There is no more poignant passage in the Gospels than the question Jesus asks in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on the earth?”
Sandwiched between two parables on prayer, the parable of the unjust judge accosted by the persistent widow and the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee and the penitent publican, Jesus emphasizes the necessity of humility and faithful perseverance in prayer. But his question also implies a negative answer. Difficulties, persecutions, the temptations of the world -- all make apostasy, even mass apostasy, a real possibility. How many will faithfully persist to the end? Will the Son of Man on his return find anybody awaiting him? Jesus asks a real question; the answer is uncertain.
The long-term future of any endeavor depends on the young. Transmitting the faith from one generation to the next with enthusiasm, zeal, and love for the truth, guarantees a secure and growing Church. On the other hand, if teachers, beginning with parents, water down and embrace a politically correct faith that conforms to the world, it can only be a sham. Those claiming to profess it will actually live a pathetic mockery. Unfortunately, many signs point to massive loss of faith among Catholics in general and particularly among our youth. And one of the most seductive influences eroding their faith is the homosexual Zeitgeist.
Gender ideology, i.e., the belief that individuals can choose among a growing list of sexual identities irrespective of biological nature, so permeates the culture and has so successfully twisted the minds of the young, that many no longer accept authentic teaching about homosexuality.
That suits the gender ideologues who demand, not merely civil rights, but revolution which they openly advocate. As homosexual activist Paul Varnell wrote in 2000, “The fundamental controverted issue about homosexuality is not discrimination, hate crimes or domestic partnerships, but the morality of homosexuality….If we convince people that homosexuality is fully moral, then all their inclinations to discriminate, engage in gay-bashing or oppose gay marriage disappears. Gay youths and adults could readily accept themselves.” And then the bombshell, “So the gay movement whether we acknowledge it or not, is not a civil rights movement, not even a sexual liberation movement, but a moral revolution aimed at changing people’s view of homosexuality.” Sodomitic relations must be accepted as moral, good, healthy, and celebrated! That such behavior kills both body and soul must be denied and suppressed. And one of the most effective ways to accomplish that goal is to win over the young, rallying them into the homosexual propaganda machine. Let’s take a look at some “signs of the times” that indicate the depth of the problem among our youth and then consider what can be done about it.
So-called Catholic colleges have been promoting the homosexual agenda for years, but recent events in the news indicate Catholic high school students embrace the “right” of same-sex attracted (SSA) individuals to act out their “orientation” as well. Those who present students with unwelcome information about the gay lifestyle are blasted out of the water by their rage. That’s what happened at Charlotte Catholic High School in March when a Dominican Sister, Jane Dominic Laurel, gave a talk about homosexuality that included controversial material (from reputable sources) about the origin of same-sex attraction and its consequences. Students and parents raged and teachers fanned the flames. A student petition appeared on-line and quickly garnered over 4,000 signatures. According to Austin Ruse writing in Crisis Magazine, “The petitioners reject the phrase ‘homosexual lifestyle,’ believe ‘homosexual couples are capable of monogamy’ and that ‘homosexual people lead healthy, normal and productive lives.’”
The petition illustrated how successfully homosexual activists have propagandized our youth. How many young people are aware of Center for Disease Control (CDC) data that “Youth in the United States account for a substantial number of HIV infections. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men account for most new infections in the age group 13 to 24.” And it isn’t just HIV. Other deadly STDs are exploding in the gay community: the CDC reports massive rises in syphilis, 12% in 2012 (most recent statistics available) primarily among MSMs (men who have sex with men). The devastating health consequences of same sex activity make it perfectly clear that students’ belief that “homosexuals lead healthy, normal, and productive lives” is a pipe dream. The only individuals who fit that category choose chastity, i.e., they follow the doctrine of the Church on sexual morality.
