San Francisco Catholics Petition the Vatican

In the latest in a series of recent conflicts, on Thursday 100 prominent San Franciscans placed a full-page advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle asking Pope Francis to remove San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone.

Their letter of petition comes after two months of controversy over the archdiocese’s February announcement of a new “morality clause” in Catholic schools’ employee handbook (found here), and the further suggestion that teachers might be reclassified ministers, which would end their right to collective bargaining under California law.

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A month ago the archdiocese was also faced with trying to explain why St. Mary’s Cathedral had installed a system to dump water on homeless people trying to sleep in its doorways during the night. And it faces continued questions about the goings on at Star of the Sea Parish, where the pastor has announced an end to female altar servers, and grade school students were given a Lenten examination of conscience questionnaire that included questions about masturbation, abortion and adultery.

In their letter, the one hundred Catholic signatories—who include attorneys, doctors, engineers, educators, business executives, financial advisors, the former head of Catholic Charities in San Francisco, a former member of the Archdiocesan Board of Education and a former battalion chief in the fire department—listed four concerns: the “mean-spirited” language in the employee handbooks, which they say “coerces educators and staff in our Catholic high schools to accept a morality code which violates individual consciences as well as California labor laws”; the issues at Star of the Sea; the Archbishop’s purported isolation from the San Francisco Catholic community; and his “single issue agenda,” which they find threatens the archdiocese to such an extent that it “cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow under his supervision.”

Addressing Pope Francis directly, they write that “Archbishop Cordileone has fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance” and ask the pope to “provide us with a leader true to our values and your namesake.”

Much of this should come as a surprise to no one. The Vatican’s 2012 decision to appoint a strong critic of gay marriage to lead the Church in a city with rich history and commitment to L.G.B.T. Americans was fraught with the possibility of serious long-term conflict under the best of circumstances.

At the same time, Thursday’s public scourging doesn’t seem likely to produce positive results, either. Few respond well to being backed into a corner.

And while Catholics in San Francisco may feel that it is they who have been pushed into making such a strong statement, in fact some progress seems to be occurring without it. The archdiocese has already said they will drop the idea of designating teachers as ministers. Based on the feedback they’ve received they’ve indicated that they’re also rewriting the handbook insert.  It’s also worth noting, the move to have such a clause is by no means unique to San Francisco, nor as problematic as in other dioceses, which have taken to requiring an oral or signed oath.

Similarly, within a day of the report on St. Mary’s Cathedral’s appalling and irresponsible treatment of the homeless, the archdiocese announced that the system would be stopped immediately. Would we prefer that such measures had never been deployed in the first place? (And also that whoever came up with such a plan might themselves some day know the joy of having buckets of ice water dumped on them while they slept?) God yes. But change was made, and made fast.

None of this is to say there’s no reason for Catholics to be frustrated (or their archbishop either). But that frustration calls for scrutiny and self-reflection. On all sides, this seems less the time for digging in and building bunkers than for imagination, persistence and mercy.

And few have those strengths like the people of San Francisco.

[Note: I’ve reached out repeatedly to the archdiocese for comment on these issues without response. (One of the other challenges the archdiocese has faced in recent months is its lack of a permament Director of Communications. They're currently in the process of filling the position.) 

I’ve also reached out to a number of those who signed the survey. Tomorrow I will be posting an interview with one such person. If I get an official comment from the archbishop or his staff I will post that as well.]

