The National Catholic Reporter published this article on the Diocese of Jefferson City LGBT/transgender process, an article which no one from either side seems to like except Sr. Elizabeth Youngs. She is only unhappy that parents and lay Catholics found out about it: “Among the worriers are several blogs and websites, which Superintendent of Catholic Schools Sr. Elizabeth Youngs, a member of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, says started posting a “hijacked” copy of the document, which was meant as internal guidance for pastors and principals only.” And they would have gotten away with it too if Scooby Doo and his friends hadn’t uncovered their plot. Ruh Roh Shaggy, when the Diocese has it’s annual capital campaign this fall you would be excused for thinking the were selling you shares in the South Sea Trading Company, ““For carrying-on an undertaking of great advantage but no-one to know what it is!!” Hijacking is stealing airplanes or ships and making them take a different course, which means that she is implying that information was stolen from her and that it is stealing to inform people of what the Chancery says and does. Dialogue is theft if it contains meaning they wish to conceal. Good is bad and bad is good you know. These people are so arrogant and clerical that they really think they have unlimited authority over your children, that the clergy is the Church, and that it belongs to them to do with as they wish. Folks, the Church is the body of Christ, all baptized believers, and these people exceed the authority delegated to them by the Jesus they claim to serve because Church moral law applies to them as much as anyone else.
Dear Sister Elizabeth, please have the courtesy to inform parents before upending 2000 years of Catholic morality in education, please dialogue with parents. “Those at the chancery claim that in the spirit of Pope Francis they are enlisting a spirit of dialogue and accompaniment,” Presberg said. “Well, there was no dialogue for the parents who have kids in the school already; and a lot of them feel extremely unaccompanied.”
In the spirit of the great South Sea Bubble we wish to point out, again, this recycled bit of very bad math: “Hundreds of opponents attend monthly vigils near the cathedral, and the diocese has received dozens of concerned letters and phone calls.” So you are telling us that hundreds of people drive from all over the Diocese to attend a rosary vigil and yet only dozens have written or called?
The math of Church attendance is even more, well, bad. It’s powerful weak. But wait, they simply wish to evangelize at all costs! At the cost of annihilation. Fr. Joe Corel Weighs in: “However, Corel said, “It would almost be inconsistent to say you cannot enroll these children no matter what. If the purpose and nature of a Catholic school is to evangelize and reach out, then our stance when we visit with someone is ‘How do we bring you in?'” Besides the very questionable idea of letting the clergy in this Diocese make decisions about homosexuality and children, Fr. Joe Corel and Bishop Gaydos haven’t brought anyone IN but they’ve helped a lot of people come OUT. They have overseen the Diocese as nearly 60% of the Catholic population left the Church along with almost the entirety of the cohort under age 30. If you are older than 30 look around at the empty pews and recall how many people attended mass in rural parishes up into the 1980’s. Do you remember standing room only Masses at urban parishes up until around 2002? If senior citizens now outnumber children in your parish then the decline will accelerate. Two things you will rarely see at Mass in this Diocese are teenagers and anyone in their 20’s. That’s not a natural human population, it’s rather the opposite of the normal population pyramid. Young people apparently find this Diocesan Church and the clercy unattractive. They might try to argue that the decline is the result of the decline of the rural population in the last few decades but this cannot be the cause. Examine the urban parishes in the two largest cities in the Diocese, Columbia and Jefferson City. Keep in mind that this isn’t the rural South, there was a dominant Catholic population in Cole and Osage counties and a strong Catholic population throughout the Diocese, look at the Census map. One of the bright red Catholic counties in the middle of the state is Cole County, home to Jefferson City and the Cathedral. The Population of Columbia grew from 36,650 in 1960 to 120,612 currently. Jefferson City grew from 28,228 in 1960 to 43,013 currently. Columbia tripled in size and Jefferson City grew by 50% (Boone County grew 220% while Cole County, home to Jefferson City, grew by 88%, Columbia annexed more land than the City of Jefferson which makes Columbia appear to grow much faster comparatively.) Yet currently there are the same number of parishes as there were in 1960. A healthy Church would have at least 50% more parishes and maybe even double the number. Instead Mass attendance since the 90’s is down 40-50% and two Jefferson City parishes recently reduced the number of Sunday Mass times. In one sense only are they evangelizing people to new parishes: they are growing “parishes” with names like Concord Baptist Church and The Crossing. They’ve grown large partly by absorbing fallen away Catholics. If you interview those people you will often find devout people who were scandalized by abuse, ignored, or who were thirsty for truth even if it was only part of the truth. Watching the obstinacy and intrigue of the Chancery should give a reader of this blog some empathy for those believers. A word to those churches though, we have very few faithful for you to poach anymore, you are on your own in this anti-Christian culture. Good luck to you all and to the leaders of the Diocese.
