Now THAT Was An Unethical Funeral Service…


Jeff Hullibarger and his wife, Linda Hullibarger of Temperance, Michigan,  met with Father Don LaCuesta about what the priest would say at the funeral of their son Maison (above) at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. Maison, 18,  had killed himself.

Father LaCuesta, however, without giving any notice to the family and after leaving the parents with the impression that the homily would be appropriate, told mourners that the youth may have ruined his chances of getting to heaven by ending his own life in a lengthy homily about the sin of suicide.

The teen’s dad, Jeff, said, “We couldn’t believe what he was saying. He was up there condemning our son, pretty much calling him a sinner. He wondered if he had repented enough to make it to heaven. He said ‘suicide’ upwards of six times.”

At one point in the service, the deceased’s father walked to the pulpit and asked the priest to “please stop.”  LaCuesta wouldn’t.

But wait! There’s more!

Maison’s high school football coach, Jeffrey Wood, who’d bullied Maison and his three brothers, showed up despite being asked not to attend by the family. He was asked to leave. Wood then posted a nasty message about his removal from the service on social media, which got him fired by the school, which in turn led to the termination of his coaching duties.

As if that wasn’t enough, the snacks at the reception afterwards were stale.

Kidding.

Following complaints from the family, the Archdiocese of Detroit said in a statement:

We share the family’s grief at such a profound loss. Our hope is always to bring comfort into situations of great pain, through funeral services centered on the love and healing power of Christ.Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case. We understand that an unbearable situation was made even more difficult, and we are sorry. After some reflection, the presider agrees that the family was not served as they should have been served. For the foreseeable future, he will not be preaching at funerals and he will have his other homilies reviewed by a priest mentor.In addition, he has agreed to pursue the assistance he needs in order to become a more effective minister in these difficult situations. We have been in contact with the family since learning of this situation, and we will continue to offer our support going forward.

I’m sure that’s very comforting to a family whose Church betrayed them when they needed empathy, compassion and kindness.

The Hullibargers have always been steadfast Catholics, but they won’t be returning  to the church where their son’s funeral took place. It’s sad; they just haven’t mastered the forgiveness thing, I guess.

Father LaCuesta’s goal, his online profile says, is  “to be part of the revival of Catholic culture.”

77 thoughts on “Now THAT Was An Unethical Funeral Service…

  1. I have not gone to Mass in a very long time. There are far too many problems with the Church for me to feel comfortable in a church. The Church sex scandals of course, but the whole background of Irish Catholicism (my two grandmothers are from Irish families) and the treatment of women, the Magdalen Laundries, the punishments and humiliations carried out in Catholic Schools.

    One of our parish priests ran off with a local housewife, leaving her kids behind. The priest after that lied to his former congregation. They told him they would collect money for a car for him when he was transferred to our area; he took the money and bought a credenza and pieces for his Japanese pottery collection. We had relatives in his old archdiocese that came up to visit on vacation, they attended a Mass with us at our church then met him afterwards, and it came out.

    All in all, over my years of Sunday school and Mass and the things I learned in adulthood, there seems to be very little evidence of the love of Christ in those tasked with teaching it.

  2. This story is awful, and as a devout Catholic who works with young people in the Church, it is maddening that the vast majority of us who try our hardest to do what Jesus has asked us to do and to love others have to constantly work against stories like this, and those of crella. The atrocities that crella speaks of should never have happened, and are NOT what the Church teaches. We don’t abuse or humiliate in the school where I work. I wish our priests and nuns were perfect. It would be so much easier. And I wish the good ones got more publicity, and the bad ones removed or helped.
    I was part of the music ministry at a funeral Mass for a 15 year old boy who committed suicide, and that priest, in his homily, said that the boy had died of “heart trouble,” and he assured us that he had not died alone. I am not doing the homily justice by just quoting that one line, but it was the most beautiful and comforting homily at a Mass celebrated for people who were suffering the worst heart break a family and community can imagine. That priest was such a good man – I miss him.

  3. This is a difficult one. I will do my best to sort through it.

    When one no longer accepts, understands and ‘believes in’ the core doctrines of Christianity, and of Catholicism, one naturally begins a process of ceasing to be a Christian believer. To understand what Christianity is, one has to refer to a basic document. That document within Catholicism is The Catechism of the Council of Trent written in 1566. I read it, in Spanish and in English (I much prefer the English version)(it would not be possible for me to get through it in Latin in which it was written).

    When I realized what Christianity really is it opened up the door to asking myself the question if I really wished to be one. The document itself is shocking in the demand it makes. If you struggle against ‘strictness’; if you resist circumscribing rules; if you do not think that there is a structured moral order and a necessary, and in this sense, an uncompromising ethics that must flow out of one’s grasp of Reality, then one had best not study the essential document (and documents).

    However, when one has interiorly, and for a group of different reasons (there are many of course), chosen not to believe, and not to accept what is taught in what I will call Essential Christianity (in its Catholic manifestation which is, rather obviously, where the root was conceived), one will begin on the path of heresy.

    Here is St Thomas and a very brief definition that can serve us here:

    “A species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas”.

    And there you have it. It is not complex. Its ramifications are enormous but it is not hard to grasp in essence. Once one has made the initial step, it follows that one will a) abandon the faith and the practice of it altogether, or b) begin to cleverly revise it to suit one’s desires and one’s will. Therefor, and even though the term ‘heresy’ is a hard one even to my ears, I think it is fair, proper and necessary to bring it forward. In any case — and I do not give a fig who accept my definitions or my processes as I work my way through the modern crises and arrive at workable definitions! — I have come to see that our age has become one of essential Heresy, and that the rhetorical engine that drives it is Cultural Marxism. Too simplistic an analysis? Too reductionist? If you then explain why. Correct me. I challenge you.

    Catholic doctrine, with a rigorous logic, must necessarily take an absolutist stand against murder and self-murder. Because it is a profoundly metaphysical view of Reality, and because the notions of absolutism understructure the system (as necessities), it defines both Heaven and Hell as contingent on how one, and if one, lives in accord with the defined and understood principles. But to understand the doctrine, if you will, of Hell one has to undertake a study of it. However, it must be understood that in a willful age, and among those who desire not to believe in the core tenets of Christianity and who desire to live free of constraints which they find onerous and difficult, the absolutism in a declaration of the existence of a hell-realm must be undermined. Everything must be softened for this individual and, in that effort, Jesus is invoked and, naturally, a more or less sola scriptura interpretation based on the Gospels. (Why this leads to error is another topic. Not unrelated of course, but more involved).

    It sounds as if the priest made a serious error in etiquette. The way the story was framed is typical of our day and time: he who frames it first, sets it in motion in a particular way, and it does not change. There are 20-30 different *articles* that mention this event and they all frame it the same way. It is used as just one more tool in a civilizational project, carried out by certain elites, to undermine the Church but more importantly to undermine the basic doctrines of Christianity. They will, of course, accept Christianity if it is taken down to a level of mushy meaninglessness. Then, it is fine and good. They still will hold it in contempt, but if at least it has no teeth, and no meaning nor effect, well then it is okay.

    One must understand these issues within a context of defined heresy and, as I say, within a matrix of virulent Cultural Marxism.

    The priest seems to have been too hard in what he said, and this shows a lack of compassion and thus of ‘charity’. That much is clear. But the core doctrine which has to do with the consequences of choices we make, is not by extension incorrect. Well, unless one desires to define no doctrine at all, or a revised version of a doctrinal system.

