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El Paso Priest: Calling Gays “Putrid” Constitutes “True Pastoral Care for Homosexuals”

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2011

Remember, it’s all in the spirit of love-the-sinner-but-hate-the sin:

The main newspaper in El Paso, Texas, published a full-page ad Saturday from a right-wing priest who calls gays “immoral,””putrid,” and “depraved.”

The paid advertisement in the El Paso Times, titled “True Pastoral Care for Homosexuals,” is from Friar Michael Rodriguez of El Paso’s San Juan Bautista Catholic Church. The virulently antigay and antichoice Rodriguez first writes about showing compassion for gay people before explaining how gays are destructive sinners.

“Engaging in depraved and unnatural sexual acts will lead directly to the ruin of both the homosexual’s body and soul,” Rodriguez writes. “Our very anatomy cries out against the lie that homosexual acts are ‘ok.'”

Earlier this year, Rodriguez penned an op-ed opposing that city council’s attempt to provide non-discrimination protections for its city charter. Rodriguez blasted it as “a deliberate attempt on the part of our local government to initiate the legalization of same-sex unions.” He wrote:

In summary, the maleficent agenda which lurks behind the actions of City Council and has given rise to the group “El Pasoans for Equality” is an affront to God, our Catholic religion, human reason, marriage and the family.

This homosexual agenda is in direct violation of: (1) the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, (2) the infallible moral teachings of the Catholic Church (Catechism #2357), (3) natural law and the most rudimentary moral code, (4) recent pronouncements by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Dec. 29, 1975; Oct. 1, 1986; July 23, 1992; June 3, 2003), and (5) the 2009 pastoral letter on marriage by our nation’s Catholic bishops.

…Holy Mother Church has a great, wondrous and tender love for all her children, regardless of “sexual orientation.” She is committed to treating all persons with love, dignity, and respect. … If any person is engaging in sinful sexual activity, we Catholics are called to practice love and compassion, above all, by leading the person to the truth, and helping the sinner to renounce sinful behavior.

Written with love, of course.

The Advocate reports that last weekend’s ad has been removed from the El Paso Times’s electronic edition. Does anyone in El Paso want to scan me a copy?

Update: Thanks to a BTB reader, you can see the entire ad as it appeared in El Paso Times here (PDF: 376KB/1 page).

Comments

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msrowena
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Sometimes librarians are pretty good allies for us (duh, surprise!). If no one else can manage it, it’s possible a quick call or e-mail to a local library there might get it scanned for you, as they likely keep copies in the reading room, etc. I found the e-mail address for the library on line, hope it helps:

reference@elpasotexas.gov

William
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

I think that this is a challenge to us to love the bigot while hating the bigotry.

Richard Rush
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Once again we have “love” as performance-art.

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2011/05/today-in-christian-love.html

JohnAGJ
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Well, since I consider his attempt to impose his own peculiar religious beliefs onto everyone else, regardless of the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, to be “putrid” I guess that makes us about even. What always puzzles me when someone like Rodriguez gives this litany of Scripture and/or documents from their own church is why I should care. I mean last time I checked the El Paso City Council in this particular case doesn’t report to the Catholic Church.

BlackDog
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Ya know, I’m not even gay, and I can honestly say I’ve never particularly wanted to say “Fuck You” to a Priest before I read all that.

Fr. Rodriguez, I’m not a Catholic anymore. I’m not even a Christian anymore. I don’t give a DAMN what you think…and niether do most other people…so please, sit down and shut the fuck up.

Charles
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Has he received any reprimands from his superiors, yet? Let me know when he does.

Graham
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

This ‘love the sinner hate the sin’ nonsense was always just a soundbite for the Christian apologists to use in their arguments. It has never really been applied, because it can never really be applied. You can’t love birds but hate their flying. This rhetorical maneuver exists solely for talking heads in cable news debates with the pro-gay left, nothing more. Deep down, these people know that we exist, and that we can’t really be separated from our “sin”. We don’t fit into their man+woman social order, and so we’re considered vile, disgusting aberrations that ought to be wiped out. But if they came out and said that, it would ruin their image of being all about love and butterflies and whatnot. So they turn on their PR machine and come up with a load of BS. Religion poisons everything.

Ben In Oakland
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

I thought celibacy was an affront to our very anatomy? And having sex with children. Don’t leave that out.

james
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

@Charles. I bet he will be reprimanded as this language does not exhibit the “great, wondrous, and tender love” the Catholic Church exhibits for “all her children.” The church will not make the reprimant public, but this attention-seeker will.

