The Kicker’s Speech

 

This is going to be a long post.  My goal is to take the entirety of Kansas City Chief’s kicker Harrison Butker’s commencement speech and review it.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2024, I would like to start off by congratulating all of you for successfully making it to this achievement today. I’m sure your high school graduation was not what you had imagined and most likely neither was your first couple years of college.

The only thing I remember from my commencement address is that the speaker told us we would never remember him.  I don’t, but I recall the quip.  Covid-19’s effects and impacts still linger and those kids who missed their graduation, or my daughter who spent a year going to college online, missing out on having a roommate she actually liked, is still a problem.

By making it to this moment through all the adversity thrown your way from COVID, I hope you learned the important lessons that suffering in this life is only temporary. As a group you witnessed firsthand how bad leaders who don’t stay in their lane can have a negative impact on society. It is through this lens that I want to take stock of how we got to where we are and where we want to go as citizens, and yes, as Catholics.

This is an important part of Mr. Butker’s speech.  He is setting the framework for what he intends to discuss and why.  Suffering is temporary.  As a person who suffers from depression and fights it constantly, that is a difficult lesson to keep in mind. He is alluding to the mistakes that leaders can and will make and how we, as citizens, as members of the various communities that these leaders run, can and should respond. Not just as people, but as Catholics.

One last thing before I begin: I want to be sure to thank president Minns and the board for their invitation to speak. When President Minnis first reached out a couple of months ago I had originally said no. You see, last year I gave the commencement address at my Alma Mater Georgia Tech and I felt that one graduation speech was more than enough, especially for someone who isn’t a professional speaker. But of course president Minnis used his gift of persuasion and spoke to the many challenges you all faced throughout the COVID fiasco and how you missed out on so many milestones the rest of us older people have taken for granted.

Mr. Butker isn’t a professional speaker, he is a professional football player.  This is important to be mindful of during his speech. He explains why he was invited in the first place, and how his personal experience with graduation is so at variance with the students before him.

While COVID might have played a large role throughout your formative years it is not unique. Bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues. Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values and media all stem from the pervasiveness of disorder.

Now we start to get to some of the controversial parts of his speech. From a Catholic point of view, there have been a series of bad policies and bad leadership that led to a loss of respect for human life. It is the position of the Church that life is to be respected from conception to its natural end.  Opposition to abortion makes sense in this respect, as does euthanasia; but why does he mention IVF and surrogacy?  The issue with IVF comes from the fact that when performing IVF, multiple embryos are fertilized and the most promising one is implanted, the rest are frozen.

Often that first implantation does not work, so another is defrosted and they attempt it again.  Usually, the process works before the fertilized embryos are exhausted. To many people who believe that these are human lives, to then destroy those embryos is akin to abortion. Good Catholics disagree on some of these topics, but most respect the views held by others. Still, many see IVF as a Good Thing™ and perhaps do not understand the issues that devout Catholics have with the process. Surrogacy is another topic that Catholics may hold varying opinions on, but the Church’s teachings on it have been fairly consistent.  The Church views it as a violation of natural law and Pope Francis further sees it as an abuse of human rights.

Mr. Butker finishes this passage with a vague observation that there are other cultural values that are promoted by the media that are destructive to our culture.  He doesn’t say which ones, but I would point to the “hook-up” culture that predominates with younger people, which suggests that sex is without any emotional complications as an example.

Our own nation is led by a man who publicly and proudly proclaims his Catholic faith but at the same time is delusional enough to make the sign of the cross during a pro-abortion rally. He has been so vocal in his support for the murder of innocent babies that I’m sure to many people it appears that you can be both Catholic and pro-choice. He is not alone. From the man behind the COVID lockdowns to the people pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America, they all have a glaring thing in common: They are Catholic. This is an important reminder that being Catholic alone doesn’t cut it.

When I saw President Biden make the sign of the cross at an abortion event, I was deeply disturbed. My thoughts were the same as Mr. Butker’s. President Biden’s support for abortion, for any reason, at any time, is so at odds with the Church’s teachings that many faithful Catholics wonder why he has not been disciplined by his (or any) Bishop. He then mentions Tony Fauci, lockdowns, and alludes to other Catholics who have been promoting transgender ideologies as being dangerously deluded.  This is another area where good Catholics may disagree with each other.  The Church tells us to love each other and not look down on anyone. However, debate occurs when the method of treating an illness such as gender dysphoria. Mr. Butker’s views are his own, and while I agree with them (mostly) on these topics, not all Catholics will.

His larger point is to say that just being a Catholic does not automatically make one “right” on any topic, especially political ones. Catholicism and the politics of either party do not align perfectly, and in some ways not even closely.  One simple example can be found in the respect for life.  The Church emphatically opposes abortion, the Democratic Party supports it.  The Church also opposes the death penalty, but the GOP supports it.  There is no Catholic party, and there shouldn’t be, if only because no religion is capable of making the decisions to judge a pluralistic society. Mr. Butker’s point though, is reminding his young audience that following the teachings of Christ means that we may not be able to align ourselves with every policy of one of our political parties.  That our responsibility is to God and not to politics.  When this is forgotten, we see things like a self-described Catholic president crossing himself at an abortion event.

These are the sorts of things we are told in polite society to not bring up. You know, the difficult and unpleasant things. But if we are going to be men and women for this time in history we need to stop pretending that the “Church of nice” is a winning proposition. We must always speak and act in charity but never mistake charity for cowardice. It is safe to say that over the past few years I’ve gained quite the reputation for speaking my mind. I never envisioned myself nor wanted to have this sort of a platform but God has given it to me so I have no other choice but to embrace it and preach more hard truths about accepting your lane and staying in it.

If you saw the movie Dogma by Kevin Smith, the irreverent comedy that took aim at some rather obscure Catholic beliefs, then you may remember “Buddy Jesus.”  In the movie Buddy Jesus is the new, hip savior designed to bring more people to the Church. This is what I think of when he talks about the “Church of Nice.”  (Michael Voris uses this phrase in his writings.) It’s been defined as “Catholic belief in deference to church hierarchy and a willingness to incorporate those who sometimes fall short of its teachings, particularly regarding sexual morality.”  There is a larger aspect of this rejection of “nice” from the sexual abuse scandals of the Church.

The term “Lavender Mafia” is also used to describe the seemingly large number of priests who are homosexuals, and the evidence that some — perhaps many of them — are not celibate, and that higher-level Bishops and Cardinals use a form of sexual harassment, permitting the trading of sexual favors for promotions. More and more rank-and-file Catholics want to see real and substantive reforms to what is perceived as the corruption of the clergy by a policy of encouraging homosexual men to enter the clergy, where they would be celibate (and thus not sin), but which has led to the abuse of children, and what appears to be a fairly rampant level of open homosexuality around the world.  Mr. Butker doesn’t mention this specifically, but this is what sprang to mind when I listened to this part of his speech.

As members of the church founded by Jesus Christ, it is our duty and ultimately privilege to be authentically and unapologetically Catholic. Don’t be mistaken: even within the church, people in polite Catholic circles will try to persuade you to remain silent. There even was an award-winning film called “Silence” made by a fellow Catholic wherein one of the main characters, a Jesuit priest, abandoned the church, and as an apostate, when he died is seen grasping a crucifix quiet and unknown to anyone but God. As a friend of Benedictine College, his Excellency Bishop Robert Barron said in his review of the film it was exactly what the cultural elite want to see in Christianity: Private, hidden away and harmless.

This view is one that many Christians can relate to.  The Left wants all religion, except for the worship of the State, to be gone from any public space. For them, religion is something that ought to be left in the home or the church/synagogue, and should never be seen outside of those places. Yet, that is not what God calls on us to do. God plainly tells us not to hide our light under a bushel basket.  We live in a world of sin and being a beacon of righteousness is part of being a Catholic.  After all, as the hymn goes: “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.  They will know we are Christians by our love.”  I haven’t seen the movie Silence, and I doubt that I will, but I suspect that Bishop Barron nailed it in his review.

 Our Catholic faith has always been countercultural. Our Lord along with countless followers were all put to death for their adherence to her teachings. The world around us says that we should keep our beliefs to ourselves whenever they go against the tyranny of diversity, equity and inclusion. We fear speaking truth because now unfortunately truth is in the minority. Congress just passed a bill where stating something as basic as the Biblical teaching of who killed Jesus could land you in jail.

