Is Boycotting Immoral?

The boycott seems to be the hot topic in the comments section, and because it has received so much criticism, I thought I should say something in its defense. First I need to correct some FAKE NEWS that is circulating.  There is not a shred of evidence that Fr. Long was forced out or pressured to leave in any way.  He resigned.  End of story.  That’s the official public account of what happened, and there is good reason to believe it.

According to what I have been told by an eyewitness, Fr. Long had a meeting with the music director, at which time, the music director tendered her resignation.  Fr. Long came out of the meeting and abruptly announced to the 9:30 choir that he also was resigning.  That is what happened, as I understand it.  The people who would be the best source of information for more precise details are the members of the 9:30 choir.  But the long and the short of it is this: the boycott does not appear to have been a factor in Fr. Long’s resignation.  He chose to leave on his own.

If that is an accurate account of how Long’s resignation transpired, then, not only was the boycott not a factor, neither were any considerations of doctrine—contrary to the account of C. Davis.  For months, concerned parishioners sent letters and emails to the diocese with documentation of serious doctrinal  error.  And we are talking about big errors—not the little stuff.  The kind of stuff that can land you in hell if you’re wrong about it.  And for all that time, the diocese did nothing.  To say that Long’s heresies were a factor in his leaving is also to ignore the facts.

Which brings me back to the boycott.  Let’s be clear that if the diocese had done the right thing in the first place, there never would have been a boycott.  Some of you appear to be under the mistaken impression that this protest was entered into lightly, without consideration given to the serious moral ramifications of our actions.  A faithful Catholic doesn’t protest his own church and bishop!  We aren’t Protestants!  Those of us who took this on did so with fear and trembling—no exaggeration. Most of us had never complained about a priest—ever.  And there were many lengthy discussions and disagreements about the moral implications of our actions (what about the duty of obedience?).

An informal consensus arose among the protesters, inspired by Scripture, that, before any action be taken with the diocese, we should first talk to Fr. Long individually and privately:

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the Church; and if he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Mt. 18:15-17)

There was lots of talk about this Bible passage among us protesters.  And we took it seriously. (As a side note, you should know that, in his commentary on this passage, Thomas Aquinas explains that Jesus is establishing the procedure for excommunication.)

The same is true with the boycott.  There were debates and disagreements.  And not all of us supported the idea of boycotting.  I was one who supported the idea 100%, and no criticism I have heard here has persuaded me that I was wrong about that.  I already explained in an email to Chris that no boycotter was advocating that we not give money to charity.  There are countless ways to support the poor without giving money to the BAA.  And if you like a charity that receives money from the BAA, then send them a check directly. There is no need to go through the BAA.

In my own mind, the boycott of the BAA was not all about Fr. Long.  It was also about the bishop, for his lack of response to our letters was of great concern.  “Doesn’t the bishop care about the protection of his flock, about their proper formation and education as Catholics?”  Those concerns were (and still are) valid, given what is going on in the Church today.  I have already shown that many bishops espouse the same modernist heresies that are promoted by Fr. Long and Fr. James Martin.  Was the bishop’s silence and inaction an indication of his agreement with these heresies?  We weren’t sure.  But what we were absolutely sure about was that the bishop’s silence was not a good sign.

More than that, the bishop’s long inaction was justification enough to start a boycott.  Whether a heretic or not, doing nothing to remove Fr. Long constituted a serious breach of the bishop’s obligation to shepherd his flock rightly.  That is how I saw it and still see it.  And I suspected many others believed the same.  So I started the boycott.  I believe we still have freedom of conscience in this country—no?  If I am not free to use my money in a way that is consistent with my conscience, what kind of freedom is that?

The boycott still makes sense to me.  We cannot support heretics in the Church, period. If the bishop was not going to take a stand against a priest who says that serious sins are not sins at all, that the Bible is in error, that St. Paul’s teachings are wrong, that Jesus “didn’t know everything,” then such a bishop is not entitled to my financial support.  What is so unreasonable about that?

