Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Leah Libresco, New Catholic, 23 years old...

Still unequally yoked.

She's thinking civil unions for gay people may be okay.

She's not making laws or changing Church teaching.

She personally thinks civil unions are okay.  Did she say marriage?  Civil marriage maybe, but she differentiates from sacramental marriage.  That's kind of big for a new Catholic.  There are bishops and priests who think the same way.  People make mistakes.

I'm against it.  The Church is against it.  The Pope is against it.  When head of the CDF, the Pope wrote against it.

Leah Libresco has a personal opinion on a popular social issue, a POV, contrary to what the CDF teaches.  So? 

A bit off topic, but somewhat related...

Recently, there's been some blog-talk about married clergy, specifically that married clergy should be continent.  They should live with their spouses chastely.  A former Anglican is in the news declaring he and his wife will be continent.  No one is up in arms about, "Yeah - but they are living in an occasion of sin!"  People make that argument about gay men living together in accord with Church teaching, albeit chastely, in continence, and, yes, celibately.  Though same sex people can not marry, nor can civil unions be supported, some Catholics don't even want ssa people to have a life.  Get it? 

Back on topic.

So anyway, a former atheist chick naively states she thinks secular civil unions might work for gay couples.  She's 23 years old.  So what?  She's not formulating Catholic teaching.  She's not even teaching.

The young lady is a new convert/new Catholic... sort of unequally yoked.  Though they were wrong to make a celebrity out of her, a little celebrity goes a long way...

Wait and see where it ends up.

She's just a kid.



  1. She's a dope... Mark Shea thinks she's brilliant...

  2. Anonymous6:28 AM

    In general, I would rather read what a cranky, middle-aged, cradle Catholic, with the blessings and burdens of being messily raised in the faith, thinks about things. These converts are starting to be a little much. Maybe I will start a portal for them.

  3. Anonymous6:55 AM

    Portal for them..."them" in the previous comment refers to the cranks. The converts already have their portals.

  4. Where does "personal opinion" end and "heresy" begin? As a non-Catholic observer, I'm curious how you distinguish.

  5. When I heard about her, I tried to read her blog. I guess I am stupid, because it's all too wordy and above my head.
    However, as a convert, my experience is that:
    1. The Church, in Her great love and wisdom, allows us in whether or not we have our act together.

    2. Over time, we get straightened out, (if we really want to, which many converts do).

    3. I agree with Terry, that she should not have been made a celebrity. Even though she is intelligent, she is still working out her faith (hopefully with fear and trembling). In this, it is possible her intelligence is a stumbling block. Who knows, but I hope she is not leading people astray.

  6. Dear Anonymous at 6:28,

    As a convert who left my childhood faith and thus drove a wedge between myself and my family, and who really suffers from the pain that my conversion to Catholicism cost me and my parents, not to mention my children and their grandparents, I just want to thank you for being so charitable and welcoming. I'm really glad I converted because of the truth of Catholicism and not because of Catholics. Sorry us converts aren't blessed enough to have been raised Catholic.

    Also, Adrienne, Leah Libresco is far from being a dope. It's not dopey to rationally work through Church teachings. There's another famous convert who did that. Maybe you've heard of him...John Henry Newman? Or is he not worth reading either, since he wasn't raised in the Catholic faith?

    I appreciate your post, Terry, and don't hold you responsible for the content of your combox. But it makes me want to hurl.

  7. Anonymous8:21 AM

    Calah, I am Anonymous at 628. I welcome converts, wholeheartedly! That is not what my comment was about, so please let me clarify. I think that converts are overrepresented in the Catholic blogosphere. That's what I meant when I said "a little much." By the way, I'm sorry that you had a painful experience with your family upon your conversion, but please remember that converts don't corner the market when it comes to pain and confusion with regards to the faith. And you're kind of making my point with that statement.

  8. Great: Cradles v. Converts. That's sure to end well. When you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way!

    Hey, Anon.: flip to Matt 28:19. Go ahead, we'll wait.

    (It's okay, you can do it: I'm a Cradle.)

