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Catholics Beware

11 Mar

I’ve tried (really, I have) to be patient, understanding, TOLERANT, accepting and even forgiving of the Catholic Church. It’s important to note the distinction here that I’m speaking of the “Church” — not the faith in general and its membership (though my patience with some among its members has been tested, as well).

I readily admit I don’t understand all of the trappings, rituals and traditions of the Catholic Institution but in this instance and in this writer’s opinion, that really doesn’t matter.

This [blog] entry is about hypocrisy. Certainly, it’s fair to say that each one of us is occasionally guilty of being a hypocrite. We wish to believe the best about ourselves but even the best of intentions can fall to the wayside on occasion when our principles are thoroughly tested.

If you claim yours are not; that you never waver from your path great for you! (That either makes you a liar or a saint.)

My own principles have been tested often and I’ll be the first to admit that on more than a few occasions, I’ve failed the test miserably. I’d like to think I’m too good to fail; that my morals are as strong as steel but the truth is [sometimes] when the cost of having to live by those principles is too great, I falter and take the easier route. I’m not going to beat myself up for it since I know I’m no saint; that I’m only human and as such, have fallen far short of being perfect by any measure of the definition.

But when I make a mistake, people don’t lose their jobs (as in “one person, PLURAL jobs”). The Catholic Church has demonstrated, once again, just how narrow-minded and hypocritical the organization can be. And before somebody says, “Michael, you’re slinging mud and making a baseless accusation” … BULLSHIT! I’m simply unwilling to sit on the sidelines and allow what I see as a transgression made by an institution against an individual go without response. Certainly, as a simple blogger on the Internet, I don’t really expect my words to make any difference in the grand scheme of things but I’ll give my own two cents worth of opinions and weigh in on the matter all the same.

But first a word of Congratulations…

to Al Fischer and Charlie Robin

Photo of Al Fischer

Al Fischer, a music teacher at St. Ann Catholic School in Normandy was fired in February, 2012, after word got out that he planned to marry his male partner of 20 years in New York, one of a handful of states where gay marriage is legal.

Committed to one another for twenty (20) years, Al and Charlie were recently “married” in front of the Bethesda Fountain in New York City’s Central Park. They could think of no better way to celebrate their anniversary (nor can I). Of course, the Catholic Church being the almighty purveyor of sound moral values, acceptance and understanding (please, I’m being sarcastic) would much rather the two men continue to live their lives in secrecy; quietly in the shadows, void of having made any formal commitment to love, honor and cherish one another, both in good times and in bad.

The truth is they were never secretive about their relationship (it just wasn’t until they chose to get married that the Pope’s henchmen decided it was a “problem”).

Both men had been open about their relationship at St. Ann Catholic School where Mr. Fischer taught music and as well, at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Church where he worked as a part-time choir director. Both pastors were well aware of the men’s relationship (which begs the question, “If it was such a problem for them to get married, why wasn’t it a problem for them to receive communion? Isn’t that a BIG “no-NO!” in the Catholic Church?)

It wasn’t until Mr. Fischer told his colleagues during a staff meeting that he and his partner were to be married, that it “became” a problem. Those who worked alongside him applauded and showed their support but unbeknownst to Al, an official from the Archdiocese of St. Louis was present (I’m guessing the tattle-tale wasn’t clapping).

Mr. Fischer was informed a day later that he would have to leave his job. He had, after all, signed a witness statement that prohibited him from taking a public stand against the tenets of the church (see page 13). He was also relieved as part-time choir director of the church where he and his partner have worshiped for more than six years (they are looking for a new church to call home).

Lest anybody think otherwise, Mr. Fischer was a well-respected, “openly gay” man. Parents of his students opposed his dismissal, taking part in what has been described as a “spirited e-mail campaign” in support of him staying. None of that matters.

The Catholic Church has its reputation to protect, after all. They “claim” they don’t judge and are forgiving, accepting and tolerant of homosexual men and women but when it comes right down to it, the leadership of the church is more interested in towing the archaic rituals of a long, by-gone era during which LGBTQ persons were looked upon as mentally ill. I’d love to know what skeletons (and I’m sure there are a few) might be hiding in the Pope’s own closet, propped up next to his gaudy red Prada shoes.

