Holy Family Parish in Inverness, Illinois has been at the center of yet another controversy spawned by the unholy effort to impose a “progressive” sexuality ideology on the entirety of society, including churches. Holy Family recently fired its choir director, Colin Collette, following his Facebook announcement of his intention to “marry” his same-sex partner, William Nifong, a Chicago high school teacher.
Following his firing, a church meeting drew a large and impassioned crowd. What, you may ask, inflamed the passions of hundreds of parishioners? Was it the unholy union of a church leader, a union which violates both Scripture and Catholic doctrine?
Was it the indefensible acquiescence of church leaders to the serious and unashamed embrace of sin by Collette who says that church leaders knew he was homosexual and that he was in a same-sex relationship: “‘This has not been a secret,’ said Collette, who held the job at Holy Family for 17 years. ‘My partner has read for the church at Mass.…We have been living together for five years.’”
No. What inflamed the passions of many parishioners was the removal of Collette for his unapologetic embrace of sexual perversion—a sin that the God these parishioners claim to serve detests. Yes, even while loving his creation, God detests much of what we do, and some of the things we do, he detests more than others.
Chicago Tribune reporter Lisa Black quoted a Holy Family church cantor who resigned from his choir position in protest, arguing that other “prominent ‘sinners’ in Christian history” had “retained high-ranking positions and questioning why a gay couple’s marriage is any different.”
Well, I’ll take a stab at that question.
First, the neglect of biblical discipline on one occasion does not justify neglect of biblical discipline on others.
Second, there is a difference between people who sin and repent and those who embrace sin while calling it non-sin.
The church is necessarily composed of sinners because that’s the only kind of human that exists. But failing to live perfect lives is wholly different from embracing, affirming, and celebrating sin as central to one’s identity—which is what Collette is doing. Church member Bob Garbacz said that “‘[Collette’s] just a pillar of that community. For the church to say you can’t be here because of this rule is ludicrous to us.’”
Of course, the belief that marriage is inherently a union between one man and one woman is not just a “rule.” It’s a reality established by God, affirmed by his son, and taught in his Word.
From all accounts, Collette seems to be a lovely man with many good qualities. But the presence of admirable qualities does not mitigate the offense of embracing and affirming sin. Nor do his admirable qualities render him automatically suitable for a leadership position.
This letter which appeared in the Chicago Tribune epitomizes the truly foolish thinking that has infected the minds of many contemporary Christians:
I am a member of Holy Family Parish in Inverness; I serve humbly in a ministerial and voluntary role. The unfairness and brutality of this recent decision to fire our choir director rests squarely at the doorstep of the Catholic hierarchy.
Hundreds of years ago, the Catholic hierarchy condemned the scientific community for speaking the truth; men were imprisoned and forced to recant truths about astronomy. Too many years later, for its errors the Catholic hierarchy apologized to Galileo’s descendants.
Today, with the issue of gay marriage, the Catholic hierarchy claims to know more, once again, than the scientific community–medical doctors and psychologists who speak the truth about human sexuality. And I believe one day, soon I pray, the Catholic hierarchy–for its ignorance and arrogance–will apologize.
Our challenge as Catholics will be to forgive them.
—Bill Leece, Schaumburg
So many errors, so little time:
1. The proximate cause of the decision to fire the choir director rests at the doorstep of the Catholic hierarchy. The ultimate cause is the ultimate law-giver: God. Scripture teaches with unequivocal clarity that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Both the Old and New Testaments teach that homoerotic activity is profoundly sinful and abhorrent to God. The New Testament teaches that those who engage in homoerotic activity—among other sins—will not see the kingdom of God. The New Testament teaches that church leaders must live godly lives and that church members who are involved in serious sin for which they refuse to repent must be disciplined. Church discipline involves not just removal from church leadership but also when necessary expulsion from fellowship.
2. Church discipline for the unrepentant embrace of serious sin is painful and difficult, but it is neither unfair nor brutal. Failure to engage in proper, biblically-prescribed church discipline constitutes disobedience and puts at risk the eternal lives of those who embrace and affirm sin. Such dereliction of one of the most difficult ecclesiastical duties is unfair and brutal.
3. Comparing the actions of the Catholic Church on matters related to hard science to the actions of the contemporary church on matters related to sexual morality and marriage is foolish. The Bible was never intended to be a science textbook and does not address matters related to the facts of astronomy. In contrast, the Bible has much to say about both sexual morality and marriage. I wonder if Mr. Leece challenges other biblical teachings on sexual morality.
Further, neither medical doctors nor psychologists have anything substantive to contribute as medical doctors and psychologists on the morality of homoerotic activity or the nature of marriage. Those issues stand far outside the purview of their expertise. From medical doctors, we can learn about the pathology of anal sex and the natural and inherent sterility of same-sex unions. But the professional education of doctors and psychologists no more prepares them for determining the morality of particular sexual activities or the ontology of marriage than does the training of architects or chefs.
All Christians—and especially church leaders—who proclaim and promote as righteousness that which God abhors will one day beg for forgiveness, but not from their fellow Christians.