Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why did Bishop Martino Voice Disapproval of Talk by Keith Boykin?

Every now and then a comment drops into a combox that warrants a closer look. Since the post in question is not getting as much traffic as it was a few days ago, I thought I would draw your attention to it here. It comes from a woman named Leah in my post:

It's Bishop Martino....again, this time taking on Misericordia University for inviting gay-rights advocate
I'll accept comments to this post here, but I will only publish those made with the utmost of charity.

My response will come in between each paragraph. Leah says...

As a Catholic and as a student of Misericordia University, I was appalled by what the Bishop said about the school which has been so a part of my life for the past 10 years. My mother has worked at the institution and I am currently attending the university.
Leah, I'm glad that you take pride in your Catholic university. Let's look closer at some things...

What exactly did Bishop Martino say about Misericordia? Here is what he said:

“The faithful of the Diocese of Scranton, the Bishop observed, should be in no doubt that Misericordia University in this instance is seriously failing in maintaining its Catholic identity.”

Why is it seriously failing in "this instance" in it's Catholic identity?

Because it has invited a speaker who is a proponent of gay "marriage". By virtue of having a speaker at a Catholic institution who promotes something that counters Church teaching can lead others into scandal.

What is scandal? Let's look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."85 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion

Now, here is something to consider with regards to scandal. If a bishop is aware of the potential for the faithful to be scandalized into thinking that, by virtue of the fact that this man is speaking on a Catholic campus, on gay marriage, and the bishop says nothing, does he not participate in that scandal through omission?

Similarly, is not reasonable to assume that if Mr. Boykin is advancing gay marriage on a regular basis off campus, that he might promote it at Misericordia? I think it is a very reasonable assumption on the part of Bishop Martino.

Leah continues...

I wonder how many people who are commenting on this speech, actually attended it, to see for themselves what the Bishop so disapproved of. I believe when Misericordia said in their statement, "Mr. Boykin’s speech is not meant to be a forum for advocacy on any single issue," was that despite him being a homosexual, his speech was not focused on his homosexuality, or in fact, any homosexuality at all.

The 8 o'clock talk did not even mention homosexuality besides in a laundry list of groups who are discriminated against and in a question that was asked of Mr. Boykin, uninitiated. His speech was on the Obama campaign and spoke a message of perseverance and hope.

Perhaps the 8:00 talk did not mention it, but according to that video news report I provided the other day, Boykin included discussion of gay marriage (at least at the first talk). That is a secular press source.

Secondly, it doesn't matter if the talk was not a forum on any single issue. If advocacy of gay marriage was one among many topics, then that is a problem on a Catholic campus.

By no means should a professional and scholar be singled out by his sexual orientation for any reason. Knowledge is knowledge, and to censor that would be a sin in itself. If we were to go back and take away any knowledge that we gained from homosexuals, we could not be learning about the man who painted the Sistine Chapel or any of the great musical compositions of Tchaikovsky.

The Catholic Church does not condemn or single out people because of their homosexual orientation. In fact, there is an apostolate approved by the Catholic Church called Courage and they should be welcomed on every Catholic campus. But, I'm sure Misericordia and other universities which solicit talks by people known for advancing gay marriage won't be inviting Courage to give a talk and start a chapter at the school. That is because Courage helps people with same sex attraction (SSA) to live chaste lives. This is unpopular because it is counter-cultural, yet it is just this counter-cultural life that all single people must live (remember, the road is narrow and difficult, not broad and easy). I'm certain Bishop Martino would approve of a member of Courage with SSA coming to Misericordia to talk. Just ask him. Please check out Courage and ask Misericordia to invite them. I'll be glad to plug the event here on Te Deum Laudamus!

Furthermore, I am heterosexual and single. If I love God, I love his commandments and I will live a life of perfect chastity unless I enter into sacramental marriage. Those with homosexual tendencies are also called to chastity if they cannot enter sacramental marriage with a member of the opposite sex.

Keith Boykin was not singled out because of his sexual orientation. Mr. Boykin is well known for promoting gay marriage and according to that secular news source in Scranton, advanced gay marriage at Misericordia. Nothing prevents him from doing that in secular settings. It's covered under free speech. By the same standard, the Bishop not only has a right, but an obligation to speak up on matters of faith and morals. Does he not have a right to free speech, especially when it pertains to things happening on a Catholic campus in his diocese? Nothing prevents people from blowing him off, but it is totally imprudent to blow off one's bishop on such things.

Further, you bring up famous artists who were allegedly of homosexual orientation. Were they using their sexual orientation to advance their art? If it is true that these artists were homosexual, even had they been invited to speak at an event that was "not meant to be a forum for advocacy on any single issue" in their day, it most likely would not have been a problem. This is assuming that they weren't publicly advancing homosexual activity and marriage which....leads us back to that thing called scandal. There can be no scandal where there is no public knowledge of what the Church defines as immoral behavior and advocacy.

It has recently been extremely upsetting to find so many Catholics being so extremely judgmental and so extremely unchristian. With the words of Bishop Martino, I find myself ashamed of my church. Not of my faith and my religion, but of the views of my church which would so censor a school for no reason other than the personal life of the man speaking.
It is truly regrettable that Catholic teaching for the last 40 years has been so banal and misaligned that you, and many others, should have to suffer because you don't understand.

At the same time, our bishops are also suffering because people have turned a deaf ear to them. Much of this is because they are accustomed to not hearing their bishops because the bishops were not speaking. Now they are and while it is music to the ears of faithful Catholics, it is annoying to those who don't want to hear it. This does not make them mean. We have to look at what they are saying and measure it against Scripture, Tradition and Church documents, as well as the Church Fathers and Doctors.

If the bishop has the mind of the Church then it is wise to mind the bishop!

As Fr. Corapi has said, "Truth is not a something, it's a somebody and that somebody is Jesus Christ". Truth cannot change with each individual's desires any more than we can have different versions of the same Jesus. You can't have a Jesus who is for sex only inside of sacramental marriage, while at the same time having a Jesus who is for sex inside of any kind of marriage, including homosexual, polygamous, or otherwise.....or a Jesus who is for people having sex any time, any day, with anyone, or with anything. Which is of these variables is the true, objective reality? Which one matches Scripture?

Bishop Martino is right to speak out and he has done nothing unchristian. If anything, your bishop is the one you SHOULD look to on matters of faith and morals. When he speaks you ought to give pause and listen to him carefully.

The Catholic faith is not something that can be based on feelings and emotion. Our Lord simply laid out a teaching and allowed people to accept it or not. If they rejected the teaching, he did not go running after them, begging them to exercise humility, which is what He exemplified when he accepted death on a Cross.

I'm not only pround of my Catholic faith, but I'm proud of Bishop Martino for not neglecting the faithful of their right to know when there is a spiritual danger. He is responsible before God for all that he does, or does not do, to protect the faithful.

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching. (Hebrews 13: 8-9)

If anyone else wants to join in, again...please consider that not everyone has the benefit of sound catechesis. Approach it with charity and I'll post it.

Also, I may only get to publish comments later in the evening, so don't assume I'm ignoring them. I just don't have access for much of the day while I'm at work.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!