Friday, February 3, 2017

Bishop Barron's Pelvic Issues

Don't blame me, man. I wasn't the first one to put "Pelvic Issues" into a title.

Bishop Robert Barron did it.

See yesterday's Word on Fire Post: DAVE RUBIN, THE PELVIC ISSUES, AND LARRY DAVID.

At least I didn't capitalize the whole thing.

A few days ago Barron came under fire for being decidedly meek about the issue of gay marriage in an interview with openly gay comedian/journalist, Dave Rubin.

The bishop then doubled down with a blogpost and a "clarification" on his Facebook page.

Earlier, I had a bit of fun with that by imagining Barron as a Nazi era priest trying to cozy up to the German authorities.

At Mahound's Paradise, we are nothing if not charitable.

To take a page from Barron, I want to clarify that I wasn't equating Rubin with the authorities. As at least one Catholic blogger remarked, the sympathetic Rubin came off much better than Barron. He almost seemed taken aback that Barron didn't have the courage to defend a controversial Catholic teaching when given every chance.

One senses that the anti-PC Rubin is attracted to or at least curious about the Catholic faith. But who does he get to sell it to him? Bishop PC himself.

Word Slightly Warm.

But I want to make a few serious comments on the claim Barron made to conclude his post:
[T]here is a lot more to Christianity than the “pelvic issues.”
Every Catholic would of course agree. There is a lot more to Catholic teaching (or Barron's preferred "Christianity") than any issue or set of issues.

But I would counter - and here I'm going to try to use less crass terminology than the famous bishop - that issues involving human sexuality are fundamentally important to Catholic doctrine and yes, even evangelization.

That doesn't of course mean obsessing about them or shoving them in people's faces all the time. But one honestly gets the impression that Barron believes that that's what the "old Church" has been doing for the last 2,000 years, at least until the auxiliary bishop from Los Angeles came along. And that's where Barron the puffball is guilty of a kind of slander.

I attend a traditional Catholic church. I have absolutely no doubt that every priest and brother at the church would have been much more forthright in answering the "gay marriage" question than Barron was. At the same time, in the literally hundreds of homilies that I have heard, I don't think the issue has come up more than a few times.

Indeed, the situation is almost the opposite of what Barron wants to imply. One homily that stands out most in my mind is hearing one of the most orthodox and stern priests that I know lecturing the congregation on not being or acting "holier than thou" when others behave immodestly or immorally. The difference between that and the "who am I to judge?" relativism of FrancisChurch is subtle yet important.

But as Father Bart himself might say, I digress.

Reducing issues of sexuality to a sort of footnote to Church teachings is completely counter to the history and philosophy of the Christian message. It's also counter to basic theological logic. God gave us the ability to do one thing or at least participate in doing one thing that only He could previously do - create more people in His image. All questions of human sexuality revolve around that fundamental point. Reducing that to a mere "pelvic issue" is another sort of slander.

It has been claimed that the Church's teachings on sexuality are "beautiful." If you have a hard time wrapping your head around that, you have my sympathy. But let me propose that the claim begins with the insight above. The flip side, of course, is that abusing or corrupting that beauty may have consequences. Virtually every Church Father, saint, priest or philosopher up until the mid-twentieth century believed sexual sin to be among the most potentially damning of the sins. If Barron disagrees (and I think he does), that puts him squarely in opposition to almost all of the people he talks about in his $189.95 10-DVD Catholicism set. Perhaps he thinks he's smarter.

Or perhaps he thinks he's a better evangelist. Tell me again how many net new Catholics they had in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles last year?

No, immigration doesn't count.

I should suggest that the reason the Church's teachings on sexuality seem to be so often on the agenda is because they are among the things most obviously out of sync with the rest of the culture. This was similarly the case with the early Christians, whose views and practices on sexual morality were quite different from those of the Romans and other pagans.

These days you won't find many non-Christians disagreeing with, say, the value of the Golden Rule. I suppose Barron believes that this is why evangelists should emphasize that teaching (among others) as opposed to appearing to "police" what people do in their bedrooms. But as many have noted, the more you water down the message to what other people agree with anyway, the less reason you're giving anyone to think about switching sides. What difference does it make?

Sure, we also have the Resurrection (of Our Lord and also of ourselves). That surely is Good News if anything is. But when do you tell someone that some of whether or not they will be with Christ in Heaven may depend a bit on what they do or don't do in their (or someone else's) bedroom? Do you wait till after they become Catholic? Maybe you should spring it on them the night before confirmation, or tuck it into the fine print of that document we all sign.

Too late. You signed it. Now you're definitely damned if you disagree. At least, before, you could plead ignorance.

Unless of course it never comes to that. Perhaps you'll become a Catholic and no one will ever really insist on these things to you. I wonder whether Barron might not be in favor of continuing to kick the issue down the road, as it were, perhaps indefinitely, way past your confirmation - since "there's a lot more to Christianity." Why let a mere pelvic issue get in the way? Ever?

I can easily imagine someone else we all know saying that very thing. But it wouldn't be charitable to mention his name.



    1. Me? I honestly don't think Barron is a practicing homosexual.

  2. Wow. The smarmy one did a fine job of avoiding the question even when pressed multiple times. I wonder if he's considered running for office?
    Seems like John the Baptist had it all wrong when he told Herod that marrying Herodias was not lawful.. which, of course, cost him his head.
    Speaking the truth plainly and directly is clearly not pastoral and lacks mercy, today.

