What does a church open to L.G.B.T. Catholics look like?

Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the Rev. Bryan Massingale, and Katherine Abel (CNS photos).

What would it mean for the institutional church to welcome L.G.B.T. Catholics? What would it mean for church leaders to help L.G.B.T. Catholics feel more at home in their own church? And how can this be accomplished in the context of Gospel values and church teaching? Three recent stories show how: one concerning a priest, one an archbishop and one a parish.

The priest’s story is perhaps the most surprising. The Rev. Bryan Massingale, a highly respected theologian who taught for many years at Marquette University and now serves as professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University, began a recent lecture with these words: “I come to this conversation as a Black, gay priest and theologian.”

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The lecture, entitled “The Challenge of Idolatry for LGBTI Ministry,” delivered at the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics in Chicago, encouraged his fellow L.G.B.T. Catholics to remember that they are “equally redeemed by Christ and radically loved by God.”

Father Massingale’s public statement about his sexuality may seem inconsequential to some in the West. But the number of Catholic priests who are open about their homosexuality (and faithful to their promises of celibacy, of course) in a public way, despite several articles in the last few years, is still infinitesimally small.

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The Fordham theologian said that he was moved by being among so many L.G.B.T. Catholics at the conference who had suffered great persecution in their own countries. He told me in an email:

I spoke to them, not just from my head, but also with my heart and from my soul. I wanted to show them how our faith is not only relevant to their struggles for justice, but a strength for the difficult and often dangerous work that they are doing. To do that, I needed to share my faith story, and how I came to accept myself as being created in God’s image as a Black gay man. I said what I said because people are suffering horribly because of who they are and how they love. And I couldn’t ask them to continue being courageous if I wasn’t willing to be courageous, too.

Such openness makes the church more inviting, especially for L.G.B.T. people who wonder if there is a place for them. Examples like Father Massingale’s help them feel welcomed and loved. As he said, “I didn’t do this to ‘come out.’ But to let God’s love for us all to ‘come forth.’”

“I didn't do this to ‘come out.’ But to let God’s love for us all to ‘come forth.’”

A second gesture came in remarks by Wilton Gregory, the recently appointed archbishop of Washington, D.C. Archbishop Gregory is well known for his efforts to welcome L.G.B.T. people in his former archdiocese of Atlanta, where he supported “Fortunate and Faithful Families,” a group for family members of L.G.B.T. Catholics.

In a “Theology on Tap” event, a person named Rory, a transgender person, asked whether there was place in the church for transgender people. Archbishop Gregory answered:

You belong to the heart of this Church. And there is nothing that you may do, may say, that will ever rip you from the heart of this Church. There is a lot that has been said to you, about you, behind your back, that is painful and is sinful.
And so that’s why I mentioned my conversations with Fortunate Families. We have to find a way to talk to one another. And to talk to one another, not just from one perspective, but to talk and to listen to one another. I think that’s the way that Jesus ministered. He engaged people, he took them where they were at, and He invited them to go deeper, closer to God.
So if you’re asking me where do you fit? You fit in the family.

"I think that’s the way that Jesus ministered. He engaged people, he took them where they were at, and He invited them to go deeper."

It was a wise, loving, pastoral answer reminding Rory, along with all those assembled and the church as a whole, that all Catholics are part of the church. It is especially heartening for transgender Catholics and their families to hear this, since for so long they have felt beleaguered in the church.

Finally, with the approval of the Archdiocese of Chicago, a new ministry driven by Catholics in their 20s and 30s is beginning at St. Clement’s Parish, one of an increasing number of American parishes with ministries for L.G.B.T. people. It is called “Affirmed.”

The archdiocese has sponsored the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach, known as A.G.L.O., since 1988, and St. Clement’s has long been a welcoming parish. But as Michael Bayer, director of evangelization and faith formation, explained, that parish ministry had not been active for several years, and “a group of twenty/thirty something Catholics felt strongly that we needed to be at the forefront of asking how the church can fully integrate, welcome and affirm LGBTQ+ persons and their families.” Mr. Bayer describes the ministry as “lay-led and ground-up.”

