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From the Washington Post:



Priests are bucking Catholic Church leadership to support same-sex marriage in Ireland
By Sarah Kaplan May 20


For the Rev. Pádraig Standún, a Catholic priest in western Ireland, voting “yes” is a matter of what’s right. To another Irish priest, the Rev. Iggy O’Donovan, it’s about creating an inclusive state.

To the Rev. Martin Dolan, Ireland’s upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage is deeply personal.

“I’m gay myself,” he announced to his Dublin congregation in January. It was a surprise ending to Dolan’s homily, in which he urged his congregation to vote “yes” in the referendum. But his parishioners took it in stride — they gave him a standing ovation, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Vox Wrote:Sigh.  Eye-roll  As you all know, I have a reputation for being "gay-friendly," but a standing ovation? For being homosexual? Why? And besides that, they shouldn't be applauding in a church anyway.

As the Friday referendum approaches, Ireland seems poised to become the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. The Catholic Church itself opposes the measure.

In at least a few cases, though, Irish Catholics may vote “yes” not in spite of their priests, but alongside them. Standún, O’Donovan and Dolan are among a group of priests who have bucked Church leadership to voice support for the amendment. Speaking to BuzzFeed, The Rev. Tony Flannery, founder of the reform-minded Irish Association of Catholic Priests, estimated that 25 percent of the country’s clergy would vote”yes.”

Recent polls show a significant majority of voters favor a constitutional amendment to expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples — one of many signs in recent decades of the greatly diminished influence of the Catholic Church, which also unsuccessfully opposed a 1995 referendum in which Ireland legalized divorce.

Standún, a parish priest from Carna, in western Ireland, has expressed controversial opinions — at least, controversial for a member of the clergy. In 2013 he praised Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny for passing legislation that legalized abortion under certain circumstances, announcing that public representatives should reflect the views of their constituents, not their church, according to the Irish Times.

Vox Wrote:
Holy mackerel... Re-defining marriage -- and condoning abortion? Is there nothing this man is against?

Standún made much the same argument in a column supporting the same-sex marriage referendum published earlier this month — only this time, he directed his plea toward Church leaders.

“… [N]ow is the right time. The people of God have moved on. Leaders please follow,” he urged in the Connaught Telegraph, the newspaper of Ireland’s western Connaught province.

The priest went on to say that he’ll be voting for the amendment “not to cock a snoot at the leadership of my church, or to jump on a popular bandwagon, but because I think it is the right thing to do.”

In a phone interview with The Washington Post, Standún said he had no qualms going public with his vote, and he doesn’t expect to face any repercussions from Church leadership, who have for the most part expressed their opposition to the amendment in measured terms.

Vox Wrote:
Why, of course he likely won't face any repurcussions from Church leadership. Things like repurcussions are saved for priests who offer the TLM, religious groups who attend it, poor little Catholic who offer spiritual bouquets, etc.

“They haven’t really said anything besides ‘think carefully,’ which I did,” Standún said. “It’s a free country and it’s a political choice.”

O’Donovan, an Augustinian priest based in Limerick, argued that a “yes” vote is about separating the church from the state.

Vox Wrote:
Even looking at this from a totally secular point of view, it's about a lot more than "separating the church from the state" -- and why would a priest be wanting that, anyway?

“We have inherited a tradition which has associated religion and politics in a way that has excluded some of our fellow citizens,” he wrote in a op-ed for the Irish Times, referring to Ireland’s long tradition of viewing politics and religion as virtually inseparable.

“When we become legislators, though, as we do when we vote in referendums, we legislate for ALL our fellow citizens,” he continued. “We do not vote as members of this or that church or faith.”

Vox Wrote:I wonder who those "excluded" fellow citizens are in Ireland. He's likely talking about Muslims, who'd have no problem at all imposing shariah law on the Irish people over there, and who have entire countries of their own they could be living in if they hate the West so much and want it to change to suit them.

Anyway, sounds as if he wants for the Irish to become "schizophrenic" (in the popular definition of the word), being "religious people" on Sunday mornings and in their own homes, but getting God out of their minds during the rest of the time, at least when pulling levers. Makes no sense, eh? And what a Protestant view of religion, anyway. There's no sense of community in what the says, no realization that culture is like the air we breathe. It's not something we can turn on or turn off like a knob on a television set.

