Latest NewsMark Shea: A Gay Man I Consider a Saint
R. Sungenis: When Mark Shea recently began defending the possibility of women cardinals and that God performs miracles at Medjugorje even though Medjugorje is a complete satanic fraud, I didn’t expect the other shoe to drop with what appears to be overly indulgent cri de coeur for the gay community. So that I don’t misrepresent him, I will let Mr. Shea speak for himself, and I will make intermittent comments where he has, in my humble opinion, fallen off the Catholic wagon.
The first problem, of course, is in the title. Later on in his article Mr. Shea tells us that he doesn’t know whether this “Gay Man” indulges in same-sex coitus or not. Obviously then, Shea does not know if this “Gay Man” is merely tempted with homosexual tendencies or actually engages in them, and thus he cannot begin to know whether he is a “Saint,” even in the more colloquial use of the term. Shea is playing the “even if he was gay” card to say that the good he saw overcame any horrible sin.
Shea: Some folk who have not read the blog for long or who are afflicted with short or selective memory might form the notion that, because I criticize Bullies for Homosex such as Dan “Hooray for Inciting Rape!” Savage, bullying is all I see in the gay community.
Not true. One of the people I admire most in the world, who I regard as an inspiration and, very likely, as a saint was a gay guy who lived here in Seattle named Perry Lorenzo. You can get something of a sense of the man from his blog.Dunno if he was celibate or not and, frankly, regard it as none of my business.
R. Sungenis: For a man like Shea who has made a practice of looking into every nook and cranny of his opponent’s lives and uses it to post the most belligerent and caustic diatribes about them on his blog, sometimes even making up accusations for effect and refusing to own up to them when caught doing so, it is a little too convenient for him to now be claiming that it is “none of his business” to know the most important detail of a person’s life who carries the gay label, which Shea uses to make a theological point. Mr. Shea, has chosen the “hear no evil, see no evil” approach simply because he has a personal affection for Perry Lorenzo. If it had been anyone else, Mr. Shea would be all over his blog seeking to expose the dirty details so that he could use it as fodder for his agenda. You can imagine what Shea would do if either I or E. Michael Jones was in the same spotlight as Perry Lorenzo. Shea would have been merciless. The bottom line is this: if Shea is calling openly gay people “saints,” then he better make it his business to find out whether that person is a practicing homosexual. Anything less than that is scandalous, at the very least.
Shea: All I know is that the guy was clearly a man who loved Jesus, loved his Catholic faith, and taught a huge number of people about it, both gay and straight, in a way that was immensely attractive and uplifting for everybody who encountered him.
R. Sungenis: Since he loved Jesus and his Catholic faith and “taught a huge number of people about it, both gay and straight,” did Perry Lorenzo teach these gay people, as the Catholic faith requires, that living in the gay lifestyle is a mortal sin? Did he encourage the “gay” people to renounce even the tendency toward a gay lifestyle? Or did he placate them into thinking that it was perfectly acceptable to call oneself “gay” and be a Catholic at the same time? The fact is we don’t know. If Perry Lorenzo was struggling with the gay lifestyle and hadn’t conquered it, then he shouldn’t have been publically teaching anyone, least of all gays. These are the kinds of issues that Mr. Shea needs to address, since anything short of them is merely a façade of his own making to draw out sympathy from a caldron that is potentially seething with evil. From the little that Mr. Shea is divulging, it seems that Perry Lorenzo was gay and proud of it and had no intentions of divesting himself of the gay label but used it as an inroad to other gays, regardless of whether he engaged in gay coitus. Did it ever cross Mr. Shea’s mind that Perry Lorenzo didn’t see fit to give up the gay label because he really didn’t love Jesus and the Catholic faith more than his own selfish desires? That’s at least a possibility, but apparently Mr. Shea is not interested in such possibilities.
Shea: He was also one of the most learned people I have ever met and a profoundly humble man. He was, for many years, the director of education for the Seattle Opera. Had a brilliant knack for speaking the Catholic tradition to the cultured despisers of tradition here in Seattle. His funeral, which he planned himself as he was dying, was one of the most beautiful and Christ-centered liturgies I’ve ever experienced. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if half the congregation was not Catholic: a testament to his greatness.
