compared to heterosexual relationships (permanence rates, fidelity rates, etc.). The one immediate thing I can point out is that the desire for children often comes from the woman, but men benefit from this desire because we find a lot of fulfillment in becoming fathers. (For me, it is the one thing I did not ask for which has most blessed my life). In a family relationship without a woman, there is unlikely to be a desire for children, and there are bound to be other key components missing.

            d) Will there be an impact on heterosexual relationships and on children as more people set an example of same-sex relationships? We don't know yet, but I think we will likely see an increase in people wanting to "try it out" and maybe sticking with a same-sex, people with bisexual attraction who otherwise would have been very satisfied becoming parents in a natural marriage. In addition, the reduced permanence and fidelity of same-sex relationships will likely have some spillover into natural marriage.

            e) Because of the impossibility of children, same-sex relationships (like contracepting relationships), do not require the regular practice of chastity. The need for chastity in the marital relationship is what balances the sexual urge in men. Without the practice of chastity, men are easily addicted to sex, whereby it controls them, rather than they having control over themselves. Sex becomes a need, men use the bodies of their partner to satisfy that need, and sex becomes about lust rather than love. In heterosexual couples, sex addiction leads to dissatisfaction with the partner and an increase in the use of pornography, and often adultery. I will assert that this is why the divorce rate has gone up at the same time that contraceptive use has increased. The statistics on same-sex relationships, so far, show even less fidelity and permanence, and the small sample set of my same-sex male friends bears witness to this. I don't know the extent to which the lack of chastity and sex addiction affects this, but if heterosexual relationships are any model, then i suspect there is a strong causal relationship.

            f) For same-sex relationships where children are desired, there is the issue of whether these relationships provide a good environment for children. The demand for adoption is very high in this country, compared with the supply of children in need of adoption. And, so far, where adoption by same-sex couples has come up, courts have said that adoption agencies cannot discriminate. This means children must be placed in same-sex homes and forever denied the opportunity for both a mother and father (despite the long waiting list of heterosexual couples). This indicates that we've turned children into a commodity rather than putting their best interest first.

            In summary, there's a lot of reasons I do not wish my gay friends to continue in their habits of homosexuality. I seriously doubt that such relationships are healthy for them as sexual relationships, and I seriously doubt that such relationships are healthy for society as a whole.

            Instead, I can wish for my friends the things in life which I know are good: to know hope and love, and to find expression for love in the the giving of ourselves for the good of others. True meaning and fulfillment can be found in these things, and I wish them for anyone, regardless of anyone's habit or situation, whether marriage and parenthood are a possibility, or not.

          • a) No.

            b) Once again, you're back to literal procreation (not just the "conjugal act), and given that you don't oppose marriage for infertile and elderly couples, it makes no sense that you hold his up as a reason for opposing marriage equality.

            c) Complementarity is important. Complementarity is not just about gender, and why you ask what happens when there is no complementarity is beyond me. Complementarity is quality between two individuals, and two men or two women can be as complementary as a man and a woman.

            d) To say that being openly gay is bad because it might make more people be gay is circular reasoning. It depends on the prior assumption that being gay is bad; it is not a reason for considering "gay" bad. But if being my being openly gay helps gay teens accept themselves and less likely to kill themselves and if it makes straight teens less likely to bully their gay peers, then hurray.

            e) Once again, you're back to literal procreation (not just the "conjugal act), and given that you don't oppose marriage for infertile and elderly couples, it makes no sense that you hold his up as a reason for opposing marriage equality.

            f) Opponents of same-sex marriage have worked hard to prove that same-sex parenting is bad for kids. They've done studies and poured money into the effort, and they've come up empty.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            > Once again, you're back to literal procreation (not just the "conjugal act")

            You are repeating your claim that there is no difference between the reproductive act and other sexual acts even in the case of an infertile couple; but I have shown there is a difference.

            > "Complementarity is quality between two individuals, and two men or two women can be as complementary as a man and a woman."

            How so? You have said that complementarity is "more than gender". But in saying that, you admit complementarity includes the difference in gender. Same sex couples have the same gender, therefore they cannot be as complementary as persons of different gender.

            You can only say that two people of the same gender can be "as complementary" as a man and woman if you can show why gender makes no difference in complementarity.

          • You are repeating your claim that there is no difference between the reproductive act and other sexual acts even in the case of an infertile couple

            No, I'm pointing out that this particular argument of yours requires the sexual act to involve the possibility of children. If you take out that possibility, then this particular argument of yours no longer makes sense.

            Now, nothing you say about complementarity holds together.

            You can only say that two people of the same gender can be "as complementary" as a man and woman if you can show why gender makes no difference in complementarity.

            Absolutely not. What you're saying makes sense only if gender were the be-all and end-all of complementarity, as opposed to one of many, many aspects.

            Also, when I say complementarity is more than gender, I don't mean to say that gender is a necessary part of complementarity, merely that it may be a factor for some couples, but that other factors (often even more important) can exist as well.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            Studies have shown that the difference in gender is an extremely significant factor when comparing the fidelity and permanence of homosexual and heterosexual relationships. I think it is the most important and most essential factor, and here are some reasons:

            1. Among relationships where men had a steady male partner for one year, studies show the men had, on average, 8 sexual partners over a one year period. In contrast, for heterosexual couples, 85% of women and 81% of men say they have never violated their marriage vows.

            2. Vermont has had the ability for same-sex couples to marry for a substantial amount of time now; however, only a small fraction of same-sex couples in the state are married (about 1 in 5). In comparison, the numbers are reversed if you compare heterosexual married and cohabitating couples. (more than 5 to 1 are married)

            3. Sweden has had the ability for same-sex couples to marry for a long time now. However, lesbian married couples are 200% more likely to be divorced compared with heterosexual couples, and gay married men are 37% more likely to divorce compared with heterosexual couples.

            4. A study of homosexual men in the Netherlands has shown that the duration of "steady" partnerships is 1.5 years on average.

          • picklefactory

            Everything else aside, justice requires that society punish the innocent in order to make sure we get all those guilty folks too, is that about right?

          • In the first place, please throw out your point 4. That's an egregiously bad study, the sort of work that makes it easy to doubt the good will of the people who publicize it. More here:
            http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,003.htm

            As for point 3, same-sex marriage has been legal in Sweden for about 3 1/2 years, so I don't know what you're talking about there.

            I don't know what point you're making with point 2.

            As for point 1, you're comparing unmarried people to married people.

          • I'd like to report myself for violating the comment policy by saying "the sort of work that makes it easy to doubt the good will of the people who publicize it." That was unnecessary and personal. My apologies.

          • Here's a big request. Please stop saying "studies show." Instead, link to the study. That's the only way we can know whether it has any relevance or if it's a terrible piece of work, like the study I tracked down in your point 4.

          • You are repeating your claim that there is no difference between the reproductive act and other sexual acts even in the case of an infertile couple; but I have shown there is a difference.

            You have attempted to do so, but you have never succeeded.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            > "They've done studies and poured money into the effort, and they've come up empty".
            Studies cost money and both sides have funded studies. But you are listening to the media which has worked hard to discredit or ignore any study which has shown the difference in outcome. What the pro-same-sex studies stating "similar outcomes" have shown is that child outcomes for same-sex families with children (usually from a parent who divorced and then started a homosexual relationship) is similar to child outcomes for divorced/remarried and single-parent heterosexual families.

            But other studies have shown that, across the board, children in heterosexual families have better outcomes. For two random sample sets of children, one set taken from children raised in same sex households, and one set taken from children raised in a heterosexual households, the outcomes for the children in the heterosexual household are highly likely to be much better, according to a number of measures.

            The studies showing different outcomes have been criticized because the comparison set includes more _stable_ heterosexual families than the set of homosexual families, which are on the whole much more unstable. But the problem with this critique is that, as a whole, homosexual families are much less stable than heterosexual families by a factor of between 2 and 3 - and this has been well studied. No researcher has so far been able to compare stable homosexual families to stable heterosexual families, because no one has been able to find a large enough sample set of stable, homosexual families !

            Same-sex adoption and parenting is bad for children because it deprives a child of the opportunity mother or a father. And it's bad for children because same-sex relationships are much less stable than heterosexual relationships. But on top of that, every child should have a mother and father. A mother and father, even if not biological parents, model what a child would have if he could have biological parents. The male and female genders are complementary, and each has important gifts to offer a child.

          • But you are listening to the media which has worked hard to discredit or ignore any study which has shown the difference in outcome.

            I would advise you to refrain from personal criticism that you have you not verified.

            For two random sample sets of children, one set taken from children raised in same sex households, and one set taken from children raised in a heterosexual households, the outcomes for the children in the heterosexual household are highly likely to be much better, according to a number of measures.

            That's a very specific claim. Can you list some of these studies so I can check them?

          • David Nickol

            because no one has been able to find a large enough sample set of stable, homosexual families !

