Friday, October 15, 2010

"Don't Ask Don't Tell" What Does It Mean For Catholics?

A student at Ritter came up the other day and asked for help on a research paper. She said she was going to be doing a big project on the "don't ask don't tell" policy of our U.S. military. She wanted help tracking down some sources.

I was interested in her question and I had wondered the same thing myself. I came across an interesting news report from Catholic News Services (certainly no conservative outlet) that warned that if "don't ask don't tell" were ever repealed, it would likely be the case that chaplains to the military would not be accepted from any religious group that openly considers homosexuality a sin (the Church only considers homosexual acts a sin, but most don't believe there is a difference between judging the acts and judging the persons committing them) (read the story by clicking here).

The military is already starving for priests as a large percentage of our military personnel are Catholic. I came across an article in the Phoenix Catholic Sun that notes that 28% of our service men and women are Catholic, but only 8% of our chaplains are Catholic. If "don't ask don't tell" gets struck down, an already underserved Catholic population could potentially be completely cut off from receiving the sacraments. Let's pray that it doesn't happen.


  1. Catholicism doesn't consider homosexuality to be a, no problem. Though I am not buying premise of the linked article. The entire premise of the article is based on the thoughts of the Alliance Defense Fund, not from the military/government. It wasn't a news report, it was a press release.

  2. Flower,

    Good point - thanks for the correction. I was quickly typing this out and didn't even read over it. I made a slight edit to the post.

    Also, if you read my post, I point out that banning Catholic clergy is not a given if "don't ask don't tell" is repealed; I posted the story because it was a POSSIBILITY I had never heard before and I thought it was interesting.

  3. Hey Father John,

    I am unsure why any Catholic would be against the repeal of DADT. DADT says that no openly homosexual person is allowed to serve, whether they are sexually active or not. I am sure that there are chaste homosexuals (more than likely some are Catholic too!) in the military. Why would one be for the military discriminating against them? Yes, I am also aware that there are plenty of sexually active homosexuals in the military, but there are also plenty of (unmarried)sexually active hetrosexuals and I have never heard anyone make the claim that the military should ban hetrosexuals.

    I realize that you never said that the banning of Catholic clergy was a given. But, I think that you posting this possibility on your blog is essentially fearmongering. There is no REASONABLE fear of this happening.

  4. One Catholic, the Archbishop of military services, opposes "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The story is found here

    I doubt one would suggest that the Archbishop is fearmongering.

  5. I would suggest that the Archbishop is fearmongering if he blogged about the possibility of Catholic clergy from the military is DADT is repealed. The Archbishop never implied that in the article that you posted.

    It would seem as though he is against the repeal, but he argues against himself when he says "homosexuals must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." That is exactly what DATD does.

  6. flower,

    When the Archbishop argues that "homosexuals must be accepted with respect compassion and sensitivity..." he is reiterating the Church's consistent teaching on the issue of homosexuality - love the person, hate the sin.

    There is a difference between discrimination and saying that the way a person understands themselves at this point in their life makes them unfit for certain service.

    The Church herself says this when she says that those who openly identify themselves as homosexual (even if they are chaste) can not be admitted to the seminary. Certainly, many also feel this is discrimination, but I personally get the difference and I think many others do as well.

  7. The Catholic Church wants nothing but the worst for homosexuals. Homosexulas aren't allowed to do the following that their straight counterparts are allowed to do AND be hypocrites about it also! Here is the list of things Homosexuals can NOT do:
    1) Marry. Even though nobody else is being affected by two guys/girls getting married AND watching pro-marriage loud mouths like Newt Gingrich preach about "true" marriage after he has been married 3 TIMES.

    2) Homosexuals aren't allowed to even go on a date. Heterosexuals are allowed to date and have as many of them as they want to but point the finger at the gay person and constantly say "NO DATING FOR YOU!"

    3) Homosexual men aren't to be ordained to the priesthood. Why? Cause the Catholic Church is HOMOPHOBIC. Even though there are a shortage of priests and COULD USE CHASTE HOMOSEXUALS who has have lives devoted to God.

    4) The Catholic Church opposes Gay/Straight alliances in schools. Apparently they want gay kids to be bullied while saying in effect in their so called teachings that gay people must be treated with compassion and respect.

    5) The church opposes homosexuals in the military. Interesting that should be as there are quite a few homosexuals who are willing to step up to the plate and go FIGHT for this country. The Church ought to THANK the homosexuals(and the straight folks too for that matter) for fighting in a battle that a lot of straight people are too chicken to do. I heard of one soldier who was homosexual and enlisted to FIGHT FOR THE USA so a heterosexual man who had a family wouldn't end up having to and then he was killed in combat. Never did see anything about the Catholic Church THANKING him for his ultimate sacrifice nor did I ever hear of the Catholic Church offering a mass for him.

