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Rochester priests protest

posted by awelborn

Follow the lead of that Chicago group

Thirty local priests have signed a strongly worded letter protesting what they call violent language toward homosexuals in a Vatican document.

The 12-page Vatican document discourages same-sex marriage and instructs Catholic lawmakers to vote against proposals that would allow the marriages.

“Language can destroy or build up,” said the Rev. Joe Marcoux, a signer of the letter who serves Sacred Heart Cathedral, Holy Rosary and Most Blessed Blood parishes in Rochester. “These people have value in our church. They have gifts that our church needs. Every person has an inherent dignity because he or she was created in God’s image.”



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Michael Tinkler

posted January 28, 2004 at 8:54 am


Because this little clerical group is doing press releases BEFORE they actually release the letter (makes it clear that the intended addressee is the newspaper RATHER than the bishop) there’s no list of signators. I look forward to reading it.
Once again, I’m grateful that I live in what must strike priests like Fr. Marcoux as the boonies of the diocese of Rochester — the 5 priests of the diocese I’ve gotten to known have all been orthodox in public pronouncements and reasonably observant of liturgical norms — they must be exiles!



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Donald R. Mcclarey

posted January 28, 2004 at 8:56 am


I can’t wait to see their upcoming letters defending all other sins, after all, wasn’t each sinner made in God’s image?



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Dale Price

posted January 28, 2004 at 8:57 am


Wow, what a stunner: Fr. Marcoux signed it.
Marcoux was mentioned in the kerfuffle over Goodbye, Good Men’s discussion of the American Seminary in Louvain.
He’s been big on gay ministries since ordination.
http://catholiccitizens.org/platform/platformview.asp?c=5841



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Michael Tinkler

posted January 28, 2004 at 9:01 am


By the way, you want pitiful?
So far as I can tell here are ALL THREE of the seminarians for the diocese:
http://www.dor.org/Vocations/seminarians.html
This in an area which is (according to somehting I found on the diocesan webpage) 37% Catholic.



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Carrie

posted January 28, 2004 at 9:21 am


Indeed, “every person has an inherent dignity because he or she was created in God’s image.” That is very true. What every person does not have, however, is the right to a sexual relationship and forthcoming children.
Single people do not have it. Widows and widowers do not have it. Divorced people do not have it. Homosexuals do not have it. In fact the only people who do have it are people who are married to each other, and they may not use it with anyone else except the spouse they are married to.
This is for the protection of children who, according to the plan of the Creator, will grow up in a stable relationship of two parents who are committed to each other and to them.
As an adult who spent half of my childhood without a father who died of cancer, I can vouch for the fact that the loss of a father does a violence to the development of a child that is not easily repaired. That loss affected me as no other loss has affected me. And I carry the scars of that loss with me to this very day.
Why do the homosexuals among us have so much difficulty understanding this simple fact? Only the truth will “build up” a person. Language is neutral. Truth, however, is not neutral. Truth comes down very firmly on one side of this argument. The value that homosexuals have in our parishes–the gifts that they have to give–will only be evidenced when they work in cooperation with sanctifying grace. And sanctifying grace places demands upon individuals, be they homosexual or heterosexual. In order to work with sanctifying grace, sin is not an option. Our greatest dignity, our most perfect human nature, is that nature filled with sanctifying grace which lifts up human nature, making it as perfect as God intends that it shall be. But sanctifying grace can be sacrificed to sin, which mars the beauty of God’s creation.
This is not a difficult concept. I suspect the gay community knows that and doesn’t want to hear the truth that is good for them. Instead of writing letters, perhaps they could experiment with the concept of holiness and discover what it has to offer them.



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Colleen

posted January 28, 2004 at 9:43 am


Oh yikes. Isn’t Rochester the diocese wrangling over Fr. Vosko’s wreckovation of the Cathedral and the diocese where the inmates (Mary Rammerman & co.) took over the asylum at Spiritus Christi?
Bishop Matthew Clark… doubt he’ll write a letter similar to Cardinal George’s letter to his priestly upstarts.



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josh

posted January 28, 2004 at 10:20 am


Carrie put it beautifully, I’ll put it simply. To be a Christian is to be repentant. It is not inconsistent to say that 1) all human beings have dignity and worth 2) there is no place in the Church for unrepentant sinners, including unrepentant sodomites.



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brendan

posted January 28, 2004 at 11:30 am


The modernists of Rochester should just become Anglicans. This would include bishop Clarke who has allowed so much dissent and fiith into this diocese.



