Pope Francis says he has accompanied gay and transgender people through pastoral care

Catholics who are homosexual, confused about their sexuality or convinced they were born in the wrong body deserve the same attentive pastoral care as anyone else, Pope Francis said.

Flying back to Rome on Oct. 2 after a visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan, the pope was asked, given his criticism on Oct. 1 of "gender theory" and of what he describes as "ideological colonization," how he would provide pastoral care to a person who felt his or her sexuality did not correspond to his or her biology.

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Pope Francis began responding to the reporter's question by saying that as a priest, a bishop and even as pope he has "accompanied people with homosexual tendencies and even homosexual activity. I accompanied them; I helped them draw closer to the Lord, although some couldn't. But I never abandoned them."

"People must be accompanied like Jesus would accompany them," he said. "When a person who has this situation arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, 'Go away because you are homosexual.' No."

Pope Francis said what he was condemning was "indoctrination of gender theory," teaching small children that no matter their biological sex, they can choose their gender. He said a Spanish father told him he had asked his son what he wanted to be when he grew up and the boy replied, "A girl." The father realized the child was taught in school that gender is a choice "and this is against nature."

"It is one thing for a person to have this tendency, this option and even to have a sex change, but it is another thing to teach this in schools in order to change mentalities. This I call ideological colonization," the pope said.

The pope also told the story of a Spanish husband and wife whom he invited to the Vatican. The husband was born a girl, but always felt like a boy. When she was in her 20s, she told her mother she wanted a sex change operation, but the mother begged her not to do it as long as she was alive. When her mother died, she had the surgery, the pope said.

A Spanish bishop, "a good bishop," spent time a lot of time "to accompany this man," who later married, the pope said. They asked to come to the Vatican "and I received them and they were very happy."

In the town where the man lived, he said, a new priest, "when he would see him would shout at him from the sidewalk, 'You will go to hell!' But when he'd meet his old priest, he would say to him, 'How long has it been since you've confessed? Come on, confess so you can take Communion.'"

"Do you understand?" the pope asked the journalists. "Life is life and you must take things as they come. Sin is sin. And tendencies or hormonal imbalances" create problems "and you cannot say, 'it's all the same, let's throw a party.' No."

Welcome the person, study the situation, accompany the person and integrate him or her into the life of the community, the pope said. "This is what Jesus would do today."

"Please," the pope told reporters, "Don't say, 'The pope will bless transgender people,' OK?"

"I want to be clear. It is a moral problem. It is a problem. A human problem," the pope said. "And it must be resolved the best one can—always with the mercy of God, with the truth" and "always with an open heart."

