The National Catholic Review

Friday, October 19 is a big day for Catholics, especially for Jesuits and their colleagues. It is the Feast of the North American Martyrs, which commemorates such spiritual giants as St. Isaac Jogues, St. Jean de Brébeuf and their brother Jesuits, all of whom worked with the Native peoples in "New France." (They are special heroes of mine.)  The day promises to be an especially memorable feast, because just two days later, Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk woman who was received into the Church by Jesuit missionaries, will be canonized in a grand ceremony by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.  (Along with Kateri will be canonized Marianne Cope, a Sister of St. Francis worked with the sick in Molokai, and Fr. Jacques Berthieu, a Jesuit missionary who was martyred in Madagascar.)

Friday marks another commemoration as well, which many Catholics might not know about.  It’s called “Spirit Day,” an invitation to stand against bullying and violence targeting gay and lesbian students in American schools.  This should be a no-brainer for Catholics, who are called by Christ to support those who suffer or struggle in any way, particularly those on the margins.  According to the Trevor Project, which helps LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) youths, gay and lesbian teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.  And youth coming from "highly rejecting families" are up to eight times as likely to attempted suicide as their gay and lesbian peers who report no or low levels family rejection.  Bullying is also on the rise, according to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez.  "The bullying of kids who are LBGT is probably the largest growth area in our docket," he said in Sept. 2011. 

This is an especially relevant issue for Catholics who support traditional families, particularly during this period in our nation's, and our church's, history.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that gays and lesbians should be treated with "respect, compassion and sensitivity," and that "every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."  (That's under the section in the Catechism entitled "You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.")  For supporters of traditional marriage, here is a simple way to show people that even those who do not support same-sex marriage deplore the bullying of, and violence against, gays and lesbian youth.  For Catholics overall it is an opportunity to demonstrate their "respect, compassion and sensitivity" for their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and thus heed the call of the Catechism.  (There's even a site for Catholics supporting the initiative.)  And when we're talking about suicide, we're talking about a "life issue."

Some may object to some of the organizations who are sponsoring the day, which may take positions at odds with official Catholic teaching.  (There are a lot of groups supporting the venture, and I'm sure that there are some with whose positions I disagree--even strongly.)  But that doesn't mean that Spirit Day, or standing up against bullying and discrimination, is any less worthwhile.  If you wait to work for a cause until you're working with people who agree with you on everything, you'll wait forever, and the injustice will continue. 

Many gay and lesbian Catholics have told me (in person, in emails, in notes and letters and in Facebook messages) how alienated they have felt from the church lately.  Perhaps as a result of some of the rhetoric that has been used recently, an increasing number of gay and lesbian Catholics, and gay and lesbian youth in particular, feel marginalized from the church in which they were baptized.  Such alienation is a source of great spiritual pain for them.

So why not do something simple to show compassion for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, especially those who are bullied or who have even attempted suicide? Purple is a penitential color, the color of remorse, and so it is particularly appropriate as a sign of remorse over any LBGT hate speech.  Why do something small to show your love of neighbor?  For you shall love your LGBT neighbor as yourself.

