Another priest operating in the Archdiocese of Boston opposed the H3190 was Fr Thomas Carroll rector of The Jesuit Urban Center , Boston MA. Editor@FaithfulVoice.com
Anti-Catholic positions in the name of Catholicism? Deal Hudson
I find it interesting that in Boston -- the hotbed of a scandal in the Church that involves crimes mainly perpetrated by homosexuals -- Catholic priests would present a solution to the problem by further endorsing homosexuality!
CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter
May 16, 2003
You're going to need to sit down for this one.
A few weeks ago, moral theologian Rev. James F. Keenan, S.J., appeared before the joint committee on the judiciary for the state of Massachusetts to offer the Catholic perspective on a bill they were debating.
The bill is constitutional amendment H.3190, whose purpose can be summed up in the following excerpt: "...only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Massachusetts. Any other relationship shall not be recognized as a marriage or its legal equivalent."
The amendment would be similar to those currently on the rule books of many other states, protecting the institution of marriage against those who are trying to legalize homosexual unions.
A similar bill was shot down in Massachusetts last year, so it seemed doubly important that a Catholic theologian -- especially one with Fr. Keenan's credentials -- be there to present the traditional Catholic understanding of marriage and the family.
This is what Keenan said: "[H.3190] is contrary to Catholic teaching on social justice. ...The Catholic theological tradition stands against the active and unjust discrimination against the basic social rights of gay and lesbian persons."
No, you read that right. A Catholic priest stood as a representative for his Church before a state government and encouraged them to vote AGAINST a bill that would ban homosexual marriages.
How could this be possible? It certainly isn't that Fr. Keenan doesn't know his material. As a professor of moral theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, he received a doctorate in moral theology from Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University and will be a visiting professor at Boston College this year. He certainly has all the apparent qualifications one could ask for in a theologian.
So why is he supporting anti-Catholic positions in the name of Catholicism?
His arguments from Church teaching against the bill simply don't hold water. His basic point is that the Church teaches tolerance and respect for homosexuals, and banning marriage from these people would be the highest form of discrimination. He quotes the Catechism: "Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided" (2358); and earlier, the bishops' document "Always Our Children": "Respect for the God-given dignity of all persons means the recognition of human rights and responsibilities. The teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them."
From these two statements, Keenan assembles his case for same-sex marriage.
But the holes in his logic should be immediately apparent to any Catholic. First of all, it's true that we teach respect, love, and understanding in the case of homosexual persons. Catholics believe that ALL God's people deserve these fundamental dignities, being created in His likeness. And since we're all sinners, the old adage "love the sinner, hate the sin" really holds true.
But while we respect and honor the sinner, that doesn't mean we must honor the sin. And the Church is very clear in its position on homosexual acts. Take this passage from the Catechism, the entry directly before the one Fr. Keenan quoted: "Tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved" (2357).
That seems abundantly clear to me -- "under no circumstances" can we approve homosexual acts. Fr. Keenan conveniently skips over this passage in his rush to condone what the Church explicitly says can NEVER be condoned.
His quoting from the document "Always Our Children" is no better. It was written as a message to parents struggling with the homosexuality of their children. Naturally, then, focused on the need to love homosexuals, rather than the explicit Church teachings against homosexual acts.
But even here, Fr. Keenan is wrong in his description of the document. The bishops do not endorse homosexual behavior: "Accepting [your child's] homosexual orientation does not have to include approving of all related attitudes and behavioral choices. In fact, you may need to challenge certain aspects of a lifestyle that you find objectionable."
Aside from not condoning homosexual acts, the fact remains that homosexual marriage is impossible from a natural law standpoint. We were created to be joined one man to one woman. It's part of our nature and part of God's plan since He first created Adam and Eve. You cannot claim a right to an institution that, by its nature, was not designed for you. That would be like men claiming discrimination because they cannot bear children. We simply were not created for some roles in life, and like it or not, it provides no grounds for charging discrimination.
This all seems fairly straightforward. But the real puzzle is how Fr. Keenan could endorse such an incredibly wrongheaded interpretation of the Church's teaching. A man with his extensive knowledge of moral theology couldn't just stumble into such a gross error. (Of course, the Jesuits have been in decline the last 30 years...)
The amazing fact is that he's not alone. When last year's bill was before the committee, TWO Catholic priests stood in opposition to it: One was Rev. Richard Lewandowski of St. Camillus Parish in Fitchburg (who also happens to be the Chaplain at Fitchburg State College), and the other was the often-heralded Rev. Walter Cuenin from Our Lady Help of Christians Parish (and a staunch supporter of Voice of the Faithful).
