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FAITHFUL TO THE TRUTH

 

 
 
 

"What a long and strange war it is where violence tries to crush truth! Hard as it may struggle, violence cannot weaken truth, and its efforts only make truth stand out more clearly. Truth, however brightly it may shine, can do nothing to stop violence, and its light only irritates violence even more. When might is ranged against might, the stronger defeats the weaker. When discourse is ranged against discourse, what is true and convincing confounds and dissipates what is based only on vanity and lies. But violence and truth can do nothing, the one against the other. Nevertheless, don't be fooled by that into thinking that they are at the same level as each other. For there is this extreme difference between them: that violence only has a course marked out for it by God's command, such that its effects redound to the glory of the truth which it is attacking, while truth subsists eternally, and triumphs in the end over its enemies. Because it is as eternal and powerful as God himself."
[Blaise Pascal, quoted by Achever Clausewitz (Carnets Nord, Paris 2007), Preface p.7 unmarked, tr Rev James Alison]
Chapter 1.      Homosexuality and Scripture

Chapter 2.      Homosexuality and Tradition

Chapter 3.      Teleology, the Philosophical Basis of Ethics

Chapter 4.      Homosexuality and the Official Teaching of the Church

Chapter 5.      A Fantasy Encyclical

A paper on the exact interpretation of Leviticus 18:22.

A paper on the exact interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:9.

A paper on the exact interpretation of Romans 1:26-27.
 

Click here for my reaction to a cry of pain from a gay Catholic,
here for a message of hope from Fr James Alison, here for a very helpful initiative from the Catholic Bishop of Memphis,
here for a gay positive Byzantine Orthodox perspective
and here for the testimony of Andrew Sullivan.
Click here for a critique of some typical Evangelical Anglican thinking; here for a reply to an attack on Boswell by a Conservative Catholic and here for a reply to an attack by a Catholic Bishop.
Click here for a review of the mutation of Church teaching on
ContraceptionSlavery, Usury, the perfidy of the Jews,
the damnation of all non-Catholics, Religious Liberty,
the interpretation of  TheBible and here for the story of  Galileo.
Click here for a discussion of what exactly homosexuality is and is not; here for a discussion of "Love the sinner, but hate the sin". Click here for a paper on homophobic bullying in Schools and Colleges.
"Being both gay and Catholic in my corner of the Diocese of North Carolina is not the most ideal situation. The gay-friendly parishes are embarrassingly casual, to the point that one wonders whether Mass has truly been said.  There is one parish in the diocese where the pastor has an indult to celebrate the Tridentine Mass every Sunday, and it is a parish thoroughly devoted to the present and most recent Pontiffs and all their pontifications. I can't exactly call myself traditionalist in that sense, as it is something I've yet to experience. What I have experienced most of my life in the Church, and continue to experience, is the kind of Mass so lacking in devotion and a sense of holy awe that I escaped to the Episcopal (Anglican) communion for a while, where at least the liturgy was somewhat more inspiring. But, of course, I came to accept that the Eucharist was watered down in that barely meaningful, protestant way. I had no choice, I felt, but to return to the banal liturgies where at least our Lord was truly present in the Sacred Mysteries. 

It was and remains a very difficult choice to return to the Roman Catholic Church. I believe the Vatican's pronouncements on the nature of who I am have exacted a devastating spiritual toll on me. It is all I can do some Sundays to get out of bed and to the church where I will find it a struggle to lift my heart to the Almighty, because the liturgy almost fights me every step of the way. I will go in fear of hearing something hurtful proclaimed from the pulpit, which I will suffer in silence because I remain in the closet, in deference to my career and potential custody issues regarding my children. 

Why do I stay? Because I know that Christ waits for me there, and He must be my All. There is no misguided teaching that should prevent me from receiving Him, no matter how much pain it might cause me. I shouldn't have to suffer at the hands of Christ's shepherds, but untold numbers of saints through the ages in fact have. Who am I to complain? In the end, all these things shall pass away. And ultimately, I am living for eternity." [An email list member (December 2005)] 

Thanks for all you're doing, you`re such a gift to gay catholics like me who are strugling with being both and not becoming crazy while trying to do so. The problem is that although I was brought up in a traditional RC familly (my father used to take us all to Tridentine masses frequently), when I realized I was gay, I felt so terrible that I simply left the Church. I first tried to reconcile both my Christianity and my sexuality, but I simply had no clue how to achieve that, so I gave up.