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Todd

posted January 28, 2004 at 12:22 pm


Peace, all.
I admit being mystified at the attention these clergy are getting … from both sides. The petitions fall short of advocating what the Church would consider a sinful lifestyle. And the adoption question, a very serious one, has yet to see a very convincing answer from those who would argue a child is better off in foster care than with one or even two gay parents.
Cardinal George seemed to be appropriately nuanced in his reaction to his own priests’ letter while reaffirming what the Church can authoritatively teach, namely that gay sexual activity is wrong. Despite the curia’s negative opinion on gay people adopting children, the issue is far from settled for many Catholics, including me.



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Christine

posted January 28, 2004 at 2:48 pm


Carrie,
I sympathize with you on your father’s loss. I experienced the same trauma. I was barely into my teens when I lost my dad to a massive heart attack. I missed him and that masculine presence terribly in my formative years.
A father is very important in future male relationships a young girl will have and a mother in how young men learn to relate to women.



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mel

posted January 28, 2004 at 2:52 pm


As the wife of a recovering alcholic- who’s parents drank heavily (one still does), I must say that for a child to be brought up in any situation where bad behavior is deemed good and normal is doing violence to that child. (FYI- my husband’s father is actually his adopted father- no blood relation).
Also, I am a product of adoption. In my case, my parents were held up to the strictest scrutiny, and the adoption was’t even final for a full year after I was placed in the home. The adoption agency went through their finances, dropped in for unexpected visits, interviewed their family, friends, and anyone else that may have info on how they lived their lives. I am ever so grateful for
the extra care that was used in my placement. I am blessed with wonderful parents who raised me in a very loving-yet strict manner. I don’t think I turned out too poorly… I had always been grateful of the fact that I was born in 1965 because it was b4 abortion was legal, now I can add to the list that I was raised in a morally Catholic home. Many children won’t have that priviledge anymore.



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Christine

posted January 28, 2004 at 4:02 pm


Mel,
It sounds like you had a great upbringing. Adoption has answered the prayers of many people called to be parents.
The issue of gay adoption is fairly new for American society, however. Some schools of thought now hold that gender/sexual identity are learned rather than biologically determined. And yet many gay folks insist that their identity is inherently part of who they are from birth. If that holds true for gays it also holds true for heterosexuals and would still lead me to question how two men can fully model a healthy female identity or two women and healthy male identity. I love my mother very much but after my father died she simply couldn’t fill that emotional void in me that he did.
Even gay children start out with parents of each sex (unless, of course, one considers the lesbian couple in Britain, one of whom purchased sperm over the Internet to conceive a child).



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Todd

posted January 28, 2004 at 4:47 pm


Peace, all.
Having adopted a child who was in the foster care system, one element missing from the consideration of who should adopt is the need for permanence and stability for a child. Children are abused in the foster care system by the very fact that their custody and adoption agreements are not in place as quickly as they should be. Adoption is a great grace, and family permanence cannot be underestimated as a factor for healthy growth. I would be very hard-pressed to suggest that a child is better off in foster care than in the permanent care of one adult, or even a gay couple. And sadly, hundreds of thousands of children are maintain in the foster care system because there are not enough adults willing to adopt.



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Stacey

posted January 28, 2004 at 5:12 pm


Todd,
I have wondered about the situation in the foster care system. I know that it’s often deplorable, and I do agree that those children need permanent homes. However, it seems to me that part of the problem is the system. The apparent need to do everything possible to put that child back with the biological parents certainly drags things out a lot longer than would otherwise be the case and causes children to be “in the system” over a longer period of time. A lot of those kids, no thanks to their biological parents and also to a very flawed system, have a lot of issues to deal with.
I have a friend who has adopted from foster care who has had more than her share of failed adoptions (bio mom supposedly gets act back together, gets yet another chance; kid with severe reactive attachment disorder simply cannot adjust to being in her home and demonstrates this by smearing feces on the walls repeatedly and over a long period of time, etc, etc.)
I guess the question that I have is this–does anybody really think that homosexual couples are going to be more likely to want to get involved in taking on the very difficult “unadoptable” (don’t worry, I know that they are not really completely “unadoptable”) children that are in foster care than the heterosexual couples? Or aren’t they more likely, just as heterosexual couples seem to be, to want to resort to IVF, artifical insemination, international adoption, or waiting for years to adopt the seemingly mythical “healthy white newborn”? Is allowing homosexual couples to adopt really going to help? Somehow, I doubt it, even if I thought that it was otherwise acceptable (which I don’t.)



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Tim Young

posted January 28, 2004 at 5:27 pm


” Despite the curia’s negative opinion on gay people adopting children, the issue is far from settled for many Catholics, including me.”
So, Todd, what does make something “settled” for you, as a Catholic, if it’s not magesterial teaching?



