Monday, September 20, 2010

A mantra and a motto

A group calling themselves "Catholics for Equality" has been sending mass emails out to the email address I use on this blog--to ask me to support their efforts to overturn DADT, among other things.

This is not a highly intelligent thing to do, especially for a group whose "About" section includes the following:

Drawing on the rich tradition of Catholic social justice teachings, grounded in the Gospel message of Love, American Catholics are among the strongest supporters of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people of any religious group in the U.S.

Yet the official voice of the hierarchy increasingly advocates discrimination and opposes reasonable measures to secure basic freedoms for LGBT Americans. Far too often, the anti-freedom voice of the hierarchy is portrayed as representing the moral values of American Catholics. [Emphasis added--E.M.]

I think I'll start a rival group, called something like "Catholics for Catholic Teaching." The purpose of this group would be to issue statements any time one of these other groups releases their typically idiotic statements and pushes their anti-Catholic agenda, and remind Catholics that as Catholics we don't consider the hierarchy "anti-freedom" or, indeed, "anti-anything" when they teach on matters of faith and morals in accordance with the teachings of the whole Church. We'll remind our fellow Catholics what words like "Magisterium" mean (heck, even Wikipedia's got that one sort of figured out). And we'll gently explain that statements like this one...
Catholics for Equality is a mainstream Catholic organization representing the opinion and attitudes of the very best of Catholic social justice values. We believe that the U.S. bishops are following the dictates of the current Vatican leadership and not the long term values of American Catholicism with its history of fairness and inclusion of all people...
...are actually heretical, in that the Church's teaching on the grave immorality of homosexual acts (which informs Church teaching on the impossibility of approving gay "marriage" and other notions) is not merely a "Vatican" idea but an ancient and unchanging part of Christian belief.

Of course, forming such a group would, in some ways, be an excessive in futility. "Catholics for Equality" obviously doesn't care in the slightest what actual Church teaching is--they just want to wave it aside as irrelevant so they can approve of the deviancy of the day. It's just too hard to stand with Christ as a sign of contradiction to the world and its sinfulness, especially when you can get in on the trendy approval by making "I'm Catholic, but..." a mantra and a motto.

UPDATE: Larry D has a serious idea to form a group that stands up for real Catholic teaching--see here!


Sharon said...

I'm in! :) I got that email too.

L. said...

Full disclosure: I'm "Catholic, but." Let's just probably wouldn't let your kids play with mine.

While I'm on the same heretical page with this group, I do have to wonder, why groups such as this one (and also like Frances Kissling's "Catholics for Choice," or whatever it was called) even bother.

The Church is what it is, and it seems that people who deeply care about social issues like these should be using their energy to change society, and not trying to change an institution that, for better or for worse, has been largely consistent for thousands of years.

And typos? On their Web site? Ouch. In addition to getting their PR under control, they apparently need a good proofreader.

Anonymous said...

I got the emai as well. What the heck?

Kim said...

Sign me up!

LarryD said...

Erin - I get those emails too.

As to your group idea, see here. I'm working on it. I'm going to be meeting with my spiritual director this month to discuss how to proceed.

Mike in CT said...

Erin, I was thinking the same thing when I got their email the other day.

I'm in.

KC said...

I did not get their email, but heard about it from a friend.

The DADT policy needs to stay in effect. I'm really worried about it. Seriously, worried. As a spouse of an active duty soldier, this is forefront in my life.

Michelle Reitmeyer (Rosetta Stone) wrote about the questionnaire she received regarding this particular policy and the direction of the questions is very, very disturbing.

I'd be in as well!

Karen M. Patrick said...

When did being an a american suddenly change the teachings of the Church? CforE keeps saying, "american catholics" like being on a certain side of the Atlantic suddenly gives us the right to pick and chose which teachings we will follow.

c matt said...

Took me a while to figure out what DADT was. Oh.

I did not get the email, so I don't know what else this group proposes (sounds like one I would not join). Church teaching is pretty clear, and correct, that SSA is disordered. But I don't know that dropping DADT is as clearly heretical as, for instance, support for SSM. Frankly, I have not heard the hierarchy's or magisterium's position on DADT (unlike SSM, which has been clearly stated). Seems there is room for disagreement on DADT, or gays in the miliraty at all, for that matter, without running afoul of Church teaching at this point.

