No Longer Anonymous: Why I Decided to Come Out as a Gay Priest

Bravely facing the applause of a world in love with labels, and just in time for the release of a second edition of his new book “Hidden Voices, Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest,” Fr. Gary M. Meier came out today and declared himself openly gay to the notoriously unsympathetic Huffington Post.

Bless the man, may the Lord keep him, let His face shine upon him and give him His peace. He’ll be attacked by idiotic Catholics, whose quotes will undoubtedly be used in his up-and-coming “This Has Been Difficult” op-ed. But the sins of hatred will hardly puncture his popularity. I am attacking — with trident and with fire  – his philosophy and his easy critique of Church teaching that will win the blank-eyed nods of every other person who doesn’t give a damn about reading what the Church actually teaches.  He says:

…that’s precisely the message our Church is sharing. LGBT youth are hearing that they are disordered, diseased, defective, damaged goods, wrong when they should be right.

If they are being give this message, it is not by the Church. The message the Church has been consistently giving to LGBTQ youth is the same message she gives to heterosexual youth — you are not your genitals. Stop introducing yourself with your penises.

We take offense at the Church when she says that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” (CCC 2357) but only because we put her words through the mind-numbing blender of reductionist thought which defines people as being their sexuality, as being heterosexual, being homosexual, being a lesbian, being pansexual, etc. The LGBTQ movement is so concerned with developing and refining their plethora of scientific labels by which to reduce human beings to a word describing their genital behavior that they — and the culture they own — have forgotten a very simple fact. You are not what gives you a boner.

Burn your charts.

It is by the urging of the Catholic Church that I refuse, reject, and trample on the label heterosexual. Why? Because I will not be defined as being attracted to women. My sexuality is personal, that is, it exists not as an abstract label generally unifying me with other people attracted to the opposite sex, but as an expression of my personal belonging to the bodily world, my personal integration of my soul and my body, which becomes “personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another” (CCC 2337), with a single, particular, personal, woman, not to a general sex.

But this is far too complex. We want a label to be subsumed into. And thus Meier, in claiming the label “gay,” says “I want the world to know the truth about who I am,” because personal identity has been wonderfully reduced, and we can say — without fear of contradiction — that who I am is gay, or who I am as straight.

This reduction is the primary reason Meier makes the tired, required leap from what the Church says — that homosexuality is disordered — to what he claims the Church says — “LGBT youth are hearing that they are disordered.” Our culture defines individuals by their genital urges, and thus any rejection of a sexual behavior is immediately heard as a rejection of the individual. If who you are is a homosexual, then there is no distinction between being told “homosexuality is disordered” and “you are disordered.” While blurring this distinction and allowing ourselves to exist as walking erections certainly allows for easy, sure-fire, and oh-so-safe criticism of the Catholic Church, how small it renders the human person! What a piece of work becomes man, how lacking in depth, how easily negated, how boring and how bored!

But I believe we prefer this reduction over an honest understanding of Church teaching because we can’t deal with the fact that Our Mother doesn’t allow us to live as ghosts. Sexuality expresses man’s “belonging to the bodily and biological world,” (CCC 2337) and is presented to man not as a completed, scientific fact (Hey, you’re a sapiosexual! Go buy the t-shirt! Wear the ribbon!) but as a project. We are to integrate the soul and body. We are to undertake “an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom.” (CCC 2339) We are to be our selves — this the world likes — and the self that we are to be is a body – and over this the world induces vomiting.

Our bodies matter. We are not souls trapped in biological cages, souls that might find — to their disappointment – that they “got the wrong body” and thus must explore the label “transgender.” No, we are our bodies. Any integration of the sexuality into the whole person that ignores the body or settles for being opposed to the body is no integration at all. If the body that I am is male, oriented in its inescapable biology to be fruitful with woman, than my personal integration of body and soul cannot be the embrace of homosexual acts, for in this embrace I leave the body behind. I perform acts that contradict the reality of my body, my personal design and my relation to the physical Cosmos. I welcome a ghostliness that neatly separates the reality of my body from the reality of me, as if I could be a me without my body.

Outside of matters involving where people place their genitals, the necessity for integration of the body and soul is usually upheld. An anorexic girl may believe that her normal, healthy body is hideously fat. She may live in the disintegration of soul and body, by which her soul (she) opposes her body by refusing to eat. But it’d be evil to laud this disintegration, this dualistic war by which she lives as a ghost trapped inside the wrong, disgusting, too-fat body. What’s truly loving is the encouragement of body-soul integration, by which a person takes on the project of loving the body she is, of being her body, of living in harmony with the biological functioning of her metabolism, her shape, her natural weight, etc.

We understand this, but having reduced personality to sexuality, we are no longer comfortable giving the exact same loving encouragment to a man who lives as a disintegrated soul and body, who believes he (a woman) is in radical contradiction with his body (male). It would be the social sin of social sins to look upon this man and say, “You are body, and your project is to become properly integrated with your body, and thus become the self who you are.” What he needs is not integration — that medieval fire of red-hot hatred — but a label, and the subsequent social acceptance of that label. Voila, transgenderism, put a “T” in LGB.

This is why Meier comes so close, but misses the mark. He says:

I want others to know that homosexuality is a gift. That you can live and love as God created you to love. We are created by love for love. Homosexuality is not a cross, it’s not a curse, it’s not an intrinsic disorder; it is a gift, created by love for love. It is a life-giving gift from God that embodies the infinite ways God’s love can be manifested in our world.

No, homosexuality is not a gift from God, and neither is heterosexuality, metrosexuality, omnisexuality, asexuality, or any of the spreading, metastasizing barcodes by which we categorize unique human beings into sections and subsections and sliding-scales until we can finally sleep at night, comfortable that there is a place for everything and everything in its place, and that we, accurately labeled heterosexuals or homosexuals, belong. I’d sooner set myself on fire than be so comfortably placed, for these “sexualities” don’t exist. Sexuality has no existence apart from people. Sexuality is eminently, beautifully, and incredibly personal, a radical adventure in becoming the self that we are, a self that is neither ghost nor corpse but a synthesis of body and soul, an inseparable union we call the human person. It is not a label, it is a challenge, but we’re so frightened of living as the body and soul that we are — and thus becoming Saints — that we’d much prefer to reduce ourselves into the dust from whence we came, to drift as ghosts inhabiting bodies we can hardly stand to live in.

So Meier will misrepresent Church teaching, The Huffington Post will applaud, Macklemore will write a few more songs, and the labels will multiply like loaves under the hands of Christs. But you, reader, defy. Abolish within yourself the inhuman effort of reduction that would have you cowering like a slave. Take up your cross with that joy that castrates fear and become the embodied self who you are.

  • trskms

    Excellent post.

    One small quibble: “An anorexic girl may believe that who she is is skeletal and emaciated.” Actually, it is the opposite. The anorexic girl IS often skeletal and emaciated, but — despite reality — she *believes* she is hugely fat.

    Otherwise, right on.

    • Marc Barnes

      Good catch. I rephrased it.

  • musiciangirl591

    i love you, just saying, i hate when people allow their sexual orientation to define who they are as a person, i understand we all have our differences, but i don’t go around saying i’m heterosexual to everyone i meet :P

    • BintJameela

      except that you just did

      • musiciangirl591

        meaning anytime i’m in a group, i don’t go up to people and say “hi! my name is colleen o’neil! i’m 20 years old and i’m straight!”

      • musiciangirl591

        but since you said i do that, i think i’ll start doing that :P

    • Guest

      Of course you do.

      • musiciangirl591

        i’m going to start going up to people i meet and say “hi! i’m heterosexual!”

    • John (not McCain)

      So you haven’t posted pictures of your significant other or child, if any, anywhere people can see them and/or have no plans to do so? No wedding ring?

      • musiciangirl591

        i’m 20, no wedding ring, no engagement ring, no children, significant other yes :P

        • Mark

          Well there you have it! If you introduce your boyfriend, that’s a huge declaration that “I’m a heterosexual and its an important part of my life and how I relate to people.”

          • musiciangirl591

            i don’t usually introduce my boyfriend to people, unless its necessary :P but of course! he’s the only thing that defines me, not my personality, experiences, and traits!

    • Laura

      But you do, obviously from your Disquis name, identify yourself as a female. Generally, people think of themselves in terms of the personal identifiers that put them in the non-privileged group.

      For example, I am a white, straight, young adult female. I tend to just think about myself as a woman, not as each of my other primary identifying characteristics. My best friend is a black, straight, young adult woman, and she thinks of herself as a black woman. Why does she identify herself with her race and I don’t? Because I am in the privileged group and she is not. If she was homosexual, I would bet money that she would identify as a black lesbian woman. If she was very old, I bet she would understand that as a key determining part of her identity. My husband on the other hand, a white, straight, young man, honestly just thinks of himself as a person, because he is privileged in every major category. He can’t relate to why I experience the world uniquely as a female, just like I can’t relate to why my friend experiences the world uniquely as a black female. Or why a gay man experiences life uniquely as a gay person. And that’s ok. But when we are privileged in a given category, we need to realize that of course other (unprivileged) people’s experience of how that category impacts their identity will be different.

      If that was too long, basically… of course your don’t define yourself as straight, because that is the “neutral” in our society. You do, however, identify as a “girl,” because we live in a society where maleness is perceived as neutral. Other people are “unneutral” in other senses and thus identify by those characteristics.

  • House Baelish

    I also disagree with what the priest said. I understand, agree with, and do my best to follow the Church’s teachings on sexuality, but I must say, I do find it rather silly to say that, in attaching labels such as “gay” or “straight” to ourselves, we automatically confine ourselves to those labels. Certainly, some people do, but the labels can also be merely descriptive. It seems as though this critical stance on labeling is often applied rather selectively to sexual orientations.

    I have yet to have anyone insist I identify as “a person who lives in the United States” rather than “American”, or declare, “you are not your gender!” when I say I am female, or tell me that I am limiting myself to my age when I say I am a teenager. But if I say that I am (inactively) bisexual? I am apparently demeaning myself by not picking some roundabout way of phrasing it.