I suspect that few readers of this site would debate the idea that truth is an endangered species. It is subject to the whims of the current political ideology, often depending on whether it supports or hurts the Democratic or Progressive agenda. If a person tells you that they are a woman, then we must call them that; treat them like that; allow them into women’s spaces; and allow them to compete in women’s sports.  To deny “their truth” is a great social sin and can cost you a job, family, or friends.  The State can take your children away from you should you deny them “gender-affirming care.”

And then we have the new anti-Semitism, bill where the GOP was perhaps too clever.  To say that the Jews killed Christ is often a “blood libel.” That is anti-Semitic, but at the same time, it was Caiphas, the high priests, and the Elders of the Jews who conspired to have Christ killed. I have not read the legislation, and, in theory, I support the concept, but I also recognize the ways it could be abused.

But make no mistake, before we even attempt to fix any of the issues plaguing society we must first get our own house in order, and it starts with our leaders. The bishops and priests appointed by God as our spiritual fathers must be rightly ordered. There is not enough time today for me to list all the stories of priests and bishops misleading their flocks, but none of us can blame ignorance anymore and just blindly proclaim that that’s what father said. Because sadly many priests we are looking to for leadership are the same ones who prioritize their hobbies or even photos with their dogs in matching outfits for the parish directory. It’s easy for us lay men and women to think that in order for us to be holy, that we must be active in our parish and try to fix it. Yes, we absolutely should be involved in supporting our parishes, but we cannot be the source for our parish priests to lean on to help with their problems just as we look at the relationship between a father and his son, so too should we look at the relationship between a priest and his people. It would not be appropriate for me to always be looking to my son for help when it is my job as his father to lead him.

Getting our own house in order is akin to Jesus telling the Pharisees, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.”  (John 8:7.)  I suspect that Mr. Butker is truly talking about cleaning up the Church as opposed to our personal houses.  Once again, the “Church of Nice” is partially to blame.  Can a priest take Instagram photos with their dog?  I’d say yes, but when that seems to be their focus as opposed to tending to their flock then it is a problem, and one that their Bishop should address.  Part of his point is that while laypeople should be involved in parish volunteering and assistance, laypeople are not spiritual leaders.  That is not their vocation.  The priests are charged by the Church and by God to lead their parishes and that must be their focus. This doesn’t mean that they cannot have hobbies, but those, much like the vocation of being a parent or a religious, are secondary.  They should never become a distraction.  He also warns that there is a trap where the priest leans on their laypeople to minister, which is akin to allowing the child to lead a family as opposed to the father.

St. Josemaria Escriva states that priests are ordained to serve and should not yield to temptation to imitate lay people but to be priests, through and through. Tragically, so many priests revolve much of their happiness from the adulation they receive from their parishioners, and in searching for this, they let their guard down and become overly familiar. This undue familiarity will prove to be problematic every time, because as my teammate’s girlfriend says “familiarity breeds contempt.” St Josemaria continues that some want to see the priest as just another man. That is not so they want to find in the priests those virtues proper to every Christian and indeed every honorable man: understanding, justice, a life of work, priestly work in this instance, and good manners. It is not prudent as the laity for us to consume ourselves in becoming amateur theologians so that we can decipher this or that theological teaching unless of course you are a theology major. We must be intentional with our focus on our state in life and our own vocation, and for most of us, that’s as married men and women.

This section earned Mr. Butker more opprobrium than others simply because he alluded to Taylor Swift.  Most mentions of it try to link his quoting of a minor song lyric (which isn’t original to her) to his words later about the vocation of motherhood and its importance.  I have not read St. Josemaria Escriva, but the thoughts align with my understanding of the vocation of the priesthood.  A priest isn’t supposed to chase adulation and approval. Far from it.  They must be able to tell their parishioners the hard truths that they don’t want to hear.  Just as a Dad has to be the Father to their children more than their friend, a priest who is too familiar runs the risk of temporizing their messages for fear of losing that friendship/adulation.

The Catholic Church is not an organization that looks to the personal interpretation of the scriptures as the basis of doctrine and dogma, but rather she has an entire collection of theologians that do just that.  It makes the Church slow to change but sure in its direction.  While Catholics are also taught to question and learn, the deep theological work is not the place for the layperson.  Yes, we can read the Papal Encyclicals (and we should), but we should remember that we, as laypeople, aren’t the ones that explain that to others, or set the Doctrine of the Church.

Still we have so many great resources at our fingertips that it doesn’t take long to find traditional and timeless teachings that haven’t been ambiguously rewarded for our times. Plus, there are still many good and holy priests and it’s up to us to seek them out. The chaos of the world is unfortunately reflected in the chaos in our parishes and sadly in our cathedrals, too. As we saw during the pandemic, too many Bishops were not leaders at all. They were motivated by fear: fear of being sued, fear of being removed, fear of being disliked. They showed by their actions, intentional or unintentional, that the sacraments don’t actually matter. Because of this countless people died alone, without access to the sacraments, and it’s a tragedy we must never forget.

Here Mr. Butker looks at the results of some of the overly familiar priests and Bishops who care more for being liked — whether by parishioners or by political allies — than for tending to their flocks. The result was exactly what Mr. Butker says: Priests didn’t tend to their sick and dying.  They closed down the churches and denied the sacraments.

As Catholics, we can look to so many examples of heroic shepherds who gave their lives for their people, and ultimately, the church. We cannot buy into the lie that the things we experienced during COVID were appropriate. Over the centuries there have been great wars, great famines, and yes, even great diseases, all that came with a level of lethality and danger. But in each of those examples, church leaders leaned into their vocations, and ensured that their people received the sacraments. Great saints like St. Damien of Molokai, who knew the dangers of his ministry, stayed for 11 years as a spiritual leader to the leper colonies of Hawaii. His heroism is looked at today as something set apart and unique, when ideally, it should not be unique at all. For as a father loves his child, so a shepherd should love his spiritual children, too.

Some examples, including from the Covid-19 pandemic, of priests who continued to minster to their flocks despite the risks:

There are more that can be found.  To me, abandoning one’s flock in a pandemic is like a parent abandoning their children.  Of course, the State forced parents to do just that… though the reverse often occurred, as children and grandchildren were barred from being with their parents in their last hours.  Having recently been through hospice with my mother-in-law, I can say this was unnecessary and cruel. That it has been tossed down the oubliette makes it even worse.

 That goes even more so for our bishops. These men who are present day apostles, our bishops once had adoring crowds of people kissing their rings and taking in their every word, but now relegate themselves to a position of inconsequential existence. Now, when a bishop of a diocese or the Bishops Conference as a whole puts out an important document on this matter, nobody even takes a moment to read it, let alone follow it. No. Today, our shepherds are far more concerned with keeping the doors open to the Chancery than they are saying that difficult stuff out loud. It seems that the only time you hear from your bishops is when it’s time for the annual appeal. Whereas we need our bishops to be vocal about the teachings of the Church, setting aside their own personal comfort and embracing their cross. Our bishops are not politicians, but shepherds. So instead of fitting in the world by going along to get along, they too need to stay in their lane and lead.

Hearkening back to the “Church of Nice,” Mr. Butker aims at the managers of the Church, the Bishops, and how they are absent from the hard discussions that make up so much of their role. Yes, they have to take care of the physical plant, but they are more entrusted with shepherding the various dioceses so that every Catholic is given the necessary guidance to reach heaven.

This brings us to an area where Catholics disagree somewhat. We are called to welcome all, especially the sinners to the Church and to Christ. However, that does not mean that we accept their sins.  The “deal,” if you will, is that they are there to grow closer to Christ and stop sinning.  Every one of us is a sinner, so we all want to be welcome.  Are some sins worse than others?  For Catholics, yes.  Some are venial sins that do not damn one’s soul to hell but will require time spent in purgatory.  Other sins, mortal ones, must be forgiven through the sacrament of reconciliation, else the soul is damned.  St. Thomas Aquinas set forth three tests for a sin to be mortal.

  1. Did the act involve a grave matter?
  2. Was the act committed with full knowledge of the wrongdoing that had been done in the act?
  3. Was the act done with full consent of the will?

As my childhood priest put it,  “Was it wrong? Did you know it was wrong? Did you do it anyway?” It can be complex.  Hating someone is a sin.  Hating them and wishing evil to befall them is a grave matter.  Thus, depending on the circumstances, hatred may be venial or mortal.  Reconciliation as a sacrament is how Catholics are forgiven their sins by a priest acting as Christ.  The priest sets the penance required for the sin based on their view of the tripartite test.

