Saturday, February 06, 2010

How dare a priest come here!

Earlier this week, I read a column at the Washington Post, and posted a response there, that led to a conversation that developed along interesting lines.

The column--which you can see here--was by an ex-priest who was criticizing the Archdiocese of Washington in how it responded to a move by the District of Columbia government to create "same-sex marriage" in the District. With that move came requirements, imposed on those who accept city funding, that the Archdiocese found in conflict with our Catholic Faith and its Gospel mission. So, the Archdiocese said, if that passes, we will have to forgo the funding that was then flowing through the Archdiocese into various services to the poor.

Well, the city proceeded as it announced--and while I'm not up on the exact state of things, if the Archdiocese hasn't withdrawn from those activities, it will before long.

And ex-Father Tam excoriated the Archdiocese, accusing it of refusing to serve the poor.

Bogus charge. A lie, in fact, and so I said on the thread.

Well, you may or may not be interested in what followed. One child of God showed up and dowsed me with condemnation as "dishonest," "prejudiced" "sanctimonious," a "hater" etc. I thought it rich with irony that he would attack me like this...yet I'm the "hater." In the end, he pretty much said I had no business being there.

It's true I had other things to do. It's also true that someone needed to speak up in defense of the Archdiocese of Washington's defense of the truth and defense of the rights of Catholics and others who disagree with the city's high-handed actions.

I thought you might find it interesting.


Anonymous said...

I guess I am caught between giving credit for standing for the truth but also wondering why you take time to post to some blogs when not sure you are changing hearts - maybe better time would be spent praying rosary or saying a Mass for these souls

Fr Martin Fox said...


Thanks for visiting.

The pope said it was a good idea for priests to be on the Internet.

Had I not posted there, as you can see, no one would have spoken up for the truth!

And who can say whether my words changed hearts or not? In any case, how can anyone "be sure" of that? One simply bears witness. After all, as they stoned him, did Stephen have cause to say, "I've failed to change hearts?"

Ellen said...

Interesting reading. Apparently "manwolf" was too busy planning his response to ready your comments - basically he made an ass of himself trying to prove you wrong. And, as expected, he had to bring up the the subject of abuse to take a cheap shot at the Church. Kudos to you for making your point and standing your ground.

Grace said...

A few weeks ago, a sister wrote an excellent article about the healthcare issue for the WaPo. I probably got onto it from one of the Catholic news aggregate sites because normally I never read WaPo -- and will try to never to read it again.

The comments to the good sister's column were unbelievably hateful and nasty. I was astonished that WaPo did not do some moderating of those comments. Your experience seems to be standard for that newspaper. It has some very hostile, aggressive readers!

Fr Martin Fox said...


I'm sorry to say that the Cincinnati Enquirer is the worst I've seen, for comments on a story. They are so moronic as to be laughable.

The Washington Post's comments sections seem to be populated by an elite sort of "progressive" that is really appalled that anyone doesn't think as they do, and march in lockstep with their agenda. These are people who will very earnestly herd us into ghettos or re-education camps, should they ever get the chance.

オテモヤン said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I thought "FRJIMS" had a very good point to make.

Anonymous said...

Although I am torn over the issue of same-sex marriage (I'm a Catholic parent who has a homosexual son whom I love very much who married in California a couple of years ago, and I love his spouse as well), is it appropriate for a priest to call other people liars? I'm sorry, I just don't think so, even if you believe in your heart that you were right.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Why not call a lie a lie?

I don't call someone a liar lightly, but what Mr. Tam himself said was very harsh, it was not true and he has to know it wasn't true.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Who is "FRJIMS" and where did he make his point?

Was that the post above that appeared to be in Japanese or some other language? Oops I deleted it because usually that's spam...

Or did it appear somewhere else?

Grace said...

Father Fox,

Oh, dear... I derived some solace from thinking the WaPo posters were unusual. Sigh.

My 2 cents on the main topic: I think it is good to call people on their lies when they are spreading them in public. Otherwise, if we keep quiet, people take silence for agreement.

Anonymous said...

Grace, what if it's your own bishop who's telling the lies? -- that has happened over the years with some bishops over these years (including mine, who is now retired) when priests have been exposed for sexual abuse. Was the silence from the faithful agreement? Of course, most of us may not have known they were lying, but many of the victims did, and they were not received so well when they spoke out.

Anonymous said...

As large as the Washington Diecese is, I find it hard to believe that they had to go all the way to a tiny town in Ohio to find someone to defend them. How in the world, with all you have to do as a pastor, were you able to find this article in the first place. And then you allowed one blogger to suck you into a conversation that went nowhere. And, yes, whoever this person is, is entitled to his opinion. As far as calling him a liar, that was a bit much. You both are argunig semantics, at best. And what's the point?
And as far as the pope wanting you to get on the internet, I don't think this is what he had in mind. Your homily postings are interesting and thought provoking. You would do well to stick to that. This kind of post does nothing but bring out the worst in people - even the ones who agree with you. It brings out their less than Christian thinking. And I think the diocese of Washington is big enough and brave enough to defend themselves.
And comparing yourself to St. Stephen was a bit much.


Fr Martin Fox said...


Thanks for visiting.

Just to clarify, the Archdiocese of Washington didn't come to me to speak up for the truth on the WashPo's web site.

Second, what's so odd about my reading the Washington Post every day? Don't you suppose a pastor needs to be well informed on national and world events?

As far as the "all I have to do"'s the thing. I don't go 100 mph every moment, do you? Does any busy person? Do you honestly think I could last if I did? This posting I'm typing right now is a few moments' break from other activities. Most of my blogging (less of late) comes during down time.

Third, I lodged the charge of lying against the author of the original article--not, as you say, against someone with whom I exchanged posts. The original author never responded.

And I firmly disagree--it was definitely not a matter of "semantics"--i.e., presumably you mean a shade of difference arising from a term's dual meaning.

Instead, it was a matter of lodging a very serious and false accusation against the Archdiocese of Washington--that it would "cease providing shelter to the homeless and care for the sick if the D.C. city council approved the civil law that would provide same-sex couples in committed relations the same legal benefits enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts."

Not a shade difference in meaning--that is a false statement.

