Simply Loving

Everybody knows that same-sex marriage and homosexual acts are contrary to Catholic moral teaching. Yet that same teaching also says that gay and lesbian people must be treated with “respect, sensitivity and compassion.” As more states pass laws legalizing same-sex marriage, more gay and lesbian Catholics are entering into these unions. This leaves some Catholics feeling caught between two values: church teaching against same-sex marriage and church teaching in favor of compassion. In Seattle a few months back, for example, many high school students protested the ouster of the vice principal, who was removed for marrying another man.

Most people who oppose same-sex marriage say they do not hate gay people, only that the traditional understanding of marriage is important and perpetually valid. Other opponents of same-sex marriage invoke the oft-repeated mantra, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” If that is so, then why do so many gay people say they feel hatred from members of the church?

Advertisement

Let me suggest a reason beyond the fact that many gays and lesbians disagree with church teaching on homosexual acts: only rarely do opponents of same-sex marriage say something positive about gays and lesbians without appending a warning against sin. The language surrounding gay and lesbian Catholics is framed primarily, sometimes exclusively, in terms of sin. For example, “We love our gay brothers and sisters—but they must not engage in sexual activity.” Is any other group of Catholics addressed in this fashion? Imagine someone beginning a parish talk on married life by saying, “We love married Catholics—but adultery is a mortal sin.” With no other group does the church so reflexively link the group’s identity to sin.

The language of “hate the sin, love the sinner” is difficult for many gay people to believe when the tepid expression of love is accompanied by strident condemnation. And the notion that love calls first for admonishing the loved person seems to be applied only in the case of gays and lesbians. To take another example, it would be like telling a child, “You’re a sinful child, but I love you anyway.” This can end up sounding more like, “Hate the sinner.”

Look how Jesus loved people who were hated in his day. Take the story of Zacchaeus, the diminutive man who climbs a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus as he passes through Jericho (Lk 19:1-10). As chief tax collector, and thus head of all the tax collectors in the region, Zacchaeus would have also been seen by the Jews as the chief sinner in the area. When Jesus spies him perched in the branches, he calls out, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” Zacchaeus then promises to repay anyone he has defrauded. “Salvation has come to this house,” says Jesus.

Notice that Jesus shows love for Zacchaeus even before the man has promised to do anything. That is, Jesus loves him first, by offering to dine with him, a powerful sign of welcome in that time. Jesus does not say, “Zacchaeus, you’re a sinful person because you’re gouging people with taxes collected for the oppressive occupying power, but even though you’re a public sinner, I love you anyway.” He simply loves him—first.

The story of Zacchaeus illustrates an important difference between the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus. For John the Baptist, conversion came first, then communion. First you repent of your sins; then you are welcomed into the community. For Jesus, the opposite was more often the case; first, Jesus welcomed the person, and conversion followed. It’s not loving the sinner; it’s simply loving.

What might it mean for the church to love gays and lesbians more deeply? First, it would mean listening to their experiences—all their experiences, what their lives are like as a whole. Second, it would mean valuing their contributions to the church. Where would our church be without gays and lesbians—as music ministers, pastoral ministers, teachers, clergy and religious, hospital chaplains and directors of religious education? Infinitely poorer. Finally, it would mean publicly acknowledging their individual contributions: that is, saying that a particular gay Catholic has made a difference in our parish, our school, our diocese. This would help remind people that they are an important part of the body of Christ. Love means listening and respecting, but before that it means admitting that the person exists.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
David Mooneyhan
5 years 3 months ago
BRAVO. MICHAEL.
Paul Ferris
5 years 3 months ago
Tim, As late as the American civil war, Ursulines in New Orleans kept slaves.....until Lincoln freed them....read my review written 6 years ago of the book by Emily Clark called Masterless Mistresses. It also illustrates the dichotomy of the emphasis of chastity to all other virtues. The Catholic Sisters at the time were ,more beholden to Rome than they are now thank God. Paul Ferris | 5/29/2014 - 9:29am . 5.0 out of 5 stars Masterless Mistresses, July 23, 2011 By Emily Clark This review also shows how important the teaching on marriage and family was to the Ursulines even in the face of being part of the institution of slavery. I think men religious in America also owned slaves. To me it shows that to emphasize the importance of chastity does not cover all the virtues and should not be looked at in isolation of everything else. I prefer to use the word integrity instead of chastity because in the Roman Catholic tradition, chastity often can be reduced to no venereal pleasure outside of marriage....it is a mortal sin !!! But owning slaves is not a mortal sin.... Amazon Customer "friend of Tassc International" (Waterville, Maine United States) - See all my reviews There has bee some discussion about the Magisterium and slavery. I offer a review of this book I wrote for Amazon.com. This review is from: Masterless Mistresses: The New Orleans Ursulines and the Development of a New World Society, 1727-1834 (Paperback) This book by Tulane University Professor, Emily Clark, about the colonial history of the Ursulines in New Orleans is a wonderfully written tapestry of how only a handful of religious women became part of the complex and fascinating story of the city of New Orleans in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Clark's book is a blend of historical scholarship beginning with the spiritual founding and formation of the Ursulines in Italy and then development in France. Who were these Ursulines? Why did they come to Louisiana? What physical hardships did they undergo? (As a companion to this book I suggest Voices From An Early American Convent, edited by Emily Clark) What were their apostolic and cultural achievements? Professor Clark tells the story of the Ursulines not only in their charitable works such as teaching, running orphanages, and hospitalers, but also how they ran plantations as slave owners. This last activity may come as a surprise to modern readers but the story is well documented with the family names of slaves. Professor Clark credits the Ursulines with keeping slave families together, unlike Spanish and British/American slave owners. They also followed the French mandate of seeing that Indian and Blacks were baptized and raised Catholics. Still Professor Clark does not fail to mention that in 1864 with the emancipation of Blacks, all the slaves were happy to leave the Ursuline plantation. And how did the Ursulines deal with borders and slaves who could not live up to their strict moral code? They sold them off. Professor Clark devotes a large portion of her book to the thesis that the Ursulines, as unmarried self-supporting single women, (without master husbands) represented a different model of Christian womanhood than Protestant married women. In fact Professor Clark relates that the Uruslines posed a threat to leading men of New Orleans during the American Republican era which had little regard for the independence of women after its successful revolution from Britain. Professor Clark writes that the Ursulines were hierarchical in their own Order's makeup and that they conformed to the prevailing class social structure, yet they exhibited an egalitarian spirit when ministering to the spiritual welfare of their charges; i.e. Indians, blacks, rich, poor, women. Professor Clark scholarship never gets in the way of a very clear and entertaining writing style. Even more important, in my opinion, Professor Clark, shows enormous admiration, even love for these pioneering women without losing her professional historian's discerning judgment. Definitely five stars.