It is not our place as a laypersons to judge another’s sin or its severity, it is the priest’s. At the same time, they are charged with the spiritual health of their entire flock, and while they and we must welcome the sinners into the Church, they must also guard their flocks from potential corruption from the unrepentant sinner.  This is often the responsibility of the Bishops, to guide the priests with their greater experience.  That is what Mr. Butker means when he says they need to stay in their lanes.  Does this make Mr. Butker right?  No.  In some ways, he is showing hubris in his remarks and judging… but, at the same time, he is observing Bishops giving guidance that puts a welcoming message ahead of spiritual guidance.  I see his point, even if he may be overly judgmental.

I say all of this not from a place of anger as we get the leaders we deserve. But this does make me reflect on staying in my lane and focusing on my own vocation, and how I can be a better father and husband and live in the world, but not be of it. Focusing on my vocation while praying and fasting for these men will do more for the church than me complaining about our leaders. Because there seems to be so much confusion coming from our leaders. There needs to be concrete examples for people to look to, and places like Benedictine, a little Kansas college built high on a bluff above the Missouri River, are showing the world how an ordered Christ-centered existence is the recipe for success. You need to look no further than the examples all around this campus, where over the past 20 years enrollment has doubled, and construction and revitalization are a constant part of life and people, the students, the faculty and staff are thriving. This didn’t happen by chance. In a deliberate movement to embrace traditional Catholic values, Benedictine has gone from just another liberal arts school with nothing to set it apart to a thriving beacon of light and a reminder to us all that when you embrace tradition, success, worldly and spiritual will follow. I am certain the reporters at the AP could not have imagined that their attempt to rebuke and embarrass places and people like those here at Benedictine wouldn’t be met with anger, but instead with excitement and pride. Not the deadly sin sort of pride that has an entire month dedicated to it. But the true God-centered pride that is cooperating with the Holy Ghost to glorify Him.

Here is part of his guidance: Prayer and fasting for Catholic leaders will do more than complaining.  Laypeople also need to stay in their lanes and focus on their vocations as religious or parents.  The example of places like Benedictine can show how staying ordered in a Catholic sense can prosper even in our disorganized world.  People WANT order and security, after all, and there is a belief amongst conservative Catholics that the strong order from the Tridentine mass, from preaching and living the Doctrine of the Church, will lead to greater numbers of the faithful. There is evidence that they are correct, and not just in Catholicism.

Here is another one of his lines that drew great opprobrium… that the pride celebrated in June is the deadly sin of hubris, as opposed to a justified and God-centered pride that comes from service God’s will on earth.  Is it really so surprising that the actions of Pride (or any of the other dozens of days dedicated to the LGBTIA2S+ throng) draw the ire of a faithful Catholic?  Is celebrating what the Church calls a sin a proper way to act in God’s name?  Should we welcome someone who celebrates Pride into the Church?  Yes. And hopefully as we all try to sin no more, they will as well.  Is there a danger if a priest, Bishop, Cardinal, or Pontiff appears to normalize such behaviors and imply that they should not be condemned?  There certainly is.  Similarly, the church that accepts divorcees, or unmarried couples that live together can send the wrong message that such behavior is Godly.

 Reading that article now shared all over the world, we see that in the complete surrender of self and a turning towards Christ, you will find happiness. Right here in a little town in Kansas, we find many inspiring lay people using their talents. President Minnis, Dr. Swofford and Dr. Zimmer are a few great examples right here on this very campus that will keep the light of Christ burning bright for generations to come. Being locked in with your vocation and staying in your lane is going to be the surest way for you to find true happiness and peace in this life. It is essential that we focus on our own state in life, whether that be as a layperson or priests, or religious.

In the end, this paragraph is the crux of Mr. Butker’s message.  The vocations that we take on in this world guide us in our actions.  A layperson who marries and has children isn’t the same as a religious figure who takes on a vow of celibacy, or a priest who does the same.  But, since a vocation is a calling, leaning into that vocation is very gratifying.  I find this to be true in my career.  I love what I do, and it makes going to work easy.  I also love being a Father, and much like in my career, the more I devote to that vocation, the more fulfilling it is.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2024, you are sitting at the edge of the rest of your lives. Each of you has the potential to leave a legacy that transcends yourselves and this era of human existence. In the small ways by living out your vocation, you will ensure that God’s Church continues and the world is enlightened by your example. For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. You should be proud of all that you have achieved to this point in your young lives. I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you, how many of you are sitting here now about to cross the stage, and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you’re going to get in your career. Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world. But I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world. I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.

This is likely the portion of this speech that has been most often misquoted and misunderstood;  this is where the attacks of misogyny are coming from, despite the fact near-inversion of Mr. Butker’s point. Let’s look in detail at what he says here. From the beginning to the “I want to speak directly” portion, he first congratulates all of the graduates and reminds them that living their vocation will ensure the success of God’s Church on Earth.  To the women, he further congratulates them on their accomplishments, and tells them that they should be proud of their achievements.  Few could quibble with any of those words, though I suspect that some, looking for offense, could claim that he is condescending.

The next portion is where he chooses to speak to the women in the audience, and explains why.  They have been told diabolical lies.  What are those lies?  Well, in short, that men and women are the same.  That a woman should feel that her career is more important than a family. That to desire to raise a family, to be a homemaker, is a betrayal of being a woman.  That they need a man as much as a fish needs a bicycle.

Those are the truths of modern feminism in the third and fourth waves.  But are they true?  I do not think so.  That is not to say that they are entirely wrong, but not the Truth either.  It is also true that while this path might work for some, for a devout Catholic it would not, or should not, because it calls them away from their vocation as a layperson.  It means that they will strive for meaning and happiness in ways that lead them further from God, not closer.  This is not an issue exclusive to females.  It is possible for men to be enraptured with their careers and forsake their families and their obligations as fathers.  Mr. Butker will address that in a minute and we will talk more then.  I have a friend on Facebook who had this comment:

She claims that she listened to the entire speech, but I have a hard time believing that based on her comments.  The crux of his speech is about how important a vocation is, and how leaning into that vocation leads to true happiness. He never tells them that they will not have careers, nor that they shouldn’t.  He makes a guess (perhaps incorrectly) that most are more excited about having kids than their careers.  He bases this on his experience with his wife, whom he recounts as saying that her life truly began when she dedicated herself to her vocation as a wife and mother. To call this misogynistic is mistaken.  It is willfully misinterpreting what he said with a desire to find offense in his words. Recall that earlier in the speech, he points out that just being a Catholic isn’t enough. My friend points to her Catholicism as an appeal to authority, to discount a straw man she’s created, and then makes an ad hominem attack.  That is three logical fallacies in one Facebook comment.  I’d call that a record, but I’ve seen too many Facebook comments.

I’m on this stage today and able to be the man I am because I have a wife who leans into her vocation. I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me. But it cannot be overstated, that all of my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker. She’s a primary educator to our children. She’s the one who ensures I never let football or my business become a distraction from that of a husband and father. She is the person that knows me best at my core. And it is through our marriage that Lord willing, we will both attain salvation. I say all of this to you because I’ve seen it firsthand how much happier someone can be when they disregard the outside noise and move closer and closer to God’s will in their life. Isabelle’s dream of having a career might not have come true. But if you ask her today, if she has any regrets on her decision, she would laugh out loud without hesitation and say, “heck no.”

This section of the speech ought to be listened to as opposed to read.  Here Mr. Butker is overcome with emotion recounting the story of how he and his wife met in band class in middle school, adding that he credits her with being pivotal to his success.  I feel similarly about my wife.  I could not do what I do without her support.  Much like Isobel Butker has done for Mr. Butker, she keeps me honest; though I sometimes bridle at her requests. Her desire is to raise our children and ensure their success.  As I sit writing this it is the day before my son’s last day of high school. Given his disabilities (ASD, ADHD, Dysgraphia, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Anxiety, etc.), getting him to this point has been anything but easy.  She has been crucial to his success, monitoring him closely to get him to turn in work and staying on top of his classes.  Along the way, from her intense research into our son’s condition, she discovered that she also is Autistic.