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CHARLES SHAW MR | 10/21/2012 - 12:10pm
To C. Portilla: To claim that ''There are no classes in Catholicism: there are only sinners.'' is really to defy reason.  Let's just be honest, here.  The Church as an institution is deeply flawed and thoroughly classist.  It's not possible to claim otherwise.  Celibate men make all the rules and hold all the power. End of story.  They even made a rule a few years back that celibate men with a homosexual tendency are banned from taking orders, thus banned from positions of authority and power, as well.  The hypocrisy knows no ends.  To hide behind the pious platitudes of language that emphasizes ordination as a ministry of service that is not about power is to avoid the truth.  Yes, ministry is about service-would that that were the model of ministry among the Vaticanista, careerist hierarchy who crawl the halls of most chanceries, and all too many parishes.  Women have absolutely no say in anything that happens.  Look at how the powers that be are treating women religious in the United States.  Until everyone in the institution-all honest believers of faith, all people with power, those without, can take an honest look in the mirror and do an examination of conscience about the reality and the failings, we really just spin our wheels.
Al Vernacchio | 10/19/2012 - 3:28pm
Cecilia, to equate the active homosexual with the active liar, their, or fornicatror is to completely misunderstand what homosexuality is.  There is nothing inherently sinful about homosexual sexual activity outside of marriage.  There is something inherently sinful about denying a blessing to a committed, loving, productive relationship that advances the cause of love in the world.  There is such clear evidence that the Roman Catholic Church blessed and affirmed same-sex unions before the 1300s (see the work of John Boswell).  The current prohibition against homosexual activity is not an eternal truth of the church.  It stems from a sinful and deliberately twisted misunderstanding of human sexuality and gender.  Sexual activity certainly can be sinful - when it is selfish, when it is abusive, when it lacks concern for the world.  That can apply to heterosexual sexual activity whether in or outside of a marriage.  There is nothing about marriage that makes the sexual activity somehow magically correct.  I do actually believe that marriage is a sacrament instituted by Christ, but not that it has to do with heterosexuality or children. It has to do with creating a loving and sustaining relationship.  I left the catholic church because I can no longer accept the stingy definitions of love that it avows.  If my Jesuit education taught me anything (and I was educated by Jesuits in high school and college - and majored in Theology by the way) it was that God's heart is bigger and roomier than anything my feeble brain can comprehend, and no human. ordained or not, can claim authority to speak to its limits.  
Thomas Rooney OFS | 10/19/2012 - 2:54pm
@ Noah -
"Those people should not be bullied but punished in an effort to correct them.  This sends the wrong message." 

What type of punishment are you endorsing?  Civil? Criminal?
Cecilia Portilla | 10/19/2012 - 12:47pm
Fr. Martin, Thomas, and others: Certainly we can respect everyone's human dignity without sending mixed messages by appearing as proponents of their cause - normalization of homosexual relationships. Fr., wearing your collar should be a daily stand showing that you ''support those who suffer or struggle in any way, particularly those on the margins.''
I don't think you need to wear purple to express your support! And you are blessed to have that outward sign that should comfort all those who see it: here, indeed, is an individual who understands that no matter the struggles I face, I will be accepted as a beloved of God and will be treated as such.
Truly, it would be most UN-loving to let someone feel comfortable in their sin. (It is not sinful to feel attraction to the same sex or the opposite sex - only sinful if we act on those attractions outside of the sacrement of marriage, right?) Just as we would not participate in support events that promote acceptance of premarital sex or abortion. We know we are all people, all created in God's image and likeness, that is not what is at issue here, among practicing Catholics. It is supporting the sinner while recognizing the sin.
I'm torn because I so want to show solidarity - respect for that LGBT person's innate dignity - and let others know, by a simple outward sign, that I will stand up for a person's dignity, and ask all people to treat others respectfully. I will stand up to the bully. But I will not let anyone think I support or encourage the sin (or perceived fault) they may be being bullied for. I want to show simply that I respect those being bullied for something that may be nature (a matter of biological interactions) or nurture (something taught as acceptable), but at the same time I know acting on sexual desires (homosexual or heterosexual) outside of marriage is a sin, and therefore a turning away from God.
So as not to send mixed messages, I will forgo the immediate identification that announces to all ''I will stand up to bullies'' by wearing purple. I will suffice to follow Christ in letting each of my actions speak for themselves - I will let my actions, words, and my miraculous medal (not as conspicuous as a priest's collar) ''announce'' to all: I am a follower of Christ and I will support the human dignity of all those who suffer or struggle in any way.