And before anyone tries to justify these actions by using the well-worn out argument that marriage between two persons of the same sex goes against God’s intentions for marriage (actually, I think “marriage” is something we humans cooked up, fwiw)… Well, let’s talk about that.

The Rev. Bill Kempf, St. Ann’s pastor, said in an emailed statement that the parish was “recently informed by one of its teachers of his plan to unite in marriage with an individual of the same sex. With full respect of this individual’s basic human dignity, this same-sex union opposes Roman Catholic teaching as it cannot realize the full potential a marital relationship is meant to express. As a violation of the Christian Witness Statement that all Catholic educators in the Archdiocese of St. Louis are obliged to uphold, we relieved this teacher of his duties.

Some believe that the purpose behind marriage is procreation. Bullshit! We don’t deny old people who are beyond their child-bearing years the right to marry. We don’t say to the barren woman, “Sorry, you can never marry because you cannot conceive a child” (or something similar to the man whose noodle is dysfunctional).

No, marriage is about LOVE! It’s not about bringing rug-rats into the world (though I love children and wish I had a few of my own).

What did Reverend Bill think was going on in the home of Al Fischer and his partner, Charlie Robin, all those years? That at the end of the day they were returning home to play house and count a few marbles; perhaps playing a game or two of Scrabble but (gasp! Dare I say it?) never would they think of doing anything that any other committed couple might do. Certainly they wouldn’t have friends over for dinner or comfort one another at the loss of a family member and God forbid, SURELY they would never, EVER express their love in the dead of night, as they lay wrapped in each other’s arms in the same bed. Oh my! It’s just too much to consider so I’m certain good old Bill MUST have restricted his own thoughts of the two OPENLY gay men to “they’re just ‘friends’!” Yeah, that must have been it because everybody knows that a good Catholic homosexual man must remain chaste, just as a good priest must keep his dirty mits off the underage children.

I’m tired of the hypocrisy, folks. If the Catholic Church wants my support for the good works that they do (and I know that they have done good things for some), they need to pull their heads out of their arses and recognize that their approach to LGBT issues is out of touch and (put quite simply) WRONG.

To end this post on a more positive note…

Openly gay Dallas County District Judge Tonya Parker is taking a stand for marriage equality. Ms Parker is refusing to exercise her “right” to perform marriages on behalf of “straight couples until marriage equality arrives in Texas.” (As a District Judge, she is not required to perform marriage ceremonies — although she does have the right to do so if she chooses.) Because of the stand she has taken, the Stonewall Democrats are lining up behind her in support.

Namaste and peace be with you,
Michael

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About The Author

50-years old and determined to sail through life with a smile (but sometimes brash as hell). LOL. Born and raised in Carlsbad, New Mexico but having lived more than half of my life in Texas. Raised with a strong faith in God but describe myself more as simply a faithful person rather than a Christian. (Too many people rely on their religious 'beliefs' as an excuse to maintain a closed mind rather than emulate the loving nature I believe Jesus Christ did represent.) Registered as a Democrat but fiscally I'm probably more likely to identify with the Republicans. Am equally disgusted with both parties at the moment and tired of the status quo in Washington, D.C. I'm a spiritualist who believes you should reach for your dreams and believes you can attain them, for the only thing that really stands between you and your goals ... is yourself. Favorite quote of recent is "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, the present is a 'present' (a gift)..." —Author unknown

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  1. Sebastian

    March 11, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Friends,

    It is absolutely clear to me that the two of you perceive, understand and act on the basis of two almost incompatible worldviews or cultures.

    Davide’s is a pre-modern classist worldview best exemplified by the Catholic Church. Michael’s is a modern worldview exemplified by most of the rest of people in the US and other advanced societies.

    Michael is correct, the Catholic Church today has no understanding or appreciation of “separation of Church and State.” And according to current Catholic teaching why should it.

    In my personal opinion, I believe there can be no DIALOGUE between the two of you and all that you accomplish is to anger and hurt each other. Seb/Ken

     
    • MichaelM

      March 11, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Sadly, I think you are correct. I stand by what I’ve said in this entry but do believe that it is impossible to carry on a dialogue (as regards this topic) with Davide with any hope of something positive coming out of it.

