By Karen Quiner

Karen Quiner

The publisher of Quiner’s Diner is my husband, Tom. A recent blogpost of his, “The Catholic Vote Could Tip the Election,” was picked up by The Des Moines Register.

As you can imagine, he received some pretty strong push back from anti-Catholics and liberal Catholics.

One response really caught my attention. As readers of this blog know, my husband is more than capable of rebutting contrarian positions. But with this one response, I felt compelled to stand up for my Church from a woman’s perspective.

First, here is the e-mail he received from frequent letter writer to the Des Moines Register, Deborah McMahon. My response follows:

“Tom Quiner’s Iowa View should have included the fact that as conservatives try to take over the church, there are at least as many liberal thinkers who rally against this kind of one-sided thinking.  I am a Catholic by choice and am not about to allow church leaders to tell me how to vote.  I believe in the tenets of church teaching that discuss the universal lessons of loving one another, acceptance, forgiveness, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and judge not lest ye be judged.

It seems the church that I love so much has been taken over by men who wish to tell me and others how to think.  The truth is that many in our faith do not believe the use of contraception is sinful.  I have never had an abortion but refuse to condemn those who have. I am tired of the lack of compassion when we are discussing women’s health.  Women are not second class citizens, we are able to think for ourselves and do not need to have men tell us what to believe or condemn us for our choices.

The constant call for Obama to sign the Defense of Marriage Act is a non-issue for most Americans.  The president believes in civil rights and since he has a big heart, he can open it to welcome same-sex marriage couples into the arena of equality.  After all, this is 2012.

I take great offense at Quiner’s assertion that the president “views human life as needing to be controlled, at the very least, and aborted if inconvenient.”  That is not true and the writer needs to apologize for making such comments.  That is incendiary rubbish and only serves to deepen the divide between us.

I look forward to the day when Catholic leaders allow women priests, allow priests to be married if they choose to do so and welcome all members into the church, gay or straight.  When that occurs then I will be able to say this is truly the universal church.

Until then, earth to Mr. Quiner:  You have a problem.”

Here is my response:

Dear Deb,

I have to respond to your letter as a woman.

The Church does not tell us how to vote. They do, however, discern the truth and guide us based on that discerned truth. That is what has held this Church together for 2000 years. We, as Catholics, are called to think for ourselves, but when I find myself disagreeing with Church teaching, I pray about where I am in error. It has taken me until I am in my 50’s to learn the wisdom and ultimate freedom and joy that comes from submitting myself to Christ in His Church this way.  I used to make my own rules up and give myself a lot of credit for thinking I knew better.

The Church I know does not condemn, but loves, loves, loves the person in all of our weaknesses and frailties. But it speaks the hard truth about things, and that is why, as Christ promised, that the gates of Hell will never prevail against it. We have been here for 2000 years, and will be here till the end of time.

Just take a look at the mainline protestant churches, in how they are splintering off so much to the point that they are in danger of turning to dust. And this is because they don’t have an ultimate authority. Yes, within the Church, there are fallible people, but the Church is bigger than the frailties of us humans. “The Church” is an organism consisting of Christ at the head, all the Saints that have gone before us, the Magisterium, and us, the people. When fallible men in the Church do make mistakes, Christ rights it, every time.

You don’t know Tom Quiner if you think for a minute that he is a judgmental or hateful person. He is loving and accepting and listens respectfully to other’s points of view when they are shared with gentleness and love. He has lots of friends who are not on the same page politically, and they are able to remain friends because there is mutual respect.

I am blown away by the hateful anger of so many who do disagree. Just read the blog on the DM Register website to get a feel for what I am talking about. Many of these writers talk about how they believe in a Church that is more about love. Really?  Do you discern love from the words of these folks?

I hear from you that you do love our mutual Church. You are my sister, and part of this body of Christ. I don’t, by the way, hear hatefulness in your words. We are all on a journey towards Christ, we all have a long way to go. So long as we are open to His leading, He will take us to where we need to go.

In Christ’s love,
Karen Quiner

[Be sure to follow Quiner’s Diner on Twitter! Click the button on the sidebar on the left.]

No Comments

  1. Ankeny Conservative on July 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I am offended quite a bit by the comment “Just take a look at the mainline protestant churches, in how they are splintering off so much to the point that they are in danger of turning to dust. And this is because they don’t have an ultimate authority. ” I am a Baptist by denomination, but a Christian by faith, and take great offense to this comment.

