Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tolerance and Hypocrisy

In the past year or so, there have been several examples of Catholic parochial schools that have fired employees who have received same-sex civil "marriages". After this happens, the media gets hold of the story and runs with the same story. It has these tell-tell signs:
1 - The big bad Catholic Church is intolerant
2 - The Church is acting hypocritical
3 - The Church is mean and isn't nice to those with same-sex attraction.

I would like to explore these issues, based on the most recent story. A snip:
"I was given a choice of termination or resignation," Judd said. "I'm hurt, but I wish nothing but the best for Cathedral, its students, the parents, the athletic teams, administration and faculty. I bleed purple (the school's color)." ...

"I married my partner this summer," Judd said. "I was hoping that my loyalty, my professionalism the last 12 years would supersede the current hypocrisy that has already been shown with the Diocese of Springfield."

Asked to elaborate on her claim of hypocrisy, Judd said she questions if there are lay persons who work for the Catholic diocese who divorce and remarry without an annulment, or employees who use birth control, or men who have had vasectomies, or individuals who are pro-choice on abortion.
This argument makes no sense, because the issue isn't about whether the Church should "enforce" the same rules. As a diocesan official explains, it is about public scandal.
"Without being specific to this matter, it should be clear that all employees of our Catholic schools are made aware of our policies and regulations," Dupont said. "This includes language that clearly states that whenever by public example, an employee engages in or espouses conduct which contravenes the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Church, that employee may be subject to disciplinary action. To do otherwise would be in contradiction to the values we believe in and are teaching in these same schools
So, we cannot have someone publicly living an active lifestyle that champions something that is contrary to Catholic teaching.

If the woman wanted to have better examples of hypocrisy, it would have been if someone who champions those who are divorced and remarried by hosting a rally, someone who is lobbying the US Bishops publicly to allow contraception, or a Catholic who volunteers at Planned Parenthood.

These are the proper examples of someone who also would have been in violation of the code.

So, is the Church hypocritical? No. The woman should not expect to work at a Catholic institution, with a specific code of conduct built into her contract, and do something counter to that contract.

Is the Church intolerant? Of scandal - yes. Of people - no. If this is the case, then those who disagree with the Church are just as intolerant. The accusation cuts both ways.

Is the Church mean? No. To allow someone to sin and not tell them that what they are doing is wrong, is much much much meaner.

The woman then says her loyalty and professionalism would have allowed her to stay. But, is it loyal or professional to break your contractual obligations and create scandal?

There is one thing I didn't like about the diocesan statement. It is this quote:
So while we certainly want to be compassionate and understanding, we must be true to who we are.
The official from the diocese has ceded the fact that it is a choice between compassion/understanding and following the rules. This is a false dichotomy.

Here is what the Catechism says about same-sex attraction (emphasis added)
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
The call to chasity is universal - for us all, because it means we rightly order our sexuality. ALL who are not married are called to celibacy. It isn't as if the Church is picking on those who have a same-sex attraction. Yes, it can be a huge cross to carry - but we all have crosses. Some light, some heavy.

What we must realize is that any disordered desire should not be acted upon, whether it is drinking too much beer, having a sexual act (of any kind) outside of the marriage between one man and one woman, or taking drugs. All of these acts are outside of the natural law and can be dangerous.

Many make the argument that we should allow same-sex marriages and not worry about same-sex relationships because they are about "love". This is false, because while there may be true affection and friendships in these relationships, they are not about the highest form of love - agape. This kind of love sacrifices for the good of the other. The sexual acts of a same-sex couple, even if monogamous, cannot be agape love. Why:

  • Because there is no openness to life (by nature they are infertile), 
  • they cannot image the Trinitarian love, 
  • they cause harm to the other by acting on a disordered passion, 
  • they are spiritually dangerous
  • they are by nature disordered. The male and female bodies are made to go together. Nature shows us this. Male-male and female-female bodies are not.
  • feelings and desires do not determine love. Love is a choice.

If you are struggling with same-sex attraction, there is help. A Catholic group called Courage has helped thousands. You can contact Fr. David Konderla here at St. Mary's, if you live in town, and he can help connect you to someone who can help.

Peace.

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