I would like to write a revised blog post about ONE Project and my involvement in the preparation of food for the needy in Mercer County last Saturday, in response to just a couple comments/questions from parishioners. I could have taken the easy road here and just deleted my posts altogether and moved on to another topic, but this is a good opportunity to share some of our Church’s teachings more clearly. And I also have a responsibility to clarify my statements if I believe that I have mischaracterized Church teachings in any way.
This past Saturday July 26 I joined hundreds of volunteers from Robbinsville to take part in a new community start up organization called “One Project.” I was so impressed with the number of young people present. Altogether over the course of over three hours the volunteers present packed and prepared over 15,000 healthy meals for children in the Mercer County area. Those who participated were able to help the unfortunate in such a direct way. There was a tremendous sense of fulfillment in being able to do that.
I thank the leaders and co-founders of ONE Project for coordinating this particular event; I want to thank them for giving all of us present the opportunity to carry out acts of charity; I want to thank them for facilitating that.
I realize now however that the story is just a bit more complicated.
As I walked through the doors of Robbinsville High School, I believed that this organization had the sole purpose of providing an opportunity for people of different backgrounds, points of view and faith traditions to strive together for a goal that everyone shares, in this case feeding the hungry. I thought that that was the only purpose of the organization: social service, helping the unfortunate. If that were true, then everything would have been fine; the Catholic Church is all about serving the poor and the needy.
Two days after I attended this event, however, a former parishioner pointed out to me that on the “Mercer Me” blog site from July 18, 2014, there was the following statement that surprised me greatly:
“The ONE Project plans to host community education programs that will focus on either equality (issues involving racial, religious, LGBT), education, or drug abuse.”
The Catholic Church and St. Gregory the Great Parish have clear, well defined teachings in the area of marriage, human sexuality and sexual identity. These are all good, true teachings: marriage as a permanent, exclusive bond between a husband and wife, the goodness of children and openness to life. There are many others; I cannot list them all now in this particular posting. I adhere to all those teachings and do not intend to promote any other type of teachings in those areas.
I do not know exactly what the leader of ONE Project means when he refers to LGBT community education programs, but I must infer that those programs will involve promotion of same sex ‘marriage’ and the spread of teachings on human sexuality that are antithetical to Catholic Christian teachings. If I am wrong about that, I ask the leaders of ONE Project please to correct my erroneous thinking as quickly as possible.
As the administrator of a Catholic parish, I do need to be conscious of how my actions are interpreted by others to some degree, because there is a teaching role in those actions. In our culture at this time we are so confused and conflicted about what human sexuality and marriage mean, and there are so many evil, erroneous and deceptive messages out there. I must reiterate that I can neither endorse ONE Project in any way nor participate in any more of their events, so long as they promote false teachings. As President Ronald Reagan once said, at times we must raise a banner not of “pale pastels” but rather of “bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand.” This is an instance in which such “bold colors” are called for.