The Archdiocese will continue to "provide shelter to the homeless and care for the sick"--what was going to cease was such care as was paid for by tax dollars--and that was the city's doing, not the Church's.

I consider sticking up for the truth to be a very important matter, especially as this is part of a national effort to redefine marriage--and because the Catholic Church stands in the way (and I am very proud of that!)--the Church must be dealt with, by any means necessary. You bet I'm not going to let that go.

You are correct, however, that I stuck with my attempts to converse with "Manwolf" too long. I was truly astonished at his hatred and, yes, "sanctimony"--which was so ironic. But the point is to awaken the conscience and sow seeds of conversion. When I began getting frustrated, I signed off.

Finally, I don't know why you say I compared myself to St. Stephen. I didn't remember doing so, and I went back and used the search function: the name "Stephen" never appeared in the comments, if my search function did its job. Perhaps you can quote the passage you mean? I don't consider myself a St. Stephen sort of martyr, just a regular guy bearing witness.

Anonymous said...

You did compare your situation with that of St. Stephen. It's the second entry on this page. Although "manwolf" may have been too intense, he did express some legitimate concerns about Church leaders. It sounds to me like the Archbishop in Washington threatened to withhold certain services to the poor unless the city changed its planned policy on marriage. They did use it in an attempt to sway the city away from their plans, a questionable tactic which seemed negative and backfired on them. The Archbishop certainly received bad press over it, and all over the country and beyond. They were objecting to the proposed policy, but they used their services to the poor as a wedge, maybe to cast guilt on the city. It's not as simple as you seem to want to believe. As for "sanctimony", the definition I have is "hypocritical devoutness or high-mindedness". I don't think this "manwolf" was claiming or pretending to be pious or devout, but in one of your responses, you drew a hard line and condemned those like Tom Kam, who didn't see it like you did, even claiming that only you had chosen to be on the side of God. I'm sorry to say this. but I do find that sanctimonious and inappropriately judgmental of others. It's not your place to judge them, and so publicly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, anonymous. I couldn't have said it better.


Fr Martin Fox said...


I went back and checked my entries. The second comment from the top--by Manwolf--quotes my earlier comment referring to Daniel and the Lion's Den, and I refer to St. Thomas More earlier on. I checked the second comment from the bottom, and that's not by me; I checked my second comment, near the bottom, and it doesn't mention Stephen. So I simply don't find the reference you refer to. The search function on my computer doesn't find the word "Stephen," which is hard to explain. So I'm not finding it. Perhaps you could quote it?

In any case, my references to St. Thomas More and Daniel weren't about me, but about the Archdiocese being expected to validate so-called "same-sex marriage."

Then you say this:

"It sounds to me like the Archbishop in Washington threatened to withhold certain services to the poor unless the city changed its planned policy on marriage."

No, that is not what happened. I am sorry I wasn't clear.

The Archdiocese--like a lot of Catholic dioceses and agencies around the world--provided services to the poor as a contract with the city. This was in addition to what they paid for out of church funds. So they were doing service to the poor with these two sources of money.

The city said, if you accept our money, you must follow our rules.

The Archdiocese replied, we can't follow your rules in good conscience, so we will refuse your money. And that will mean we won't provide the services those funds paid for. That portion--a considerable one--is what they said they wouldn't be able to do any longer.

The Archdiocese continues to provide services to the poor with its own money.

Now, that happened because the city changed the rules--which is its prerogative. But when that happens, the recipients have to decide, can we in good conscience go along?

What would you have the Archdiocese do? Choices are:

1) Knuckle under to the city's demands and take the money--contrary to Catholic belief?

2) Continue taking the money but defy the city--setting up a confrontation?


3) Refuse to take the money because of the new conditions attached.

The Archdiocese did #3. That to me seems the most honest thing to do. Would you like to explain why that's wrong? Because I fail to see how options #1 or #2 are morally defensible.

Then you say, "As for 'sanctimony," the definition I have is 'hypocritical devoutness or high-mindedness.' I don't think this 'manwolf' was claiming or pretending to be pious or devout..."

--yes, but he explicitly claimed to be morally superior to me. I was incredulous, but he said it:

"Mr. Fox wrote: '100% of the moral superiority is also coming from you.'

Thanks for recognizing the obvious!" (comment of Feb 5, at 8:56 pm). My point was, when Manwolf claims to be morally superior to me, I think his accusation against me of "santimony" is rather rich.

Then you say, "...but in one of your responses, you drew a hard line and condemned those like Tom Kam, who didn't see it like you did, even claiming that only you had chosen to be on the side of God."

I do not believe I said that, and I certainly didn't intend any such meaning. But since you haven't quoted me, how can I defend myself? Fair is fair--if you're going to make a charge that is so negative about me, it would be fair to quote what I said that you are referring to.

Carol said...

I for one think the Catholic heirarchy and clergy are way too involved in people's sex lives. I think that is because they are all celibate men. Celibacy is not a natural way of life. God made our bodies to work the way they do, and it is beautiful. The church heirarchy and clergy need to realize that sex doesn't play that big of a role in a normal healthy relationship between two people who love each other. The important thing is the love they share in all aspects of daily life.

Anonymous said...

The "St. Stephen" comment is not on the Post article page; it's on this page. Just scroll to the top, second entry from the top of the page. I won't quote because you can read it yourself. Addressing Mr. Kam, you wrote: "Aren't you ashamed to be on the side of the king and not the prophet of God?" related to the story of Daniel in the lion's den. That is a very judgmental, and yes - sanctimonious - charge to make on another person. "Manwolf" also called you on that, justifiably. You may not see it that way, but that's how it came across when I read it. You were irrational, unnecessarily defensive, and you deliberately shamed Tom Kam.

I do not agree with your interpretation of the archbishop's words over the marriage issue. If it were simply a matter of conscience, and choosing not to accept the city's funding any more, why choose to make such a public spectacle over it, or threaten to withhold certain services provided to the city's poor? Why send out a press release? Why not just quietly decline the funding if that's what they felt that had to do? No, the real target for them was the marriage policy. They were using their power to try to force the city to nix it. Part of that strategy was an attempt to stir up negative public sentiment toward the city for "forcing" the archdiocese to decline the funding. It was a political maneuver. The city was not telling the archdiocese what to believe, or to change what it believes.

