Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Sisters of Providence and the ACLU Panel on RFRA

Today I sat on a panel for RFRA that was put on by the ACLU.  It was respectful and tolerant and pleasant enough.  I figured it wouldn't be "home turf" for a Catholic priest but the panelists were kind.

I would say the only thing that was truly upsetting to me about the whole experience was that on top of our stack of papers that every person found sitting on their chairs (panelists and attendees alike) was a statement on RFRA from the "Sisters of Providence Leadership"

The statement from the Sisters DIRECTLY contradicts the statement of the Bishops of Indiana by noting "we strongly support such a revision"   The Bishops of Indiana released a second statement noting that they were opposed to the revision.

Bishops - for RFRA.  Sisters of Providence are against it
Bishops - against the RFRA "fix".  Sisters of Providence are FOR the "fix"

Literally..."MY GOD!" does this happen?

I literally go in front of a firing squad on this VERY important topic (that a lot of Catholics believe will lead to our eventual persecution) and I'm confronted with a statement from the Sisters of Providence that directly contradicts the Church?

I will publicly promise this - I will not be stepping foot on their campus for ANY reason until their statement is retracted.  No sign from the Sisters of Providence will ever hang in the narthex of any Church I'm at, and I will never, in any way, do anything that could even be potentially viewed as supporting the Sisters of Providence unless their statement is corrected.

The Bishops of Indiana on the Original RFRA:

The Bishops of Indiana on the RFRA "Fix"

The Sisters of Providence on RFRA:


  1. Yikes. This is troubling. My parish took a pilgrimage there two years ago - I was scandalized at the secular feel of the campus, the liturgical abuses, and the (most gorgeous) perpetual adoration chapel that was left (with the Eucharist exposed) unattended for many hours during the day and all the night. So sad. And it's telling that their numbers are dwindling and there are hardly any (if even a single one) of the sisters under the age of 40. TBTG for the revived orthodoxy of our younger generations. Perhaps it is up to you and them to evangelize the more seasoned Catholics.

  2. It is a truly sad thing indeed that so many brave women sacrificed and risked so much to bring the SP's to Indiana only to have them go so far off track! Perhaps the people loyal to the Magisterium should pray for the intercession of St Theodora to lead them to conversion to what is true.

  3. Please, a firing squad? You do know what "literally" means right? Good grief.

    RFRA is not meant to protect a church from gay people, it is meant to protect religious minoroties from the government. You're being completely dishonest by suggesting that the Catholic Church will be forced to marry gays. Never happened, never will due to the 1st Amendment. Businesses providing services such as cakes or photos (which are in no way sacred in the Christian religion) need to follow basic public accommodation laws. I'm very glad that even your own recognizes how wrong it is to deny basic services to people based solely on their sexual orientation.

    1. After your clarifications, that is certainly reassuring. It all makes sense now. I'll let the Archbishop and my fellow Catholics know that there is no need to worry because you said so

    2. I said so, or no need to worry because it has never happened. I guess crystal ball prophesies are more fun and easy than disciplined study and deduction on what the best policy recommendations would be. Carry on.

    3. No one is saying the Church needs "protection" from gay people. You're creating false arguments there. And your referencing the 1st Amendment is exactly what is under threat here. A Catholic baker can't deny service to someone simply because they are gay. That is discrimination, wrong, and illegal. A Catholic baker can (under RFRA) decline to provide his services for a gay wedding, one that is morally against the teachings of his religion. Plain and simple.

      Stop twisting the issues to contrive your agenda that Catholics are bigots. No one is denying BASIC services. Participating in a gay wedding is not a basic service... it's contracted. There is a chasm of difference between what you are asserting and what is fact.

      Tolerance has now become the new intolerance (of anyone who differs with the left's opinion). Sigh.

    4. 1. Cakes, photos, flowers, ect. are not sacred, or even Christian. They are not necessary for a Christian wedding. Get a grip.
      2. Based on #2, some Cristians are being bigots by denying goods and services to gays.
      3. I don't think most Catholics are bigots at all. That's what prompted the entire discussion. Many Catholics realize just how wrong and unnecessary this law is.
      4. I don't believe in tolerance. I believe in pluralism and civil disagreement. Am I not being civil? Remember who is trying to pass a law protecting bigotry, then decide who is intolerant.

    5. 1) no one said they are sacred. Being forced to participate in a ceremony that a person finds OBJECTIVELY wrong is something that, as RFRA does, allows them to appeal having to participate in such an event.
      2) "bigots" - you hurl that around and then say you are simply engaging in civil disagreement. You'd make a good supreme court justice these days.
      3) reassuring
      4) step 1 - accuse someone of "passing a law protecting bigotry"
      step 2 - claim you are just engaging in civil disagreement

    6. Mr Anonymous (ref the 12:01pm post)

      1- Those things may not be sacred, but they are part of the entire celebration that is a wedding. You wouldn't go to a kosher butcher and demand pork be served at your party, and if you did, it'd be his right to decline service to you. Oh, and telling someone to "get a grip" is not civil discourse, it's passive aggressive.

