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Customer Discussions > Christianity forum

Incompetent Catholic Clerics Deny Teen's Confirmation


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Showing 1-25 of 114 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 9, 2012 7:41:51 AM PST
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/04/nation/la-na-confirmation-fight-20121204

Catholic teen's gay marriage stance unsettles Minnesota town

A teen's Catholic confirmation is called off after a Facebook post in which he opposed a church-backed measure.

December 04, 2012|By Jenny Deam, Los Angeles Times

It's a fight straight from the Vatican now landed on the wind-swept prairie of western Minnesota - all because of a Magic Marker, a yard sign and a 16-year-old boy with an iPhone.

Lennon Cihak, a high school junior in the Minnesota town of Barnesville - population about 2,500 - was raised Roman Catholic like his parents and grandparents. His mother and father, Shana and Doug Cihak, were baptized, confirmed and married in Barnesville's century-old Assumption Church, the same one where Lennon had been attending confirmation classes since spring.

Then on Oct. 24 - 13 days before the vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman - everything changed.

That night, Lennon attended a run-through for the ceremony of his confirmation, the sacrament in which believers reaffirm their faith. Lennon, who was named after Beatles member John Lennon, says nothing special happened at church to set the fateful events in motion, but for weeks he had been thinking about the marriage amendment. A lot of his friends were opposed, saying it didn't seem fair.

"In the Constitution it says all men are created equal. If they can't get married, they aren't equal," he remembers thinking.

So that night he took a pro-amendment yard sign, changed "Vote Yes" to "Vote No" with a black marker and scrawled the words "Equal Marriage Rights." He then posed with the sign, snapped a photo with his phone, and posted the picture on his Facebook page.

That's when things got messy.

Shana Cihak, a City Hall billing clerk, says the next day there was an urgent message on the family answering machine for her and her husband to meet with Father Gary LaMoine, the parish priest. That conversation on Oct. 25, according to her version, started cordially, with the priest telling them they needed to come to church more often.

But then, she says, LaMoine told her that Lennon's opinions on same-sex marriage were in conflict with the church and that her son could not be confirmed.

She was stunned. Lennon had only expressed an opinion. He wasn't even old enough to vote. Why should he be denied a sacrament when others who break church rules are not?

"Do you mean to tell me," Shana Cihak says she told LaMoine, "that when you stand up there on Sunday and you see all of those families with two or three kids, you don't know they are using birth control?" She says she was told she could no longer serve as sponsor of one of the kids in the confirmation class. She came home in tears.

LaMoine and Bishop Michael Hoeppner, who oversees the Diocese of Crookston, which includes Assumption Church, did not respond to requests for an interview. But in a strongly worded letter LaMoine sent to church members on Nov. 15, the priest tells a very different story:

"It is to my dismay that what should have been kept an internal church matter has now become a public controversy," LaMoine wrote, adding that he knew nothing about the Facebook posting until his secretary found it the day after his meeting with the Cihaks to talk about issues he did not specify. He called Lennon's Facebook picture - which was "liked" by several members of the confirmation class - a "defacement" and apologized to the parish for the Cihaks' behavior.

He also said Lennon was the one who decided to end the confirmation process.

LaMoine wrote that he never denied Lennon's confirmation, but added: "Even if he had not withdrawn ... I would have had no choice but to remove him from consideration given his rejection of marriage as we understand it. Rejection of the church's teaching on marriage is a very serious breach of faith."

Lennon says the idea that he quit is untrue.

The Catholic Church's highest leadership has been vehement in its opposition to same-sex marriage. In March, Pope Benedict XVI urged a delegation of U.S. bishops, including those from Minnesota, not to back down in the global fight against same-sex marriage. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has also taken up the fight. "We should be strengthening marriage, not redefining it," says Tim Roder, associate director for the promotion and defense of marriage at the conference.

St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt crusaded in support of Minnesota's proposed marriage amendment, sending two letters - one just before the election - to every priest in the state telling them to advocate for it in their congregations. He wrote that the issue of preserving traditional marriage was "one of the greatest challenges of our times," and that any priest who disagreed must remain silent.
[snip]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 9:05:24 AM PST
DocMMV says:
Well, I tried to find the incompetence. Is it hidden somewhere?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 9:21:13 AM PST
S. Kessler says:
Wow, how very disgusting. It's witch hunt time in the Catholic Church again.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 10:30:02 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 10:53:08 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
The RCC has gone way out on a limb on Same Sex Marriage.
They're bitterly losing the battle.
They never should have made this a big "Catholic" issue.
The RCC doesn't recognize anyone's civil marriage; it recognizes
only church marriages.
So it has no business at all campaigning in the secular arena to
stop people from contracting any particular kind of legal civil marriage.
This is all nonsense.
Is the RCC going to tell the state not to issue marriage licenses for
Jews, for Protestants, for people who have been divorced and remarried
twice?
Of course not.
So persecuting gays is ridiculous.

They've cost themselves millions; they've lost prestige,
and they're on the wrong side of human rights and of history.

Every time their incompetent clerics make a PR issue like this,
they cause the Catholic brand more embarrassment and more harm.
Few outside the RCC understand the theory according to which
Catholic clerics see themselves as in control of the sacraments
and access to Christ's grace in general.
And few find their opinions on this attractive.

