‘Why does the church hate gay people?’ Boston bishop seeks to listen to young people

People gather at a June 14 candlelight vigil in Manila, Philippines, in memory of the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Philippine Catholic bishops called for vigilance against bullying, ostracism and harassment of gay people in the wake of the incident in which police said a lone gunman killed 49 people early June 12 at the club. (CNS photo/Mark R. Cristino, EPA)People gather at a June 14 candlelight vigil in Manila, Philippines, in memory of the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. (CNS photo/Mark R. Cristino, EPA)

When an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Boston asked the nearly 200 students in a high school confirmation class what questions they had for him earlier this month, two themes quickly emerged. First, they wrote him, why did you want to become a bishop? Second, why does the church hate gay people?

The first one was easy, Bishop Mark O’Connell told them, since very few priests set out to become bishops.

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But the second question, which he said comes up frequently when he meets with young people, was more difficult for him to answer, not because church teaching is unclear to him, but because the language the church often uses fails to resonate with a generation that increasingly sees kindness as the highest virtue. An experience he had with a student following the listening session earlier this month led him to post a message on Twitter to encourage other bishops to listen to the concerns young Catholics have about fraught issues of gender and sexuality:

“I feel inspired by Pope Francis to find new language to express the beauty of our truth,” Bishop O’Connell told America in a recent interview. And to that end, the bishop, who also serves as pastor of a parish with 2,800 families, has held 22 listening sessions.

A canon lawyer by training, Bishop O’Connell said duringan address at his ordination as bishop last August that church leaders are called to reach out to the “many who feel the church doesn’t want them.” He said part of that ministry includes listening, including to “the many young adults who have nothing but skepticism and doubt when they think of the Catholic Church.”

Bishop O’Connell: “I feel inspired by Pope Francis to find new language to express the beauty of our truth.”

“By naming our own weaknesses, we can develop new language, new ways to explain the soundness of our teaching, new ways to show the beauty and authenticity of our faith to the world,” he said. “If we cannot find the new language, at least we can listen.”

In the interview with America, he made clear several times that he does not question church teaching on issues of gender and sexuality—he is simply searching for better ways to articulate those teachings during a particularly “critical moment” in the lives of young people.

“Giving them a bad explanation of the truth could cause them to lose their faith forever,” he said.

Many students tell him they see the church as “unkind” on L.G.B.T. issues, which he thinks is driven in part by media reports that tell them “we’re a bigoted church” and that Catholics are “bullies.”

“As a generation,” he said of today’s high school students, “they’re kind-hearted, and they don’t like people being put down, bullied.”

“Giving [young people] a bad explanation of the truth could cause them to lose their faith forever.”

He said that after reflecting on their questions he told them, “We’re not against gay people, we have lots of gay members in our church.” He noted that there are priests who are gay and who live chastely. He tries to impress upon young people that the church is “not prejudiced” against gay people but does not shy away from the church’s teaching on marriage.

Attitudes about L.G.B.T. issues among Catholics in the United States have changed in recent years. Catholics as a cohort are accepting of same-sex marriage and believe that businesses should not be allowed to discriminate against L.G.B.T. people in the marketplace. But officially, the church still bans gay men from entering seminaries, though how that rule is enforced varies from diocese to diocese, and sexual relations between people of the same gender are considered sinful. Since gay marriage was legalized nationwide in 2015, there has been a rash of firings of church workers because of issues related to sexuality.

Then there is the issue of language itself, which has caused turmoil between some L.G.B.T. Catholics and church leaders.

Bishop O’Connell said the search for acceptable language is ongoing, noting that even in the L.G.B.T. community language continues to evolve.

James Martin, S.J., an editor at America, published a book last year in which he calls church leaders to use the terms “gay” and “lesbian” when talking about L.G.B.T. people, rather than the more clinical sounding “same-sex attracted people” preferred by many church leaders. Many high-profile church leaders have backed Father Martin on this, though others continue to resist the labels.

For his part, Bishop O’Connell said the search for acceptable language is ongoing, noting that even in the L.G.B.T. community, language continues to evolve. “We need to work on language that we can all agree on,” he said.

The dizzying pace of progress for L.G.B.T. people has also presented the church with new challenges, he said. “These are not old issues,” he said, pointing specifically to the challenges over rights for transgender issues. “Jesus did not say, ‘In 2018, when we speak about transgender people, this is the answer.’”

“Jesus did not say, ‘In 2018, when we speak about transgender people, this is the answer.’”

Bishops, he said, are “struggling” with the issue and are considering, “How do we really be kind?” when formulating policies about bathrooms and locker rooms in church-affiliated institutions.

Young people see the church as a scold, the bishop said, and urged pastors to act like good parents when confronted with parishioners who are unsure about their gender or sexuality. If a child told a mom or dad that she or he is struggling with sexual identity, “a good parent would take that as a real cry for a conversation and not just say, ‘Stop it,’” he said.

In some of the other listening sessions Bishop O’Connell has hosted, he said there are usually two types of participants: “people confused because the church has too many rules” and “people confused because the church ‘took away’ all of our rules.”

“We are losing three generations of people, and we need to hear why.”

While many people have thanked the bishop for holding the listening sessions, he says not everyone agrees with the premise. One person told him that bishops should teach, not listen. But he says he takes seriously the goal of listening to the faithful, adding, “We’re not a church that should be afraid of questions, but I think a lot of people are afraid of these questions.”