    I guess it’s a small point to take issue with, but I’ve run into it so many times: well-meaning (and usually, in my experience, straight) Catholics thinking that they are liberating us by rearranging terms. How the mainstream culture demeans gay/bisexual people is interesting, but I’ve seen it far too often. What I would be far more interested in, but have seen far more rarely (although Melinda Selmys is often quite good) is a real, serious analysis of how gay/bisexual people can be mistreated by Catholics. Because, you know what? Even though the Church’s teaching is certainly respectful? Discrimination does happen. Bigotry still exists. Catholics aren’t perfect. And there are plenty of people who think that people who are gays/bisexuals–even if they would only describe themselves as “same/both sex attracted people”–are completely disordered as people. And if all we do is criticize the homophobia of “the world” and act self-righteous about avoiding those worldly labels, without looking half as hard within our own community, that will never change.

    • T. Pomeroy

      Beautiful reply. As a chaste SSA girl who found a boy to marry, I totally agree with you. The worst attack I ever experienced was from a lady at a Catholic chapel. who called me disgusting for holding hands with and comforting a friend sick with flu. It made me do sad for her that she was filled with such hate instead of the love that I feel from the real teachings of the church.

      • gigi4747

        Does the boy know you’re attracted to women?

        • musiciangirl591

          is it really necessary to know the answer to this question, her business, not yours… #seriously

          • gigi4747

            Are *you* serious? It’s none of your business, but I’m asking because I know two people who were duped into marriage by homosexuals. I’m asking t pomeroy if she did the same. Do have a problem with the truth? She’s the one who brought up her ssa, not me. If she didn’t want to be asked about it, she could have refrained from stating it. Who knows, maybe for some very weird reason, her husband married her knowing she’s a lesbian. Was it really necessary for you to interject here?

          • musiciangirl591

            it seemed rude of you to ask that question…

    • Carl Philipp Gaebler

      I note that, as far as I can tell, the reason people criticize label-as-identity when it comes to sexuality but not so much other places is BECAUSE the LGBTQ community actively encourages label-as-identity. When you say you are American, most people assume you mean “a person who lives in the United States” and thus there is no need to correct you – but if somebody says “I am homosexual” there is a decent chance that they actually DO mean that they believe it is their identity.

      Mind, I have heard hyper-patriots who think their primary identity is Americans. And heard voices of reason telling them that “you are not your birthplace.”

      • House Baelish

        As I said in my original post, I acknowledge that many people in that community do seem to build their identities around their sexual orientations/gender identities. My point was simply that there is nothing inherently wrong with these labels, which was what it seemed the author of this post was saying (my apologies if he was not, but that was the impression I got).

        Also, the experience you’ll have with active LGBTs varies from person to person; there is no standard, “community belief” that is held by all. In fact, most of the active LGBTs I have met consider many other qualities much more central to their identities than their sexual orientation/gender identity, and are really tired of being seen as just “that gay/bi/trans person”. Those of my acquaintance who do build their identities around being LGBT have generally been young and rather immature. But this is, of course, just my experience; yours may be very different.

        However, my larger point was not about labeling; my point was that this criticism of mainstream societal treatment of LGBTs, while important, has been done to death. I just wish some Catholic blogger/writer would put the same amount of effort into looking at what Catholics often do wrong when it comes to LGBTs, and how we can improve the situation. I have only found a couple such resources up to this point, but if anyone has any blog/book recommendations, I would be very interested =)

        • wineinthewater

          I think you make a good point. However, Mark’s invective against labels is really a hyperbolic response to how far society and elements (at least) within the LGBT community have swung the pendulum to the “sexuality as identity” side. The labels *should* be useful from a purely intellectual standpoint, but the reality of how skewed the public discourse has become makes them fairly useless, and in fact perpetuates these very fundamental flaws in our societal treatment of sexuality. Labels as identity is a dehumanizing regardless of the label. This just so happens to be a set of labels that have been thoroughly associated with identity.

          As to your other point about what Catholics do wrong, I think the biggest thing is the sense of condensation and patronizing that often accompanies Catholic discourse. The “sexuality as identity” phenomenon is a a very immature one (as you noted) but is also very common. However, treating people as if they are children is alienating and insulting. When Catholics talk to people in the midst of these issues, I think we need to be careful to not be condescending or dismissive of them. We should keep in mind how we deal with our propensities to our own particular sins and consider that their struggles are likely much the same.

    • Patricia Miller

      I hope this doesn’t come across as uncharitable, as that is not my intent. It has been made known through the mainstream culture far and wide that the LGBT culture is “the way to go” through all media sources, especially via TV programming (unless you’re watching EWTN or the Classic Movie Network), so I’m not sure how you can say that the culture in the US is demeaning of that lifestyle. Also, it’s the media, not Catholics, who are rearranging terms to “liberate” society.

      You have a disordered sexual desire; but we all have disordered desires of one form or another. (We all sin. None of us is perfect, except God.) But what Catholics (and other conservative Christians) have a problem with is that you (general you, meaning the majority of the LGBT community & those who support them) wants to celebrate that desire (sin). This is a reoccurring theme with society today (celebrating sin), not just with LGBT, society wants us to celebrate promiscuous behavior of all peoples, abortion, etc. the “ME” culture has thoroughly permeated society.

      The first step to overcome this is through prayer, intercession, and turning one’s life over to God by following the commandments. It is a good lesson for us all to remember.

  • Greg

    Honestly, as a faithful Catholic, I can’t disagree much with what you write. Not and still be Catholic. But the language still seems to me to be splitting hairs. We take such care to be politically correct with homosexuality by panning the sexuality and not the person, but with other desires we wouldn’t hesitate to say the person was disordered. Serial thieves, killers, artists, athletes…all these people act on natural desires and are identified by them. So I can see why people who are gay or queer would take personally someone attacking their desires.

    I also want to jump in here and speak for the man. I worked with Fr. Gary in St. Louis when he was repairing his neighborhood full of abandoned homes and gang violence. He has a passion for social justice and has always fought to give people opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise. Whatever shakes out from this, he is a good man and this book comes from a place of frustration for people he feels are being disenfranchised.

    • Tommy O’D

      I think the catch here is that it’s still wrong for us to say that a serial killer is “intrinsically disordered,” because God doesn’t make people intrinsically disordered. It’s just that, in our fallen nature, we can have desires and act upon them in ways that are intrinsically disordered.

      I don’t doubt Fr. Gary’s passion for justice, and I certainly applaud him for that. I’ve worked inside the walls with imprisoned men, some of whom are locked up for life for committing terrible crimes that were certainly disordered. The problem is that the media DOES identify them by their actions. Those men will always be considered killers. One man, imprisoned for 32 years, since he was 18, is undergoing a retrial because new evidence suggests he may actually be innocent (which he has maintained all along) . . . and despite this, he is still referred to as a murderer in the press. We are not our actions or our desires. It’s something I try to tell anyone who asks about my time in prison.

      So the fact that we label serial killers by their disordered actions is also a cultural flaw. Artists and athletes are perhaps less worrisome because their actions are not disordered.

      There’s lots of effort today in some of the circles I work in to refer to homeless people as “persons experiencing homelessness.” Again, this person-first language attempts to seperate the person from his or her circumstances (although it is true in this case that this is a circumstance and not a desire).

    • Crunchy Cradle Catholic

      love the sinner, hate the sin….this applies to “thieves and killers” as well.

  • JJ

    so glad I’m not the only one who is bothered by the world’s preoccupation with sexuality being “who you are.”

  • Zai

    *nods in approval*

    This is why the Faith is so radical (well, partly). Our Mother Church wants us, like most parents, to have and be more than we are now. The only problem is, the route is one that is rather frightening to us. There’s so much more…so much more. *rambling stops*

  • twoddroll

    Dude, you rock! this is so right on! We are not our actions. I also agree with commenters indicating that our knowledge of church teaching should help us love our neighbor, whatever their proclivities. Often we (and I) do not.

  • Ce Gzz

    I almost puke on the last quote you put from Meier. Seems he never heard of the GIFT as explained in Theology of the Body or GS 24.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    All I really want to know about a priest’s sexuality is “Can he keep his vows?”

    Heck, that’s all I want to know about anybody’s sexuality outside of my marriage.

    If they can keep vows, then I can trust them. If they can’t, I can’t. The rest is irrelevant.

    • Dale

      Fr. Meier, in announcing his book’s second edition, told a local newspaper that he has always been (more or less) open about being gay. His claim was that this wasn’t a problem when he was in seminary back in the 1990′s. All that mattered is that a priest be celibate.

      Meier’s claim is that the Church shifted its treatment of priests and seminarians back in 2005. His discomfort with this change is what ultimately led to his book.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        He’s right- all that matters is that a priest is celibate.

        The main cause of the change is that for a small minority, priests were not celibate and did not keep their vows. Unfortunately, a majority of that minority ARE actively homosexual.

        • barefoot momma

          Actually, celibacy refers to being unmarried – he should also be continent.

          • elizabeth

            Yes, I think that the word looked for here is chaste. Chastity has to do with every vocation, single, married, and religious. Chastity is about not objectifying another person or taking marital rights outside of the covenant of marriage. Homosexual couples cannot, by the Catholic Church’s standard of marriage, actually be married. Chastity is not just about sex though, it is about intent. Can one honestly have a chaste romantic relationship with a person of the same sex? Sure, it may not be all about sex, but eros is eros. Romantic love will always have an element of the erotic about it. One cannot entertain romantic thought about a married person either. Obviously, married people are still attractive and single people fall for married people all the time. No one is belittling this or saying that it is horrible just to think about. On a smaller, less personally distressing scale perhaps, the soul of one who falls for a married person is disordered as well. This is an analogy, and no analogy is perfect, but the principal is comparable. Chastity is a difficult ideal, but so is sanctity. To accommodate God’s standard to our standard to make life easier or to validate our own desires, as strong and personal as they may be, is to make an idol for ourselves, and leave God behind completely.

    • Mike Duncan

      Keeping of vows in important yes BUT spirituality and maturity is NOT about simple behavior modification. Christianity is not a ‘practical, American, philosophy.’ It is about the transformation of the the sinful, fallen human by the Spirit of God and this dismissive, over simplification of I AM homosexual puts a wall over a large, deeply personal part of the Christian’s life and effectively says to God, “You can’t change who I AM.” I think there is a huge problem there. No Christian should ever be satisfied with ‘I’m good enough on the outside at least.” Our aim should always be the love of God from a pure heart with the outside actions as an overflow from our inward devotion to Christ.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Keeping of vows is the first step on that transformation. If a man can keep his vows, the rest is possible. If he can’t, then truly he has proven that for him, God can’t change who he is.

      • Mark

        It’s unclear why a homosexual should have to change.