    The reaction against this priest is essentially emotional, not intellectual. But then so is the argument and the opposition to the fundamentals of Christianity in our present. This *story* fits into a series of stories that are brought out to discredit and to undermine Christian doctrines in their demanding forms. It is brought out in just the same manner that children, resisting authority, do the same. It is emoted, not reasoned.

    • The church has been taken over by the Marxists. “Social Justice” has replaced “Faith, Hope and Charity.” The church has committed suicide.

    • There is no “larger sense.” This is easy. A funeral service for a grieving family is not the time to say that the deceased is in Hell, and deserves to be there. That’s all. It doesn’t matter if the family member was Jack the Ripper.

      • In Catholicism it isn’t Heaven or Hell. There’s purgatory, too. So, to say he didn’t get into heaven, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s burning in Hell (although many Catholics who are not well educated on their own religion may believe there are only the two options.)

        Of course, that fact doesn’t really change the ethical analysis much, if at all. You don’t do that. Period.

        • Suicide’s a mortal sin. Purgatory doesn’t work on mortal sins. Unless something has changed in Church doctrine since the ’60s when I bailed out.

        • The status of purgatory in Catholic dogma seems to be increasingly in question. I sense that the brass are embarrassed about it. It sounds like a bus station or something. Ridiculous. But since this priest was talking about Hell and not Purgatory, I don’t see how it’s relevant to the discussion.

          • What you say here is interesting, and in a sense true. Cardinal Newman said that the soul would on its own choose the difficulties and the pains of purgatory willingly rather than to come before the absolute purity of God in an impure state. That in a sense is a redefinition.

            But I do not think the Idea of purgatory is in question. If one does believe in the soul, in its existence separate from the body, in a so-called Judgment, and in an after-life, a purgatorial state is necessary. I tend to think of purgatory in rather personal terms though. In the sense of what I have had to live through, interiorly, as I approached the Christian revelation. The state of purgatory must be an extension of that, unless one is a saint.

            But, all of these notions that I just mentioned are *imagined* in the sense that I can only imagine with my material vehicle any sort of *place* (Heaven, Hell, Purgatory). What they are cannot be known from within our bodies and minds. It can be, I think, intuited to some degree or other. Without bodies we would then exist in a completely mental state (if one could put it like this). It would be unlike anything we know now.

            Finally — and if one does believe in God as a Supreme Being — what happens to any given one totally depends on God and orders of being which we really do not know much about. The Saints, however, are said to be the ones best able to provide a sense of what to expect. And many have done this in their writings and sermons.

          • I couldn’t tell from the post or the linked post that the priest was specifically talking about Hell. As for it being a mortal sin, my understanding is that it remains so, but with a host of caveats. (If the person did not give full consent of the will, for instance, then there may be no sin at all.) Read: the person is so psychologically deranged they did not know what they were doing.

            Wisely, for some years, the Catholic Church and its priests have been leaving that final determination up to God.

            Until this incident.

      • There is no “larger sense.” This is easy. A funeral service for a grieving family is not the time to say that the deceased is in Hell, and deserves to be there. That’s all. It doesn’t matter if the family member was Jack the Ripper.

        I certainly see what you mean, and I think I understand why you say it.

        But I disagree — I am forced to disagree and am obligated to disagree — in regard to whether there is or is not a *larger sense*. There very definitely is. The context of that larger sense is a society — of Christians and Christians alone if you wish — that is falling away from the understanding of the internal metaphysics of their own religion, the one that they have committed to, and that Savior which (according to the internal logic) gave them life and opens the way to freedom. Fact.

        In this larger sense the priest had and has a valid point, and it is a point that he chose to emphasize at a moment that is recognized as being not charitable. (And therein is the ethical point that you wish to make, if I understand it right).

        Again, Ripperger develops the Catholic-Christian precepts and anyone who desires to can choose to try to approach it, understand it. (I believe it is in this talk that he speaks about Purgatory…)

        I have been thinking that we might want to enact the graveyard scene in Hamlet! I will obviously have to play the priest. But I wonder who will play Ophelia? Spartan? (All she’d have to do is to lie there inert and this should come easy for a few different reasons). I also struggle to imagine who might best fill the role of Laertes. And what about Horatio? Hmmm. Clearly, Zoltar and Slick could well perform the gravediggers so that is settled.

        I would point out that if one were really to make oneself — theologically — as sharp as St Michael’s sword, one would not care if a truth were revealed in the most difficult of moments. Life is difficult all the way around and yet truths have to be spoken and received.

        I was thinking about this this morning as we went up the side of a mountain walking this morning. It may be, taking the long view, better to receive chastisement for heretical ideas even when the lessons comes to one painfully, then to suffer the consequences. But I am not sure this excuses the action of this priest for the reason I mention, above.

  4. Ok the problems with my church seem, overwhelming unfortunately the fact that this priests without compassion , and scruples, are a minority, as are the child molesters, nuns no longer satisfied with bingo. What unfortunately is not a minority is the churches guiding clergy, who mistakenly reacted poorly to the crisis caused by these members of the clergy and lay ministries, by attempting to cover it up!
    These attempted cover ups have had the unfortunate result of creating more anomosity and prudjudice towards those that truly struggle to keep our faith. I have seen more pedjudice directed towards my faith in last few years then I had for years, I have never belonged to a parish with a sex scandle, I did belong to one parish with two embesslement scandles, and there was one parish that people speculated about a young priest and nun. But it turned out they were working together to create a home for battered women. Not every priest is a criminal not every nun is abusive( I personally never experienced anything but positive role models from the ones I dealt with till the two embesslers. And I dealt with upwards of 150 members of the religious orders. But all it takes is the one percent of bad to taint the picture, the the clergy that covered it up magnifying the problem by trying to hide it. The percentage is actually quite similar to pedifiles fround In public schools but there the problem is dealt with quickly and usually with proper conciquences. The church needs to do the same. But it might be to late. Even though forgiveness is a major tenant of the catholic faith, nobody catholic or not seems ready to offer it. Perhaps if the church. Manages to truelly clean house. Unfortunately the coverups created an atmosphere of mistrust!

    • Rip, unfortunately, the Church is run by the bad guys. The hierarchy is a nasty, gay cabal going back for centuries, an elaborate, intractable, self-protection racket.They can all go to Hell as far as I’m concerned. Yes, there are lots of admirable people toiling away in the church, but the guys running the show (like the current Pope) are irredeemable. Their only interest is self-interest in maintaining their comfy lives. I fart in their general direction.

      • +5 points for the cultural reference.

        If you do not know the line, keep quiet and please save us all the agony of knowing you were this oblivious, and google the answer (better yet, view the movie)

  5. The ethical (and humane) thing for that priest to have done would have been to simply not officiate the boy’s funeral. If the Church wants to say that suicide is a mortal sin condemning you to eternal damnation, that’s fine, just don’t give suicides the church burial, as was the case when I was a kid. Morons.

  6. Can someone point out where the Bible says suicide is an unforgivable sin? I won’t hold my breath because isn’t in there. In a day where we know much more about depression than we did 500 years ago and given the fact that we know that the very antidepressants prescribed to treat that condition can cause intense suicidal urges, such a statement is unsupportable by anyone who claims to be Christian. Jesus died to forgive our sins and heal the rift between us and God. The only unforgivable sin is the rejection of God. There is no place in the Bible that says you get to make up new unforgivable sins. Most of Paul’s epistles spend time trying to stamp out the ‘new sins’ everyone wants to make.

    • Michael R., just to clarify: if in saying the only unforgivable sin is the rejection of God, you are speaking of rejection as something one is voluntarily dismissing or “forswearing,” you are talking about one who had and continues to have a belief that the God still exists elsewhere. However, you cannot otherwise speak for those who do not believe, such as atheists, because you cannot force a spiritual or religious belief on anyone (including oneself).