And it’s reasonable to Fr. Dwight Longenecker too, for he said exactly the same thing I’m saying:

The faithful in their parishes and dioceses should rise up and blizzard them [bishops and priests] with letters, emails and the one thing that will really make them sit up and take notice: withholding their contributions. Source: Let’s Name the Abortion Providing Politicians | Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Is Fr. Longenecker a “pitchfork-bearing radical,” C. Davis?  How about Martin Luther King?  Henry David Thoreau? Boycotting and civil protest enjoy a long and venerable tradition in our country.  You could hardly have a democracy without them.

18 thoughts on “Is Boycotting Immoral?

  1. Marvelous

    The Parish remains at the lowest participation level in the BAA.
    Remember, it is paid whether our parishioners donate or not. Thus, this will hurt the overall parish budget for a long time.
    Are you all proud of yourselves?

    1. Through another lens

      St. Andrew exceeded this years’s BAA goal with a participation level commensurate with past years.

      1. Through another lens

        The BAA campaign continues through the end of the calendar year, and the pattern of giving at St. Andrew continues – a small percentage of parishioners contribute to weekly collections, special collections, and the BAA – helping the parish reach its financial goals and obligations.

  2. Marvelous

    Boycotting the BAA only hurts the parish. The BAA is not voluntary on the part of the parish. The parish must pay their share, it is essentilly a fee set by the Diocese. No matter what the parish collects, the parish pays the Diocesan “goal”. Please know your facts before acting!

  3. Suzanne B.

    Is your BAA contribution your “30 pieces of silver”? Did you set out to trap Fr. Bill the way the Pharisees set out to trap Jesus? Did your “Sanhedrin” condemn a man, who like Jesus, promoted love, tolerance, and inclusion? Fr. Bill is in good company; you and your adherents, not so much.

    1. Ninny Compoop

      Your are exactly right Suzanne. These claims against Father Bill are astonishing in their similarities to the scribes/elders trying to trap Jesus in the Gospels. Folks, focus first on love, tolerance, compassion, openness…..obsessing over points of doctrine is not the pathway….Jesus made that eminently clear over and over and over in the Gospels.

      1. John Gravino

        Dear Ninny,
        First is this from the Sermon on the Mount, Mt. 5:17-20. The clear message of Jesus is that points of moral doctrine are non-negotiable. Verses 19-20 imply that the person who ignores the moral law and teaches others to ignore it forfeits their salvation:

        “17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. * 18For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

        Now take a look at Gal. 1:6-9. St. Paul says that anyone who preaches a contrary gospel is under a divine curse:

        “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.”

        The recordings show that Fr. Long rejected much of the most basic teachings of Christianity. Indeed, he taught a different gospel, and in doing so, endangered his salvation, as these Bible passages make make clear.

        At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that “the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few,” (Mt. 7:14).

        All of which goes to show that Fr. Long and his supporters are in desperate need of prayers and instruction.

        Pax Christi,

  4. mary

    Is boycott immoral?
    Is giving money to parish that promote this moral?
    St. Michael, Cary NC Feb. 18 2018:
    Dear Parishioners,
    I am taking this opportunity to introduce you to a new initiative in our journey from leading our parish from
    maintenance of Faith to our call to share our Faith and live as Evangelizers and Missionaries. I am calling this
    initiative “STRENTHENING OUR SENSE OF COMMUNITY”. There are 2 organizations that now are part of
    this initiative: Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), and Habitat for Humanity. Today we begin a series of Fre-
    quently Asked Questions about IAF.
    Q: What is the IAF?
    The “IAF” is the Industrial Areas Foundation, the country’s oldest and largest organizing network. The IAF was founded in the
    1940s by Saul Alinsky, who organized the country’s first neighborhood association, “The Back of the Yards Council,” in Chicago’s
    South Side. Alinsky went on to organize other successful community projects including FIGHT in Rochester New York and the
    Woodlawn Organization in Chicago’s African American communities.
    page 12

    Alinsky’s work promoted in our parish?????