A. Vernacchio: There are no classes in Catholicism: there are only sinners. We each have different challenges and obstacles that might keep us from being in full communion with God, but we must work to overcome them, not indulge in them. If you think LGBT people are ''second class citizens'' in Catholicism, I think it is important to point out that the Church views the active homosexual the same way it views the active liar, the active thief, the active fornicator, etc... we are all sinners in need of salvation which can be found in Jesus, the Messiah. We are all sinners. The difference is in the heart of each sinner: do I want to continue to indulge in my sin, no matter how natural it feels, or will I die to self and attempt to live in communion with God?
Al Vernacchio | 10/18/2012 - 10:30pm
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that gays and lesbians should be treated with ''respect, compassion and sensitivity,'' and that ''every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.''

I do appreciate what you're trying to do here, Fr. Martin, but the fact is gays and lesbians will never be anything but second-class citizens in the Roman Catholic Church. If ''every sign of unjust discrimination...should be avoided'', then the church should joyfully bless my 20 year, monogamous, loving, union with my partner.  Better yet, make sure the gay and lesbian kids in high school know that they are more than welcome to bring their same sex dates to dances and the prom, and that they have more to look forward to in their lives than mandatory celibacy, a vocation they did not choose.  There's a huge difference between not spitting on a kid because he's gay and celebrating him because he's gay.  Until the Roman Catholic Church can do that, any promises or ovatures they make to gays and lesbians will ring hollow.

It was these hollow gestures that promise something they truly can't deliver that finally caused me to leave the Roman Catholic Church.  This was not an easy decision and was a very painful one, but the church has continually failed its gay and lesbian children, I will no longer be a party to that.

Thomas Rooney OFS | 10/17/2012 - 12:52pm
@Michael, I neglected to quote the statement I couldn't get past...

"So, in a sense, being bullied for acting effeminately turned out to be a good thing for me.  I'm not suggesting that it prevented me from being gay (though I wouldn't rule it out as one of those environmental factors that impacted my sexuality), but it certainly made it easier for me to grow up and interact in a society with long-held expectations of gender conduct."

Thomas Rooney OFS | 10/17/2012 - 11:55am
I agree with you to a point, Michael, and I will restate that while Spirit Day IS about bullying, it is with a specific emphasis put on LGBT children. 

However, y?ou can't make someone gay or not gay, no matter what kind of indoctrination any special interest ??group ????imposes.? ? ??I????????????????????????? ?d?i?s?a?g?r?e?e? ?t?h?a?t? ?i?s? ?g?l?a?a?d?'?s? ?a?g?e?n?d?a? ?h?e?r?e?.?????????????? ? ??F?r?o?m? ?m?y? ?s?t?a?n?d?p?o?i?n????t??,? I think we all, for one day, can get on the same page with the idea that it's NOT OK to beat up/frighten/ostracize/shun/humiliate a child for their perceived sexuality.

Can't we? 
Mike Brooks | 10/17/2012 - 11:17am
I've not a lot of time to post, but want to reply to comments addressed to me:

@Sandi - "Thou doest protest too much" - I love the irony here:  Implying in a derogatory fashion that I am homosexual; this from someone who is defending homosexual conduct.  Ok, what if I am a homosexual?

@Patricia B - Participation in homosexual acts - or any sexual acts for that matter - can be controlled.  Isn't that what priests vow to do?  Research on the causes of homosexuality and the ability to prevent/cure it was cuts short by the APA in the mid-seventies after political pressure/protests and infilitration of homosexuals into its leadership forced the removal of homosexuality from its list of disorders.  Meanwhile, there are thousands and thousands of men who will attest to being cured, or at the very least are able to control their homosexual urges.  Many more have been prevented from becoming homosexual through their upbringing and environment.

@Michael F - I use the term "same-sex attraction," because it is fairer to those who do not wish to be included under the "gay" umbrella which covers much more than sexual preference.  But I think the better way to describe them is as people who are attracted to people of the same sex, because that's what they are.  That's not a pseudo-scientific representation, it's just a fact.  if you want to alk about pseudo-science, talk about the "gay" political identity, created for political power and the demand for special rights.  That God created all humans does not mean that there is no evil or immorality, and homosexual acts are immoral behavior.