One student who spoke anonymously fearing retribution from her “tolerant” classmates and some teachers, [Dare we call them bullies?] said “the students were barely listening to the nun’s talk. ‘Where I was sitting, lots of them were asleep.’” Several teachers, however, were far from asleep. After the talk, they deliberately raised the anger level to fever pitch and parents took it to another level later. As Ruse relates: “A group of Charlotte Catholic mothers told me that the parents were so angry because the nun’s talk highlighted their own personal shortcomings. ‘Their sins are coming to light; divorce, promiscuity, contraception, abortion, even homosexuality.’”
If the warfare at Charlotte Catholic High School were an isolated incident, perhaps it could be dismissed as an aberration, but it isn’t. Only a few weeks later, a similar incident happened at the Prout School in Wakefield, RI when Fr. Francis “Rocky” Hoffman of Relevant Radio explained Church teaching on homosexuality. Once again students rose in umbrage leading Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (Fr. Z) at his popular blog to label them, The Magisterium of Sophomores.” One parent, Kathleen Schlenz, who wasn’t even present for the talk, nevertheless described it as, “cruel, condemnatory, and wholly un-Christian,” which led Fr. Zuhlsdorf to comment on his blog, “Could [Father] have been harsher than the Bible? Lev 20:13: ‘If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.’ I'm just saying...” Schlenz and several other parents demanded Father’s talk, which was scheduled to be aired on Relevant Radio, be banned from the station. (After all, one wouldn’t want the public to know what the orthodox priest actually said!)
And then there was the Bronx Catholic High School, Cardinal Spellman, that cancelled a talk last year scheduled for parents with Courage priest, Fr. Donald Timone.
Protests from a cross-dressing alumnus and other gay activists as well as opposition from students and staff apparently led to the cancellation. Courage, a Catholic organization that assists same-sex attracted men and women to live chaste lives is frequently attacked not only by gay activists, but by so-called Catholic LGBT ministry groups like New Ways Ministry and Dignity. The only acceptable attitude according to them is celebration of the homosexual lifestyle and its depraved behavior. A group that promotes chastity and holy friendship cannot be tolerated – because ultimately what it comes down to for these groups is rejection of Church doctrine and a demand for full acceptance of homosexual lust.
Which brings us back to Charlotte Catholic High School. Jeff Mirus of Catholic Culture commented on parents’ statements that they weren’t arguing against Catholic teaching, a disingenuous claim at best. “We have slipped here into a pattern all too common in Catholic life today: The idea that the Church may teach something (yeah, yeah) but it really doesn’t matter. People can do what they deem best, and their way for them will be as good as anything. This attitude is false, and Sister Jane Dominic committed the cardinal sin of demonstrating its falsity. In point of fact, ‘their way for them’ will not be as good as anything. It will not only be spiritually deadening, but also have disastrous concrete, practical consequences, including negative impacts on others which are statistically measurable.”
The situation at Catholic schools is hardly surprising. Americans in general embrace the homosexual zeitgeist. Pew Research reported a major shift in attitudes on homosexual marriage since 2001when 57% opposed it. Today, 54% approve and Catholics exceed that percentage at 59%. Pew states changing attitudes are “due in part to generational change. Younger generations express higher levels of support for same-sex marriage. However, even older generations have become more supportive of same-sex marriage in recent years.” The change reflects the gay strategy advocated by Kirk and Madsen in their 1989 book, After the Ball which advocated normalizing homosexuality by hiding what homosexuals do while equating their life choices as the same as heterosexuals and demonizing anyone criticizing their behavior. The measure of their success is all around us particularly in the growing acceptance of sterile and diseased sex play as the equivalent of life-giving marital relations. The only way this could happen is by hiding homosexual behavior behind Madison Ave. photos of attractive, clean-cut homosexuals.
The reality is that homosexual practices are anything but normal or healthy. To be blunt, mothers discourage their babies from playing with their poop because it’s dirty and can make them sick. But playing in poop is endemic to homosexual sex acts and it does, in fact, make them sick. Read the medical literature on the maladies of men who have sex with men. They include not only HIV and STDS but gay bowel syndrome, rectal incontinence, shigellosis, and other gastro-intestinal pathogens. The anus was never meant to accommodate either the male sex organ or the tongue!