The common link between all three? They're all priests with great influence. Keenan teaches at a seminary; Lewandowski works with college students; Cuenin has his own personality cult among the laity in his area. When they speak, people listen.
And these men are no fools. I find it hard to believe that they are simply mistaken in their opinions. Rather, they're attempting to mislead not only Catholics, but the population at large by presenting anti-Catholic rhetoric in the name of Catholicism.
I find it interesting that in Boston -- the hotbed of a scandal in the Church that involves crimes mainly perpetrated by homosexuals -- Catholic priests would present a solution to the problem by further endorsing homosexuality!
Where have they been?
My hope is that the bishops of these priests will reprimand them and denounce their ideas publicly. The damage done to the Faith - in the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics alike -- will be serious indeed if the bishops don't have the courage to speak out.
But you and I don't have to wait for the bishops to act. We can make our voices heard right now, so that people will know what Catholics really believe. If you live in Massachusetts, encourage your representatives to endorse H.3190. If you're an alumnus of Boston College, threaten to withhold donations as long as Fr. Keenan is teaching there.
And please...by all means, help others understand what the Church really teaches about homosexuality in our culture.
It really wasn't very surprising to me that Fr. James Keenan,S.J. has publicly taken the position that supports allowing marriage between two people practicing same-sex sex acts. When I took the Archdiocese Institute of Ministry course, Living a Christian Life(BF202), in the Fall of 2000, taught by Eileen Snow at the site of St Tarcisius' parish, the required readings included the texts by Richard M. Gula,S.S.:Moral Discernment, Reason Informed By Faith, and What Are they Saying About Moral Norms, and the text by James F. Keenan,S.J.: Virtues For Ordinary Christians. The position that both Fr. Gula and Fr. Keenan take is that of the proportionalists and consequentionalist, and the fundamental option(the end justifies the means) school of thought popular among some theologians and addressed in the encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, of Pope John Paul II ,as in grave error. Those who adhere to the teleological ethical theories of proportionalism and consequentialism maintain that "it is never possible to formulate an absolute prohibition of particular kinds of behavior which would be in conflict in every circumstance and in every culture with those values..Even when grave matter is concerned these precepts should be considered as operative norms which are always relative and open to exceptions"(Veritatis Splendor,p.p.95,96) They maintain that if the intended good consequences of an action are greater than the "ontic" evil found in the consequences of an action , then the action becomes morally good. Thus homosexual activity between persons in a steady relationship would be considered as not morally evil but only "ontic","premoral" or "nonmoral", the decisive factor being noted by the consequences over time. This would be denying the teaching of the Catholic Church that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and cannot be approved(#2357 Catechism of the Catholic Church) .
Because I wrote my required paper for the course on just this subject, I was called into the Director's office, Bill Dittrich, and informed that I was "mouthing Catholic doctrine". He said he just wanted to warn me and he wasn't casting judgment on me. When I said that the position of the proportionalists and consequentialists was the same as that of Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent in the PFLAG document "Is homosexuality a Sin?" which was the reason they were told to stop their ministry to same-sex partners by order of the Vatican and that I supported the position of Courage which is the Vatican approved organization that calls for chastity for those who had been engaging in same-sex sex acts, Bill Dittrich informed me that he did not agree with me.
He did not prevent me from receiving my certificate of completion of the AIM program in June,2002, but he sure came close!! Since the work of Fr. James Keenan , who at that time was teaching at the Jesuit Weston School of Theology,was supported by Eileen Snow who was taking courses at the Jesuit Weston School of Theology at the time when she was teaching the course, I wasn't very surprised to see that he supports marriage of those engaging in same-sex sex acts. Following the theories devised by the proportionalists and consequentionalists, this was bound to happen and i suspect there are many other theologians at the Weston School of theology and Boston College who agree with Fr. James Keenan, S.J.. ----Alice Slattery
Date Wed, 08 Oct 2003 18:27:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject more bkgd on Fr Keenan
Catholic Colleges & Universities
Jesuit brings moral theology up front and personal
By CHUCK COLBERT
Much in the life of Jesuit Fr. James F. Keenan runs like an all-terrain vehicle.
Teaching and preaching, writing and speaking out, he travels wide stretches over the bumpy,
thorny territory of ethical issues. His sturdy chassis is the Catholic moral tradition
shod with the flexible tires of Christ’s compassionate vision.
