Friday, October 25, 2013

God really is gravely offended by sacrilege and blasphemy...

Bishop Paprocki.

The Bishop of Springfield recently banned Rainbow Sash people and gay marriage advocates from the Cathedral, explaining that praying the rosary publicly for same sex marriage is blasphemous:
“Praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous, and as such will not be permitted in the cathedral,” he warned. “People wearing a rainbow sash or who otherwise identify themselves as affiliated with the Rainbow Sash Movement will not be admitted into the cathedral, and anyone who gets up to pray for same-sex marriage in the cathedral will be asked to leave.” - Source
The Shepherd is exercising his right and duty, protecting the sheep - he is also protecting the perpetrators from committing blasphemy, a grave offense against God.  In effect the Bishop is acting mercifully.

God is gravely offended by sacrilege and blasphemy.  We try to make reparation for such sins through prayer and penance.  ["Reparation is a work destined to save society." - Pius IX]  When possible, it seems to me it is even better to prevent the commission of such sins.  For myself, that is the positive side, the merciful aspect of Bishop Paprocki's actions, he not only prevented public blasphemy but he also protected the faithful from grave scandal.  There are consequences to sin.

Does God get angry?

People like to say God doesn't get angry, that he doesn't punish.  I'm not a theologian, but I think that may be a mistaken notion.  After all, aren't there sins that cry to heaven for vengeance?  Doesn't every sin carry with it some sort of chastisement?  In the Old Testament there are numerous examples of God's 'wrath', likewise, private revelations in recent times have indicated that God is not pleased - to say the least - by the increase of sin throughout the world.  In her apparitions Our Lady frequently calls Christians to amend their lives and stop offending God, who is already gravely offended.

Pondering the purposeful actions of Bishop Paprocki, I searched St. John of the Cross for examples of prayers which might displease God - the type which could be considered blasphemous or sacrilegious.  I searched for scriptural references I knew St. John used to illustrate God's anger over similar things.  St. John points them out by way of his teaching on prayer and the purification required in preparation for a soul to arrive at union with God. 

God has fixed natural and rational limits by which man is to be ruled.

I couldn't really find anything directly related to God's anger because someone prayed for something illicit or against his will.  We know of course that God punished the Israelites for complaining and demanding the food they craved as they wandered in the desert.  We also know how Christ rebuked the disciples when they asked if they should call down fire from heaven on those who rejected their preaching.  Although vivid examples of Christ's anger are those directed to the money-changers in the Temple, as well as the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees.

Though I couldn't come up with anything specific, St. John of the Cross does cite several instances of God being angered, which may help us understand the grave offense of sacrilege and blasphemy.

In Chapter 21 of Book II of the Ascent, St. John writes that God is displeased by the request for revelations and locutions, despite the fact that some believe their curiosity to know these things is good because God has revealed himself in this manner in the past.  St. John asserts that God is not pleased, saying not only is he displeased, he is 'frequently angered and deeply offended.'  Explaining:
The reason lies in the illicitness of transcending the natural boundaries God has established for the governing of creatures.  He has fixed natural and rational limits by which man is to be ruled.  A desire to transcend them, hence, is unlawful... consequently, God who is offended ... is displeased.
"He has fixed natural and rational limits by which man is to be ruled.  A desire to transcend them, hence, is unlawful ..."  Imagine how 'unlawful' it is to transcend God's plan for marriage and family?

I may be overworking this, but...

St. John goes on to cite several examples of God's displeasure from scripture.  Now of course St. John is speaking of the illicitness of seeking knowledge of God through revelations and locutions, and in the cases he cites, these requests run contrary to God's will and are therefore sinful.  As St. John explains why it was lawful to request signs and wonders in the Old Covenant, and why it is not expedient to do so in the New, I think he also helps us understand why praying for Divine approval or a change in doctrine upon something as illicit and sinful as same sex marriage, is so offensive to be regarded as blasphemous.

We must be guided humanly and visibly in all by the law of Christ the man and that of his Church and of his ministers.  This is the method of remedying our spiritual ignorances and weakness; here we shall find abundant medicine for them all.  Any departure from this road is ... extraordinary boldness ... one must ever adhere to Christ's teaching. - John of the Cross

Of course there are other sections of the Saint's writing which describe God's anger, but I'm not sure it's worth the time to try and manipulate them to illustrate something so obvious.  I'm not even sure why I even worked on this?  At any rate,  Bishop Paprocki's statement is enough:  “Praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous..."

More importantly, Bishop Paprocki prevented the blasphemy from taking place, and he also offered pastoral consolation when he counseled:
"Of course, our cathedral and parish churches are always open to everyone who wishes to repent their sins and ask for God's forgiveness."
I believe God is always pleased by our repentance, and prayers for forgiveness - no matter where we are at.


  1. I am glad he did what he did in order to protect his flock and in the hopes that those who were planning on praying the rosary for the sake of same sex marriage (no such thing but whatever) would ponder the gravity of their almost actions.