As for "manwolf's" comment to you about moral superiority, perhaps he believes his position is more seamless than yours. You must feel the same way about your point of view. It's possible he was trying to be humorous, or sarcastic. Telling you he doesn't believe you are acting in a perfectly moral manner isn't "sanctimonious". And despite your words about talking to those you disagree with, I don't see where you really tried very much to do that. You didn't engage him or the author Tom Kam on any of the important issues they raised. The article had much more in it besides Mr. Kam's views on the city funding issue. People expect a priest, a man of God, to be more diplomatic, and to bend over backwards with kindness. If you can't do that, why would you expect anyone else to?

Fr Martin Fox said...


OK, I see the comment about St. Stephen. My bad. So...big point wasn't that I am St. Stephen, my point was to the one who led off, saying, why offer comments when it seems to no effect? I offered St. Stephen as an example of that.

Then you fault me for this comment:

"Aren't you ashamed to be on the side of the king and not the prophet of God?" related to the story of Daniel in the lion's den. That is a very judgmental, and yes - sanctimonious - charge to make on another person."

Oh, please...

"'Manwolf' also called you on that, justifiably. You may not see it that way, but that's how it came across when I read it. You were irrational, unnecessarily defensive, and you deliberately shamed Tom Kam."

"Irrational"? Are you kidding me?

Mr. Tam took the side of the city, which was pressing down hard on Catholics and others to make them knuckle under on a re-definition of marriage. Who gave the government the right to do that? The behavior of the city is outrageous, and the comparison to Daniel is very apt. The city wants the Church to genuflect to its will. And Mr. Tam, a Catholic, took the side of the city demanding that genuflection, not the Church--the prophet--defying arrogant political power.

You bet I deliberately shamed him for that because that stance is absolutely shameful. You bet!

Fr Martin Fox said...


You raised another point:

"I do not agree with your interpretation of the archbishop's words over the marriage issue. If it were simply a matter of conscience, and choosing not to accept the city's funding any more, why choose to make such a public spectacle over it, or threaten to withhold certain services provided to the city's poor?"

I will say it one more time:

The. Church. Did. Not. Threaten. To. Withhold. Services. Provided. To. The. Poor.

The Church said it would have to stop doing what the city to that point was paying for. How would you suggest the Church continue to do that, without the funding? Print its own money?

"Why send out a press release? Why not just quietly decline the funding if that's what they felt that had to do?"

Because it was going to affect a lot of people, that's why!

Because the larger community had a right to know about this, and the effect it would have!

Why in the world should the Archdiocese go along meekly with this outrageous action by the city of Washington?

No, the Archdiocese was absolutely right to shout it out. And when they did, the powerful came down on the Archdiocese like a ton of bricks. That'll teach 'em, won't it?

"No, the real target for them was the marriage policy. They were using their power to try to force the city to nix it."

"Force?" What about the Church's right to speak out? And duty?

Remember who picked the fight--the city did--by pursuing it's arrogant attempt to redefine marriage. Again I ask: who gave the city the right to do that?

Also, it was the city that tied compliance with its new policy to accepting city funds. It hoped the Church and others would simply obey. And the uppity Archdiocese had the nerve--the nerve!--to refuse to bow down.

Greta said...

In a lot of blog reading and posting, I have yet to see a dialogue go well on the topic of gays unless everyone is singing the song that the lifestyle in normal and equal to that of one man and one woman. That usually includes every facet of life including gay marriage and if enacted, they will be full on to force the Church to honor the marriage with by sacrament in the church. They will want the cathecism changed and any reference in a negative way in their eyes will require full on attack. Therefore unles you are prepared to grant that, you will be called every name in the book and attacked. This is their god and anyone attacking their god will have to be burned at the stake.

As such, there is no way to reason with them once they start down the road you were on for there is no debate they will be willing to listen to which is obvious from your posts. They hate the Catholic Church as do the pro death folks who have not met a infant in the womb they do not seek the Church to OK to kill. I even saw an article on article on post natal babies they want to start to target over in Europe. While it is good to engage those who listen and honestly are trying to understand, it does not take long to see those infected and beyond hope.

It is all just part of the culture of death and disease.

Anonymous said...

"pursuing it's arrogant attempt to redefine marriage. Again I ask: who gave the city the right to do that?"

??? Who gave them the right? The city simply went about its business in enacting new legislation. If a local government pursues legislation that the Church disagrees with, it's "arrogant"? You're being shrill, whiny and irrational. I think that serves to underscore my point that the main target all along was the marriage issue, and not their consciences. Was the city government supposed to reject the legislation to comply with the Catholic Church's teachings on the matter? We do have an important principle in America against that sort of thing: separation of Church and State. You should review it.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Anonymous says (I wonder why Anonymous?)

"??? Who gave them the right? The city simply went about its business in enacting new legislation."

1. So...anything the city wants to pass laws about, it is simply a matter of going about its business? No limits?

"If a local government pursues legislation that the Church disagrees with, it's 'arrogant'?"

2. It's absurd to characterize this is merely a "disagreement" arising from the Church. Marriage is a man and a woman--that is what it has been for so long--stretching back so far into the past--that no one knows how it arose: it arose out of human nature itself. So legislating on something like this is extremely arrogant.

"You're being shrill, whiny and irrational."

3. And you've begun calling names! Pot, meet kettle.

"I think that serves to underscore my point that the main target all along was the marriage issue, and not their consciences."

4. I guess concept of "both" is difficult for you to wrestle with?

"Was the city government supposed to reject the legislation to comply with the Catholic Church's teachings on the matter?"

No, see points #1 & #2 above.

"We do have an important principle in America against that sort of thing: separation of Church and State. You should review it."

Haha...ah that shibboleth.

Actually what we have is freedom, which the First Amendment was framed to safeguard, including freedom of religion but also freedom of speech and the right to petition government for redress of grievances.

Where did you get the idea that the Church and her members have fewer rights under the First Amendment than those who think they have the right to redefine marriage? Please feel free to support your argument with citations from the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia statute on religious freedom (which Thomas Jefferson wrote, and which had a great influence on our Constitution), and other supporting evidence from history to buttress your claim that the Church--or individual Catholics--raising a stink about this are somehow violating your "principle of separation of church and state."