Keenan has taught theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology since 1991. He
has recently written to the Catholic bishops arguing against U.S. military
intervention in both Afghanistan and Iraq. His views are also widely known on hot-button social
issues, such as condom use and clean needle exchange in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Most
recently, Keenan’s outspokenness on homosexuality and the church crisis has drawn fire
Those who know him best attest to a deeply caring priest, one whose primary
moral operative is the Christ-centered virtue of mercy.
One of his colleagues described him this way: “He’s personally brilliant, widely
read in his field. That knowledge expands all over the place, everywhere from medical to
social ethics, from this subject to that one. Yet, he’s somebody who can communicate to
ordinary people. He is what a Jesuit scholar should be. He knows his field, but at the same time
he’s a minister of the word, preaching and teaching on every occasion,” said New
Testament professor and Jesuit Fr. Daniel J. Harrington.
Harrington and Keenan together lead a New Testament and ethics seminar at
Weston. They have written a new book, due out soon, titled Jesus and Virtue Ethics. Moreover,
another book that Keenan edited -- Catholic Ethicists on HIV/AIDS Prevention -- has just
won the Alpha Sigma Nu National Jesuit Book award in the discipline of philosophy and
Harrington marveled at the enormous richness and depth that Keenan brings to
their course. “I can outline what I am going to do with fairly technical, dry -- not
to me -- scriptural material.” Quickly, “Jim jumps in and comes across with new ideas,
fresh perspectives, and very thoughtful perceptions making connections to the wider
concerns of moral theology.”
Those wider concerns Keenan explores in his fundamental moral theology course.
Keenan’s foundational course is one of the most popular, drawing students not only from
Weston, but also from any number of the eight other schools in the Boston Theological
Institute, an ecumenical consortium.
Traversing the landscape
This semester, for example, more than 50 people have enrolled in the
introductory course at Weston Jesuit, an international theological center sponsored by the Society
of Jesus, both a graduate divinity school and a pontifical faculty of theology. Students
pack the classroom on a bright, sunny, early-in-the-semester morning. Keenan stands
before them, up front and personal, delivering the lecture and facilitating the discussion
The morning’s subject is part one of a two-session focus on scripture and moral
theology. “Moral theology should be rooted in scripture and nourished by charity,” he
said, “so that the truth of Christian vocation is made manifest. The question arises, however:
How do we get to a moral theology nourished by scripture?”
Today is only the beginning, as students ponder the course syllabus. In 25
two-hour sessions Keenan traverses the entire landscape, the history of moral theology, all the
way from the first millennium to the medieval era, from the 16th century through World War II
to moral concerns in contemporary life.
Students learn to speak about ethics and moral theology with their own voice.
Nurturing the development of that individual point of view on ethics is a hallmark of Keenan’s
mentoring style. “I’ve been encouraged to become confident of my own theological
perspective,” said Jayme Hennessy, a laywoman and doctoral student whom Keenan advises.
What also attracted Hennessy to study under Keenan was his approach to virtue
ethics, especially his promotion of mercy. “Mercy is the willingness to enter into the
chaos of another,” Hennessy said, in describing Keenan’s perspective. “That approach
captured my imagination,” she said. “This vision of mercy moves us into theexperience of the
one who’s suffering, enabling us to get a sense of what’s really going on there.”
Suffering is no stranger to the life of Jim Keenan, who grew up in the Brooklyn
borough of New York City. The son of a Manhattan police officer, his mother was a secretary
and homemaker, raising five children. “We were five. I have two brothers and two
sisters,” he told NCR.
Before Keenan entered the Society of Jesus at the age of 17, one tragedy had
already struck. The Keenan family home burned to the ground, and the family relocated to
Long Island where Jim attended a diocesan high school. Through the years there were
other Keenan family tragedies to bear. His brother Bob drowned in the bathtub after
suffering a seizure. Keenan’s father died unexpectedly. Most recently, his young niece Megan
died after a painful battle with leukemia.
“All of these were major family-centered traumas,” said colleague Jesuit Fr. Jon
D. Fuller, a physician who together with Keenan teaches an ethics seminar on AIDS and HIV
Dan Harrington remarked upon the effect of these life events on Keenan. “He
entered into those things in a very profound way, letting them influence him as a person and
moral theologian,” Harrington said.
Keenan graduated from Fordham University in 1976. He briefly taught high school,
before earning a master of divinity degree (with honors) at Weston.
During his second year at Weston, he was told to earn a doctorate. “I went to
Rome’s Gregorian University to study with two people, Klaus Demmer and Josef Fuchs.”