But students don’t want to hear that. Anyone who speaks the truth is labeled a “homophobe, insensitive, a hater,” or, as a young relative described me, a “wing nut.” So we must be vilified, silenced, shamed, fired from jobs, sued, have talks cancelled, be sent to sensitivity training or be otherwise punished. The entire world must bow to the homosexual zeitgeist. Only politically correct Orwellian Newspeak celebrating the “courage” of homosexuals who “come out” like football player Michael Sam will be allowed. Miami Dolphins player, Don Jones, who tweeted “OMG” and “horrible” over Michael Sam’s public kiss deserves the jackboot for daring to express what most normal men feel about Sam’s behavior. It is horrible; in fact, an abomination in Biblical terms. But the reality may not be stated. Freedom of speech? Not when it involves telling the truth about homosexuality. And that same attitude is now the law among Catholic students as well. Unpleasant truths are banned. Polite lies are preferred, or, as the Bible puts it, “tickling ears.” But do those who ignore the horrible physical and spiritual toll of homosexual acts really care about these poor souls or about their own comfort?
The battle appears hopeless, but that’s nothing new for Christians. Remember the first century when Rome ordered Christians to worship the emperor/god? Today, it’s the new false gods of lust enthroned by the sexual revolution. As one of my favorite Catholic bloggers, Terry Nelson, himself an SSA man puts it, “The friends who approve of same sex marriage usually approve of divorce and remarriage, contraception and abortion, euthanasia, IVF, gender reassignment surgery, embryonic stem cell research, and a wide variety of other practices condemned by the Catholic Church. It's a package deal usually.” Terry is 100% right. The gospel of lust embraces a myriad of sins which are progressively more disordered.
So what to do? Peter Kreeft in his book, How to Win the Culture War says we can’t win, “unless we win the sex war, because sex is the effective religion of our culture, and religion is the strongest force in the world, the strongest motivation there is.”
He gives six guidelines:
1) Be realistic, don’t expect the opposition to be rational or objective because you are threatening their “religion;”
2) put the negatives in the context of positives. Say no to sin; but love the sinner. Jesus gives us the example;
3) Understand yourself why sex is holy;
4) recognize and affirm the love present even in sinful relationships; it’s there;
5) Remember, “There but for the grace of God go I.” We all suffer from mixed motives and the relationship between love and lust is complicated. We all have disordered affections so tread carefully. It’s not a question of either blanket condemnation or blanket acceptance.
6) Make heroic sacrifices for the spiritually poor. Sinners (and remember we’re all sinners) are part of the body of Christ. They need our prayer and sacrifice. Kreeft goes on to spend two chapters defining the “Secret weapon that will win the war” – Saints! Saints, says Kreeft “are not nice. They are embroiled in controversy, necessarily, always. This is because saints are as devoted to truth as they are to love; they will not be false prophets who give the people what they want instead of what they need….their double devotion to truth and love is the only weapon that can win the war against the culture of death. Only saints can save the world.” And saints must be willing to suffer, even to the point of shedding blood.
