Silence, Dissent & Humanae Vitae
Thank you for publishing Kenneth D. Whitehead’s excellent overview of how bad things were in the Church regarding artificial birth control and why there are tangible reasons for hope with our current bishops (“Rebuilding After the Collapse of Catholic Conviction,” Apr.). I would add four comments.
1. The silence was not as total as Fr. Richard McCormick painted it in his America articles. In 1971 the U.S. bishops issued “Ethical & Religious Directives for Catholic Hospitals,” an obvious effort to keep Catholic hospitals out of the business of abortion, vasectomies, and tubal ligations. In his 1973 article, “The Silence Since Humanae Vitae,” Fr. McCormick completely ignored this notable teaching.
2. For 19 years after Humanae Vitae the American bishops retained the notorious Fr. Charles Curran at the Catholic University of America. This sent a powerful message in favor of dissent.
3. Some dissenters who spilled the beans about what the dissent actually involved were silenced. In 1970 Michael Valente, a self-identified revisionist, wrote that dissent actually entailed the abolition of the entire natural-law understanding of sexuality. To illustrate what he meant, he said there was no longer a natural-law basis for rejecting bestiality. I never saw anything published by him thereafter.
4. While dissenters like to talk about having an open debate about contraception, such talk was simply a façade for unchallenged propaganda. In 1971 I demonstrated in the mostly liberal Theological Studies that the principles of Fr. Curran could not say a firm “no” even to spouse-swapping (“Continued Dissent: Is It Responsible Loyalty?”). There was exactly zero response.
John F. Kippley
New Jersey State Prison
Catholic Social Teaching: Nonsensical & Naive
Count me among the many Americans who disregard papal teaching on social justice and the economy (“American Catholics: Unclear on the Concepts?” New Oxford Note, Mar.). But it’s not because I’m dense. Rather, it’s because the Vatican seems not to understand the American economic system or refuses to accept the possibility that our free-market system might actually be superior to the guided economic systems so popular in Europe. I refuse to participate in or support any effort that would throw out or modify our highly successful system.
I have been aware of papal encyclicals on economics since I attended an orthodox Catholic university more than 50 years ago. Over time I have come to realize that when the surplus verbiage in such documents is stripped away, what is left makes little sense. Compared to Adam Smith and John Locke, the writers of papal encyclicals sound naïve. (I do not credit the popes with sole authorship of these encyclicals because I see the heavy hand of Vatican staff in their preparation.) The main problem with the documents is that they seem to suggest that businessmen are at liberty to act in ways that are at odds with the reality of the business world — in particular the laws of supply and demand. As even the editors of the NOR must know, a business owner ignores the reality of the world to his peril.
Let me emphasize that I fully endorse the right of the Church to guide us in our obligation to practice charity, and to preach on the obligation of governments to help people in need. But I will continue to ignore the Church when she wanders into realms in which I believe she is unqualified to guide us.
THE EDITOR REPLIES:
When the Church makes pronouncements on matters of faith and morals, Catholics are obligated to give faithful assent — loyal submission of the will and intellect — to her teachings. Does the Church have the competence to offer guidance on economic matters? Are Catholics obligated to give assent to these teachings? That depends on whether there is a moral dimension to economic activity. Why don’t we let the Church answer for herself: “The Church makes a moral judgment about economic and social matters, ‘when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls requires it.’… The Church is concerned with temporal aspects of the common good because they are ordered to the sovereign Good, our ultimate end” (Catechism, no. 2420). Clearly, the Church believes that there is a moral dimension (even an eschatological dimension) to economic activity. She considers herself duty bound, therefore, to “strive to inspire right attitudes with respect to earthly goods and in socio-economic relationships.”
As the Council Fathers taught at Vatican II, the Church “is at once the sign and the safeguard of the transcendental dimension of the human person…. Man’s horizons are not bounded only by the temporal order; living on the level of human history he preserves the integrity of his eternal destiny. The Church…contributes toward the spread of justice and charity among the nations and within the borders of the nations themselves” by “preaching the truths of the Gospel and clarifying all sectors of human activity” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 76; italics added). In other words, there is no area of human activity on which the Church doesn’t have the competence to teach — and that includes economics, politics, sexuality, health care, immigration, war, etc.
The Church teaches that economic activity is “to be carried out in accordance with techniques and methods belonging to the moral order, so that God’s design for man may be fulfilled” (ibid., no. 64). Where are these techniques and methods articulated? In the Church’s social teaching, which “proposes principles for reflection; it provides criteria for judgment; it gives guidelines for action” (Catechism, no. 2423).