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Tim O'Leary
2 years 7 months ago
More evidence of how gay marriage ideologues invert everything. When they say mercy, they mean "fire the Guy." When they say don't discriminate, they mean "shut down their business." And when they say tolerate, they mean "no faithful Catholics need apply"
ed gleason
2 years 7 months ago
O'Leary.. McDermott says there is a communication job open at the SF AD.. and there is not a 'no Irish need apply' sign on the Chancery door (-:: go for it... the PR guy they have has no stomach for this losing fight.
Tim O'Leary
2 years 7 months ago
Ed - I learned from another post of yours yesterday that you founded a chapter of the dissident group: "Voice of the Faithful" Notice again the inversion of language: faithful means the opposite, just like "Catholics for choice" means no choice for the unborn. (here is a report from a former VOTF member. https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=6003) As to losing, the Church has been written off many times in the past but always surprises its opponents. You should study the aftermath of the French revolution to get some historical perspective. Jesus really did mean "until the end of time."
Vince Killoran
2 years 7 months ago
Thanks for another one of your treasured links. I followed it, right to the article by the "former VOTF member" and then I Googled the author's name. Folks, the author, Danny DeBruin, is far, far from holding any views sympathetic to VOTF. He claims at the start of his hatchet job to have had "an open mind" but every other of his posts--some dating back to 2002--appeared in conservative Catholic publications. One contribution is titled, "The Stupidity of the Catholic Left".
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
Apparently you do not have a high opinion of Danny DeBruin. Fair enough, you are entitled to hold it. The rest of it is simply ad hominem. The point that dissenting groups style themselves with misleading names and oppose the Church is still valid.
Vince Killoran
2 years 7 months ago
As Ronald Reagan used to say, "There you go again": "ad hominem" refers to an attack on a person's character rather then engage in the argument. I was merely documenting how Tim's claim that DeBruin was "a former VOTF member" was factually incorrect. VOTF is thoroughly Catholic. It is not a dissident group (not that there's anything wrong with that!).
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
VOTF is thoroughly Catholic in the sense that its members are at least nominally Catholics. It is now, and has always been, interlinked with other dissident groups in opposition to the Church's structure, teachings, and disciplines. I believe my assessment of ad hominem content in your comment was prima facie accurate.
Vince Killoran
2 years 7 months ago
"Interlinked" sounds suspicious--kind of like all those pinko groups Joseph McCarthy went after in the 1950s. I'm sure these Catholics--"at least nominally Catholic"--are appreciative that you've deemed them worthy. Martin, your overuse of latinisms should make you persona non grata on this website!
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
Interlinked is accurate. The same names, shared agendae, shared membership, cooperation. "Overuse of latinisms" is not a fault if it exists.
Vince Killoran
2 years 7 months ago
Simply repeating a previous post and characterizing opposing views as "absurd" isn't convincing.
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
You seem to be content doing it. When you write something that deserves a response, you will get it.
Vince Killoran
2 years 7 months ago
"When you write something that deserves a response, you will get it." You work in a chancery, don't you? In any case, thanks Martin: I would have been surprised by any other response from you.
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
You're a member of VOTF, CTA, or one of the other groups agitating in San Francisco, aren't you? Certainly given the ephemera you post you should be surprised by any other response from anyone.
Vince Killoran
2 years 7 months ago
Tim O'Leary use of the word "invert" in describing gays and lesbians and those who support their civil rights is amusing: in the late 19th and early 20th century sexologists argued that sexual inversion was believed to be an inborn reversal of gender traits: male inverts were, to a greater or lesser degree, inclined to traditionally female pursuits and dress and vice versa. Anyways, I am free to advocate for boycotts as a way of expressing my opposition to someone or some policy. That has nothing to do with free speech. Free speech for all! But no one has the duty to shop at the business that discriminates. Nor should our tax dollars go to these firms. White segregationists peddled O'Leary's views back in the 1950s/60s.
Tim O'Leary
2 years 7 months ago
Vince - you are making my point better than I did. If one says marriage is between a man and a women, he/she is now the equivalent of a white segregationist! That includes the Clintons and Obama and probably yourself just a few years ago, Pope Francis and all Catholic teachers, and all faithful Catholics.
Vince Killoran
2 years 7 months ago
I'm sorry to inform you that I'm not an Obama or Clinton supporter so stop with that silliness. And how wonderful to have someone who can represent "all faithful Catholics" offering his views on this website! Of course most Americans didn't support gay marriage and anti-discrimination measures for gays and lesbians until recently. Few supported racial equality either until after World War II so the weak argument that "racial discrimination was immoral but discrimination against gays isn't" doesn't convince. My point in my original post: free speech does not entail offering public tax money to those organizations that discriminate.
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
The attempt to equate racial equality and same sex marriage is absurd. There is no basic human right to violate the natural law.
