Rorate Caeli

First Things hits rock-bottom?

"I worry about how blogs touch the reputations of the journals that host them. I worry about First Things."
Bottum does well to worry. The latest addition to the First Things' blog is so incredible that it defies a clear assessment: is it plain malicious or just idiotic?

Let us assume, for charitable reasons, that it is idiotic.

Idiotic line # 1:

"I don't mourn the impending loss to the Church of lacy prelates at 'ritualist churches' (in Vatican City or elsewhere) curling their pinky fingers and going goo-goo over this or that to-die-for arrangement of Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli."
No, that is not what gay priests do, FT. They are not "lacy" nor "ritualist", but self-centered "liturgists", bent on "creating" liturgical "experiments". They enjoy "remodeling" churches, destroying altars, making up sacraments as they go along; they love many children around the altar, altar servers of all ages and of both sexes; they adore clown masses, happy-clappy audiences, laughter and "reflection"; they hate "rubricism" and order -- and that is quite predictable, as the image they have of themselves, the "gay" image, is one based in open rebellion, disorder, and warfare against the Divine order.

They do not care about "Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli"; they enjoy "contemporary" music, bonding with the "sounds" of "Mother Nature"; the only liturgical arrangement they favor is one which involves dance and choreography; they adore facing the people, because an essential part of their disorder is the need to be seen and "loved" by all; they hate authentic beauty and Tradition, because both remind them of an orderly present and of an orderly past, which would never tolerate their liturgical shenanigans. And they love Andrew Sullivan and even call him "uncle"...

Idiotic Line # 2:

And the FT contributor does not stop there. She adds:

"Now, I don't know whether [Saint] Aelred was gay or not—mostly because the concept of defining oneself in terms of sexual orientation was unknown to medieval people—but I've always thought: So what if he was (or would be, by modern standards)?"
Right... There are no "modern standards" of sodomy and effeminacy. Buggery is buggery at any age. How dare one call a saint a "gay man"("by modern standards"..."so what if he was?"). Was it that he felt like acting on his buggering desires, but held them back? This is what one says about a holy man 850 years after his death? He is not here to defend himself from such slander... [Read this short book review by Father James Buckley, FSSP]

Idiotic line # 3:

"Many gays nowadays talk about their sexual identity as a "gift fromGod." Well, if that's so—and it may well be so..."

Perhaps because being a "gay man" is not slanderous... since the FT contributor herself admits that the "gay identity"..."may well be" a"gift from God".

Now the slander was directed against the Almighty... which is called blasphemy.

Yes, Bottum is right to worry about the First Things' blog.


Iosephus said...

Forget the blog . . . I've just been plain worried about First Things ever since I read Fr. Neuhaus' universalist doctrines.

New Catholic said...

Yes, I agree.

He is also very out of touch regarding the danger posed by the neo-Protestant sects in Latin America (whom he thinks will be future "ecumenical partners"... No comments...).

Mike said...

Why does Charlotte Allen think that only men who like to ... get it on with other men, have some "heightened sensitivity and artistic sensibility" that us straight men do not have?

Apparently the best way to bring back chant and polyphony is to hit West Hollywood.

AlexB said...


Ironically, one of metropolitan Los Angeles' only churches that does Gregorian Chant is in West Hollywood:

Guadalupe Guard said...

Pax Christi. No doubt, Neuhaus still hasn't converted to Catholicism.

But unfortunately homosexuality has inflitrated traditionalism. Not only do the lace, smells, bells, and other aesthetic elements attract, but it is possible to hide behind the facade of a traditional priest (the cassock hides a multitude of sins) while adoring traditionalist laity never allow a suspicion to cross their minds.

The defunct Society of St John's is a case in point. The Institute of Christ the King is also tainted with this (where seminarians are in competition as to who can have the most abundant and delicate lace work on their surplices). Indeed, the Institute of Christ the King's first superior in the US is behind bars for molesting a teenage boy.

The Fraternity of St. Peter, and from what I gather the SSPX, are the clerical cultures most unconducive to such deviance.

Of course, traditionalism is itself antithetical to the spirit of impurity, and the traditional Catholic priesthood is the very antithesis of effeminacy.

Janice said...