      He has his opinion; I have mine. What makes this even more difficult is that he doesn’t always comprehend what it is that I’m trying to say before flying off the handle and making outlandish accusations, putting words in my mouth that I never uttered. Fact of the matter is that I never accused him of being a child molester but quite the opposite.

      This is a problem he and I have had in the past. For instance, when I used the word “DIS-ease” (meaning nothing more than “ill at ease” or “uncomfortable“); what he read was “diseased.” QUITE a different and total misrepresentation of what I had said.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Namaste,
      Michael

       
      • davide

        March 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm

        Ouch! Thats gonna hurt! Thanks guys…

         
        • MichaelM

          March 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm

          It wasn’t intended to hurt; it was an observation. Not everything is about you or I or any person in particular. You accuse me of writing about my “feelings” all of the time and yet, you do the same thing (under the guise of research). That’s fine; it doesn’t bother me because I think it’s “good” to be able to feel and talk about what we’re experiencing. What I take exception to is having accusations thrown at me and words stuffed in my mouth that I never uttered, sometimes (often) simply because you didn’t take the time to read what I’d actually said.

          I have cut you a lot of slack over the past year or so because I recognize that you’re Italian, English is your second language and you sometimes don’t recognize the subtle nuances or slang even, of the language (or it could just be a “regional” thing that contributes to the misunderstandings).

          But while I have often held my tongue (you won’t agree, most likely) on some things as they pertain to the Catholic Church — you’ve never been able to give the same consideration as regards homosexual advocacy groups who are simply trying to make lives better for LGBTQ persons (and by “better” I ONLY mean “of the same quality as most heterosexuals might enjoy, as heterosexuality is usually considered the ‘norm’ by comparison to homosexuality”).

          Anyway, you’re going to read into this whatever you will and reach your own conclusions – be they accurate or otherwise.

          Take care.

           
  2. Davide

    March 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Michael, 

    The question for Catholics is not why this man was fired but why was he hired in the first place? 

    Obviously, someone dropped the ball from the start where he should have been properly examined for the position. 

    Davide 

     
    • MichaelM

      March 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      And considering the level of support Mr. Fischer has from the parents of the very students of whom he was teaching (and as well, the staff/colleagues with which he worked), I suppose that kind of thinking would result in the following:

      “Their (the parent’s) children would not have had the benefit of being educated by a man who, in the opinion of the parents, had been doing an admirable job of teaching their children for four years.”

      Suppose it’s always better to protect the institution rather than look after the needs of the children.

      I understand your point; I just happen to disagree with the Church’s attitude toward homosexuality in general.

      With all of the things in this world to spend money on and worry about, the Catholic Church “knuckle-draggers” in positions of leadership continue to expend much time and energy enforcing a belief-system (with regard to homosexuality) that is sorely out of touch and out of date.

      Michael

       
      • Davide

        March 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm

        Michael, the Church teaching on homosexual behavior protects children. This why this man was fired and should have never been hired to begin with. It’s all about protecting the kids. I get you don’t agree. But I guess I wish you could speak without the name-calling and bigotry. It just looks immature for a 50 year old man. A teenage yes, but a near 50 year old man? But it’s your blog. Anyways thanks

         
        • MichaelM

          March 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm

          Bigotry? Look, Davide… I’ve gone out of my way to accommodate the Catholic Church on a number of fronts but their continued attacks (and yes, they ARE attacks) on both, the LGBT community and as well on the foundation upon which our country was built (because Rome has no clue as to what “separation of Church and State” means) are worthy of response.

          You don’t like the way in which I call the Church out for its bigotry and prejudice, fine, I get that but you cannot deny that I’ve gone out of my way to try and also commend the institution for those works that I think are good. You’re constantly crying about how the government is going after and attacking the Catholic Church here in America. I’m not so quick to agree with that and in fact, I find it humorous that just as you are always suggesting that lesbians and gays are quick to play the “victim card” (which is bullshit)… you play the same card with regard to the RCC. However, that is an entirely different blog subject/entry altogether; just pointing out the hypocrisy is all.