When asked how church leaders might better address questions from young people about L.G.B.T. people, he said that first, “We have to stop avoiding it.” He said it is “rare” for bishops to listen to the concerns of young people about these issues, adding, “every bishop should be able to answer these questions adequately.”

But what if the young people are unimpressed with the answers they hear? Well, Bishop O’Connell said, they need to use their voice. “When I was first ordained 27 years ago, our high school students were upset that there weren’t girl altar servers,” he said. Today, it is common to see young girls serving in that role.

“We are losing three generations of people, and we need to hear why,” he said. “So I would encourage my brother bishops to listen, listen to what they’re saying.”

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J Cosgrove
5 months 4 weeks ago

Why does the church hate gay people?

This is another in the seemingly endless accusations that gay people are hated and abused by the Church and Catholics when the exact opposite is the truth. What is true is that the Church in general and America, the magazine, in particular ignore or talk in code about the problem of extra-marital sex as this article does. But that does not say the Church or Catholics hate gay people.

My bet is that there has been close to a hundred articles with the same theme in the last 10 years since I have been reading America online.

Genevieve Burns
5 months 4 weeks ago

It is to the Jesuits' shame that they are enabling the homosexualist James Martin. Think about how many young people are taught by Jesuits at their HSs and colleges. By sending a message that the homosexuals' sex acts and lifestyles are okay, they could allow confused or bullied kids to travel a path they might find dangerous, embarrassing, and extremely regretful. We (Jesuits and alums) should be protecting our youth, not sending them messages it's OK to travel down a path that leads to sin! It's incredible actually, the lack of logic and reason involved in telling kids that such sin and perverted sex acts are OK.

Julie A Miller
5 months 4 weeks ago

"Homosexualist?" I looked up the word, and see that it is used as a pejorative, and was once used in Victorian times for "homosexual." But as applied to a priest and author who, at most, can be accused of being too tolerant of people who are caught up in behavior the Church teaches is sinful, I don't get it. Is "homosexualist" akin to "communist?" SMH

Tim O'Leary
5 months 4 weeks ago

J - you are right. On any slow news day, we get articles like this that avoid any mention of the Gospel while they promote the sexual revolution. The bias is inherent in the phrasing of the question and in the opposition of kindness vs. rules, teaching vs. bullying, etc.. For those who cannot see the inherent bias, just imagine if the article was titled "Why do doctors hate smokers" or "Why do Jesuits constantly undermine the Gospel?"

The good bishop wonders why we are losing many people in the rich West (while gaining more in Asia and Africa, by the way). Well, it is because many Catholics in the comfortable West have failed to teach and live the Gospel in its fullness. They emphasize political causes (mostly liberal causes, outside the prolife and pro-family issues) and wealth redistribution, while allowing a type of universalism (all can be saved, except maybe Hitler) and anodyne language to creep into their evangelization (if they are actually ever trying to evangelize). They are trying to domesticate the Gospel so that the fierce words of the Lord are hidden from those who do not dwell daily with the Scriptures.

The Jesuits (whose charism I love, if I could ever find it today) are at the vanguard of lite Christianity, where salvation of souls takes a backseat to self-affirmation of any desire one is tempted with. They obsess about getting the words and the tone right (Its same-sex attraction. No, wait, its gay and lesbian. No, its LGBT. No, it's LGBTQIAA... or anyone who recalls the Scriptures is sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, haters-will-hate), all the while ignoring the words of the Savior: "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Mt 7;14); "And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." (Mt 5:30); “If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (Jn 14;15) or his Apostles "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals.." (1 Cor 6:9); or "Whoever says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person." 1 Jn 2:4. Please get back to the business of saving souls!

James Haraldson
5 months 3 weeks ago

Good comments. Unfortunately the dishonesty and cruelty of demagogic accommodationism, where bishops give stones when those suffering mental illness need the bread of authentic compassion, is compounded by their remaining oblivious to the ideological component to abnormal sexuality. It is no accident that there is almost universal approval among LGBT individuals for abortion. Were the condition natural, this would not be the case. Oh, I'm sorry. I keep forgetting. Bishops could care less about the mass slaughter of the unborn as well. Many are too busy selling the atheistic notion that truth, in reality the reflection of the mind of God, is fungible because God, if He exists, is imperfect and needs the advice of theologians to tell Him how to be God.

Genevieve Burns
5 months 4 weeks ago

The church does not hate gay people, alcoholics (gluttony), adulterers, swindlers, or anyone. What God and Divine Law teaches us is that sodomy, adultery, gluttony, etc. are sinful -- and sodomy in particular is a carnal sin crying to heaven for vengeance. Under no circumstances are men to perform that sex act. No exceptions, sorry. It's a deep and heinous sin against God, Nature, and human dignity. It's medically unsafe and dangerous. The "gay lifestyle" becomes a vice. There is nothing that can sanctify that act.

Genevieve Burns
5 months 4 weeks ago

PS where my Catholic views on this were crystallized, finally breaking the secular-leftist hold on my weak education was hearing the remarks of Fr. McGrath S.J. President of Loyola Academy high school in Wilmette, IL. At last year's graduation, Fr. Patrick McGrath made an explicit reference to "sexual orientation" as a defining criterion comprising the school's "diversity". In other words, a 18 yr. old who might be questioning his future, or thinking about following secular sexual ethics, finds in the Jesuit school leader someone who is promoting the idea that same-sex actions are an acceptable choice. This is horrible advice to give a kid going off to college, unsupervised for the first time. Pope Leo XIII said: "The worse kind of heretic is the one who, while teaching mostly true Catholic doctrine, adds a word of heresy, like a drop of poison in a cup of water."