    That's just a small portion of what I can think of off the top of my head. I'll be sure to add more when I find it. If anybody out there is homosexual and is Catholic, keep all this in mind when the usher comes around with a money basket and shoves it in your face wanting your cash. That truly is all they are interested in when it comes to homosexuals.

  8. 1) Everyone IS affected when two people marry - the idea that we are all unconnected and that we don't affect each other to me seems completely ludicrous. Do you really think any of your actions DON'T affect other people?
    2) This is the difference between your language and the Church's - you think homosexuality is something that is permanent and at the very core of who a person is - the Church believes it is not - one's attraction in this moment do not define who I am in general. Yeah, the Church says there is a problem if you walk around identifying yourself as homosexual. If you are struggling with homosexual attraction, the Church just says "be open to the possibility that this doesn't define everything about you." If you are struggling with same sex attraction you can still hang out with people of the same sex - I don't know where this dating thing is ultimately coming from.

    3) Men who experience same sex attraction can be ordained to the priesthood, the Church just asks that they be in dialogue with someone about it. The Church only says those who walk around speaking as if homosexual attraction is a permanent part of their identity - those are the men that the Church says aren't in a position to be ordained.

    4) Gay/Straight Alliances again assume that a person's identity is rooted out of attractions that they are experiencing at this point in their life.

    5) The Church doesn't oppose people struggling with same sex attraction in the military - what the Church is working against with "don't ask don't tell" is the idea that already Catholic priests are being phased out of military service because of the Church's teaching on homosexuality. The Church is fine with a person serving and saying "I experience same-sex attraction" but when the government says "if you don't believe in our dogma of homosexuality then you can't be a chaplain to your religious group in the military" then you are going to get a fight from the Church. We have a right to still conduct our religious services (the marines are at least 60% Catholic).

  9. In response to answer #1:

    Tell me exactly how two gay men's marriage affects an old lady that lives 500 miles away from them in an apartment with her old husband who have three kids and 6 grandkids(who are all straight)?
    "Do you really think any of your actions DON'T affect other people?" How am I affecting my next door neighbor when I am watching porn on my computer and jacking off to it in a room nobody can see into? Should I go over to their house and see if what I did in the privacy of my own home affected them? Should I perhaps ask them first if they would be affected by it before I do it? I'm guessing they couldn't care one teensy bit. Get real.

  10. a) I was a math major in college. Chaos Theory is a mathematical principal that states that everything affects everything else. It is what the movie Jurassic Park is based off of. "If a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon, that affects the weather in New York" as chaos theory is famously described.

    B) I can think of about 1,000 ways that you masturbating affects your neighbors. I'll list a few of the literal INFINITE number of ways that your decision could potentially affect your neighbors.
    1 - the neighbor's 7 year old hears the porn coming from your house, knows you live alone, and wonders why a man who lives alone is having sex. He asks his parents, and his parents have to explain to him why there would be sounds like that coming from your house before the kid is able to process it yet. Psychologists agree that we are oversexualized in our culture, and you contribute to that and perhaps you were the encounter with sex that, 10 years later, pushes the kid over the top, he has sex with his girlfriend before their married, she has an abortion, and the guy blows his brains out five years later because he finally realizes that he contributed to the killing of an innocent kid.
    Do you want to play this game all night long?

    It isn't just those around us who are affected by my actions. Haven't you seen the cheesy but true credit card commercials where people are doing good stuff for each other, and it spreads. The same goes for sin. Let's say Steve and Dave "marry" each other. Betty is an old lady who lives 500 miles away in an apartment. Betty has 3 kids and 6 grandkids. Can you really not see beyond your rabbit hole? Do you really not see any ways that Steve and Dave marrying each other and acting on their impulses with each other affects everyone else? We're all connected, even people who smoke crack, put all their faith in horoscopes, jam to John Lennon, and think that John Travolta is on to something with this whole Scientology thing still believe that we are all connected and that our actions have serious consequences for each other. Then again, maybe the way you rationalize away your narcissism is to deny the fact that your behavior has any affect on anyone else?

  11. LOL!!!! :D Ya deleted my truthful reply! HAHA I win. You lose! Cheers!

  12. You said people should hang themselves. That's why I deleted it. Cheers!

  13. My solution to people's problems of meddling and then becoming "affected" by it is by far the most effective one there is. It's a step by step process that would ensure the the very best outcome for those that can't stand the "affect" they have from meddling in the lives of those they have no business meddling in. It also works for homophobic persons who don't meddle in the lives of homosexuals but for whatever reason(most likely placed in their heads by the Catholic Church) has a nasty "affect" on them when in reality it should have zero "affect" on them. But the last step in my solution was when all others failed. That's a guaranteed way of not having to be "affected" by anything ever ever ever again! If you know of a BETTER solution I would absolutely LOVE to hear it! CHEERS FATHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. We get into an absolutely dangerous and sad state in life when we think that no one's decisions affect anyone else. Perhaps you've seen the movie "Crash"? The monologue at the beginning is very good and it talks about how we all believe that we aren't connected - and that we then crash into one another to remind ourselves that we are, in fact connected.

