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!