For a time I atended a regular parish with the Novus Ordo rite, but when I talked to the parish priest about my problems - let`s say he was more concerned with preventing me from having sex than understanding me, so I left that too. Even a great priest I knew, in charge of the seminary of a very important diocese here, didn`t know how to manage my situation. Both these priests thought in terms of "sin" and "purity", but my wounds had to do more with love and being true to God and to my heart, I felt a total stranger to my owm people. I later tried Anglo-Catholicism, and for a time it was all OK, but the local Anglican bishop was so anti-gay that I abandoned that too; especially because neither the Anglican rector nor any of the clergy would risk anything - even though more people than just me were gay and we needed at least a supporting gesture, but they just wouldn`t do a thing. Fortunately, I found some good gay Protestants and Catholics who helped me to solve the issue; the thing is that I returned (after nine years of absence) to a traditional celebration less than too weeks ago. I still fear I can`t fully disclose my situation to my confessor. I just don`t think being gay is bad, so I don`t confess it; but though in a way I know I`ve returned home, I feel a little strange still having to hide from the ones I love.

My older brother is gay too and lives with his partbner. My mother and my sister know about both our situations, but my younger brother and my father know nothing about mine. My younger brother knows only about my older brother, and I know that (although he loves us all) he is so judgemental about my older brother that I just can`t tell him about me - even when I`m starting a new relation with a wonderful boy. Sorry all this chat, but just knowing there is also someone in a situation similar to mine is such a relief that I just had to tell you my story. Most of my gay or gay-friendly friends are not very religious so they just don`t undestand me much; and the ones who are - well they tend to prefer protestantism so they can avoid coping with the Magisterium and all the problems associated with being a healthy gay person and the existence of a hierarcht that condems one for being so!

You`re a beacon of hope and joy, thanks. [A correspondent (August 2008)]

Click here for the Gay Mysteries of the Rosary and here for some gay-related meditations on the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries.

Click here for a review of the theology and practice of the Sacrament of Penance.  I hope it will give some useful pointers for traditional gay Catholics.

Click here for a suggested rite of "same-gender union".

Click here for an annotated version of the 2003 letter from the Holy Office regarding same-sex marriage.

Click here for my critique of a typical Conservative Catholic attack on "gay marriage".

Click here for an annotated version of the 1986 letter from the Holy Office regarding the Pastoral Care of  Homosexuals.

Click here for an commented version of the 2005 instruction excluding gay men from seminary.

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groups.yahoo.com
I am both a catholic and a man "suffering from" same sex atraction. Why am I writting "suffering from"?  Just because it is a very confusing state, and being an honest guy it is not an easy one for me. Only a few months ago I was strictly obedient to the "official teaching of the Church" but having browsed some websites I have come to understand that the teaching is not as well based as it is presented. 

I have many doubts in my head. Maybe I will enclose them to my next posts and someone will help me to find the truth. I feel the lack of a wise, sensitiveand responsible guy next to me. I am really confused on these matters. I hope you will understand when I describe how I feel as a battle between emotions and reason. [Quote from a new member (October 2005)]

I was faced with these very issues almost 30 years ago. Though I was not Catholic at that time, I was nonetheless struggling as an Evangelical Pastor in a very conservative congregation, to make sense of my sexuality. Not only was my vocation and emotional wellbeing at stake, I was also concerned about my relationship with a God I deeply loved. In the midst of so much confusion and ambivalence, I was fortunate to meet other gay and lesbian people who were on the same journey so to speak. I am forever grateful for the help I received and the ideas I was presented with through the UFMCC. At that time MCC and others, were attempting to create and integrate a Christian worldview with a positive understanding of human sexuality. They were exploring a wide variety of ideas and approaches, many of them very similar to the ones recently posted here [on my Yahoo! group - Pharsea] by others from an entirely different theological tradition. Naturally, some of these were pretty out there, but others were very conservative and traditional in their conclusions.

My MCC Pastor at that time taught (1980) in an overly simplified manner, (which had an appeal to all the fundamentalist in the congregation, LOL) that chastity meant doing all things to God's glory, fornication was using another person for selfish ends/motives, adultery was not telling the truth completely, and what was called "promiscuous behaviors" might evolve into "Celebrating" ones sexuality with many multiple partners. We didn't use words like "Continence" and our reactions to the word "celibary" were hardly helpful to a Christian assembly. Having lunch with someone for example, without telling your parnter, was considered a kind of adultery. Befriending someone to get a ride to the meeting was a sort of fornication. It might be OK to go to a gay bathhouse for anonymous sex as long as one was kind, considerate and willing to share Christ with others, all for God's glory!

