Action Alert!

If Catholic priests never preach on sexual morality, be suspicious

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 01, 2014

So now we know why Bishop Kieran Conry never preached about sexual morality. What about the umpteen other bishops and priests who never come near the subject? Do they, too, have something to hide?

Think about it. What are the possible reasons for a pastor’s silence on issues of sexual morality?

  1. He may believe that people don’t need encouragement toward chastity, because these days nearly everyone has mastered that virtue. OK, let’s cross that possibility off our list, shall we?
  2. He may fear being accused of hypocrisy (perhaps even by himself) because of his own failures to live chastely. In other words, he may have something to hide. A plausible explanation, is it not? Certainly more plausible than #1. And fully compatible with…
  3. He may think that we have something to hide: that his congregation is incapable of living chastely, and any sermon on that topic would serve only to alienate the people in the pews. Again, this explanation is quite plausible. But it’s insulting, insofar as it assumes that lay Catholics cannot control their own behavior and would rebel at any exhortation to be virtuous. This possible explanation, too, is compatible with…
  4. He may not care about the welfare of souls. And the 2nd collection this Sunday will be for the rectory cable bill.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Oct. 04, 2014 10:59 AM ET USA

    Being reassigned to the boonies might be a good thing. More time to pray! Besides St. John Vianney flourished there.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Oct. 03, 2014 7:44 PM ET USA

    He also may have been told by his bishop that it is a subject that should not be brought to the people. We need stronger and more forthright sermons from our priests and not a bunch of political correctness.

  • Posted by: msorensen71798 - Oct. 03, 2014 6:47 PM ET USA

    Pray for our priests! They are so often between a rock and a hard place. Complaints to the chancery office from high-donation parishioners can lead to reprimands and/or reassignment to the boonies, or worse. Pray for our priests!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2014 5:03 PM ET USA

    Our Lady at Fatima to Sister Lucy: "More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason."

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Oct. 02, 2014 1:37 PM ET USA

    #7 Poor formation - www.consciencelaws.org/religion/religion109.aspx Janet Smith states "Oddly, for several decades priests were taught simply to explain the Gospel and not to make any application of Christ's teaching to difficult or controversial moral issues as they might upset their parishioners or cause division or result in a decline in the collection basket. Sadly, many priests were told that the Church might be wrong in some of its moral teachings so they should just remain silent

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Oct. 02, 2014 1:28 PM ET USA

    #6 The priest has never come to grips with his own masculinity or lack of same. His understanding and worldview of sexuality is at about the 8th grade level and has never matured. He has a repressive understanding of celibacy. That leaves him basically alienated from mature adults in this area and he is afraid to bring up the topic. He needs prayer. However, #4 is a close second!

  • Posted by: shrink - Oct. 01, 2014 9:26 PM ET USA

    Reason #5: The priest is afraid to anger his bishop. Cupich comes to mind.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Oct. 01, 2014 7:14 PM ET USA

    5. He's afraid of alienating parishioners, not because they themselves are involved in immoral activity, but because most of them know their (grown) children are. The children, naturally, are not at Mass and haven't been for years. The parents who are in the pews sometimes talk about these wayward children with other parishioners after Mass....but always neglect to mention the "unmentionable arrangements" the waywards have made in life. It's "don't ask, don't tell", and the priest just joins in.