            I am wondering what the implication of the exclamation point is. Gay people are perhaps about 5% of the population. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, and that was only ten years ago. Studies about the outcomes of child raising, in order to be meaningful, have to take place after the children have been risen. Really good studies would have to wait until the children were adults themselves and their patterns of forming relationships, relating to children of their own, and so on, could be evaluated. Gay people have, of course, formed partnerships for a very long time. I know a number of couples who have been together for 30 or more years, but none of them have children. The phenomenon of same-sex couple entering into permanent relationships and starting their own families is itself new.

            Given the small number of gay people in the population and the newness of truly marriage-like same-sex arrangements formed for raising children, it is no surprise at all that a large enough sample of same-sex-married-with-children families cannot be found to do a statistically significant study of children being raised by two mothers, two fathers, with all other things being equal.

            The idea of waiting to decide the issue of same-sex marriage until conclusive studies are completed is nonsensical (not that anyone here has explicitly suggested it), since you can't study same-sex marriage without a significant number of people entering into same-sex marriage.

            There are, of course, many studies of things like mixed-race marriages, inter-religious marriages, second marriages after divorce, and many others in which empirical findings seem quite clear and uncontroversial. What would be controversial is making policy decisions about children based on such studies. For example, marriages between black man and white women are much more likely to end in divorce than marriages between white men and black women, or white men and white women. If someone were to propose that a black husband and white wife who wished to adopt should not be considered as adoptive parents because, statistically, their marriage is more likely to end in divorce than a white husband and black wife, or a white husband and wife, it would be seen as racist discrimination.

            As someone on another blog pointed out years ago, these are the kinds of things that are not decided by sociological studies. And what, pray tell, if after years of study, the conclusion is that on average, children raised by two women fare better than children raised by a man and a woman, who in turn fare better than children raised by two men? Are we going to decide that only lesbians couples should be allowed to adopt, or even that they should be the only couples who are permitted to have children?

            I think few would agree that the effects of divorce are well studied, and that children of divorced parents fare less well (statistically) in a number of measures than children raised in intact families. However, as the evidence piled up over the years, one after another, every state in the union enacted no-fault divorce laws. If the welfare of children was truly the concern of lawmakers, shouldn't divorce laws have been tightened rather than loosened?

            But on top of that, every child should have a mother and father. A mother and father, even if not biological parents, model what a child would have if he could have biological parents.

            I would just like to point out that many Catholic adoption agencies, including at least one that shut down rather than consider same-sex couples as parents, sometimes placed children with single parents. Exactly how does that square with the principle that every child should be raised by a mother and a father? If sociological studies show anything, they show that (statistically) children are better off being raised in a two-parent home rather than a single-parent home. So shouldn't adoption agencies place children only in two-parent families? I think the answer of many who handle adoptions for Catholic Charities and the like would be, "Not necessarily!" Statistically, children raised by two parents fare better than children raised by single parents, but there are plenty of children raised by single parents who fare better than children raised by two parents. You don't make decisions about individuals such as adoptive parents by trying to pigeonhole them into a group and look at the statistics for that group. That, in many ways, is the essence of prejudice—judging individuals by some category you assign them to. You judge individuals as individuals, and you don't, for example, conclude that every two parent home is a better home for an adopted child than any one-parent home can possibly be. That is why, it seems to me, it is prejudice to refuse to consider same-sex couples as adoptive parents. You can't judge them until you have at least interviewed them and compared them to all the other couples or individuals seeking to adopt a particular child.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            > But if being my being openly gay helps gay teens accept themselves and less likely to kill themselves and if it makes straight teens less likely to bully their gay peers, then hurray.

            Maybe I am jumping to the conclusion that "being openly gay" implies sexual activity. But if this is what you mean, then you might want to show that "being openly gay" results in better outcomes for teens, compared with gay teens who choose a chaste lifestyle. This is the first time I've heard that teens who choose premarital sex may have better outcomes (lower suicide rates) compared with teens who choose chastity.

          • I didn't say anything -- anything at all -- in my comment about teens having premarital sex of any sort.

          • cminca

            I've been thinking about this comment since I read it yesterday. If I had commented yesterday I probably would have been banned from the site.

            Do you have any idea how hateful your remark about "mutual masturbation" is? Would you find it acceptable if I compared your entire relationship with your partner as the mechanics of "insert Rod A into Slot B"?

            I'm sure you consider yourself a "good Christian" but in my humble opinion no real Christian could have delivered such a hateful statement.

          • Cminca, you may disagree with Jonathan's statement, but please explain how it was "hateful." Throwing around unfounded accusations like that derails the discussion.

          • Brandon, I don't think Jonathan's comment was hateful, but it was pretty appalling. To ask why I would have "a permanent relationship based on mutual masturbation" is to make a false, offensive, insulting, and ignorant comment on my relationship.

            I suppose a corresponding comment directed to theists would be, "Why do you build your life around an evil Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/fictional character who delights in making creatures and sending them to Hell?"

            That would be a a false, offensive, insulting, and ignorant comment on your faith. At the very least, you would object to it. And I do see the comments as parallel.

            I suppose the reason I don't go so far as to call Jonathan's comment hateful (and I actually had to deliberately pull back from doing so when composing my initial response to it) is that it seems to be based more on a profound ignorance of same-sex relationships than on hate. We're all ignorant of each other to some degree (hence the need for this site, right?), and he's engaging me in an open dialog.

            That being said, yes, the comment was pretty appalling.

          • cminca

            He refers to another's entire relationship as mutual masturbation.
            He then goes on to say that masturbation is an unfulfilling addiction.
            If I compared Catholicism particularly or religion generally as an unfulfilling addiction would you consider it a benign comment?
            As Andre pointed out earlier--I'm sensing a bit of a double standard.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            I didn't express this as well as sensitively as I could have. I was pointing out why I think homosexual acts are harmful, in some of the same ways that masturbation and contraception are harmful. In my reply to Rob, I elaborated on why I believe a homosexual relationship is harmful (a) by directing sexuality away from the procreation of children, (b) especially to men, because of the tendency towards sexual addiction and promiscuity, and (c) to society, by publicly portraying the homosexual relationship as an acceptable, healthy, alternative to the natural family, when in reality it is not.

          • Corylus

            I didn't express this as well as sensitively as I could have.

            Excuse me for butting into what is evidently an ongoing conversation, but I am afraid that it is rather more serious than that. What you did was deny the emotional and sexual experience of another. This is a dehumanizing exercise.

            I see that you value bonding experience and that is great, I see also that you understand the role of oxytocin release as a facilitator for mutual trust. What astonishes me is your lack of awareness that gay sex (as an orgasmic experience) also involves such releases, and equally gives opportunities for care and mutuality as a result.

            I have never had gay sex myself (never really wanted to), but I can very certainly emotionally entertain his possibility. I find it hard to understand why you cannot also do this.

            However, to express this puzzlement isn't my main reason for commenting. Instead I am breaking my exile to tackle something that I see as potentially harmful...

            I was pointing out why I think homosexual acts are harmful, in some of the same ways that masturbation and contraception are harmful. In my reply to Rob, I elaborated on why I believe a homosexual relationship is
            harmful (a) by directing sexuality away from the procreation of children, (b) especially to men, because of the tendency towards sexual addiction and promiscuity,...

            Masturbation is not harmful. It is only (conceivably) harmful if engaged in when you should be working or being otherwise useful to others. A bit like computer games (i.e. world of warcraft) in that regard :)

            Forgive me, but your 'especially to men' comment gives me a hint that you see the whole business of sexuality as driven primarily by male drives. Not entirely the case you know. In fact, reaching orgasm first via masturbation (for females) is a pretty good indicator of being able to reach orgasm later ... when one finally manages to get some company as it were :D This is why training in the process is commonly used by therapists when treating female sexual dysfunction. There is a practicing and fantasizing element after all.

            Please do not pathologise masturbation - nasty things have happened when this occurs. N.B. This is particularly important if you happen to have some teenagers in your household. No unnecessary guilt and worry please.

            Anyway, back to mutuality and oxytocin (I don't want to get direct and embarrass you). A great video on this process below (at the end). This sweet chap went and measured oxytocin release at a wedding (around 12 mins onwards) and showed that this process facilitates bonding and prepares for caregiving of infants.

            You worry that gay marriage is not ideal for child-rearing. Please consider the possibility that the experience of a ceremony, and the witnessing of others of this commitment, is something that can increase the care that people show to their children (whether natural or adopted). If this is the case (and I think it is) then it is a moral wrong to deny this experience to those gay couples who wish to later care for an infant.

            See here.

          • Andre Boillot

            Bravo

          • Corylus

            P.S. Just to be a little childish - I really have to express my deep respect to a guy who can write an article on sexuality whilst being called 'Horn'.

            Dude, no you have no shame! :)

          • "Instead I am breaking my exile..."

            Yeah Corylus!!! We're happy to see you! Happy new year!

            Masturbation and World of Warcraft... never would have linked the two, LOL!

          • Corylus

            Thank you James.

            Happy new year to you too :)

          • They're missing out on the opportunity to live permanently and faithfully with a person of the opposite sex, someone who is complementary in a way another man can never be.</blockquote.

