Saturday, October 14, 2006

Halos Don't Break

Recently I stumbled across It seemed like a decent Catholic portal at first, as it claims:

Based in wisdom from the Catholic tradition, we believe that the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of all God'’s people. Nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts.

Nothing too odious there.

Indeed, they even have a regular column on Catholic sexual norms, and that's usually a topic the liberals weeds among us will avoid, as it's a clear giveaway of their real intentions.

But something didn't smell right, so I spent a lot of time farting around on the site today [that's a metaphor, you hear me? A METAPHOR!], and it's now clear that is just another wolf in sheep's clothing.

They get their name by calling to mind our call to Sainthood (the Halo part), and by recognizing that often our quest for holiness is beset by trials and failures (the Busted part). But halos don't break. Holiness is unbreakable; it cannot be soiled.

People break. People can be soiled.

So that you understand why I believe has it mostly wrong, let me proffer some examples. Let's take the model set before us in Fr. Gerard Thomas (which he admits is a pseudonym). He is "coming out" as a "gay" priest who remains celibate. Yet the "gay" part seems to have confused dear old Father Whatshisname. He was interviewed by managing editor Mike Hayes and editor-in-chief Bill McGarvey. This link is to the first part of the four-part interview, and I'm quoting from various locations throughout the four parts. [The red parts are what I'd be thinking were I present at the interview.] He is remaining anonymous because: religious superiors told me that I could not write or speak about this publicly because he was afraid that people would somehow misunderstand it... I accepted his decision and that's the reason I'm using a pseudonym [you kinda missed the point there Padre] so there are no bad effects of the kind he was worried about [like suspension without pay].... I think if I were to speak publicly and use my own name I'm sure the higher ups would be furious with me [good thing God can't figure out your pseudonym!]. I do take my relationship with my superiors seriously [when you can be caught, anyway] and I do take that promise of obedience very seriously as well.

I don't think you can consider your vow of obedience to be intact on a technicality, Father. But enough of that; just what do you think the will of God is for the "gays" in our world?

Jesus did not try to change people. Jesus tried to help them accept who they were, and it was only when their illness [such as homophobia?] was preventing them from being a member of the community that he was able to do something.

I think that if Jesus was around today he would be hanging around gay men and lesbians because they are the most marginalized group in the Church [actually, I think that honour belongs to conservatives].

I think he'd indeed be hanging around with them, but not because of their marginalization: because he would have pity on them due to the cycle of sin they are stuck in. "Go then, and sin no more," does not apply only to heterosexuals.

There's a disconnect between what Father is saying and what the Church actually believes: "gay" itself is a loaded term; a vocabulatory stick of dynamite. Its usage implies acceptance of the modern cultural arguments around homosexual inclinations, and ignores the possibility of a "gay" man himself ignoring the mold he's supposed to fit into - a mold fashioned by the gay community itself. What the Catholic Church believes regarding homosexuals is that few of them choose it, and that they are called to and capable of living a life of chastity. "They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." [Catechism source]

Say, Father, we don't have any real statistics regarding homosexual priests. Could you make some up for us?

All the statistics that you read are unreliable, including my own which are largely anecdotal [ooh, goody, I smell an anecdote coming!].... What I did was to set forth a number of 25% of priests who have a homosexual orientation, just to give people a rough context in which to work. The standard figure of 5-10% which is bandied about as the number of gays and lesbians in the general population, is far too low [when we're talking about the priesthood] and some of the more outlandish figures like 50% I thought were far too high, so I thought 25% was reasonable. [I dunno... how about 26.4%? It sounds so much more official.] But once again this is entirely anecdotal and we're never going to know until there are reliable scientific surveys.... I would say a miniscule percentage of that 25 percent are pedophiles [what a relief!].... I would say in general... there's a higher percentage of priests under 50, or under 40, who are gay. I think it would take a sociologist to tell you why that's the case. [You don't trust your own judgment? Um, then why should we?] But I also think that among the guys who are older, there is - —as in the general population - —there's less of a willingness or aptitude to discuss those kinds of things. So there may be precisely the same figure in the older generation as in the younger generation. [So it's either completely different, or exactly the same - gotcha.]

Oh, that's very helpful, thank you.

Tell us, Fr. McFakey, "what do you think a document that celebrates gay men and women in the Church would look like? "

Like nothing we have ever seen before.

Rightly so. Much like a Church document celebrating rhinotillexomania would also be unlike anything we have ever seen before. And by that I mean, thank goodness we've never seen that and never will.

Enough of Fr. GoingToTarshish. What else seems somewhat off about

I did a search for a few keywords on the site's internal search engine:

Word Hits
Poverty 89
Bush 76
Conservative 66
Environment 60
Gay 55
Liberal 46
Abortion 39
Republican 27
Homosexuality 26
Democrat 20
John Kerry 16
Contraception 10
Gore 8
Masturbation 5

This is sounding less and less like a place for "spiritual seekers" to go, and more like a place for Angry Left malcontents.