    Of course Protestant churches have an ultimate authority. I though it was the same as the ultimate authority of the Catholic Church: our Father, God, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Remember why many protestant churches splintered off from the Catholic Church. It was for un-Godly behaviors by those in charge of the Catholic Church, such as selling indulgences.

    I have other problems with the Catholic Church, including their refusal to share the Lord’s Table with other believers, and their prayers to
    Mary, a human, not part of the Holy Trinity, and their desire to place another human, the pope, above all others.

    If your ultimate authority is not God and His Son Jesus the Christ, then perhaps you need to re-examine your own faith.

  2. Karen Quiner on July 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I am very sorry. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, much less a Christian from another faith. Baptists are a denomination I have a great deal of respect for because of my impression that they are not afraid to buck the culture and speak the truth as they see it.

    The fact is though, that mainline protestant religions are splintering at an increasingly rapid rate and I think that many of them are in fact in danger of splintering into dust because of that.

    You are right, God is the ultimate authority for all of us. But who discerns that truth? If you put 20 people in a room and ask them all what a particular scripture passage means, you will get at least 5 responses, and perhaps more.

    That is fine except when we are talking about discerning “Truth” with a capital “T”. Is there an ultimate Truth? Does it change with the culture or is it unchangeable? In many of the churches today, you have people getting together and voting on what the truth is and what their church is going to believe. With that model, the truth changes over time. The Catholic church believe that there is ultimate Truth that does not change with the times.

    The Catholic church believes that the “Church” is an organic body with Christ at the head, and the body consists of the Bishops, the people, the Word, and Tradition. Ultimately, someone here on earth has to discern the truth. We believe that the idea of Sola Scriptura doesn’t ultimately hold up because the canon of the Bible didn’t come into existence until it was compiled at the council of Hippo in 393 A.D. And as I said in a previous paragraph, it can be understood in so many ways.

    I have to admit that, for many years, I had a problem also with my church not sharing the table of the Lord with non Catholics. I have learned though, that there is a really good reason for that. We believe that the Eucharist is the true presence, the actual body and blood of Christ. We believe it is wrong to share it with those who don’t believe this because of the following bible passage.

    1 Corinthians 11:29
    29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

    and in
    John 6: 51 -57

    I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.
    The Jews therefore strove one with another, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
    Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves.
    He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

    He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him.

    As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he that eateth me, he also shall live because of me.”

    But please, Ankeny Conservative, be assured I have the utmost respect for any Christian who attempts to live the Christian life and follow Christ. We Catholics have a lot to learn from our Protestant brothers and sisters. As I said to Ms. McMahon, we are all on a journey to Christ and all of us have a long way to go. As long as we remain open to Christ, He WILL get us to where we need to go.

    In Christs’ love,
    Karen Quiner

  3. skyedog27 on July 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Regarding Ms. McMahon’s letter. It is astonishing how those who claim to love and follow Christ through the ‘tenets of the church’, whether though Catholic or Protestant teachings perfer to water down His Word to Secular Humanism levels. For instance, God’s Word teaches that Homosexuality is an abomination, therefore it is. God is the definition of love but He is also our judge. He made the rules! It is not unloving, Ms. McMahon to preach that sin has it’s consequences. Indeed, it would be most unloving to sit silent while the world goes to hell in a hand-basket!

    Does that mean that someone will go to Hell because he is a homosexual? No. He will go to Hell because he/she has not repented of his/her sins, submitted to and have faith in God, and trusted Him for their salvation. Indeed, one can not have a relationship with God by His Holy Spirit unless one is “born again”. John 3:3 Church attendance, charitable gifts, attending a particular church etc, will never merit us heaven. If that were so Christ would not have had to die for our sins. Rather, we could have “worked” our way into Heaven by ourselves.

    There are many in the church body today who prefer to think of God as simply a benevolent, indulgent father who winks at sin. Woe to them who follow this path for one day they will stand before God in judgment and He will instruct them to depart from Him, for He never knew them.

    Abortion, Homosexuality, pornography, adultry, fornication, lying, stealing etc…these sins are nothing new. Anyone may read for themselves in God’s Holy Word that the Nations who practiced these evils were eventually dispersed or destroyed. Frankly, America is on this sordid path and rapidly descending, starting from our leadership down, because many in the Church (Catholic or Protestant) prefer to straddle the fence between secular and holy living in order to ‘get along’.