G Miller
2 years 7 months ago
Natural Law is nothing but a bunch of mental masturbation. You seek a world that is far more simple than the one we live in. Life on this planet and in our universe is far more complicated than the Church understands it to be. I suggest you take several college level courses in biology so you can actually know what God intended rather than the malarkey foisted on us by a subset of philosophers and theologians.
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
So, from time to time you fall up rather than down. Actually natural law is also foisted on you by scientists, who know that form follows function and depend on the same thing happening time after time if the same experiment is performed. Natural law is embedded in American political theory - "We hold these truths to be self-evident". It is one of the sources of revelation available to those who never hear the Gospel, the law written in their hearts. The notion that you can actually know what God intended by taking "several college level courses in biology" is "mental masturbation".
Tim O'Leary
2 years 7 months ago
Vince - as usual you do not understand/read the comments closely. I never said my point rested on you being an Obama or Clinton supporter. The point is you are wedded to the analogy that animus against a racist group is the same as a religious objection to homosexual activity, which is still (and always will be) the "faithful" Catholic position. And, before you get on your high horse about offering public tax money to organizations that discriminate, that was never the point. The point is the hypocrisy of those who now have expanded the idea of discrimination to positions they themselves held a only few years ago. Moreover, you actively want your government to discriminate against those who publicly follow Catholic teaching, blocking them from public jobs or firing them if they witness their faith in public. And, you support activist bullying (boycotting, and worse) if the government won't do your dirty work for you.
Vince Killoran
2 years 7 months ago
My reading comprehension skills are just fine. The best way for you to avoid responding to the Obama-Clinton characterization is for you not to articulate it. Boycotting is not "activist bullying." Are you telling me, for example, that I am duty-bound to shop at a store run by a KuKluxKlan member? Of course not. The Klan member can march on Saturday but I don't have to buy his goods on Monday. Finally, are you arguing that many white Americans didn't move toward support for racial justice over the course of the mid-twentieth century? So too have many Americans come to understand that discrimination against gays and lesbians is a violation of their civil rights. Please don't bother to keep typing the line, "they're not the same thing" unless you have a compelling explanation. The "natural law" explanation won't hold since southerner segregationist Christians tried the same boilerplate excuse a half century ago.
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
The favorable comparison of racial justice and the homosexual agenda is absurd. As soon as you fall up rather than down, you can make a case against the natural law.
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
Race discrimination was immoral. Opposing same sex marriage or pointing out that homosexual behavior is immoral is not. There is a line between joining the Church in opposing treatment of people with same sex orientation unjustly, which deals with civil rights as humans, and opposing same sex marriage or the granting of certain other privileges to people acting on same sex orientation, which is really not granting civil rights. Race discrimination and opposition to the same sex agenda are really not comparable.
Frank Gibbons
2 years 7 months ago
SF Gate commissioned a poll about whether Archbishop Cordileone should be removed. Here are the results. Should Pope Francis remove Archbishop Cordileone from the San Francisco archdiocese? • 77% No, the archbishop is upholding the values of the Catholic Church • 12% Yes, the archbishop is fostering a climate of intolerance • 10% No, the archbishop is right to oppose same-sex marriage • 1% Yes, his morality clause for teachers in parochial schools defies the law The people have spoken. It seems like the "prominent" 100 do not speak for the people.
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
The petition is more PR nonsense by a group who has spent the last decade and a half opposing the Church while purporting to be its friends. They are generally wealthy, at the very least well-funded, and like Nancy Pelosi believe they, not the archbishop, and not the poor "unwashed" in the pews, know what being a Catholic is all about. Archbishop Cordileone called Representative Pelosi's bluff and is about to call theirs. Good for him.
Vince Killoran
2 years 7 months ago
Hilarious! I thought that this was a real, scientific poll. In fact, it's one of those faux polls. I filled one in last week for our local paper. Guess what? My buddy's pizza place won--after I logged on several times and voted for him! Nevertheless, I will remember that Frank supports the notion of polling Catholics on these matters in order to determine the validity of an issue.
Frank Gibbons
2 years 7 months ago
Hey Vince, if the poll went they other way, I guarantee you'd be citing it. Besides, whatever lack weight this poll may have, it's still more than a petition from 100 "prominent" Catholics.
Kathryn Hamaker
2 years 7 months ago
One of the signers of the ad is a principle in Nibbi construction. Google nibbi.com and St.Francis of Assisi-La Porziuncola Nuova to see the magnificent work done by this firm to give San Francisco the chapel of the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi.So yes, I think loosing the trust and support of people from Nibbi construction is quite significant. Archbishop Quinn closed the parish of St. Francis of Assisi one of San Francisco's most historic Roman Catholic Churches. Archbishop Levada realized its significance to S.F. and reopened the church as the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. I live in San Francisco,people all over the Bay Area are talking about this loss of trust in the decision making process within the Archdiocese under the episcopal leadership of Archbishop Cordileone.
