This came in to BCI in mid-October and we are just getting to post it. Fr. Walter Cuenin (call me “Walter”), currently Catholic Chaplain at Brandeis University and formerly pastor at Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton sent the following email to members of the Brandeis Catholic Student Organization promoting an initiative to have the gay “rainbow” flag covering the Oval Office in Washington. But there’s more beyond that. Read on below, and also see our most recent post about how he is displaying the gay pride flag over the Catholic chapel.
——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Walter Cuenin
Date: Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:41 PM
Subject: [cso] PETITION for GLBTQ awareness month
One of our students is trying to organize an initiative to have the gay flag or banner to cover the Oval Office in Washington. He is a fine young man and a senior and a friend to me.I am sending you a link so that if you wanted you could lend your voice via email. They need a lot of people to sign up. Thanks
The message: For the full month of October, we the people respectfully request that LGBTQ History month be honored publicly by hanging a full sized banner – to cover the entire White House oval office exterior – as a show of solidarity and support from the Executive branch of our government. Men, women and ungendered Americans across the country are often marginalized from their communities due to their personal identification. A strong message of support- by way of visual symbolism- would make hundreds of thousands of Americans feel represented in our Capitol, and has the potential to save the lives of those who are struggling with their identities. email https:// petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/drape-full-sized-rainbow-colored-banner-white-house-oval-office-exterior-lgbtq-history-month-october/XQnzH3BN THANKS
(Thankfully, in the end, the petition failed to get enough signatures). Still, Fr. Cuenin has long been a supporter of the GLBT agenda and other agendas other than what the Catholic Church teaches. In 2002 he provided testimony to the Massachusetts Legislature opposing a ban on same-sex marriage. This piece from the Brandeis Hoot gives more background on him. Here are a few excerpts:
It may be rare to encounter a multicolored gay pride flag upon entering a church. But Brandeis’ Catholic chaplain, the Rev. Walter Cuenin, proudly displays the rainbow flag in the Bethlehem Chapel’s foyer. With the word “Peace” written across the middle, the flag symbolizes a proclamation of acceptance and unity for each person who may walk through the Bethlehem Chapel’s doors.
Cuenin bases his decision to exhibit a gay pride flag on a tale about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. According to Christian tradition, when Mary and Joseph arrived at a Bethlehem inn, Mary was forced to have her baby in an outside stable since there were no rooms left at the inn. Cuenin connects this story to Brandeis’ Bethlehem Chapel by using the multicolored flag to portray that “in this Bethlehem, there’s always room for everyone in the inn.”
Cuenin is currently an ally of Brandeis’ LGBT group, Triskelion. He claims that while the Catholic Church does not support gay marriage, it does welcome gay people to its churches. In fact, when he was a pastor for a larger church nearby, Cuenin had even performed a baptism for the baby of a gay couple.
“The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage, so I cannot directly say I support it, but I have seen from my experience that for many people it creates a much healthier environment … For example, if you were to go to Provincetown in the summer time, where a lot of gay people go, it’s a radically different place today than it was 20 years ago,” Cuenin said. “They are there with children and married, raising kids, so they go home at night. In other words, it has transformed the whole gay scene … it hasn’t led to total debauchery. In some ways, it has pulled people back together,” Cuenin said.
“When I was a pastor of a large church … I would always say I welcome everybody to this church, whether you’re gay or straight, divorced or remarried. Sometimes people in authority can take that the wrong way, but my understanding of being Christian is someone who welcomes everybody.”
No, Fr. Cuenin, your understanding is missing something important. Jesus commanded his disciples to go out into the world and preach the gospel. The mission is to save souls by carrying out the saving ministry of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15 (1-4) says: “Now I am reminding you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.” You as a priest are to be a shepherd and help save lost souls. You will be held accountable for that before God. It is fine to welcome people, but you need to let them know about sin, discipleship, taking up the cross, confession, conversion, and how the path to salvation of souls comes by rejecting sin.
Beyond that, it is heresy and scandalous to equate the birth of Jesus Christ by the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bethlehem with welcoming gay people committing grave sins. That Cardinal O’Malley and the Boston Archdiocese allows Cuenin to continue leading souls astray like this is also scandalous. What does it say about Cardinal O’Malley?
It is obvious that Fr. Cuenin should not be in any position of teaching or public ministry. We ask readers to send a message to the Director of the Boston Archdiocese’s Campus Ministry, Fr. Richard Clancy <firstname.lastname@example.org> and the Archdiocese of Boston Vicar General, Bishop Peter Uglietto <email@example.com>. Forward this blog post and ask them to take action to remove Cuenin from a position of public ministry. Please let us know what kind of response you get.