Tim Donovan
5 months 4 weeks ago

As I noted in my other post, I'm a gay Catholic who both experienced much pain growing up (being called a "faggot" but I agree, as a man with same-sex attraction who had sex with men and regretted it, that sex between men is wrong, but this also includes sex between women, as well as sex between straight people before marriage. I believe that Jesus, while the epitome of a loving God, being "true God and true man," doesn't make distinctions between immoral acts. It's natural , I think, for us as imperfect human beings (and I readily admit to being VERY imperfect) to see some sins as being worse than others. Certainly, from a legal perspective, murder and rape are more serious crimes than underage drinking or breaking the speed limit while driving. However, and I'm certainly no theologian, but straight people having sex before marriage is also wrong as is "looking at a woman with lust in your heart." I'm sure that Jesus, according to Paul, who in his epistle writings was no difference between people who were slave or free, Jew or gentile, would agree that women shouldn't feel lust in their hearts towards men.

Patrick Murtha
5 months 4 weeks ago

Tim, in our own time, it takes a great grace of God to remain chaste in marriage or out of marriage. Our culture is saturated with sexual immoralities. It is true that many will fall into temptations and sins against chastity and purity, against the reason of sexual desire and sex--procreation of children; but the great grace of chastity and conversion to this grace, standing stalwart in God, is granted to anyone who asks God for the grace and acts on it. It does not mean that it will be easy, as St. Paul says that God said to him, when he asked for a "goad" to be removed from him, "My grace is sufficient for thee."

Nevertheless, in answer to your thought that "God does not make distinctions between immoral acts," by His own words, He does make distinctions between sins. And reason also shows this. An immoral act of malice or complete volition is greater than the same immoral act of weakness or impulsiveness. (For example, rape is a greater sin than fornication. A willful lie is a greater sin than an impulsive lie.) An immoral act against nature is greater than an immoral act that is founded on nature. (For example, sodomy is a greater sin than adultery. The murder of one's parents is a greater sin than the murder of a non-parent.) You will find many distinctions on the gravity of sin in Aquinas's Summa Theologica.

We also find Christ Himself saying to Pilate, "he that hath delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin." Christ is warning Pilate that his abuse of his authority is a sin--a grave sin, but the sin of Judas and the sin of the Chief Priests is a greater sin because of their knowledge of whom Christ is. Furthermore, it is said in Lamentations, "And the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment..." Again, the sin of the Sodomites, a grave sin indeed, the good God is saying, is not worse than the sin of Hebrews who had the true Faith. The Sodomites had nature and reason to guide their actions, and their sin opposed nature and reason, but the Hebrews had God's words to guide them, and so their sin opposed the direct Divine commandments, a greater sin.

Nora Bolcon
5 months 4 weeks ago

Ahh - You said in Jesus' words that he differentiates between sins and yet you gave no such words from Jesus to back your belief up. Sin is sin but the only sin that is not forgiveable according to Christ and therefore is treated differently are those who intentionally speak against or act against the Holy Spirit. Genesis does not let us know even what the first sin or "the fruit" is because if we knew what that was we would concentrate on the action instead of on what the sin's root is which was the refusal by both Adam and Eve to believe in their hearts that God spoke the Truth to them. The sin of Faithlessness. Both Adam and Eve committed this same sin and their lack of faith in God, equally, is what caused the downfall of Man. Sodomy and Adultery are equally sins in God's eyes at least according to the commandments and the Old Testament, as both can get you stoned to death in the old testament so same punishment equals same evil value, basically. In fact, Jesus rarely mentions these sins in the Gospels and this is because he has come to free us from the law not destroy us for breaking it due to our weaknesses. There are people who can't change their sexual desires for the same sex and these people make up a 3rd of the human population so unless our leaders can cure them as Jesus did then we should welcome them and their families just like we welcome the smoker who can't quit or the mentally or physically ill who can't believe enough to be healed.

It is not a coincidence, the sin mentioned most often by Jesus, and this is probably due to the fact that it is aimed at the religious leaders of the day and they didn't really believe they were sinning, is the sin of religious hypocrisy, self-righteousness and arrogance. As life goes on, I can see why Jesus scolded the religious leaders most often. They were not repentant and these types of sins turn multitudes of people away from God, as the people say to themselves if these leaders are picked by God, and are total jerks, then why do I want to know God better? So in some ways poor religious leaders are more harmful than murderers because a murderer can only take a person's mortal life but hypocritical, and hurtful religious leaders cause many to lose their eternal life. Our own religious leaders would do well to take these lessons to heart, as our maltreatment of women, with our sexist ordination practices, and our often cruel treatment of LGBT people and their families, directed as proper by our leaders, may put their salvation at risk far more than the people they find less worthy and less righteous than themselves.

I agree with you somewhat on your statement about Jesus letting us know that intentional sins is more greatly punished by God than sin done out of ignorance. The reason Pilate is considered less guilty is not because his sin is less sinful by action. He is less guilty because he did not understand his action was sin. Pilate sinned believing he was acting according to Justice where the leaders handing Jesus over and Judas should have known better.