      I do not bring this up to argue with you. I not only have no argument with your belief; I respect your personal faith. The “demonization” in these posts by those whose beliefs give them leave to think they are free to belittle mine and to assume it invalid or to be a lack of some kind (the latter is an excellent example of projection) should know that they are behaving unethically.

      • PennAgain, I was discussing Christian theology. Take everything in that post to be commentary on Christian theology only. The person who made that comment was a trained Christian cleric who should know better and who made an outrageously hurtful and false statement (in terms of Christian theology) to a grieving family. My fingers were shaking as I wrote that, I was so furious.

        I did not intend to belittle the beliefs of any other faith. I took the incident to be not only incredibly insensitive, but an example of incompetence as well.

        • I was discussing Christian theology.

          So you were, Michael R. That was a thorough, and totally undeserved explanation, and a #10 apology, if ever there was one. Thank you for those and for your patience.

          I do not have an excuse in return. You got the flak for all the anti-athiest remarks that have been posted since the last time I responded to any of them (and my non-excuse for that was pretending to myself that it didn’t matter). I owe you for reminding me that as long as I am part of this “Commentary,” I am responsible for defending my own definitions, assertions and arguments, if and when necessary, and for enough self-control and judgment so as not to dump them unjustly on someone who did not deserve it.

          I am sincerely sorry for adding to your own burden of feeling.

    • Can someone point out where the Bible says suicide is an unforgivable sin?

      What you say here may reveal a miscomprehension of how Christian theology came to be conceived, and how it understands itself to be properly conceived and grounded intelligibly. Early theologians meditated on the Biblical accounts and worked to extrapolate ‘principles’ from them. The principles are then seen as having universal reach. It is a similar notion to as what found in jurisprudence, isn’t it?

      The problem (if I am understanding right) in what you are saying is that it is linked to a sola scriptura interpretation of Bible texts. If there is not a specific example in ‘the Bible’ then . . . any statement or rule about it can be seen as arbitrary and invalid.

      To understand this point you’d only have to read the Catholic position on suicide. It is a development of an entire religious, philosophical, social and liturgical system. All the parts interconnect.

      • Sola scriptura doesn’t demand a standard of pointing directly at a verse for a plain-reading proof of a doctrinal assertion. In this you err greatly.

        Sola scriptura does 2 things:

        1) rejects non-canonical “proof texts”, like using Maccabees to support Purgatory.

        2) rejects an incessant stream of derivation FROM scripture, such that conclusions drawn from scripture CAN’T become first principles from which you can derive NEW conclusions without scripture available to “error-check”, and then use THOSE 2nd or 3rd order conclusions as first principles from which derive YET NEW conclusions about doctrine. Inevitably this “river of thought” philosophy leads to conclusions on doctrine that are blatantly in opposition to direct conclusions from scripture alone.

        This is primary problem the Reformers had with Scripture vs Tradition. Even the systematic theologies produced by the Reformers are a “tradition” of their own, but they all do not endorse developing FURTHER doctrine from the systematic theologies *by themselves*, but are seen as an END point after considering the scriptures alone.

          • Can’t wait to hear about how on a metaphysical level I haven’t come to terms with what it means to be “nature” and “man” and how I need to reassess what some vague philosopher had to say about it from a Jungian perspective. The problem is that my narrative is clouded by a neo-liberal propaganda of American history. The nobility of anthropology is dreadfully dogmatic in its codependency while the blindness of tenacity is rather closed-minded in its integrity. While it would be better for me to consider the mobility of dual-sidedness which is philisophical in its ecology. What is needed is the proliferation of true conservatism that is apolitical in its objectivity…..

            How am I doing?

              • …just refuse to put up with your condescending judgement

                Here is a quick way right over that particular problem! Choose not to see me as ‘condescending’ to you, as if I am your superior doling out BonBonBums, and choose instead to see that this is — this must be — only a unique environment where intellectual ideas either win or lose. I am only interested in the ideas, and as I said I am ultimately only concerned about the status of my own soul. In that struggle, feelings fall to the side.

                I would suggest getting the ego out of the picture.

            • The reason I can only chuckle along with you two fine fellows is that I see that you-plural quite simply do not grasp a group of rather basic things. It is beyond your *ken*. You have not (or seem not to have) taken the time to study much. Or, your field-of-view is narrow. What you don’t understand sounds like gobbledeegook and, like children, you ridicule it.

              This is a proper definition of a Catholic doctrinal challenge against sola scriptura. I know, because I read what you-two write that you come to your Christianity through Protestantism. Therefor, you must and you will defend a group of points that in traditional Catholicism are challenged and countered.

              That’s all. My only purpose is just to *note* that this is so.

              The [first] objective [or formal] principle proclaims the canonical Scriptures, especially the New Testament, to be the only infallible source and rule of faith and practice, and asserts the right of private interpretation of the same, in distinction from the Roman Catholic view, which declares the Bible and tradition to be co-ordinate sources and rule of faith, and makes tradition, especially the decrees of popes and councils, the only legitimate and infallible interpreter of the Bible. In its extreme form Chillingworth expressed this principle of the Reformation in the well-known formula, “The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, is the religion of Protestants.” Protestantism, however, by no means despises or rejects church authority as such, but only subordinates it to, and measures its value by, the Bible, and believes in a progressive interpretation of the Bible through the expanding and deepening consciousness of Christendom. Hence, besides having its own symbols or standards of public doctrine, it retained all the articles of the ancient creeds and a large amount of disciplinary and ritual tradition, and rejected only those doctrines and ceremonies for which no clear warrant was found in the Bible and which seemed to contradict its letter or spirit. The Calvinistic branches of Protestantism went farther in their antagonism to the received traditions than the Lutheran and the Anglican; but all united in rejecting the authority of the pope [Melanchthon for a while was willing to concede this, but only jure humano, or a limited disciplinary superintendency of the Church], the meritoriousness of good works, indulgences, the worship of the Virgin, saints, and relics, the sacraments (other than baptism and the Eucharist), the dogma of transubstantiation and the Sacrifice of the Mass, purgatory, and prayers for the dead, auricular confession, celibacy of the clergy, the monastic system, and the use of the Latin tongue in public worship, for which the vernacular languages were substituted.

              When I have used the term sola scriptura in these recent comments, I only note that people make whimsical *interpretations* according to their emotional whims. They must reinterpret solidly defined Catholic-Christian doctrines to accord with modernistic *feelings* about truth. You can see Michael R. doing this, SleekWilley, dear Michale West (who seems to be a diabolical incarnation of TexAgg), and RIP, crella and others.

              This is called, in precise and accurate terms, heresy:

              “A species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas”.

              The corruption of dogmas might start in smallish things, but it morphs as it progresses. It finally evolves into a ‘synthesis of all heresy’ and it is this synthesis that defines our present.

              What you could do, dear Michael West, is to look into the reasons why ‘Americanism’ is thought to be, from a strict Catholic perspective, a virulent form of heresy. Then, holding that idea in your head (where I assume you can hold things at least for a brief time), you can further reflect on the general disorders of our present and attempt to *see* their roots in *disorder* (spiritual disarray in people, families, in communities, and in culture generally).

              Why would one do this? You can do nothing else but that if you really take your Christian obligations seriously, it seems to me. sounds like gobbledeegook and, like children, you ridicule it.

              This is a proper definition of a Catholic doctrinal challenge against sola scriptura. I know, because I read what you-two write that you come to your Christianity through Protestantism. Therefor, you must and you will defend a group of points that in traditional Catholicism are challenged and countered.

