Sunday, April 20, 2008

B16 shows his true colors. They are not the rainbow.

(photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

B16 showed his true colors by avoiding any mention of Catholic Fire Chaplain Rev. Mychal F. Judge in the prayer he offered at Ground Zero earlier today. He passed up an ideal opportunity to make a subtle but clear overture to the gay community by honoring that heroic man, a self-admittedly gay (and celibate) priest. Skipping him when he mentioned heroic firemen and policemen is a glaring omission. B16 did not even mention "chaplains" in that list of heroes. Even that would have been overly circumspect, but it would have been something. Father Judge is being considered for sainthood, so don't ask me to believe this was unintentional. If anything, the omission of his name is a strong message that B16 and the Vatican have no intention of advocating for this man's canonization. Rather, they will turn their backs on the possibility, effectively squelching it. Here is the telling section of the text of the prayer B16 delivered at Ground Zero earlier today:

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.

We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

Go here for the full text of the prayer.

Don't tell me I'm being cynical or suspicious here, folks. Don't tell me that prayer was spontaneous. It was scripted, and vetted. Don't ask me to believe that B16 was not presented with the possibility of mentioning Father Judge in that prayer and that he did not deliberately choose not to do so. This Pope deliberately chose not to ask God to give eternal light and peace to Father Judge, one of his own priests, and reputed to have been a great one.

Anyone who may have been even mildly impressed with this soft-spoken gentle old visiting pontiff ought to consider the importance of what he would not say. He is a cold-blooded dinosaur.

(Go here for more about Father Mychal Judge.)


TedBear said...

Pope Palpatine should be ashamed. I was in the Financial District on 9/11 for a meeting and all I could do is run away scared out of my wits.

Father Judge, the police and the fire personnel ran into the buildings to save others and were killed.

Pope Palpatine had a chance to honor one of his own. Besides The Gay Thing, he didn't honor one of his own dead in the biggest terrorist act of modern times. Shame Pope Palpatine, Shame.

We do volunteer PC network installation and PC network router work for charities. One of the first ones was a Catholic school in a way bad part of town. We met a great Sister there. Through the day, Sister Lucy saw us working together. We sat next to Sister Lucy at lunch. Sister Lucy asked us if we were together. We said yes, and she thanked us for our kind work. I asked the Sister what she thought of two men together. She said, "God doesn't judge man like man judges man." That one kind observation from the truly good Sister Lucy gave me more peace than I ever encountered in Mass.

Sister Lucy has more compassion in one thread of her Sisters of the Holy Ghost Grey Habit than Pope Palpatine has in his entire body.

birdoparadise said...

Father Judge appears to be a kindred soul to Henri Nouwen, a priest whose books are widely read and highly regarded by Catholic and Prostestant clergy and scholars. He, too, was gay*; and his poignant book Inner Voice of Love is his diary of the time he was clinically depressed as he struggled with his orientation. If you’ve read it, you know it is memorable in its own right. Read it again with the understanding that he was wrestling with his love for a man.

Like Father Judge, Nouwen reconciled his orientation and remained celibate for all of his life. But nowhere in the literature will you find notation of this. Judge’s treatment by Benedict16 is nothing new at all.

We can rail against the status quo or we can do something about it. Change comes from below, not from the entrenched power. Tell your friends and colleagues, insist on accuracy in details, and don’t stop talking about it. Groundswell can become groundbreaking.


*I’m sorry, but I cannot find my online sources for this information; it’s been too long.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Bird,
I had no idea Henri Nouwen was gay! My seminary professors fed him to us regularly, and I think I recall him directing a week long retreat I attended. He was the darling of the diocesan clergy charged with formation of future priests. I bet that came to a screeching halt after he came out of the closet. Thanks for the update.

Dear Tedbear,
Powerful words from a good nun, and from you.

John M. said...

Henri Nouwen never actually came out, but he did come to accept himself as a gay man. A couple of biographers have done some justice his torment and conflict over his sexuality.

jmKelley said...