Luke Chapter 12 - Verse 1-4 "In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

CATHERINE ARVENTOS
5 months 4 weeks ago

Posting above is well thought out and about as positive as an strict Catholic gets when considering sexuality. It is my thought that the Catholic Church, particularly the hierarchy and in the media, place way too much emphasis on sexuality and sexual acts. I was reasonably well educated in the Catholic faith in high school and college as well as in the continuing education courses I've taken and the books I've read. However, every time I read anything regarding sexuality from a supposed "Catholic" viewpoint I learn something new about what is considered sinful. During religious education classes in a large urban Catholic high school in the mid 1970's the understanding I came away with is that anything that occurs sexually within a marriage that is consensual is no one's business but the couple's. I agree with bishop's assessment that the Catholic Church is losing or has lost 3 generations. I suspect it may be more. My 85 year old mother was outraged as she sent her 4 sons to be altar servers and she learned many years later of the bishops' lack of responses to sexual assault on young people. She no longer goes to church and does not want a funeral Mass said for her. I am at least temporarily no longer going to church as I cannot stand the lack of acceptance of LBGT Catholics and the horrible treatment such individuals receive by "rank and file" Catholics in addition to the bishops. I must say that is not the only issue I have with institutional Catholicism. (I suspect many parish priests are much more understanding of individuals who have life style disagreements with the church's positions than many other Catholics). As one of 6 siblings, all who have children, all those children stopped going to Mass as soon as they left home. My children and nieces and nephews are now of marrying age and in spite of their spouses also being raised Catholic they do not marry in the church. I believe all of these generations have a basic faith in a loving God and sense of the spiritual. All engage in service to others and are kind and decent people. But, as the Bishop who wrote the above article said, the Church needs to listen to people who have problems with the church. If that active listening does not occur and if the church does not approach sexual and family life issues differently than they are currently (I'm not sure the only issue is the language used in the explanations); I suspect more and more of our churches will be closing as those with gray hair who presently make up most of regular Mass attenders will have passed on and there will be no one to follow them.

Sandor Gyetvai
5 months 4 weeks ago

Hello Patrick, I completely agree with you, in many ways, but to some extend, these are partially distinctions without practical difference. If someone asked, 'What is heavier to have tied around your neck when you are thrown into the sea, an Iron Anchor, or a concrete block?' There is a real answer to which is heavier, but both sink you to the bottom of the sea and drown you. So, weather or not you end up in Hell because you committed Un-repented Sodomy, or Un-repented Fornication, in both cases, you end up in Hell! These distinctions help in the confessional and when working with a person to help them get out of sin, and to help with proper repentance for sin, but when these mortal sins are un-repented, it almost doesn't matter which is worse.

Mike Theman
5 months 4 weeks ago

The better question is, "Why do people believe that the Church hates gay people?" And the answer is, "Because of articles like this one which, rather than correct the error, perpetuates it, especially in the title."

It's like that old lawyer trick where your intention is to make an unproven allegation under the guise of asking a question, e.g., "How long have you been beating your wife?"

Christopher Lochner
5 months 4 weeks ago

The Church does not "Hate" gay people. To get to the root of the issue one must understand the complexity of the situation as it involves reproduction. To simplify, sex is to reproduce and families are to reproduce; without reproduction our human species would not survive. Until relatively recently, death in childbirth and among children was quite common. Hence, the admonishment to reproduce was written into our religious codes. It's not that the Church hates gays (or singles for that matter), it is the fear over a lowering of birthrates which is the problem. God is not concerned by this but religious leaders are frightened due to this instinctive and age old belief. Do not be angry at the leaders as they are locked into an argument of which they cannot easily dispose of or extricate themselves from. Gays, singles, and those who cannot or desire not to have children are all viewed under the same dark and fearful cloud. Such are the diificulties we experience by elevating the opinions of men over the Love of God.

Mike Theman
5 months 4 weeks ago

It's not that complex. It's very clear from anatomy and physiology how our bodies - temples - are intended by God to be used. It's not a question of reproduction - at least for those who engage in same-sex s0d0my. Same-sex attraction is not so prevalent that it would impact the size of the population; moreover, in theory, those with same-sex attraction would never reproduce anyway, regardless of what the Church teaches.

As for singles, the issue is the raising of children with a mom and a dad, not reproduction. Singles are capable of reproducing.....

Tim Donovan
5 months 4 weeks ago

Hello. I agree that abortion, the deliberate killing of an innocent unborn human being, is worse than contraception (which prevents a new human being from beginning life. I certainly support legal contraception and sterilization for adults (although I do believe that minors should be required to have parental consent to use contraception). However, although it isn't popular even among Catholics, I do believe that natural family planning is the moral means of planning one's family. When used correctly and consistently, natural family planning is very effective, and also has no adverse side effects, such as many forms of contraception have.

Patrick Murtha
5 months 4 weeks ago

Natural family planning raises very serious concerns. While such methods as the "rhythm method," are not intrinsically evil as abortion is and as contraception is, it does raise serious moral questions over the intention of the couple. Pius XII warns that such "natural family planning" may only be done for very serious reasons--simply not wanting a child is not a serious reason, nor is not having appropriate finances for children, nor is fear that a child will prevent the continuance of one's career. Pius XII warns that people who follow this method for no serious reason are guilty of serious sins against the nature of marriage and sex, which is firstly and foremostly for the procreation and the education and raising of children. He says that these people smear marriage and turn potential parents into mere "lovers" who have sex purely for the pleasure and the intimacy, but not for the reason God made sex pleasurable, "that two shall be one" and that one is the child.

Nora Bolcon
5 months 4 weeks ago

“When I was first ordained 27 years ago, our high school students were upset that there weren’t girl altar servers,” he said. Today, it is common to see young girls serving in that role."