              That’s all. My only purpose is just to *note* that this is so.

              The [first] objective [or formal] principle proclaims the canonical Scriptures, especially the New Testament, to be the only infallible source and rule of faith and practice, and asserts the right of private interpretation of the same, in distinction from the Roman Catholic view, which declares the Bible and tradition to be co-ordinate sources and rule of faith, and makes tradition, especially the decrees of popes and councils, the only legitimate and infallible interpreter of the Bible. In its extreme form Chillingworth expressed this principle of the Reformation in the well-known formula, “The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, is the religion of Protestants.” Protestantism, however, by no means despises or rejects church authority as such, but only subordinates it to, and measures its value by, the Bible, and believes in a progressive interpretation of the Bible through the expanding and deepening consciousness of Christendom. Hence, besides having its own symbols or standards of public doctrine, it retained all the articles of the ancient creeds and a large amount of disciplinary and ritual tradition, and rejected only those doctrines and ceremonies for which no clear warrant was found in the Bible and which seemed to contradict its letter or spirit. The Calvinistic branches of Protestantism went farther in their antagonism to the received traditions than the Lutheran and the Anglican; but all united in rejecting the authority of the pope [Melanchthon for a while was willing to concede this, but only jure humano, or a limited disciplinary superintendency of the Church], the meritoriousness of good works, indulgences, the worship of the Virgin, saints, and relics, the sacraments (other than baptism and the Eucharist), the dogma of transubstantiation and the Sacrifice of the Mass, purgatory, and prayers for the dead, auricular confession, celibacy of the clergy, the monastic system, and the use of the Latin tongue in public worship, for which the vernacular languages were substituted.

              When I have used the term sola scriptura in these recent comments, I only note that people make whimsical *interpretations* according to their emotional whims. They must reinterpret solidly defined Catholic-Christian doctrines to accord with modernistic *feelings* about truth. You can see Michael R. doing this, SleekWilley, dear Michale West (who seems to be a diabolical incarnation of TexAgg), and RIP, crella and others.

              This is called, in precise and accurate terms, heresy:

              “A species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas”.

              The corruption of dogmas might start in smallish things, but it morphs as it progresses. It finally evolves into a ‘synthesis of all heresy’ and it is this synthesis that defines our present.

              What you could do, dear Michael West, is to look into the reasons why ‘Americanism’ is thought to be, from a strict Catholic perspective, a virulent form of heresy. Then, holding that idea in your head (where I assume you can hold things at least for a brief time), you can further reflect on the general disorders of our present and attempt to *see* their roots in *disorder* (spiritual disarray in people, families, in communities, and in culture generally).

              Why would one do this? You can do nothing else but that if you really take your Christian obligations seriously, it seems to me.

                  • I responded to you in relation to your unexamined patriotism which distorts your perception. A feature that I notice in many who post here, and mostly among those with military background.

                    Hope that helps.

                    • You can start by toning back the arrogant assumptions. That I’ve decided, after “examining” my patriotism, that America INDEED is still the best of all the human experiments in governance, AND not decided that whatever warped view of the world you espouse is superior gives you absolutely NO reason to presume I haven’t examined anything.

                      How pompous.

                    • You come up with the strangest comments. It is really hard to find an angle to respond. I will try my best.

                      Since even if I do have a ‘warped view of the world’ it can have no bearing on the US, what is going on here, the historical factors, nor social engineering, nor the general sickness in the culture right now.

                      Comments about America as ‘the best of all the human experiments in governance’, stated as you state it, seem to me troubling. I would not and have not said anything either pro those sentiments nor against them, nor against the importance and relevance of American governance.

                      All that I have written about has been critical of trends and influences that have distorted what is positive about the American system of governance, and I have mentioned time and again America’s late wars and not once — literally not once — has there been any comment of recognition.

                      You are certainly under no obligation to respond to my particular concerns. But in my case all that I am trying to gain (here, and everywhere I participate) is a greater understanding about what is going on. While I can try to understand on what and about what you construct your ridicule, you use ridicule as a primary mode of attack, and you do not counter with solid argument. That is why I am led to conclude that your patriotism gets in the way of clear seeing. You and some others here, when challenged, attack.

                      You can start by toning back the arrogant assumptions.

                      From you and some others this really only means to shut up. Your statement is simply not appropriate in a discussion forum. If by ‘arrogance’ you mean will to state what I think — and this is largely what I think you do mean — you are not going to get that from me. It is simply not part of my nature. And despite your fiery bluster I am not unreasonable. Personally, I think I see and understand things that you have not examined in any depth. What you don’t understand seems to you like a personal attack and you ridicule it. It is really a bad attitude to take on a forum like this, in my view.

                      I did not say that you hadn’t examined anything. That is a *pompous* assumption on your part! But I really don’t care that you get twisted out of shape. All that I am really concerned about is getting to some ground of truth that will help me to better understand things. You — especially you it seems to me (though you are not alone) — fundamentally misunderstand my efforts. And then you get offended by your own mistaken perception.

                      The tactic of ridicule I must say, especially when you team up with others, seems to me a really weak way of countering ideas you don’t like or which you oppose.

    • “Can someone point out where the Bible says suicide is an unforgivable sin?”

      It ultimately boils down to the Catholic notion of “classes” of sin which divide sin in to grades of severity, some of which are grave enough to lead to a loss of salvation (or a complete ruining of one’s relationship with God)…as contrasted to a less serious sin, which only ‘harms’ a believer’s relationship with God.

      The serious, or “Mortal”, sin’s loss of salvation requires a complete “re-conversion” and “repentance” BACK into the Church for which the believer must be “absolved” by a Church authority (with exceptions for extenuating circumstances). Which in practice equates to an authority confirming the truthfulness and sincerity of repentance.

      If suicide IS a mortal sin, then the act simultaneously leads to a loss of salvation AND provides the individual no ability to repent of the sin, given the finality of the act.

      The underlying question doesn’t hinge on suicide. It hinges on the doctrine of salvation and whether or not one can actually lose salvation.

      Catholics will mitigate the condemnations of some suicides, if the conditions are clear that the individual was so deeply mentally imbalanced that they didn’t have a clear view of the wrongness of suicide, thereby alleviating their moral culpability (which is a component of determining is a sin is “mortal” or merely “venial”).

      • Where in the Bible do we have classes of sin? My general reading is that ALL sins had the same result: rejection by God.

        This makes my gluttony as bad as murder for personal gain, a lie intended to deceive another as bad as suicide. As much as humans would like to have adjudication and a sliding scale, I do not see one in the Bible.

            • In fairness though, both strains of thought, on this sub-topic of doctrine have troublesome individuals to explain in the visible Church. The Catholics handle it claiming individuals can lose salvation based on truly egregious sins. The Protestants handle it by claiming truly egregious sin merely demonstrates that true repentance had never occurred in the life of the miscreant. Both strains of thought present the solution as true repentance.

              It can get a bit uncomfortable though, when one ponders the implications of either strain’s middle section of the doctrinal dilemma. Especially from the Catholic angle, where it would seem, the backslider will “crucify Christ anew and bring him to disgrace” by abusing his grace over and over again.

              • In fairness though, both strains of thought, on this sub-topic of doctrine have troublesome individuals to explain in the visible Church. The Catholics handle it claiming individuals can lose salvation based on truly egregious sins. The Protestants handle it by claiming truly egregious sin merely demonstrates that true repentance had never occurred in the life of the miscreant. Both strains of thought present the solution as true repentance.