Under Fuchs, Keenan wrote his doctoral dissertation, “Being Good and Doing the Right
in Saint Thomas’ Summa Theologiae.” Before joining the faculty at Weston, Keenan taught
moral theology at Fordham.
Because of his European theological training, Keenan saw the potential for more
international students at Weston Jesuit. “When I came here there were only eight
people in our licentiate program and no doctoral students. Now we have 40 to 45 students
pursuing the [licentiate in sacred theology], many of whom are from Africa, Asia, Latin
America and Europe. There are 18 students enrolled in the doctoral program,” which Keenan
“Our students really love theology,” he explained. “There’s a certain honesty
about the students, lay students, Jesuits, other religious, African priests. People are
pretty humble about where they are. They’ll acknowledge quite quickly what they need to
Over the years, he said, “I learned a lot about the Catholic moral tradition,
and I felt it was important to teach it to graduate students. Too many conservatives -- or
reactionaries -- teach it. More people could be teaching the tradition the way, for instance,
Charlie Curran teaches it,” Keenan said.
“I found in lecturing that students liked using the tradition of making moral
distinctions. They also liked that they were not only getting the history and tradition, but
also getting it very positively, as opposed to a restrained way. It was urging them to become
better people,” he said.
That observation cuts to the core of Keenan’s emphasis on virtue ethics. It’s
more than problem solving or simply doing good deeds. “It’s the life of the whole person,”
explained Harrington. “Jim’s always building from that life, the life of Christian
spirituality, and how the Christ event informs a person’s life.” It’s ethics from the inside out.
Perhaps no other event has shaken the faithful in the Boston archdiocese as much
as the sex abuse scandal. Yet in the wake of this tragedy, Keenan sees all kinds of
good people, speaking out in positive ways in churches and in the media.
‘A great time to be a priest’
“It’s a great time to be a priest,” he said, “and to be a layperson today.
There’s never been more of a need for active laypeople or for caring, active clergy,” he said.
“When have we ever seen so many of our faculty involved with the media and speaking up? And
it’s not like people are knocking on the door, saying, ‘I’ve got something to say. I’ve got
something to do.’ People are making real linkages between theology and church history,
biblical studies, systematic theology, and ethics and the life of the church. It’s just great,
this type of response that is emerging -- most of it from laypeople. That’s how I got
involved. Parishioners at St. Peter’s in Cambridge asked, ‘Are you going to say anything
in your sermons about the crisis?’ ”
Keenan has indeed preached, spoken out and written about the scandal-ridden
local diocese and church universal. One article in particular, published last spring in the
British publication The Tablet, “Sex abuse and power,” drew fire from the Catholic right. “The
molestation and raping of children are not primarily sexual acts, they are violent acts of
power,” Keenan wrote. Gay priests are not to blame, he argued.
George Weigel, for example, wrote this: “When a prominent Jesuit theologian
argues that the issue in the molestation of teenage boys by priests is not homosexuality but a
distorted sense of ‘power,’ it seems clear that there’s a lot left to fix in the
theologian’s guild.” Weigel is a senior fellow of the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy
It’s not so much the ugly name-calling as much as the suspicion and casting of
those with whom one disagrees as outsiders that Keenan finds interesting. “Releasing
statements questioning people’s orthodoxy -- even of their fellow bishops -- this is not
good for the church,” he said. “I disagree with plenty of people, but I don’t have to say
they are unorthodox. When you say someone is unorthodox, you’re saying their opinion
should not be heard in your tradition,” he explained.
“I never heard Thomas Aquinas call Peter Lombard unorthodox. But he did say he
was wrong,” Keenan added. “It’s very unfortunate that people don’t believe we can
disagree but instead need to mark people, ‘outsiding’ them,” he said.
Keenan cited the case of Fr. Donald Cozzens, author of The Changing Face of the
Priesthood. “Now I have disagreed with Don Cozzens [over gay priests], but this
is a great person in the church right now. This is a monsignor who ran a major seminary,
whose book is so important. To question his orthodoxy, what’s that all about?” he said. “This
playing of the orthodoxy card is a big problem right now,” he added.
Keenan voiced other concerns, emerging in ecclesial life of the church, brought
about by scandal and crisis. During an interview, he identified problems that need to be
addressed, issues such as the “culture of administration in the church today that is really
so medieval, with its secrecy and hierarchy, its lack of accountability,” he said.
Recently, “I read a book by Brian Tierney, The Idea of Natural Rights,” he said.
“The concept of personal human rights is not a construct of the Enlightenment, Tierney
argued, but of the famous canon decrees of the 11th through 13th centuries. So, the idea of human
rights came from the church.”