And now there are many youths that are leaving because there are no women priests, bishops, cardinals and Popes. So please Bishop - change these sexist, sinful, hurtful and self-destructive church rules too. The sooner the change to equality the better because yes, Bishop, we are losing 3 generations at a time, and they are leaving for very Christian reasons.

Tim Donovan
5 months 4 weeks ago

I'm a gay Catholic, and I agree that the Church and bishops need to listen to people, especially young people. Recent surveys show that young people are being more inclined to reject religion and identify themselves as "nones." This is why it's important that the Church teach the truth in a compassionate manner. As Bishop O'Connell noted, the Church can change regarding certain matters, but not it's essential teachings. For instance, acceptable, indeed good changes in my opinion include girl altar servers. women as readers / lectors at Mass, as well as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Also, although I have attended in my forties (I'm now 55) an approved Latin Mass and found it be be beautiful and especially reverent, I prefer Mass in the vernacular . Also, for several decades Catholics in the United States have had the option to receive Holy Communion in the hand; I happen to prefer receiving the Eucharist on my tongue. I fully agree with the teachings of our Popes since after Vatican II that it's important for the Church to engage in ecumenical dialogue. Many of my neighbors and friends are Protestants; my sister in law and niece are good Presbyterians, and I also know several people who are Jewish and Muslim, and we get along fine. I also agree with Pope Francis ' emphasis on the immorality of capital punishment, and believe that it should be banned. I also believe with our Holy Father that even the possession of nuclear weapons is morally very problematic, and that, along with the violence of abortion, that nuclear weapons should be banned I also read Laudato Si, and agree that God wants us to be good stewsrds of the environment.. As a retired Special Education teacher who lives in a good nursing home, I believe with Church teaching regarding social justice. We as Catholics (as well as our government) should provide assistance to the numerous Americans in need. Among others, these include people who are homeless, disabled, veterans, the elderly, the seriously ill, the mentally ill, the poor, victims of human trafficking, sexual abuse, as well as those addicted to drugs.
As a retired teacher, I agree that teaching with clarity and compassion is important. I have had sex with men, but have regretted my decision, anve received forgiveness and consolation through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As someone who growing up was called vulgar names ( "faggot"(, I agree, as does Church teaching, that gay people must be treated with respect and compassion. However, I do believe that marriage is intended by God to be a union of one man and one woman. Jesus clearly was forgiving to the woman caught in adultery, but made it clear that she "should go and sin no more." (John 8:11). Therefore, I believe that straight people having sex before marriage is equally as wrong as same sex relationships. Jesus is forgiving, but died and rose again to save us from our sins.

Genevieve Burns
5 months 4 weeks ago

removed

Patrick Murtha
5 months 4 weeks ago

Genevieve, rather than merely rebuke, use proof of reason and Faith to show where people are wrong. Sarcasm lacks charity and clarity. It is true that I disagree with the point Tim makes about "equality in sin" for Christ Himself shows distinctions in the gravity of sin, the prime example is when he tells Pilate that the sin of Judas and the Chief Priests is "greater" than Pilate's. But it is important to rebuke in charity as the works of mercy prescribe: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." And most particularly, use Scripture and reason, "All Scripture, inspired by God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, and to instruct in justice." (2 Tim. 3:16)

Tim Donovan
5 months 4 weeks ago

Dear Genevieve. I'm sincerely confused by your statement that it sounds like I want to start my "own Idiosyncratic religion." I forthrightly said that I 'm a very imperfect (read:sinful) gay Catholic who had sex with men, regretted my immoral acts, and received forgiveness and consolation through the Sacrament of Reconcioiation. I might add, without pretending to be a paragon of virtue, that for almost one year I've gone to the Sacrament of Reconciliation each month. I think it's important, as each one of us, as imperfect human beings, for us to frequently to go confession. Could you please explain how you I'm trying to "force" my (presumably) unorthodox views on Catholics who follow "Jesus' Gospel admonitions and His Church." I truly don't believe that I said anything that is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus, that both call on us to be forgiving and merciful as we try our best to follow his commandments , as rightly interpreted by the magesterium of the Church, led by the successor of St. Peter, the Holy Father.

Randal Agostini
5 months 4 weeks ago

“We are losing three generations of people, and we need to hear why,” he said.
This is an extraordinary statement, similar to another bishop who recently exclaimed that pornography is harming marriages. What sort of bubble are these Bishops living in, while the faithful have been patient for years, awaiting guidance.
We are living in a society where there are two Gods and the secular God that we are worshipping has won the battle years ago. In order to reverse the trend we have to recognize the enemy and fight them at every turn. This will require the creation of an Environment of Faith that is relevant to the needs of the faithful.
A good role model for this form of thinking is the late Venerable Father Michael Joseph McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus. While his church was full on Sundays he recognized other urgent needs catering to the welfare of his parishoners. His life and work is worth consideration.

Genevieve Burns
5 months 4 weeks ago

Agreed. People want the Truth. Since Vat2 we’ve not gotten it and people don’t bother to hear lukewarm Protestantism and secular liberalism. The mass isn’t a “celebration” either.

Christopher Lobb
5 months 4 weeks ago

Arsehole! Pretendenting to be LGBT -friendly. What did I say? Oh, yes! Arsehole!!!

Ike Isaac Wood
5 months 4 weeks ago

I love this from the article: “We’re not against gay people, we have lots of gay members in our church.” That's akin to the racist saying, "I'm not a bigot--I have lots of black friends". Having gay people in the church is absolutely no reflection of the systematic bigotry imposed on sexual minorities by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is an archaic organization created to control people's minds and behaviors, devoid of advancements in understanding the human condition beyond what may have been believed thousands of years ago. Anyone who does not see the blatant prejudice the Catholic Church displays to gay men and women has their head buried in the ground--a convenient position for when you blindly follow what someone tells you and you don't develop your own Christian conscience.