Absent her support — and we almost lost her in 2010 in an auto accident — I would have struggled terribly.  I certainly would not have been able to work as I have in my career, and thus provide us with income.  We would have survived, but it would have been much more difficult.  She warned me that many parents of Autistic children divorce because of how hard it is to raise them, but we have been able to stay together and still love each other deeply.  She hates the term “help-mate”, but what she truly is to me is my partner.  Together we are stronger and better than we are individually.  I think the Butkers are the same.  Good marriages are like that.  Both of us come from strong marriages.  My parents were together for 68 years when my Mom passed in ’19.  My wife’s parents were married for 66 years when her Mom passed in March.  My brothers have both been married for 38 and 42 years respectively.

Each has been a partnership where both husband and wife brought value to the union.  In a way, this is a hidden message in Mr. Butker’s speech.  Marriages are hard work, and only prosper when both partners lean into the marriage and work towards being more together than the two could be as individuals.  If the marriage is about you being happy, then it might not work out because you won’t always be happy, and your partner won’t either.  They, and you, will change over time, and if you don’t allow for that change, and accept it, then you won’t stay married.  The upside of that attitude is that you get to fall in love with each other multiple times over your lives. 

As a man who gets a lot of praise and has been given a platform to speak to audiences like this one today, I pray that I always use my voice for God and not for myself. Everything I am saying to you is not from a place of wisdom, but rather a place of experience. I am hopeful that these words will be seen as those from a man not much older than you who feels it is imperative that this class, this generation, and this time in our society must stop pretending that the things we see around us are normal. Heterodox ideas abound, even within Catholic circles. Let’s be honest, there is nothing good about playing God with having children, whether that be your ideal number or the perfect time to conceive. No matter how you spin it, there is nothing natural about Catholic birth control. It is only in the past few years that I have grown encouraged to speak more boldly and directly, because as I mentioned earlier, I have leaned into my vocation as a husband and father and as a man.

Here we are reminded of Lincoln’s great quote: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” Mr. Butker is telling us this because these are his lived experiences.  He is not necessarily wise, but as the Farmer’s Insurance guys says, “We’ve seen a few things.” This is an important time in our history.  Perhaps we are even at the end of the American experiment.  But if we are not, or if we hope shape what comes next, we must live as God intends.

To affirm the truth of natural law is imperative. It is a Catholic position that birth control is a sin because it denies the inherent sanctity of marriage and intimacy with its potential for procreation.  This is a troubling topic for American and European Catholics as advanced information-age societies see children as a burden because of the cost of raising them.  Birth control is an issue that most non-Catholics don’t “get,” and many Catholics engage in cafeteria-style Catholicism on the matter.  I’ll admit that, in my misspent youth, I chose to ignore this aspect of the Church’s teachings.  In some ways being married to a non-Catholic makes easier, but in other ways more difficult.  It is something that I think about from time to time and one day, hopefully, I will meet God and face His judgment.

 To the gentleman here today, part of what plagues our society is this lie that has been told to you that men are not necessary in the home or in our communities. As men, we set the tone of the culture. And when that is absent disorder, dysfunction and chaos set in this absence of men in the home is what plays a large role in the violence we see all around the nation. Other countries do not have nearly the same absentee father rates as we find here in the US. And a correlation can be made in their drastically lower violence rates as well. Be unapologetic in your masculinity. Fight against the cultural emasculation of men. Do hard things. Never settle for what is easy. You might have a talent that you don’t necessarily enjoy. But if it glorifies God, maybe you should lean into that over something that you might think suits you better. I speak from experience as an introvert who now finds myself as an amateur public speaker, and an entrepreneur, something I never thought I’d be when I received my industrial engineering degree.

This is the part of Mr. Butker’s speech that the feminists who were so angry about his earlier statements appear to ignore.  Here he is throwing down the gauntlet to the men in the audience.  Men are crucial in the family, and those that say they are not are trucking in diabolical lies.  On the Flagship Podcast, just following the week of this speech, @peterrobinson related a story about a prison ministry where the minister had the idea to have his roughly-500 inmates send Mother’s Day cards to their moms.  Every one of them, whose mother was still living, sent a card.  It went so well that he decided to do the same for Father’s Day.  Alas, not a single one knew or cared to know enough about their dads to send a card.  The plural of anecdotes is not data, but we do know that families that lack fathers are growing, and that they, especially in Black families, tend to lead to higher rates of criminal activity, which leads to more fatherlessness.

Does this lead to more violence?  Do other countries have a lower rate of fatherlessness, and is there a correlation?  Mr. Butker says so, and while I have not researched it… it rings true. We have an epidemic of violence in the US.  We claim it is gun violence, but guns are not the source.  Gangs are a big part, and those often spring up in communities where father figure’s are scarce.  The Bloods, the Crips, MS-13, and others are not the Mafia of the early-to-mid 20th century, when the gangs were families in name and in truth.  They are surrogates for the families that these young men are lacking.  We all know that when people finish school first, get married second, and have kids third, they are more likely to be stable financially and culturally.  We know that a two-parent home creates the best opportunity for a good outcome for children.  We know these things (and more) and yet… our culture seems determined to destroy the two-parent home.  If one believes in the active work of evil in the world… this would seem to be an example.

To fight this evil requires hard choices.  It means that we might not get to do what we want to do, but instead what we have to do.  Recently my family watched the finale of the TV show Young Sheldon.  We all knew that George would die.  We knew this from the TV show that preceded Young Sheldon (The Big Bang Theory).  When the second-to-last show ended, and the knock at the door came, I was in tears because I knew what was about to happen, and it hurt so much.  This was due to the great storytelling and great acting, but it was also because of the type of dad that George was.

As an example, and to highlight why I bring this up: George was a football coach.  HJe coached the high school team that Sheldon and his older son Georgie attended.  His dream had always been to coach for a college team.  More money, if less stability, and a higher level of competition.  He got an offer to coach for a college in Oklahoma (I forget which one) and the family is universally against it.  His younger kids (Sheldon and Missy) are upset. (Sheldon because he hates change, and Missy because she would lose her friends.) His older son doesn’t want to change high schools; his wife likes their church, enjoys living across the street from her mom, and doesn’t want to upset the kids.  George has to make a very tough decision. He ultimately chooses to not take the dream job and stays on coaching high school in sleepy Medford, TX.  To make the series end even tougher, right as Sheldon is going off to grad school, and Missy to High School, he gets an offer to coach at Rice in Houston.  He and Mary have decided that he will take the dream job that was delayed but not lost.  Alas, he never gets that opportunity.

Mr. Burker is encouraging us to be like George Cooper.  To lean into being the father, knowing that it will mean sacrifice, but that, in the end, it will be worth more than we can ever know. Raising solid children into good adults is one of the highest callings that we can aspire to.  That takes leadership and a partnership.  It means that one person might need to give up on the career for a while, possibly forever.  That doesn’t have to be the mom but, even if it will be, the dad is going to make sacrifices as well.  It might mean being on the road when a recital or concert happens.  It might mean long days working followed by help with homework, or fixing things around the house.  It might mean passing up on the job that will advance their career because moving would be too disruptive.  These are hard things, and Mr. Butker encourages us to lean into them.

The road ahead is bright, things are changing, society is shifting, and people young and old are embracing tradition. Not only has it been my vocation that has helped me and those closest to me, but not surprising to many of you should be my outspoken embrace of the traditional Latin Mass. I’ve been very vocal in my love and devotion to the TLM and its necessity for our lives. But what I think gets misunderstood is that people who attend the TLM do so out of pride or preference. I can speak to my own experience. But for most people I have come across within these communities. This simply is not true. I do not attend the TLM because I think I’m better than others, or for the smells and bells, or even for the love of Latin. I attend TLM because I believe just as the God of the Old Testament was pretty particular and how he wanted to be worshiped, the same holds true for us today. It is through the TLM that I encountered order and began to pursue it in my own life. Aside from the TLM itself, too many of our sacred traditions have been relegated to things of the past. When in my parish, things such as Ember Days — days when we fast and pray for vocations and for our priests — are still adhered to. The TLM is so essential that I would challenge each of you to pick a place to move where it is readily available. A lot of people have complaints about the parish or the community, but we should not sacrifice the mass for community. I prioritize the TLM even if the parish isn’t beautiful, the priest isn’t great, or the community isn’t amazing. I still go to the TLM because I believe the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is more important than anything else. I say this knowing full well that when each of you rekindle your knowledge and adherence to many of the church’s greatest traditions, you will see how much more colorful and alive your life can and should be. As you move on from this place and enter into the world, know that you will face many challenges.