The Pope visited Ground Zero today and met the sister of the late FDNY chaplain, Father Mychal Judge, "the Saint of 9/11," the first official casualty of the attacks.

Mychal was considered a living saint by many even prior to his heroic death. His extraordinary works of compassion have been compared to Mother Teresa (see )

Ironically, Fr. Mychal Judge would be barred from the priesthood today because he was openly gay, though celibate. Benedict says that men like Mychal Judge are “objectively disordered.” Mychal often asked, “Is there so much love in the world that we can afford to discriminate against any kind of love ?!”

We have no illusions that this pope is going to change. But most Catholics affirm two truths -- that God created and loves gay people, and that the pope does not speak for the whole Church, the Ecclesia, on these matters.

Indeed, two-thirds of U.S. Catholics-in-the-pews reject the pope’s homophobic views and support either civil unions or full marriage rights, according to numerous surveys.

As Fr. Mychal also said, "Don't let the (institutional) church get in the way of your relationship with God."

thomas tucker said...

Ironic, that you laud Sister Lucy for her love and non-judgementalism, yet you feel free to judge Benedict for what you think is a sin of omission.
BTW, Sister speaks rightly that only God can judge one's soul and evaluate an individuals'culpability- her comment is not contrary to Church belief. How nice if you Father Tony, would do the same with regard to Benedict.
jmkelly- if you are going to disagree with Church teaching, please at least get right what you are disagreeing with. The Church does not say that homosexuals are disordered. It says that homosexual desire ( like many others, one might add) are objectively disoredered.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Thomas Tucker,
I don't think I called B16 a sinner. I think I called him a cold-blooded dinosaur. Since you didn't take exception to that, I will assume you agree. Qui tacet consentire videtur.

Cooper said...

I think in the flames of every sunrise, every holocaust, every conflagration, there is the possibility of reconciliation and of hope. Father Mychal lived that truth. That photograph should be made into a sculpture. It is the epitome of humanity at its best .... its blessings, its lessons, its chastening. There in repose rests the face of a saint.

tater said...

I applaud your comment, and quite agree. The Pope missed a blinding opportunity to do the right thing in mentioning this selfless hero, and with that omission, the opportunity to bridge a divide between people. The missed chance to impart dignity to many of his flock who are gay and struggling with the homophobic rhetoric of the church, while maintaining their faith, with so simple an act, is reprehensible, if not purposefully spiteful. He demonstrated to me once again, a stunning lack of forethought, compassion, and empathy. Bravo.

birdoparadise said...

I confess I know next to nothing about Catholic doctrine. My head is spinning after trying to briefly research "objectively disordered." It feels like I'm reading Leviticus.

My understanding is that, according to the Church, homosexual feelings are disordered; the acts are sinful. The feelings are "objectively disordered" because the object of those feelings is "not natural"—a woman—since the purpose of sex is reproduction.

If Father Judge and Nouwen were celibate, were they not following doctrine to the best of their ability? Would they not be saintly examples of restraint and discipline? Their behavior certainly speaks volumes to that effect.

Their marginalization is one example of many inconsistencies within the Church. (Did you know that there are at least 200 married American Catholic priests?) The Catholic Church certainly is not alone in this; and I think it's why organized religion is facing such a challenge. We preach absolutes and practice relativism.


Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

You get an "A" in your head-spinning attempt to fathom the absurdity of this situation. Marginalization is accurate but it is too polite to describe the reality of what is happening here.

Homer said...

It amazes me why the Pope in all of his various incarnations gets so much airtime. The pretty dresses? The hot Swiss guards? The gaud palace? I bet the heads of other religions are fricken jealous.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Homer, I have often thought that when I was doing ceremonies in the Vatican. Any other religion would kill to have what we had.

John said...

The "Saint of 9/11" opened my eyes to the true human aspect of a priestshood.

I find the ommission of this man's contribution to NYC and his martyrdom at ground zero to be demonic.

