What Effect Will Pressure to Accept Same Sex Acts or "Marriage" Have on Church Teaching? None!

040615Last week was Holy Week, so sure enough there were many critical issues in the news that needed attention but we in the Church were off doing more important things like worshipping God and pondering our need for salvation. Permit a brief summary and some predictions from me based on the latest unpleasantness in Indiana last week.

I am not a lawyer and neither know nor understand all the legal implications of the law signed by the Indiana governor and then later amended. I speak more to the cultural concerns raised by same-sex attraction, the redefinition of marriage in civil justification, and the rapidity of all of these things and how they affect the Church.

Regarding cultural concerns and the political landscape, as is often the case, Ross Douthat summarizes the situation best:

One of the difficulties in this discussion, from a conservative perspective, is that the definition of “common sense” and “compromise” on these issues has shifted so rapidly in such a short time: Positions taken by, say, the president of the United States and most Democratic politicians a few short years ago are now deemed the purest atavism [a recurrence of or reversion to a past style, manner, outlook, or approach, something strikingly archaic], the definition of bigotry gets more and more elastic, and developments that social liberals would have described as right-wing scare stories in 2002 or so are now treated as just the most natural extensions of basic American principles. … But the pace involved is unusual, and its rapidity makes it very easy to imagine that scenarios that aren’t officially on the table right now will become plausible very, very soon. the only remaining question in the same-sex marriage “debate” [is] what kind of space, if any, an ascendant cultural liberalism would leave to Americans with traditional views on what constitutes a marriage. … [T]he choice of exactly how far to push and how much pluralism to permit would [seem to] be almost entirely in the hands of liberals and supporters of same-sex marriage. That’s … basically how it looks to me today. [1]

Indeed, as an “American with traditional views on what constitutes a marriage” it is hard not to feel bullied and outgunned. Most of our opponents feel secure politically, culturally, and legally  in labeling us the worst sort of bigots and threatening legal sanctions. It is not merely that we must be “pitied” or considered “out-of-date”; we must be removed from the scene or forced to comply. The high horses are out in force and those who ride them seek a clean sweep of all who utter so much as a word of dissent. I wonder with Terry Mattingly if the horses would be quite so high if a “gay” Episcopalian caterer refused to cater a convention of “ex-Gay” Americans; outrage and coverage thereof by the mainstream media might be very selective.

From the few reports I heard, it seems many reporters are poor at distinguishing Catholic views from those of some (not all) Evangelicals. The Catholic position distinguishes same-sex attraction from same-sex behavior (i.e., homosexual acts) in ways that many Evangelicals do not. We should not countenance any business turning a “gay” American away simply because he or she is known to be “gay.” And I do not know anyone who says that someone should be turned away simply because he or she self-identifies as “gay.” That would be unjust discrimination, which the Catechism speaks against.  However, when a Catholic is asked to contribute to or benefit from an event that celebrates same-sex acts or same-sex “marriage,” the situation is much different.

There are some situations in which a Catholic business owner’s cooperation/participation in such an event would be remote and thus not construed as approving sinful activity. In such cases the owner can proceed with a clear conscience. However, when cooperation in such an event would indicate support or approval of what Scripture and the Church teach as sinful, Catholics have duties and rights to stand back and not cooperate. To some degree there are prudential judgements involved in determining what constitutes remote vs. direct material cooperation. However, the norm remains: Catholics should not directly materially cooperate in doing what is sinful or wrong in any matter, be it issues of invalid marriages, illicit sexual union, or any number of other moral issues forbidden by Scripture and Church teaching.

For the record, this is the Catholic position on same-sex attraction is stated in the Catechism:

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, [Cf. Gen 191-29; Rom 124-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10], tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” [CDF, Persona humana 8]. 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. 

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. 

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 2357-2359).

This teaching is not going to change no matter how much pressure this latest cultural juggernaut brings to bear. Individual Catholics [and even some bishops] may cave in to the pressure, but the teaching cannot and will not change; it is firmly held in the sacred deposit of faith and consistently taught by the Magisterium.

