Thursday, September 25, 2014

Another Gay Music Director Fired: Gay Catholics keep getting the boot ... yet all are welcome?

The world doesn't get it...

"Catholic teaching on homosexuality is black and white. On the ground, though, how this teaching is applied is much murkier." - Crux

In the last week there have been two stories about gay 'couples' getting married.  Both 'couples' were married in civil ceremonies in States where it is legal to do so.  They are legally married - not sacramentally married.  One couple was barred from Communion and no longer allowed to volunteer or participate in the parish choir.  That happened in Montana.  

Similar stories have popped up online ever since I began blogging - before same sex marriage was legal, two guys or two women living together as 'partners' were treated the same way.  They were sometimes barred from lectoring, Communion, volunteering, and so on.  I believe several of those cases were resolved, yet when it comes to civil, legal marriage - it appears there is no way to reconcile that.

In the Montana case, the couple was instructed that if they wish to be admitted to the reception of Holy Communion they had to undo what they had done.  
The men agreed to write a restoration statement that, in part, would uphold the concept of marriage being between a man and a woman, during an August 25 conference call with Father Spiering, Bishop Warfel and other diocesan officials. They said they did not intend to challenge the Church’s concept of marriage with their union, rather they just wanted civil protection. 
However, the statement also included a timeline for the two men to cease living together and divorce, which they would not agree to. - Source
A Lewistown, Montana, couple who married in Seattle 
last year so they could make medical and financial decisions 
for each other as they grow older.

The parish administrator and the bishop acted within their rights.

The men originally said they married only to receive civil protection and benefits afforded married couples.  Though gay marriage is not legal in Montana, evidently they would be eligible for benefits on the Federal level.  Which means, even if they divorced one might receive benefits as a former spouse.  I was told a divorced woman can receive her husbands SS death benefits even if the former spouse remarries - both widows can 'collect' - or so I was given to understand.  I mention it only to suggest they could still benefit even from divorce.  Regardless, it seems to me the mandate to get a 'divorce' only further recognizes that some sort of a marriage - albeit civil - took place.  I wonder if it would have more prudent for the Church authorities to ask that the men have the marriage civilly annulled instead?  It seems to me a statement repudiating the attempt to wed, stated within the context of a document confessing their support of Church teaching on marriage and sexuality would suffice to repair the scandal.

That said, the requests made to the men seem fair enough to me - except for the request to separate or live apart.  They have obviously invested savings together and share ownership of property, and so on.  Many times older opposite-sex, divorced and remarried couples remain in the same house, living as brother and sister when the situation warrants such an arrangement.  I would think that these two men could be allowed the same benefit or dispensation - especially in view of a public act of repudiation.  Unless of course they are sexually active.  Considering their age, I'd think not, but who knows now days in the age of Viagra?  The fact that they attempted civil marriage, which is a public act, has definitely complicated things.

Jamie Moore

The day the music died.

In Minnesota, Jamie Moore, a Music Director for a parish was recently terminated for getting married to his boyfriend.  What was he thinking?  How have these men been catechized?  What were they told about Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality?  In this case, did they not understand requirements for employment at a Catholic Church?  The parish must have made that clear, after so many instances like this have come to light over the past few years.

On local news, Jamie stated that he knew this could happen - but he had hoped it wouldn't come to this.  The pastor at his church did know of his relationship and was willing to keep him on.  Archbishop Nienstedt was informed and ultimately ruled against it.
A popular music director at a Catholic church in Victoria has been asked to resign after marrying his longtime same-sex partner. 
Jamie Moore was asked to resign by Archbishop John Nienstedt, the Rev. Bob White told his parishioners at St. Victoria Catholic Church. 
Moore agreed to the archbishop's request, White said. 
In a statement, Nienstedt said that the teachings of the Catholic Church must be upheld. He said public conduct contrary to the teachings and law of the church is a reason for immediate dismissal. - Source
The Archbishop acted appropriately of course.

"Disparate policies"...

Nevertheless, this keeps happening, though some churchmen and gay-Catholic activists insist the Church is changing - doctrinally the Church cannot change her teaching on marriage and sexuality - yet some people seem to think otherwise.  By doing so they offer a false hope to the vulnerable and naive.
Catholic teaching on homosexuality, which prohibits sex between two people of the same gender, is black and white. On the ground, though, how this teaching is applied is much murkier. 
Individual bishops and pastors decide if children of same-sex couples have a right to baptism or to attend Catholic schools, leading to disparate policies. Some Catholic institutions offer health insurance to spouses of gay employees, while others fire openly gay teachers or organists. Catholic hospitals and, in some cases, Catholic bishops have supported laws criminalizing homosexuality, while others have condemned them. Could the Synod on the Family address some of this confusion? - Crux
In the Crux article there is a story of a woman's parish priest greeting her after Mass and cordially asking about her 'wife' who couldn't make it that Sunday.  That's where the confusion not only comes from, but is perpetuated.  It is a false hope.