As a former altar boy, I used to love it when we celebrated a high mass.  I loved the incense, especially when I was older and got to be the thurifer.  I loved the longer liturgy of the Eucharist (we usually did Prayer II, which is the shortest. Or maybe that was III…)  I really loved when the mass was sung by the choir.  The Gloria of the Bells is one of my favorite versions of that prayer.  I also loved singing the Agnus Dei and the Responsorial Psalm.  We didn’t do the mass in Latin — I don’t know if I have ever attended a Latin mass, though I have attended many masses in other languages so… that is sort of the same thing (to me at least).  As my friend points out, it is more correctly termed the Tridentine mass. Though I have no idea why.

In many ways, Mr. Butker is telling us that we should consider the parishes when we choose where to live. It’s not JUST the $/sqft or the schools that matter, but we have to remember our spiritual residence as well.  If the local Bishop doesn’t allow the Tridentine mass, then what else does that tell us about them?  For many devout Catholics is doesn’t bode well.  

 Sadly, I’m sure many of you know of the countless stories of good and active members of this community who after graduation and moving away from the Benedictine Bubble have ended up moving in with their boyfriend or girlfriend prior to marriage. Some even leave the church and abandon God. It is always heartbreaking to hear these stories, and there’s a desire to know what happened and what went wrong. What you must remember is that life is about doing the small things well. So setting yourself up for success and surrounding yourself with people who continually push you to be the best version of you. I say this all the time, that iron sharpens iron. It’s a great reminder that those closest to us should be making us better. If you’re dating someone who doesn’t even share your faith, how do you expect that person to help you become a saint? If your friend group is filled with people who only think about what you’re doing next weekend, and are not willing to have those difficult conversations, how can they help sharpen you? As you prepare to enter into the workforce, it is extremely important that you actually think about the places you are moving to. Who is the bishop? What kind of parishes are there? Do they offer the TLM and have priests who embrace their priestly vocation? Cost of living must not be the only arbiter of your choices. For a life without God is not a life at all. And the cost of salvation is worth more than any career.

It is fairly common for people, especially those who receive parochial education, and even those who do so through college, to rebel once they are away from the confines of that world.  The secular world is not easy to navigate when the guard rails are removed.  Hugh Hewitt wrote a book for graduates called In, But Not Of as a guide to new graduates on how to live a holy life in a secular world.  He advises to surround yourself with people who will make you a better person, even if that means missing out on some of the fun things that everyone else is doing.  As someone with a mixed-faith marriage, it is tough.  I don’t regret it per se, but I would be a better Catholic had I married another Catholic.  Both of my brothers did, and it has been good for them.  He isn’t saying it cannot work, but that it will be harder.  It’s about those choices again…  They all have consequences, and the straight and narrow path is the one that leads most directly to God and heaven, but almost everything is tempting us from that path.

I’m excited for the future. And I pray that something I’ve said will resonate as you move on to the next chapter of your life. Never be afraid to profess the one holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. For this is the Church that Jesus Christ established, through which we receive sanctifying grace. I know that my message today had a little less fluff than is expected for these speeches. But I believe that this audience and this venue is the best place to speak openly and honestly, about who we are and where we all want to go, which is heaven. I thank God for Benedictine College, and for the example it provides to the world. I thank God for men like President Minnis who are doing their part for the Kingdom. Come to find out you can have an authentically Catholic College and a thriving football program. Make no mistake, you’re entering into mission territory in a post-God world. But you were made for this and with God by your side and a constant striving for virtue within your vocation, you too can be a saint. Christ is King to the heights.

This has been a very long post.  (It has taken me over a week to write it, and hours of time looking up things and thinking through what I wanted to say.)  I loved this speech because it was difficult to hear at times, and because it made many people angry.  Some of that was because people didn’t really read or listen to the speech, but rather other people’s summaries.  Some wanted to disagree with Mr. Butker because they assumed he was “on the other team,” and their politics demanded that they upbraid him, cancel him, and let everyone know that this was the kind of speech they would not tolerate.  I hope that my post illuminates how some others see this speech, those of us who find the message to be uplifting and positive.  I find it inspiring, and am trying to lean into my vocation of Father to my kids.  (Not that it means I will be going to a Latin mass anytime soon.)  Maybe a first step would be to go to a mass… I’m not a very good Catholic after all, but maybe I can be a better one.

I hope if you have gotten this far, that you can be inspired to lean into your vocation as well.

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  1. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Drew in Texas: This has been a very long post.  It has taken me over a week to write it, and hours of time looking up things and thinking through what I wanted to say. 

    Thank you for taking the time to write this, presenting the entire speech and your thoughts and reflections on it.  I read the entire thing and found your analysis spot on.  While elements can be viewed as controversial, I have felt for a while that someone had to have the courage in one of these graduations speeches to say what he did on men and women, even knowing what the blowback would be.  I thought he balanced his remarks on careers and motherhood reasonably well: It’s OK to want to be a wife and mother.  In fact, these are essential roles.  For men, it’s OK to want to be a good husband and provider.  In fact, these are essential roles.  It’s not all that you will do, or can do, but you shouldn’t be shamed for it.  

    • #1
  2. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    This is going to be a long post.  My goal is to take the entirety of Kansas City Chief’s kicker Harrison Butker’s commencement speech and review it.

    Thank you, Drew.  Your post is amazing.   I liked every bit of Butker’s speech.   I especially like that he called out bishops, priests, and politicians for their poor leadership during the Covid Reaction Crisis.   Weak leaders make for hard times and too few people have called out our dangerously weak leaders.

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  3. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    It seems that a lot of folks these days have their “Offense Detector” turned up to Maximum.

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  4. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    You mention IVF, surrogacy, and transgender ideology and that “good” Catholics can disagree on these issues. Certainly we know that many Catholics support abortion, IVF, surrogacy, and transgender ideology – and they are wrong – they are not “good” Catholics. You are either heterodox in your beliefs or you are not. It is the Church of Nice that says we can disagree and be good Catholics – as long as we are nice to each other. This is wrong.

    And as for your use of the word celibate – sorry, this one always drives me crazy. Celibate as used in the Church refers to whether one is or is not married (and that is between a man and a woman only). Most people thinks it has to do with whether or not one has sexual relations – this is not correct. This is how the homosexuals get away with being priests – but wait, look, I’m celibate (not married to a woman) – it has nothing to do with their sexual encounters with other homosexuals. We are all called to chastity – the proper use of sex.

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  5. Drew in Texas Coolidge
    Drew in Texas
    @Dbroussa

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    You mention IVF, surrogacy, and transgender ideology and that “good” Catholics can disagree on these issues. Certainly we know that many Catholics support abortion, IVF, surrogacy, and transgender ideology – and they are wrong – they are not “good” Catholics. You are either heterodox in your beliefs or you are not. It is the Church of Nice that says we can disagree and be good Catholics – as long as we are nice to each other. This is wrong.

    My point in noting that Catholics can and do disagree on many of these topics is twofold.  First, it is possible to hold a belief that IVF and surrogacy demean the sanctity of life and thus Catholics should not make use of them while not believing that they should be forbidden for non-Catholics.  Secondly, while it seems mercenary to say it this way, even a Catholic who was to use IVF should be welcome into the Church and, if they partake of Reconciliation and truly repent of their sin then they will be forgiven by God, and we should not hold their sins against them.  Of course, if they continue to sin, that is between them and God.  Each of us falls short and sins, often repeatedly, yet Christ will always welcome us back and forgive us.

    Mr. Butker in his speech does talk about not being amateur theologians, and in this I agree.  I defer to the Church on these topics and why Catholic Doctrine holds that they are not valid.  I even understand the reasoning behind them to an extent.  My goal should be to live as close as I can to the strictures of my faith. That being said, I am not a “good” Catholic.  I haven’t been to mass in over a decade as an example.  I live in a state of mortal sin just for that.  I am not going to condemn someone else for their sins when mine loom large in my own soul.  Even were I the best Catholic I could be, I should not condemn others for their sins for that isn’t my lane.  I suppose that is what I mean by “good” Catholics disagreeing.  I hope this is more clearly stated.  I appreciate your comments on this topic.  I do not disagree with you, but I do think that we can abide by the Church’s teaching while still being open and loving.  The “Church of nice” is more a criticism of the clergy than the members.