When we approach the Church’s social teaching we must bring the proper attitude: “This teaching can be more easily accepted by men of good will, the more the faithful let themselves be guided by it” (ibid., no. 2422). Are Catholics obligated to give faithful assent to the Church’s guidance on economic matters? Insofar as there is a moral dimension to economic activity — and the Church says there is — the answer is yes. As always, the challenge is to subordinate our pride and patriotism to the universal precepts of the Catholic faith.
The Real Conservative Outcry Against Caritas in Veritate
I felt confused upon reading your New Oxford Note “American Catholics: Unclear on the Concepts?” (Mar.). I was familiar with the conservative outcry against Caritas in Veritate, but not because of its use of words like “social justice,” “solidarity,” and “gift.” These words have been overused to the point of nausea. The greater outcry was in response to the apparent papal nod to a one-world government: “there is urgent need of a true world political authority…” (no. 67). Could Cardinal Turkson have misunderstood what triggered the conservative outcry?
My trigger words were “United Nations,” “authority to secure compliance,” and “universally recognized authority.” This conservative outcry is normal in an era when state sovereignty, often in areas of moral or life issues, has been overruled by international and multinational collusion. To cover the unclear “concepts” contained in Caritas in Veritate that cause concern among conservatives, and not to discuss this papal blessing for a one-world government, suspiciously deflects the true outcry.
THE ASSOCIATE EDITOR REPLIES:
Mr. Hargadon proves Cardinal Turkson’s point. To a conservative American audience, using loaded terms like “social justice,” “solidarity,” and “gift” is indeed suspicious. We say they’re “loaded” because these terms carry negative connotations in the context of U.S. politics — at least for conservatives. As Cardinal Turkson suggested, in the U.S. “social justice” is often mistakenly connected to socialism, “solidarity” is mistakenly linked to communism, and “gift” is perceived as encouraging welfare handouts. Hargadon makes an excellent point when he suggests these terms are overused. That’s part of the problem: When catchphrases and catchwords become hackneyed, they lose much of their true meaning. The overuse and misuse of certain politically charged terminology leads to misunderstandings. Too many left-leaning Catholics, for example, use these terms in reference to liberal political causes. For example, “social justice” to some now implies support for same-sex marriage and abortion. As Cardinal Turkson can assure us, “social justice” means no such thing in the halls of the Vatican or on the streets of Ghana.
Have some conservatives objected to the expression “true world political authority”? Yes, but that in no way invalidates Cardinal Turkson’s observations. In fact, it further proves his point. Some knee-jerk reactionaries get their backs up whenever they hear the “United Nations” mentioned, but it is always important — and imperative — to understand the context. In Caritas in Veritate, Benedict was actually calling for a reform of the United Nations and existing world financial bodies so that they would be able to check the blind pursuit of profit and economic mismanagement that has “wreaked havoc” on the so-called global economy. (Like it or not, a “global economy” exists in the 21st century.) The Holy Father’s point: The market must not become a place where the strong prevail over the weak. The reformed international body should work “to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration” (no. 67). Will there be objections to such an exhortation? Yes. But it must first be understood for what it is — and not be misinterpreted by Catholics who are “unclear on the concepts” and jump to the conclusion that this is a papal call for some dystopian “one-world government.”
Fr. Euteneuer's Clintonesque Hair-Splitting
I applaud your airing the story of Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer’s lamentable fall from grace (“The Fall of an American Idol,” New Oxford Note, Apr.). If there’s one thing the Church has been taught by the pedophilia scandal it is that cover-ups are counterproductive, even apart from being morally wrong. In that regard I would express my disappointment not just with the priest’s underlying conduct but also with his initial statement as to why he was being called back to his diocese. Frankly, I inferred the worst about his bishop — namely, that his bishop desired to end Fr. Euteneuer’s prolife labors.
That prejudgment was a failing on my part — but I suggest that it was a reaction Fr. Euteneuer should have foreseen on the part of those who regarded him as a champion. In justice to his bishop he should have stated at the outset that this move was a disciplinary matter occasioned by his own fault.
As it is, we are still left with an incomplete story. His statement that his misconduct “did not involve the sexual act” reminds me of a former U.S. President who claimed that he “did not have sex with that woman.” Was it a “sexual act” apart from “the sexual act”? And now we also have to wonder about his relationship with Fr. John Corapi — who wrote the Foreword to his book — for Fr. Corapi’s own priestly faculties have been withdrawn because of unspecified accusations against him, which he has denied.
