Matt C. Abbott
October 8, 2010
Readers sound off on 'gay' teen suicides, church closings, fundraising issues, clergy corruption
By Matt C. Abbott

The following is a selection of (edited) e-mails I've received in recent days. (Please say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Father L. Dudley Day, a fine, faithful priest to whom I went to confession on a number of occasions over the last several years. Father Day, who was 83, died of natural causes on Oct. 3.)

Matt Barber:


    Anyone with a heart grieves deeply over these needless suicides. Taking one's own life is never the right choice. There are thousands of teen suicides each year. Some kids just don't seem to understand the permanence of it, or how it destroys the lives of those they leave behind.

    We all agree: Harassment and bullying of children should always be dealt with immediately and firmly. And if laws are broken, offenders should be prosecuted — period. This is true whether kids are targeted because they're perceived to be homosexual, conservative, Christian or for any other reason.

    Unfortunately — though not surprisingly — extremist 'gay' pressure groups, like the incongruously named Human Rights Campaign, Ellen DeGeneres and other liberal activists are shamelessly exploiting these tragedies as a means to achieve their own selfish political ends.

    In a recent statement, Ms. DeGeneres said: 'There are messages everywhere that validate this sort of bullying and taunting and we need to make it stop. We can't let intolerance and ignorance take another kids life.'

    Indeed, actual bullying and taunting must not be tolerated. But what 'messages' is Ms. DeGeneres referring to, and how do 'we...make [them] stop?' I'll translate from liberalese to plain English. What Ellen meant was this: 'Public defense of God's express, self-evident and unequivocal design for human sexuality must be stopped under force of law. Proponents of the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic are murdering 'gay' kids with their words.'

    Not only is this propagandist line of reasoning disingenuous, offensive and Orwellian, it's utter nonsense. Joe Solmonese, president of HRC, took it a step further, directly blaming for these suicides Christians and the Mormon Church. To him, opposition to so-called 'same-sex marriage,' and defense of biblical sexual morality are the culprits: 'Words have consequences,' said Solmonese, 'particularly when they come from a faith leader. This is exactly the kind of statement that can lead some kids to bully and others to commit suicide.'

    As Rahm Emanuel famously said: 'You never let a serious crisis go to waste. [I]t's an opportunity to do things you could not do before.' It makes me physically ill to watch as the HRC and other 'gay' militants lick their chops and rub their hands together over the tragic suicides of these troubled, sexually confused young men.

    Before they were even laid to rest, the radical homosexual lobby pounced leveraging these suicides to demand that government codify each of their extremist, social engineering demands. This is political exploitation at its slimiest and it pours salt on the wounds of loved ones.

    God's message to young people struggling with same sex temptation or to those who feel the shame that naturally accompanies sexual sin is that suicide is never the way out. But there is a way out. It comes first through belief in Jesus Christ, and then through confession of sin; finally, repentance. As Jesus said to the repentant sexual sinner at the well, 'Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.'

    The families of these precious young people should know that Christians around the country are praying for them and will continue to pray for them in their time of loss. Scripture says 'blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.'

    But Christians are also praying that these wicked and callous political vultures who seek to exploit these suicides become confounded and fail fantastically. Their mission is not one of 'tolerance' or 'diversity.' Quite the opposite: Their goal is to fan flames of anti-Christian bigotry and discrimination, evangelizing on behalf of their own perverted god: moral relativism. We simply won't let them get away with it.

Erwin Rysz:

    I'm responding to a phrase that was mentioned in your most recent column. I'm talking about 'closed Catholic churches.' This has hit a raw nerve. I was part of one of such closings — actually I watched from a distance and I'm regretting I did not take a more active part in the fight. I just want to share with you my reaction and observations of this battle which happened about 10 years ago.

    The parish was Transfiguration and it was a Polish Catholic one, developed around the turn of the century. There was also a Catholic school associated with the parish and it too was closed. Both were demolished within a year of the other. The fight really centered over 'architectural' issues. The diocese brought in people who said that the church had to be raised. No other options were allowed; no other outside opinions were allowed.