I suppose it is only natural that I get the impression that we all have to "reinvent the wheel" to come to terms with our sexuality and our faith. When we examine our basic assumptions and expose ourselves to other points of view, we are all well served. This sometimes slow and painful process not only enables us to think outside the box and gives us the opportunity to develop new tools to explore the issues, but hopefully results in a better understanding and appreciation of ourselves, others and of course God's essence and attributes. I am continually encouraged and enlightened by what folks share here [on my Yahoo! group - Pharsea]. The posts and Pharsea's articles have stimulated my mind, increased my knowledge of Christian History and Theology, deepened my understanding of God's wonderful kindness and mercy toward us all, as well as often helping me through the day whether by reading the posts at work or exploring these themes at home.

Because of discusssions like these, I was not only able to come out of the closet, survive being defrocked and excomunicated by my Protestant sect, but in time came to accept who I am as a gift from God, and to do my part to grow and mature in my relationship with God and others. I am happy to say that my partner and I have been together 20 years, monogoumous and still in love (LOL), and that today we share the Catholic Faith and are still learning to live and enjoy life without harming ourselves or others!

I try not to judge to harshly those whose behaviours I would not participate in myself. We often learn best from our mistakes. And God's patience endures, His mercy everlasting, His love inexorable. [An email list member (August 2008)] 

I have been following postings in this group for a few weeks now and have received great strength and encouragement from them. I am a 25 year old gay man in Chicago, IL USA.

I grew up in West Tennessee in a strongly Southern Baptist family but with an aunt who converted to Roman Catholicism when she was around my age. Ever since the first time I attended Mass with her when I was about 7 I have been attracted to the Catholic Church. When I was about 14 I began serving as a church organist and eventually got a position playing for the Saturday Vigil Mass at a Catholic Parish in rural West Tennessee. It was there that I began to learn about the Sacraments and the Liturgy, where I learned a few of the great Latin hymns of the Church and learned to pray the Rosary. A hunger a desire for all of these things was begun in me that has continued to this day.

Fast-forward a few years to college when I met the man with whom I have shared my life for the past 7 years. I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 2002 not even thinking of Roman Catholicism as an option. Shortly after that, I began reading books about Catholicism and Benedictine Spirituality that have made a big difference in how I've lived my life in the Episcopal Church - living in the Episcopal Church as more of a "not quite there" Roman Catholic than anything else.

I can think of at least 3 seperate occasions when I have tried to convert to Roman Catholicism. I've attended RCIA in a couple of typical parishes and really just found them wanting. Most people seem to have been there just out of convenience for reasons of getting married, etc. I haven't met anyone who comes to the Church from the perspective of having not found Truth in other churches and out of a deep hunger for the Sacraments. Only in 1 very liberal parish did I meet some Roman Catholic gay men who were out. My most recent experience in an RC parish found cathechists who were spewing theology that was far more liberal than the most liberal protestants I have know.

I have recently signed up for the RCIA class at a local parish in Chicago who is known for their association with the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite - a very traditional Catholic Parish that is still very much in Union with Rome. I have a deep attraction to the Latin Mass and traditional devotions, ways of thinking, etc. I see in them the deep beauty that is reflective of the Truth of Christ and His Church. Of course, I do struggle with the idea of going into the Catholic church as a partnered gay man in a very traditional Parish.

"They that shall oppose thee in thy right courses, as it is not in their power to divert thee from thy good action, so neither let it be to divert thee from thy good affection towards them. But be it thy care to keep thyself constant in both; both in a right judgement and action, and in true meekness towards them that either shall do their endeavour to hinder thee, or at least will be displeased with thee for what thou hast done. For to fail in either (either in the one to give over for fear, or in the other to forsake thy natural affection towards him who by nature is both thy friend and thy kinsman) is equally base, and much savouring of the disposition of a cowardly fugitive soldier."
[Marcus Aurelius "Meditations"]
Click here for 

"Theology of the Body" related stuff

I've read enough of John Paul's Theology of the Body to know that it doesn't ring true. It deals with so many of the issues that confront us: marriage, celibacy, the relevance of the Book of Genesis, the so-called necessity of male and female complementarity, how the heterosexual family of Father, Mother and Child is supposed to reflect the life of the Holy Trinity, etc. 

Interestingly, homosexuality gets scant mention. I wonder if it isn't because when you read some of this stuff, you can so easily apply a lot of what it says about the body's capacity for revealing the truth of God's love in straight marriage to the deep, natural, human yearnings that we gay folk have for the same. 

But we are dismissed as an afterthought, afflicted with a disorder equal to pure lust that renders it impossible to communicate bodily love to our beloved because there is none of that "complementarity" going on, and of course no prospects for babies. [An email list member (October 2005)] 

I am happy to come and talk to interested parties and/or advise on the issues raised on this site.
Email Pharsea