Sneak Peek at My New Book
This is part II of the series. If you have not read part I, you really need to do so in order to understand part II. In part I, I showed how Bishop Barron’s presentation of Amoris Laetitia, reveals the major themes—and flaws—of the controversial papal document. One of those themes is “gay inclusion.” According to this idea, homosexuals need to fully participate in the life of the Church. Barron follows the Amoris narrative that gay inclusion is just a pastoral policy motivated simply by mercy and compassion for sinners and nothing more. Here in part II, I discuss how Barron’s long association with Mundelein Seminary exposes a deception in his presentation of gay inclusion. For, at Mundelein, gay inclusion had nothing to do with “mercy for sinners.” It was really about gay equality—a flagrant doctrinal heresy. Here is part II of the three-part series from my soon-to-be-published expanded edition of Confronting the Pope of Suspicion. [This is the rough cut—footnotes are left out, formatting is missing, etc.]
Gay Equality at Mundelein Seminary
As I pointed out in my book, there were no original ideas in Amoris Laetitia; thus gay inclusion too was an old idea. When Barron came to the topic of inclusion in his presentation, he raised the subject of Mundelein Seminary.17 This was providential. For Mundelein was an early laboratory for gay inclusion. Barron had a long association with the seminary, first as a student, later as a professor, and ultimately as rector of the seminary.18 What Mundelein demonstrates is that gay inclusion means gay equality—equal participation, equal access to the sacraments. It was one of Mundelein’s trailblazing professors who co-authored the bible for sexual liberation theology. Her name was Sr. Agnes Cunningham, and the book was Human Sexuality, a book that enjoys the dubious distinction of having been condemned, not once, but twice, by two different popes.19 She taught at Mundelein for twenty-four years, including the time that Barron spent there as a student.20 Here is what the she wrote about Holy Communion for homosexuals:
Christian homosexuals have the same needs and rights to the sacraments as heterosexuals. . . .
In the light of all these considerations, solidly probable opinion can be invoked in favor of permitting a homosexual . . . free access to the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist.21
Mundelein became a laboratory for all of the wild ideas in Cunningham’s book, gay inclusion chief among them. It was an inclusion based, not on mercy for sinners, but on an equality that had been established by the sciences according to Cunningham’s heretical book. Bishop Barron knew from his own experience that it wasn’t out of “mercy and compassion” that gays were full participants at Mundelein. That would be to receive gays as you would receive a drug addict or wife-beater—as a sinner. No, gays were not second-class citizens in any respect. According to the excellent Michael Rose book Goodbye, Good Men, the gays ran the place at Mundelein. They were “out, proud, and open.”22
The Barron and Francis propaganda that gay inclusion is based on compassion for sinners carries with it the implication that the sin of homosexuality is still recognized and that efforts should be made to repent or reform. But there was no repentance or reform at Mundelein because no one saw a need for it since “science showed that homosexuality was normal and healthy.” And the same goes for all the seminaries around the world that practiced gay inclusion. If gay inclusion really was a pastoral policy to help gays overcome their sins and better conform themselves to the “ideal of the Gospel,” then where are all the books documenting the successes of these seminaries in converting their gay seminarians? You won’t find any because they don’t exist—because it never happened.
Just the opposite happened, in fact, as Michael Rose documents in his book. Seminarians at Mundelein weren’t conforming to the Gospel; they were queering to their own disordered natures:
“One hall in the seminary dorm,” related [Joseph] Kellenyi, “is nicknamed the ‘Catwalk,’ known as the residence of the more fashionable gays.” . . . One member of the formation faculty in particular, he said, was known to take seminarians to high-profile gay events such as a popular gay production in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. According to Kellenyi . . . one of the big events at the seminary was whenever a seminarian would “come out” as being a homosexually oriented person. . . . Oddly enough, attested Kellenyi, once a seminarian “came out,” he would be wined and dined—literally—by certain faculty priests. . . . [T]he special status given to openly gay seminarians, he said, is beyond the pale.23
Let’s not overlook the important lesson to be learned from Mundelein, which is this: The history of gay inclusion as it was taught and practiced by priests and seminarians over the past fifty years reveals that the point of gay inclusion was never to facilitate gay conversions. It was just the opposite—to assert gay equality—an equality that doesn’t seek conversion at all because it doesn’t recognize any need for conversion or repentance. On the contrary, it asserts gay equality on the grounds that science discovered homosexuality to be perfectly healthy, natural, and thus, not sinful or disordered in any way. To quote a popular James Martin refrain, “God made you the way you are; and you are beautifully and wonderfully made.”