The Montana guys may have experienced similar approval by their former pastor, and then the new priest shows up and lays down the law.  The confusion in the Church isn't limited to individual pastoral care or dissident parishes either.  Sometimes it can - and does - come from the top.  It isn't pastoral care at all, but rather, pastoral abuse.

"An overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good."
In the discussion which followed the publication of the Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not. - CDF

Yet Cardinal Dolan says "Bravo!" when a gay football player "came out" - and another Cardinal says the Church has always been supportive of gay couples...
On the question of homosexual unions, legalized by the Brazilian Supreme Court in 2011, Cardinal Damasceno Assis is quoted as saying,

"It is a decision by the Supreme [Federal Court, the highest Constitutional Court in Brazil]. Of course, for the Church, it [homosexual union] cannot be equated to marriage, that is different. But, regarding respect for the stable union between these people, there is no doubt that the Church has always [sempre] been trying to do it this way", said Damasceno Assis - Rorate
Even the Washington Cardinals have indicated a more benign approach to gay Catholic 'couples' - although in practice couples have been refused Communion by individual priests:
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, and his predecessor, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, were also on Sunday morning news shows addressing the issue of gay rights and stressing that the church needed to be welcoming. As McCarrick put it, the church could be open to civil unions as an alternative to gay marriage. - Catholic acceptance of gay people.
Confusion reigns.

Welcoming and acceptance have multiple meanings.  The Church welcomes sinners - all of us are sinners - inviting us to repent.

I've written before that gay people would do better not working for the Church - in any capacity - I wouldn't even help with the collection.  People get mad at me for saying that.

Gay people are easily persuaded that being gay is their core identity.  Though they try to live chastely, sometimes they just can't understand why it seems so impossible.  They try to live celibately, but every now and then, deep down they somehow can't be convinced of the necessity to do so.  They accept Church teaching but they sometimes give in to the temptation to believe a development of doctrine can create a loophole to accommodate their personal needs.

Likewise, a growing number within the Church are convinced more must be done for gay people, because gay is a sort of gender neutral 'third way'. There is a great deal of confusion generated and the tension is all around us - even promoted.  "Spiritual friendship" is promoted in a way that is just a cuddle away from genital contact and lifelong civil union.

Many gay people falter - they go in and out of the Church. Some leave the Church entirely, others give up the practice of the faith all together, some just take a break. Most struggle, rising and falling, and through discouragement, depression, frustration, sloth or acedia, and even from societal pressure - it is easy to fall into compromise. It's very human. Despite all of that, some come back, some keep trying.  Some don't and they end up blaming the Church and insisting the Church change doctrine.

The Church can't do that.

Gay marriage is not marriage.

Don't kid yourself or others.

If you want a lover, a same sex spouse, or just want to be 'out-there' - don't work for the Church.

The Church is all stocked up anyway.

I know gay people will disagree with me, and that is fine.  I'd like to note once again that the Spiritual Friendship movement has organized a conference on the issue of how to be a gay-Catholic, faithful to Catholic teaching, and participate in your parish … as one friend explained, because "people just don’t know what to do with you" otherwise.  Personally, I think sometimes it can be the other way around too.

No offense intended towards my gay and Catholic friends or the Spiritual Friendship people, because I trust they are sincere.


  1. I Corinthians 5 involves St Paul admonishing the Corinthians for allowing a man who was having an affair with his mother in law to continue in good standing in the Church. His statement was,

    "1 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father's wife.*
    2And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you."

    The Church cannot allow anyone who is involved in blatant public sin to receive the Sacraments or be a part of service to the Church. Certainly they can be allowed to come to Mass, but nothing beyond that. The decision to remove a choir director involved in a same sex marriage was absolutely correct. This is done not just to punish, but to save the souls of those involved:

    "Verse 5; you are to deliver this man to Satan * for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

    However, in regard to those who are not a part of the Church. St. Paul gave very different instructions:

    "11But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality? or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber—not even to eat with such a one.
    12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the Church whom you are to judge?
    13God judges those outside. " Drive out the wicked person from among you."

    Cardinal Dolan went overboard when he said "Bravo" to Michael Sam for coming out, but the spirit in which he said it was absolutely correct. Cdl Dolan said it was not his place to judge Michael Sam, and in that he was completely in line with the writings of St. Paul. The church makes pronouncements in regard to sinful actions, e.g. homosexual actions are intrinsically disordered, but not in regard to individual sinners outside of the Church because we can never know their level of culpability. How well do they actually understand that what they are doing is sinful? As St. Paul tells us, only God can judge those outside the Church.