Many years ago, my wife and I were regular contributors to Covenant House. When allegations were first raised against its founder, Fr. Bruce Ritter, he proclaimed his innocence and I wrote him a strong letter of support. It was bad enough that he did what he did, but to lie about it compounded the felony, and we have never since supported that particular charity. As a retired attorney, I’m well aware that as a matter of civil law a guilty man is entitled to plead “not guilty.” But don’t you think that a priest is under a moral obligation not to deny publicly a well-founded charge that he has violated his priestly vows in a way that has harmed another person?
Ed. Note: Fr. Corapi, the immensely popular radio and television evangelist, was placed on “administrative leave” by the superiors of his religious order, Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, after a former employee of his accused him of “everything from drug addiction to multiple sexual exploits with her and several other adult women,” as Fr. Corapi put it in a March 19 statement. That these charges, which Fr. Corapi has denied, should come on the heels of Fr. Euteneuer’s admission of his own personal misdeeds should give us pause for thought (and prayer). In his April 3 column, John Norton, editor of Our Sunday Visitor, warned of the danger of giving “excessive devotion” to priests, who should be “respected, loved, supported, yes, but not idolized,” as were both Corapi and Euteneuer. Norton wonders whether Catholics’ willingness to idolize priests — and not only celebrity priests, but even their parish priests — is because we find it “easier to live holiness vicariously through those we perceive as such rather than do the hard work of self-reform; and so we choose to be blind to any possible unholiness on their part.” Predictably, in the breach between accusation and denial, the rumor-mongering and back-biting among Fr. Corapi’s supporters and detractors has been intense — most of it taking place, of course, in the blogosphere. Fr. Corapi, like Fr. Euteneuer, has been a friend of the NOR: both have appeared in our pages. We earnestly hope that Fr. Corapi is indeed innocent — as we did with Fr. Euteneuer, a hope we harbored in vain.
Thank you for your New Oxford Note on former Human Life International (HLI) President Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer (“The Fall of an American Idol,” Apr.). Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, HLI interim president, stated in his February 4 “Spirit & Life” e-letter that the woman involved with Fr. Euteneuer’s “violations of chastity” was “gravely harmed” — important information that was left out of your piece.
Fr. Euteneuer mentioned in his January 31 statement, in which he purports to “set the record straight,” that it is “pointless…to respond to every crackpot with a website,” but that he “cannot remain silent when such falsehoods threaten to damage the Church, the priesthood, and other innocent persons….” So Fr. Euteneuer breaks his silence with a bulleted list of half-truths and falsehoods of his own, which hopefully, in time, he will clarify.
Your New Oxford Note on Fr. Euteneuer failed to raise certain questions that follow from his fall from grace. First, was he always a fraud or was he a genuinely faithful priest who fell? Second, does his disgrace mean that all his teachings — no matter how authentic they seemed — have become suspect? Third, what does his infidelity say about the discernment of Catholics who promoted his apostolate? Fourth, how can we protect ourselves from such shocking disappointment in the future? Fifth — and this is a tough one — is it possible that his teachings were sound even though he was not?
In your examination of Fr. Euteneuer’s fall from grace you describe Deal Hudson, former publisher of the now-defunct Crisis magazine, and Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ, as sexual predators. This might be an accurate description of the latter, but it is calumny toward the former. Mr. Hudson, unlike Fr. Maciel, publicly confessed his sin of inappropriate behavior with a female student and stated that he also sought out a confessor. If the Almighty can forgive, lowly humans should be able to do the same. Fr. Maciel’s predatory actions against countless people over many years is in a class of its own. To place them on par with Hudson’s past indiscretion is spiteful.
Ed. Note: Forgiveness is imperative, yes; but we fail to see how a public and/or private confession of a predatory act could render said act somehow not predatory, or remove the status of victimhood from those who were harmed.
The Glass Is Half Empty
In his April letter, A. James McAdams, a professor at Notre Dame, attempts to defend the university’s Catholic status. Without rehashing the deplorable decision the university made honoring Obama and then prosecuting those who objected to it on campus (the Notre Dame 88) — issues he is careful to avoid — McAdams is apparently brimming over with pride that, as he says, “eighty percent of our students are Catholic, as is half of our faculty.”
I submit that instead of these stats showing Catholicity, they demonstrate a strong trend toward secularization. A good start for Notre Dame to return to the Catholic fold would be to bring in more Catholics!