@ThomasRooney - Spirit Day, as Fr. Jim rightly explains and the glaad site explains, is about gay people.  They try to hide this fact by naming it "Spirit" and talking about bullying, but it's all about normalizing the homosexual condition, indoctrinating children to believe that it doesn't matter whether boys unite with boys or girls; that it's all the same.  This belief not only undermines male-female relationships, but it also encourages same-sex sexual experimentation.

CHARLES SHAW MR | 10/16/2012 - 2:22pm
Pope John Paul II began his papacy echoing the Gospel exhortation: ''Do not be afraid!''  In Crossing the Threshold of Hope, he elaborated on this point by saying, ''we should not be afraid of the truth about ourselves.''  Emboldened by the Pope's words, many gay and lesbian Catholics are praying their way into integrated lives of fearlessness in loving God, accepting themselves as they were beautifully and wonderfully made, and living lives of service, charity, hope, and love.  They are not afraid of the truth about themselves.  Unfortunately, this is not so for many detractors, as evidenced by the comments in response to Fr. Martin's important article.  Why so many are so concerned about the decisions of conscience made by some in the realm of love and intimacy is a bizarre reality I fail to understand.  Jesus had a great deal to say about judging others, failing to recognize the beam in one's own eye, being humble before the Lord, and loving one's neighbor.  Couching rank prejudice toward gays, lesbians, or any other group or individual behind the facade of promoting morality or God's justice is still-rank prejudice.  Standing up for LGBT youth is a small step in righting past wrongs and helping avoid future tragedies-notably, suicides.  Jesus and his Church stand with the LGBT youth, and all others on the margins.  Modern day Samaritans and lepers, and those who seek the Lord humbly, will inherit the Kingdom and receive blessings, while the proud bloviate.  
Palmer Glenda | 10/16/2012 - 9:06am
Luisa Navarro: We've covered Syria in almost every issue since the crisis began.   You might want to actually read our magazine or spend at least a few seconds on our website before you make comments like that.  
Thomas Rooney OFS | 10/16/2012 - 8:29am
@Luisa - America Magazine has posted many articles and blogs regarding the events in Syria and other injustices being down to Christians around the world.  Always has.  In my opinion, your assessment of the magazines coverage is inaccurate.

PS - @Sandi, Luisa is correct.  First and last names, please.
Luisa Navarro | 10/15/2012 - 10:43pm
To "Sandi", just a reminder of the site's policy: how about your full name? Or -please tell us, father Martin- is it just for non-pc commenters?

It is rather upsetting that America should be soooooooo American-ly worried about LGBT or whatever and not at all about Christians being LITERALLY massacred in Syria, China and other partibus infidelium RIGHT NOW.

St. Ignatius, St. Theresa, pray for us!