    The real issue now, in retrospect was that we had a wimp for a bishop. His name was Bosco and as a priest, he cut a reputation in the 1960s as an ecumenical, socially- conscious man. He also had little use for Catholic education. The real issue was not a building, nor even a shortage of priests to run all the parishes in the diocese. The issue was funding, pure and simple — and he was too afraid to tell the people the truth.

    This particular church was formed by my grandparents and they were first generation Americans who barely spoke any English. At the time of the church's founding it was a very different country, with a tolerance and respect for faith, at which today's politicians snub their noses. The simple truth is that at the turn of the century, we lived in a low tax environment where people had more choices in how they gave to charity, where the government at all levels respected individual choices in giving.

    The combined take of government on all three levels has taken schools away from people and left us with government institutions that have nothing to show for all the billions spent. The real issue is spending more, more and more in order to take choice away from people. My town once had four parochial schools and now we have none. We now have only two Catholic churches left, and in retrospect, I see the hand of secularism as it works its way through the government.

    In a related way, I have become a part of the tea party business, and my only complaint is that nobody seems to be looking at state or local governments as they, too, abuse their roles in our lives. This is not a battle lost over a singular church. This is a larger fight in which an unstoppable, unresponsive government is at work — a government that does not respect or recognize faith.

Marie Kokes:

    I couldn't agree more with your latest column, except I wouldn't say 'bordering on insulting' — I 'd say 'completely insulting.' Even worse is when your pastor gives you these kinds of intentionally manipulative messages instead of a homily at Mass. We are struggling to make ends meet. Due to the crushing property taxes we pay, coupled with the rest of our tax burden and our other financial obligations (including one child in college, another to start college next year and four more to follow) we have had to put our home up for sale.

    Last Sunday we had to endure 20 minutes of a high pressure speech during which our pastor flat out told us that we are all going to raise the amount that we give each week and that he is going to personally write to each one of us to get us to pledge to raise the amount we give and to tell him by exactly how much we will raise it!

    Not once in this seemingly endless diatribe did he allow that it could even be possible that some of us were already giving generously and simply could not afford to give more at this time. (I give 10 percent of my income to the church and support a few other very worthy causes).

    If we didn't do it, he threatened that our parish could be merged with other parishes or that our grounds couldn't be kept up so nicely?! The Church's financial troubles are of its own making. How many thousands of dollars does the diocese pay to marketing companies to produce videos that we are forced to watch, also in lieu of a homily, in order to convince us to support them? Either we trust that they are doing good work, or we don't. Watching a video is not going to change our minds one way or the other.

    These kinds of fundraising techniques are manipulative, arrogant, presumptuous and completely disrespectful. Thank you for highlighting that in your column. I hope the people that engage in them will get the message, but I'm not holding my breath.

Ivan Abrams:

    It's been a long time since we've corresponded. I've been working in international development abroad for the past five years, love the work and the possibility of doing some good without being beaten up in court. My church-related client and I are occasionally in contact. The RICO lawsuit drained both of us, physically, emotionally and financially, and we've both been trying to recover from it.

    I'm working on a project in southeastern Europe now, and among my colleagues is my dear friend, Bob McDaniel, a New Hampshire lawyer who also handled some cases against the Church. You 're familiar with the Seamus McCormack case against the Diocese of Manchester; Bob was Seamus' lawyer.

    It's impossible to have been involved in the U.S.-based Church cases and ignore the developments in Europe. In essence, everything we pled in our RICO complaint, and in Bob's similar lawsuits in New England, is being said in Europe. There can be no rational doubt about the truth of the allegations. Yet I predict that the Europeans will have an easier time gaining victory than did we.

    Why is that? In part because the collaborating cabal of lawyers is not as strong in Europe. Lawyers in Europe work differently than in the United States, and there is far less of a fraternal and juvenile spirit of kinship amongst lawyers as one finds in the U.S. That should strongly reduce the opportunity for the Church to successfully mount behind-the-scenes attacks upon those lawyers brave enough to challenge the power of Rome.

    Second, European Catholics, and Europeans in general, seem to take their human rights seriously. They're skeptics by nature, citizens of the European Union by law, and aware that the EU's legal framework gives them rights which have been hard-won over time and through battle. In contrast, many U.S. Catholics seem to be much more accepting of abuse, inclined to sheep-like disbelief that the Mother Church would betray them, and prone to condemn those who would dare complain that the Church has become a racketeer influenced and corrupt organization.