        Yes, spirituality is about more than just modifying external behaviors. Merely repressing sex while passions of lust still burn within oneself is not actually an accomplished spiritual transformation, of course.

        But as many people have emphasized in this thread “homosexuality” cannot simply be equated with a species of lust. There is homosexual lust, yes, but homosexuality as an orientation is not reducible to that.

        The way many conservatives speak (and the “tendency” and “inclination” language of the Catechism and other Church documents) make it sound like their minds immediately jump to SEX when it comes to gay people, like it’s all about sex acts or at least an inclination or tendency or passion towards or lust for certain [disordered] sex acts.

        If that’s what you think (besides the fact that I’d be quite disturbed if you thought of your own HETEROsexuality that way) I’d really recommend reading those Justin Lee articles I linked to further down in the thread.

        • tprtrewevas

          I think that you missed the point of the article.

    • steve5656546346

      Living one’s whole life with other men is the near occasion of sin for those with same sex attraction.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        In some ways this is true- in other ways- this is a chance for them to show the example of Chaste Philia to the rest of the world that no longer believes in that form of love.

  • Dash Riprock

    Wait… I’m not my penis?

  • Ian88

    I think I get the point of this article but when the author writes: “No, homosexuality is not a gift from God, and neither is heterosexuality,” I have a problem, as it seems to undercut the deep naturalness of the two genders and how they embody God’s Trinitarian image. This was written in too quick a fashion, too witty for its own good. It’s not nuanced enough to display respect for the difficulty those have with the Church’s message and not nuanced enough to display respect for the depth of the Church’s teachings. I like to read almost naive sounding quick banter, but this is too much on a topic too deep. I gather it should have been thought and prayed over many more times than it was, despite the author’s best attempts.

    • Natasha Clarke

      Agreed, Ian. I can’t share this even though it makes valid points because I can’t ride with the crudity on so sensitive a topic.

    • Monica Pope

      though i am deeply grateful for and in awe of the Church teaching on integration of body and soul (and I’ve seen that Truth change persons whole lives) and while much of this piece effectively disputes Fr. Meier’s wack-handed treatment of Church teaching, like, Ian, i read some problems.

      namely, two:

      the ancillary argument against labels. the catechism itself states: ‘Homosexual’ persons are called to chastity. (2359.) at least once, the Church uses ‘homosexual’ to describe and/or label persons with homosexual attractions.

      then this (as Ian pointed out): ‘No, homosexuality is not a gift from God, and neither is heterosexuality,’

      the natural desire to be unitive and procreative (in the Image of the Trinity) IS a gift from God.

      furthermore, the very POINT of integration is to be human the way God intended for us to be human. male and female he created us. For a purpose. ‘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.’ (2332)

      • Monica Pope

        by the way. the graphic: Person’s Sexuality is Not Specified…. what a disaster to think a young person who may be struggling with sexual identity might be presented with that gently pastel-colored contaminant as a source of guidance and help.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Homosexual is not equal to gay is not equal to openly gay is not equal to practicing gay.

      Being SSA is not a sin. It is what you decide to do with it, that can become sinful.

      • Mark

        Well, “homosexual” IS equal to “gay” in common usage.

        You’re right otherwise: it’s not equal to openly gay, and neither is equal to “sexually active,” and none of them are equal to “sexually active AND doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with it.”

        Someone can be gay, sexually active, and still closeted. Someone can be openly gay and abstinent. Someone can be a closeted abstinent gay who nevertheless is morally okay with homosexual activity in theory. Someone can be openly gay (or openly “SSA” if that’s their preferred terminology), sexually active (whether they reveal that or not), and yet NOT morally okay with it philosophically. Etc etc. All these combinations are possible, and none of them imply any of the others.

        But gay = SSA = homosexual in contemporary parlance. If you think “gay” is somehow different it’s only in accidental connotations you have associated with it.

        In itself, in contemporary popular usage, it just means same-sex attracted. It doesn’t necessarily imply any particular ideological commitment or political affiliation etc.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          America in general doesn’t understand sin and guilt very well- our culture is kind of binary on the topic- you are either guilty or innocent- and forgiveness for even secular sins is rare.

          I may get my misconception from my own evolution on the gay marriage topic. First, I was for the separation of civil unions and sacramental marriage- with civil unions being available for all (including heterosexuals). I was considered a progressive and a liberal on that topic. In March 2004, thanks to a gay takeover of local government, without changing anything on my part- I became an evil Catholic Bigot for wanting to preserve sacramental marriage.

          Civil unions for homosexuals are now available in my state. I am still working on civil unions for heterosexuals. But I’m an evil conservative because of it.

          There certainly is a difference in the gay agenda in my mind- and they have utterly lost any support they may have once had from me.

  • Mary Liz Bartell

    Does being celibate mean anything to the priesthood when you come out as openly gay? I mean, aren’t you under an oath to give up the flesh and live HOLY and Chaste lives when you enter the priesthood? What difference does it make what your orientation is sexually if you are not having sex because you are under obedience to the vows that you made to your order, to your vocation? I just need to know that you believe the faith you profess. I don’t need to know your orientation, I need to know that you are faithful. So Father Meier does this mean that you are not faithful to the vows you made upon entering the priesthood? I am not judging you for your orientation. I love you no matter what you do, because you are not defined by your sex life. (Except if it crosses the lines of morality – in actions hurting others i.e. molesting children, open acts of sexual behavior, and other inappropriate PDA’s) But if you are gay that doesn’t mean I can treat you any differently than I would treat a straight priest. The question is are you being Faithful to the scriptures in action and not just in words? If you are that’s wonderful let’s move on, if not, I’ll have to ask you to re-evaluate your vocation. It’s probably not the place for you if you are intent on using the sexual organs God gave you for pleasure’s sake while being a priest. That’s just plain sinful Father. But I love you man, I’m just saying, you best be thinking of other callings in life if you are going to be sexually active. The Priesthood doesn’t need more scandal in it from clergy misbehaving in any capacity – straight or gay. We need faithful, holy, and pure clergymen not sexually active and proud of it dissenters.

    • Robby

      Totally agree. Unfortunately the Church doesn’t. Catholics no longer allow young men who have homosexual attractions to enter into the seminary. It is absolutely disgusting, bigoted, and hateful, and I almost left the Church when I found it out. There really is injustice upon these individuals. Yes it does come from the secular world, and in particular the LGBT movement, but we cannot grow prideful and fail to realize how poorly we as Catholics treat these men and women either.

      • Andrew O’Brien

        (Sorry if this double posts. I think the other is lost in cyber space, but sometimes they have a way of popping up again)

        Not true Robby. Not true at all. The document you are referring to was published on November 4, 2005. I was in seminary at the time it was published. I had more than one friend in seminary who was attracted to other men and nobody was kicked out because of this document. Some were even admitted after the document was signed.

        So why were they admitted. Its simple, really. The document never banned anyone from seminary. It actually did the opposite. It said that same sex attracted men COULD be admitted to seminary provided that they could live a chaste life in an all male environment and support the Catholic Church’s understanding of chastity.

        The reason this document came to be was that the priesthood had become a default vocation for gay Catholic men. This, I hope you can see, is a huge problem. No vocation should be considered, “Default.” Its always something you are called to. This document was written to help bishops recognize whether or not a man was actually called or whether they weren’t.

        Do yourself a favor and read the document.

        • Mark

          We have read the document. It DOESN’T say what you claim. It has been “conveniently interpreted” to say that because seminary rectors know they’d lose 30-50% of their men if it was REALLY enforced, so they take this “winking” interpretation of “As long as you can live chastely” based on the “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” phrasing.

          But presumably all “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” really means is that someone is exclusively and unchangeably attracted to the same sex (as opposed to it being some fleeting adolescent phase). Unless “tendencies” is more behaviorally defined. But in the Catechism, “inclinations” (which I assume is basically the same as “tendencies”) is used to describe merely orientation, it seems, unless the Vatican really is so thick as to not be able to separate orientation from some concept of actions.

          It would not seem “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” means anything other than a relatively fixed attraction to the same sex (even if one has never engaged in any sexual behavior). Or am I reading this wrong? Does “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” imply some sort of uncontrollable compulsion to engage in homosexual acts? But I think it would be disingenuous to interpret it that way, or else “deep-seated heterosexual tendencies” would presumably LIKEWISE be condemned and problematic.

          The document says the following about people with such deep-seated tendencies:

          -homosexuality represents affective immaturity

          -homosexuality means a man cannot relate properly to men and women (especially not as a father figure)

          -homosexuality is scapegoated for the child-molesting thing

          • Ronk

            That may be true, but what is almost never mentioned is that the 2005 document was not, as unusually claimed a line drawn in the sand advancing against homosexuality in the clergy and religious life. It was actually a very significant climb-down from the previous document it replaced issued by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1961 which said that any man with ANY tendency to same-sex attraction, no matter how slight, must be banned from entering any seminary or monastery.

            It was the fact that Pope John’s directive was so widely ignored in many Western countries that led to the far less restrictive 2005 document which banned only those whose homosexual tendency is deep-seated.

            Of course these facts are hardly ever mentioned because they are at odds with the popular myth that Good Pope John was pro-gay, and pro-everything else on the Culture of Death agenda but that Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI were nasty old “conservatives” who wanted to “wind back” what Pope John had done. In fact of course Pope John was the most conservative of the three.

          • wineinthewater

            You actually refuted your own position with your paraphrasing of the document. Based on the context offered by the document, “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” does mean one that cannot properly related to men and women and one with an immature sexuality. Therefore, a man who can properly relate to other men and women and a man whose sexuality is not immature would not have “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” as this document defines it and therefore would not be excluded.

            As I read the document and heard seminary rectors and bishops talk about it, I understood “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” to mean a homosexuality derived identity instead of a person who had attractions to the same sex. I had a friend in seminary when this came our and it resulted in some men who were sexually attracted to men being ushered out while others were completely unaffected.

          • Mark

            Which sounds like a terrible policy institutionally and the recipe for arbitrariness in application. Vague law means tyrannical law, because then seminary rectors can throw out and keep in who they choose based on equivocating in how they interpret “deep-seated homosexual tendency.” I have a friend who was denied a position teaching in a seminary because he’s gay, even though he has never engaged in homosexual activity, is 100% orthodox on moral theory, is not at all invested in “gay culture” or mannerisms of the problematic sort, and certainly doesn’t make it his “primary identity” or ascribe to that sort of gay essentialism.