Mike, you're absolutely right. Ever since the "gay" agenda got going, there's been a false dichotomy between "straight" men (only those who have absolutely no culture at all) and "gay" men (who, of course, do). What about all the decent heterosexual men, not necessarily "alpha male" types, who are reserved, cultured, etc.?

I agree with everyone about Neuhaus. He's never quite made the transition from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. That hasn't stopped him, however, from telling Roman Catholics what to believe, how to practice their faith....

Jordan Potter said...

I don't really have any problem with Charlotte Allen's comment on the lacy prelates going "goo-goo" over "to-die-for" arrangements of Palestrina. I don't think she was taking a swipe at traditional Latin liturgy, but at homosexual priests making a show of traditionalism but secretly indulging in their sin.

But I object to her suggestion that St. Aelred might have been a homosexual, and that homosexuality might be a gift from God. I'm afraid that's rather a misappliation of St. Augustine's "felix culpa."

New Catholic said...

No, maybe she was not taking a "swipe" at Traditional priests, but Al is right. Her "ritualist gay priest" depiction is just another sign of the writer's ignorance of the matter. She will have a much easier time finding a "homosexual" priest who is a creative liturgist with liturgical dancers; or, for that matter, in the ecumenical circles of NYC! Why doesn't she mention those much more common priests who go "goo-goo over this or that to-die-for arrangement of" an interreligious prayer meeting?...

Jordan Potter said...

"Her 'ritualist gay priest' depiction is just another sign of the writer's ignorance of the matter."

Yeah, I reckon you're right about that. Another indication of it was her reference of the Missa Papae Marcelli. I'm not aware of too many homosexuals, whether ordained or not, going goo-goo over it, particularly in Rome -- but then it's hardly ever done anymore, so how could they? Sadly, even in the Vatican we find that liturgical music is no longer up to its past glories.

"She will have a much easier time finding a 'homosexual' priest who is a creative liturgist with liturgical dancers; or, for that matter, in the ecumenical circles of NYC! Why doesn't she mention those much more common priests who go 'goo-goo over this or that to-die-for arrangement of' an interreligious prayer meeting?..."

Yeah, no argument with you there. It wasn't all that long ago that I encountered pitable Fr. O'Leary's obsession with things that he finds "redolent" of "homoeroticism," especially young priests wearing traditional priestly vestments. It's an old anti-Catholic trope to smear the priesthood as consistenting only of sexual deviants (and was very telling that Fr. O'Leary indulged in it), and it's a horror that apparently some bishops and others have actively attempted to turn the anti-Catholic trope into reality.

New Catholic said...

Petrus Radii, some of your words were very strong and contained strong accusations, so I had to remove them for legal reasons. However, I have saved your comment in case you had not and may send it back to you.

Petrus Radii said...

Dear New Catholic,

I'm sorry you removed the comment. I can vouch for much of the content personally, and would swear an oath to its accuracy, both as regards Fr. Neuhaus, on the one hand, and the Institute of Christ the King on the other. For what I have second- or third-hand, I have a friend who assured me before I published my comments that he would swear an oath to its accuracy, as well. There is no legal danger to you, since it is merely an expression of "opinion". We ought not fail to report the truth out of fear of the civil authorities.

Sixtus V said...

If one were looking for homosexuals in the priesthood, then I'd start with the wild things happening in some deviations from the Novus Ordo. The homosexuals in the clergy have not been attracted to traditional Catholic liturgy, or ideas (really the faith per se) for the past twenty years. If it is changing, Heaven help us.

Sixtus V

With Peter said...

For what it's worth, I think Allen was trying to say that there is a disposition from God whose proper outcome is sensitive artistry and sanctity (St. Aelred) and when this disposition is perverted it becomes homosexuality.

I don't think she was trying to say that homosexuality itself is from God. At the same time, her language certainly lent itself to misunderstanding. But then again, "homo" "sexual" is an oxymoron.

Janice said...

Dear "With Peter,"

For what it's worth, I think Allen was trying to say that there is a disposition from God whose proper outcome is sensitive artistry and sanctity (St. Aelred) and when this disposition is perverted it becomes homosexuality."