Church leaders in Ireland have quietly but firmly opposed same-sex marriage legalization. In recent weeks, several bishops have issued statements on the issue, using muted language and phrases like “carefully consider” and “the natural order.” Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly of Cashel and Emly in mid-western Ireland, wrote in a pastoral statement that marriage should be understood as “the union between a man and a woman,” but added “There is no desire, on my part or that of the bishops, to alienate or denigrate any person or group of persons in our society. We uphold the dignity of each person.”

As The Post’s Griff Witte reported last week, the Catholic Church is practically the only major Irish institution opposing the referendum. The government supports it, as do major media organizations, unions and business groups. Even elderly church-going ladies have said they’re voting “yes.”

“I’m just going to vote for gay people because I have nothing against them. I can’t understand why anybody is against it; they’ve done no harm to anyone,” 83-year-old Rita O’Connor told the Irish Times on her way out of Sunday morning Mass in Dublin this month. “I think it’s a stupid carry-on the way the Church is going on at the moment, ridiculous.”

Vox Wrote:That sort of thinking, right there, shows what we're up against. Bless this 83-year old woman, but she was never properly catechized (or she forgot it all). "Gay people haven't hurt anyone, so why shouldn't they be allowed to marry?" She has no clue whatsoever. And she likely couldn't answer that question if "gay people" were replaced with "brothers and sisters" or "people and poodles." It's all about brainless nicey-niceness, a brainless nicey-niceness that will destroy our nations and lead people to Hell.

Deepening disaffection with the Church could explain why bishops have been “circumspect,” in the words of politics professor David Farrell, about urging a “no” vote.

The number of Irish citizens who identify as Catholic has slowly declined to around 84 percent, according to Reuters. And the number of people who actively practice is even lower — in a 2011 address, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin estimated that only 18 percent of his parishioners attended Mass any given week. The abuse scandals of the 1980s and ’90s accelerated the trend.

“They’ve been a bit more circumspect — and they have to be, because people are still sore with them for all that they’ve done,” Farrell, chairman of the politics department at University College Dublin, told The Post.

But Rev. Flannery, who was suspended by the Vatican in 2012 for contradicting Church orthodoxy on issues like homosexuality and the ordination of women, said even the Church’s muted opposition could be damaging.

“This referendum in particular is one that is very attractive to the younger generation. For the official Church to be taking such a consistent no line on it, they’re just further alienating a group that has largely left the Church anyway,” he told Reuters. “I would have thought that, that was foolish.”

Flannery announced that he, too, will be voting yes in an op-ed for Ireland’s Sunday Independent. Rejecting Church doctrine on homosexuality as “inhuman,” he said he sees the referendum as a chance to demonstrate Ireland’s potential for inclusivity.

“For me, the really Christian thing is to give them a strong and clear message that they are loved and accepted just as they are, and that they deserve to be treated with the same dignity as the rest of us,” he wrote.

And Rev. Standún said that win for the ‘yes’ side wouldn’t indicate that Irish Catholics are done with the Church.

“A lot of people who vote ‘yes’ on Friday will be at church on Sunday,” he said. “They won’t be any less Catholic. In fact they might be even more so, because they’re following the words of Jesus and showing more love.”






And meanwhile, in Germany, there's this. From the Catholic World Report:




The Catholic Church’s German Crisis
May 20, 2015
George Weigel


One rarely finds, among German churchmen today, a sobered openness, born of the recognition that something has gone terribly wrong and that another approach to evangelization and catechesis must be found

The 21st-century Church owes a lot to 20th-century German Catholicism: for its generosity to Catholics in the Third World; for the witness of martyrs like Alfred Delp, Bernhard Lichtenberg, and Edith Stein; for its contributions to Biblical studies, systematic and moral theology, liturgical renewal, and Catholic social doctrine, through which German Catholicism played a leading role in Vatican II’s efforts to renew Catholic witness for the third millennium. At the Council, more than the Rhine flowed into the Tiber; let’s not forget the Seine, the Meuse, the Potomac, and the Vistula. But the Rhine’s flow was strong.

Which simply intensifies the shock on reading the German bishops’ report to the Vatican in preparation for this coming October’s synod. One of my correspondents deemed it a de facto declaration of schism. I read it as an unintentional cri du coeur: a confession of catechetical disaster and pastoral failure on a nationwide scale, to which the German episcopate has no response save to urge others down the path that has led Catholicism in Germany into profound incoherence.

