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Apr 26 2013

Catholic church determined to become irrelevant

It is well known that the Catholic church has a problem with its young people, many of whom see it as out of step with current views on sexuality. The church has locked itself into its dogma and that is unlikely to change anytime soon but you would think that it would realize that it needs to tread delicately in this area so as to avoid needlessly alienating people with high-handed actions.

You would be wrong. Take the case of Carla Hale, a teacher in an Ohio Catholic school for 19 years, who was recently summarily fired after she returned from the funeral of her mother. Why? Because one of the parents had noticed that the mother’s obituary had mentioned the teacher’s partner and had sent an anonymous letter to the school pointing this out. When students got wind of what had happened, they rallied to the teacher’s side and organized a protest petition that already has 4,000 signatures.

Students said it was known or suspected that Hale was gay, but she did not discuss her lifestyle with students or espouse same-sex issues.

Lindsey Perkins of Dublin, a 2001 Watterson graduate, called Hale a “wonderful teacher and amazing role model” whom Watterson should be proud to have on staff.

“It’s just a very poignant time for something like this to happen, and hopefully for people to start realizing that we need to practice acceptance and humility to all people,” she said.

Peter Clark of Powell, a 2011 Watterson graduate, said Hale was a compassionate, understanding teacher who was fired for something that “has nothing to do with education.”

“It’s a disgusting display of hypocrisy by the education system that I was once so proud of,” said Clark, a religious-studies major at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

Well done, Bishop Watterson High School! You could not be doing a better job of alienating young people.

Meanwhile remember the story about an openly gay Catholic active church volunteer who was fired when someone sent an anonymous letter saying that he had got married in another state? (What is it with these anonymous letters? Aren’t Christians proud of doing what Jesus would do?) A petition to have him re-instated and signed by 18,000 people was returned by the bishop without comment.

So all in all, a fine week for displays of Catholic cluelessness. Keep it up and you soon won’t have to worry about what to do about young people because there won’t be any in your church.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Randomfactor

    Letters/petitions mean nothing. The church will take notice when the collection plate and the pews stop being filled.

    Vote with your feet, parishioners.

  2. 2
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Not really sure that that’s an option yet for th minors attending the school in question, who are also pprobably not big contributors to the collection plate yet.

  3. 3
    raven

    The church will take notice when the collection plate and the pews stop being filled.

    Not even then.

    In the last few years, the RCC has lost an astonishing 22 million members, 1/3 of their numbers. They have barely even noticed.

    The RCC is a top down church. The members exist to serve the hierarchy.

    It’s different for some Protestant sects, where all believers are considered priests. In my old church, everything was open, everything was voted on. The members owned the church and hired and paid the minister.

  4. 4
    composer99

    Randomfactor:

    To some extent this appears to already be well underway in the US, based on analyses such as this one by The Economist and data shown by this agency (note the declines in #s of ordained personnel, and in schools/student bodies, despite the increase in absolute #s of Catholics).

  5. 5
    Corvus illustris

    The last few popes have apparently changed strategy, ditching the John_{23}/Vatican II attempts at inclusion and breadth in favor of excluding all but the most narrowly fanatical and doctrinaire of their adherents. Choosing an Argentinian pope shows how well the cardinals think this is working out in Europe, and things like this Ohio flap insure that North America won’t be far behind at the exit door. They apparently think they’ll recoup in the south–but that’s not where the power is. I wish I were young enough to watch this play out.

  6. 6
    slc1

    I think that is absolutely correct. The last 2 Popes have acted to force out the cafeteria Catholics, leaving the church to the true believers. It remains to be seen what the new Pope’s position will be.

  7. 7
    TGAP Dad

    Let these 4000 signatories leave the school en masse, and form their own private (or charter) school. Let’s see how many schools have to be emptied before the church gets the message!

  8. 8
    Corvus illustris

    The last 2 Popes …

    This correction is right; from all indications I should not have seemed to include the short-lived JP_1.

    It remains to be seen what the new Pope’s position will be.

    Given that all his electors were appointed by the last previous two popes and that scuttlebutt said F_1 was the runner-up to B_{16} in the preceding conclave, I think I know how Las Vegas sees this.

    Apropos of phrases like “cafeteria Catholics” and “true believers,” the hardliners would do well to consider the amount of new thinking and aggiornimento that took place in the high middle ages (to which the present ossified institution looks back as the good old days) when new philosophical material came in from the east and south.

  9. 9
    Pierce R. Butler

    According to Amanda Marcotte, Protestants have come up with all sorts of brilliant routes to relevance!

  10. 10
    Hamilton Jacobi

    That was good. “Jesus, the Original Hipster.”

  11. 11
    atheist

    The Catholics probably know they are out of step with American believers, but remember they’re also expanding into Africa & Asia which might complicate this picture of irrelevance.

  12. 12
    MNb

    Only 4 000 signatures? Where are all the so called liberal, progressive, enlightened catholics, who defend the idea that their faith can be combined with gay etc. rights?

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