Last week on this blog, in the aftermath of two highly covered hearings at the Supreme Court on same-sex unions, I posted on the problem of widespread sexual confusion and misbehavior in our culture, both heterosexual and homosexual.
As you may know, and can certainly imagine the combox lit up. There were many comments of support and agreement. There were also quite a large number of strong protests to the post. Some of those sed contras and objections were thoughtful, but, frankly most were not, and contained the all too usual name calling and ridicule that characterizes modern discourse, especially on the Internet.
But perhaps one aspect of the thread deserves some further attention is the what the Church offers homosexuals. For, the claim is often made that the Catholic Church has “nothing to offer” Gay persons, homosexuals or the slightly wider group often called the LGBT community.
Of course this claim has a kind of rhetorical flourish built in since it would appear that, in order to have “something to offer” we would have to meet a rather specific list of demands, wherein we essentially set aside biblical, theological and natural law teaching, and embrace homosexual activity as natural, normal, and even virtuous.
This we cannot do. And thus, many of our modern critics engage in kind of all-or-nothing approach which demands 100% approval, or by definition we have “nothing to offer.”
Nevertheless to some of good will who might still be willing to hear an answer of what the Church offers, I think it helpful to offer an answer to the question,
“What does the Church offer Gay People?”
To begin, the Church offers Gay people what she offers anyone else: the truth of God’s Word authoritatively interpreted, the Sacraments of Salvation, a vision for life, and the witness and support of the communal life, a communion with those now living as well as with the ancients whose voice and witness we still revere. We also offer respect rooted in truth.
Lets look at each of these areas in more detail:
1. As to the truth of God’s Word, St. Paul eloquently said to the critics of his own day:
We do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Cor 4:2)
Allow me to speak personally as a pastor of souls and say that to anyone who will listen (whatever their orientation or background), to anyone who draws near my parish, enters its doors and to all whom I can reach in anyway, I strive to speak the Word of God plainly, a Word set forth in Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
I will not, as St. Paul directs, distort the Word of God. I will not gainsay (deny) it, neither will I abbreviate it, seek to “expunge” it, nor can I permit it to be subsumed under human, political or cultural agendas.
To the very best of my ability I seek, as St. Paul says, to set it forth plainly, and commend myself to every person’s conscience. I seek the strength and courage to preach the Gospel, in season and out of season, (cf 1 Tim ) and to preach the whole counsel of God.
It is first of all this that Church offers the Gay Community, and every other believer as well: the unabridged truth, preached in conformity with the Sacred Text and Sacred Tradition.
In preaching I am not looking to offend, I am not seeking a fight. Rather, I am seeking to joyfully celebrate the truth of the Gospel that I have come to find compelling and life giving. And yet I realize that whatever my intentions, there are at time people who do take offense at what I preach or teach. But that they take offense, does not mean I have given offense, or intended to offend. Again, let me emphasize, I cannot, as St. Paul says, distort God’s Word as I have received it. I cannot and must not engage in deception or any misrepresentation of God’s Word.
Sadly today there are some denominations and preachers which do distort God’s word to conform to modern agendas such as affirming homosexual activity. They have been deceived and are leading others into deception by distorting God’s clear word on the sinfulness of homosexual acts (and many heterosexual acts such as fornication, adultery, incest, and other disordered and unnatural sexual practices that have become more common among heterosexuals today).
I do not have time here to give a full discourse on the Biblical teaching against homosexual acts, but I have written more on that here: Letter on Homosexuality
But for this post suffice it to say that there is nothing at all ambiguous about the clear and consistent condemnation of homosexual activity at every stage of Scripture, beginning in the earliest books, and going through every stage of Scripture, right through to the very last book, Revelation. Attempts to pretend that Scripture does not say what it clearly does say are fanciful at best, and gravely sinful at worst. It is to indulge in deception, and to likely lead others into that deception.
What the Catholic Church offers, in the first place to the Gay community and to every believer is the plain truth of Scripture. We commend ourselves and God’s word to the conscience of every person. We refuse to indulge in modern deceptions and speak the truth in love.
To those who will say I am being judgmental, I will say only what Scripture says. I do not need to make a judgment in this, God already has, and His judgment is consistently and clearly stated that homosexual acts are sinful and wrong. They cannot be approved of in any way. This is God’s judgement not mine.
And to those who insist on living at variance with God’s Word and even worse encouraging, teaching and affirming others in doing so, God’s word says that they have been deceived (2 Cor 4:2), that their minds have become darkened by the suppression of the truth (cf Rom 1:18,21), that The god of this age has blinded their minds, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel (2 Cor 4:4) and they have chosen to live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking (Eph 4:17).
Woe to those religious leaders who gainsay the word of God and mislead others. Of these Jesus says, Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. (Matt 15:13-14)
The Catholic Church offers to Gay Christians a refuge from all this deception and confusion in this matter. We do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Cor 4:2)
The Church can say nothing other than what she has heard from the Lord. And thus we teach:
Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (Catechism # 2357)
2. In addition we in the Church offer the help of the Sacraments which are like medicines to assist us in living in Christian freedom. No aspect of the moral life is simple or easy in this sin-soaked world. We are living in a fallen world, governed by a fallen angel, and we ourselves have fallen natures. Thrice fallen we are not without help. We have the Lord Jesus who speaks the truth to us and strengthens and heals us with his Sacraments.
Of this I am a witness. Having thus dedicated myself to prayer, scripture, the sacraments, and to fellowship (Acts 2:42) I have seen my life changed. I am a new man. I have seen sins put death and many graces come alive. I am more serene, and confident, I more patient, zealous, chaste, merciful and forgiving. I give God all the glory and praise him for this life he has given me from the Cross and through his Church.
3. A Vision of Chaste Life – All of this too the Church offers to the Gay community. Along with a vision for life. And what is that vision? It is stated in the Catechism:
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection (Catechism # 2359)
¥es, freedom to live chastely! It is the same call that every other Christian has, Chasity. The married are to remain faithful in mind, heart and body. They are not to engaged in unnatural sexual practices in their marriage or to use contraception. The unmarried are to live chastity by embracing celibacy. Homosexuals cannot marry. There are also many heterosexuals who never find their way to marriage. Celibacy is the call in cases like these. This is the vision and this is the plan. The Church offers the celibate life to those who cannot marry.
Now to those who may scoff, I want to say, I am a big believer in celibacy! Although a heterosexual, I have, as priest, embraced celibacy as a way of life. I am happy, fulfilled, and I have been successfully celibate all my priesthood. I have never strayed with anyone, not once. I am a witness that celibacy is both possible and wonderful.
Jesus was celibate, Paul was celibate. And to those who are not now married, and to those who can never marry, I commend celibacy to you and promise you that you can and will live a full life, a happy life, and a satisfied life in Christ Jesus by embracing the life he offers. As a celibate, the door to marriage and sexual activity is closed, but many other fulfilling things are opened, a life of service, and availability that might not otherwise be possible.
The Church offers the celibate and chaste life to the Gay community. The notion that happiness is not possible without sexual intercourse and/or marriage is a lie perpetrated by a sex-crazed culture. I am a witness that celibacy is good and fulfilling. I know also of many others, parishioners, both Gay and Straight who successfully live celibate lives and give witness to the grace of God in these matters.
4. Finally let me say, the Church offers respect and understanding rooted in truth to the Gay person. Now of course there are some people in this world who demand outright approval as the only way to show respect and understanding. With these there is no reasoning. But to those disposed to listen, and accept that understanding and respect are offered in the light of truth, the Church has this to say:
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. (Catechism # 2358)
There are some who would like to create that impression that the Catholic Church has people at the door trying to spot and keep Gay people out. Or that perhaps on discovery, they will be confronted and exposed to hate, or that they will be singled out for special ridicule and rebuke.
They are not. I’ve got a Church full of sinners, starting with the guy in the pulpit. And to those who come to the Catholic Church, there will be times where we are all challenged in one way or another by God’s truth regarding the sins to which we are most prone. There will also be times when we are greatly consoled by that same truth in the struggles and heartaches that most afflict us.
Good preaching comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. And we are all in both categories. I and others do not go up and down the aisles accusing or confronting people directly. I do not pry in people’s personal business. I do not ask every young couple if they are fornicating, or every business person if he is stealing.
I preach the gospel, I preach the gospel that God loves us, and that he, by that love and grace can save us from fornication, stealing, homosexual acts, unkindness, unforgiveness, greed and so forth.
We are all called to freedom, the glorious freedom of the Children of God. There are not separate rules for Gay people, Straight people, or any other category. We are all Children of God. Some of us are called to Marriage and child bearing, some are not. Sex is for marriage, no exceptions. There is a dignity and respect in the common call to live chastely, no matter who we are.
The Catholic Church has a lot to offer, to Gay people, to all people: the truth, the sacraments, a vision for a chaste life, and a fellowship of believers who offer support and encouragement to all who will walk with us poor fellow sinners.