Now, knowing all of that, you can begin to understand what a betrayal it is for Bishop Gaydos, John DeLaPorte, Fr. Joe Corel, Sister Elizabeth, and Sister Julie to stand on their failure and open the Church and Catholic Schools up to a process that has been a disaster for other churches. Membership at mainline Protestant Churches has declined precipitously, see here, and here. These are Churches that ordain openly gay ministers and embrace the physical acts that have come to define the Gay lifestyle. Wherever you stand on the debate about the sinfulness of those acts the indisputable fact is that most people don’t commit those acts and most Christians aren’t interested in attending a Church that considers them good. A Christian Church that embraces homosexual acts is like a mirage in the desert, once one reaches it it ceases to exist. It’s sterility self erases. At the head of this Process stands Bishop John Gaydos, what does he think about the annihilation of the Catholic Church?
At at least one Jefferson City parish one can’t blame the sudden decline in donations on either the Chancery staff or the campaign run by this blog, it was just Deacon Tony Valdes as far as anyone knows: http://www.newstribune.com/news/local/story/2017/aug/18/suspended-deacon-charged-with-felony-stealing/686915/
However, just as with the revolutionary LGBT/Transgender process politics has crept it’s way into the Church. If the clergy would stick to preaching the Gospel then we would stick to quoting scripture and the Catholic Catechism. For many people it seems that political party trumps Church office and duty. A few years back there was a contested race in Jefferson City between two Catholics for the presiding circuit court judge for Division 4 of the 19th Judicial Circuit Court in Missouri. ((This is the court where Valdes’ felony case should be heard.) No comment here on either candidate, both are assumed to be practicing Catholics as far as we know. We focus on Deacon Tony Valdes who dipped his toes in politics as a Deacon and was a very public supporter of the person who became judge, who’s husband is Diocesan spokesman Deacon Dan Joyce. ) We know this thanks to the magic of Facebook, where often the people who have nothing important to say do the most talking. What you will hopefully see coming up is proper procedure where a judge with a connection to the accused recuses themselves and there are no favors so that there is a fair hearing with any solid evidence leading to a felony conviction. But back to the point, please put the Gospel first because delving into politics and finance doesn’t end well for you clergy.
Now embezzlement is more prevalent than one would assume, here are the top 10 most notorious local embezzlers according to the Columbia Business Times. The problem Deacon Valdes may have had was not being too big to fail, as the story that circulates around Jefferson City goes about the old YMCA finance director, former husband of Mayor Carrie Tergin, who embezzled roughly $250,000 but was allowed to keep it because the board felt the scandal would damage the reputation of the Y. Ask your City Councilman if you live in the City of Jefferson. Religious and not for profit entities seem to get a pass when it comes to suspicious activity but they shouldn’t because they are staffed by the same human beings with the same fallen nature as any other company. If you saw your leaders going to confession weekly then you might assume they were improving themselves but one look at confession times and the confession line should tell you that humility and repentance isn’t likely their jam.
In conclusion we believe that when funding suddenly declines at a not for profit entity, when staff are fired and not replaced, when politics enters the scene as it has at the Chancery, then it’s probably time for an independent audit. That sounds harsh but so did the priestly abuse accusations until some dogged reporters finally listened to the little people and investigated. It’s time to quit sneaking around playing politics and clear the air once and for all.
This is why it matters what the official position of the Diocese is and why they need to issue an official policy in line with Church teaching to stop the process before it causes more trouble for parishes.
We strongly disagree with the Bishop’s revolutionary process but have to credit him with a brilliant human plan in that he would get funding, much of the praise, and yet bear almost none of the hardship and blame. He has decided to play identity politics rather than preach the Gospel. Where there is political agitation there is always money (and leaks). The citizens of Indiana found out that there are Billionaires willing to enforce this agenda, Billionaires that are more powerful than their lawfully elected legislature. Now you may at first be excused for assuming his goodwill and that some of Gaydos’ Chancery staff cooked up this radical process and convinced him to sign off on it. However, anyone who has had dealings with either the Chancery or Catholic Schools especially in Jefferson City knows that even if there is a search committee the final candidate is often chosen by the Bishop himself and sometimes out of the blue, being someone unknown to the search committee. That’s along the lines of how the Diocese replaced one Superintendent of Schools with a couple, Sister Julie and Sister Elizabeth. He, more than anyone else, knows who is being hired, their past, and what their agenda is. There is no one else to blame for the hiring and behavior of these radical outsiders.
