A Silly Question

Is Cardinal Burke an adulterer?

It’s a silly question, of course. But as Rocco whispered, he “doubled down” on the synod’s Christmas gay question:

This is a very delicate question, and it’s made even more delicate by the aggressiveness of the homosexual agenda.

On the other hand, not every gay family member has her or his claws out, driving a political agenda at every family gathering. I think we can compare and contrast the number of times a gay family member has come home for the holidays, and the number of times they come bearing pamphlets, children’s books on sex, and preaching at heterosexual family members to divorce and marry someone of their same sex.

But one has to approach this in a very calm, serene, reasonable and faith-filled manner. If homosexual relations are intrinsically disordered, which indeed they are — reason teaches us that and also our faith — then, what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?

Or are same-sex relations disordered? Really.

What if people are born that way? What if God made them that way?

And even if not, then the situation would be what the Church has accurately identified as immoral conduct, which is, as far as I can tell, one thing: sexual activity. Sexual activity of any kind seems wrong in the presence of children.

According to press reports, it was the raising of the Christmas gay question that brought warm applause. I don’t recall the couple suggesting one response as better than another. I don’t think the matter has been written into canon law and Cardinal Burke will struggle to keep up with the updates. I think the question has been raised, and a lot of people can think about it.

It seems a more common experience than gay sex breaking out under the Christmas tree. Dare we say that sex breaking out in rectories and youth trips and even on pilgrimages and retreats is more common than gay aunts and uncles doing “evil” things in front of children? Dare we call Cardinal Burke an adulterer, if we think he’s scrambling a little too aggressively in the face of a rigorist agenda?

It’s a silly question, right?

What do you suppose the answer could be? I don’t know the man. I suspect that he’s trying his best to live the Gospel and urge others to do likewise. I don’t think he’s living in sin. I don’t think he has turned his head while his clergy abused children. His pastoral ministry as a shepherd may have come into conflict with his calling as a canon lawyer. I am sure he decided in favor of the smell of sheep every time, as best as he saw it. And that no evil thing he might have ever done, cannot somehow be undone.

Silly question, right?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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13 Responses to A Silly Question

  1. John Drake says:

    Pastoral and legal are not mutually exclusive ideas.

    • Liam says:

      Not necessarily, but too often in practice. Cdl Burke’s analysis includes some flawed predicates that are not actually givens of Catholic teaching, but his need to include them to make the rest of his argument flow makes him impervious to see that.

  2. John McGrath says:

    Burke has an agenda: to drive the liberals and the merciful out of “his” church. There are enough authoritarian personalities who would stay and become even more patriotic towards a reactionary nation-church to keep most of the cathedrals open.

  3. FrMichael says:

    “Or are same-sex relations disordered?” Of course. By God’s design, no children can ever result from same-sex activity. Procreation is one of the ordered ends of matrimony and sexuality. Therefore homosexual activity is disordered, no matter the subjective estimation of those engaged in it.

    • Todd says:

      No children can ever result from the marriage of an older couple. Sexual activity serves other purposes, including sacramental. Human beings are more, far more than breeding stock for our overseers.

      • Jen says:

        Even JPII makes that point in his Theology of the Body.

      • Jen says:

        Rather, the only time I’ve heard “Fr. Michael’s” argument has been out of people who reject all or part of various liturgical councils. (Not necessarily the 2nd one.)

    • Atheist Max says:


      “Procreation is one of the ordered ends of matrimony and sexuality. Therefore homosexual activity is disordered”

      So much is wrong with this statement regarding ‘procreation’.

      Homosexuality cannot be wrong. Sexuality is more than what we do with our genitalia – homosexuality is a form of love. The sex act is just as legitimate and healthy expression of that love. Certainly, gay sex between to people who love each other is superior to two heterosexuals who are just going through the sex act without any love between them for the simple purpose of ‘procreation’.

      Furthermore, what about masturbation? Seriously.
      No procreation results – yet what could be more natural? What man does not wake up with this irrefutable need for most of his adult life? And good grief – how trivial is this issue? So utterly harmless.

      You are not going to tell me it is wrong, are you?
      95% of men masturbate. And nobody is going to talk me out of it!

      Plus, studies have shown that men who masturbate more frequently than other men after age 45 are less likely to develop prostate cancer. So it is not only fun but it is literally good in many ways – including health.

      Your procreation theory isn’t holding up.
      (pun intended)

  4. John McGrath says:

    Procreation is the purpose of sex for animals. Due to evolution human sex has many purposes, with or without procreation. The position of the Catholic church on most matters of sex is disordered. Reason and science tell us so.

  5. FrMichael says:

    Jen, I am not a dissenter with respect to any of the 21 ecumenical councils. You need to get out more: there are many Catholics who hold to the magisterial teachings without being sedevantists/Pius X Society/etc. The Catholic blogosphere just by itself is full of such people.

    Todd, aging is a result of the post-Fall human condition, so sterility resulting from old age is a sad after-effect of the Original Sin. On the contrary, the human species, pre-Fall and post-Fall, was never designed by its Creator to procreate by one man putting his penis up another man’s garbage chute. The latter is sub-demonic behavior not proper to our species.

    For reference to same-sex “sexual” activity as being beneath the demons, cf. St. Catherine of Siena’s Dialogues


    BTW I’m not a fan of everything at that particular website, even if they made an apropos quote for this topic.

    Atheist Max, you are so far from God (as you freely admit) that I’m not surprised that you’re blind to the moral shortcoming of self-abuse. One does not exactly glorify God by engaging in such a useless, fruitless behavior.

    • Todd says:

      Your insistence on procreation borders on the insulting. We are not breeding stock for our aristocratic masters, be they corporate lords or bishops. Where your “teaching” falls flat on its face: procreation is post-Fall also.

      There are seriously deficient aspects to what passes for Church teaching on marriage. If I had the pull, I’d think about calling a synod of lay people and invite bishops as observers. They might learn a thing or two. You too, my friend.

    • Atheist Max says:

      “Atheist Max, you are so far from God (as you freely admit) ….One does not exactly glorify God by engaging in such a useless, fruitless behavior.”

      Yes. It is true that I am far from God.
      But I can think of thousands of other private, “useless, fruitless behaviors”
      which we do with our bodies
      which would not be objectionable to even the Catholic God:

      singing to oneself,
      lighting a candle,
      smelling a flower
      taking a walk
      looking at the stars

      Why not call all of those things ‘self-abuse’?

      It is terribly sad the Catholics must consider masturbation ‘self-abuse’ when it abuses nobody especially the person doing it, and it is incredibly healthy as it helps to prevent prostate cancer, calms the sexual drive, lowers blood pressure, lessens stress, increases the joy of life, etc.

      90% of men and 75% of women between the ages of 20-55 masturbate every week (the studies are available). To deny such pleasures is an added misery to the world where there need be none.

      It would be like banning the strumming of a guitar.
      Oh, right. Followers of Allah already to that.

    • Atheist Max says:


      Quick correction. I’m not sure that I am far from God.
      I don’t believe in a God. But I do not claim that God is impossible. Perhaps there is a God – but His requirement is that we be skeptical of claims supported only by faith.
      In that case, I would be very close to God, indeed.

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