Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scandal: Catholics Being Catholics, Again

Breaking news! Catholics promoting the beliefs of Catholicism in a Catholic Church!

A rash of these types of stories broke out in the local media last fall. Now a press release from a gay activist group has the media crowding its front pages with more examples of this disturbing trend.

According to the Pioneer Press:

Officials with the Minneapolis-based Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities, a grass-roots coalition promoting acceptance of gays in the Catholic Church, see the action as an attack by Archbishop John Nienstedt, who took the helm of the archdiocese in May.

In an e-mail to supporters, committee co-founder David McCaffrey called the move "yet another volley of dehumanizing spiritual violence directed at LGBT persons and their families under Archbishop Nienstedt's reign of
homophobic hatred."

Ah, yeah. I suspect McCaffrey is also the founder of Catholic Pastoral Committee on Hyperbole and Hyperventilating.

BTW, this "spiritual violence" and "homophobic hatred" comes in the form of our fine new Archbishop affirming millennia old Catholic teaching on what constitutes mortal sin. That is, the behavior that can lead to separation from God. The avoidance of which is kind of the business the Catholic Church is in.

So, instead of allowing a Catholic Church to host a "pride" event in the name of that behavior, the Church leadership went with what they actually profess to believe, as summarized by Nienstedt:

"Those who actively encourage or promote homosexual acts or such activity within a homosexual lifestyle formally cooperate in a grave evil and, if they do so knowingly and willingly, are guilty of mortal sin," he wrote in a November article in the archdiocese's paper, the Catholic Spirit.

This belief system is not news to anyone paying attention for the past several centuries. Which is why it's always surprising to me to see the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, all the TV and radio news shows obediently cover these types of stories whenever the gay activist groups yank their chains.

To put it in terms a journalism school graduate might appreciate, the Catholic Church not hosting a Gay Pride event is dog bites man. It happens every day.

Now, a Catholic parish hosting these events, as apparently St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis has been doing so for the past several years, is man bites dog (i.e., an unusual, infrequent event more likely to be reported as news than an ordinary, everyday occurrence).

Reasonably speaking, that is what should have been covered the past few years. Maybe some shock headlines, "Catholic Parish Hosting Gay Pride Event" followed by quotes from founders of obscure pressure groups for traditional values accusing the organizers of spiritual violence and Christophobic hatred. I submit to you this would be closer to reality for the overwhelming number of citizens these media outlets claim to serve than what we are getting now.

The papers and the radio stations vary in the fairness of their coverage this year. At best, they present both sides of the argument on how to interpret age old doctrine really not up for debate. But the most thoroughly dishonest portrayal comes from the new media. Here are excerpts from Doug Grow at the website MinnPost.

Remember when it was OK for Catholics to pray with gays and lesbians?

Be careful whom you pray for.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis told staff members of St. Joan of Arc Church they could not hold their annual gay pride prayer service, according to PiPress reporter Tad Vezner.

Apparently with a straight face, McGrath said that this isn't some new crackdown because Archbishop John Nienstedt is now in charge. Recently retired Archibishop Harry Flynn would have cracked down on this, too, had he known of it, McGrath said. Maybe. But the service was not exactly an underground deal. In the past, it was advertised on St. Joan's website and in its bulletin. Many are saddened and angry — but probably not surprised.

There's got to be an award for reporting this awful. (A Pulitzer maybe?) Of course, this dispute has absolutely nothing to do with who you pray with or who you pray for. The Church encourages gay activists to attend Mass (sans sacraments, as with anyone in a state of mortal sin) and practically requires Catholics to pray for all those in mortal sin. At his age and experience, Grow should know this. In fact, comments testifying to these facts were in the article he linked to. But he ignores that, misrepresents the issue entirely, questions the integrity of the Church spokesman, and casts his favored actors as oppressed victims. Not bad for a couple of paragraph's work.

Grow is a former columnist for the Star Tribune. The only silver lining here is realizing he's now at an online liberal ghetto like MinnPost, instead of working the monopoly newspaper in town. His ability to confuse the issue and demonize his political enemies in the public's imagination is now severely limited. Let's be thankful for small favors.