Who knows? Maybe the ad is a reaction to being told by his bishop to stay out of the spotlight.

james
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Further thought. I will be more interested if the publisher of the El Paso Times issues an apology for having run the ad and returns his money.

Newspapers are not required by law or journalistic or business ethics to run every ad that is brought to them. If a gay rights organization had wanted to run an ad insulting the Catholic church, I bet the newspaper would have rejected it.

Priya Lynn
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Blackdog said “Ya know, I’m not even gay”.

Interesting. Its nice to have you as a regular, but I’m curious as to what motivates you to come here – could you give me an idea?

Regan DuCasse
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Blackdog, you took the words RIGHT outta my mouth!

xo

RobNYNY1957
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

I agree that nasal intercourse, for example, would be an affront to the anatomy, but anal intercourse seems to work out just dandy. Ask any hetero couple under age 30. Ask anyone anywhere about oral sex.

A friend of mine once pointed out that every human oriface has been endowned by their creator with least two functions: Nose (smelling, breathing), mouth (eating, breathing, conveying expression), ears (hearing, balance), eyes (vision, conveying expression), genitals (urination, copulation). So why wouldn’t the butthole have at least two functions? I think it is safe to add copulation to add copulation to the creator’s great plan for the function of the anus.

Kevin F
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.” — the phrase actually originates with Augustine of Hippo in a letter and the City of God. and has been cobbled into it’s current form . I think its sad that an expression that ought to be applied in a compassionate way has been reduced to a bumper sticker justification to persecute LGBT folks:

Here’s the quote for reference:

“For this reason, the man who lives by God’s standards and not by man’s, must needs be a lover of the good, and it follows that he must hate what is evil. Further, since no one is evil by nature, but anyone who is evil is evil because of a perversion of nature, the man who lives by God’s standards has a duty of “perfect hatred” (Psalm 139:22) towards those who are evil; that is to say, he should not hate the person because of the fault, nor should he love the fault because of the person. He should hate the fault, but love the man. And when the fault has been cured there will remain only what he ought to love, nothing that he should hate. “(14:6, Penguin ed., transl. Bettenson)

BlackDog
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

@ Priya: I’m not gay, but my mom is bisexual and a number of my friends ARE gay. I found this site because my mom linked me to an article on here, although she doesn’t come here regularly.

I find BTB’s a good site (especially lately) for keeping an eye on what’s up with certain elements of the religious right and since one of my jobs is that I’m a volunteer moderator on a blog for ex-Pentecostals (and the ex-gay movement has a lot of ties with Pentecostalism, IMO) this place is a very good source for information that’s occasionally relevant to that.

@ Graham: I’ve often heard Christians try to phrase it as if they love people in spite of what those people do and they can seperate what those people do from who those people are.

Sadly, no one seems to hold on to the idea that you ARE what you do, more than Fundamentalist Christians. So while that sort of rhetorical dodge might make them better able to sleep at night…it doesn’t work that way in real life.

Priya Lynn
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Thanks for the explanation BlackDog. I agree with your comment to Graham. The way I phrase it is “Sexual orientation is a core feature of who a person is. If you hate that then you you in essence hate the person as well.”.

Wildwood Guy
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Priya Lynn,
I’m sorry, but that comment feels very out of line to me. What difference does it, or could it, make why someone visits ANY web site, blog, whatever? We know from Regan’s writing that she is not a ‘member’ of the LGBT ‘tribe’, yet she is constantly here supporting us (and for which I greatly admire her) but I’ve never read any comments from you directed at Regan. Why hit on BlackDog?

I would much rather you simply commend BlackDog for the comment and let it rest… and then wonder on your own.

I’m frequently surprised at some of your comments as they often come across as baiting or condemnatory… and I can’t understand why you feel the need to make those types of comments.

I find most of BlackDog’s and Regan DuCasse’s comments here to be fascinating, rather enlightening, and definitely adding to the discussion and level of discourse. Your comments, not so much.

You’ve threatened before to leave the discussion. Maybe now is the time.

Regards,

Wildwood Guy

Timothy (TRiG)
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

BlackDog: “I can honestly say I’ve never particularly wanted to say “Fuck You” to a Priest before I read all that.”

No? I have. So has Tim Minchin.

TRiG.