Yet, “Why is it that the notions of due process are so arcane, so unknown in
this archdiocese, in most archdioceses, in our congregations in Rome? We have to be
asking why the institution that gave us personal rights, articulated them, even
institutionalized them, why is it now so far behind the democratic and just instincts we find in other
institutions around the world?”
These are the kinds of razor-sharp questions and comments that perk up the ears.
Jon Fuller recalled one other occasion a while back when Keenan challenged the
Society of Christian Ethics to deal with the AIDS crisis as it affects the lives of real
Yes, Keenan is “tenacious,” Fuller said. But, his theological and pastoral voice
is that of mercy. Fuller recalled a comment by Sr. Aelred Timmins, a Scottish nun who
ministers with the homeless and people living with AIDS: “ ‘The only principle I really need is
mercy,’ [she said]. Her insight really struck a chord with Jim,” he said.
Freelance journalist Chuck Colbert writes from Cambridge, Mass.
National Catholic Reporter, October 25, 2002
Date Wed, 8 Oct 2003 21:53:52 EDT
Subject Re: more bkgd on Fr Keenan
Thank you for sending the article by Chuck Colbert on Fr. James Keenan,S.J. (National Catholic Reporter,Oct. 25,2002). Chuck Colbert also had a lengthy article in the Globe,Mar.
31,2002,Focus,sec.E,p.p.1&2. It was titled: "The Spectrum of Belief:The dialogue on gays in the Catholic priesthood is also casting new light on the needs of a far larger group: gays in the congregation." In it he states:"Without a doubt, gay priests and laity are vital to the church's apostolic mission." He claims that :"Nobody knows how many priests are gay but estimates range from 20 to 50%."Then he goes on to praise the work of the New Ways Ministry and their conference which was called: "Out of Silence God Has Called Us:Lesbian/Gay Issues and the Vatican II Church" "Sister Jeannine Gramick and the Rev. Robert Nugent cofounded the group(New Ways Ministry) in 1997 to provide pastoral ministry for gay and lesbian Catholics." Then he goes on to quote Fr. Richard Lewandowski, St. Camillus, Fitchburg, saying:"I experienced a feeling of unity and solidarity" from being with so many like-minded priests and laity at the conference."Like Lewandowski, many attendees were priests. Some of them were gay. One workshop addressed challenges that gay priests and religious brothers face in dealing with sometimes hostile church leaders"...."Gay brothers and priests talked about their lonliness and need to connect with other gay clergy." later he states:"Both (Bishop) Matthiesen and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit made a case for primacy of conscience in moral
matters.....Gumbleton said we don't put people out of the church for following their conscience." Then he goes on to say that "some symposium attendees were already rethinking both secular and sacramental marriage for gays. Theologian Susan Ross, author of "Extravagant Affections:A Feminist Sacramental Theology", discussed the topic, as did others."
That article appeared in the Globe , March 31,2002. Chuck Colbert is still furiously beating the drum for demanding that the catholic church allow priests and brothers who profess themselves to be gay to be approved by the Church leaders and by their congregations. Fr. James Keenan,S.J., is encouraging his students to "speak about ethics and moral theology with their own voice. Nurturing the development of that individual point of view on ethics is a hallmark of Keenan's mentoring style."
According to the attribution in the Globe article from Mar. 2002, "Chuck Colbert of Cambridge, a candidate for a master of divinity degree at the Weston jesuit School of Theology, writes often for the National catholic Register." It appears that Fr. Keenan is just the kind of "Catholic moral theologian" that Chuck Colbert idolizes!! And heavens knows idolatry is the focus of his life!! This is made very clear by the article that he wrote about Fr. James Keenan,S.J., for the National Catholic reporter, Oct. 25,2002. Does he also agree with Fr. james keenan,S.J. in his testimony before the Mass. State Legislature asking that they approve gay marriage and opposing the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment? Hopefully Archbishop O'Malley will become aware of how deeply entrenched the kind of teaching of Fr. James Keenan, S.J., has become among the leaders in the Boston Archdiocese, especially in the AIM program which is the source of certification for many of the Religious Education teachers and directors for parishes in the Boston Archdiocese , who have taken courses from the dissident theologians at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology and Boston College, where Fr. Keenan will be teaching this year. If only the presidents of these theological departments would accept the requirement of the mandatum,( Ex Ecclesia Corde, I think it's called), and if the Bishops and Archbishop supported this requirement, at least Catholic parents would be given back their right to know whether the theologians in the Catholic intitutions where their children are supposed to receive true Catholic theology are able to receive what they are paying their hard -earned money for!! And the religious education instructors and directors will also know whether or not they are being instructed in true Catholic teachings. Otherwise they are being subjected to fraud.