R. Sungenis: Unfortunately, this kind of sentimental blather only obscures the real issue. The only event in Perry Lorenzo’s life that would give any meaning to Shea’s subjective assessment is if it was known for a fact that Perry was doing everything he could to leave the homosexual label and/or lifestyle behind rather than treating either as a normal part of human existence. But it is obvious that Mr. Shea does not want to know the answer to that question (yet covers it up by saying that it is “none of his business”). Instead, Shea deliberately puts his readers in theological limbo; and from this position expects them to be as sympathetic to Mr. Lorenzo as he is, yet without answering the most crucial questions regarding Mr. Lorenzo’s lifestyle.
Shea: Some Catholics (and some of my gay readers) will probably be surprised to hear that I’m not interested in whether or not he was celibate. Not my business. That’s between him and God. (I had a reader write me in some degree of scandal after I postedon his death because he apparently had a partner he lived with. If memory serves, I expressed to my reader a deep lack of interest in that fact since a) Not. My. Business and b) merely living with his partner is not proof of anything anyway, either about his relationship with his partner, nor about his relationship with God.
R. Sungenis: Let me reiterate again: Mr. Shea is not only wrong about this, he is causing a scandal. It’s one thing not to know the facts, but when one begins his evaluation by purposely avoiding the facts, we have a serious problem. Mr. Shea chose his title “A Gay Man I Consider a Saint” and he broadcast the title and his article to the whole world. Not coincidentally, Mr. Shea positions himself as a teacher of Catholic faith and morals. One only need look at his long list of self-authored books dotting the margins of his blog; or watch him on EWTN to know that disseminating the Catholic religion is not merely his hobby. As such Mr. Shea does not have the privilege to play ignorant, especially when it concerns one of the most heinous sins known to mankind. Before Mr. Shea starts canonizing people on his blog, he better make darn sure he knows the pertinent facts concerning the person, especially if someone else has evidence that the person in question lived with another male and most likely committed the act in question. Mr. Shea has no excuse for his ignorance. If he doesn’t know the details then he simply has no right to exonerate Perry Lorenzo.
Shea: So do I contradict myself, since it’s not a secret that I agree with the Church that homosexual acts are sinful. I don’t see how. If Perry was an active homosexual, it’s none of my business and certainly not mine to judge. After all, I also agree with the Church that my own acts of gluttony are sinful and even gravely so. But I don’t believe God has abandoned or rejected me and I trust his grace to help me slowly become conformed to Christ, so why should I believe for a second that somebody like Perry, who manifested such abundant and beautiful fruits of the Spirit was not pleasing to God and was not doing his best to strive for God? On the contrary, I regard him as a role model and greatly admire his deep, generous and true faith. I hope he prays for the Church in Seattle and I think he is (not was, God rest his soul) one of the great ornaments of the Church.
R. Sungenis: So what Mr. Shea is telling his Catholic patrons is that Perry Lorenzo might well have engaged in same-sex coitus but that really doesn’t matter because all other indications show that Perry was a great Christian, so how could he not be pleasing to God and to us? Not only that, Perry Lorenzo, even though we are left in the dark concerning his true lifestyle and motives, suddenly becomes a “role model” for us. A gay man becomes a role model?! If that doesn’t make your stomach turn a bit, nothing will. It is precisely this kind of logic that has caused so many heresies and immoralities in the Church. Were not the Pharisees just like this? Jesus said they paraded the streets and made long prayers showing themselves to be devout, yet when no one was looking they raped widows. If Perry Lorenzo was putting on such gripping displays of Christian faith yet raping male partners whom he convinced that the gay lifestyle was acceptable (the same thing I have heard from various Catholic priests and bishops), then Mr. Shea has a serious problem. No amount of “see no evil, hear no evil” will suffice for a Catholic who purports to know and teach the Catholic faith to others. Shea cannot shroud himself in the typical American mores and claim that what occurs in the bedroom is none of our business. Is not this precisely the mentality of active homosexuals? They claim either that we have no right to condemn what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms or they claim that what they do in their bedrooms causes no harm to society. Mr. Shea has fallen into the trap of condoning that perverse rationale.
