Monday, February 27, 2012

Priest boycotts funeral

I’m going to make a few remarks about this:

i) Given the writer’s slant, this may well be a very misleading or incomplete version of events.

ii) I’m not going to comment on the writer’s ignorant, atrocious theology.

iii) It’s always amusing when leftwing extremists accuse the other side of political extremism. Amusing that they are blind as bats to their own extremism.

iv) Assuming, for the sake of argument, that this account is reasonably accurate, the priest might be faulted for tactlessness. He was right on the merits, but this was the wrong occasion to be confrontational. (Cue: Job’s comforters.)

v) But even assuming the accuracy of the account (and I doubt how reliable it is), the daughter put the priest in a very awkward situation. Having provoked the incident, she didn’t leave the priest with any ideal options. Whatever he did was going to have downsides. He’s not responsible for the predicament she put him in.

vi) I also don’t know the content of her eulogy. If she exploited the captive audience to plug her LGBT agenda, then it’s understandable if he registered his protest by absenting himself from the propaganda. I don’t know that that’s what happened, but then, I doubt this account tells the whole story.

vii) The separation of church/state objection is preposterous. Apparently, this was a Catholic funeral, performed by a Catholic priest, in a Catholic church (or possibly the chapel of a funeral home). Even if we grant separation of church and state, a priest, performing a religious funeral, is hardly trespassing the (mythical) wall of separation when he conducts the service according to the policies of his denomination. For this event is taking place within a religious arena, within a religious context.


  1. I agree with all your remarks, Steve.

    Actually, I'm both pleased and surprised that there's a Catholic priest with the courage of his Church's convictions to deny communion to someone in blatant violation of RCC dogma.

    He guarded the rail properly IMHO.

  2. Agreed. Theological courage is in short supply nowadays.

  3. The priest was apparently acquainted with the daughter well enough to know that she was living in sin and denied her communion. Did he confront the daughter about this before? Who knows. Was this the best time to raise this? I don't know. When is the "best time" to confront people in their sin? On one level, according to Catholic belief, the funeral Mass is for the deceased. On the other hand, a priest should not knowingly allow people engaged in grave sin to partake of the Eucharist. Like Steve said, not many good options in this case.

    "I will tell you a little about the woman who drove that priest from the altar. She is kind, she is smart, she is funny and she works hard promoting the arts. She pays her bills, she cares deeply for her family and she loved her mother and her mother loved her right back. And now she will never set foot in a Catholic church again and who can blame her?"

    So what? I'm no apologist for the RCC, but this is the program if you're Catholic; get on board or get on out. Or look for an Episcopal "church" that displays a rainbow flag above the door.

  4. I'm not sure it's a case of "confronting people in their sin". This event is bereft of important details - did she know that she could be denied communion? Did she just go up because 'that's what everyone is doing'? Did she think 'Well, I know he can't give it to me, but he's not going to deny me it HERE, will he? Think of the bad PR!'? Did he talk to her in advance? Did he chew her out and make a scene?

    But the 'She's a great gal and now she will never step foot in a Catholic Church again' line... really. If she's not about to even try to amend her behavior, why should she step foot in the church again? If the choice is 'Either it's the LGBSA way or the Church's way', I think I'll take option 2.

  5. Steve wrote,

    "He was right on the merits, but this was the wrong occasion to be confrontational."

    What do you mean by confrontational? Should he have given her communion so as to have not confronted her?

  6. If it were up to me in that situation, I'd let it slide. Pick a better battlefield to make the point. We need to consider all the other mourners in attendance. How they will remember the event.

    That said, the lesbian daughter boxed the priest into a very tight situation without a good exit. And he had to make a snap decision. She's the source of the problem.

  7. More details here:

    It really is starting to look like a case of "I bet this priest won't dare deny me communion here of all places".