This is nonsense. This is the "gay" agenda in a nutshell. They have been saying for years that only gays have "artistic" sensibility and other, higher faculties and the "breeders" do not. Your interpretation (or Allen's) only serves to advance this. There are plenty of visual artists, pianists, those of undisputed sanctity and holiness, whose disposition (also given from God) is heterosexuality. Even if perverted, it would not revert to homosexuality. Her reasoning is beyond the pale. Moreover, using St. Aelred, or any other saint who lived in community (and many same-sex scholars use early Christian monastics in the same way) to perpetuate this notion of incipient homosexuality, apart from the fatuousness of the claim, is just more fodder for the "gay" agenda and you should have realized that.

Janice said...

New Catholic,

I was intrigued by your comment on Neuhaus' unawareness of the danger of the neo-Protestant sects in Latin America. He's far from the only one. Many "evangelical" Catholics (how's that for an oxymoron), who are, in fact, converts themselves, advocate using evangelical methods ("come to Jesus") for conversion to Catholicism. I cannot understand how they (and presumably Neuhaus et al.) fail to see that method and content are co-related. The neo-Protestant sects in Latin America are characterized by a high degree of syncretism (the "come to Jesus" mantra itself, which neglects the concept of Church is problematic in the first place) since everything is based on free-form, non-regulated preaching and teaching and a personal relationship with Jesus, unmediated by the Church. These Catholic converts, whose competence I question from the get-go, go out and use methods from their erstwhile religion and then justify syncretism because it "gets" more converts. I'd rather have fewer, more committed, more knowledgeable Roman Catholics myself.

New Catholic said...

Yes, I believe you are absolutely right in your comments, Janice.

ThePublican said...

Guadalupe Guard,

I have read much of what was published about the "now defunct Society of Saint John" and must, for the sake of justice, say that I have first hand knowledge of the people accused as well as the accusers and not only was there never anything proved in court (district attorney did not even pursue the case after careful investigation for lack of evidence) but the priests accused are perfectly normal and have absolutely nothing approaching what is described in the article or what you imply in your description. The civil case was settled because a litigation to prove innocence (would any jury today be impartial on this issue?) would have cost everyone involved twice as much as they ended up paying. This is not to denigrate the good work done by RCF and such institutions. Just thought I should clarify this for the sake of justice -- I will not get into any more specifics or a discussion of that matter here.

With Peter said...

Dear Janice, I was not telling you my position, but rather was trying to give the best interpretation of Allen's words. For what its worth, I agree with you that it is a clichéd reduction to believe that one must somehow be effeminate to be artistic or that emotional sensitivity necessarily denotes less manliness. I also think it’s a mistake to associate these qualities too strictly with a single predisposition, dissociated completely from one’s environment on the one hand and his free choices on the other. Human behavior is determined partly by the biological and spiritual heritage we receive from our parents, partly by our upbringing and experiences, and partly by our own free decisions. Humanly speaking, it is impossible to know in any given instance which part is dominant and to what degree.

I do not think, however, it is fatuous or absurd to say that homosexuality is a vice more common among men who have certain dispositions, which are in themselves good. Let me use a less charged example. A person might be very passionate by nature. On the one hand, this can lead to make a heroic and eloquent confession of faith in the face of adversity. On the other hand, it can lead one to be impatient and hotheaded. It would be wrong to call this independent disposition, “incipient hotheadedness”; a neutral disposition should not be defined by its vicious outcome. And it is especially a crime to define someone by a behavior which he himself consciously rejects.

Although it is not absurd to believe that homosexuality proceeds from a single otherwise good (or even neutral) predisposition, I am unconvinced that this is actually the case. In my experience it proceeds from a culture which rejects that the Creator cares about human sexuality, believing rather that sexuality means nothing other than what we make it mean. Lacking true and lasting conviction about the spousal meaning of the body, made male and female, a person has no defense against homosexual desires. Confronted with a society that overwhelming accepts the legitimacy of heterosexual perversions, such as contraception, fornication and divorce it is easy to label opposition to homosexuality as homophobia. Homosexuality provides a culture willing to embrace confused young persons struggling with their intellectual, emotional and sexual identity.

FrV said...

I read Charlotte Allen's "The Human Christ," which is a critique of rationalist biblical scholarship and I have always found her solid. Hence I was suprised by the flippant attitude towards homosexuality. I strongly object to the notion that homosexuality is a gift from God and the comments about St.Aelred.

Guadalupe Guard said...