When asked what about the new ministry was noteworthy, Katherine Abel, the new chair of Affirmed, said:

The process of building this ministry has taught me just how exceptionally fortunate we have been to have the support of not only our pastor and parish community, but also the Archdiocese of Chicago. Since many other communities do not have the same support and freedom to create ministries like this, our existence seems to be noteworthy.

Ms. Abel described the reaction to Affirmed as “overwhelmingly positive,” having received “notes of enthusiasm from future participants and notes of gratitude from advocates around the country and abroad.” Her prayer, she said, was that soon this kind of ministry won’t be noteworthy at all, “and similar ministries will be popping up all over the place.”

In such ways, through the work of lay people, priests and bishops, are L.G.B.T. Catholics made to feel the “respect, compassion and sensitivity” that the catechism urges, and the love that Jesus came to share. In such ways are they made to know that they are at the “heart of this church.”

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Judith Miller
1 month 2 weeks ago

And I’d invite the RC church to listen to and learn from the experience of other Christian denominations...the Episcopal Church (of which I’m a member, ELCA, and others.

Tim O'Leary
1 month 2 weeks ago

Judith - Even a social club needs members if it is to be welcoming. But, the Episcopal Church is declining precipitously, even as it increases its welcoming niceness. The decline correlates with its abandonment of Christian morality. From divorce (the misogynist King Henry VIII at its founding), to contraception (1929 Lambeth), to abortion (1967), this decline accelerated even more when it broke with the worldwide Anglican community and made Gene Robinson bishop (2003), while in an active sexual relationship with a man ("married" in 2008 and divorced 6 years later) after he had left his wife and 2 daughters. The Episcopalian Church of George Washington was the largest and most influential church in America. It reported 1.7M members in 2018, less than Jews (4.2M) and even Muslim, Pew estimates about 3.45 million Muslims (1.1% of US Population).

JOHN GRONDELSKI
1 month 2 weeks ago

Not interested in listening to a "Church" founded by a man who would today be called a sexual abuser and which has progressively, over time, eroded Christian moral teaching in the name of famous Anglican accomodationism.

Gemma Cordingly
1 month 2 weeks ago

I would like to know more about how the church reaches gay people. I want my gay son beside me at mass. That's all I've ever wanted.

Christopher Lochner
1 month 2 weeks ago

So, what IS keeping him from going to Mass with you? Is the congregation ostracizing both of you? Or are you both not being treated in an exceptional manner and not being held up to a higher level of praise?

J Jones
1 month 2 weeks ago

Christopher, in asking your third question, you answered your first.

Vincent Couling
1 month 2 weeks ago

Dear Gemma ... your cri de coeur is heartrending! Thank you for posting ... I believe that it is the parents, siblings, extended family and friends of LGBT people who will be able to bring about the evolution/transformation so desperately needed in church teaching as concerns matters gay.

Some thoughts: Pope Francis recently said that he believes the Church should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended. As a gay Catholic, I wonder when this apology will be forthcoming, and what form it might take.

Sadly, as regards feeling welcomed at Mass, I am reminded of the cartoon where a prelate is standing imperiously on the cathedral steps under a huge banner reading, “Welcome, inherently disordered persons!” A couple are passing by, walking their dog, and the man remarks “Oh, how nice … they’re reaching out to the gays!”

Surely it would be better to keep silent than to issue a conditional apology. For any apology that takes the form “We’re ever so sorry, but … ” will ring utterly hollow. Especially when the “but” expresses the ideology that gay love-relationships are intrinsically evil, and that gay “inclinations” are themselves an objective disorder.