            Again, if “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” is different from “homosexual orientation” in general (SSA, gayness, whatever you want to call it)…then the Catechism has ONLY called the former objectively disordered, NOT the latter. And if that’s the case, this priest is doing nothing wrong in positing that homosexuality in itself is okay, and trying to reach out to those who have been terribly hurt by the confused linguistic dance the hierarchy has engaged in.

          • Andrew O’Brien

            Mark – I think you make some really good points. The document was addressed to bishops which means that it is up to bishops to determine what is meant by “deep seated” tendencies. While its possible that some bishops have interpreted this to mean an unchangeable orientation, I’d argue that they are not the rule. Most have interpreted “deep seated” tendencies to mean whether or not they can live in an all male environment and remain focused on their call to holiness. I’m biased, however, based on my own seminary experience and the friends I made there. At my own seminary I met those who could do this, and others who could not.

            Why does the document focus on homosexuality as opposed to all type of sexual orientations? First, because of the nature of the seminary community which is an almost exclusively male environment. Second because the priesthood had become a default vocation for gay Catholic men and this document was needed to address that point. Also – and yes, this is incredibly controversial – unchastity among seminarians was much more common with the gay men than the straight men. I knew a couple guys thrown out because they were fornicating with women, but I knew a lot more who had boyfriends on the side. The problem here wasn’t their orientation – it was that they felt the priesthood was their default vocation and they showed up to seminary even thought they weren’t called to it.

            So, yes, the doc is controversial but it really was needed. In fact, it was probably about 30 years too late.

          • wineinthewater

            Can you think of a hard-and-fast standard that is just? What we had before was hard and fast: no men who are sexually attracted to other men. The injustice of that was reflected in its widespread flouting. I see the weaknesses of what we have now, but I think there has to be flexibility and room for discernment.

            The problem with what this priest is saying is that what our society means by “homosexuality” overlaps with what the Church means by “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” (even if it doesn’t mean the same thing). It also overlaps with that which the Church does not condemn. That is why “homosexuality” is such a poor word to use in a Catholic context. And from his context, it sounds like he is not only defending that which the Church does not condemn, but that which the Church condemns as well.

      • Joyfully

        You should read this and be sure to bravely search deeper for the details which are available through Gawker…if you have the stomach for it.

        Then try to be honest with yourself and ask which is best for Christ’s Church, not which is best for you and your sentiments.

        Exactly what do “we” Catholics do to these men and women that makes you think we treat them poorly? Other than not allowing them to become priests?

    • momofthree3

      This is totally the right question!

    • kcthomas

      I agree with you fully, Mary. Catholics with such faith and knowledge can deal with such erring priests. I would like to meet and talk face to face with this priest, but it is not possible as I am not in America. Simply some do not want to follow the Church teachings on sexual morality and they will try to malign the Church in some way. The main reason is that there is no organization like the Catholic Church which does not sway when a moral problem is presented. And no other organization fights with firm hope and loyalty and dedication against the decadence of morals in all the world.

  • Becky T.

    “Sexuality is eminently, beautifully, and incredibly personal, a radical adventure in becoming the self that we are, a self that is neither ghost nor corpse but a synthesis of body and soul, an inseparable union we call the human person.”

    What if that self is someone who is attracted to both sexes? I get that you have some weird aversion to labeling (though do you freak out when people identify with cultural heritage, ie “I’m German”?), but you honestly do nothing with this post to say that any form of sexuality aside from a man with a woman in a marriage is acceptable.

    You keep going on about what is natural, and incorporating body and soul, but I can’t help but wonder if you have ever met someone who isn’t attracted to the opposite gender. Personally, I felt much more whole when I accepted my bisexuality, and I know that many others feel the same. Why else “come out”, when you know the world is basically going to spit at you, hate you, can call your attractions “disordered”?

    • Andrew O’Brien

      Becky –

      Let me take a stab at it.

      You are a woman, and being a woman means something. What does it mean that you are a woman? Does the way your body is built help you answer this question? Before we can discuss what it means for you to be attracted to men and women, we have to figure out what it means that you are a woman and have a woman’s body.

      In the “worldly” sense, being a woman (or man) has no meaning. We are free to determine for ourselves what it means to be a man or what it means to be a woman. In the “Catholic” sense, being a woman (or a man) does have an objective meaning. We must first recognize what it is we are and then conform our actions to that objective reality, in order to be authentic integrated human beings.

      • jdens

        “We must first recognize what it is we are and then conform our actions to that objective reality”
        This, to me, is one (more) example of the Church starting with the answer rather than the question. You hold up whatever the Church has decided to define as appropriate maleness and femaleness, and then try to make the complex question marks of real human lives conform to that answer.

        • Andrew O’Brien

          As opposed to… what? What is the alternative?

  • Mr. Kruse

    Fine… I’ll say it. I usually back you on this sort of thing, but you’ve gone a step too far here. This goes so far as to separate orientation from being and muddles act and potency. Now, the teleology of self has gone off the tracks. One cannot integrate the body and the soul without recognizing both its material AND immaterial constituents (such as orientation). In this process, one can find conflicting orientations in the self they encounter (leading to an arguably silly list of labels). The Church has rightly declared such conflict as disordered – lacking order. I am called a sinner because of my fallen nature, not my actions. Thus, the parts and their orientation both inform who the person is. My sexuality is part of my being as it is an orientation of my self and not a material part of my body. You seem to imply that my penis acts on its own without reference to who I am. The human being IS a sexual being – not a sexual potency. As our being is a gift, one could rightly state our sexuality is a gift. One can be homosexual or any other label that they can identify with. That is part of their beING and is rooted in love (eros). If their material parts (also part of their being) conflicts with this aspect of their being, they are disordered – its not the end of the world! I’m short – it sucks, but you just learn to give up on basketball.

    The problem? Everybody is so busy worshipping at the alter of their own conscience that any external judgment of right and wrong is somehow inherently wrong. You cannot reason your way around the unreasonable. All your ideological opponents want to hear is that they are good, what they want is good, and how they feel about the world and their place in it is right. God loves them just they way they are, so they shouldn’t go changing the way they live their lives. Its not Catholic, its not Christian, but I’m sure its a religion. You’re busy arguing that one’s sexuality has nothing to do with who they are (fail) and ignoring the work that needs to be done. People must accept that they can be wrong and their feelings don’t mean shit. Sorry, it had to be said.

  • Gabriel Blanchard

    I like this blog a lot, but this post happens to hit a nerve for me. Apologies if my reaction is at all jaundiced on that account.

    The Church’s teaching about the value of the human person, irrespective of sexual orientation (a phrase I am using as a convenient shorthand, not a statement of ontology), is clear enough. But I didn’t see Fr. Meier attacking that. Nor did I see him charging the Church with teaching young people that they are without worth. What I saw was him saying that young people are *hearing* themselves to be defective and twisted, and that is a separate problem: what a person hears depends not only on what the speaker says, but on the associations the hearer has with the language.

    I was raised a Christian and became a Catholic at 20, and I can say that, regardless of what the Church intended to communicate, a great deal of what I have perceived has been precisely the disgust and harshness that Fr. Meier, among others, have spoken of. Now, I’m intellectual to a fault, so I was disposed to search out the exact philosophical meaning of the Church’s terms; and I can summon enough imaginative sympathy, I think, to see things from the perspective of someone who isn’t, like me, gay (again, it’s an adjective, not a metaphysic), and therefore doesn’t have the same perspective on history, both personal and social, that we generally do. But I also know what her language looks like from the other side, and the context that makes it look the way it does. Catholics tend to mean one thing by, for example, avoiding the word ‘gay’ and substituting ‘same-sex attracted.’ That comes across in a totally different way to someone who is actually in the LGBT world or has family members who are: the amount of hostility, enforced silence, and psychiatric abuse that LGBT people have suffered is impressed on our minds, not only as a subculture, but from our own individual experience — these things happening to some of us on a scale that would beggar belief for many Catholics to whom such monstrosities would be unthinkable: e.g., I have a friend whose mother has to get permission from her husband (who is a pastor) to speak to him; he is barely acknowledged before others as being a member of the family.

    In the face of experiences like that, anything that resembles that, or seems to move in that direction, will be avoided like a gun-wielding tiger. Example: what a Catholic means is ‘You are a person with human dignity, not a machine for sexual pleasure’; what they say is, ‘You’re not gay’; but what a gay man hears is, ‘You’re just messed up in the head, these feelings and desires are delusional.’ If he even stays long enough for the explanation, what he’s going to hear is a rationalization and a quiet step back toward the abuse that, depend on it, he already knows rather too well, from his own life or those of his friends. Or both.

    I’m not arguing that the Church’s theology is wrong. But MLK was right: “Whom you would change you must first love, and they must know that you love them.” The Church is doing a better job of loving people than a lot of folks realize; but a large part of the reason they don’t realize it, is that Catholics are not being realistic about how they communicate. Insisting on the terminology native to a Catholic milieu when talking to people outside of it is nonsensical, and can be stubborn enough to constitute a breach of charity. If we are more worried about winning a war about terminology than we are about making the *substance of the message* understood — which, in the gay community, it’s almost completely not — then we are allowing pride to get in the way of love and courtesy. And that is allowing self to get in the way of the gospel, and I have no truck with that. I’d rather compromise on terms (terms which were never, to my mind, that offensive in the first instance, but that’s a digression of its own) and get the friggin’ message across, than waste time and energy in a futile attempt to convince someone that I need them to change their vocabulary because of how much I care about them.

    • Kevin Roerty

      Good synopsis. However I have one contention: I do think Fr. Meier is attacking the Church’s position. The Church as a people need to do a better job loving homosexuals and showing that love, true; Fr. Meier takes this and concludes that we must therefore embrace homosexuality. He says,

      “I want the truth about homosexuality to be out. I want others to know that homosexuality is a gift . . . . Homesexuality . . . is not an intrinsic disorder”

      The Catechism, however, states:

      “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’142 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.

      2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”

      They appear to be in contrast; ergo, Fr. is challenging Church teaching.

      • Joe

        Is “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” or “inclination” the same thing as “homosexuality” or having a homosexual orientation?

        Because in a post about the seminary document below, a seminarian seems to argue that the 2005 instruction DIDN’T forbid the same-sex attracted from ordination, merely those who couldn’t be chaste. Now, what the document actually says is that those with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” are not to be ordained or admitted to seminary. If “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” means some sort of compulsion to have sex, maybe such an interpretation holds up. If it just means same-sex attracted, irrespective of virtue or chastity, it doesn’t hold up.