Shea: There are other gay members of the Church for whom I have a similarly high regard. Some are celibate. Some, for all I know, may not be. Since I don’t see it as my mission to peer into other people’s private lives, I wouldn’t know.
R. Sungenis: In other words, Mr. Shea deliberately avoids asking gay members of the Church whether they engage in same-sex relations. But if someone claimed to be gay, wouldn’t the question of whether they are celibate or not be one of the first questions one would need to know in order to access whether the gay person was truly living the Christian life? Since Mr. Shea does not ask the question, then it is a distinct possibility he is being deceived into thinking that these gay people are “manifesting such abundant and beautiful fruits of the Spirit” yet all the while living in mortal sin and spreading that sin among other unsuspecting people. This is not uncommon in today’s priesthood. I know a very popular Catholic priest who is as gay as a three dollar bill. He even made a pass at me several years ago. But he refuses to give up the homosexual lifestyle. But he lives what appears to be a very respectful Christian life in all other areas. He says the most beautiful masses and prays the most ardent prayers. But the reality is that he is on his way to hell. Mr. Shea needs to realize that this may have also been the case with Perry Lorenzo, especially since Perry showed no overt signs of renouncing his gay label before he died.
Shea: What I know is the fruit of the Spirit I see in their lives. Toward whatever weaknesses they may have, I think hells general attitude is summed up by Screwtape’s wise counsel: “Keep from the patient’s mind the thought, ‘If I, being what I am, can consider myself a Christian, why should I assume that the faults of my neighbor render their faith merely hypocrisy and convention?’” I choose to dissent from Hell’s urging to judge, lest I be judged.
R. Sungenis: And if that is the case, then Mr. Shea does not deserve to be a teacher of the Catholic faith. He is too easily deceived and too emotionally vulnerable. Sinful judging is when one judges a person without knowing or attempting to know the true facts of the situation. In such cases Mr. Shea has the utmost responsibility to find out the facts about Perry Lorenzo before he starts exonerating him as a “saint.” And if he can’t find out the facts, then he needs to keep silent and stop scandalizing people. I would suggest that people write to Mr. Shea’s bishop, but then again, I don’t know the moral disposition of his bishop, since many of them today either condone the homosexual lifestyle or turn the other way when confronted with it.
Shea: I take this attitude toward people who struggle with same sex attraction. I take it, likewise, with people who are same sex attracted and *don’t* struggle with it. Not my business what they do in their spare time. I take it with Christians and with non-Christians. Though I will happily tell you, should you ask, that I consider same sex attraction one of the myriad forms of concupiscence, I will also point out that concupiscence is not sin. And if somebody embraces this particular form of concupiscence and indulges it, I will say what I say about all such choices to sin: God forgives sin so who am I to judge?
R. Sungenis: God forgives when we repent of our sin and not before. Perry Lorenzo showed no signs of repenting of the gay label and/or the gay lifestyle, just like my priest-friend shows no sign of repenting and actually thinks that God does not mind if he is homosexual. He believes that when St. Paul condemned homosexuality he was merely speaking from his own cultural bias and wasn’t inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Shea: Indeed, I have talked to priests who tell me that there are people they counsel in gay relationships for whom it best to allow the relationship to continue for the time being since, for reasons specific to that relationship, it would result in something more destructive to end it. I can completely believe this (which will no doubt shock some of my more conservative Catholic readers for whom scorched earth is always better then accomodating human weakness).
R. Sungenis: If you haven’t fallen off your chair yet, the above conclusion by Shea should just about push you off the edge. How in the world a man claiming to be a Catholic would succumb to such a satanic ploy of counseling someone to continue in sin otherwise something more harmful will come is completely beyond the pale. The ends never justifies the means. We can just imagine Eve complaining to God that she ate the apple because if she had decided not to eat it the serpent would have killed her, and Adam would no longer have a mate, and the human race would have never existed. Very clever, but very wrong. The sad thing is, Shea’s bloggers should be outraged by his rationale, but so far none of them are, and this is why Mark Shea is so dangerous.