                I think that Catholics handle it, as you say, through another mechanism also: that one cannot be in communication with the Church if one is in open violation of, according to the Church, necessary rules and observances. For example (as you likely know) in traditional Catholicism divorce is not allowed, and one cannot receive communion (receive the eucharist) if one is living in a remarried state. That is just one example among many. Being *out of communion* definitely places the state of one’s salvation in danger. Therefor, Catholicism has traditionally been, I think it is fair to say, more strict. Now of course there are people in the Church who wish to soften the hard rules. This ‘movement’ of softening is, according to Traditionalists, related to the problem (a dire problem according to Pope Pius X) of encroaching Modernism.

                The reason I bring this up, and the reason I will focus on such matters (which do seem like *sub-topics* to other, seemingly unrelated questions and problems) is because I have begun to work from the framework of ‘recognition of heresy’ as, possibly, the foundation of a great many social and cultural problems whose root is not seen. (And that is why I openly say and reveal that what I am now up to, the area that I will now pursue with greater dedication and energy, is one that understands Heresy and then Cultural Marxism (Critical Theory) as the two main components in a destructive and decadent cycle of destruction. And since in the larger degree these conversations we enjoy here focus on American culture, I will also focus on what is known as *the heresy of Americanism*. I employ this Blog — that is to say that I come to this Blog — as a project of study to get clear(er) about what is going on within the *American World* and also in regard to the topic of ethics. And now the angle that I pursue, after 4 years of adjunct study, has resulted in a sort of reduction of focus.

                Why would I say this, and to you of all persons? Because I see *speaking the truth* in our present (parhhesia) as a radical project. You do not *speak truth to power* and suffer no consequence. Neither — and here it accords with Catholic doctrine — can you take a stand in relation to a spiritual or religious project without suffering consequences. What I mean is something that has to be stated in clear terms because it is not immediately understood: In my own (inner) experience to become a Christian really does mean to *renounce the Devil*. I do not wish to sound silly, simplistic or superstitious. The essence of gaining salvation has to do, at the core, with renouncing a relationship to the demoniac. That is exactly what it is! It is not some other thing. I would necessarily define that as a relationship of *complicity*. Occidental culture has come to be and has come to be what it is (in its glorious sense, in its magnificent senses) because it defined this particular project and individuals took it up. *The World* that was created is destroyed when this project, when the metaphysical necessities of correctly ordered life, in conception and in enactment, is no longer recognized as *the most important thing*.

                Even though it may be imperfect, or even if it may be *doomed to fail*, there is a general traditionalist movement, a New Right Movement, a Philosophical and also a Religious Right Movement, that is coming out of the woodwork. It challenges Hyper-Liberal Culture and its attainments. It arises to confront it. It has a vision of turning it back or perhaps *correcting its course* is a better way to put it. I mention this to you, again, because you are the one who most strongly chose to mock me when I made the effort to reveal my connection with the *Movement*, and then your direct mockery of my person. That is more or less how the *world of ideas* works: one challenges, one is rebuffed, one turns back into oneself and clarifies one’s position, and then comes forward again.

                Now, you as American are a problem for me and also *in all this*. In this sense, and in this way, I confront the entire false-positionof American Conservatism (and this explains how I wound up in such profound trouble with our friend Slick). Challenge those who feel they are above challenge, or who see themselves in an unchallengable position, and you will receive their ire. The same will happen if you challenge the *SJW* the *American Snowflake* and the *American Hyper-Liberal*. Because they see themselves as standing within proper order, your challenge to them unsettles them: and they then attack you. That is how I see, Michael, the function of your ridicule and the contempt that seethes in your responses to me. You will also work with the pack and this is an important part of the underhandedness of your approach. You will say things like “Oh God I am so sorry I responded to that post!” and then send up a totally insulting parody of the ideas I work with. It is not just they on the Liberal Left who use these anti-intellectual mechanisms, but these *tools* are common ones. They are social tools to achieve compliance with conventions and to rein-in those who deviate from social coercion.

                The larger structure that I am presenting here — I know this to be true — is simply a structure that has never occurred to you as being possible or actual. Reading this, I am reasonably sure that you seethe even more. This is ‘condescension’ in your book-of-offenses. It’s haughtiness or — what did you say — pompousness. Certainly all people are prone to the failing and error I outline. But I am speaking to a unique configuration of it that occurs within ‘Americanism’. And again, and in this context, I bring forward the notion of heresy and that of the intellectual engine that drives it: Cultural Marxism. You say that you are a Patriot of the Greatest Political System that has even been devised. But I notice what is destroying that political system, what is now devastating it, and what will (if it continues) reduce it to shreds. And I locate this within people’s attitudes, and in deeper levels of their philosophy (or the lack thereof).

                The Protestants handle it by claiming truly egregious sin merely demonstrates that true repentance had never occurred in the life of the miscreant.

                You imply here that a Protestant convert, through an event of immediacy, becomes a Saint. But that is not possible. And it does not (not ever I would venture to say *pompously*) ever occur. It seems to me fair to say that the Christian *turning*, if it is really taken seriously, is a constant motion that must always be renewed. Even Protestants use the term *back-sliding*. It also seems to me that if Christianity generally — Protestant or Catholic and whatever lies between — is to again become effective and meaningful, that it must reorient itself profoundly in relation to strict and traditionalist principles. And must (that is in my own view) examine the Heresy of Americanism in its demonic aspect. (And that was a careful choice of wording).

                In any case — like it or not I must add! — this is what I have been up to and where I intend further to go.

        • Where in the Bible do we have classes of sin? My general reading is that ALL sins had the same result: rejection by God.

          It is obvious on the face that this cannot be right. The separation is, as St Thomas says, between what ‘impedes’ us from our proper *last end* and what *cuts us off entirely* from it.

          Catholic Encyclopedia:

          The division of sin into original and actual, mortal and venial, is not a division of genus into species because sin has not the same signification when applied to original and personal sin, mortal and venial. Mortal sin cuts us off entirely from our true last end; venial sin only impedes us in its attainment.

          • Alizia has proven herself a smug self-righteous know-it-all. She is the only holder of Truth, and anyone who disagrees will be subjected to name calling and belittling, which (being a Golden Rule violation) is unethical. As such I will not dignify her responses any further. Do not feed the trolls.

              • Alizia has proven herself a smug self-righteous know-it-all. She is the only holder of Truth, and anyone who disagrees will be subjected to name calling and belittling, which (being a Golden Rule violation) is unethical. As such I will not dignify her responses any further. Do not feed the trolls.

                • This is an embarrassing display, Slick. You are an adult and this is childish. But I will respond because this is a blog devoted to ethics.

                  Even if I did think of myself as the ‘only holder of truth’, and even if I did call you a name (and I did not, and I never do), or if I ‘belittled’ you (a very subjective category), and even if I were in violation of the Golden Rule in some way, this does not necessarily mean that I am a troll.

                  The use of the term troll, and sending up a public message designed to prejudice my standing here (and this sort of thing does work in the forum and blog-environment: people team up with others in packs), is far more egregious as an ethical breach than anything I supposedly ‘did’ in the course of our communication.

                  I did nothing wrong. I disagree with you on some topics. That is all. You have chosen to be offended and to send up these further displays because of pique.

                  • Since you addressed this directly, and seem open to dialogue, I will break my moratorium and discuss.

                    First, I will drop the ‘troll’ appellation. My intent is not to harm you, and you claim it is doing your public standing harm. Fair enough.

                    Second, you have called names, on many occasions (see ‘cultural Marxist’ and ‘Christian Zionist’ as examples, among many more). Attempting to disguise it in a word cloud does not make it any less name calling. Review how you responded around the occasions when I started using the shunning and you can see names imbedded in your text. An objective observer would think so, and I am not so dense as to not see it.

