Saturday, July 5, 2014

Debate With Terry Nelson: Ministering To The Gay Community


Terry Nelson of Abbey Roads and I have a friendly disagreement about the "pre pride" Mass which was celebrated at St. Francis of Assisi in Manhattan.  If you read this blog, you know that I was present at the Mass and found nothing at all against Church teaching there.  The Mass was held during Gay Pride Weekend in NYC, and it was an invitation from St. Francis of Assisi Church for Gay Catholics to come to the Mass and experience the Catholic Church.  At the top of the poster advertising this Mass were the words "Feed My Sheep."

As they wrote on their website:
This is an opportunity for our whole parish community to remember that the Lord invited all people to follow him, regardless of race, ethnicity, economic background, gender or sexual orientation.

It is also an opportunity for all of us to invite to Mass any of our friends who many not feel welcome at the table of the Lord for whatever reason, but especially if they are gay or lesbian. Take the opportunity to bear witness to the unconditional love of God by reaching out and inviting back a brother or sister who hasn’t been home in a while.
Terry and everyone else who has responded to my posts are convinced that these are code words for "there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and we're having a Mass to celebrate that fact". Michael Voris did a video to promote this idea, and most people thought it was spot on. As Terry said, "Voris nailed it".

Terry wrote a very nice comment to me explaining his position which I now want to respond to.  His comment was:
I may write a post in response - but maybe not. How do I expect the Church to respond to gay people? The same way it responded to me. The Church opened it's arms to me through the sacraments and teaching and pastoral care. That was before Courage Apostolate was even conceived.
Today there is Courage. http://couragerc.net/
The churches who espouse LGBTQ theory are not teaching Catholic doctrine.
Michael Voris wasn't lying.
I think your other commenters are saying the same thing.
What some of these gay-friendly churches do is close to what some of the pro-choice nuns do and those who escort women into abortion clinics do - they enable grave sin. They condemn themselves and those they imagine they minister to.
A parish can indeed welcome and be open to gay people and many do so. Not everyone is ready for Courage, but to receive the sacraments one needs catechesis and formation in the faith - that means telling gay people the truth. As one guy commented here - you heard what was said with the ears of faith, I read what was said in the same way. However, gay Catholics heard according to their mode of perception, and taking a second look at that, I think the priest intended that they would.
I know there are many active gay people who go to Mass but refrain from Communion - because they know homosexual acts are condemned - and they are not ready to change - but they have faith and consider it a serious obligation to attend Mass on Sunday.
We can't tell people it's okay to live in sin and receive Communion. But we can welcome them to Mass and devotions - and the sacrament of penance - before they attempt Communion.
Catholic teaching - the truth - can be accomplished with compassion and sensitivity while not concealing or dissimulating the truth. Saints such as Philip Neri, Alphonsus Ligouri, Vincent De Paul and others demonstrated that in their ministry.
The best booth for the Franciscans of Holy Name Province to operate is the confessional - that is the best way to win souls for Christ - perfectly in keeping with the Franciscan charism.
I sincerely do appreciate Terry's response and explanation. His opinion has definite merit and not something to be dismissed. That is why I am doing another post just to respond to Terry, and if he is interested, get his further reaction.

Terry, you said that you came out of this lifestyle and back into the Church before Courage ministry began. The first meeting of Courage was here in NYC in 1980, so you came back many, many years ago. It has been an entire generation or more since your return to the Church. I daresay that was a completely different world than than the one we live in today. Back then, I believe that even Psychiatry still considered homosexuality to be deviant behavior. 1980 was slightly before the AIDS epidemic became known. No one "came out" in those days. They all stayed "in the closet" as it were because the homosexual lifestyle was completely condemned and rejected by society. People's careers and their entire lives could be ruined if it was publicly known they were homosexual.

Now we have gone to the exact opposite extreme, where the homosexual lifestyle is so accepted in our society that it is taught as completely normal and acceptable to kids in kindergarten. People's lives are ruined today if they don't support the homosexual lifestyle.

Look at this video where kids today are asked about their views on same sex marriage:



As this video says, kids between the ages of 5 and 13 years were interviewed on their feelings about same sex marriage. The kids were shown two videos of public marriage proposals, the first being a man proposing marriage to another man.

The older ones had no problem at all. They say such things as "That's cool." "They're gay, but that's okay." "That's so cute." "That's nice." Another girl claps and says "Congratulations!" One boy claps in approval. Another comment was, "That was so cute. It doesn't matter if they're like gay or anything."

However, there is a very different reaction from the younger kids who have not been so thoroughly indoctrinated by society yet. One little girl looks at the video in horror and says, "This is crazy!" Another little girl says in protest, "How does a guy marry a guy?!"

The second video is shown in which a woman proposes to another woman. Again, the older kids have no problem with this video ("That was so adorable!"). However, one of the little girls says, "How does a girl propose to a girl and how does a guy propose to a guy?!" Another little girl pretends to turn away in disgust.

Then the kids are questioned about their personal views on gay marriage. Personally, I think that alone is an outrage. Kids should not have to even be thinking about such subjects, especially when they are not even 10 years old yet. Back in the 50's and 60's when I was a kid, I had no idea there was such a thing as homosexuality. Now kids are no longer allowed to keep their innocence.

But I digress.

The kids were asked how the videos made them feel. Most said it made them feel good, no problem at all. But one little boy said, "I'm sad. Gay is bad for you." The little boy is asked, "Why do you think that is bad?" Of course, the little boy cannot answer that question. He just instinctively feels it. This instinct has been brainwashed out of the older kids.

One little girl who had initially reacted in horror now said, "You don't see that every day. But it's okay. A boy can like a boy and a girl can like a girl." She was obviously saying what she thought she was expected to say. Another little girl who had also had an initial negative reaction to the videos was asked, "A lot of people were upset at these marriage proposals because it was a man proposing to a man and a woman proposing to a woman." The little girl picked up on what was suppose to be the proper reaction, and she now said, "I don't get why anybody would be mad", having completely forgotten her own initial reaction.

All of the comments from the kids were very much in favor of same sex marriage and condemning of anyone who disagrees with this. When asked how people become gay, the kids respond almost in one voice, "That's just how they were born." When asked whether being gay can be "corrected," one girl responded, "That kind of stuff makes me sick." Another said, "You can't be like all bossy to people, You can't be like, 'You can't do that. You can't do that.' . . . When it's yourself, don't let people tell you what to do."

The interviewer then says, "In only 14 states are you allowed to get married if you are gay." The phrasing of the question, of course, is intended to bring out indignation at this injustice, and it works. One little boy says, "That is just insane." Another: "Out of 50. That's outrageous." "I need to talk to Mr. President!" "Kind of takes away from the whole freedom thing." And then of course came the comparisons to racial bigotry and hatred. Only one little boy still held out: "I think you have to find a boy and a girl, and you can get married like that. But gay? You can't get married." The interviewer asks with an incredulous tone, "But do you know why you don't like it?" The little boy answers honestly, "No."