ed gleason
2 years 7 months ago
Mr Nibbi and his construction co. also just completed 8 stories of housing for the aged poor paid for and operated by Mercy Sisters The two bottom floors house a brand new St Anthony dining room for the homeless and poor, paid for by the St Anthony Foundation operated by Franciscans. .It serves about 3000 meals a day.. A/B Cordileone lives/works 8 blocks away [all downhill too] but was a no show at ground breaking and a year later at the grand opening But 2000 San Francisans were there each time with many of the signers of the petition. plus a large group of local, state and federal officials The reason A/B ducked out ? I guess he has 'issues' with some of the political officials. . .
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
You cannot buy your way to a new archbishop. The principals in Nibbi Construction have no more say in Catholic matters than the widow who puts her mite in the collection basket each week. It is my impression that having gotten away with Nancy Pelosi style "Catholicism" for decades, this time the dissidents have met their match, and all of this hoopla is as a BB gun against a main battle tank.
G Miller
2 years 7 months ago
I have met Nancy Pelosi. I used to go to church with Nancy Pelosi when I lived in Washington DC. She would regularly attend Holy Trinity in Georgetown. What you call "Nancy Pelosi-style Catholicism" is grounded in your favorite thing Mr. Elbe -- Natural Law. While I haven't asked Mrs. Pelosi directly, I think we can safely divine that she is dedicated to the idea that all people -- male and female -- are created equally. None of this crazy middle eastern thinking that a woman is only worth half as much as a man. Furthermore that those same people should be able should be able to employ their God-given gifts and talents in a manner that does not break the law. That those same people should be able to exercise their conscience without censorship or retribution from the Catholic Church. (More plainly, someone should not fear losing their job if they work for the SF Archdiocese and choose to attend a gay wedding.) And that the Church, particularly after the pedophile scandal, should learn to listen to the people in the pews because it's their Church too. And many of the priests and bishops forget they don't work for the good ol' boys network but they actually work for the People of God.
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
My favorite thing is that the Church teaches with authority, not Nancy Pelosi. People who think otherwise always have other options. Had that been made clear to Mrs. Pelosi some years ago, she would be much happier in say the Episcopal Church and saved herself the embarrassment of being told by her bishop she had no idea what she was talking about on abortion.
ron chandonia
2 years 7 months ago
Here's the splash-page lead-in to this thinly disguised editorial screed: "A divided archdiocese calls for mercy and imagination, not digging in and building bunkers." Evidently, "mercy and imagination" = views of rich white Left Coast elitists who support Dem/progressive agenda uncritically, while "digging in and building bunkers" = pointing out that Catholic teaching has some problems with same. Strikes me that AMERICA here is taking its journalistic cues from MSNBC.
G Miller
2 years 7 months ago
Mr. Elbe your comment "Race discrimination was immoral. Opposing same sex marriage or pointing out that homosexual behavior is immoral is not." Is only half correct. There is nothing immoral about being gay or gay marriage. Here's why... In our genome, you know the one that God created before there were pens and papers, he created gay and straight and bisexual and black and white and male and female. God created a world that is not as binary as you would like. Amazingly all of the diversity in our species is due to a 0.5% variation in our genetic make up. Homosexuality is woven into our species at the chromosomal level. You can find the papers on the internet. I suggest you read them because they are compelling. The simple, compelling truth is if something is found in nature, like homosexuality, it is part of God's Plan. There are scores and scores of studies demonstrating this. You can keep pointing to the Bible and saying that is "the Truth" but there is also truth in our genome. Please educate yourself to the actual reality that is found on this planet. Not the beliefs of our ancestors that are not standing up to the test of time to reason or research. There are many deep truths in the Bible and I look to them. I also know that we have grown intellectually as a species and we now actually know what a water molecule looks like. We know more about the world and how it works than our ancestors did. Now that you know about these papers, if you refuse to read them, and to refuse to alter your behavior is to commit a sin. You cannot be blindly faithful to an idea when it causes other people real harm. How many gays, like people of African descent, have been killed, injured physically or in other ways, just because of who God made them to be? We will never know the exact number but I do know that the Church has been wrong before and is wrong now on this issue. Archbishop Cordileone seems to get particular joy out of antagonizing gays. I know, I used to live there and remember him as Bishop of Oakland. And to do that in San Francisco is to disrespect the memory of people like Harvey Milk who were killed just because they were gay. If I had been asked to sign the petition that was in the Chron, I would have without reservation. It is wrong to dump water on the homeless and only change the policy when you are caught red handed. It is wrong to prevent girls from participating in our liturgies as mass is a family event. It is wrong to threaten to fire people when they are exercising their conscience because of some morality pledge. Think about it Mr. Elbe. If we went back to the 1950s and a pledge like the one that Cordileone is promoting existed, but it was about the prohibition of support for civil rights for blacks, where would your loyalty be? With the Church or with the blacks?