113 Replies to “What does the Catholic Church offer to those with Same-sex Attraction?”
Don’t forget the Church also offers Courage, http://couragerc.net/, a Catholic support group for those with same sex attractions which helps members live a chaste life in accordance with Church teachings.
I am an alcoholic.. I was born this way.. My dad and uncle were alcoholics. It’s genetic. God made me this way.Twenty years ago I had to make a choice quit or watch my life and family disinticrate. Quitting was hard,,,, I needed God and all the grace I could muster. I’m sober now for 20+ years. Gays have to face there trials like an alcoholic—abstinence… Our culture today doesn’t like to give up things; fornication, masturbation, and sodomy are natural, therefore ok….. Wrong, we are given trials, we are being tested, We have to win our redemtion with the grace from God. We don’t make the rules. We are expected to follow them to the best of our abililty,,, and go to confession because we are sinners when we fail.
Thank you, Msgr, for your continued courage in speaking to the truth, knowing you will receive a lot of intolerant, bigoted replies.
And to everyone else on both sides of the issue who will discuss it peaceably and charitably, a pre-emptive “thank you” for rising above the immature attitudes and name-calling that normally follow this issue.
Thank you for this, Msgr. Pope. It helps clarify what can be confusing territory. We don’t hear these things spelled out clearly very often, if at all.
We first have to stop using the term “gay.” Those who are of same-sex attraction & actively act on it are human beings in need of redemption. The church offers love, compassion, support for those who want to live in accordance with God’s will. I have a nmuber of folks, both heterosexaul & homosexual, with the help of God’s grace have transformed their lives to become who God designed them to be.
I understand your concern about the term “Gay”, Language however, is not a personal possession, and in reaching out to others I have tried to use words which connect and are more common. One may regret the co-opting of the term gay and or its implications, but at some point, after some forty years of its use, the term is in use.
What concerns me is that people use these terms to define themselves I.e. “I am a straight person” or “I am a gay person,” when, in reality, we’re all just people. As people, our sins or attractions don’t define us. What defines us is that we are all made in the image and likeness of God and are infinitely loved by him. I wish we could change the conversation and take back the language.
I largely agree, but to some degree we have to be part of the conversation and thus need to accept some of this as a prelude to discussion.
What if, as a prelude to discussion there could be a a clarification of the very terms used, thereby dispelling the idea that there is some sort of third type of person? Something along the lines of “it is difficult to express the true meaning of a man or woman as a whole person when using the terms gay and lesbian. Those terms convey much that is false.” And then, “a man who feels a physical attraction to another man . . . ”
I believe that this is a starting point to a discussion that is truthful and positive, not defensive. One would unravel presuppositions and create an atmosphere of honesty. There is a certain amount of dishonesty in the very words gay and lesbian.
With the greatest respect due you, Monsignor, I cannot agree with you on this. We are in a war of words and if we give in on this, small as it may seem to some, we have already made a surrender. To use the perfectly innocent word “gay” to describe the most unnamable of sexual perversions is not only an insult to our intelligence but, more gravely, giving in to their distorted view.
The same can be said of this new-found mental state, unknown to mankind until the homosexuals became more outspoken and vicious, is something called “same sex attraction”. Here we have to be very, very careful. Again, the importance of words is paramount. Some use that phrase to excuse or to invite simple pity on buggery, as if it were only a non-threatening malady like the mumps. “Same sex attraction” in reality is a trendy phrase designed to draw attention away from the fact that a person is about to consent to mortal sin. If I go to Confession, Monsignor, and say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I have socked my wife in the jaw”, I certainly wouldn’t want my Confessor to answer that I have a wife-beating attraction that needs attention. I want to confess that sin and ask for guidance and a Penance. A homosexual temptation is a temptation like any other, certainly more perverse than a man lusting after another woman, and not just some sort of nebulous “attraction.”. An adulterous relationship between a man and a woman, bad as it is, is at least a natural vice; sodomy is not.
I am certain that you help the souls that come to you for Confession. I would only respectfully recommend that you never, not ever, use their terms to describe their mortal sins. The war of words is very real, and they are winning it right now. Unless we put our foot down and stop using their terms of reference.
Likewise in use is the term “anti-abortion.” We do not acquiesce to the deceit contained in that designation; it would be foolish to capitulate to a term which identifies with a socio-poltical framework overtly hostile to the very concept, let alone practice, of chastity. My appreciation to Jonah who buoyed Msgr’s claim of “community support” which the Church has to offer persons with ssa by his mention of the Courage apostolate.
Thank you for every word, Father. Finally a firm, reasoned, loving explanation of our faith in this regard. This should be published in a flyer and distributed widely.
Great post. BTW – I am married (without kids – not in the “cards”) and my wife and I life a chaste married life. Best friend in the world!
Thank you for these words of courage in these dark times. Let’s hope as many of our church leaders echo these truths in the days to come.
Thank you, Msgr. for this wonderfully thoughtful and logical piece on the situation. Too much harsh rhetoric and bias from the media confuses the issue to promote the homosexual agenda with no regard for those who believe in adhering to the teachings of their Faith.
The double standards of the secularists don’t allow for a Catholic perspective. If an Imam of the Islamic faith were to say the same thing, there would be a huge media silence for fear of upsetting and promoting terrorism.
Wonderful post Msgr. Many people think the Catholic Church’s “rules” are arbitrary and old-fashioned and “not fair” to some. What they don’t realize is that the Catholic Church knows human behavior better than anyone (over 2000 years of experience & Truth!) and what it proposes is best for all humans, no matter what our sinful inclinations are. Part of this issue begins with contraception. The increasing acceptance of homosexual behavior is overwhelmingly affected by the widespread acceptance of contraception…even among so many who consider themselves “Catholic”. When a heterosexual couple is contracepting, their mentality toward sexual activity is primarily to satisfy their sexual desires whenever they want. So to them it does seem “unfair” that a homosexual person cannot live out their attraction. The beauty of not contracepting is that all human beings start “on a level playing field”, so that a heterosexual single person is denying themselves the same way a homosexual person is, the same way a priest is! We are all united in our human sexuality. Even the married person, although not celibate, occasionally must deny their desires or accept the possibility of the fruit of them. And that means the “rules” are the same for everyone, not biased agains anyone. It is not a burden but freedom!
Good post, but chastity for people with SSA does not equal celibacy. I know many men who are already married or who wish to be married and are working on overcoming their SSA. I get frustrated at times when the idea is put out there explicitly or implicitly that having same-sex attractions is in itself a sign that that person has a vocation to celibacy.
Well, what other option is there based on what Scripture teaches? If they are in these “marriages” (do you mean Same sex unions?) then they would need to cease that or any sexual activity associated with it. If you mean that they are in a traditional marriage and also struggling with SSA well sure, help is available. But this article is of a general nature and I cannot delve into every possible scenario. One ouhght not get “frustrated” simply because and already long article does not cover a rather more rare scenario. Perhaps you could just comment by way of adding to the discussion and say that there are some for whom the scenario of celibacy would need to be qualified. But frustration regrading a highly specific scenario hardly seems a reasonable response to a post of general nature. In the majority of cases, wherein orientation is not marginal as you describe it and where a current valid marriage is not currently operative as well, celibacy has to be the answer. And even for those who may be able to have their SSA healed, (and I have walked with several who have), Celibacy, until marriage, is still the call. It may not be a perpetual celibacy, but it is operative until proper marriage is attained.
My take on Robert’s post is that he is, indeed, talking about those with SSA who have nonetheless chosen to marry a person of the opposite sex and struggle to live a married life including, perhaps, learning to appreciate sexual union with their spouse as well as avoiding any exercise of same-sex activity. I do not think this is such a rare scenario that it merits no discussion. While this is extremely difficult for someone with exclusive (or nearly so) attraction to their own sex and thus the scenario of a truly “100% gay” being changed to a happily married heterosexual is rare to the point of being negligible, I think bisexual orientation is more common than realized, and it is the polarizing nature of the debates that tends to make people “choose sides” and claim a “fully gay” identity if they do not feel they can truthfully claim a “fully straight” one. If there was more attention paid to the struggle of the bisexual, some of these might feel more inclined to a family life within the church that they may find fulfilling because it is actually their vocation.
Can a same sex addiction be “healed”. Msgr the language is so confusing right now for young people who consider themselves liberal they are being guided by a lot of the language permeating our media. I thank you for this information as Cardinal Dolan said last Sunday the Roman Catholic Church has let others get out in front of this debate/dialogue and define for us what we think which is so wrong. We need to address this head on, with the truth on our side how can we not trust our Resurrected Saviour and the Holy Spirit that He sent to us to lead us.
The concept of healing SSA is controversial since some dont think they need healing. But it is also controversial in terms of how effective the healing of deep seated orientation can be. Thus I think the healing of SSA will depend a lot on how deep seated the orientation is. For in some cases SSA orientation can be seen more on a continuum of strong to minimal and I suspect that the minimals could well be good prospects for healing if they are willing whereas the strongly SSAs would be both less willing and less likely to able to be healed.
