Summary of the Law (said at every Sunday Mass)

Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dona Eis Requiem, Part I

It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very ‘spiritual,’ that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheumatism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards as her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. Thus you can keep rubbing the wounds of the day a little sorer even while he is on his knees; the operation is not at all difficult and you will find it very entertaining. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother—the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table. In time, you may get the cleavage so wide that no thought or feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one.

—C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters III

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It’s hard to write about the massacre in Orlando a year ago. One fucked up guy and a couple guns and fifty1 dead people. Anti-gay violence is nothing new, and neither are terrorist attacks. But I’d really been lulled into a false sense of security by the political victories of the LGBT movement2 over the last several years. It didn’t seem possible. It’s weird to think that there are people out there who literally want us dead.

Debate over Mateen’s exact motive continues; conflicting reports about his behavior and attitudes vis-à-vis homosexuality, even from those who were close to him, makes it difficult to draw any conclusion—although the inconsistencies may reflect a man who was conflicted with himself. And whether he was straight or gay or bi, it is true that religious fanaticism, on his own showing, played a role as well: in his first 911 call that ugly night, he professed loyalty to ISIS and called his own actions a form of vengeance for US airstrikes in the Middle East.3 But: when he wanted revenge on America, he didn’t pick a mall or a stadium or an office building. He picked a gay bar.

I was and remain bitterly disappointed with the massive silence of Catholics.4 Our bishops, our fathers, were not there for us. Maybe it was cowardice, maybe it was callousness, whatever—the brute fact is that the biggest mass shooting in American history was also the biggest act of violence against LGBT people in American history, and yet, Your Excellencies, for all your talk of its being deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice and that such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs,5 we needed you and you abandoned us. Forty-nine of us died in those rooms, and your requiem for us was fifty-eight words of vague rhetoric that didn’t even acknowledge the cause.

Why do I ask that cause to be acknowledged? Because my God, put your money where your mouths are.

Homophobia—i.e., fear of or hatred for homosexuals—is real. The catalogue of killings that were probably or even explicitly motivated by it does not, in my opinion, allow room for any serious dispute on the subject.6

Homophobia is unjust. This is so obvious on Catholic principles that I am ashamed to write it. And even if the obviousness were not enough, it is stated in black and white in every Church document that addresses homosexuality.

Therefore, Catholics should do their part to oppose homophobia. That is part of what holiness to the Lord means.

I’m devoting this series to some practical instances of what Catholics, laymen and clergy alike, can do to support LGBT people, especially Christian ones but all in general. Not that I flatter myself that Mudblood Catholic is nationally influential, but I wouldn’t like to storm about inaction from fellow Catholics and then go mum about what action might look like.

Nor can I really be as judgmental as I’d like to be; chastity is also part of what holiness to the Lord means. But please, Excellencies, fathers, at least admit the principle in so many words. Two of you did, Cardinal Cupich of Chicago and Bishop Lynch of St Petersburg. But we need more than that. Because what we keep hearing from Catholics is—love, of a sort, but a love that has a compelling need to correct, and doesn’t seem to have any need to issue effectual, clear rebuke to those who insult, reject, brutalize, even murder us. Why does your love need so much explaining?

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1Omar Mateen shot one hundred and two patrons of Pulse, of whom forty-nine died; Mateen himself was killed by police.
2That I’m a little ambivalent about some of these victories is neither here nor there. The point is, when society seems to be increasingly friendly to gays, you don’t expect a mass murder to happen at a gay bar.
3Interestingly, while LGBT people and leftists generally preferred to accent the homophobic hypothesis of the crimes, and Christians and conservatives were all about how it was an act of terrorism, nobody seemed very eager to mention what Mateen explicitly attributed the attack to: US killings of civilians, particularly women and children, in airstrikes. Considering how horrified and angry we are about ISIS’s executions in Iraq and Syria, we might consider being more careful not to follow their example or give them an impression of justification.
4I am grateful to say that my own parish was not typical in this way; my pastor added a supplication for the victims of the attack to the Prayers of the Faithful, before I’d heard about it myself.
5These quotations come originally from the Catechism. The USCCB incorporates them in its own document addressing the principles of pastoring LGBT people.
6No, this isn’t the same as asserting that everything that’s called homophobia really is. Censuring a behavior isn’t always motivated by fear or wrath, though it can be, or there can be a mixture of motives.


  1. Wasn't 9/11 the biggest terrorist attack in US history?

    1. Goodness that was stupid of me—biggest mass shooting, not biggest terrorist attack. I'll correct that shortly.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am going to put a link on my FB page if that is okay with you. I am more from the Courage model than the Spiritual Friendship model of celibacy, but I know one thing--wherever s person happens to be on that spectrum this was horrendous and I too was extremely troubled by the silence of the USCCB. Thank you and God bless you.

  3. Nice to read your article! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures and experiences.

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