Michael Barberi
5 years 3 months ago
Tim, I have not misunderstood your POV. I understand it quite well. To wit, how many times have I said to you that the "Church" is protected by the Holy Spirit from error, NOT the magisterium. The Church is not the magisterium Tim. The Church is the people of God inclusive of the Pope, the clergy, theologians and the general laity. This is an example where we constantly go around in circles because you misrepresent what I say or ignore what I say. You can disagree with me Tim, but don't misrepresent my comments or assert that I misunderstand your POV. The issue about what Jesus said has been intensively debated within our Church for the last 50 years. You are fee to claim your POV is right, but not that your POV is the truth. If you want to debate me, then address my specific points in argument. An example where you do not address my specific points in argument is when you deliberately move the subject of "same-sex orientation" to the subject of pedophilia. Pedophilia has nothing to do with the issue of same-sex orientation or the specific arguments I have made relative to this issue. When you cannot address my points in argument, you merely move the conversation to a side issue that have little relevance. It is merely a distraction. It is clear to me, and perhaps to other people, that anyone who offers an reasoned, intelligent argument for a rethinking of a certain teaching, are according to your POV denigrating the magisterium, a pope, or are moving Catholics in the wrong direction. I have in the past asked you to stay on point and not misrepresent what I say. When you do, I am required by prudence to object to your line of argument. Your last comments are a testament to your negative style of argument. Anyone who disagrees with you and certain teachings of the magisterium are casted by you into the misguided heap of Protestant Churches who as you say "drifted from one non-solution to the next", and that my arguments are no different, or any different from trendy clergy who, it seems, are merely according to your POV dissenters and not doing God's work. According to your philosophy we all should be obeying every teaching of the magisterium because this is what good Catholics do. To repeat what I have said many times to you. I do not presume, imply or declare my arguments to be the absolute moral truth, nor are they my "personal moral doctrinal journey" as you claim, but rather, a reasoned intelligent commentary (based on much education) that represent good reasons to justify a rethinking of certain teachings. I do not see the fullness of truth but only a partial view of it. So does the magisterium. The truth is constantly emerging Tim. Once again I repeat, that this does not mean that certain teachings are not the complete truth. It is through dialogue that we come closer to truth. This has been the way of the Church for centuries. The Holy Spirit moves us to the truth in agreement and disagreement. Try to remember that Tim. It is time that we close our exchanges for now Tim, because they are not productive but far too negative. By the way, I already addressed your question of bi-sexuality on a previous blog. You simply ignored it or did not like my explanation. It does not, in any way, weakens the arguments I posited about the issue of same-sex orientation and sexual acts within a committed, faithful, loving and lifelong relationship. I could be wrong Tim, but it will not be for a lack of a compelling, reasoned and intelligent argument. God bless.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
Michael - You say "To wit, how many times have I said to you that the "Church" is protected by the Holy Spirit from error, NOT the magisterium." Well, here we disagree. But, even with your definition, the Church's teaching (clergy and laity) has been definitively held for 2 Millennia that homosexual sex is not compatible with a moral Christain life. So, whether it is the Church protected from error, or the Magisterium, on this subject, neither the Magisterium not the laity can reverse their position 180 degrees without disproving their protection.
Michael Barberi
5 years 3 months ago
Tim, Many teachings of the magisterium have been taught as truth for centuries but were developed or reformed. The teaching on slavery was a case in point. Read my comment to Tom Jones on this blog. Tim, you can hold to your POV as long as you want.That is your choice. I, like most theologians and laity and many priests, disagree with certain teachings for good reasons. God willing, at the conclusion of the 2014-2015 Synod on the Family, the pope will announce several changes in the pastoral application of moral norms on the many issues we have been discussing this past year(s). If not, the debate will continue.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
Michael - read my other comment re the historian Rodney Stark on slavery too. There has always been a majority of people who have disagreed with the teaching, if you include all people who call themselves Christians. That is their choice. That is why Jesus left us with a counter to the vagaries of human free will and the limits of human reason. I will make a prediction. You will be disappointed by the Synod and will lament that it didn't go far enough. It can't possibly do so and stay Catholic.
Michael Barberi
5 years 3 months ago
Tim, I only count Catholics who disagree or agree that the Church has not changed its teachings on slavery. As I said, the majority of Catholics who have studied the facts believe that the magisterium has changed many teachings that were taught as truth for centuries. As for others that want the facts, they can read both your references and mine, and others, and judge for themselves. We will have to wait for the conclusions of the Synod to know whether further changes will be made to the pastoral application of certain teachings. I will not lament if they don't go far enough. The issues we have been discussing take time to develop and to be received. On the other hand, I will have to await to know your reaction when the Synod makes certain changes to the pastoral application of teachings that you believe are irreformable. You should not be so "certain" of your convictions.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
Michael - where in this post did I circle back to say what you appear to quote "with certainty"? Talk about circles, - you are going back to some other post. Now to your inconsistency. You are so full of inconsistency that I do not know if I should laugh or cry. You criticize me for daring to repeat the orthodox Catholic positions but you are forever reiterating your own points, even with the exact same wording, again and again (you love the word absurd, and legitimate reasons, etc.). You bring up scientific authority in your arguments as if they were trump cards in a theological debate and then back away when I show the problems of relying on a scientific committee for Catholic morality or Natural Law questions. Surely, you should realize that the scientific method is impotent in adjudicating moral questions, and that mostly atheistic scientific committees are the opposite of reliable when it comes to the morality of any issue, such as abortion, euthanasia, or sexual morality. That was my point about their vacillating on pedophilia. They are just not reliable sources of moral judgement and they are especially dangerous when they think they are. Another example of the abject failure of your half-baked idea of what is natural - you say it is unnatural for a person with a homosexual orientation to engage in normal sex with a person of the opposite gender. Yet, you refuse to test your new rule in people who claim they are bisexual, or the thousands of gay people who were married for years before they "found" their true calling. Don't you see that you can try to tear down the Church's teaching but you have nothing to replace it with. Any freshman college student should realize that a new theory that fails to explain the various alternatives in the discussion (we are talking about LGBT after all) is hardly in a position to criticize the established teaching. The Magisterium does not have the luxury to address moral issues piecemeal. You would be the first to yell at them and dismiss them for being inconsistent, as you think you are doing about historical issues. You want people who are married to one person and sleeping with another to have communion? But, you haven't thought it through. What if there remains a dispute about the breakup. How many divorces will be allowed? So many people on this blog argue from a position of criticizing the Church without the foggiest idea of what would replace the gap left by the departure in doctrine. That is the problem the Protestant churches have all the time. You are sure to be disappointed by this Synod.
