Understandable but wrong.

SAN DIEGO - San Diego's Roman Catholic bishop has denied funeral rites to a man who owned a bar and a dance club popular with gays, citing a clash with the church's moral teachings.

The outrage over this situation in San Diego is completely understandable, but the bishop is well within his rights and duties here.

To an outsider, and probably to a great many insiders, this is an incredible hypocrisy. The same Catholic Church with priests all over the country and the world being accused and convicted of child molestation, with most of the victims being boys, is telling a gay man's family that his funeral cannot be held in a Catholic Church. If you have no understanding of the difference between comitting individual sexual sins (even hundreds of sins as is very sadly often the case) and publicly flouting the definitive teachings of the Church, it can only look like hypocrisy.

The reason this is a such a shock and the reason why there's so much outrage over this is that until very recently, the idea of bishops confronting Catholics over their publicly expressed opinions and manifest actions was nearly unheard of. Fortunately, we're seeing a little more of it now, but society is still not used to the Church - well - practicing what She preaches.

The more bishops confront¹ Catholics who publicly deny and undermind the Church's teachings, the less controversy there will be when a bishop has to enforce the Church's penalties for these behaviors.

¹: By "confront," I do not mean that I think bishops should be issuing press releases naming "bad Catholics." I am, however, very much in favor of priests and bishops individually instructing Catholics on the ramifications of continuing to defy Church teaching in a public manner.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on March 19, 2005 1:19 PM.

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