Nora Bolcon
5 months 4 weeks ago

Just like we love women just not the ones God calls to ordained priesthood and expect to be treated as equals to men, or we love black people as long as they are happy being slaves to white people, or we love immigrants as long as they don't want to come to our country. Hmmm - it all sounds like hate to me.

Patrick Cullen
5 months 4 weeks ago

Sorry, God does not call women to the Priesthood.

Keith Fleeman
5 months 3 weeks ago

I regret having to make this toxic comment, but your god is a small minded little bigot.

Ike Isaac Wood
5 months 4 weeks ago

I love this from the article: “We’re not against gay people, we have lots of gay members in our church.” That's akin to the racist saying, "I'm not a bigot--I have lots of black friends". Having gay people in the church is absolutely no reflection of the systematic bigotry imposed on sexual minorities by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is an archaic organization created to control people's minds and behaviors, devoid of advancements in understanding the human condition beyond what may have been believed thousands of years ago. Anyone who does not see the blatant prejudice the Catholic Church displays to gay men and women has their head buried in the ground--a convenient position for when you blindly follow what someone tells you and you don't develop your own Christian conscience.

Marissa M
5 months 4 weeks ago

Ultimately, the "hate the sin, love the sinner" isn't going to resonate with younger people in the future. I appreciate what Fr. Martin is trying to do by bridging the lines of communication between Catholics and LGBTQ folks, but in the end, his actions fall under a "separate but equal" framework. If the church continues to hold onto their outdated complementarian view of sexuality/sexual orientation, its numbers will continue to shrink.

I grew up Catholic, and for a long time I was able to reconcile the church's view on LGBTQ people/women with my conscience and lived reality, but after years of seeing how the church diminishes, patronizes, and dehumanizes LGBTQ people and women, I realized I had enough. The spirit called me to leave the Catholic Church for the Episcopal Church. Many of my former Catholic friends are atheists, agnostics, or simply non-church going Christians because of the church's doctrine on LGBTQ people and women. I wish the leadership of the church would listen to what the spirit is saying to the people and acknowledge the complexity and diversity of God's creation.

Patrick Murtha
5 months 4 weeks ago

Marissa, is the Church to change the words of Christ because it will not resonate with people? How do you know that the spirit that "called" you from the fold of the Shepherd was the Shepherd and not the wolf that desires to throw the flock into confusion and desires only the destruction of your soul? Is a Catholic to choose the words and the inclinations of man over the saving words of God? St. Paul, inspired by God, says, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema." (Galatians 1:8)

The Ship of the Church has been promised that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," and so it is ridiculous to jump-ship when that ship is promised by God Himself never to sink--all other ships not granted that promise.

Robert Peppey
5 months 4 weeks ago

Wow, your still fighting the Reformation.

Nora Bolcon
5 months 4 weeks ago

That ship in Jesus' mind was the entire Body of Christ not the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in any age. So if the RC Leadership decides not to teach love but hate instead, and bias and prejudice instead of justice and same treatment, and not forgiveness but instead only condemnation against what the Gospels demand, then the church is the entity that has lost its way and purpose. If this church does not change and get back on the Gospel Course, God will have the members leave it and give the power of the church to others to carry the members back to God. This is what God did in response to the chosen people, the Jews, when they rejected Jesus Christ, and he will do the same to us if we refuse to be a people of Love as our top most priority.

candace fisher
5 months 4 weeks ago

I'm not into using the correct "language"...,I doubt if gays really care about that! The fact of the matter, as I see it- (my sister happens to be gay and left the church long ago) is that from my perspective, God created some people gay- it's not a lifestyle- it's just who they are- and the God I love would not say- "Hey, I love you, but you must live a life of no physical intimacy- lucky you, you've been destined for this- suck it up and sit at mass, watching heterosexual couples, be who you are, but live a life devoid of human contact." I've read the gospels and never heard my Jesus get into this...I'm a lifelong Catholic, and can only sneak into a daily mass occasionally because I still love the spiritual part of being a Catholic- don't want to hear the rhetoric.

Deanna Rose Von Bargen
5 months 4 weeks ago

What I do not understand is why the catechism consigns gays and lesbians to life-long celibacy. Where does that come from? I sincerely hope that can change.
If you can’t create children by your sexual act, then it’s wrong? But I thought the other reason for a sexual relationship is the relationship itself. Except it seems that this does not apply in the case of gays and lesbians.
Wish I could peer into God’s mind to find out the reason for creating approximately 8% of human beings gay or lesbian or trans-gender. Natural Law philosophy apparently does not take this into account. And Scripture, as we know, is conditioned by culture.... why is there such an obsession with certain sexual intimacies as sinful ? Just a question. Personally, I think the greatest sin might be exclusion, rather than having mutual loving sex outside the box. I admit, I don’t have answers, but I would rather the catechism not consign gays and lesbians to lifelong celibacy. Maybe just don’t say anything about it since we haven’t been able to read God’s mind yet...and admit that we just don’t know...

candace fisher
5 months 4 weeks ago

The greatest sin is exclusion....I love what you wrote...it seems that some would like our church to be some kind of exclusive club to which you can belong if you abide by their rules...I'd love to see Jesus show up with his tax collectors and sinners!