As someone who has this, I can tell you that just because you have it deeply doesn’t mean that there is less willingness to change, as Monsignor Pope assures us. I have tried to change for years and have spent a lot of money on the process. I have worked with one of the very public NARTH-associated therapists, and I have tried and tried with the spiritual life, and I still fall. And by the way, I don’t mean getting it on with other guys. I mean masturbation. I’ve never had sex with a man. Only in my mind. I find the Church is one of the last places to get any help. I live in an academic town. In the liberal Catholic parishes: you have to be out. In the conservative Catholic parishes: you have to be closeted. My inclinations are more conservative, so I’m in parishes where gay marriage is routinely denounced, but nothing is said about heterosexual fornication or chastity within heterosexual marriage (like–no oral sex within heterosexual marriage. We never hear about that). The longer I’m in the Catholic Church (34 years out of 54 lived), the more I’m convinced that homosexuality is a stand in for birth control, serial divorce, pre-marital sex, and out-of-wedlock births, with which Catholics, even conservative Catholics, have made their de facto peace. All of you, including you, Monsignor Pope, could offer a lot more to gays and lesbians by doing two things: 1) don’t automatically assume that even a gay couple is sexually active–that would be like me assuming that all of the 2 child Catholic couples I see must have been using birth control pills. There are older gay couples who live together for emotional and financial support; 2) listen to gays and lesbians who are trying to live the Catholic faith. I can’t use bold, so I’ll have to use caps: really LISTEN. Not just once. Get to know them outside the confessional. I think many Catholic priests only know gays and lesbians from confession and spiritual direction. Reach out even more (Pope Francis says it’s okay). A PS on Courage: Courage is a very disorganized organization. Sometimes it can be great, other times it can be very loosey-goosey. And, in the case of my diocese, the bishop apparently doesn’t want it here. So, whenever some right-wing Catholic goodwife helpfully comboxes about Courage, I really despair. PSS: I’m not in any gay relationship myself. I’m utterly alone. Not good for trying to live a chaste life.
Everett — if you think you have coherent criticisms to offer concerning the disorganization you allege to plague Courage, I am quite confident its international chaplain/coordinator would appreciate hearing you lay these out. He can be reached through the apostolate’s webpage: http://www.couragerc.net.
Everett, your post was quite moving. Thanks for your sincerity. Have you tried the (60 second) Prayer to St Raphael the Archangel? It is good to keep a King’s secret, but it works. It is a daily exercise. i am waiting to hear your testimony sooner than later. God bless.
Prayer to St Raphael the Archangel :St Raphael the Archangel glorious prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by your gifts of wisdom and grace; guide of travelers by land, sea (and air); consoler of the unfortunate; and refuge of sinners; i beseech you please help me in all my needs and in all trials of this life as you once assisted young Tobias in his life’s journey. And since you are the physician of God i humbly pray heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of every ill that afflicts it, if this is for my greater good. i ask especially for angelic purity that i may be made fit to be a living temple of the Holy Spirit.Amen
Everett, God bless you for all of your efforts. I have friends in your situation, and they have the same problems of isolation, of being misunderstood, rejected, and a sense of being scape-goated in the face of the overwhelming failure of marriage and morality in the modern world, as if this is the last acceptable sin to rail against. (You are right that most Catholics have ‘made a de facto peace’ with the problems you listed. I was just wondering, with all of the unnatural practices within marriage, birth control, sterilization, divorce, adultery etc. etc. how many valid sacramental marriages even exist these days?) Satan is very welcoming to all sinners, and he wants all of them to join him forever. Would that Catholics were so! I wanted to ask you if you could say more about what you mean about listening and not assuming? I am not alone in really wanting to ‘reach out’ and just be in normal friendships, but I do not really know HOW to do this! Do not give up! (I recently read something by Pope Francis that was really encouraging to me, “Christian morality is not a titanic effort of the will, the effort of someone who decides to be consistent and succeeds, a solitary challenge in the face of the world. No. Christian morality is simply a response: It is the heartfelt response to a surprising, unforeseeable, “unjust” mercy … using purely human criteria, of one who knows me, knows my betrayals and loves me just the same, appreciates me, embraces me, calls me again, hopes in me, and expects from me. This is why the Christian conception of morality is a revolution; it is not a ‘never falling down’ but an ‘always getting up again.’
And please DO write Fr. Check and tell him your thoughts about Courage. He would really appreciate the feedback.
great! May I share with my teen group in our Facebook page? Some of them really think the Chruch is out of touch on this issue. It’s really diffcult getting through to them. They’re being so deceived by our decaying culture.
Yes, please share! I am glad if this can help in any way. God Bless you Father.
Thank you. Let us pray for one another always. We need it!
For those strugglling with various issues of sexuality particularly if they are addictive or compulsive my I recommend: http://www.reclaimsexualhealth.com
I had a quick look at the site, Matthew. It looks good. Thanks for the link!
“Truth may HURT a little while but a lie Hurts for ever ”
The Catholic Church has a lot to offer, to Gay people, to all people: the truth, the sacraments, a vision for a chaste life, and a fellowship of believers who offer support and encouragement to all who will walk with us poor fellow sinners.
John 4: 10 Jesus said to the Samaritan woman “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that speaking to you, you would have asked from him LIVING WATER”. That gift of God is HOLY SPIRIT…she lived a adulterous life but as she received the LIVING WATER she was transformed……filled with COURAGE all those discouraged her got EMPOWERED by her words…….NEW LIFE, NEW HOPE………………
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Your body is the temple of the HOLY SPIRIT
John 8: Jesus never accused woman who was caught in to adultry….by the very fact of COMPASSIONATE love of JESUS she got transformed……………
WORD of God Changes our WORLD…when we read HOLY SPIRIT WORKS….
I have come to call sinners for repentance …with compassionate love………………
RIGHT cannot be WRONG and WRONG cannot be RIGHT
there is a ORDER in the Creation…disorder never comes from GOD………….
Let us OBEY GOD and HEAR his VOICE
May God bless every one……………………..let us LEAD A HOLY LIFE
Rev. Fr. Philiph Franky D’Souza (Fr Franklin)
NATIONAL YOUTH DIRECTOR -INDIA
websites: http://www.icym.net, http://www.frfranklin.org
The Catholic Church, indeed, has a lot to offer gay and straight people in the context of SSA….namely the opportunity to express the love of Christ for each other. Christ loves each and every one of us as we are, despite our sins to the point of giving His life for us.
Greater love than this, no man has.
During the sign of peace at Mass, we should think of loving others who we harbor aversions towards and wishing them the peace of Christ along with the person standing near you during Mass. After all, Christ Himself sure did.
The stated “givens” notwithstanding, the Church stands in opposition to what science tells us. It is well-established that homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice, but an innate rendering of one’s sexual identity. … And I think were Jesus still among us in person, He too would would welcome them inro His community, and hold them to the same sexual ethics as us heterosexuals, whom I might add, have made a mess of the sacred entity of marriage.
Your final point about heterosexuals making a mess of marriage is correct and that was the point of my blog last week.
As for science, you state a theory. Show me the gay gene under a microscope. What you state as a fact is really just a theory, the origins of orientation aren’t that clear.
That said, I frankly have no opinion about the origin of orientation, neither does the Church and am willing to stipulate that most of us do not see attraction of any sort in the simple realm of choice. But that fact has nothing to do with the morality of what we do. Many people are born with many attractions to many things, people and situations: some have certain tendencies and attractions that are either disordered or out of balance. All these proclivities need to be negotiated in life and we are still required to make reasonable choices. The Catholic Church does not teach that homosexual orientation is sinful (though it is disordered). Rather what we do teach is that homosexual acts are sinful, as are illicit heterosexual acts.
As for Jesus, you can make up a Jesus and imagine of him what you wish. But the real Jesus is revealed in Scripture and he speaks to us through his chosen apostles whom he commissioned to speak and teach in his name. Even the gospels that present his own words were written by apostles or Evangelists. To the apostles Jesus said, he who hears you hears me. To them he said to go and make disciples teaching them all I have commanded you….You cannot just make up a Jesus. He is reveled to us by his Holy Spirit speaking through those men, and the apostolic Tradition speaks clearly, unambiguously and consistently against homosexual acts, along with many illicit heterosexual acts.
Jesus speaks through Peter, James, John, Jude, and Paul, not through Robbie. And his chosen delegates, the men who walked and talked with him, and saw him alive, and St. Paul who squared his teaching with Peter and James, all of them never got your little memo that Jesus would be just fine with homosexual acts. Neither did the Holy Spirit get your memo since He inspired the Apostles who recorded the New Testament to disagree with you, not to agree with you He obviously is not, for he speaks through them and says just the opposite.
Would Jesus welcome Gays? Yes, and so does the Church. But he says to them what he says to any sinner, what he said to the adulteress woman: I do not condemn you but do not sin again. To us all Jesus forbids lustful thoughts and actions. There is no lawful sex outside of holy matrimony. cf Matt 5:28.
