Michael Coren

Hi,

For those of you who are not aware, Michael Coren, often a guest of Catholic Answers and other shows, left the Catholic Church for Anglicanism over homosexuality and gay marriage.

He was heavily criticized by folks like Karl Keating, for example, in this CA blog post, for not having been more up front about his leaving the Catholic Church even though he had privately left it over a year ago. Here is Karl’s point:

If, a year ago, Coren had announced publicly his change of religion, resigning his columns and offering to cancel scheduled speeches, there would have been disappointment but probably not anger. Catholics who used to follow him would have thought, “He’s making a tremendous mistake, but he’s got to go where his conscience leads him, even if it’s leading him the wrong way. I hope he wises up and comes back.”

Coren didn’t handle it that way. He continued to accept honoraria from Catholic publications and groups. He didn’t volunteer to them that he had left the Church. He says he was “outed” by a third party: it wasn’t on his schedule. How long did he intend to keep up the charade? Did he expect to keep it up indefinitely?

I’m going to preface my comments by saying I love CA and its apostate, and have supported it in the past and will continue to support it in the future. But I’m wondering if we are holding a double standard here with Michael that we wouldn’t hold people to who are coming to the Catholic Church? For example, I have viewed many Coming Home episodes with Marcus Grody discussing the conversion storied of pastors who made the very difficult transition from protestant full time ministry to Catholicism at huge personal and financial expense. And some who continued in ministry for more than a year even though they were personally convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith for very practical reasons.

Should we not have extended Michael the same consideration?

Some of his other points against “the church of nasty” are also not entirely untrue, in my opinion. There is a terrible amount of fear and anxiety in our church over the evils of today, such as abortion, contraception, euthanasia, legalizing the sex trade, legalizing marijuana use, and so on.** Are we letting this fear and anxiety kill our ability to love our neighbours who don’t see it the way we do? **

Again, I am a committed Catholic, I have six kids, and am in no way questioning our moral stance. Its more of a reflection on what happened with Michael and a questioning about how we might have done things better.

Perhaps we need a CA tract on what to do and how to behave when someone leaves the church…

God bless,
Ut

I’m going to preface my comments by saying I love CA and its apostate

:rolleyes: I hope you mean “apostolate”…Big difference!

The fact that the guy left over the moral stance of the church is the problem. Why need we be unduly “charitable” or soft soapy about it? This is an example of someone who has known the truth of the Catholic faith and chosen to leave it to take a softer and less scriptural stance on a perverted morality.

It’s his choice…but that doesn’t make Karl or CA wrong for speaking out on it. In fact, faithful Catholics should always take such an exemplary stance lest we give worse scandal than the one who left.

Fr. Carthy made a good response to someone who said something similar about him in his Radio Replies.

Inquirers put their religious theories before me, and if they are illogical I say so, giving my reasons for saying so. This is not sarcasm, above all since I respect the sincerity of those whose theories are mistaken. Nor is it unkind. If you saw a sick man taking, not the medicine prescribed by the doctor, but some other drink by mistake, would it be kindness to keep quiet just to spare him the confusion of realizing his mistake? Whilst love may excuse the man who makes a mistake, it cannot say that the mistake is not a mistake. I deny that truth is error, or that error is truth. But I make every allowance for those who mistake error for truth.

Hi Church Militant,

Thank you for the correction! Yes, I certainly meant apostolate:)

I have no problem with responding to his reasons for leaving the church and pointing out our reasons for why we think he was wrong to do so. My concern is about criticism that center around how and when he left the church. Not criticism about the reasons he gives for why he left.

God bless,
Ut

It all depends on Mr. Coren’s motives. If he didn’t want to upset people whom he loved and respected, that’s one thing–many converts go through that stage. If he meant to be duplicitous, that’s another kettle of fish. I can understand Mr. Keating’s feelings, but I don’t think we can know Mr. Coren’s motives. As a convert to the Catholic faith I too went through a long period in which I wavered between faith communities and then had to let one know I was leaving it. Not an easy thing to do no matter the reasons. We Catholics naturally believe Mr. Coren to have made a mistake–especially considering the reasons he left us–as a protest-tant against the ancient teaching of Christ and his Church. We believe he has given up the fullness of the truth for a mess of pottage, but that his choice. Still, only he can know his reasons for keeping it to himself for as long as he did.

Good point. Perhaps Mr. Keating is aware of some details that we are not.

Still, given the evidence I can see so far, he has had to sacrifice a lot for what he has done. And if he waited to make the move public for financial reasons… I think even that is understandable and forgivable to a certain extent. Especially since I see the same scenario play out with protestant ministers who convert intellectually to the catholic church before publicly announcing it given the loss of job and income they would incur.

I think the standard that Mr. Keating gives here is just unfair:

If, a year ago, Coren had announced publicly his change of religion, resigning his columns and offering to cancel scheduled speeches, there would have been disappointment but probably not anger.

God bless,
Ut

Mr. Keating, like us all, is entitled to his opinions. It is hard when someone you worked with and thought you knew harbored very opposite opinions from the ones you believed he held. I think this came as a surprise to the Catholic community in a way that many Protestant ministers haven’t surprised their leadership and fellow ministers. Most I’ve read about have had grave misgivings which they voiced openly and honestly before making their break. It appears Mr. Coren didn’t do that (I may be wrong, but that’s the way it appeared to happen). It was like one minute he was a loyal son of the Church and the next he wasn’t. Such a seemingly sudden turn around would be distressing for anyone who thought they knew someone they respected and worked with. Just my few thoughts on it. :slight_smile:

If, a year ago, Coren had announced publicly his change of religion, resigning his columns and offering to cancel scheduled speeches, there would have been disappointment but probably not anger.

Not to speak for Mr. Keating, but it seems his perspective is that of a fellow professional apologist, with ethical considerations in mind.

I have never once seen fear and anxiety in my diocese. Sadness yes, but never fear or anxiety on the issues you mention.

He explains his motives and reasons well in his new book, Epiphany: A Christian’s Change of Heart & Mind Over Same-Sex Marriage.

I’m in the middle of reading it now and so far, I find it very interesting, enlightening, terrific.

.

So, he explained his reasons for going on as if he were a faithful Catholic all the while no longer believing the very things he was teaching although he gave no indication to anyone that he no longer believed? I don’t care to know his answer. I simply don’t care. :slight_smile:

I think I was quite fair in my assessment of that question. But frankly, it’s none of my business. He isn’t the first person do act that way, for reasons we can only guess, and he won’t be the last.

No one here cares why he supports gay marriage. He wouldn’t be the first to put human reasoning above divine revelation. His arguments can’t be anything we haven’t heard before. That’s not what bothered Mr. Keating, nor does it bother us, either. He’s perfectly free to believe whatever he wants. And we are perfectly free to think he’s mistaken.


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