    I am certain that Karen’s remark regarding the Protestant Church was never intended to offend. To be fair, edicts from the Pope insure that all faithful Catholics are in-sync with their doctrines and beliefs. The Protestant churches can and do run from very conservative to highly liberal. That said, if all churches and their attendees abided by the entire Word of God then liberalism in the Church would be non-existant no matter what banner was over the doors! Of course, defying God’s Word goes back to the Garden when Satan said to Eve, “Did God really say…..”?

    God’s Word teaches there is only one path to Heaven and that’s through a relationship with Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter what label is over the Church door but what is in the hearts of those who sit in the church pews. Be assured. God will not be mocked and it is not for us sinful, pridefilled humans to decide what God’s means when He says, “Thou shalt not”.

  4. Bob Vance on July 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Some may find this article interesting:

  5. Bob Vance on July 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    He may have inspired the writings, but God did not write the Bible. Man did. Even then we are dealing with copies and translations.

    The Old Testament lists many “abominations”, but rarely do you see religious groups demonstrating outside a Red Lobster. I find it hypocritical that everyone seems to know the one about homosexuality but no one seems to care about (let alone follow) all those others, including one of the Top Ten – breaking the sabbath. Jesus never spoke of homosexuality but he spoke many times about divorce being a sin yet no one seems too worried about that these days.

    Religion should be a personal issue – between yourself and your God. There is a reason why it is called faith. How arrogant must you be to claim that you know the truth while all those others are wrong.

    • Karen Quiner on July 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      I do not claim to be the arbiter of the truth. I do, however, claim that the Church is. It takes hard-to-come-by humility to accept that someone other than me knows more than I know. I have only recently gotten to this spot in life.

      Religion and faith is anything but personal and private. It is a communal experience of love.

      • Bob Vance on July 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm

        Being who I am, I approach religion and spirituality in a logical manner. Throughout my life (I am old btw), I have read as much as I can and I have listened to as many people who will share their viewpoints as I can.

        The more I learn, the more I realize that no one knows for sure. What is true for me is probably not going to be for you. I am okay with that. But when one group tries to enforce their views onto others, I am not okay with that. Each version of the Bible (there are many) bring with them the views of those who created them. One of the reasons the King James version was made was because the King wanted to portray the Bible in a certain light.

        Just look at the process that was used to create the New Testament in the first place. A group of men decided what books made the Bible and which did not, then they set forth to destroy anything they deemed unsuitable. Recent discoveries has shown this to be the case.

        On a side note, although I like your website, I find that some of my comments never get “moderated”. Is this a censorship thing? If so, is there a list of rules? Or maybe it is just a glitch in the site? Any info on this would be appreciated.

        • quinersdiner on July 17, 2012 at 6:59 am

          Great to hear from you. Let me check past comments. Sometimes they slip through the cracks if a bunch come in at once. I’ll let you know if there was any “censorship.” Thanks.

      • Karen Quiner on July 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

        You are correct Bob, none of us knows for sure about matters of spirituality. But you describe yourself as logical. I have a question for your logical side. How can there be two opposing truths? You say, “What is true for me is probably not going to be for you.”
        Let’s look at that logically.

        Let’s say that I say there is a God, and you say there isn’t. Neither of us knows for sure, but only one of us is right. Either there is or isn’t a God. That is simple logic.

        No proper Christian is going to try to force you to believe there is a God, but if I believe there is a God, and if I believe that everything depends on Him and that this whole life is a journey to Him, what kind of a person would I be it I didn’t at least want to convince you? I call that love. Forcing you would not be the loving thing to do, however. You are correct about that.

        But as Christians, our values not only should guide us, but they should guide how we vote. We have just as much of a right as you do to try to influence the vote to follow our principles and beliefs as you do. Why is it ok for one side to vote based on their beliefs (atheism IS a belief system), and not for the other side to vote based on their belief system? (Christianity). We just feel we have just as much right as you do to have a voice in the political arena.

        It is always important that we treat each other with respect in these discussions. I especially hold my fellow Christians to high standards in that regard and am disappointed when we fall short. It happens of course. We are all human.

        This has been a fascinating discussion. Thank you and God Bless you.

  6. Paul Sharp on July 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I am Lutheran. I think my grandparents, and parents too, would be shocked at the ELCA today. Maybe not easy to describe mainline protestant decay in one sentence, but Karen Quiner said what needs to be said. I fear I soon may say “I was a Lutheran”. Follow the history of Richard John Neuhaus for compelling information on this matter.

  7. Lisa on July 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Quote of the day: “I used to make my own rules up and give myself a lot of credit for thinking I knew better.”