    It boggles the mind when I read about what folks will pray for...the above and about praying people into hell. I read that on another blog and just could not understand it...I mean do folks even realize that when they engage in such scandal they just might pray themselves into hell?

    Lord, were it not for your precious mercy, surely, we would all be dead by now and in hell!
    I know it, Lord!
    I know you love us! Thank you, but you demand justice, truth and love in return.
    Like St. Paul reminds us, "God wants every man to be saved."

  2. Political move on both parts...stupid move and disrepctful on the gay marriage advocates..the Bishop didn't want them to use it as photo ops...which is smart..but I dislike "protecting the flock" like were not bright 12 year olds. Bishop didn't want their nonsense and for the to co op the faith..which is smart on his part and the right choice but nothing more.

    As for prayer only God can make the choice on what is acceptable. I pray all the time for things people here might find an abomination. For my family the people I love, my partner my relationship..for staying in the faith despite it easier to throw in the towel.

    However God don't like using his Faith for political points on either side.

  3. Mack, you're not factoring in Church teaching. The Church teaches us that we must obey our bishop and follow Church teaching; I realize there's a variance in how bishops teach and how Catholics interpret things. The rainbow sashers are speaking out against Church teaching on marriage; their attempt to turn Mass into a publicity stunt is blasphemous as they enter the Church with an intent to present themselves for Communion even though they publicly speak out against Church teaching. That's a huge problem.

    The Bishop isn't the one trying to make it political; he's shepherding his flock but some of those sheep have some serious attitude, in thinking that it's okay to be disruptive at Mass. That's unacceptable.

    Yes, we have them here too; they regularly hit the Cathedral, where the answer is the same, you may not receive Communion in a rainbow sash. I don't think they're outright banned from Mass for the sash; all God's children have the right to be at Mass, but only Catholics in good standing with the Church have the right to receive communion, and only the Church gets to decide what that means. If a bishop decides that wearing a rainbow sash, the message of which is that the wearer opposes Church teaching, means that one may not receive, he has the authority to make that decision. He speaks on morality and marriage is a moral issue.

    It's normal to pray for your family, people you love, partner and relationship and strength in faith; those prayers themselves aren't an abomination. In the church we love the sinner but hate the sin. It isn't your prayers or your love for your partner and family that are the problem, its the acts that are the sins that cry from heaven. You keep coming back because Terry speaks truth and we don't go all Westboro Baptist Church on you in the combox.

    Those people are seriously nuts. I was in Topeka for Christmas a few years ago and my mom and I wanted to see the Tiffany windows in the church; although they say they give tours, we were there right at Christmas and decided to go to their Christmas service, thinking that was easier than asking for a tour. On our way there, we passed two groups from Westboro with their nasty signs; protestant church we were at had no issue with gays and WBC has serious issues. Imagine taking your kids picketing with you on Christmas! What a great message of peace and love. Or something.

  4. "Political move on both parts"

    I respectfully disagree. I am going to take the high road and say that based on what Terry posted and what I read on New Advent, the bishop, by virtue of his office, is obligated to look after the flock with care, concern, and to steer them all in the right direction. He is to protect those entrusted to him from scandal, confusion, and sinful behavior in whatever way, shape or form. Now, granted that is a huge task as many will do whatever pleases them but regardless, he is called to shepherd his people.

    I am no expert in theology but this is my understanding of what it means to be a shepherd in the service of God and his Church.

    I can only imagine if the kind bishop had remained silent on the matter...the mayhem that would have ensued. Thanks be to God, he stepped up to the plate and in charity, reminded us all what a grave scandal it would have been had those plans unfolded.

  5. Yaya, were he the silent bishop type, this post wouldn't have occurred as he'd not have spoken publicly on marriage so wouldn't have had anyone protesting.

    1. Thanks be to almighty God, the bishop is not the silent type. We need more like him.

  6. I am sure that helped put these people in the direction of his Church, however, most likely this motley crew of "Gay Marriage," supporters would have gone to that church as a Catholic Church is more visable (thus better photo ops) then another denomination. In Illinois we have the Catholic Church which, while speaking out against it, has not put as much time, effort and money behind it as your guy did. However, the black churches have joined in protesting it as it has become a matter of the Church and other faiths, but most vocally Baptist (to counter the Cook County Democrat vote) Church vs. Same Sex Marriage. So, to make their point...the Same Sex Marriage people wanted to show they had faith too.

    Unfortunately it was the wrong move, and the best thing that could actually have happened to them is that they were turned away. A lot of people who may be sympathetic to the cause would have been turned off by seeing that and I don't blame them. See even if I didnt support this personally, I would feel that the Church needs to but out of the issue of civil marriage altogether. We arent a theocracy, the Church's concern is Sacramental marriage which I beleive they cheapen by even linking it with civil marriage. So, If I was advising this group, I would have told them to stay away from any churches, not only as it is in bad taste, and can backfire, but they should be focusing that this is a civil issue and leave the church to argue with itself on trying to link civil with sacrament. They shoot themselves in the foot by engaging.