    And as for your use of the word celibate – sorry, this one always drives me crazy. Celibate as used in the Church refers to whether one is or is not married (and that is between a man and a woman only). Most people thinks it has to do with whether or not one has sexual relations – this is not correct. This is how the homosexuals get away with being priests – but wait, look, I’m celibate (not married to a woman) – it has nothing to do with their sexual encounters with other homosexuals. We are all called to chastity – the proper use of sex.

    This is a good point, but at the same time, it is the term that is most often used.  There is an implication that a celibate person will be chaste as well because sex outside of marriage is a sin, but yes, Chastity is the more correct term.  I think that the unspoken push to encourage gay men to become priests has been incredibly harmful to the Church.

     

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  6. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    You mention IVF, surrogacy, and transgender ideology and that “good” Catholics can disagree on these issues. Certainly we know that many Catholics support abortion, IVF, surrogacy, and transgender ideology – and they are wrong – they are not “good” Catholics. You are either heterodox in your beliefs or you are not. It is the Church of Nice that says we can disagree and be good Catholics – as long as we are nice to each other. This is wrong.

    My point in noting that Catholics can and do disagree on many of these topics is twofold. First, it is possible to hold a belief that IVF and surrogacy demean the sanctity of life and thus Catholics should not make use of them while not believing that they should be forbidden for non-Catholics.

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    I’ll have more comments on this post as there are other areas where I think you might be mistaken as to Catholic teaching, but I don’t have the time now.

    • #6
  7. Drew in Texas Coolidge
    Drew in Texas
    @Dbroussa

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin?  Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second?  Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided?  I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention. 

    • #7
  8. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    It is the same problem as with contraception – God is taken out of the act.

    Donum Vitae teaches that if a given medical intervention helps or assists the marriage act to achieve pregnancy, it may be considered moral; if the intervention replaces the marriage act in order to engender life, it is not moral.

    https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/reproductive-technology/begotten-not-made-a-catholic-view-of-reproductive-technology

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  9. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    You might want to educate yourself on Church teaching before making erroneous statements about what she teaches. The Catechism states that IVF is “morally unacceptable.”

    Here’s a good article: On IVF, Alabama, and Frozen Babies | Catholic Answers Magazine

    Here’s a link to the relevant Vatican documents: Instruction on respect for human life (vatican.va)

    Another article: What is the Catholic Church’s position on IVF? | Catholic News Agency

     

    • #9
  10. Annefy Coolidge
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    You might want to educate yourself on Church teaching before making erroneous statements about what she teaches. The Catechism states that IVF is “morally unacceptable.”

    Here’s a good article: On IVF, Alabama, and Frozen Babies | Catholic Answers Magazine

    Here’s a link to the relevant Vatican documents: Instruction on respect for human life (vatican.va)

    Another article: What is the Catholic Church’s position on IVF? | Catholic News Agency

     

    I was enjoying this discussion – can please comment without the snark? Everything you wrote that I bolded was not only unnecessary to make your point, it was rude and uncalled for. 

    • #10
  11. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

     More and more rank-and-file Catholics want to see real and substantive reforms to what is perceived as the corruption of the clergy by a policy of encouraging homosexual men to enter the clergy, where they would be celibate and thus not sin, but which has led to the abuse of children and what appears to be a fairly rampant level of open homosexuality around the world. 

    To be honest, when I read this, my first thought was, “Where has he been?!” There have been reforms. Most of the cases of “child abuse” (actually, most of the cases were of homosexual acts with pubescent and post-pubescent minors – actual cases of pedophilia were rare) are old cases. The younger priests coming up are more orthodox, more faithful, and better formed than in the past. Tomorrow I’ll be attending the Ordination Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul (archdiocese of Mpls.- St. Paul). I’ve gotten to know some of the seminarians and I am so heartened by what a fine group of young men are being ordained.

    • #11
  12. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    The Catholic Church is not an organization that looks to the personal interpretation of the scriptures as the basis of their doctrine and dogma but rather has an entire collection of theologians that do just that.  It makes the Church slow to change, but sure in its direction.  That is different from many other religions, but for Catholics, while we are also taught to question and learn, the deep theological work is not the place for the layperson.  Yes, we can read the Papal Encyclicals (and we should), but we should remember that we, as laypeople, aren’t the ones that explain that to others, or set the Doctrine of the Church.

    As for your last sentence, it’s good to recall St. Peter’s words: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. We ARE the ones that need to be able to explain the reasons for our belief. This is not something that should be left to the clergy – we all should contribute.

    I would also disagree with your statement that “deep theological work is not the place for the layperson.” That is not Church teaching. Not all of us have the desire to delve deep into theological matters, but there is no reason not to if one so desires.

    Also, your statement that The Catholic Church is not an organization that looks to the personal interpretation of the scriptures as the basis of their doctrine and dogma but rather has an entire collection of theologians that do just that. It’s the Magisterium that defines and promulgates doctrine and dogma, not theologians. (Though no doubt the Magisterium takes into account the work of theologians – Aquinas, for example, is referenced many times in the Catechism.)

    • #12
  13. Drew in Texas Coolidge
    Drew in Texas
    @Dbroussa

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    More and more rank-and-file Catholics want to see real and substantive reforms to what is perceived as the corruption of the clergy by a policy of encouraging homosexual men to enter the clergy, where they would be celibate and thus not sin, but which has led to the abuse of children and what appears to be a fairly rampant level of open homosexuality around the world.

    To be honest, when I read this, my first thought was, “Where has he been?!” There have been reforms. Most of the cases of “child abuse” (actually, most of the cases were of homosexual acts with pubescent and post-pubescent minors – actual cases of pedophilia were rare) are old cases. The younger priests coming up are more orthodox, more faithful, and better formed than in the past. Tomorrow I’ll be attending the Ordination Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul (archdiocese of Mpls.- St. Paul). I’ve gotten to know some of the seminarians and I am so heartened by what a fine group of young men are being ordained.

    First off, in my experience the vast majority…in fact I would call it an overwhelming majority of the clergy have been fine and upstanding individuals.  I grew up in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and right after I left for college in Texas our Archbishop had to resign over an affair he had with a woman.  While the reason for his resignation wasn’t made public initially it was later, so that is progress.  However, where I live now (near San Antonio, TX) we had this story from last year:

    A priest who was reassigned to several different churches in the San Antonio Archdiocese was arrested Tuesday for an alleged sex crime involving a woman in her 70s, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said.

    This was on the heels of two other San Antonio priests being turned over to the authorities for accusations of sexual misconduct.

    Father Jesus Eduardo Martinez-Soliz of St. Joseph Church-Honey Creek in Spring Branch is accused of sexual misconduct and grooming a minor, García-Siller said. Grooming refers to the process by which sexual predators build a relationship of trust with children in order to exploit them.

    and

    At St. Monica Catholic Church in Converse, a teenager said that Father Alejandro Ortega had touched them inappropriately, the archbishop said. The minor reported the incident at a Catholic youth retreat held with another parish on June 24.

    “Our investigation showed that Father Ortega had on many occasions engaged in sexually inappropriate and unwanted physical touch, usually with adult women,” the letter said. “This was the first allegation that Father Ortega had intentionally engaged in inappropriate physical touch with a minor.”

    These “bad apples” are still showing up.  Perhaps at the rate that is in the rest of society, but that is a problem as well.  In the past two years, my son’s High School has seen two teachers prosecuted for inappropriate sexual contact with minors.  This isn’t solely a Church problem, it is much larger, but, it is also a problem that the Church should be providing leadership by example.

    • #13
  14. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    You might want to educate yourself on Church teaching before making erroneous statements about what she teaches. The Catechism states that IVF is “morally unacceptable.”

    Here’s a good article: On IVF, Alabama, and Frozen Babies | Catholic Answers Magazine

    Here’s a link to the relevant Vatican documents: Instruction on respect for human life (vatican.va)

    Another article: What is the Catholic Church’s position on IVF? | Catholic News Agency

     

    I was enjoying this discussion – can please comment without the snark? Everything you wrote that I bolded was not only unnecessary to make your point, it was rude and uncalled for.

    I wasn’t intending any snark. Why do you assume the worst?

