Friday, March 12, 2010

Pinkies up! Tempest in a Royal Doulton Teapot - "with the hand painted periwinkles" no doubt.


"Adam and Steve"
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The gay marriage fight can get kind of silly and I think we church people have to watch out becoming like spokesmen for Pat Robertson's 700 Club.  Fr. Z posts on a brouhaha stirred up at a small Gloucestershire parish in Cheltenham, UK wherein a deacon, offering a homily on Church teaching regarding the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman said marriage was meant to be " between Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."  Fr. Finnegan of Hermeneutic of Continuity explained it thus:
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"Rev Frank Wainwright mentioned civil partnerships in his sermon at St Gregory's, Cheltenham, on Sunday and said that marriage is between Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Apparently five members of the congregation have complained and the deacon has been branded as a homophobe by lesbian and gay groups." - Hermeneutic
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It is estimated about 5 members of the congregation took offense and the clergyman issued a clarification and an apology for hurting the feelings of those offended.  Fr. Finnegan summed it up elegantly:
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"Rev. Wainwright has apologised for any offence he may have caused and the Gloucestershire Gay and Lesbian Community Group has nobly accepted his apology, saying that they do not want to stir anything up. Such as an examination of the vindictive hypocrisy of the complainants perhaps?
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Deacon Wainwright said that he presumed that it was a gay member of his congregation who complained. I wouldn't be so sure. There have been several occasions in the past year when gay groups have distanced themselves from the more strident attempts to instrumentalize "equality" in the secularist attack on the Church. The real issue here is much more likely to be dissent from the teaching of the magisterium. The complainants may or may not have been gay; but you can bet that they probably don't agree with the doctrine of the Church on marriage that Deacon Wainwright was expounding in his sermon." - Hermeneutical
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Noblesse oblige.
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The protesters seem rather silly to me simply because the Adam and Steve schtick has been around for quite sometime - used by gay and straight alike.  The movie poster shown at top, advertising a gay themed movie, demonstrates this.  It's an old joke, a tired cliche - so what?  Nevertheless, it was most gentlemanly of Rev. Wainwright to take the high road and offer a gracious apology.
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Obviously Fr. Z and his commenter's think not, which is their right of course.  They make a valid point as well.  Nevertheless, to err on the side of charity in so minor a skirmish is praiseworthy in my opinion, especially considering how highly charged politically the issue of same-sex marriage has become - not to mention the many real battles that are now emerging.  For me, the Deacon's apology demonstrates the good will of the Church towards those who do not understand or accept Her teachings.  After all, he is an ordained minister and speaks for the Church. 
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As is occasionally the case with Fr. Z's com-box, it is the tone of the comments which contributes to the negative culture too often associated with the blog.  In this case, the insistence that an apology was unwarranted came off as rather arrogant.   While it may be true that an apology was unnecessary, the fact that it was made at all, without compromising Church teaching, may have provided the right antidote to the vindictiveness of the accusers.  I think the the Deacon should be commended rather than castigated for extending a conciliatory apology.  Unfortunately the poor Deacon was criticized in the com-box for using humor in his homily as well.  Sometimes I just have to shake my head - pulpit humor is often dumb - so what?
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"Through real, personal, loyal friendship, you create in others a hunger for God and you help them to discover new horizons." - St. Josemaria Escriva
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That said, another small point within Father's post I found curious was this statement from the Deacon's interview accompanied by Fr. Z's  editorial in red:  "I have plenty of gay friends [?!?]"  I might be wrong, but I couldn't help wonder if the question marks and exclamation mark was made to suggest there is something wrong with a Catholic having gay friends?  (No matter if they are "in" or "out" or "over it".)  I'm of the opinion that sort of innuendo can actually incite (unintentionally, no doubt) some of the more reactionary comments one comes across on Father's blog.  (Mind you, I have a great deal of respect for Father and his writing, however I don't comment on his blog because I have never registered - I just don't like the idea of having to register - although I am a Follower and a daily reader.)
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As Catholics, though we rightly disagree with the politics of gay activists, the lifestyle, and the movement to make same-sex marriage legal, we have to be careful not to demonize the homosexual person, despite the fact that we understand the gay agenda as anti-Christian, anti-Catholic and sinful.  We must keep in mind that not all gay people want to adopt children or want to get married, neither do all of them assume gay people have that right.  Not all homosexual persons are anti-Catholic, even though they may personally disagree with Church teaching.  Many practicing Catholic men and women with homosexual tendencies who have either never acted on these attractions, or if they have, have repented and reformed their life in accord with Catholic teaching, often continue to perceive themselves as homosexual persons, or persons afflicted with homosexual temptations.  Others may no longer identify or define themselves as homosexuals, although they retain friendships and/or professional relationships with others who do.
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Just so, when a category of people are mocked, ridiculed, condemned, marginalized, ostracized, what have you, everyone is hurt by that.
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Many of us - if not all - know and have relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, teachers, priests, students, service people, and others who may be or have been, actively gay.  It is not a sin to have friends and acquaintances who disagree with what the Church teaches.
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"Jesus walked in peace through the midst of them."  - Luke 4:30
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Love never fails.
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"Love is patient; love is kind.  Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish.  Love is never rude, it is not self seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries.  Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth.  There is no limit to love's forebearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure." - 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
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"And if people should mistake me for someone aristocratic, I don't want you telling them I'm not. It would simply confuse them. It's only good manners to let them believe it." - Hyacinth Bucket

4 comments:

  1. Perhaps the Deacon ought to have said "It's not 'I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry'; it's 'I now pronounce you Chuck and Mary'." That would have been less offensive, because it was a pretty awful movie.

    Or so I heard. I haven't seen it because of its obvious bias against people named Larry...

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  2. ......"hand painted periwinkles indeed!" And, as I'm sure you well remember, it's pronounced "bouquet."

    lol

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  3. Aceman7:30 PM

    I'm sorry, but the deacon's little levity was analogous to Dan Rather's watermelon comment last week. If neither had been said, and they didn't need to be to get the point across, no fury would have erupted.

    Watch your comments is the lesson here.

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  4. Ace - I missed the watermelon comment - is Rather getting senile or do you just think he drinks? I'll bet it had something to do with colored people, huh?

    Sometimes I crack myself up - and someday we'll look back on this and laugh!

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