But maybe the problem is you believe the government can ram through whatever it wants, so long as you agree with it. Evidence? You see no problem with the city's legislation.

Rudy said...

Father Fox:

I pray for you that you may have the strenght to keep proclaiming the truth and defending it.


Fr Martin Fox said...


Thanks. I realize some will say, what's the point? But these are the discussions we're going to be having, and I think it's good to be ready to explain what we believe.

You and I and all faithful Catholics--and many others beyond the Christian Faith--need to realize that a storm is gathering on this subject.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said* what strange times these are, when a statement of simple truth becomes an act of great courage! These are the times we face, as we find that when we stand up for marriage we are called bigots--as happened with a member of Congress not so long ago. The storm is gathering.

* I have to footnote this because while I remember reading a statement along these lines in his Gulag Archipelago, I cannot find the citation just now. If, perchance, he didn't say it, it's the sort of thing he would have.

Anonymous said...

I have been married for 30 years. There have been same sex marriages for the last maybe 5 years. In those 5 or so years I haven't noticed any difference in my marriage. I'm confused about how my marriage is supposed to be affected by gays getting married. I hope you can enlighten me so that I can be aware of the problems that I am supposed to be encountering.

Fr Martin Fox said...


In asking your question, you seem to be responding to a point I did not make. That is to say, I don't recall asserting that the state creating--out of whole cloth--a new institution of "gay marriage" would have immediate, negative effects on existing marriages. Where did I say that? I confess I've been forgetful of points I've made. In any case, I do not claim that at all.

I am guessing you are making a broader point, but rather than guess, perhaps you wish to come back and actually make it? My guess at your larger point may be wrong, and my response off-point...

Anonymous said...

Bravo Father, it amazes me on how many people have such strong opinions on the matter that is so black and white of moral right/wrong. God destroyed an entire city to prove how much he disagrees with homosexual acts. At no point is God ever hateful of homosexuals as a person.

Given that, then the arguments start of equal rights to happiness. Did God promise us all to have sexual happiness? I don't recall that anywhere.

We all have crosses to bear and some are heavier/larger, but if we want to follow Jesus we pick it up and carry it.

The people/groups that are trying to make sinful acts "acceptable" to society which causes Our Church to seem more outdated, are really just making our cross harder to carry, and we must go forth.

God Bless! Anna

Anonymous said...

The cross that gay and lesbian people carry is the sinister and destructive prejudice, discrimination and violence that has been dished out to them by the Catholic Church for most of the past two thousand years. If only the dissenting voices in the Church had the same freedom you indulge and lavish on yourself!

Of course, I support the marriage legislation in DC - and that in several other states and many other countries as well. You happen to disagree with it. SO WHAT?! Thank you for raising the issue of American freedom. Thanks to our Constitution. we are guaranteed freedom from the likes of you. My partner of 23 years and I took our American freedom and legally married two years ago, and I am at peace with the certainty that there's nothing the Church could ever do to undo that. God Bless America!!

Anonymous said...

My gay spouse and I also stand up for marriage. That's why we became married. If you think it takes courage just to voice your opposition to gay marriage, you should try being married while "Christians" spit at you from all sides.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I'm sad that anyone spit at you and for any other expressions of hatred you have experienced.

But I don't really see what that has to do with this subject.

Are you saying that marriage should be redefined because of anti-gay prejudice? That is a really bizarre non-sequitur--but I actually think that is how a lot of people see it. I'm wondering if I'm right in picking that up from you...

Anonymous said...

I'm sad that you don't see the role you play in perpetuating anti-gay prejudice, discrimination and hatred?

None of the couples I know married because of anti-gay prejudice. They married for the same reasons that others choose to marry.

Fr Martin Fox said...


"I'm sad that you don't see the role you play in perpetuating anti-gay prejudice, discrimination and hatred?"

And I'm sad that you resort to baseless ad hominems. Please feel free to cite anything on this blog that supports your accustation of "anti-gay prejudice, discrimination and hatred." If you don't care to search the entire blog, feel free to cite something in this thread--or in anything appearing on the main page. Anything. Please cut-and-paste it here. If not, shame on you for making baseless accusations. That is actual malice, and it's on you, not me.

"None of the couples I know married because of anti-gay prejudice. They married for the same reasons that others choose to marry."

Again, a non sequitur.

I wasn't the one who brought up anti-gay prejudice in this thread--it was brought up by posters who thought it somehow bore on the subject. I asserted--and assert again--it is a non sequitur.

If, however, it is connected, I would like to know how. I.e., how does the fact of anti-gay hatred or prejudice bear, one way or the other, on whether marriage should be redefined.

To put it another way: if we eliminate anti-gay prejudice, would you withdrawal support for gay marriage?

No, I didn't think so. So: if what you want to say is people shouldn't hate gays, I agree. How does that have anything to do with whether "gay marriage" is good or bad policy? It doesn't. So why bring it up?

Green said...

The Church has no right to her teaching which has existed for 2000years on the subject of one man and one woman as that which is defined as marriage according to the gay community. Of course in every state where there has been a ballot, the majority have agreed with the one man and one woman definition.

So a Catholic Priest in defending the right of a dioceses to refuse taking money from the government who is trying to force their views on the church is attacked by the gay community and their supporters and we are not concerned over this new attack on free speech?

But we also have a problem with "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" which seems to me says that the government should not be passing laws that restict the free excercise of religion. The Catholic Church and every other major faith seems to be against gay lifestyle and certainly marriage. By forcing laws such as what is being done in DC, it seems like this is infringing in areas that the government should stay out of by the constitution.

As to Father Fox, I do not think he will be intimidated in any way to shut up on a core belief in the Catholic Church and I think he has shown an amazing amount of grace and fortitude in trying to be civil and answer the questions despite their uncivil tone. My prayers are with all our priests and especially those who try to follow the urgining of Benedict to go out into the world and proclaim truth boldly.

Anonymous said...

The teaching of the Church on homosexuality is hostile. I believe it has contributed to the suicide deaths of young gay people who can't help but internalize the negativity, to the point of despair, at a time in life when they are vulnerable. If you support this teaching, which is degrading to people who are homosexual, you are participating in that hostility: prejudice, discrimination and hate.