Bruce Snowden
5 years 3 months ago
Forty-seven years ago at our Wedding Mass the celebrant instructing my wife and I before the exchange of vows said, “Sacrifice is usually irksome, only love can make it easy and perfect love can make it a joy!” Subsequently those words proved true, exactly as our vows implied, “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.” Marriage teaches to take life as it comes, not always seeking the “easy way” but accepting the reality of the “hard way” realizing that there are some things that one cannot have and so by the grace of God we accept built-in limitations and by simply loving, gracious acceptance becomes possible, sacrificially perfecting love. Do not the realities of Christian Marriage faithfully lived model in fact the realities and limitations of life in all its aspects? I think so!
Michael Barberi
5 years 3 months ago
Bruce, Forty-two years ago I exchanged the same vows with my wife. We took life as it came and there were many difficult and sorrowful events that we struggled through. Thanks to the mercy and grace of God brighter days came and after 40+ years, I can truly say that all the sacrifices perfected our love. During this time, I continued to attend weekly Mass, have a daily prayer life, etc. However, there were times that this was not the case. Nevertheless, by the grace and mercy of God I eventually got back to the right path again. The model of Christian marriage does reflect the realities and limitations of life. We are imperfect beings, and we sin. However, thanks for the suffering, death and resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we are redeemed and made children of God. The major focus of us all should be on God, then family, then neighbor, then self. This can be the case for same-sex couples in a committed, faithful, loving, and lifelong relationship.
Bruce Snowden
5 years 3 months ago
Michael, We have sailed the same boat on the rough sea of Christian Marriage, but luckily "sacrifice" was the indispensable oar that got us through the realities of life. Certainly not easy but with the grace of God doable to the point where joy is often found granted by our "hide and seek God" who sometimes seeks while we hide and at other times he hides while we seek. It is a blessed experience and I thank you for your witness and I truly feel honored to be able to share with you testimony of a grace-filled life that we both share .The Lord blessed us with four children one going to the Lord in the third month of the first trimester through miscarriage, our saint, and three grown sons who have given us seven grandchildren, 4 granddaughter and 3 grandsons. God bless Christian Marriage identified by St. Paul as a model of the Church. How true! Again, Mike, Thanks!
Michael Barberi
5 years 3 months ago
Hi Bruce, Our experiences of marriage are different but not dissimilar. In this mysterious journey called life, I am drawn to embrace more closely mercy, charity and understanding, especially with respect to our neighbors that have been born with a same-sex orientation, an orientation that is not chosen but simply is. If such an orientation is truly and "objective disorder" as the magisterium claims, then the grace of God must be able to transform the person with this disorder. In reality, the presence of an orientation towards a person of the same sex does not appear to bring along with it any emotional or psychological configuration, even less any deformation, which is not found equally among people of the majority orientation. People with a same-sex orientation are not found to more impatient, unfaithful, selfish, pleasure seeking, or incapable of being good Samaritans, or more prone to anger, of rivalry, violence or resentment…than the majority with a heterosexual orientation. If everyone with a same-sex orientation must live a lifetime of sexual abstinence, does God freely give the infused gift of celibacy to all those that are "required" to live this way? What large segments of the human population are prohibited from marriage and are automatically "required" to do this? On the other hand, there are good reasons not to deny those born with a same-sex orientation the same choices that heterosexual have, namely, a choice between a marriage and a life of sexual abstinence. Why confine them to a life of sexual abstinence, something that must be voluntarily chosen in order for it to work? Should they all embrace "heroic virtue" regardless of the reasons to the contrary, whether it is practical, whether it is overly burdensome, whether it is an extreme form of virtue? Can it be possible that the magisterium might find a way for people born with a same-sex orientation to enter into a blessed non-sacramental marriage under certain conditions? Perhaps the magisterium will find a way to treat gay people with more compassion, respect and understanding, especially those who who seek God, want to flourish, to love another in a faithful, committed and lifelong relationship, to adopt a child that no one wants, to adopt a frozen embryo and give it life, to love and serve those in suffering and hardship, and to become a member in full standing in the Catholic Church. This may take a long time, but I have hope for a better pastoral application of certain moral norms that should be the subject of a rethinking. I wish I had the answers.
Bruce Snowden
5 years 3 months ago
Michael, I wish I had the answers too, about your expressed same sex orientation dilemmas. Regarding that question, the best I understand it, everyone, including same sex oriented people are called upon by Christ to practice heroic virtue, however that heroism may be required even if it requires a lifetime of self denial. Your expression, "infused gift of celibacy" is interesting and perhaps a person called to a precise form of sexual abstinence, which incidentally includes just about everyone as the Spirit instructs, may need such a gift and if the need is of Divine origin , the answer must also be of Divine origin. So yes, as the need exists God remains ready to grant it. Often we want no part of that invitation rooted in the way life in the Heavenly Kingdom will be, where "there will be neither marrying, or giving in marriage, but where all live as angels do." Earthly experience is transient - the heavenly experience is permanent beginning here on earth. The Doctor of the Church, Catherine of Siena says, "Heaven begins here-and-now." Now I don't know if this example (examples always limp) will make any sense. But let me give it a try. There's an apple tree on the grounds where I live. This year the tree was loaded with flowers. If every flower produces an apple its going to be a bumper crop. However, experience shows that not every flower is "sexually" productive - not every flower produces an apple. Some, it seems to me are called to be celibate! Studying for 82 years spiritual and earthly realities I have come up with a "principle" that says, "Whatever is possible naturally, is also possible supernaturally." This certainly applies to the analogy of the sexually inoperative apple flower versus humanity's infused celibacy necessary to all according to a Divine manifesto. They who are specially gifted that way were "conceived" that way, beautifully attractive but created to be sexually abstemious. Is this a hard saying? It certainly is, the back fitted by Christ to the burden, which is really a unique gift! All humanity in one way or the other are called to be a sexually inoperative "apple flower" with infused grace to be everything they are meant to be and this excludes no one, according to the Divine patterns. Is this just plain stupid, or does it have some redeeming grace? If you want to response with enlightenment please do so, and I'll tackle that response sometime tomorrow.