With Love in Christ, fuck You benedict...Fuck you.

Mike said...

It says that homosexual desire ( like many others, one might add) are objectively disoredered.

That's insulting, especially to someone who has been in a longterm relationship.

R J Keefe said...

I expect that B16 finds all of this concern for carnality rather juvenile and uninteresting; he'd much rather discuss the Trinity and Transubstantiation, but he can't find a foursome!

The Milkman said...

Never in his life has Ratzinger been known for his empathy and insight into the human condition. Instead, he spent his Vatican career has the ecclesiastic correlate to Tom "The Hammer" Delay... pounding the church's deeply disordered rules and regulations into the hearts and minds and works of those who would serve. He wasn't simply serving the church... he did it so well and so enthusiastically that his success can only be described as the result of combining extraordinary belief with unbridled zeal.

I simply don't understand how a promotion and changing into a white robe can possibly morph him into a Wilford Brimley-like example of the "good shepherd". He's always been a heavy-handed disciplinarian, and always will be.

Even more reason to leave the established religions find your own path.

thomas tucker said...

You guys are way off base. The Pope met with Father Judge's twin sister at the ceremony at Ground Zero. But nothing would be good enough for you guys. You should examine your own souls, not the Pope's.

birdoparadise said...

Thomas, you are clearly frustrated. But I think more is going on here than chastising the Pope for a perceived slight. The sting of betrayal is palpable. Many people, not just gay men, feel disenfranchised by organized religion in general and the powers that represent them. And when I read the CDF letter about sexuality, I am troubled that my own understanding of the nature of God does not coincide with such limiting guidelines. These men are asking only what I would ask: Does God love me just as I am? I know, absolutely, that He does.

Men will always fail to be the mirror of God. Some succeed better than others, but it isn’t possible. While men can and do help each other in their spiritual search, it ultimately comes down to finding your own way. It’s just as Father Judge said (courtesy of jmKelly), "Don't let the [institutional] church get in the way of your relationship with God."


thomas tucker said...

Well, Birdie- therein lies the difference between you and traditional Christianity as handed down by the Apostles. It's not about finding "your" way- it's about following the way of Christ. And sometimes that means crucifying your own desires and needs, picking up your cross, and following after Him. We who are Catholics believe that the Church was founded by Christ to teach, govern, and sanctify- not, btw, to be a haven for the sinless, but to be a hospital for sinners. You are welcome not to believe that, of course, but such is the Catholic belief. If you follow your own way, you will eventually find yourself straying from the true path, but you may not even see it until years later,or maybe not at all, and despite that you were truly sincere in what you were trying to do. I have no doubt of that. The way of CHrist is not easy and it calls for sacrifice. It is a way of love, but not easy love, or superficial love, or love without demands. Sometimes it even requires following the Way when you don't understand it.
Am I frustrated? Not really- just disappointed in people's superficial evaluations and off-hand caricatures of Benedict.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Thomas Tucker,
I don't see "superficial" or "off-hand" in the comments above. I do see a good amount of passion; the kind of passion that I think is pleasing to Jesus Christ who felt it himself.

Your words, on the other hand, have an air of hauteur to them; a careful aridity that I think you deliberately cultivate in order to mask your own strong passions. I don't find you convincing because I don't feel that you believe what you say. I get the impression of someone who will someday be so bowled-over-in-love with a good man that the floodgates you strenuously contain will burst, and you'll be drenched with all good passions and love and Godly graces. Your words will be infused with the Spirit and will be joyful and warm-hearted. I will pray for it. It's going to be a magnificent moment. (Sorry about this little aside, but it's my nature to speculate.)

thomas tucker said...

That is very interesting- to see how we come across to others. Hauteur and aridity are words that I myself would have applied to how your writings strike me.
Perhaps we are kindred spirits in some unkown way. I guess that's my own speculation.
In any case, if you do truly pray, please pray also for Benedict- we always do well to pray for our "enemies". It sometimes does more for us than it does for them.
Saepe creat molles aspera spina rosas.

birdoparadise said...