At the 2014 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Professor Robert George of Princeton warned Catholics that Good Friday is upon us, “The days of socially acceptable Christianity is over….A price is demanded and must be paid. There are costs of discipleship – heavy costs.” George outlined those costs saying, “One may in consequence of one’s public witness be discriminated against and denied educational opportunities and the prestigious credentials they may offer; one may lose valuable opportunities for employment and professional advancement; one may be excluded from worldly recognition and honors of various sorts; one’s witness may even cost one treasured friendships. It may produce familial discord and even alienation from family members. Yes, there are costs of discipleship – heavy costs.” The question is, how many Catholics will be willing to pay those costs? George urges us to ask ourselves, “Where are w [on Good Friday]? Where are you and I? Are we afraid to be known as his disciples? Are we ashamed of the Gospel?....Will we seek to ‘fit in,’ to be accepted, to live comfortably in the new Babylon? If so, our silence will speak. Its words will be the words of Peter, warming himself by the fire: ‘Jesus the Nazorean? I tell you, I do not know the man’”
Last November during a morning Mass homily, Pope Francis described as “one of the saddest pages in the Bible” the first chapter of the First Book of Maccabees because “a great part of the people of God withdraw from the Lord in favor of worldly proposals….they negotiated fidelity to God, who is always faithful. And this is what we call apostasy….” The pope described an “adolescent progressivism” where everyone follows the crowd. He certainly could have been describing the homosexual zeitgeist that enthralls our modern youth when he went on to say, “Still today, the spirit of worldliness leads us to progressivism, to this uniformity of thought…” And then he added a sober note calling on the flock to think about “the death sentences, the human sacrifices….Do you think there are no human sacrifices today?
There are many, many of them. And there are laws that protect them.” This is the reality of the battle for life raging against the family with numerous casualties among the young – from the physical casualties of the unborn to the spiritual casualties of our young people seduced by the gospel of lust. Serious Catholics must join the battle and not count the cost!
The Culture of Life must win this war through the Blood of Christ. As Peter Kreeft says, “We fight because we love God and man and nature and children and femininity and masculinity and sexuality and the body and the soul and life and love and truth, while the enemy does not. Love is even stronger than death; it is certainly stronger than hate.” We must never give up no matter the persecution or the attempts to silence our voices. Love, grounded in Christ wins. And ultimately, even our scandalized youth will be drawn to the truth reflected in that love. Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!
All Scripture quotes from New American Bible, St. Joseph Edition, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, 1968.
Definition: The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time. From the Oxford Online Dictionary: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/zeitgeist
TFP Committee on American Issues, Defending a Higher Law, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, Spring Grove, PA, 2004, pp. 8-9.
Austin Ruse, What Really Happened at Charlotte Catholic High School?, Crisis Magazine, April 25, 2014, online at: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/what-really-happened-at-charlotte-catholic-hs
Center for Disease Control, HIV Among Youth, online at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/age/youth/index.html?s_cid=tw_drdeancdc-00125
Kimberly Ruble, Syphilis Infection on Rise among Men, Guardian Liberty Voice, January 10, 2014. Online at: http://guardianlv.com/2014/01/syphilis-infections-on-rise-among-men/
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, Fr. Z’s Blog, The Magisterium of Sophomores, online at: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/04/the-magisterium-of-sophomores-another-high-school-explosion/
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, The Magisterium of Sophomores, http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/04/the-magisterium-of-sophomores-another-high-school-explosion/, April 12, 2014.
Dustin Siggins, Catholic school cancels talk by priest with Church-approved ministry to homosexuals, LifeSiteNews, November 20, 2013, online at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-school-cancels-talk-by-priest-with-church-approved-ministry-to-hom
Dr. Jeff Mirus, What the Charlotte Controversy Reveals about Acceptance of Catholic Teaching, CatholicCulture.org, online at: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=1178&repos=6&subrepos=2&searchid=1329845
Pew Forum, Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage, March 10, 2014, online at: http://www.pewforum.org/2014/03/10/graphics-slideshow-changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/
For a description of Kirk and Madsen’s strategy see Sodomizing the Culture: Creating a Gay America online at: http://www.lesfemmes-thetruth.org/v13_2sodomizing_culture.htm
Terry Nelson, Abbey Roads blog, The Catholic Church’s ‘acceptance’ of gay people…, online at: http://abbey-roads.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-catholic-churchs-acceptance-of-gay.html
Peter Kreeft, How to Win the Culture War: A Christian Battle Plan for a Society in Crisis, InterVarsity Press, , Downer’s Grove, IL, 2002, p. 95.