----Alice Slattery 9 OCT 03
Father Walter F. Cuenin
Our Lady Help of Christians parish, Newton
April 10, 2002
To the Honorable Chairpersons and Members
Joint Committee on Public Service
As a Catholic I was pleased when I first saw that my Church was supporting an amendment that would strengthen marriage. Anything we can do to give support to marriage is most necessary today. However, when I analyzed this amendment, I came to realize that there were some serious negative consequences to it. For example:
* Children of gay and lesbian parents may not be able to be adopted and therefore not have the rights and benefits as children of legally married couples. This would hurt many children.
* Two people living together when one is dependent for benefits from the other would be denied protection simply because they were not married. This would mean that there would be more people without health care and other benefits.
* Private companies that now extend benefits to partners of their employees might be discouraged from doing so. This would mean that there would be more people without benefits putting even more pressure on the limited resources of the Commonwealth.
* Couples who choose not to marry would be denied benefits and their children would be unduly deprived simply because of the marital status of their parents.
These negative consequences seem to me to violate the fundamental direction of Catholic social teaching. In the Pastoral Message of the Bishops Committee on Marriage and Family “Always Our Children” it quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states that “the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any form of injustice, oppression or violence against them.” This amendment seems to violate this principle of Catholic teaching.
In addition, the Church is strongly committed to protecting children. Especially in light of the present crisis of abuse, we want to make sure that all children are protected and receive equal rights. This amendment would certainly deprive some children of their rights simply because their parents were not legally married. It does not seem right to punish children if their parents choose not to marry, or cannot legally marry.
In the documents of the Second Vatican Council we read, “Forms of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion, must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.” (Gaudium et Spes #29)
Father Richard Lewandowski
St. Camillus Parish in Fitchburg
April 10, 2002
To the Honorable Chairpersons and Members Joint Committee on Public Service
My name is Father Richard Lewandowski. I am a Roman Catholic priest serving as pastor at St. Camillus Parish in Fitchburg, as well as campus chaplain at Fitchburg State College. In both of those ministries, my service is to very diverse populations.
As a person who is passionately concerned with strengthening marriage and family life, I spend a good deal of time in ministry trying to promote those attitudes and encourage those activities that will cultivate healthy relationships among spouses and/or family members. Understanding the reality of our age, and a divorce rate that dissolves at least fifty percent of all marriages, I believe it to be imperative that both the Church and the State do all in their power, and join forces, whenever possible, to assist couples in strengthening the bonds of marriage. Divorce, even though necessary and advisable at times, while causing heartache for couples, oftentimes produces disastrous consequences for children.
House Bill 4840, while promoted as a "defense of marriage" constitutional amendment, does nothing to protect or help marriage. While limiting marriage solely to "the union of one man and one woman" it fails to address the divorce factor. It does absolutely nothing about the fact there may be multiple marriages, and countless unions. In fact, this amendment infers that multiple marriages, and countless unions are just fine, as long as these bonds are only of "one man and one woman" at a single time. Also, by stating that "any other relationship shall not be recognized as a marriage or its legal equivalent, nor shall it receive the benefits or incidents exclusive to marriage" it excludes same gender relationships and family units from affirmation and societal support. This does nothing to protect family life. It only weakens it.
My fear is that House Bill 4840, rather than honestly supporting marriage and family life, might be used to encourage unjust discrimination against gay men and lesbian women and their committed relationships and cause inexcusable harm to the children in those relationships. According to Catholic teaching: "It is not sufficient only to avoid unjust discrimination. Homosexual persons ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2358)" (Always Our Children)
It is for that reason that I ask that House Bill 4840 be rejected by this committee, and voted down by the Massachusetts Legislature.
(Rev.) Richard P. Lewandowski
Momentum is gaining against TAT
Fr. Mullen's letter to Archbishop O'Malley
September 29, 2003
More and more of the false prophets are moving forward with affirmation. I am getting all kinds of emails which are reporting that Christ's Church has indeed fallen here in Boston.
Last Saturday at St. Mary's Church in Franklin Fr. Matthew Habiger, OSB, a visting priest, spoke at all the Masses about his Natural Family Planning Outreach apostolate. Fr. Habiger is very well respected in the prolife movement.