Tim Donovan
5 months 4 weeks ago

I have at times felt excluded from our Church, founded by Jesus, as well as society in general, as an adolescent growing up in the mid-1970's. I was sometimes called by the very hurtful term "faggot." However, and I say this as a VERY imperfect Catholic who has sex with men years ago, that I have felt feelings of consolation and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Jesus was forgiving, (for instance, he forgave the woman who was caught in adultery) but he also told her to "go and sin no more." ( John 8:11). The Church isn't an exclusive club, nor do I want it to be. However, every Christian denomination to my knowledge has certain rules. Some Christian denominations, to use a possibly incorrect political term (my late Dad said correctly that Church teaching shouldn't be assigned political terms-you either believe in the teachings of Jesus or you don't) ; some denominations are more "liberal," some more "conservative " in their teachings. People certainly have many choices about which Christian. denomination that best fits their beliefs. For instance , the Unitarian -Universalist Church is quite "liberal" in it's teachings, while the Southern Baptists are quite "conservative." Throughout. the centuries, the Church has accepted many sinners who have asked for forgiveness. For instance, Jesus forgave Peter after he denied Him three times, and the Church founded by Jesus accepted Augustine after his early sinful life and in fact made him a saint. More recently, Bernard Nathanson, M.D., was a self-described atheist of Jewish background who helped found what is now a major pro-legal abortion group, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and personally performed over 5,000 abortions. Yet, over time based on biology not theology he decided that abortion was the killing of a human being, and went from gradually being an atheist, to an agnostic, to a Catholic. My point is that like Jesus, the Church has included sinful people like Augustine and Nathanson who have reformed their lives and sought forgiveness from Jesus through confessing their sins (the Sacrament of Reconciliation). I sinned by having had sex with men, but through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the support of my compassionate pastor and loving family and friends I feel very welcome in the Church, not excluded.

AP P
5 months 4 weeks ago

It comes from the teachings of Augustine, a misunderstanding of Biblical context that has become tradition and a misguided attempt at understanding the psychology of the day (when it was last revised in the early 90's homosexuality had only been declassified as a disorder by the DSM in the early 70's and many still clung to the notion of it being 'disordered' {half of the natural law argument}). Augustine, a gravely troubled man whose writings were taken far too seriously thanks to the politics of the early medieval period, taught that sex was for procreation only. Today, we now understand that Augustine was a former, ahem, whoremonger in a deep state of regret. His writings are less a proper social commentary than they are a personal rebuke of hedonism. At the time, he was the main theological voice in the Carthaginian church: the former southwestern portion of the Roman Empire. It was a former part as it had been taken over by a Germanic tribe known as the Visigoths and was now a major military rival of Alexandria and the rest of the remaining Roman Empire. Rome itself had been greatly weakened by invading Vandals (another Germanic tribe) and all that was really left was Byzantium. Which, had spent a lot of its own resources fighting other battles and had only just converted to Christ a few decades earlier. As such, the Alexandrians were imperiled by the new Carthage: which posited Augustine as the superior doctor of the church. Whereas previously, there'd been a number of them. In bid to placate the newly endowed Visigoths, the other doctors, whose theology differed greatly with that of Augustine's Theodicy, were excommunicated out of fear. Today, we're stuck with the mess. The biblical context comes into view as the bible never actually preaches against homosexual acts committed out of love. It condemns them as a matter of pagan fertility rites in which a man would have sex with a temple priest or prostitute to commune with a goddess. This is why when Leviticus and the letters of Paul speak about it, it's always framed alongside other pagan practices. But, in the modern understanding we've lost the notion of what pagan practices were at the time (pork and oysters were major parts of pagan feasts, for example) and have now just banned it completely out of many not realizing the authors' original intent. Never mind most gays don't have sex before a status of Ishtar these days. In other words, the church in the early 90's had a chance to ease into a better understanding of the modern definition of love. But, soft balled it for a later date knowing the above full well.

Genevieve Burns
5 months 4 weeks ago

There are just as many heterosexual men and women who never get married, as there are homosexuals. All of us have that sibling, cousin, co-worker etc. that never got lucky in love, for whatever reason. Is my 46 yr. old unmarried cousin supposed to go out and pay hookers or visit massage parlors because he's not deserving of "life-long celibacy"? Same-sex acts and paying for prostitution are not acceptable sexual acts, no matter what the situation of the person who feels the need to do them. They often turn into terrible vices. Many people caught up in the gay lifestyle are caught in it, as a vice. It's easy gratification.

Richard Crank
5 months 4 weeks ago

I’ll call this a kindergarten start, but it is a start. I just wish I could chat with him for an hour like I did with Reinaldo Arenas. But of course there’s no way that can happen.

Kester Ratcliff
5 months 4 weeks ago

Does anyone have any idea why Aquinas considers that one externally, structurally identified act can only have one naturally ordered purpose?

That's the assumption underlying his claim that all sexual activity outside marriage and without the intention to procreate is "inherently disordered". Besides just repeating it because it's tradition, does anyone have any clue why an act, defined by its external structure, can only have one legitimate purpose? I can't think of any reason. If that assumption is not true, then the conclusion that all sexual activity except within marriage and with the intention to procreate is sinful does not follow.

Also curious why conservative Catholics are much less bothered about straight girlfriend-boyfriend relationships including sex before marriage than about gay people doing the same? If the basis is really Aquinas' version of Church doctrine, then there is no difference.

According to the Catechism, masturbation is also inherently disordered, resting on the same assumption - that an act can only have one telos.