Then the interviewer brings up the fact that in some places homosexuals are put in jail or even killed for being gay. This again, is designed to show how evil intolerance is when it comes to those who are homosexual, and again it works, as all the kids react, and rightfully I might add, in disgust at the fact that people are jailed because of their sexual preferences. However, it is obvious that this question is intended to lend credence to the idea that being gay is normal, and any negative reactions are intolerant and hateful.

Then the kids are asked about the reasons why people are against gay marriage. The interviewer says some people are against gay marriage because they can't have children, and it's not natural. Again, this question is sent up so the kids can shoot it down, and they willingly and happily comply.

Then the interviewer says, "Every major religion has something in its books that could be interpreted as being against people who are gay. What are your thoughts about people who are against it for religious beliefs?" Again, this question is deliberately phrased so that the kids will shoot it down, and once more, it works like a charm. One kid says, "It's the 21st Century. Things have changed."

That last statement, Terry, explains exactly why approaching homosexuals as you were some 30 to 40 years ago will not work now. One girl captured the thinking of many in society, "Think of God. Like he loves everybody, and he can't hate anything." Another said of those who oppose gay rights, "You need to realize that you're just a little speck. No one cares what you think." Another said, "I wouldn't exactly say you suck, get out of my life. But I would say it in the nicest words possible."

As I said in a previous post on this subject, Terry, in the past society did a lot of our work for us. This was most definitely true at the time you returned to the Church. Society condemned homosexuality as aberrant behavior. It was wrong and unacceptable. The Church could label homosexual acts as sinful with no repercussions. The rest of society was in total agreement.

But as this video shows, that is just not the case anymore. Those who do not accept homosexuality as normal are labeled bigots and haters, in the same class as the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis. Kids are literally being brainwashed and indoctrinated into this thinking almost from the time they can talk. The Catholic Church is now the pariah in society. We are the hateful ones who just want to destroy people.

Terry, you say,
What some of these gay-friendly churches do is close to what some of the pro-choice nuns do and those who escort women into abortion clinics do - they enable grave sin. They condemn themselves and those they imagine they minister to.
Yes, no doubt some parishes have crossed the line and are actually being too supportive in that they no longer label homosexual acts as sinful, thus opposing church teaching.  But my posts were talking about what I saw at the "pre pride" Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church.  That was most definitely not akin to pro choice nuns, etc.

I printed the entire text of the sermon given at the Mass in question, and nothing in there condones homosexuality.  The sermon tells people that if they are separated from the church they are in a very precarious position and mostly likely will not survive, like sheep who wander from the sheepfold.  The sermon told people told people to get rid of their preconceived ideas and prejudices which block the love of our Lord.  You reject the idea that this was directed to homosexuals, but who else was invited to the Mass?

This sermon was never meant to be put on the Internet for public consumption as I have done.  It was meant for the people who were sitting in the pews of that Mass.  Yes, this same sermon was give at the immediately preceding Mass, which was not billed as a "pre pride" Mass, but I can tell you that there were many gay people at that Mass as well.

Terry, do you really believe that it would have been effective if the message at St. Francis of Assisi last week had been "repent or you will go to hell"?  As can be seen in the video I have posted here, telling people that homosexuality is a sin and they need to come out of it just won't work.  One boy's reaction pretty much sums up the response from society, "You need to realize that you're just a little speck.  No one cares what you think."

You say that you agree with Michael Voris, who says we have to "tell it like it is".  According to him we have to say loud and clear that homosexual acts are a sin and if not repented of, will result in eternal hell fire. That kind of talk worked in past generations. Now all people get from that kind of talk is that the person saying it is a hateful, intolerant bigot.

Pope Francis gave an interview to a Jesuit magazine last year and said things that caused no little controversy.  Many condemned him for his remarks, this being one of the main targets of their condemnation:
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
Cardinal Burke, when asked, said he could not explain this statement.  The plain fact is, the world will not tolerate our speaking about these issues.  They will and do turn a deaf ear to this talk.  Does that mean we just forget about these subjects?

Hardly.  These are very serious sins, and Voris is right when he says many can lose their salvation over these issues.  But that is where the great message of Divine Mercy, as given to St. Faustina, comes in.  I don't think it is a coincidence that Our Lord appeared to St. Faustina some 80 years ago and told her that the message of His Divine Mercy needs to be brought to the world.  That message has now become the only message that will connect and resonate in any way with our current world.

In Diary paragraph 50, Our Lord said:
I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me. The flames of mercy are burning Me - clamoring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls.
The entire message of Jesus to St. Faustina is not that we, as His Church, need to go to the world and tell everyone they're rotten sinners going to hell. We need to go to the world and tell them that Jesus Christ came to earth and literally poured out His Life on the Cross because of His Great Love for you, and now He wants you to spend all eternity with Him. 

Voris denounces this as the wimpy, ineffectual message of the "Church of Nice" that just wants to talk about "love" and not address the "real" issues. Voris needs to take this up with Our Lord, because this is exactly what He asked of St. Faustina.   And our Holy Father, Pope Francis, is living this message in his every word and action.  When he says that we should not obsess about issues like abortion and homosexuality, he is not saying these are unimportant issues.  He is saying what Our Lord told St. Faustina:
"Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. It is not my desire to punish hurting mankind, but to heal it, press it to My merciful Heart (Diary, 1588). You are the secretary of My mercy. I have chosen you for that office in this and the next life (Diary, 1605) (...) to make known to souls the great mercy that I have in store for them, and to exhort them to trust in the bottomless depth of My mercy" (Diary, 1567).
I have written this many times before, but I think it needs to be repeated again.  Our world no longer recognizes right and wrong.  The only sin they recognize is intolerance of sin.  I have put a quote from Cardinal Dolan on my sidebar which I think expresses the mission of the Church in our day:
“And so Francis is reminding us, look, if we come across as some crabby, nay saying shrill, we’re not gonna win anybody. If we come across as a loving, embracing holy mother church who says, “Come on in. We love you. We need you. We want you. And once you get to know us, then maybe we can invite you to the conversion of heart that is at the core of the gospel. And then maybe we can talk about changing behavior. That’s a very effective pedagogy.”
This is what I saw at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan last week.  I think what many interpret as Church acceptance and tolerance of sin is in actuality the great message of  Divine Mercy being extended to sinners.  People are hurting, they are drowning in their sin.  They first need to be pulled to safety, and then, as Cardinal Dolan says, we can talk about what is wrong in their lives.

As I pointed out, Voris told deliberate falsehoods about the events at St. Francis of Assisi Church. You, Terry, seem to be willing to overlook those facts because you like what he is saying.  That message did work in your time.  But we live in a very different age, and that message now will only drive people away from the Mercy of Christ, not towards Him.

