Living In Truth: Catholic Language Regarding Homosexuality
"Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures. Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. [Amen.]" 2 Pet. 3:14-18.
Spiritual and Emotional Growth
Living In Truth
Putting Into Practice
How many of you out there are "gay or lesbian", or how many of you have "gay and lesbian" children?
Using words with a common understanding and meaning makes for good discussion and unity among people. To expounded his philosophy, Plato told stories. In his stories, his chief character, Socrates, always seemed to confront someone with a different opinion that this person wanted to discuss. Socrates was certainly ready to engage anyone in lively debate; but before he did, Socrates always began by saying, "Let us define our terms," in order that both he and his new comrade would be speaking about the same things. Otherwise, no sense could be made, no rational discussion was possible, unless two people had an agreed understanding of the words used to discuss the issues. Someone else once said, "He who controls the language controls the argument."
Regarding the subject of homosexuality, the Church at the level of the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith (CDF) which speaks for the Holy Father in infallible magisterium, expressed this also. In the 1986 pastoral letter to the Church's bishops, "On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," the CDF wrote in paragraph 14 that the bishops were to beware of "studied ambiguity" by which some programs attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful.
A "studied ambiguity" is a carefully planned wording which is unfaithful to the teaching and which proposes other options as truth when in fact they are not. Such studied ambiguities present feelings as conscience, the magisterial teaching of the Church as opinion, and denial of the truth while all the time claiming to be Catholic. One technique in a studied ambiguities are to use quotes out of context. A good example is the use of the document issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Always Our Children." Those who disagree with the Church's teaching use selected quotes to "teach" from this document when in the document's preamble it clearly states that this document is not a teaching on homosexuality. They also fail to refer to the true teaching in the magisterium's substantive doctrinal statements. A second example of studied ambiguity is an appeal to scientific opinion and theory, promoting unproven propositions as proven fact. Two scientific theories regarding the origins of same sex attractions which never have been proved are genes and hormones. One of the prime sciences appealed to is psychology, but only since those living in an active homosexual life succeeded in pressuring the governing organization to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Psychology, however, has become an inconsistent methodology in assisting people over the last 50 years. In her 1998 article, "Valueless Psychology" published in the newsletter of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) Linda Nicolosi says that modern psychology has abandoned the technique of character development.
"... psychology was once clearly understood to be the practical application of a philosophy. This philosophy was based in moralism and religious principles, emphasizing man's need to be attuned to his spiritual nature." But by the end of the l9th century, the newer scientific, rationalistic tradition arose in opposition. Psychology sought to break all ties with its philosophical roots and to be the objective, empirical and "value-free" science of human nature. We thought we had found a philosophically neutral psychology; but rather, says Leahey, we had merely substituted "the values of scientism." Then in the 1960's, in reaction against scientism and its emphasis on rationalism, the Human Potential Movement came to prominence, preaching emotional openness and "being true to oneself." This movement taught that every man has a blueprint for a preexisting, "authentic self" which he has an obligation to discover. Growth was no longer seen as a product of intelligence and problem-solving (following the rationalistic tradition), or character development (following the earlier, religiously-based tradition), but more as a product of emotional development.
The Human Potential Movement influenced psychology into a new version of moral authority: looking inward for moral direction, and relying heavily on the gauge of personal feelings. Because it grounds itself in the study of the individual, such a psychology must decree, Leahey says: "that the rules by which we should live life come from within each one of us, rather than from outside, and that these new rules can be discovered...by finding out how we really feel about things... "Psychology teaches introspection as the final judge of right and wrong" (1991). Humanistic psychology preaches the philosophy of full acceptance of the person, as he is, without expectations. Following psychologist Carl Rogers' client-centered philosophy, therapists today are generally expected to remain neutral, non-directive, and to resist contaminating the therapy through a value system. While posing as a value-free science, Leahey says, psychology attempts to create its own idea of the good society.
Aware of the difficulties of a politicized psychology, the CDF guides well its bishops saying that, "In a particular way, we would ask the Bishops to support, with the means at their disposal, the development of appropriate forms of pastoral care or homosexual persons. These would include the assistance of the psychological, sociological and medical sciences, in full accord with the teaching of the Church."
Thus the Church uses science to explain the proclamation of Christ, not to change her teaching to conform to popular opinion, to theories proposed by science to try to explain the desires of practicing or promoting homosexualists or anyone else for that matter, to say that what is morally wrong can be morally right. The Church has experienced a resurgence of modernism, the theory that she must conform her teaching and expressions to the "modern" age in which she lives. She can never do that and maintain fidelity to her husband, Jesus Christ.
In his letter to the Romans 12:2, St. Paul is very clear, "Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." In his second letter to Timothy, 4:1ff Paul warns Timothy about future attacks on the truth. He says, "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths." Despite these warnings, it appears that we Catholics are sometimes like the senseless Galatians, readily taking in and being convinced by every sort of whim. Gal. 1:6, 7 "I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by [the] grace [of Christ] for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ." In 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4, Paul says, "But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts may be corrupted from a sincere [and pure] commitment to Christ. For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it well enough." We Catholics are here because we believe in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior. We want to know His full teaching above all, and unite ourselves to Him for the power to live it. We want freedom from domination of homosexual urges either for ourselves, or those whom we love or to whom we minister. For those who have recovered from the practice of homosexual behavior and the adoption of homosexual identity, their common grounding was the constant unwavering truth of the Church and the constancy of their parents' proclamation of the truth while not rejecting them as their children of as persons, nor giving in to the unreasonable demands to accept pro-homosexual propaganda. Let's stop talking the language of the street and of this age, and learn the language of God and Holy Church so that we can be about the business of helping one another in the transformation into the image of Jesus Christ. From now on we speak Catholic speak to define terms, to teach others, and to discuss the issues.