I'm not saying the Church doesn't have the right to "free speech" or freedom to practice the faith. After all, I am a baptized Catholic myself. I'm just characterizing the effects of those particular beliefs and teaching on others, as I see it. And I am hardly alone on that.

Fr Martin Fox said...

"The teaching of the Church on homosexuality is hostile."

The teaching of the Church on homosexuality is the teaching of Christ.

"I believe it has contributed to the suicide deaths of young gay people who can't help but internalize the negativity, to the point of despair, at a time in life when they are vulnerable. If you support this teaching, which is degrading to people who are homosexual, you are participating in that hostility: prejudice, discrimination and hate."

I don't agree, I think that's overwrought, but realize you are accusing Jesus Christ of "participating in that hostility: prejudice, discrimination and hate."

To be clear, the teaching of the Church is chastity and dignity. Chastity for single persons is to refrain from marital acts (sex) until marriage; and marital acts are--by nature--open to the gift of life.

The teaching of the Church is also that all persons are of infinite worth. If but one person were a sinner, Jesus would have died for him or her.

It is--I'm sorry--absurd to say that chastity equals "prejudice, discrimination and hate."

Now, it would be fair to say that Catholics (and many others) lack sufficient charity in their approach to people who are different. Putting people down or rejecting them for being gay (or for any other reason) is wrong. If you think that's a special problem for Catholics, give me a break; it's a problem for all of us as sinful humanity.

It would also be fair to say that if someone feels despair over homosexual feelings, something much more needs to be done to replace that despair with a sense of unchangeable dignity that comes from God. And if you want to say that Catholics aren't doing enough to touch the hearts of those who feel that despair, that is a conversation worth having.

But then, I would say that the predominant voices and messages supposedly speaking up for gay dignity, but which reject chastity, also lead to despair.

I won't accuse you or those who take that position of contributing to anyone's suicide--it's an outrageous charge--but it stands to reason that if you tell people that chastity is absurd, impossible and a denial of their dignity, then you are responsible for the implications of that: namely, that a person has worth and value only in the success of their sexual expression.

And that is a message leading to despair if ever I heard one.

Also--to everyone reading this: see how the attack will come?

To be Catholic--a faithful Catholic--is to be a bigot. Because the only way to "fix" this "guilt" of prejudice and hate is to abandon our fidelity to Christ.

Anonymous said...

A well-known study sponsored by the US government in the 1990s concluded that a third of youth suicides were traced to dealing with homosexual orientation. If you cannot understand the plight of gay people in our culture and society and the manner in which the Church has contributed to that plight, then you are no pastor. It is much more accurate to claim that the teaching of the Church on homosexuality is hostile than it is accurate to say that Jesus Christ supports it. It would be impossible for Jesus to support something so harmful to others.

The Church has a glaring double standard when dealing with the "dignity" of gay people and "chastity". You insist that sexual expression is only reserved for marriage, yet you deny us the very opportunity to marry according to our God-given sexual orientation. DISCONNECT! It is equally meaningless and irrational to claim that *affirming* one's sexual orientation (and the behavior which potentially and naturally flows from that orientation), a constitutional element of our personhood, causes despair. That is not the lived experience of gay people - our experience should matter, should it not? What causes despair is to deny human beings the very intimacy (not merely physical) that makes human life worthwhile. That is what the Church denies to gay persons: INTIMACY and LOVE. Which means the Church's teaching on homosexuality is the opposite of love.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Chastity and intimacy are not in conflict.

But your point boils down to: chastity = oppression.

Lots of people practice chastity--men, women, heterosexual, homosexual, Christian and non-Christian. Do you claim they are all despairing and oppressed?

Is asking heterosexual men--who do not, or cannot, marry--to be chaste cause for them to despair?

I'm not denying there is hatred or prejudice against gays; nor that Catholics are among those who are guilty of it. If you want to have that conversation, fine.

But chastity is not oppression. That is your position, and I reject that as nonsensical and ultimately, degrading to the homosexual persons you claim to be defending.

Anonymous said...

Ah, let's play with words.

Don't insult my intelligence. You allow heterosexual men and women the choice of marriage. You do not extend the privilege of that choice to gay people. You are essentially forcing lifelong celibacy on gay people, something you do not ask of heterosexual people.

Anonymous said...

It's ridiculous and obscene that you would consider my advocacy for gay people as a degradation, when YOUR way led to the rape of countless male children by dysfunctional, self-loathing, maladapted ordained homosexual men. That is exactly what the bishops' conference own study concluded of the sex abuse crisis.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Your position is that lifelong chastity for gay persons is oppression. There are heterosexual people who embrace life-long chastity. Some because they enter into a marriage, it ends, and they cannot remarry. Non-Christians embrace lifelong chastity for whatever reason they find meaningful. Are they oppressed? You might want to ask them before you speak for them.

I'll say it again--the Catholic Church teaches what Jesus teaches. Our Lord advocated chastity, and he caused dismay when he said marriage is for life, no exceptions; the apostles said, if that be the case, then it is better not to marry (that meant life-long chastity for a practicing Jew); Jesus shrugged, he didn't back down.

Instead, he said pretty often, "take up your cross and follow me."

Feel free to show how the Jesus who said that is going to agree with you that a life without genital sex is oppression. Citations, please?

I wondered how long it would take for someone to raise the bloody flag of the crimes of clergy. Relevant how? You would howl with fury (rightly) if I dragged into this discussion the crimes of non-celibate gays. That's dirty pool if I do it, and it's dirty pool if you do it.

Anonymous said...

Nothing you say changes the FACT that the overwhelming majority of heterosexual people have a choice to marry, and do exactly that.

In my view, the "crimes of the clergy" (the SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN over the centuries as well as the bishops' ongoing cover up and protection of such men) is at least partly related to the Catholic Church's culture of their own creation - its teaching on sexuality, homosexuality, celibacy, and the unquestioned authority it gives to ordained clergy -which you yourself demonstrate and exploit so well. If that makes you uncomfortable, too damned bad. Don't you people have any compunction over what has happened?

Anonymous said...

"Our Lord advocated chastity, and he caused dismay when he said marriage is for life, no exceptions"

As long as you're quoting Jesus, please point me to where Jesus forbid gay people to marry, or directed the Catholic Church to lobby against it.