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William Rydberg
1 year 2 months ago
What happened to contextual questions about his visits? Are these press conferences on the plane being abused by the Press? Questions seem to come from all over the place, makes one think that the press following the Pope use these Q&A's as an opportunity to embark on a fishing trip. All questions ought to be contextual in my opinion. Gives one the impression that the Press are taking advantage of our dear Pope Francis' goodwill. America Magazine ought to be asking these hard questions of the Papal PressGallery in my opinion.
Philip Cyscon
1 year 2 months ago
Mr. Rydberg, presuming that it is a plane full of adults, the press is responsible to ask whatever they wish, and the Pope is free to answer or not as he wishes. I don't understand how anyone is taking advantage or being taken advantage of in such a situation.
William Rydberg
1 year 2 months ago
Mr Cyscon, All I can say is that should the Press Corps for Mr Obama or Secretary Clinton pull this stuff. They would be shut down from the moment it started on previous trips. Such is the difference between Pope Francis Press "handlers" and the real Pro's employed by Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama.
Kevin Murphy
1 year 2 months ago
I've really no idea what this Pope is talking about. A stern message one day, then a qualifying statement the next. He wants to please everyone, and just leaves everyone, or at least me, confused. I pay him no heed.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
Kevin - I don't think that is fair to the pope. Pope Francis has essentially said the same thing before and both days on this trip, adding on day two his often repeated accompaniment of the sinner. The Holy Father is being very consistent - Love the sinner and hate the sin, or accompany the sinner but never deny the reality of the sin. And always oppose those who would try to indoctrinate that a sin is not a sin. The article above is selective, and leaves certain key parts out, just as the famous quote "Who am I to judge" is usually pulled out of its context to justify cetain sins.Note the full responses to the 3rd and 4th questions in the complete text http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-pope-francis-in-flight-press-conference-from-azerbaijan-24352/ Some quotes: "marriage is the image of God, man and woman, one flesh. When you destroy that, you dirty or disfigure the image of God. Then Amoris laetitia talks about how to deal with these cases, how to treat families’ wounds, and mercy enters there." "The principle is that, but human weaknesses exist, sins exist, and weakness never has the last word, sin does not have the last word. Mercy has the last word." "Amoris laetitia -- I mean -- they all go to the eighth chapter. No, no ... you have to read from beginning to end. And where is the center? It depends on everyone. For me the center, the core of Amoris laetitia is Chapter IV...But there is sin, there is a break, but there is also mercy, redemption and care. I explained myself well on this, right?" Note Pope Francis certainly does not think AL is all about divorce and communion, even if the media and certain bloggers think it is.. "in my life as a priest and bishop, even as Pope, I have accompanied people with homosexual tendencies, I have also met homosexual persons, accompanied them, brought them closer to the Lord, as an apostle, and I have never abandoned them. " - note the phrases in the article above "even homosexual activity" and "although some couldn't" are not in the CNA translation, and the CNA's use of the term "homosexual condition" is not included here! "What I said is that wickedness which today is done in the indoctrination of gender theory" "The [rosewater or lukewarm French Catholic] father realized that at school they were teaching him gender theory, and this is against the natural things." "it's another thing to teach this in line in schools in order to change the mentality. This is what I call ideological colonization."
Kevin Murphy
1 year 2 months ago
Again, it seems that all his statements must be parsed and researched and interpreted. There are vague terms like "accompaniment" and that Jesuit favorite, "discernment," with which any action can be justified. I believe his motives are to water down Church teachings in a "cloud of theology" He knows the pushback would be too strong if he simply stated his goals, so he relies on footnotes, etc.
David Bossman
1 year 2 months ago
The pope provides leadership not answers to every question. Various popes have made conflicting statements and may even appear or be inconsistent. The roles of clergy, theologians, and the laity also factor into the meaning of Catholic teachings. This is in the spirit of Vatican II. Pope Francis is clearly leading in a comprehensively less judgmental direction, in that sense more the pastor than the theologian. He still is a man of his age and location. We might well be the same in ours, acknowledging the leadership of a benevolent pope and engaged with the conversation among people of good will.
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
It was widely known that Amoris Laetitia (AL) was not going to adequately address all the issues facing families. The only issue that was adequately addressed by AL was Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried. As for homosexuality, it is yet to be seen how the bishops will be guided by AL when it said that homosexuals should not suffer from any type of discrimination. Does this mean that if a homosexual who wants to teach Math in a Catholic elementary schools can do so? What if such a homosexual person already is teaching Math but it becomes known that he/she is gay or lesbian? Will non-discrimination mean that they will not be fired? Another question is this: How will the bishops change their language in describing homosexuals? According to the magisterium the homosexual orientation is an objective or intrinsic disorder. But what is the term disorder mean? Science has shown from mental health and from animal biology that it is entirely natural, and not in any scientific sense disordered. The magisterium says that such a disorder is not be viewed in this sense, but in the theological sense. Just what does "disordered" mean "theologically"? Beyond a meaning that it is not ordered to procreation, that I have countered by my examples in past comments on this subject, I have not worked out what a theological meaning might be. The Vatican theologians have conceded that the condition of homosexuality is entirely natural, and so not disordered in this sense. However, they have not offered any clear explanation of what meaning it does have. I do not want to enter into a protracted debate on this subject here. I hope that this issue will get more attention by the Pope and Bishops in the immediate future as there is much to be desired by how this issue was left not-finished in AL.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