It is not detraction, but rather a duty, to protect the faithful against those that could harm them.

The argument (as per the Publican) that the Society of Saint John for went legal proceedings and settled to avoid expense is absurd. They had already gone bankrupt and, regardless, one can never compromise with evil, which would be the case if the accusations were false and the Society settled.

However, the more urgent case is the still thriving Institute of Christ the King. It is a fact that their first District Superior of the United States is incarcerated after having pleaded guilty to forcibly molesting a teenage young man under his care. I too am morally certain that this is not just an aberration, but rather a manifestation of a perversity that emanates from the founder himself. (A similar dynamics occurred with the Legionaries of Christ; a cult that cannot be separated from the disgraced man who founded them).

This most confounding of all occurrences, the infiltration of Christ's holy priesthood--which is the apex of manhood and fatherhood--with sodomites and the effete must be confronted and stamped out, otherwise it will eviscerate traditional Catholicism. It does no good to pretend that the saying of the traditional Mass is immunity to this cancer.

Screwtape said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Screwtape said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Screwtape said...

Good show, NC:

Have you not noticed, surely you have, that the first impression of your initial Blogsite photo lends the impression of a women giving herself a breast examination?

Although I'm required to have a dirty mind, we've tested our impression before impeccably innocent audiences.

You spend your energies in a genre where nobody gives a second look or thought: happy you've never considered that.

Your friend in perpetuity,

Screwtape, Scion of The Lost

New Catholic said...

"Tradgrind", "Screwtape", "Neil Barclay" or whoever you are: Your comment upon our little homage to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the very day of Her feast is so perverted that I have to leave it on just for the unbelievability factor.

As I have no way of blocking a specific commentator, and since Mr Barclay's ("Tradgrind", "Screwtape") last comment reached the uppermost limits of perversity, I am restoring, against my will, comment-moderation in this weblog.

On the "homosexual Traditionalist priests" question: yes, of course there may be sodomites pretending to be Traditional Catholic clerics. But the whole point of Al Trovato's post was the fact that the "ritualist" "gay" priest stereotype is a false one, usually raised by anti-Catholics, while one is most likely to find such priests amidst liturgically "creative" settings.

Petrus Radii: If you are so sure of your information regarding such priests, contact the responsible religious superior and the local District Attorney's office, in case any misdemeanor or felony has been committed (and send the information to groups such as the Roman Catholic Faithful). Many journalists would also be interested in such information. A weblog comment box, however, IS NOT THE CORRECT PLACE for such accusations. All related comments have been and will be deleted.

With Peter said...

In an effort to get the conversation a bit more on topic, I am disturbed by the concept of the “celibate homosexual,” which is a person who still defines himself as gay even while refusing to commit acts of sodomy. This strikes me as someone calling himself a “shoplifter” who does not steal or an “adulterer” who does not cheat on his wife. I am aware that you can commit sins with the eye of your mind (Mt 5:28), but these sins are “acts” and one who commits them is not truly celibate (at least in his heart).

If a person accepts the fact that he is a homosexual, this represents an intolerable level of participation in the sin. A person who is tempted to commit suicide, should not consign himself to being a suicidal person. He should cry out for Satan to get behind him and trust in the grace to overcome his temptation. One is NOT defined by the temptations he suffers, thanks be to God, otherwise St. Therese would be defined as an atheist. How absurd!

If someone calls himself “homosexual” this means he has lost his battle against same-sex attraction no matter how outwardly chaste he might remain. Allen—and many who affirm that homosexuality is a sin—ends up buying into the notion that its okay to “be” gay as long as one doesn’t commit sodomy. But identifying oneself as gay is itself a very perverse ACT of homosexuality, all the more perverse because of its intellectual character. Whether Fr. Fred Daley has is in an active homosexual relationship, he has compromised the essence of celibacy in the very act of saying “I am gay.”

Mike said...

With Peter,

You seem to not differentiate between gay and homosexual. I thought it was the convention that "homosexual" referred only to the existence of same-sex attraction (SSA), whereas "gay" referred to the embrace of a lifestyle or approval of SSA.

This is not an argument with what you said per se, but I think your comments left out the category of man who has SSA (but has the proper disposition with respect to the attraction, i.e, he believes it to be a disorder). What do you say of him?