    It is very important not to go by our own reasoning in regard to these matters. Individual priests and bishops can make mistakes, but Holy Mother Church never makes mistakes. The decision in the case you cited was correct biblically and in regard to Church teaching.

    Here are a couple of stories from Gay Catholics who are living exemplary lives, and I don't think they are alone:

    1. Correction: the man in I Corinthians 5 was having an affair with his step mother, not his mother in law. Sorry about that.

    2. CiB - Excellent scriptural references. Thanks.

      As for Dolan it is what it is and the way it's been perceived is the way it goes down. Everyone and their mothers bandy about the "Who am I to judge" incomplete papal sentiment to demonstrate how much hope and change lies in store for gay people in the Church and out of it.

      I'm simply pointing out how the confusion is generated and 'promulgated' if you will.

      I trust you noted that I support bothe bishops who acted in accord with Church teaching as regards the Montana men and the Minnesota man.

      I'm very familiar with the two links you provided - I thank you in advance for other readers who may not be.

      God bless and thanks for your good comment.

    3. Terry, I never doubt that you are in full support of church hierarchy. People of good conscience can disagree without being disagreeable, and we certainly don't need to be cheerleaders for every action and word of the bishops, or even the pope. My contention is that we need to look beyond the headlines and beyond all of the condemnation that is seen on the internet. It seems everyone is quick to judge, but no one wants to step back and give others the benefit of the doubt, especially when it comes to Church hierarchy. It is very important to read scripture and other spiritual reading and not just fill our minds with the garbage that is on the Internet.

      Even though we don't always agree, your blog is one of the few that I will always trust because I know that everything you write is coming from someone who is sincerely searching for the truth and that you're not just looking to condemn. That is so rare, and I treasure it.

    4. "Even though we don't always agree, your blog is one of the few that I will always trust because I know that everything you write is coming from someone who is sincerely searching for the truth and that you're not just looking to condemn. That is so rare, and I treasure it."

      Amen to the above!

    5. You two are too nice to me. Thanks. :)

  2. Geez..a male music director is GAY? Isnt that written in stone somewhere along with the male art teacher, the male drama director, the female coach????

    The younger guy doens't concern me as much, its terrible to loose his job but he will find a new one, and most likely leave the Church (I am not hoping that happens but believe it will.)

    The older couple is really an odd situation..and makes me a little mad and indicitive of the stealthy mean spiritedness of Catholic Church. As you said, they are of a certain age that most likely, not much of the Catholic bugaboo SEX would happen..and who would know if it did (or want to think about it.) They created a CIVIL marriage to protect their assets, (and once your divorced from someone you cannot claim social security benefits, only those that were invested during the length of the marriage..and that is not in all cases.) which to the Church should be the same as any its not Sacramental so whats it any of the Church business? Are they kissing each other in Mass, are they having a wedding shower and inviting the choir? It doesn't seem they are throwing this in anyones' face.

    So the Church wants to force them to make a public statement supporting "natural," marriage...

    "The men agreed to write a restoration statement that, in part, would uphold the concept of marriage being between a man and a woman, during an August 25 conference call with Father Spiering, Bishop Warfel and other diocesan officials. They said they did not intend to challenge the Church’s concept of marriage with their union, rather they just wanted civil protection.

    Its seems the diocese is a bit more interested in being "right," and humiliating this couple then it is about anything else. Write a statement? I would have laughed that Bishop off as I sent him and his little "statement," packing. But that doesnt end there...oh no, we're not done with you two yet...

    "However, the statement also included a timeline for the two men to cease living together and divorce, which they would not agree to. - Source"

    So the Church wants these guys to quit living together? Are they asking every same sex roommates to quit living together? The Church now is has power or interest in a civil contract? Instead of having any interest in this old couple financial well being the Church wants to be "right," and punish them to boot. The Church looks mean spirited and petty in this case. For what it is worth, I think the Church can fire anyone they like, in this case they bit their nose to spite their face and come out looking like the bully.

    1. Thanks Mack - I know it's surprising to you that a music director could turn out like this - but this story is surely an anomaly - that in this situation the young man turned out to be - ahem - same sex attracted.. This is an exceptional case - it's very uncommon for the homosexually inclined individual to work in a Catholic setting, let alone the music ministry. What?

      Anyway - I appreciate your comments about the older, bionic-sex-maniac couple - obviously a great scandal to all of Montana - just looking at them one can tell they are lascivious sex fiends and a threat to society. LOL!

      I'm sorry for making light of this. :(

      I seriously think the demands on their living arrangement is too extreme, but unfortunately the marriage issue is in fact a serious one. I know nothing about canon law, but if they are not automatically excommunicated for attempting marriage, the interdict on communion may just apply to the parish and diocese where they live - where the scandal became manifest. Evidently the manifest grave sin is civil marriage and the relationship that implies? I don't know law.