Priya Lynn
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Wildwood guy, I don’t know how you got that from my comment, you’re reading something into it that is not there. Regan is a good friend of mine and I’m well aware that she is straight. If you’ve never read any comments from me directed at Regan then you don’t come here very often. I asked Black dog out of curiosity what motivates him to come here given that its clear its not out of a desire to achieve something for himself, a lot of people aren’t so selfless and I naturally want to know what motivates people to do good deeds.

I’m appreciative of both Regan and Blackdog and my comment to Blackdog was meant to express that – it means a lot to me when straight people take part in our fight for equality. How you could take my comment as the opposite of what it was is a mystery to me.

As to your last comment, no I have never threatened to leave the discusssion and I certainly won’t be doing so because you misinterpret what I’ve said and read condemnation into it when the exact opposite is what I expressed.

BlackDog
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Hey Wildwood,
If I find that a comment or question is out of line, I’m perfectly capable of expressing my own opinion. Priya wasn’t the least bit out of line, it was a valid question.

Priya Lynn
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Thanks, BlackDog.

F Young
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

“Priya Lynn
August 30th, 2011

Blackdog said ‘Ya know, I’m not even gay’.

Interesting. Its nice to have you as a regular, but I’m curious as to what motivates you to come here – could you give me an idea?”

“Wildwood Guy
August 30th, 2011

Priya Lynn,
I’m sorry, but that comment feels very out of line to me.
. . . . .
You’ve threatened before to leave the discussion. Maybe now is the time.”

For what it’s worth, I don’t personally think that Priya Lynn’s question to Blackdog was out of line, but I think that it is Blackdog who is in the best position to say whether he/she found Priya Lynn’s question to be offensive or out-of-line.

Speaking for myself, I think that Priya Lynn’s comments are often interesting and informative, and I would prefer that she continue to participate, subject to the same rules as everyone else.

Personally, I think the most important rule that everyone should follow is to stay respectful.

F Young
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Though it appears in the comments after their responses, my last comment was actually written before Priya Lynn and Blackdog both responded, which made my point largely unnecessary.

I am pleased to see that no offense was meant or taken between Priya Lynn and Blackdog.

Priya Lynn
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

I appreciate your comment all the same F Young.

Jerry
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

I was born gay, Rodriguez chooses to be a parasite for the pedophile protection cult. That seems putrid to me.

San Diego Rob
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

WOW, what is this guy talking about? How did he link us to the 6th and 9th commandments? I wasn’t aware that we were killing anyone as stated in the 6th commandment. However I’m pretty sure he has quite a few parishoners at his church who have had and abortion.

And the 9th commandment, well we wouldn’t have to lie about our sexuality if we didn’t live in such a homophobic world were some of us have to be in the closet because of the environment were in.

He should go back to his church and teach his followers the 3rd commandment since I’m sure they have all taken the Lords name in vain, the 4th commandment since a lot of them work on the day that they should be honoring GOD, most definitely the 7th commandment since over half of them have probably committed adultery against their partners (mostly men cheating on their wives), the 8th commandment since many of them have stolen before, not to mention his church taking money from their parishioners for their own personal use, and the 10th commandment since that just covers everything that adultery or theft doesn’t.

Jim Burroway
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

How did he link us to the 6th and 9th commandments? I wasn’t aware that we were killing anyone as stated in the 6th commandment…

Actually, Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Orthodox, and other Protestants number the commandments differently.

San Diego Rob
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

So then was he linking us to not obeying our mother and father and then coveting our neighbors, because my parents did tell me to be straight and I did not obey them, and as far as coveting my neighbors, well some were hot and I couldn’t help but stare. Or perhaps it’s because I use the LORDS name in vain during sex (sometimes).

Darina
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

My oh my, “the homosexual ideology”.

Jim, thank you for the link (I’m culturally Orthodox), but it still doesn’t make sense to me. The adultery part I understand, but does homosexuality make you covet your neighbour’s wife or what?

homer
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

The money spent on that advertisement could have fed a lot of hungry children.

WMDKitty
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Can someone point me towards this guy’s shoes and/or his bed? I’m feeling the need to barf up a hairball…

sjenner
August 30th, 2011 | LINK

Thanks for this post. Rodriguez’s opinion is very much in line with the harsh direction the Church has taken under Ratzinger against LGBT. To say the Church has in effect declared war on LGBT wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Archbishop Apuron of Guam has even gone further than Rodriguez and praised the murder of LGBT by radicalized Muslims. Of course, all of this is done in the name of “love,” the most abused word in Christianity.