Our politicized society has influenced our thinking and shaped our attitudes, understandings and behaviors. What we hear on television, what we read in the newspapers, and what we hear from the pulpit unconsciously form our thoughts and speech. Our thoughts and speech reinforce and reform our religion, even when this is not what God has revealed. Let me give you an example of the thought of practicing or promoting homosexualists, common to the majority of us in the United States today, using the parlance taken from various statements within the church and secular society. Beware of studied ambiguities which mislead people (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #14). Here's an example of gay speak which is used every day by many Americans and which presents a false understanding of the issue of homosexuality.
Gay and Lesbian people are created by God and are His children just like every one else. As God's children, they are called to love and express that love like all human beings. Gay and lesbian people do not choose their sexual orientation. Their sexual identity as gays and lesbians is a gift from God. Common experts agree that there are genetic, hormonal, and psychological factors which form the gift that we call gays and lesbians. Gay and lesbian people have suffered much prejudice in the church which calls them intrinsically evil and disordered people. They feel offended, unwelcome, and marginalized by a patriarchal church which has rejected them because of their God given sexual orientation. The Church must begin a dialogue with gay and lesbian people to accept and celebrate their sexuality, and develop a Christian attitude of tolerance and inclusion, recognizing the natural diversity among God's people. Gay priests and bishops need to come out in support of gay Catholics so that they express their love sexually, following their conscience as all Christians are called to do. Gay and lesbian partners in committed relationships should have their love blessed by the Church, and be recognized as good contributing members of the Catholic Church, sharing their many gay and lesbian gifts with God's people. The Church must do all it can to eliminate homophobia, and all discrimination against gays and lesbians, and accept and celebrate the diversity in the Church, so that gays and lesbians will finally be free from oppression and enjoy the liberation of sexuality that Christ brings to the world.
Does that rhetoric sound familiar? Does it bother you and make you angry at hearing it from Catholics and on TV? I certainly hope so. Here is an example of similar ideas in Catholic speak, unfortunately rarely used by Catholics:
Sexuality first is the given gender of a person and all that is appropriate to that gender with biological, social, spiritual, and emotional components for self giving, procreation, and union of man and woman. (TMHS 75 #1.2ff) Each person's process of maturation in sexuality is different. (TMHS 75 #6.1ff) Some persons experience an unchosen predominant or exclusive sexual attraction to members of their own sex. (CCC 2357) Persons with same sex attractions (SSA) or homosexual inclination cannot be identified by a reductionist reference to their sexual attractions. Their fundamental identity is that of being a creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life. (PCHP #16) Each person is called to accept his sexual identity as male or female, different and complementary, and to live chastely developing the gift male or female sexuality and integrating in body and spirit sexuality, through the long and exacting work of self mastery (CCC 2333, 2337, 2339). Persons with SSA are called to chastity as are all people, and called to attain to Christian perfection through the sacraments and the Church. While homosexuality itself is intrinsically disordered, the human person is never called disordered. Rejection of homosexuality is not rejection of the person, nor is it homophobia, but rather a natural reaction to what is not created in nature by God. While the Church acknowledges psychological origins of SSA, hormonal and genetic causes remain unproven assertions (CCC 2357, Sci Amer Nov 1995, Sci Amer May 1994). Diversity and tolerance do not include behaviors to which no one has any conceivable right such as homosexuality (Legislation, 1992,#7). Discrimination regarding practicing or promoting homosexualists is not always unjust. The Church shows Christ's true compassion when she stands and suffers with those with SSA, teaching them chastity and supporting them with good counsel, love and inclusion according to their baptismal call, protecting them from the harm of those who try to lead them astray to live according to sexual feelings. The Church needs good chaste role models to guide persons with SSA to chastity, especially against those who refute the Church's proclamation of the truth. The Bishops are asked to exercise special care in the selection of pastoral ministers so that by their own high degree of spiritual and personal maturity and by their fidelity to the Magisterium, they may be of real service to homosexual persons, promoting their health and well-being in the fullest sense. Such ministers will reject theological opinions which dissent from the teaching of the Church and which, therefore, cannot be used as guidelines for pastoral care. "We encourage the Bishops to promote appropriate catechetical programs based on the truth about human sexuality in its relationship to the family as taught by the Church. Such programs should provide a good context within which to deal with the question of homosexuality. This catechesis would also assist those families of homosexual persons to deal with this problem which affects them so deeply in conversion, truth, chastity, and love. All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted" (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #17).