Michael Barberi
5 years 3 months ago
Bruce, I find it hard to believe that such a large segment of the population (e.g., some surveys put it between 1%-5%+), who are born with a same sex orientation and are "required" to practice a form of self-denial and heroic virtue defined as a lifetime of sexual abstinence. Let me try to address your argument. It is true that we are all called to practice heroic virtue, the question before us is to define it. Aristotle and Aquinas believed that one should practice the mean of a virtue, not one extreme or the other. As I have argued, prudence is the measure of chastity-temperance, the virtue the magisterium says should guide our sexual appetite. How many days of self-denial in the form of sexual abstinence should married couples practice? Is there a specific number of days per month that is morally right, and anything less is immoral? Is there a specific number of days that meet the minimum definition of "heroic virtue"? I think not, as prudence would dictate. On the other hand, if someone voluntarily chooses to be celibate or abstain from sexual intercourse in a marriage for 12, 15 or more days per month and both spouses agree to do this for God or for another good reason, there is nothing immoral about such a decision. They are voluntarily choosing these acts of self-denial. These specific acts of self-denial are not being "imposed" upon them by authority. It is one thing to require a lifetime of sexual abstinence for those that "voluntarily" want to become priests, and quite another to "require" it for every person of a large segment of the population for one's salvation. In the former, the agent has a choice (marriage or celibacy). In the later, there is no choice for the agent; they must practice a lifetime of sexual abstinence. Aquinas teaches us that God will not ask us to do the impossible. As a general principle, I agree. However, we are talking about moving from a general principle to a specific application of the general principle in concrete circumstances. As Aquinas teaches us, the more specific we get, the more the general norm becomes less certain. In the case of same-sex oriented persons, it is human agency (e.g., the magisterium) that is defining the requirement and mandatorily imposing it. Witness the fact that in ancient times everyone was assumed to be heterosexual, and homosexual acts chosen by heterosexuals were considered an abomination and immoral. I agree. However, can we apply this with moral certainty to same-sex couples in a committed, faithful, loving and lifetime relationship? To your point that God gives us all the grace to do His Will. If so, how do we explain that fact that many seminarians do not take their final vows because they lack the gift of celibacy. Is this gift given to few "individuals" who voluntarily choose celibacy, or to a large segment of the populations who are "required" to practice a lifetime of sexual abstinence? Bruce, I do not have the answers to these complex moral questions. This issue is more complex, than say contraception. However, I am moved by charity, compassion and mercy, as well as reasoned arguments, that the teaching about homosexuality should be the subject of a rethinking. Perhaps, there will be some changes in the pastoral application of this teaching by the Synod on the Family. If not, I believe we will be arguing about it for many years to come. It is a teaching I believe can be developed. I agree: When we reach Heaven, "there will be neither marrying, or giving in marriage, but where all live as angels do". We do what we can in this life and we should not make salvation more difficult for one than other. I am open to further education and your comments, perhaps sometime tomorrow.
Bruce Snowden
5 years 3 months ago
Michael, From all that you have written I clearly see you are sincerely trying to be simply loving, including and especially towards our sisters and brothers of same sex preferences. I do too. However, I am experiencing two problematic areas which, please allow me to discuss very briefly and frankly. I hope it doesn't send "swarms of angry bees" with stinging vitrol all over postings, but instead I pray that the peace of Christ may reign. First of all, I must disagree with unions between same sex individuals being called "marriage." St. Paul calls Christian marriage a model of Christ's relationship to his Church. At least since the Bronze Age marriage has been understood as a loving, or not so loving union between a man and a woman which is sometimes biologically productive in the generation of children. It seems sensible and logical to me that it should be this way. On the other hand I would have no objections if same sex individuals enter into loving Civil Unions, with all the social security and benefits that are given to married couples. Are all loving relationships blessable because they are loving? I'm inclined to think that way and so I hope that Catholic theology can discover some way to confirm that hope. Having said this I run smack into Augustine who reminds, that "Although charity (love) is good, it must never be practiced contrary to sound judgment." There are many who claim that same sex unions violate sound judgment. I also have a problem with same sex couples adopting children. To properly develop an infant, a child, needs a mother and father, necessary to understand sexual differences and accept personal identity, differences between male and female which among other ways is discovered through differences in skin texture, voice tone and in scent. Also the "woman's touch" her loving and thinking, are intrinsically different than a "man's touch" his loving and thinking ways. In the unifying togetherness they ideally complement one another, whereas together, together in same gender startles. I truly try to live in love as Jesus taught and to remember the words of Holy Father Francis, "Who am I to judge?" I do try! But that "darn thing" called "conscience" keeps getting in the way! It's the only conscience I have and until it is proven to be incorrect, I am bound by it. Thanks for the back abd forth and if you want to continue I'll be happy to cooperate as long as I'm not just talking baloney! Again, thanks!
Michael Barberi
5 years 3 months ago
Bruce, Thanks once again for your thoughtful reflections. Let me try one last time to address your argument. 1. Paul's writings were written in ancient times where everyone was considered heterosexual. Was is possible that the writer of Genesis suffered from a erroneous anthropology, namely, a universal heterosexual orientation that was considered everyone's true self? I understand philosophical anthropology and symbolic speculation. JP II used it, in part, to justify the condemnation of contraception. However, symbolic speculation is a weak moral theory and teachings founded upon it cannot be declared "Moral Absolutes". I could argue more, but I will leave it at that. 2. I do agree that loving civil unions should be permitted under circumstances and in accordance with virtuous principles. Those opposed to same-gender unions, those who claim they violate sound judgment, do not adequately address the issues I have raised. 3. As for same-gender couples and adoption. The American Psychological Association studied this issue and concluded that there was no difference in the social-psychological well being, et al, of children raised by same-gender couples compared to opposite-gender couples. There is also no worldwide consensus of experts that argues differently. Is it immoral that same-gender couples adopt children that no opposite-gender couples want? Ditto for frozen embryo adoption? I do not think the RCC will change it teachings on marriage or homosexuality. I only hope that the Church will find a more merciful, loving and compassionate pastoral solution. God bless.
