Monday, June 11, 2018

A good man.

Not too hard to find.

This weekend I came across a notice of the death of a man I knew from church.  He attended daily Mass, he was a sacristan and lector, he attended devotions and events at the parish, and he was active in many charities.  A retired teacher, he lived around the corner from me with his partner who died about ten years ago.  Later he moved into a condo, and just a year or two ago I heard that he signed himself into a home for Alzheimer's patients.  Today is his funeral Mass.

We weren't really friends, we just said hello and chatted.  I think he wanted to be friends but I kept a distance because I knew he was more 'liberal' about being gay and Catholic.  He would have no problem identifying with gay, and I expect he'd fit right in with Fr. James Martin's POV on the subject.  He would agree that people are born that way and nothing is wrong with same sex unions.  I had great respect for him, but it has always been my experience that once people knew my POV, they more or less shunned me as too narrow, and/or tried to convince me I would be happier if rejected all of that.  I wanted to be friends, but he pretty much left me alone.  When he moved away, he became more active at a more liberal parish where his priest-friend helped out at in Minneapolis.

Despite our differences on Catholic teaching - which I would never have tried to 'covert' him to - he was a good man, a much better man than myself.  (I really mean that.)  He was generous and as I mentioned, very active in the parish and devoted himself to very real charitable works which demanded sacrifice.  I mention him today because he is receiving a Catholic burial - as he should.  The surprising thing about that is his obituary mentions he was preceded in death by certain relatives and his 'life-partner'.  In some places, that note alone would have caused some priests or parishes to refuse him a Catholic burial.  Thank God that is not how this diocese treats people.

I was so pleased this did not happen to my friend/acquaintance/neighbor who just died.  Rest in peace BD.  May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

I wish I had accepted his friendship.


  1. I know how you feel about the "usuals" you see at Mass through the week and on the weekend. You are not exactly friends, but you recognize them as family, which is a fine thing. And you miss them when they are not there.

    Just because you weren't this man's friend does not mean you did not bring joy and comfort to him. I am sure he recognized you the same way you recognized him - as a fellow parishioner, a brother on the path to the Father. I know that sounds odd, but my husband and I have no children and very little extended family in the area, so we consider our parish to be a sort of family to us, and we care about our fellow parishioners. We don't know everything about everyone, and we do not *need* to know all the details about them, but we recognize them and we are at home with them.

    I belong to a semi-liberal parish, and my husband and I toe the line on Church matters. But we still love the parishioners we do not see eye to eye with, and they seem to love us, too. Just as a family ought. And besides, no one was every bullied into loving Jesus and accepting the teaching of the Church - maybe someday we will all see things more faithfully.

    God bless you, Terry, and peace and all good to everyone here - Susan, OFS

  2. I am glad the harsh judgments about who qualifies and who does not for a Catholic burial has lessened. I know to some suicide and homosexuality are disqualifers. To pray for the dead is a Christians duty. It is sad when we lose good people but their reward will be great in heaven.

  3. We have no way to know what happens in the final moments of life - we must trust Jesus and His infinite mercy.

  4. So, this man had a "partner" and he was still able to receive Holy Communion (a great sacrilege!) and lector at Mass (a grave scandal). He should have been denied a Catholic Funeral. This is sad state of affairs in the Church. I will pray for his soul, but if he did not repent before he died, he is likely burning in hell.

    1. Who is to say? Not you and not I.

    2. I need to say that this man's companion died several years ago - at least a decade before his own death. He was a professional man, very devoted to the faith, and a stable member of the community. I didn't know him well. I admired him and his generous work for the parish and the poor. In my post I may have projected my own fears onto him, simply because he was more 'progressive' than I am. By that I mean I only expected that he would be pro-gay marriage, although he was never married, based upon some of the other parishioners 'politics' and a couple of priests he knew. I was prejudiced. Nevertheless I believe he lived in accord with Catholic teaching and I have no other impression than that. I have no reason to think otherwise. My apologies if I gave the impression that he was anything less than a chaste and faithful man who was able to integrate his sexual orientation and gift for chaste friendship(s) into fidelity to the Church and his Christian life of service to others. I strongly suspect he recognized my personal sense of alienation and was attempting to reach out to me - but I wasn't able to reciprocate. Believe it or not, some people with ssa are just fine with living chaste celibate lives without being ashamed of their 'difference' or personal perception of identity. I cannot imagine anyone suggesting such an honorable man would be denied the sacraments and a Catholic burial.

    3. Terry, I have kept vigil many times over as a Hospice nurse and I can tell you that my prayer is always the same:

      "Lord Jesus, call this dying person to yourself. Extend your hand to them with mercy and give them the graces they need to take your hand and heed your call. Grant them the grace of a happy death sending our Holy Mother Mary and gentle Saint Joseph to minister to them, to keep them company, to assure them that in their final moments they are not alone. Thy will be done."

      I know, I trust, I believe that our gracious Lord hears my prayers. How many times have I seen folks die in peace after hoping for them. All for God's greater glory.

      Sad to condemn when we are so blind and judgmental, let's practice charity instead, entrusting those who are dying and those who have died to the great and infinite mercy of our Eternal Father.

    4. Yaya! That is a most comforting prayer - how wonderful to have you keeping vigil. BTW - watch your mail on Friday ... if you are working tell your mom. ;)

    5. It comforts me too Terry because sometimes the situation of a dying person is complicated and I cannot ever assume to know why.

      I will keep an eye out on Friday! One million cash via email will do me just fine dear Terry. <3

    6. Haha! You would distribute that much money to the needy by the end of the weekend, I'm sure. God bless you!

    7. Once again, the point goes sailing over Pelagius Bennett's head... this is more fun than watching Afghanistan getting massacred in cricket. =)

  5. In addition, we have no way to know the current nature of the relationship. I have a problem with people who sit in judgement and deny sacraments to those they believe to be unworthy. Such an attitude drives more away then it attracts.

  6. For some reason comments do not post right away but end up in moderation - don't let it stop you though - I check once or twice a day and publish your comments.


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