Among the most important methods to help men and women to come to a Catholic view of what it means to be human is to use the language of the Roman Catholic Church in speaking of Christ and of sexuality, rather than language of the "gay identity." The goal of each Christian is to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit (CCC 1695), an interior conversion from iniquity and sin (CCC 1428), accepting one's sexual identity as male or female different and complementary, governing one¹s passions in self mastery (CCC 2339), living chastely to imitate Jesus (CCC 2359). The church¹s presentation calls persons back to an interior life in Christ away from reductionist identification to a gay or lesbian identity (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #16) away from trying to change the church and society to accept homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #3) away from seeking special status and rights as gay or lesbian (CDF Some Considerations #13), and away from focusing blame outside the self. Frequently this language is ignored (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #9) or removed from its context by persons formed by a gay identity as their teaching focuses outward regarding persons with same sex attractions (SSA): their assertions of society's intolerance, assertions of the Church's lack of compassion and understanding, complaints of familial rejection of them rather than rejection of their chosen lifestyle. A truly Catholic response of compassion addresses unjust discrimination, but draws the person with SSA to Christ through interior conversion, instruction, and formation of attitude, understanding, and behavior without promotion of homosexuality as an option for lifestyle (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #3). To "come out" as a "gay" or "lesbian" describes a person in a reductionist sexual reference. Many who do also reject the Church's teaching (CDF Some Considerations #14). A Catholic who says, "I am a person, and have some same sex attractions" would indicate both self knowledge in the ability to identify a proper sexual identity, and self understanding. The option for sexual identity is male or female, and the self understanding for some includes acknowledgement of same sex attractions. Ministry to Catholics with SSA needs to be the same as ministry to all Catholics in the answering Jesus' call to conversion (CCC 1428), to chastity CCC 2337). This is usually not the agenda or desire of self identified gays and lesbians. Because of poor reception of the Church's teaching by those living an active homosexual lifestyle some clergy have been quiet on the Church's truth. If we clergy speak of "persons with same sex attraction," of the "vocation to chastity," of the "call" of Christ to "conversion and transformation," "of accepting one's identity as male or female different and complementary," then we can form and inform persons with SSA and their families in acceptance, truth, and love. One of the greatest obstacles to peace and chastity is persons' delay in acceptance of sexual identity and complementarity as male or female, through their acquisition of a reductionist identity as a "gay," a "lesbian", a "homosexual." This "gay" identity has been promoted over the last 20 years by persons who have lived out homosexual thinking and behaviors. "Gay" identity has been appropriated even by Catholic clergy and laity as one's true identity in some or all of the following ways: an identification of self, a gift created by God, naturally ordered, to be accepted and lived out if one is to find peace, to be promulgated to educate others with SSA so they can live fully their "gay life," and to change society's laws so that criticism of any form of homosexuality including homogenital acts will cease. For persons with SSA, the apprenticeship of self mastery -- to freely choose the good of chastity and secure means to this end -- requires a Catholic anthropology wherein sexual identity is accepted as male ordered toward female and female ordered toward male in difference and complementarity, while acknowledging SSA and urges which may inhibit full exercise of the sexual nature. Some persons with SSA come to our Church in conflict, wherein they feel same sex attractions, but know in their souls that SSA is not of Christ. Their accompanying behaviors may include acting out as a relief of the stress of the attractions. The goal of those in conflict is to seek peace by self mastery. Some persons come to the Church who have relieved the tension of conflict by accepting a "gay" identity. While this temporarily relieves some tension of the need for an identity, this identity has other struggles: acting out, victimization feelings from the Church whose non acceptance causes their pain, sometimes rejecting our sexual teaching publicly and politically.
In its effort to promote the truth and Christ's peace for humanity, the Church finds herself in conflict with some people who, identified by certain behaviors, can be most accurately described those living in an active homosexual life. These consist of two groups of people. The first group consists of persons who practice homosexual relations in response to urges which promise false intimacy, relief of tension in areas of masculinity or femininity, security of permanent friendship with another of the same sex, civil rights for "gays" and "lesbians," marriage and commitment ceremonies in the Church, use their peculiar vocabulary to promote these behaviors and agenda, and claim to speak for all people whom they call gay and lesbian. The second group consists of people who do not experience SSA but who assert against the Church that SSA is normal, and who encourage persons with SSA to live out sexually their lifestyle. I'll contrast language from classic Catholic vocabulary for you versus that which is used by those living in an active homosexual life in and outside the church, so that you can be informed regarding God's plan for sexuality and human development, and help yourself and others to that end.
Religion: This has been described as a system of attitudes, understandings, and behaviors by which someone leads his life. Each religion has a source and center of belief, of what is right and wrong, and of how a person conducts his behavior. In the Catholic Church, we claim a hierarchy of truths on which stand of fall the faith with Jesus Christ as the source and center of truth. For Lutherans, for example, the belief on which stands or falls their faith is the doctrine of justification by faith. Everything else that Christ said is seen in light of this statement. For those living in an active homosexual life in the Church, the acceptance of homosexuality as normal and the acceptance of homogenital actions is the founding principle of faith. It is often the deciding factor if one is to stay in the Church or leave, because it has been accepted mistakenly as the core of one's identity which is falsely promoted as unchangeable, God given and therefore to be celebrated and expressed. In the "religious" beleif of those living in an active homosexual life, the human person must come to accept his sexual identity as "gay," live it out genitally for happiness and completion. For the Catholic Church, homosexual behavior remains an offense against chastity, an ordering toward sin at best, and a grave sin if expressed. Thus we have a battle of religions, of core beliefs, one Christian and the other not. We have a battle for the souls of Catholics with SSA who are being taught a religion which is not their own by some who do not believe in God, and by others who do, but whose center of truth is their own experience and opinion rather than that which has been revealed and is required to be accepted in faith. This self as center of truth has been promoted in our American culture now for almost 40 years, as Linda Nicolosi said before. It is the source and font of all pro-homosexual worship, just as is the Eucharist for us Catholics who live by faith. Faith is that region wherein we encounter God through his revelation and by our placing our trust, that is giving power over ourselves to him. It is between science, that which can be known, documented, proven, and repeated through experimentation, and opinion, that which is our memory of our own individual experience based solely on ourselves. In the Catholic religion, the human person must accept his identity as a Christian, live it chastely according to his state in life, and continue to change and grow into the image of Jesus as both the reward and way of eternal life.
Sexuality: The Catholic Church proclaims that sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others" (CCC 2332). It proclaims the purpose of sexual expression is the creation of new life and the union of man and woman (CCC 2331). Sexuality is to be cultivated in chastity according to one's way of life, either conjugal chastity or continence. This is heterosexuality, the natural relationship of one sex to the other in the created plan of God for humanity for procreation and union. Those living in an active homosexual life assert that created sexuality includes homosexuality as well. It does not. "Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament" (CCC 2360). "Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death" (CCC 2361) [FC 11]. Sexuality is the attitude, understanding, and behavior appropriate to one's particular gender, and needs an outside guide beyond the individual's experience to bring one to God's truth for the human female and male. The Church is that guide, led by the Holy Spirit, proclaiming the living Christ in Scripture and Tradition.
Chastity: 2337 "Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift."
2338. "The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speach.[Cf. Mt 5:37.] "
2339. "Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. [Cf. Sir 1:22.] "Man's dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end. [GS 17.]"
2340. "Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascesis adapted to the situations that confront him, obedience to God's commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer. 'Indeed it is through chastity that we are gathered together and led back to the unity from which we were fragmented into multiplicity.' [St. Augustine, Conf. 10, 29, 40: PL 32, 796.]"