  9. Anonymous8:52 AM

    Hey Thomas, Anon at 628 here! Where did I ever say that I don't want people to convert? No where. All I said is that personally, I think that converts are overrepresented in the Catholic blogosphere. Statistically speaking, this is a fact, not an opinion. Now, I will state an opinion..I am not interested in blogs by converts, including Leah Libresco's. That's all. I'm sure you have blogs that you aren't interested in? Under canon law, I am not obligated to read blogs of converts, as far as I know. But maybe you can point me out the part of the Catechism where it says that I am, since you are good at pulling out references. Have a great day :)

  10. I hope she doesn't go down the same path as Gerald (The Cafeteria is Closed blog). He was wonderful while he remained true to the Faith... The same thing brought him down.

  11. Agnikan - I suppose heresy begins when you adhere to the one and reject the other.

    I'll share something a friend wrote in an email about this post:

    "Hi Terry ... just a couple thoughts here. Isn't there somewhere in the CC directions for Catholics who have questions about the Church's teachings to seek spiritual guidance and to keep publicly quiet, for their souls are to rest in the knowledge & trust that She/the Church knows what she is teaching is correct? That the silence while praying and studying the issue(s) that it will become clear in time, and the silence will prevent scandal and prevent leading others astray. That is what I was always taught ... In away she and others (dissenting nuns, priests, lay-politicians & others) are instructing in a wayward way. Instructing ignorant outsiders and those in the pews or those who forget to church in between Holy Days, etc. Nuns on the bus are not formulating policies, but are trying to influence them to the best of their little abilities. We all have our opinions, but some should not be stated publicly ..."

    Perhaps Leah is teaching then. That is unfortunate.

  12. This comment from Mercury - for some reason he was unable to publish:

    Are former Anglicans who come into the Church as priests *really* required to live in continence, or is that just something Ed Peters came up with? I know of a lot of priests who came into the Church as Anglicans on the promise that that was not the case.

    And while I am totally on board with priests being celibate, it's a different issue altogether to make married men become continent, almost like saying that the use of marriage prevents them from being holy enough to be a real priest. This is certainly something many of the Fathers thought - that sex itself hinders holiness. But then again, this would also be news to centuries of Eastern rite clergy who seem to have been able to fulfill their duties and grow in holiness just fine.

    It is one issue to say that priests should not be married because they must have undivided allegiance to God and their parishes. It is another to say that ordained married men cannot sleep with their wives, because even if it is not said outright, what is being said is that sex itself is icky and unclean and a hindrance to holiness. And I think this message is unavoidable.

    Bottom line: FOR clerical celibacy; not so much for enforced continence on the rare exceptional married priest.

    8:07 AM

  13. Merc - I believe Ed Peters writes about the issue now an again, and it seems there is something in canon law to the effect. That wasn't my real concern though. I was throwing out the "But what about the occasion of sin aspect" which is freuently brought up as regards two ssa persons living together, as well as those heterosexual couples who cohabitate but returned to the Church. By pointing out that married clergy can live in continence, I'm saying others should be given the benefit of the doubt that they can as well.

  14. Calah, you are right - Leah is not a dope, far from it.

    And converts are the glory of the Church! Remember the parable of the laborers - the ones hired at dawn, mid-day and evening all received the same wages. Cradle Catholics have nothing over converts.

    God bless you!

  15. Thanks, Terry, I know that was your point -- I'm sorry for running off-topic.

    And it does seem canon law is ambiguous - after all, it is a big controversy, and it's looked upon with GREAT suspicion by the Eastern Church for reasons you can imagine.

    Still, the underlying notion is that sex hinders holiness, and that a married man must give it up if he's to be holy enough to be a priest. Or that anyone who REALLY wants to be holy has to give it up, or at least want to.

    As late as the 1950s, Pius XII said as much - that the marriage act itself hinders one from full abandon to God (as opposed to the *state* of marriage and the responsibilities of it) - and yet people keep saying that the church does not teach that sex hinders holiness. It seems it does, and if Peters is right, then this is reflected in canon law too.

    1. JohnD1:28 PM

      "As late as the 1950s, Pius XII said as much - that the marriage act itself hinders one from full abandon to God (as opposed to the *state* of marriage and the responsibilities of it) - and yet people keep saying that the church does not teach that sex hinders holiness."