        Of course, it’s true, “tendencies” and “inclination” are all ultimately act-based terminology, conceptually. A tendency or inclination implies a tendency or inclination towards DOING something. Whereas the construction of “orientation” or “attraction” is not act based. it’s defined by the sex/gender that causes the psycho-emotional reactions (“attraction”), not by some sort of teleological definition assuming any particular behavioral expression of that reaction.

        I wish the Church would just come out and use the common popular terminology so that we all knew in a straightforward manner what they were trying to say, rather than using all these equivocating technical constructions whose precise significance is hard to interpret and leaves all this debatable space.

        If by “homosexuality” you mean “an inclination or more or less strong tendency to participate in homosexual sex acts” then we can say this is objectively disordered and not a gift except inasmuch as it is a “cross” or a “thorn in the flesh.”

        But if by homosexuality you mean (as most people in our culture do) merely an orientation towards the same sex defined broadly in terms of “attraction” as an emotional experience rather than some sort of teleological definition assuming a tendency towards a particular behavioral expression of that reaction.

        Because in trying to understand this issue more empathetically, many gay Catholics have emphasized to me that being gay or homosexual is NOT to be reduced to (nor even assumed to necessarily include) a lust for gay sex acts. The latter may be objectively disordered, but the latter is not the defining feature of “homosexuality” constructed as an orientation. And of course this makes sense. If you applied the same definition to “heterosexuality,” if you reduced “attraction” to “a desire to have sex with” for heterosexuals, it would be extremely problematic, and imply a weird Puritan framework where all ‘attraction’ (except perhaps to ones spouse) was ‘lust.’

        • wineinthewater

          The problem is that the Church can’t adopt the terminology of the world because none of the terminology of the world means what the Church means.

          I think discussions like the original post are important. We almost have to deconstruct the existing discourse in order to move forward with any kind of meaningful discourse. “Deep seated homosexual tendencies” does not mean what the world means when it says “gay” or “homosexual.” It incorporates elements of what a person is romantically/sexually to. But the more important thing is that it also incorporates how that attraction has been integrated into identity. Is the attraction just a facet of the person’s identity, or is it a primary definer? Has the person integrated all the ancillary identity markers from society (effeminate, highly sexualized, likes show tunes, concerned with fashion, ad nauseum, ad absurdum) into their identity? How significantly does that attraction affect interpersonal relationships, are all such relationships framed in terms of sexual/romantic attraction? (BTW, that is a problem for “heterosexual” candidates as well.)

          This is all far too nuanced for “homosexual,” so we should not be surprised if we fail dramatically if we try to use it to mean what we mean.

          • Kevin Roerty

            Ditto to what wineinthewater said. Fr. Barron discusses the issue with Modern discussions and their inherent confusion (from Professor MacIntyre’s After Virtue)

            Joe, I have asked a priest about homosexuals being allowed into seminary, and he made it sound like it was more of a practical issue rather than a theological one. He gave the analogy of a 20 year old male going to seminary with a bunch of young girls around the same age–people whom the man may end up showering next to, sleeping near, etc. Of course, they must exemplify the virtues–such as chastity–just as other candidates would.

            If there is a separation between “homosexual orientation” and “deep-seeded homosexual tendencies” purely based on lust, why stick it in the Catechism at all? Could they not just say everyone is called to chastity and leave it at that? I agree there seems to be a difference, but I am not sure where to draw the line. In any case, I do not think either ought to be considered a gift–just one a much lesser disorder (as defined by not being directed toward the proper end) as the other.

          • Mark

            If “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” and merely “being gay” or same-sex attracted or having a homosexual orientation…are different, and the distinguishing feature of “deep-seated tendencies” is that they are incompatible with true chastity or a right-outlook regarding priorities of identity, then it is unclear why homosexuality AS an orientation should be considered a disorder at all (if a lesser one) as long as it coexists with chastity and a rightly-ordered identity and understanding of human nature, etc etc.

            Something can only be disordered inasmuch as we assume it is really meant to be “ordered” towards something specific. But whereas we can pretty clearly say that genital desire/pleasure specifically is ordered towards mating (heterosexually, of course), it is much less clear that a much broader construct like “attraction” has any particular behavioral end it is pegged to.

            Really, although the language of “attraction” implies a motion towards something like a magnet pulling its opposite, in reality people use it to describe not any particular expression or manifestation but rather an experience. It’s like “anger” or “sadness.” Do we define anger or sadness based on what they’re moving TOWARDS? Or rather, based on what caused them? I think the latter is much closer to the truth. Anger means “an emotional experience provoked by perceived injustice,” sadness means “an emotional experience provoked by perceived loss.” Neither is defined “teleologically” as if anger or sadness are tendencies towards some particular action or behavior. It would be silly to define anger as “A tendency towards violence!” Rather, violence is only one of a variety of scripts that can express anger, just like crying is only one of a variety of scripts typically resulting from sadness. But in both cases, we define the emotional experience based on the cause or stimulus; “where it came from” NOT “where it’s going” (as if it has to go anywhere in particular at all).

            Sexual orientation isn’t defined according to some sort of act-based teleology either. It doesn’t mean “a persistent desire to engage in sex acts with members of the same or opposite sex.” Rather, it means “a pattern of emotional experiences provoked by features (physical or personality) perceived as pleasing in members of the same or opposite sex as such” (ie, the pleasingness of the feature is specific or in relation to their maleness or femaleness, not just their “humanness”).

            Under such a definition, most heterosexuals will clearly experience occasional moments of “attraction” to something in the same sex, and most homosexuals likewise for the opposite. A gay man can appreciate the beauty of a woman, and a straight man can respect another man’s masculinity and find it pleasing or desirable to have etc. What makes it an orientation is in an overwhelming PATTERN of such responsiveness, and how that pattern is integrated into ones own narrative of self interpretation.

            Are you really going to go around insisting on a functionalist purpose for beauty and the recognition of beauty?

  • BintJameela

    So many logical inconsistencies here!

    All this talk about “we are not our sexuality” is fine (minus the perversity and crassness and vulgarity of the speeches here) . . . “if” you want to be consistent and non-contradictory. But your argument isn’t.

    You can’t say sexual orientation isn’t important to who we are as human persons, to our identity, without undermining the very argument you intend to make.

    If orientation isn’t important to “who we are,” how could you say male-female unions are the exclusive match which is moral and acceptable? That is a statement that assumes that sexual orientation “is” important. Orientation is an implied public statement any time any one goes on a date with someone, or is “courting” someone, if that’s your style, as each pursues “male-female” relationships–a social action revealing–publically–one’s orientation. It IS public. “Orientation” is very public. And marriage is the end goal of that orientation. If you want sexual orientation to be private and quiet and not talked about, then you undermine the argument that marriage is a public institution with a public good, and therefore society can have a say in defining what qualifies as a “marriage.” If you want sexual orientation to be a “private matter” then you can’t make normative judgments on the public institution of marriage without being internally contradictory in your argument.

    Furthermore, your statement that sexual orientation is not a person’s “identity,” is certainly not revealed to be the Catholic Church’s practical stance–as someone noted, someone with a homosexual orientation would now be denied entrance into seminary, which reveals that Catholic authorities have made the decision that there “is” something about a person’s orientation that does shape their “identity” enough, and to the extent that they are judged incapable of being “true fathers” in the Catholic Church.

    You can say sexual orientation is not “who someone ‘is,’” but current Church guidelines disagree. As do I.

    Furthermore, this entire sexual-orientation-doesn’t-matter-to-who-you-are thing contradicts JPII’s Theology of the Body. And, I’m fine with that, but just want to point it out. (unless you’re deciding that the mind, the brain is not a part of the body)

    To leave with a question: Does anyone here think that “sexual orientation,” that physical attraction, has no connection to other parts of the human person–to their heart, to their mind, to their soul? That is what is implied over and over and over again–though never blatantly stated. “It’s not who the ‘are.’ ” Most essentially? No. Most essentially, we are all children of God. But with that most essential foundation, is sexual orientation still not a part of who I am? I think it is very much connected to my personality, my affections, my sensitivities; indirectly, it is very much connected to “who I am,” to my charisms as a human person even, however feminine or masculine that might be in its different parts.

    • gigi4747

      “which reveals that Catholic authorities have made the decision that there “is” something about a person’s orientation that does shape their “identity” ”
      Yes, it seems to me also that heterosexual men and homosexual men are often temperamentally different from one another. You put it better than I could – most essentially, we are children of God, but sexual orientation is not inconsequential.

    • wineinthewater

      I don’t think that is what Mark is saying. And this is one of the reasons this conversation is important.

      It is not that sexual orientation is not important, that it does not form and inform our identity, but rather that sexual orientation is not our identity. The world’s treatment of sexuality is to make it our identity, which is why the world’s treatment of sexuality is dehumanizing and objectifying.

    • badcatholic

      My perversities, crassness and vulgarity had a point. It was this, that no one would quote me as saying precisely what you quote me as saying — “we are not our sexuality.” Sexuality (referring to sex) is maleness and femaleness. The Catechism makes this clear. Sexual orientation is a hipper, vaguer notion, but we can take from its usage that it refers to “sexual attraction,” to those objects which cause sexual arousal in a given person. (Thus the prefix to our modern plethora of “sexualities” refer to the thing that causes attraction, the “sapio,” the “bi,” the “pan,” etc.)

      Now sexuality is NOT sexual orientation. I say, quite specifically, and with many crude references, that we are not our sexual ORIENTATION. (“We are not what gives us a boner.”) I did not once say “We are not our sexuality.” It is precisely this inability to distinguish sexuality and sexual orientation that makes these conversations almost instantaneously stupid.

      God did not make us male, female, and heterosexual. He made us male and female. I understand the desire to frame “heterosexuality” as the “one good sexuality,” but it ultimately sells itself out to vague and labeling language of our culture. It is no accident, I think, that there is not ONE reference to “heterosexuality” or “sexual orientation” in the Catechism. Why?

      Because the point is NOT that there is one good sexuality amongst many, and that we should choose it. The point is that we are called to chastity. Chastity is the integration of the sexuality within the person. It is not the integration of sexual orientation within the person. It is being yourself according to the body and the soul. As such, a chaste sexuality, “when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another,” can only be “the complete and lifelong gift of a man and a woman,” (CCC 2337) for only the relationship of man and woman is an honest integration that does not separate the body — in its biology and design — and the soul.