    • #14
  15. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    More and more rank-and-file Catholics want to see real and substantive reforms to what is perceived as the corruption of the clergy by a policy of encouraging homosexual men to enter the clergy, where they would be celibate and thus not sin, but which has led to the abuse of children and what appears to be a fairly rampant level of open homosexuality around the world.

    To be honest, when I read this, my first thought was, “Where has he been?!” There have been reforms. Most of the cases of “child abuse” (actually, most of the cases were of homosexual acts with pubescent and post-pubescent minors – actual cases of pedophilia were rare) are old cases. The younger priests coming up are more orthodox, more faithful, and better formed than in the past. Tomorrow I’ll be attending the Ordination Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul (archdiocese of Mpls.- St. Paul). I’ve gotten to know some of the seminarians and I am so heartened by what a fine group of young men are being ordained.

    First off, in my experience the vast majority…in fact I would call it an overwhelming majority of the clergy have been fine and upstanding individuals. I grew up in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and right after I left for college in Texas our Archbishop had to resign over an affair he had with a woman. While the reason for his resignation wasn’t made public initially it was later, so that is progress. However, where I live now (near San Antonio, TX) we had this story from last year:

    A priest who was reassigned to several different churches in the San Antonio Archdiocese was arrested Tuesday for an alleged sex crime involving a woman in her 70s, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said.

    This was on the heels of two other San Antonio priests being turned over to the authorities for accusations of sexual misconduct.

    Father Jesus Eduardo Martinez-Soliz of St. Joseph Church-Honey Creek in Spring Branch is accused of sexual misconduct and grooming a minor, García-Siller said. Grooming refers to the process by which sexual predators build a relationship of trust with children in order to exploit them.

    and

    At St. Monica Catholic Church in Converse, a teenager said that Father Alejandro Ortega had touched them inappropriately, the archbishop said. The minor reported the incident at a Catholic youth retreat held with another parish on June 24.

    “Our investigation showed that Father Ortega had on many occasions engaged in sexually inappropriate and unwanted physical touch, usually with adult women,” the letter said. “This was the first allegation that Father Ortega had intentionally engaged in inappropriate physical touch with a minor.”

    These “bad apples” are still showing up. Perhaps at the rate that is in the rest of society, but that is a problem as well. In the past two years, my son’s High School has seen two teachers prosecuted for inappropriate sexual contact with minors. This isn’t solely a Church problem, it is much larger, but, it is also a problem that the Church should be providing leadership by example.

    The rate of abuse by both Catholic and Protestant clergy is much lower than the rates of abuse by teachers and family members. 

    • #15
  16. Drew in Texas Coolidge
    Drew in Texas
    @Dbroussa

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Also, your statement that The Catholic Church is not an organization that looks to the personal interpretation of the scriptures as the basis of their doctrine and dogma but rather has an entire collection of theologians that do just that. It’s the Magisterium that defines and promulgates doctrine and dogma, not theologians. (Though no doubt the Magisterium takes into account the work of theologians – Aquinas, for example, is referenced many times in the Catechism.)

    What is your point here?  That the Magisterium (the Pope and the various Bishops in union with the Pope) are not theologians?  They all have both formal and informal training as such.  It may not be their primary job, but I would be very surprised if they did not consult and read theological arguments, and make those arguments themselves to work towards their decisions.  My point is that, unlike in many Protestant sects or in Islam, there is a single Doctrine and Dogma that undergoes slow change after much careful thought and consideration.  When I was first married we attended my wife’s church (Church of God, Anderson Coalition).  This was one of a few sects of the Church of God, which was one of many Protestant sects. In that community, the Pastor’s views held very important sway, but the members, sometimes (often) disagreed with him and would base their disagreements on their reading of the Bible (with various versions being used).  Overall they were a wonderful community and I miss some of them, but coming from a Catholic perspective the idea that you hired your Pastor based on their views on the Bible seemed quite odd to me.  I always thought of every parish as teaching the same thing the same way.  The truth is somewhat different, but the basic idea is that there is one Catholic way of doing things, unlike other sects.

    Does that make more sense?

    • #16
  17. Drew in Texas Coolidge
    Drew in Texas
    @Dbroussa

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    The rate of abuse by both Catholic and Protestant clergy is much lower than the rates of abuse by teachers and family members. 

    On this, I agree.  The problem is that…it should be zero.  We are humans and thus imperfect sinners so it can never be zero, but the problem the Church had in the past was it appeared to turn a line eye towards the abuse.  The biggest reform and the one that is the most important is seen in those articles.  In all three cases, the priests were turned over to the police for prosecution.  That is a massive improvement.  Alas, that reservoir of trust has been depleted and now it will take a very long time to find and turn over every priest who engages in sexual misconduct of this type to regain the trust they lost.

    • #17
  18. Drew in Texas Coolidge
    Drew in Texas
    @Dbroussa

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    In case I have not been clear.  I do appreciate your comments and additions to this discussion.

    • #18
  19. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Also, your statement that The Catholic Church is not an organization that looks to the personal interpretation of the scriptures as the basis of their doctrine and dogma but rather has an entire collection of theologians that do just that. It’s the Magisterium that defines and promulgates doctrine and dogma, not theologians. (Though no doubt the Magisterium takes into account the work of theologians – Aquinas, for example, is referenced many times in the Catechism.)

    What is your point here? That the Magisterium (the Pope and the various Bishops in union with the Pope) are not theologians? They all have both formal and informal training as such. It may not be their primary job, but I would be very surprised if they did not consult and read theological arguments, and make those arguments themselves to work towards their decisions. My point is that, unlike in many Protestant sects or in Islam, there is a single Doctrine and Dogma that undergoes slow change after much careful thought and consideration. When I was first married we attended my wife’s church (Church of God, Anderson Coalition). This was one of a few sects of the Church of God, which was one of many Protestant sects. In that community, the Pastor’s views held very important sway, but the members, sometimes (often) disagreed with him and would base their disagreements on their reading of the Bible (with various versions being used). Overall they were a wonderful community and I miss some of them, but coming from a Catholic perspective the idea that you hired your Pastor based on their views on the Bible seemed quite odd to me. I always thought of every parish as teaching the same thing the same way. The truth is somewhat different, but the basic idea is that there is one Catholic way of doing things, unlike other sects.

    Does that make more sense?

    There are a lot of lay theologians. They aren’t part of the Magisterium. I was just trying to clarify that it was the Magisterium, not theologians per se, that defined doctrine and dogma. You and I might know what you meant, but the non-Catholic reading your post might not.

    • #19
  20. Annefy Coolidge
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    You might want to educate yourself on Church teaching before making erroneous statements about what she teaches. The Catechism states that IVF is “morally unacceptable.”

    Here’s a good article: On IVF, Alabama, and Frozen Babies | Catholic Answers Magazine

    Here’s a link to the relevant Vatican documents: Instruction on respect for human life (vatican.va)

    Another article: What is the Catholic Church’s position on IVF? | Catholic News Agency

     

    I was enjoying this discussion – can please comment without the snark? Everything you wrote that I bolded was not only unnecessary to make your point, it was rude and uncalled for.

    I wasn’t intending any snark. Why do you assume the worst?

    I didn’t assume anything. I reacted to what you wrote.

    • #20
  21. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    You might want to educate yourself on Church teaching before making erroneous statements about what she teaches. The Catechism states that IVF is “morally unacceptable.”

    Here’s a good article: On IVF, Alabama, and Frozen Babies | Catholic Answers Magazine

    Here’s a link to the relevant Vatican documents: Instruction on respect for human life (vatican.va)

    Another article: What is the Catholic Church’s position on IVF? | Catholic News Agency

     

    I was enjoying this discussion – can please comment without the snark? Everything you wrote that I bolded was not only unnecessary to make your point, it was rude and uncalled for.

    I wasn’t intending any snark. Why do you assume the worst?

    I didn’t assume anything. I reacted to what you wrote.

    And you assumed I was being snarky. I wasn’t. 

    • #21
  22. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    You might want to educate yourself on Church teaching before making erroneous statements about what she teaches. The Catechism states that IVF is “morally unacceptable.”

    Here’s a good article: On IVF, Alabama, and Frozen Babies | Catholic Answers Magazine

    Here’s a link to the relevant Vatican documents: Instruction on respect for human life (vatican.va)

    Another article: What is the Catholic Church’s position on IVF? | Catholic News Agency

     

    I was enjoying this discussion – can please comment without the snark? Everything you wrote that I bolded was not only unnecessary to make your point, it was rude and uncalled for.