Yes, Voris nailed it, but for whom?

Here is another video which I think you will appreciate.  This is put out by Salt and Light Ministry which has been condemned more than once by Michael Voris.  The video talks about the great work that Courage is doing.  It should be noted that mercy and compassion are a big part of their ministry.

There is an interview with a gay man who is very active in Courage and now lives a totally celibate life.  He was asked, "How would you say you found God's love in this way of living, because the Church's teachings are difficult.  But how is your experience of love different now than when you were living the gay life style?"

He answered:
Well, when I was living the gay lifestyle I never found any real happiness or true joy as I sorta mentioned. I felt empty. It's almost like this constant search, but you never find anything. It's like on a treasure hunt but there is no treasure to find. And for me, it was just oh well, something is going to get better. My day will come, but it never did. So through Courage and the spiritual life and trying to live a chaste life, I found that there is a place that you can call home, that you feel that joy and then you feel the love of God.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What Really Happened at St. Francis of Assisi

Friars from St. Francis of Assisi Church, Manhattan
I have already done a short post on the Vortex episode in which Michael Voris describes what he saw and experienced at the St. Francis of Assisi "Pre Pride Mass" in Manhattan.  I was also at that Mass, so I think I can contribute something here.

As I said in my post, Voris starts out with complete misrepresentations of what was said right at the beginning of the Mass.  Voris claims:
The Mass began with an announcement that the Mass was for the homosexual Pride celebrations going on all over the city all weekend. It was being held in conjunction with that.
As I mentioned in my first post, that is a completely untrue.  No such thing was ever said.  The exact words used at the Mass were:
Know that everyone is welcome here at St. Francis, especially this evening as we celebrate this pre-pride liturgy. If you are here for the first time, we are delighted to have you and if you are always here with us, I don't know what we would do without you.
Absolutely nothing was said about any of the "homosexual Pride celebrations going on all over the city all weekend" or that "it was being held in conjunction with that." That is just not true. Voris is supposedly a reporter by trade. He has flunked big time on that one.

Voris then says:
It proceeded without any great display of debauchery or the like. In fact it was somewhat tame as far as the billing before hand.
Notice the kind of language Voris uses: "without any great display of debauchery", "somewhat tame." Oh please. It wasn't just "no great display of debauchery." There was NO "display of debauchery" of any kind.  It wasn't just "somewhat tame."  It was done completely as a Catholic Mass should be done, no deviating from the rubrics in any way whatsoever, following the GIRM exactly.

But according to Voris, the fact that the Mass was completely orthodox is "just the point":
But that’s just the point. See – there is no need for raucous Masses and gay flags hanging from the rafters and so forth because in many Catholic parishes all around the country, the world for that fact, active homosexuality has become normalized and its just accepted that sodomy is nothing more than just one more item on a long list of things that the Church needs to dump
According to Voris, the fact that St. Francis celebrated a truly orthodox Mass is nothing more than a ruse to push their "pro homosexual agenda."  How can that be?
It’s just no big deal for the people sitting in the pews. They just discard the Church’s teaching and move on with their lives – as the Vatican ITSELF has reported in the run up to the October Synod.
So orthodox, beautifully celebrated Masses, according to Voris, are just as dangerous as "raucous Masses and gay flags hanging from the rafters and so forth" because the people sitting in the pews "discard the Church's teaching and move on with their lives."

It seems there is just no winning with Voris.  Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Voris then interviews one attendee of the Mass, and gets ambiguous answers as to Church teaching, and uses this one person - out of at least 300 hundred who attended the Mass - to show that everyone else there does not follow Church teaching.

Not too many pollsters would accept this kind of finding.

Also, from this one interview, Voris makes a judgment on the entire Church worldwide:
So there is this deliberate confusion being sewn about the Church’s teaching. Priests and bishops who either support this or don’t fight it by setting the record straight with CLEAR teaching are aware of this.

They know the vast majority of Catholics simply don’t give a hoot about the teachings and leaders let them remain in their stubbornness of heart or willful ignorance – take your pick.

Because many priests are aware that most people in the pews reject many Church teachings, they can phrase themselves and parse their words in such a way as to give a green light to the heretical state of heart, without actually coming out and saying it point blank.
Voris uses one interview with one person to show that the entire Church worldwide is basically apostate, and that priests and bishops "either support this or don’t fight it by setting the record straight with CLEAR teaching."

Wow. I sure hope our Lord doesn't use this standard when it comes to judging us individually.

Then Voris finally mentions the sermon given that day. However, he takes one quote from it, which is actually the last words spoken in the sermon:
“Jesus was not asking Peter whether he loved Jesus more than other Christians, but if he loved Jesus AND all the other, more than those things that for so long had made Peter feel secure .. perhaps even his ideas.
And what if these things applied to us? Include things such as preconceptions, hardheartedness, and prejudice. If it includes these things, and then Jesus turns to us and asks a simple question: do you love Me more than these?"
Voris is giving only a partial quote, and even more importantly, he does not tell us anything of what was said before this which obscures and hides the true meaning of these words.  Following are the exact words that were spoken by Father:
Perhaps Jesus was not asking Peter whether he loved Jesus more than other Christians, but if he loved Jesus AND all others more than those things that for so long made Peter feel secure: his life as a fisherman, the tools of his trade, perhaps even his ideas.

And what if these things applied to us. Include things such as preconception, hardheartedness, and prejudice. If it includes these things, and then Jesus turns to us, and asks a simple question: do you love me more than these?
Voris gives us his interpretation of what these words mean:
Considering that this was a pre-Pride Mass, that the parish has a deserved reputation for “welcoming” active homosexuals without ever counseling them that the lifestyle is sinful and they shouldn’t receive Holy Communion until they have turned from the sin – considering all these things and others – it is quite clear what the priest meant in his homily.

Those who oppose the sin of homosexuality are suffering under preconceptions, are hardhearted and prejudice. We could never tolerate such things as Catholics.
Since it is almost a sure bet that no one in Voris' audience had a chance to attend this Mass (and most would probably shun it like the plague, anyway), I will tell you what came before the last words in the sermon quoted by Voris. If you are interested in reading the entire sermon, I posted a complete transcript of it HERE.

The text of the sermon was from John 21:15-19, wherein Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves Him. When Peter says yes, Jesus responds by telling Peter to feed His sheep.

In the sermon, the priest discussed the meaning of Christ's question to Peter, "Do you love me more than these" which Father said could have two possible meanings: "(1) Do you love me more than you love these other disciples? Or (2) do you, Peter, love me more than you love these tools of your trade, your life as a fisherman, what has become familiar and comfortable to you?"

It is important to remember who this sermon was directed to. This was a "pre-pride Mass", meaning these were questions for everyone there, of course, but specifically directed towards the homosexual community who were present.