Now Robbie, stop playing games with scripture and inventing stuff, and stop trying to deceive others. The real Jesus never got your memo about how happy he’d be to celebrate homosexual acts. Like any human being, you are welcome to God’s house. But no one is welcome to reinvent the truth of the Gospel no matter how clever they try to make their deception.
Show me your Jesus under a microscope.
But seriously, the claim that there is “biological” connection, that is a physical connection, ought to be demonstrable physically, should it not? If there there is a gay gene, demonstrate it. And this could be done in different ways. For example, would not identical twins both be gay or straight 100% of the time based on genes alone if there is a biological cause? How can one explain that this is not the case if biology alone is the reason. Perhaps there is a biological tendency that is affect by others things. Maybe its a little nature and a little nurture. Maybe the large number of missing fathers today is a factor. Perhaps we just don’t know for sure, the exact cause of SSA. Perhaps there are several factors, etc. That’s all I’m saying.
At the end of the day though, the cause of SSA does not affect the Church teaching since orientation is not a sin. Deeds are sinful or virtuous, orientation does not have a moral valence. Ay analogy, if I were both with a diabetic condition, say, there is no sin in that. However, I would need to carefully monitor my diet and adjust, such that it might be sinful for me to intentional eat foods that would harm me. But the sin would be in the intentional eating, not in the mere condition which I might have been born with.
Have you ever heard of epigenetics? Your DNA can be modified without actual changes in nucleotide sequence. Therefore you could most certainly have one twin be straight and the other could be gay. Somatic mutations and alterations can occur in DNA after you are born (ever heard of cancer?). Also you don’t “look at genes under a microscope.” There are no such thing as scientific facts and everything in science is coined under the term “theory” — that includes gravity, cell biology, physics, and many other things that you and all of us except as normal in our everyday life. Don’t talk about science when you clearly are not very well versed. And so what if there ends up being no gay gene? Jesus taught us to accept and love everyone, and I think it is wrong to ignore some things in the Bible (everything about eating pork, stoning women, etc.) and then overplay the homosexual angle.
Whatever, but I have said that the matter is irrelevant from the standpoint of moral theology for the reasons stated. No need to get all uppity, I know you don’t look at genes under a microscope but rather map them. I am not the yahoo you presume. But again the claim was made that orientation is surely a biologically encoded thing and I’d like some evidence of that. As for me I am not sure its 100 percent biological, there may be other factors etc. I am not setting aside science, i am only asking you and others to let science be science, and not leap to conclusions before the evidence is in. The honest answer here is that we dont know 100 percent for sure where this and other deep seated tendencies come from. is it nature nurture a combination etc?
And as for your knowledge of theology and the Catholic approach to scripture, you are showing yourself not very well versed. IOW you are criticizing an approach to Scripture that Catholics dont even have. We are not Biblical fundamentalists and do use scripture in the manner you suggest. You are badly misled and criticizing the Church for something we do not even hold.
Perhaps again it is your arrogance that causes you to see us as biblical idiots and not nearly as enlightened and kind as you. Whatever the case there is more to “accepting everyone” that telling them what tickles their ears and approving of whatever they do. Jesus didnt just walk around and affirm everyone. You set up a false dichotomy. And what about the fact that you aren’t approving of me, Cheryl? Arent you breaking your “love and accept everyone” mandate? What if I was just born this way Cheryl, arent you suppose to approve me just the way I am?
Msgr. Charles Pope,
With all due respect and Christian love, you have created a strawman in your esponse that takes attention from the basic point that I make. I never, as you ascribed, used the word, “genetic,” nor did I use genetics as the bsis of my assertion. If you study the scientific literature, discuss feelings with gay and lesbian individuals, and evaluate the circumstances faced by such individuals, perhaps you would have a better understanding of the origen of homosexuality. You failed to explain how the Bible has inconsistencies and contradictions as I cited, and rspond as to how that applies to this issue, e.g. How Jesus came had a Moabite in his lineage, which God himself scorned by excluding Moabites from entering the kingdom.
And I would ask, where in the Bible do you find the word, “homosexual?”
I’m not going to reopen debate I’ve had with countless others quite thoroughly before, have addressed quite thoroughly before on the blog all the issues if you’ve raised, including in the letter that I linked to.
Your remark that the word homosexuality does not appear in the Bible shows a lack of intellectual seriousness or even rudimentary sophistication, on your part. You are not interested in having a real discussion, clearly. The scriptures clearly the describe homosexual activity and for bids and it is clear to any honest reader of the text. It does better than use the term homosexuality, it out right describes it, a man shall not lie with a man as with the woman… Women exchanged normal sexual relations and burned with lust for one another… St. Paul describes these sorts of acts in Romans 1 as para physin. That is, contrary to nature. I could go on, but I have my doubts that you are really interested in understanding or learning what the sacred text actually says. You have been deceived By modern thinking, and are trying to make the text sacred text say what you wish it would say, rather than what it plainly and obviously does say
That certain Jewish practices in the Levitical code were set aside, is contained clearly within the sacred text itself. Jesus rendered all foods clean And many of the most severe punishments were set-aside within the text and also by later practice within the Jewish community. But it no stage, at any point in sacred scripture are homosexual acts described in any other way than sinful and disordered. The same is true for all illicit forms of heterosexual activity outside of marriage. That some Legislation in the Bible does clearly change is evident. But many other things do not change And the absolute forbiddance of homosexual acts is one of those. Catholics are not fundamentalist, And it would seem that you are using a fundamentalist reading of Scripture. We read this issue, and others as well in light of the entire text has interpreted by sacred Tradition. Your attempts to discredit Catholic teaching, and the teaching of Scripture on this matter by the fundamentalist reading will not fly here. We are not fundamentalist and your interpretive key Utterly misses the mark.
Way to stay in the truth of the discussion! I hope that people will see the conviction of your faith and open there hearts to listen to you! God bless!!
Fine, but again I repeat the origin of orientation does not affect the Church teaching in this matter. All people are born with certain temperaments too, but they have to deal that in a way that is proper. So, lets say some one is “born” with a tendency to anger. Lets they say they got it from their father and that they were observed to feisty even in the womb. OK, But that does not simply excuse outbursts of anger, etc. It simply means that the person will have to learn to curb their anger and engage its energy in non-sinful ways. It doesn’t really matter if they were “born that way” or that their difficulty was learned, or a combination of both. The moral imperative remains that one must not sinfully make use of the passion of anger. Others are born with an intolerance to alcohol, (or perhaps they acquire it, or a combination of both). Whatever the case, a true alcoholic has only one righteous recourse, abstinence. Where the problem originated does not change the moral truth of what must be done in response to the issue, where ever it came from. William makes this point well in a comment above.
This debate about the nature/nurture origin of homosexual orientation is an unnecessary diversion, a red herring. And frankly, honestly, all posturing aside, the exact origin of deep seated human tendencies is mysterious to us. We are all clearly a affected by nature (biology and genetics) and also experience. And how these interact is both mysterious and variable from person to person.
But none of this has anything to do with what is right or wrong. A tendency is just a tendency, a trait is just a trait, there is no sin that. But morality enters the picture based on what we do or don’t do.
To re-hash what the good Monsignor has already said, the Church holds those with homosexual and heterosexual inclinations to the exact same sexual ethics.
Robbie, please illustrate how the Church does not do this.
Also, Jesus IS still among us, body and soul, in every Catholic Church, and he welcomes all to receive him, body and soul.
True. I don’t think this gets pointed out enough or people just don’t get it.
A person with SSA participating in homosexual activity = heterosexual who is fornicating (sex outside of marriage) = someone committing adultery.
It’s sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman. It’s a sin. Period.
Christopher and Timothy, I agree with the objective truth of your statement, but I just want to encourage you to consider the subjective element here. A person who has normal sexual attractions could always delay in the hope of entering a marriage someday, or, if married, reject adulterous attractions and renew his commitment to his wife. Even an avowed celibate person or priest (correct me here, Msgr. Pope!) could rejoice that he has forgone the earthly joys of marriage for love of his Bride, the Church. But people who have same-sex-sexual-attraction have no hope of ever being able to act on them without sin. That is a heavier burden, it seems, and it surely must FEEL different, even if, as you say, they are held to the same standard of behavior. And objectively, it IS different when the attraction itself is disordered, versus ordered but misdirected (wrong time, wrong extent, wrong person, etc.) I do not advocate hiding or distorting the Truth in any way, but please just try imagining what it would be like to be the person that struggles with this. Caritas!
As someone with SSA I have come to know and accept the Church’s wisdom in the area of human sexuality and know that it alone speaks the truth on the matter.
I attend a traditional latin mass church and have found the community open and friendly and not interested in learning the particulars of my life or sins.
The Church offers alot to those with SSA, most essentially it offers hope, which the gay lifestyle certainly does not.
Thanks for this testimony. I also like the fact that you affirm that people are open and friendly and not prying into the personal particulars of your life. To all who come there is the premise that they sincerely seek the Lord and his truth. Praise God.