But as for the Church, I think predictions of our demise (if we do not comply with current social pressures) lack historical understanding. More specifically, many say that if we don’t update our teachings on same-sex attraction, contraception, divorce and remarriage, etc. we are going to become “irrelevant” and our pews will empty. I have a few thoughts on these gloomy predictions:

1. The Catholic Church has endured 2000 years of “social pressure” to change almost every one of our teachings, dogmatic and moral. Consider the Judaizers of St Paul’s day. Consider the Trinitarian and Christological heresies of the first few centuries. Consider the great Eastern Schism of the 11th century. Consider the Soteriological and Ecclesiological errors of the 16th Century. Consider modernism in our own time and all its offshoots such as relativism, discontinuity, reductionism, scientism, deconstructionism, and any other “ism” you can think of that takes one thing and makes it the whole thing. But here we still are. Empires have come and gone, nations have risen and fallen, philosophies and fancies have been tried and found wanting. Here we still are. Where are Nero, Julian the Apostate, Napoleon, Marx, and Stalin? Where is the USSR? All these political forces, people, and movements had an agenda they pressured us to adopt. They are gone and the Church and the Gospel are still here. All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Peter 1:24-25). And from Luke, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. So, be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap (Luke 21:33-34). So this age has its agendas and is warning the Church that she will fade and die if she does not conform. I think I’ve heard that one before!

2. The denominations that have adopted the “give the people what they want” stance (be it women clergy, approval of abortion, approval of homosexual acts, approval of gay “marriage,” etc.) are far emptier than is the Catholic Church, which by the way continues to grow worldwide. Surely secularism has taken a toll on the Church in many parts of the country, especially the old cities of the Northeast. But in the South many parishes are bursting at the seams and new parishes are being built. Most of the old, mainline Protestant denominations that have taken the “be relevant and permissive” advice are now quite divided and increasingly empty, whereas Catholic parishes and Evangelical denominations that have resisted this (though the Catholic position distinguishes attraction from sinful acts) are either holding their own or growing.

3. Many say that the Catholic Church’s own members do not follow Catholic teachings on sexuality. This is true in varying degrees depending on the specific area. But many also do not follow our teaching against greed. Very few confess it and many seem to think it never applies to them. Should we change this teaching? Many fail to be as generous as they should be to the poor and very few confess this. Perhaps this teaching should be set aside as well since it doesn’t seem very popular and the poor are still with us. And boy, I’ll tell you a lot of Catholics struggle with the forgiving thing and loving their enemy! When forgiveness is preached many think that they have a good reason not to forgive and that God will understand in their particular case. So is it out with forgiveness, too?  And despite many decades of dissent and scoffing at her teaching on contraception, the Church has not changed her position and it looks more right than ever given the confusion that contraception has caused about the purposes of sex. Right now our culture’s big obsession is with sexual misbehavior and thus the demands that we change the ancient, tested, biblical teaching on sexuality loom large. But when the current madness is finished or (more sadly) this culture exits the scene (by sexual suicide) the Church will still be here and the Gospel will remain unchanged.

4. Despite the charges against her of bigotry and unfairness, the Catholic Church has one standard for everyone based on Scripture: chastity. (I will write more on this tomorrow.) For the married this means fidelity of mind, heart, and body. For the unmarried it means no genital sexual contact, ever. Those of same-sex attraction may protest that marriage is not possible for them under our teaching. This is true unless they are able to develop an attraction to the opposite sex. But even many who are not same-sex attracted either delay marriage significantly or never find a suitable marriage partner. They might object to simply being told that they have “options.” And frankly, as a vowed heterosexual celibate, I find objectionable the notion that living without sexual intercourse is worse than a death sentence. My life is full and happy. I have good friendships and can say firsthand that the Lord and the Church do not ask too much of the unmarried to refrain from sexual intimacy. Such a continence is not impossible. In the 26 years of my vowed commitment, I have never strayed with anyone, not even once. So the Church has one standard for everyone. And this is a sign of respect that is in contrast to the “soft bigotry” that would ask less of someone because he or she has an attraction that does not conform to the purposes of sexual activity.