At one point, Father started talking about sheep and how we, as human beings resemble them, and this is why he loves the metaphor of sheep and why he loves to talk about this:
This is why I love this metaphor of sheep. It actually describes us well. Sheep stink. Sheep have all sorts of grubby things that cling to them. Sheep routinely lose their way. On their own, they will wander off, get lost and eventually they'll fall victim, perhaps, to some predator. Outside of the sheepfold, their future is very bleak. They will not survive long.

In order for us to survive, we need to be a part of a community. If we are excluded from that community, we will not do well. More importantly, if we are pushed away from the sheepfold, it would seem that the shepherds are not doing a very good job.
 
Think again of who was invited to this Mass:  the Gay community who have lost their way and are no longer a part of the Church.  He was telling them that, like sheep separated from the fold, they won't survive if they are not part of the community.  "Outside of the sheepfold, their future is very bleak. They will not survive long."  This is a subtle but clear call for those who have left the Church to come back to us, that they need us as much as we need them.  And the priest was reminding us that no one should ever be pushed away, that "if we are pushed away from the sheepfold, it would seem that the shepherds are not doing a very good job."

Now we come to the final words of the sermon, which Voris sort of quoted:
Perhaps Jesus was not asking Peter whether he loved Jesus more than other Christians, but if he loved Jesus AND all others more than those things that for so long made Peter feel secure: his life as a fisherman, the tools of his trade, perhaps even his ideas.

And what if these things applied to us. Include things such as preconception, hardheartedness, and prejudice. If it includes these things, and then Jesus turns to us, and asks a simple question: do you love me more than these?
Voris interprets these words as "Those who oppose the sin of homosexuality are suffering under preconceptions, are hardhearted and prejudice. We could never tolerate such things as Catholics." Voris says this is the only interpretation because it is a "Pre Pride Mass."

Actually Voris' interpretation is totally wrong for the very reason he cited - it was a "Pre Pride Mass." Once again, who was the priest directing his comments to? Who was invited to this Mass? It wasn't straight people who have a prejudice against homosexuals. As I pointed out in my very first post on this subject, I couldn't even get a friend to come into the Mass because the word "pride" was used.

Father was asking the homosexual community these questions. They were the ones being asked, "And what if these things applied to us? Include things such as preconception, hardheartedness, and prejudice. If it includes these things, and then Jesus turns to us, and asks a simple question: do you love me more than these?"

The priest was gently and subtly asking the Gay people at this Mass, "Will you give up your preconceptions, hardheartedness and prejudice? Will you love Jesus more than these?" Gay people assume that the Catholic Church hates them and condemns them. That is their prejudice, their preconceptions, their hardheartedness. But like lost sheep, they need to come home or they will not survive.

This sermon was a beautiful call to the Gay people there to come home. How could it be anything else? They were the ones to whom this sermon was directed.

Those listening to Voris will never really know what happened at this Mass. They will only get his slanted and deceptive view of it.

I can only tell you what I saw that day. I saw a packed Church participating in a beautifully celebrated Mass and given an outstanding sermon about how important it is to be part of the church.

Many have complained to me that there was no talk about how sinful and destructive homosexuality is, that they were not told their eternal souls are at stake, that they need to come out of homosexuality NOW. It doesn't matter what else was said if these things were not said.

We live in a world that is basically a spiritual concentration camp. Unless we put a lot of effort into fighting it, we are pretty much cut off from the things of God and the essential spiritual food we need to survive. We are like the victims of concentration camps who have been surviving on bits and pieces of food and are spiritual walking skeletons.

When the Nazi concentration camps were liberated, it was very important to let the prisoners eat only small portions of food at a time. Their stomachs had shrunk so much from lack of food that if they ate too much too quickly, they would die because their digestive systems couldn't handle the food.

Those who have been away from the Church, who are spiritually starved, cannot handle a lot of Church teaching all at once. They need to be brought slowly into the Church. The first thing they need to know is that they are loved and welcomed. This is what we always saw with Our Lord. He never turned anyone away. He also didn't start out by telling them they were dirty rotten sinners headed to hell. He healed them, both physically and spiritually, and only then did He say to them "Go and sin no more."

Those in the homosexual community have a superficial idea of what it means to be loved and accepted. Society has condoned their lifestyle and told them they are okay. However, anyone who is caught in a sinful lifestyle knows deep down inside that there is something missing. Homosexuals tend to be very promiscuous, having hundreds and even thousands of sexual encounters. This is because they are searching, trying to fill that spiritual void inside of themselves. By accepting them, society has actually made it worse. In the past, they could say the reason they were so miserable is because they were ostracized and persecuted by society. Now even that excuse has been taken away from them. They can't hide behind that anymore and it has actually made the pain worse.

St. Francis of Assisi Church, by having a "Pre Pride Mass" during one of the most shameful weekends of the year in New York City, performed a great service. They were giving these people a chance to break free, for an hour or so, and spend some time in the presence of Jesus Christ. Terry Nelson of Abbey Roads, whom I love dearly, has chastised me saying that whenever the word "pride" and the rainbow flag are used, that means support for Gay Rights. Terry, I was at the Mass. That Mass was all about bringing people back to Christ. Yes, they used the symbols of the Gay community to draw them in, but how else would you have them do it? Don't we have to speak the language that people understand?

I do wish Michael Voris had listened more closely to the sermon. He was blinded by his "preconceptions, hardheartedness and prejudice." He came there with his mind already made up that this was an apostate Mass led by heretics. His mind was not open at all to the fact that this could actually be a way of trying to draw Gay Catholics back into the Church. He was completely closed to the fact that a Catholic Church could actually reach out in love and mercy to those souls who are in desperate need of the saving grace of the Gospel.

And he has now spread his blindness and preconceptions to who knows how many thousands who are listening to him.

We need to reach out with love and compassion to our Gay brothers and sisters. We need to do whatever we can to bring them back home. Yes, there are church communities who have gone over the line and are, in effect, endorsing the Gay lifestyle. But that is not what I saw at St. Francis of Assisi.

I suppose I'm going to be blasted on this post just as I have been for all my recent posts. I will delete any hateful, bigoted comments. The rest of you, go ahead. I will not be answering you for the most part.

Text Of Sermon Given At Pre Pride Mass, St. Francis of Assisi Manhattan

The following is the text of the sermon given at the "Pre-Pride Mass" on June 28 2014 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan:

Reading of the Holy Gospel according to John (21:15-19)

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him,“Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Do you love me more than these?  There is a little bit of ambiguity in this question that we just heard.  Here are three possible interpretations:

One, do you. Peter, love me more than these other disciples love me?  Do you love me more than you love these other disciples?  Or do you, Peter, love me more than you love these tools of your trade, your life as a fisherman, what has become familiar and comfortable to you?