In recent years money ran short at the Diocese and many people were laid off permanently or not replaced when they retired. Things began to look tight even for retired priests. But then very large anonymous donations filled the gap. Roughly around that time things had progressed to the hiring of some radical staff and then to this current Diocesan involvement in identity politics. Despite intense pressure from parents Fr. Joe Corel and his staff have doubled down on their agenda. Ask your school principals and parish priests where things stand with the process if you don’t believe that. The Chancery leaders act as though they feel insulated from the consequences of the process, maybe because they believe they have the favor of the media and are also now more financially independent. This reminds us of how a sociopath operates because the parish priests have all of the responsibility and consequences of enrolling or not enrolling transgender students but probably little of the public adulation or funding. They have to face their upset parishioners and parents in the event of enrollment or the threat of media shaming in the event of denying enrollment. The Chancery staff are expendable to Gaydos or the new Bishop, a time worn corporate method to quell a public uproar. But as for Bishop Gaydos he can either celebrate his victory, or if he fails, he can retire next year as planned. He’ll have a nice full coffer either way. His so-called mostly rural Diocese must have seemed like a good place to quietly start this revolution. It’s no accident that the New York Times praises him.
Priests here will talk of just making it to retirement before the collapse of this Diocese becomes apparent, a collapse which could and should make another full article. Ask Fr. Joe Corel about our 3 seminarians. There are so many retired priests and priests near retirement, see them here, that threats coupled with promises of funding their retirement would be an easy way to win the silence of a chunk of clergy. That means that the burden of this struggle will fall on the smaller number of active clergy with more years remaining in service, men so afraid that many refuse to speak of it.
Church politics is enough to make a normal person vomit and as inane, petty, and irrelevant as it seems it’s important here because the real cannon fodder are the children, parents, and teachers who will have to face this issue on a very personal level. All of you are being cut off at the knees by your leader whether you realize it or not. This will be tough for everyone in the schools no matter which side of the agenda you are on. Though most Catholic School parents are not to be found at Mass on Sunday they must find something in Catholic Schools worth paying for. The question is, do you all value the faith or that atmosphere enough to try to stop it’s destruction before you switch to public school, or in the See City the Lutheran School, or maybe Lighthouse Academy or some other option? The only bright light for the Church that might come out of this process would be an increase in home schooling or the rumored new independent Catholic school because the hierarchy could use some competition. But that’s still no reason to give up because those options would be a major improvement for individual families and preferable to what the Bishop plans for the kids, but still only a remnant of what was and probably not an option for every parent.
Whether or not a big political donor can get away with helping the Chancery to run the schools into the ground remains to be seen but you don’t have to help fund their agenda. These things have been stopped before with persistent effort. Parents and priests who think they can wait this out should think ahead a year, do you think that Bishop Gaydos, Archbishop Carlson, or Papal Nuncio Christophe Pierre don’t have the power to suggest a successor with the same agenda, arriving with things set in order and not having to bear the blame? He could simply fire some of the Chancery staff and publicly wring his hands while changing nothing, damage already done. That’s the Process.
A couple of quick points:
If you in any way feel that the parents concerned about this radical Diocesan process need to simply dialogue with Bishop Gaydos to make things better then please understand that many people have tried to do just that with no success. Many more have tried to dialogue with his staff, who wrote the process, and some of those people have succeeded. The response is always the same, they repeat the talking points and dissembling language. Therefor, if you feel dialogue is the answer, we invite you to attempt it and see how reasonable the response is and how well they acknowledge your concerns. Good luck to you, you are dealing with a mix of pride and raw power.
In various letters and emails the creators of this process have sought to assure concerned parents that it is not a policy and yet at the same time that they would never permit a boy identifying as a girl to use the girls bathroom. The language is clouded by mixing the words gender and sex so that one can’t even be sure they are affirming anything or understand exactly what they are saying. Nevertheless such a statement implies a policy about bathroom use which makes us really curious as to why this hasn’t been stated publicly and clearly via the Diocesan media channels. That’s not to say that they have publicly or clearly stated anything else about this process either.
