As the father of a gay daughter, I read Of Many Things (4/22) with great interest. Matt Malone, S.J., asks all of us “to listen to how the church can be more supportive of gay and lesbian people while remaining faithful to its tradition.”
Perhaps one place where dogma and tradition might be improved is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which still states, “Basing itself on Sacred Scriptures, which represents homosexual acts as acts of great depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” (No. 2357). No amount of listening to my daughter will make her feel welcome in our church until this unfortunate and un-Christlike wording is changed.
Love Sinners, Hate Sin
This was an excellent (and balanced) piece by Father Malone. To love the sinner and hate the sin (especially our own sins) is indeed hard. How many can truly say that we love our enemies, especially those who hurt us? Yet this distinction is essential for salvation.
The fact is that since the Fall, everyone has disordered desires. No heterosexual is free from desires (orientations) that are sinful. It is a blessed day when one can get through it without failing. We cannot save ourselves. We are all doomed without the Savior. But his grace is greater than our sin, if only we can accept his forgiveness.
The great scourge of our day, threatening so many souls, is the denial of sin. To deny sin or deny God is to close off our only hope.
Who Is ‘the Church’?
In referring to Cardinal Dolan’s interview on ABC, Father Malone glibly slips in some gratuitous claims, including, “The church remains firmly committed to the traditional definition of marriage.” Who is “the church”? If it is true that all of us are the church, then an ever-increasing number—now almost half of Catholics in the United States—are firmly committed to an inclusive definition of marriage. We must keep in mind that while the hierarchy is an important segment of the people of God, they are not “the church.”
Over the almost eight decades I’ve been on the pilgrim road, we Catholics have worked at developing a charitable regard for those who differ from us, like Protestants, Jews and Muslims and even, saints be praised, atheists. It hasn’t been easy to jettison old ideas and try to see the world and its inhabitants in the new light the Holy Spirit gives us. Let’s open our hearts to that light and embrace our gay, lesbian and transgender brothers and sisters. Then we can, together, get on with resolving some of the real problems that face our faith and our world.
Is This Love?
You want all of us to love and support each other and refrain from name calling. Yet you tell me that God’s grace and love in my life cannot be part of your sacramental church. And then you go so far as to make sure that my civil marriage does not benefit from the same legal and tax codes available to the marriages of my heterosexual peers.
As a gay Roman Catholic in the 13th year of my faithful and God graced marriage, I object.
Homosexuals feel unwelcome in the church because, strangely, they are. When the final nail of scientific proof that homosexuality is biological is driven into that coffin, one wonders if the church will take the traditional 400 years to apologize, or will it be fast-tracked to 200? Surely, responsible authorities must be working on the contingency plan already.
Fort Myers, Fla.
In Of Many Things (4/22), Matt Malone, S.J., wrote that “all of us” need to open our hearts and listen “in order to learn how the church can be more supportive of gay and lesbian people while remaining faithful to its tradition.” You responded:
While the church should respond pastorally to gay and lesbian individuals, the final admonition must still be that sex outside of marriage is a sin, the same response that should be given to heterosexual couples living together outside of marriage. It is not the orientation; it is the acting out of that inclination.
Lynne Basista Shine
Catholic teaching on homosexual “acts” must be challenged. It’s not enough to move around the edges of this any more. Too many wonderful people cannot, with integrity, be a part of a church that teaches that same-sex sexually intimate relationships are sinful. It doesn’t matter how “welcoming” the people are. You can’t expect that these men and women can simply leave this most basic part of their lives at the door of the church and still fully participate in the church’s life.
The catechism refers to homosexual acts as disordered. Ipso facto, the person who is homosexual, according to the catechism, is disordered. If the basis upon which our faith is codified classifies people as disordered, they will be vilified. To imply this is not the main reason why gay people feel unwelcome in the church is naïve in the extreme.