David Smith | 10/15/2012 - 7:45pm
''Creep'' is verboten?  That's creepy.
Palmer Glenda | 10/15/2012 - 5:01pm
Ms. Ho-Ohn's comment was deleted because she referred to some people as "creeps." And I don't see this as a "campaign" at all.  It's basically just encouraging people to be against bullying and trying to support at-risk gay and lesbian teens.  I can't believe anyone could be against that.  If we can't on one day out of the year support gay and lesbian teens who are tempted to suicide because of bullying, I don't know what we're doing here. 
Cecilia Portilla | 10/22/2012 - 8:03am
A. Venicchio, If I have completely misunderstood what homosexuality is, please help me to understand. I'll have to read John Boswell's work. But why should I give more credibility to his work, than all the works, wisdom and prayers of the Church fathers, and Doctors of the Church? If the Church ''deliberately twisted misunderstanding of human sexuality and gender,'' can you please articulate what the true understanding of human sexuality and gender is?
Could it be that you have misunderstood what sin is? Sin is a turning away from God. I am just making an observation here, but it seems that you have left the Church (and the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist) out of conflict with your homosexual relationship... a mere observance is that you have turned away from God, to an extent.
I certainly didn't mean to imply that marriage is a magical sin eraser, merely to point out that Catholic teaching and tradition holds that all sex outside of marriage is sinful (turns the individual away from God.) Sex inside of heterosexual marriage can be sinful, I agree.  If you believe that marriage is a sacrament instituted by Christ, why wouldn't it have to be ordered toward procreation (heterosexual?) If we are made in the image and likeness of God, why wouldn't the creative aspect of our sexuality be necessarily entwined with our ability to strive to live in complete communion with God? Why wouldn't we order our actions (and inactions) in a way that mirrors Jesus'?
No, certainly, no one can claim authority to speak of the limits of God's love, but I believe Jesus has given the apostles (handed down to us) clear teaching on what is sin; what turns us away from God. He gave us the path to heaven: keep the commandments, give up the things that prevent us from following him with all our heart, our all our mind, and all our soul. I don't think the Church is saying that God does not love homosexuals. I do think the Church will never celebrate sin.

Charles Shaw: I was commenting on A. Vernacchio's comment that homosexuals are ''second class citizens'' because they are not ''celebrated'' in the Catholic Church. I wasn't trying to say that there is no hierarchy in the Church, only that when it comes to ''classes'' of people, there are no 1st Class Catholics, 2nd Class Catholics...etc. We are all subject to only God's judgment and the Messiah's words on confronting sin: Matthew 18:15-20. Yes, the hierarchy of the Church is made up of ''celibate men'' but, if we are Christians, aren't we professing to follow the teachings and example of a celibate man (well, He is divine, too)?
I admit that I'm ignorant of the Vaticanista. What power should Catholics seek other than to live to their best ability the calling of God through the example of Jesus the Messiah?
As a woman, I can tell you I do not feel disempowered by being an active member of the Catholic Church. A person may make me feel powerless, but one person is not the Church. I disagree with your statement: ''Women have absolutely no say in anything that happens.'' I can tell you what women have done in my Church, Community, Schools, etc. I can tell you what women religious have done to change the world and I can tell you, just like men religious, some things have been for the better, and some for the worse.
''Until everyone in the institution-all honest believers of faith, all people with power, those without, can take an honest look in the mirror and do an examination of conscience about the reality and the failings, we really just spin our wheels.'' Do we really have to wait until all can do that? I think good work can be done regardless of the amount of people doing an honest examination of conscience.
Noah Moerbeek | 10/19/2012 - 11:45am
I would not wear a torquoise shirt to prevent bullying of thieves, or a green one to prevent bullying of adulters.  Those people should not be bullied but punished in an effort to correct them.  This sends the wrong message. 
Thomas Rooney OFS | 10/19/2012 - 8:38am
And after all that bluster - I forgot to wear purple today.  :D
Mike Brooks | 10/15/2012 - 4:15pm
I was sorry to see Amy Ho-Ohn's comment deleted by the moderator.  If I recall it correctly, she only said that in her school, the people most subject to bullying are the overweight girls and that it is the gay boys, emboldened by policies that protect them, who are doing the bullying.  And when those bullies are taken on by defenders of the overweight girls, it is the defenders who get suspended for, ironically, bullying. 

@Katy - I know what the point is: to preempt disagreement by couching the issue as one of pure goodwill.  Notice that it is named "Spirit" day, not "LBGT," "Gay," "Queer," or other accurately descriptive term, so as to disarm would-be dissenters.  It's propaganda, pure and simple, and I resent how homosexual activists are indoctrinating children in public schools with their own brand of politics, ideology and morality.  They never include any other victimized groups in these campaigns, because it's not about bullying; it's about indoctrination.

