The comments section has been pretty active for the past several days, and the subject that is on everybody’s mind is St. Andrew’s and Fr. Long. ( In case you didn’t know, if you are following some of these discussions, there is a section on the left sidebar that displays the latest comments. Clicking on a comment will take you straight to the discussion.) I have mostly stayed out of these discussions, but I thought I would address some of the issues raised by Fr. Long’s supporters.
Gerry Smith seems to express some common sentiments of Fr. Long supporters with these words:
“And you call yourself Christians. How can Christians behave like cowards when spreading false rumors and information about a man who is holy and who fully believes in the gospel. Fr. Long’s homilies reflect an intelligent and mature approach to the very complex religious questions of the day. Rather than walk away the way you did why not stay and engage in meaningful discourse regarding these questions. Catholicism is stronger when faith filled people feel free to ask questions and challenge those “in authority” when some things don’t seem to make sense. To do otherwise turns us into obedient robots who “obey” Church teachings more out of fear than faith. What you have done to this man is awful and evil.”
I will consider Gerry’s points in order:
- We are “spreading false rumors and information.” Since most of the case against Fr. Long is based on actual recordings of his public talks and homilies—which have been published on this website for everyone to examine for themselves—it is hard to see how we could be misrepresenting Fr. Long. The report on the Eucharist was made by an eyewitness who was present at Saturday morning benediction services when it happened. Fr. Long’s actions were observed by a room full of people. Also, most, if not all, of the reports on Fr. Long were sent to the diocese and were signed by the people who witnessed them. People have signed their names to the charges against Fr. Long. The group that I was working with also sought a meeting with the diocese that was to include Fr. Long. The meeting was supposed to take place on September 6th. We were prepared to meet with the diocese and confront Fr. Long face to face with our complaints. That ought to give greater credibility and weightiness to the charges we have made.
- “Rather than walk away the way you did why not stay and engage in meaningful discourse regarding these questions.” Most everyone I know met with Fr. Long personally before they took the matter to the diocese. And the meeting with the diocese that I mentioned above never happened because it was canceled by Fr. Long, according to the Raleigh dean, Fr. Justin Kerber. We were not the ones running away from dialogue. The decision to leave was an agonizing one for many people. Had it not been for our children, my wife and I might have stayed. But, as parents, we make a solemn promise to raise our children in the faith, and Fr. Long was a terrible hindrance in this regard.
- Fr. Long “fully believes in the gospel.” He has an odd way of showing it. Take a listen to the recordings on this website. Read the transcript for yourself. A central tenet of the Christian Gospel is that its truths are eternal. Here’s St. Paul from Galatians 1: 6–9:
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel— * 7not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.
But Fr. Long is preaching a different gospel. He claims that the original Gospel from the Bible is “tainted” by an unscientific view of human nature and sexuality. This new gospel is the gospel of modernism, a heresy which claims that “primitive” beliefs expressed in the Bible are being refuted by advances in science. This is an extremely popular view today, and the New Atheists deserve the credit for this. According to Pew Research, the view that Christianity is incompatible with science is responsible for a mass exodus out of the Catholic Church: 6 leave for every one that enters. (I’ve mentioned these things in other articles.)
Gerry, if you want to have a dialogue, then let’s have one. That’s why I wrote the book. That’s why I created this website. Let’s have a dialogue about the Church’s teachings on sexuality. Does science really refute what the Bible says? “HERESY SCHMERESY!” I SAY. Let’s not be intimidated by words. Our only concern should be with the truth. If the heretics are right and St. Paul is wrong, then I will side with the heretics. In fact, I will proudly wear the heretic badge, if they are right and the Bible is wrong. My point is this. I call myself a Christian and a Catholic, and I follow the Bible because I believe that all of what the Church teaches is true. And I am prepared to defend that truth.
Because the Bible is true, science does not contradict its teachings. That is the position I stake out in my book. It’s the same position that St. John Paul the Great takes in The Theology of the Body. He predicts that science will ultimately vindicate the “moral psychology of the Bible.”
As I show in my book, science already has vindicated it. And what science has shown should scare the hell out of atheists. For what it shows is that the mind behaves like a soul: it is rewarded for virtue, and it is punished for sin. And if it walks like a soul, and it quacks like a soul—it’s a soul!
8 thoughts on “Answering Your Questions”
The need for “The Bible Timeline, The Story of Salvation” Bible study DVDs come to mind when reading the above reflections on Bible. The best investment/gift I can think of. Can be purchased on https://ascensionpress.com/shop/products/the-bible-timeline-the-story-of-salvation-new-version-2-dot-0-dvd-set .