2342. "Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life. [Cf. Titus 2:1-6.] The effort required can be more intense in certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence."
2343. "Chastity has laws of growth which progress through stages marked by imperfection and too often by sin. "Man . . . day by day builds himself up through his many free decisions; and so he knows, loves, and accomplishes moral good by stages of growth. [FC 34.]"
2344. "Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is 'an interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society.' [GS 25 #1.] Chastity presupposes respect for the rights of the person, in particular the right to receive information and an education that respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life."
2348. "All the baptized are called to chastity. The Christian has 'put on Christ, [Gal 3:27.] the model for all chastity. All Christ's faithful are called to lead a chaste life in keeping with their particular states of life. At the moment of his Baptism, the Christian is pledged to lead his affective life in chastity."
2349. "'People should cultivate (chastity) in the way that is suited to their state of life. Some profess virginity or consecrated celibacy which enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner. Others live in the way prescribed for all by the moral law, whether they are married or single. [CDF, Persona humana 11.] Married people are called to live conjugal chastity; others practice chastity in continence: There are three forms of the virtue of chastity: the first is that of spouses, the second that of widows, and the third that of virgins. We do not praise any one of them to the exclusion of the others.... This is what makes for the richness of the discipline of the Church.[St. Ambrose, De viduis 4, 23: PL 16, 255A.]"
Sin: Those living in an active homosexual life are quick to say that the Church says that homosexuality is not a sin, quoting out of context. When the Catholic Church speaks of sin, it is used on several levels. St. Paul uses the word sin to describe a power which is stronger than himself in Romans 7:14ff, saying that he does not what he wants to do but that which he does not want to do and vice versa; that it is the power of sin in him that is working. Classically this force of sin which is evil, disordered, and not part of God¹s creation is described in three senses. The first is iniquity, which is a twistedness, a deformation, kind of like a tree in the desert bent and misshapen by strong sun and wind and little water, unable to achieve its fullness as it would in a fertile area. Our passions toward what is wrong that urge us toward sin can be called iniquities. We incur no guilt by feeling these things. Thus it can be said that homosexual feelings are not sinful, meaning that one incurs no guilt simply by feeling same sex attractions. But a word of caution is necessary here lest one not give proper credit to the power of iniquity to tempt strongly a person to abandon God in a particular area and give in to behaviors which are not appropriate to His children. The classic sense of sin used in the Old Testament is that of missing the mark, such as an arrow not hitting the bulls eye, wherein one tries to follow God¹s law, but falls short in weakness. In this case, one does incur guilt for not following God's ways. A third and more powerful and culpable area of sin is called transgression wherein one knows what is right, and disobeys anyway for whatever reason. In mortal sin, the matter must be serious or grave enough, one needs to know (that is by the informing of the Catholic Church) that it is mortal, and one must choose to commit it anyway. Those living in an active homosexual life say that homosexual acts are not sinful, but normal and good. Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices. Lust, prostitution, and adultery are also included in the CCC as "offenses against chastity." Lust is a inordinate desire for sexual pleasure. It is an increased frequency, duration, and intensity of sexual thoughts, arousal, memories, fantasies. It is not sinful when these experiences come without summoning them. It becomes sinful when they are entertained beyond the initial experience. One cause of lust is societal influence of sexuality which is not always healthy. Masturbation is the deliberate stimulation of oneself for sexual pleasure. It is very serious offense against chastity. Its consequences are a removal of the person from the reality of sexuality into a new world of attitude, understanding, and behaviors based on the fantasy life created with this act. Adultery is sex between two people at least one of whom is married. Fornication is sexual relations between an unmarried male and an unmarried female. Sodomy or homosexual practices would be the correct terminology for the sexual relations between two persons of the same sex.
Salvation & Redemption: These two foundational revelations regarding the work of Jesus Christ for the whole world are part of Catholic Church vocabulary we seldom hear from the Church regarding homosexuality. Jesus Christ, the only son of God, the one savior of all the world for all time, gave his life to redeem all men who have sold themselves into sin through ignorance, through weakness, or for whatever reason. Jesus saves us from eternal death of the body with the promise of the resurrection. Jesus saves us from the death of our spirit by forgiving our sins, by revealing what sin and death are and what life is, and how faith in him and participation in His life through the Church saves us. To redeem is to buy back one thing with another. Jesus buys back our lives by giving up his own. For those who have sold themselves into homosexuality through behaviors or self identity, Jesus is the answer. He forgives the sins of behavior. He offers the true identity of the human person away from a "gay identity." He offers the possibility of control over homosexual desires and the continuing maturity and development of our personalities and our sexuality. Jesus saves and redeems. Salvation and redemption touch on the subject of change. Our attitudes, understandings, and behaviors are being formed constantly. If we put new experiences of goodness and holiness each day, the iniquities, sins and transgressions in our lives are put behind us, have less power over us. For those with SSA, experiences of acceptance in the church for themselves as human persons with opportunities to participate in ministry, for the sacrament of Penance for failures not just in chastity but in all aspects of life, and for prayer and Eucharist binding them deeper to Christ and the Church will put a new layer of thinking and of personal and sexual development over the layer of previous experiences of sexuality, the memories of which never go away, but are buried beneath the new experiences of goodness and have less power to manifest themselves.
Homosexuality: The Catholic Church speaks of homosexuality in several senses. In the Catechism it says that "homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex." It goes on to say that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." [CDF, Persona humana 8.] They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved." In CDF Some Considerations #7 it speaks of homosexuality "as behavior to which no one has any conceivable right." Those living in an active homosexual life do not use the word homosexuality. They coined a phrase in the late 1960s called "gay" in part to remove the clinical and negative stigma that characterizes homosexuality, which I add they have done with great success. Some of those living in an active homosexual life say that all relations for a person with SSA are homosexual relations, whether or not sex is involved, because homosexuality is part of their root core of being, and subsequently, all relations of any kind, genital or not, for "gays" are homosexual relations and are good. This of course is nonsense. Some persons with SSA are so immersed and overcome by their sexuality, that they do not relate to others outside of a "gay" context: friends, bars, websites, events, parties, etc. This does not have to be, and is certainly a change called for in the life of Christians.