                    Third, your manner and word choices belittle those you would convince. There are persuasive ways to get the points across (yes, I read more of what you write than you might think: I also skip a lot from sheer exhaustion) yet you choose to talk down to your reader. I have engaged in good faith and been dismissed out of hand: an experience many here have tried to tell you about before. For example, you once asked if all the females in my life never argued with me. This implied bad things about my view and treatment of women, was a diversion in itself, and was a ad hominem attack. It is how our beloved progressive EA exiles treated us: right out of the Alinsky playbook.

                    Fourth, you dismiss other’s beliefs. It is one thing to espouse an article of faith: to attack the way you do makes you ‘the only holder of truth.’ You do not discuss: you browbeat, you insult, and you cast aspersions. Allowing others to continue to believe the way they wish is considerate and polite, even if you KNOW they are wrong. Otherwise we have no discussion, no communication, and no learning (which leads us to the point where I quit engaging). Your audience quits listening after only so much unbending certitude. You really come off as the professor, when we are here to learn from each other.

                    Fifth, read some of your late posts as if you did not write them. Does anyone else (EC excepted, and he never talks down!) write long posts about esoteric points like you? Do you realize they come across as condescending? Would you like to be spoken to in this tone? If not, that makes it a Golden Rule breach, in my opinion.

                    Last, you still do not see what you did wrong in my (and other’s) eyes. You assert that you have not wronged me, despite my obvious reaction to the contrary. You have refused to take ownership for your actions, and instead find that the fault lies everywhere but with you, even a little bit. The fact that others have similar commentary in the recent past should be a warning buzzer for you: perhaps it is not that all these others have an issue, but you do?

                    I do not mind your opinions, as (in America, anyway) you have a right to them. You have some points that are good to consider, like America becoming the world police, or what is wrong with the catholic Church. What rankles is that you do not extend that right, that courtesy to hold a different position to others.

                    You are very intelligent and passionate. You take the time to reason out positions. You wish to influence others in order to make the world a better place.

                    You are also very young, unless I miss my guess. Most people at EA have far more life experience than you and I. I urge you to watch how Pennagain, or EC, or Other Bob (there are many others) approach disagreements and learn ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ (A book I highly recommend)

                    I hope you take a moment to reflect and digest before dashing off a rebuttal. I will not argue my feelings and observations with you on this. you seemed to be reaching out

                    • PS: I will not read any replies for at least 18 hours, as I will be away from the Internet. Please take some time to reflect before you reply, given that you have that time.

                    • I can be accused of errors and imperfections, and this would be fair, but my behavior and my etiquette is on a par with many others. In some senses worse, perhaps, in other senses better. And though my focus definitely is not usual (for this blog) I have been allowed to continue. FYI I have on many occasions checked to see if I was still welcome. My ideas are not popular in America right now. People with my ideas are being de-platformed. And my ideas, simply for being what they are, can have a negative effect. Yet, I have not been asked to leave.

                      As to Point Number Two:

                      I use terms to designate qualities or states. If I say ‘I notice the influence of Cultural Marxism in your discourse’ that is not the same as calling them the name of ‘Cultural Marxist. The same is true when I have used the term Christian Zionist. This describes a political and cultural stance. It is substantially different from calling someone a name. Like ‘idiot’ or many other such terms. In a conversation with our friend Michael West I saw, with clarity, that his position was likely similar to, influenced by, or that it embodied in a strict and true sense that of a Christian Zionist. But it is not a term of insult. It is an attempt to give a proper label to a thing. In this case a political position held. It may interest you to recall that, speaking of my view of Israel, I was called an *antisemite*. That is a far more serious label and is more commonly used derogatively . But this is false. People make efforts to correctly label others. There is nothing wrong with this if it is done fairly. Because I am interested in intellectual discourse and conversation, arriving at proper labels is crucial.

                      Therefor, I reject your accusation that I ‘name-called’.

                      Point Number Three:

                      You make yourself clear here and I respect your view. You are critiquing my methods, or my choice of words, but this is not a substantive critique of my ideas. I would much rather that you critique my ideas. [I asked if the women in your life challenged you because, in that post, you put question marks next to my pronouns as if my gender were an issue for you. That is all there was to it].

                      Point Number Four:

                      This has a definite importance. And I hope that when I explain myself you will understand better. But if you can’t understand, then I accept that you will hold yourself to the position you have, and I will accept it.

                      You will have to clarify ‘beliefs’ in order for me to be able to give you a proper response. If you mean by ‘beliefs’ simple ideas that a person may have about this and that, what I can say is that combative persons debate their differing views here and everywhere. It is just part of the domain. And I take what people give to me without much complain — and I have gotten a fair amount of insult and opposition without, generally, reacting. But what I do allow myself is irony and sarcasm, provided it does not cross a line into simply being mean. It is called ‘repaying in the same coin’.

                      But if you are speaking of theological issues, there is a very different issue. Some things are ‘up for debate’, I suppose, and somethings can be negotiated. But there are aspects that hinge on *truth* and also *meaning* that I am not free to negotiate. Therefor, I would ask that you understand and respect the notion of serving a (sense of) a higher cause or value. (Your terms in respect to ‘browbeating’ are subjective and, it is fair to say, any kettle can accuse a pot, right?)

                      Allowing others to continue to believe the way they wish is considerate and polite, even if you KNOW they are wrong.

                      Here, I must adamantly disagree with you. Not mildly but in absolute terms. Everyone is entitled to have and hold the views they understand as reasonable, good and necessary. No one can ever ask, nor demand, that their beliefs not be challenged, especially in an intellectual environment like this. It is our responsibility to question and challenge false beliefs or improperly founded beliefs. We do this in a conversational setting and we have to create arguments and engage argumentatively.

                      And if you mean ‘beliefs’ in respect to the Higher Things, we are, in my view, that much more responsible to correct and admonish.

                      I could take your ‘considerate and polite’ comment to be similar to what some of the kids are asking for on the campuses of America. Just questioning them, or challenging them, is seen as an affront.

                      Finally, I do not control and cannot change what others believe. Only they can do that. But I can clearly state what I think, why I think it, and I must demand that they be responsible and control their own reactions.

                      My ‘audience’ is free to do whatever they wish! I read nearly everything that is written here except when it deals on arcana that I have no knowledge about. No part of a ‘lecture’ bothers me. I relish it when someone comes down hard on me to try to convince me (usually when they think I am wrong). If others — of if you — cannot handle the same I can’t help you. You have your free will. Don’t read what I write.

                      You say “Otherwise we have no discussion, no communication, and no learning” and I say that to have those things is a choice that I make! If others make that choice (I hope they will) that is good and it serves conversation and dialectic. If they can’t, don’t or won’t: that is completely their choice.

                      If you are here to teach me, then do it by engaging strictly in proper argument. Take a point or an idea and correct it! That’s the fun of it. That’s the challenge. You may think that I am not *hearing* you here. But I ask for you to hear me better.

                      Fifth, read some of your late posts as if you did not write them.

                      This will horrify you (and you may consider me a lost cause!) but in most instances I think my posts are first-rate. They are as well-reasoned as many others and better in some cases. I am happy with my ideas, my presentation, and my efforts.

                      Fifth, read some of your late posts as if you did not write them. Does anyone else (EC excepted, and he never talks down!) write long posts about esoteric points like you? Do you realize they come across as condescending? Would you like to be spoken to in this tone? If not, that makes it a Golden Rule breach, in my opinion.

                      Last, you still do not see what you did wrong in my (and other’s) eyes. You assert that you have not wronged me, despite my obvious reaction to the contrary.