When one tries to discuss this catastrophe with senior German churchmen, one rarely finds, these days, a sobered openness, born of the recognition that something has gone terribly wrong and that another approach to evangelization and catechesis must be found—an “All-In Catholicism” rooted in the joy of the Gospel preached and lived in its full integrity. Rather, what you often find is a stubborn doubling-down. “You don’t understand our situation” is the antiphon, typically spoken with some vehemence.

Yet is it really the case that we obtuse non-Germans don’t understand? The statistics on German Catholic practice—more accurately, the lack thereof—are not pontifical secrets. Those statistics are embodied by what visitors observe in German cities on Sunday: largely empty churches. Now comes this report for the synod, which suggests that, on matters of marriage, the family, the morality of human love, and the things that make for genuine happiness, German Catholic thinking is virtually indistinguishable from that of non-believers.

And still the German episcopate suggests that more dumbing down of Catholic doctrine and practice is the answer, now on a global scale. It’s quite remarkable. And it will certainly be remarked upon, and not favorably, in Rome in October.

Vox Wrote:Doubling down on the dumbing down. Yup. There seems to be so much pride at stake in all this, an unwillingness to acknowledge that the last 60 years have been an almost total disaster, that they -- the Catholic powers that be -- were just plain wrong. So very, very wrong. They're assured that victory and glory are just right around the corner, I guess.

In October 2001, I had an engaging, two-hour conversation with Cardinal Karl Lehmann, now one of the grand old men of the German hierarchy. We discussed the crisis of belief throughout Europe (and Europe’s related demographic meltdown) at length. Then the cardinal offered me a copy of his newest book, “Now Is the Time to Think of God.” I must say I found the title ... striking. I knew he intended it as a challenge to the regnant secularism of the time, but you had to wonder: What else had this distinguished scholar, and his colleagues at the higher altitudes of German theology, been speaking about, these many years?

To make a very long story short, they had often been speaking-about-speaking-about-God: that is, they’d been chasing their tails in trying to respond to the crisis of belief in late modernity. And in doing so, they’d gotten stuck inside what Polish philosopher Wojciech Chudy, an intellectual great-grandson of John Paul II, called the post-Kantian “trap of reflection:” thinking-about-thinking-about-thinking, rather than thinking about reality—in this case, the Gospel and its truths. Less elegantly, I’d describe Chudy’s “trap of reflection” as the quicksand pit of a subjectivism become self-absorption, from which it’s hard to extract oneself and answer the Master’s call, “Come, follow me.”

The German Catholic crisis is not primarily institutional; the Catholic Church is Germany’s second-largest employer and its institutions are robust. The crisis is one of faith. German Catholicism is in crisis because German Catholics have not embraced the Lord Jesus and his Gospel with passion, conviction and joy, and are seeking their happiness elsewhere. That’s sad; that‘s tragic; that’s dispiriting.

Vox Wrote:
That's what they've been taught to do. They've literaly been taught, by the human element of the Catholic Church, to not take the Church and Her teachings seriously. Plain and simple. They've been treated as a big joke, and the people have heard and responded.

But it’s also nothing to be commended as a model for others, except as a cautionary tale about the effects of surrendering to the spirit of the age.

Vox Wrote:
Even looking at this from a totally secular point of view, it's about a lot more than "separating the church from the state" -- and why would a priest be wanting that, anyway?

My mother isn't religious in the slightest, and is (under my influence  Sticking tongue out at you) voting no on purely secular grounds. Ideas about nature and the family don't all come from the Church, they existed among the pagans long before it, and anyone can see the natural order if they're not wilfully blind to it.
Quote:“A lot of people who vote ‘yes’ on Friday will be at church on Sunday,” he said. “They won’t be any less Catholic. In fact they might be even more so, because they’re following the words of Jesus and showing more love.”

Last time I checked, there's even a vulgar colloquial expression in reference to sodomy ('to give it someone up the @&%') as a way to express hatred. Where does the superfluous definition of 'love' come from, and why oh why do people, who have access to the Bible and every other Church teaching on the subject of marriage, think that it has something to do with Jesus? It's like we're re-entering a true Dark Ages, unlike the Medieval period, where people were illiterate and professed a deep faith, nowadays anyone can easily read the Bible and even get a phone call from the Pope, but there is no faith whatsoever.