I agree with your statement. I too have SSA and nobody inquires about it, all are welcoming to me when I attend mass. I find the confessional very liberating and comforting as I receive forgiveness for my sins and begin again with Jesus. My conversion never ceases to amaze me, how I have changed my behavior, how I love that change, the love I feel in prayer, the hope this has all given me. I praise the Lord in the mercy he show me a sinner.
The Church offers to everyone the same graces: hope, love, salvation and unity with God and each other. Graces come at a cost: a cross that no one wants to carry but can be made lighter through grace. Real Catholicism isn’t easy for anyone, we are all in need of grace and non one succeeds on their own. There is no special accommodation for my sins of choice, there can’t be. I have to be repaired just like everyone else.
I agree with all of your points, Msgr. Any person, irrespective of their personal circumstances, can find the wonderful benefits you outline through the Catholic Church. Every person can make the decision to reap those benefits – or to forgo them. God gives us free will to love him, be indifferent toward him, or to reject him. There are many lifestyles and many rights-based frameworks for living that obviously are contrary to what God, and the Church, have to offer. We are surrounded by them today.
But, given that people have the ability (and the right) to reject God and the Church, should the Church be so active in opposing those alternative lifestyles/frameworks? Is that what ‘evangelization’ means…not only promoting the Good News but fighting legally, through the media, and so on to counter alternatives? My personal opinion is that we should make known (publicly and loudly) what we have to offer – but not invest so much capital in opposing alternative lifestyles. Let people make up their own minds.
There is value in what you say. In a civil society we have to cooperate and get along with everyone including those we do not agree with. Unfortunately I feel it is also flawed. First, I do not believe the current liberal society and homosexual community will accept your suggestion. They do not appear to be willing to let those who feel their choice (not the attraction but the actions and lifestyle) is morally wrong believe that. They attack us with hatred. It is clear that we must call their choices good or they will continue to attack us as a group and individually. You only need to read a newspaper about Chick-fil-A. Additionally, your position would say that I cannot take part in my own government or civil society. I believe some action to be harmful to individuals and society let’s say not making your children go to school. If I believe this to be morally wrong then should I not actively seek to make this the law? Otherwise I am not living up to my responsibility to my society. Religious beliefs are not a hobby. They form an individual as a person. If everyone simply looked on when they saw something happening that was bad they society decends into chaos. If an individual feels compelled with all their being to harm cats. To that person this is normal, it feels good and they own the cat they are harming anyway. As I understand your point, if my belief that harming cats comes from my religious beliefs then I should not take any action within the legal framework of society to stop abuse of cats. I can’t do that. I am unable to call bad good just so I don’t offend someone. I must act in a civil manner and respectfully but I do not have to say harming cats is fine just because that other person feels an intense desire to abuse cats.
Live and let live has many attractions and has much value but it cannot be universal.
“We are living in a fallen world, governed by a fallen angel, and we ourselves have fallen natures.”–well said.
“I have never strayed with anyone, not once.”–God bless you for that, Monsignor.
I think this passage from the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas sheds light on this topic (p.1, q. 60, a. 5):
“Consequently, since God is the universal good, and under this good both man and angel and all creatures are comprised, because every creature in regard to its entire being naturally belongs to God, it follows that from natural love angel and man alike love God before themselves and with a greater love. Otherwise, if either of them loved self more than God, it would follow that natural love would be perverse, and that it would not be perfected but destroyed by charity.”
One way to understand the cultural wars is that it is an effort to have the final seven Commandments without the first three Commandments. Another way of understanding the cultural wars is that our opponents claim that masturbation isn’t a sin.–which is the same as claiming that love of self is higher than love of God.
Thank you, Monsignor. Everything you have written is true.
I am celibate (in the process of divorce) and since I never plan to remarry, I have embraced chaste celibacy. It is much better than being the unpaid “sex slave” of a pornograpny-watching husband!
But all kidding aside, chastity and celibacy can bring great peace. I never again have to look for approval in the eyes of another person who is as desperate and broken as I am.
The gay life is anything but. My late brother was gay, and he lost his life cruising for sexual adventures. (he was murdered) This is very common, actually. But these days you only hear of “gay bashing.” There is a lot of gay-on-gay violence. And gay men are so mean to each other! They fight like women, but they are strong, as you would expect being men.
My Dearest Jennifer,
I am very sorry to hear of your brother’s death. It saddens me a great deal. I myself, experience Same Sex Attractions (SSA) but have been chaste all my life. I have never experienced the gay sub culture personally but from what I have heard, it is very addictive, experimentative and becomes something of a vicious cycle. I will pray for your brother specially. If you are agreeable to let me have his name, I will be more than happy to offer a mass for the repose of his soul. Please feel free to read my testimony below.
Your brother in Christ,
I am curious as to why you will not ask a couple if they are fornicating. I believe that consciences need to be formed and many people do not consider this a sin. This topic has not been spoken from the pulpit much for many years. I have always hoped this was addressed in pre-Cana classes or in confession, which to me would be an appropriate venue. We should know our faith but many don’t, or choose not to!
The greatest untruth in our midst right now are the evolution theory of Darwin that we are animals thus we can indulge in base acts of animals and Freudian theory that all must satisfy base instincts of satisfying their inner lusts in not so high falutin words. These are the very accepted mindset of modern man now, that totally is contrary to JESUS’ command of denying oneself and carrying the daily cross and ‘come after ME.’ Truly the “chattering class” = media, and the academes = the so called inteligentia perpetuates this mindset everywhere. This is furthered by the Pilatian relativism amidst us that ‘your truth may not be my truth.’ This is the fight of the Church Militants and in this is where we need the gifts of the HOLY SPIRIT to renew the face of the earth. LORD, grant us the wisdom and love and grace to fulfill the Will of The FATHER in our daily lives that we may touch others and let them know that they are loved by GOD.
My Dearest Msgr. Charles Pope,
I would like to share my testimony. I experience Same Sex Attractions (SSA). I’m 27 and hail from the island nation of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. I come from a family of four Jesuit priests and two Carmelite nuns. I experience Same Sex Attractions (SSA), am a virgin, have been chaste all my life and am a proud Roman Catholic. I am insulted when people use a reductionist reference to describe me by using labels such as ‘gay’. I am disgusted that ‘active homosexuals’ DEMAND for a redefinition of marriage. I am appalled that their erroneous claim of ‘civil rights’ should trump the fundamental right of every child to a MOTHER and FATHER. And I am utterly confused as to how people can condone same sex activity knowing full well that such acts are harmful to the body. A five year old child knows better. I am truly humbled and Blessed to accept the Cross of SSA and share in the LORD’s bitter Passion! What greater blessing can the One whom I pierced with my sinful nature bestow on me? I will embrace my Cross and carry it all the Way to Calvary.
I apologise for being blunt, Father. For far too long have our voices been silenced by powerful homosexual lobbyists claiming that I am “born” like this and don’t have choice as to my behaviour. I’m a microbiologist/geneticist and I have seen no scientific evidence as to a “gay gene”. I have lived chastely throughout my life and I testify to the TRUTH from whom all Grace and Mercy issues forth. The age of lukewarm Catholicism is over! It is time to fight for TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE. It is time to fight for our CHILDREN. And we must fight armed with the “Truth” tempered with love and compassion.
Sometimes, I wonder as to this saying of Jesus, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then “ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
In this corrupt age that we live in where the very reflection the Blessed Trinity (in the union of man and woman and any children that proceed from such a union) is under attack, I feel that it is better to be childless.
Please pray for me Father that I may persevere in the Faith and be a courageous witness for Christ. I sustain vicious attacks on a daily basis and I am shunned by those who are “gay” and shunned by those who do not understand the heavy Cross that the LORD has lovingly asked me to carry (Sri Lanka is a conservative country and view homosexuality as a disease or a Western import).
I remain obedient to you and to the Holy Catholic Church.
Your faithful child,
Adrain, Blessed are you for your courageous life. It is victim souls like yourself that will help bring the change in our world. Thank you so much for coming forward and revealing yourself. We might never know how many souls are being help by the many sufferings and sacrifices of souls who offer themselves up for the kingdom of God. My love and God’s peace be with you.
Perhaps the real solution for how the Church is to deal with people with SSA is to simply promote the viability and preferability for celibacy as it has done in the past.
It is no coincidence that the Church is getting hammered from inside and out after it has seemed to cave-in with regards to its traditional exaltation of celilbacy.
People, straight or gay, just can’t think of a life without sex as viable or preferable.
Even married people can’t handle giving up sex for a week a month to avoid using contraceptives.
It really is sad that the Church isn’t more agressive in promoting celibacy as a valid life option, but considering that so many priests are fighting to get out of their celibacy promise, it isn’t surprising.
The day the Church caves in to allow a married clergy is the day the Church becomes truly bourgeoise and the radical transformative nature of the Christian message will be neutered.
It is no conicidence that the Anglican church has been transformed by the world than the other way around. It will happen to the Catholic Church too if it continues down this dagerous path of accomodation to the world.
We need another Pope Pius to come out of the conclave swinging, not a new people that doesn’t follow his own Church’s liturgical rules and wants to make nice with the Church’s traditional enemies.
