My weekly newsletter from Screenit.com this week told me that among the crop of new movies just released is one entitled The Dead Don’t Die. In its very brief snapshot of what the film is about it says: “Comedy/Horror: Residents of a small town must contend with a zombie outbreak.” My God, I said to myself, “That was quick. They’ve already made a movie about Friar Tom Ford’s shocking sermon to the people of Kilkenny.” Well, sorry. I know Kilkenny is not a small town. It is one of Ireland’s oldest and most beautiful cities, for a short time the seat of its parliament.
Closer examination of the new release of course assured me that this movie was not about Friar Tom, or the remarks he made about the state of our bodies after the death of grace in our souls, when afflicted by that sin which we appropriately call “mortal”. You probably have some hazy recollection of what all Christians once learned in their catechisms. The people who walked out of Fr. Tom’s church in disgust at his remarks may have forgotten that.
It struck me as a bit strange to recall that Dolores Riordan and the Cranberries had a worldwide hit a few decades ago when they said exactly the same thing about another kind of sinful activity indulged in and causing the mayhem that all sin causes in any country. Zombies was what they called those who surrendered the life of their souls to Irish Republican Army. Perhaps had Friar Tom set his words to music he might have been more effective in getting his point across. As it is he now just has everyone falling over backwards in outrage and his friends and superiors apologizing for him. He included a range of what Catholic moral teaching describes as objectively sinful behavior. One feels, of course, that his real sin was to include gay activity among these.
The gay thing is, of course, impossible to talk about now – unless you are praising the lifestyle to the skies. What is it anyway? I once wrote something by way of explanation of the Catholic Church’s teaching that it did not condemn as sinful the condition of being gay in one’s sexual orientation. A friend of mine contradicted me, explaining that in contemporary usage – I’m not an expert in the area – “being gay” was in fact a description of one who was homo-sexually active. What the Catholic Church holds, he explained to me is that homosexual orientation is not in any way sinful, so much so that it is perfectly compatible with a virtuoso and sanctified life – which was the point I was trying to make. He thought I was not being helpful by confusing the two.
Friar Ford, as he admitted himself, is something of a fan of the zombie movie genre. To his cost, he let his enthusiasm for the metaphor he saw in them go just a little bit too far. But really, was it that shocking. Literary souls like using metaphors to explain their ideas. He saw it as a way of bringing home to us all the grossness and horror of that sin which we call “mortal”, that sin which kills the life our soul. Christ called some of those of his own time who were willfully in a similar state, “whited sepulchers” – which as an image is not far from zombie. Of course his hearers were offended and outraged also. Indeed, they ended up crucifying him for his offensiveness.
There is now much ado about the latest iteration of Catholic teaching on the gender and identity issue. It clearly explains the traditional Catholic view that men and women are created with fixed gender and sexual roles. Some are complaining that it does not address the work of biologists and psychologists who grapple with the exceptional cases which give rise to confusion of identity. The Church is not a Scientific Institute. It is a moral teacher and has to offer moral guidance to every soul on the planet. It is aware of and respects the responsible work being done by scientists, psychologists and psychiatrists in this field. Indeed it uses their findings to clarify its own moral teaching as faith and reason demands. However, it is the bizarre ramblings of the LGBT theorists that have made it necessary to offer this statement of moral teaching to poor bewildered humanity at this time.
At the root of all the confusion, of course is the poison inflicted on society and our civilization by the neo-Marxist definitions of our nature which spawned the sexual revolution. Sexual sin no longer exists. Pharmaceutical development and technological development – although they have brought great goods to mankind have combined together to poison our vision of what it is to be truly human. Together they have led us to a place where sexual abuse, promiscuity, abortion, pornography are corrupting individual human beings in their millions. As a consequence they are corrupting our society by destroying the family. That dual corruption, unless it is arrested, will end in utter chaos. If a bit of outrage in a Kilkenny Friary helps bring us back to our sense of what is really right and wrong, I can live with a bit of outrage.