Parents should demand that this radical process be halted and clarified with a clear Diocesan policy before the Bishop uses distraction and dissembling language long enough to get the camels nose under the tent. But, if having Catholic Schools that are identical to public schools is what you wish, then enjoy the process because it won’t take long and you won’t notice the pain until it’s too late.
Orthophobia and the Marginalized QTBGL Catholic
As I survey the current state of the Catholic Church, I believe I can no longer hold back. It is time for me to come out.
I am and have for some time identified as a member of the QTBGL community, and I need to explain why I call myself a QTBGL Catholic.
For those who may not know, “QTBGL” stands for “Quietly Totally Believing God’s Law” and is sometimes referred to more simply as “TBGL” (just Totally Believing God’s Law). Personally, I think the “Q” is an essential aspect of our community, since it’s important to recognize just how quietly we go about totally believing the fullness of truth of the Catholic faith in our daily lives.
Coming out at this moment is vitally important. Not only do I need to be utterly honest about who I really am, but the Church needs to do a better job ministering to the QTBGL Catholic in the pew, not to mention QTBGL clergy in the Church, like me. We are marginalized, unjustly discriminated against, and regularly face demeaning “orthophobia” (irrational hate for, and fear of, right-thinking Christians) not only from fellow Catholics but even from secular society.
The level of orthophobia is getting worse, in fact. Within the Church, we are called “haters” and “bigots” simply for accepting and affirming what the Church actually teaches us about liturgy, justice, virtue, and, of course, the human person and sexuality (natural law). Outside the Church, orthophobes everywhere are trying to curtail our religious liberty, take away our conscience rights, and subject us to ridicule and hate simply because of who we really are.
Yet many QTBGL Catholics really feel as though we were born this way. Or at least baptized this way. Even in the face of such orthophobic animosity and outright discrimination (some of us have even lost jobs after publicly coming out as QTBGL), we know we are being true to ourselves. We are resigned to a rather lonely life of quietly accepting each and every truth taught to us by the Church, often at great personal cost.
You may have heard that recently a bishop was heartlessly attacked by orthophobes for his faithful interpretation of canon law as it applies to reception of Holy Communion and to funerals. While this bishop has not overtly come out as a QTBGL Catholic, orthophobes everywhere treated him that way. He was vilified horribly, even threatened.
Despite this bishop’s brave example, however, we need to face it—QTBGL Catholics are under attack and often feel alienated from so many other leaders of the Church who are supposed to welcome, affirm, and accompany us with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
Just think of how very few QTBGL-affirming parishes there really are in our local dioceses. When was the last time you saw a parish intentionally advertise something like, “At St. Fidelis Parish, ALL are really welcome—including QTBGL Catholics. Come as you are. Who am I to judge?”
It just doesn’t happen often enough. Sure, there may be some parishes that do what they can to minister to members of the QTBGL community and help us feel accepted for who we are. But more often than not, especially at the diocesan level, our needs are largely rejected and ignored.
For example, do our Church and parish leaders really not know the disheartening and isolating double standard that so many QTBGL Catholics experience? Too often, our leaders devote lots of time and energy ministering to orthophobic Catholics who reject us, offering them lavish attention, welcome, affirmation, and acceptance. Yet, many of these same leaders never seem to get around to teaching the orthophobic Catholics all those truths that we QTBGL persons accept unreservedly. We certainly don’t feel very respected in such unwelcoming parish environments.
My QTBGL community is starving for the nourishment that can only come from our pastoral ministers. It’s like a dagger in the hearts of marginalized QTBGL Catholics to know that we ourselves may rarely hear the fullness of truth in our parishes. But more than that, many of us “out” members of the QTBGL community have great concerns that orthophobic Catholics are not hearing those truths either. Often, when we approach parish and diocesan leaders with our concerns, mostly we are ignored outright—never hearing a word of affirmation or comfort. I can’t tell you how many times QTBGL Catholics have phoned or written their dioceses to ask for support when orthophobia rears its ugly head in our local parishes and even in our schools.
When we get no response, how can such silence be construed as respect, compassion, and sensitivity? How can it not be construed as a form of unjust discrimination against QTBGL Catholics?
By coming out, I am hoping to contribute to a culture of authentic “bridge building,” so to speak, between the institutional Church and the QTBGL community. And, I must say, the onus is really on the Church to take the first steps to eradicate orthophobia in all its forms and to reassure the QTBGL Catholic that, yes, we have just as much right to be part of the Church as even the pope does. QTBGL Catholics have real gifts to offer. We need to be permitted to share our God-given gifts. Particularly, our total acceptance of the truth is a great gift to the Church. Why don’t we hear this affirmed more in our churches?