Chastity has been so undertaught the past few decades. So much of this deviation from truth started with the used of contraception by Christians after the Lambeth conference in 1930. When we began to think that ‘sterile’ sex was OK in marriage. Then came the thought that contraception could take the place of chastity outside of marriage. In the end we have lost so much of the real meaning of sex. And once sterile sex was the norm, homosexual activity became just another form of sterile sex. We lost the truth that sex is intercourse/copulation, an act which can only be done with one of the opposite gender, and that its primary purpose is procreation. We started to think of ‘sex’ as something for personal pleasure–a selfish motive. Thus we ‘miss the mark’ of our true aim–self-sacrificing love–agape.
Chastity has been so undertaught the past few decades. So much of this deviation from truth started with the used of contraception by Christians after the Lambeth conference in 1930, when we began to think that ‘sterile’ sex was OK in marriage. Then came the thought that contraception could take the place of chastity outside of marriage. In the end we have lost so much of the real meaning of sex. And once sterile sex was the norm, homosexual activity became just another form of sterile sex. We lost the truth that sex is intercourse/copulation, an act which can only be done with one of the opposite gender, and that its primary purpose is procreation. We started to think of ‘sex’ as something for personal pleasure–a selfish motive. Thus we ‘miss the mark’ of our true aim–self-sacrificing love–agape.
Just keep telling the truth Msgr. Pope.
The Church offers hope for all sinners.
1 in 3 people in the USA has an STD now according to the latest CDC data. Chastity is not just a moral safeguard…it’s a medical necessity.
Where can I get this data? Could you cite me the publication date and no.
Thanks, God Bless!
They are including genital warts (HPV).
“According to new data released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 19.7 million new venereal infections in the United States in 2008, bringing the total number of existing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S. at that time to 110,197,000…”
Here’s the journal link:
I hope you can use this data in your ministry Msgr. Pope and parents need to warn their children.
The data confirms the medical truth of the moral teaching and these diseases are more difficult to treat. Some new strains of the “Poxes” of old are now resistant to modern antibiotics…We return to the 18th century, when people died.
Science does not have all the answers.
What is a parent’s responsibility toward their adult children with SSA? I missed the boat while raising my child and worried more about raising politically correct, accepting children then I did about their eternal souls. I never imagined one of my children would be faced with this issue. Now I am faced with explaining to my child that her engagement in homosexual activities is wrong. I’ve made this clear, but I find it difficult to know when to speak up and when not to.
Wonderful article! Thank you!
Just continue to preach the Gospel, Monsignor. Either all who are guilty of sin will heed your words and desire to change their lives or they won’t. As you state in this blog entry, the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church cannot be changed, as they are God given. We must change our ways. God Bless. +JMJ+
I think when celibacy for unmarried heterosexuals, and periodic (or perpetual, upon agreement) abstention even among the married, becomes accepted again as an honored spiritual choice rather than viewed as pathological (as the “sex is like vitamins, you should have one every day to be healthy” society does), it will be much easier for homosexuals to feel good about their own choice to accept this discipline. So long as being sexually active is equated with being psychologically healthy in our modern society, it makes it seem as though it is *only* homosexuals we are asking this of, and that quite naturally makes them feel discriminated against. It would be nice if heterosexuals – both those who have taken vows of celibacy for the sake of religious orders, and celibate laity – would talk more about their own experience of celibacy and the gifts it has given them, leading by example rather than condemnation.
Thank you for both of your articles on this most important topic.Both are excellent and so very much in need of promulgation!
If only more Church leaders would teach these truths in love!
It is so important for our happiness!
Sodomy and masturbation are wrong no matter who is doing it !
In so many marriages (I am talking between a man and woman) there is so much immoral sexual behavior going on(including contraception) and most couples do not even realize it.And so when it comes to sexual activity with those of same sex attraction they do not know what is the big deal.
We have forgotten the main purpose for sex and that is Sex is for babies ! I know the unitive aspect is important too but is not the main purpose.
We are a society that has become addicted and enslaved by our sexual drive and are no longer free for true love.
Our precious Lord Jesus has given us the truth about our sexuality and that truth will set us free.
There are benefits to celibacy that are clearly noted by the Eastern monastic traditions. I converted to Catholicism from one of these traditions. I had been trying for ten years to be celibate without succeeding. I had entered an RCIA program and had been going for a month or two. The first time that I saw the Blessed Sacrament in Exposition I had a very deep experience and fell in love. From that day on, I have been able to practice celibacy. It has now been two and a half years.
In reaction to my conversion to Catholicism and my noted success at celibacy, people at the upper echelons of the Eastern traditions have expressed credulity regarding the longevity of my new celibate life. It seems that they are actually skeptical of the average person’s ability to be celibate. The problem is that they don’t have the sacraments.
Msgr…thank you for this piece. I think that in the short time that Pope Francis has been our Holy Father encouragement to love those that “may not be so loveable” has greatly increased.
I also appreciate your comments on heterosexuals; those actions which are contraceptive and the actual uses of contraceptives among heterosexuals.
I have a question…you proclaim the use of the sacraments and I agree we should encourage frequenting of the sacraments. However many sacraments have pre-requisites as you are plainly aware. Reception of Holy Communion comes to mind and I wonder if you may have missed speaking of these pre-reqs for those Catholics and non-Catholics who wish to partake of the One True Church.
FINALLY…In the short time of Pope Francis’ reign I have been moved by his actions to love those who are unloveable. Do you have any suggestions that maybe we could bring to our Pastors regarding those with SSA. I think we are missing their personalities, their humanity in our churches. Not sure how else to say that but I hope you understand. Maybe we can sit down and talk as people. I am encouraged Msgr 🙂
What I need from a church is not for anyone else to define. Yes the church offers doctrine, which I will never know if true until I die. Yes, the church offers sacraments, which promise invisible unmeasurable grace; helpful to one who already has faith I am sure, but presumably were not helpful to the majority of catholics who gave up on taking advantage of them. The church offers the gift of celibacy, which of course costs the church nothing and this article takes little account of the pain and emptiness many have had to bear. There is a reason why so many aim for chastity and fail! What the church could offer the gay person is pastors who are concerned and caring, fellow church members who welcome the struggler with open arms and an open heart – a family of faith to take the place of the family the honest gay person will not have at home! Most religions are not full of such warm caring people, but surely the one true religion would be…Sorry to be bitter but honesty is probably of greater value here than diplomacy.
I wonder if you would take the same attitude with medical doctors: demanding in effect that they merely offer you what you want. But doctors must follow good medical practice and speak the truth to people who don’t always want to hear it. But if they told lies and or just partial truths that would be malpractice, and so is what you ask of the Church. It would not be reasonable for you to say to the medical community: “What I need from a doctor is not for anyone else to define.”
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, I am not defining for you what you need, I saying what we offer. Take it or leave it. I hope you take it though, it is what is best for you and deep down you know it.
Your doctor analogy is a valid one, and no I am not calling into question the moral teaching of the Church. If we were called ONLY to act as a doctor then perhaps we could say that we are offering enough to sinners. But we too are sinners, so we cannot presume to say that. Remember we are also commanded to offer love, Christ’s and yes, our own love (see John chapter 15) to sinners. I suspect if we actually did that the brothels and bath houses would be empty and the churches would be full. Thank you for your ministry Msr.
OK, but beware of false dichotomies
No – the churches of the one true religion are not necessarily full of people who are prayerfully, humbly, and zealously practicing the one true religion. Might be more likely in a less complacent (third world?) country than this.
April 3rd: Men having sex with men or women with women is unnatural…God created us male and female; he formed male and female bodies to fit, to complement each other in order to co-create with God new life. God has done this so while the Supreme court debates gay marriage, God has already made His decision by forming us as He did. However, we have to know that millions of homosexual men and women suffer because they cannot form ‘unions’ as male/females do and love seeks union. I worked with inner city boys who were placed in group homes because of dysfunctional family situations. Some were sexually active with each other…so one day I called them together and we prepared a meal and sat down to talk…about sex and responsibility. They were shy and awkward at first but after a while, they loosened up and I asked them what sex meant to them…I asked them if they were ready to become fathers, to take the responsibility for a new life. They were not. Then I spoke to them about how our society has sexualized everything but that love did not always mean sex. That opened up a deeper discussion as we explored ways of loving without sex…showing we cared for another through simple acts of kindness or comfort or assistance and support. It was a beautiful discussions and opened new horizons for those boys. Having homosexual attractions does not mean sex has to follow…find other ways to develop a deep and meaningful relationship – with God’s grace, it can be done. Nothing is perfect and no relationship can satisfy the deepest needs/desires of our hearts…we will always be longing for that ‘other’ who is God. Meanwhile, we do the best we can, never giving up and keeping in mind that we all have our burdens to bear…and they don’t all revolve around sex. If we love and serve as the Lord desires us to do, then we will live fulfilled and joyful lives…if we fall short at times, just get up and keep trying – and the Lord will make it right in the end. Meanwhile, let’s pray for each other and for all who are struggling with temptations and discouragement…may the Lord grant us His grace and His strength to carry out whatever the Lord asks of us…pax et bonum.