  5. titrisol

    It is interesting to me the perception that the boycott had an important effect on anything
    While the Church has budgets and monetary consideration, I relive that any charitable giving is a result of a dialogue with our conscience, and while many parishioners withheld their weekly collection contributions I am not sure that mad a dent big enough. Same with the BAA,

    IMHO Boycotting is not inmoral

  6. Paul G

    While this is a continuation of my previous comment, I post it as new because the the stacking of related comments and replies within replies is getting confusing.

    First, in all due respect, I do acknowledge and appreciate the openness of the webpage. Comments are being posted honestly regardless of position or tone. Thank you for that. My connection of logic and irony tends to create sarcasm. I further appreciate your tolerance for it.

    It seems that Fr. Long’s resignation has now become a point of sensitivity to the activists opposed to him. It’s almost that this new discussion is defensive with respect to the activists’ success. People appear to be insisting that the resignation was “voluntary” and not compelled by the actions of the group. While possibly literally correct, the spirit of the activist effort tainted Fr. Bill’s tenure from virtually his arrival. While possibly factually correct, the choir director’s resignation and engagement of the 9:30 choir were just more acts in the tragic play originally staged by this activist community. This is not Fake News. You did this deed, and initially bragged about it. Own it, and then confess it. Maybe Fr. Bill can grant you a general absolution for it before he leaves. (Sorry; I can’t help my ironic nature.)

    I chose the word activist carefully. I wanted to avoid my previous “dissident” and your word “protestor”. Irony again: One post herein claimed that we should be compliant Catholics and follow the lead of our Bishop. “We are not Protestants” was exclaimed above, but the post referred to the activist community as “protestors” which, if etymology doesn’t fail me, has the same root as “Protestant”. As to compliance, hierarchal leadership is not always right. Most recently, it gave us the child abuse and cover-up scandals that has rocked our Church. If you are a protestor, own it. I fully expect to protest malfeasance in leadership. I’ll own it.

    New ideas and change are hard but they are a form of growth. Seldom do they come easily; most times they follow thought, dissent and protest. They Civil War was 150+ years ago; civil rights debatably less than 50. It took thought, dissent, protest and a second round of pain to emplace the uncomfortable changes we are still struggling with. You protested not to cause change but prevent even the thought of it. That’s probably what upsets me most, intolerance of other ideas. I want to be able to think and consider, accept and reject. I’ll own that.

  7. C. Davis

    P.S. – For purposes of full disclosure, I am not a roving reporter from New Walden News Corp or any other “breaking news” organization. I am merely a concerned parishioner that is sharing his views.

    I am in no way reporting FAKE NEWS by suggesting that Father Long either chose, or was asked by our Bishop, to resign from his duties at St. Andrews due to his incompatible doctrinal views that he was promoting to our congregation. This is simply my view, which I do feel is supported by the facts.

    I think we should all give the benefit of the doubt to our NEW Bishop who was recently installed and has not been managing the Raleigh diocese for very long. Shortly after his installation people started writing letters of concern to him about Father Long’s activities. All Bishops receive letters of complaint from parishioners about their pastors. This is not unusual, and most of them are arguably just an “emotional release” about a point of disagreement – not a fundamentally dire situation, such as this one.

    I am a believer in due process when anyone is accused of any serious wrongdoing. I presume our Bishop and the faculty of our diocese would also give the benefit of the doubt to an accused priest and objectively investigate the claims in accordance with the virtues of due process. I would expect patience, prayer, and a thoughtful evaluation of the evidence by our Bishop prior to terminating a priest from his position in our Parish. This takes time, and we should not expect a hasty or premature response until a thorough evaluation can be conducted.