            You have way of knowing this.

          • Many of my homosexual male friends are kind and compassionate, and I think they would make great fathers, but, most likely, my friends will never have the chance to be present when a son or daughter is born. So I am sad for them, and this makes me love them more.

            So can we assume that your love for these friends has led you to fight for the right of same-sex couples to be fathers, especially when there isn't a bit of evidence out there that such arrangements are harmful to the child.

          • Andre Boillot

            I don't have the time or inclination to dialogue further with somebody who so grossly mis-characterizes homosexual relationships, and feigns a desire that they will find lasting loving relationships while supporting efforts to deny them exactly the sort of rights and recognitions that would help foster such commitment relationships.

          • I mean living with the same kind of openness as any opposite-sex couple. Such relationships do general involve an aspect of friendship, but are not generally primarily characterized as "friendships."

          • cminca

            Jonathan--
            Ever read Stacy Transacos on this subject? Google her name and "Can't even go to the park".
            You might find it eye opening. Especially from one of the contributors to this site.

  • Octavo

    To flip this around, if I'm a running a hospital, and I decide that Catholicism is a sin, should I be free to fire people if I hear they've been attending mass?

    ~Jesse Webster

    • Jesse, thanks for the comment. I don't think this is an analogous example for two main reasons:

      1) Your hospital scenario would not present a case involving religious liberty and thus the ministerial exception Trent refers to would not apply.

      2) The hospital would exist to *heal* people, not promote the teachings of the hospital. Whether Catholics attended Mass would be irrelevant to the hospital's basic mission. (This, by the way, is why Catholic hospitals typically don't hire or fire based on a doctor or nurse's obedience to the Church's teachings. The hospital serves a completely different function than a Catholic school.)

      • Octavo

        "The hospital would exist to *heal* people, not promote the teachings of the hospital. "

        I think there are quite a few women who would beg to differ. The teachings of the church have resulted in a lethal lack of treatment in several cases. Savita Halappanavar is certainly one of them.

        Thank you for explaining that Catholic hospitals do not fire employees for being gay.

        ~Jesse Webster

        • Kevin Aldrich

          Do you want to explain how Halappanavar's death was a consequence of Church teachings?

          • picklefactory

            Husband: Ireland hospital denied Savita Halappanavar life-saving abortion because it is a "Catholic country".

            The 31-year-old's case highlights the bizarre legal limbo in which pregnant women facing severe health problems in predominantly Catholic Ireland can find themselves...

            "Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby," [Praveen Halappanavar] told The Irish Times in a telephone interview from Belgaum, southwest India. "When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning, Savita asked: `If they could not save the baby, could they induce to end the pregnancy?' The consultant said: `As long as there is a fetal heartbeat, we can't do anything."'

            "Again on Tuesday morning ... the consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita said: "I am neither Irish nor Catholic," but they said there was nothing they could do," Praveen Halappanavar was quoted as saying.

          • Jesse and pickle, the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar seems to be a case not of "the teachings of the church" resulting in death, but a misapplication of them. Although the rule quoted by the consultant above may be the country's stipulation, it's not a requirement of Catholic teaching. We must be careful not to malign Catholic teaching because of one case where it was clearly misapplied.

            This article provides more clarification:

            http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2012/11/15/the-tragic-death-of-savita-halappanavar-should-not-be-exploited-to-sweep-away-irish-abortion-law-under-which-she-could-legally-have-been-saved/

          • picklefactory

            From the abstract of a paper I had bookmarked, When There's a Heartbeat: Miscarriage Management in Catholic-Owned Hospitals:

            Although Catholic doctrine officially deems abortion permissible to preserve the life of the woman, Catholic-owned hospital ethics committees differ in their interpretation of how much health risk constitutes a threat to a woman's life and therefore how much risk must be present before they approve the intervention.

            I find that when deciding how this problem of misapplication of the Church's teachings could be addressed, 0% of the problem is the institution which teaches that abortion is immoral. It is 100% a problem with the Catholic-owned hospitals' ethics boards.

            Perhaps the Catholic Church should endeavor to make its teachings more clear and avert future such tragedies.

            It's a tightrope they must walk. In my opinion the standard of care at hospitals should be an entirely secular matter.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Her death had nothing to do with not getting abortion but not being properly treated for infection.

          • Octavo

            This conveniently leaves out the fact that the Catholic backed anti-abortion law discouraged Savita's doctors from pursuing the proper treatment of infection in this case, which is to evacuate the uterus.

            A close family member went through something very similar, and I'm eternally grateful that the hospital was not a Catholic one. Our doctors were ready to evacuate the uterus as soon as there was a sign of an infection, because that is what is medically necessary to preserve the life and health of the mother.

            ~Jesse Webster

          • Geena Safire

            Kevin, the partial miscarriage is what was causing the infection. There was no possible way to treat the massive infection without completing the miscarriage that was already in process when she came into the hospital.

            Her death had everything to do with not having the doomed pregnancy terminated until the heartbeat was gone.

            Not 'nothing'. Not 'little'. Everything.

          • Andre Boillot

            I think there's been some controversy (at least in pro-life circles) surrounding the motives of the husband, so I'll quote what's hopefully a more impartial source:

            “The interpretation of the law related to lawful termination in Ireland is considered to have been a material contributory factor,” the report found.

            “There was a lack of recognition of the gravity of the situation which led to passive approaches and delays in aggressive treatment. The investigation team is satisfied that concern about the law, whether clear or not, impacted on the exercise of clinical professional judgment.”

            As her condition worsened two days after entering hospital and despite her repeated request for the termination of her pregnancy ahead of an “inevitable” spontaneous miscarriage, Irish medical staff failed to recognise “increasing risk to the life of the mother”.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ireland/10119109/Irish-abortion-law-key-factor-in-death-of-Savita-Halappanavar-official-report-finds.html

            Here's the full report:

            http://hse.ie/eng/services/news/nimtreport50278.pdf

          • Kevin Aldrich

            From the same report:

            Key Causal Factor 1:

            Inadequate assessment and monitoring that would have enabled the clinical team to recognise and respond to the signs that the patient’s condition was deteriorating due to
            infection associated with a failure to devise and follow a plan of care for this patient that was satisfactorily cognisant of the facts that:

            → the most likely cause of the patient’s inevitable miscarriage was infection and
            → the risk of infection and sepsis increased with time following admission and especially following the spontaneous rupture of the patient’s membranes.

            Key Causal Factor 2:

            Failure to offer all management options to a patient experiencing inevitable miscarriage of an early second trimester pregnancy where the risk to the mother increased with time from the time that membranes were ruptured.

            Key Causal Factor 3:

            Non adherence to clinical guidelines related to the prompt and effective management of sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock when it was diagnosed.

          • Andre Boillot

            Kevin,

            I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            My point that she did not die because of the Church teaching prohibiting abortion but because of mistakes the hospital staff made in the woman's care.

          • Andre Boillot

            So, you're discounting that Church teachings might have caused the hospital staff to wait too long before acting to save the mother?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            This thread began this way: "The
            teachings of the church have resulted in a lethal lack of treatment in
            several cases. Savita Halappanavar's case is certainly one of them."

            The husband asked for an abortion and the staff said no. That did not absolve them from monitoring her carefully and treating the infection.

          • Andre Boillot

            Kevin,

            These things aren't mutually exclusive; you can wait too long before acting because of a law based on Church teachings AND make other errors in judgement. One might even contribute to the other.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I agree. There a million ways to make errors of judgment and people in medicine make them all the time.

            Interestingly, "The investigation team established that this was the first direct maternal death to have occurred at the hospital in 16 years. 51,440 births were recorded at the hospital from the time in 1996 when the last direct maternal death occurred - to December 2012."

          • Geena Safire

            The husband did not ask for an abortion. A miscarriage was already in process when she came to the hospital. It was inevitable. He asked the hospital to complete the inevitable miscarriage.

            Not completing the miscarriage caused the infection that killed her, and there was no way to treat the infection or save Savita's life without removing the doomed fetus.

          • David Nickol

            Are you willing to say that no woman in a Catholic hospital ever died because the hospital would not permit a life-saving abortion?

            We have one highly publicized case (the "Phoenix abortion") in which those on the ethics committee who approved an abortion in the case of a very grave threat to the life of the mother were excommunicated. Was not the message to Catholic hospitals: No abortions, not even to save the life of the mother? That is Catholic teaching, isn't it?

            Abortion to save the life of the mother is quite rare, but it does happen. Are you claiming that hospitals who do not perform abortions never have cases in which mothers die who might have been saved by an abortion?

            And let us remember that Catholic hospitals serve large populations of non-Catholics, many of whom may not have access to any other hospitals.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            It *is* Church teaching that direct abortion is wrong and may never be done.

            The aim of medicine is to heal not to kill.

            If the bishop of Phoenix applied Catholic teaching correctly, then what you call a life-saving abortion is really a life-saving murder.