Bruce Snowden
5 years 3 months ago
Hi Mike, As a TV commercial puts it, "We are beautiful imperfect people, living in a beautiful imperfect world." Within that frame I can agree that it was possible that the Genesis writer maybe "suffered" from erroneous anthropology, in thinking that heterosexuality was all there was, in time everyone considered a heterosexual. Maybe St Paul too. We all know that the Spirit of Truth resides in all Scripture not so much in words, or even in how things are said, but principally in the message being delivered. Find the message and you'll find Truth. Right or wrong I don't know, but I suspect that everyone is conceived and born a heterosexual, with sexual orientation changing due to outside experiences, (interference) in a word, environmentally generated, through the "agency" of person, place, thing, rooted in first experiences of what sexuality is and how and with whom it first happens. Culpability may happen later when free choices can be made or rejected, sometimes improbable, or impossible, due to ingrained juvenile acceptance. This is only my opinion. Of course we all believe in Moral Absolutes and there is nothing symbolic or speculative about that. It is or should be the foundational buttress on which ethics and morality are built, I say "built" as there is a "building" process at work where Moral Absolutes are not only better understood, but wholeheartedly accepted. I know little about The American Psychological Association. However, unless that Organization enjoys some type of natural infallibility, its findings can be questioned, as anything human can, and its "teachings" ever subject to scrutiny and restructuring. Mike, most of what I venture in our back and forth are the well-considered non-infalliable semi-conclusive opinions and can be pulled apart by others with a better grasp of things. I think I've said all I can say but remain willing to continue our back and forth constructively. Thanks for your very, very, learned and Faith-filled input!
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
I should add that I too believe Michael, Paul and Vince are being motivated by a right concern for the difficulties of others and I do not doubt their sincerity. There is no harm in strong argument and back-and-forth. It helps us all refine our positions and understanding.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
Excellent comment, Bruce. Thanks.
Bruce Snowden
5 years 3 months ago
Tim, THANKS! Please read the post above to Mike as if it were sent to you.
Michael Barberi
5 years 3 months ago
Bruce, Well, we have drifted away from the concrete issues I have a difficult time accepting. Nevertheless, I believe you understand my argument. Some may, in good conscience like yourself, agree with the teaching of the RCC. Others may, in good conscience, disagree with some aspects of it until the issues in argument are adequately addressed. To be clear: I do not claim that the American Psychological Association's conclusion that a same-gender orientation is not an objective disorder of a universal heterosexual orientation...is the absolute truth. Nor do I profess that their scientific judgment in the future might not change. However, we live in the here and now and human experience is one source of truth that should not be dismissed because the evidence and judgment at the present time is not infallible. It may never be infallible. I also want to emphasize that human experience is only one source of truth, and not the morally determinate source of truth. However, this does not mean we should dismiss it. As to the issue of moral absolutes. Not every teaching is a moral absolute and some teachings that are declared moral absolutes are profoundly controversial and make little sense (e.g., responsible contraception). My reference to symbolic speculation was focused on philosophical anthropology. For example, if the love between spouses is, by analogy, the love that Christ has for His Church, exactly what does this mean when one is discussing a specific moral issue (e.g., contraception)? I read JP II's Theology of the Body and I could go into this in detail, but my point I was trying to emphasize was not to dismiss moral absolutes but to challenge certain teachings asserted to be the absolute moral truth with certainty based on symbolic speculation. In other words, certain moral absolutes cannot be the "only word or the last word" on certain moral issues. A moral absolute is defined as a teaching where there are no exceptions for any reason. In other words, there can be no circumstances, ends or intentions that can justify an exception. Think about that. Many moral absolutes are indisputable and wholeheartedly accepted, but not every teaching declared as such. This is why there is profound disagreement in the Church over certain teachings. Such disputes do not destroy the foundations of our faith. Many issues have been respectfully debated for the past 50 years, and will continue to be debated because that is how we come to a better understanding of truth. Your conscience may judge that everyone is conceived and born a heterosexual. However, your conscience also must be open to the conclusions of prominent scientific thought-leader organizations that have studied this issue. Their judgements and conclusions are non infallible, and you might choose to disregard or disagree with such conclusions. If so, on what basis can you definitively conclude everyone is born heterosexual and that a same-gender orientation is caused by outside forces? Perhaps in the future we will discover the truth about the causes of a same-gender orientation as our knowledge of such things progress. The truth might be what the magisterium claims the truth to be. On the other hand, the present scientific conclusion may not change. For me, I must rely on the here and now. I do not claim that my arguments are the absolute moral truth. I do believe that they represent legitimate reasons for a rethinking on a same-gender orientation and sexual acts within a committed, faithful, loving and lifelong relationship. Perhaps such a rethinking will result in no change in the RCC's position. On the other hand, perhaps a change will be possible in the pastoral application of the moral norm. I certainly pray this becomes the case because the implications and consequences of the present teaching, as I have argued, demands more mercy, compassion and charity. I hope you can, at least, agree with this. I enjoyed our exchanges because they are respectful and not dogmatic or demeaning as some others have a habit of doing. If your judgement of conscience concludes that a rethinking of the issues we have been discussing is not justified, we will have to agree to disagree. Like I said, the issue of same-gender marriage, et al, is much more complex compared with other moral issues such as contraception. Nevertheless, I respect your judgment of conscience.
Bruce Snowden
5 years 3 months ago
Mike, Probably pretty soon the "Bosses" at AMERICA may soon delete this site to make room for another, so let me concludingly (I think) answer a querry in your latest post, which may in synthesis cover your entire post. Honestly, my judgments of conscience never conclude that a rethinking of the issues we have been discussing, (any issue) is not justified. I am always open to truth which the RRC may not have, but which as truth, cannot ever contradict the truth she does have which is considerable. Truth is truth and its linkage is binding and more importantly bonding, old truths (definitions) better explained defined dogmas included. Across the board I like to say I agree to agree that rethinking issues are always justified, because truth doesn't simply liberate, set free, its also instructionally openminded. And I can't stand closemindedness! You see, truth has nothing to fear, but everything to give. And I am concerned as you are, only with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth no matter how, where, or when. Mike if this turns out to be our last post on this site, make room for other conversations on other sites. You have enlightened. Thanks!
Michael Barberi
5 years 3 months ago
Bruce, We agree on the issues of truth and I am happy that you are as open-minded about the justification for rethinking as I have always assumed. I think we saId enough for now. Thanks, you have also enlightened.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
Bruce - I think Michael says somewhere that you are bound to follow your conscience, so he would sympathize with you on this. I would say your conscience seems to be working rather well, in that it often doesn't resolve issues but presents itself as an annoying unease when things seem wrong, despite many telling you all is fine and dandy. God Bless.
