Editor’s Note: Regarding our July 24 column, the following comments were sent by J.P.N. of Massachusetts, a former scoutmaster:
“The admission of ‘gay’ boys in Scouting goes deeper than most understand. Part of it concerned donations — the United Way stopped funding Scouting because Scouting didn’t want to accept ‘gays.’ Public land used by Scouting for years in San Diego and other places for camping suddenly became no longer available.
“I believe the U.S. government also restricted the use of government land by the Scouts, claiming it is a religious organization. Previously, Scout units could tent-camp at most military bases for free, buy meals in their mess halls, and use their showers. There used to be such a base at Orlando, Fla., which was ideal for visiting Disney. That base has since been closed and the land is a housing development.
“When pressure is put on your income and places you can go, it is hard not to cave in. It will be interesting to see if this movement goes to the point where we have ‘gay’ troops led by ‘gay’ adults. One solution is to do what they did in Ireland and have two separate Scouting programs, one for Catholic boys and one for Protestant boys. They wear different uniforms and camp in different locations. Both are recognized as Scout units by International Scouting and welcome at all the International Scout camps.”
We informed J.P.N. that some good information on the corruption of the Boy Scouts can be found in chapter 10 of Robert R. Reilly’s 2014 book Making Gay Okay (Ignatius), which is entitled “Sodomy and the Boy Scouts.” Reilly noted that as recently as June 2012, the Scout position was not to “grant membership to individuals who are open and avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
In 1991, the Scouts had said: “We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts.”
The reversal of the BSA position in 2013, said Reilly, “demonstrates the implacable way in which the homosexual movement marches through the institutions of civil society to conform them to its self-justification.” Assisting the homosexual movement was President Obama, who said on February 28, 2013 that “gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody does in every institution and walk of life. The Scouts are a great institution…and I think nobody should be barred from that.”
Also pressuring the Scouts were its big financial supporters, including Chase Manhattan, Levi Strauss, CVS, Wells Fargo, Pew Charitable Trusts, the UPS Foundation, Merck Foundation, Chipotle, Hewlett-Packard, American Airlines, J.P. Morgan, some 50 of 1,300 local United Way chapters, and Intel, the BSA’s largest corporate donor.
In addition to opening up the probability of homosexual Scout leaders in the near future, the BSA cave-in, said Reilly, means that they will be “dealing with a major distraction (can homosexuals bunk together?). But what’s much worse, the organization is implicitly accepting the rationalization for homosexual sexual behavior as part of its moral formation. In this, it will be complicit in corruption. It is avoiding doing this explicitly by continuing to insist on chastity from its Scouts in its policy that ‘any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.’
“If, however, it is accepting the homosexual inclination as legitimate, what, then, could be wrong with the thing toward which it is inclined, meaning homosexual behavior?”
Q. I have been asked to dispose of some ceramic and glass vessels that were used in our parish some years ago. Also, Lectionaries, Sacramentaries, and other big books. I believe that they should be buried. Should they be burned in the burial place before they are covered? What is the proper procedure to take care of these religious articles? — E.C., via e-mail.
A. You are correct that these sacred items should be burned, if possible, or certainly buried. If your parish has its own cemetery, that would be a good place to bury not only the things you mentioned but also sacred oil or the cotton balls that are used to anoint people with oil at the Anointing of the Sick or to cleanse one’s fingers at Baptism or Confirmation. Or you can bury these items on your parish grounds. If you can’t burn the books, you could pour water on them before burial so as to ensure their disintegration in the ground.
Q. At a recent morning Mass at a nearby parish, the priest was not there and so a Communion service was held. A deacon and a woman came out to the altar. The woman conducted the whole Communion service from beginning to end. The only participation by the deacon was to hold the book from which the woman read.
When it came time to read the Gospel, the woman went to the pulpit, read the Gospel, and then proceeded to read a homily which appeared to be written down on paper. At Communion time, the woman went to the tabernacle, came back to the center of the altar, held up the Host, and said the words of the service. She then proceeded to give out Communion to everyone while the deacon sat down. The rest of the service was conducted by the woman.
The deacon did not appear to be ill so he couldn’t conduct the service. If that had been the case, it seems it would have been appropriate to cancel the service altogether. It is my understanding of Church teaching that women do not conduct a Communion service, read the Gospel, and give the homily. Your thoughts on this situation will be greatly appreciated. — J.H., Arizona.
A. As we have mentioned in the past, Communion services are not to be conducted in a parish where there has been a Mass on the previous Sunday, or where there will be a Mass on the following Sunday (cf. Redemptionis Sacramentum, n. 166). If there is a legitimate reason for a Communion service, and a deacon is present, he should preside since he is a member of the clergy. It would also be liturgically correct for him, not a layperson, to read the Gospel and deliver the homily.
If there is a legitimate reason for a Communion service, said Redemptionis Sacramentum (n. 165), “it is necessary to avoid any sort of confusion between this type of gathering and the celebration of the Eucharist. The diocesan bishops, therefore, should prudently discern whether Holy Communion ought to be distributed in these gatherings….It will be preferable, moreover, when both a priest and a deacon are absent, that the various parts be distributed among several faithful rather than having a single lay member of the faithful direct the whole celebration alone. Nor is it ever appropriate to refer to any member of the lay faithful as ‘presiding’ over the celebration.”
Q. In the June 12, 2014 issue of The Wanderer, Don Fier in Learn Your Faith says that when man freely chooses to sin, “he willfully elects to reject the Creator.” I have a problem with this. When someone is going to commit a sin, he does not say, “Now I willfully reject the Creator.” When a person sins, he does so because he wants to obtain what sin accomplishes. I can’t picture a bank robber saying, just before he robs the bank, “Well, now I elect to reject the Creator.” — M.W., via e-mail.
A. Here’s the full context of what Don Fier wrote: “Although created in God’s image and likeness, man freely chose to sin. He willfully elects to reject the Creator and, consequently, forsakes the true end for which he is destined. Why? Simply put, it is out of love for self and settling for a false definition of happiness.”
Ultimately, of course, every sin is a willful rejection of the Creator and of His love for us, although our mind may be so darkened and our will so weakened that we don’t see our sinful actions in that light. The proximate reason for sin may be, as you suggest, wanting to obtain what sin accomplishes, or in Fier’s words, “out of love for self and settling for a false definition of happiness.” But the result is the same: separation from God and spiritual death.