            Do you approve of saving a life by killing an innocent person? Do you demand doctors and other medical staff kill innocent persons?

            Whether the persons being saved or being killed or doing the killing are Catholic or not is of no consequence that I can see.

          • David Nickol

            It *is* Church teaching that direct abortion is wrong and may never be done.

            In the Phoenix case, the hospital's ethics team had a novel and intricate argument making the case that the abortion was indirect. I think it was more convincing than the argument that permits treatment of ectopic pregnancy. Many Catholics are willing to assent without question to highly technical metaphysical arguments about why contraception is wrong, but when a case involving abortion arises, careful analysis flies out the window and cries of "infanticide" and "killing babies" carry the day.

            If the bishop of Phoenix applied Catholic teaching correctly, then what you call a life-saving abortion is really a life-saving murder.

            Murder is a highly charged word, especially in a case where the likely choice is saving the life of the mother or letting both the mother and the unborn baby die. As I always note in discussions like these, in Jewish though, the child is not fully a person until birth, and the life of the mother takes precedence over the life of the unborn baby. Would you really want to say that Jews "murder babies" to save the lives of pregnant women? When the life of a Jewish mother is threatened by a pregnancy, not only is abortion permitted, it is the right thing to do. I don't think Jews hold life any less sacred than Catholics, and I don't think Jews have given any less thought to the issue than Catholics. They have arrived at a different conclusion. If you could dictate US abortion law, do you suppose you would outlaw all abortions, even in cases where the Jewish mother, her Rabbi, and her doctors all agree that as a matter of their religious tradition, it is the right thing to do?

            Do you approve of saving a life by killing an innocent person? Do you demand doctors and other medical staff kill innocent persons?

            If I had a wife, and her life was seriously endangered because of a life-threatening pregnancy, I don't think I would hesitate to agree to an abortion on her behalf if she was incapable of making the decision on her own. The Catholic Church says:

            1776 "Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths."

            If I had a wife, I can't imagine sitting by and letting her die if an abortion would save her. And of course if I were a pregnant woman, I would not choose death rather than have a life-saving abortion. Abortion is a very difficult issue, and I would love to see a world in which no woman ever felt she needed an abortion. But when it comes to abortion to save the life of the mother, I think it is a no-brainer.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I think it is superficial to accuse Catholics of being superficial when it comes to a matter of medical ethics. The hospital did have an ethics team with a novel and intricate argument, but the bishop had an ethics team too. One moral theologian I know thinks the hospital team was actually correct, but that is not for me to decide. The bishop could not stop the hospital staff from action. He could only act after the fact. It was his responsibility to examine what happened and make a decision.

            There is no such thing as "Jewish thought" when it comes to this question. There are only lots of lines of thought by Jews and groups of Jews, some of which does not hold life sacred at all. I would say any line of "Jewish thought" which denies the personhood of the unborn child is simply in error. Moreover, the Church's claim is not that her view is religious but objectively true, so when it comes to law, no religious law can trump the natural right to life.

            I *am* married and have children. If my wife and unborn child were in this lamentable situation, I would not know what to do except get them the best medical care possible, because I (hope) I could never kill one for the sake of the life of the other. An unborn child is not some theoretical or potential life or person. He or she is a real human being.

          • David Nickol

            I think it is superficial to accuse Catholics of being superficial when it comes to a matter of medical ethics.

            I did not use the word superficial nor do I think I accused Catholics of being superficial. Which Catholics? I do think Bishop Olmsted was wrong, and as far as I know, the Diocese of Phoenix has not made any detailed arguments refuting the reasoning of the hospital ethics committee. Consequently, the result of the incident may very well be that the hospital acted correctly, there is a solid Catholic rationale for saving the lives of women in this particular medical situation, but all that has come out of it is a very public case of excommunication and, in effect, a warning to Catholic hospitals (at least in the Diocese of Phoenix) that they will be in trouble with the bishop if they do something that may indeed be licit.

            There is no such thing as "Jewish thought" when it comes to this question.

            This is just wrong. See Abortion and Halacha in the Jewish Virtual Library. Virtually any source will say the same thing about Judaism and abortion—the life of the mother takes precedence when the pregnancy is life threatening.

            I would say any line of "Jewish thought" which denies the personhood of the unborn child is simply in error.

            There is no need for scare quotes around Jewish thought. Since the Catholic and Jewish views of the personhood of an unborn child differ, and are a matter of religious faith, I don't think you have any way of convincing a Jew you are right, and of course a Jew could not convince you that you are wrong. It is a matter of religious belief. The Jewish view deserves your respect even if you disagree with it.

            I could never kill one for the sake of the life of the other.

            The issue is more difficult than that. It is whether to save one or let both die.

            An unborn child is not some theoretical or potential life or person. He or she is a real human being.

            You state this as if it were a matter of fact. Barring some kind of conclusive proof of the existence of a soul and the time of ensoulment, it is a religious belief.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            David, the reason I said "Jewish thought" was because Jews cover the entire gamut of thought with completely atheism on one end of the spectrum.

            Your statement "to save one or let both die" is a euphemism for "kill one so the other can live."

            The personhood of the unborn is not a religious belief of Catholics. It is truth of reason.

          • David Nickol

            David, the reason I said "Jewish thought" was because Jews cover the entire gamut of thought with completely atheism on one end of the spectrum.

            I might be willing to accept that if you are willing to count as "Catholic thought" the belief of about half of American Catholics that same-sex marriage should be approved and the disbelief by about a third of American Catholics in the Real Presence. If by "Jewish though" you mean "anything a particular Jew or group of Jews believes," than it is only fair to interpret "Catholic thought" as "anything a particular Catholic or group of Catholics believes." Therefore, approval of abortion is part of Catholic thought, since there is a group called Catholics for Choice.

            The personhood of the unborn is not a religious belief of Catholics. It is truth of reason.

            No it is not. It is dependent on the definition of personhood used, and there is no definitive, objective, universally agreed-upon definition of personhood. Believing, because the Church teaches so, that something is a "truth of reason" does not make it a truth of reason. It makes it a truth of reason for those who believe the Catholic Church can infallibly declare what is a truth of reason and what is not. A religious doctrine that maintains proposition X can be proved by reason alone, is a religious doctrine, not a proof of proposition X by reason alone. Intelligent, informed, honest people of good will can disagree on the definition of personhood (which my spell-check doesn't even recognize as a word).

            I respect the fact that, as a Catholic, you believe that the Church has the ability and the authority to determine what is knowable by reason alone, but that respect does not stretch to my own believing that when the Church says something is knowable by reason alone, it actually is knowable by reason alone. In order for me to believe something is knowable by reason alone, it has to be demonstrated by reason alone.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            This is not the time or the place, but my claim is that the humanity/personhood/fundamental rights of the unborn is/are provable by reason. I don't say it is provable by reason because it is a teaching of the Church but because it is provable by reason.

          • David Nickol

            When the time and the place are right, then, you can present your proofs. I am not sure, however, that you are going to be able to avoid the concept of the soul, since the Church teaches that it is only by virtue of a soul that a human being is alive (and is capable of rational thought). You are going to have to be prepared to argue that even without a soul (and even if there is no God), the union of a human sperm and egg is, from the moment of conception, a human person.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            David, that is exactly the argument. Soul does not come into it at all.

          • David Nickol

            But there can't be a human person without a soul, according to your belief.

            This will be interesting.

          • David Nickol

            Your statement "to save one or let both die" is a euphemism for "kill one so the other can live."

            Actually, I believe there are respected Catholic moral theologians who say an abortion is not a direct abortion in any case where it is performed to save the life of the mother. I will research this a bit more before making a stronger assertion.

            And let us remember that abortion to save the life of the mother is very rare. It is not, in my opinion, the issue over which the Church should choose to make its case. It would have been far better for the Phoenix case to be handled quietly. Whether or not Bishop Olmsted is responsible for it being the focus of so much attention is a good question. It certainly raised all kinds of red flags for non-Catholic women who need to make choices of which hospitals to go to. The fact that a Catholic hospital may choose not even inform you of the option of a life-saving abortion is no doubt disturbing to non-Catholic women. (Actually, the thought that a hospital might refrain from discussing with you all available medical options should disturb everyone, in my opinion.)

          • Octavo

            O&G Consultant 1 recalled at interview that on the 23rd of October the patient and the

            patient’s husband enquired about the possibility of using medication to induce labour as they indicated that they did not want a protracted waiting time when the outcome was going to be an inevitable miscarriage. The consultant stated at interview that (s)he advised the patient and her husband that this was not possible under Irish law. At interview, the consultant indicated that the law is such that:

            “If there is a threat to the mothers’ life you can terminate. If there is a potential major hazard to the mothers’ life the law is not clear…. There are no guidelines for inevitable miscarriages”

            Later on, the report states that

            "An absence of appropriate national clinical guidelines on the clinical management of inevitable miscarriage in the early second trimester including the management of
            prolonged rupture of membranes with infection."

            The long and the short of is is that the proper treatment for an inevitable miscarriage accompanied by infection is an abortion. The hospital was not willing to provide this.