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
There is nothing immoral about a same sex orientation. The immorality occurs in acting on it. We all deal with tendencies, urges, and temptations. Your argument supports the conclusion that a homosexual male has different ones than a heterosexual male, not that acting on them is moral for either.
G Miller
2 years 7 months ago
Mr. Elbe, Thank you for further correcting your statement about homosexuality and immorality. The sin I would argue is in denying who you are at your core. Think of St. Peter denying that he knows Jesus. Think here of Cardinal Keith O'Brien and the many other self-hating, deeply closeted priests of the Catholic Church denying their own sexual orientation. If fidelity is the lesson of the Cross, then a gay person or straight person, who lives in a marriage, and is chaste to his/her spouse, is living a good and moral life. Christianity teaches that adultery is sinful and that teaching is not gender or sexual orientation specific. Gaudiam Et Spes specifically states that marriage is about more than just procreation. And not all heterosexual marriages result in children. So there is no immorality in two people of the same gender, who are being true to their biology, being married and living faithfully for each other knowing that they won't be able to procreate. Again, marriage is more than procreation. Besides there are straight marriages that encounter temptations like substance abuse and it sometimes ends in the spouses being unable to care for their children. That is when gay people can play a role in society that is vital: keeping children from being raised in an institution rather than in a loving home. I have friends who are gay and live outside of San Francisco. One is a PhD Scientist, the other a manager at a telecommunications company. They adopted three brothers after their parents could no longer provide for them. They took on the role of parents. They have been working hard to deal with the side effects of the biological parents' substance abuse. They are like the Good Samaritan. They are binding up wounds and changing the boys' futures for the better. Unfortunately, the Church lives in world of Natural Law where evidence is not required. It's just statement A and statement B lead to Conclusion C. It ignores the reality that these boys are living a better life because of the selfless acts of gay, married men.
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
There is no sin of “denying who you are at your core”. If you are drawn to immoral acts, you resist them. There are no circumstances which would render an intrinsically immoral act moral. The research on same sex parenting is almost non-existent, but so far the results do not look promising. However, since the Church proscribes situation ethics, there are no circumstances under which the Church can endorse same sex marriage or same sex couple adoptions. We all live in the world of Natural Law. That is why it is called “natural”. The Church is charged with teaching all nations, which includes correctly interpreting the natural law, which even the pagans have access to, consistent with the revelation, which the pagans do not have access to. That means that no “evidence” trumps, suspends, amends, or supplants the Church’s teaching.
G Miller
2 years 7 months ago
In Washington DC there is a place called St. Luke's. It's where many religious professionals, who have denied their identity at their core, have wound up. Hooked on drugs. Hooked on porn. Hooked on alcohol. Hooked on all sorts of stuff. You can dance around the idea that I am communicating because it's not directly taught by the Church. I doubt it is spelled out in the catechism. But no one can hide from their inmost selves and get away with it. It always leads to disaster. Some people might even call it hell. The research on same sex parenting is not nonexistent. The work that does exist has shown that there appears to be no difference, and in one study, it gave the edge to two moms. The conservatives tried to refute the preponderance of evidence with the help of Dr. Regnerus at UT. That didn't work out so well. He got laughed out of court if I remember correctly. The Natural Law concocted by philosophers is never based in reproducible observation, so how can it be valid? You cannot go around saying I believe X, Y and Z statements to be true and thus A, B, and C must follow. No data. No valid conclusion. What you call Natural Law, I would probably call hypothetical or ideal or something like that. Nature on the other hand, isn't clean and tidy. It has variations. It has mutations. The rules are not followed to the letter in every iteration. That's not how our universe works and THAT IS NATURE. Nature is messy. It's not perfect. And the Church needs to be more comfortable with that simple ambiguity. "The Church is charged with teaching all nations, which includes correctly interpreting the natural law, which even the pagans have access to, consistent with the revelation, which the pagans do not have access to." So I suppose, based upon your statement above you would have supported Pope Urban VIII and his claim that the Earth is at the center of the universe. You would support ignoring the observable world be because some guy, who couldn't solve a calculus problem, insisted that that was reality? Are you kidding me? If that is the case, then you are no different than the Evangelicals who insist that the universe is around 6,000 years old. They point to the Bible in one hand, while in the other hand they hold a cell phone. The physics used to create that cell phone proves that the universe is much older than what they believe it to be. It is those simplistic beliefs that lead parents, who have no scientific education, down the path that denies the basic protection of vaccinations for their children. Belief in God and a relationship with God is critical to our personal development. But you cannot go around ignoring the universe that God put you in and expect that everything is going to be OK.