The Church does have work to do in reaching out to those of same-sex attraction with a message of compassion that does not contradict the truth of God as revealed in Scripture and Natural Law. In August I will be attending a conference organized by Dr. Janet Smith that seeks to address this very task. Though I will be a mere “back-bencher”  among many fine scholars and clerics, I was asked to submit a paper on pastoral challenges related to same-sex attraction. I will present excerpts from that paper tomorrow on the blog.

Meanwhile, I would like Cardinal George to have the last word. Please pray for the good Cardinal, who is currently hospitalized with extensive cancer. Always so careful but clear, Cardinal George writes,

 In recent years, society has brought social and legislative approval to all types of sexual relationships that used to be considered “sinful.” Since the biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations, the Church’s teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes. What was once a request to live and let live has now become a demand for approval. The “ruling class,” those who shape public opinion in politics, in education, in communications, in entertainment, is using the civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone. We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger [1].

Amen. More tomorrow on our need as a Church to present an effective response at the parish level to the cultural challenges related to same-sex attraction.

The photo above is of St. John Cathedral in Indianapolis.

32 Replies to “What Effect Will Pressure to Accept Same Sex Acts or "Marriage" Have on Church Teaching? None!”

  1. The Centers for Disease Control continues to publish warnings, and instructions for protective measures, about risky sex; it also encourages, for example, that active homosexual males be tested every six months for sexually transmitted infections. Every time I am reminded of this warning, I am also reminded that we probably would not be where we are today with the problems of sex and marriage if it were not for the striking effectiveness of modern medicine and government subsidized fornication. There are certain psychological checks to promiscuous sexual behavior that have been effectively suppressed over the last century. If the day arrives when we experience the collapse of antibiotic effectiveness, or the evolution of a sexual superbug, we will see the collapse of the sexual revolution. Nature will have its way in the end, it won’t be pretty, and everyone—chaste and unchaste alike—will be affected. Those who survive will have seen first hand the wages of sin against the natural law, and they “won’t be fooled again” by the propaganda of the sex merchants.

    1. What a great insight. I had not thought of modern medicine’s contribution to sexual promiscuity, but it is clearly the green light to the change in behavior that came about in the 1960’s. And I also agree that when it collapses, behavior will have to change again.

    2. But we already had that in the form of HIV. I was there in the late 70s and early 80s. A lot of the freewheeling ended then and there, e.g. key parties and other forms of decadence that had become more common in middle class life (and probably at least partially explains the explosion of divorce at that time, well that and pent up demand). Condoms with spermicide became the standard means of protection. And every public school had sex education that explained and educated about STDs and their prevention. In fact, surveys show that millennials are having less sexual partners than their older counter parts did at their age.

      1. There was a period between 1996 and 2005 when there was a decline in teen sexual promiscuity. Those days are over. The CDC reported in February 2015 that there are 110 million active Sexually Transmitted Infections (yes, that’s “m” for million). A relatively small percentage of these are HIV related. About 50 million of these are potentially very serious infections and affect heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. They estimate approximately 1 in 4 persons nationwide are infected. The infection rate is UP from 1 in 5 JUST FIVE YEARS AGO. This behavior is “subsidized” by state and federal governments who effectively pay for young girls to fornicate by paying for their medicines, their abortions, and paying for any children they decide to keep. It is encouraged via the media and sex education in the schools and “parenting’ that reinforces the idea that chastity is not possible. HIV is only one aspect of this problem. Through ObamaCare, we are now forced to subsidize sex-change surgery, (all of these patients are mentally ill, and we are forced to subsidize the mutilation of their sex organs, and pumping their bodies full of steroids.) It is a catastrophe in the making. As a society we are dying, and no-one seems to be sounding the alarm. Instead, we have gay goon squads and tech executives running around sniffing out and bullying Christian cake makers and the politicians who want to protect them. There is a psychosis that is enveloping our society; on all matters of sex, we have become almost completely detached from reality. I shudder to imagine the possibilities in the next 20 years at the rate that we are going now. As Msgr notes, the Church has the correct teaching; this will not change, but I wonder if anyone will be left to benefit from the teaching.

