WashPost Columnist Rips Catholic Pastor: Foes of Left's LGBT Agenda Should Be 'Marginalized'

Robert McCartney slimed a Northern Virginia Catholic priest in a Sunday column in the Washington Post for his decision to end his parish's relationship with the Boy Scouts for letting openly-homosexual youth to join as scouts. McCartney blasted Father John De Celles, pastor of St. Raymond of Peñafort parish in Springfield, for his supposed "diatribes against gay behavior, liberal activists and similar targets in his weekly columns."

The columnist later touted how "De Celles is in the minority" in disbanding his parish's Cub Scout pack and Boy Scout troop, and bringing in an alternative youth group that "discriminates against boys who refuse to hide their homosexuality," as he spun it. He all but called for discrimination against those who defend traditional sexual morals: "I hope and expect that those with narrow-minded views will be the ones who end up 'marginalized.'"

McCartney led his column, "No. Virginia Catholic priest is in minority in region in breaking with Boy Scouts over gays" (titled "Priest deserves to be in minority over Scouts, gays" in the print edition) by claiming that Father De Celles acted against the wishes of Pope Francis, due to the pontiff's much-hyped "who am I to judge?" remarks about homosexuals:

Pope Francis says gay people "shouldn't be marginalized," but a Northern Virginia Roman Catholic priest has taken the opposite approach regarding the Boy Scouts.

Father John De Celles of St. Raymond of Peñafort in Springfield kicked out his church's Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout pack in December because the national scouting organization dared to open its doors to openly gay youths....

In April, De Celles denounced the Boy Scouts' proposed step toward tolerance and inclusiveness as "a statement that 'gay is okay.'" He warned that would "severely limit" his church "from passing on its moral teaching about same-sex attraction and homosexuals."

Compare that with the pope's now-famous statement about gays: "If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?"

Of course, the writer left out what the Church's "moral teaching" is on homosexuality, and that Pope Francis is on the record of stating that "the teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church." The Bishop of Rome also labeled same-sex "marriage" an "anthropological regression," both before and after he was elected in 2013.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly outlines that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and that "under no circumstances can they be approved." The document also explained that the homosexual "inclination...is objectively disordered," and that "homosexual persons are called to chastity." But it also sensitively calls for others to treat such persons with "respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." That is the part that Pope Francis was emphasizing. However, a separate doctrinal document clarified that "homosexual persons...have the same rights as all persons....Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is sometimes not only licit but obligatory."

While the columnist linked to the Catholic pastor's statement about his decision in the online version of his piece, McCartney was too busy taking his object to scorn to task to mention the sensitivity that the priest dealt with the matter:


...Few decisions in my priesthood have been so heart wrenching as this. BSA has provided boys many rich opportunities for personal growth for over a hundred years—in particular for our boys these last few years. But this new policy changes everything.

I in no way condemn or hold any ill will towards those who disagree with me—either other pastors, parents or scout leaders. While this deals with objective truths, it comes down to a prudential judgment. I respect those who disagree with my prudential judgment, and I particularly respect parents for doing what they think best for their children, but I could not respect myself if I did not do what I thought was right for my flock.

After ripping De Celles, the Washington Post writer noted that DC-area Boy Scout council "feared it might lose many more Catholic church sponsors in Northern Virginia, after Arlington Archbishop Paul Loverde said in May that the admission of gay youths was 'highly disappointing.'" He continued by emphasizing that most other parishes hosting Boy Scout troops decided to let them stay:

...Loverde has refrained from further criticism while monitoring the new policy's effects. On Feb. 8, he presided over the annual "Scout Mass" at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

Loverde might have been influenced by the more conciliatory attitude taken by other American Catholic leaders. In particular, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting issued a 40-point fact sheet in November that defended the Boy Scouts’ decision as consistent with Catholic teaching.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Washington Archdiocese, which includes the District and Maryland suburbs, also has backed the Scouts.

McCartney ended the column by calling for the Boy Scouts to admit homosexual adult leaders, and for the "marginalization" of those who disagree with the left's LGBT agenda:

I wish I could say all this means that the controversy is effectively over. It isn't.

Last year's decision only went half way, because the Boy Scouts still ban openly gay people from serving as adult leaders. So the whole issue will be joined again, as activists rightly pressure the organization to end discrimination at all levels.

I hope and expect that those with narrow-minded views will be the ones who end up "marginalized."

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center