Martin Eble
2 years 7 months ago
St Luke’s is in Silver Spring, Maryland. It happens to be the place where several bishops sent priests for the “cure” to pedophilia, priests who reentered the ministry and became repeat offenders. Its director a few years ago was found to be a practicing homosexual and that resulted in a second housecleaning. I would not cite St. Luke’s to anyone familiar with it. The research on same sex parenting is in fact practically non-existent. The trickle so far is hardly an endorsement of it. The Natural Law is the law cited by St Paul as the law written in their hearts the Gentiles follow. It is roughly equivalent to the laws of nature, meaning the order which governs the activities of the material universe. The Roman jurists considered natural law those instincts and emotions common to man and the lower animals, such as the instinct of self-preservation and love of offspring. In its strictly ethical application the natural law is the rule of conduct which is prescribed to us by the Creator in the constitution of the nature with which He has endowed us. Every time something falls, the Natural Law produces the same observation. The Church as part of its charism granted it as Teacher - “Who hears you, hears Me” - is the authoritative interpreter of the Natural Law. Natural law is a particular target of opponents of Humana Vitae and the Church’s teachings on same sex relations since it effectively spikes every situation ethics “evidence” approach for an endorsement of intrinsically immoral acts.
Tim O'Leary
2 years 7 months ago
I’m guessing there’s not much actual scientific education informing several of the comments below (esp. Vince and G Miller). I suppose one can make the analogy of race and homosexuality just as others can make the analogy between homosexuality and pedophilia. But, let’s state a few scientific facts. There are clear chromosomal (XY vs. XX), genetic, hormonal, physiological and pathological distinctions (e.g. breast and prostate cancer) between men and women (of all mammalian species). The difference is huge, testable and scientifically indisputable. On race, there are identifiable differences in inheritance, in skin, facial features, and in disease predispositions (e.g. sickle cell anemia), etc. It is rarely a problem for a person to be identified by police by race and sex (hence the current controversy re African-Americans killed in police custody) and most government forms still look for those distinctions, even if this very data is simplistic and used for ideological reasons (e.g. for affirmative action or other racial/diversity counting here in the USA, or political and economic ethnic discrimination that still goes on in many parts of the world). However, sexual orientation is only known by self-identification. Despite extensive ideologically-driven and coolly-objective research, no “gay” gene, no chromosomal difference, no biological test of any kind has been identified that can accurately distinguish a homosexual from a heterosexual, or even come close to identifying a bisexual. None. Nada. Apart from the very rare cases of XXY (Klinefelter’s syndrome) or XYY, the same goes for most transgenders and transsexuals. And it is pure ideology that drives the ever-expanding alphabet soup of sexual orientation (see the NYT article on LGBTQIA, or the article on LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM at the bottom of my comment). This malleability is consistent with the people who “discover” their orientation late in life, even after having married, promised life-long commitment and had several children, and those who experiment in their teens or young adulthood, or identify as “bi-curious,” etc. I am happy to be corrected if shown a distinct medical test that might refute the current state of science, not just an article pushing trends in population studies. A test approved by the FDA would be a perfect counter, if anyone knows about one. None the less, it is also indisputable that a percentage of the population “think” or feel that they are sexually excited or attracted by members of their own sex, or are actually unable to have sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex, or are unable to use their sexual organs correctly (to generate children), or that some are attracted to BDSM or other fetishes, etc.. Hypotheses include hormonal effects in the womb, as yet undiscovered genetic or epigenetic traits, family dynamics, childhood experiences, other psychological events, sexual experimentation, ideological motivations, and even sexual boredom. Whatever the reason for the experienced orientation, there is no moral culpability just for being tempted, for experiencing a desire, unless sought out and encouraged. For those who have those feelings, sometimes deep-seated, and obsessive-compulsive, and are yet trying to live a chaste Christian life according to biblical and Church teaching, they are to be commended. They could be heroic, even saintly, especially if they do resist the prevailing ideological libertinism. They should be supported and loved by fellow Christians, who know they too are struggling with other no-less-strong temptations to sin. For all of us, it should be “love the sinner, not the sin.” This is the attitude that Pope Francis commended, when he famously said "who am I to judge". Here is the full quote: "I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good. If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying ... wait a moment, how does it say it ... it says: “no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society”. The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency." And those who are lobbying to discriminate against faithful Catholics should be called out for their own discriminatory injustices. LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM (No, This Is Not A Joke) http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/21404/ NYT LGBTQIA article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/fashion/generation-lgbtqia.html?pagewa... TIME article on race: http://time.com/91081/what-science-says-about-race-and-genetics/ Pope Francis full text http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2013/july/documents/papa-francesco_20130728_gmg-conferenza-stampa.html