There has been profound consideration of these matters by remarkable gay theologians (e.g. http://www.religion-online.org/article/an-argument-for-gay-marriage/, goo.gl/QoYGZ0 and goo.gl/eJQRd0). The peer-reviewed scientific research is also well documented ... being gay is a perfectly normal sexual orientation: as Fr James Alison puts it so well, being gay is "a regularly occurring non-pathological minority variant in the human condition, much like left handedness." Our Bishops would do well to acquaint themselves with these insights, especially as they formulate their plans for the pastoral accompaniment of LGBT Catholics. The time for talking with us rather than about us is long overdue. As Pope Francis has instructed his Bishops, the path ahead is one of tireless dialogue and pastoral accompaniment.

Gay persons are often born into Catholic families, many receiving the Sacrament of Baptism as infants. When they grow up, and discover their inherent sexual orientation, and that the Church imposes upon them lives of mandatory celibacy, they encounter a profoundly troubling existential crisis. Is it surprising that suicide ideation is so much more prevalent for gay youth? (e.g. goo.gl/77BJ5a) Clerics supposedly discover their calling to celibacy as a Divine gift. Most gay people seem to experience a calling to enter into covenantal love-relationships. When these gay Catholic sons and daughters ask for bread, why do their spiritual fathers give them cold, hard stones? Why do they impose mandatory celibacy as the only option? Why did the Malawi Bishops (for example), in their pastoral letter for the Jubilee Year of Mercy of all things, roundly castigate the Malawi government for putting a moratorium on laws governing “homosexual acts”, and mercilessly advocate for the imprisonment of LGBT folk as an urgent national priority? In the US there is the Brebeuf scandal (see https://www.newwaysministry.org/2019/08/17/indianapolis-catholic-schools-exclude-brebeuf-jesuit-students-from-athletic-competition/ ) among many others (e.g. https://www.newwaysministry.org/2019/08/24/u-s-bishops-applaud-trump-administration-proposal-allowing-anti-lgbtq-employment-discrimination/ ), in Poland there is episcopal foment against LGBT folk (see https://www.newwaysministry.org/2019/08/26/veterans-who-fought-nazi-occupation-condemn-polish-archbishops-anti-lgbtq-comments/ ).

That Christopher (= Christ bearer!) needs this all spelled out for him is rather sad.

Kevin Sharpe
1 month 2 weeks ago

I agree that these are important examples that help create a more welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ people. But how can an LGBTQ+ person feel fully welcome when the Church insists that such a person deny his/her heart, his/her love for another person, his/her vocation to share a committed relationship with another person? Until this happens, LGBTQ+ people are still standing outside the temple gates.

Lawrence Ebiner
1 month 2 weeks ago

I think it's so important that the "respect, sensitivity and compassion" urged by the Catechism extend to every L.G.B.T. member of the clergy, so they feel comfortable coming out and talking about their lives as faithful Catholic Christians.

BRIAN RAGEN
1 month 2 weeks ago

What does it mean to "affirm LGBTQ+ Catholics?" Church teaching, which is mentioned early in this piece, is still that sexual expression outside marriage is sinful and that marriage is based on sexual difference. (Both positions are based directly on the words of Jesus in the Gospels.) The church indeed welcomes all, but it does that by offering forgiveness for sin and support in the struggle against temptation. But here sin is mentioned only in the context of cruel things said about LGBTQ+ people. While any effort to reiterate the church's teaching against calumny, detraction, and rash judgement is valuable, I think that is a significant omission. The church is "open" to us all because it allows repentant sinners to repair their relationship with God. It cannot do that if it fails to encourage us to acknowledge our sinfulness, even if we have allowed a specific form of sinfulness to so define us that we think of it as our "identity." The church might be most helpful if it did not adopt the larger culture's plurality of orientations and genders and instead used the categories Christ himself used when talking about marriage: men and women.