Sexual Identity: Those living in an active homosexual life assert that sexual identity is gay or straight, that it is inborn, normal, cannot be changed, and must be expressed genitally. The Catholic Church proclaims that sexual identity is male or female, one ordered to the other for the goods of marriage and procreation. The Church proclaims that each person should accept his or her sexual identity as male or female, cultivate chastity according to one's state in life, develop self mastery over one's passions to live according to one¹s identity as child of God and heir to the promises of eternal life. Never use the street expression "gay" or "straight".
SSA / Gay & Lesbian: Those living in an active homosexual life think that such a life includes everyone who has had any feeling, thought, or experience of sex with a member of one's own sex. This is part of the core identity of a person living an active homosexual life and is thought to be unchangeable, created, good, and normal. Those living in an active homosexual life call those with a homosexual inclination "gay and lesbian people," creating a new type of person. They define and limit people as "gays" or "lesbians" because of a predominant same-sex attraction. The Church ministers stated: "Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a "heterosexual" or a "homosexual" and insists that every person has a fundamental identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life" (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #16). In Catholic Church parlance, homosexual inclination is the phrase used most often in Catholic Church documents to refer to sexual feelings for those of the same sex. Same Sex Attractions (SSA) is a phrase that has developed recently to describe more accurately the sexual feelings which are distinguished from the core identity of the person. A person's core identity is made up of the biological, spiritual, psychological, social, moral aspects, all of which develop and need nurturing, and which can neither be summed up nor defined by sexual feelings. Terms like "gay" or "lesbian" can be just as discriminatory and marginalizing as the meanness of terms like fag, dyke, queer, and butch among others. The only honest and accurate way to use the words "gay" and "lesbian" is to avoid them because of their studied ambiguity and inconsistent application and meaning.
Those living in an active homosexual life group all persons with any degree of experience of feelings or acts of homogenitality as "gays" or "lesbians." The Church rejects this saying, "The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it" (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #9). Men and women in the Courage movement reject homogenital activity, take on Christ in order to live chastely. Those living in an active homosexual life assert SSA is normal, permanent, and that change is not possible, and that no one should be told that they can change or need to convert. The Church calls all to chastity in their state in life (CCC 2340, 2349), to conversion (CCC 1848), and affirms that Christian perfection is possible through friendship, chastity, the sacraments (CCC 2359). She notes that despite rejection of change from living out homosexual desires many people have deepened their faith and are no longer dominated by SSA. "You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter" (Matthew 23:13).
Subjective Invincible Ignorance: The Catholic Church has the assurance of Jesus Christ that she will not err in matters of faith and morals. In spite of this, those who have adopted deeply the gay identity have also bought into the theological heresy of modernism which states that the Church needs to change with the times and update itself. Sometimes, one is motivated by an intellectual pride in not being able to submit to the Church. When no amount of reason will convince a person of the truth of the Church, this is called subjective invincible ignorance, subjective meaning that it is in the mind of the person, invincible meaning that it cannot be overcome, ignorance meaning lack of understanding. The one advantage to this is a decreased culpability in sin. The disadvantage is that the person remains in the condition or state of ignorance and does not take advantage of the power of the truth of God.
Guilt & Shame: Guilt is the feeling of obligation of being in debt to someone because of some offense. Persons with SSA who engage in sexual conduct need to feel guilty. On these occasions, just like others who sin in other ways, they have violated the covenant with God, and owe him and the church an apology and a firm purpose of amendment. Shame is a species of fear in which someone feels less than he should in the eyes of others because of something he has done wrong. One should feel shame when one fails to live up to the covenant. One should not feel shame, nor should he be shamed for any delayed development in sexuality, character, or other personality traits. Therefore a persons with SSA who lives the chaste life should not be shamed nor limited by others or thought to be less. Parents with children who have SSA but live chastely have felt shame because of expectations and because of the unnaturalness of the disorder and of what other people might think of them or their children. While pride in this situation is certainly never called for, a neutrality and understanding certainly are. Pushing marriage as a solution is not the answer either, but a patient acceptance of the reality of personal sexual development which may or may not change is a good response to one's own or another's experience of SSA. Pushing the adoption of a "gay identity" is not the solution either. If a person acts out, he should not be spared from shame for participating in behaviors to which no one has any conceivable right, especially when one is unrepentant and has identified as a "gay."
Sexual Orientation is a phrase introduced by those living in an active homosexual life to describe and define not only one¹s sexual feelings, but more. While orientation in its strictest sense refers to a direction, this phrase has come to acquire attributes of creation, permanence, immutability, goodness, neutrality, right of expression, etc. The Catholic Church uses the term homosexual condition or homosexual inclination in official documents to describe a disordered condition, an inclination toward evil. An avoidance of this popular word in favor of sexual attractions is preferable to speak more accurately in Catholic speak for the salvation of souls.
Intrinsically Disordered is the quality ascribed by the Catholic Church to homosexuality in all levels of understanding. The attraction to members of one's own sex is intrinsically disordered. Intrinsically refers to something in and of itself, of its nature. Disordered means that it is out of the order of creation, that God did not intend it for man. Because those living in an active homosexual life have acquired a false identity of "gay" or "lesbian" with false attributes of created being, immutability, etc., and have decided that this is who they "are" rather than SSA is what they "feel," they claim the church calls them "disordered persons." It does not. The Catholic Church already offers its truth regarding human identity. No person is disordered, but rather the homosexual inclination or the homosexual condition of feelings, acts and such are disordered. One may "have" a disordered feeling, thought, act, self image as part of a condition, but the person is not disordered in and of himself (Basil Hume 1995 Clarification).