      2- they are not denying service to gays. they are making the decision to not participate in the celebration of an event that is against their religious beliefs. what part of that are you still missing? they can't deny service to someone simply because they walk in their store and are gay.

      3- you have some cognative dissonance going on here. When you say the law is unnecessary... I am a part-time photographer. If a gay couple getting married in the episcopal church wishes to hire me and I decline, what say you?

      4- sigh. good ol' relativism. that's what it is. claiming civil discourse while calling people bigots for not compromising their morals. fun.

    7. 1. They are not participating. They are providing goods and services which is the entire point of their business.
      2. If someone refused to serve someone who is gay lunch only because they are gay, are they bigots?
      4. RFRA is protecting bigotry as originally written in Indiana as it does not protect anything religious. If you have a problem with your reflection, that's a you problem, not a me problem. And yes, pointing out immoral attributes is civil. If you disagree with that, then you must think your entire post is uncivil.

    8. I would not call someone a bigot in your number 2 above, but I don't think it should be allowed. How does one even find that out? Would a company be asking people as they come forward to order in line "before ordering, we'd like to know your sexual preference" ??? How are you envisioning that scenario playing out?

      4) please - it doesn't protect anything religious? It says "if you feel your religious freedom is violated, you can appeal to the courts" That sounds like it protects something religious to me.

    9. To Anon.
      1. A Kosher butcher would not serve pork to ANYONE, so refusing to serve pork is not illegal as they are not discriminating against people, but the product. The problem is when someone such as yourself as a photographer offers services yet picks and chooses who they wish to serve. If the basis of refusal violates protection laws in the area someone can sue. These laws are decades old and work well. There is too much hysterics on this issue, and pretending that a cake is a participant in a wedding is frankly absurd. It is a good meant to be bought and sold. So, yes get a grip.
      2. See my 1st response. Funny, I was thinking myself “what is this guy missing?” Yes in certain places gays can be refused services for simply being gay if they live in an area with no equal rights protections:
      3. If you are in an area with laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation you are in violation of that law. You may wish to revisit business 101. Since you seem to not grasp the legal issue here is a good video:
      4. Yes, I love it when people clutch their pearls when someone speaks out against discrimination. How dare I stand in your way of subjugating millions of people? I must seem so rude!

      To Fr. Hollowell
      Hmm, discriminating against someone simply because of who they are is the definition of bigotry: You really can’t see how that would happen? What if a couple walks into a restaurant holding hands, or with their kids who call them both “dad”, what if the reservation is under a known gay advocacy group’s name? Think it hasn’t happened? Think again:
      Fr. Hollowell, they can have their day in court anyway! It’s called the 1st amendment. RFRAs were meant for religious minorities who are discriminated against by the government, not an individual and not to shirk longstanding equal protection laws.

  4. I am an alum of SMWC! Have not supported them since graduation! As I grew in my faith my concern for the S.P.'s and the college grew. The college is financially in serious trouble which has made them make the decision to go "co-ed". My response as an alum was for them to become a faithful to the magisterium truly Catholic college. Then they would have no problem with enrollment. I truly believe that they think that they are being loving and representing Christ!
    Father, I will be praying the novena to the Sacred Heart for you! That your justified anger will lead to even greater zeal and courage and that your unjustified anger (if there is any) will melt into mercy!

  5. And which sinner did Jesus refuse to serve? The tax collector? The prostitute? The Samaritan woman? We cannot depend on the government to protect our conscience. Christians have been persecuted throughout history because of what they believe. If that is the cost of discipleship, then so be it. Jesus was not crucified because the government didn't protect his conscience. He was crucified because he loved everyone...even those who turned their backs on his teachings...enough to open his arms in acceptance.

    1. 1) Jesus was crucified by the government...or perhaps you think Pilate's hand washing did in fact absolve the government?

      2) Jesus loved prostitutes, but he didn't engage in prostitution.

    2. Loving a person and being complicit with sin are two VERY different things. Shame on this person for twisting the teaching of Christ.

      Christ was crucified not because he loved but because he challenged the religious/government authority, threatening their power and their pocketbooks with his radical teaching. It's ignorance to think that Jesus was killed because he loved.

    3. "He was crucified because he loved everyone...even those who turned their backs on his teachings...enough to open his arms in acceptance."

      Um, Jesus came and died to forgive our sins... not accept them.

      Catechist Kev

  6. Father Hollowell...stop pretending you own the Catholic do not speak for me and obviously not for the Sisters of Providence either...why do you think you deserve authority over an organization of Sisters who have been around a heck of a lot longer than you? Your threatened boycott is meaningless and childish. If you disagree with them maybe you should humble yourself to go talk to them with an open heart and mind realizing they may not be as stupid as you seem to think they are.. In fact, it's possible they could have something to teach you about being a humble servant versus a know it all authoritarian!

    1. 1) I don't pretend that I own the Catholic Church. I am a member of it.