        1. All STD affect both homosexuals and heterosexuals. I believe the federal government has something called the Hyde Amendment which prohibits the feds from directly covering abortion costs. This does not cover policies purchased (and subsidized on the exchange) as that is a matter of the individual and her health insurance company. Some states do cover it themselves, this either being the working out of state law via state judiciary or via the legislative process. Medicines and vaccines to treat infectious illness are simply matters of harm reduction. Yes, some sex-change surgery will be provided under subsidized policies, again, this is a matter of the insurer and the patient. Intervening in these matters would be a matter of paternalism, when the patient can demonstrate the autonomy to make their own medical decisions this seems unwarranted.

          It isn’t being detached from reality on sex is is about becoming libertarian about sexual matters. Basically, you do what you want and Fred will do what he wants and Lucy will do what she wants and we’ll all get along just fine. And maybe someone who objects will wind up paying for someones gender reassignment surgery and maybe somone who objects to nuclear war winds up paying for a missile or two and maybe a zero population growth proponent winds up paying delivery fees for a woman and her eighth child. As long as paying taxes is not material cooperation (and I don’t believe it is or that whole render to Caesar bit gets tossed), then so what?

          1. Men engaging in the usual practices of homosexual behavior are much more likely to have STDs than any other group. That is because of the general practices and multiple partners. There are lots of studies, but particularly the morbidity and mortality reports from CDC.
            Medicaid pays for abortions and we have to subsidize that.
            Anything you subsidize you will have more of. Let people pay for them themselves. I also pray for an end to abortion.
            I wish I could go into graphic detail here about sex change surgery. It is functional mutilation and very, very expensive.
            If we as a society have to foot the bill for medical care, I would much rather pay for elder care than that. It is really awful and I speak as an old OR nurse.
            I believe, and the Church teaches that there are lines one should not cross. That is one of many reasons, as the Catholic psychologist said.

  2. Informative blog and I appreciate it the clarity in which it was written. However, there is a “but knock” coming but not directed at your Monsignor Pope but in general, the American Catholic Church.

    Quoting a former Catholic and writer, Rod Dreher, on his take on this issue of Sexuality and the Church which I concur with.

    “The image of the American Catholic Church shown but the media is a church preoccupied with abortion and sex. It’s not remotely true. I was a faithful Mass going Catholic for 13 years, attending a number of parishes in five different parts of the country ad I could count on one hand the number of homilies that addressed abortion sexuality in any way.’

    Overall, if I read his reason for leaving the church correctly, and as it relates to this quote, is the Church does not talk much about what it expects of the people who call themselves Catholic and how they are to change and proceed with their lives in accordance with Catechism of the Catholic Church. In other words, it’s heavy on the do’s and light on the don’ts.

    1. Yeah, I have found most people project their own obsessions and preoccupations on everyone else. If someone says “You’re obsessed” you can almost guarantee that they are obsessed and figure everyone else thinks like they do. Not sure there us much we can do about this problem. People are going to say it because they want to avoid the issue. Therefore they ridicule their opponent and and make untrue accusations of a personal nature that are hard to definitively refute. Anything but talk about the issue and focus on the arguments. No, NO! Attack the man, attack the Church. It’s a tactic that unfortunately works for the weak minded and puts fear in some of those who would speak. Saying, “I am not obsessed” is like trying to refute the question “So when did you stop beating your wife?”

      The last thing I want to do is think about homosexual acts in any form. And as a priest my interest marital heterosexual activity is limited, and something that rarely enters my mind since it is not available to me. I consider it only when it is presented to me in the confessional, counseling or by way of a question. If you want to find out who is obsessed with sex, turn on a TV or buy a newspaper.