                      Stop reacting and your problem is solved. I am not the cause of it. You are. You control it 100%. If you choose not to it follows that “You have refused to take ownership for your actions”.

                      You are also very young, unless I miss my guess. Most people at EA have far more life experience than you and I. I urge you to watch how Pennagain, or EC, or Other Bob (there are many others) approach disagreements and learn ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ (A book I highly recommend).

                      You did not miss your guess. I am possibly even younger than you think. But I prefer not to state it.

                      I need for you to know that I am interested in polemic. I actually prefer, and learn more from, a good fight than an easy-going conversation of *exchanging agreements*. People here don’t fight enough! But when they do they violate all the proper rules and go directly to insults and refusals to engage …

                      ::: boring:::

                      I do not think that I will have satisfied you, but another thing is that I have a loooooonnnnggggggg history of not satisfying the authorities that have come forward to bring me into line. I have had to fight very very hard. I hope that you can intuit what I mean (I have mentioned some of this over the years).

                      Thank you for taking the time to write out your ideas. I look forward to substantial debates and exchanges in the future of you are willing.

                    • [I messed up. Here is the proper final third].

                      Last, you still do not see what you did wrong in my (and other’s) eyes. You assert that you have not wronged me, despite my obvious reaction to the contrary.

                      Stop reacting and your problem is solved. I am not the cause of it. You are. You control it 100%. If you choose not to it follows that “You have refused to take ownership for your actions”.

                      You are also very young, unless I miss my guess.

                      You did not miss your guess. I am possibly even younger than you think. But I prefer not to state it.

                      I need for you to know that I am interested in polemic. I actually prefer, and learn more from, a good fight than an easy-going conversation of *exchanging agreements*. People here don’t fight enough! But when they do they violate all the proper rules and go directly to insults and refusals to engage …

                      ::: boring:::

                      I do not think that I will have satisfied you, but another thing is that I have a loooooonnnnggggggg history of not satisfying the authorities that have come forward to bring me into line. I have had to fight very very hard. And the costs have been extraordinary. I hope that you can intuit what I mean (I have mentioned some of this over the years).

                      Thank you for taking the time to write out your ideas. I look forward to substantial debates and exchanges in the future of you are willing.

      • The underlying question doesn’t hinge on suicide. It hinges on the doctrine of salvation and whether or not one can actually lose salvation.

        If suicide IS a mortal sin, then the act simultaneously leads to a loss of salvation AND provides the individual no ability to repent of the sin, given the finality of the act.

        Impressive. When you get going you are formidable. You had no help with this, right?

        The loss of salvation, or the endangerment of it, comes about because of a moral sin, that is true. And in the case of suicide the crime is potentially serious enough to result in loss of salvation. Therefor, it does, in fact, hinge on the action itself. If there were no suicide, there would be no mortal sin, and thus nothing to rectify.

        The serious, or “Mortal”, sin’s loss of salvation requires a complete “re-conversion” and “repentance” BACK into the Church for which the believer must be “absolved” by a Church authority (with exceptions for extenuating circumstances). Which in practice equates to an authority confirming the truthfulness and sincerity of repentance.

        This is a distorted approximation but is largely false. A mortal sin requires confession and sincere repentance. A good spiritual guide would help one to repent sincerely, yet the sincerity of the repentance is strictly a matter between the individual and God. The priest can absolve a sin, which means to unbind it from the consequences. But according to the Saints at the judgment everything will have to be gone over and reviewed. And then one will be completely naked. No lie will be possible. No self-deception and no deception of one’s judge.

        No ‘complete reconversion’ is necessary, but confession and absolution are necessary, and to carry them out properly a sincere repentance is needed. There is no real way for a priest to measure the *sincerity* of the confession, and someone skilled in deception could (I’d imagine) be absolved without the element of sincere contrition.

        The possibility that one’s salvation could be lost must be a distressing thought for a Protestant. It would be a relief though to be able to believe that one could not endanger it no matter what. But a self-deception as I understand things.

  7. Funerals are for the living, not for the dead.

    ————————–

    On a sidebar, let’s abstract this some and let’s pretend the deceased was a wretched human being, a horrible member of the community, yet had a family who received his love and affection and who reciprocated.

    If they pay for a funeral and hire a preacher, are all preachers obligated by this “contract” to sing only praises of the deceased? Or, is there a greater obligation by the preacher to stand by greater truths, however sugarcoated for the character of the deceased? Does the hiring by the family contractually undermine a preacher’s convictions when the preacher willingly enters into a contract on behalf of a horrible human being’s family…and therefore the only way a preacher can avoid speaking truth at a eulogy is by refusing the service altogether?

    • Southern Baptist (which are the majority of funerals I have attended) seem to dwell on the good and not the bad.

      Come to think of it, this is true of ALL funerals I have attended, even when some of the deceased were real sons-of-bitches.

      • One of the leaders at our church reflected on a funeral he was asked to officiate a long time ago. He did not the known the deceased AT ALL, but a few family members who KNEW him asked him. He got all the family together to frankly tell them he needed help preparing a eulogy.

        They sat in silence for awhile. He bluntly told them “I don’t know the lady, I need you to tell me some good memories of her so I can eulogize her”. They sat in silence. Eventually one of them blurted out, and I don’t like profanity, but I quote…”She was a real bitch. We thought you knew how to come up with good things to say about a person.”

  8. The bereaved family also had to overcome an uninvited guest at the funeral.

    Football coach Jeffrey Wood, who the Hullibarger’s say bullied Maison and their other sons, showed up for the funeral. Wood was asked by a family friend not to attend and was asked to leave when he showed up at the church.

    “We knew Maison would not want him at his funeral,” Linda told the Free Press. “He did not treat Maison kindly. So it was our wish that he would not be there.

    He left, then later made a post on social media that got the award-winning coach removed from his role in the football program, school district officials said.

    “I was just asked to leave a funeral by a family member of a deceased football player. If you need someone to blame, I’m your man, I’m your fall guy,” Wood wrote in a post that has since been removed the Free Press reported. “This is how society is when things go not as planned. We blame others for our own shortcomings. This tragedy is not about me or you. It’s about looking in the mirror as a human being and being real and honest with yourself.”

    https://www.ajc.com/news/national/priest-suicide-homily-bully-coach-add-family-grief-son-funeral/pJg6FPaPZB6wxOSeSqUBDK/

    Poor petal.

    • I never thought I’d have to admonish YOU for commenting without reading the post! From my effort:

      But wait! There’s more!

      “Maison’s high school football coach, Jeffrey Wood, who’d bullied Maison and his three brothers, showed up despite being asked not to attend by the family. He was asked to leave. Wood then posted a nasty message about his removal from the service on social media, which got him fired by the school, which in turn led to the termination of his coaching duties.”

      But thanks for the ex-coach’s deleted message: I couldn’t locate it.

      • Opens the question: will the school face a lawsuit from the coach?

        I agree that a teacher cannot treat a child this way publically and still be ethically employed by the school, I just wonder if the coach, who seems a FINE upstanding citizen (whose deleted post looks to me like an excuse from one defiantly dealing with guilt), who may have trouble gaining employment now, could sue the school (or the family)?

        • There is another interpretation. That the parents only *accuse* the coach of *bullying* when it is possible that he was acting in a direct and manly way with this young man. The parents could well be weak, indulgent people who had, in their way, contributed to the dark situation with their boy as often happens in familial situations. Often, there are *co-dependency* issues.

          That the boy killed himself may have come about through a long causal chain of events, and it may well have been because of a all around bad choice on his part, and one that he does have full responsibility for. Maybe the coach, in his way, was trying to get this kid to ‘man-up’? To overcome his problems, and his desperation, through facing the issues?

