Monday, July 13, 2009

Keep Barb Hall out of the Catholic Church

Jim Corcoran - The Way of Life is Paved with Good Intentions

I wrote and published this blog entry on Friday based on what I knew at the time, and discovered this morning, that there was a very important side to this story without which this Blog entry is inaccurate and maligns Jim Corcoran, though I find I had actually guessed it somewhat correctly on what I had read prevously. I have revised it and republished it on Monday with more accuracy, but my primary point still stands.

Jim Corcoran has a spat with the Diocese of Peterborough here. The crux of it is that Jim claims that he is a homosexual man, and lives a celibate life with another homosexual man. He had been invited to serve on the altar of his local Catholic Church by the pastor. Apparently a dozen of the local parishioners complained to the Bishop about it. The Bishop in his wisdom (as a successor to the Apostles, as per church teaching to which Mr. Corcoran claims to adhere) refused Mr. Corcoran permission to continue to serve on the altar, to avoid public scandal. But, and here was the part that was missing, the issue with Jim Corcoran's sexuality was tiny in the scale of disruptive behaviour on behalf of the dozen or so parishioners, and Jim Corcoran was on the side of the angels, as you can read from his own blog here.

Let me first of all say that I have a great deal of respect for a person, in this case Jim Corcoran and his partner, who understanding their own personal sexuality, choose to live that sexuality in a way that is also honouring to the Church. As any people in our day and age today will tell you, living celibately in our sexually charged world is extremely difficult.

Mr. Corcoran then sought legal advice to combat, not primarily his dismissal from the altar, but also the other shenanigans that were going on in his parish, in no small part because of his devotion to his Church and his pastor. His lawyer advised him of various courses of action, one of them being to file a complaint with the Ontario HRC.

Unbeknownst to him, and probably still unclear to him from his own well intentioned comments on his blog, when he complained to Barbara Hall, he set the wheels in motion that effectively made her the new Head of the Catholic Church in Canada, Popessa Barbara I, and asked her to use her self anointed power over the faithful to suck monetary damages out of the Bishop in the amount of $25,000 and $20,000 from each of the 12 parishioners who so offended the poor man, when that was not his intention at all. Now that the wheels are in motion, his intention no longer matters. Watch and see. The ball is out of your court now, Jim.

I quote directly from Mr. Corcoran's blog: "The Human Rights Commission is a by product of democracy in Ontario. It is an organization that, through mediation, makes best efforts to bring the parties together for discussion and resolution. In this case, I think there is a role for the Human Rights Commission to play in helping to resolve the issues that have been brought out into a public forum by this group of people, especially as they have affected my rights as a human being."

Reading your blog entry, Mr. Corcoran, I have no doubt about your personal bona fides, and your faith, but sir, if you believe what I just reprinted in the above sentences you are sadly deluded. The Human Rights Commission is a by product of democracy in Ontario, like the atom bomb was a by product of democracy in the USA, with similar but slower destructive powers. Read this or this or this or this if you are not convinced. These people's lives are being destroyed by the mediation (what a joke) process. It is a kangaroo court, and you have now opened the cage.

So, Mr. Corcoran, you claim to live a celibate lifestyle according to Church teaching. But, some of the rest of Church teaching is apparently not quite so important to you.

Barbara Hall might allow you to get what you wish, Mr. Corcoran, and she might get you some blood money to donate back to charity, but will it make you happy? Will you like the Catholic Church that she leaves you with? I cringe to think that the Church that I love will be changed by this in a seriously negative way.

Maybe you remember St. Paul. He was imprisoned for doing nothing more than preaching the Gospel, and what did he say in his trials, which were a little tougher than being refused to serve on the altar, and even than the trials of your Pastor. He said: "Consider all these trials Joy."

The Bishop acted wisely in asking you to honour his request, so as to avoid scandal in the Church, not because of you so much, as because of the weakness of the 12 who criticized you. Remember, it is their church too. If they have sinned against you, their sin will find them out in due season.

Jesus gave us two commandments, Love God, and Love your neighbour as you love yourself. St. Paul said Love never takes offense.

If I were in your shoes, Mr. Corcoran, I would stop this thing with the HRC right now while you can, and fast and pray as hard and long as I could for resolution to this matter. I would also enlist the aid of all parishioners of good will in your parish to seek an end to this distressing behaviour on the part of the self appointed judges and jury that are running amok in your parish.

In my blog entry recently, Pray for Your Persecuters, I quoted Kenneth Copeland a well known preacher in the US who says: "The success of any Christian endeavour is a prayer success. The failure of any Christian endeavour is a prayer failure."

As of now, you have chosen to take this matter out of God's hands and put it in Barbara Hall's hands. Are you daft, man?


Anonymous said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH for this blog. Out of the several pundits and blogs that have commented on this situation, yours is the only one that I found which genuinely articulated 'Truth in Charity.'

As a man with same-sex attractions deeply in love with Jesus and His Church and striving to be faithful to her teachings, I'm familiar with the pain that come from a Church that is still trying with all good intentions to effectively minister to these her sons and daughter. I don't believe we as a Church have reached that point yet. This experience deeply hurts because there are many men and women with ssa who, by grace, see through the shallowness of the 'gay lifestyle,' have met Christ and are faithful to His Church. Sadly however, many of their brothers and sisters do not know what to do lovingly respond to their sensitive situation. I applaud Bishop DeAngelis for intuiting dynamic in our Church by responding to in light of the Word of God, particularly St. Paul's admonition on idols: He did not attack Corcoran but urged him in Christian charity to avoid scandal.

That being said, there is definitely more to the story than the "gay man vs church" spin off which is what is being regurgitated everywhere. Placing a church into the hands of the state is deeply troubling for me, especially in a context where secular power whose double standard will easily interfere in Church matters yet will silence her from the public square. I much appreciate your emphasis on prayer as ultimately, this is in God's hands. From him all will receive their just sentence.

p.s. "Consider it all joy" Omne gaudium existimate is not from St. Paul but from St. James. (1:2) =)

mbrandon8026 said...

Dear Brother in Christ:

I stand corrected on my quoting St. Paul, when it was St. James. Please forgive me Saints J&P.

There is so much more to this story, and I have written a couple of more entries to clarify a bit, but also am working on a larger one as well.

My heart aches for all involved but particularly for dear Bishop de Angelis.

From time to time, I receive comments from people that I really want to get to know as I can identify with their day to day challenges, if not exactly, then that they have them, and deal with them, with curious minds and hearts.

If you wish to write me directly my email address is


Anonymous said...

I emailed you.
It's titled, "Omne gaudium existimate."