I found only one article I saw no problems with: More and More Seek a Robust Orthodoxy by Colleen Carroll Campbell. She makes several points that are key to understanding youth and what their needs are in the modern world:

In the course of interviewing some 500 young adults all across America, I found a growing number of them adopting the teachings and traditions of an orthodox Christian faith. These "new faithful," as I call them, have not seen too little of a secular, hedonistic society to understand its allure. They have seen too much to believe its promises. And they have turned instead to an older promise, one rooted in the traditions that their parents' generation rejected: the promise of a life guided by a transcendent vision and ordered by absolute truth.

Amen, sister!

Oh, what's this? Right beside her article is an accompanying piece by Mike Hayes, one of the interviewers of Fr. NOYB above, entitled They're Not in the Pews on Sunday.

By "they," he's referring, of course, to this new wave of faithful youth who were motivated by the call to orthodoxy that John Paul II made his chief mission, and that Benedict XVI is continuing:

I believe their enormous enthusiasm reflects a sense of faith that is miles wide but only inches deep [based on what exactly?].... Where did they go once the moment died down? One place they didn't go was back to church. According to a study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, only 22 percent of young adult Catholics actually attend Mass weekly [so, what percentage of young adult Catholics are represented in this new, excited-about-orthodoxy generation? Dare to compare?] - a stark contrast to the filled pews of ages past. Undoubtedly there is a small but significant minority of vocal and well-organized young adults whose dedication to the late pope was extraordinary [all coordinated by Karl Rove].... In my experience, many of these young adults will find it difficult to negotiate a world they increasingly realize is no longer black and white but filled with countless shades of gray [It's only because of the attempt to blur the boundaries between right and wrong that we have shades of grey at all].... Who will be this generation's spiritual mentors? [please don't pick Mike Hayes!] While John Paul II and Benedict XVI are admirable men who set the bar of morality appropriately high and may indeed have created a stirring in the hearts and minds of many young adults, they have not aided in creating a spiritual mentoring environment for young adults in conflict. [Yeah, too bad God ain't smart enough to figure out how to "mentor" his own disciples.]

These two articles are compared side by side. So the only glimmer of truth I found on was tainted by "the other view" which puts no trust in the promise of Christ never to abandon his Church.

Now, normally I'd simply never visit the site again. This internet thing, so I hear, is big enough for the both of us. But I'm going to stick around their discussion forums for a bit and raise a little... heaven. Any bets as to how long before they politely ask me to make myself welcome somewhere else?


  1. Disclaimer: I realize this is missing the point completely, but I'm a nerd and couldn't help myself from doing a comparison (statistics are fun).

    I did a search for a few keywords using Google's internal site search feature for your blog. Your site is on the left of the slash and your findings for Broken Halo is on the right for comparison's sake.

    Poverty 1/89
    Bush 12/76
    (Harper 30)
    Conservative 158/66
    Environment 2/60
    Gay 9/55
    Liberal 25/46
    Abortion 9/39
    Republican 2/27
    Homosexuality 4/26
    Democrat 0/20
    John Kerry 1/16
    (Paul Martin 22)
    Contraception 5/10
    Gore 0/8
    Masturbation 0/5
    NFP 1/1

    Your conservative to liberal ratio is weighted to the same side, although slightly more extreme. Maybe it's your lack of posts on poverty and the environment that spare you from being labelled part of the Angry Left :P

  2. Touche!

    I would argue, however, that my site claims a clear bias, whereas BrokenHalo claims to be a place for anyone asking questions.

    On their T&C for their discussion forums, the state:

    "We also allow users to openly discuss their feelings on church teaching without fear of being chastised for it.... All questions and viewpoints can and are encouraged to be discussed despite the views of the Roman Catholic Church on the matters in question."

    Let's say this were a forum on health food. Would the site moderators encourage all perspectives? If a commenter stated that he feels vegetables aren't right for him because he feels he gets enough nutrition from donuts, would he be taken seriously?

    Yet there are all kinds of examples of unhealthy spiritual choices being taken seriously here, like their recent column on Pro-Life gays & lesbians, or the editorialist who said she puts things like the Church's teaching on contraception and women's ordination aside.

    My point is, only people who want things to change begin to question them. You never hear appeals for "dialog" from the orthodox groups in the Church.

    It's that intolerance of tradition & Church authority that I am trying to bring to light here.

  3. Sorry, I guess that came off wrong. I was aware of the bias stated or unstated by both websites. I simply enjoyed the irony that statistically high word counts would be equally as likely to indicate someone passionately against as for the subject implied by said word.

  4. I'll be the first to admin the methodology is flawed. As I was running those stats, I thought it would be useful to analyze each article to determine if it was using the word in a pro or con sense, but... I do have a bit of a life.

    When I first started my blog, I had Google Adsense running, but found it was giving me ads only for things I was against, based on the frequency of the words.

    I will say, that of the articles I read - and there were quite a few - none of them used the relevant words in a way that would make me think they unequivocally supported the authority of the Magesterium.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with Doggie's observation that the BustedHalo site is a wolf is sheeps clothing. So I encourage all my fellow Catholics to present the Church's position (as I do when I can) because it is so sorely needed on the site. I especially like the comments that Convert_to_Christ writes and I think he needs support! Vinnie


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