The picture on the previous blog post (and I put it above as well) about the firing of the music teacher who publicly announced his fake marriage is from a manuscript of Dante’s Inferno. It depicts a scene in Canto XV where Dante and Virgil encounter Brunetto Latini, a former teacher of Dante’s who is consigned to eternal torment in hell for the grave sin of sodomy.
This Canto is a very poignant one, and presents Brunetto Latini’s many favorable characteristics and his positive influence on Dante. He is noble, he is wise, he is a sympathetic character. Dante addresses these words to him:
Within my memory is fixed-and nowmoves me-your dear, your kind paternal imagewhen, in the world above, from time to time
you taught me how man makes himself eternal;and while I live, my gratitude for thatmust always be apparent in my words.
And yet, at no point does either Dante or Latini rail against God for the sentence under which the teacher suffers. Nor does either defend sodomy as a lifestyle. In fact, part of the sympathy Latini’s character engenders comes from his acceptance of his sentence, which his behavior shows is justly imposed.
My point is that the behavior of sodomy, which scripture includes as one of the sins that “cry out to Heaven for vengeance,” is condemned because it contravenes the natural law and leads souls to hell. Any particular person who is tempted to this sin may have many outstanding qualities. In fact, his struggle against the force of this temptation may be truly heroic, especially since nearly everyone in society today would tell them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the act. The duty of a Christian is to help them, not to encourage them to continue down a path that leads to temporal and eternal ruin. Charity must inform our actions towards these persons; but charity must be supported by the truth.
It is always difficult to write about matters relating to same-sex attraction and the Catholic Church. Not because there is any doubt about the moral law or the rectitude of Catholic teaching, but because of two things: 1) the moral depravity of our culture encourages immoral behavior to such an extent that it becomes a mere “lifestyle choice”; and, 2) neither those persons who suffer from such attraction nor most Catholics in general have been formed well enough by the very same Church that should have been more zealous for souls than it has been for the last fifty years. These two factors create a situation where the teaching of the Church– and the natural law itself– appears arbitrary and subjects the Church to gleeful attack from her enemies when she does act to uphold the moral law.
Yet, it must be said that the Archdiocese did the right thing in firing the “openly gay” music teacher at St. Ann School in north St. Louis County who publicly announced his fake marriage to another man, whom he describes as his long-term “partner”. And expect the Archdiocese to be pilloried in the press. The linked story is from STLToday, and I won’t repost it here, but there are a few comments I’d like to add:
1. The teacher is described as “popular”. Of course, because we know the Church is “unpopular”. The truth is always opposed by the world.
2. The fired teacher wrote his own letter to parents to tell them why he was fired. In this letter, he strongly suggests that this only occurred because someone from the Archdiocese overheard a conversation about the faux wedding, and that the pastor and principal of St. Ann were supportive of the two men:
In his letter to parents, Fischer wrote: “I think the word has been well spread that this is not the fault of St. Ann School or its leadership, and I want to emphasize that I get that, too.” It added that the school’s principal and the parish priest “are still there for me in a big way.”
The letter encouraged parents to talk to their children. “A family conversation about whether or not justice was served here could be a great thing,” it read. “I do not want the lesson from this for the kids to be, ‘Keep your mouth shut, hide who you are or what you think if it will get you in trouble.'”
Now, support of the school is his allegation, and we cannot assume it is true. If it were true, I wish I could say I was surprised. But far from putting the school in a good light, it is a reminder that the Archdiocese should take a far greater interest in what goes on in their schools. A school pastor or principal should be disciplined if they knowingly employ a person who publicly defies Catholic teaching at a Catholic school. Again, we don’t know if they did, but there is very troubling indicia of it, including this gem:
Among his roles as an area musician, he is artistic director of the Gateway Men’s Chorus, which, according to the group’s website, “affirms and promotes gay culture and acceptance through excellence in musical performance and education.” A biography of Fischer on the group’s website includes a reference to his partner of 20 years.
3. It is a mistake to think that the public espousal of sodomy by a music teacher at a Catholic school is irrelevant to his qualifications to teach there. As you can see by his letter, he attempts (and almost certainly has attempted throughout) to persuade Catholic students that their Church is wrong in defending marriage. Does the Archdiocese want to pay someone to do that? This action shows they don’t, and they deserve credit.
4. The Church around the world, including in this country, has presided over the general emasculation of the faith– I mean this in every sense of the term. Our defense of doctrine is anemic; our priests have lost physical and mental vigor; our liturgy is emasculated; heresy is not only not rooted out but is even countenanced. Items like this no longer surprise, and what does surprise is that the only surprise is when the Church takes a stand at last– like on the contraception mandate. We continue to reap the whirlwind.
5. The persecution is upon us. The time has come to defend the faith without regard to the cost. The Archbishop and those at the Archdiocese deserve credit for this decision, but they should also use the occasion to conduct a systematic and immediate review of the staff of every school.
I’m going to clean up my desk.
Well, and also leap day. Furthermore, today is Ember Wednesday in Lent:
Deliver me from my necessities, O Lord: see my abjection and my labor; and forgive me all my sins. To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul; in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed; neither let mine enemies laugh at me. For none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded: let all them be confounded that do vain things.
—Tract from today’s Mass
Pray for our priests.