Gail Bederman
5 months 4 weeks ago

I would ask the angry commentators, here, to read the Catechism sections on homosexuality more closely. The Catechism never suggests that it a sin to be gay or "homosexual." On the contrary: it makes clear that orientation is what it is, and not within "same -sex-attracted" people's control. Orientation is no sin at all, according to the Catechism. Rather, according to the Catechism, only a homosexual act is a sin. In fact gay sex is in may ways no different from any other type of sex outside of marriage: whether premarital sex, adultery, masturbation or same-sex acts. All are sinful for precisely same reasons, according to the Catechism: they are not marital, and often not procreative. It's the ACT, not the orientation that is held to be wrong, under the most orthodox Catholic doctrine. Those who say otherwise (including most of commentators on this article so far) are not only mistaken, but spreading confusion and misunderstanding in ways that can only be considered sinful, and counter to Catholic doctrine. Please just read the Catechism itself. It is very clear.

Charles Monsen
5 months 4 weeks ago

Thank you

Vincent Couling
5 months 4 weeks ago

If the only sex which is permissible is that which is procreative, then why do we have Canon 1084 §3? I.e. "Sterility neither prohibits nor nullifies marriage". If heterosexual couples are allowed to use NFP as a contraceptive method (i.e. to have sexual relations with the full intention of avoiding conception, intentionally having the sex purely for the unitive purpose), then why are committed homosexual couples not permitted sexual relations for their unitive purpose? There appears to be a double standard.

Genevieve Burns
5 months 4 weeks ago

I think most people do understand this. It is the ACT, such as gay marriage and the resulting sodomy that accompanies it, that can never be tolerated. There are some Catholics who have rejected the 1972 reclassification (by SECULAR non-Catholic and anti-Catholic psychiatrists) of homosexual orientation away from being a mental disorder. Who says the Liberal, non-scientific, reclassification done in the "Seventies" is true? or the final word? Many suggest they will next try and reclassify pedophilia and lower the age-of-consent.

The Church does believe this is a disorder (of unknown origin). Therefore, there are those who believe that homosexual orientation and disorder are not exemplary candidates to be FATHERS.

AP P
5 months 4 weeks ago

Considering that biblical condemnation of homosexuality only pertains to its use in ancient, pagan fertility rites, it's high time that the church confront the fact that it's no longer considered a mental disorder. That many in the laity and clergy fail to read that context, however, is best described as being sinful. If for any reason they're denying God's love by way of the authority given to them by the church. If one wants to know why drug abuse is so high among gays, look to the reality they've been denied thanks to a lack of historical context.

Genevieve Burns
5 months 4 weeks ago

Who says the Liberal, non-scientific, reclassification done by non-Cathlolic and anti-Catholic and Jewish psychiatrists in the "Seventies" is true? or the final word? Many suggest they will next try and reclassify pedophilia and lower the age-of-consent.

THE CHRISTOFFERSONS
5 months 4 weeks ago

This article tiptoes around a problem which continues to embarrass the Church. We have seen this movie before, with Galileo. We are just human beings. We need to seek justice, with patience and humility. God's creation is much richer than we imagine. There was a time when the Church supported the idea that the sun revolved around the earth, but what does that have to do with the "new commandment" that Jesus preached? Jesus took Leviticus 19:18 and elevated it to love of God, the source and measure of "all the law and the prophets". As Paul and Augustine clearly understood, this was and is a "new covenant".

In the same way, there was a time when the Church supported the idea that God created them male and female, a binary distinction set forth in God's Book of Scripture. Augustine wisely advised that Christians should not interpret scripture so that it is contrary to God's Book of Nature. That advice served the Church well with regard to Galileo. Eventually.

And, with patience and humility, so it will be with the idea that God created them male and female. As it turns out, that's not what God did. How do we know? Two sources of information. One source is God's Book of Nature. See the January 2017 issue of National Geographic and the September 2017 issue of Scientific American for a summary. Another source are the members of the LGBT community, and their relatives and friends. "Listening" to this source is a good beginning, but the same question arises: what does this have to do with aligning our hearts with the Great Commandments to love God and neighbor?

What Jesus taught was a change in attitude. He did not preach the law, but rather the fulfillment of the law (Mark 1:15). As Paul said in his Letter to the Galatians, if you clothe yourselves in Christ you will fulfill the law and not be in slavery to the law. Augustine put it somewhat differently: love God and neighbor and do what you will (Ten Sermons on First Letter of John, 7,4). It's not about traditional rules based on the traditional (but, as with Galileo, incorrect) reading of scripture. It's about taking God's creation as it is, not as we idealize it to be, and investing that reality with love.

What does that mean, concretely? What does love require? We all know that the sex drive can lead to self-indulgence, and the self-indulgence can be mutual. The way of Christ is a challenge, even for the traditional marital relationship. Would not the Magisterium be better off focusing its teaching energies in a different way? Not on enforcing rules that purport to read the human heart, but rather on cultivating greater responsiveness to the Spirit that is available to every human heart. There is a certain comfort in following rules, but Christ came to disrupt that comfort in favor of the reign of God in the human heart.

We should thank the LGBT community for bringing the Church to this crossroads.

Robert Peppey
5 months 4 weeks ago

Who cares what a bunch of pederast protecting grey males in Roman costumes think about my sexuality?

“For where there are two or three who have gathered in my name, I am there in your midst.”
Matthew 18. 20
As Jesus Christ stated above we don’t need no priests or bishops.

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