Vox, I don't know if 'gay-friendly' is the right word for your approach. You are just trying to do your best to love your neighbor, when he happens to be gay. Just because someone is gay or identifies as gay (that's how I would say it) does not cease to be human. I don't even think that it takes an extraordinary amount of compassion to understand how a person could fall in love with another of the same sex. Human relations are complex, and in eros there is a lot more going than just sex. In fact, usually, there is deeper spiritual longing and appreciation that comes before the sexual desire. Gay people think that when one criticizes gayness, one is criticizing the person as well, which is not true. Of course we Christians understand it as 'hate the sin, love the sinner,' but they do not, because they do perceive it as sin, they perceive as the very definition of themselves. This is not the case for all, but for many, and the zeitgeist of today, which aims at the dehumanization of homosexuals by rallying for a sexual preference as the absolute definition of their being. Were a heterosexual person to go around parading their sexuality as the gays do, they would be immediately denounced as perverts. I think it's ironic and not a coincidence that the 'pride' movement is named for one of the seven deadly sins. And really, I think that is the heart of the matter: the real sin is pride, which has its roots in lust.
(05-22-2015, 04:36 AM)xandratax Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:“A lot of people who vote ‘yes’ on Friday will be at church on Sunday,” he said. “They won’t be any less Catholic. In fact they might be even more so, because they’re following the words of Jesus and showing more love.”

Last time I checked, there's even a vulgar colloquial expression in reference to sodomy ('to give it someone up the @&%') as a way to express hatred. Where does the superfluous definition of 'love' come from, and why oh why do people, who have access to the Bible and every other Church teaching on the subject of marriage, think that it has something to do with Jesus? It's like we're re-entering a true Dark Ages, unlike the Medieval period, where people were illiterate and professed a deep faith, nowadays anyone can easily read the Bible and even get a phone call from the Pope, but there is no faith whatsoever.

Vox, I don't know if 'gay-friendly' is the right word for your approach. You are just trying to do your best to love your neighbor, when he happens to be gay. Just because someone is gay or identifies as gay (that's how I would say it) does not cease to be human. I don't even think that it takes an extraordinary amount of compassion to understand how a person could fall in love with another of the same sex. Human relations are complex, and in eros there is a lot more going than just sex. In fact, usually, there is deeper spiritual longing and appreciation that comes before the sexual desire. Gay people think that when one criticizes gayness, one is criticizing the person as well, which is not true. Of course we Christians understand it as 'hate the sin, love the sinner,' but they do not, because they do perceive it as sin, they perceive as the very definition of themselves. This is not the case for all, but for many, and the zeitgeist of today, which aims at the dehumanization of homosexuals by rallying for a sexual preference as the absolute definition of their being. Were a heterosexual person to go around parading their sexuality as the gays do, they would be immediately denounced as perverts. I think it's ironic and not a coincidence that the 'pride' movement is named for one of the seven deadly sins. And really, I think that is the heart of the matter: the real sin is pride, which has its roots in lust.

That's why I think its simply a mistake to ontologize SSA saying a person is gay even if the person never commits sodomy. The whole heterosexual/homosexual thing is a modern invention concocted to create an area outside matrimony where sex is virtuously practiced, all based on a monstrous confusion of categories.
But just like absolute freedom to choose, capitalism, etc., most traditional Catholics have bought into this modern paradigm.

About the news: very sad. I guess that's what happens when thousand of babies are being sacrificed to some demon and the Catholics don't even have the Best Mass and can't even bother to pray the rosary. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these priests were consciously working for the other side.


Using words like "homosexual" isn't "ontologizing" anyone any more than words like "lawyer," "fat," "funny guy," "over-sexed," or "miser" do, and I don't see any good whatsoever in using that line of reasoning. I've heard people say things like "homosexuals don't exist," for ex., which is just argumentative, pedantic silliness that leads nowhere but to frustrate people who are, in fact, only attracted to people of their own sex.

While the concept of homosexuality as a sexual orientation is a modern thing, homosexuality isn't modern at all. There've always been people who are only sexually attracted to their own sex. And I don't think the reality was begun to be described by the concept in order to have a category of sex that could be "practiced virtuously" outside of marriage. Psychiatry came up with it, I believe, and treated homosexuality as a disorder.
Yes, precisely, because if there is to be right sex outside of marriage there must be a wrong type, so one creates homosexuality. Really, this is merely a form of dualism.

It is ontologizing if you define a person by the temptation the person has. I know temptation itself is not a sin, but as St. Maximus says the end of our struggle for sanctity is not simply to resist temptation, but not to be affected by them (say, the way most of us don't feel tempted to kill a child, even though the object might be in front of us). No one of us should feel attraction towards any person if the person is not our spouse.