This is incompetence all right; it's a kind of death rattle for a church
that has made critical mistakes in the last hundred years and is heading
straight for irrelevance.

Pope Benedict is standing on the deck of the Titanic, urging "forward"
as the ship sinks.

Posted on Dec 9, 2012 11:34:36 AM PST
A Customer says:
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Posted on Dec 9, 2012 11:38:52 AM PST
One wonders when the population of Catholics will make their de facto disregard of the Vatican's pronouncements so obvious that the church leadership can no longer pretend they're actually leading their flock.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 12:38:53 PM PST
S. Kessler says:
Give me a break. At least mine are grammatical. C'mon. Mac, you're intrigued by me. Admit it!

Posted on Dec 9, 2012 2:10:41 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 5:08:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 9, 2012 5:09:16 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 5:23:05 PM PST
Matt,

Satan doesn't have to it is happening from within. I've never heard any RC say that they had accepted all the of church's stands on all the things that they "dictate". Granted, confirmation begins with affirming a faith in God and Jesus, and at a younger age probably even all of the catechism --- I've never heard anyone who knew the catechism but believed differently being denied confirmation of their baptism. And their "positions" have certainly drifted on a variety of issues. Including the celibacy of its clergy; fairly recently.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 5:27:03 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 5:47:10 PM PST
Matt,

So you agree that the teen should have been confirmed.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 5:53:25 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 6:10:57 PM PST
Matt,

Jesus was silent on the issue that the clerics used to deny the confirmation. He is the ONLY True Church Authority.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 6:19:03 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 9, 2012 6:19:31 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 6:42:45 PM PST
Matt,

Since the "church" did not exist when Jesus spoke he could not have empowered it to decide for him. I don't think any human Church Authority can do much more than extrapolate. And you didn't answer the question.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 5:24:00 AM PST
Many years ago, the (Connecticut) Catholic Transcript carried the column by Rev. Richard P. McBrien, chairman of the Theology Department at the University of Notre Dame. In one column, McBrien discussed the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas on the distinction between civil laws, which are always changing, and moral laws, which are eternal. Consequently, sometimes one must take positions about civil laws contrary to one's moral values. Catholics like the teenager Lennon Cihak are absolutely entitled to support the civil law permitting same-sex marriage.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 5:30:02 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 6:19:56 AM PST
The vast majority of Catholics base their actions on personal convictions and not on "the Vatican's pronouncements." or on the directives of clerics. The "church leadership" is fully aware of this fact. The Catholic Church is one of the most diverse religious organizations in the world. If we had more priests like Andrew Greeley, the Catholic Church would be in much better shape. You should read his op-ed piece "Debunking the myth: No loyalty test for Catholics." A scanned copy from the 30 August 1993 Sarasota Herald-Tribune is at:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XychAAAAIBAJ&sjid=kHsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5692,7142386

Posted on Dec 10, 2012 2:48:31 PM PST
Alan says:
Lennon appears to be a very admirable young man, a credit to his parents and his upbringing. The world needs many more Lennons and many fewer bigots.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:24:14 PM PST
Raulito says:
Domenico,

Confirmation is when a Catholic person is ready to make a public commmitment to embrace and teach the Catholic faith, in word and action, and they are ready to live out their Catholic faith in public. If the young man is not ready to make a public commmitment to teach the Catholic faith, they have no business receiving Confirmation. They are ready to teach their own religious views, but not the Catholic faith. No priest in their right mind should ever support a Catholic's reception of Confirmation, if the candidate believes whatever they want and the candidate has made a public (facebook) statement that they don't embrace the Catholic faith.

Common sense folks, common sense!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:29:03 PM PST
Raulito says:
Reed,

"Jesus was silent on the issue that the clerics used to deny the confirmation"

Jesus said "..whoever believes and is baptized will be saved...." Mark 16:16.

What apostle in their right mind will baptize a person who says "well, I want to be baptized, but I don't believe in Christ"

Or, what apostle in their right mind will baptized a person who says "I want to be baptized, but I decide what is wrong and right ,and I believe whatever I want..."

None.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:37:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 3:38:52 PM PST
Alan says:
"Common sense folks, common sense!"

On reflection Lennon might come to see this as a lucky escape. Perhaps he will be able to find a more enlightened priest. Given the information available here Lennon appears the moral superior to his priest, though not of course the theological superior.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:03:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 4:05:13 PM PST
Raulito says:
Alan,

The young man may find an "enlightened" priest who will say "Ok, we shall give you Confirmation, but you can believe whatever you want"

It doesn't work that way Alan. If you attend Confirmation program for two years, its to learn the basics of the Catholic faith, and once you have finished the program, then you are ready to "confirm" your teachings and make a public statement of your desire to teach and live your life according to your Catholic faith.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:09:42 PM PST
Alan says:
Raulito,

Do you believe that there are no priests anywhere who would be pleased to Confirm this young man who has demonstrated his compassion for others. Surely there are 'liberal' priests even in the Catholic Church.
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Discussion in:  Christianity forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  114
Initial post:  Dec 9, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 13, 2012

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