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mel

posted January 28, 2004 at 5:32 pm


Todd,
I will concede the point that the current foster system is lacking. That being said- there are issues of the lesser evil. That distinction would involve, of course, defining what is evil. In Catholic teaching, suffering from same sex attraction isn’t evil- but acting on those tendencies is.
Then, one would need to decide if this evil is something that would be detrimental to others- in this case a child. For a moment- lets remove the homosexual aspect from the equation. No one (at least I don’t think that anyone) would think it better to place a child with an alcoholic couple rather than for them to remain in foster care- in fact that may be one of reasons the child is in foster care to begin with. Or perhaps a more appropriate analogy would be a heterosexual couple who are members of one of the S&M clubs. If the couple keeps everything quiet and no one knows about it- then some would argue that it would ok to place a child with such a couple- but what if they were loud and proud about
their activities? Would that be more appropriate than foster care? Which takes us back to the homosexual couple- even if the couple is the most discreet homosexual couple- the fact would remain that if they live in the same house, same bedroom, how long will it take before the child will figure out that mom and mom aren’t just friends. So, now we’re back to whether or not a child should be forcibly exposed to activities deemed to be immoral by the church. Those who don’t adhere to Church thought on this subject would not be persuaded, but those who claim to be Catholic really can’t support placing a child in an environment where their proper moral development will be thwarted. This, in fact, would be doing violence- just as the document stated;
at least according to the pc lexicon that says that if one person even says something that is possibly construed as “bigoted”- then violence has occured. (People who think in that manner {i.e. the government in Canada, I suppose} would probably go so far as to say that the post I’m writing now is a form of violence.
The long and short of it is, is it ethical to place a child in a situation where their conscience will be malformed?



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Jimmy Mac

posted January 28, 2004 at 6:07 pm


Tim Young: there has been magisterial teaching on the death penalty and the war in Iraq, too.
Do you support those teachings,, unequivocally and without question? Are they “settled for you?”



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Todd

posted January 28, 2004 at 7:11 pm


Peace, Tim.
One opinion from one curial agency does not make for infallible teaching. In my opinion, the statement that gays are unsuitable parents is going to require a lot more heft to make it authoritative. I think the statement would have been better worded to say, “Parents who would expose their children in their formative years to immorality are not well-suited to parenting.” Certainly, active addicts are not appropriate parents. My question is this: was this document about good parenting, or addressed to gays. If the former, then a general set of guidelines with specific applications to the serious traumas children suffer (parents who gamble, have extra-marital affairs, who cannot control their tempers) should have been listed. I suspect it was the latter, hence my general doubts about the document’s charity.
Strong agreement with Stacey on the foster care system. Recognition needs to be given with younger children that giving parents even as long as a year to get their act together may be too much. In dealing with addictive behavior, it might seem harsh, but I think 3-5 months is the maximum time before parental rights of a preschooler should be terminated.
Jimmy’s comment, of course, is spot on. The Vatican statement on gay parents is not even as strong as the pope’s consistent message on the Iraq War. A person who holds to the gay parent point yet rejects the Iraq position out of hand is probably showing their cafeteria preferences most boldly.



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Todd

posted January 28, 2004 at 7:20 pm


Peace, Tim.
One opinion from one curial agency does not make for infallible teaching. In my opinion, the statement that gays are unsuitable parents is going to require a lot more heft to make it authoritative. I think the statement would have been better worded to say, “Parents who would expose their children in their formative years to immorality are not well-suited to parenting.” Certainly, active addicts are not appropriate parents. My question is this: was this document about good parenting, or addressed to gays. If the former, then a general set of guidelines with specific applications to the serious traumas children suffer (parents who gamble, have extra-marital affairs, who cannot control their tempers) should have been listed. I suspect it was the latter, hence my general doubts about the document’s charity.
Strong agreement with Stacey on the foster care system. Recognition needs to be given with younger children that giving parents even as long as a year to get their act together may be too much. In dealing with addictive behavior, it might seem harsh, but I think 3-5 months is the maximum time before parental rights of a preschooler should be terminated.
Jimmy’s comment, of course, is spot on. The Vatican statement on gay parents is not even as strong as the pope’s consistent message on the Iraq War. A person who holds to the gay parent point yet rejects the Iraq position out of hand is probably showing their cafeteria preferences most boldly.



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josh

posted January 28, 2004 at 8:46 pm


Jimmy Mac and Todd. I’m not an expert but even I know there is no magisterial teaching on the war on Iraq. I think that even the “just war” formulation falls short of magisterial authority, but I leave that to the experts. Even on capital punishment, the magisterium certainly does not condemn it as an absolute wrong. We should all be very careful on what we broadcast as being matters of faith.