Great article, Monsignor. What does the Church offer homosexuals? The same thing she offers everyone, the only chance to avoid Hell for all eternity for “salus extra Ecclēsiam non est.” Even those among the saved who lived, through invincible ignorance, outside the visible boundaries of the Church are still saved through the Church for there is no other way. Peace and Happy Easter!
Thank you for your statement of Faith, of Hope and of Love. This is truly a post to be shared; it is also one to be remembered.
I was particularly touched by four points, namely that you are not giving offense even if some choose to take it, that all of us are called to chastity, that we are all in this together and lastly that we all are sinners. I think one of the strongest offerings the Church has to give to the world is the understanding that none of us (currently present on the planet anyway) is perfect but rather we are all far from it, nevertheless trying with the help of God to emulate our Creator. The Catholic Church is not the Church of the Perfect Parishioners. We all try and we all fail, and in His Name we have the strength through grace to try again.
Thanks again for your insightful writing.
Please pray for the Church in China
Ken in Shanghai
Thank you, Msgr. Pope. We need clergy (and laity!) to keep in focus that homosexual sins are not suddenly OK because of recent political changes, nor are homosexuals inhuman monsters, but we are each responsible to remaining faithful to the Gospel and rejecting ALL temptations to sin. And everyone is tempted in one way or another; even Jesus was tempted to sin, though He never was subject to a desire to sin.
The Catholic Church offers the same to all, the road to salvation. It would be silly to ask what the church has to offer the thief, adulterer or gossiper. It is harmful for the church to allow homosexual activists to set the tone. A sin is a sin. The church hasn’t the power to make allowances for sin because the sinners of that sin are unhappy!
Your statement It is harmful for the church to allow homosexual activists to set the tone is exactly right.
St. Paul says to preach the truth whether in season or out of season. For those who take offense, so be it. Jesus Christ stated “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household. (Matt 10:34-36)
Thank you for this wonderful post, Father. I believe that the Catholic Church is unique because it precisely doesn’t distort the word of God, which clearly states in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 that homosexuals will not inherit God’s Kingdom. I commend your efforts to preserve our beliefs and I hope that the Church continues to do this. I’m horrified by the Christian denominations that do this and I have feared that the Church would be corrupted by this fad. But you have reassured me of the Church’s steadfastness. Thank you, again.
Not bad, but not compelling enough. You forgot the ONE THING the Catholic Church offers that no other earthly entity offers. The possibility that the active mortal sinner can repent through the sacraments save themselves from the the eternal fires of Hell. Is there any other reason to Catholic than that? Every pope has confirmed the reality of hell and the devil and the possibility that we can go to hell. It would be really refreshing and effective if Cardinals bishops and priests emphasized this as well.
I did mention the sacraments though so I am not sure how you say I forgot it.
I am baffled as to why there is this societal obsession with homosexuality. The bottom line is this: The Church teaches for 2 millennial that the only licit sexual activity is that between a man and a woman and open to procreation. Regardless of how one feels about the teaching personally, if the Church was to be wrong about this and suddenly say fornication, homosexual acts or whatever were now ok, it would be obvious that the Church would be a fraud. Infallibility is out the window, and with it how exactly do the more challenging teachings like eternal life, God becoming man etc.. stand? Recently the atheist magician Penn from Penn and Teller has made a similar point. Got to give him credit, he gets it.
There is nothing particularly unique about the issue of homosexual behavior. Everyone even those of us who are married face sexual temptations, and in fact need at times to be celibate, spouses become ill, or even die, marriages face challenges that may mean no sex for a time, We are still commanded to be faithful within the marriage, some heterosexuals never marry, and some lose their spouse. The demands on them are identical to the demands on gay people. There challenge is no less. Are we asking what the Church offers to single people? Young widows? Husbands whose wives are ill or estranged?
At some level the bottom line is this, we all face different temptations to different sins at different times. We all unfortunately succumb to the sins. I have sympathy for all those who face temptation and cave in ( been there done that, Lord Have mercy..) I have zero sympathy for this self pitying whining that some people don’t like that the Church won’t bless their particular temptation. This is pathetic. Look life is tough, Christianity is about embracing the cross and all that business. It does not sell itself as a walk in the park. You either believe it or you don’t. If you don’t, well so be it, but I think all the whining is getting old. What does the Church offer gay people? Really? What does it offer the person who is unwilling to be charitable? the person tempted to infidelity in marriage, the person consumed by anger who beats his children? The person who tempted to have an abortion, or facing economic problems tempted to cheat his business partners. It offers forgiveness for these sins, and grace to try and avoid them. Isn’t that supposed to be Baltimore Catechism 101?
It is really depressing that Msgr Pope needs to gently explain this. Good Lord what a mess we have become.
I think that the Church and society would be better served to focus its efforts on the evil in the heterosexual community, where adultery and fornication exist in numbers that far exceeds the numbers of the entire gay population, and which carries far more emphasis in scripture. Is this not an equal evil? Should they not too be chastized and changed?
You obviously missed my post last week. But at the end of the day, you set up a false dichotomy, the church must do both, indeed all things Christ has called her to speak to.
The Church should teach that sexual relations outside of a marriage (obviously only a man and a women) that is open to life are all ilicit. First and foremost the Church is trying to guide everyone to Heaven. Why would you want the Church to ignore people who engage in homosexual behaviors. Do you now want these people to go to Heaven? Jesus taught love for all men and your proposal would say we love those who engage in homosexual behaviors because the Church doesn’t try to teach them of their sins that are harmful to their soul. You seem to be putting politeness ahead of love or you do not believe that Heaven is the ultimate end for the Church.
I think the upshot from the feedback on this article is that the Church needs to preach the total truth on sexuality, while also talking about homosexuality. Turing a blind-eye to contraception, divorce, adultery and masturbation just allows the problem to get worse.
In addition the Church needs to really celebrate celibacy and chastity for everyone and how it really is the solution to living the faith in this modern world.
But of course to do all this, the priests and bishops must have their pants on straight and given the reports of the extent of sexual scandal one can only imagine what goes on that is not technically illegal.
I personally believe the roots of the scandal are the abandonment of the traditional liturgy, doctrine and discipline of the Church. Once these are restored, graces will flow abundantly again and things will self-correct, but until this is done, folk-masses, drawing pretty pictures instead of learning doctrine and party priests and feminist nuns are not sufficient to help the faithful fight against the world, the flesh and the devil.
Even if you feel constrained to use the horrible term “gay”, why do you keep talking about what the Church offers the “Gay Community”? That assumes that everyone who experiences same sex attraction accepts the “gay” activist ideology. Many assuredly do not consider themselves part of this “community” or accept that ideology. However, they may not be willing loudly to proclaim such because (a) they might not want to make that inclination to a particular sin their overriding public identity as the gay activists insist they should do or (b) they are fearful of being browbeaten and demonized by the gay activist ideological bullies so prevalent in modern society.
I too have concerns about the use of the term “gay” to describe homosexual persons. For one, the meaning of the word has nothing to do with sexual orientation at all. Another thing is, the common use of the word gay to describe homosexuals is an example of what the late-Msgr. William B. Smith used to say, “All social engineering begins with verbal engineering.” One of the reasons evil has spread to the extent it has is that has been effectively packaged in terms that are good. Yes, language is not a personal possesion but we have allowed them to use it as such even to the extent that we parrot them in doing so. Another example is calling pro-abortionism as “pro-choice”.
I also understand the point you raise about connecting with people in the terms they use. Nor am I dismissing it entirely. But if we don’t start pushing back on the language front, we are only hindering our own cause. He who defines the terms of the debate wins. Speaking of St. Paul, I suspect he would agree.
What did you think of article
A few questions to those who want homosexual “marriage”: Are you OK with a brother and a sister getting married? No? Why not? If they have children they can abort legally, so? Who are you to say that a brother and a sister getting married would be unnatural? What moral authority do you have to say in that homosexual “marriage” is ok but incestual “marriage” is not? It can be consensual amongst adults, so? It happens in the animal realm so it must be “natural” right? Are you intolerant towards the feelings of those people? Are you a bigot set in old fashioned ways? Just because many find it repulsive should that opinion prevail over theirs? Is morality just an opinion?
A marriage is an eternal institution of one man and one woman. It is not an opinion, it is not a mindset, it IS created by that one who calls himself I AM.
Wow. Those are very good points, ioannes. I have encountered some people who use the animal card to justify homosexual, as in male seahorses and penguins carry the eggs and porpoises mate with the same sex. I’ve always argued it by saying that these animals can’t procreate, even if the males can carry the eggs. But your arguments brings to light a moral issue that makes plenty of sense. Thank you.
