Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When Should Catholics Mind Their Own Business?

This is becoming a much more difficult question that has some big Catholic everyday implications that touches on the how the Apostles set up the Church to be governed. From the start let me say I don't know the answers yet and have just started thinking about this as to the Internet age.

I thought of this when I saw how upset the Anchoress was at the denial by a Catholic Parish of a funeral to a gay bar owner in California. That has now been reversed by the Bishop. See her post: Gay Marriage, Eden & Our Constant Illusion – UPDATED

Let me say I am not being critical of the Anchoress here. In fact I am am torn on this issue and part of me is where the Anchoress is at. But the case here perhaps shows a danger. From the link we see

Local businessman and devout Catholic John Sanfilippo died last week after struggling with emphysema. Friends said Sanfilippo planned for the funeral mass to be held at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Little Italy, where Sanfilippo had attended for decades. Friends said he even left the church a large sum of money in his will.

Well again that word "devout" is around though we are not told how or the why of what made him devout. We also see he left a "large sum" of money to the Church. Which maybe is a sign he was devout or maybe not.

As to the bar he owned we see in the comments (that have run over 24 pages) on page one :

In addition to his homosexual relationship Mr. Sanfillipo was the proprietor of the SRO Lounge, a popular gay bar especially with transsexual persons. To quote from a review on a local website, "The SRO Lounge is a loud and proud gay bar that houses some of the most eccentric guests in all of Hillcrest. This fun bar serves strong drinks and great food in a warm environment. The SRO Lounge caters to the gay and cross gender community with weekly specials like Ladies Night to maintain an air of excitement. With a loyal following all week long, the SRO Lounge is always packed with party potential." Perhaps the totality of Mr. Sanfillipo's life gives sufficient scandal to warrant denial of a Catholic funeral. At a minimum, there is much more to the story than that which was previously reported.

One gets a feeling there is a lot more to this story whether you agree or not with the Parishes choice to deny a funeral or agree or not for the Bishop to deny the funeral.

In other words for many of us ( that across the country are advocating opinions on this matter) we really have no idea of the facts. Which will not stop us Catholics of making this a national issue to be debated. How does this undermine the authority given by seen by scripture to the local Church? Does it at all? We sort of are led to believe these must be some horrible non feeling non pastoral priests at that Church. But are they?

This reminds me of the issue of a few months back about the severely mentally mentally challenged child whose parents were told by an Priests(who was backed up by the Bishop) that his state at this point left him unable to have communion. Over night the Priest and Bishop are viewed as bad. Of course we are were not there!!

I am guilty as anyone about this by the way.

There is no doubt some things in local Diocese have much more national importance than others. For instance one can make the argument what happens in NY as to politicos and others that went against the Church on marriage is of vast importance to the entire American Church. On the flip side ff a Bishop decides to say crack down Catholic heads of Masonic lodges in his Diocese perhaps a little less so.

How does this affect our theology of Church and are the local Bishops being undermined? What about the Priests that have to deal with these pastoral mattes on the ground. Do we really trust the media sources we link to give him a fair shake? If not then what is our responsibility ? In this internet age how do we handle that. If there are level of abuses in a Diocese when does it rise to the level that the CHURCH UNIVERSAL VIA INTERNET should be engaging it. When is something of truly a local matter that it is none of our business and when does it have more national or even worldwide importance. Maybe now it is impossible to make a distinction

I don't have any answers to this but I am worried how my actions might in a very small way be affecting the God Given authority that is given to the local Church.

I will no doubt keep posting my opinion about what is happening in a local Diocese and the latest outrage that is going on that I think you should be outraged about. MAYBE IN THE NEXT POST!! But I know I need to think more hard before hitting that submit button about these matters and be more careful in my tone at least.

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