      I am writing this article because of the explosion of obsessional anger directed at Indiana and any one who even hints at not being on board with the celebration of “gay” sex. I would far prefer to write on other things and usually do.

      As for “Ron Dreher” (Don’t know who he is) why is he writing about homosexuality or sexuality at all? Is he obsessed or something? 😉

    2. In general, most faithful Catholics don’t depend on the homily alone to understand the teachings of the Church. Certainly the internet has been a huge source of information and allows easier communication of those teachings to a wider audience, (such as Msgr.’s blog here) but responsible Catholics have always referred to Catholic newspapers, books, magazines and even radio to inform them on the teachings of the Church. In other words, homilies are not meant to spoon feed Catholic doctrine to adults. Catechesis shouldn’t end in high school, and the individual Catholic adult must work to grow in understanding, just as anyone continues their education beyond high school in their chosen field.

    3. We have to remember that since Mass is well, everybody, that homily has to consider the younger in the crowd and keep it within age appropriateness.

    4. I read Dreher, too. His take on Christianity is that Christianity is about self-change (theosis) and from his own history he sees that as being about sex and its proper usage. He doesn’t seem to understand that other people have other types of theosis with other goals. And some are going through such a period of aridity that they simply can’t undergo theosis at all. Still others are completely uninterested in the proposal. The average parish has 3000-5000 souls in it and is supposed to be geographic and therefore composed of a general cross section of its demographic area.

      His understanding of Catholicism also seems a bit defective. Any person who has been baptized in a Catholic baptism is Catholic. The Church teaches what people need to know to approach the Last Things but she does not enforce the rules, except for access to the Sacraments or to be a sponsor for a Sacrament. As far as not talking about what the Church expects, well, that is what the Catechism is for. It tells you. What Dreher seemed to want is for people who weren’t following the rules to be called out in some way.

  3. life could be so beautiful if we could just accept God’s Will, after all, He Wills that which is best for us. It took me a long time to realize the Ten Commandments were not restrictions but proscriptions and then that the Beatitudes were a positive rendition or fulfillment of the Commandments.

  4. “From the few reports I heard many reporters are poor at distinguishing a Catholic views from the views of some (not all) Evangelicals. The Catholic position distinguishes same sex attraction from same-sex behavior (i.e. homosexual acts) in ways many Evangelicals do not”

    Over the years, I’m coming to the conclusion that being poor at distinguishing an attraction from behavior (or inclination vs. the act as I put it) isn’t an accident. When it comes to practical policy, the act vs. inclination distinction is nonexistant for defenders of the indefensible. A colleague of mine lives in a town that recently passed an anti-discrimination bill that explicitly makes acting on the orientation part of the orientation. Gordon College is currently being threatened with loss of accreditation precisely for trying to justly navigate the act/orientation. Their policy against homosexual activity (without forbidding people with same-sex attraction to attend) is unacceptable to the usual suspects.

    The examples prove two things to my mind: 1. The act/orientation distinction is only used by the usual suspects when convenient or can provide a smokescreen. Otherwise, one implies the other. 2. If the college can’t ban homosexual acts, they have no basis for banning heterosexual acts either, which shows the “It doen’t affect you” line for the hogwash it always was. The goal is nothing short of the complete abolition of the very concept of chastity.

    1. How can you abolish the concept of chastity? As long as one person wants to pursue it (and it has much going for it) it will not be abolished.

      What you seem to want is some kind of enforcement of chastity. That seems more problematic especially when one is dealing with adults at the college or post-grad level. I can see requiring that adults go off-campus to engage in acts against chastity (if for no other reason that liability), but other than that it does not seem any of the college’s business.

      I attended college in a Catholic college. There were rules about when mixed genders could occupy dorm rooms. Up to 10pm on weekdays, midnight on weekends. This probably didn’t do much to keep the healthy young adult population from engaging in offenses against chastity, but it did provide a relief to room mates such that such offenses wouldn’t keep them from getting sleep or having someplace to stay. Other than that the uni did not make any attempt to police the sex lives of their students as long as the students weren’t being exhibitionists. The honus for keeping one’s morals was on the individual. That seems like a healthier balance than making room mates turn other room mates in or risk being themselves expelled as some Christian unis practice.

