My post last week expressing reservations about the reliability of the reports claiming that a Minnesota teenager was “denied” Confirmation because he supports gay marriage has garned over 400 comments, many of them from pro-gay marriage trolls that now follow me around (thank you to my patient readers for putting up with them!).
Many of these pro-gay marriage trolls attempted to label the Church with the all-too-familiar stereotype that the priest in question acted out of “discrimination” and was “mean-spirited” towards this young man and his family.
Yesterday, the priest shared his side of the story, revealing that, among other things, it was the teenager who chose to avoid being confirmed:
The priest who allegedly denied the sacrament of Confirmation to a student said the teen chose not to be confirmed in the days before the ceremony due to the Church’s teaching on marriage.
“A couple of candidates chose not to enter into full communion with the Catholic community because of their disagreement with the teaching of the Church concerning marriage,” Fr. Gary LaMoine said in a statement provided to EWTN News Nov. 16.
…Fr. LaMoine, pastor of Assumption Parish, said that Cihak’s absence from the ceremony was the teen’s own decision because he said he does not believe in the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage.
“Intending to celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation, while rejecting a central belief, is an absolute contradiction,” the priest said. “One cannot embrace the faith of the Church in Confirmation while rejecting it at the same time.” [EWTN]
Here’s more of the backstory:
In early Oct. 2012, a letter was sent to Cihak’s parents, Shana and Doug, encouraging them “to come to church and support their son in his quest for confirmation,” he said.
The priest met with Cihak’s parents Oct. 25 before he was aware of the photo to express his concern over their “absence from worship” and “other matters.”
When Fr. LaMoine called Cihak the morning of Oct. 26 to discuss the issue, the teen said he was no longer interested in being confirmed.
“When I challenged the young man as to why he was doing this when he knew he was rejecting a central teaching of the Church, he affirmed his rejection of the teaching for personal reasons and said that he no longer wanted to be confirmed,” the pastor said.
Under the circumstances, Fr. LaMoine pointed out that he would have “had no choice but to remove him from consideration given his rejection of marriage as (Catholics) understand it.” [EWTN]
What a different picture this paints!
It’s amazing to read through the original story published in Inforum by Erik Burgess which completely left out all of these salient details. Either the young man and his parents lied to the reporter or the reporter decided to write a more “interesting” story by leaving out key details.
And here’s the damage done: tens of thousands of people have now read Erik’s story in Inforum (it was the most read and most emailed story on their website for awhile). But this story that is factually incorrect and malignes the Catholic church and the priest in question. These same people, I can bet you, don’t read EWTN or CatholicVote, so they will come away from this experience with a false view of what happened.
This is one of the ways the Church’s reputation is harmed and good people are slandered. Secular media distributes inaccurate and damaging information about the Catholic church and catholics, and Catholic media, which does not have the same reach, can never quite undo the damage.
I would recommend calling Erik Burgess at 701-241-5518 and ask him to issue a retraction or update his story. Both the priest and bishop of the diocese have been hounded by the media as a result of his report. We all have a responsibility to remain vigilant and come to the defense of the Church when fellow Catholics are unfairly targeted.
UPDATE — here is Erik Burgess’s second article reflecting some of these new developments. It still appears he intends to completely miss the reality of what is happening here.