Saturday, May 26, 2012

Battle Preparation

Taking a little divergence from my planning posts to write about something controversial.  This is something that is weighing so heavily on my heart and mind that I don't have much mental energy for anything else.  I posed the question, "How do we prepare our children for the battle?" at the MODGFamilies Yahoo group, so if you are part of that group this might sound familiar.   I feel like this issue warrants a blog post, though I'm not sure I will be able to address it properly.  Please bare with me.

This whole question arose when, in choosing a speaker to give the commencement address at the high school my son attends, the faculty chose an openly gay man.  This man had recently posted on face book, or maybe YouTube, that he was engaged to another man.  Because of his openly gay stance, the principal decided to uninvite him to speak.  As you can imagine, this caused quite a problem for the man invited to speak, his family, and the faculty at the school.  I wont go into detail but suffice it to say things were a mess.  After four years at this high school I was so happy Night Owl was graduating.  I knew things weren't perfect there.  The Religion classes weren't always the best, but there was nothing said or taught that we weren't able to discuss at home, and bring the Church's truth and clarity to. 

What I didn't realize, is that there was a prevailing attitude of relativism which had affected my son to some degree, and for many of the students at the school to a large degree.  I don't think "relativism" was actually taught as in , "all is relative".  But there was that underlying attitude of relativism that seeped its way into the school.  I'm picturing it as a vile green smoke, that nobody seems to notice.  No one sees it and it has no smell, but its affects are damaging like a poison.

So we set the stage with relativism, and we throw in the fact that there is very little solid Catholic doctrine being taught.  Now we have a shaky foundation on the building into which this green mist seeps. Finally, when the seniors at the school are just about to graduate an issue like this comes up.

The teachers and students are angry at the principal who eventually blames everything on the Bishop.  The students are in a frenzy.  They all rally for the speaker.  They make t-shirts in one of their classes, they make a "students against homophobia" video in another, they are given permission to call an assembly... What a frenzy!  Everyone supports the speaker, but no one, no one, uses this as an opportunity to teach the students what the Church teaches.  There are letters to the editor about how the Catholic Church teaches hate and fear.  There are letters about bullying.  Anyone who tries to speak out for the truth is considered a hateful homophobic.  My son, and many others are confused. 

In all his life I never thought I would have to prepare him for this.  We studied the Catechism, we studied the saints, we studied the Bible.  I never thought to talk to him about how this issue would present itself in so much confusion that it would be hard to know what is right and what is wrong.  The faculty member who was involved in choosing this speaker spoke of how they teach tolerance at the school.  We did not know that going in.  We would have made different choices.  I am not a theologian but I do believe that tolerance is not a Catholic teaching.  I believe that LOVE is a Catholic teaching and sometimes love is hard.  Love tells us to love the person and help the person, not continue to enable him to live in a way that displeases God and will never make him happy.  I love this quote by Fulton Sheen regarding tolerance (mentioned at MODGfamilies)  ~
"There is no other subject on which the average mind is so much confused as the
subject of tolerance and intolerance...
Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles.
Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons."
             Fulton J. Sheen 1931
             The Curse of Broadmindedness

As my son graduates, I am relieved that this ordeal is over for him.  I am even more relieved that he is back on track and all is well in his heart and soul.  But I'm not willing to let it go.  In speaking with a friend recently I was so tired of it all I said I was done and we're moving on.  But I notice I can't just move on.  The fact is, there are so many children at the school who have been affected by this mess.  How are they moving on?  Is it no big deal, "live and let live"?  Are some choosing to act as though it never happened?  Have some become militant in the campaign for gay rights?  I don't know.  I do know that I need to keep praying.  I need to discern mightily - will any of my other children go to this high school?  If so, how will I prepare them differently?  If not, I have to realize this issue and others like it will come up in their lives no matter where they are.  How do I prepare them for that?  I don't know yet.  I am praying for wisdom because I feel at this point that is all I can do.  And then that nagging question... "Should I be doing more than just praying?  Should I be in that school, in some way, to shine the light of Christ?  Is there some way that I can dispel some of that green mist to bring the clarity of truth?"  I need to pray for courage if that is the case, but I am surely lacking in it!

I would like to end with a quote by a priest who is the pastor at another Catholic Church in our town.  His homily a couple of Sundays ago was in response to the mess at the Parish in which we are members.  His entire homily was beautiful.  A very loving, compassionate explanation of the Church's teaching.  I wished I had a tape recorder with me that day because I knew I would not be able to remember it all.  He did send this short quote to me when I requested it, for which I am grateful.  It is very pointed and a great explanation for all who don't understand why the Church does not accept the homosexual lifestyle~

The key is the complementarity of men and women. Sexual complementarity has to do with God making the human person as male and female, and they are meant for union. This union is a bodily reality as well as a spiritual, emotional, and psychological reality. Only a man and a woman can enter into a bodily union in the natural way. The bodily union is sacramental for Christians as it is meant to express a union with God and a union that images God’s love in the world that is total and complete (bodily), forever (unending), and open to life (conception of new life) if they are of the proper age. Only a man and a woman can give and receive each other in this embrace in a total way (bodily, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually). Our bodies are important.  Our bodies do matter and what we do in our bodies will have lasting effects on our hearts.
In closing I ask for prayers. I know this is a controversial topic and I also ask that all comments would be made in a prayerful way.  I reserve the right to delete comments that I feel are aggressive.

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