G Miller
2 years 7 months ago
Mr. Leary: First, you forget that I have corrected you in the past when you could not distinguish a gene from a chromosome. It is disingenuous for you to be criticizing my knowledge of science. I started working in research labs when I was seventeen. I am now north of fifty. Of course there is no gay gene. That would mean that there would be a "gay" protein. And if there was a gay protein, then we could make an "anti-gay" antibody to that gay protein, give that antibody to the people who express the protein, and then, in theory they would no longer be gay. But there would need to be a double-blind study to prove that. But since there is no gay gene, no gay protein, and no anti-gay antibody, we will never see that study conducted. There is a genetic basis for homosexuality. The difference is at the chromosomal level. You can see it in the work of Dean Hamer who was working at the NIH. His work was confirmed by a study presented at the 2012 meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. There is no genetic basis for the concept of race. You need to do more reading on sexual orientation. It is a spectrum. Kinsey had a spectral scale that went from 1 to 6. Other researchers have it from 1 to 32 another from 1 to 13. What influences where a person is on that spectrum is still not entirely clear but obviously we are not at the point of full understanding. What we can say is that the model that the Catholic Church promotes: everyone is straight and some are gay by choice doesn't fit the evidence. Not by a long shot. This is no different than when Pope Urban VIII was sure that the Earth was the center of the universe. The data didn't support him and the data doesn't support the Catholic model of human sexuality. We are in the process of learning. And that process is not as easy as memorizing the Ten Commandments. Stay tuned....more shall be revealed.
Tim O'Leary
2 years 7 months ago
G - chromosomes are collections of genes (and other non-coding DNA) so any chromosomal cause must come down to genetic causes. In any case, I have followed Dean Hamer's work and he is a very long way from identifying a rigorous result. Again, there is no available test. Of course, even a genetic or chromosomal disposition to an action does not confer morality to the action, or we would have to take a different interpretation of alcoholism or other addictions for which there is a much clearer genetic basis. As regards race, I don't think you read the TIME article. But, how do you think skin color is transmitted from black parents to their children if not genetically? Do you postulate some other form of transmission?
G Miller
2 years 7 months ago
Actually, how it all works is still unclear since we know there is not a gay gene. But Hamer saw and the ASHG study clearly confirmed that we can see linkage at the chromosomal level. Understanding what that means say at the cellular level and as neural networks are built in our brain, has yet to be completely described. You mention non-coding DNA. When I was an undergraduate, I was taught that non-coding DNA was junk. But that is not what is taught any longer. Our understanding is changing and getting deeper everyday. At this point, I would argue that just like gender, sexual orientation is part of our genome because of the Hamer study and subsequent studies. And it is not possible for something that is woven into your being in the way one's identity is, to be immoral. And please stop comparing homosexuality to alcoholism or another disease. It is rude and offensive at the very least. It fails to recognize that different biological mechanisms are most likely at work. In this case, and we don't the precise mechanism, however, the rules of Mendelian inheritance don't appear to work for homosexuality like they work with other traits. If those rules applied, we would not be having this debate. As far as Time magazine, I wouldn't let my parakeet read it much less use it in his cage. I certainly would not reference it in any intellectual argument since it's the news meets "Fun With Dick and Jane." All I said, was that there is no genetic basis for the concept of race. Do you understand what I mean there? All the normal rules of Mendelian inheritance still apply to things like eye color and hair color et cetera.
Tim O'Leary
2 years 7 months ago
G - you are certainly correct when you say "how it all works is still unclear..." Two institutions tried to replicate Hamer's work on Xq28 and failed. Even Hamer concedes that if his work is correct, it would have a very low penetrance (meaning it would only account for a minority of gay men: 5-20%) and he sees no connection for lesbianism etc. Now the penetrance with alcoholism is over 50%. Here is a quote from a scientific review and link to the abstract: "Family, twin and adoption studies indicate that 50-60% of the risk of alcoholism is due to genetic factors." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22021628. Yet, a person who has a predisposition to alcoholism does not have to act out on the predisposition, and many do not, even if it is hard. So, please do not think you are morally better than someone who has a predisposition to alcoholism. There is no sin in a predisposition. Alcoholics can be saints too! Now, to your non-scientific understanding of race, if you consider skin color or other physical features that are accepted by the medical community as signs of a persons race (we write it on the patient's chart), the penetrance is 100%, meaning that a Caucasian couple have 0% chance of having an Asian baby. Maybe, you mean something non-biological about race, so that not all children born to Asian parents would be considered Asian, or an African-American baby's race could be changed by adoption?. Can you explain what part of a person's race is not inherited and how the non-inherited part is transmitted?