Church developments since the publication of Amoris Laetitia strongly suggest that the papal document is being read by the clergy as a green light for gay equality. That’s what James Martin preaches, and he enjoys the support of many bishops.24 The statements coming from the German Synod and the other events of the “December Massacre”—from the Vatican and the pope himself—all suggest that gay inclusion today is exactly what it was in progressive seminaries fifty years ago: gay inclusion is still about gay equality.25
Thus, Barron’s presentation on inclusion was a deception. True, it was a faithful presentation of paragraph 305 of Amoris, but that paragraph is, itself, a Trojan horse whose sole purpose is to deceive the faithful about the true nature of gay inclusion. The purpose of the deception? To spread gay inclusion and impose gay equality throughout the Church with as little resistance as possible. More on that in a moment.
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and Human Sexuality
As I explained in Confronting the Pope of Suspicion, there is yet an even darker lesson to be learned from the progressive culture at Mundelein. The heretical teaching that sexual morality should come from science rather than the Bible, and which Barron defended, albeit in a diluted form, was the chief cause of the sexual abuse crisis. As I showed in my book, it wasn’t just homosexuality that was normalized. Some textbooks even defended pedophilia. These theology books cited “scientific” research that purported to demonstrate that pedophilia was not harmful to children.26
Although you won’t hear it from Bishop Barron or Pope Francis or James Martin, you will hear it from Fr. Richard John Neuhaus that the sexual liberationist ideas of the seventies were directly responsible for the epidemic of clergy sexual abuse. In this 2002 excerpt from First Things, published in the midst of the exploding sex abuse scandal, Neuhaus specifically blames the Mundelein professor’s textbook:
In 1972, the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) established a commission whose findings were published in a 1979 book from
Doubleday, Human Sexuality. The seeds of everything that has come to light in recent months are to be found there. . . .
The book is thoroughly revisionist from A to Z, flying in the face of the Church’s teaching on contraception, celibacy, chastity, homosexuality, and even “albeit more delicately”on bestiality. . . . But the book has been widely used in seminaries. Seminarians and priests of the time who had a woman or a male lover on the side could, and did, cite Human Sexuality to reasonably claim that a very large part, if not the majority, of the academic theological establishment countenanced their behavior. . . . Thus did academic and theological dissent promiscuously issue permission slips for an era of wink-wink, nudge-nudge, the consequences of which are now on scandalous public display.27
Lessons From Bishop Barron
I made Bishop Barron the focus of this essay because, despite his many evasions and misrepresentations—and because of them—his defense of Amoris Laetitia was quite instructive. In his presentation Barron identified and defended the major ideas (and heresies) of Amoris Laetitia:28
The heresy that science, and not the Bible, is the basis for understanding sexual morality; (This leads to the justification of homosexuality and other perversions like pedophilia. As I showed in Confronting the Pope of Suspicion, the science heresy was directly responsible for the clergy sexual abuse scandal.)
The heresy that Biblical sexual morality is an ideal to strive for (or not) rather than a minimum standard for a state of grace and admission to Holy Communion;29
- The heresy, per note 351 of Amoris, recommending admission to Holy Communion for those who “fall short of the Gospel ideal on sexuality,” which violates the teaching on mortal sin. (This is the “gay inclusion” heresy.)
Barron’s defense of Amoris Laetitia could have just as easily been a defense of the condemned Mundelein textbook Human Sexuality. They contain all the same heresies. As I explained in Confronting the Pope of Suspicion, all the ideas of Amoris Laetitia originated in the sexual liberation heresies of the seventies. Which explains why Barron thought to mention Mundelein in his commentary on gay inclusion. The connection that Barron makes between the teaching and practice of Mundelein and Amoris Laetitia proves that the clergy view Amoris in precisely this way: as a papal endorsement of these sexual liberation heresies. That’s how Fr. James Martin reads Amoris Laetitia. And that’s how the German bishops read it too. Which is how the dubia Cardinals also read the document and why they implicitly condemned it as contrary to Scripture and Tradition. And it goes without saying that, if Francis has dubia (questions) to answer for Amoris Laetitia, so do Bishop Barron and all the others who have promoted its heresies. The biggest dubium of all being the one coming from Fr. Richard John Neuhaus: how can a pope and so many bishops be promoting the very same ideas that were responsible for clergy sexual abuse?30
[Coming tomorrow, the third and final installment.]