Thursday, October 31, 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
Print Article | Email Friend | Reprint Permissions Bishop obeys govt order to remove Catholic school teaching on sinfulness of homosexual acts by Patrick B. Craine Fri Oct 18, 2013 17:01 EST WHITEHORSE, Yukon, Oct. 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic Diocese of Whitehorse has obeyed an order by the Yukon government to remove Church teaching on the sinfulness of homosexuality from its policy on pastoral care for same-sex attracted students in its publicly-funded Catholic schools. Critics have pointed out that even in the title of the new policy, the ‘truth’ has been removed. The original policy contested by the government was called 'Living with Hope, Ministering by Love, Teaching in Truth.' The new policy title reads: ‘One Heart: Ministering by Love.’ The original policy, published in the spring of 2012, sparked opposition from media, homosexual activists, and some citizens in the town of 20,000 last spring because it expounded the Catechism’s teaching that homosexual acts are “gravely depraved” and the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered.” The controversy culminated in then-Minister of Education Scott Kent sending a letter to Whitehorse Bishop Gary Gordon in which he effectively told the bishop that Church teaching on homosexuality was barred from publicly-funded Catholic schools because it violates the equality provisions of Yukon law. Bishop Gordon, who also serves as the diocese’s religious education director, agreed to draft a new policy, which he released in July. The new draft is facing criticism from faithful Catholics, because, while it stresses forcefully the Church’s teaching that homosexual persons should be treated with respect, it is completely silent about the immorality of homosexual activity. Bishop Gary GordonThe policy quotes a 1986 document from the Vatican on the need for respect of homosexual persons, but this same document had stressed that pastoral care for homosexual persons is ultimately damaging to them if it is silent about Church teaching. “We wish to make it clear that departure from the Church's teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral,” wrote Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 1986 letter ‘On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons’. “Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church's position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.” The new policy does mention the call to chastity and points to the Catechism paragraphs dealing with homosexuality, but the policy emphasizes that Catholic schools should “value diversity,” and aim to offer an environment that is "safe, welcoming, inclusive and affirming of the uniqueness of each and every student." The draft policy also says that the schools will promote “understanding and tolerance of sexual minorities,” and that they will use materials to present homosexual “writers, historians, scientists, artists, musicians, and spiritual leaders” as “positive role models.” At an Oct. 3rd consultation meeting on the policy held by the school councils of the diocese’s three Catholic schools, ratepayer Judy Douglas said the draft leaves out “God’s standard.” “This whole policy should have a higher standard. It should have God’s standard in it, I don’t believe it has that,” she said, according to Yukon News. “It talks a lot about honour and dignity and respect for people with same-sex attraction, which I believe in. I believe all human beings should be valued and honoured and respected.” “However, it’s very unbalanced because it doesn’t talk about the sin of it. It doesn’t talk about the fact that it’s immoral, it’s unclean,” she added. The new policy is also facing strong criticism from the other side, however, for not going far enough in removing Church doctrine. The Ministry of Education’s top public servant has expressed openness to their view, even though the draft was developed in conjunction with the government and the government’s lawyers had determined it conforms to Yukon’s Human Rights Acts, Canada’s Charter, and the Education Ministry’s policies. According to the Whitehorse Star, the majority of speakers at the Oct. 3rd consultation, which drew about 30 people, expressed concern with the policy’s reference to Church documents like the Catechism, because they expound Church teachings on homosexuality that are deemed derogatory. Tjitske van der Eide, a parent whose children attend Vanier Secondary, said the policy was “an example of homophobia in the name of religion.” “I find it archaic and deceiving. It refers in its footnotes to church doctrine and dogma in which our homosexual brothers and sisters are being referred to as intrinsically evil,” she said, according to the Whitehorse Star. “How legal is that in our publicly funded schools?” The critics also called for the removal of a provision in the policy that gives the bishop the power to disband a “gay/straight” student club if he finds it is teaching views opposed to Catholic doctrine. Many took the criticism even further, however, and called for the government to scrap the policy altogether and instead force the Catholic schools to use the government’s 2012 Sexual orientation and gender identity policy. After hearing the feedback, the