My gosh, Michael. You are getting more extreme all the time. It is extremely irresponsible to say that "homosexuality is entirely natural," unless one means that every single action by man found in nature, is therefore natural and therefore not a disorder. What is its biological end? I am a medical scientist and I have to say you do not know what you are writing about. Is infertility also not a disorder? Would an activity that results in a 20 to 100-fold increase in infections and gastrointestinal disorders be considered natural? It is one thing to have compassion and accompany people as one finds them, as the Holy Father proposes. But, must one also lose one's common sense? Pope Francis decries the ideological colonization of gender theory and you have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Cannibalism and underage sex and polygamy were widespread in many cultures. By your definition, you would have to approve all of them as natural. Or murder, or alcoholism, or every sexual proclivity. I'm sure I will get a long response on this but think what your principles imply. It is also amazingly narrow to say that "The only issue that was adequately addressed by AL was Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried." You have reduced over 60,000 words and 400 footnotes to one footnote! You should look up the rate of syphilis, gonorrhea, Hepatitis, HIV, HPV, Head and Neck cancer, etc. To start your education, here are a few medical articles from the CDC - the preferred phrase in the literature is "men having sex with men (MSM): http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/msm/index.html “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men made up an estimated 2% of the population but 55% of people living with HIV in the United States in 2013. “ Gay and bisexual men accounted for 83% (29,418) of the estimated new HIV diagnoses among all males aged 13 and older and 67% of the total estimated new diagnoses in the United States. Gay and bisexual men accounted for an estimated 54% (11,277) of people diagnosed with AIDS. http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats12/ “The increase in syphilis in last year was solely among men, particularly gay and bisexual men.” “men who have sex with men (MSM) account for 75% of all primary and secondary syphilis cases (the most infectious stages of the disease), and if not adequately treated, can lead to visual impairment and stroke. Syphilis infection can also place a person at increased risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV infection. Surveillance data from several major cities throughout the country indicate that an average of four in 10 MSM with syphilis are also infected with HIV.” From the LGBT site: “Among men who have sex with men (MSM), the incidence of anal cancer is significantly more prevalent and increasing annually… Current estimates are that HIV negative MSMs are 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with anal cancer. HIV-positive MSMs are up to 40 times more likely to diagnosed with the disease, resulting in a rate of 80 anal cancer cases per 100,000 people. http://www.cancer-network.org/cancer_information/gay_men_and_cancer/anal_cancer_hiv_and_gay_men.php
Jerome Andrews
1 year 2 months ago
I'm 69 years old. Are impure thoughts and murder still both mortally sinful? I haven't thought about such things for a long time. My experience growing up Catholic focused all my attention on plumbing and left none for racism or contempt for the poor. I was taught a very egocentric morality. Jesus and Paul knew nothing of constitutive homosexuality and we are still quite ignorant about ourselves. The notion that anyone's sexual orientation is a choice is one of those insidious lies that will likely haunt us and hurt other people for a long time. Augustine passed on some beautiful ideas, but he also ensured that Manichaeism will always be with us. The church has a great deal to learn about human sexuality and would do well to be a little more circumspect. I will go to my grave convinced that until we have a council where the bishops bring their husbands, we will continue to hurt people terribly. Sexual orientation is not a sin. Neither is living it out in a loving, committed, responsible way. Conscience occupies a special place in Catholic teaching. Had I the authority to change the current teaching on homosexuality and did not do so, my conscience would convict me of very serious sin. One day love will cast out our fear. Thank you.
Patrick Sullivan, Sr.
1 year 2 months ago
Jerome, I have you beaten in that I am 74 years old. So ,we each have some life experience. Going through Catholic school and Catholic undergraduate college, I was exposed to more than sexual sins and taught about social concerns. I am very pleased with my Catholic educational background. I feel that mine well prepared me for life. So, as we, most people come from very different backgrounds. We are not all as ignorant of LGBT issues as some people are. Some people are mightily informed and are pushing in the right direction for increased education. Certainly Jesus and Paul either knew nothing of constitutive homosexuality or, if either or both were homosexual, each probably did not know that other homosexuals existed. In those days one did not know that there were other homosexual people. How could they? For a homosexual to know another homosexual each would have to come out to the other. So for thousands of years we did not know about homosexuality. Paul refers to effeminates. But he does not refer to masculine homosexuals. So, he did not understand the full spectrum of LGBT either. Today, our bishops know generally as much about homosexuality as do our sociologists and doctors. But, many bishops chose to live in the past as far as being leaders. The pope does accompany LGBT people, but he finds it difficult to update theology based upon knowledge and science that exists today. When he moves in the correct direction he is attacked by the theological conservatives. This is a very difficult environment for him to operate within. Maybe when the conservatives are replaced with the knowledgeable bishops things will change.
alan macdonald
1 year 2 months ago
Sodomy is one of four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. Acting out homosexual urges is fundamentally a sin, as is all sex outside of marriage.
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
Alan, I know how you feel. However, I have been studying this issues for many years now. Keep in mind, that In ancient times it was the belief that every human was born heterosexual. In other words, heterosexuality was consider the natural condition of humans. There was no other condition or orientation that someone was born with. No one knew about any condition we now know as homosexuality. Therefore, and rightly, our ancient fathers considered homosexual acts performed by heterosexuals to be an abomination, and this is the belief today because for heterosexuals such acts go against their nature and are unnatural. I think we can both appreciate this fact. However, it is quite a different issue to declare that expressing one's love sexually is immoral in a homosexual marriage or in a permanent, faithful and loving relationship by two people of the same sex who also agree to abide by the responsibilities and obligations of a heterosexual marriage. We can debate the issue of procreation, but many heterosexual couples are infertile and there is no requirement that heterosexual couples have children in order for the marriage to be valid. This issue of homosexual marriage was never considered in ancient times or by the Church in more recent centuries because we are only starting to understand this condition. I recently read a doctoral dissertation on homosexuality and there are many studies that demonstrate that people are born with this condition and do not choose it. Nevertheless, there is no definitive study that has pinpointed just how people are born with this condition. Some studies also show there is some evidence that this condition can be formed by nurture or the environment but the stronger evidence points to genes. However, no prominent scientific organization has declared homosexuality as a distorted condition of heterosexuality. If you are interested in contemporary scholarship on homosexuality, read Sexual Ethics by Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler. I believe this teaching should be the subject of a re-thinking even though I don't profess to have all the answers. However, I feel strongly that those born with a homosexual orientation should not be required to live a lifetime of sexual abstinence when at the same time we tell them that they cannot enter into a permanent, faithful and loving relationship. In other words, every heterosexual has a choice of being single or being married. If they chose being single they must abstain from sex. If they chose marriage they can have all the sex they want. Unfortunately, there is no such choice for homosexuals according to the teaching of the magisterium as they are required to live a life of sexual abstinence. This is an impossible burden for most homosexuals. Even priests who choose to be celibate can get a dispensation, marry someone and have all the sex they want. What dispensation exists for homosexuals?