In the Greek, we can actually rule out the option of do you love me more than these other disciples love me.  It's not asking that.  Jesus is not suggesting that Peter's love is somehow less than or for that matter, greater than, the other disciples' love for Him.  However, the other possibilities, that is that Peter, do you love me more in fact than you love these other disciples, or do you love me more than you love these things in your life with which you are so comfortable.  These two are both equally possible in the original text.  If Jesus is in fact asking whether he, Peter, loves Jesus more than the other disciples, this is really the prevailing interpretation among most commentators.  However, that final possibility is equally valid.  Jesus could, in fact, have been asking Peter if he loved Jesus more than he loved those things that were near and dear to him.

For a moment, let's just set aside what I will later refer to as these ambiguities in the original.  We can easily imagine Peter's discomfort at having the same question asked of him, not once, not twice but three times.  This is at the end of John's Gospel and it was, therefore, a post-resurrection encounter with the Risen Lord.  We can sympathize with Peter's discomfort.

And probably like Peter, we know almost intuitively that the threefold question is in fact the consequences of Peter's earlier threefold denial of Jesus.  Peter had been asked, "You are one of his followers, aren't you?"  And three times he responded, "I am not."  And after his third denial, the rooster crowed.

Despite Peter's discomfort at having been reminded of his own threefold denial of Jesus, Jesus is in fact giving him a gift.  He is giving him an opportunity to declare his love three times in a row. "I love you, I love you, I love you."  Perhaps such a threefold declaration, its significance is lost on us.  But to a First Century Jew, its significance would have been very clear.  A threefold verbal declaration is a contract.  This ancient tradition even lives on to this day in Islam, where a declaration of divorce is uttered three times.  The [unintelligible] for Peter's threefold declaration of love are the consequences of that love.  "Feed my lambs.  Tend my sheep.  Feed my sheep."

Now some of you have heard me preach before, and so you know that I love to pick on the sheep.  At Christmas time, I have been known to have run down from the ambo and over to the Nativity set and picked up a little plaster of paris lamb, which are surprisingly heavy, and walked around with it while I preach.

I do this intentionally to call to mind that these images that we have of lambs and sheep - they have more in common with Bo Peep than they do with the message that Jesus is trying to communicate in the Gospel. And like Bo Peep, these cartoon images of sheep and lambs are fairy tales.  Sheep are docile, dimwitted and dirty.  And, my dear friends, so are we.

This is why I love this metaphor of sheep. It actually describes us well.  Sheep stink.  Sheep have all sorts of grubby things that cling to them.  Sheep routinely lose their way.  On their own, they will wander off, get lost and eventually they'll fall victim, perhaps, to some predator.  Outside of the sheepfold, their future is very bleak.  They will not survive long.

In order for us to survive, we need to be a part of a community.  If we are excluded from that community, we will not do well.  More importantly, if we are pushed away from the sheepfold, it would seem that the shepherds are not doing a very good job.

Let's return to those last two ambiguities.  Do you love me more than you love these other sheep, or do you love me more than you love what is familiar and comfortable to you.  Peter, having been given a chance, a new beginning, a rebirth, it's likely that Peter knew that he was simultaneously both sheep and shepherd.  Peter knew that he had been cared for, and therefore he had a duty to care for others.  In other words, Peter might very well have understood Jesus' question far better than we do.

Perhaps Jesus was not asking Peter whether he loved Jesus more than other Christians, but if he loved Jesus AND all others more than those things that for so long made Peter feel secure:  his life as a fisherman, the tools of his trade, perhaps even his ideas.

And what if these things applied to us.  Include things such as preconception, hardheartedness, and prejudice.  If it includes these things, and then Jesus turns to us, and asks a simple question:  do you love me more than these?

Michael Voris Just Makes It Up



This is a quick post. I will be doing a more extensive post later. But I wanted to get this out as quickly as I can. Michael Voris did a Vortex episode on the Pre-Pride Mass at St. Francis of Assisi in Manhattan celebrated this past weekend. You can watch the video HERE.  I was at that Mass specifically because I wanted to see it for myself and not have it filtered through people like Michael Voris. And I am so glad that I was there.

The first false statement Voris makes is the following:
Now this parish [St. Francis] had put out flyers and pasted on to its website that the regular 5:15pm Saturday Vigil Mass would be a “Pre-Pride Parade” Mass.
Notice the words Voris uses:  "Pre-Pride Parade Mass."  As he says these words he shows this picture of the flyer:


Do you notice something missing there?  The word "parade" is nowhere to be seen.  Voris desperately wants you to think that this Mass was a celebration of the Gay Pride Parade to be held the following day, which is absolutely false.

He further pushes this lie by making the following statement:
The Mass began with an announcement that the Mass was for the homosexual Pride celebrations going on all over the city all weekend. It was being held in conjunction with that. Not surprising to hear that announced from the sanctuary since it was pasted all over the internet and billboards for weeks before.
As Voris makes this statement, he shows video behind him of the Gay Pride Parade to emphasize the connection between the Mass and the Parade.  The problem is, this is another complete falsehood.  I recorded the entire Mass, and this is what was said, word for word:
Know that everyone is welcome here at St. Francis, especially this evening as we celebrate this pre-pride liturgy. If you are here for the first time, we are delighted to have you and if you are always here with us, I don't know what we would do without you.
Not at any time was it said that the Mass "was for the homosexual Pride celebrations going on all over the city all weekend. It was being held in conjunction with that."  Voris made that statement up out of whole cloth.  Nothing coming close to those statements was ever said at any time.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I was also at the Mass immediately preceding the "pre-pride" Mass.  Except for the one statement about the "pre-pride liturgy", these two Masses were exactly the same.

At the beginning of his Vortex episode, Voris said the following:
And here's a noteworthy point, just moments before Mass began, as I walked up the front steps, a gentleman who was an usher, it appeared to be because he had a name tag on, stepped in front of me and said,”Michael Voris you're not welcome in here, we don't want you coming in here”. And I said to him,”You can't stop me coming in here, I'm a practicing Catholic and I can go to Mass.” Now, that has a special ring of irony to it because not moments later we all stood up and sang this song that they passed out in the flyer, our opening hymn, “All are Welcome”.
Considering how Voris blatantly lies about the St. Francis flyer and what was said at the beginning of the Mass, one does not know whether to believe the above statement or not.  The only thing I know to be true is that we sang the opening hymn, "All Are Welcome."

But if Voris was confronted when he went in, can anyone really wonder why?  He wasn't there just to report on the Mass.  He was there to push his own agenda, which is that the "Church of Nice" is thoroughly corrupt and we should all reject it.  And as can be seen here, he will just make up his own version which has nothing to do with reality to try to destroy the "Church of Nice" as he calls it.

I did not see Voris at the Mass, and I am glad I didn't because he may have brought out a very un-Christian side of me.  I would have had to stop one of the many friars present to hear my confession right then and there.  