Kevin Murphy
1 month 2 weeks ago

Exactly. Never does Father Martin and his followers and heroes address the central question ie should LGBTQ individuals continue their lifestyles? Does Father Martin believe the gay lifestyle is a sinful one, or is the Church incorrect in its teachings? If the former, than he is placing souls in danger. We are all sinners and guilty of repeated transgressions. However, we should be working towards amending our lives. Father Martin has never been brave or honest enough to answer these questions.

Michael Bindner
1 month 2 weeks ago

lt is your sin we worry about, as it demoralizes your fellows, divides the Church and darkens your soul. I must warn you, lest I die, but if I do and you do not listen, it is your life which is forfeit.

Frank Bergen
1 month 2 weeks ago

Let's stop for a moment and consider the words Jesus spoke and admit that the English versions we mostly read -- whether 16th century or contemporary -- are NOT the very words spoken in Aramaic by Jesus. And then let's think the way Jesus spoke. Whether to a crowd of 5000 or to a single person, his words were usually exhortatory, NOT definitive. When, for example, Jesus told a woman taken in adultery to sin no more he was addressing her, not defining the limits within which sexual intercourse is permitted. And 'permitted' and 'prohibited' are not terms found in his vocabulary. Also, I'd be interested to be shown when and where Jesus ever dealt with any LGBT persons and especially where he defined sexual activity between consenting adults of the same gender to be inherently disordered.

Sonny Ramirez
1 month 2 weeks ago

All Sacred Scripture is divinely inspired insofar as the human writers were inspired by the eternal Logos. Given that the eternal Logos is a Person; and, given that this very same eternal Person became Incarnate in the historical embryological conception of Jesus Christ (within the womb of Mary), then we have several very clear teachings from the one "eternal Logos" Himself regarding the contemporary label of so-called "lgbtq...qwertyuiop+*^%^" etc etc etc---which I take you to mean: persons who experience "unnatural sexual tendencies." They are: Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10. Regardless of how you wish to interpret these scriptures, Sola Scriptura is a heresy in the eyes of the Catholic Church. In other words, the 2,000 years of Catholic teaching on the nature of human sexuality, salvation and redemption, carries much, much more weight than any irrational, emotionalistic, or anthropocentric spin on the "Aramaic" that you and James Martin can concoct.

Judith Jordan
1 month 2 weeks ago

So many people refer to Leviticus 18:22 about gays. Merely two chapters later, Leviticus 20:10, states anyone committing adultery should be put to death. Just by the numbers of straights and gays, we know adultery is much more common than acts of sex by gays. Yet, almost no one discusses adultery in terms of the Bible and the offense of adultery.

Is this hypocrisy? Or, is this just blatant discrimination toward gays?

Tim Donovan
1 month 2 weeks ago

I attended Catholic schools for sixteen years (through secondary school, then graduated from a Catholic college) but certainly don't claim to be a Biblical scholar. However, it's my understanding that unlike some fundamentalist Christians, the Church doesn't believe that every verse in the Bible is meant to be taken literally (although the Bible is inspired by God, and is His word). Therefore, I don't believe that Leviticus should be,taken literally when it teaches such a draconian penalty as stoning to death a,woman who commits adultery. Nor do I believe that the Church has,ever taught that adultery should be,punished by death. As a Catholic who's,gay, I've described in another post in response,to Father Martin's generally excellent article the frequent emotional pain that I experienced growing up. I disdain using the political terms "conservative" or "liberal" to describe Catholics. One may be a good Catholic, that is, one who believes in the core teachings of our faith, yet politically be either conservative or liberal. I consider myself to be an imperfect though decent and sincere Catholic who regarding many issues is politically liberal, including opposing capital punishment, and supporting stringent gun control laws and reasonable laws and regulations to protect our environment. (However, I do support returning legal protection to unborn human beings, along with increasing efforts to provide compassionate, practical assistance for pregnant women). St. Pope John Paul (to use a political term) was considered to be "conservative." However, he didn't believe that every Bible verse was intended to be taken literally. For instance, Pope St. John Paul believed in evolution. He taught that the human body evolved over time, but that the soul was infused into humans at the moment of fertilization. Regarding same-sex marriage, although I have a friend who's gay, and believe that all people who aren't heterosexuals should be treated with respect and compassion, I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. I believe that this represents the teachings of Jesus. When asked about marriage and divorce by some Pharisees, Jesus answered, " Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female, ' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate. " (Matthew 4: 6). Further, when the Pharisees asked why Moses permitted a man to divorce his wife, Jesus replied, "It was because of your hardness of heart that Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but it was not this way from the beginning." ( Matthew 19:8). With due respect, I don't think that Jesus was being "discriminatory" by affirming marriage as being the union of one man and one woman. Nor do I think Jesus was merely following Jewish cultural norms. After all, Jesus said and did a number of things that were countercultural. To name just a few, Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery, cleansed the Temple, ate and associated with outcasts (such as Matthew, who collected taxes for the Romans) and appeared first to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection (although at that time, the word of a woman was not taken seriously by the Jews or other ancient cultures).