Notre Dame Professor A. James McAdams (letter, Apr.) dumbfounded me with his incredibly daring desire: “I want to reassure everyone that we are still very much a Catholic university.” He then dumbfounded me further by offering, as evidence to support his reassurance, the presence on campus of the Basilica, the Grotto, the chapels in the residence halls, the 80 percent Catholic student body, and the Catholic half of the faculty. I can understand that he, being a university employee, may wishfully think that the assertion “we are still very much a Catholic university” is the truth. Although the places Prof. McAdams cited are of course Catholic, they do not make the university Catholic. They are the whitewash on the sepulcher of Notre Dame.
The dishonorable awarding of an honorary degree to the pro-abortion Barack Obama was the public revelation of its death as a Catholic university. The place began dying many years ago with the involvement of its former president, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., in the eugenics (birth controbpmovement, and was accelerated by his 1967 Land O’Lakes statement that declared Notre Dame’s independence from the Catholic Church — its autonomy legally established and dramatized by the Congregation of the Holy Cross’s turning over its ownership to a board of trustees, most of whom are laymen.
Notre Dame is now, and has been for a very long time, a place of dissent and heresy where some theology professors have denied the divinity of Christ and the virginity of Mary, are pro-abortion, do not disapprove of homosexual activity, think contraception is good, think priestly celibacy is bad, etc. They are, in other words, essentially anti-Catholic because of their utter disregard for much of Catholicism. Indeed, the current president, Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C., among other things, not only tolerates homosexual advocates but even paid for some of them to travel to Washington, D.C., to proclaim homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, and he had prolife activists arrested for praying the rosary on campus and charged with criminal activities for which they are to be tried in criminal court.
Yet, despite the anti-Catholic filth there, Prof. McAdams claims that “Notre Dame is still a place where ‘the Church does her thinking.'” He might as well claim that the National Catholic Reporter is where the Church does her thinking.
I have so much disaffection from my alma mater, which I loved in its halcyon past, and so much affection for the Benedictine monastery here in northeastern Oklahoma, Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Abbey, that I gave my class ring to the abbot. He had the stone removed and placed into his pectoral cross and the gold melted and formed into his abbatial ring.
T. Gavin King, Class of 1955
Ed. Note: Just prior to the publication of this issue, the Thomas More Law Society, the law firm representing the Notre Dame 88, announced that St. Joseph County prosecutor Michael Dvorak had dismissed the criminal trespass charges against the prolife protestors. Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, called it a “victory for the pro-life cause.” Fr. Jenkins said that he was “sincerely pleased” that the charges were dismissed. Needless to say, the charges never should have been pursued in the first place. At this juncture, however, both parties have agreed not to “rehash the events of the past” but to recognize each other’s commitment to the sanctity of life. “Those who share pro-life convictions,” said Brejcha, “may not agree on tactics and approaches, but they best serve their sacred cause when they work together to secure the common good for all human beings, born and unborn alike, rather than carrying on as courtroom antagonists.” We look forward to the day when a genuine commitment to consistent prolife witness will be an enduring characteristic of the University of Notre Dame.
Surprised by Quality
I had the pleasant surprise of receiving a gift subscription to the NOR through your Scholarship Fund. I am most surprised, however, at the quality, depth, and variety of Catholic issues discussed in what is now our magazine. Thank you for the love and care that I have received from your anonymous donors, and thank you for making your magazine available to me.
In exchange for my subscription I will include the NOR community in my daily prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours.
Mr. Francisco Willis, O.P.
Trenton, New Jersey
A Myopic Skirmish
I read with great interest Anne Barbeau Gardiner’s review of God and Evolution: Protestants, Catholics, and Jews Explore Darwin’s Challenge to Faith (Mar.). My conversion to Catholicism after 30 dark years of scientific atheism perhaps gives me a unique perspective. And that perspective is simply this: We’re fighting the wrong battle, or at least choosing the wrong battlefield.
Although intellectually stimulating, the ongoing debate between natural-selection proponents and their intelligent-design foes tries to squeeze Christian truth into a box that can never hold it — namely, natural science. Christian reality is primarily a spiritual and moral reality; its setting in a material, biological world is always a secondary consideration. Jesus preached this hierarchy to Nicodemus: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit…. Unless one is born of…the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:6, 3:5). With our eyes we see only the visible world, a vision that comes easily. But spiritual truth is the sole path to any meaning whatsoever; the natural world, viewed with purely scientific “sight,” merely reveals blind mechanism.