          And for the record, I turn forty-nine tomorrow; I’m not fifty thank you very much (though I might feel much older than that). LOL. Regardless, a man of ANY AGE is entitled to be passionate about what he believes in — and I believe in equality. If that is something you cannot understand, then perhaps you’re expecting more of me than I’ve seen you give to your own readers on your own blog. Think about it… Pretty much the majority of the entries (that I have read) make NO ATTEMPT whatsoever to give credit where credit is due, to those organizations that are working on behalf of your own rights and equality. Instead, you are quick to dismiss and accuse such equality-minded organizations (or organizations that are in existence simply to promote the understanding of, acceptance and tolerance toward LGBTQ persons or those who are even perceived to be gay) of having agendas which they clearly do NOT have.

          It’s your mind, however. I may not agree with you but you’re always welcome to express your opinions here. Just don’t always expect me to be gentle and kind in my responses when you accuse me of bigotry (which is bullshit). Name calling, yes, when it’s (imo) called for — because those who are hell-bent on clinging desperately to concepts and ideas that have “long since been disproven” ARE knuckle-draggers (in my opinion). It seems to me that Dolan and the Pope are worthy of the description because, on many fronts, they simply cannot evolve past the dark ages. But that’s just my opinion (which I am entitled to, just as you are your own).

          I sided with you on the issue of the Fr. not giving communion to Barbara Johnson because I felt, even in spite of this being her mother’s funeral, that she was given ample advance warning that he would not give communion to her and she purposefully approached him anyway. He was correctly following the lead of his superiors (even if they did throw him to the wolves after, which I take great issue with). BUT, in this case the treatment of Al Fischer was and remains wrong.

          And do NOT give me this crap about “protecting the children.” Children are at risk whereas pedophiles are concerned; being gay or lesbian NO MORE makes a man or woman a danger to a child than a heterosexual. Do you seriously believe otherwise? Do you consider YOURSELF a danger to children? If so, tell your parents that you can’t be trusted to be alone with your adoptive siblings any longer. Personally, I do NOT think you’re a risk to kids but perhaps you know something that I don’t. That isn’t an attack on you; it’s simply a point I’m making to demonstrate just how ridiculous you sound when you say such things, Davide.

           
          • Davide

            March 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm

            I am not a homosexual I haven’t been one in almost two years. I was not even talk about child abuse I was talking about immoral sexual homosexual behavior. Not child abuse. I personally do not care what you think of Jesus or His Church or whatever. I just don’t understand the hatred and name calling you spew. It is a turn off…I am sure there is much more to this story there always is. Barbara Johnson turns out to be a Buddhist not even a Catholic. But everyone now knows what kind of bitch she is. She will sow what she has reaped. Okay see you

             
            • MichaelM

              March 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm

              And this time I’m taking the last word. I don’t “hate” the Catholic Church; I don’t like what some of those who are in positions of leadership “within the Church” are doing or the attitudes that they represent.

              Jesus? I didn’t bring Jesus into this conversation; you just did. Personally, I’m very much in favor of what Jesus Christ preached/taught during His time here on earth. It’s a shame that there are many within organized religions who fail to comprehend the message of love He tried to get across to all who would listen (they’re more interested in judging, condemning and posturing).

              “His Church”? Oh yes, here we go with the “If you’re not a member of the Catholic Church then you’re beyond salvation and aren’t a follow of Jesus Christ or the true God.” You continue to believe that, Davide. As for myself, I have always maintained that where love is present, all paths lead to God. It isn’t about belonging to one particular faith or another; it’s about “how you live your life” (and trust me, there are a good many pastors, clergy, bishops, etc. who do NOT live their lives in accordance with the will of God).

              Barbara Johnson, a “bitch”? Hmm, seems that I’m not the only one who is capable of a little bit of name-calling. Those who live in glass houses and such… Take care.

               
          • Davide

            March 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm

            I just read what you fully said…are you accusing me of molesting my siblings?

             
            • MichaelM

              March 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

              Oh for Christ’s sake, no. YOU are the one who is continually making the claim that children are not safe around homosexuals. Think about it. If you truly believe this and you’re gay (SSA, whatever the hell you want to call it) then YOU are saying they aren’t safe around you. Don’t go putting words in my mouth, Davide. You said it; you own it.