I understand the challenge of having same-sex attraction and the temptation to engage in homosexual behavior; and although we may or may not choose our sexual orientation, we can most certainly control our sexual behavior.  This campaign and others like it, discourages behavioral modfication and even encourages homosexual experimentation.  But it's all done with smoke and mirrors so that kind, compassionate people like you, blinded by the window dressing, will come to its defense, and attack people like me as being unreasonable and mean.  Chalk another one up for political correctness.

M. F. | 10/18/2012 - 1:10pm
To Michael Brooks, once more.

Your claim that the APA was ''infiltrated'' by gay persons, and thus homosexuality was removed from the DSM's list of disorders, is quite laughable. In 1952, homosexuality was included in the APA's first DSM publication as a disorder. Almost immediately afterward, the National Institute of Mental Health researched this classification with critical scrutiny and consistently failed to produce any empirical or scientific basis for regarding homosexuality as a disorder or abnormality. It was removed from the DSM in 1973 with the explanation that its inclusion reflected untested assumptions based on once-prevalent social norms and clinical impressions from unrepresentative samples.

Secondly, on the topic of the ''thousands and thousands of men who will attest to being cured,'' this reflects the notion that humans are naturally heterosexual and homosexuality is a deviation from a person's true nature. This is fundamentally incorrect. Further, unless you can show me an example of a person who was cured of his or her heterosexuality and was then able to live life as a gay person, then reparative therapy will hold no credence.

 This gay political identity you are weary of is not demanding special rights. If all persons had the right to practice a religion, provided it was Scientology, or to wear pants, provided they were a size 28, those would not be true rights, because those things do not provide for human flourishing for persons who do not believe in Scientology or do not fit into a size 28.

 Lastly, we do not agree that ''homosexual acts are immoral behavior.'' If you wish to pursuade me that that statement is true, I will listen.
Thomas Rooney OFS | 10/17/2012 - 12:50pm
I'm afraid we're miles apart on this, Michael.  This gets into the nature vs. nurture aspect of homosexuality.  You believe homosexuals can be made or unmade, an opinion which you make quite clear in your gratitude to your childhood bullies.  I emphatically do not.
"Why would glaad want to talk about "LGBT" bullying instead of just "bullying" to young children?  Because it's a homosexual propaganda campaign, that's why.
Using this logic, we could term the NAACP as such a p?r?o?p?o?g?a?n?d?a? ?c?a???m?p???a???i???g???n??i?n?g? ?o?r?g?a?n?i?z?a?t?i?o?n?.? ? ??A?n?d? ?t?h?e? ??C?a?t?h?o?l?i?c? ??L?e?a?g?u?e?.? ? ??A?n?d? ?t?h?e? ??A?n?t?i?-????D?e?f?a?m?a?t?i?o?n? ??L?e?a?g?u?e?.? ? ??E?v?e?r?y?o?n?e?'?s? ?g?o?t? ?a?n? ?a?g?e?n??d???a????,? ??I? ?s?u?p?p?o?s?e? ????.? ? ??I? ?h?a?p?p?e?n? ?t?o? ?s?u?p?p?o?r?t? ?t?h?e? ??"?s?p?i?r?i?t??"? ?o?f? ?????S?p?i?r?i?t? ??D?a?y??.?
??? ?????"??So, in a sense, being bullied for acting effeminately turned out to be a good thing for me."??  ??
I apologize, but I simply can't get past this statement of yours.?
Mike Brooks | 10/17/2012 - 12:38pm
Thomas - Of course we can agree that it's not ok to bully a child for his/her perceived sexuality. 

I'm intrigued by your use of the term "perceived sexuality," and I suppose you used it in recognition of the fact that Spirit Day is geared not only to children who are sexually maturing/mature, but also to kids who have no clue - at least not until Spirit Day - about sex and sexuality.  Why would glaad want to talk about "LGBT" bullying instead of just "bullying" to young children?  Because it's a homosexual propaganda campaign, that's why.