To obey our Lord’s command of evangelization, we must preach the hidden, spiritual world, and not get so entangled in the nuance and minutiae of creation that we stray from the Creator. Pope Benedict XVI puts it this way: “The word [of Jesus] — which seems almost nothing in comparison to the mighty power of the immeasurable material cosmos, like a fleeting breath against the silent grandeur of the universe — the word is more real and more lasting than the entire material world. The word is the true, dependable reality: the solid ground on which we can stand, which holds firm even when the sun goes dark and the firmament disintegrates. The cosmic elements pass away; the word of Jesus is the true ‘firmament’ beneath which we can stand and remain” (Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection).
Thus, the ad nauseam arguments over biological evolution are counterproductive to Christian evangelization. Locating God’s fingerprints in our biology is relevant only if it helps us to know God. Obsessing over scientific detail is part of what makes scientific atheists, and it is therefore not the correct way to unmake them. In the deadly serious war between faith and secularism, we should not allow (much less promote) such distractions. We need to go to the battle’s heart, not fritter around the edges with the myopic skirmish between natural selection and intelligent design.
Is the Christian objective merely to debate the atheist or to convert him? If it is the latter, then strategy and tactics become crucial. As to tactics, you disarm a scientist with data. But you cannot defeat him with science; a better strategy is required. The strategy argued so eloquently by the likes of C.S. Lewis is to defeat the scientific atheist with his own humanity. That datum, quite a surprise to the atheist, is spiritual. Specifically, you offer him the Trojan Horse of man’s common experience with the “ought” and the “ought not” — namely, morality. No person in charge of his mental faculties actually lives an amoral life, though many hypocritically and falsely claim to do so. Even if morality in the abstract is disavowed, the atheist lives out an iron-clad code of morality concerning various fundamental aspects of his life — rights, freedom, love, property, safety, etc. Tamper with his “just deserts,” and you will get a firm resistance, bringing his moral reality to the surface.
Then you press harder. Ask the scientific atheist where the “ought” and “ought not” come from, and upon what authority they rest, for moral value presupposes an evaluation, which presupposes an evaluator. Without a reasoned and conscious choice made by an evaluator that defines the moral value of an act, then every act simply “is.” The living of our lives tells us is not the case — no one believes that all acts are essentially equivalent, that, say, choking a baby is just as good as kissing him. And neither can it be the case that we humans, we societies, define what is a good or a bad act. We are fickle, and our definitions changeable, from person to person, society to society, and age to age. If “good” and “bad” are changeable, then they are ultimately interchangeable, and they cease to exist as meaningful descriptors of actions.
This then is the key to converting scientific atheists: bring their attention to their true humanity, which is the heart and soul and conscience instilled in them by their Creator. This data they cannot deny, nor can their science explain it away. And this is the proper focus of a Christian’s dealings with the science of evolution and natural selection.
As an ancient Greek philosopher might put it, we should focus on the Zoe not the Bios, as Jesus tried to explain to Nicodemus. And we should follow His example, always: Redirect this discussion. For every discussion is an evangelization, a battle against secularism, and every battlefield is chosen. Let us choose the battlefield the enemy cannot resist, the world of the spirit and the heart and God. Let us not succumb to the atheist’s chosen battlefield, the quagmire of a soul-killing, materialist world. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:5-6).
Charles R. Splawn
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The Folly of Debating Absolutes
Rev. Brusca’s letter (Apr.) in response to Randall B. Smith’s article “Call the Police, It’s an Academic Lecture!” (Jan.-Feb.) pierces the veneer of disingenuous reasoning. What is to be gained by juxtaposing absolute truths with base perversions and camouflaging them with the respectable word “dialogue”? It should be evident to all that such usage is a profanation of the word. It is, in reality, a less than subtle attempt by relativists to get their foot in the door in order to garner some respectability and at the same time neutralize moral differences.
Secularism, intoxicated of late by its successful incursions into the Judeo-Christian ethic, anticipates a total collapse of absolutes. That monumental victory will be theirs when they succeed in raising sodomy to the dignity of a sacrament. The tragedy is that they have as allies large numbers of uninstructed Catholics, as well as many in the Catholic press, who simply do not comprehend the tragic moral and social consequences inherent in the legitimization of homosexual relationships.