      2) You know who has been around longer than the Sisters of Providence? The Catholic Church

      3) I have spoken with them. Two of them are my former grade school teachers. This saddens me greatly that they would seek to undermine the teaching authority of the Catholic Church

      4) My boycott is not threatened. It is actual.

  7. You are so arrogant.

    I'm sure they don't want you there anyway spewing your hate

    1. If hate is advocating for authentic religious freedom, then Pope Francis is a hater, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul I, Pope Paul VI, Pope John XXIII and the framers of the Constitution, among others, are haters as well.

      Religious freedom - pass it on!

    2. Don't even attempt to compare yourself to a Pope. You are far from their caliber of holiness.
      You aren't advocating religious freedom , you already have that. You're pushing for discrimination . No one is forcing you to marry gay people, nor do gay people even want to be married in a Church where they may come across a nasty person like you.

      If things went your way, anyone could make up any religion they want and claim they don't serve , oh let's say bigoted Catholic priests? We can't discriminate against you either. Nor do we care to. That's not how America works

      Now go ahead, give one of your sarcastic, childish remarks. Still won't change the reality of who you are

    3. Hey Fr. Hollowell, GUESS WHAT? The United States Supreme Court has now ruled that gays have the right to marry! Now gay marriage is legal in all 50 states!! People prayed for no gay marriage right to come out of this, and people also prayed for today's ruling. As I see it, today God gave the entire nation His Holy and Divine answer to America's prayers!

  8. Shame on you Father John for not reading the whole letter and taking words out of context. Your own mother went to SMWC and was taught by the Sisters of Providence, I am sure she does not condone your criticism of the Sisters and the fact that they honor all people as being created in the image of God.

    1. 1) My own mother did not go to SMWC, she went to Butler

      2) The letter is there for anyone to read. It is a direct contradiction to the Bishops of Indiana. If you can't see that, then I'm not sure what to tell you.

    2. The Sisters RIGHTFULLY contradicted the Bishops letter which was discriminatory. The fact that the Bishops only condemn "unjust" discrimination rather than just plain discrimination proves this. There is no JUST discrimination ...period. Shame on them and shame on you

    3. You're a BIGOT and a BULLY

    4. The fact that you think that there is no just discrimination is ludicrous - we discriminate about 100 times a day. Do you really need examples of just discrimination?

    5. Sarcasm get's you only one thing...less respect.
      The "unjust" you speak of means you support just discrimination against LGBT people. The Sister's have a history of performing works of love, mercy and justice. I can see how they wouldn't support your sort of hatred and bigotry. God Bless them. They will save our Church !

    6. "Would a company be asking people as they come forward to order in line "before ordering, we'd like to know your sexual preference" ??? How are you envisioning that scenario playing out? "
      Bigots aren't shy about bullying. You prove that fact with the exchanges you have online with LGBT people and their supporters, and now with the good Sisters. If it's somewhat obvious a person is LGBT, the bigoted business person will have the legal right to ask. Here are just a few scenarios where a business owner with your sort of bigotry will legally be able to refuse LGBT people service:
      1) Open gay male walks in with boyfriend holding hands. No pizza
      2) Open lesbian walks in with girlfriend holding hands. No pizza
      3) Open Trans person who doesn't yet pass well. No pizza
      3) Bigot's perception of a "feminine" open gay male. No pizza
      4) Bigot's perception of a "masculine" open lesbian female. No pizza
      5) Open lesbian parents with kids . No pizza
      6) Open gay parents with kids. No pizza....................and there are many , MANY more.

      Bigots are notorious for stereotyping people, they won't hesitate to ask even if they suspect someone is LGBT. They'll ask and an open, proud LGBT person will not hesitate to confirm. No pizza

    7. You can't understand how a business owner could discriminate against LGBT people ? A bigoted business owner's behavior is much like yours as a bigoted priest.

      Fr John Hollowell, priest. Boycott's Catholic Sisters and maligns the majority of Catholics who don't agree with Church doctrine on LGBT people and his religious beliefs. He says they aren't Catholics and should leave the Church.

      John Hollowell, owner of a Pizzeria. Boycott's anyone business who supports same sex marriage and maligns the majority of Americans who don't agree with his religion. He says they aren't normal and should leave his pizzeria.

    8. "Jesus loved prostitutes, but he didn't engage in prostitution."

      Is anyone asking you to engage in homosexuality? Did I miss something?
      I'm under the impression they're only asking to be treated equally under the law. Not in your Church, but within the law.

    9. One thing for sure, YOUR discrimination against gay people is certainly unjust. You're definitely not someone to be trusted when it comes to that community. You have some sort of crazy thing going on in your head about them that has nothing to do with God. There is nothing Christlike about the way you deal with people and you haven't an ounce of talent on how to convince anyone that you're right. No one listens to a pompous ass, they just tune him out. Well, maybe it's not ALL about your lack of talent, most of it is because you're just plain wrong.

  9. You're a BULLY Fr Hollowell, shame on you ! Women always save the Church and the Sisters are proving it !

    Thank you Sisters of Providence !

  10. You're such a bigoted , pompous prick. There is no Jesus in you , but lot's of Lucifer.