A quick devil's advocate argument about bullying:  As a young boy I was bullied for acting effeminately in a school play; had never heard the term "fairy" before, but I can tell you that I was shamed out of that kind of behavior pretty quickly from that incident.  These days, with the help of LGBT ant-bullying campaigns, I would have instead been encouraged to complain to a teacher, accept my feminity and consider the possibility that I might have been born a homosexual.  So, in a sense, being bullied for acting effeminately turned out to be a good thing for me.  I'm not suggesting that it prevented me from being gay (though I wouldn't rule it out as one of those environmental factors that impacted my sexuality), but it certainly made it easier for me to grow up and interact in a society with long-held expectations of gender conduct.

I have several similar bullying-turned-to-strength stories from incidents involving my kids as victims.

Sandi Sinor | 10/16/2012 - 1:47pm
#9 and #13. Autofill fills in the blanks in a lot of forms and I don't pay much attention unless it is $ related - a purchase of some kind. Then I double check. Apparently autofill didn't fill in my full name. So, for those who really want to know (curious as to why it is so important to them, but.....), I filled in the blank here ''by hand''. Since the observation I made was deleted by the PTB, it probably doesn't matter to anyone anyway. 
Thomas Rooney OFS | 10/16/2012 - 8:21am
@Michael Brooks -

I'm not sure I understand your opposition to this campaign.  Is there anyone here, or just about anywhere, who does not know is a gay rights organization?  Surely you can agree with the sentiment if not the "spirit" of the effort.  My son is autistic and has endured ongoing bullying since he's been in school - he's now 15 years old, in honors science and proudly serves at the altar.  Spirit Day is for him and every child that endures bullying for whatever reason, including homosexuality (or perceived homosexuality).  That fact that it is sponsored by a gay rights organization is a poor reason to dismiss it.   If you think the primary purpose of Spirit Day is the encouraging? acceptance of homosexual activity, you have woefully missed the point, in my opinion. 
Leslie Rabbitt | 10/16/2012 - 12:49am
Orate, fratres!  In one woman's humble opinion, doesn't it all come down to a charitable assessment of  "being" vs. "doing"?   God forbid we should judge the "being" of any human created in the Image and Likeness of God - and that goes for anyone on the planet.  Period.  If you don't like or even fear your brothers or sisters on the basis of who they are in the light of your own goodness and zeal...   we all struggle with that.  Give it to the Mercy of God and be freed from the prison of prejudice.  Seriously, orate, fratres!
John Whipple | 10/15/2012 - 11:21pm
The way gay and lesbian people will know that the Catholic Church loves them is when they see Catholics accepting them with respect, compassion, and sensitivity, as the Catechism teaches. We have to be able to distinguish between that and condoning immorality. If we can't do it, how can we expect homosexuals to do it. We mustn't imagine that we can control their behavior, any more than we can control that of adulterers, fornicators and people cohabiting outside of marriage. But to argue that justice for homosexuals necessarily includes support for homosexual activity or same-sex "marriage" is to say that homosexual activists are right. It is logically fallacious. To quibble over justice for one group of people by pointing to other issues is unchristian. Let's try to think clearly, make the necessary distinctions and love our gay neighbors as ourselves.
M. F. | 10/15/2012 - 9:19pm
To Michael Brooks' comments, just a few points.

Same Sex Attraction, or SSA, is a pseudo-scientific term invented by persons against the recognition of gay relationships to depersonalize gayness and its constitutionally conditioned, identity constitutive nature. It is a linguistic tool to imply that gayness is a distortion of a more fundamental humanity,? which is naturally heterosexual. This is not the case. Unless Opposite Sex Attraction, or OSA, is applied to heterosexual persons, then SSA cannot be legitimately applied to gay persons, because this would reflect a deep-seated linguistic bias against gay persons. It is irresponsible to? label one sexual orientation with a pseudo-clinical term, but then let another, albeit the orientation of the majority, be known in its entire romantic and personable nature. 