Fr Martin Fox said...


1. Jesus was a faithful Jew and embraced the Law handed down to Moses.

2. Jesus is God and he's the one who handed down the Law to Moses.

3. That Law presupposes marriage is heterosexual (there never has been any other kind) and forbids sex between people of the same sex.

4. Jesus did not hesitate to modify the Mosaic Law on a number of points. See Matthew in particular, the Sermon on the Mount, where our Lord several times said, "Moses said...but I say..."

5. In particular see Matthew 19, where the Lord modifies Moses' teaching on divorce -- he allowed it -- and Jesus said, no divorce ever.

6. When the Apostles were shocked by that, our Lord's response was, in effect, that's what I say.

So every bit of evidence shows that Jesus embraced Jewish practice--and after all, as God, he taught the Jews. He had the opportunity to modify it, to allow sex between men or between women, to allow same-sex marriage, but he never did.

Also, the Apostles teach the same thing; they are more authentic interpreters of Jesus (they knew him and lived in his time) than you or anyone coming along in the late 20th or early 21st century.

So...did Jesus ever explicitly forbid "same sex marriage"? Nope, he sure didn't. He didn't forbid creating computer viruses and worms, either--you going to argue that somehow means he would be okay with someone wrecking your laptop because--hey--Jesus never said we couldn't do it!

As far as the Catholic Church speaking out against it. That's the natural right of Catholics individually and corporately, and the First Amendment protects it.

Jesus said, "render unto Caesar..." meaning give the government its due. In this country, "we the people" are the government, and it's both our right and our duty to be involved. That includes Catholics, so we have the right to speak out on all issues.

Now it's your turn.

Please cite anything in Scripture supporting same-sex marriage.

Please cite anything in Scripture that supports God's People knuckling under to demands of government.

You could, for example, take a look at Exodus, and how God and his people responded to oppressive government; or you could look at King Rehoboam in 1 Kings; or you could look at the books of Esther, Daniel or Macabbees. Please come back and tell us what you came up with?

Greta said...

You are amazing Father. You seem to be talking to a brick wall and yet so such peace and patience. Can you post the times when you have confession as it would be worth the drive.

Anonymous, Church teaching in many areas does not follow the wide easy road. Getting into heaven for all of us is difficult and all have a thorn in our heel that it appears God does not want to remove. Take up the cross and look not to this world, but to the next were life is eternal. What you seem to want Father and the Church to say is normal and OK will never happen and cannot happen any more than women can become priests. Christ left us with wonderful words that many love to quote. What they often fail to hear are the words that cause us to take that internal look deep in our soul and realize that following Christ is never going to be easy. Churches that gain popularity for a time are those that make following Christ like following the Easter Bunny and getting nothing but Candy. But then comes the sick feeling in your stomach and you are drawn to truth. You may not want to hear it, but a priest or a friend should never tell you something that will lead to you eternal damnation. Father is attempting to save your soul.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Martin,
It seems to me that you are spending an inordinate amount of "parish" time on this issue. I know, you will say that it was on your own time and you couldn't do anything for the parish during this time. I challenge that. What you have posted had to take a fair amount of time away from your flock. I doubt this is what they are paying you for or expecting from you. And don't give me that lame argument that the pope told me to go on line. I'm sure when he said that he did not envision what appears in the 45 or so posts above this one. Christianity left about the time of your second response. And don't try to tell me that you have been Christian thru all of this. It's the perception of those of us reading it, not the attitude you think you are portraying. And from our perspective, you lost that attitude a while back.
Again, I commend you for posting your homilies. They are thought provoking themselves. Spend more time with your flock. If you insist that you must be on line, then send your shut-ins an e-mail letting them know you are thinking about them. You could even send them a prayer. Or e-mail your students with information about our faith and challenge them with questions. These are but a few suggestions. And they would be more productive in enhancing the kingdom of God on earth.
I pray for you. (and all priests)


Fr Martin Fox said...


I appreciate your prayers. If you think I'm not taking care of business, you are free to contact the Archbishop with any concerns.

Anonymous said...

"did Jesus ever explicitly forbid "same sex marriage"? Nope, he sure didn't"

Very true. Thanks for being honest. We don't plan on divorcing, either.

Anonymous said...

Your interpretation of "render unto Caesar" is interesting, and quite self-serving. I recall that the last Pope severely disciplined priests who became politically involved in government. Yet according to you, the USCCB should have its own seat in Congress and wield its power to ensure that our laws comply with Catholic beliefs. You're not that far removed from the Taliban.

Anonymous said...

"Your position is that lifelong chastity for gay persons is oppression."

No, that is not my position. FORCING gay people into lifelong celibacy is oppression. Defining "chastity" for gay people as strict celibacy is oppression. Teaching young gay people that they are "disordered" and forbidding them the opportunity for the full spectrum of human intimacy in their life is oppression.

Anonymous said...

This is in response to Peggy, who posted a comment, not here, but on one of the blogs above. Not sure why she posted her comment there instead of here. For those who didn't catch it. She stated that even George had to call Fr off since he "could think of no further arguments", Please, Peggy, pay attention to what you are reading. In neither of my posts did I enter into the fray other than to question why the diocese of Washington had to go all the way to Ohio for an apologist. What I have been nerely attempting to do, is redirect the good Fr back to where he belongs, shepherding his two parishes. Had you been paying attention, I actually complimented him on the posting of his homilies. And the good Fr must be paying as much attention as you since he has completely ignored what I have been saying and has decided, instead, to continue on his merry little arrogant way, accomplishing nothing while managing to enrage and alienate well-meaning people who disagree with him. And, by the way, from my perspective, he hasn't done that in an "infinitely patient" manner as you may think. So, just to be clear, do you now understand that I am not "thinking of further arguments" concerning the topic he introduced. Just trying to help him to refocus on his primary responsibilities. And I will continue to to pray for him - and you.


Anonymous said...

"Father is attempting to save your soul."

If there's any saving to be done, it won't be up to "Father". Or you. Maybe you should worry about your own soul instead of casting eternal damnation on people you don't even know.

You're welcome.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Sharing the Gospel of Christ is my mission--with everyone, not just within the bounds of my parishes.