(05-22-2015, 03:34 PM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]Using words like "homosexual" isn't "ontologizing" anyone any more than words like "lawyer," "fat," "funny guy," "over-sexed," or "miser" do, and I don't see any good whatsoever in using that line of reasoning. I've heard people say things like "homosexuals don't exist," for ex., which is just argumentative, pedantic silliness that leads nowhere but to frustrate people who are, in fact, only attracted to people of their own sex.

While the concept of homosexuality as a sexual orientation is a modern thing, homosexuality isn't modern at all. There've always been people who are only sexually attracted to their own sex. And I don't think the reality was begun to be described by the concept in order to have a category of sex that could be "practiced virtuously" outside of marriage. Psychiatry came up with it, I believe, and treated homosexuality as a disorder.

Thank you Vox, could you (or anyone) please send me some links that go more in depth about this? I haven't seen anything on FE that treats the topic (Catholic view of homosexuality) directly.

I happen to know a lesbian couple by six degrees of separation. I worked as au-pair for a French agnostic family in Vienna, and the lesbian is the aunt of the children that I took care of. I am still close to this family and I'll be visiting them soon. I know that they will be curious, and probably skeptical, about learning of my renewed interest in becoming Catholic, and I'd like to come to deeper understanding of this, so that I can competently speak about it with them. I know that they would respect my opinion, and it might even be a rare opportunity for such people to think more deeply about this. The situation is especially awkward since the said lesbian aunt had a baby (boy) recently, via artificial means of a sperm donor. I don't mean to bore you further with the details, but if you get the drift, and know of anything that can make things clearer to me about how to speak with such people about the Catholic view, it would be very helpful. I certainly don't want to make any blunders or accidentally insult anyone, which would be counterproductive to any points to be made.
Where is our Pope Francis who has no problem going after trads but not his gay priests  who are outspoken heretics. Something is not right with this Pope
(05-22-2015, 04:27 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: [ -> ]Yes, precisely, because if there is to be right sex outside of marriage there must be a wrong type, so one creates homosexuality. Really, this is merely a form of dualism.

It is ontologizing if you define a person by the temptation the person has. I know temptation itself is not a sin, but as St. Maximus says the end of our struggle for sanctity is not simply to resist temptation, but not to be affected by them (say, the way most of us don't feel tempted to kill a child, even though the object might be in front of us). No one of us should feel attraction towards any person if the person is not our spouse.

Describing and using descriptive nouns aren't ontologizing, though. There are manic-depressives, for ex. Some might be tempted in manic states to run off and spend all the money they have. Some in mixed states might be tempted to kill themselves. People who are kleptomaniacs are tempted to steal. People who are pyromaniacs are tempted to set fires. No one argues that words like "kleptomaniac," "pyromaniac," or "manic-depressive" are "ontologizing," and those terms make communicating a lot easier. I've never heard anyone say about a homosexual, "That person is a homosexual. That is who he is in his essence, in his very soul. God created him to be a homosexual. He is nothing else but a homosexual. He is not a baker, a fireman, a doctor, or an Indian Chief; he is purely and ontologically a homosexual." No one thinks that way when using the term "homosexual." It's silly.

I disagree that none of us should feel any attraction to people who aren't our spouses. If that were the case, no one would get married except people in cultures where arranged marriage is the norm. It's attraction that brings people together; it's perfectly natural, and beautiful. It's God's design. Lust - or at least giving in to lustful thoughts, as opposed to having one occur to you and then shooing it away -- is another story, and it's wrong for anyone, heterosexual or homosexual, inside or outside of marriage.

(05-22-2015, 04:44 PM)xandratax Wrote: [ -> ]Thank you Vox, could you (or anyone) please send me some links that go more in depth about this? I haven't seen anything on FE that treats the topic (Catholic view of homosexuality) directly.

I happen to know a lesbian couple by six degrees of separation. I worked as au-pair for a French agnostic family in Vienna, and the lesbian is the aunt of the children that I took care of. I am still close to this family and I'll be visiting them soon. I know that they will be curious, and probably skeptical, about learning of my renewed interest in becoming Catholic, and I'd like to come to deeper understanding of this, so that I can competently speak about it with them. I know that they would respect my opinion, and it might even be a rare opportunity for such people to think more deeply about this. The situation is especially awkward since the said lesbian aunt had a baby (boy) recently, via artificial means of a sperm donor. I don't mean to bore you further with the details, but if you get the drift, and know of anything that can make things clearer to me about how to speak with such people about the Catholic view, it would be very helpful. I certainly don't want to make any blunders or accidentally insult anyone, which would be counterproductive to any points to be made.

