Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Gay Cardinal

scandal (ˈskændl, from Lat. scandalum, 'stumbling-block'): any word or action which has at least the appearance of evil, and which is the occasion of sin to another. (The New Catholic Dictionary, pp. 867-868)

In the Summer of 2000, the year of the "Great Jubilee" of the Catholic Church, some 250,000 people fell upon Rome to partake in an event known as WorldPride. The organizers of the event, which has since taken place in Jerusalem (2006), London (2012), and Toronto (2014), describe its mission as "the celebration and promotion of the history and culture of global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, and Two-Spirited communities." Translated into the language of common sense, that means: encouraging people to take pride in deviant sexual behavior.

When faced with such a public celebration of moral perversion and libertinism, it is impossible for a son of the Church to remain silent. Pope John Paul II responded accordingly:
In the name of the Church of Rome, I must express sadness for this affront to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 and the offence to Christian values of a city that is so dear to the heart of Catholics of the whole world.
He then delivered a catechism lesson to the crowd of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square on the objective disorder and intrinsic evil of homosexual acts. And in this, he did nothing particularly heroic, but rather exactly what every pastor of the Church is morally bound to do: to point out the snares of the devil and guide his flock to safety. To fail in this most fundamental duty on such an occasion would have been to commit the sin of scandal. As the Pope noted in the same audience:
The Church cannot silence the truth, because she would fail in her fidelity to God the Creator and would not help in discerning what is good from what is evil.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks clearly on the issue of scandal.
§2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense. 
§2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: 'Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.' (Mt 18:6) Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing. (Mt 7:15) 
§2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion. Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to 'social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.' (Pius XII, Discourse, June 1, 1941) This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger (cf. Eph 6:4; Col. 3:21), or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values. 
§2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. 'Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!' (Lk 17:1)

Given such clear and forceful teaching, one might feel safe in expecting that every pastor of the Church, regardless of rank, would take all necessary precautions to ensure avoiding any cause for scandal among the faithful entrusted to his care - particularly scandal relating to a grave matter explicitly denounced by the recently canonized Pope John Paul II. Yet such an expectation operates on the assumption that all pastors of the Church see the spiritual well-being of the Catholic faithful as their supreme duty. And that is where the problem resides.

Yesterday, it was announced that the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade will allow a homosexual activist group to participate in the Parade. While homosexuals have always been allowed to participate in the Parade, this is the first time they will be allowed to march under their own banner. A statement issued by the Parade committee explains the background to the decision:

The NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade has celebrated Irish culture, heritage, tradition, and the faith of St. Patrick since 1762. In its 252-year history, the parade has included individual marchers of every political and personal persuasion, including members of the gay community. Indeed, in recent years, we have encouraged all New Yorkers and gay participants to join with any of our 320 marching units as a symbol of our inclusiveness. 
At the same time, organizers have diligently worked to keep politics of any kind out of the Parade in order to preserve it as a single and unified cultural event. Paradoxically, that ended up politicizing the Parade.  This grand cultural gem has become a target for politicization that it neither seeks nor wants because some groups could join the march but not march with their own banner. 
To address that and move forward, Parade organizers welcome the LGBT group, 'Out@NBCUniversal' to march in the 2015 NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade under its own banner. WNBC TV has long been our broadcast partner in televising the NYC Patrick's Day Parade around the nation. 
This change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics as it moves into its 253rd year, all the while remaining loyal to Church teachings and the principles that have guided the parade committee for so many decades.

That the Parade committee would eventually cave in to the financially loaded homosexual lobby, though regrettable, was to be expected. The Parade generates too much revenue for too many people for it to be shut down over what in the eyes of the world amounts to moral hairsplitting. The fact that they do so while claiming to "remain loyal to Church teachings" and "the faith of St. Patrick," however, should - at the very least - elicit a corrective response from the prelates of New York. In fact, we should expect someone of the rank of Archbishop or Cardinal to put his public authority behind those teachings and demand that either the ostensibly Catholic committee refuses to permit groups who openly promote homosexuality to participate in the Parade, or else the support of the Catholic Church will be withdrawn from the event. But, again, such an expectation operates on an assumption which cannot be taken for granted.

In a move which beggars belief, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has announced that he will accept the offer to serve as Grand Marshal for the 2015 St. Patrick's Day Parade. In a statement issued yesterday, the Cardinal wrote:
The Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee continues to have my confidence and support. Neither my predecessors as archbishop of New York nor I have ever determined who would or would not march in this parade (or any of the other parades that march along Fifth Avenue, for that matter), but have always appreciated the cooperation of parade organizers in keeping the parade close to its Catholic heritage. My predecessors and I have always left decisions on who would march to the organizers of the individual parades. As I do each year, I look forward to celebrating Mass in honor of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, and the patron saint of this archdiocese, to begin the feast, and pray that the parade would continue to be a source of unity for all of us.
The scandal here is not that people might come away from having watched the St. Patrick's Day Parade with the notion that the Church now supports deviant sexual behavior, or that the Church's perennial teaching regarding the objective disorder and intrinsic evil of homosexual acts has changed. Few today could honestly claim to be entirely ignorant of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ (miserere nobis) and His Church teaches. The scandal is that Cardinal Dolan's tacit approval of the participation of a homosexual activist group in a parade bearing the name of a Catholic saint will give people the very distinct impression that the Catholic Church doesn't stand behind what she teaches because she doesn't really believe it herself - the conclusion being: they don't have to, either.

Mind you, gentle reader, I'm not suggesting that Cardinal Dolan is actively working to scandalize and destroy the faith of Catholics. That would require a sense of purpose on the part of the Cardinal which I see no reason to assume. As recently as 2007, then Archbishop Dolan described what appeared to be his personal concerns regarding the failings of evangelization in the modern world:
Maybe the greatest threat to the Church is not heresy, not dissent, not secularism, not even moral relativism, but this sanitized, feel-good, boutique, therapeutic spirituality that makes no demands, calls for no sacrifice, asks for no conversion, entails no battle against sin, but only soothes and affirms. Our preaching can then become cotton candy-ish: a lot of fluff, air and sugar, but no substance.
Six years, one pope and an elevation later, the Cardinal's concerns regarding evangelization had radically changed:
If the perception of the Church is of a scold who's always nagging and always negative and always fearful, we're not going to make many converts, because nobody wants to join the Church out of fear or join a paranoid group. If we emphasize the positive, the gracious, the embracing, the warm, inviting side of the Church, then we're going to attract people.
These are not the words of a man driven by subversive ideology or revolutionary vision. These are the words of a skilled politician, a yes-man whose main concerns are career advancement, fiscal solvency and maintaining good public relations. If he lives long enough to see another cardinal raised to the Chair of Peter, we should expect nothing else than to see his position morph into whatever that new situation seems to require.

As for the near future - March 17, 2015, to be precise - we will - barring divine intervention - see nothing which departs from the current position of moral indifferentism à la "Who am I to judge?": not only will Cardinal Dolan refuse to condemn this perversion of the faith of St. Patrick (ora pro nobis), he will be standing at the head of it. And grinning gaily from ear to ear, no doubt.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated according to both content and form. If you would like to keep your comments private, please indicate this, and include your email if you would like a personal response. Thank you for commenting.