            ~Jesse Webster

  • This is a bit off topic, but I’ve heard it said that “who you are” and “what you do” cannot be separated. This came to me as an objection to “love the sinner, hate the sin”. If you’re gay, you’re gay. If one has same-sex attraction, said person should act on it and be accepted & supported. This is indeed a strange notion.
    If alcoholism runs in my family, my drinking should be accepted & supported.
    What if obesity runs in my family? Should I not be supported in my eating?
    What if I am naturally shy? Should I not be encouraged to remain shy?
    What if I have a bad temper?
    Life is often about separating who we are and what we do.

    • What makes you put same-sex attraction in the same category as alcoholism and obesity?

      • Because it is disordered. One might call it an undesirable evolutionary trait.

        • picklefactory

          One might, but one would be entirely incorrect.

        • Can you be more specific, especially in your use of "disordered" and "undesirable evolutionary trait."

          • Heterosexually is what propagates a species as a proper
            order of nature (a natural law if you will). If a member of a species seeks out the same-sex, one can accurately say something has gone wrong with that individual member (disordered). Whether the root cause is genetic, environmental or other, the first step in dealing with a disorder is to admit there actually is a disorder.
            I have no intension of offending anyone; it’s basically a simple evolutionary type of idea.

          • By that definition, priests and nuns are disordered and the whole Church hierarchy has chosen a disordered lifestyle.

          • Priests and nuns can be heterosexual or homosexual. Celibacy is a chosen lifestyle (choosing higher things). We can debate if it is good choice or a bad choice, but is in not a question of an ordered or disordered orientation.

          • Ben, let me use your own phrasing:

            Heterosexually is what propagates a species as a proper order of nature (a natural law if you will). If a member of a species fails to seek out the opposite sex, one can accurately say something has gone wrong with that individual member (disordered). Whether the root cause is genetic, environmental or other, the first step in dealing with a disorder is to admit there actually is a disorder.

          • You mixing choice vs. orientation. I am not.

          • Be it orientation or a variety of factors (genetic, environmental or other) that led to choosing to be a priest or nun, the choice is still disordered by your criteria.

          • Vasco Gama

            The choice to be a priest or a nun, is not similar to sexual orientation and has nothing to do with it. Priests or nuns are supposed to have be called by God to devote their lifes to the service of God and other humans and not to pursue the constituition of a family. But if it is very strange to you that someone chooses to dedicate his life to the service of the comunity and see that as a disorder then it makes sense to say that it is disordered.

          • Vasco, I'm applying Ben's reasoning consistently, that is all.

          • Andre Boillot

            You're trying to make an evolutionary argument for homosexuality being disordered because it doesn't promote propagation (which, not being an expert on evolution I'll just accept as true for arguments sake). If you mean 'propagation' purely in terms of *naturally* creating offspring, then the same applies to celibate priests/monks/nuns. You're attempting to create an exception for clergy by saying they're "choosing higher things". Unless you can show these higher things aid in propagation, I'm not sure why that should hold in a discussion on evolutionary terms. If devoting ones life to the higher things can aid in propagation, who's to say that homosexual orientation isn't similarly beneficial in other non-reproductive ways?

          • Vasco Gama

            Priests and nuns are supposed to be heterosexual, in case they have any tendency to same sex attraction that is still disordered, and they are supposed to deal with that condition.

          • Paul Boillot

            "Heterosexually is what propagates a species as a proper
            order of nature (a natural law if you will)."

            This is factually incorrect.

            Because it is, your characterization as "a simple evolutionary type of idea" is also false.

            You might want to read up about the variety of strategies genes have for self-replication before trying to hide homophobia in scientific terms.

          • You might want to read up about procreation before trying to hide your lack of common sense in scientific terms.

          • Paul Boillot

            Procreate

            MW:Full Definition of PROCREATE
            transitive verb
            : to beget or bring forth (offspring) : propagate
            intransitive verb
            : to beget or bring forth offspring : reproduce
            TFODpro·cre·ate (prkr-t)
            v. pro·cre·at·ed, pro·cre·at·ing, pro·cre·ates
            v.tr.
            1. To beget and conceive (offspring).
            2. To produce or create; originate.
            v.intr.
            To beget and conceive offspring; reproduce.

            There, I did my homework.

            Now, let's see if you can do yours: Reproduction.

            Just in case following that link is too tedious,here's a couple of the other options listed that (R)DNA based life has for replicating itself, for propagating the species, if you will.

            Asexual Reproduction

            - Binary Fission
            - Budding
            - Parthenogensis
            - Fragmentation
            - Hermaphroditic self-fertilization
            - Hijacking host cell's DNA production

            If we switch focuses to sexual reproduction, there are a huge variety of sexual strategies and physical systems for combining gametes of two separate individuals.

            Seahorse males give birth....are they unnatural?

            I'm not going to go into any further discussion on this topic, I'm not going to talk about the myriads of social species that are observed engaging in homosexual behavior in the wild. I won't mention the evolutionary advantages non-reproducing members of a family/tribe can provide to the genes of their close relatives through support, defense, and mutual comfort. I will refrain from bringing up the societal advantages to specialization of tasks: individuals devoting themselves singularly to purposes which benefit society besides reproduction.

            Instead I'm just going to rest my case on the following:
            You claimed that "Heterosexually is what propagates a species as a proper order of nature (a natural law if you will)," and when someone pointed out that you were factually in error, you decided to go on the offensive.

          • I thought the understood context was “human”, but maybe I should be clearer. Opposite sex attraction (in sexually mature, non-familial humans) is properly ordered to its designed biological end (whether the designer is evolution, God, or other does not matter).
            Any other type of sexual attraction is disordered to the
            design, including same sex attraction. If one where to say being sexually attracted to small children is disordered, would you also accuse them of trying to hide some type of phobia using scientific terms like you did above? If one was sexual attracted to his/her parents, can that be called a disorder, or is doing so just hiding yet another phobia?
            I’m have no wish to offend anyone, but this is not about
            fear, it about facts. It’s amazing how many educated people have lost touch with these realities. It’s like dealing with an almost invincible blindness.

          • Geena Safire

            It’s like dealing with an almost invincible blindness.

            It's like not everybody interprets reality the same way you do.

            Other people really, truly see the same facts you see and really, truly interpret them differently than you. That doesn't make them wrong nor blind.

            Nature just needs enough individuals to procreate, not for every individual to procreate.

          • Argon

            Hmm... I've got bee hives full of individual bees that do not sexually propagate. There is this thing in evolutionary theory called kin selection and it's not clear that the levels of homosexuals in the human population are at all detrimental to the species.

        • The other problem, of course, is evolution is not a guide to morality.

    • Ben, what would you have gay people do instead of pursuing relationships with members of their own sex, and why would it be better?

  • Danny Getchell

    Although a moderately interesting discussion has ensued, I'm at a loss as to what this article has to do with the dialogue between Catholics and skeptics.

    Is there some atheist movement afoot, whose objective is to force Catholic schools to employ teachers who violate the church's doctrines??

    • Octavo

      I'm going to boo anyone who fires someone based on sexual orientation or gender presentation/identity.

      ~Jesse Webster

    • Argon

      No, but conversely there is movement afoot to deny non-ministerial workers of Catholic institutions full access to employer-provided, health insurance benefits in the US. There is also a movement to remove things like birth control from any government mandated plan but that's been proving more difficult to push. Both of these topics might be more interesting discussions.

    • Geena Safire

      Catholic schools crossed that Rubicon years ago, when they couldn't recruit enough nuns or enough Catholic teachers and couldn't enroll enough Catholic students to stay open.

  • Renard Wolfe

    Sure you can.

    But don't be surprised if we yank your tax exempt status.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      We?

      • Renard Wolfe

        Yes,We. The non homophobic public that's thankfully becoming a majority.

        Your bible says gays are bad? By all means, that's your religion. But that makes you just like any other non profit organization, and if those organizations discriminate in hiring for non priesthood roles they get their exemptions revoked.

        • Kevin Aldrich

          Catholics are not "homophobic." I have personally never met someone who was afraid of homosexuals.

          Catholics don't believe homosexuals are bad. Look it up.

          According to current case law, religious employers have broad latitude in personnel matters that relate to the organization's religious mission. If you know of any law or court cases that would threaten the non-profit status of a Catholic organization, you should cite it.

          • Catholics don't believe homosexuals are bad.

            If you're talking about official Catholic doctrine that's one thing. But if you're talking about actual Catholic clergy and lay individual, plenty of them are homophobic (which doesn't exclusively refer to "fear," of course, anymore than "xenophobia" only refers to fear).

            I've seen lots of homophobia from Catholic within the National Organization for Marriage, and I've seen at least one Catholic bishop linking the battle for marriage equality to Satan.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Rob, Have you witnessed actual hatred of homosexual persons or is it vehement disagreement with the homosexual political agenda?