G Miller
2 years 7 months ago
Mr. Leary, You are no scientist that is painfully obvious. You are unable to grasp my simple statement: there is no genetic basis for the concept of race. Don't lecture me about penetrance. My statement has nothing to do with penetrance. I am not talking about heritable traits. When you understand what I am saying perhaps you might achieve enlightenment. At the moment the idea I am communicating is whistling right past you. A few months ago you didn't know the difference between a gene and chromosome. You tried to conceal that fact but fell flat on your face. You continue to insist on lecturing me about science when you don't even hear, much less comprehend, what I am saying. I will ignore your on-going rude and vulgar comparisons and I will forgo responding to an internet troll like you ever again.
Tim O'Leary
2 years 7 months ago
G - I missed this. Sorry you have resorted to name calling. Perhaps, you do not realize how hostile you are? You never attempted to provide a non-genetic explanation for race, and just repeated your conviction that there was "no genetic basis" for race, against all biological evidence and all medical norms. This is at the level of flat earth denial. I can't make out what you mean by chromosomes unless you think they do not contain genes? Or, perhaps you are implying some non-inheritable translocation (like in Down syndrome). But, no one has suggested a translocation explanation for homosexuality that I am aware of. It would really be better if you just made your case in a more dispassionate way better befitting the scientist you hope you are. Anyway, I hope it all works out for you.
J Cosgrove
2 years 7 months ago
There is no genetic basis for the concept of race.
Depends on what you mean by race. Nicholas Wade wrote a book on this in the last year. "A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History" If you take genomes from all over the world and they have tens of thousands today from just about everywhere, they will cluster based on genetic criteria. He identifies five main clusters and some sub clusters. http://www.amazon.com/Troublesome-Inheritance-Genes-Human-History/dp/1594204462/ref=la_B001H6WF40_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430060267&sr=1-2 If one defines race based on morphological characteristics then there are definitely races. There are also wide cultural differences all over the world even within these morphological classifications. The question becomes is there more than outward morphological differences and maybe behavioral and capability differences based on genetic differences. David Epstein's the Sports Gene goes into athletic capabilities that may be genetically determined.
Pope Urban VIII was sure that the Earth was the center of the universe.
No, he was the one that suggested Galileo's title for his manuscript. He only wanted the heliocentric hypothesis be just that, a hypothesis. There were major reasons why it was untrue and it wasn't till 200 years later that science demonstrated that the heliocentric hypothesis was correct. Urban knew the politics of the Church at the time and wanted to proceed in an orderly fashion before overturning accepted knowledge. As far as homosexual tendencies, maybe it is epigenetic and environmentally affected, probably during pregnancy if so.
Kathryn Hamaker
2 years 7 months ago
The point that Ed Gleason and I are both making is that in San Francisco over the years coalitions of Roman Catholics who actually are Bay Area residents joined across socio-economic divides to bring into existence projects that were seen as important ways we as local Catholics expressed our tradition. The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi came into existence due to public pressure by local Catholics against the closure of a Roman Catholic Church that we the local Catholics felt was vital to the story of San Francisco. I'm a small time donor, the Nibbis are much larger donors. Same goes for the new St. Anthony's Dining Room, a fixture of Catholicism since the OFMs founded it in the , I believe , 1950s. On a personal note by late dad was baptized at St. Francis of Assisi in 1905 a year before the original church was gutted by the fires of SF's 1906 earthquake. My maternal grand parents ( a German man and a Polish woman) met each other at St Boniface Church the home parish of St. Anthony's Dining Room . My grandmother could speak German my grandfather could not. They both were going to St. Bonifice because there were OFMs there who could speak German. All of this was before 1900.Like many local Chinese families would say "Many of us are long time Californians.
Kathryn Hamaker
2 years 7 months ago
I realized I made an error in my family story. My grandfather could only speak German.My grandmother could speak both Polish and German. Why were these pre 1900 San Francisco immigrants both at a parish with German speaking OFMs , neither of my eventual grandparents could speak enough English to go to confession with an Irish San Francisco priest. And to say it in the Irish"Come the revolution , we'll all be fine."
Vince Killoran
2 years 7 months ago
Successively repeating your original comments is not engaging others in fruitful dialogue.

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