There is a lot of talk about what Love is, and what it isn’t, these days. With all the hub-bub over certain movies, Valentine’s Day, and the cultural discussions of late it seemed fitting to turn the world upside down a little, and reclaim what is truly ours, as followers of God, – LOVE.
Because, God is love – and therefore love is ours, not the world’s.
I hope you enjoy it, please feel free to share it, and I pray that it helps a few people who are afraid to love, waiting for love, or looking for love.
We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate.We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.
This is a strong and united stance to take, and it is rather refreshing in today’s world.
For those that think A&E is taking the high road here, and that they are pristine in their place in this situation, remember they once had a show devoted to the Gotti family. For those that don’t know, John Gotti, the patriarch of that family, was a mob boss famous for murder and crime. The family of the reality TV show were made famous simply because of the evil things their father did.
This isn’t about tolerance, morality, or anything of the sort. This is about choosing one set of beliefs over another, all while condemning the latter.
Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson has been suspened by TV network A&E for his recent comments in a GQ interview.
A&E says the following to industry-mag Entertainment Weekly:
“We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the seriesDuck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
Legal analysis aside, what is interesting is that A&E is suspending a man from a show about him and his family for – being himself.
Here is what he said that is being quoted everywhere as the “hateful” and “anti-gay” comments:
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
People can interpret things in many ways, so I leave you the reader to interpret that how you will. Phil said it and really he believes it.
The question is: is it “anti-gay” or “hateful”?
But the big quote that is getting Phil in all the turmoil here is this one:
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”
What, in your mind, is sinful?
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
The accusation is that Phil is being hateful for believing, and then stating, that homosexuality is a sin.
So at what point does belief and expression of those beliefs turn to “hate”? I do believe there is a line somewhere that this happens, but what is it exactly?
Here is a quote from the same article that not as many folks are quoting:
“You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”
It really struck me. I have always believed this type of thinking to be true – that marriage is a vocation because it turns us, and orders us, towards God. The concept: The best way a father can love his children, is to love his wife, their mother, follows along those lines. That love is not a uni-directional, or even bi-directional thing. Love is tri-union; two people and God.
I wonder if that is why God is the Trinity?
As a closing note, this is a great opportunity to suggest to married couples, and especially young adult Catholics that feel called to Marriage – PLEASE READ: Three to Get Married by Fulton Sheen. It explains these concepts better than I ever could, and to puts proper perspective on marriage.
Earlier this month, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron took the stance that Catholics who support gay marriage should not take Communion, sparking an uproar on both sides of the issue.
They freshened the story up by finding some new folks to quote. On the Catholic side of things, they have a statement from Jay McNally, former editor of the Michigan Catholic, now radio and political pundit, who said:
The Church can never, never change its stance on the man/woman relationship being the only kind of marriage there can be,” said Jay McNally, former Michigan Catholic editor. “What we need is good, sound teaching from the bishops, and that is what Vigneron was trying to do.
He is 100% right about the fact that we need good sound teaching from the bishops. The biggest problem in this overall equation is that the pewsitters have been left to fend for themselves amongst the wolves of the world and develop their own understanding of what the Church’s teaching on marriage is.
Many people have been left to their own devices to balance the scant theology they are taught, with the sometimes-obtuse social doctrine that many priests, so-called Catholic groups, and others preach when it comes to social justice, love, and acceptance.
That is not to say that these latter things are wrong, or that every priest, bishop, and Church program is problematic, but that systemically there are problems and holes.
These weak-spots if you will are the areas where people then take it upon themselves to blend social understand and doctrine.
Case-in-point, a quote from the same story from David Garcia, executive director of Affirmations, Michigan’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization:
The Archbishop is on the wrong side of history, which, in the context of the Vatican, should surprise no one.
I would suggest to Archbishop Vigneron that he concentrate on feeding and clothing the poor and nursing the sick and stay out of our bedrooms.
This statement isn’t a big shock when you see the group he represents, but the kicker comes when you see that the story informs that David was “raised Catholic.” The “feeding the poor, clothing the sick” rhetoric might not be a complete reference to Pope Francis, but instead is symbolic of a larger notion.
This sentiment, that the Church is antiquated socially, and off-track in its mission is not an uncommon one – unfortunately. The biggest perpetrator of this seems to be: former Catholics.