deputy minister of education, Valerie Royle, said the government had believed the policy document properly balanced the concern for inclusivity with a respect for the Church’s teaching. But, she said, “clearly we’re hearing that there’s still certainly some variation of opinions so maybe we haven’t struck that balance.” “What we’re trying to do is find a policy, and I still believe it’s possible, that serves all needs,” she said. Consultation on the policy ended Oct. 11th. Royle said the government, the Catholic school councils, and the bishop will go over the feedback and then release a summary of the responses. From there the three parties will make a final decision about the policy. Bishop Gordon published the original policy in Sept. 2012, after, he says, it was vetted by the Ministry of Education. Scott Kent, former Education MinisterThat original policy emphasized the Church’s respect for the dignity for those who experience same-sex attractions, but also affirmed Church teaching. It quoted the Catechism and said those who are same-sex attracted, “for whom marriage is not an option,” are called to chastity. It made no mention of seeking out homosexuals to hold up as “positive role models” for students. After a student complained about the policy, however, then-Education Minister Scott Kent ordered that it be withdrawn. After Bishop Gordon met with Kent on March 5, 2013, the bishop removed the policy from the website of Vanier Catholic Secondary School, the diocese’s Catholic high school. But the bishop told the press that the policy would still remain in effect. “Homosexual activity is always morally wrong,” he said. “The teaching of the Church is always going to guide what goes on in a Catholic school.” Kent insisted in a March 19th letter, however, that removing the policy from the website was not enough – it had to be withdrawn and rewritten. The minister said the policy’s treatment of homosexuality violated the Ministry of Education’s Sexual orientation and gender identity policy and “may be in contradiction to the Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” While the diocese is responsible for teaching the faith in the schools, Kent wrote, the diocese’s first obligation in providing such instruction is to comply with the laws in force in the Yukon. Religious teachings that are “inconsistent with and do not meet the requirements of existing laws and policies cannot have application in any publicly supported schools in the Yukon,” he wrote. In July, Bishop Gordon told LifeSiteNews that he hoped there would not be a showdown between the Church and the government, even as the government insisted it was “not flexible” in its stance against Church teaching on homosexuality in the schools. Asked at the time if he would allow the government to “bully” the Church, the bishop said, “Well we’re in discussions and everybody’s pretty clear that I’m a Catholic Bishop and I teach the Catholic faith. I mean what else can I say?” Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women, said the Yukon government has no business “dictating policy to a Catholic school.” “Why not send your children to the public schools?” she asked of parents critical of Church teaching in the schools. But she also expressed concern over the Diocese of Whitehorse’s actions, suggesting that in their draft policy they had “capitulated on a matter of intrinsic Catholicism.” “It seems to me that it’s appalling that the Catholic bishops and the Catholic board have not stood for the teaching of the Magisterium,” she said. LifeSiteNews.com was unable to reach Bishop Gordon after multiple attempts. Minister of Education Elaine Taylor was unavailable for an interview. Ajuring Bishop owes allegance to the State.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
This article could have been written in revolutionary France in 1793. The only thing that they haven't yet done is cut off their heads. Our government is out of control. First, it was the World War II veterans who had to break down barriers to see the open air, un-attended memorial erected in their honor. A memorial which is on public land but is supported – including the National Park Service fee – with private funds. This week there was more security surrounding this memorial — just to keep elderly veterans out — than there was at our embassy in Benghazi the night it was attacked. And for what? To inflict as much pain as possible through this government shutdown. It’s called Washington Monument Syndrome, and it’s pure political theater. But now there’s a story just coming to light that takes things even further. According the Archdiocese for Military Services, GS and contract priests (who are paid by the federal government as independent contractors in places where there aren’t enough active-duty priests to meet the needs of Catholics in military service) are being forbidden from celebrating Mass, even on a volunteer basis. If they violate this restriction, they face possible arrest. FOR CELEBRATING MASS. From John Schlageter, General Counsel for the Archdiocese: There is a chronic shortage of active duty Catholic chaplains. While roughly 25% of the military is Catholic, Catholic priests make up only about 8% of the chaplain corps. That means approximately 275,000 men and women in uniform, and their families, are