A witness reports that in his sermon, Fr. Habiger said a number of things that are not usually heard anymore from the pulpit regarding the Catholic Church's teachings on contraception and sterilization. He cited statistics about the high rate of recourse to these birth control methods even by Catholics (roughly 80% of married couples, I believe). He also spoke about the tragic divorce rate and the fact that artificial methods of birth regulation lead to a cold-hearted breakdown in the love between husband and wife, where the woman is sometimes used by the
man in his rejection of her gift of fertility bestowed by God. As he
indicated, this is all contrary to God's plan for a loving family life. Although Fr. Habiger did use the phrase "cafeteria Catholics" in reference to those who
dissent from the Church's moral teachings, he nevertheless was very soft-spoken, repeatedly stating that he did not mean to put anyone down. He was
speaking the truth firmly and forthrightly, but with much charity in the tone of his voice.
Fr. Robert Congdon, at teacher of theology at St. John's Seminary in Boston apparently interupted the Liturgy and dissed Fr. Habinger, saying he was "insulting" and "offensive" and rebuked him. There was applause for Fr. Congdon (also filling in for vactioning pastor Fr. Tom Walsh).
Nice to know these imposters are up at the seminary shaping future priests. When does that audit start anyway?
The people of course, left the Mass with Christ's Truth scandalized.
In a further disgusting development, apparently the pastor has ordered a retraction and apology for the offensive homily to be placed in the bulletin.
You won't read that in the Pilot!
Perhaps we will find Wendell Verrill exclaiming that those of us complaining are giving misinformation about what it is to be Roman Catholic.
That is Walter's new job!
Carol McKinley FaithfulVoice.com
Gay Catholics struggle to maintain faith in church
By Yvonne Abraham, Globe Staff, 10/13/2003
Grace Kelemanik, Catholic and lesbian, has worshiped with her partner at a suburban Boston parish for more than seven years. Their baby daughter was baptized there. Kelemanik has served on church committees, taught religious education classes to parish children.
But it's not easy being both gay and Catholic lately.
Not with the newly installed archbishop telling the faithful that gay marriage tears at the family. Not with the Vatican declaring that same-sex marriages "go against natural moral law," and objecting to adoption by gays and lesbians because it does "violence" to the adopted children. Not with other gays and lesbians turning their backs on the Catholic Church.
And yet, Kelemanik has stayed put. She remains Catholic, not merely because she hopes to change the enormous institution from within, though that is part of it: Kelemanik stays Catholic because she was born into this church, and believes her Catholicism is as immutable as her lesbianism.
"I was raised Catholic," said Kelemanik, 41. "It's my faith. And I know it might sound ridiculous -- I feel like it's almost getting more ridiculous these days -- but I believe God made me as I am, and that's not a bad thing. . . . It's not like I could just go and pick another religion: `Oh, I'll be Episcopalian.' It's what I believe and who I am. And [other Catholics] get to see me and my family, and know we're not all crazy sexual deviants."
The competing tugs of faith and sexual identity have been felt keenly in Massachusetts, home to large, thriving communities of gays and Catholics. The conflict is made more intense because the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is currently considering whether to grant marriage licenses to gays and lesbians, making the state a major battleground in the war over same-sex marriage.
While Kelemanik doesn't think she has to choose between her sexual preference and her church right now, other gay and lesbian Catholics have been plunged into turmoil.
"I am very seriously considering how much longer I can stay in a faith tradition that is so hostile to me," said Chuck Colbert, a gay Catholic journalist. "With the hindsight of history you see this, too, shall pass. But I'm 48, and I don't have the rest of my life to wait till somebody in Rome has a transformative epiphany, and the goodness and graciousness of gay life becomes apparent. "
Charles Martel, a psychotherapist who worships at the Jesuit Urban Center, a South End church that has welcomed gays, knows plenty of gay Catholics whose membership in the church has not survived this year.
"It certainly is a struggle, and there are times when it's very easy to see how it wears people down," he said. "People question you and wonder, `How do you do this?' They shake their heads in disbelief, and at times I think that myself: `Is it a healthy thing to be part of the church and be gay?' "
But Martel, 49, has decided that the only way to change attitudes in the Catholic church is to remain visible within it.
"It is our church, and so the idea of leaving it has this whole, being pushed out [feeling]," he said. "I think that's why it's so important to stay, but to be visible and vocal. If you remain silent, that's how you integrate the sense of shame and self-hatred, so you have to take an active role. I know in time, as other things have changed, the church will come to understand [it was wrong about same-sex marriage]. Some future pope will have to realize this was an error."