I will be doing a more extensive post on this about the remainder of his Vortex episode, including posting a transcript of the entire sermon given that day at St. Francis so you can see for yourself exactly what was said.  

Michael Voris opens every Vortex episode by saying, "welcome to The Vortex where lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed."  It would be much more truthful to say, "Welcome to the Vortex, where lies and falsehoods are served up on a silver platter."

How anyone can defend this man is beyond me.

More to come.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Holy Innocents Church Partners With The Devil's Bible

Credit:  theconservativetreehouse.com
In their ongoing attempt to save Holy Innocents Church in Manhattan from being closed, some of those who attend there have given interviews to and cooperated with Hell's Bible, which is the name given to the New York Times by Father John Zuhlsdorf.  However, as Father Z wrote on his blog, The New York Times has ceased being "Hell's Bible" for at least one day.  How did this miraculous transformation come about?  On Friday, June 27, the Times published an article [HERE] which takes the side of supporters of the Traditional Latin Mass at Holy Innocents against the Archdiocese of New York.  

The question is, why would the most liberal newspaper in the nation, which is unceasing in pushing the liberal, secular agenda of gay rights, abortion and all things anti-Catholic, want to throw its support to a couple hundred ultra-orthodox, ultra-conservative Catholics in a small commuter church in the heart of Manhattan?  What would the Times have to gain in this?  

It is no accident that on the day the Holy Innocents article first appeared on the Times website, it was right next to another article concerning an archbishop accused of sexual abuse [HERE].  Per the article, "The Vatican has defrocked its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, an archbishop from Poland who was accused of sexually abusing boys while he served as the pope’s representative in the Caribbean nation."

So here are two articles concerning the big bad Catholic Church whose priests and bishops not only sexually abuse children, but the evil hierarchy of this Church also seems intent on trying to silence and disabuse the most faithful in her midst who wish nothing more than to worship as they have always done. Father Justin Wylie is prominently mentioned and portrayed as a martyr to the cause, as follows:
Father Wylie, a visiting priest, urged parishioners to be obedient but also to speak up, as traditionalist Catholics, for a place in the church, saying they should not be “turned out like squatters.”

It was an unusual moment of open criticism by a Roman Catholic priest of church policy in New York. And the reaction was swift. Within two weeks, Father Wylie was reprimanded by the New York Archdiocese, and in short order he was dismissed from his job at the Mission of the Holy See at the United Nations.
It is unclear how the New York Times came to write this story. We don't know if someone actually contacted them and asked them to do it, or if the paper picked up on it from the Internet, where so many, many Traditional Catholics have discussed this situation and come to the conclusion that Cardinal Dolan is evil, hates Traditionalists and wants to stamp them out. The article is written from the parishioners' point of view and is completely sympathetic to them.

As we saw with Father Z and as is true in all other cases, Traditionalists are joyful that the New York Times has come to their aid, and as a result have suspended their usual condemnation of this paper. I truly do hope that no one from Holy Innocents purposely contacted the Times to write this story.

Picture of Holy Innocents Church
from the New York Times taken from the balcony
But the fact that the picture used in an accompanying article from the Times City Blog [HERE] was taken from the balcony is a sign of clear cooperation with the Times because no one is allowed in the balcony without specific permission. Further, this article specifically states that parishioners cooperated with the newspaper:
Paul McGregor [the same Paul McGregor who has given interviews to both Christine Niles and Michael Voris], a parishioner at the church, provided The New York Times with a transcript of Father Wylie’s remarks, which he said were based on a recording by another parishioner. Several other parishioners who heard the remarks confirmed the transcript’s validity.
As mentioned, the Catholic blogosphere, including the aforementioned Father Z, immediately picked up on the Times article. Father Z had not commented on the subject of Holy Innocents since Father Wylie had his priestly faculties revoked by the New York Archdiocese. However, the Times article seems to have helped Father Z find his voice again, but within limits as he wrote, "I would post many comments, but I fear retribution for my friends." With this simple statement, Father Z is setting up the hierarchy of the Catholic Church as the enemy of the laity, just as Father Wylie did in his sermon.

All of these elements, I fear, may be building up to schism.

In my previous post on this subject, I urged those at Holy Innocents not to allow themselves to become bitter and angry about this situation, but to follow the example of so many others, both saints and biblical figures, who suffered unjustly but allowed Our Lord to work out the situation.  I was blasted for this and told I don't know what I'm talking about, and accused of being both heretical and demonic.

But what are the people of Holy Innocents thinking when they go to the New York Times in order to find justice?  This reminds me very much of the passage in I Corinthians 6:6-7:
"But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers! Now therefore, there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one against another. Why do ye not rather accept wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?"
The New York Times is the paper of record for the entire United States and is the court of public opinion. By cooperating with this newspaper, the people of Holy Innocents have turned their backs on our Lord and instead enlisted the devil in their cause.

Ad from the New York Times
The Times could not care less about the people at Holy Innocents or the Traditional Latin Mass. The Times has an agenda, and that is to see the entire Catholic Church destroyed. This is the Church that stands in the way of everything they care about - abortion, gay rights, contraception, etc. Every other religion will eventually give way to the agenda of the liberals at the New York Times, and they know it. In contrast, they know that the Catholic Church will never change her position on these issues, so the Catholic Church is their eternal enemy.

But now the liberal, anti-Catholic New York Times has found a group of Catholics who agree that the hierarchy of the church is evil. The people at Holy Innocents, in their desire to keep their church, have unwittingly allowed themselves to be used in the cause of those whose main desire is to destroy the Church.

How can anyone at Holy Innocents honestly believe this is going to help them in any way?  Do they think that getting the most liberal paper in the nation to portray them as the poor abused victims of the evil New York Archdiocese is going to somehow soften Cardinal Dolan's heart and make him realize that closing Holy Innocents is a huge mistake?  Or are they figuring that Cardinal Dolan will now have no other choice but to keep Holy Innocents open because not to do so will make everyone realize what a "horrible ogre" he really is?  Do we ever see these kind of tactics used by any biblical figures or any saints down through Church history?

From Mystics of the Church [HERE]:
On one occasion, the Sacred Heart of Jesus made a request to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, but when she told her Superior this request, her Superior did not approve. Soon afterwards, when Jesus came to her again, she asked Him about this, and He replied: "…not only do I desire that you should do what your Superior commands, but also that you should do nothing of all that I request of you without their consent. I love obedience, and without it no one can please Me" [Autobiography of St Margaret Mary].
Elsewhere in her Autobiography, we read that St Margaret Mary was told by Our Lord: "Listen, My daughter, and do not lightly believe and trust every spirit, for Satan is angry and will try to deceive you. So do nothing without the approval of those who guide you. Being thus under the authority of obedience, his efforts against you will be in vain, for he has no power over the obedient" [cf. -Autobiography] 
As we see in this example, St. Margaret Mary Alocoque's superior forbade her to follow the request of Our Lord Himself. Yet, she was told by Our Lord that she should obey her superior and do nothing without his consent, even when it goes against what she was specifically told by Jesus Christ Himself.