Apparently I wasn’t as clear as I thought I was. There are as many paths to Christ as there are human beings. What is important is, whether through Catholic or Protestant or independent means, we all meet at the foot of the cross.

I do know the sacrifice in choosing the way of Christ because I have chosen to accept a call to a life of service for myself. It is a genuine call for me, and it gives me great peace regardless of the turmoil in my life or my world. It is a part of my call to be a bridge between the gay and Christian communities, two groups who have found reason to distrust each other.

Therefore, I am a part of organized religion. It hurts me deeply to see people spurn God because of the failure of men. I did the same thing until I realized I was putting my faith in the wrong place. I had to take my own path—as each of us must—to discover what is the nature of God and what that means for me. Of course, we have the people of the church (lower case “c”) to help us in our faith journeys.

Can you see that the two men we are discussing here, Judge and Nouwen, had to decide for themselves to accept God’s call in spite of what men had determined was acceptable for that calling? They had to choose their own way, not what the Church had laid out for them to follow. In a true call, you simply have no choice. It is a pull you must follow, regardless of what others may say or do. And when you have found your place, your purpose, the peace is indescribable. If that makes me nontraditional, so be it.

The Pope is the ultimate authority and representative of a church that claims to represent God and offer His all-encompassing love—as long as you’re not gay. I believe that the anger expressed at him is understandable. Forgive me, Thomas—and I say this gently—but aren’t you simply pointing at a different target? Yes, they’re angry; but where is the grace due these men who hurt? We all must offer grace within our power to do so.

I feel I have hijacked this comment thread. I apologize and stand back for others to speak.


thomas tucker said...

Father T- I have to add that I was nonplussed by your assertion/speculation that I don't believe what I say. I'm not sure there is a proper repsonse to that-do I deny it? Offer proof? What proof would suffice? So, I chose to ignore it. But then I remembered your aphorsim from an earlier post and I don't want you to think that my silence means that I agree. I can assure you that I very much believe what I have written. Don't take a lack of passion in a combox discussion to suggest otherwise. Passion in this setting usually results in angry disagreement rather than rational discourse.
birdie- I appreciate your post and would like to comment on it when I have time.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Thomas Tucker,
I didn't expect you'd agree with me on that one. I, in turn, had to give consideration to the possibility that you and I are more alike than we'd like to know. Rage of Caliban seeing his face in the mirror? (more Oscar Wilde) Narcissus and Goldmund? Who knows. I am convinced that you are a gentleman, and here on Perge Modo, we seem to be free of the raging splenetic fanatics that lurk on other blogs. Don't quite know why, but I'm glad for it.

redtown said...

RE: thomas tucker said...
“The Pope met with Father Judge's twin sister at the ceremony at Ground Zero. But nothing would be good enough for you guys.”

Well, gestures are nice, but actions speak louder than words.

As jmKelley pointed out above, Mychal Judge would not be ordained today because of his “deep seated” homosexual orientation.

It doesn’t matter that he was celibate, that he was a living saint, or even the medically-documented miracles attributed to his intercession. God didn’t have a problem with Mychal Judge, but Rome does.

RE: ”traditional Christianity as handed down by the Apostles.... “We who are Catholics believe that the Church was founded by Christ to teach, govern, and sanctify...”

Holy is as holy does. It takes more than Apostolic Succession to make a church holy (healthy, whole). And the Orthodox and Old Catholics, some of whom recognize gay marriage, also validly share the Apostolic Succession.

Rather, “You will judge them by the fruits they bear.” Is the papal office, the Roman Curia, and the Roman hierarchy the fullest, truest expression of Christ on earth? Or do their empirical realities resemble more a dysfunctional family? Are its teachings on homosexuality inspired by God, or are they the pathological projections of so many self-loathing, closeted homosexuals?

Holy is as holy does.
+ Saint Mychal Judge, pray for us.