Frank Bergen
1 month 2 weeks ago

The comment above is proof positive that one should NEVER return to one's online comments to read the reactions they receive. Thanks, Sonny, I obviously needed a reminder. And thanks also for placing me alongside my Jesuit brother Jim Martin!

Will Nier
1 month 2 weeks ago

If it was only true that the Catholic Church welcomes gay people.

FRAN ABBOTT
1 month 2 weeks ago

Aren’t we the church?

Michael Bindner
1 month 2 weeks ago

There is more here them the question if human dignity, although that an essential part of the equation. There is the basic question of sinfulness. The question is, who does sin hurt. God? The community? Others, not abstractly, but individually?

While some say sin offends God, that is really not true. A God that can be altered by Its creatures would not be much of a god. Any such inference is creating God in our image.

Next, there is the community. Some sins are so strong that they rip the Church apart. While God cannot be moved by this, Her work is harder to accomplish. This also very much the case when a sin affects another person. It makes it harder for the one injured to connect with God.

The worst part of sin is how it effects the self. Grave sin twists the soul of the sinner, making it harder for them to find a true relationship with God.

This is why those who demonize our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are so hard to reach. They simply do not want to let love for God, the Church, their LGBTQIA brothers and sisters into their hearts. It is the nature of sin to do this.

The same schema is necessary in dealing with the question if homosexuality. Gays and lesbians do not wish to be separated from the Church. It is up to us to teach them they do not have to be. They must have the courage to forgive the intolerance of their brothers and sisters in Christ and, if they lose heart and are dragged into sexual excess through promiscuity, we are there to help them heal their hearts, the hearts of any that they have cheapened and their own hearts, as promiscuity is ultimately a sin against the self. God created us all to find love. Love is in the giving, not the taking.

There is nothing more special for the Church, their families, their partner or themselves as finding a person to celebrate and be celebrated by. If they allow themselves to believe otherwise, it is easy to surrender to self-loathing. Loving another is a path to Heaven and cannot be a sin.

The Church sins against itself by not celebrating this love and inviting their families to do the same. It is time to boldly say this. Simply affirming the dignity of LGBTQIA Catholics is too mild. We must speak out in favor of their right to fully love another as God created them to. God is not an Ogre who throws hardships at whole groups of people to test their loyalty. God simply does not demand loyalty or obedience. God invites is to love, as God is love. The real courage is to accept a God of Love, not a god of certainty.

J Jones
1 month 2 weeks ago

Beautiful article, Fr Jim, about Christian community. Thank you.

Kristen Ciaccia
1 month 2 weeks ago

I have read different essays by Fr, martin and he keeps using the phrase "faithful to the promises of celibacy." Celibacy strictly means that a priest cannot marry or engage in sexual relations. However, there is some disagreement as to whether intimate physical behavior between two persons violates this vow. I am curious if Fr. Martin expects homosexual priests to be chaste and refrain from any physical intimate behavior? Because he seems to parse words and is not forthright and clear in this regard.