Teaching and explaining what we believe and why is my mission--and that's what I've been doing here.

I have heard your opinion on the matter, but I am not bound to bend to it.

I'll make the offer again: if you believe my other duties are being neglected, your appropriate course of action would be to contact Archbishop Dennis Schnurr. I don't believe my duties are being neglected and I will gladly tell him that (assuming he isn't aware of this blog already); and I will gladly accept his direction in the matter.

That people may be infuriated as a result of what a messenger says has necessary bearing on whether the messenger did a sufficiently good job or not, nor on whether the message was a necessary one.

Indeed, a more necessary message is often one that has exactly that effect.

So your saying that people are "infuriated" at me doesn't really prove anything one way or the other.

By the way, don't you realize that many of my parishioners read this blog? So my teaching here is not taking away from them at all. Teaching is a very important part of my calling as a priest.

If I am not good enough at it...well, then all the more reason to keep at it!

Anonymous said...

"your appropriate course of action would be to contact Archbishop Dennis Schnurr"

Did he protect pedophile priests, too? Just wondering, because going to your bishop these days isn't what it used to be.

Anonymous said...

Since the position of Jesus on divorce is that we may never get divorced, why does the Catholic Church give annulments?
Since the Catholic Church requires her priests to be celibate, why did the bishops turn the other way when the priests were sexually abusing young boys and girls and vulnerable women?

Anonymous said...


Father Fox' Church has created a handy source of income in setting up their annulment business. They need it to continue compensating the sex abuse victims of those perpetrating priests (and of course, to provide those same priests with comfy retirement benefits).

Anonymous said...

Oh, the arogance continues.

So you didn't think that any of my suggestions were worthy enough to even acknowledge. How sad.

You did say something interesting, though. That many of your parishoners read you blog. I wonder how many. Maybe you could take a poll of your parishes to see exactly how many of them actually know you have a blog and how many actually read it. God forbid you should ask them how many post comments. Then get back with us and let us know the results.
And since you insist that you are fully accomplishing your duties as pastor of two parishes, you could let us know how many shut-ins you visit a week, how many hospital visits you "actually" make and how many times a month you "actually visit your nursing homes. Or better yet, we could ask those folks how many times they have seen you.

And, finally, since you are a self-escribed teacher of the world, why is it that your photo and bio have disappeared from this blog? I would think that you would want your students to know who is teaching them and what credentials you have that qualify you to teach. Just-

Curious George

Fr Martin Fox said...


I'm sad that you are so filled with anger.

Anonymous said...

Now the Pope is castigating our government because he wants the law to allow Catholics to persecute people who are gay.

The Pope isn't a stupid man. He knows full well that the proposed equalities legislation still allows religious organisation to discriminate against gay men (and women, straight or gay, of course) where they are, for example, appointing priests. Would that it were not so.

But His Holiness also wants them to be able to discriminate against all kinds of other people - secretaries, caretakers, gardeners, cooks or cleaners - simply because they're gay.

The interesting thing is this. The Catholic Church, like every other organisation known to man, has its full quota of gay men.

But here's the thing. They have to live their lives pretending they're not gay, or they face the sack.

Compare and contrast the Catholic Church's hardline approach to gay priests - who have sex with other consenting adults - with their laissez-faire attitude to paedophile priests who have long taken refuge under the Catholic Church's sheltering wing while serially sexually abusing non-consenting children.

Dismissed? Not a bit of it. Once outed they were, typically, quietly moved to another parish where they could do the same thing all over again. You might have thought, once the awful truth about paedophilia within the Catholic Church emerged, the shame and the dawning realisation of how widespread these practices were would have caused the Church's leaders to hang their heads in shame and never issue a moral pontification again. Instead they have come bounding into the limelight, as if nothing's happened, portraying themselves as the moral authorities of our nation.

More surprisingly still, politicians, the media and even the public seem to be quite taken in by the whole arrogant show.

Anonymous said...

Look what the Church has taught people: to hate and kill gay people and their friends. Jesus must be real proud.


NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenyan police officers broke up a gay wedding on Friday and arrested several wedding guests, saying they had to intervene before an irate mob could stone the wedding party to death.

Like many other countries in Africa, which are intensely — and officially — homophobic, Kenya outlaws homosexual behavior. Violations in Kenya are punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

“It’s culture, just culture,” said a Kenyan police spokesman, Eric Kiraithe, when asked to explain the intense feelings about homosexuality. “It’s what you are taught when you are young and what you hear in church. Homosexuality is unnatural. It’s wrong.”

Anonymous said...

Wow the response has quickly grown on this post, I am sad for George and those that are so filled with anger and inability to accept the simplicity of truth when it comes to moral right/wrong.

Since vatican 2 catholic education has become so lax that when we are being taught correctly for the first time it amazes us. Then we have the decision to accept what we are being taught, research it for the truth within, or just appose it because we are unable or unwilling to accept that we may have been not living as Orthodox as we should have been.

This is when we humbly seek the truth ourselves with the help of the catechisms, priests, study groups, and become better followers of Jesus.

I am from another dioceses, and find that Fr. Foxes teaching are a great witness to help us on our journey.

George, I am a parishioner, reading his blog. God bless you, Anna

Anonymous said...

You have the same problem as Peggy. You need to pay more attention to what you are reading and not just mimic what Fr. Martin says. He was the first who thought I was filled with anger. For the record, I am not angry. Anger is such a useless emotion. Gets you nowhere. But I will tell you that I am amazed, incredulous, dishartened and yes, sad. If you re-read my posts, I have made no comment pro or con on the topic. I even complimentsed Fr. Martin on his homily posts. I have been simply trying to get the good Fr. back on track, that is, spending more time at his primary job - two parishes.
You see, Fr. Martin, so far, has typed 4,383 words just in responses on this particular post. He also typed 1,009 words on part one of his three-part teastise on marriage. And another 594 words on part 2. I quit counting when I saw part three, which is at least as long as part one and two combined. And I didn't attempt to count all his words of response to those. Just what I have counted adds up to 5,986 words. Now stop and think about that. Just the actual typing had to take quite a bit of time. Then add the time it took to read and digest the comments, throw in the time it took to conjure a response to each of the comments and you begin to see that Fr Martin has spent a tremendous amount of time on this effort. And to what end? He has changed no minds, convinced no one of his stand, other than those who already agreed with him.
Teaching is one thing, shouting back and forth is somthing completely different. Both sides in this discussion are simple saying the same thing over and over and getting nowhere.
I actually gave Fr two suggestions on ways to use the internet as the pope wishes. He didn't even have the courtesy among those 6,000 plus words, to acknowledge those suggestions and let me know if they were good, bad or even practical suggestions.
So now, Anna, Peggy and anyone else who may have mis-contrued my intent and mood, you know exactly what my motives and moods are.