While the messages from the Vatican on same-sex marriage anger gays and lesbians, many of them find the church a far more welcoming place once they're sitting in their own parishes on Sundays.
"The reality is that every Sunday, lesbian and gay singles and couples and families gather for worship. They may be more or less out, they may be more or less comfortable sitting in those pews, but they're there. They sing in the choir, teach Sunday school, distribute Communion, work in church offices, they do all the things other parishioners do," said Marianne Duddy, a member of DignityUSA, a national gay and lesbian group that has been critical of the church's official statements on marriage and adoption.
Though the church has been clear about its stance on same-sex marriage, and about teaching that "sexual activity between gay people is not approved, it has also been clear that gay people have a place in the church and the church itself should do outreach to gay people and the families of gay people, and protect their rights," said the Rev. Walter Cuenin, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians parish in Newton. Cuenin's church is known in the area as one that welcomes gays and lesbians, and hosts a gay and lesbian faith sharing group.
He said he had seen many Catholics, including heterosexuals, struggling to stay in the church over the last couple of years, not just because of its stand on social issues, but also because of the clergy sex abuse scandal.
"It has been a huge test of their faith, and some people have walked away," Cuenin said. "Right now the big task for the church is to find ways to go after these people and bring them back."
Even without that outreach, Kelemanik and other gays and lesbians feel mostly comfortable in mainstream parishes across Massachusetts, just as divorcees and abortion rights supporters whose beliefs diverge from church teachings do. They share an abiding belief that what happens on Sundays in some Catholic parishes has little to do with edicts from on high. Some priests chose not to read to their congregations a May letter from bishops urging all Catholics to oppose same-sex marriage and back a constitutional amendment defining marriage only as the union of a man and a woman.
"I answer to a higher person than the Vatican," said John F. Kelly, also a member of the Jesuit Urban Center.
Kelly's partner will not step foot in a Catholic church, he said. Kelly and other gay Catholics said they are sometimes challenged by their friends, who don't understand why they remain in a church that opposes gay causes.
"But I found a place to go and worship, I found wonderful people, and I am answering to one person, and that's God," he said.
Besides, said Kelly, 60, it's not as if he has much choice. The heavy ritual in which he was raised, now inextricable from his spirituality, has been impossible to match in other churches.
"I walked into one church, and I didn't feel like I was in a church," he said. "And I went to an Episcopal church, it was almost as good but not quite the same. I was brought up Catholic, and it's hard to leave it."
But even Kelemanik acknowledges her Catholicism, which seems indelible now, may yet prove untenable as the war over same-sex marriage intensifies. "My partner and I talk frequently about what life will be like," she said. "We're looking ahead a couple of years and can imagine the gay issue is going to become the focus for the Catholic church that the abortion issue had been, and it could potentially get uncomfortable for us, and we may bail. But for now, we feel we do more good by staying."
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© Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
Date Tue, 16 Dec 2003 22:05:26 -0500
From Alice Slattery
Subject co-leader of Priests Forum,Fr.Bob Bullock
I find it odd that none of the viewers of the NECN documentary on Fr.
Paul Shanley on Dec. 3rd and 4th, have asked the reporters who are
investigating the scandal why they haven't asked Fr. Bob Bullock hard
questions about his failure to supervise Fr. Shanley as he acknowledged
he was supposed to do , during the time when Fr. Shanley was the "street
priest" and Fr. Bullock and he shared the same office.
Certainly Fr. Bullock had to know, when he acknowledged that he took many phone calls
for Fr. Shanley from parents and family members who were concerned
about their children's acting out in a homosexual manner and making
connections with other kids to engage in their acts, that Fr. Shanley
was advising the parents and friends to support their child's
homosexuality(which certainly included the behavior which characterizes
Certainly Fr. Bob Bullock knows that this acceptance is
in opposition to the Church's teaching that homosexual acts are never
to be approved.
If that didn't send red flag warnings to Fr. Bullock that he had better
supervise Fr. Shanley very closely, then there was a reason for Fr.
Bullock to deliberately refuse to supervise him.
I wonder why no one is asking Fr. Bob Bullock hard questions about his failure to supervise
Fr. Shanley, especially since Elaine Noble, the gay Mass. representative,
said that many people in the gay culture in Boston were
very aware of the fact that Fr. Shanley was bringing his young male
charges into the gay bars and health clubs.
Also, who were the Globe reporters who were covering the Street Priest scene which apparently
was a big item in the newspapers at that time?
Are there no reporters picking up on this failure to supervise by Fr. Bullock?