alan macdonald
1 year 2 months ago
This is a well written argument and I appreciate your effort. However, life is not predicated on what is fair. Homosexual acts are a sin and homosexual marriage is impossible and always will be. Thus, yes a Roman Catholic homosexual must live a life of celibacy.
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
Alan, It is not a matter of being 'fair'. It is a matter of right reason and theological argument. Our education and heterosexual nature make it difficult for many of us to grasp what might be moral for homosexuals. A same-sex marriage in the Catholic Church may not come to pass in our lifetime. However, the teaching about homosexuals who enter into a permanent, faithful and loving non-Catholic Christian marriage or a civil marriage, may be changed by the Catholic Church. For example, my parish priest in a private counseling session with me on a host of theological issues, believed that such unions are not necessarily evil. It also may come to pass that homosexuals in such unions are the best they can do in such circumstances. If the principle of graduation in the sacrament of reconciliation can be used in circumstances like contraception or divorce and remarriage, enabling them to receive Holy Communion without a requirement for them to go to confession every week to confess the same so-called sin, it may also apply to homosexuals. Thanks for your comments.
alan macdonald
1 year 2 months ago
You will have to go down that rabbit hole without me. I have said what I wanted and support the Magisterium. Good luck in future debates.
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
Alan, I respect your decision to follow every teaching of the magisterium. As for me, I disagree with certain teachings on sexual ethics for good philosophical and theological reasons. We can respectfully disagree and remain faithful Catholics. All the best.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
Michael – you make several glib statements in this piece that are just not true. For example, twice you imply that all any heterosexual has to do to “have all the sex they want” is to choose marriage. What about the desires of the spouse, the logistic complexities of life, health problems, relationship problems, issues with fertility, unwanted divorce, what specific sexual acts are desired (many are immoral for all people, no matter what they desire)? Furthermore, many people do not have “a choice of being single.” They might long to be married but cannot find someone to marry. Even married couples are required by Catholic teaching to follow Humanae Vitae. Then you say any priest just has to leave their vocation to have sex, as if it were no big deal. No pain involved, no sense of failure or weakness. No “impossible burden” for anyone but homosexuals. Are you really serious? All sex acts are not moral, no matter how much a relationship is loving or faithful. Every single heterosexual, if they are trying to live a Catholic life, or if they are just morally alert, should know many of their sexual desires should not be acted upon or even accepted as normal and good just because they are intense. The Church teaches that homosexual sex is not analogous, in any way, to married sex, from a biological, psychological, philosophical or religious analysis, as many are proud to point out (e.g. see http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160627-i-am-gay-but-i-wasnt-born-this-way). The Greeks did not know the categories “heterosexual” or “homosexual” because these terms only came into their current common usage in the 1960s as part of the ideology of the sexual revolution. There is no scientific biological test at birth or later that can distinguish hetero from homosexual, just as there is no test to distinguish homosexual from bisexual, or pedophilia for that matter. It is all by self-identification, or activity, and as many have reported, it is a fluid term can change frequently over a lifetime, from hetero, to bi, to homo, to whatever. Even the performance of an act does not define an orientation. It all comes down to self-identification. That is the science. In your third paragraph, you admit the science is not settled, yet you want the Church to change its doctrine based on this unsettled science. Many “homosexuals” are not exclusively homosexual their whole lives, as the medical literature readily identifies, and every week, we see a media report about some celebrity “discovering” their desire for same-sex attraction, transient or permanent (e.g. Senator Wofford http://articles.philly.com/2016-04-26/news/72601301_1_gay-marriage-voting-rights-selma#fcuQHM4HbWRtT8Ws.99) or Maria Bello http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/people/2015/06/05/maria-bello-not-gay-or-bi-shes-whatever) after years of married life. Yet, you posit the “lifetime of abstinence.” But, every Catholic, no matter their orientation, is required to obey a lifetime of abstinence from certain sexual acts. Jesus said (Mt 19:4-6) “Haven’t you read, that at 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 no one separate.” Yet you seem so much a creature of the sexual revolution, since you place such a high premium on sexual satisfaction as a need that no moral justification should limit. It seems clear to me that all of this heterodoxy is derived from your initial rejection of HV and your severing of the unitive from the pro-creative in your opposition to HV. The Church wants every homosexual to be saved, to be healthy in this life and then eternally happy in heaven. That is real caring, real loving.
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
