If professed vegetarians publicly criticized a vegetarian association for insisting that its members follow a vegetarian diet, no one would listen to them. Why is it that when a member of the Catholic clergy insists that his flock follow Catholic teachings he is criticized for doing so by professed Catholics? The difference is the media have a vested ideological interest in creating division in the Catholic Church.
Bishop Robert McManus leads the Diocese of Worcester, and has done so ably for nearly two decades. He recently issued a policy for Catholic schools that is consistent with Catholic teachings on sexuality, and for this he has been roundly criticized. The logic of his detractors is unpersuasive.
To begin with, the policy on how to deal with homosexual and transgender students is a model of fairness. The first policy initiative is a statement against bullying, harassment and violence. There is also a policy that calls for respecting modesty standards in language, appearance, dress, and behavior. Few find these policies problematic.
“Students may not advocate, celebrate, or express same-sex attraction in such a way as to cause confusion or distraction in the context of Catholic school classes, activities, or events.” This policy has angered some.
Also contentious in some quarters is the policy that insists that “All students are expected to conduct themselves at school in a manner consistent with their biological sex.” This holds for athletics, dress and uniform policies, dances, the use of changing facilities, showers, etc. In addition, all school records will reflect the student’s biological sex.
“In some quarters” these policies are contentious. Which quarters are they? They are most assuredly not among rank-and-file Catholics, the ones who go to Mass regularly and pay the bills. No, it is the dissidents. Not surprisingly, this includes DignityUSA; it has long been at war with Catholic teachings on a variety of issues. Self-identified gay men are also carping. Their fidelity is not to the Church but to a politicized gay agenda.
There are others who have literally gone off the rails. Guillermo Creamer Jr. is a candidate for Mayor of Worcester. No longer a Catholic, he accuses Bishop McManus of embracing “an outdated hate-filled rhetoric.” He cites not a single comment of “hate-filled rhetoric” voiced by the bishop. There aren’t any. He owes Bishop McManus an apology.
Others, such as a local Catholic teacher, David Palmieri, berates the bishop for his “no compromise” policies. Would this extend to the bishop’s statement condemning bullying, harassment and violence? Should he be willing to compromise on these acts as well? Similarly, when activist Charles O’Donnell calls out the bishop for issuing an “ultimatum,” should McManus be more conciliatory if gay students are beaten up?
Robyn Kennedy is running for a state senate seat. She accuses the bishop of not showing the “love and care” for students she expects. State Sen. Jason Lewis also calls on the bishop to “support the love and inclusion that the Catholic Church teaches.” Craig Mortley, a diversity specialist at a branch of the YWCA, says the Church “should be about creating a community of love.”
So where is the love for orthodox parents who pay to send their children to a Catholic school that flagrantly violates Catholic sexual ethics? Moreover, if “love” is all that matters, should the bishop allow a brother and sister who love each other, in an intimate way, go to a prom as a date?
Misplaced compassion is a serious problem in our society today, and it shines brightly when those who reject the teachings of the Catholic Church selectively invoke it to further their agenda.
Kudos to Bishop McManus. We need more bishops like him. Let him know you agree.
Contact Margaret Comptois at the bishop’s office: email@example.com