In his reply to Brusca, Prof. Smith artfully brings in Pope Benedict XVI to support his argument for dialogue, but it is really a fallacious attempt to seek an ally in his mission to debate absolutes. Of course, that is not what the Pope is implying by the word “dialogue.” His propositions are intended to clarify social and moral decisions of a lesser status.
Ed. Note: It should be obvious that Christians don’t enter into dialogue with those who disagree with them — atheists, homosexualists, et al. — in order to debate absolute truths, but in order to find out how to present those truths in such a way that their dialogue partners will consider their merits. The purpose of dialogue, properly pursued, isn’t to undermine the truth in order to find common ground, but to find common ground in order to make converts. Another word for this pursuit is “evangelization,” which can’t be accomplished without personal encounters, most of which take the form of discussions or “dialogues.” Approval of one’s partner’s preconceived notions isn’t a prerequisite for entering into dialogue.
A History of Homosexuality in the U.S. Military
Kenneth D. Whitehead’s article “The Consequences of Ending ‘Discrimination’ Against Homosexuals” (Dec. 2010) appeared during the same month that the Senate repealed the ban on open and practicing homosexuals being allowed to wear the uniform of the armed forces of the United States of America, a ban that had been in effect since the beginning of our republic.
I commend the NOR for demonstrating the martial virtue of valor by publishing Whitehead’s article. I have found no other comment on this momentous tectonic shift being introduced into the American military culture anywhere else — not on so-called conservative talk radio, in supposedly conservative periodicals, on Fox News, or even in any other orthodox Catholic publications.
I am frankly astonished by this repeal. As someone who has served on active duty in the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve for nearly 30 years as an enlisted man and a commissioned officer, I can tell you that the senior non-commissioned officers and field-grade officers and above with whom I have spoken are greatly disturbed by this calamitous decision. As Whitehead wrote, this will certainly tear apart the ranks.
As a practicing Catholic who hopes to be blessed with sons some day, it saddens me that I will not be able to encourage them to join the military when they reach recruitment age. I suspect this has been the true intention with regard to this issue all along. Many people — Michael Weinstein, for example — do not want any type of practicing Christian in the military. By admitting out-of-the-closet homosexuals into the ranks, their goal of eliminating Christians in the military may now possibly succeed.
Down though the centuries it has always been obvious that open sodomy in the ranks would be prejudicial to good conduct, discipline, and — obviously — morals.
John Adams worked to have sodomy (and rum and the lash) removed from our young republic’s naval branch — it was endemic in the British Navy, and Adams was adamant that our own would not be similarly corrupted. Addressing all of the military branches as our second commander in chief, Adams stated, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion…. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Of course, the supreme commander of the continental army and our first commander in chief, George Washington, not only forbade open homosexuality in the military but punished those who practiced it. During the War of Independence, Washington gave a clear statement of his views in his general orders for March 14, 1778: “At a General Court Martial where Colonel Tupper was President (10 March 1778), First Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin of Colonel Malcom’s Regiment [was] tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort, one of his enlisted men…[and] found guilty of the charges exhibited against him…. [We] do sentence him to be dismissed [from] the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes orders Lieutenant Enslin to be drummed out of camp tomorrow morning by all the drummers and fifers in the Army never to return….”
The diary of Second Lieutenant James McMichael records the sentence being carried out: “March 15 — this morning I proceeded to the grand parade, thence where I was a spectator to the drumming out of Lieutenant Enslin…. He was first drummed from the right to the left of the parade, thence to the left wing of the army; from that to the center, and lastly transported over the Schuylkill River with orders never to be seen in camp in the future. This shocking scene was performed by all the drums and fifes in the army — the coat of the delinquent was turned wrong side out.”
Up until now, the military has maintained George Washington’s standard. Even during times of national emergency — when the draft was implemented — homosexuals were screened out. The reasons were quite simple: Acts of sexual misconduct are immoral. Yes, there are fornicators and adulterers in the military, and both of those sins are mortal. But sodomy is a mortal sin that is so egregiously evil it is one of only four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance (and the only sexual sin among those four). In the past, sodomites were thrown out of the military if caught, as were adulterers and even fornicators if they were also practicing fraternization. Now, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines — not to mention military chaplains — will have to deal with a new paradigm.
Referring to the practice begun in the 1960s to allow homosexuals into seminaries, Patrick Buchanan recently said in response to the repeal of the ban, “Let us hope this works out better for the Marine Corps than it did for the Catholic Church.” We all know what “gay” priests have done for the Church.
Capt. David Yuers
Walnut Creek, California
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