      The difference is meaningful. On the one hand we could start with a standard that stands out as one amongst a group of already manipulated labels — heterosexuality — and demand the world conform to it, and if they can’t, well then, that’s their cross.

      On the other hand, and with the Church, we start with the human person, and demand he becomes himself, that “eminently personal task” (CCC 2344). In becoming themselves, both man and woman recognize that engraved in their bodies and the relationship of their bodies to the opposite sex is a fruitful icon of the Trinity. This realization is a sexual realization, that is, a realization of the self as male or female, and the subsequent decision to live as such. It does not require a particular sexual orientation (though don’t get me wrong, it’s probably a lot easier for those attracted to the opposite sex). It does require an integrated sexuality, that is, a harmony of the body and the soul. By saying that “we are our sexual orientation” we reduce the human person and pander to a gender-confused culture. By saying “we are our sexuality” we do not, fo that is the truth. We ARE male and female.

  • another SSA girl gone chaste

    Love this convo. Another SSA girl who married a boy here. As for the infographic…I think it’s actually helpful….imho a big problem in this culture is that if you feel an inking of attraction towards a person of same sex you are now practically bulled into ‘embracing’ your homosexuality. There’s no *tolerance* for exploring whether you can grow into having a heterosexual relationship. It’s taboo to even think that once you have crossed over into gay land that you can retreat into a hetero marriage. “you’re denying who you are”…and you are right…I’m still the person who was acting on homosexual feelings… am I more risky for a man to marry? Am I forever damaged goods? In a sense I *am* a risk…I am damaged..but I have a call to be chaste like everyone else…that is the message of the Church, without which, I certainly wouldn’t be living in the state of happiness that I am today…

  • Joshua

    How about labels such as American, white, Irish, etc? How about labels like virtuous, vicious, murderous, rapacious, courageous?

    The Church has no problem speaking of homosexual persons. She does so in official documents, using that dreaded label. You seem to think that the word “is” is only predicative of substance, and when we speak of “being” something, we cannot speak of things other than substantial predication. It is right that one should not reduce the ratio of the person to a characteristic of that person. But we do say gay, straight, homosexual, heterosexual, sick, healthy, virtuous, vicious of people, and they are in that way. Being is said in many (namely 10) ways, after all.

    To be honest, I am not sure what much of your post means. Body-soul integration? If they aren’t intergrated, doesn’t that mean you are literally dead (the soul is the form of the body, form:matter ::soul:body). And I am sorry, I am not a body, just I am not a soul. I am a human person. One substance, with a soul as a formal principle, body as material principle, but really one substance. I mean like the form of iron and the matter of iron is one substance, iron. I know what you are getting at, but formally and specifically speaking, you are, taking you ad litteram, just repeating the opposite error.

    I don’t agree with the priest, mind you. But I find the rejection of labels here, well utterly destructive of all communication. Rejection of reductionism? Sure. But too much is made by the “conservative” (for lack of a better term) side over using such descriptors as homosexual. Ultimately, grammatically and philosophically it is no different than saying “I have same sex attraction”i.e., “I am one having same sex attraction” Oh that dreaded am (note that anything said of anything is a matter of a way of being and involves implicitly an is). Just an adjective.

  • Crunchy Cradle Catholic

    marc you’re on fire lately! keep it up!

  • Mark

    Theodore, that’s ridiculous. As other’s have said below, in most cases, introducing your husband or wife is a declaration of sexuality, and so would be a guy asking if you know any nice Catholic girls to set him up with. Justin Lee summed it up best I think in these articles:

    (If you really want to claim ANY empathy for gay people on this question, please please please read at least the first of the two).

    As many people have already said here, this labeling game is silly. I mean, this claim that “heterosexuality” is to be rejected because sexuality is about attraction focusing in on one woman (or several, if there is a widower situation)…I don’t even know where this is coming from. Is hunger not an attraction to “food” just because you never eat “food in general” but always some one specific dish??

    Of course heterosexuality exists; it is a word describing a pattern of being predominantly or exclusively attracted to women (yes, specific women, but whatever else may divide them, their sex unites them; one assumes you are attracted to them AS women and not just as “utterly particular human beings” or else you’d really be bisexual, assumably…) Inasmuch as that pattern describes ones experiences of attraction and can be reasonably assumed (unless there is a major instability of personality) to describe them in the future too, then it can be applied to you as a descriptor. It isn’t “defining” you in some substantial fundamental sense, it’s just describing one facet of your experience.

  • Kevin Roerty

    Father’s position is irreconcilable with the Church’s. He says homosexuality is not intrinsically disordered, the Catechism says it is; he says it is not a cross, the Catechism says it is indeed a trial for most; he says it is a gift, the Catechism says it goes against natural law. Fr. Meier attempts to share love–but it is a Modern love, one that is solely focused on building up self-esteem, one that tells people to “be themselves” when they do not even know the answer to that question–children of God. It is for this we have and trust in the Church.

  • Joseph Lukowski

    In a perfect world “coming out” is not necessary. It does nothing but cause pain and suffering to all those involved because of the prejudice we all carry toward each other, Live according to at the very least the natural order that God has given us. Be who you are and live a celibate life for the kingdom. Marry if you are blessed to love another to pro-create. And above all, love God as He has loved us.

    • gigi4747

      Marry if you’re blessed to love another? Marry whom? Do you have a daughter you would like to see marry a homosexual?

    • Mark

      “Coming out is not necessary”??

      A lot of so-called Christians would seemingly prefer that they be able to essentially pretend that gay people do not exist. This is ridiculous.

      Justin Lee has listed many of the reasons why disclosure of sexuality is important:

      “Because I can’t participate in looking at “those pretty girls” without lying to you.

      Because I don’t want you to try to set me up with that great Christian woman you know.

      Because if I didn’t tell you, you’d guess, and I don’t want to be the subject of rumors.


      Because, my female friends, I don’t want you to think I’m flirting just because I enjoy your company.”

      etc etc etc.

      Sexuality is “relevant” all the time in our lives; heterosexuals wear it on their sleeves (or, rather, their ring fingers). It shouldn’t be any different for homosexuals.

  • sh

    has anyone bothered to look at what the holy scriptures has to say about the issue of sexuality. it seems to me that we all spend a great deal of time and effort approving or disapproving what he said, she said or they say instead of going to a true and authoritative source like the bible…it doesn’t matter at all what YOU think or I think or the priest next door thinks. what matters is what GOD thinks…and if you don’t believe that then there is no point in having this discussion in the light of church teaching. read the first chapter of the book of romans. i am by no means judging anyone for what they believe but simply presenting this as a way to measure all the discussion surrounding these issues. may the holy spirit give us all the wisdom and clarity necessary to see our way through these times.

  • Dan 2

    Just a thought, seeing as how most of my homosexual friends are also atheist or agnostic (I’ll add pagan (which is less ancient pagan and more like atheism only formed into a religion (suppose that says something about the future of atheism (or not))) as well), that is to say they are more naturalistic and “dawinistic”,i reckon then that they are an obverse contradiction.They deny the soul and ignore its importance and deny the body and its importance. so in a sense they are like husks, seems to fit why they contest the church, they are death and we are life. It is almost beautiful, if it weren’t so sad. Let us pray for the Spirit of illumination to fill their hearts and point them towards the Lord.

  • Nathaniel Winer

    So, in a post trying to inform people that the Catholic Church doesn’t see gay people as disordered and broken, you compare them to a group of people who can die from starving themselves.

    Keep up the ace work. Gay people, oh excuse me, “people with same sex attractions” will certainly come flocking to the local parish after they hear that message. They just have to wash their hands first.

    • Romulus

      Washing in holy water should suffice.

      • Newp Ort

        Hey keep those disordered hands out of there!

    • Andrew O’Brien

      Actually, there are a LOT of same sex attracted Catholics who live the fullness of Catholic teaching. Especially for those who don’t like being labelled, the Catholic teaching is particularly attractive.

      • Newp Ort

        For those who find the closet attractive, the Catholic teaching is particularly attractive, too.

  • Ben @ 2CM

    What wrong with the word “disordered”? In scientific or “evolutionary”
    terms, homosexually is disordered with nature. Something has gone wrong with the
    individual member of the species; either physically, mentally or some combination
    of both. The first step to helping a deviation is to admit there actually IS a deviation.

    • Imp the Vladaler

      The desire is disordered; the person is not.

      • Ben @ 2CM

        So if I desire other things that are wrong or sinful, we are
        to also say the desire is disordered, the person is not? I think the correct way to to say the person HAS a disorder.

        • Imp the Vladaler

          Maybe? Meh. I don’t see what’s gained by telling someone who feels a disordered desire that they “have a disorder” as opposed to saying that the feelings they experience are disordered. First, I don’t know if it makes a semantic difference, and second I’d like to do what I can to avoid a phrasing that could make someone feel like he was defective as a person.

          But it is not accurate to say, as Fr. Meier does, that “that’s precisely the message our Church is sharing. LGBT youth are hearing that they are disordered, diseased, defective, damaged goods, wrong when they should be right.”

      • Mark

        What “desire”? Sexual orientation is not a “desire.” Under Catholic morality, a desire for homosexual sex acts specifically may be disordered, a species of lust. It does not follow that homosexuality as an orientation in itself is “disordered” unless it is directly implicated in a particular sinful act. “The passions are morally neutral” in themselves, as the Catechism says, what matters is how they express themselves. A gay guy whose homosexuality leads him to bed a man is involved in disorder. A gay guy whose homosexuality inspires him to make great art, or towards self-improvement (love tends to ennoble), or to sacrifice his own life for a friend he is in love with…these are all perfectly noble and potentially holy expressions of homosexuality.

        • Imp the Vladaler

          It does not follow that homosexuality as an orientation in itself is “disordered”


          “In the discussion which followed the publication of the Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”

          • Mark

            As has been discussed previously in this conversation, it is unclear that the Vatican even really quite understands what sexual orientation is or how it is conceptualized. Especially back in 1986.

            The language of “inclination” and “tendency” and being “ordered towards” some specific act…imply that the Vatican understands “homosexual condition” to mean the desire for homosexual sex acts specifically.

            That, of course, would be called disordered if the acts themselves are defined as disordered.

            However, the whole point of the comment you responded to is that sexual orientation, as commonly conceived, is NOT reducible to “desires” for sex acts. It is an experience of the much broader and more nebulous concept of “attraction,” which is not at all reducible just to lust or the temptations of lust, but is an entire affective experience that isn’t necessarily ordered towards any acts in particular.