Gosh, what an interesting life you must lead!

I'm thinking that checking out the "Conversion of the Heart" page on the FE site (my favorite page) might be a good thing. You can read it here:  http://www.fisheaters.com/conversionoftheheart.html

My two cents:  let the joy of Christ show in you. Let "charity above all" be a motto that guides you. I wouldn't bring up the homosexual talk unless they bring it up.

If it does come up, you simply have to repeat Church teaching, without any hint of judgment, without anger, but with lots of understanding and compassion. Just the facts, all wrapped up in sincerity and a true concern for their souls.

Note that "homosexuality" is not, not, NOT a sin. It is a disordered sexual orientation that most homosexuals do not choose. ACTING sexually on homosexual desires is what is sinful. So I'd be careful with language there, and never say things like "homosexuality is evil; it's against God's plan," etc..

If they talk about how they were "born that way," I'd say that science doesn't show such a thing, but that it's likely that their brain-wiring and body chemistry (hormones and such) might predispose them to it -- that it's both nature and nurture, like most things human. I would never accuse them of "choosing" it because they undoubtedly did NOT. Homosexuality is a disorder, likely caused by a natural predisposition mixed with family dynamics and, maybe, early erotic experience, and homosexuals shouldn't be treated any worse than we treat schizophrenics or manic-depressives, etc. What they DO with their disorder is where sin may come in.

If they say that not allowing homosexuals to marry is "unfair," I'd say that homosexuals have the exact same rights to marry as heterosexuals do. They, too, can marry someone of the opposite sex, and heterosexuals can't marry someone of their own sex either. So "fairness" has nothing to do with it. I'd tell them that God designed man and woman to complement each other and to raise children together, and that is what the purpose of marriage is. Marriage isn't just unitive; it's also procreative -- or it at least has the possibility of being procreative, which is why post-menopausal women and old men can marry. I'd say that I think marriage has been almost destroyed by things like no-fault divorce, and because of such things, marriage has become something that people define differently than the Church always had, but God's design still is what it is.

I'd offer compassion and understanding about the problems that gay couples face -- inheritance rights, the right to be considered family for reasons of hospital visits and medical decisions and funeral arrangements, etc. I'd say that one shouldn't assume a gay couple are engaging in illicit sex --  and that that is ultimately between them, God, and their priests unless they make it other people's business --  but that close friendships are good and that the law should provide remedies for people (gay or not) who care about each other deeply and want to be considered legally as more than just "buddies," who want to have certain rights when it comes to the things I just mentioned. But redefining marriage isn't the way to go at all.

I'd have the reasons for why I believe in Christ and His Church all set up mentally, and have answers to questions they might have. I'd be prepared to defend against the main things that get hurled at us:

1) the Crusades (they were defensive wars, and Europe would be under shariah law right now if we hadn't fought them);

2) the Spanish Inquisition (had nothing at all, whatsoever to do with Jews. Only self-professed Catholics came under its jurisdiction. They were called to rout out people who'd feigned conversion and cooperated with Muslims to take over Spain. The death rate, over 350 years, was between 3 and 5,000 people, about the execution rate of modern Texas);

3) the antisemitism nonsense that leads to the "Catholicism is the cause of the Holocaust" lie;

4) clergy sexual abuse (which had nothing to do with pedophilia except in a very few cases, but was homosexual ephebophilia, i.e., the abuse of pubescent boys)

5) "misogyny":  Protestants accuse us of worshiping a woman (Mary), and seculars accuse us of hating them. I'd point that out. I'd point out all the great female Saints and intellects, women who have churches named for them, who built hospitals and schools, how the Church undid pagan marriage laws that made women disposable, etc. I'd point out people like Maria Agnesi and Queen Christina of Sweden.

6) sex: If the idea that the Church is down on sex outside of marriage makes them think we're "sex-negative" and see it as something dirty, I'd send them a link to this page and ask them to watch the video and read the book: http://www.fisheaters.com/garbagegeneration.html  I'd use my analogy about how the Church sees sex as like fire:  good, beautiful, warming, exciting when it is contained -- a gift from God! -- - but dangerous when it isn't.

Downloading this cheat sheet might help you!:  http://www.fisheaters.com/freebook.html

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