            My bishop has linked SSM to the demonic. That does not mean he hates or fears homosexual persons. It is just that he sees it as a lie and deeply destructive to society and especially harmful to children. Do you hate him for that or do you just vehemently disagree with him? And if you hate him, are you then heterophobic?

          • Have you witnessed actual hatred of homosexual persons or is it vehement disagreement with the homosexual political agenda?

            I've seen both, sometimes at the same time, sometimes not.

            My bishop has linked SSM to the demonic. That does not mean he hates or fears homosexual persons.

            To say that my upcoming marriage to my partner is literally the product of Satan's influence is hateful.

            Do you hate him for that or do you just vehemently disagree with him?

            I vehemently disagree with him. It's possible I could hate him for it if it directly impacted my life or if I learned of a teen who committed suicide after his screed.

            And if you hate him, are you then heterophobic?

            I would only be heterophobic if I hated him and other heterosexuals because they are heterosexuals. Or if I told vicious lies about heterosexuals in general. And so on. Hating an individual for something that individual has done is different from hating a whole class of people. Really, Kevin, this question is beneath you.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Yet, Rob, your side has successfully propagated the lie that people who oppose SSM are "haters" and "bigots." That is a viscous lie about a class of people.

          • picklefactory

            My bishop has linked SSM to the demonic. That does not mean he hates or fears homosexual persons.

            No, it means he demonizes them. But that's not bigoted or hateful, right?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            He has linked the move in Illinois to legalize SSM to the demonic. So if he is demonizing anyone (which he is not), it would be the senate, legislature, and governor.

          • I see. Because same-sex marriage is only about the senate, the legislature, and the governor, and not at all about the lives of gay people?

            And by the way, if he is linking proponents of marriage equality to the demonic, then he is demonizing people. There's no way around that.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            It is possible that you are jumping to conclusions based on what you assume he said and not on what he actually said (not that I think there is any way you will like his words).

            Here is the text of his homily:

            http://www.dio.org/blog/item/350-bishop-paprocki-s-homily-for-prayers-of-supplication-and-exorcism-in-reparation-for-the-sin-of-same-sex-marriage.html#sthash.5xyfyGES.dpbs

          • Thanks for the link, Kevin. It's as bad as I thought. It takes a special kind of blindness for him to say, "Our prayer service today and my words are not meant to demonize anyone," and then proceed to demonize people by explaining that they are under the influence of the literal Devil.

          • picklefactory

            The psychological need to reduce cognitive dissonance is strong in everyone, but even stronger in some folks.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I regret that we are even having this discussion, Rob, but the differences we have are certainly not academic. They are real, and deep, and have consequences. They are fundamental.

            I don't think anything is served by dismissing the Catholic view as the result of blindness. That is too easy and relieves one of thinking. It is why I particularly hate the tactic used by the SSM side to label anyone against it a hater or bigot or homophobe. You have what you consider real reasons for what you believe and want, so does my bishop, and I hope so do I.

          • Kevin, I did not dismiss "the Catholic view" as blindness. I was referring to a very specific statement on the part of a very specific bishop who announced his words were not intended to demonize people right before he explained they were carrying out the work of the Devil.

            That is blindness.

            It is why I particularly hate the tactic used by the SSM side to label anyone against it a hater or bigot or homophobe.

            I'm going to remind you that I have never said anyone opposed to same sex marriage is a hater or bigot or homophobe. I've said the opposite, and as I offered before, I can show you proof.

            Meanwhile, I'm with David Nichols: stop with talking about what is done by "the SSM side." Do you really want me to start directing comments to you about how "your side" pickets funerals and kills people merely because they suspect they're gay? Of course not.

            How about instead of saying "your side" or "the SSM" side, you say: "some proponents of SSM" or wording to that effect?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Fair enough, Rob. I've always found you to be reasonable.

          • Thanks Kevin. I've always been glad you're on this board. And I'm certainly capable of getting my dander up and doing the very things I insist others shouldn't do. :)

          • In the first place, I've never said that all people who oppose same-sex marriage are haters and bigots. I've said the opposite. If you like, I can direct you to proof.

            Naturally, many (not all!) people who oppose same-sex marriage are haters and bigots, but anyone who drops that label on all opponents is displaying an irrational reaction and a prejudice. Certainly "your side" has done much to foster that prejudice, as when the avowed Catholic (and Catholic-funded) National Organization for Marriage holds a rally and gives time to speakers who say things like "Homosexuals are worth to death."

            Or when bishops talk about same-sex marriage as the project of Satan.

            Even so, I have to agree: those who say all opponents of same sex marriage are bigots and haters are in fact displaying a prejudice. Though not one that I would call "heterophobia."

          • picklefactory

            In my opinion this is false, a tu quoque argument, and attempting to blame LGBT folks for rhetorically fighting back against prejudice. I agree with Rob; it is beneath you.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I don't think it is false. It is not just rhetoric. People lose their jobs and lose business and are harassed by SSM advocates. There were lots of publicized examples of this during the Prop 8 campaign in CA.

          • Andre Boillot

            "People lose their jobs and lose business and are harassed by SSM advocates."

            I'm sure in some cases it was a shame that somebody lost their job, and of course harassment is never ok. However, this pales in comparison to the decades of abuse towards the LGBT community (with far too much still ongoing) at the hands of the majority, and how helpless they were to stop it for so long.

          • Harassment occurred on both sides, and it's always to be condemned, but it cannot be described as heterophobia, as none of it was hatred of straights for being straight.

          • picklefactory

            Well, first, harassment is never OK.

            That said, folks have a free speech right to express their bigoted opinions in public, but if the consequences of doing so are job loss or less money flowing into one's business, so much the better. I can't wait until the consequences of making outright homophobic remarks are more equivalent to making racist ones.

            And I hardly think a half-dozen folks losing their jobs while campaigning to enshrine anti-gay prejudice in a state constitution can be compared to being the target of systemic anti-gay violence, being legally discriminated against, passive-aggressive insinuations that one is mentally ill or somehow disordered, or accusations that one is somehow associated with demonic influences.

          • You make a great point. Every time the National Organization for Marriage called for "civility" in their messaging, I always thought: "You want to have a civil conversation about how I'm intrinsically disordered and my committed relationship is inherently inferior to yours?"

          • Kevin Aldrich

            There you go, begging the question.

            "Bigoted opinions" "outright homophobic remarks," "anti-gay prejudice."

            A few violations of people's rights are fine. It's worth the cost of change. They deserve it.

            Perfect recipe for the next stage of bullying and oppression.

          • picklefactory

            A few violations of people's rights are fine.

            Experiencing the consequences of one's speech does not necessarily mean that one's rights have been violated, if those consequences do not derive from government action.

            Intolerance towards intolerance is not censorship.

          • picklefactory

            Perfect recipe for the next stage of bullying and oppression.

            Bullying and oppression is already what LGBT people experience now and have experienced. I'd think that Catholics would have some sympathy given the history of the US.

            Two wrongs don't make a right, but it seems like a severe problem with priorities to me if one puts the injustice of being wrongly labeled as a bigot ahead of the injustice of being kept from marrying one's partner and being treated as a whole, real, undamaged human being.

          • Paul Boillot

            Employers have the right not to keep employees on the books if those employees publicly exercise their free speech rights and thereby garner negative publicity for themselves and the business they are employed by.

            When you characterize that situation, where everyone involved is using their enshrined rights and free market forces render an employee unprofitable, as a 'violation of people's rights' is a slur against everyone in our nation's history whose rights have actually been violated.

            Losing your job for being loudly, publicly, and vehemently bigoted is not oppression.

            Beating beaten/lynched/dragged behind a pickup truck until death....

          • David Nickol

            Yet, Rob, your side has successfully propagated the lie that people who oppose SSM are "haters" and "bigots." That is a viscous lie about a
            class of people.

            Yet, Keven, you and your side have successfully propagated the lie that people who support SSM claim people who oppose it are haters and bigots and tell viscous (vicious?) lies about them.

            In reality, there is no "our side" and "your side." There are many people who oppose SSM, many who support it, and many in the middle who find themselves leaning or moving one way or the other (or who don't really care). "Our side" doesn't accuse "your side" of anything, because there is no monolithic "our side" to do the accusing and no monolithic "your side" to accuse. So it is really quite illegitimate of you to say to Rob, "Your side has . . . etc. etc. etc."

            Having said that, if you don't think there are any anti-gay bigots and haters, you might try reading the newspapers or checking out FBI hate-crime statistics. There are anti-gay bigots, anti-Catholic bigots, anti-Muslim bigots, anti-Semitic bigots, racist bigots . . . all kinds of bigots.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Right, David, there are bigots of all kinds in this world.

            I don't see how it is a lie to say that SSM advocates tar (that is both vicious and viscous) their opponents as being haters. Why do you think they coined "No on Hate8" to refer to Proposition 8?

            There are in fact sides. Rob is a SSM political activist. That is his right and I respect that. But that is why I think it is appropriate to refer to "his side."

          • David Nickol

            I don't see how it is a lie to say that SSM advocates tar . . .