      I'm sure the men knew that they could arrange things legally without need for legal marriage, unless of course there is some sort of federal benefit they can receive with a marriage certificate. From what I've read, I'm fairly certain they had been willing to sign a document affirming church teaching on marriage, but then they were asked to divorce - which seems a contradiction - since it's sort of a negative recognition of a civil marriage. (Which is why I suggested getting an annulment.) However, their refusal to nullify the marriage seems to indicate they want the legal recognition of civil marriage to actually define their relationship. That is their choice.

      Yet that's a problem when it comes to reception of the sacraments..

      The bishop did what he had to do in this situation.

      However, it strikes me the demand they move out of their residence and live separately is a bit extreme and unusual - if indeed they would agree to annul the marriage. Obviously the men intend to provide and care for one another in their old age, and to uproot them now seems rather cruel.

      I feel sorry for the bishops in these situations - they always end up looking like the bad guy.

      Anyway - I appreciate your comments and your sense of humor.

      God bless.

    2. New information that one of the men is a former priest.


      Let them fight but in the end, TRUTH carries the day.

      May the good Lord have mercy on all involved.

    3. Thanks Yaya - I just read it. I noted this in particular:

      "“We didn’t start this fight, but we’re not going to cave in and back out of it,” Huff said Wednesday, sitting in the breakfast nook next to Wojtowick, his partner of 30 years, in their house on a 52-acre ranch north of town."

      I think Wojtowick is the former priest. That changes everything. He knew and he's pushing the issue. I wish I had waited to post on this - it changes everything. These guys are playing politics with the Church. They are obviously not poor either.

      Such deception.

  3. Terry, the Church is missing the know the remedy for gay or any kind of sex is...let em all marry!!! Boom...that'll curb their libido's quicker then a visit to a Courage meeting on Weight Watcher's night. The Church should be lining them up to marry em off and while their at it, throw a couple kids their way....the White Party is OVER boys, pick up your boas and go home.

    I understand what you are saying about the divorce..but an annulment would say the same thing as they are not in a sacramental marriage. I think that is the weirdest thing to me and why I think the Church is being petty and small...why divorce from a civil marriage when you (the Church) don't recognize it as such? It makes no sense.

    Anyway, arranging things through a method other then marriage is an expensive and time consuming process. Trusts need to be created, etc. And they still don't get the tax breaks. One of these guys could have a pension, federal or otherwise that the other could hold after his partner dies...maybe one guy has better insurance.

    1. The problem here is the terminology; the Church holds the man and woman marrying as the ordinary ministers of marriage with the priest as the witness, therefore recognizes marriages as sacramental until proven otherwise. That goes for civil marriages unless there are impediments, such as prior marriages; the Church has a process by which to regularize these marriages but cannot do so in the case of a same sex marriage, which it recognizes neither as sacramental nor as marriage. Note that a decree of nullity isn't a Catholic divorce but a finding that the marriage wasn't sacramental at the outset.

      Here, two men purport to be married which the Church doesn't recognize as marriage; further, they participated in Church ministries and must follow Church teaching in order to continue doing so. Those in grave sin are not allowed to receive communion and holding oneself out to be married to another of the same sex is a grave sin, contradicting Church teaching on marriage.

      With regard to wills/trusts/etc, everyone should have a will/trust/POA/healthcare directive. It really isn't that time consuming or expensive; real estate can be put in joint tenancy, bank accounts can be joint, marijuana can be made into joints.

      With regard to divorced people getting their ex's social security, they must've been married 10 yrs.

      With regard to crazy things, since Terry said he was low on crazy, I know a couple who lives together without benefit of marriage; the woman claims that she can't marry the man because she'd lose her social security, which she has had for many years due to her husband's untimely death when their children were small. She also says she can't marry him because she'd lose everything if he had a stroke and went into the nursing home, which isn't true; they could only attach his half of the assets for his care and since he has no assets all they could get is his social security. He, on the other hand, is divorced and tells people they're married; she says it's because he "feels" married. The Church doesn't his feelings of marriage and he hasn't looked into a decree of nullity, which is likely why he doesn't push for marriage.

    2. Nan - you are the attorney general for my blog.

      That is a crazy story - you must attract a lot of characters the way I do.

  4. Jamie is suing the Church despite his knowledge that flouting Church teaching by purporting to marry a man could get him fired. Makes me wonder if he was looking for a payday; supreme court said that religious organizations get to decide what constitutes a ministry and who qualifies as a minister so I'm not sure there's much to talk about here, despite the novel theory that it's marriage discrimination. Church employees are typically required to sign a pledge that they will uphold Church teaching and if he signed something, he has no case.


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