James Martin
1 month 2 weeks ago

Oh for Pete's sakes, your comment is the comment that is "parsing words." Priests take a promise of celibacy at ordination; members of religious orders make a vow of chastity. Diocesan priests live chastely, as all of us are meant to do, but do not "vow chastity." And some male members of religious orders are not ordained (i.e., brothers) and therefore they do not make a promise of celibacy. That is the reason for the distinction in words. And, yes, in both cases for religious priests and diocesan priests, it means abstaining from any physical intimacy, and any sexual relations. It also means loving others deeply and freely, and chastely and celibately. Clear and forthright enough?

Kristen Ciaccia
1 month 2 weeks ago

Thank you Father. Your reply is very clear and forthright.

J Jones
1 month 2 weeks ago

Kristen, I am really grateful that Fr Martin chose not to acknowledge your implicit demand that he lecture gay priests every time he mentions one.

Vincent Couling
1 month 2 weeks ago

Fr Martin, our LGBT group in Pietermaritzburg South Africa is eternally grateful to you for your ministry ... with your sensitivity and compassion to LGBT folk you radiate the Christ presence. May God continue to guard you and guide you in your prophetic outreach to those on the margins.

Kevin Murphy
1 month 2 weeks ago

As you can see, Father Martin doesn't like to be questioned, and has a bit of a temper.

J Jones
1 month 2 weeks ago

Kevin, Fr Jim Martin is questioned ALL the time. Every time he publishes here on this topic, he is questioned on everything from his understanding of Church teaching to his own sexuality. It doesn't seem like an overstatement to suggest that Fr Jim Martin is likely one of the "most questioned priests EVER". A priest who could not tolerate being questioned would have abandoned OR been pulled from this ministry long ago. He is voluntarily engaged in what is arguably of the most contentious conflicts in the modern Catholic Church and, again, is questioned, challenged, disputed and disparaged on the regular (I personally haven't seen him accused of heresy but I also can't imagine it hasn't happened); and I would put money on it that Jim Martin is the subject of more official complaints than almost any other priest currently serving the US Catholic Church.

The commenter to whom he responded was implicitly demanding that he *lecture* gay priests because he *mentioned* a gay priest. She, like many others, was implicitly demanding that Fr Jim Martin follow every acknowledgement of a gay priest with a statement of Church teaching. It is a vaguely (and sometimes probably not so vaguely) threatening demand that Fr Jim Martin prove his orthodoxy every. single. time. he mentions gay Catholics. It is obnoxious; it is pedantic; it is immature; it is infantalizing of the entire Roman Catholic community; and, again, it carries with it a very subtle message of "we are watching you". I would say a little "temper" is an entirely expected and appropriate response to the little game of "gotcha" which just played out here.

Kristen Ciaccia
1 month 2 weeks ago

I have read Fr. Martin's essays in the past and had never felt that he had been totally clear as to whether he differentiated between celibacy and chastity as a practice. Rather than assume something about Fr. Martin's motives, I decided to ask for clarification. Fr. Martin was very specific and clear and I appreciate it. That was my intent and motivation.

J Jones
1 month 2 weeks ago

In my experience, when we suggest to someone that he is "parsing his words", we are usually implying that he is choosing his words to get away with distortions of one kind or another.

BTW, I googled "Jim Martin celibacy chastity". Second citation: https://mobile.twitter.com/jamesmartinsj/status/1037135549918834688

Jorge Rebasa
1 month 2 weeks ago

x

Gabe Reeder-Ferreira
1 month 2 weeks ago

@Kevin Murphy nobody likes to have their integrity questioned. It’s insulting and annoying.

James M.
1 month 2 weeks ago

“"I think that’s the way that Jesus ministered. He engaged people, he took them where they were at, and He invited them to go deeper."”