Bruce Snowden
5 years 3 months ago
Tim Thanks for joining the back and forth. Many decades ago, in a moral theology class dealing with chastity, precisely the Vow of Chastity that Religious take, the teacher said to us very young men, "No doubt you guys will find the Vow of Chastity very challenging, so remember that sin resides in the will, not in any external action." That principle has outlined my conscience ever since, helping me to make across the board moral distinctions regarding sin as needed . So in every way I do say, "Who am I to judge?" We try our best and leave the rest in the merciful hands of God. Incidentally, that wise priest who years ago help to form my conscience, one day I found in a Nursing Home unable to speak and curled into a fetal position in a sleep-back wheelchair. He appeared semi-conscious and I bent over and whispered his name and mine too, but there was no response. What a shocker! He was a fantastic homilist with a booming voice and laughter. He has passed on to the Land of the Living where he is seeing up front and close what we now see only dimly, through Faith. Again, thanks for joining in.
Paul Ferris
5 years 3 months ago
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterless Mistresses, July 23, 2011 By Emily Clark This review also shows how important the teaching on marriage and family was to the Ursulines even in the face of being part of the institution of slavery. I think men religious in America also owned slaves. To me it shows that to emphasize the importance of chastity does not cover all the virtues and should not be looked at in isolation of everything else. I prefer to use the word integrity instead of chastity because in the Roman Catholic tradition, chastity often can be reduced to no venereal pleasure outside of marriage....it is a mortal sin !!! But owning slaves is not a mortal sin.... Amazon Customer "friend of Tassc International" (Waterville, Maine United States) - See all my reviews There has bee some discussion about the Magisterium and slavery. I offer a review of this book I wrote for Amazon.com. This review is from: Masterless Mistresses: The New Orleans Ursulines and the Development of a New World Society, 1727-1834 (Paperback) This book by Tulane University Professor, Emily Clark, about the colonial history of the Ursulines in New Orleans is a wonderfully written tapestry of how only a handful of religious women became part of the complex and fascinating story of the city of New Orleans in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Clark's book is a blend of historical scholarship beginning with the spiritual founding and formation of the Ursulines in Italy and then development in France. Who were these Ursulines? Why did they come to Louisiana? What physical hardships did they undergo? (As a companion to this book I suggest Voices From An Early American Convent, edited by Emily Clark) What were their apostolic and cultural achievements? Professor Clark tells the story of the Ursulines not only in their charitable works such as teaching, running orphanages, and hospitalers, but also how they ran plantations as slave owners. This last activity may come as a surprise to modern readers but the story is well documented with the family names of slaves. Professor Clark credits the Ursulines with keeping slave families together, unlike Spanish and British/American slave owners. They also followed the French mandate of seeing that Indian and Blacks were baptized and raised Catholics. Still Professor Clark does not fail to mention that in 1864 with the emancipation of Blacks, all the slaves were happy to leave the Ursuline plantation. And how did the Ursulines deal with borders and slaves who could not live up to their strict moral code? They sold them off. Professor Clark devotes a large portion of her book to the thesis that the Ursulines, as unmarried self-supporting single women, (without master husbands) represented a different model of Christian womanhood than Protestant married women. In fact Professor Clark relates that the Uruslines posed a threat to leading men of New Orleans during the American Republican era which had little regard for the independence of women after its successful revolution from Britain. Professor Clark writes that the Ursulines were hierarchical in their own Order's makeup and that they conformed to the prevailing class social structure, yet they exhibited an egalitarian spirit when ministering to the spiritual welfare of their charges; i.e. Indians, blacks, rich, poor, women. Professor Clark scholarship never gets in the way of a very clear and entertaining writing style. Even more important, in my opinion, Professor Clark, shows enormous admiration, even love for these pioneering women without losing her professional historian's discerning judgment. Definitely five stars.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
Interesting, Paul - I am sure you do not mean to say that owning a slave is in itself a mortal sin (one must know it is wrong, and most cultures do not seem to have judged so). However, it would be for those who were excommunicated by the several Popes quoted below in the C15-17 period, and by the Inquisition (mentioned below). I know we are way off track, but I was finally able to track down the source of the Pope Pius IX quote that Michael and his sources repeat so frequently. It was in Instructio 1293 (Collectanea , Vol . 1, p. 715-720). I could only find an Italian source on the internet. It says Piux IX was using the term for servant, not slave. A second site said the same thing, but in passing. I wonder if any of the books critical of the Pope address this lost-in-translation issue? I quote directly from a google translation (- sorry) "Recently circulating on the internet this step of Pius IX: 'Slavery itself, considered in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law. There may be many just rights to slavery and both theologians and commentators of the sacred canons have made ​​reference ...... It is not contrary to the natural and divine law that one slave can be sold, bought, exchanged or given away.' "This step is deliberately mistranslated from the Latin, and even a few phrases of private enlightening. It should be translated and integrated in this way, more correctly: 'The servants as such, considered in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law. There may be many just rights to the easement and both theologians and commentators of the sacred canons have referred ...... It is not contrary to the natural and divine law that a servant can be sold, bought, exchanged or given away. vendor should clearly examine whether the servant put up for sale has been justly or unjustly deprived of his liberty and that the buyer can not do anything that might harm the life, virtue, or Catholic faith of the servant. "In Latin, the term used in the document and mistranslated the word slavery is " servitudo "and that translated with the word slave is" served . " "Historically, this term can include both those who are in penal servitude (such as inmates who are forced to work) and in voluntary servitude, contracted (for economic reasons who freely makes available to someone his freedom) than those who are in conditions of slavery (i.e. considered as objects owned by a master.)" Here is the link http://www.cattoliciromani.com/17-storia-della-chiesa-e-agiografia/32296-su-una-instructio-di-pio-ix-del-1866-concernente-la-servitu. Then! Pius IX immediately followed that remark by praising the many Roman Pontiffs who “have left nothing untried by which servitude be everywhere abolished among the nations." Hardly a pro-slavery pope.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
Paul - could this be an example of nineteenth century "Nuns on the Bus" since the contemporary Inquisition had commanded slaveholders to free their slaves? Or, maybe, the nuns should have listened less to the local laity and more to the Vatican.