JohnAGJ
August 31st, 2011 | LINK

This homosexual agenda is in direct violation of: (1) the Sixth and Ninth Commandments

Putting aside for the moment how Catholic teaching expands upon the meaning of “adultery” and even “covet” in these particular Commandments, I can assure the good Father in all honesty and without the slightest bit of equivocation that there has never been a time in all of my life that I have ever, in any way, shape, or form covetted my neighbor’s wife. Um…I’m gay Father. It would take a bona fide miracle that would set Exodus and NARTH to rejoicing about my being “cured”, although in an oddly sinful way I suppose since an act of “covetting” would be the result.

Friar Michael Rodriguez

I believe that The Advocate has made an error here because Fr. Michael isn’t a “friar” at all, but is apparently a diocesan priest.

Looking at the website for San Juan Bautista Catholic Church, I see that there is more from Fr. Michael on this right on the home page:

Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, died on the Cross to save mankind. By His suffering, death, and resurrection, the Son of God instituted the Seven Sacraments of Salvation, one of which is Matrimony. The Sacrament of Matrimony is essential to God’s Plan of Salvation, and ALL CATHOLICS MUST respect, defend, and live by this great Sacrament of Christ’s love. No earthly power – no king, president, parliament, congress, judge, no government – has the authority to change or undermine marriage. Related to defending marriage, ALL CATHOLICS MUST oppose any government attempt to legalize homosexual unions. It is gravely unfortunate, but certain El Paso City Council members have been obstinate in imposing a homosexual agenda on our city. Insofar as it is in their power, they have been seeking to legalize homosexual unions. Whether they realize it or not, their actions are objectively immoral and constitute a wicked attack upon marriage. It should be obvious to ALL CATHOLICS what our duty is with respect to these members of City Council. If you are a registered voter, make sure you fulfill your CATHOLIC DUTY. If you are a registered voter, make sure you take the necessary step NOW to defend marriage and oppose those elected officials who are pushing for the social acceptance of homosexual unions, something gravely harmful to the common good.

Charming.

JohnAGJ
August 31st, 2011 | LINK

Oh yeah, here’s the link to the church’s website:

http://sanjuan.webhop.org/

Patty
August 31st, 2011 | LINK

On a radio program, I heard that “water boarding” was initially used during the Spanish Inquisition. Some of the torture and execution devices used by the catholic church seem barborous. What have the gays and lesbians ever done, to be treated in such a hateful manner?

revchicoucc
August 31st, 2011 | LINK

@JohnAGJ. Thank you for tracking this down.

As a Protestant minister, I challenge the Catholic interpretation that opposite-gender “matrimony is essential to God’s Plan of Salvation.” I find abosulutely no support for this interpretation in the words of Jesus or the writings of the Apostle Paul.

My church, the United Church of Christ, values marriage greatly, so greatly we support marriage equality for all people. However, we do not believe being married is essential to one’s relationship to God.

Most Protestants, even conservative ones, do not believe marriage is essential.

That view is held by the Roman Catholic Church and the Latter Day Saints Church. It is even more central to LDS theology than to RC theology.

James
August 31st, 2011 | LINK

@Patty. “What have gays and lesbians done . . . ?

Continue to exist in defiance of those who do not want us to exist.

TampaZeke
August 31st, 2011 | LINK

I just hope Boise, Olsen and the attorney’s for the Massachusetts appeal are collecting this as evidence to respond to the claim that gay people are not discriminated against and are powerful.

Would this newspaper have run an ad as disgusting and slanderous as this one against any other minority? Would they have accepted an ad calling the Catholic Church a pedophile ring and claiming that all priests were pedophiles? If not, considering the fact that they accepted and ran this homophobic ad, WHY NOT?

Timothy Kincaid
August 31st, 2011 | LINK

And day after day the Roman Catholic Church is doing everything it can to appear irrelevant, archaic, mired in another century, and enemies of basic human decency.

And it’s sad.

The Catholic Church does have much good to say and could be a powerful force in the betterment of humanity. Yes there are other voices – some secular, some voices of faith – who do speak out for justice and mercy in the world. But no one is as well situated at the vast institution of the Church.

But their insistence on upholding what has no moral relevance or reflection of modern reality – 100% ban on abortion, contraception, homosexuality, blind protection of priests who abuse their trust – diminishes their authority when confronted with real evil.