Further examples from the saints:
In the Diary of St Faustina Kowalska we read: "...Jesus says; 'Obedience. I have come to do My Father’s will. I obeyed my Parents, I obeyed My tormentors and now I obey the Priests' ...I understood that our efforts, no matter how great, are not pleasing to God if they do not bear the seal of obedience.... I understand, O Jesus, the spirit of obedience and in what it consists. It includes not only external actions, but also one’s reason, will and judgment. In obeying our superiors, we obey God.." -Diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska

And elsewhere in her diary she writes: "Satan can even clothe himself in a cloak of humility, but he does not know how to wear the cloak of obedience." (Diary, par. 939).

And St Catherine of Siena states- “Oh! How sweet and glorious is this virtue of obedience, which contains all the other virtues! Because it is born of charity, and on it the rock of the holy Faith is founded; it is a queen, and he who espouses it knows no evil, but only peace and rest.”
And for those who feel that it is okay to speak out against a prelate if he is "evil" as many try to portray Cardinal Dolan, they need to look at the example of King David, whom the Bible says was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). David had been anointed King of Israel in place of King Saul, but Saul still sat on the throne. When Saul realized that David was a threat to him, Saul tried very hard to kill David. But David refused to fight against Saul or harm him in any way, even to protect himself. As he said, "Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, 'I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the LORD's anointed." (I Sam. 24:10).

If the people at Holy Innocents were fighting an unjust landlord or even fighting someone in the government, I would applaud them for what they are doing. I would say they need to stand up against those who are trying to destroy them. But Cardinal Dolan is not just another man. He is the Lord's anointed, like it or not. He is a prince of the Church and his power and authority are given to him directly from the Holy Spirit.

That doesn't mean that every decision he makes is correct.  As shown in the example of St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, those in authority can sometimes make decisions that are actually against the will of God.  But unless we are told something that is inherently sinful, we do not have a right to disobey those in authority over us.

Some have made the argument that the laity are not under the same code of obedience that priests and religious are.  That is true, but that still does not give us the right to try to destroy the reputation of Church authorities.  This can never be the work of the Holy Spirit.  And sadly, attempting to destroy the reputation of Cardinal Dolan and other hierarchy of the New York Archdiocese is the main objective of the article in the New York Times.

Also, those who are supporting the parishioners of Holy Innocents in these tactics should also realize that they are not doing Father Justin Wylie any favors. Father Wylie was completely out of line in his harsh criticism of the New York Archdiocese from the pulpit. He is a priest and has taken vows of obedience. 

Father Wylie is walking on very dangerous ground when he publicly criticizes his superiors, especially from the pulpit. He has lost his position at the UN over this and is no longer allowed to make public appearances in New York City. And there can be no doubt that he will face punishment from his own bishop when he returns to South Africa.

It seems that Father Wylie is not backing down from his statements either. According to the Times article:
Father Wylie, reached by email, said, “I am confident of having tried faithfully at all times to serve the best interests of the Archdiocese of New York.”
Father Wylie obviously feels he has done nothing wrong.  All of the cheering from people like Father Z and this article in the Times seems to have only encouraged that sentiment and hardened his attitude against his superiors even more.   I sincerely pray for him.

One person we have not heard from in all of this is Father George Rutler. Father Rutler is the pastor of St. Michael's Church, which is also on the potential hit list, and the administrator of Holy Innocents. He is very affected by all of this, and yet we have not heard one public word from him on the subject. It could very well be that he feels exactly the same as Father Wylie. But he is a good, obedient priest who takes his vows very seriously. I know this from personal experience because Father Rutler heard my confession and convalidated my marriage when I returned to the Church several years ago.

Father Rutler truly loves the Church and loves Our Lord, and no matter what his personal feelings are, he will never speak out publicly against his superiors, and most definitely would never give any kind of statement to the New York Times.  He models his priesthood very closely on that of Blessed John Henry Newman, St. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney and St. Padre Pio. Father Wylie and all of the people at Holy Innocents would do well to learn from Father Rutler.

I am increasingly concerned that Holy Innocents Church in Manhattan is fast becoming fertile soil for schism. They are so convinced of their own rightness that they feel anything they do is fair game and that the end justifies the means.

We have seen our first casualty of this fight: Father Justin Wylie. How many more will there be? I know those involved blame the Archdiocese for the sad circumstances in which Father Wylie finds himself, but priests cannot be allowed to publicly speak against Church hierarchy. If that is allowed, chaos and anarchy will most certainly follow. Rebelling against authority is never the work of the Holy Spirit.

Because of the Internet, the situation of Holy Innocents has become a cause célèbre among Traditionalists across the nation and probably around the world.  Those who label themselves "loyal Catholics" are taking direct aim at Cardinal Dolan and the New York Archdiocese, and our enemies are going to eat this up and use it against us.  And now they have worsened the situation by enlisting the "aid" of anti-Catholic New York Times.  I pray that all involved will realize that there is something much bigger going on here than the church at 37th and Broadway and the Latin Mass.

We live in very evil times when sin is no longer considered sin. In fact, those who defend the things of God are persecuted and ostracized as bigots and haters. The devil wants most of all to cause disunity and separation among those who are most opposed to him. His biggest enemy is the Mystical Body of Christ, the Catholic Church. And he will use any means he can to cause disunity and division. He has convinced many Catholics that their greatest enemy is the Church herself. In this case, the devil is using the Traditional Latin Mass to turn Catholics against each other, which he must surely relish.

Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us the following:
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
I once again implore all those good people at Holy Innocents. Please stop and consider what you are doing. Show that you trust Our Lord to work this out for you. Do not cause any more conflict and disunity. Follow the examples of our saints. It may sound trite, but don't let your suffering go to waste. Offer it up for the souls in Purgatory and then ask them to pray for you. Enlist the help of the saints, not Satan's Bible.


The Real St. Francis of Assisi Pre Pride Mass


This is Gay Pride Weekend in many cities across the US and the granddaddy of them all is right here in New York City. This is where it all started at Stonewall in 1969, and the Gay community is out in force this weekend.

For the past few weeks, St. Francis of Assisi Church in midtown Manhattan has been advertising a "Pre Pride Mass" scheduled for the Saturday night before the Gay Pride Parade. Traditional Catholic blogs and websites have been slamming them for this. These Traditionalists specifically used the "Pre Pride Mass" to show the difference between the good and loyal Traditional Catholics of Holy Innocents who are being persecuted by Cardinal Dolan and the "sodomy infested" parishes such as St. Francis of Assisi, who seem to receive Cardinal Dolan's full approval.

