The following is from a story about Fr Tim Ryan, a Toronto priest, who released a statement saying that he stands in direct opposition to a recent document from the Vatican that condemns homosexual unions.
…Ryan, 67, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, has one of the “sharpest theological minds” in the Scarboro Missions, said a member who asked not to be named.
It’s funny how it is always the “sharpest theological minds” that come up with opinions opposite to the faith. This type of sharpness is like the sharpness that results in a paper cut. Not really much behind it, yet it is still annoying. Sometimes we need to be dull. Dull enough to reflect on the deposit of faith and possibly to grow deeper in the understanding of it. Dull enough that you don’t come up with your own personal deposit of faith. Though there is nothing dull about the full reality of theological truths.
One of his most successful innovations was to open the community of priests to include lay people in missionary work. “He tried to create something totally new in a church that tends to be hierarchical. … And it’s still going on, though not in the numbers we’d hoped,” the member said.
I like how the sentence began “successful innovations” and ended with “though not in the numbers we’d hoped”; that’s success for you.
“Tim has always taken the side of those whose rights are not recognized.”
Tom Reilly of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops said the Church understands that people make mistakes. “In the judgment of the Church at the moment, Fr. Ryan is wrong.”
This statement “Church at the moment” is unbelievable, especially for the General Secretary of the Ontario Bishop’s conference. Are we now relying on a Holy Ghost focus group to poll morality and stick a divine finger in the air to see if the Church’s understanding has change. It’s Friday, what is our position today? In the confessional will they need a moral day planner since what was a vice one day is now a virtue.
…Leaders of the Scarboro Missions had only recently learned of Ryan’s affidavit. It had been on an equal marriage Web site for some months, along with statements from other clergy supporting same-sex marriage, but this week appeared on a pro-life, family Web site.
Ryan was acting without the knowledge or approval of the society, said Vicar-General Mike Traher. “The Scarboro Missions does not in any way endorse any other position than the official teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the definition of marriage.”
Ryan’s work in the gay and lesbian community, he said, was a “personal ministry, not something we assigned.”
I wonder if that is bureaucrat language for “we don’t need to discipline him, he didn’t do it officially.”
I once supported the Scarboro Missions; that is, until the day I read the lead story in their flagship magazine, detailing how one of their religious had “discovered” Eastern philosophy and religion, and “integrated it” into her life. I wrote a letter to them, asking how it is we should be celebrating her loss of faith. The reply dismissed my concern outright. I never gave them another penny.
In political life, we have the “personally opposed” argument of the laity, that tries to justify public action contrary to the faith on the grounds that Church teaching is supposedly adhered to in private.
Now, in ecclesial life, we have
the “institutionally sustained” argument of the religious, that tries to justify private action contrary to the faith on the grounds that Church teaching is supposedly adhered to in public.
That pretty much settles it. Pick your category and pick your alibi. Now, you can justify anything and still come out squeaky clean.
Protestants look down their noses at Catholics for their emphasis on tradition, but maybe this is the exact kind of thing that an emphasis on tradition was supposed to prevent.
A recent article in First Things discusses the difference between “culture as given (Catholicism)” and “culture as choice (Protestantism)”. Interesting connection.
The “Institutionally Sustained” Excuse
In political life, we have the “personally opposed” argument of the laity, that tries to justify public action contrary to the faith on the grounds that Church teaching is supposedly adhered to in private. The implicit contempt these people have…
I don’t know this guy, and don’t know what he does. That’s the disclaimer, ok?
But, in general, people who are supposed to be celibate and who behave in ambiguous ways regarding sexual expression desperately need a babysitter, a chaperone, a 24-hour guard. We’re paying them and asking them for one thing and they’re interested in another…and it’s just about that simple.
And they need to get the bum’s rush double quick if they persist. Guards, chaperones and babysitters for grown people are too expensive. We’re supposed to be preaching the Gospel instead.
To Err is human and the church is very human. Just look at the past – A hundred years ago, the Catholic Church removed First Nations children from their homes and put them in residential schools – creating generations of sexually and physically abused children. During WWII the Catholic Church supported Hitler because he was taking care of the “Jewish” problem. It wasn’t till the 1970’s that the Catholic Church finally agreed that a husband could not rape his own wife. The Catholic Church has been wrong before. Think about that before you judge so quickly.
Dignity Canada Dignit� is astonished and outraged with the suspension of Father Tim Ryan from his pastoral duties by the Archdiocese of Toronto, following his affidavit in favour of equal marriage. This draconian action is a reminder to Canadian Catholics that our leadership continues to meddle in secular affairs that affect all Canadians, not just Catholics. We gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics join with other concerned Catholics and all Canadians who seek justice and equality for all, in condemning this public humiliation of Father Ryan, one of a very few brave Catholic priests to speak out against the homophobia of our church. For us, Father Ryan is a hero of our time and he has our applause and support.
Dignity Canada Dignit�
Dignity is Canada’s organization of Roman Catholics who are concerned about our church’s sexual theology, particularly as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. We work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church’s leadership and teachings, and also with other GLBT activist groups.