Consider for a moment what it would be like if the Catholic Church were obsessed about human trafficing, Eastern European sex slaves, corrupt dictators, or ethnic oppression. A moral church, a church that sas its mission as fulfilling Christ’s hand-on, screw-the-rules-help-the-people, advocacy for the oppressed and weak wouldn’t have to run ads. When you do good – real good – people trust what you say.

Or forget the big global issues, imagine what kind of world this could be if the Catholic Church simply said, “according to our calling to fulfill the commandments of Christ, no one who is able to get to a Catholic Church will go hungry or without a bed tonight.”

Timothy Kincaid
August 31st, 2011 | LINK

For what it’s worth…

There are more than a few readers and commenters who are not, themselves, LGBT. A few who comment regularly – but who seldom mention their orientation – fall into this category.

A love for justice, mercy, and humanity often draws those who care to where it is being denied, even when they have no personal gain. You might even say that’s definitional.

But while they may not personally be gay, bisexual or transgender, they are full members of this community. We are a community that is united most by those who oppose our equality and dignity. And anyone of any stripe who fights on the side of equality is without question a member of the LGBT community.

Ben In Oakland
September 1st, 2011 | LINK

“Consider for a moment what it would be like if the Catholic Church were obsessed about human trafficing, Eastern European sex slaves, corrupt dictators, or ethnic oppression.”

I can think of several possible explanations as to why they don’t. The most obvious one we might call the Arango Syndrome, according to the current news, or perhaps the Rekers Effect, names after its most famous exponent.

It’s just a case of the deflection of the obvious. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, the fraud behind the cassock.A friend of mine, typical for the late sixties early seventies, decided he had a “vocation”, though he truly understood that he was attempting to avoid his sexuality, not all that uncommon for a red-haired irish boy at the time. Imagine his dismay when he entered the seminary, and found more man-on-man heat than he had experienced outside of the seminary when he was actually LOOKING for it.

So you have a church full of closet cases, desperate to punish the sin they so clearly see in themselves. It is hardly an original or novel motivation. But it is an old one in this church. You find it in Boccaccio and chaucer. There is an excellent book by Karen Liebreich entitled “fallen Order”.

She was being kind.

Not a second explanation, but tied to the first, is the old boy club that the Vatican has always been. And no girls allowed– just like Jesus. We’re (claiming to be)god’s (indirectly via St. Peter, the ha-ha first pope) anointed (oooh, magic)in holiness and goddiness. Therefore, we’re his enforcers, his mouthpieces, and really, his super best buddies. “Avoiding scandal in the church”, as if they were actually capable of FEELING scandalized– or irony, or shame– becomes the paramount value. There is a lot of money and power to protect.

Do I sound cynical?

The third explanation, which I think is the most likely, somewhat includes the other two. Back when I was in law enforcement, and age or two ago, one of the prime jobs for the morally lax or the law-enforcement inept was the vice squad. And of course, the opportunities for corruption were immense. But there was a major side benefit: chasing after the queers in the park, busting a gay bar, or anything else were infinitely easier and less dangerous than chasing atfer a burglar who might be armed, and more rewarding.

And perhaps a second possibility– recognizable in the church as well– as providing an opportunity to hide on your own issues while disparaging others with exactly the same issues.

Likewise for the church. It is a lot easier to get the queers than even beginning to make a dent in world hunger. And it is much more fun to have the complete inability to examine one’s cultural prejudices as such without infering that these are God’s will for all eternity.

Deflection, deflection, deflection.

Darina
September 1st, 2011 | LINK

This heterosexual thanks you, Timothy.

For the record, I have gay friends, and the support goes both ways between me and them.

Karen
September 6th, 2011 | LINK

Wow, I can see who supports addictions…instead of helping them to the truth they give them the drug.

TrannyGirl
October 2nd, 2011 | LINK

Oh yes, the compassion and love of the holy mother church. Does that compassion include a well documented history of burnings, hangings, drownings, and other divine tortures for those that dared to be different from the teachings of the loving catholic church?

Oh but that was different, wasn’t it. Different people were in charge and they really believed that they were doing the right thing for those poor souls. The church doesn’t do things like that any more, they’ve changed.

Before you listen to the words of a priest like the one in this article, look at the history of his church. A history of 2000 years of corruption, murder and violence that has been well documented in the histories of many nations around the world.

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