    I wasn’t intending any snark. Why do you assume the worst?

    I have to admit that I also had the same reaction.  I’m glad you didn’t intend it to be snarky.  It is hard sometimes in text not to read into things.

    • #22
  23. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    You might want to educate yourself on Church teaching before making erroneous statements about what she teaches. The Catechism states that IVF is “morally unacceptable.”

    Here’s a good article: On IVF, Alabama, and Frozen Babies | Catholic Answers Magazine

    Here’s a link to the relevant Vatican documents: Instruction on respect for human life (vatican.va)

    Another article: What is the Catholic Church’s position on IVF? | Catholic News Agency

     

    I was enjoying this discussion – can please comment without the snark? Everything you wrote that I bolded was not only unnecessary to make your point, it was rude and uncalled for.

    I wasn’t intending any snark. Why do you assume the worst?

    I didn’t assume anything. I reacted to what you wrote.

    And you assumed I was being snarky. I wasn’t.

    I read it the same way Annefy did. It’s not like snark is a rarity on Ricochet but it would behoove all of us to be a little more charitable. Except with Jerry….I kid, I kid…kinda

    • #23
  24. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    You might want to educate yourself on Church teaching before making erroneous statements about what she teaches. The Catechism states that IVF is “morally unacceptable.”

    Here’s a good article: On IVF, Alabama, and Frozen Babies | Catholic Answers Magazine

    Here’s a link to the relevant Vatican documents: Instruction on respect for human life (vatican.va)

    Another article: What is the Catholic Church’s position on IVF? | Catholic News Agency

     

    I was enjoying this discussion – can please comment without the snark? Everything you wrote that I bolded was not only unnecessary to make your point, it was rude and uncalled for.

    I wasn’t intending any snark. Why do you assume the worst?

    I didn’t assume anything. I reacted to what you wrote.

    And you assumed I was being snarky. I wasn’t.

    It reads like a snarky comeback.

     

    • #24
  25. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    You might want to educate yourself on Church teaching before making erroneous statements about what she teaches. The Catechism states that IVF is “morally unacceptable.”

    Here’s a good article: On IVF, Alabama, and Frozen Babies | Catholic Answers Magazine

    Here’s a link to the relevant Vatican documents: Instruction on respect for human life (vatican.va)

    Another article: What is the Catholic Church’s position on IVF? | Catholic News Agency

     

    I was enjoying this discussion – can please comment without the snark? Everything you wrote that I bolded was not only unnecessary to make your point, it was rude and uncalled for.

    I wasn’t intending any snark. Why do you assume the worst?

    I didn’t assume anything. I reacted to what you wrote.

    And you assumed I was being snarky. I wasn’t.

    It reads like a snarky comeback.

     

    Whatever….

    • #25
  26. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    AMD Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Drew in Texas (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    You are adopting the position of pro-abortion advocates . I’m sure you’ve seen their bumper stickers – “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” This is emphatically NOT a Catholic approach.

    Scott is right.

    You may be correct. I think that one difference is that abortion is seen an an inherent evil. I’m not sure that IVF is. It depends on where the demarcation happens. Is it the degradation of the sanctity of life from creating it via artificial means, or is the creation and then destruction of the embryos that is the sin? Is it both, and is the first less grave than the second? Is the degradation of the sanctity of life actually a sin, or is it a gateway to sin and thus to be avoided? I haven’t talked to a priest on these matters and if I seem to be speaking as if I know the full Catholic position, that wasn’t my intention.

    You might want to educate yourself on Church teaching before making erroneous statements about what she teaches. The Catechism states that IVF is “morally unacceptable.”

    Here’s a good article: On IVF, Alabama, and Frozen Babies | Catholic Answers Magazine

    Here’s a link to the relevant Vatican documents: Instruction on respect for human life (vatican.va)

    Another article: What is the Catholic Church’s position on IVF? | Catholic News Agency

    I was enjoying this discussion – can please comment without the snark? Everything you wrote that I bolded was not only unnecessary to make your point, it was rude and uncalled for.

    I wasn’t intending any snark. Why do you assume the worst?

    I didn’t assume anything. I reacted to what you wrote.

    And you assumed I was being snarky. I wasn’t.

    I read it the same way Annefy did. It’s not like snark is a rarity on Ricochet but it would behoove all of us to be a little more charitable. Except with Jerry….I kid, I kid…kinda

    Heh…..

    Honestly, I wasn’t trying to be snarky. The OP had written, regarding IVF, that “Good Catholics disagree on some of these topics.” But Church teaching is quite clear on this, easy to find, and as Scott noted, these are not “good” Catholics. If you’re going to say what is or is not a teaching of the Church, make sure it’s accurate, especially as this is not a post in Ricochet Catholics, but is going out to a larger audience who might get the wrong idea regarding Church teaching.

    • #26
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Whew! That was a lot of work. Good job. I would only have a few amendments (similar to Scott’s) and comments, but I’ll start here:

    Drew in Texas: Suffering is temporary. 

    It’s not so much that suffering is temporary — it’s that it’s redemptive! JPII was pretty solid on this, as I recall:

    [every person] is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption.

    No pain, no gain as we boomers might say. Or, as Jesus said, “take up your cross and follow.” The Christian life gives meaning to suffering, which eases the burden. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    Drew in Texas: The issue with IVF comes from the fact that when performing IVF, multiple embryos are fertilized and the most promising one is implanted, the rest are frozen. . . 

    The destruction of embryos is not the only issue. It’s the unnatural means of fertilization that violates the natural law and the human rights of children. Children have the right to be conceived in a one-flesh union of a sacramentally (unbreakable union) married mother and father. The example I heard on Catholic Answers was a girl who was conceived by IVF using a sperm donor, and she forever questioned whether the potential husband she was dating was biologically related to her — a half-brother. Can you imagine?

    • #27
  28. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Drew in Texas: Good Catholics disagree on some of these topics, but at the same time, most respect the views held by others.

    Not really. “Good” Catholics adhere to the teachings of the Church, no matter how uncomfortable they are with them, or how uncomfortable it makes their friends, family, and acquaintances feel.* One of the main differences between Catholics and other Christians is there’s a way to tell a “good” Catholic from a bad one. Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi have rejected Christ’s Church, and their bishop(s), if they really cared for their immortal souls, would give them consequences (banning them from receiving Holy Eucharist) like any good father would. Good fathers don’t let their kids run out in traffic and they don’t let them eat judgment upon themselves. 

    * Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce is so radically uncomfortable, his own disciples say it would be better never to marry. Joe Heschmeyer has two excellent podcasts on the subject. One and two.

    • #28
  29. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Drew in Texas: The Church also opposes the death penalty, but the GOP supports it.

    Not quite. The Church still considers capital punishment a matter of prudential judgment, despite Francis’s ambiguous “inadmissible” language. A Catholic can oppose it or find it a matter of prudence in some cases (I hold the latter position about heinous murderers. I do not believe keeping an Adolf Eichmann alive shows a respect for life. Just the opposite.).

    Drew in Texas: When I saw President Biden make the sign of the cross at an abortion event it was deeply disturbing.  This coming from a man who has done many things that I find disturbing shocked me.  My thoughts were the same as Mr. Butker’s, how delusional does he have to be to be so insulting to members of a faith that he claims as his own?

    It was neither disturbing nor delusional. It was profane, heretical, anathema. . . The sign of the cross is a prayer in the power of the Triune God. He was praying for the “right” to kill one’s baby. For that alone, he should be excommunicated.

    • #29
  30. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Drew in Texas: Good Catholics disagree on some of these topics, but at the same time, most respect the views held by others.

    Not really. “Good” Catholics adhere to the teachings of the Church, no matter how uncomfortable they are with them, or how uncomfortable it makes their friends, family, and acquaintances feel.* One of the main differences between Catholics and other Christians is there’s a way to tell a “good” Catholic from a bad one. Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi have rejected Christ’s Church, and their bishop(s), if they really cared for their immortal souls, would give them consequences (banning them from receiving Holy Eucharist) like any good father would. Good fathers don’t let their kids run out in traffic and they don’t let them eat judgment upon themselves.

    * Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce is so radically uncomfortable, his own disciples say it would be better never to marry. Joe Heschmeyer has two excellent podcasts on the subject. One and two.

    I second that – those two podcasts are excellent! I can’t recommend them enough.

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