Objectively Disordered: The Catholic Church describes homosexual acts as objectively disordered. The object is that things to which some action is directed. In the case of the object being homogenital acts, they are not part of the order of creation -- never and none of the time. When something is subjectively disordered, then the lack of order depends on the person committing the act. For example to steal is wrong in general. To steal because it is the only way to feed a starving family would not be objectively disordered. This would qualify as a use of the term "objectively immoral" that Fr. Nugent recently tried to use in order to avoid assenting to the Church's formulations. While this is technical language, it would imply a degree of subjectivity, that is "situational ethics" in the case of homosexuality. The congregation for the doctrine of the faith soundly rejected his proposed modification which would allow some homogenital acts some time.
Homophobia: A phobia is an unreasonable fear that restricts a person's ability to relate properly to others or which isolates him severely in social situations. In the DSM of psychiatry, only several phobias are mentioned for treatment. Homophobia is not one of them. Homophobia is a word invented by those living in an active homosexual life to describe what they consider to be any wrongful rejection or homosexuality. In classic logic, this technique is called an abuse against the person, a logical fallacy used when one has difficulty establishing one's point in truth. It is a powerful tool since it attacks a basic human fear of doing harm to someone else or being seen as less than worthy in the eyes of others. The most basic human need is safety for ourselves and among the people who surround us. Safety includes freedom from fear of harming or being harmed, that someone will damage our self concept, that inadvertently or purposefully we might hurt another, or will cause ourselves some harm by a self defeating word or action. This technique has an effect to paralyze and silence criticism, which those living in an active homosexual life have used very well on bishops, priests, and on most Americans in general since we don't want to be seen as predators, pariahs, mean spirited, hateful people. Fear is useless; what is needed is trust. We have been entrusted to live out the new covenant and invite others to live it out as Jesus has commanded, not as they wish to live it. We don't fear anymore being called intolerant, homophobic, uncompassionate, discriminatory. We are Christians. We are Catholics. The Catholic Church teaches from the scripture that homogenital acts are sinful, and the tendency toward them is disordered. It is right to be fearful of sinful tendencies, and to reject behaviors and the promotion of such behaviors by people who teach otherwise. St. Paul tells us to avoid silly, suggestive talk, and do not let evil talk pass your lips. One must avoid the near occasions of sin even if those be people sometimes.
Gay Rights: Using terms like "gay" and "lesbian" people, those living in an active homosexual life promulgate the idea of a different kind of juridical person based on homosexuality like race, gender, language, national origin with rights, claiming that any discrimination regarding sexual practice or feelings is unjust. It is also a technique used to include more people in the number that they claim to represent. The Catholic Church teaches that "Sexual orientation" does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf. "Letter," No. 3) and evokes moral concern. (CDF Some Considerations #10). The Catholic Church clarifies that some people experience homosexuality which refers to an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction to member of their own sex through no choice of their own. (CCC 2357-8) This makes the full acceptance of sexual identity more difficult, but not impossible for nothing is impossible with Christ. (Mark 9:23) While one does not choose SSA, one always chooses to act or to remain chaste in one's sexuality.
Discrimination: Discrimination is the ability to choose what is good and to avoid what is evil. Webster's dictionary defines classic usage of the word discrimination as 1a: to make a distinction (discriminate among historical sources) b: to use good judgment, 2: to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit (discriminate in favor of your friends, discriminate against a certain nationality). Through the years of the civil rights movement for equal treatment on the basis of race, the word discrimination has acquired a negative sense of always meaning unjust treatment. This is not true. Those living in an active homosexual life have adopted techniques of the civil rights movement saying that any denial of their right to have sex or any discrimination against them because of the practice or promotion of homosexuality is unjust discrimination. It is quite just, says the Catholic Church, in certain cases. "Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity (cf. No. 10). Among other rights, all persons have the right to work, to housing, etc. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is sometimes not only licit but obligatory" (CDF Some Considerations #14).
10. "Sexual orientation" does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf. "Letter," No. 3) and evokes moral concern.
11. There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment.
12. Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity (cf. No. 10). Among other rights, all persons have the right to work, to housing, etc. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is sometimes not only licit but obligatory. This would obtain moreover not only in the case of culpable behavior but even in the case of actions of the physically or mentally ill. Thus it is accepted that the state may restrict the exercise of rights, for example, in the case of contagious or mentally ill persons, in order to protect the common good.
13. Including "homosexual orientation" among the considerations on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights, for example, in respect to so-called affirmative action or preferential treatment in hiring practices. This is all the more deleterious since there is no right to homosexuality (cf. No. 10) which therefore should not form the basis for judicial claims. The passage from the recognition of homosexuality as a factor on which basis it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead, if not automatically, to the legislative protection and promotion of homosexuality. A person's homosexuality would be invoked in opposition to alleged discrimination, and thus the exercise of rights would be defended precisely via the affirmation of the homosexual condition instead of in terms of a violation of basic human rights.
14. The "sexual orientation" of a person is not comparable to race, sex, age, etc. also for another reason than that given above which warrants attention. An individual's sexual orientation is generally not known to others unless he publicly identifies himself as having this orientation or unless some overt behavior manifests it. As a rule, the majority of homosexually oriented persons who seek to lead chaste lives do not publicize their sexual orientation. Hence the problem of discrimination in terms of employment, housing, etc., does not usually arise. Homosexual persons who assert their homosexuality tend to be precisely those who judge homosexual behavior or lifestyle to be "either completely harmless, if not an entirely good thing' (cf. No. 3), and hence worthy of public approval. It is from this quarter that one is more likely to find those who seek to "manipulate the church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws" (cf. No. 5), those who use the tactic of protesting that "any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people ... are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination" (cf. No. 9). In addition, there is a danger that legislation which would make homosexuality a basis for entitlements could actually encourage a person with a homosexual orientation to declare his homosexuality or even to seek a partner in order to exploit the provisions of the law. Those living in an active homosexual life assert that all discrimination against people who feel and practice homogenital urges is unjust, and that this lack of acceptance on the part of society creates the problems for them. The Church teaches that while giving persons with SSA compassion and kindness, that all discrimination is not unjust, and that acceptance of some of the ideas of those living in an active homosexual life goes against God's law. (CCC 2358, Some Considerations, #4, 11). The Church affirms that the problem for persons with SSA is the disordered passion within that urges them toward acts of grave depravity, and not the society's rejection without (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #3). Those living in an active homosexual life assert that two persons of the same sex can form a family, marry, have children, and should secure benefits to promote this unit. The Church teaches that a family begins when a man and a woman in self giving in marriage are open to children, and families need protection against pressure groups which seek to redefine it (Angelus message 12/26/99).
