By Jonathon Van Maren
As our society reorders itself around the tenets of the Sexual Revolution, witch hunts are becoming the norm. It is now considered news, for example, that a Catholic priest holds to Catholic doctrine on issues of sexuality, and major newspapers (in this case the Toronto Star) breathlessly cover this non-story with the clear implication that people should be outraged. Like this story, for example, unambiguously titled “Calgary priest under fire for homophobic remarks”:
Critics are calling for apologies from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary and the city’s Catholic school board for homophobic sermons delivered by a priest who works with students.
Rev. Jerome Lavigne, the vicar for education at the diocese, has said that the rainbow pride flag was invented by Satan and represents “lawlessness” and a “break from the natural order.” He is also affiliated with white nationalist Faith Goldy.
Two things to note there. First of all, those comments are not particularly controversial. By the standards of Christian sexual orthodoxy, the flag of the LGBT movement does represent lawlessness. Presumably, the complaining critics do not believe that God’s law is valid, and thus demanding that a priest repudiate his religious beliefs because they do not share them is absurd and intolerant. People are not required to believe the same things that you do, and they are not required (for the moment) to approve of everything you do any more than you are required to agree with their homilies or sermons.
The second thing to note is that Faith Goldy’s name is being crowbarred into this story for one reason: To insinuate that the priest in question, and others, are in some way “white nationalists.” Prior to her decision to begin associating with an assortment of sordid characters, Faith Goldy was a run-of-the-mill social conservative who appeared everywhere from Sun News to the National Post, but since her devolution dishonest journalists like to try and tar all those who previously associated with her for the views she has espoused since she was fired from Ezra Levant’s online media outlet The Rebel. Even the Star was forced to admit, later in the column, that Goldy’s “affiliation” with the priest was a single appearance on a Calgary panel a full year and a half before she showed up on a neo-Nazi podcast and promptly lost her job in conservative media.
Alberta’s LGBT activists, of course, immediately materialized to make unfounded and ugly accusations, outraged that Catholic clergymen still teach the doctrines of the Catholic Church:
“These kind of comments make it open season on LGBTQ youth, saying it’s OK to openly discriminate against them,” said Kristopher Wells, an associate professor at MacEwan University who specializes in sexual and gender minority youth, education and culture.
“It’s not fine to bring those beliefs into a public school environment … These are the kinds of comments that breed hatred, violence and discrimination.”
Though Lavigne works for the diocese and not the publicly funded Calgary Catholic School District, he visits its schools for events and helps prepare their students for confirmation. His letters to families, posted to the school district website, indicate he has worked with grades 1, 3 and 6.
The school district did not answer questions about its relationship with Lavigne before deadline, and Lavigne didn’t respond to StarMetro’s requests for an interview.
In a statement, Calgary Bishop William McGrattan did not apologize for Lavigne’s comments or answer questions about whether the priest would face discipline.
The church “advocates that we live together in an atmosphere of peace, safety and respect for the dignity of one another regardless of age, ancestry, body image, culture, sexual orientation and religion,” the statement read. In July 2017, the diocese appointed Lavigne vicar of education.
Then, in February, Lavigne gave his sermon about the pride flag, called “The Rainbow.” Though the diocese later removed the sermon from its website and Facebook page in an effort to respect “the inherent dignity of persons,” according to a July 5 statement, a recording surfaced online this week and prompted widespread criticism.
The diocese didn’t respond to StarMetro’s questions about whether it received complaints about “The Rainbow” and whether Lavigne was disciplined.
In a September sermon called “Origins of Evil,” Lavigne said “there’s no such thing as ‘God made me this way’” when it comes to homosexuality. Video of the sermon was deleted after StarMetro sent a list of questions to Lavigne…
Wells said the diocese needs to immediately remove Lavigne from his position and apologize. He also called for Alberta Education Minister David Eggen to investigate an apparent pattern of “deep-seated prejudice” at the Calgary Catholic School District.
If LGBT activists are going to make a practice of combing through the sermons of clergymen in order to find heresies and then launch campaigns against those who express disapproval of some sexual behaviors, things are going to get much uglier. Notice the modus operandi here: Activists find a sermon or a homily they disagree with; they alert the media, which dutifully demands to know whether the offending person is going to be severely punished in some way, and then they solicit the predictable opinions of a few LGBT activists to ensure that the readers see the guilty clergyman as an evil man who foments hatred against gay kids.
Thus, it is no longer a story if a Catholic priest disagrees with the Catholic Church on a significant moral doctrine. That is expected. It is only a story if a clergyman still believes these doctrines. Progressives don’t mind if you call yourself Catholic or Christian, but they demand hypocrisy or they will accuse you of being a homophobe. I wish the homily hadn’t been deleted, although I understand why it was done. It sets a terrible precedent, despite the understandable desire to just be done with the entire tempest in a teapot.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.