To lend support to my point a few more paragraphs from the article:
Same-sex marriage also holds majority support among Catholics, according to a March poll conducted by Quinnipiac University. The poll shows 54 percent of Catholic voters support it, while 38 percent oppose it. The poll had a margin of error of 4.4 percent.
Retired Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who plans to lead an LBGT-friendly service May 5 at Marygrove Chapel in Detroit, says Catholics have received some conflicting messages lately, citing a statement from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York.
‘When the people come, they are acknowledged as gay and lesbian people. But as Cardinal Dolan said, we want them to come to church. There are some priests who don’t agree with that. So either we do want them to come or we don’t,’ said Gumbleton.
As for LGBT individuals and supporters being told they can’t take communion, Gumbleton said, ‘Many are hurt that way.’
Now, Bishop Gumbleton is no stranger to this debate, or to controversy. In fact, he is the same Bishop that Archbishop Sample, then Bishop of Marquette, refused to allow to speak in the Diocese of Marquette due to Gumbleton’s failure to follow protocol and decision to speak on things which were highly-questionable.
Unfortunately, Bishop Gumbleton makes a comment like the one above, and people take that to be the Church’s stance – that some how Archbishop Vigneron and Bishop Gumbleton are on two opposite sides of a coin, when in fact they aren’t, nor should they be.
For Archbishop Vigneron this was never, and will never, be about accepting homosexuals to Church, or even to Communion. Yet, when Bishop Gumbleton says that practicing homosexuals are “hurt” by being told not to take Communion, he is teaching contrary to the faith. As the Archdiocese has pointed out, if a person were to sin gravely, and then take Communion without contrite heart and confession – they too would would be committing the same wrong.
This isn’t solely about homosexual marriage, but about the teachings of the Church. It is about sin, doctrine, and the “Source and Summit” of Christian life – The Holy Eucharist.
We must have priests and bishops willing to be bold and courageous and stand up for all the teachings of the faith. To instruct the faithful in not only the position of the Church on things, but why it has that stance.
We must present the faith in a holistic way. That through all the teachings there is a continuity of Christ born unto the world, crucified, died, and resurrected. That there is ultimate truth which is the fabric of life, a truth that transcends politics, social structure, and even death.
But the Church can’t be about “issues.” It can’t speak to “Gay-Marriage” in a vacuum anymore than it should speak about “contraception” in a vacuum. Just as we can’t understand the Immaculate Conception aside from the true understanding of Jesus as both man and God.
The Church must be about faith, hope, and love. But with those things there must be continuity, truth, and honesty. We must be taught to understand things in entirety and not just the bits and pieces that are easiest, or least controversial. As a faith we can’t pick and choose what parishes ascribe to certain beliefs so as to create islands of he faith that are comfortable.
The Cross is not comfortable. It is hard, painful, and all consuming. As Jesus walked towards that Cross he fell and got back up again so as to ascend it for us and our failings. We do ourselves a disservice, but we insult his ascent on Calvary when we make the Cross about fitting our needs to His truth.
Yesterday my family and I went to a parish in the area that we had not been to yet. We have been living in our new city for 2.5 months now, and wanted to settle into a parish and establish “roots”, or something like them, as soon as possible. We have basically settled on a parish/community that celebrates Mass in the extraordinary form. Yet, because we have never had the opportunity to attend a parish with the Extraordinary form exclusively there are some “adjusts” and “growing pains” we are learning to deal with.
Fortunately, through our community and good networking fortune, we have tapped into a social circle fairly quickly. In doing so, we started asking some of the friends that don’t attend the extraordinary form Mass where they go. Because of the layout of the area, it makes sense that not everyone in the social circle attends the same place. Yet, one parish kept getting named as the Church that, “if I don’t go to…, we go here.” People didn’t relegate it to second place, more so it was an elevation to “I wish it were closer/had been that way when we moved/etc…” So we decided to check out what all the talk was about.
Instantly you could tell what folks were talking about. The Church itself wasn’t anything special, in fact it was… well, boring. But, what that did was lend itself to being a perfect canvass for the Sacred. What I mean is that the first thing my 3yo pointed out to me is that there were “tall candles like at Easter at the one Mass in the small church.” What she meant was that for Easter Mass in the Extraordinary Form, we had just acquired a full set of beautiful candlesticks. Six tall candles on the Altar, and who notices it? My 3yo.