      1. Roommates turning in other mates for acts against chastity? How draconian!

        To have a policy where chastity is encouraged is good. Rules, living arrangements and encouragement toward that end are all just and good. Tattletailing would not serve that end. Enforcement would have to be based on objective and observable criteria, and all enforcement actions would by their very nature have to be kept private.
        Merit-less accusations would have to be consistently investigated and punished if found to be malicious.

      2. Nothing in what I said remotely implies that I want enforcement of chastity as you describe it because it isn’t really the main point of my comment. My points are that Christians are duty bound to distinguish between the sin and the sinner. Of course people know that we have to do this, so often we’ve encountered people who either pay lip service to it, or use it to rhetorical advantage to sell us. When it comes to actual practice, however that distinction utterly disappears and “hate the sin, not the sinner” becomes an object of mockery.

        Of course chastity can’t be truly abolished any more than a madman can blot out the sun by writing “darkness” all over his cell wall as C.S. Lewis put it, but evil hates contradiction, and since all sexual acts outside the context of a man and a woman married to each other are evil, we see coercion, we see bullying, we see people unjustly fired from jobs. People are not offended that Gordon college is over-policing behavior. They are offended that the college dares to suggest that there is any standard of behavior for young unmarried men and women at all.

        1. People are offended because to admit the truth would mean admitting their sin, and their very fragile, dare I say broken, egos could not handle this light. So they close their eyes in a vain attempt to block it out. Anyone who ever looked at the sun with closed eyes knows some light still gets through. It always gets through.

          So have the standard and enforce it consistently. Let the people bellyache because it means some light is getting through.

  5. Thank you for present the broad “Catholic” perspective. I am also not a lawyer and feel perplexed. I would hate to see laws that make it easy to discriminate against anyone. I also think there should be room for those to remain in their comfort zone, so to speak. When I hear the Pope’s comments on this issue, I feel he is called us to a higher level than gets reduced in the press coverage. Accept everyone, even if there is sin. At the same time, reject the temptation of sin. That is not a simple task for an individual. I suspect it will be even more difficult for society.

  6. Part of what has compounded the issue is that for many years we have chosen to ignore (and sometimes celebrate) other behaviors. We no longer think twice about going to an unmarried couple’s housewarming party and bringing a nice gift or even helping with the move. A few years ago, we learned of a civil wedding of two close relatives, who had prior Church marriages, and saw a priest give them a blessing after the civil ceremony. We have given the appearance that everything is acceptable except homosexual acts.

    1. Yes, because we have permitted – even blessed – every other “irregularity” it looks like we are singling out homosexuals. We look like hypocrites. Maybe we are.

      This is why the question of communion for the divorced and “remarried” at the upcoming synod is so important. We have to look several steps down the line. There is simply no question in my mind that permitting communion for the divorced and remarried will eventually lead to permiting communion for those in same-sex “marriages”. Once you pull the lyncpin, the floodgates will open. That is the ultimate agenda of the men pushing this issue.

  7. Thank you Monsignor for giving encouragement and clarity to the faithful in these troubling and uncertain times. He IS Risen!

  8. I have no idea why some folks are gay and some are not. However, I also have no idea why people are in such a rush to define themselves as a sex act. I mean seriously!!??!! If you are nothing more than this then you are nothing.

    Please note, no one looks at a straight person and first thinks them “straight”. Often that person is identified by how they live their whole life, mother, baseball player, actor, etc. but think about all the openly gay folks and it’s the first thing you see, even if you have never met them before.

    How very sad, don’t you think? It’s as if they themselves are lost and default to a disordered as the easiest thing to define who they are. In doing this they fail to see their true beauty as God sees them, they sell themselves oh so very short.