Most people are missing the point about gay marriage entirely. The people promoting it do not really care about whether gays can “marry” or not. In places were gay marriage has been legal for a long time ( such as Sweden and the Netherlands) only small percentages of gay people in general get married and most of these are gay women ( adjusting for the estimated percentage of the population who are homosexual heterosexuals in these countries heterosexuals are 800 % more likely to get married. There is an initial flurry of older gay couples getting “married” that quickly peters out, a similar pattern is seen in states which legalize gay “marriage”
The reason the drum is being banged so loudly for this is because it will be a convenient club with which to beat the Church with the Charge of bigotry and to further marginalize an institution the secular left hates. We already see a Newman club chaplain and priest being pressured to leave George Washington University because of the Catholic stance on gay marriage. In fact if gay marriage is “ok” obviously Paul’s letter to the Romans is despicable hate speech, as is the Catechism of the Catholic Church ( which refers to homosexual activity as disordered and sinful, ) Aquinas would also be bigoted hate speech since he thinks of homosexual acts as doing violence to nature, and so forth.
It is true, but beside the point that the criticism of the Church is toward the acts and not towards the intrinsic tendency to the temptation, the person who is merely tempted is bearing a cross and gaining in holiness, in fact they may very well be more saintly then the rest of us. No matter, The enemies of the Church will not be making such distinctions since their agenda is not gay marriage or the well being of homosexuals it is destruction of the Church. ( actually if the church is correct gay “marriage” is bad for gay people as it entrenches them in a sinful situation and puts their soul in peril , if you really care for gay people you would fight gay marriage)
Many years ago I was next door neighbors to a very nice lesbian couple, I thought they were engaged in serious sin but used to shovel the snow from their sidewalk anyway. I did not preach to them, as I did not think it was my role ( not knowing them well and thinking it was unlikely to be effective) As far as I know they did not push to get married and to harass Christians into accepting their relationship as a sacramental one. We were reasonably cordial to one another and helpful at times. That is “tolerance”. The secular left is simply using a subset of gay people as the latest mascot, and as a tool that will later be used to harass the Church. Anyone who does not see this does not see the real agenda here.
If same-sex marriage is made legal, every law with the word marriage in it will be affected. In addition, every time the word marriage is used in a school, same-sex marriage will be discussed. Parents will have no say.
Mdepie, this is such an insightful post. I agree with your theory. To take it a step further, though, I believe that the legalization of gay marriage will hurt the Catholic Church in the future. Under these new proposals, the Catholic Church wouldn’t be affected. But, in the future, when homosexuality becomes even more entrenched in our society, our principles will be regarded as discriminatory or hateful. And I think this is what the secular left and the gay community wants to achieve–for the Catholic Church to be labeled as discriminatory. Thus, the legality of the Church will be contested. At that point in time, the Catholic Church will be tested and hopefully our principles remain intact. Who’ll take the lead in contesting the Church? The secular left? The gay community? Someone else? I don’t know. But I think this is part of the strategy.
I also believe in tolerance. So, if gays want to be gays, it’s their problem, not mine. But the majority of the gay community doesn’t believe in tolerance. They want to force their beliefs on us. They want to redefine a centuries old institution, marriage. They’re not being discriminated against–it’s, in fact, against the law to do that. Moreover, they have their own institution, domestic partnership. If there are legal inconsistencies within this institution, they should be addressed and corrected. But marriage, an institution between a man and a woman, should not be compromised because of their political infatuations. I think it’s also important to emphasize these secondary facts–that the gay community is transforming into what it claims to be fighting, discrimination.
“Render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar, and unto God the things that belong to God.”
Marriage belongs to God, not to Caesar. He created it when He presented Eve to Adam. Caesar has no business trying to redefine marriage, because it doesn’t belong to him. Never did; never will.
Yeah and that’s not all! Recently there was a case on the news in the UK i think, in which a father and daughter wanted to be together. Who would stop such a “marriage” after it being defined as “let me marry whomever I’de like”. (Like they said at the democratic convention, “people should be free to marry whomever they like!”) Or how about both a homosexual AND incestual case? Who would disapprove of such unnatural thing other than we the “old fashioned bigots”? Would a homosexual say that a incestual homosexual relationship shouldn’t be allowed, but a homosexual relationship that is not incestuos should be? On what basis? What if it’s a half brother/sister? The depravity of the devil knows no bounds!
That’s a lot of words…all of them true, but I don’t think you have really addressed the problem we are facing, nor the real needs of the people who are in trouble. That makes me sad. “This is a fine mess [we] have gotten into…” which is a line from Laurel and Hardy…somewhat less-than-divine comedians. The Church needs to speak with love and in love for love. Quoting rules doesn;t teach, it merely informs. We need another approach. I wish I knew what it was…people need to believe in a God that loves them…what might that look like? I wonder…
Good morning Clarice.
I respectfully disagree with your assessment of Msgr. Pope’s piece.
I believe Msgr. Pope and the Church is speaking with love every time errors like homosexuality are addressed. These are Spiritual Acts of Mercy born of love. When we gently yet firmly, lovingly yet steadfastly, admonish others in an effort to point out sinful errors with the hope that the individual(s) involved will adjust their “navigation-aids” and turn back toward God, we are acting selflessly in the interest of all who are involved.
Sometimes, quoting rules “is” an act of love. As the Msgr. already stated, he has not the interest nor need to judge what homosexuals are doing, because God already has passed judgment on those, and many other prohibited acts. We are all called to “quote the rules” with as much gentleness as possible, and to do so with love in our hearts. Whether those who are involved actually listen to the rules being quoted, and then act appropriately, especially in today’s societal climate that engages in anti-faith measure, may be another story entirely.
Unfortunately, we don’t have to search very far to find articles written by reporters citing statistics regarding the number of “Catholics” who are leaving the Church in the United States, Europe, and from wherever else someone may compile such “statistics.” These types of reports often assert the reason for the Church’s declining membership as the result of the Church’s dogmatic adherence to “out-of-date” and “discriminatory” Church laws and traditions that exclude “new” and more “intellectually divined” or informed philosophies, such as those accepting homosexuality as part of the “natural-order.” What utter nonsense the evil ones concoct and convince people to buy-into in an effort to lead people away from God!
By my estimation, the reason for any declining membership or association with the Roman Catholic Church is rooted in the evil and heresy of moral relativism. Unfortunately, there are a number of generations of Catholics who have bought into the premise that it’s okay to pick and choose which parts of one’s faith they will follow, leaving the remaining parts at the door because they interfere with “my” reality, and the “reality” of society today. Hedonism and narcissism are the rule of the day, goes the mantra! And should someone not agree with this philosophy, they are being judgmental and they have no place to tell anyone they are in error.
To this I say balderdash! The shared norms and mores of American society are basically non-existent, because everything is relative to one’s own perspective; or so Satan would have us believe.
To sum up, a large part of American, European, and many other nations of people are at great risk of suffering eternal death…complete and total separation from our loving and merciful God…because of the anti-christ called moral relativism, and its subjugated parts called hedonism and narcissism. I’ve heard people actually say, “This or that must be good, because it brings me or someone else so much happiness and pleasure.” My response is, God is the ONLY source of true goodness. If something is good, then it comes from the grace of our Lord. If something of this world brings you so much happiness and pleasure, then you should examine very closely the origin of this “happiness and pleasure.” Chances are this “happiness and pleasure” you describe are nothing more than fleeting and pitiful attempts to make you a part of this world…God calls to us and tells us NOT to be a part of this world, but of heaven. Something very apart from where we are now.
Hi Msgr. Pope.
I think you are “spot-on” with your assessment. Very well written with much consideration of the topic. Nicely done!
Thank you for your contribution to this matter in an age when so many “shy away” from the topic for fear of reprisal or condemnation by a very militant homosexual community.
Clarice, If you are looking for a God who loves you, He looks like a God-man, stripped and bleeding, hanging on a tree for you. He would do this for you even if you were the only person in the world. When He says, “I thirst,” He is thirsting for your love. Obedience opens the mind to love. First we obey, and then we can understand. This is the God-man whose blinding purity is whiter than the brightest snow under the strongest sunlight. When we meet Purity someday, wanting Him but infinitely less pure than Him, we would gladly throw ourselves into Purgatory so we can endure the brightness and be fit to be near Him. At that moment, you and I will wish we had spent more time listening to and acting on the loving rules of Mother Church who is guiding us to eternal bliss.
May I respectfully suggest to anyone serious about chastity, please consider joining the Angelic Warfare Confraternity. When I joined a year ago, I was not aware of needing healing, but a strong sense of healing and peace is what I received. In our sexualized culture, one may guess that there are few who have not been influenced and do not need healing. We daily say two short prayers and fifteen Hail Marys for the chastity of our members.
From http://www.angelicwarfareconfraternity.org: The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is a supernatural fellowship of men and women bound to one another in love and dedicated to pursuing and promoting chastity together under the powerful patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Well I certainly have to say this sparked much commentary. Perhaps there is a bit of overthinking the issues here, especially on terminology, which I believe as one of the main points Monsignor was trying to make. Some years ago, I had a pastor who would like to say in his homilies about sinners and acceptance, “The church is exactly the right place for sinners to be.” He would also say look to the right, look to the left and look at yourself. We are all sinners.
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