The Flying Buttress: What Inquisitors' Minds Want to Know

An archive for issues of The Flying Buttress newswire, whose purpose is to comment satirically on dissent within and relating to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Disclaimer: These publications are works of satirical fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, but it all depends on what you mean by the word "is." May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Letter to the Jesuits

A Letter to the Jesuits
+This week we publish a letter to the Society of Jesus from one of our readers: Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach SJ A. R. P. N. Kolvenbach Peter-Hans Borgo Santo Spirito, 4 00193 Roma Italia Fr. Bradley M. Schaeffer, President U.S. Jesuit Conference 1616 P St., NW • Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20036-1420 Dear Fathers: I am a Catholic layman in America, relatively new to the Church. Since I have not had the blessing of a Catholic upbringing, I do not feel very “Catholic” as of yet. As I seek to deepen my sense of Catholic identity and submit myself to the fullness of Catholic truth, however, I keep stumbling over the various expressions of dissent that saturate the American Church. Unfortunately, I have found that much of this dissent originates from within your Society - and in more than ample measure from Jesuits in the Cincinnati Archdiocese where I live.

Please keep in mind that I do not possess the degree of sophistication and erudition for which the Jesuits are renowned. However, in my 55 or so years on this earth, I have developed a modicum of “critical thinking skills.” When I apply these analytical skills to the many Jesuit public statements “nuancing” Church teaching, I find that they do not pass even a threshold logic test, let alone the more rigorous test of orthodoxy. These repeated failures of logic have led me to a considerable skepticism, not only about the nature and quality of Jesuit training and education, but about the internal culture of the Order. The most recent case in point, and probably the most publicized, is the typical Jesuit response to the Congregation for Catholic Education’s recent instruction on homosexuals in the priesthood. That response is, of course, consistent with prior Jesuit statements on the general phenomenon of homosexuality, statements which align themselves with an ideology seeking to normalize this behavior.

Here are the most insistent arguments I’ve encountered on this issue:

1. Compassion and Christian Charity. This appears to be the foundation for all Catholic appeals on behalf of homosexuality. Compassion is defined as “deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.” But how does one relieve it - that is, what is the charitable response to suffering? Jesuit homosexual apostles would have us believe that (a) this suffering is caused by religious and cultural taboos, not by the behavior itself and the conscience reacting to it, and therefore (b) the charitable act (relief) is to eliminate the taboo.

Yet, despite widespread social acceptance and de rigueur condemnation of the Church’s taboo, the suffering of those trapped in homosexuality continues to intensify and spread. Could this be the suffering which results from sin, as the Church teaches? Is it charitable to rationalize away a compulsive, addictive, life-threatening and self-destructive behavior pattern? In other words, should charity promote suffering? The Catechism states that “the fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy.” I believe the correct term for your homosexual advocacy would not be charity, but well-intentioned (or cynical?) cruelty.

Moreover, one cannot eliminate sickness by simply taking it off the list, as the APA tried to do with homosexuality in 1973. While you’re at it, why not announce cancer cured by calling it an alternate form of health?

2. Jesus loves everyone, even (and especially) sinners. Therefore, continues this clever train of thought, gays should be welcomed at every level of the Church. Upon this devious and shameful half-truth rests the new homosexual birthright, ratified by the Jesuits: universal absolution of all sin through the sacrament of tolerance. And its corollary: a new measure of personal integrity based not on moral right or wrong, not on virtue, but on “comfort with oneself” and therefore “comfort with one’s experiences.”

With this new entitlement, experience trumps religion - that is, the narcissism of sexual liberation is now absolute. There are no longer sins, or sinners, just “levels of comfort.” That axiom is already the basis for our secular sexual madness - why not apply it to the Catholic Church?

Because, in the words of Fr. Robert D. Smith, “Satan's primary message.... [is] that God loves us so much that we do not have to repent to be saved.”

Now here is an extraordinary event: a half-formed Catholic layman reminding a Jesuit that the presence of sin means there is something wrong that needs to be corrected, an obstacle to our salvation that needs to be confessed, forgiven, and not repeated. Or does sin, to a Jesuit, mean an open invitation to more sin?

3. Catholic teaching discriminates against gays. This would be the logical equivalent of “the kingdom of heaven discriminates against sinners.” And speaking of affective maturity, notice the infantile tantrum inherent in these attitudes:

*“There’s nothing wrong with me or my behavior, and the Church has no right to tell me otherwise!”

*“I have the right to do as I please, and no standards but my own and those who act as I do can be applied to my behavior.”

*Not to mention, “The right to my sexual preference is a matter of social justice, and anyone who judges me for it should be imprisoned for hate crimes!”

In the face of these “society and God are my rubber stamps” arguments, one wonders: why bother to have religion?

This position incorrectly applies secular civil rights standards to religious morality. “Discriminate” has quite a different meaning when applied to morality. Here it does not mean prejudice, but to distinguish among available options - as in, to discriminate between right and wrong, to judge wisely between what leads to peace and what leads to suffering.

Any Jesuit should know this - unless of course he has been mesmerized by the linguistic apparitions of homosexual rhetoric.

4. Gays have feelings too. They can love each other, establish relationships, and raise families. This presumes that the Church, in calling homosexuality sinful, denies the very humanity of those who practice it, relegating them to some sub-human strata. Again, a deliberate distortion of “sin.” Being a sinner does not make us sub-human; in fact, it is the very tragic essence of our humanity. The question is, are we seeking to purify ourselves of this condition (following the Church’s teaching), or are we wallowing and reveling in it?

To take this reasoning one step further: America’s jails are full of criminals who have feelings, can love each other, establish relationships, and raise families. Does that mean they are not really criminals, and that we should fling open the jail doors and set them all loose on society? Homosexual acts, of course, are not secular criminal acts, but they are crimes against the soul (“soul”: a word mysteriously missing from gay Catholic apologetics). If we build a house of gay acceptance upon a foundation of disorder, sickness and suffering - and denial and deceit - what sort of house will that be?

When I measure the shallow cleverness of these half-truthful positions against the fabled depth and intelligence of the Jesuits, I am struck by one thing: an air of desperation. It is a mark of human nature for men to grasp at straws in order to justify their own behavior. With that in mind, I ask you a blunt question: is the Society harboring an elite homosexual club?

You may find this question a shocking and impertinent affront to your dignity and stature; nevertheless, it is one which is on the minds of many. Do the perceptions of the Catholic “Man in the Pew” interest you? Would it bother you if, at the mere mention of the name “Jesuit,” Catholic Everyman rolled his eyes heavenward and wondered what perverse and bizarre casuistry would follow?

The Church teaches several postures which bear spiritual fruit. Two of them are kneeling in humble prayer before Our Lord, and standing to reason grounded in faith. Would not these same postures also befit the Pope’s men, who are charged with dedicating their lives to serve Christ and His Church? Or is a vastly different posture - stooping to self-deception and deceit - now the way of the Jesuit?