Tim, When it comes to my comments, you alway miss the point and misunderstand what is obvious to most people. You seem to believe that by making certain assertions that you prove my comments are in some way wrong-minded and irresponsible. Let me be as brief as I can in addressing your comments. 1. When I said that people can marry and have all the sex they want, I did not mean that some people do not have health issues preventing them from having sex or that some may not have a strong desire for sex. I was referring to the normal ability and desire for sexual intercourse in most marriages. 2. Every heterosexual person has a 'choice' to be single or married (except homosexuals according to the CC). That is a true statement and it has nothing to do with the few that cannot find a life partner or whether some people decide not to marry because of economic or cultural issues. The freedom of the 'choice' of being single or married is not predicated on finding that perfect spouse or because economic issues move some people to remain single. 3. Your statement that all Catholics must follow HV does not move the conversation forward, as this teaching has not been received by about 80% of worldwide Catholics, about 40% of US priests and most theologians. Such an assertion ignores the problems with this teaching and the underlying principles of HV that demand that this teaching should be changed. For details, you can read or reread my published essay on this subject or the report on contraception by the Wignaard Institute. You can respectfully disagreement with HV for good reasons and still remain a faithful Catholic. 4. When I said that a priest can get a dispensation, get married and have all the sex they want, I did not mean that such a decision is not difficult. You missed the point. Even a priest who has taken a vow before God to be celibate, can get a dispensation. Yet there is no dispensation whatsoever for a homosexual from the requirement to live a life-time of sexual abstinence. My statement focuses on the fact that homosexuals do not have the choice to either remain single or get married while heterosexuals have this choice. Homosexuals only have one choice, the requirement to accept permanent continence which is an almost impossible burden for most of them. This does not mean that other Catholics do not have impossible burdens to carry, such as serious health issues. You are conflating one issue with another. 5. Your statement that there is no test for homosexuality or heterosexuality is not the point. You say it is all based on self-identification. How else would anyone prove being heterosexual or homosexual, except by self-identification and behavior? What we do know is that scientific studies show that a same-sex orientation may well be based on genetics as an innate disposition they are born with. In other words they are naturally born attracted to people of the same sex as heterosexual are naturally born attracted to people of the opposite sex. We also know that homosexuality is not a choice in the same way that being heterosexuality is not a choice. No prominent scientific organization has studied this issue and concluded that homosexuality is a disorder of heterosexuality or a condition or orientation that is chosen. It is a natural inclination or sexual orientation that one is born with. This also does not mean that every single homosexual is born with this orientation, but only that the overwhelming percent of them are. Some studies argue that the environment may be a cause for this orientation, but such studies are in the minority and are questionable. Your only argument here is what the Church teaches, full stop. You keep repeating the teaching as proof certain that what they teach is the absolute moral truth. I don't agree. As I pointed out, contemporary scholarship demonstrates that the historical teaching about homosexuality and homosexual acts were based on the belief in ancient times that everyone was born naturally attracted to people of the opposite sex. No one ever believed that people were born with a natural attraction to people of the same sex. Homosexual acts by what we now call heterosexuals were immoral then, as they are now. However, homosexual acts between homosexuals in a permanent, faithful and loving relationship were never an issue that anyone considered. As I said, homosexual acts in a same-sex union or civil marriage or non-Catholic Christian marriage are not necessarily immoral. If you want details of contemporary scholarship, read Sexual Ethics by Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler. You can disagree but this does not mean such arguments are misguided or wrong because they are in tension with the teaching of the magisterium. Tim, it was not my intention to issue a dissertation here, only some short comments. As you know, I have given detailed comments and arguments on this issue in previous articles in Am. Magazine. My comments are not unfaithful, folly or wrong-headedness as your current comments seem to imply. 6. I believe that the pleasure associated with marital sex must be put at the service of love and faithfulness. As for your comment about the Church's prohibition of separating the unitive and procreative meanings of marital acts, you refuse to accept the fact that both NFP and contraception separates these meanings. How can limiting marital sexual intercourse to infertile times for a long time or a life-time, as Pius II and HV permit, be in any way 'open to procreation'? 7. I do agree with you that the Church wants every homosexual (and heterosexual) to be saved. I disagree that salvation for homosexuals should be predicated on the mandatory and imposed requirement of living a life of sexual abstinence. Such a decision must be voluntarily chosen for it to work, not imposed on them from the magisterium. It is not a matter or finding the fortitude and courage to follow a teaching of the magisterium to accept a life-time of sexual abstinence. It is about right reason, practicality and questionable stoic burdens being imposed on homosexuals without the choice of marriage or permanent union. Finally, I am for real caring and real loving. I am also for real mercy and being realistic about imposing burdens on homosexuals that most find almost impossible. We don't impose life-time sexual abstinence on heterosexuals except if they choose remaining single. Heterosexuals have the choice of remaining single or marriage and this 'choice' is not predicated on whether a person finds a life partner....they still have this choice. I am also for being open-minded to new scholarship on this issue and for keeping the door open to debate despite the fact that the magisterium has made clear that such debate is closed, full stop. I don't think further exchanges with you will be productive because they will lead to protracted arguments which go on forever. I am open to further discussion with you at another time.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
Michael – thanks for being as brief as you can be (only 1100 words this time). You still use phrases that require much clarification. I suggest you drop the “have all the sex they want” phrase from your repertoire. It is hardly possible, even for a libertine. All our choices are constrained by morality. To be clear, you reject HV but the Catholic Church does not. HV predicted that opposition to HV would lead to further breaks from the natural law. It has. I read your article. It is not convincing. I can’t just keep re-reading it. You say “Therefore, and rightly, our ancient fathers considered homosexual acts performed by heterosexuals to be an abomination.” What if the unsettled science never discovers a definitive “born-that-way” link. Since bisexuals are not homosexuals, do you then say the ancient fathers are right about their situation? You admit the science is unsettled (“no definitive study” etc.) yet you want to overthrow millennia of teaching. You accept that the only way one can know one’s sexual orientation is by self-identification. Well, the avant garde is moving away from fixed orientations to one of freedom from biology. That is where gender identity theory is going (see the three references above - Ambrosino, Wofford & Bello, there are many more). You want the Church to approve homosexual acts in a gay marriage. Which acts, specifically? All of them or only those that are consistent with a healthy lifestyle? What happens to the unitive and pro-creative link? You just haven’t thought this through.
Sam Sawyer, S.J.
1 year 2 months ago