            I think you partially misunderstood my point. When I said, "Yet, Keven, you and your side have successfully propagated the lie . . . .," I meant that that was not a statement of fact, but a bit of rhetoric, as evidenced by what I said in my next paragraph: In reality, there is no "our side" and "your side." If you really want to accept the statements and actions of every opponent of same-sex marriage as representing "Kevin's side," I think you are making a grave error, but I can't stop you. But I certainly don't accept the statements and actions of all advocates of same-sex marriage as representing "David's side."

            It seems to me you want to divide the world into "us versus them." If you want to be "us," you are welcome to be, but that doesn't give you the right to categorize me as "them." I support same-sex marriage, but I am not about to endorse or defend every statement or action of every individual or organization that supports same-sex marriage.

            My understanding of this site is that it's about dialogue, and while there are certainly, broadly speaking, pro-SSM and anti-SSM "sides," to look at them as monolithic, and attribute the irrational or ugly words and actions of someone who fits into one of those two very broad "sides" to the "side" as a while seems unproductive and wrongheaded to me. Would I be justified in saying to those who call themselves "pro-life" that "your side blows up abortion clinics and murders abortionists"? If you want to attribute the worst actions of those who support SSM to the pro-SSM "side," then you have to be willing to attribute the worst actions of those who oppose SSM to the anit-SSM "side."

          • By the way, are you saying your bishop doesn't fear individuals who are controlled by demonic forces?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I don't think so.

          • That's interesting. But referring to the relationship between me and my partner, and other similarly situated couples, as being the product of Satan's work is in fact a hateful thing to do.

          • David Nickol

            My bishop has linked SSM to the demonic.

            What does he give as evidence? Why SSM rather than cohabitation before marriage, or the sex abuse scandal in the Church, or cutting veterans' benefits, foodstamps, and failing to extend unemployment benefits? How do you tell which things you disapprove of have human causes and which have "demonic" causes? Perhaps the ones you have "gut" responses to are demonic.

            How does the devil promote a political or social cause? By contributing money to advocacy organizations?

            By the way, didn't Jesus defeat Satan?

          • Kevin Aldrich
          • David Nickol

            Did the exorcism work? Was Satan banished from Illinois? Will there be no same-sex weddings come June 1, 2014?

            It seems to me that blaming (or even implicating) demons and demonic powers for political and social developments is theologically misguided. Does the Catholic Church actually teach that Satan can cause mass movements in the general public and trends in legislatures, courts, and governments? Can Satan manipulate peoples' minds to make them come to wrong conclusions? That would hardly seem just. What would it do to the idea of free will?

            Bishop Paprocki's exorcism was not regarded as particular "orthodox" or wise among many Catholic observers.

          • Kevin, I'm comfortable with the notion that conducting an actual exorcism against the literal Devil as a response to same sex marriage is enough to qualify one as homophobic.

          • David Nickol

            I have not engaged in any deep thinking, but my initial impression is that I agree. Several weeks ago, I was a witness at the wedding of two men, now both in their 70s, who have been partners for at least 45 years. Anyone, bishop or otherwise, who claims that came about through demonic influences qualifies, I think, as homophobic (among other things). As with race prejudice or other classes of bigotry, I am not necessarily saying that being homophobic makes them "bad people." I certainly knew people of my parents' generation and grandparents' generation (including relatives) who were racists, because that is the way they were raised. There was no point in ostracizing them, or arguing with them, or refusing to invite them to family gatherings. One just avoided discussing race with them. They were relatively harmless. However, if they had occupied positions of power or influence and had actively promoted racist policies, I would have wanted to have nothing to do with them.

            I have been told, that when my father (not a Catholic) married my mother (a Catholic), my father's family was very upset by it, because they were anti-Catholic. I must say that I never saw any evidence of it, however.

          • I think we have to draw a distinction between "having bigoted beliefs" (an almost universal condition) and "being a bigot." I once made a primitive attempt at sussing out this distinction. It's hardly adequate, but it's not a bad starting point for discussion. If you like you can see it here (with pictures!):
            http://wakingupnow.com/blog/error-bigotry-and-bigots

          • picklefactory

            Having read all I could of Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Crommunist and their thoughts on racism, I think it's useful to make the distinction between action and identity.

          • Renard Wolfe

            -Rob, Have you witnessed actual hatred of homosexual persons or is it
            vehement disagreement with the homosexual political agenda?-

            Calling "We want to be treated like everyone else" an agenda like it was some conspiracy to overthrow society is a pretty good indication of hate.

          • Andre Boillot

            Kevin, while you might be able to say that the RCC isn't homophobic and/or doesn't believe homosexuals are bad, that's not something you can universally apply to Catholic individuals. The thing about anecdotes is that everybody has one that confirms their view.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Fine, Andre. But be sure to apply the same criteria to every group you identify with.

          • Andre Boillot

            Kevin, why on earth wouldn't I?

          • Andre Boillot

            "If you know of any law or court cases that would threaten the non-profit status of a Catholic organization, you should cite it."

            I think the Church, or at the very least certain elements (priests/bishops/parishes) are in danger of running afoul of the IRS's guidelines for religious tax-exemption, specifically with regards to attempts to lobby or influence politics/legislation.

            (relevant section starts on pg 5)
            http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf

          • Renard Wolfe

            ***Catholics are not "homophobic." I have personally never met someone who was afraid of homosexuals. ***

            Point, but I don't know another word for it. Homosexual hating just doesn't roll off the tongue.

            --Catholics don't believe homosexuals are bad. Look it up.--

            Yes. Yes you do. I've seen every excuse ya'll have tossed out for saying you don't: its the sin not the sinner, its no worse than anything anyone else does (a la paul), or you only dislike homosexuals who actively engage in homosexual acts (like.. 99.999% of them)

            --According to current case law, religious employers have broad latitude in personnel matters that relate to the organization's religious mission. --

            Current, yes, but only in states that didn't include sexual orientation on the list of anti discrimination criteria.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Hating the sin, not the sinner, may be a cliche but it is a true cliche.

            If Catholic schools or churches have to lose their tax exempt status due to anti-Catholic discrimination, so be it.

          • Renard Wolfe

            -Hating the sin, not the sinner, may be a cliche but it is a true cliche.-

            You want to try to tell a person that they're wrong for loving another person. That the feelings they have for another person are wrong just because that person happens to be of the same gender. That they must go through completely celibate with the thought that these wonderful feelings that (almost) everyone else gets to experience are an abomination.

            I would not wish that on my worst enemy. You cannot do that without hating the person.

            Furthermore, that you still feel you MUST reach this biblical interpretation when you're more than willing to "re interpret" the rest of the bible's prohibitions on sea food, cotton poly blends, and the genocide of unbelievers. Your ideas on the rest are so anti biblical that I can only conclude that when you look into the bible you're looking into a mirror. if you look at the bible and see that homosexuality is wrong thats something comming from within you.

            Prejudice.

            -If Catholic schools or churches have to lose their tax exempt status due to anti-Catholic discrimination, so be it.-

            Nothing anti catholic about it. You can't be a bigot when you employ people.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            RF, if that is your actual name, you have a distorted view of Catholicism, but that is understandable (and eventually overcomable).

            I regret arguing with you or anyone else about these kinds of matters, but I guess it cannot be helped because there are deep, real, and consequential differences between Christianity and atheism.

          • Renard Wolfe

            Its amazing how many of your arguments require ignorance on my part in order to proceed without pointing to any actual errors. Its amazing how wrong I can be yet you lack the ability to correct me on any factual grounds.

            The differences shrink every day. War, Slavery, interfaith marriages, the morality of unbelievers, and now the status of homosexuals in society. Every time society has dragged religion kicking and screaming to "re interpret" their holy text to fall in line with modern morality.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            What you take as an inability to answer is a reluctance to answer. What can I say to someone whose avatar is a snarling wolf?

          • Renard Wolfe

            --What you take as an inability to answer is a reluctance to answer. ---

            If you haven't noticed by now, I don't really go for the whole "I have some font of wisdom I just can't show it to you but trust me its there" type deals. Sorry.. no faith.

            What can I say to someone whose avatar is a snarling wolf?

            -Fetch? Sit? Down Boy, Snausage, Walkies....

            You're really hung up on appearances aren't you?

          • Geena Safire

            ...there are deep, real, and consequential differences...

            ...the real consequences of which the church has not heretofore been able to demonstrate.

          • Andre Boillot

            "If Catholic schools or churches have to lose their tax exempt status due to anti-Catholic discrimination, so be it."

            I'm not an expert, but from my reading of what might jeopardize tax-exempt status, if the Catholic Church loses it's status, it will likely be a self-inflicted wound, due to its involvement in politics.

            http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf

          • cminca

            Kevin--A couple of years ago a lesbian was gang raped in Oakland CA by a group of Hispanic males who identified her sexuality from the rainbow bumper sticker on her car.
            (Do I know for certain they were or were raised Catholics? No. But I think it is a safe assumption.)
            Tell me--do you think they were pondering "love the sinner...." while they were raping her and screaming anti gay slurs at her?
            Or were they just thinking "abomination" and "disordered"?