Oddly, it’s a bit like the parable of the shepherd who goes after the one sheep but, in a twist of the parable, takes absolutely no precautions to meet the needs of the other 99 sheep while he is busy seeking and finding that one lost lamb. What shepherd, while seeking the one lost ewe, leaves 99 without food, water, protection, and guidance? What shepherd, after finding the lost sheep, brings it back and spends a huge amount of time caring for it while ignoring the requests and needs of the other 99? Such a shepherd might say to that one lost sheep, “You know, it’s okay if you still want to identify as a ‘lost sheep’; I don’t want to make you feel unwelcome or judged just because you have no real interest in thinking of yourself as ‘found’ like these other 99.”
In the fractured parable I’ve penned, when the 99 see how little value the shepherd seems to place on staying “found,” they might feel a bit underappreciated.
With these things in mind, my coming out as a QTBGL Catholic will also help combat the “erasure” our community has experienced for too long. We exist. We are out. We’re in every parish, every pew. QTBGL pride should be proclaimed in every parish community.
I can’t begin to say what a relief it is to finally come out and embrace my QTBGL identity.
Just one more thing—maybe we could come up with a QTBGL-pride flag to inspire us. I mean, I think we have a real shot at eradicating orthophobia, even in my lifetime. But we will need the cooperation of all Catholics, and all Catholic leaders. Until then, those who do make the brave choice to minister to QTBGL Catholics and our families will likely face hate, persecution, discrimination, and outright rejection.
Even so, I’ve heard from those ministering to the QTBGL community that all the hateful comments they endure from orthophobic Catholics seem like nothing after meeting just one QTBGL person or parent who says “thank you.”
And so—as a newly out QTBGL Catholic, on behalf of our community, I say to all who choose to minister to our pastoral needs:
Editor’s note: Pictured above is a detail from “Holy C0mmunion” painted by Ariel Agemian.
Here is a full transcript of the audio we posted from the May 9th meeting where the chancery staff presented their 17 page revolutionary document to the priests of the Jefferson City Diocese. Audio Transcript PDF
It’s a fairly quick read and you should first zip through and read the highlighted sentences. They contradict what Fr. Joe Corel and the rest of the staff have since been telling the public and the priests. If you have heard from your priest that Fr. Corel told him that they would make conditions so that enrollment of a transgender student or a student from an unnatural family would almost never happen, then please read these excerpts below. It depends on who Fr. Corel is talking to and when, it depends on whether you are clergy on the one hand or just a parent or lay person on the other hand.
“We hope that you will know that in conjunction with Pope Francis trying to have us be inclusive, with our bishop encouraging us to be inclusive, that whenever possible we like to enroll children that have this situation because we feel like it’s a good way for evangelization, for including them in the Church. However, no is
also an option.”
” So consider the scenario and the communities who will be impacted. In a minute we will talk a little bit more about communities who will be impacted. When you enroll a student in your school, it’s not just that student that’s impacted. That student’s family is impacted. All the students in the class that that student will be enrolled in are impacted, and the student’s family is impacted and because our parishes support our schools as ministries, every member of your parish could possibly be impacted by
this decision. So it’s important for you to consider all of those folks. Then the determination would be, is this parish school a welcoming environment at this time, where this child will be and feel safe and secure and know that they are loved, and is it in the best interest of this child to enroll them at this time in your school?”
“If you enroll that child then the next steps will be to identify appropriate communities that have a need to know or a right to know about this agreement. Who needs to know this child is gay? Who needs to know that this is a transgender student? And we’re going to talk about how that works. We’re going to talk about what are those communities.”
They’ll condescend to consider everyone in the parish but weren’t planning to inform them. This is a clerical arrogance that should have died in 2002. It’s quite the opposite of what they think, the parents need to know what these people are up to. At a later date we will show you statistics that reveal how they have lead the decline of the Diocese and failed to earn the right to conceal information about anything they do. For starters, having just lost 3 seminarians, this Diocese now has 3 seminarians. That’s in every grade of college and Theology. Fr. Joe Corel was, from 2006 until recently, the Vocations Director for the Diocese. For a comparison the mostly rural, blue collar Diocese of Wichita Kansas ordained 10 men this year and will ordain 10 next year.