served by only 234 active-duty priests. The temporary solution to this shortage is to provide GS and contract priests. These men are employed by the government to ensure that a priest is available when an active duty Catholic Chaplain is not present. With the government shutdown, GS and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer. During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so. As an example, if a Catholic family has a Baptism scheduled at the base chapel at Langley AFB this weekend, unless they can locate a priest who is not a GS or contract priest, they should consider it cancelled. Likewise, a Marine who attends Sunday Mass at the Quantico Chapel will have to go elsewhere this weekend. If you are a Catholic stationed in Japan or Korea and are served by a Contract or GS priest, unless you speak Korean or Japanese and can find a church nearby, then you have no choice but to go without Mass this weekend. Until the Federal Government resumes normal operations, or an exemption is granted to contract or GS priests, Catholic services are indefinitely suspended at those worldwide installations served by contract and GS priests. At a time when the military is considering alternative sources of funding for sporting events at the service academies, no one seems to be looking for funding to ensure the Free Exercise rights of Catholics in uniform. Why not? This shutdown impacts Catholics in the military worldwide. In the DC-metro area, it specifically impacts bases like Quantico. On the Facebook page for the Archdiocese, Catholic military members commenting on the story are not happy. Comments include: “This is outrageous!!! Especially threatening them with arrest to voluntarily do their job.” “Unbelievable! I was worried about this because our priest is contracted as well. It is bad enough to be furloughed but to not have a Mass to attend, is a real downer,” “Just one example, a couple is getting married tomorrow at a large Air Force Base that is staffed by a Contract priest. That priest did all of their marriage prep, and has gotten to know the couple very well over the past few months. But with the shutdown, he cannot perform their wedding. Instead of the priest that the couple has come to know and love, an active duty priest has to be sent in to perform the wedding of two people who are strangers to him and he to them.” ” Is anyone up there going to start a protest?! A rosary ?!?!? A nice Catholic riot maybe?! PLEEEAAASSEEE?! SOMEONE?! ANYONE?! Any real Carholics out there?!!!!???!” This is outrageous. It is a violation of the First Amendment. It is a prohibition of the free exercise of religion to order priests under penalty of arrest that they cannot volunteer their time to offer Mass to the faithful on base. This cannot be allowed to stand. As of this writing, I have not yet received a response to my inquiry to the Archdiocese for Military Services as to what specific action steps we can take to get this problem addressed. Until we have a path to resolution, please share this story as widely as possible. Make people aware that Catholics serving our country are being forcibly denied access to the sacraments. These are the lengths the administration and the Democrats in Congress are willing to go to in order to continue inflicting as much pain as possible on the American people during the shutdown. UPDATE – 10/4/2013 @ 12:34PM: I received a response from the Military Archdiocese. Mr. Schlageter writes with a correction and additional information from the original release: There will be Mass at Quantico because of the terms of service of the contract for the priest at Quantico. Nonetheless, 3 Masses have been cancelled at local Fort Belvoir. I have been told but cannot confirm that Mass has been cancelled at the Navy yard. In one situation a couple that is to be married at an Air Force Base this Saturday and did all of their preparation with a GS priest will now be married by an active duty priest who is being taken in from somewhere else. This means that the priest that the couple got to know over the past few months will not be able to witness their marriage. One priest in Virginia Beach will be celebrating Mass in a local park off base. We are also learning that some chapel musicians will not be able to play at Sunday Mass during the furlough. I think that the best thing people can do is to get the message out. I would suggest that they contact their local members of Congress, but in those cases where parishes are located next to a military base that will not have Sunday Mass, that people be kind and welcoming to their military brothers and sisters and their families. Please do contact your local member of Congress and welcome our service members into your parishes. And continue to spread the message about these restrictions. UPDATE – 10/4/2013 @ 2:32PM: I just got word that while the Navy Yard is staffed with an active-duty priest who will not be impacted by the shutdown, the GS priest at the nearby Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling is furloughed. Since Anacostia-Bolling has the larger chapel, the active duty priest from Navy Yard will be celebrating Sunday Mass at Anacostia-Bolling instead of Navy Yard. The Catholic Community at the Navy Yard has been invited to attend Sunday Mass at Anacostia Bolling.