            As long as the hierarchy can’t wrap it’s head around the fact that sexual orientation is not reducible to or essentially defined by sex acts (whether in practice or desire)…they simply won’t get how to approach gay people pastorally or politcally.

          • Imp the Vladaler

            I believe that you’re having some difficulty with the concept of what it means for something to be “ordered” toward something else.

            Is your argument that homosexuality does not necessarily imply a desire for sexual acts with members of the same sex? Because if it is, then you’re just playing semantic games. The Church is defining “homosexual” to mean “sexually attracted to members of the same sex.” If you mean something else by it, like feeling strong non-sexual affection towards a member of the same sex, then the Church isn’t talking about that, and I would agree that it’s not disordered. Surely there are some who desire affection with members of the same sex without affection, but the Church isn’t discussing that when it refers to homosexuality.

    • Andrew O’Brien

      I think what’s meant by disordered is that the desires aren’t pointed towards all of the “goals” of sexuality (baby making, pleasure, unity). Homosexual attractions do not point a person towards baby making or unity.

      • Mark

        Neither does any vocation to celibacy!

        • Andrew O’Brien

          Or do they?

    • Newp Ort

      You know enough about evolution to make dumb statements based on it. You can’t look at single members of a social animal species and pronounce them disordered. Gay people may have other functions besides reproduction that benefit a larger population.

      What are all these females doing here so long past the possibility of childbearing? The males stays fertile almost through their entire lifespan. These grandmas are disordered.

      • Andrew O’Brien

        But do they benefit society as couples? Or as individuals. Keep things straight here (no pun intended). Are we talking about persons? Or their desires? I’m talking about desires, but your comment is about persons.

  • abbé Jonathan Blake

    see Official statement from the Archdiocese of St. Louis:

    The Archdiocese of St. Louis just learned that Fr. Gary Meier authored the book “Hidden Voices, Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest” which was originally released anonymously in 2011. On May 22, 2013, Fr. Meier will release a 2ndedition of this book under his name.

    Fr. Meier has been on leave for the past year for reasons of vocational discernment.

    As a man who experiences same-sex attraction, Fr. Meier has before him an opportunity to be an example and mentor to Catholics in the archdiocese who struggle with the same feelings. Whether he will seize this opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Life which offers the truth about the beauty and sanctity of human sexuality, is entirely within his control.

    The Church does not condemn individuals for having same-sex attraction. It teaches that all people are called to responsibility regarding sexuality — whether they are homosexual or heterosexual, priest or lay person.

    Our Catholic faith teaches that we are defined by something far deeper than sexual orientation; rather we are defined by our identity as children of God. We agree with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI when he said, ‘Every human being is loved by God the Father. No one need feel forgotten, for every name is written in the Lord’s loving heart.’ We encourage Catholics and all people of faith to pray for our culture.

  • Mac

    The issue here is not with labeling or not-labeling or integration of mind and body, but acceptance. Generally when someone assumes a label for him- or herself, they indicate two things: that they are, at least in part, defined as a person by what the label implies, and not only that, but that they accept the label and are fine with what the label implies. I am a bisexual female. I accept the label female because I identify as female and am perfectly okay with being female. I also accept the label bisexual because I am attracted to women sexually, and I am absolutely accepting of myself when I act on that attraction. I do not feel any guilt, remorse,
    or shame. What I think is shameful is when people have chosen to identify with these labels–coming out is a difficult process already, and to make that leap is incredibly commendable–and other people then tell them that they should be ashamed.

    Take a bad label for example. Other people can assign bad labels. Sometimes there are pedophiles. We, as a society, label them as pedophiles, because we acknowledge that they fit the label according to both their attractions and their actions. Another bad label is disordered–however, this label has been shoved upon LGBT youth without their consent. This is a societal standpoint that looks at LGBT youth and acknowledges that their attractions, sometimes coupled with their actions, fit within the scope of what that section of society finds to be disordered. But the difference between these labels is the reason for the aversion to the person. Pedophilia is preying on young children, is morally wrong because of the inability to give consent from the younger party and the damage it does to the psyche and the developing mind. Homosexuality is sexual acts between two consenting adults who, in many cases, love each other as deeply as can be found in heterosexual love. In other cases, the actions are purely sexual but no less passionate. The difference between these two is that one is clearly harmful to society in all instance, and the other is not. LGBT people have no need to be ashamed of the LGBT labels, and no one else should feel so high and mighty as to condemn them for being accepting of themselves and of their true nature. Because what really matters is not the form that love comes in, but love itself, and I think to stop the sharing of love among consenting individuals is the lowest form of hate there is in this world.

  • Clare
    • Clare

      Above link…
      Why Equal marriage law will destroy my Wedding Cake Business (and Free Speech!).

      • Mark

        Except this is not how business law or ethics EVER works.

        We sell people products ALL the time. We do NOT get to withhold services just because we don’t like what (we suspect or find out) someone is going to do with it.

        A taxi driver can’t say “I won’t take you to the abortion clinic.” He’s a taxi driver. His job is to provide transportation wherever the person wants to go. Maybe the woman is getting an abortion, maybe just an ultrasound, maybe she’s going to protest. None of his business! Services and products in our world are provided with a “black box” regarding what people are going to do with them.

        And Catholic ethics agrees. Generally speaking, in most cases, providing a service is merely “remote material cooperation” at worst, which is ALLOWED.

        If the Knights of Columbus rent a hall, the best policy is just to NOT ASK what it is going to be used for. Why is that any of their business? You’ve handed over the rights to your hall to a group for an hour or a night. As long as it isn’t damaged in the morning, what they do “behind closed doors” in the hall that THEY have for the night…is not the renters business.

        You make cakes. You don’t get to dictate their use. Someone might want a wedding cake for a straight wedding, or for a movie prop, or just because they’re really hungry, or to throw in the face of a politician, or for a gay wedding. It’s really none of your business. You shouldn’t probe or ask, and if they volunteer the information, you should just let it fly over your shoulder as if you didn’t hear it because HOW or in what context they’re going to use the product you sell them…is none of your business and none of your responsibility.

        I mean, the couple could just LIE, say they were getting it for a straight wedding, and then change the names or get a second little plastic groom figurine themselves. But why should someone have to LIE to you just to spare you the uncomfortable feeling you get knowing that your cake will be used in a gay wedding, even though how your product is used once it’s out of your hands is something you should actually be utterly indifferent to (because it isn’t your responsibility beyond that point, even according to Catholic ethics)!!!

        • kamiller42

          A business should not be forced to cooperate with scandal.

  • cestusdei

    This is why homosexuals should not be ordained.

    • Andrew O’Brien

      This is why idiots shouldn’t be allowed in comboxes.

  • bob

    This is the longest version of “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” that I have ever read. Well done.

    • Newp Ort

      It is Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve, but we should love the sinner not the sin.

      There, I combined them into one doubly vapid, shallow point. The deep thinkers ought to appreciate this.

  • Mr. Kruse

    So you delete my post?

    • Andrew O’Brien

      Scroll up.

    • Newp Ort

      Go to the drop down to sort the comments, select “dumbest,” this comment will be first and your other one pretty close to it.

  • Newp Ort

    This post stinks. Nobody actually defines themselves by one thing only. I am human, male, hetero, husband, father, many more things too, they are each different parts of my identity as I see it, but no one encompasses the whole.. I identify as each of these things to others when it is appropriate.

    The out gay people I know usually consider it a large part of their identity because they have often had to struggle with the values placed on being gay by friends, family, church, community, employers, themselves. Having had to (having been forced to) go through this just to be comfortable with who they are, of course they say “I am gay.”

    And you have a lot of nerve, not having been through this to come around regurgitating this crud you read on some other blog or wherever, telling people how to identify themselves.

    It’s catholic bigotry lite. It’s no longer “you cannot be that, it is evil,” now it’s I guess we have to respect your existence but please don’t feel TOO good about it and for goodness sake keep it to yourselves!

    • Andrew O’Brien

      I agree with the second paragraph. A lot of the reasons there is a “gay” community is because certain groups have obsessed over “homosexuality” as a thing. In some ways, these “anti gay” people have created a label – a label that gay people have now embraced.

      That being said, I think Marc’s point needs to be considered. Perhaps he went a little overboard, sure, but there is still something to think about. While somebody might label themselves as being “gay” or “homosexual” how high on the list of labels should it be? In other words, if you were to list all the things that describe you, (human, male, husband, etc.) where should your orientation be? A same sex attracted friend of mine ( who is Catholic and celibate) began to question the “gay community” over this point. He begain to believe that their homosexuality was too high on their lists, and that it was causing some of his friends more harm than good – so he started going back to Church. He still might label himself as gay, but it is lower on his “list.” He doesn’t want people to know he’s gay because they will make too big of a deal about it. He prefers to be thought of as a man.

      • Newp Ort

        You do realize your friend’s example underscores my point, right?

        flip it over: I don’t go to church with my wife and child. if people know I’m straight/a husband/a father they’ll make too big a deal out of it. I just want to be thought of as a man.

        if your friend could expect to have his dignity as a human person respected as it states it should be in the catechism, when he is trying to live chastely as the catechism instructs he should as a gay person, why is he basically forced back into the closet by his brothers and sisters in Christ?

        I’ve already encountered the point Marc parrots here in other places in the catholic mediasphere. I considered it and found it to be crap then and worthy of no further consideration.

        • Andrew O’Brien

          Ok. I can see why “The Closet” might be seen as an oppressive, lonely place for people to find themselves. But I hope you can see that there are other places equally oppressive and lonely, such as the “Tell Everyone,” alternative. There is as much if not more pressure placed on gay people by other gay people to tell the whole world about their orientation. If you don’t tell everyone, then you hate yourself. So you’d better update your facebook page and get your butt to the pride parade… or else you’re just a self hating Aunty Tom.

          The point is that there is more than one way to oppress a gay person. The good news is that there is a third way, and it’s a way that many Gay Catholics choose. They tell some people and not others. They tell close friends and family, and not others. Its neither the oppression of the closet, nor the oppression of the pride movement. And, the few people I know who actually live their lives this way, happen to be pretty happy people.

          So, if it was your intention to set up a false dilemma, I’m not falling for it. There are more than two ways here and while I can see how some might feel bound to the closet in Catholicism its hardly a universal experience of Gay Catholics.