    Nan, I did not say that in this instance the Bishop was trying to make it political. He responded. However, as I said above, the Bishop and the Church jumped in feet first in the political arena so they DID make it a political issue from the get go. And I don't know about your state but this is Illinois, and EVERYTHING is political

  7. Sorry to add, what I ment to say was the Bishop is in Springfield, in Illinois so yes, it was a political move on his part, to not let this group get a photo op there..(however it was the protestors who brought it to HIS door so they started it.) Actually, it might have been a smarter move to let them in, embrace them and let them make fools of themselves and turn some people off. Give em enough rope to hang themselves is a good move in the political arena.

  8. But Mack, the Bishop speaks on morality. That's his job. Marriage is a moral issue and should not be redefined. It's about the complementarity of man and woman, who together can create new life, and is a means of tying together a child and its biological parents. That isn't a political issue, it's natural law, which is written on man's heart.

    OH, and a correction; my bishop did not speak against civil unions, he spoke against redefining marriage.

    The basic problem is that until the beginning of the 20th century, when the government took over birth, marriage and death, these were the area of the church or synagogue. The government hijacked these to have control, so no, the Church did not make the first move and politicize anything.

    The mere fact that the Bishop's see is in a state capital doesn't make his actions political; he's following Church teaching. The rainbow sash people are showing their dissent against Church teaching and it's his right to turn them away; anyone who publicly dissents can be turned away from Communion.

    I know we'll continue to disagree on this.

  9. "The basic problem is that until the beginning of the 20th century, when the government took over birth, marriage and death, these were the area of the church or synagogue. The government hijacked these to have control, so no, the Church did not make the first move and politicize anything."

    Not depends on where you go in history and that can go back and forth. The first marriage that took place in what most of us think of the start of this country in Plymouth after the Mayflower, was between
    ward Winslow and Susanna White, each of whom lost their spouses soon after arriving here. Governor Bradford presided over the civil ceremony.

    So actually the first couple to be wed in Plymouth did so by civil ceremony. But that is neither here nor becomes a political issue when you legislate marriage and provide benefits for married couples that others can't access. I have no problem with the Church defining sacramental marriage...the Bishop speaking on morality (though I disagree on this issue and realize the Church is a creaky bureaucracy so I expect no change there) but they can't do so for a civil ceremony in a county which is not a theocracy.

    "I know we'll continue to disagree on this."

    Yes, but I think we are doing so nicely : ) I do agree that if people are so hung up on marriage being not just a moral issue but a theological one, then govt. should get out of the business and stick to civil unions. That would mean that all those advantages of marriage would disappear for those people who don't get a civil union but if they are just concerned about the weight of their sins then they should not mind..or they can go get a civil union.

  10. In many countries people get married by the state and have their church wedding afterwards. I truly don't believe that's the objective of the gay activists, who want the Church to change its doctrine. In England, upon marriage being redefined, a couple sued the anglican church for not letting them marry. That's the true objective. Church marriage on demand. Especially if it's opposed to Church doctrine.

  11. Nan,

    How do you know this? That is a big leap..and not a good argument to deny someone a legal right because of what MIGHT happen. This is also the U.S. not England.

    The anti-gay marriage fight saw in the last few years the tide turning...people accepting of it, young people have a totally different perspective on it then what our generation did, so their argument flip flops to two really emotional arguments, the "its for the children," (even though there are really no "definitive studies done either way, and let's just forget about all those kids who would love to be adopted..) which a lot of people aren't buying, to (and this is a total b.s. argument) its about religious liberty..from people being sued as they selectively use their faith to not provide services to certain people(which is what it amounts to) to the specter of Church's be sued in your example. Not only is their no legal precedent for a church to be sued for such a thing , the Illinois law in particular explicitly states that no religious institutions can be sued in such a case. Yet the anti gay marriage activists are screaming about it and the Church still seeks to impose its views, and its control (funny you should bring that word up, the two most controlling institutions on earth, big government and organized religion.) over the situation. Tell me, where does any faith get to legislate its views over people who aren't part of that particular belief, which is essentially what the "protection of marriage," nonsense from the Church entails.

    I also have to say, most of the gay activists want the right to marry the person they love and to legally protect that person, get full benefits and protect their family and children, NOT have a church wedding.

  12. The Church is being targeted as she is the only one who will speak the truth. A Canadian study has shown that children raised by same sex parents don't do well. What you're not looking at when you say that people are selectively using their religion is that businesses run by religious people are being targeted, simply so they're forced to go out of business if they're not willing to use their creativity to support something they find reprehensible; there are other photographers in NM, other cake bakers in Seattle, other florists, but gay activists do target.

    Mack, no precedent doesn't mean people won't sue the Church; most states don't protect religious rights, even if they claim to as there are other laws on the books that give extra protection to same sex people. The first amendment is continually ignored and yes, that should mean that people running a business don't have to support types of relationships their religion doesn't support.

    It's also a slippery slope; there are calls for decriminalizing pedophilia by eliminating the age of consent and eliminating age disparity as a factor in sex crimes. There are also calls to decriminalize polygamy (which would be an administrative nightmare) and bestiality. You may not see the danger but it's real.


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