And at the end of my last post I asked a simple question - why Fr Martin's photo and bio were removed from this blog. Should have been a simple question to answer. But all I got for all my efforts was "I'm sad that you are so filled with anger"

Anna, to me, you come across as a sincere, peaceful Christian woman. Your posts are never beligerent or antagonistic. I appreciate and thank you for your prayers. I offer mine for you and Fr Martin. May you continue to grow in God's love. Sincerely,


Fr Martin Fox said...


The reason my photo and profile disappeared is rather boring, and I marvel that it is so terribly important to you.

The answer is, I deleted it by accident and I haven't gotten around to redoing it. Didn't think it was terribly important. But if you like, I'll be sure to get on that...

I take you at your word that you're not angry. But perhaps you are a bit...preoccupied with me? You took time to count up the words of my posts, and my comments? Really?

I really don't think I am obliged to answer your questions on demand, and it's a bit high-handed to expect that I do. I.e., your questions about folks visited at home and in the hospital this week. You said I lacked courtesy, but I think the same can be said in return.

If you are aware of any particular thing I have neglected--not supposition, but actual knowledge--I welcome you to say so. Of course there is always "more" I can do, so to point to something else I might have done is a nice tactic, but not, to my mind, persuasive, because there will never be an end. Sending emails to parishioners? I have to collect all those emails, first; either I have to enter all that data, or else have someone else do it. That sounds like a rather time consuming project. Not saying it's bad, but not terribly practical.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Continuing to answer you...

I make a point, at a particular hour of the evening, to set aside the business of the day, shift my mind to other things, because I think that's healthy and keep my mind more agile. So, no, I'm not going to spend my evenings sending emails.

As far as praying for my parishioners, you may rest assured I do.

Whether any of my posts or comments have changed minds is not something easy to gauge, and in any case, so what? Our Lord's inspired words very often fell on deaf ears, as did those of his Apostles; so what does it prove if that happens to me?

On the other hand, for you to assert they have had no good effect is rather more than you can possibly know. That struck me as a sign you were getting too worked up over this.

Now, as to the value of my posts on marriage and "same sex marriage." What you don't know about me, and it seems I didn't owe any explanation, but here goes--is that typing these posts is one way I organize and develop my thoughts.

I believe it is very necessary to be able to explain these issues about marriage, because the Catholic Church, and Catholic citizens (as well as many others), absolutely have a responsibility to address these matters and to be able to explain the reason for our stance on this. If nothing else, I want to explain these matters to my fellow Catholics, who are being asked these things, and likely are wondering how to address them.

I expect I'll get more mileage out of my posts and comments than you realize. My ability to make a point is made better by trial-and-error. And I've had a fellow blogger suggest, via email, that I publish my posts on another site. If I can do so without a lot of time spent editing them, I may well do that.

I don't know how many hours I spent, over several days, on the posts and comments that seem so excessive to you. I am a faster typist than you may imagine. This comment, actually, has taken a lot longer time, because I'm rewriting it with some care, given your great interest in this, and my desire to be responsive.

This blog gets rather little of my time, overall, which can be seen rather easily by counting--not my posts and comments over a few days--but over, say, a month or six months.

In any case, I maintain that it's a bit much for you to expect, as it seems, that I fit your, particular expectations of my priesthood.

What I have noticed--and you might as well, if you do some checking--is that there are a number of priests who have blogs, many of whom are pastors. This is at least one bishop--the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston--who has a blog.

I check their blogs--less often lately--and I notice a few whose blogs are less active than mine, far more that are much moreso.

I do not suppose, as perhaps you might (because you actually did in my case) that their activity on their blogs means some duty of theirs is being neglected. I don't presume to know if they are making the best use of their time. I wasn't aware that it was entitled to make such a judgment; I presume they know their jobs, and get them done.

Anonymous said...

Alas, another few hundred words which say essentially nothing.

I don't remember suggesting that you use e-mail in the evenings. I don't think I specified a time. There are 24 hours in a day so you could do it whenever you have free time. Actually, you wouldn't need "free time" for doing those things would be considered productive time.

I suppose it may be time to alert your bishop. Since we are at odds, let's let him decide who is more on the mark. We could ask him to post something on your blog to support you. How's that?

Finally, why have been persistent is refusing to answer my querry concerning you photo and bio?


Fr Martin Fox said...

George said:

"Finally, why have been persistent is refusing to answer my querry concerning you photo and bio?"

George, I posted the following only a bit earlier:


The reason my photo and profile disappeared is rather boring, and I marvel that it is so terribly important to you.

The answer is, I deleted it by accident and I haven't gotten around to redoing it. Didn't think it was terribly important. But if you like, I'll be sure to get on that..."

I'm sorry, how is that non-responsive to your question?

And may I be so bold as to ask why the absence of my photo and bio is so important a matter to you?

Fr Martin Fox said...


There seems no satisfying you. I'm just sorry I can't make you happy.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Martin,

I apologize to you. I missed one of your responses, the one that answered my question. My bad. It appears that I also need to pay closer attention.

To answer your question as to why this was so important to me. Actually, it wasn't at first. I just happened to notice they were missing and was curious as to why. I thought maybe if was a new policy or something. But then, as we went on, and you didn't respond, I began to think that there actually was something to it. And finally, you say that you inadvertently deleted it. That seems odd. And you may wonder why I think it is an odd response. You see, Fr,, to me, you come across as a very pompous and egocentric person. So, why whould such a person not immediately re-add his photo and bio to the blog.
One wonders.


Anonymous said...

No need to try to make me happy. I am content and happy the way I am. I was and am not trying to get you to make me happy. Again, trying to mis-construe.
Maybe to make your parishoners a little happier.