Sunday, January 10, 2010


Changing Morals

The Bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa has fired a transgendered woman who worked part time as parish housekeeper and who, as an independent social worker, had local permission to use parish offices to provide counseling for transgendered clients.

Susan McIntyre (nee Jim Ford) had gender-reassignment surgery in 1988. McIntyre already had a master's degree in social work and a desire to "work with the sickest of the sick and the poorest of the poor." She converted to Catholicism after her surgery.

The diocese is claiming the firing was due to McIntyre using a letterhead for her counseling services that included the center's name and address, thus possibly opening the church up to liability for any malpractice claims against McIntyre. As some of the parishioners pointed out, that didn't justify firing McIntyre as a housekeeper. Instead, she could have just been denied permission to conduct her counseling on church property.

A much more likely explanation of the firing comes to mind:

[Richard] Pates [bishop of Des Moines] said the church's views on homosexuality and transgenderism fall in line with two millennia of teaching, part and parcel with its overall stance on human sexuality: that sex should be reserved for marriage between a man and a woman, and in cooperation.
Excuse me? Wouldn't that also preclude priests having sex with children? But the Church rather notoriously was willing to overlook that and keep the perpetrators employed, often just sending them to other parishes where their "indiscretions" were unknown. Maybe the diocese should offer to transfer Ms. McIntyre to clean another parish.

To the credit of some of the parishioners, nearly 100 of them have organized separate prayer services instead of going to Mass because they said they sought a welcoming place for all.

A good first step.

You know, crap like this is one reason I decided not to drop $25 on a concert in a cathedral, much as I wanted to enjoy classical music in such a setting. The problem is, the cathedral's still owned by Catholics, and while not all Catholic leadership is this noxious, far too much of it is. Couldn't square it with my conscience.

At least a lot of the Catholic faithful have managed to become far more decent people than their religious leaders.
I confess that my wife was right in a way about me that "you can take the boy out of the Church but you can't take the Church out of the boy" in that I knew a lot of people, laity and clerical alike, who would have thought this was wrong. Although I long ago turned my back on the Catholic Church, and religion in general, with no regrets, I can't help remembering the basically decent people I knew then, and still know, who are believers and refuse to put them, as some do, in the same category as terrorists and stoners of children.
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