Michael & Tim — we certainly haven't been moderating for this as strictly as we might, but our comments policy does call for brevity (300 words) as one of the expectations in this space. Perhaps you may wish to consider taking up this conversation either in direct correspondence or in a post on one of your own social media accounts, since it's outgrown what makes sense for a comments box. Thank you.

Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
Thanks Sam, I will try to limit my comments to no more than about 300 words. As for your other suggestion about direct correspondence, I have already tried it, but had to end because it went on forever and became unproductive.
Sam Sawyer, S.J.
1 year 2 months ago

Thanks to both of you for noting the reminder. As to private correspondence becoming unproductive: we have no perfect solution to that in the public comments box either, other than to encourage people to be willing to walk away before the point of diminishing returns has been reached.

Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
Sam, Thanks again for your thoughts. Count on me to walk away when it becomes obvious that further comments will be unproductive.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
Sam - Thanks for the reminder. I will keep my future comments to under 300.
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
Tim, My so-called brief reply was tongue-in-cheek because your comment was extremely long and filled with very many statements and assertions. I may have chosen better wording than "have all the sex they want" but it does not take away anything about my argument. If a married couple wants to have sex once a day and another couple once a month, what does it matter as long as both are expressing their love responsibly. Both couples are having all the sex they want and are able to do. I disagree on the so-called prophetic nature of HV, as I have already given you my reasons many times in recent blog commentaries. Yet you ignore them. No prominent scientific organization that has studied contraception concluded that it causes abortion, spousal abuse or other ills of our secular society. This type of argument in support of HV, namely that the increase in contraception is causing the increase in every ill of Western society is a false narrative. You said "What if science never discovers a definitive 'born-that-way' link? Until then, the overwhelming scientific research to date suggests that there is a link. Your argument, once again, is pure speculation that has not happened, nor might never happen. We only can deal with what we know and the research to date. As for your comments about bi-sexuals, if someone is bi-sexual it means that they posses an attraction to people of the opposite sex and people of the same sex. However, once a person (heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual) enters into a permanent, loving and faithful relationship (civil marriage, non-Catholic Christian Church marriage) then both spouses are bound by fidelity and love and every other responsibility and obligation of a marriage or permanent union. As for the unitive and procreative link and your assertion that I have not thought this thing through, I have already addressed your question which you constantly ignore. Let me try once again: Both NFP and contraception separate the unitive and procreative meaning of marital acts. Thing about this Tim, as you think I have not thought this through: How does limiting marital acts to infertile times, for a long time or life-time, as Pius XII and HV approve, be in anyway "open to procreation"? The answer is obvious: the agents as well as these acts are not open to procreation. Therefore their marital acts separate the unitive and procreative meanings. So, either both NFP and contraception violate HV or they do not. Nevertheless, there are many other reasons why HV should be responsibly reformed as my published essay and the report on contraception of the Wignaard Institute make clear. With respect to birth control and children, the CC does not require married couples to have children or a specific number of children in order that their sacramental marriage is valid. Many couples do not have children for a host of good reasons. As long as married couples do not have an anti-life attitude, the decision of birth control, as the decision about children, should be left up to married couples, not the CC. I think our exchanges have to come to an end here Tim, because they are becoming unproductive. Let us leave the judgment about our arguments to those who read and reflect on our comments.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
Michael – the negative consequences of the contraceptive mentality are well documented, since 1960 by Jesuit Stanislas de Lestapis, to Mary Eberstadt's 2012 Adam & Eve after the Pill. The Supreme Court (in PP v. Casey) made the connection, "in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail." From Janet Smith's concise article http://www.goodmorals.org/smith4.htm. "contraception facilitates the kind of relationships and even the kind of attitudes and moral characters that are likely to lead to abortion." Note she backs up her findings with work from pro-abortion social scientist Kristin Luker. The Church says NPV is not a break of the unitive and pro-creative and is completely different from contraception. Janet Smith agrees: “Some argue that couples using natural family planning are as closed to having babies as are those that use contraceptives…But the crucial difference is that those using NFP are not engaging in an act whose nature they wish to thwart; they are keeping to the principles of sexual responsibility. Their sexual acts remain as open to procreation as nature permits.” "Even within marriage, those who contracept are more likely to abort than those who do not, especially those who use NFP."
David Hopper
1 year 2 months ago
Mr. McDonald--please explain your comment. Are you saying that Jesus wants vengeance on gay people for homosexual activity? Does Jesus want us to take that vengeance on His behalf? How many gay people have you killed, beaten, tortured, etc. for Jesus? If not, why not? If all you are saying is that we are to leave the judgment of such activity to God, then the rhetoric seems a bit overblown. Personally, I would much rather trust God with that decision than you.
alan macdonald
1 year 2 months ago
My comments are crystal clear and require no further explanation. I am not going down a rabbit hole with you. Perhaps you should discuss your questions on homosexuality with a Catholic confessor. Good day.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
Speaking at his blessing on Sunday, Pope Francis supported the Mexican protesters who marched against the introduction of gay marriage into their society. He said they protest “in favor of family and life, which in these times require special pastoral and cultural attention around the world". The Pontiff's comments came as tens of thousands of demonstrators in Mexico took to the streets. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/pope-francis-gay-marriage-mexico-protests-support-catholic-church-a7330181.html The pope made similar comments at a mass in Manila as part of his tour of Asia: “The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage. These realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation...Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself.” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/pope-francis-warns-that-same-sex-marriage-threatens-the-family-and-disfigures-gods-plan-for-creation-9986028.html
Douglas Fang
1 year 2 months ago
I have a different personal observation. The biggest threat to family is not from gay marriage or LGBT movement. The biggest threat to family is the changing nature of society, especially in the area of economy and technology. For example, the single biggest reason that young people today delay marriage is because they cannot afford it. The financial burden of a family is overwhelming for so many that this is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. The BBC has a series of very interesting documentaries such as “No sex please, we are British”, “No sex please, we are Japanese”, etc. It seems that economic hardship is also the major cause of family breakups. Likewise, the advance of technology, especially in the area of communication, is creating an environment that allows people to live alone just fine. Data is showing that the number of people living alone is the highest on record and this trend is continuing. Via social network and instant communication, people don’t feel the need to have a family so they can be with someone… Blaming all the issues of today family lives on the LGBT community is very questionable…
