The squandered capital of Catholicism

The sheen is coming off the public persona of Cardinal Collins here in Toronto. His squandering of so much “Catholic capital” over the word “gay” as in Lesbian/Gay clubs in Catholic schools is sad beyond belief. Given the richness of our Catholic Social Teaching, our principled defence of the common good, the obsession with pelvic issues as litmus tests of Catholicism is staggeringly narrow,

Collins  however does make a valid point—at some point administrators have to be vigilant over the naming of some clubs. Examples will abound.But using the  word GAY is not one of them.The Catholic premier, the head of the  provincial Catholic teachers’ union  have said so. Most Catholic teachers are probably in agreement. This after all is the year 2012.We have made massive strides in understanding homosexuality in our culture. Gay kids continue to be bullied. Affording them the opportunity to discuss this and gain mutual support would seem to be a good thing. The Catholic church  however is still at the level of calling homosexual people “defective”.This seems to be a criticism against the Creator who apparently loves diversity. Homosexuality in brief is not chosen.

For the Cardinal, silent on the major issues of our day (Particularly climate change and the growing gap between the rich and the poor) to organize and mount  campaign against our schools on an issue of “pelvic orthodoxy” is sad-making.

The irony is of course that so many of our priests are “defective” seems to have escaped Collins. How do these men feel when so much energy is spent on this sideshow?

The whole issue simply indicates a grave defect in church organization. imposing bishops, all cut from the same ideological cloth on the long-suffering people is more redolent of the Politburo than a modern democratic model, particularly given the increased education of lay citizens.

The needless contretemps on this issue pits a cardinal against the common sense of the Catholic people. It places Catholic education in jeopardy.It hands a golden opportunity to those who see the church as a hopeless reactionary institution which no longer should be supported. Who is advising this man? Or is he the voice of God for the Catholic people? This unilateralism is a deep insult to the “sensus fidelium”, the wisdom of the lived experience of the baptized.

In the long run this may be a good thing. The present monarchical  model of church governance  is more suitable to feudalism than respecting the more democratic people of God, the communal model of the Second Vatican Council. The cardinal has shown little respect for this. He has been told he is te Teacher. This contravenes the highest teaching of the Church—an ecumenical council.

As David Tracy the eminent  Catholic theolofgian says, “We are stuck.”

Millions are simply leaving the church, mostly over the poor lradership at the top.

Maybe as T. S. Eliot says, “The sickness must grow worse”, before we can move forward.



  1. 1
    wmgrace Says:

    As a catholic trying to understand the issue around the naming of lesbian/gay clubs, I suspect others outside the field of education may be having the same problem.

    Maybe Cardinal Collins should start with a clarification of exactly what the catholic teaching is, concerning homosexuality. I’ve always thought that the church considered it to be “unnatural” or a “defect” in the natural ordering of human beings. If that is the church’s stance, then what kind of support can the catholic church offer gay and lesbian persons? How can the church claim to be in a position to provide counselling, guidance, or security of person, for those who are homosexual – when in fact they are not accepted by the church as fully-functioning individuals. The church’s position, it seems, only provides ammunition for those who would dismiss or disparage them.

    There is a great deal of current scientific data supporting the theory that homosexuality is something that happens during pregnancy – which clearly puts it outside the possibility of being some kind of individual choice. Exactly when did the RC church enter into the domain of psychoanalytic theory in attempting to provide it’s own explanation and “cure”?

  2. 2

    w Bydgoszczy

    blog topic

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