The APA defines sexual orientation as an enduring pattern of or disposition to sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions and an individual's sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions. One's sexual orientation does inform one's identity, regardless if one is straight or? gay. So it is quite disingenuous to pit God and one's sexuality against each other in the formation of an identity only for gay people. Were you aware that sexuality is? an aspect of humanity that was created by God? It would be more honest to advise forming an identity inclusive of one's sexuality and relationality with the Trinity as the lens, as is the advice given to heterosexuals.
Patricia Bergeron | 10/15/2012 - 7:58pm
Dear Michael,

I think you are misinformed about homosexuality. I don't believe there are any credible mental health professionals out there who would claim that homosexuals can be "cured" of their sexual orientation via behavior modification. People don't choose to be homosexual any more than they choose to have blue eyes or brown skin. As a good friend of mine (who happens to be gay) put it, "Why would I choose to be something that many people hate?" Gay people are, first and foremost, people. You should look around, Michael. You may find that some very nice and decent people you know or work with are in fact gay. Maybe we all need to meditate on how God sees us, with all our attributes.
Kang Dole | 10/15/2012 - 3:54pm
I fully expect this comment thread to take some rather predictable culture war turns, but I would like instead to comment on the first part, concerning the N.A. Martyrs.

My perspective is colored to an extent by my being Canadian and a resident of the last holdover of Nouvelle-France-I think the time period in question continues to have greater mental resonance among us than with Americans. (Of course, I will also cop to a general lack of sympathy for the missionary endeavour, in general.) I have always found these men tough to juggle. They will always be beyond extrication from their colonial context and from the subsequent fate of First Nations people, and to me that suggests that they simply must occupy a very ambiguous place in memory. Note that I consider the word ambiguous to be key here-I'm not saying that they shouldn't be commemorated or even held as heroes, but I do think that there is an element of "and yet..." that must automatically coincide with how they are remembered.

Because it's a tough topic, and clearly one that resonates personally with the author, I feel the need to emphasize that my question is not antagonistic or judgmental, but rather is genuinely rooted in empathy with how difficult it can be to find and hold to heroes of faith. How does one gain strength of faith from the story of these men, without that gain being overthrown by the spectre of the larger history of European colonization of the Americas of which they were a part?
Kasey Moerbeek | 10/19/2012 - 12:55pm
Why I don't subscribe.
Mike Brooks | 10/15/2012 - 12:55pm
If we're genuinely concerned about bullying, then we should have a respect day not just for homosexuals but for all people bullied, be they effeminate straight boys, tom-girls, smart kids, overweight kids, skinny kids, etc....  Spirit Day is just another ploy by homosexual activists to enourage acceptance of homosexual behavior through peer pressure.  I remember many years ago my school had a "Gay Jeans Day," where everyone who supported gay rights was supposed to wear jeans.  Well, back then we all wore jeans, so on that day one might have believed that everyone was a supporter of homosexual rights.  Smart planning/ploying by the activists.

Are homosexuals not concerned with others being bullied besides themselves?  If so, then change the day to "No-Bullying Day."  Far more kids are being bullied for other reasons than being homosexual.

Be honest and call the occasion what it is: another day to try and desensitize children to homosexual behavior and create a future politically friendly environment for pro-homosexual legislation, such as same-sex marriage.
Katy Huston | 10/15/2012 - 3:40pm
Uh, did you maybe miss the point? I think it was ''Love your neighbor as yourself''. Did you maybe suffer from bullying that you have not yet resolved? And you seem to be very angry about homosexuals. I think they are just as much our ''neighbors'' as anyone else. I don't think we are allowed to be selective about that. I also think it is OK to be opposed to same-sex marriage while still respecting and, yes, loving those who wish to be together in a blessed relationship. We do not get to choose our sexual orientation. We do get to choose how we respond to all the people God made and to be open to love in all its myriad forms.