Paul Ferris
5 years 3 months ago
Once the North took over New Orleans from the South, a northern soldier died. His superiors went to the Irish pastor of a local parish and asked if he would bury the Northern soldier. His response: "I wish I could bury them all." The Catholic clergy and laity followed whatever the custom of the locality. They were not part of the abolition movement just as Catholics did not lead in the Civil Rights movement. The nuns did have priest superiors in New Orleans. They were not following the laity. To quote my four year old granddaughter Sydney to me: "Jidoo (grandfather) you got it all wrong. Tim, you got it all wrong. These Ursulines who bore unbelievable hardship in coming to the USA. They were great women but they were never taught by the Magisterium that slavery was intrinsically evil and a mortal sin. If they had been taught this they never would have owned slaves. Michael Barberi quoting Noonan provide enough evidence that the Magisterium has not been on the side of Jesus on this issue. To you not to admit this is dumb and you are not dumb. Your idea that the Pope's were not complicit in the castration of boys choir members in Italy is also dumb. As a heterosexual with a normal sex drive I accept that gays have the right to same sex marriage and you have said nothing to persuade me that the Magisterium so far does not have it all wrong. There is also no reason why women should not be allowed in the priesthood. All are baptized the same way. Women are not baptized with an asterisk saying they cannot be priests.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
Paul - while I don't think you are dumb, you may not have detected my tongue-in-cheek attitude regarding the good sisters, who would indeed be influenced by their local superiors more than by Rome. The popes spoke out since the 15th century, but it was not continuous and one could be forgiven for think they had given up on the idea since the lay world had ignored them so much. But, way-to-go with your last paragraphs, ending with a flourish of heterodoxies. Lots of questions for St. Peter, when you meet him at the gates of heaven.
Paul Ferris
5 years 3 months ago
I hope I meet him. I am a Maronite Catholic. Our motto is "iman Boutrous, imani....in English: my faith is Peter's faith. We are the only Eastern Church that has no Orthodox counterpart. We are "Roman" all the way. Recently there was a married deacon ordained in the United States which Rome prohibited lo these last hundred years. What could Rome do ??? We have Lutheran and Episcopal priests converts so how could they tell the Maronites not to infect the Catholic Church in America with our age old married priest tradition. I really not a fan of Eastern Rite practice of allowing married men to the priesthood but not allowing those already ordained to "fall in love" and marry., Also only celibates can be bishops....isn't there something contrary to that in the Pauline epistle to Timothy or was it Titus...."a bishop should only be married once."? All this would be off topic if your main argument against same-sex marriage was not based on what the Magisterium says.
Mary Campbell
5 years 3 months ago
In our parish, our talented music director of 8 years was recently let go because he had married a man. This is wrong. Many of us sent a letter to the Bishop but received no response or acknowledgment. I believe nothing like this should happen again in any parish in our country!
Michael Barberi
5 years 3 months ago
Mary, Thanks for this. This practice is one of the reasons why the Church/magisterium's teaching about treating same-gender individuals with respect, compassion, and charity reminds all Catholics that there is a a contradiction between the word pronounced and the deed as practiced. I also find appalling that adopted children of same-gender Catholic couples who are married civilly are often not permitted to attend Catholic elementary school. It is no wonder that same-gender people feel disenfranchised and excluded from the RCC. They are standing on the outside of the doors of the Church and are only inviting in as objectively disordered second-class members.
David Mooneyhan
5 years 3 months ago
Amen, Mary! This is absurd in a church that says it cherishes justice.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
Mary - I don't quite get the outrage here and I think it s feigned. A teacher publically and blatantly goes against the well known and declared teaching of the Church, and expects to keep his job in a Catholic institution. Would you be similarly outraged if a married heterosexual became a polygamist, or publically entered into an adulterous affair, or told everyone he was now working part-time as an abortionist, or had taken a job as the local executioner, or joined an anti-Catholic atheist club? The bottom line is that the Church would be hypocritical to keep him on. Would you be similarly outraged if an editor of Out magazine announced that he had successfully undergone sex reparative therapy and was then fired from his position? or if a leader in the NAACP announced he was joining the KKK? Institutions have the right to not be hypocritical. Note that this parish had not fired him when he was most probably living a lifestyle incompatible with Catholicism for 8 years. Now they are paying for their abundant mercy. It was only when he made a public and political act that some action had to be taken, at the risk of other people's souls. It would have been different if it was a public school, since gay marriage is a secular construction. As to children of lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgender couples (do they get to adopt too, is there a quota), I think any child should be accepted into a Catholic school as long as the parents sign agreement that the child will be given a Catholic education. otherwise, it is rank hypocrisy. Catholic schools are not in the business of providing a secular service, but in providing a Catholic education as part of their evangelizing obligation to "go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Mt 28:19)
Paul Ferris
5 years 3 months ago
Tim, Your blaming the laity and not the hierarchy for slavery is a stretch even for you. The male priests who sponsored the Ursulines in New Orleans took their direction from members of the clergy, not the laity. Their order was founded in Italy and France after all.....I heard this morning that 200 Catholic teachers in Cincinnati were being forced to accept a provision they will not support gay lifestyles and will not live together before marriage. I am hoping the teachers reaction to the contract changes will be to go on strike.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
Gosh, Paul. Can't you put your responses in the correct sections, as this comment is a complete non-sequitur here?. I addressed it in the correct place.
Paul Ferris
5 years 3 months ago
OK...I am sorry...I will go check...I can hardly wait to review your response.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
I just found out something relating to Michael’s oft-used “quote” from Blessed Pope Pius IX (below 2-3 times). It appears to be a deliberate mistranslation and to be nefariously taken out of context to make it appear to be a defense of slavery, when it is the opposite. It is not Michael’s fault but that of Bokenkotter and Noonan, who had an obligation to give the full context, but didn’t. 1. The quote is not from Pius IX but from the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office {Instructio Number 1293: Found in Collectanea, Vol. 1, pp. 715-720}. While he signed it, it is a little different than an encyclical or a declarative papal teaching. But, this is a minor quibble. 2. Importantly, the English word slavery is not in the original Latin, but servitude, and its use is more nuanced and complex that let on with the short quote and word insertion. Distinctions are made between just and unjust servitude, etc. And this is only a preamble to a call for a complete abolition of unjust servitude, closer to our understanding of slavery as in the Americas. See this site (In Italian – sorry)  http://www.cattoliciromani.com/17-storia-della-chiesa-e-agiografia/32296-su-una-instructio-di-pio-ix-del-1866-concernente-la-servitu. 3. Most egregiously, the quote is taken completely out of context to make it appear to be a defense of slavery when the whole context is an attack on slavery, a litany of praise of previous popes for their condemnation of one type of slavery or another, including endorsing his immediate predecessor’s strong call for abolition of slavery of the Negro. Then there is this quote “the Roman Pontiffs have left nothing untried by which servitude be everywhere abolished among the nations" and "it is especially due to them [i.e., the popes], that already for many ages no slaves are held among very many Christian peoples.” Hardly a defender of the status quo. I don’t make the claim that Popes have always condemned slavery, as Jesus and Paul didn’t. It was part of all societies that Christianity evangelized and was accommodated more than us moderns would have liked, in hindsight. But, popes have been at the forefront of condemning it, and have always been ahead of the more intransient laity, who thought they knew better what Christianity meant. This is a very instructive example of development of doctrine, not a reversal of doctrine. When you get to heaven, you might ask Jesus why He was more interested in slavery of the soul than slavery of the body, but I think He will have a good answer.