L J
1 year 2 months ago
“I want to learn only this from you: did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard? Are you so stupid?” Saint Paul asks. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2016/10/07/pope-francis-says-rigid-ideology-makes-holy-spirit-sad/ I find instructive the outcry by some that Pope Francis has accompanied gay and transgender individuals. Pehaps these so called catholics would have been happier if the Pope had called them "deplorables" and withheld Eucharist from them. Perhaps had he done that he would have saved the institution of marriage. "Now look at the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were proud, sated with food, complacent in prosperity. They did not give any help to the poor and needy." Ezekiel 16:49 The sins of the Sodomites were pride, gluttony, sloth and greed. Americans reflect these sins better than any other nation. We lead the world in consumption of prescription drugs. From a medical perspective these sins are responsible for most chronic medical illnesses that cause Americans to pop so many pills: Lipitor, Metformin, blood pressure meds, antidepressants, proton pump inhibitors for heart burn and GERD, cultural ills like > 50% marriages ending in divorce, broken families, dysfunctional children, a polarized nation: left vs right, orthodox vs heterodox, conservative vs liberal, all man made categories emanating from pride. Homosexuals in their "sodomite" behaviors don't come close to being the source of the scourge on Americans dysfunctional lives. Pride was the reason why Lucifer fell from Heaven. Did we forget the worst sin of them all? The sins that cry out to Heaven get a fierce and robust yawn by internet "orthodox" warriors. What gives? Why the incessant display of public umbrage about select sins while contumaciously ignoring the Biblical, medical and cultural deadly sins that date back to Genesis and Ezekiel!? "Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out in the field.” When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD asked Cain, Where is your brother Abel? He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” God then said: What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!" Genesis 4:8-10 Catechism of the Catholic Church: "2268 The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance. Infanticide, fratricide, parricide, and the murder of a spouse are especially grave crimes by reason of the natural bonds which they break. Concern for eugenics or public health cannot justify any murder, even if commanded by public authority." "2269 The fifth commandment forbids doing anything with the intention of indirectly bringing about a person's death. The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as refusing assistance to a person in danger." Pope Francis is walking with people who live in sin, i.e. giving assistance to a person in danger. He is shaming us. What is our excuse? Are we so full of pride that we must talk about the Sodomites sin of sodomy? Then by all means lets talk about those Sodomites that were listed in black and white in the Book of Ezekiel: "proud, sated with food, complacent in prosperity. They did not give any help to the poor and needy". Where are those other sins so frequently listed by some that are supposedly threatening our culture? The Pharisees are alive and well today. They remind all of us how sinful others are while they thump their chests for all to see, parade that they are the true "orthodox" and that the Pope is causing "confusion". St Paul: "Are you so stupid?" Pride, Gluttony, Slothfulness, Greed. Start there. These are enough to keep Americans busy for a few generations. One day Lipitor will be seen in the future as a medication that was needed by the true Sodomites. "By their fruits you will know them" Gospel of St Matthew 7:23
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
Guillermo – The reason Pope Francis always speaks out against gay marriage and gender ideology is that he believes it will undermine society, the family and children way beyond the few percent of LGBT members of our society and will infringe on religious rights. It's always "love the sinner, not the sin." I agree with you that the other deadly sins (beyond lust) are common, but there is no political movement to bless them. Pope Francis also commonly speaks out against materialism and consumerism. Envy is also prevalent today, as people rage against the ephemeral 1% (yet the world’s 1% have incomes >$32,400). The sins that cry out to heaven (CCC 1867) include the blood of Abel (killing of one’s family members, including abortion), the cry of the foreigner, the widow and the orphan, and withholding justly earned wages, especially of poor laborers. But, your interpretation of the sin of Sodom does not comport with a plain reading of the text, and all of Jewish and Christian history, (including St. Paul) until the sexual revolution. Gen 19:5 “[the men of Sodom] called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Also, the next line of your quote of Ezekiel 15:50 adds “They were haughty and did detestable things before me.” But, it is really undermining your credibility to rail against the use of medicines, including statins, anti-hypertensives, anti-diabetics, etc. These drugs save millions of lives every year. Every country in the world has them, and they have all been proven effective in large clinical trials. So, this criticism is way out there. FYI - your comment word count is 666!
L J
1 year 2 months ago
"it is really undermining your credibility...." As I have stated elsewhere on these pages, I am a medical professional in a university setting. Your comment about 666 was petty. I will respond for the sake of the other readers. If one were to research the FDA indications for statins and biguanides (e.g. metformin), and then the etiologies of those diseases, one would come to understand why the pharmaceutical industry has earned the reputation it has: greed and unbridled capitalism. They are well founded labels. Statins: The incidence of heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia is 1 in 500 which is 0.002 or 0.2 % Homozygous FH occurs in about 1:1,000,000. Metformin:Type 2 Diabetes has risen drastically in America as correlated with obesity trends. Some of my colleagues have begun to stop seeing patients under their care. They do so because these patients refuse to adopt lifestyle modifications. These patients expect their physicians to give them prescription drugs so that they can continue to live in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, i.e. pride. These patients are a source of fiscal burden on our nation. About 90% of chronic medical illnesses in America are self-inflicted. Again and again gluttony and sloth exact their medical toll just like pride. The list is growing of physicians in America who are fed up with patients who refuse to act responsibly and rather demand from their doctors to give them what they want as to prescription drugs (e.g. opiates). I at least see these noncomplaint patients if they are Latino so as to teach them in their native language of Spanish. They come to America with decent health (other than lack of vaccinations), eat what America provides, and then become a medical statistic just like Americans. They are truly ignorant. Obesity, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and many other chronic medical illnesses arent nearly as high in Latin America. America leads the world in many of these. We became physicians to alleviate true victims of medical suffering. We did not join this vocation to be enablers of people who don't appreciate their lives, the medications developed for true victims of maladies and use physicians who have sacrificed much at great cost of financial debt, to simply be pill pushers. Sadly most Amercians just dont care (e.g. trend in obesity rates) and physicians, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, and government socialized programs to take care of them. Once again, pride, gluttony, sloth have gripped our culture. The sins that cry out to heaven were pride, gluttony, slothfulness and greed. Gay sex is not the preeminent sin that some choose to make it. Their weight and dysfunctional marriages and children are far far worse.
Sam Sawyer, S.J.
1 year 2 months ago