    I wish all people who feel same sex attraction would read Theology of the Body. There is hope in there even for them. God does not make mistakes therefore who they are is not a mistake. They, too are beautiful.

    To listen to the lies of Satan in an effort to “belong” only serves to deny their birthright. Hasn’t he been trying to hold these folks back for all of history? First these people are ostraciszed, then hidden away, now they are reduced to a physical act. Why does he seem to want to destroy them?

    Also, relativism has its ugly old hand in all of this. Think about it, society wants us all to agree, to be the same. If there is no right and wrong, there is no contrast. No one can tell who they are, society becomes confunded, and Satan wins. God uses our contrast to paint a beautiful picture. The devil wants to destroy that painting.

    Also, think about addiction. People often become addicted to drugs and alcohol to avoid deep lows in their lives. Is it possible our cultural mediocrity really just another addiction to dull the pain?

  9. “Greenland is a barren land, a land that bears no green,” as the old song goes. And Iceland is a fertile land that they called the Iceland. It is the same way today. The world’s vision of sexuality is a bleak and barren land that the world calls the Greenland; the Church’s vision of sexuality is a life-filled and fertile land that the world calls the Iceland.


    “Many say that the Catholic Church’s own members do not follow Catholic teachings on sexuality.” Giving into a sexual sin out of weakness and admitting that is why one did it is one thing; saying because I did this sexual sin it must not be a sin is entirely different. In the first instance, at least, one maintains a vision of what life should be like.


    God help us. Excellent post.

  10. There is nothing new under that sun. God’s call is simple. He loves us and gives us His Commandments and His Son to follow and the Church to teach us how. Man refuses the gift. We are so very stubborn and prideful. We are like Israel trying to enter the Promised Land. We want to travel any route but God’s. All we need to do is obey and love with all our mind, heart and soul; a life long task. The fruits are peace and joy even if suffering is required. May our GPS be set for Heaven.

  11. Let me get this straight. Mr Schulz accuses Mr Anderson of not being courteous. Now I would think that constantly interrupting somebody who is trying to answer your questions is not being courteous. I would think that constantly speaking over somebody as they are trying to answer your questions is not being courteous. So who is not being courteous? Mr Schulz or Mr Anderson? It is a very good example of a common tendency nowadays: when people who oppose your arguments cannot give a coherent counter-argument using reason and logic they resort to bullying tactics.

  12. I think it is going to get to the point that if you have not had a willing homosexual experience, you are going to be considered a bigot.

  13. Thank you again, Msgr Pope, for providing some perspective. Yes, the Church will survive. I don’t worry about that.

    Here’s what I worry about:
    1. Catholic institutions (charities, hospitals, universities) and even the Church may lose their tax-exempt status. Many such insititutions – particularly colleges – will sever their ties with the Church in order to keep the money flowing. Most will choose cultural accomodation over fidelity to the Church. These institutions will agitate for “change” of Church teaching. Dissent within these institutions will become even more openly antagonistic to the Church’s magisterium over time.
    2. The vast majority of Catholics will not be willing to be labeled bigots or be associated with a Chrurch that they themselves think is bigoted. Of those who remain, many (if not a majority) will actively oppose the Church’s teaching. We are already a Church made up primarily of dissenters; this will make the situation much, much worse.
    3. As a result of #1 & 2, the Church in the United States will shrink dramatically in both membership and influence.

    So, what difference does all this make? Yes, the Church will survive this crisis, as it has others in the past, but this all makes a huge and very real difference in terms of lost souls. That is what makes me sad and causes me so much anxiety. What about our childrens’ souls? They are following the culture and not the Church already, and the way I see it this is only going to get much worse, and very quickly.

    I don’t have the answers. It just makes me sad.

  14. Great, great article! The teaching of the Church is from Christ. It cannot and will not change.

    By the way, the Catholic Churches that I have been in are packed out on Saturday night and Sunday Masses. Protestant churches that I have seen are losing a lot of members and are resorting to church growth stuff to draw folks in and keep them.

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