Paul Ferris
5 years 3 months ago
I think women priests and same sex marriage will be looked at in the future as a development of doctrine and not a reversal. That is the way the institution of Catholicism always justifies change. Like we were the first ones to think of it really....freedom of religion, the press, free elections, women's right to vote, democracy not monarchy etc....It would be easier to say that often in the two thousand plus years since Jesus and the Apostles, the Roman Catholic Magisterium has led from behind....which is perfectly understandable.....for it is made up of humans who in your own words conform to the culture....I think future generations will look back at our time and wonder how Catholic Americans could accept nuclear weapons,......and go to communion on Sunday
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
So, to sum up your view, the RCC will eventually come around to accepting all the current beliefs in the Church of Paul Ferris. At least you don't lack confidence. May the force be with you.
Paul Ferris
5 years 3 months ago
Tim, You wrote "according to the church of Paul Ferris".....there isn't nor will there ever be one because even if I am crucified I will not rise again on the third day...you have my word on it.
David Mooneyhan
5 years 3 months ago
BRAVO, Paul!
Paul Ferris
5 years 3 months ago
Tim what good is a reference to a site that is in Italian....are you crazy ?
Frank Bergen
5 years 3 months ago
James Martin has written an admirable piece advocating putting love of the lesbian and gay neighbor first, and refraining from dragging in the caveat that they are being loved even though they are sinners. First line of the essay, however, sets the stage by repeating the sad statement that "Everybody knows..." My reaction: nice try, James, but until we can break out of the box and begin to think like our Jesuit brother Francis it will all be 'same old, same old.' Francis is trying to tell us that facts trump ideas and I'd like to share a few facts. A couple in my town, both priests -- Episcopal of course since they are women -- have overcome immense odds to found and grow a Nativity model school strengthened by their decade-long love for one another and their dream of educating kids living in poverty and unlikely to succeed in traditional public schools. I'll play a role in their wedding when they are allowed by the state of Arizona to marry. Two men in their fifties, together twenty years and married a year ago in California, are raising two children of birth parents who are unable to provide for them and who wanted my friends to have them. The couple are initiating proceedings to adopt the children. In assuming these responsibilities they have had the enthusiastic support of their and my fellow parishioners. Two women also in their fifties, joined in a union blessed by our parish priest a year ago after several years together, are raising the granddaughter of one spouse, again with the parish community's encouragement. Knowing these couples, being part of their lives, I have no doubt that their unions are as God-blessed as is mine with my wife. Facts trump ideas, a basic principle that ought to be taught in all our schools, especially in our schools of theology. After all, it's our Jesuit brother Francis' maxim. Break out of the box, James.
Frank Bergen
5 years 3 months ago
I wrote a comment last evening and somehow it seems to have been swallowed up in cyberspace. I write as an elder, a happily married heterosexual Episcopal priest, still studying, still learning at 78. I've been keeping up with my Jesuit brother Francis -- I was a Jesuit for 17 years, long before James Martin's day -- and keep reflecting on Francis' insistence that facts trump ideas. And I'd like to apply that notion to Martin's essay. It's very good but it starts out, quite literally, with an idea: "Everybody knows... contrary to Catholic moral teaching." Had he gone on to state that he thought Catholic moral teaching is simply out of whack in this matter I'd be applauding and offering refuge from the still hyperactive Vatican thought police. But the acceptance of the idea essentially vitiates all the love he would shower on our lesbian and gay, transgendered and otherwise non-conforming sisters and brothers. What a different essay we might have had if he had begun like this: Among many other same-sex couples I know, three stand out. Two are active members of the parish I serve. Mark and Anthony, both in their 50s, have been together 20 years, married a year ago in California. They are raising a 4 year old girl and 2 year old boy entrusted to them by birth parents unable to care for them. They are initiating adoption proceedings for the kids, who have begun to flourish in their care. Marie and Antoinette, also in their 50s, had their commitment blessed in a packed parish church a year ago after several years together. They are raising Marie's granddaughter, a 9 year old who is overcoming years of trauma in their loving care. Both these couples are integral to our parish life and active in the community. And they have the unstinting support of their fellow parishioners. A third couple, Dee and Lee, are both priests. Without strong institutional support but with the faith that moves mountains, they have founded and grown a Nativity model middle school for children living in poverty and in need of an educational experience unavailable in the public school system. They've been together over ten years and from close observation I can say what they have accomplished couldn't have been done by one of them alone. Their gifts and graces truly complement one another. To my mind these real people and their factual stories trump Martin's opening statement that "everybody knows...." I'll go further and add that, beyond "respect, sensitivity and compassion", I love these people and I'm sure their unions are as blest as my own 25 year heterosexual one.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
to love someone is to want the best for them including the health of their soul. to not care about the whole person, their soul, or to be negligent about their salvation, would be the opposite of the commandment to love one's neighbor.
David Mooneyhan
5 years 3 months ago
After reading MANY pages of your responses to honest, thoughtful Catholics, I DO have to conclude that you are a rules-obsessed, OCD spiritual cripple.
Tim O'Leary
5 years 3 months ago
David - At least a cripple can be open to being healed. God Bless.
David Mooneyhan
5 years 3 months ago
Unlike someone who believes he owns all truth, and despises anyone who is not identically deluded. And please don't bother to respond. The unbelievably insulting things you've already said (especially equating homosexuality with pedophilia) actually BEG for some thoughtful silence on your part.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Ciaran Freeman spent last summer, after his year as an O’Hare fellow at America Media, combing through movies about Catholic schools and ranking them. The findings were published here. Since then, readers have written in to let Mr. Freeman know what films he overlooked in his top-10 ranking.
Our readersSeptember 13, 2019
I had never truly experienced what representation in media felt like until I watched Hulu’s “Ramy.”
Mansur ShaheenSeptember 13, 2019
Photo: AP/America
Published in 1953, the children’s book can act a parable for coming to grips with climate change.
Christopher PramukSeptember 13, 2019