The Catholic Diocese of Rockford has spoken. Bishop David Malloy has ruled that he sees no problem with Catholic Church sponsoring and affiliating with Boy Scout troops in the Rockford Diocese. This ruling comes in light of Father Brian Grady’s decision to sever St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church’s sponsorship with a local Boy Scout troop. Grady’s ruling was in reaction to the Boy Scouts of America changing their policy allowing openly gay members.
Great! I’m thrilled. Yet, this statement from the Rockford Diocese is a day late and a dollar short. Unfortunately the damage is done. Bishop Malloy cannot undo the harm that Father Grady’s decision has created. This is where the tragedy lies.
Why was a single priest allowed by the Diocese to make such a decision? Where is the system of checks and balances, which would prevent such a mistake from being made? And what will be done to prevent priests from going rogue on other controversial issues in the future? I hope the Bishop put his foot down and has created a policy priests must follow to prevent creating a firestorm of controversy due to “inaccurate interpretation” of church teachings.
As stated in my post earlier in the week, it is my firm belief that Father Grady did not correctly abide by church doctrine, The Catholic Catechism. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that individuals who disclose a homosexual inclination or a same sex attraction are to be treated with the same dignity due all human beings created by God (CCC 2358).”
Father Grady took, what I believe, are his “ultraconservative ideology” and created a policy that did not accurately follow church beliefs. He was wrong. In Grady’s letter to the Boy Scouts he stated, “As a former Boy Scout, I know how uncomfortable it would have been to have to be in close proximity with boys that would perhaps be looking at me as more than just a friend.” Umm, just because a person is gay doesn’t mean that they will be checkin’ ya out Father. I’m just saying. I find that statement to be a bit presumptuous. This doesn’t sound like church doctrine. This sounds more like homophobic thinking than anything. Just because a person is gay doesn’t mean they will find every member of the same sex attractive. Last I checked, it works that way with heterosexual people too.
Decisions need to be made that accurately follow church teaching and doctrine. I would be fully supportive if that were the case. But the problem is church teachings do not align themselves with what sounds like are Father Grady’s personal beliefs about homosexuality. In my eyes, it appears Father Grady combined bits and pieces of church doctrine and his own stereotypes about homosexuality to spin-doctor a policy he then administered. This is not the church of Father Grady. This is the Catholic Church.
According to Bishop Malloy, “The teaching of the Catholic Church regarding moral behavior for all persons outside the marital state remains the same. In addition, the policy of the Boy Scouts of America states ‘Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual, or heterosexual, by youth of scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.’ This tenet of the Boy Scouts of America is not incompatible with the Church’s teaching.
Currently there is no prudential reason to believe the Boy Scouts of America and its locally sponsored troops will act otherwise. However, more study is being carried out on this issue, including by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, so that our parishes locally and the Church nationally can attempt to forge a common understanding and a common policy to address this decision.” So what I gather the Bishop is saying is that we do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle BUT there is no reason to believe the Boy Scouts will tolerate homosexual activity during/at Boy Scout supported activities. So why would Father Grady believe contrary to his “boss,” Bishop Malloy?
Within the Catholic Church, there is a hierarchy that needs to be acknowledged. The entire matter could have been avoided if the “order of authority” was followed. Rogue behavior should not be tolerated. I hope Father Grady rescinds his order and apologizes to the Boy Scout troop he unjustly “evicted.” It’s too late to right this wrong. But forgiveness usually occurs more rapidly when the olive branch is extended. Apologize and move forward. Hopefully egos will not hinder the process.
Face in the Vines
Until Next Time,