Shea: There is, after all, often real love present in homosexual relationships, however disordered, and love should be strengthened and perfected, not crushed with contempt.
R. Sungenis: Obviously, Shea doesn’t know what real love is. Homosexuals don’t love each other. They merely exhibit natural human affection that has been misdirected. If they really loved each other they would stop what they are doing to each other, immediately. I’ll go out on a limb and say that what is really happening here is that we are not getting a lesson in Catholic morals as much as we getting to know the real Mark Shea. Logically, Mark Shea has a problem with gluttony because he is trying to fill a hole in his being that can’t be filled. Mark Shea speaks with such vile on his blog because he doesn’t know what love is. Mark Shea condones the homosexual label and thinks that those who adopt it can live the Christian life because Mark Shea doesn’t know what the Christian life is.
Shea: At the same time, as a person who has never even been tempted to this particular form of concupiscence, I don’t feel myself Chosen by God to tell homosexual persons what they are supposed be doing beyond, “Seek Jesus Christ because he is the true source of the happiness you seek.” I suspect Perry Lorenzo would have said the same.
R. Sungenis: And this is precisely the problem. Matthew 18:15 tells us that if our brother sins against us (and homosexuality is a sin against the body of Christ, cf., 1 Cor 5:1-13; 6:15-20) then we are to approach that brother and tell him his sin. This is not about whether Mr. Shea “feels chosen by God” but about what God commands. Frilly statements such as “seek Jesus Christ” mean nothing when someone is in deep sin. “Repent of your sin” is the first thing they need to hear, otherwise Christ will remain far away from them. It’s uncanny that we have not heard the word “repentance” from the lips of Mark Shea during this whole article, yet that is the crux of the whole issue.
Shea: So if some gay person’s confessor or spiritual director takes a lenient approach to weakness I’m not going to offer my ignorant opinion to the contrary. God knoweth my confessor has often been lenient and merciful to me.
R. Sungenis: And perhaps he has been a bit too lenient – the very reason Perry Lorenzo never renounced his gay label.
Shea: The only thing I will not do is pretend that concupiscence is a God-given gift or lie that indulgence of sin is really an expression of virtue. Nor will I sit by when a thug like Dan Savage tries to intimidate and bully some defenseless kids into that pretense, or some gay goons beat up people who disagree with themor smash their property . I object to them, not because they are gay, but because they are bullies–exactly as I object to people who bully gays. But that’s it. My attitude to homosexuality, whether inclination or act, is therefore actually rather benign.
R. Sungenis: Mr. Shea’s attitude toward homosexuality may be benign, but his rejection of the basic principles of Christian justice and repentance are malignant.
Shea: If gays wish to live together, or have the benefit of law to protect their property, I don’t think it’s the job of the state to stop them. Not all sins should be illegal. I leave most matters between homosexuals and God and ask only that I not be subjected to demands to celebrate disordered appetite, acts contrary to nature or to pretend that an ontological impossibility is a marriage.
R. Sungenis: So what sins should be legal and what sins should be illegal? Is this just an arbitrary choice that Shea is proposing? And why, if homosexuality was considered a capital sin in the Old Testament and punishable by death, should it now be one of those secret sins that deserves to escape the scrutiny of both the government and the Church and should now be an issue only “between the homosexual and God”? The real problem here, I believe, is that Mr. Shea has a secret affection for homosexuals and he is thus doing his best to protect them from reprisal. Somewhere along the line Shea never learned what constitutes a God-glorifying and healthy relationship between human beings, and that fissure is now coming to the surface.
Shea: But mainly, I think of Perry Lorenzo, one of the finest Catholics and disciples of Jesus I have ever known and ask his prayers as I pray for him. He is one of my heros.
R. Sungenis: Next Shea will want us to make Perry Lorenzo the patron saint of homosexual Christians. God forbid that day should ever come, but in this perverse climate I would not be surprised if it did. God help us all.