  15. I would agree that we are all connected. After all, we are all descendants of the biblical Adam and we are all filthy evil sinners deserving of anything bad that God or whoever would inflict on us. However, to this date, none of Judge Judy's decisions in her courtroom, in her personal life or whatever has affected me. Did my decision to leave the Catholic Church affect you in any way? On the day that I decided enough was enough for me, did it cause you a hardship? Did my leaving cause you to over eat or under eat? Or cause a psychological disturbance? I'm guessing probably not. However, I will agree with you that persons I have never met or ever will have had an affect on me. Case in point; Michael Voris of RealCatholicTv. Ever heard of him? Although we have never met, I have watched his videos about authentic Catholic teaching. It was from his very large(bigger than the Grand Canyon) and loud mouth that I realized I wasn't welcome in the Catholic Church being a homosexual. So I do get your drift about us all being connected. But not in the way you think we are. Therefore, having read this post, if I am wrong about something, please tell me....but I think I am correct in the matter.

  16. You are wrong in that you think the only way to affect someone is in real, tangible, measurable ways that are measurable by science. Absolutely you leaving the Catholic Church has affected me - I just might not be able to prove it using scientifically measurable data.

  17. Ok....Well, then if there is no tangible, measurable, real ways that my leaving the Catholic Church has affected you, then it truly has not affected you in any way shape or form. If it has affected you in ways outside the scientific realm, which there really is nothing outside the scientific realm, then it doesn't make sense and you probably have been smoking something rather nasty. In this world, what doesn't make sense means it isn't true.

  18. If tangible, measurable, scientific data is the only way to prove that something is real I'd ask you the following question:

    "Do you love anyone in the world?"

    Hopefully the answer is yes.

    As a follow up question I would then ask you to prove scientifically the existence of that love

  19. Oh Father Hollowell....tsk tsk tsk. Trying to give me a tough question so I would respond like Porky Pig saying buhdee buhdee buhdee, I don't know. Ok. You asked. I will answer.

    1) Do I love anybody? What do you think the answer is to that one?? The Church says that I, as a Homosexual, am NOT to go out and find a guy and love him. So I got screwed on that particular kind of love by God almighty because of his complete FAILURE to create me like he should have according to his holy book...and I'm not so sure that book is totally true either for that matter.... As far as family and friends are concerned; I am close to them, and have a different kind of "love" unlike that of two heterosexuals whom God created like he should have.

    The answer to the last question of my being able to prove scientifically that existence of "love." First and foremost, I am not a scientist. Never have been, never will be. So I can not answer that question. You would need to consult with a scientist regarding that. I'm sure there is a scientific explanation for it. I just don't have it. Now...if science can't explain it, doesn't mean a scientific explanation does not and never will exist. They just simply haven't found it yet and are either working on it, or put it on the back burner, as they have better things to figure out, such as the cure for AIDS and cancer & etc....

    Homosexuality would fall under the same category. It exists. But the root cause has not been identified yet by science as they are either working on it, or again, placed it on hold until they resolve bigger issues.

    Bottom line -- Just because something doesn't have a scientific explanation at the current time, doesn't mean there is no scientific explanation. It just hasn't been found.

  20. Now that I have answered your tough question, I would like to ask you a tough one regarding love:

    Why is it that I was hand picked by God to go my entire 30+ year life without ever hearing the magical words "I love you" by another human being of the opposite sex? No matter how much I tried, I could never forge a bond with a female due to being a homosexual. Why did I get screwed over by God when it came to his perfect design for humans? Not only that but it screws me out of one of the sacraments, that being holy matrimony and caused all sorts of health problems(which I won't get into on here). So, I eagerly await your reply Father.

  21. You can't have it both ways with regard to "proving things" You told me that because I can't provide measurable data as to your leaving the Church and its effect on me, than it doesn't exist. Per your answer above, perhaps it does exist, its just that science hasn't figured out a way to prove it yet?

  22. As to God screwing you - I do want to acknowledge in a very sincere way the obvious pain that you are experiencing or have experienced with regards to this issue in the past. While I can't say I know what it is like to carry that particular cross, I would say that we all have different crosses, and, again, no scientific evidence exists which can establish why we have them, but we believe that they are, not just in heaven but also right now, that which is best for us. Crosses get us to question God and ask the harder questions of life, whereas someone who wants for nothing, is not sick, has people waiting on them hand and foot, can surround him or herself with lots of beautiful people, etc. will NEVER ask the important questions of life - that's why Christ said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into Heaven.

  23. Ok, well ya got me on the first one. IF my leaving has affected you in a negative way that science hasn't been able to prove yet, then I guess I would have to say that I am sorry. I really want to return to the Church, but at this time it is too painful to even try. If you knew the reasons, you would understand completely.

    As for your response to my question....thank you. However, if or when you should find the answer as to why God thinks my situation is the very BEST for me, please tell me as I would like to know the answer.