My friend and colleague Stephanie Block has posted an excellent article at Speroforum picking apart the utter lack of logic displayed by US Catholic's editor Bryan Cones in his screed against American Life League, Reform CCHD Now (of which we're a proud member) and the rest of us "right-wing pressure groups".
I need not rehash Ms Block's work here; please go and read for yourselves. I will, however, elaborate on two points. I quote from her article..
My favorite bit in the Cones’ article, however, is his canard that “these witch hunts” – complaints about CCHD misappropriations of Catholic money to groups that support un-Catholic positions – are all about…sex! Who would have imagined! “More and more it appears that Catholics in general are so obsessed with issues of sexuality that we can't even feed the poor or shelter immigrants anymore. This crack has been thrown at pro-lifers for decades and says a great deal about the speaker (or writer). Abortion, of course, isn’t an “issue of sexuality” – it’s an issue of personhood and civil rights. Same-sex marriage isn’t an “issue of sexuality,” either – it’s an issue of covenantal partnership for ends that can’t be achieved in same-sex relationships. To reduce these issues to “sexuality” betrays that not only does the writer not understand Catholic teaching but that he is himself trapped in a Freudian construct that understands everything in sexual terms. What Peter says about Paul says more about Peter than it does about Paul.
So what is being said about "Peter" - that is, Bryan Cones? Here's a brief biographical sketch about Cones. So he was a high school teacher. Even as a high school teacher he was doing quite a bit of writing. For instance, he wrote one of several brief chapters in a book entitled "Young and Catholic in America". I believe it's the tenth. Here's the link, detailing a conversation he had with some students. Read the whole thing.
Cones admits to being homosexual himself and does not accept the Church's teaching that the homosexual inclination is intrinsically disordered. What I find particularly disturbing (although not too surprising) is the approving attitudes he meets along the way: from his bishop, pastors, etc. At the time Cones was talking to his bishop, he did not receive from his bishop the shepherding that he needed; in other words, Cones was done a gross disservice by his bishops and later mentors.
However, Cones is not without fault here. He knew the Church's teaching enough to dissent from it willingly. And this, dear readers, is the history and the mental paradigm of an editor of US Catholic magazine. Does this not explain some of the tenor behind US Catholic - when one of its leaders is living at serious variance with the Church?
Now let's look at "guilt by association". I think we've illustrated what triggers the knee-jerk usage by Cones of that phrase. He thinks homosexual unions are just fine and dandy. However, when a group like American Life League come along and point out the simple truth that homosexual relations are mortally sinful then the defense mechanism spring into action and the "guilt by association" phrases start flying.
No, Mr. Comes, it's just your guilt - so why not do yourself (and your partner) a favor, break off the sinful relationship and go to Confession? Speaking of charity and mercy, let's recognize what the Spiritual Works of Mercy (such as "admonish the sinner") are.
We find the phrase "guilt by association" in another article similar to Cones' in viewpoint and tenor. The author writes that "Companeros decided against severing ties with CIRC, deciding that its membership in the organization was more important than giving in to CCHD's demands." OK, that's fine. They made a decision. Implicit in all this whining and kvetching is a presumption that Companeros is entitled to the largess of Catholic donations without stipulation. Not so. The Church has not only the right but the duty to ensure that its monies are used in accordance with Church teaching.
The article goes on to announce a new website called "withcharityforall", ostensibly to compensate for Companeros' very avoidable budget shortfall. I freely acknowledge their right to collect these monies, provided that they are very honest with their donors as to the exact planned usage of the funds (something that CCHD has yet to learn). At least it won't be Church money.
The site was founded by Catholics United. As mentioned before on this blog, on that organization's board of directors is James Salt. Read about his history here. If there is any true "guilt by association", James Salt bears it in spades. His resume includes "overseeing the Kansas Democratic Party's faith outreach efforts including messaging work for Governor Sebelius.." Yep! He helped further the career of Kathleen Sebelius, which landed her in her current position as Secretary of HHS. Of course she used that position to foment the onerous mandate which hangs over all our heads.
Now they screech that the Catholic-donation gravy train is pulling into the station. This train stop is long overdue.
Spero columnist Janet Baker is a freelance writer and essayist. She also writes for RestoreDCCatholicism and is a member of the Catholic Media Coalition.