    I wonder if Barron ever heard the message of Fatima and the reason most souls go to Hell?

    1. St. Thomas More, who also lost his head for objecting to an unlawful marriage, joins St. John the Baptist in the basket of deplorables. He clearly lacked mercy toward poor Henry VIII and lacked empathy for Henry's need to assure the succession of his family line for the sake of the safety and security of the English people. Magnanimous, merciful Henry was doing it all "for the children," don't ya know?!

  3. I stand corrected. Rectal prolapse, common in men who have sex with men is indeed a pelvic floor disorder. As are torn rectums.

  4. I, too, attend a Traditional parish {FSSP} and I have NO DOUBT that my priests would have had something different to say than the prelate Barron. And in light of the fact that our parish is busting at the seams, building a new church because of it and is full of converts to the faith like myself, I bet their responses would have made more of an impact on the interviewer and the viewers for the Kingdom of God than Barron's as well.

    This, ALL of this, every bit of it, can be traced to Pope John XXIII's opening address to V2 where he states that the Church is going to take a new direction and no longer issue condemnations, but rather only affirmations. Thus we have the religious indifferentism of Pope John Paul 2 and Francis, the backpedaling on the Regensburg address of Benedict XVI and ALL the current rot that goes for "merciful evangelization" in the Church today; worship of the Idol of Immigrant, promotion of the so-called "Religion of Peace", ignoring of abortion, cowtowing to adulterers and of course, the "gaily married" and it trickles down all the way to the local permanent Deacon's homily where he said that Christianity is "finding common ground" with others and his friend, a visiting priest who in a church funeral full of local non-Catholic townsfolk chose to pray IN THE NAME OF THE DEAD GUY...and wasn't disciplined for doing it.

    That the new direction runs counter to the method of Jesus and the entire history of the Catholic faith is obvious. ALWAYS have those of the true faith both affirmed the truth of God and condemned the lies of Satan and of course, this truth is still embedded even in our current Catechism where we are reminded that BOTH the joys AND demands of the Gospel must be presented with CLARITY. {CCC 1697}

    The study of paper and the making of unpopular decisions does not seem to be in the gut of Barron, and one cannot say that he is alone, that's for sure.

  5. Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments." ~ John 14:15

    He didn't say some commandments. He meant all of them. And how important were the "pelvic commandments" to Him? Apparently VERY important. After all - it was Our Lord Who brought down the Heavenly Hammer of Doctrinal Purity on the Pharisees (the liberal/progressives of their day) when they were attempting to parse out new more lenient divorce decrees. It was also Our Lord who revealed that adultery can also be committed in the heart by merely lusting after another. A sin He warns - results in the condemnation of eternal Hell.

    So if Jesus Christ Himself (God Incarnate) set these moral standards as Doctrine - who exactly is this Bishop to determine that Our Lord's timeless commandments on these issues are now passe?

    Oh that's right - we were warned about such clerics:

    "For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths." ~ 2 Timothy 4:3-4

  6. Bp. Barron did a substantial presentation on St. Charles Lwanga and Companions in his series. His Excellency would do well to contemplate the events leading to the martyrdom of these saints. "Pelvic issues" and steadfast Catholicism were prominent, something sorely lacking in many prelates.

  7. Father Barron calls them pelvic issues, the Great Mother of God , Mary most Holy says to the Fatima children that souls are falling into hell like snowflakes due to sins of impurity.

  8. Let's see, who was it that said the Church is too obsessed with issues like abortion and homosexuality. ...?

  9. I watched the Interview on youtube. Of course, Rubin had to bring up the sex abuse issue "for the sake of my fans" and the interview lost all of it's "energy" after Bishop Barron had to explain that mess. It is a shame all around. I understand several people were moved by the interview and that is good. Peace and God bless.

  10. MARVELOUS, insightful article, Oakes. I will be sharing this far and wide -- if you will correct one flaw. In the following:

    "Virtually after Church Father, saint, priest or philosopher up until the mid-twentieth century believed sexual sin to be among the most potentially damning of the sins."

    Auto-spell is NOT our friend! That "after" at the beginning of the sentence should be "every."

  11. This is simply one of the best articles I've read lately. The following passage alone is the best explanation I've seen for WHY sexuality is so key in the Catholic worldview, and why we Catholics are so "obsessed" with "pelvic issues":

    "God gave us the ability to do one thing or at least participate in doing one thing that only He could previously do - create more people in His image. All questions of human sexuality revolve around that fundamental point."

    Thank you for capturing the truth/beauty of human sexuality so perfectly.

    If the Catholic Church does not preserve and preach this, who will? I think of E.F. Schumacher, author of "Small Is Beautiful" and a hero to the sustainability movement, most of whose members have no idea that he converted to Catholicism. Schumacher happened to join the Church around the same time that Humanae Vitae came out, and someone asked him if the Church's stand against contraception didn't kill his desire to be Catholic. He said that, on the contrary, Paul VI's affirmation of the Church's teaching on this was further evidence to him that the Church really is the divinely inspired, true Church, through which God communicates to man.

    1. Thanks. I feel like I could have made the point better. But you're right that it is important.

      I once made the same claim - that on the Catholic view, sex is morally inseparable from procreation - to a liberal Catholic. He was educated at Georgetown and styled himself a sort of expert in Church history. He didn't merely disagree with the claim - rather, he said he had never heard of a Catholic who had ever made it. That stunned me. Liberal (or whatever you want to call them) Catholics live in a totally different intellectual world.