Friday, 17 February 2017

Baum Goes Boom

I'm home from holidays (more in my next post), so I will comment on the latest outrage to hit our poor Church: overly influential Canadian theologian Gregory Baum has admitted to living a double life. And we thought he was just an ex-priest married to an ex-nun.

This does not hurt my faith because I already knew Baum was a dodgy character, and the few times he was mentioned at [Canadian] theology school, I zoned out. A gazillion Baby Boomer Catholics in Canada grasped the "Amoris Laetitia Footnote" of the Winnipeg Statement (regarding Humanae Vitae) with both hands, but my generation--the John Paul II generation--had, well, John Paul II to tell us the difference between family planning right and contraceptive wrong.

It did not bother  admirers of Gregory Baum that he was a disobedient priest who just upped and married without permission. However, it may have bothered them that he had an open marriage and (he now claims) permission from his wife to have affairs with men, so I presume he didn't tell them. If they knew, and still extolled him as Mr Fabulous then...I just don't know what to say---other than that he must think "It's 2017, and so it's okay now to admit to have been sexually active with men while writing about Catholic sexual ethics, even when I was married to a woman, since she was okay with it." Ugh.

Bad Church News can demoralize us all, so I recommend clinging onto the coat tails of your favourite saints, and reading good books by Catholics who are clearly fighting the good fight. If you find real fruit in the works of more innovative (what you might call "progressive") Catholic theologians, then I strongly suggest you pick out married ones who are clearly in love with their spouses and families.

The older I get, the more I see how important chastity is--single chastity, religious chastity, married chastity--in the Christian life. Of course it can be difficult! Therefore living chastely is HEROIC and throwing it out the window is NOT heroic, no matter which tin-pot Byronic hero has done it now.

Update: The Catholic blogosphere is humming with this one. Here's Father Z on the same topic.


  1. I suppose a solace of being a convert is that these names mean nothing to me.

  2. He is--or was--a biggish deal in Canada. The Winnipeg Statement was the Canadian Catholic Bishops Conference's response to "Humanae Vitae". It included a "If it's really really really hard not to use artificial contraception and your conscience is okay with it, go ahead" clause.

    Gregory Baum, who is 93, was a hero to people now in their 60s and 70s. He was extolled on Canada's "Salt and Light" TV by its director, Fr. Thomas Rosica. This has long been deplored by the right-hand side of the Catholic blogosphere and now people (e.g. Church Militant) are revisiting this with ill-disguised glee.

    1. Well, yikes. Was not aware of the Winnipeg Statement as I'm in the U.S. with a traditional diocese.

      I have seen lots of televangelists fall since that's my background. I've learned not to put too much faith in humans.

  3. When I first saw this, I thought "didn't we already know this?" I guess my mind had already made the uncharitable connection with some of his work with a presumption about his life. But the most galling thing is the platform that Fr. Rosica gave him.