John Gravino, God Bless you for standing up for the Truth of the Catholic Church and thank you for fulfilling the Spiritual Work of Mercy: Give correction to those who need it; pertaining Fr Long. Thank you and many others for not being indifferent and motivating many to action. It is very hurtful to read all the personal attacks that you encounter, because the cause is not personal, limited to opinions. It is about the Doctrines and Truths of the Catholic Chrurch: OUR FAITH.
It is amazing to walk to St Andrew’s and see the altar properly dressed and St Andrew’s Statue back at its place.
Please draw strength knowing that you saved/warned many. You are the Mattathias from Maccabees1. God Blesses you and your Family for your Witness and Testimony.
I am thankful that John Gravino is not a priest.
I remember the Church from before Vatican II. That was a church that taught (yes, I went to Catholic grade and high schools) that non-Catholics could lead good lives but not go to heaven. Your tolerance of 30,000 alternate denominations would have been heretical not so long ago. The Church apparently evolved since I don’t believe it teaches that anymore. (Or do you?) Philosophical or theological evolution is driven by question and thought. Un-evolving positions eventually die of disinterest.
I travel extensively. I would estimate that I have only been in St Andrew’s masses 50% of Fr. Bill’s tenure. I certainly don’t know every word out of his mouth. I do know that I wasn’t offended by those words that I did hear. I acknowledge that some were more liberal than I previously heard, but I considered them thought provoking not apocalyptic.
If you are inviting me to leave the Catholic Church or even just St. Andrew’s, I’ll decline. I expect to hang around and listen with an open mind. I might even ask others around me to open their minds every once in a while. Is that alright?
Why does this and its related webpages/blogs feel like an appeal for the old days? Is it intended as an opposition to change and acknowledgement of modernity? Or even an opposition to Papal tolerance? Is the Bible error free? Was the world created in exactly seven 24 hour days, 6000 years ago? Was St. Paul ever Pope speaking ex cathedra? Is the universe geocentric? I never would have called myself a liberal until I started reading these ultraconservative posts. Let’s not revert to celebrations of Christianity with the presider facing a wall and reading lessons in a dead language that no one understands. Let light and renewed interpretations of the Book fill our domain.
Whose interpretations are you advocating for? The Catholic Church’s or Fr. Bill Long’s? There is a vast difference on many key issues. Which do you ultimately prefer?
Tolerance. My world is not black and white. There’s a lot of gray in it. I do not believe in a literal Bible. After all, it was assembled around 325 AD from translated languages under the proctorship of an emperor who didn’t become a Christian until later when he was on his death bed. Some available books were accepted, others rejected to consolidate a compromise suitable for its time and paternalistic society. You may see black and white; I see gray. The phrasing of your question implies your disagreement with Father Long. You may be right; Father Bill maybe right. Having both views make me think. Isn’t that a good thing?
Those are all fair points. What I struggle with is that I attend a CATHOLIC parish to advance my understanding of our CATHOLIC faith under the leadership of a CATHOLIC priest who has taken a vow of obedience to the CATHOLIC Church to help me in my faith development. I am not searching for something “new” or for an alternative viewpoint to consider. I have already explored and have chosen to embrace CATHOLICISM. That’s fair enough, right?
I do not oppose Fr. Long for his views – I oppose the fact that he is promoting alternative views that are incompatible with Catholic doctrines IN OUR CATHOLIC PARISH. I think this is understandable. I wouldn’t go to a Baptist church with an expectation that they will promote Catholic/Methodist/Buddhist teaching there. Why would I? I go to a Catholic Church with a very fair and reasonable expectation to hear CATHOLIC teaching there – that is the fundamental purpose of EVERY Catholic parish: to promote Faith-development based on well-defined Catholic principles.
I appreciate your comment that things aren’t always black and white. Indeed, there is a lot of gray that exists in theology. That is why there are over 30,000 different Protestant denominations now – everyone can choose whichever shade of gray appeals to them the most. If you don’t like any of those 30,000 shades, you can create your own new one to promote for others to follow. This is what concerns me about what is happening at Saint Andrews. Many of the views that Father Long is promoting are in direct conflict with Catholic teaching. (e.g. As a fellow Catholic, were you not the least bit confused/concerned/alarmed by his homily attacking the Church’s position on the Sacrament of Reconciliation/ Confession?) Some core beliefs should remain core beliefs, and should not be diluted down into a different shade of gray. These are what defines every faith community. Our Catholic ethos is also based on our core theological principles. If Father Long, or his supporters (or both), have different views on these core teachings, then it would be appropriate for them to go form denomination number 30,001, which will be defined by ITS OWN new and unique belief system. If it differs from Catholicism, that’s okay. But it’s not okay for Father Long to change the character of our core Catholic doctrines based on HIS personal views and promote HIS version of them to Catholics who are there to grow in their CATHOLIC faith.
Or do you think this is alright?
Sorry, I am an unevolved dinosaur. I inadvertently posted your Reply as a new post. Sorry.