All true - but He also invited them to repentance. Repentance is part of the preaching of the Good News, and part of life in Christ. It absolutely has to be emphasised, precisely because it would be so much more comfortable if we could simply ignore it. ISTM that the very things we are tempted to ignore, may be the things we most need to hear:

All who want to follow Christ need to repent - for repentance, *metanoia*, “change of mind”, is the other face of conversion. Conversion is from evil, to God - it is a turning away from, and a turning to: a complete “re-orientation”. From another POV, perhaps it can be regarded as the living-out of the first, great, commandment,

FRAN ABBOTT
1 month 2 weeks ago

People should not feel the need to repent for the way God made them. Rather, we all need to be able to rejoice in who we are since we are made in the image and likeness of our Creator.

James M.
1 month 2 weeks ago

Is everything about the way people are made, healthy and good, though ? Is it good to be born blind, or drug-addicted ? That God has made us in His image, in no way means that we are perfect or flawless, and in no need of improvement.. Unless you are saying that we are perfect just as we are (& I don’t think you are saying that) then we do need to repent.

FRAN ABBOTT
1 month 2 weeks ago

James M -- What I am saying is that there is absolutely no need for people who are born blind, drug-addicted or LBGTQC to repent for who/how they are -- but you seem to be saying just that. "Dear God, please forgive me for being born blind" is a non-starter.

Gabe Reeder-Ferreira
1 month 2 weeks ago

@ James M Keep in mind not everybody or every gay person is Christian. There is nothing wrong with sex between two consenting adults before marriage for the Nones or those who believe in God but aren't religious. I don't think anybody who is Catholic and gay hasn't heard what your sharing with us.

What exactly is it about discrimination that is "Good News"? Too bad you didn't mean "Good news" gay people don't have to be treated badly by Christians anymore! Which to me would be what needs to be repented here. But I know you meant "Good news" Christians who are gay can pray the gay away. How is that working out? You have a lot of convincing to do and not just converting gays either. Good luck to you!

James M.
1 month 2 weeks ago

1. I have never seem repentance and conversion mentioned on this site. They are inextricable from believing in Christ and accepting the Good News; therefore, I mentioned them.

Since the thought of reparative therapy did not so much as occur to me; your last paragraph is mistaken.

Repentance is not a weapon, for one group alone to engage in - it is a grace of God. To treat it as something for “others” to do, but not one’s own “tribe” or oneself, is to misunderstand. Repentance and conversion are necessary for us all, whether we are gay or not. This is basic Christianity, and it is what Jesus Himself preached. If we claim to be Christians, we have no right to ignore the bits of His preaching we find challenging or unwelcome. There is no reason why His preaching and example must endorse everything or anything we might favour. How can Christians be salt and light in the world, if they are indistinguishable from the world ?

I nowhere implied or said that “discrimination is good news”. Some kinds of discrimination are good and necessary. To discriminate, and to discern, are in origin the same word, which is based on the action of sifting one thing from another, and so, distinguishing between them. In that sense, discrimination between things is a daily necessity. We discriminate every time we choose good, instead of choosing evil.

The Good News is the Good News of the Kingdom of God; preached by Jesus. It is a Kingdom of Righteousness and Peace - God’s Righteous and Peaceable conduct to mankind, and their response in righteousness and peace to God, and to each other. It is for the Earthly realisation of this Righteous and Peaceable Kingdom that we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, and that Christians are called to hasten the coming of by living lives dedicated to God.

Of course not every gay person is Christian. But if one claims to be Christian, one has responsibilities to the Good News - which is what “Gospel” means - that non-Christians don’t.

Gabe Reeder-Ferreira
1 month 2 weeks ago

@James, Do you or not think the Catholic community should support gay relationships and marriages?

Josephine Harkay
1 month 2 weeks ago

Catholic parishes should have Courage ministries. – Courage Ministry: Ministering to persons with same-sex attractions Courage is an international apostolate of the Catholic Church, which ministers to persons with same-sex attractions and assists them to develop a life of chastity, in order to find a more complete identity in Christ.