    The allegation that the AmChurch obstructed justice by covering up the known crimes of priests? We raised that, to hoots of derision and ridicule. Can there be any doubt now that it's true, around the world? The claim that the AmChurch rotated pervert priests in and out of dioceses so that their crimes and perversions would be hidden, and then passed around the collection plate so that the unwitting parishioners could pay for the upkeep of their sicko priests? We raised that too, again to orchestrated howls of feigned disbelief.

    How about the cover-ups, destruction of evidence, removal of documents, transfer of bad guys out of the diocese, conspiracy between Church officials — and sometimes public officials — to maintain secrecy? Or the attacks on those few priests brave enough to go public with the truth, or even to tell their superiors — in rank, not in courage or spirituality — what they knew and could prove was happening? We raised all that too, and were made the butt of jokes and the subject of attack by the Church's so-called leadership.

    Indeed, everything we said is true, and now the world at large is being treated to a daily dose of this ugly but unavoidable reality. Had we been able to adequately finance the RICO case, or had more lawyers such as those who are now jumping on the bandwagon, we might have been able to penetrate the Code of Silence that is, overall, much more effective than that of the other Mafia, La Cosa Nostra.

    So, you may ask, why are we writing to you? Perhaps we're doing that because it's always gratifying to be proven to have been correct. It's also helpful to remind people that we in the U.S. knew long ago what Europe is now learning to its sorrow — that governance of the Roman Catholic Church has been taken over by thugs. It's just possible that the brave souls in the Old World may be able to accomplish what we tried — to expose the bastards for what they are and for what they've done, and beyond that, to clean house and create a church that is a house of God rather than the province of the devil. Strong words, to be sure, but who among us could realistically quarrel with what I've said?

Robert Foley:

    I hate to state this publicly, but the Catholic Church is at the head of the alarmist-fundraising parade. We are no longer m the Church Militant; it has become the Church Mendicant. The alarmist appeals that seem to come in never-ending bunches only serve to underscore the contention.

Rosemary McNeill:

    I can certainly empathize with you regarding being overwhelmed with fundraising mail both 'alarmist' and other. This happens year-round, but especially in the months at the close of the year when the letters begin in earnest. In fact, I'm now on many lists, both pro-life and from missionary organizations around the country. These groups hire professional marketers, I'm sure. I could name names, but I prefer not to. I realize these groups need funding. I, too, am on the board of a small right-to-life group and understand how hard it is to get enough money for projects like billboards and newsletters.

    What irritates me even more than the frantic letters practically begging for donations is the organizations that send all kinds of religious objects, especially cards. And because so many have such beautiful holy pictures and can be used for Masses and prayers for those who are ill or have died, or have birthdays, it's hard to throw any away. So I have a file full plus quite a number on my closet shelves. I'm beginning to feel like a hoarder.

    Some of the favorite things these groups send (besides dozens of cards for every occasion, especially Christmas — that's a story in itself) are crucifixes, rosaries (several came broken), little statues and money. One missionary group sends three nickels. It took several fundraising letters before I finally broke down and sent a worthy donation, thinking they'd move on to another type of letter. Well, I was wrong. I still get three nickels probably every month.

    For a while, a group helping Native Americans was sending blankets, umbrellas, suncatchers, leather pouches and memorabilia of all kinds. At first I felt obligated to respond, but soon got tired of accumulating things I didn't want or need. I think they gave up. Then there's the groups collecting for the disabled sending more cards. In two words: I'm overwhelmed!

"John Doe":

    The Libertarian Party, which Mike Labno belongs to, supports homosexual rights, abortion, and open borders. As long as you are voting principle, not politics, why not vote for Robert Zadek? He's for enforcing immigration law, against gay marriage, and pro-life.



Related links:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The Courage Apostolate

© Matt C. Abbott

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback from readers. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails – complete with email addresses – that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if those emails are marked confidential. Also, please be aware that RenewAmerica is not my website; RA's president and editor is Stephen Stone, who can be reached here. I'm just one of RA's columnists, for which I'm very grateful. I don't speak for the other RA columnists, so please don't email me to complain about what someone else has written. Thank you and God bless!)

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