A typical example is from "Restore DC Catholicism" from a post entitled, "By His Draconian Treatment Of Father Justin Wylie, Has Cardinal Dolan Shown His True Colors?" [HERE]
Father Justin Wylie, a priest of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, South Africa was on assignment to New York City as he worked for the Holy See at the United Nations. He was a popular priest at Holy Innocents and greatly championed the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. On May 18th, his sermon included an exhortation for the Archdiocese of New York to send sympathetic priests to shepherd those who had devotion to the Extraordinary Form. For that, not only were his faculties in the Archdiocese of New York revoked, but the Dolan crew saw fit to complain to the Holy See and to the Archdiocese of Johannesburg. I suspect that if Father Wylie had been incardinated in the Archdiocese of New York, he might have found himself laicized.
Renew America, in addition to linking to Father Wylie's sermon, mentions that the Archdiocese plans to have Holy Innocents subsumed into St Francis of Assisi parish. Notice what's on the main page of St Francis of Assisi's website; they are touting their (drums and trumpets, please!) PRE-PRIDE MASS! It doesn't take much imagination to surmise that this is not much more than a pep rally for the Gay Pride orgy that will occur in NYC soon thereafter. The parish has a "gay and lesbian ministry". Odd - I cannot seem to locate their pro-life ministry!
So Cardinal Dolan thinks that Holy Innocent Church should be absorbed into that progressive hornets' nest known as St Francis of Assisi Church? Perhaps this plan sheds some light on the question asked in this post's title.
The ultra right wing group, America Needs Fatima, even started an online petition to try to stop the Mass.  That petition has now disappeared from the Internet.

St. Francis of Assisi Church, Manhattan
When I first heard about this Pre Pride Mass, I was also concerned. How can a Catholic Church do anything in connection with Gay Pride Parades? So I made it a point to go to the Mass this Saturday to see for myself just what it was all about.

When I got there, I saw a Traditionalist whom I personally know standing outside and handing out flyers warning about the Pre Pride Mass and the terrible sin of sodomy. I told him I was going in because I wanted to see for myself. I asked him to do the same. He said he wanted no part of it, for after all, what else could "pride" mean other than that they were celebrating homosexuality? I said that St. Francis did a lot of good things, and we should give them the benefit of the doubt until we know better. He made some comment about Novus Ordo Masses, and I got the feeling that he was afraid he would catch some sort of disease if he went in.

So I went in the Church.  There was a Mass being celebrated at the time, and the Church was completely packed.  I got there a good hour before the 5:15 Pre Pride Mass, so I thought it would be especially interesting to see if the "regular" Mass was celebrated any differently than the "Pre Pride Mass."  I got there just as the priest was giving his sermon.  The sermon seemed tailor made to answer all of those blogs and websites that have been condemning the "Pre Pride Mass" for the past month.

This Sunday is the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, and the sermon concerned  the passage in the Gospels in which Our Lord asks St. Peter three times, "Do you love me?  Then feed my sheep."

From the sermon:
Sheep are docile, dimwitted and dirty. And my dear friends, so are we. This is why I love the sheep metaphor. It actually describes us well.  Sheep stink! Sheep have all sorts of grubby little things clinging to them. And sheep routinely lose their way. On their own they wander off, they get lost, and eventually they fall victim to some predator. Outside of the sheepfold, their future is bleak. Alone, they will not survive long. Like them, in order for us to thrive, we need to be part of a community.  If we're excluded from the community, we will not do well.  And more importantly and sadly, if we are pushed away from the sheepfold, it would appear that the shepherds are not doing a very good job.
 . . 
Perhaps Jesus was asking Peter, "do you love me more than you love what is comfortable and familiar to you?"  Peter had been given a chance, a new beginning, a rebirth.  It is very likely that Peter knew that he was both sheep and shepherd. He knew that he had been cared for and therefore he had the duty to care for others. In other words, Peter would have better understood the question than we do. Perhaps Jesus was not asking Peter whether he loved Jesus more than other Christians, but if he loved Jesus AND all the other, more than those things that for so long had made Peter feel secure, his life as a fisherman, the tools of his trade, perhaps even his ideas.

And what if these things applied to us?  Include things such as preconceptions, hardheartedness, and prejudice.  If it includes these things, and then Jesus turns to us and asks a simple question:  do you love Me more than these?"
Fifteen minutes after this Mass ended, the "Pre Pride Mass" began. The Church was as completely packed for this Mass as it had been for the previous Mass. And this Mass was exactly the same as the previous Mass - the same priest, same prayers, same hymns, and even the same sermon, almost word for word. The only difference was that at the beginning of the Mass, Father thanked the people for coming to the "Pre Pride Mass." There were no rainbow flags, no celebrations of the homosexual lifestyle, no flouting in any way of the Church teaching on homosexuality. In fact, homosexuality was not even mentioned. It was a very orthodox, reverent Mass with absolutely nothing offensive in it to anyone.

This "Pre Pride Mass" was not in any sense of the word a "pep rally for the Gay Pride orgy that will occur in NYC soon thereafter" as claimed by DC Restore or any of the other Trad websites and blogs.  It was just as the Church of St. Francis of Assisi said it was:  a call to salvation in Jesus Christ, or as they put it on their website as pictured above, "God loves all people and calls us all into His family!"  

Our culture and almost the whole world have come to view homosexuality as a completely normal and acceptable way of life.   It was not as necessary in past generations for large ministries to homosexuals because society did a lot of our work for us in that homosexuality was condemned.  But now that this lifestyle is accepted in our culture, the Church must respond to this and do so with true Christian charity.  Yelling at people and telling them they're all rotten sinners headed to hell will only turn them away and drive them deeper into their sin.  The Church must be a warm embracing family, always rejecting the sin, but never the sinner, just as Our Lord showed us in the love He showed towards all people.  

As Pope Francis told us, the Church is a hospital.  When the wounded come to us, we must first treat their wounds, and then when they are stronger, we can get to the cause of those wounds, which is the sin in their lives.  This is what the "Pre Pride Mass" was all about at St. Francis of Assisi.

Friars from St. Francis of Assisi Church handing out
food to the homeless
St. Francis of Assisi in Manhattan is a physically beautiful church, having undergone a costly renovation just a few years ago.  They offer daily confessions, several Masses each day, daily adoration, many and varied classes and outreach programs, including feeding the hundreds of homeless people in their area.  

I truly wish my Traditional Catholic friend had come into the church with me and experienced the love and warmth that was so present there.  Thank you, St. Francis of Assisi Church, for opening your doors to those who are so in need of the saving message of the Gospel.

To all those who prejudged and condemned this event, I will repeat Father's words to you: 
And what if these things applied to us? Include things such as preconceptions, hardheartedness, and prejudice. If it includes these things, and then Jesus turns to us and asks a simple question: do you love Me more than these?

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