          That could have been *interpreted* in this sick cultural environment as *bullying*. The parents may have ‘enabled’ the child to indulge in *feelings* that contributed to the result of his suicide. Anyway, the *bullying* thing is hearsay, not fact. It is what the parents said. Not necessarily true.

          The entire story shows a peculiar — and I think suspect — framing.

          The priest might very well have been aware of inner dimensions in this situation, and it may have been his sense of duty to serve the truth — the sort of truth that can help people to become strong, not weak, in the face of life’s difficulties and also in respect to Christian responsibilities. It may have been right good and proper to used this sad occasion to reveal a truth to the parishioners and those who assisted there.

          The *sobbing boys* may have been weak children, overcome with their grief, but also of the sort that are bred today: indulgent, focused only on their small selves; lacking knowledge in larger truths and values.

          The fact that this gets shoot up into social media and spreads like an emotional wild-fire is some evidence on its own that all or part of what I describe here could be true.

            • Nuff said, did you say? I beg to differ! 🙂

              When we are presented with a ‘narrative’ that has been ordered in a certain way, we have to stop and examine, and ask questions about, who ordered it and to what purpose.

              I would say that this approach (in my case this is where I got it) comes from the discipline of Media Studies. For example there is a Media Studies analysis of the Gulf War by a fellow named Douglas Kellner (a definite and committed exponent of Critical Theory I should preface) who wrote an instructive article about the “Persian Gulf TV War” which I thought was of high quality.

              The point in going from a story about a Catholic funeral, and the mild controversy there, to a mega-event such as the US invasion of Iraqis to illustrate one central point: how narratives are established and for what purposes. Now, what is the purpose of this story about the *bad* Catholic priest, doing intentional and cold-blooded harm to the poor defenseless parents? And what rôle has the (as you say) gate-crashing, mean-spirited and forceful Coach have in this contrives drama? It is *all of a piece* isn’t it?

              I can see now way round having to study the Larger Context here. And what is it? Well, that is harder to answer than it would seem. Why? Because hidden or concealed intentions are by their nature hidden and concealed! The *intentions* that motivated the Gulf War have to go with Geo-Political aims and one could write a book about research into defining those aims.

              But *propaganda*, and the propaganda used to get the docile public to ‘support’ this war (and an entire direction chosen which entails a 20 year cycle-de-guerre, with enormously consequential effect not only in the attacked region, but in the American body-politic), is a separate discipline which, by nature, conceals true aims and substitutes, shall I say, false aims. Therefor, the notion of consequences has to be examined rationally and philosophically.

              We now live in a *world* where any narrative, every narrative, is suspect right down to the core. I think this must be a starting point for all analysis. But if Douglas Kellner is a Leftwing Fanatic, a critical theorist, a Frankfurt School Post-Marxist (as he seems to be or at least that is what is said about him), this indicates that he has established, in his larger view, a political platform. His political notions likely *dove-tail* with a whole range of values and also intentions. I do not know what they are.

              But each one of us, if we have any sort of inner formation that is more than mere nebulosity, have ideas about this *world*, which is really to say this Reality, this sphere of manifestation. Right?

              And the Catholic priest, informed as he said that he is by a traditional Catholicism and a Catholic Renewal, most certainly has a *platform* from which he approaches his rôle in mediating and facilitating the funeral-event.
              How the Coach fits into this picture, I am uncertain. But it is not at all impossible, in a Catholic community, that he too shares the Catholic views. Therefor: what exactly was the priest doing? This must be understood before one can say anything about the surrounding event. From the look of it, based on the *transcripts* of the homily, he was doing what is completely correct and natural — and expected — for one with his role.

              One has to then turn and examine the parents and find out what was really going on in them. It is likely that they simply wish to rewrite Catholic doctrines, and Christian doctrines, and to revise everything through their emotional filters. Why? Because this is the Movement of Our Day. Emotionalism, emotional bitterness, emotional unsettledness, emotional confusion, emotional projection of disturbed inner content: this is surging out everywhere. It has been *unleashed* everywhere. It is carrying out destructive projects everywhere.

              But, in saying this I reveal — naturally! — my *platform*. Behind my assertions, or my opinions if you wish, is a whole connected Weltanschauung. Personally, I do not desire to conceal it. In fact, I only want to define it more and become more certain of it.

              The purpose of these articles (those that establish the priest as the *villain*), I suggest, we could begin to name. But we would have to guess in many ways because as I say invisible intentions are by definition invisible. I understand them to be *anti-Catholic* and also *anti-Christian* in their essence. But there are degrees of this which are hard to sort through.

              All this is necessary preamble for a true and proper — and fair — examination of this issue (the blogpost). One either will choose to examine it, and thus all other things, superficially, or one will choose to go to a depth-analysis.

              But who will carry out the depth-analysis? Who will we shall I say trust to be our Dante-esque guide through the ideational netherworld?

              The reason I take (obsessive) time and energy in examining these issues (and angering and frustrating my co-participants!) is not to be pedantic or merely contrary. It is because getting to the core of what is really going on is maddeningly difficult and a ‘fraught’ effort. I am accused of bringing in ‘tangents’ but I see them as secants or chords: they are essential to the subject, are deeply part of it, and do not veer off into space irrelevantly.

              (It might have been necessary for the Coach to show up at that funeral. He may have felt a spiritual obligation.)

  9. This link is apparently the text of the homily: http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2018/images/12/16/father.lacuesta.homily.maison.hullibarger.funeral.pdf

    It does not stress that the boy is a sinner or that he may have ruined his chances of getting to heaven. The first reference to suicide says “there is hope in eternity even for those who take their own lives.” It does not say that he is condemned to hell; in fact, it states that “Nothing — not even suicide — can separate us from the unconditional love of God.”

    If this is the actual text, it does not seem inappropriate to me. (I found the link here: https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/god-bless-fr-lacuesta/ )

    • And there you have it! What is the lesson here? That people are on the lookout for any story, any event, that can be used to attack Christians and Christian principles. And if you can take a swing at Catholics and Catholicism, so much the better. Your *points* will be doubled.

      The story got picked up by social media, and then by the Media, strictly for that purpose. But, as is often (perhaps always) the case, the actual event, when it is examined fairly, reveals a very different picture.

      And this is how *ideas* are debated in our present: emotionally, irrationally. It does not matter what the priest actually said, or meant, what matters is how you wish to frame what he said. Do whatever you want with it.

      And by participating in these destructive rehearsals one does also contribute to the destruction of lives! For example, the Coach. What really happened there? What was his desire and effect in the life of this young man? Who will try to discover the truth? Talk to him? Get his side of the story. Consider it as possible and believable?

      In our present environment the Truth of things does not matter. What matters is how you wish to frame it.

      The ramifications of this event, and others like it, are enormous.

      This emotionalism, this over-heated non-intellectual approach to important matters, what is its source?! What explains it?!*** It is pervasive now in our present. You can use it to destroy and slander who you wish to, when you need to and when you desire to. It is a tool for *use by all*.
      _______________

      *** I am waiting for an ANSWER. To get the answer requires intellectual work, not lazy vomiting up of mere opinion.

  10. Father LaCuesta offered my family deep support and compassion when my 21 year old daughter died by suicide. I feel terrible for the parents but the media circus has been cataclysmic and very difficult to comprehend. We need to pray for all of them – the Priest, the parents but most of all Maison. His salvation in heaven is really the only thing that matters at this point. Suicide has been an epidemic and we have to stop it somehow but this is not the way to do it.

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