      I'm not doubting you but do you have a source for this by any chance?

    2. It's in Sacra Virginitatis - he's expanding on something St. Thomas said.

  16. Lynne - I wanted to thank you for your comment on Gerald of Cafeteria - it is true the same issue ended his 'apologetics' career.

    Which is another good reason to always point out the error everytime is pops up in Catholic media - new and old.

  17. +JMJ+

    Mercury, I know we don't talk that much and that it may seem presumptuous for me to address you out of the blue like this; but I've been reading your comments about sex for YEARS and am wondering what the sticking point is for you.

    Is it that the Church will always value celibacy over married life, which you find unfair? Or is it that you believe the valuing of celibacy goes too far because it is at the expense of the valuing of married life?

    1. Enbrethiliel - it's okay, you do not sound presumptuous at all - I've been annoying people here for years now.

      I don't find the value of celibacy to be overrated at all - I totally get it. What bugs me is the attitude of what to me seems like the vast majority of the Fathers that the marriage act is a hindrance to holiness - and this is shared by many saints after that period (even St. Francis de Sales is careful to tell people make sure you don't like it too much).

      This continence for married priests thing - I always thought it was the celibate state that was higher, because a celibate lives solely for God and does not need to mix into worldly affairs. But the implication that married man can be a priest, so long as he "puts away his wife" seems to indicate to me that the Church's position is that it's the sex itself that is a hindrance to holiness (and not the state as such being more rooted in the world), and that it must be "done away with" before one can really grow in holiness.

      This is not at all what the Church actually teaches, but it certainly jives with what a lot of major saints have said, and I have trouble reconciling what the Church teaches with what the tradition seems to say, what the Fathers said, etc.

      In my mind, and I have never been able to shake this thought, I have a clear choice: I can either be married and live that naturally and happily OR I can pursue holiness, which must include a desire to eventually no longer do the married thing even if I am married. This is again NOT what the church teaches, but it's a self-made problem that I have imposed on myself.

    2. +JMJ+

      Thanks for replying, Merc. I have my own self-made problems, so I understand, but yours may just trump all of mine! =)

    3. Mine are really so pathetically minor and trivial that its embarrassing. And maybe I deserve this for all the ways I offended God before my conversion back to taking the Faith seriously.

      It's just miserable to feel one is called to marriage, but to also be stuck with the *inescapable* notion that unless one is trying to have less and less sexual desire for one's wife, one's not trying hard enough for holiness (and God fobid one cherish and cultuvaye such a desire). And I know what the Church says, but tradition, especially the Early Church, seems to indicate that "less sex, less desire for spouse = more holy", as well as the corollary that growth in holiness means less desire for one's wife.

  18. it's okay, you do not sound presumptuous at all - I've been annoying people here for years now.

    Merc, that was really funny.

    1. Ha! That observation made me laugh.

  19. Thank you, Terry! I wanted to reply to directly below your response but I'm stuck with an antiquated browser (at work!) which prevents me from doing so...

    Someone recently said/wrote that same-sex marriage will be the thing that causes a schism in the Church.

  20. Mercury,

    Having struggled with similar questions, I'd like to pass along the advice I received once from a priest:

    "Rather than trying to limit your love for (insert woman's name here) in any way, rather, love fully, or as some put it so poetically, "love to folly."

    But then, how do we keep God first? Not by limiting our love for people, but, rather, by seeing every person in your life - and the love you have for them in your heart - as God's gift that He personally has given to you out of His amazing love for you. That love that you feel, He has put there in your heart; therefore, love, love, love! But love God all the more by praising him and thanking him whenever you experience that love for people (to the extent that that's reasonably possible). In this way, you will be loving others "in God." When we see everything and everyone as God's gift to us ... when we see every moment of loving as His amazing gift ... we can't help but feel love in our hearts for our amazing God."

    1. Patrick, again, how beautiful. I love "love to folly." Thanks, my friend.

  21. To Spam-man: I do not know what a neo-cat is. I'm Roman Catholic.

    1. I thought we were "neo-CatHs" or "Concilarists"?


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