          • Cminca, please refrain from hasty generalizations like this:

            "(Do I know for certain they were or were raised Catholics? No. But I think it is a safe assumption.)"

            They do nothing to help the discussion.

          • David Nickol

            There are so many things wrong with what cminca said that it would be difficult to count them, but he or she is responding to this:

            Catholics are not "homophobic." I have personally never met someone who was afraid of homosexuals.

            Catholics don't believe homosexuals are bad. Look it up.

            If that is supposed to mean there are no homophobic Catholics, or no Catholics believe homosexuals are bad, or that homophobia means "fear of homosexuals," then those statements ought to be challenged as hasty (or unfounded) generalizations.

            I suppose by "what Catholics believe" Kevin means "what the Church officially teaches," but for the sake of clarity, I think the latter is preferable.

          • David Nickol

            Let me add that the Church does not teach that "homosexuals are bad," if by homosexuals is meant "celibate, chaste same-sex attracted persons who believe their condition is 'objectively disordered' and who maintain that homosexual acts are acts of 'grave depravity.'" Or as the CDF puts it

            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.

            This is not something most gay people would want to include on their resume!

          • "I am not sure who would want to hang out with people who have a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil."

            Catholics believe that all people do--it's what we call "concupiscence."

          • cminca

            Brandon--
            People are taught to hate.

          • Andre Boillot

            Brandon,

            Did this comment [https://strangenotions.com/should-catholic-schools-be-allowed-to-discriminate/#comment-1181756604] escape your attention, or did you feel that these didn't constitute hasty generalizations, or that they help the discussion?:

            "I have seen many of my homosexual friends go from relationship to relationship. I have seen many relationships end in promiscuity, cheating, and bitterness."

            "I hope they will stay away from the gay bars which are filled with lust and abuse. I hope they will stay away from the diseases that come with a promiscuous lifestyle. I hope they will stay away from the bitterness of serial relationships. I hope they will stay away from men who want to use them for their bodies instead of loving their persons."

          • Kevin Aldrich

            What an ugly and inflammatory comment.

          • cminca

            Kevin--
            In my view it is the ugly and inflammatory comments frequently coming from the pulpits that are directly and indirectly responsible for the violence that are truly heinous.

            "Demonic" "Ain't no homos in heaven" "punch the gay out of your kid" "disordered" "abomination"

            Need I go on?

          • Geena Safire

            If the Catholic schools and the Catholic hospitals lose their tax exempt status, it will be because of what they do that violates the law, not because the government enforces its laws.

            If so, they will likely have to close or sell the schools and sell the hospitals. Tant pis.

        • Paul Boillot

          *Let's all please note that the bible only rarely addresses homosexuality in any capacity. When it's mentioned at all, it is condemned less violently and less often than eating shellfish, or any other of the host of actual problems of the human condition.

          • Renard Wolfe

            Leviticus 20:13: "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

            I don't see death by slow torture for eating at red lobster, so that part of your statement is false.

            And paul lists it as yet another sin on a long list of sexual indiscretions. He's far, far nicer about what to do with it, and his answer is pretty enlightened for its time, but he still considers the act wrong.

  • Jay

    Something to add to the discussion: Should secular universities be able to fire employees who express views contrary to university policy such as publicly expressing the belief that homosexuality is not an immutable characteristic?

    In the case of the firing of Crystal Dixon from the University of Toledo the courts seem to be saying: Yes they can.

    Summary of court case: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2012/12/universitys-firing-of-hr-vp-over.html

    Opinion piece that got Dixon fired: http://www.toledofreepress.com/2008/04/18/gay-rights-and-wrongs-another-perspective/

    Dixon did petition the US supreme court and her petition was denied (i.e., the ruling on the case is final)

    If it was legally okay to fire Dixon because she publicly expressed views on homosexuality that went against university policy, why is it not okay to fire someone who goes against a Catholic school policy by marrying someone of the same sex? Dixon did something in public. Those who choose to get married are also doing something very public. Between the two, writing an opinion piece and getting married, getting married comes across as WAY bigger than writing an opinion piece to me. If secular school systems can fire employees for what the employees do outside of work in the public, why can't religious school systems?

    • I do think you raise some interesting points, but I believe from a legal point of view, airing one's views in a forum like a newspaper is considered a public act, while your choice of spouse is considered a private act. Any lawyers out there to confirm or deny?

      • Jay

        Sorry, I'm not a lawyer, just a speech therapist entering into a religious order :)

        You have a good point and who knows, maybe this will be brought up within the court system someday. However, you'll find that both marriage and divorce records are public records. Anyone in the public can access that information. If anyone in the public can access the information, I believe that from a legal perspective it could be interpreted just as public as a newspaper. Anyone can read a newspaper and anyone can access marital/divorce records.

        http://www.wikihow.com/Find-Divorce-Records

  • Danny Getchell

    At this point, I do not know whether this firing can be justified or not, because I have not seen the employment contract.

    If Griffin's contract states specifically "you may not openly be in a homosexual relationship", then I may dislike the fact that this clause exists, but I must agree that the school is within its rights to fire him.

    But what I have seen on the web is that the school's president has been quoted to the effect that "his teaching contract at our school, which requires all faculty and
    staff to follow the teachings of the Church as a condition of their
    employment,"

    And in that case, they had better be holding every employee to the letter of every church teaching, and firing those who dissent in any way whatever. Not just those who participate in gay marriages.

    Gay marriages, I might add, which are supported by scores of Democratic (and a few Republican) politicians who apparently continue to be in good standing with the Church. Hypocrisy much??

    • "If Griffin's contract states specifically "you may not openly be in a homosexual relationship..."

      Is being in a romantic relationship that is not sexual against church teaching? I think you'll find that there are people who have been in religious orders who have been in "romantic relationships" that are not sexual. Take for example the relationship that Mother Dolores Hart continues to be in with her former fiancee. As I recall, at the end of the documentary you can see the relationship that this man and woman continue to be in.

      God is the Bigger Elvis Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8kvbkxm0Hg

      If two homosexual individuals are in a "romantic relationship," but it is not sexual, does the relationship violate church teachings? Does Mother Dolores Hart violate church teaching by being in a romantic relationship even though she is called to live a celibate life? One of the reasons why I think you don't see Catholic institutions firing gay/lesbian faculty as soon as it is discovered that they are in a romantic relationship of someone of the same sex is that the institution is giving the faculty member the benefit of the doubt that they are not violating the teachings of the church. When a faculty member decides to marry someone of the same sex, the benefit of the doubt can no longer be given.

      "...they had better be holding every employee to the letter ofevery church teaching, and firing those who dissent in any way whatever. Not just those who participate in gay marriages."

      As I noted with Rob T, the action of getting married is a very public act. Anyone can access records for marriage. It could be argued that this is significantly bigger than many other actions that would go against the teaching of the Catholic church such as premarital sex (potentially seen publicly in a resultant pregnancy). In that particular example, an individual might be repentant and seek reconciliation in some form or fashion. It might be obvious the individual has violated the teaching of the church through the pregnancy, but it is not obvious that the individual is openly dissenting the teaching of the church. We are all sinners. Simply because someone sins does not mean that the person denies the teachings of the Catholic church. In the case of wedding someone of the same-sex, the individual is saying quite publicly that they are going to dissent from the teachings of the Catholic faith.

      Pointing out double standards is good, but what you're suggesting is a little too analytical. I suppose to see if there is such a double standard within such institutions it could be seen by how the institution handles those who are divorced and choose to remarry (e.g., Do they make sure that Catholic faculty members receive an annulment before entering their next marriage?)

      "Gay marriages, I might add, which are supported by scores of Democratic (and a few Republican) politicians who apparently continue to be in good standing with the Church. Hypocrisy much??"

      So there are some Catholics who believe the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius should be excommunicated for their views on abortion. There are also Republicans who believe very much in the death penalty, but when you look at the church's teachings, you'd find that there is little justification for the death penalty in our country. Both republicans and democrats have good and bad things about them in regards to church teachings. Republicans however are more likely to go after "wedge issues" that attract social conservatives significantly more than democrats. After you get through all of the church teachings and look at all of the positions of all Catholic politicians, what politician would be left in good standing with the Catholic church?

  • Marie Dean

    Why I have a Master's Teacher's Certification from NAPCIS and why I would only teach in a NAPCIS school.

    Catholic schools should be for the formation of Catholic leaders, not necessarily a way to evangelize.

    This is the confusion, as we have forgotten that Catholic children need to be formed in the virtues and to be made into saints, by their parents, with the help of the sacraments, grace, and the schools.

    Schools are not merely for education. These should be places of spiritual formation and spiritual maturation.

    And teachers help the parents and DO NOT take the place of the parents.

  • Max Driffill

    I think if the Catholic School in question receives any public funds at all then no it cannot discriminate on bases it does. Such schools should also lose any tax exempt status if they are going to discriminate in such ways.