Monday, June 27, 2011

New Canadian bishops’ document seeks to rescue youth from ‘gay culture’

Here's my beef with this document.

It neatly presents Catholic teaching.  Who's actually going to implement it?

The Catechism already said what this document says. And there is widespread dissent against Church teaching on homosexuality. So what's going to change with this document?

We hear stories of homosexual dating in the seminaries. We hear of priests denouncing Church teaching on homosexuality. Fr. Raymond Gravel even celebrated a gay-pride Mass in St. Pierre-Apôtre Church in Montreal.

Why is this allowed to happen?

Nothing ever happens to any priest or professional Catholic who dissents from Church doctrine.

And if nothing happens to the priests, then nobody is going to take this document seriously.

A few MP's got their knuckles rapped during the same-sex marriage debate some years ago. I note that these disciplinary measures were few and far between. And I've never heard of a priest or a catechist being reprimanded in the same way for their opposition to Church teaching. It seems a little unfair for MP's to pay the price, when dissenting clergy is an even bigger problem. If clergy don't tell MP's what the truth is, how are they to be expected to act and vote in accordance to Catholic beliefs? And more broadly, how are the Catholic faithful expected to adhere to Catholic doctrine?

Look, nobody wants to beat Catholic doctrine into people. But on the flipside, if you're in charge of a diocese or a parish, or educating children, you should be expected to uphold Catholic doctrine.

And we know that doesn't happen.

The only way the the Catholic Bishops' declarations are going to be taken seriously as more than mere lip service to Magisterial teaching is if they start getting serious with making sure that their Catholic personnel are orthodox. And if they're not, fire them.  If they are not qualified for the job, don't take them on.

Until the bishops make this their policy, the documents they issue will remain a dead letter. They undermine their own authority and credibility when they fail to make sure those working under them don't uphold the same teachings. It gives the faithful the impression that they are not expected to adhere to Catholic doctrine, either.

What this would mean, concretely, to begin with, is only accept seminarians who are faithful to Catholic teaching. If a potential seminarian doesn't understand the notion of "faithful to the Magisterium" he probably isn't ready for the priesthood.

Only hire seminary professors who who are orthodox.

Only hire chancellory staff who are orthodox.

Only assign orthodox priests in parishes.

If there is a widespread doctrinal controversy in one's diocese, tell people what the truth is, and then discipline those who are recalcitrant.

Until the bishops start doing this en masse, these documents will have no effect. So long as bishops act as administrators, and not people in charge of upholding and transmitting the truth, the faithful will not take them seriously: neither the lukewarm nor the orthodox, and especially not the dissenters.