I also remember reading that celibacy in the priesthood is not the act of abstaining from sexual relations, but the act or forsaking marriage for the sake of the priesthood (see the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent). To the extent that a man with SSA cannot forsake marriage in a meaningful way (because it is not a sacrifice to him), he cannot be celibate, and threfore cannot be admitted to the (Latin Rite) priesthood.

Janice said...


"With Peter," is right. Once a man becomes a priest, concepts such as "homosexual," "gay," or "straight," should no longer have meaning. If the focus of his life is not Christ, but rather his sexual orientation, then he is not authentic. That is the problem with all of these self-described "gay" and/or "homosexual" priests. Their first description of themselves is based on their sexual identity.

Mike, your definition of "celibacy," is the same one used by homosexuals, who said that since they did not have intimate relations with women, they were not breaking their vows.

Also, read the article written by Msgr. Tony Anatrella, available on the Catholic News Agency web site. His analysis of the problems with homosexuals as priests pretty much sums it up.

Mike said...


I think you misunderstood my post. Read my last sentence again: I conclude that a homosexual cannot be admitted to the priesthood because he cannot be celibate.

I think the nature of celibacy excludes homosexuals from the priesthood precisely because they are unable to be celibate: i.e., they cannot forsake marriage in a meaningful way.

Mike said...


One more thing: is there any distinction between a man who admits or knows of the fact that he has SSA, but does not "identify" with it?

In other words, a priest may have all sorts of inclinations to sin (and should rightly be on guard against them), but that does not mean that he "identifies" himself according to such inclinations.

It is quite possible that I am ignorant of the nature of SSA and how (faithful) men deal with it.

With Peter said...

A person who passes over a bridge and his heart races as he imagines what it might be like to jump off, but then recovers his senses, rejects the temptation and puts it out of mind, is NOT “suicidal.” He is human and probably a pretty good one. But if he leaves the bridge and keeps thinking about jumping off day and night, if he makes measurements and calculates the probability of surviving the impact, if he speculates constantly what the experience might be like, if he goes back to the bridge and stands on the edge, closing his eyes, leaning forward and back again, he is suicidal. Regardless of whether he ever explicitly attempts suicide, he has suicidal tendencies.

The problem with “SSA” is this: Are we talking about a person who has given little or no ground to the attraction, fighting it and gaining significant mastery over it? Or are we talking about a person who is constantly playing with fire, who is spiritually immature and less than fully opposed to the behavior? If we are talking about the former, nobody has any right whatsoever to call him “homosexual” or “gay.” But if he himself accepts these labels, this definitively represents that he is spiritually immature, has lost the battle, and is playing with fire. If he says, “I know that homosexuality is wrong, but I also know that I am gay,” he is not ready to become a priest. I respect such a person more than I can tell you, but he still needs to experience a greater degree of the transformational grace of Christ before he should think seriously about becoming a priest. He needs to be able to say, “I know that homosexuality is wrong, I was at one time gay, but thanks be to Jesus Christ, I no longer am.” Until he is able to say this, his message will be “sin is stronger than grace.” This is totally unacceptable from a catechist, how much more a priest?

With Peter said...

Mike- I think you are asking where the threshold is between passing temptations and deep-seated inclinations to homosexuality. This can only be addressed hypothetically until one knows the particular details of the person's mental, emotional and spiritual activity.

In encountering these details, one is trying to evaluate the level of participation in the temptation. If there is little or no significant progress in getting past these particular temptations, but if they linger indefinitely, perhaps even growing in strength, one can reasonably conclude that the level of participation is high. This is the case even if the person seems honestly unaware of this participation. If the devil is not fleeing, this is evidence a priori that he is perhaps not being adequately resisted (see James 4:7).

I don't say this as a condemnation of the person fighting these desires, but as a challenge to seek more effective means of doing battle. The value of a competant confessor or spiritual director is inestimable.

monkey said...

I agree with an earlier assessment: Absolutey FORGET First Things and the writers for them. Very wimpy journalism and not too heavy hitting intellectuals at all! More like send in the clowns...

monkey said...

I agree with an earlier assessment: Absolutey FORGET First Things and the writers for them. Very wimpy journalism and not too heavy hitting intellectuals at all! More like send in the clowns...