          • Newp Ort

            No, you’re right. I was presumptuous about your friend’s situation and anyway I’m a straight dude, I can’t go defining the closet for anybody. so I will walk it back from being totally full of shit to…

            but kinda like I was saying earlier, can you imagine a heterosexual trying to keep their sexuality to themselves in the catholic church, or even considering it? if gays want to be chaste and live their faith, but they still feel they have to hide part of what they are, something ain’t right.

            And it’s one thing for a gay person to choose that, a whole other (BAD) thing to be encouraged (or PRESSURED) to “not define yourself by that label.”. It implies the only way this gay catholics thing is gonna work is if you keep it to yourselves, gay people cuz it freaks us out and we sure can’t have you openly sounding like THOSE gay people, you know the ones who have no problem calling themselves gay and who want the full equality!

          • Andrew O’Brien

            Isn’t that the point of the post, though? That we aren’t defined by our sexuality?

  • Ryan

    I think it’s a pretty fair conclusion that if the Church teaches “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” (CCC 2357), then young gay and lesbian Catholics (fervently) studying the Catechism – to be good and devout Catholics – are going to walk away with the inference that they themselves are also disordered. Setting aside the “reductionism” of sexuality, these folks are going to be told a piece of themselves and the way they feel drawn to express that piece (i.e., sexuality) is disordered. The inference is fair. To pretend otherwise, as this article does at the outset, is disingenuous.

    • Andrew O’Brien

      How I long for the day when the youth of america fervently study the Catechism.

    • ChinaObserver

      “The way they feel drawn to express that piece” is what the Church calls homosexual tendencies and these are in themselves not disordered. The CCC is very clear: Only “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” Acting out a homosexual tendency is akin to succumbing to a temptation. A temptation is not a disorder nor a sin for that matter.

      • kamiller42

        Read first 2 sentences of CCC 2358 about inclinations and tendencies. I entirely agree with the Catechism.

    • kamiller42

      Everyone has parts out of order with God’s will. Our duty is to not entertain or act on them. Possession is not justification.

  • guest

    There really are medical conditions like intersex. And the Church really doesn’t have a category for them and doesn’t know what to do with them. It’s a very real medical and ethical issue, as well as a theological issue. You guys can rant about your prejudices all day long but your ranting doesn’t change reality for these people.

    • Andrew O’Brien

      Guest –

      I agree that the Church needs to explore these issues, but how is Marc’s post a rant, and how is it pre-judging anyone?


    Holy Scripture – Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 9-10.
    Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition – # 2244, 2245, 2246, 2396.

    Any Catholic who does not adhere to these teachings is a “heretic” and “schismatic” as defined in CCC 2089. They are not faithful Catholics.
    Also on the Vatican web site search: “LETTER to the BISHOPS of the CATHOLIC CHURCH on the PASTORAL CARE of HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS”.
    - – - -
    People label themselves by their own public actions and public statements. Otherwise their sins and temptations are between the individual and God.
    Homosexual ACTS are sinful, not those who merely are tempted by same sex attraction. Temptations are not sinful.
    - – - –
    “ In this Year of Faith let us ask ourselves if we have actually taken a few steps to get to know Christ and the truths of faith more,
    by reading and meditating on the Scriptures, studying the Catechism,
    steadily approaching the Sacraments. ” – Pope Francis 5/13/2013

  • Kat

    Give up labels but come out as a homosexual priest who’s suppose to be chaste?

  • Lorenzo

    ‘The message the Church has been consistently giving to LGBTQ youth is the same message she gives to heterosexual youth — you are not your genitals.’ I can assure you the Roman Catholic church made this teenager feel like a disgusting freak. I was taught that what I considered to be loving was ‘gravely depraved.’ On a more thoughtful note, you are being disingenuous for the
    Church is not merely asking gay people to order yet another wayward desire like,
    say, gluttony, boastfulness, greed or even lust, but to conclude that, should
    they ever come to love someone, their desire for a physical demonstration of
    that very love is perverse and sinful. The Church is actually demanding that
    gay people see what is part and parcel of most people’s ability to love as
    twisted and shameful, in their case.

    This is not at all
    comparable to what is required of any unmarried straight believer. These are
    merely asked to wait and refrain to act on a desire that is inherently holy and
    able, in time, to constitute a bodily sacrament. If he or she were to accept
    so-called biblical teaching however, a gay man or woman must believe that what
    is potentially sacramental in others is in themselves a disorder and a perversion.
    They are called to look at themselves quite differently, to see their desire as
    counterfeit and not merely as something to be tamed.

  • jdens

    A couple of points:

    You pretend to be liberating people from being defined by labels of sexual orientation, but what I think you’re doing is removing the nuance and diversity that one’s sexual orientation allows in the expression of one’s sexuality. So you’re restricting people’s identity to what you define as the only acceptable expressions of maleness and femaleness.

    You act as though it’s everyone else reducing humans just to their sexual organs, but you’re the one who’s taking only that part of the body to determine sexuality. “If the body that I am is male, oriented in its inescapable biology to be fruitful with woman, than my personal integration of body and soul cannot be the embrace of homosexual acts, for in this embrace I leave the body behind.” Do you think sexual orientation is purely a matter of an individual’s perception? Are hormones, for example, not part of the body? Is physical attraction not, in fact, physical? Is the brain, even, not part of the body?The male body is not always “oriented in its inescapable biology to be fruitful with woman” unless you are only focusing on the (fully functioning) sexual organ.

  • trs

    The love affair with self-labeling according to “orientation” really is a problem. We treat our desires as if they divide us into Linnean or zoological categories, akin to the difference between kangaroos and rhinoceroses. Obviously people are confronted with different kinds of desire in varying degrees, but we also have moral freedom, which is not the freedom to do what you want (any animal has that), but to do other than what you want for objective reasons. The Linnean theory of sexual orientation has the serious disadvantage, moreover, of rather cruelly disregarding those people who may feel a need to make moral decisions about their desires in order to move ahead with their life. One cannot, for instance, nurture both homo- and heterosexual impulses (or desires for multiple sex partners) and enjoy the human good we call marriage. Desire is not “right” just because it is there. Perhaps it is not “wrong” either, but there is always a moral judgment that occurs between feeling a thing and acting on it.

  • K C Thomas

    Oh ! my God, what an amount of absence of wisdom in this so called “Father Gary” !
    According to him the sexual tickling is the most important thing in life and for that nothing matters–Go following your impulses- Has he been living sexually active life announcing it as gift of God ? I can only for for Wisdom for this poor soul. may God direct him to His Son Jesus Christ

  • kcthomas

    I am not able to answer.If email address is in use as stated by you it means that I have an acconut and I have been commenting. Then what is the problem

  • kcthomas

    What does Fr.Gary mean when he says that he is a homosexual ? Does it mean he wants to indulge in sexual activities and so he wants to be out of the Church whose teachings on sexual morals are not acceptable to him ? He knew when he intended to become priest that the priest must remain celibate. So more details are to be known. It is only reasonable that the whole picture is published to avoid confusion and misunderstandings

  • awilaway

    Still waiting for an explanation of how sodomy is a good thing.

  • Lisa

    That was absolutely excellent. Bravo.

  • Leonard Jenkins

    Nice post! The article is very interesting and very impressive. I like the bravery of that priest, because he exposed to the public about his true gender. Love this article!

  • Drew Fontaine

    Well-thought out article, Anonymous Author.

    Thank you for going so much deeper than the average. I saw some of the holistic sexual teachings of JPII’s Theology of the Body evident in your writing, particularly the following:

    Sexuality is eminently, beautifully, and incredibly personal, a radical adventure in becoming the self that we are, a self that is neither ghost nor corpse but a synthesis of body and soul, an inseparable union we call the human person. It is not a label, it is a challenge, but we’re so frightened of living as the body and soul that we are — and thus becoming Saints — that we’d much prefer to reduce ourselves into the dust from whence we came, to drift as ghosts inhabiting bodies we can hardly stand to live in.


    BUT…I had a couple objections/thoughts/nitpicks, naturally.

    “If they are being give this message, it is not by the Church.”

    Oh, but if the Church is the body of Christ, and the body of Christ is her believers, then yes, PLENTY of the Church is handing out judgement, abuse, and intolerance to gay youth, based from a purely theological standpoint. And they’re wrong to do it from any standpoint; believer or non-believer.

    “The message the Church has been consistently giving to LGBTQ youth is the same message she gives to heterosexual youth — you are not your genitals. Stop introducing yourself with your penises.”

    Fair enough. But let’s not forget who’s responsible for a TON of this whole “labeling people by where they put their genitals.” Take it away, Old Testament God:

    “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” – Leviticus 20:13

    But what about New Testament God? Surely he’s gotten less fixated on whose penis is going where, right?

    “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” – Romans 1:26-27

    These passages (and those like them) have been used to incredibly hurtful, harmful ends–both by Christian fundamentalists (most offensively, the Westboro Baptist Church’s wholly misguided “God Hates Fags” campaigning) and misinterpreting Catholic traditionalists. Yes, they’re misguided, one and all. But let’s not pretend they’re not there, nor that they don’t proclaim themselves the bible-believing faithful.

    For time immemorial, parties on both sides of this issue have been guilty of using “what gives you a boner” to label themselves and others. I wholeheartedly agree that it’s a woefully reductive, simplistic, and wrong way to go about it. But it is, simply, where the rubber meets the road. And it’s not going away anytime soon.



    P.S. Let the record show that Macklemore sucks.

  • HaveCourage
    It is summed up exactly in this video…. well not exactly, but basically one of the main points!

  • JJ Mitchell

    Sexuality was created by God, but sin has twisted sexuality. Sex is beautiful in marriage between a man in a woman, just as it was perfect in the beginning when God first created it. Sin is strong, but the power of Christ and the attraction of his grace is stronger; strong enough to leave this world and it’s temptations behind us.

    We all struggle with some sin. They just may not all be homosexuality.

    “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

    We cannot be passive to lust and sin. It is not a matter of one’s genitals; it is a matter of purity. We are called to be like God, not to obey our feelings.

    “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23

    No one is condemning the man or woman who claims to struggle with, or be, homosexual. The Church and Christ condemn the sin not the man. Paul is very clear in Romans 1 that homosexual actions are sin. Therefore, boasting in this sin is not godly. That’s why it is important. If you are boasting in sin you cannot be boasting in Christ. Christianity is a denial of self and a consummation of being filled by the holy spirit of God.

  • Lisa Graas

    The Pope’s theologian agrees with you.