“Gay” Catholics Let’s Talk

14 Oct

To judge by the media reports one would think the Pope and his cardinals are building a float for the next gay pride parade.  Reporting on  recent Vatican statements has caused many Catholics to wonder if Church teachGayPope.jpging on homosexuality is changing. And so as a coordinator for our local Courage chapter, I thought it would be good to review the controversy, and bring some clarity to Catholics who may self identify as “gay”.

Yesterday (October 13, 2014)  the Vatican released a mid-way synod discussion report (relatio post disceptationem) on a discussion that bishops and clergy have been having regarding the pastoral challenges of helping families in our current culture.    This 58 paragraph synopsis that talks about the  institution of the family in crisis, has 3 paragraphs that deal with the pastoral challenges of “Welcoming Homosexual Persons”.

The media has reported on these brief statements as if they represented  a change in Church teaching on the morality of homosexual unions, describing it as a “seismic shift”  and a sign of  Pope Francis’s purported willingness to embrace the gay and lesbian sexual lifestyle into the life of the Church.

Don’t believe the hype.  It is so crucial to look at the documents themselves to avoid the media spin.  So  read the  mid-way synod discussion report and decide for yourself. Please keep in mind that this document expresses opinions of leaders in the Church and is not infallible Church teaching itself. So Catholics of good will can respectfully disagree.

As someone who helps to lead the Courage apostolate here in the Archdiocese, I personally think a few of the statements on homosexuality are very unfortunate in their ambiguity.  Andy Comiskey does a good job of exploring the problems of buying into the false anthropology of gay identity  in his blog post: The Bad, the Good, the Urgent: An initial take on the Synod of Family Report.

When it comes to sex it is easy for us to fool ourselves. As humans our longing for pleasure and cheap intimacy can dissuade us from the truth.  So let’s be very clear: the Church can’t and won’t ever teach that deliberate sexual arousal between two men or two women, no matter their level of love or commitment for one another, is morally good.  The Church won’t teach that homosexual acts  are morally good  for the same reason  it won’t teach other sexual sins are morally good.  The Church won’t teach that sexual arousal that a person has exclusively with himself, or between a man and a woman who are not married or who deliberately make their sex act infertile, are morally good acts.  What often  gets lost in these discussions of homosexuality  or any other sexual diversion is the fact that sin can never make us happy, and to pretend otherwise is ultimately unjust and uncharitable.

However,  while it is important to love people enough to teach the truth the Church must always practice mercy.  And mercy is messy.  Mercy meets people where they are at and tries to bring them to a better place.  Let’s face it, family life all across the world is in a mess.  If you read the whole document you will see that the bishops are talking in the pastoral context of broken families and individual who are sexually and relationally broken.

For Christians in the Kansas City area who are struggling in the brokenness of unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) we have a support group.

I help lead the local chapter of the Courage Apostolate.  Courage Kansas City is a collaborative effort of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. We have groups that meet on both sides of the state line on a regular basis.

We offer spiritual support to Christian men and women with same-sex attractions who desire to live chaste lives in accordance with the teachings of Scripture and Catholic moral teaching.

Call us at 913-428-9893 if you would like to know more about joining Courage KC.

You can also call that number if you are interested in Encourage, the support group for friends and family of people with SSA.

 

 

 

 

 

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