Conversion: The Catholic Church calls all to a constant conversion, a metanoia, a turning toward Christ away from iniquity, sin, and transgression, for a development of the interior life. Those living in an active homosexual life, especially in the church, deny that homosexuality is an area of conversion, but that the Catholic Church must convert from its discrimination, prejudice, faulty interpretation of scripture regarding issues of SSA. Those living in an active homosexual life teach that homosexual desires are created, and that people have a right to homogenital relations. The Catholic Church calls one to conversion with the truth that no one has any conceivable right to homosexual behavior (CDF Some Considerations), and that homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity (CCC 2357). Those living in an active homosexual life teach persons with SSA to live out their lives sexually and genitally, that there is no hope for spiritual development in sexuality. The Church teaches: "Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection" (CCC 2359). Those living in an active homosexual life reject any change for themselves. They teach instead that the Church will change its teaching if they keep an ongoing conversation. The Church sees through the pressure effort and teaches that, "It is true that her clear position cannot be revised by pressure from civil legislation or the trend of the moment" (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #9). Those living in an active homosexual life teach that homosexuality cannot be "cured." The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality can be healed, that sexuality has a natural end of development, and that those with a disordered appetite or passion need to learn to control that passion first in behavior, then in identity, if the attractions are to develop toward the opposite sex. The Catholic Church does not require that a person change and atttain heterosexual attraction in order to attain holiness, but that change in behaviors and identities need changing and can be changed. Those living in an active homosexual life reinvent the truth and reinterpret scripture.
Ministry to "gays" and "lesbians:" Those living in an active homosexual life have gotten into the church under the guise of ministry to "gays" and "lesbians." The term ministry refers to bringing Christ in his fullness to others. Yet groups other than Courage have meetings where chastity is never spoken. Groups are meeting in churches and dioceses which never mention chastity, but encourage civil rights, speak of rights in the church for those living in an active homosexual life. In other words, there is no ministry, but rather a political movement, since the truth of Christ is not being preached. These "ministries" offer support for those with SSA to practice and to promote homosexual acts, feelings, thoughts, political action, rights, with the delusions that the Church will change, that SSA is normal, unchangeable, no need for conversion, political activism for alternative marriages, families, acceptance of homogenital activity, even in some Church ministries. The Church teaches, "We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral program will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of si." (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care). "We would heartily encourage program where these dangers are avoided. But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church's teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church's position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve" (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #15).
Inclusion and Invitation: Those living in an active homosexual life use these words as a ground laying effort to begin political activity in the church under the guise of outreach. Those in the Church demand that all be welcomed, invited, and accepted in the Church as they are. They say that "gay" and "lesbian" Catholics have been given this identity by God, that they should be welcomed into the Church as they are in whatever relationships they have chosen, to live in sexually active monogamous relationships, to be called a family with benefits, that all discrimination against them is unjust and should be removed, and that the Church should support them in living out their homosexuality. Those living in an active homosexual life say that if we teach the Catholic Church teaching that it will offend, marginalize, and push away "gay" people. They may be right, in the sense that if one has rejected the truth of the Church, that they will only come if the church adopts their religion, indicating that they do not want the religion of Christ and His church. Those living in an active homosexual life may be said to have its own religion wherein homosexuality is the highest and most important value, and that if this value on which their faith rests is not accepted, then they will reject the Church. The Catholic Church teaches that are are welcomed and called to conversion from sin to grow into the image of Christ (CCC 1797, 1848). She calls all to conversion in Christ. One's conscience has to be pricked to bring one to the awareness of the evil in their life, to bring guilt and shame for offending Christ by one¹s actions before one will enter into an area of conversion in life. The Church teaches that the goal of each Christian is to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit (CCC 1695), a lifetime of interior conversion from iniquity and sin (CCC 1428), accepting one's sexual identity as male or female different and complementary, governing one's passions in self mastery (CCC 2339), living chastely to imitate Jesus (CCC 2359). The church's presentation calls persons back to an interior life in Christ away from reductionist identification to a gay or lesbian identity (PCHP 16), changing the church and society to accept homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle (CDF 1986 Pastoral Care #3), seeking special status and rights as gay or lesbian (CDF Some Considerations #13), and focusing blame outside the self.
Conscience: Those living in an active homosexual life claim that they have a right to engage in homogenital activity based on the ultimate authority of conscience because no one can act against his conscience. The Catholic Church clarifies that the law of God is written in each heart which he must obey to do good and avoid evil (CCC 1777). St. Thomas Aquinas describes conscience as putting knowledge into action. The cognate means "with knowledge." Knowledge comes from Christ. If one "feels" that something is not in accord with his belief yet has been informed by the Church otherwise, then he does not act with knowledge, but rather with his own feeling or his own opinion. For example, who am I a 49 year old man, priest, theologian with my limited knowledge and experience to disagree with the mind of Christ expressed in the Church for 2000 years based on my feelings, thoughts, and life experience? Conscience can err. Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened, a lifelong task (CCC 1783-4). Rejection of Church teaching and authority, and lack of conversion can be sources for error in judgment. (CCC 1792) Bishop David Foley of Birmingham, AL recently spoke regarding conscience in the show The Catechism Explained on EWTN. Bishop Foley said that when we come before the judgment seat of God, when we are accused of our sins, if we respond that nobody told us, that this will not be an adequate defense, because Jesus has informed us through his Catholic Church. The fact that we chose to ignore it in favor of our own beliefs and feelings does not constitute lack of knowledge, but a rejection after hearing the truth. Rejection of the truth is a rejection of conscience.