From there things got better, a scola, altar boys in cassocks and surplices – nothing fancy, vestments that clearly spoke to those in attendance that the priest took his role seriously1 It was clear that there was an intentional decision on behalf of the pastor to do all of these things. There was purpose to everything.
The entire Mass things popped into my head, it drew me in to what we were all really there for.. the Holy Sacrifice.
As all of this was coming together in my mind, the homily is what really pushed me over the edge. He spoke of shepherds. He talked about how if men are never told to think about the priesthood, then few will become priests. He also said that if we knew of good men, good boys, that would make excellent husbands and excellent fathers – they then should be told to consider the priesthood. Because if they would not make good husbands or fathers – they should not then be priests. He did not say that if they are called, but that we, the people around them, see these traits in them and discern that.
While some may have arguments against this, I agree 100%. I do believe that priests and fathers/husbands are teachers, leaders and shepherds. We are working hard to shepherd our families to God, and hopefully towards heaven. In the end, I realized that he was right because of what I experienced at Mass. It was an intentional encounter, carefully prepared by a loving leader, hoping to guide and instruct us all towards Christ. It inspired me as a Catholic… but even more so as a father.
that is not to say that they were extravagant, but simply befitting the rest of the Liturgy. [↩]
There have been quite a few news reports and blog posts since Archbishop Vigneron made statements earlier in the week about the reception of Communion by supporters of “Gay-marriage.” I wanted to create a list for some that are hoping to get caught up on the matter.
I think that answers my questions from earlier. I will continue to monitor this, and add more later.
The Free Press this morning had a front web-page story about Archbishop Vigneron. It was about the Holy Eucharist and people who publically support things like “Gay-marriage.”
The article is written by their religion beat writer, whom I am somewhat familiar with from Twitter. In terms of Catholic coverage, they are fairly straight forwardin their approach but hardly ever crack even the surface of basic understanding of the faith. I don’t expect much from a paper on such matters because it isn’t their expertise, so I read everything with a grain of salt hoping they don’t trash Catholicism.
This had to be some sort of stretch-of-truth or maybe it was a contortion of various statements, added to this or that, and an insinuation stretched into a statement. This is a pretty profound thing, especially in our state where we have quite a few public Catholic’s that support many things from Abortion to ‘Same-sex marriage.’
So I read the article quickly, and then tried to corroborate it with… anything. I couldn’t. So that is my caveat. This is one article, I don’t know when and where the Archbishop said the following, but hopefully the reporter did their job. If this turns out to be something that it is not… I will let you know:
Last month, Vigneron said at a news conference that maintaining views that oppose abortion and support traditional marriage are important for Catholics.
“Were we to abandon them, we would be like physicians who didn’t tell their patients that certain forms of behavior are not really in their best interest,” said Vigneron, who oversees 1.3 million Catholics in southeastern Michigan.
On Sunday, Vigneron said about supporting gay marriage and receiving Communion: “For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches.’ In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one’s integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”
Vigneron said the church wants to help Catholics “avoid this personal disaster.”
This is a strong statement from an Archbishop. He has always been very careful, and tactful in his statements and so I am not surprised to see that he has been careful to speak strongly and yet at the same time carefully wrap those words in spiritual truth and care. This clearly isn’t about politics to him, but the truth of the teachings of the Church. He uses words such as integrity, logically, personal disaster, and contradict.
To Vigneron, this is a factual analysis of truth and Church teaching. This isn’t about opinion or desire, but about what is and isn’t allow in the faith. But that analysis, or its theological underpinnings aren’t arbitrary. This is about a cohesive and logical construction of truths and beliefs that must fit together in continuity.
I am going to work on getting more information about when and where this was said, and to see if there are more comments that accompany it. This is a huge statement for Michigan, and for other Bishops around the country. I pray that this statement is presented in proper context and that this isn’t some stretch to create controversy. I also pray that it unifies the Church.
NB:We are going to feature more writers here with the relaunch of the blog, this post is from Mindy of The Devout Life.
I feel I can speak for many people that Catholic teaching on sexuality comes across most of the time as a big laundry list of NOs. For example: no masturbating, no fantasizing about sex, no acting out same sex attraction, no extra-marital affairs, no contraception, etc. Continue reading →