Anton Dennis
1 month 2 weeks ago

I once asked a Courage member what God would say to us on that momentous Day. I asked: would He ask me why did I love Steve or Adam or would He be more interested in knowing how I was Jesus to my neighbor. I received abuse and vitriol in reply. So much for courage!

Tim Donovan
1 month 2 weeks ago

As a Catholic who's gay and supports Church teaching regarding sexual relations (although I haven't always,been celibate, which I regretted, and received forgiveness and consolation through the Sacrament of Reconciliation) I believe that Courage (and Encourage, a ministry for the loved ones of gay people) are worthwhile ministries of the Church. Courage both follows the teaching of the Church which requires that we gay people remain celibate, and encourages gay people to develop many friendships (as I mentioned in another post, I have a, gay friend witb whom I had sexual relations with many years ago), and encourages gay people to follow Jesus by serving other people in need (which of course,can take many forms). It should be pointed out that Courage doesn't attempt to change a gay person's orientation to heterosexual. Nor do I believe that the ministry requires that one remain "in the closet." After all,being a Catholic who's gay and publicly admits to following Church teaching certainly is countercultural, since our nation not only is generally accepting of gay sex (and the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage) but our secular culture certainly has a very accepting, even positive attitude towards gay people. Finally, I agree that it was very wrong for the member if Courage to speak to you in a vitriolic and abusive manner. However, there are misguided people among any group of people. With respect, I don't think the very unkind words of a,single member of Courage should lead us to denigrate the group as a whole.

Robert Lewis
1 month 2 weeks ago

Courage encourages the theological virtue of chastity, as distinguished from celibacy, and so that’s fine, but it also encourages the closet, which isn’t.

Antony P.
1 month 2 weeks ago

“What does a church open to L.G.B.T. Catholics look like?”

Well, it would and should look what it looks today, or looked 1000 or 2000 years ago: A community that welcomes people to convert and conform their hearts and minds to the heart and mind of Christ.

It is not the Church that needs to conform to the wishes and desires of the newcomers. Rather, it is the newcomers who have to be ready to conform to Christ.

Unless, of course, there is a new Gospel, now, which is about forming God/Christ in our own image and likeness ... as opposed let God/Christ form us into his image and likeness...

Gabe Reeder-Ferreira
1 month 2 weeks ago

But have you seen Steve?! I almost forgot who Eve was... ha ha

Tim Donovan
1 month 2 weeks ago

As a Catholic who's gay and has both experienced much hateful reactions to my (perceived) orientation (that is, even before I "came out" I was assumed to be gay) and love and acceptance once I revealed that I was gay, I agree that the Church should call all people to repentance. As one person commented, heterosexuals also frequently commit various serious sins. This is why, although as the Church teaches, the Eucharist is "the source and summit" of our faith, that I believe the Sacrament of Reconciliation is of crucial importance. Without meaning to boast, I go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation each month. I live in a nursing home/rehabilitation center, and am fortunate that my pastor or associate pastor are kind enough to visit me every month at my request for me to go to confession and receive Jesus truly present in the Eucharist. Thank you for your remarks that are both reasonable and faithful to the principles of Jesus.

Antony P.
1 month 2 weeks ago

Deleted by poster, unintended duplication

Antony P.
1 month 2 weeks ago

Deleted by poster, unintended duplication.

Jorge Rebasa
1 month 2 weeks ago

Magnificent article.

Anton Dennis
1 month 2 weeks ago

Another excellent article from Fr. Martin!
God created ALL of us in His image and likeness - including LGBTI people. There is no mention of any condemnation of gay people anywhere in the Bible - just different interpretations. Should God call gay people to a life of celibacy - then, that is His will; but if He does not, then each gay person should be able to decide for themselves how they wish to live out their natural sexual expression within His love.

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