Although I try not to dwell on it overmuch, in fact I ignore it as much as I might, this is ‘Gay Pride’ month, which used to be a scant week-long event, but one supposes that was not enough time to get the point across. Now, it seems, to paraphrase the country song, it’s always Gay Pride somewhere.
But, then, what is the point of these, what shall we call them, festivities? Celebrations? Commemorations? These are all terms fitting for liturgical events, or recalling some significant aspects of human life, birthdays, anniversaries. Yet what are we meant to celebrate here?
I wrote a while back that most people seem to have only a vague idea of what LGBTQ2 is all about, conflating same-sex friendship – a perfectly natural thing – with same-sex erotica, which is a perfectly unnatural thing. Every letter in the celebrated acronym is a disorder, at both the moral and metaphysical level which, if acted upon, becomes an intrinsic evil, leading only some vitiation of the human soul, psyche and often the body itself. Certainly not much to be ‘proud’ about, especially when the depravity is flaunted, adulated and, now, enshrined into law as something good, criticism of which will soon be illegal. ‘Gay pride’, whatever its initial intent, has gone leagues beyond any purported protest against unjust discrimination, and is now in full flaunting mode. Just Google ‘Gay Pride’ for a glimpse, but a caution that what you might see cannot be unseen.
Hence, it seems natural and commendable for a pastor, a guide of souls, to warn his flock, especially the young and impressionable, against participation in such a squalid and scandalous enterprise, as did Father Robert Chisholm of Picton, Ontario, a town of about 4000 souls, on the Saint Lawrence River in the Kingston diocese.
So it is somewhat disconcerting that this priest, who dares actually speak a few lines of obvious truth and solid pastoral advice, is the one reprimanded by his own newly-appointed Archbishop, who claims the priest’s “inappropriate comments…do not reflect the spirit of accompanying charity and compassion that should always characterize our faith”.
One wonders where all this accompanying is meant to lead. There is a proper sense of patient and compassionate journeying with others to lead them gradually to the truth, while protecting one’s own soul, and the souls of those for whom one has charge – especially children.
Yet ‘Gay Pride’ is not all that much about accompaniment – as the ‘pride’ signifies – but rather a celebration of the whole lifestyle as something good, and any criticism as of this agenda as something bad. From the terse text of the Archdiocesan response, one might conclude – although I don’t think this was the intent – that refusing to march in their parades is somehow un-Christian.
Which brings us back to Father Chisholm. Perhaps his blurb might have been more nuanced, but I must confess – and I think I speak for any number of others – that it’s disheartening to hear and see liturgical banality and even abuse rampant – one can scarcely attend a Mass nowadays without gritting one’s teeth – attendance not-so-surprisingly plummeting; Humanae Vitae ignored and flouted, contraception presumed; marriages and families falling apart; annulments rubber-stamped; pornography and sexual deviance winked at, heresies and humdrum preached, and the list goes on. Yet when one lone priest stands up for sanity and orthodoxy, he is the one made to eat crow, put in his place with the full rigour of episcopal authority, castigated by his own flock protesting outside his church – including rainbow-bedecked children – as a homophobic hate-monger. He may at least take comfort in Christ’s prophecy about those who bring such hate upon themselves in the cause of truth…
I wish Archbishop Mulhall only the best, and pray for him daily (he was bishop of our diocese before Kingston, and I sang at his ordination, so this is a difficult thing to write). We must be wary of judging the actions of others, especially our pastors, without knowing all the details. The question of when and how to confront evil is a complex one, that must be guided by prudence and counsel. There are many ‘evils’ that we cannot remedy in this fallen world, and at times the truth itself, if spoken without charity, too hastily or in the improper context, may do more harm than good.
But whatever is said of this case, as a general modus operandi, for the Church to remain silent in the face of the waxing Gay Agenda – forgive the evocative pun – and by that I mean all that the ever-expanding acronym signifies, from gender fluidity to the ever-more deviant non-procreative uses of sex, seems a significant omission, even a dereliction of duty, whatever charitable motives may be invoked. This does not seem to be the bold modus docendi advocated by Christ, His Apostles and their successors, and any number of Magisterial exhortations.
As I write, they are mutilating children in our public hospitals in the name of ‘gender’, their minds warped in public classrooms by the ideology, the tendrils of LGBTQ2 everywhere: the media, schools, advertisements, signs, our public buildings, sidewalks, banks, stores, even our sacred spaces and churches. The aforementioned iconic and ironic rainbow, what was once, and should be, a sign of God’s covenant with Man, now a ubiquitous symbol of something quite insidious.
Our Faith first and foremost is about the truth, for an unhinged ‘charity and compassion’ on their own descend into sentimentality and complaisance. The one, holy Catholic, apostolic Church has been given the ‘fullness of truth’ by Christ and His Holy Spirit, and it is no charity nor compassion to hide that truth under a bushel basket, especially on those things upon which hinge the eternal destiny of souls; recall the old adage about where such empty hand-baskets may lead. We must be willing to call evil and good for what they are, and the primary task of the hierarchy, bishops especially, but also their priests, is to clearly and unequivocally teach and preach the truth which will set us free, the first and highest form of charity and compassion – to will the good, and to suffer with, the other.
If Father Chisholm’s comments are to be deemed ‘inappropriate’, what are we to say of Pope John Paul II’s description of a ‘Gay Pride’ parade in Rome at the turn of the millennium:
In the name of the church of Rome, I cannot not express bitterness for the affront to the Grand Jubilee of the year 2000 and for the offense to the Christian values of a city that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics across the world… The church cannot silence the truth, because it would not live up to its faith in God the creator and would not help discern what is good from what is evil.
That double negative in the first sentence, cannot not, implies a rather binding obligation, which should weigh heavily upon our conscience, a duty which the past two decades of continued moral degradation have not lessened. If anything, Father Chisholm’s parochial caveat seems more restrained than this excoriation from the usually more moderate and measured tone of the saintly pontiff. One does not often find Pope John Paul and ‘bitterness’ in the same sentence.
Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and the ‘gentle Rabbi’ was also God-made-man, Who cleansed the Temple, Who came not to bring peace, but a sword, to divide family members from one another, to cast a cleansing fire to the earth, which He wished were ‘already kindled’. The Church has all the spiritual power and authority she needs to convert the world, which should flow from our bishops, as even a brief perusal of Saint Paul’s forceful exhortations evinces. To paraphrase Pope John Paul again, it’s about time we – hierarchy as well as laity – rediscovered that primordial parrhesia.
For if the Church does not speak out, who will?