    Good post, Karen. Thank you for sharing.

  8. lisaannschmidt on July 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Quote of the day: I used to make my own rules up and give myself a lot of credit for thinking I knew better.

    Good post, Karen. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Bob Vance on July 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Mrs. Quiner: Let me begin by thanking you for your time on responding to my comments. If I may continue with that:

    I would like your opinion on the following definitions.

    Gnostic Theist: Believes God exists – no faith required.

    Agnostic Theist: Believes God exists, but realizes it requires faith.

    Gnostic Atheist (aka anti-theist): Believes God does not exist.

    Agnostic Atheist: Has no reason to believe God exists. This covers those who have no concept of God or those who just don’t think there is enough evidence to support a belief – sort of like outgrowing a belief in Santa or the Easter Bunny.

    We are all born agnostic atheists. We are taught as children what to believe. A Muslim baby taken from its mother at birth by a Christian family and raised as a Christian would grow up as a Christian, or vice versa. It takes motivation for people to change.

    • Karen Quiner on July 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Submitted on 2012/07/17 at 1:43 pm | In reply to Bob Vance.

      I don’t think we are all born Agnostic Atheists. I believe we are hard wired for a belief in God and that that hard wiring is planted within us by our creator. From the beginning of time and in every culture, man has believed in a Supreme being (s). That is not a coincidence.

      Small children, and simple minded people are most often especially close on an intimate level with God because they don’t have pride that gets in the way. My nephew Danny, who is profoundly retarded, seems to have quite a close relationship with God. You should see him pray!!!

      I had the occasion to sit behind another mentally challenged woman at church a few years back, and she was talking to Jesus on the cross and it was clear He was talking back. She would mumble incoherently, then stop and listen, and occasionally laugh at something he said. You could say it was mental illness or imagination, but I don’t believe that to be true.

      Take a look at this link:

      My friend took her 2 year old to church many years back and the child said, “mommy, mommy, look at all the angels by the walls”.

      Of course I realize that these are not things that are likely to convince a non believer, but I pass them on as a response to your theory that children are born atheists.

      All of us have a belief system and all of us chose what to believe. You may believe that the world began with the big bang or that black holes exist, but you are choosing to believe what scientists have told you. You haven’t seen those things for yourself. Scientists have come to these conclusions based on some evidence, but there is also an element of faith, even for them. They have to take the evidence and come to a conclusion.

      I think there is hard evidence for God. But it also takes an element of faith to believe it, there is no doubt about it.

      I just know what I know. I know there is a God. I know He loves me. I know He loves the Jews and the Muslims and the Hindus and even the atheists. 🙂 He loves gays, and abortionists, and murderers. He loves both Saints and sinners. But He loves us so much that he doesn’t want to leave us in our sin. He wants to change us because he wants only good things for us. He wants to restore us to Eden.

      I know He loves you so much that He is going to keep hounding you until your last breath.

      I know I was hard wired for Him from my earliest existence, that no matter what happens in my life I will be OK because He will be with me through thick and thin, joy and sorrow, sickness and health. I know that the peace that surpasses all understanding can only be found in Him and that He brings me great joy. He brings me such joy that I want everyone to know Him.

      I suspect that you are a pretty good guy and that you are fairly open minded. All I can say, is give God a chance. You might just try giving yourself some serious quiet time on a regular basis and ask God that if He is there, would He let you know. And then you have to be open to the response. You have to be willing to be humble. Without humility, God could lift your chair and suspend it in mid-air, and you still wouldn’t believe.

      God bless you Mr. Vance. Know that I WILL be praying for you.

      • Bob Vance on July 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm

        I could post scientific studies all day, and I realize it will not change your view and I am okay with that. I have no desire to take away from people like your nephew the peace they get from their beliefs. To me, that is what religion should be; Not as a weapon.

        I do not believe in things supernatural. I think everything can be (or will someday) be explained in non-supernatural (natural) terms. I believe the Bible is a collection of stories designed to teach us life lessons. I think religion, like most things, have evolved over the years.

        I would take it as far as stating that religion reflects the morality of its followers. Take slavery for example. The same Bible you use to teach homosexuality as an abomination also teaches you the acceptable method to beat your slave. Jesus could have just once said, slavery is wrong. The sad part may be that he did say it. It just didn’t make the final edit.

      • Karen Quiner on July 17, 2012 at 8:18 pm

        No worries. You couldn’t take it away if you tried. But at this point, I think we may just have to agree to disagree. Have a good evening.

Leave a Comment