However, rather than making that type of argument, sounds like these yahoos are spoiling for a fight, and would go against Church teaching if it was against dropping DADT.

Red Cardigan said...

Larry, cool! I'll direct people to visit that post.

c matt, I agree, and actually went to the website thinking I'd find faithful Catholics arguing that DADT was a form of unjust discrimination, unlike the legitimate insistence that homosexuals do not have the right to redefine marriage, etc. Instead it was the usual parade of dissent--boring and unoriginal.

I'd give a hearing to a thoughtful, faithful Catholic objection to DADT, even if I still disagreed with it. But this group is like any other dime-a-dozen pro-heresy group: they want to redefine the Catholic Church to suit themselves.

Anonymous said...

Why, another group? It's not like we Catholics define our faith by our heritage. Our upbringing may be from a Catholic culture, but we choose to become Catholics. We are catholic; we come from all over everywhere to celebrate our Catholicism.

scotch meg said...

I think and pray about this issue. I have a son in the Marine Corps. He was trained as a translator at the Defense Language Institute. For several months, his instructor was a civilian employee, openly gay. The instructor introduced homoerotic material into the curriculum and hit on one of the students. The student complained and eventually got the teacher removed. But I wonder what would have happened if gays were able to serve openly in the military - would this have been comparable to your high school bullying situation? Would this soldier have been able to complain at all? In theory, of course, yes - but in reality?

david said...

Do you support DADT, Erin? And if so, why is it just discrimination?

David said...

Fair enough.

Next time you imagine quoting the catechism to excuse how you treat/behave toward gays, I hope you remember this particular issue and why so many people like me find its use to be Orwellian doublespeak and ultimately devoid of any moral guidance. I believe it is empty, not least of which because I challenge you can't think of an example of discrimination that couldn't be reasoned away as just.

Don't pretend you are a fount of compassion or charity, as you are called, when you turn your eye to an evil practice as it suits you, and don't be indignant if some call you a bigot. If you do little to dissuade that impression, goodness, own your labels with as much pride as you do your religion.

Red Cardigan said...

Um, David, I missed your earlier question. That doesn't mean that I don't have an opinion--our air conditioner broke, and we had repair people out, and what with one thing and another (it's still in the mid-nineties here, folks) blogging wasn't my biggest priority.

On DADT: remember, that was the *liberal* policy authored so that active homosexual military members wouldn't be hunted down by investigation and then kicked out. Now, several years later, gay activists want homosexually active men and women to serve openly. Since other forms of sexual misconduct including relationships between officers and the enlisted, adultery, etc. are grounds for dismissal, I think that an argument can be made that permitting open homosexual activity will lead to a weakening of the cohesion formed by adherence to military discipline. How, for instance, does the military treat sexual activity between two men, one of whom is in a long-term partnership back home? Is it adultery, with grounds for dismissal, or not?

There are many legitimate military questions that would have to be worked out, and not all of them are signs of unjust discrimination. It is not unjust discrimination, for instance, that creates military rules which keep men and women from showering together--so should straight men have to shower with men who are known to be sexually attracted to men, or straight women with other women who are known to be attracted to women?

I will turn your question back around to you: do you think that any limitation at all of homosexually active people's behaviors is permissible, or is it all bigotry?

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Scotch Meg, if things were really done right, the instructor would still be removed, because homoerotic material is not what he was hired to teach, and, hitting on a student is unethical, whether heterosexually or homosexually. Whether things would be done right is, of course, a big question.

Otherwise, as a firm advocate for freedom of association, which is protected by the constitution whether I like that or not, I have to sympathize with the position that the Catholic Church is what it is. I don't accept its teachings, that's why I'm not Catholic, and when I have reason to attend mass now and then (usually an elderly Hispanic friend needs a ride) I do not take communion, even though logistically the church seldom has any procedure in place to check whether I should or not.

I sympathize with people born and raised in the church who think they have some right to influence church teachings and doctrine... but, it IS a hierarchical church. At least they should say "we are Catholics, but, we are coming together OUTSIDE the church to advance an agenda WE believe in, which has no place in the church." If the church chooses to excommunicate them, then they can always form the "American Catholic Congregational Association" or something -- sans bishops. They can claim to be "universal" as much as anyone, but they can't claim to be "Roman."