Tolerance: This is an aspect of love in which we treat others with dignity and respect when their view point is different from ours or when their particular development in life may not yet be mature. We tolerate others' differences in religion, spiritual and moral growth. We do not grant them all the same value. For example, even in ecumenism and inter-religious relations, we grant a respect for others¹ opinions, beliefs, experiences and faith tradition, but do not say they are on the same level of that of the Catholic Church. With objectively disordered behaviors such as homosexuality and abortion, we do not tolerate these in the same manner. We work for the elimination and eradication of such behaviors, calling others to conversion. We do not grant acceptance or celebration to behaviors to which no one has any conceivable right. As Catholics then we accept people where they are, but always with the goal of moving beyond iniquity and sin in the area of homosexuality. To truly care for persons with SSA, we must provide a society which frustrates living out homogenital behaviors, and which frustrates the promotion of homosexuality as normal. In the meantime, we welcome people toward a life of conversion in the Catholic Church.
Marginalization, Oppression, Diversity, Victimization Inclusion: These words are used frequently by those living in an active homosexual life to describe their feelings and experiences in order to justify homogenital acts. Marginalization means to be on the side, in the margin so to speak rather than on the main part of the page. One is not necessarily put there by others, but may choose to be there by actions which others do not value and have every right to devalue. The behaviors and attitudes of those living in an active homosexual life do not have to be valued by us simply because they claim this under the aegis of tolerance and diversity. Diversity refers to the created difference among peoples such as gender, race, language, national origin, but not homosexual practices. To claim that homosexuality is a diverse way of being acknowledges that God the Creator made it this way; He did not. The basis on which we measure diversity comes to us from God and from His revelation. Diversity does not include immoral behaviors. We do have a right to reject immorality and still be diverse and inclusive. Inclusion does not mean to accept every idea, belief and behavior. While we welcome all into the life of the church which is a life of constant conversion from sin and iniquity, we have a right to exclude behaviors that God has revealed as not part of his creation. Just because someone claims offense, it does not mean that he has been offended because his point of view is rejected as immoral. The Church excludes no one. As a matter of fact, when someone is excommunicated from the Catholic Church, it is the person who excommunicates himself, even though in rare cases, a formal notice of excommunication is given by competent ecclesiastical authority. A persojn living in an active homosexual life who claims "victimization" is not a "victim" when his behavior is predatory in seeking unchaste sexual activity with others and leading others, who are at different stages of development in their sexuality, to a life of sexual immorality. Nor are they "victims" when they are shamed for this bad behavior. Persons with SSA are the real victims when they are labeled by those living in an active homosexual life as "gays" and "lesbians," when their behavior claims to speak for all with SSA, when persons with SSA who hold their Christian identity and reject the gay identity are vilified, marginalized, or told that they are not accepting their true selves.
Marriage: The Catholic Church reveals marriage as the sacrament created by God of union between a man and a woman for procreation and mutual support. Those living in an active homosexual life claim that genital activity is permissible between two people in a committed relationship, and that such should be permitted by the Church. The Holy Father has cautioned us several times in the last decade against people trying to redefine marriage as any two people living together practicing any type of sexual behavior and trying to create a living unit outside marriage in which they redefine "family."
Compassion: The ability to suffer with another rather than to try to take away their pain with rationalizations or lies because we are not comfortable suffering with them. True peace comes through Christ, not through denial of truth. For those living in an active homosexual life who find some ease in their struggle by claiming a Gay Identity, their 'peace' is not spiritual peace, rather it is the absence of the struggle over sin. They are lulled into a false sense of peace by a decision to eliminate a spiritual struggle. They are at 'peace' with their emotions not with God. All one has to do is turn one's back on God and believe one has reinvented Truth....that after all was the very first and ongoing sin of mankind. The Catholic Church is compassionate when she hears her children, does not mask their wound, but walks with them, correcting when necessary, and soothing with understanding and love.
Friend/Partner: Those living in an active homosexual life have adopted a new term for sexual lover, now called my "partner." This "partner" may be said to be in a relationship that they define as "committed" in order to attempt to justify to themselves, to others, or to have others accept the homogenital activity. The only relationship in which genital activity is appropriate for Christians is in the conjugal relationship of marriage between a man and a woman. Persons with SSA need friendship. C.S. Lewis speaks of friendship as that type of love where two persons share a common truth outside themselves, a love that is not exclusive in any way, but which is open to others who share that same truth. In his clarification of the 1986 CDF 1986 Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Cardinal Basil Hume of England noted that just because two people are friends, it does not have to be expressed sexually and genitally. A summary of his article would include these points:
1. Neither a homosexual nor a heterosexual attraction leads inevitably to sexual activity.
The CCC sums up the need for friendship saying, "Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection" CCC 2359). A disinterested friendship is one which is open to others, and not an exclusive one marked by possessiveness, jealousy, sexual intimacy, emotional dependence, but a healthy one where one does not seek to claim one¹s own masculinity or femininity by uniting with another of the same sex in any of these ways.
Now, how many of you are gay or lesbian Catholics? How many of you have gay and lesbian children?
The problem for the majority of us Catholic faithful, clergy and lay alike, is that the truth of the Church regarding sexuality and spiritual growth has not been promulgated by those charged to proclaim it, foremost the clergy, those in diocesan ministries, and those in Catholic universities. This exposition offers us tools of proper Catholic language and true Catholic compassion in order that Catholic persons with SSA be rescued from practicing or promoting homosexualists and come to chastity and discipleship in a Church of imperfect members which will suffer in truth with persons with SSA for growth in sexuality, while offering them opportunity to suffer with the rest of the Church in our other iniquities. Use the language and thought of the Church, not that of practicing or promoting homosexualists. In this way we can speak the truth, offer compassion, and begin heal this aspect of Christ's body, the Church.
CCC: Catechism of the Catholic Church