Commenters — please note that our comments policy calls for comments to be brief (around 300 words). Many people have been writing much longer tomes in the comments box, and we will begin moverating to remove them when we see a repeated pattern of very long comments.

L J
1 year 2 months ago
My apologies Fr Sawyer if you are referencing me. I am a published lay writer as an MD-MBA and also as a consultant for firms and organizations. I have used these comment sections to write about Catholic / Ignatian topics near and dear to me, in hopes of teaching others. Please delete any and all of my comments if they are violating the comments policy. I had no idea 300 words were the max limit. Mea culpa
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
Wow. What a clear case of fat shaming? Metformin and most of the statins are now generics and are sold with very low profit margins. Pharmaceutical companies focus on newer agents. I too am a physician and your views on this are malpractice. Of course, people should eat healthy foods and exercise. But, that doesn't work for millions of people. Have a look at WebMD, the Mayo Clinic site or this one which addresses many fears of the misinformed. http://www.utswmedicine.org/stories/articles/year-2016/statins-answers.html "For every drop of scientific evidence that statins are safe and effective, there is a tidal wave of misinformation…Statins have been studied more than nearly any other drug that people take. In fact, more than 170,000 people who take statins have been studied in detail and for extended periods of time. We certainly know the benefits of statins. Data from the 2008 JUPITER Trial suggest a 54 percent heart attack risk reduction and a 48 percent stroke risk reduction in people at risk for heart disease who used statins as preventive medicine. The data are not speculative; rather, they reflect statins’ real potential to save lives and avoid illness."
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
Guillermo, From Sexual Ethics by Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler: "The men of Sodom demonstrate that if any action is condemned in the text, it is the crime of wrongful, violent and inhospitable rape carried out by perverted heterosexual men. However, even if male rape perpetuated by heterosexuals is condemned in this text, that is a long way from a clear and unambiguous condemnation of the just and loving homosexual acts of men and women with a homosexual orientation [in a permanent, faithful and loving relationship]. In the rest of the OT, where Sodom is regularly mentioned, not once is its crime said to be homosexual behavior. Ezekiel describes it as 'pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but that did not aid the poor and the needy'. The Book of Wisdom explicitly charges both the men of Sodom and the Egyptians with inhospitality." The Code of Leviticus clearly described the condemnation of homosexual acts of men committed by heterosexual men because at that time everyone believed that the normal sexual orientation of all humans were what we call today heterosexuality. Therefore if heterosexuals chose to perform homosexual acts it was akin to idolatry and perversion, as it is today. No one ever thought that a human could be naturally born with a sexual orientation toward those of the same sex. To continue to tell gay and lesbian Catholics today that they have only one choice, namely, to practice a life-time of sexual abstinence is to impose excessive stoic burdens on them, especially when they are denied the choice of entering into a marriage or permanent union. It is my prayer that the CC will find a realistic path for the salvation of Catholic homosexuals in a permanent union or in a non-Catholic Christian Church marriage without imposing an almost impossible burden on them.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
Michael - I agree the story of Sodom describes an attempted same-sex rape of men. There is only one indication of their orientation - they had no interest in women (note they completely rejected Lot's daughters). In any case, the term and idea heterosexual was unknown then (a 19th century invention). The Greco-Roman world assumed men would be attracted to pretty women and men (particularly youths) and so the closest their concept came to a modern term would be bisexuality. See also St. Paul in Roman's 1 26-27 which warns against same-sex behavior. You commend above “rightly, our ancient fathers considered homosexual acts performed by heterosexuals to be an abomination”? What about those acts by bisexuals, which is the growing self-identification today? You haven't really thought this through. For those promoting gay sex, which acts are considered moral or is it anything goes as long as it is consensual? What it they are extremely unhealthy? The Church has always held against the morality of specific sexual acts by men and women, inside or outside marriage, and doesn't condemn psychological orientation. They understand all people are tempted in many different ways and are always ready to offer consolation, support and forgiveness to repentant souls. Even today, there is no known scientific test for distinguishing a bisexual from a heterosexual or homosexual, short of self-identification (which changes with many people). This is in contrast to the robust objective scientific ways of defining a man and a woman (DNA, chromosomal, male and female biological phenotype, psychology, etc). So, no point pretending to be approaching this scientifically. It's ideological.
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
Tim, Every human in ancient times (e.g., what we call the Holy Land or Israel today) was assumed by our ancient Fathers to be born with a innate and deep sexual attraction or orientation to the opposite sex. They never used the words 'heterosexual' or 'Bi-sexual, etc'. Any homosexual behavior was assumed to be done by heterosexuals (e.g., those born with a sexual orientation to the opposite sex). As for Romans 1 26-27: I quote from Salzman as he refers to this text: "The dishonorable passions and the male and female homosexual act performed by perverted heterosexuals are God's punishment on Gentiles for their idolatry. It is Gentile idolatry that is directly at stake in the Pauline text, and the perverted homosexual behavior of heterosexuals to which it is presumed to lead, not the homosexual acts of those who by 'nature' share the homosexual condition and the just and loving homosexual acts in which it might issue." I already answered your question about bi-sexuals and thought this through. You have not paid attention to my previous answer: Any person (heterosexual, homosexual or bi-sexual) who enters into a permanent, loving and faithful marriage or union (Civil, non-Catholic Christian Church marriage, et al) must never have sexual relations with anyone who is not their spouse. We are not talking about premarital sex, anything goes as long as it is consensual, or what you consider extremely unhealthy. I already answered your other question about scientific studies and homosexuality. Go back and read them. I fully understand the teaching of the Church and pray the magisterium will find a way for the salvation of homosexuals that does not require and impose on them something that is an almost impossible burden. I think we have to end our exchanges on this for now Tim because they are becoming unproductive. If you want more details, read Sexual Ethics by Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 2 months ago
Michael - you are always repeating the same categorical statements, as if by mere repetition, you think you are making the statements more persuasive. They are not. The whole idea of heterosexual is a modern invention. Like heteronormative, or opposite-sex marriage, all these terms are ideological, invented to legitimize a revolution in thinking. So, the "ancient fathers" judged specific sexual acts as natural, meaning their end was part of the natural order of procreation. Acts that were not (e.g oral sex, bondage, fetishes...) were outside the natural order. So, the ancient fathers were right and would come to the same conclusion today. They would agree with the Church. But, you are so certain that you are right and the Church is wrong. You pray the magisterium will come around to your way of thinking. But, we need only one gospel - that of Jesus Christ and the Church he protects from teaching error. This is my final comment on this, for now.
L J
1 year 2 months ago
"This is my final comment on this, for now." if only you would keep your word on that promise. You and Rydberg are clearly Axis II. Since you're a "physician" you know what that means. Consider increasing your Zyprexa
L J
1 year 2 months ago
Michael, I like this comment of yours: "To continue to tell gay and lesbian Catholics today that they have only one choice, namely, to practice a life-time of sexual abstinence is to impose excessive stoic burdens on them" I have often found the Church's teaching unrealistic since the same teaching is imposed on Catholic priests. I find it insightful that St Paul is clear that it is better to marry than to burn. And yet the Church pushes Catholic priests and homosexuals to burn since they are not allowed to marry. Another troubling teaching is the pro-creative component. Medically speaking we already know of married couples who are infertile either due to anatomical, physiological, genetic or hormonal problems. What to do with these poor married folks? I find the constant focus on sex, sex, sex driven by man and not God. Again and again we read, study, and reflect that pride is the worst of all sins. And yet we only read/hear of pride when it comes to our "enemy". One of the more beautiful aspects of Pope Francis is his Ignatian spirit. St. Ignatius was all about inner conversion, listening, discerning, etc. These aspects of Catholic living are almost non-existent in our conversation. But when it comes to pointing fingers and decrying sex, they are deafening. For good reasons men and women with good hearts have left the Church. It is troubling. Pride is the problem. Gluttony is tied to pride. Sloth as well. etc etc etc
Michael Barberi
1 year 2 months ago
Guillermo, Thanks for your reply. Some people often minimize the unrealistic burdens that are imposed on gays and lesbians such as the requirement that they live a life-time of sexual abstinence for their salvation. Such things must be voluntarily chosen, not imposed. Even priests voluntarily chose celibacy and permanent abstinence, take a vow before God, but can gain a dispensation, get married and engage in sex in the service of love. The answer for gays and lesbians is not a question of mustering the fortitude, courage and faithfulness to follow the magisterium and never respectfully challenge this teaching. I hope the magisterium and Pope Francis will find a more realistic pastoral path for the salvation of those born with a same-sex orientation that want to love God and neighbor. There are many philosophical and theological problems with the teaching about homosexualty and the homosexual behavior in a permanent, faithful and loving relationship between members of the same sex that is best left to another time and in another article. This is my final comment here.

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