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Christine

posted January 28, 2004 at 9:49 pm


My retired police officer husband, who also served in Viet Nam (and unlike John Kerry did not come back and schmooz with Hanoi Jane –and no — that doesn’t mean automatically that I’m voting for Bush) has seen plenty in the way of wars, child abuse and other unsavory matters but believes that conflict is sometimes unavoidable and the death penalty is not unwarranted in all situations. He would definitely disagree with Todd and Jimmy Mac that that would make him a “cafeteria Catholic”.



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Tim Young

posted January 28, 2004 at 10:15 pm


JimmyMac
Yes, I accept them both.Without reservation.
Todd
Church teaching does not have to be infallible to require our assent.
Suggested reading: ( from the Vatican web site)
“Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian”
“Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei”



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Jimmy Mac

posted January 29, 2004 at 8:38 pm


Josh, there’s a place in the church for lots of folks. Salvation is a journey, not a one-time action. The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. You and I are BOTH welcome in this big old creaking barque, sailing on the way to heaven. Don’t be too quick to exclude until you take that mote out of your own eye. Paul worked out his salvation in fear and trembling for a good reason: he wasn’t perfect.



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Gerry

posted January 29, 2004 at 8:48 pm


One of the defining characteristics of ‘gay’ culture is its encouragement of male promiscuity; and this is a global feature of ‘gay’ life. Long-term homosexual ‘partnerships’ are also something of a rarity: 74% of male homosexuals reported having more than 100 sexual partners during their lifetime; 65% reported having sex only once with more than half of their ‘partners’; 28% reported having sex with more than 1000 ‘partners’. (Bell & Weinberg: ‘Homosexualties…’ 1978: Simon & Schuster.)
In Denmark a form of ‘gay marriage’ has been legal since 1989. By 1995 fewer than 5% of Danish homosexuals had ‘married’, an 28% of these “marriages” had already ended in death or divorce.
As for ‘monogamous’ homosexual relationships, the outlook is similarly bleak. According to Bradley Hayton, “Homosexuals…model a poor view of marriage to children. They are taught by example and belief that marital relationships are transitory, and mostly sexual in nature. Sexual relationships are primarily for pleasure rather than procreation. And they are taught that monogamy in marriage is not the norm [and] should be discouraged if one wants a good ‘marital’ relationship. (“To marry or not: The Legalization of Marriage and Adoption of Homosexual Couples”,: [Pacific Policy Institute 1993] .)
What’s more, reputable studies have demonstrated the harmful effects of ‘gay’ households on children.
‘Gay’ adoption is clearly bad news for children. The fact that any Catholic could advocate such a grossly irresponsible policy is particularly troubling.



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mel

posted January 29, 2004 at 10:08 pm


Jimmy Mac
I’m sure I will corrected if I’m wrong- but for a teaching to be Doctrine or Dogma, isn’t it the case that the teaching in question must not contridict anything taught by the church from the beginning. This is not to say that the church can’t pronounce that the death penalty is bad, but the church does teach that it is permissable if there is a serious threat to society by the condemned individual. And throughout the past 2000, only recently was not having a death penalty a viable option for many communities.
Similiarly- the issue of Iraq is an opinion- not a teaching. There can’t be a doctrine against a particular war- there wasn’t a doctrine for WWII anymore than there is a doctrine against the Iraq war. It is opinion, to be respected and considered by those with that responsibility- but it isn’t binding on the faithful.
However, one thing that the church has faithfully taught against is homosexual acts. Documents can be found from the earliest Christian times (i.e. St. Paul) and the early church fathers, and consistently through the history of the church. That isn’t to say people have adhered to the teaching and that some that didn’t adhere to the teaching weren’t in the clergy. It is to say that the teaching of the church has been consistant throughout 2000 years.



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mel

posted January 29, 2004 at 10:09 pm


Jimmy Mac
I’m sure I will corrected if I’m wrong- but for a teaching to be Doctrine or Dogma, isn’t it the case that the teaching in question must not contridict anything taught by the church from the beginning. This is not to say that the church can’t pronounce that the death penalty is bad, but the church does teach that it is permissable if there is a serious threat to society by the condemned individual. And throughout the past 2000, only recently was not having a death penalty a viable option for many communities.
Similiarly- the issue of Iraq is an opinion- not a teaching. There can’t be a doctrine against a particular war- there wasn’t a doctrine for WWII anymore than there is a doctrine against the Iraq war. It is opinion, to be respected and considered by those with that responsibility- but it isn’t binding on the faithful.
However, one thing that the church has faithfully taught against is homosexual acts. Documents can be found from the earliest Christian times (i.e. St. Paul) and the early church fathers, and consistently through the history of the church. That isn’t to say people have adhered to the teaching and that some that didn’t adhere to the teaching weren’t in the clergy. It is to say that the teaching of the church has been consistant throughout 2000 years.



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