    I personally received a response to one of the letters I wrote to the Bishop, thanking me for my feedback as he “continues to discuss these very serious concerns with Father long directly.”. This tells me the Bishop was actually engaged in this matter, but was doing so in a very fair and direct manner with Father Long. In my view, we have now seen the conclusion of Bishop Zarama’s “discussions” with Father Long.

    I never had any doubt that Father Long would ultimately be removed from his post at St Andrews. There is no way that a Catholic priest can be allowed to promote alternative views on doctrinal matters that are in direct conflict with Catholic teaching. I can understand your frustration that his apostasy was allowed to last for six or seven months, but I think the delays are understandable as it would naturally take time for a new bishop to wrap his mind around such an atrocious and unbelievable situation. Due process is not always swift, and I think it is wrong to criticize the bishop for his “inaction” when I know that he was actively engaged and responding to this tragedy that we have all suffered through.

  8. Paul G

    p.s. (to my other comment): You may claim that he voluntarily resigned. I’ll always believe that he was essentially driven out by the action of the dissidents who poisoned the well.

  9. Paul G

    What FAKE NEWS? I read in this very blog how the dissident threat of a boycott forced the Bishop’s hand. I believe that the dissident faction bragged about the success of that strategy. I thought the specific comment was threat the possibility of a boycott got the Bishop’s attention. Are you hiding from your previous posts?

    1. John Gravino

      Everything is in the open, Paul—give me that much credit at least. I have not censored anyone on this blog for disagreeing with me or criticizing me. I believe the boycott got the bishop’s attention, yes. He immediately responded to some boycotters by writing letters to them. But that doesn’t mean that that was the cause of Long’s resignation. I have been told by more than one person that his resignation was a response to the music director’s resignation. I think that members of the 9:30 choir could help us out here. I could be wrong. You could be wrong. The truth might be some combination. I don’t know. I’m trying to be factual and I’m trying to stick to the evidence I have.

      1. C. Davis

        In light of all that has transpired, I have a hard time believing that our priest suddenly resigned because the choir director left.

      2. Scholastyka

        For anyone to really know what Fr. long is about, you MUST hear the recordings (in this website). I attended his Q&A sessions. He let it all out on his first one. I was also a daily mass attendee, so I’ve heard enough. We’re not talking about style here ( approachable, charming, friendly, etc.) That’s how the devil lures people. We’re talking about Catholic doctrine, Jesus’ Church –The Word according to God, not the Word according to Bill Long. After multiple letters and pleas to the bishop, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt, even after someone told me there was a James Martin book study at St. Andrew’s last fallI. I heard the new bishop wrote to Fr. Long and thank him for the invitation and would pray for this mission. The study leader read this letter to James Martin (via Skype). I was shocked the bishop had taken the time to thank the people on this mission! Heretical James Martin mission! I prayed and waited patiently. Eventually I decided to boycott the BAA. I was protesting the handling of this serious matter. I could still help Catholic charities, but not the mission of anyone who wants to destroy our church by either attacking it, or enabling such individuals to spread heresy.
        Fr. Long actively attacked our church and his erroneous teachings were spread quickly and attracted many parishioners, including some who have written here. You can see how much division he created. This did not come from God. Long is not afraid of Him. He has implied we are all divine, multiple times.
        For all who are still under his spell, wake up and learn about your Faith! Be glad and pray we get a faithfull shepherd next time.

  10. C. Davis

    “Pitchfork-bearing radicals” is not how I would characterize Father Long’s opponents. That was my PERCEPTION of how Father Long’s DEFENDERS were characterizing his opponents. It was a tongue-in-cheek comment about their mis-characterizations of the people who are standing up to defend their faith. I am also part of this group.

    I still believe that Father Long’s misaligned doctrinal beliefs are what led to his departure. After so many complaints to the bishop I can only assume that he acted prudently and requested Father Long’s resignation. That is just my view, but it seems to add up.

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